Saturday, September 26, 2009

Have developed a slight obsession with French Connection this season, which doesn't quite fit with my recessionista status. Although it's more expensive then most high street shops they always seem to deliver with high quality pieces that are both trendy yet quite timeless as well. They don't fall our of shape or look too worn after just one season as well.

I think it's also because I'm a perfect fit in my size in French Connection and don't need to suck my self in like I do in some of the cheaper European high street stores. I find that Topshop, A - Wear, Warehouse and FC are best for this while in Penney's I can often go a size smaller!

Which shops do u find are best for sizes?

My wish list for this A/W contains nearly all of the collection at FC but this dress is probably my favourite...Titled the 'Sweets' dress it comes in a lovely lipstick red shade that I am lusting after for the coming festive season, while the black one is practical to take you from your desk to the dance floor by simply adding some glitzy accessories..

It retails at 85 sterling so is well worth ordering from the UK website rather than paying over the odds in Ireland..

With many people currently struggling with a range of stressful changes in their lives - be it drastic pay-cuts, signing on or taking work wherever they can - anyone with a relatively secure job arouses little sympathy about their cushy position - whether or not they have job satisfaction is of no real concern.

I, however, was all ears when a friend complained about her finance job that left her feeling bored and unchallenged, despite earning good money. I understood how deflating it must feel to have worked so hard in climbing the ladder to end up demotivated and unsatisfied in the work place.

Having recently married and relocated to London it's not hard to be envious of her champagne lifestyle. She and her man, both with good jobs, found a perfect apartment in trendy Camden and when they're not sampling the best of London's bars and restaurants she is busy shoe shopping to update her Louboutin lined wardrobe.

Her picture-perfect life that she had worked so hard to achieve was being hijacked by the recession in a different, yet equally disheartening, way to mine. Weekends spent strolling on Primrose Hill were blighted by having to endure a job that wasn't quite her preferred area, regardless of the pay.

Was it too much to ask that she be stimulated by her work, as she once had been?

After months of moaning it came to a head in a dramatic twist. An email detailing her misery was sent shooting off into cyberspace to each and every member of her team – including her boss. She had accidentally hit ‘send all’ instead of the one trusted colleague the dramatic rant had been intended for!

What followed was awkward, until a few days later a colleague revealed there was a job going in a nearby company. Within hours she had secured an interview and subsequently landed the job - after thinking she was destined to spend the recession unhappily trapped, ironically, she found something more suited to her then ever before.

She had unintentionally constructed her own exit and got her career back on track.

Perhaps it's a lesson to anyone stuck in the wrong job who is afraid to take the plunge and look elsewhere.

However, while her keyboard catastrophe resulted in a happy ending, perhaps emailing the entire office isn't the best approach to taking charge of your career.

Bizarrely, her mistake took her in the right direction: this girl just has a knack for landing on her feet - always in designer shoes.

I've recently started watching the Hills - I know I'm about three years too late with this. Despite it being painfully obvious that most of it is staged and scripted, I'm hooked for two reasons - the fuzzy feeling that envelopes me while viewing snapshopt of LA's blazing sun against the backdrop of rolling hills which reminds me of my time spent there - and more importantly, the fashion.

Lauren is definitely my favourite and while I haven't seen the show until now I am well aware that she and the girls have become firmly established as regulars on fashion pages across the world.

Her style has really evolved in recent months and she has a knack for pulling together effortlessly cool yet feminine outfits always with a pinch of California cool.

This outfit she wore to NY fashion week really caught my eye. I love how the turquoise leather clutch adds a funky injection of colour against the monochrome..I also love how the leather jeggings totally add an edge to the prettiness of the polka dot chiffon blouse.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I'm delighted to hear that heels are taking a break from the top of the fashion charts - it has emerged that during London Fashion week flats were favoured by designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Meadham Kirchoff and Sienna Miller's Twenty8Twelve label on the catwalk.

Indeed Sienna has long been a fan of a more comfortable shoe, photographed more often in slouchy boots and cute ballet flats proving that flat can be stylish as well as practical. I do absolutely love the architecture and vertiginous beauty of sky scaper heels, but spend most of my time in flats. Stumbling and falling on your ass ain't sexy in my book..that's why I'm so glad to add to my growing collection of ballet pumps, flat boots and converse with this season's on trend brogues and studded ankle boots..

Top of my wish list this month is a pair of red studded ankle boots from Topshop, inspired by these lush leather ones from Chloe..Penneys are doing great studded flat ankle boots as well as suede fringed moccasin boots in tan and stone and sexiness with not a blister in sight.

After nipping into Dunnes on Henry Street yesterday I have to say I am totally in love with their A/W collection, particularly the latest offerings from their Savida range.. Savida seems to have had a little bit of an overhaul this year and boy have they come up trumps.. Dunnes has adopted all of this season's hottest styles and trends for their Savida collection..think the best in sparkle with sequinned mini skirts, jumpsuits and leggings and full on glamour with glitzy embellished shoes and sexy satin camisole vests..

