In every group of girl friends, there’s always the kimono girl. What do I mean by this? Well, the kimono girl is always impeccably dressed for each and every occasion, whether it be a quick bite to eat or a trip to the theater. You can usually find the kimono girl with matching nail varnish and a handbag to be envious of. Their secret? The kimono. 
When kimonos started to hit the shelves, it was one of those trends that I immediately discarded into the ‘not for me’ category. Loose fitting, floral patterned with tassels, not a combination that my personal style is usually taken with. So, when this neon pink and orange kimono fell through my letterbox as part of #FrockSwapUK, there was no escaping the inevitable truth…I had to attempt a transformation, could I be a kimono girl too? 
Well, I certainly gave it a try but the simple truth is no. As a short, petite lass it made me feel much bigger, the proportions just didn’t get along with my body. Combining the length with the flow of the kimono, my waist was hidden yet it did little to hide my hips.
Outfit Details
// Kimono :: c/o George at Asda // Hat :: Radley // Jeans :: Topshop // Heels :: Matalan // Bracelet :: H&M // Necklace :: George at Asda //
As the kimono was Debbie’s choice, I was the final lady to style it. I’d envisaged wearing it with a simple black maxi dress, flowing in the wind. Ah! Since the spending ban, and the discovery of Depop, I’m finding my wardrobe is so sparse and lacking any real basics to speak of! I’ve still yet to find this wondrous petite maxi dress that I dreamed of pairing it with. Here’s how the other girls styled it:
Erica (Serious necklace love!)
I’m distinctly aware that I haven’t really been brave with my styling here, opting to mirror Debbie’s style of trusty black jeans. Truth is, wearing a kimono was a pretty big deal for me, so adding a fedora made me feel more in my comfort zone. Whilst I adore the different looks the ladies came up with, it’s safe to say I won’t be wearing a kimono ever again. It’s just not me. As I always say, the beauty of #FrockSwapUK is being able to try out different looks and simply pass them back at the end of the two weeks (or in this case, four, sorry Deb!) 
Will I ever be a kimono girl? Doubtful, but it was fun trying!
Are you a kimono girl?


Let’s face it. I love summer, but I hate the thought of baring all. So when it comes to swimwear, the better it can make me look and feel, the more I’m willing to pay. Yes, it’s that simple. However, with this wondrous swimsuit, I can put my purse away. This costume comes in at a mere £18. You heard me correctly.
Featuring a large polka dot spot pattern, this tie halterneck costume is perfectly designed. It provides perfect support , whilst the pattern enhances the size of what mama gave me. Being a curvy girl, the plain black body helps to slim my curves and hide any unflattering lumps or bumps. It’s going to be the perfect travel companion when the boy and I travel to Lake Bled in August. So where is this bargainous suit from?
Bonmarche! When their kind people got in touch and asked if I’d like to review one of their products, I didn’t know what to say. Did the brand fit with my blog? Well, let’s think about this beauty: monochrome, polka dot with a 50s feel? Hell yes. Now, as you know, Bonmarche cater for the older woman. Look through their range of clothing and you’ll see dresses cut for mature figures but when you consider swimwear, this can only be a good thing. The cut of this suit is just perfect. The leg is cut the right length, the halterneck hugs in all the right places. Putting it short, I feel like a million dollars in this.
// Swimsuit :: Bonmarche //
Although I’m not baring too much skin, if it wasn’t for my profession, you’d have seen a full body shot. Yes, it made me feel that confident! Along with a wide brimmed straw hat and a pair of dark sunglasses, I think I’ll be teaming this with a large Slovenian cocktail!
Where do you buy your swimwear from?
Can you believe this is Bonmarche?

