Category Archives: Fashion

Glittery jumpers – and why we’re our own worst critics

La Redoute glittery winter jumper

This was only supposed to be a post about glittery jumpers. But one of the best things about blogging – and being your own editor – is that you can go off course and write about things that really matter to you. Not that glittery jumpers don’t matter, clearly they do.

I bought this particular jumper because it felt like the kind of thing I’d need this winter. It’s yellow and grey, which I love, and it also sports a large tinsel stripe. Because we all need a glittery go-faster stripe in November, don’t we? I know I do.

 La Redoute glittery winter jumper

I took these photos on a drizzly day when I was feeling decidedly under-the-weather. Dressing to match my cup of lemon Lepsip felt like the only solution. A jumper like this is warm and cosy – a walking duvet – but it also has the potential to let you fake it till you make it. Like painting on a smile.

No one will notice you feel ill, because they’ll be too distracted by the tinsel on your front. Or if they do, they’ll still admire your cheerful taste in jumpers. It’s tempting to hide away when you feel under-par, but try the opposite and you might actually feel a bit better for it.

Which got me thinking about how we’re always worrying about what other people think, when really we’re our own worst critics.

We all have things we don’t like about our appearance. When you write a blog and take a lot of photos of yourself you get used to niggling feelings of doubt. I have a long list, but mostly I worry about my teeth and my wonky eyes. My eyes, the legacy of a severe childhood squint, rarely face in the same direction in photos. But after two corrective surgeries, they’re probably not going to get any better. And they’re really not that bad, they probably just give me a permanently quizzical look.

My teeth are my other weakness. A childhood accident left me missing one front tooth. I now have a crown there and it’s an unappealing shade of greige.  As a child I used to hate how it looked enough to put my hand over my mouth every time I laughed. It’s only recently that I’ve felt brave enough to even smile with my mouth open.

La Redoute glittery winter jumper

We say horrible things to ourselves that we’d never dream of saying to other people.

In my head I regularly call myself fat, squinty-eyed and generally hideous. This isn’t a pity-party – I’m not looking for praise, or flattery. What I’m trying to say is that the best way to combat these uneasy feelings is to accept your imperfections for what they are. To own them, in Millenial-speak. We all have a story to tell, and our little scars and imperfections make it worth telling. Oh, and you’re almost certainly the only one who notices them anyway.

I’m not a model or a cardboard cut-out, I’m just a normal woman who likes glittery jumpers. And that’s ok.

two-tone glitter jumper

I wear: Jumper, £39, La Redoute / Jeans, £14, Peacocks /

Boots, £29.50, Marks and Spencer / Coat, White Stuff (past season)

Finding the perfect embroidered jumper

Marmalade Pie: Mango embroidered jumper

We’ve got used to the idea of buying festive jumpers, but a special autumnal jumper is just as important. It needs to be a bit of show-stopper – and it can also afford to be a bit whimsical. Step, forward the embroidered jumper. 

I think I’ve found the perfect one. It’s by Mango and has all the right ingredients to be an autumn classic.

Marmalade Pie: Mango embroidered jumper

First, and most importantly, it has a cosy, comfortable feeling. An ideal jumper needs to be warm, but not too thick – and it can never be itchy. Although wool is lovely, I tend to look for something with a mix of acrylic and natural fibres as it’s just easier (and less itchy) all round. A funnel neck is my favourite style, because it’s cosy but less hot than a thick polo.

A gorgeous, eye-catching design. Some people like jumpers with dogs or slogans, but I prefer to add personality with texture and colour. An embroidered jumper is the perfect way to do this. The bright, folk-inspired embroidery on my jumper is the perfect way to brighten dull days and evoke all the right kind of happy, cosy feelings.

Marmalade Pie: Mango embroidered jumper

A nod to the past. I love my favourite jumpers to have a sense of heritage – chunky cables and fair isle prints will always be timeless classics. Embroidered jumpers have that too. The bold folk-art inspired embroidery on my jumper evokes images of Tyrolean jumpers from 1930s skiing holidays.

Image via Pinterest

A hint of the festive charm. If you’re clever, your embroidered jumper will also see you through the festive season. Avoid pink colours, and choose red and green designs like mine. A much better investment that the inevitable reindeers and snowmen.