*Product kindly sent for review. Clearly, any swimsuit that will slim my hips deserves a glowing review. All opinions my own!*
Monochrome Co-ordinates with Lilac Splashes

Monochrome Co-ordinates with Lilac Splashes

It seems everywhere you look, matchy matchy prints are making a statement. Fresh for spring/summer 2014, co-ordinates are the easiest way to breathe new life into your summer wardrobe. Whether it be a floral, tropical or polka dot print, matching separates are a great investment because, let’s face it, when the trend is over they can be treated as separates and reworked for a fresh look. 
This ASOS midi skater dress ticks all the right boxes for me. Monochrome, my favourite. Midi skirt, my new favourite and, the very best part, it unpops at the waist to create a midi skirt and crop top. When ASOS were offering 30% off with the code COSSV, I instantly rushed to my saved outfits and sealed the deal and boy, I was not disappointed! As you know, on Sunday I was invited to take part in Style Wars with The Mall Blackburn and this was the perfect outfit. Whilst my take on co-ords mightn’t be completely matchy matchy, it’s very me and fits my personal style to a tee!
This is the first outfit I’ve purchased since the spending ban. Whilst buying an outfit just shy of £100 may sound like a lot of money for a thrifter like me, I’ve bought key pieces for summer that will go the distance. This structured lilac mini bag has provided the perfect injection of pastel in this monochrome loving girl’s wardrobe. Although it’s small, it has three compartments making it perfect for an obsessive organiser like myself. River Island have it so, so right with their range of bags this season. 
If ever I’m in need of a little enabling, I can always count on Sarah from A Million Dresses. You see, Sarah introduced me to these ASOS lilac heels when ASOS were offering 25% of shoes and accessories.  The perfect shade of lilac, these heels would surely curb my urge to buy Swedish Hasbeens for summer. At a fraction of the price, I decided to invest. And, I’m so glad I did! I’m already planning what else I can wear them with!
Outfit Details
Last weekend, on Twitter, I was chatting to the lovely Sunae after she declared coordinates as fugly. I had to agree that cat print, unflattering coords are totally heinous. I’m hoping that this ASOS beaut has changed her mind! What dya reckon Sunae?
What’s your take on the coordinates fashion?
What have you been buying for summer?
As always, much love,
// Bloglovin’ // Twitter // Instagram //

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Every once in a while, I buy something on eBay that I really shouldn’t. Perhaps it’s too expensive, perhaps I don’t need it or maybe the risk is just too great. In this case, the latter was certainly true. But, who can resist a vintage floral print made up of brights? Especially when it’s my new found favourite skirt style, the midi. When I spied this vintage Jaeger skirt on eBay, with 10 days left to bid, I added it to my watch list and watched it like a hawk. Nervously bidding with 11 seconds left to go (yes, I’m one of those) it became mine for the sum of £7. Not exactly mega bucks, but a lot of money to waste if it wasn’t right.
Arriving home late Friday afternoon after a long week at work, I hastily packed my bags and drove to Burnley to see the boy. We’d made loose plans to eat out but had no idea where, so this vintage skirt seemed like the perfect thing to throw on. En route we decided to go for a drive whilst the sun was setting and visit the Singing Ringing Tree, Burnley’s panopticon. 
I’ve yet to decide if I’ll keep this skirt. It fits into my wardrobe like a dream, but it’s not the most flattering of cuts. Maybe when I miraculously shift this stone that’s bugging me? As we were walking to the tree, I was struck that I was wearing the same hat and shoes here in this post. I like to tell myself it’s a sure sign of a good investment!
It’s been a busy old week! It seems I’ve spent the week preparing, the residential outdoor trip I’m taking next week with our year 6 and Sunday’s ‘Style Wars’ challenge with The Mall Blackburn has certainly taken time to plan for. I’ll be telling you all about the Style Wars challenge next week, but for now…wish me luck!
// Skirt ::  Jaeger (vintage, via eBay) // Clogs :: Lotta from Stockholm // Tee :: Primark // Satchel :: Cambridge Satchel Company // Necklace :: F&F // Hat :: Radley //
How was your week?