My beautiful jumper costs £35.99 and is also available in navy:

Mango embroidered jumper

Like what you see? Here are some more favourites…

Marmalade Pie: Embroidered jumpers

Clockwise from top left: Cross stitch jumper, £27.99, New Look / Floral front jumper, £29.99, Zara

Navy floral jumper, £29.99, Zara / All over floral jumper, £34.99, New Look

 

Marmalade Pie: Mango embroidered jumper

I also wear: Checked coat, £39.99, New Look / Shawl, £4, Ikea

A new checked coat, and re-joining the fringe gang

New Look checked coat

This season is all about texture – cord, velvet, tweed and general fluffiness are all officially back in. Checked coats are top of the list. It’s a classic preppy look and I needed little prompting to give it a go.

After a bit of searching, I’ve found a good one. It’s by New Look, who I’m consistently loving at the moment. It’s simple and chic – and a steal at £39.99. Considering the price, it’s surprisingly thick too.

New Look checked coat

For easy autumnal style, wear your checked coat with a bold knit. This mustard coloured jumper is another great New Look buy.

And while we’re on the subject of embracing texture, this week I have rejoined the fringe club!

New Look checked coat

It’s a fact universally acknowledged that as soon as you’ve grown out a fringe, you want another one. It gets me every time. It goes so well with the whole seventies vibe going on at the moment. My hair needed a boost, so adding new texture was very tempting.

My hair is very thick and wavy, so a full-on blunt fringe can be a recipe for disaster. So this time, I’ve compromised on a half fringe. It’s cute and flattering, but can be brushed out of the way. I’m glad to be back in the gang.

New Look checked coat

I wear: Checked coat, £39.99, New Look

Boots, £27.99, New Look / Mustard jumper, £9.99, New Look (instore only)

Like what you see? Here’s a roundup of my favourite checked coats:

Marmalade Pie: My favourite checked coats

Clockwise, from top left: Red checked coat, £99, Marks and Spencer / Tweed field coat, £229, Joules

Grey overcoat, £69, Mango / Blue wool coat, £79.99, Mango

One pair of blue shoes, five different outfits – with Moshulu

Moshulu blue brogues

Buying a pair of coloured shoes is one of the most clever things you can do this autumn.

I need my wardrobe to be flexible. My days can be really varied: dashing to school with the boys, then heading straight to a meeting with a work client – or sometimes just working at home. I need my clothes to work hard for me – which is why I love classic pieces that you can dress up and down – all in one day.

Don’t worry though, being flexible doesn’t have to be boring. It’s still possible to make bold choices and make them work – whatever the time, whatever the place. And that’s wear the coloured shoes come in to their own.

To prove it, here’s one pair of bright blue shoes by Moshulu, with five very different outfits…

Moshulu blue brogues

My signature style… A stripy top, coloured tights and a grey coat – it’s my classic look. It’s comfortable and casual enough for the school run, but it’s also perfect for an informal meeting, or a coffee date with friends. The burgundy tights and navy brogues are a fun twist that really pulls this outfit together. Eye-catching, but subtle – if that isn’t to contradictory.

Moshulu blue brogues

The smart look.. If I’m meeting someone professionally for the first time, I like to keep things really simple. Navy is my favourite colour and I love wearing this jersey blazer with smart chinos and lacy shirt. It’s smart, but not too formal. The blue brogues add a touch of personality to an otherwise plain look.

Moshulu blue brogues

The kicking though leaves outfit… At this time of year I can’t resist playing match-matchy games with nature. I love jumpers the colour of autumn leaves and soft, checked scarfs. This is my go-to outfit when I’m working from home – and it also goes to prove that yellow and blue are a match made in heaven.

Moshulu blue brogues

The pop of colour… Wearing colourful shoes doesn’t mean the rest of your outfit has to be tame. Make a bold statement with a bright pink dress and grey tights. This is perfect for when I want to make an impact.

Moshulu blue brogues

Park life… Classic weekend wear. For those days sat on a bench, coffee in hand, watching your crazy kids tire themselves out. My blue brogues rise to the occasion yet again – matching this laid-back utilitarian look perfectly.

So that’s how you take one pair of blue shoes and make them work with five outfits. Which is your favourite?

Moshulu blue brogues

Thank you to Moshulu for sending me these lovely blue brogues to try. 

 

Beating the autumn gloom with fluffy coats and flowers

Fluffy coat and flowers

So far, I’ve been embracing everything about the change in the seasons. In fact, you might as well just call me Little Miss Autumn.

But last week, the seasonal shift suddenly didn’t feel so good. One by one, we’d all caught a cold. The mornings felt darker and colder – and getting out of bed wasn’t fun. Slowly, but surely, morale had begun to sink.

I felt like I’d come up against a brick wall creatively and I spent most of last week creeping around feeling as glum as the leaden grey skies. But on Thursday the sun came out and a couple of simple things reminded that, actually, autumn might just be ok again…

Fluffy coat and flowers

I wore my new teddy-bear coat for the first time. Fluffy coats, shearling coats…they’re all big this season and I urge you to try one. Wearing it is like getting a giant bear hug. If gloomy mornings are the downside of autumn, then getting to wear a snuggly coat is definitely the upside.

And I felt even happier about the fact that I bought it in the charity shop. Sure, I had to spend more than I paid for it getting it dry cleaned, but it was still a very virtuous purchase – and a reminder that I can still occasionally win the charity shop lottery.

Then I went to market and bought the brightest pink flowers I could find. Buying a massive bunch of flowers, and still having change from a fiver, is my weekly pleasure. Carrying them home not only made me happy, it also made a few passers-by smile too.

Buying flowers from Ely market

Of course, just buying a bunch of flowers doesn’t automatically make life peachy again, but it certainly helps. It also proves that when the gloom hits, you shouldn’t always follow your instincts and hibernate. Put on a favourite autumn coat, drag yourself out of the door and indulge in the little things that make you happy – whether it’s wearing a fluffy coat, meeting a friend or buying a new magazine.

Fluffy coat and flowers

I wear: Coat, ASOS, via the charity shop / Jeans, £14, Peacocks

Jumper, £19.99, Mango / Boots, £27.99, New Look / Cherry earrings, ASOS, £8

Love my fluffy coat? Here’s my pick of what’s available right now… 

Marmalade Pie: fluffy coats

Clockwise, from top left: Teddy bear coat, £89, Warehouse / Fleece coat, £29.90, Uniqlo

 Mohair coat, £69.99, Mango / Contrast coat, £79.99, Mango

 

Brands revisited: Mango

Mango autumn jumper and bag

Certain outfits remind of you a particular time in your life, don’t they? The last thing I bought from Mango was a denim blazer adorned with appliquéd leaves in 2003. I was at uni at the time and wearing fancy, spangly denim (while dancing to Justin Timberlake) was bit of a thing. Since then, Mango has remained off my radar. 

Until now. Strangely, I’d assumed that things would still be the same. But, wow, I was so pleasantly surprised. The collections are simple, unfussy and affordable. I’ve rather gone off Zara lately, and Mango reminds me of all the things I’d loved about it – a good mix of frivolous fashion with a classic backbone – all at a great price.

There isn’t a Mango store near me, so I ordered online. What caught my eye?

The simple elegance of this grey jumper with a funnel neck (£19.99). 

Mango autumn jumper and bag

And the easy style of this little bag (£17.99). It’s not real leather, but it feels really nice. 

Oxblood handbag by Mango

There was plenty more that I liked too. Here are my highlights. They’re all simple easy-to-wear pieces that will effortlessly update your wardrobe this autumn. 

Mango A/W17

Classic knitwear, coats and handbags

Olive jumper, £19.99 / Shopper, £39.99 / Wool Coat, £79.99 / Tassel Jumper, £35.99

So, welcome back to my wardrobe Mango. Let’s not wait another 14 years next time!

 

 

A botanical story…with Thought

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

Autumn is all about the joy of discovery, isn’t it? Whether it’s seeing the leaves turn on your favourite tree, finding a gleaming conker or putting on the perfect pair of shiny new boots.

I have two autumn discoveries I’d like to share with you – the clothing company, Thought and the enchanting garden at Peckover House. Thought’s clothes are love-forever classics with an ethical heart. They’re a perfect match for this beautifully timeless garden.

Follow me down the garden path and I’ll tell you a botanical story.…

Thought clothing autumn collection

It’s a chilly morning, the kind when the September mist hasn’t quite burnt off yet. There’s nobody else here – and it’s the perfect moment to explore the orangery.

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

Despite the chill outside, the air is warm and humid in here. Every nook and cranny is filled with botanical delights – from succulents and ferns, to vivid blooms. At the centre stand two majestic orange trees, reputed to be 300 hundred years old, and still bearing fruit.