Over the Easter weekend, the boy and I were invited to visit The Lowry Hotel, Manchester. As an anniversary treat, we experienced a luxurious overnight stay complete with breakfast at Manchester’s first five star hotel. Part of Rocco Forte’s elite hotels, this award winning hotel offers a spa, restaurant and bar. Plenty to keep us busy! 
Naturally, before our stay we read the reviews tripadvisor had to offer. All glowing. Crediting The Lowry as outstanding with attentive staff, we certainly found this to be true. Ever the romantics, we arrived early, eager to make the most of our anniversary in our favourite English city. Following a hassle free check in, we opened the door to a superior deluxe king room, a spacious room complete with a beautiful riverside view of the iconic Trinity Bridge by Santiago Calatrava.
We found our room to be bright, spacious and inviting with contemporary artwork and splashes of bright orange adding a modern touch. Complete with a super king size bed, satellite television and docking station, we settled into our room with a view. Making full use of the tea and coffee facilities, over a cup of coffee (sans biscuits) we tried to decide where we’d spend the evening. You see, The Lowry offers The River Bar and Grill. Here, you can experience afternoon tea or a cocktail on the outdoor terrace. You can also enjoy British cuisine made up of the finest ingredients in the grill restaurant. 
We decided to dine in the restaurant where we’d had our first date, Akbars. With Sky Sports News one of the many television channels, naturally the boy settled in for the wait whilst I pampered and preened in the bathroom.
The contemporary and spacious theme continued in the bathroom. A quick blast in the power shower and fleeting few minutes in a dressing gown, I was ready quicker than John expected. He looked crestfallen at my new found speed. It seemed he was right at home on the super king size bed tracking Burnley Football Club’s latest score. As it was Easter Sunday, we’d decided to eat earlier to beat the crowds. Suited and booted, we slipped into a taxi and headed to Castlefield. 
As we’d eaten early, we’d also finished early. With stomachs bursting with Indian food, we couldn’t stomach sitting in the local pub, so we decided to make the most of the hotel room. Not like that, I know what you were thinking. Opening a bottle of bubbly, we snuggled up in bed and chose a movie. I’ve wanted to see Gravity for some time and sat in the dark room, it was the perfect way to relax.
It’s the smallest of details that impress me; a range of glass types in the mini bar, toiletries which include conditioner (not just shampoo or that awful hybrid of 2 in 1), fresh semi-skimmed milk refrigerated (not stacked in minuscule cartons), coffee in abundance (with willing staff who will bring extra sachets with a smile). Detail.
During our stay, we didn’t ask the staff for anything other than fresh milk and coffee. However, they offered us complimentary bottled water, turn down service and newspapers for the morning. They were polite, attentive and thoughtful, but never overbearing. 
In the morning, John was up at the ungodly hour of 7am. I couldn’t even entertain getting up at that time, so whilst he went to seek out street art in Manchester’s Ancoats I snoozed blissfully and starfished to my heart’s content. When he returned, we sipped more coffee whilst looking over the Manchester skyline before venturing downstairs for breakfast. 
Breakfast is hosted in the stylish River Bar & Grill restaurant. Again, we found the attention to detail ever-present. We were guided to our booth and napkins were placed on our laps. Sipping fruit juice and deliberating over the many breakfast options, we listened in as a nearby well-known newsreader animatedly chatted to the waitress. We chose to indulge in a full English breakfast, despite my plan to devour maple syrup pancakes. Breakfast was large (just as I like it), freshly cooked and complete with ‘proper sausages’ as the boy, a sausage snob, declared. 
With breakfast priced at £19.95, this clearly isn’t a budget hotel. But, a hotel with a touch of class worth indulging in. If you’re looking for a romantic weekend away, in the heart of Manchester, then The Lowry Hotel is the perfect choice. Whilst we have stayed in nearby hotels with a similar price, the friendly, attentive but not overbearing service is just one of the many reasons we’d return. Most of all, it’s the attention to detail that makes The Lowry heads above the rest. Surely, it’s a sign of a good hotel when the only point for improvement I can raise is providing biscuits with the tea and coffee making facilities. 
The Lowry offers reasonable packages to suit every budget, whether it’s afternoon tea or spa treats! We were treated like VIPs and will definitely be returning for special occasions. We cannot thank the team enough for making our stay one to remember! 
*Post produced in collaboration with The Lowry Hotel*