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

Let’s go outside again, shall we? We pass some cold frames and stumble upon another glasshouse…

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

Now it’s time to choose some apples and leave the money in the honesty box.

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

And look, who’s this?

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

It’s Algernon, Peckover House’s resident cat, who stands guard over the garden when he’s not too busy having his tummy stroked. And that’s where our little story ends – sitting in the now-bright sunshine.

Thought clothing autumn collection at Peckover House garden

I wear:

Dress, £79.90, c/o Thought

Knitted overcoat, £140, c/o Thought

Peckover House and Garden are managed by the National Trust, with just a little help from Algie. I can’t think of a more perfect place to wear the beautiful new Autumn/Winter collection from Thought clothing.

 

A little bit of red is good for you

Red and white stripy top

Red is the colour of the season. It’s everywhere. Now is the time to embrace it. It’s easy to assume that’s it’s a difficult colour to wear, but don’t be shy, a little bit of red is good for you.

For the uninitiated, the best place to start is a red and white stripy t-shirt. Banish all thoughts of Where’s Wally immediately. This is actually a very low-key look – the white breaks up the red and makes it feel less, well, red.

Red stripy top and red tights

If you’re feeling brave, wear it with a pair of red tights. Personally, I love coloured tights and I’m mildly obsessed with finding the perfect pair. After much searching, I’ve found these ones, which are thick, opaque and very comfortable.

Tone everything down with a camel-coloured coat, a bit of denim and some tan boots. This all helps that vibrant red to feel low-key and not too shouty.

I wear:

Top, £12.99, H&M. Sold out online, but available in store – similar here

Coat, New Look – similar here

Tights, £6.50, ASOS

Skirt, Boden – similar here

Loving red? Here are more of my favourites…

Marmalade Pie: red fashion picks

Coat, £139.99, Mango / Cardigan, £30, ASOS / Top, £8.99, H&M

Will you be wearing red this autumn?

Be inspired by the seventies: the maxi-dress

It’s official, the seventies are back.

If the idea of taking inspiration from the seventies has you running for the hills, then don’t panic. This trend is perfect for autumn, honest.  Chunky knits, cord trousers, long dresses and boots – they’re all perfect for kicking though leaves and pretending you’re one of Jilly Cooper’s plucky heroines.*

Today, we need to talk about the seventies-inspired maxi dress. It’s soft and flowing in every sense – with long sleeves and an even longer hemline.

Seventies style maxi shirt dress by Peacocks

I spotted this amazing Ossie Clark-inspired dress in Peacocks and just had to try it on. It’s length is slightly impractical, but it feels so glamorous. At £25, it was coming home with me, never mind its practicality.

It’s perfect for autumn evenings out. Unbutton, or button up, according to the occasion.

Seventies style maxi shirt dress by Peacocks

I’m wearing the roomy size 10. I’m 5 ft 4″ and need heels with it, otherwise it’s too long. Wear with shiny brown leather boots for the ultimate seventies look.

Tempted to try one? Here are some more of my favourites… 

Seventies maxi dresses

Floral dress, £59, Warehouse /Coral dress, £24.99, H&M

Seventies maxi dresses

Floaty dress, £38, Vera Moda at ASOS / Floral shirt dress, £22, Boohoo

Seventies style maxi shirt dress by Peacocks

I wear floral maxi dress, £25, Peacocks

Are you feeling inspired by seventies style?

* My favourite Jilly Coopers are her short books from the seventies. Try them, they’re the ultimate autumn comfort read. Prudence and Imogen, are my personal favourites.

A hint of leopard print

There’s something about leopard print. Every autumn I fall in love with it again. Is it the earthy colours? The sense of fun? Whatever it is, I’m hooked.

A little hint of leopard print is a fun and stylish way to update your wardrobe. This autumn I’ve chosen a scarf – the perfect purchase for in-betweeny autumn weather.

Leopard print scarf by New Look

This soft, slightly abstract scarf by New Look is £12.99 and I love the flattering, peachy tones. It really transforms this simple outfit. I’ve invested in some new boots for the season too, also by New Look.

Here are some other leopard print delights I’ve spotted lately…

How about trying this jacket from Gap? The fluffy collar is detachable, so it’s very versatile.

Or how about these gorgeous shoes or this scarf from ASOS?

Leopard print shoes and scarf

Do you love leopard print too?