As always, Dunnes have included the best in Autumn/Winter staples with a variety of cosy knits and chunky scarves along with stylish structured coats, fine knit Italian wool cardigans and fashionable but comfortable dresses that work well for the office or dressed up for a night out. Military detail and 80s inspired shoulders feature heavily in Savida's new collection which is a mix of high fashion and good quality clothing - all at affordable prices..

My personal favourite is the grey military style wool coat for just €60 but the knitwear image above also has me excited for colder weather!

Get thee to their new flag ship store on Henry Street for the ultimate shopping experience or to one of their many branches nationwide..

I am huge fan of Swarovski - I love how their exquisite crystal jewellery can totally transform a simple outfit by adding glamour and gives a wow-factor like nothing else..

This latest bracelet from Swarovski is no exception - displaying the distinctive pink ribbon symbol for breast cancer it has been stylishly embellished with tonal pink Swarovski crystals and pink enamel. It goes on sale as part of Action Breast Cancer's Breast Cancer Awareness Month for October.. not only will it generate funds for an excellent cause but it's sparkly loveliness will brighten up your day every time you glance down at your wrist..

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New figures reveal that one fifth of people claiming the dole are under 25 which implies the worrying possibility of a lost generation of graduates, just as was the case in the Eighties.

While many under 25s are sure to be despairing at the current economic situation there are many more, like my youngest brother, who are devoid of any real fear and simply get on with things, living for now rather than becoming consumed with worry.

The invincibility of early adulthood affords him a more carefree attitude and with no real responsibilities or, indeed, negative outlook on the world.

He sees no point in worrying and I’m trying to come around to his way of thinking. Electric Picnic sold out in the end - nearly every under-25 I know attended the festival which is testament to this ‘live for today’ attitude that my brother and his friends have adopted.

While he won't admit it, I know there are times he is climbing the walls with boredom but with most of his friends available to hang out with, I know these periods are rare amid his hectic social life

For the record, he is looking for work. I have been helping him update his CV as he does realises his future is important – yet he won’t allow the state of the jobs market interfere with enjoying life here and now.

Of course the phone has yet to ring as it does for many more 22-year-olds like him, I’ve been trying my best not to think about his future, I know he has the ability to become whatever he chooses once the economy picks up. Plus there’s not much point in my energy being wasted on worrying while he spends his weekends frolicking around forests in Co. Laois and living his life to the full.

Earlier in the year I used to hound him aggressively about work: I was like a broken record constantly being ordered to button it by my parents. I was taking my own recession frustrations out on him I suppose. This has all ceased in recent months, not because I have seen how difficult it can be to get work, but because I don’t want to be responsible for jeopardising his cheery demeanour.

Rather than scold his commitment to attending every festival and social gathering this summer I have decided it is a far better mental state to be enjoying life somewhat modestly then curled up in bed consumed by the black cloud of doom.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What is it about the Breton top that epitomises style in such a simple way?

there are very few pieces as easy to wear as the Chanel inspired cotton striped tee yet it oozes Parisian chic and goes with everything..I've been living in mine since I bought it in French Connection last month. I was very picky about finding the perfect one - the quality of the cotton, the right combination of stretchiness as well as a flattering factor, the exact width between the stripes and so on..

FC's is the best I could find for a high street price, I love it so much I'm considering buying a second one!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Despite the blazing sunshine I've already been searching for the perfect Winter coat..I finally found it earlier this week in French Connection - a black version of this 'Lark Jacket'. Priced at €220 it's a bit beyond my means at the moment but on checking the website I see it's only 150 sterling in the UK..Fuming I then discovered this converts to only 170euro! Striking while the iron was hot I sent a pitiful text to my dad up in Belfast a few nights ago about how much I needed it only to be laughed down the phone.

However - the next day while sheltering from the Belfast rain what shop should he happen to take cover in - only FC! My dad is a massive fan of shopping, usually for himself and has more shoes than any girl I know. His mood seemed a lot cheerier and so with some charming negotiations he agreed to go halfs and buy it for me at the Sterling rate..we've yet to finalise the terms but I've a feeling a lunch on me should do the trick instead..the coat is currently en route to Skerries for my collection on Sunday!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Had about 3 hours work to do today so once that was out of the way spent a very pleasant afternoon sauntering around town with my shopping partner and good friend Ceri May..the weather was amazing !!! in between stopping for coffee, tapas and enjoying free Moet Snipes in Brown Thomas at a D and G event, we were on the hunt for the perfect dress for her 30th..we still have six weeks left to find it but are enjoying all the shopping in all I could justify buying was a copy of Grazia so I am completely envious of these butter soft leather ankle platforms that Ceri treated herself to from Nine West..oh these girls with their full time jobs! they make her look super tall and they are extremely high but the platform (just seen) balances them out nicely..she is hoping to get in a few days of wearing them bare legged with different dresses before the opaques make their return for a long winter..

Grazia style hunter didn't find us in town but my nose did get a little sunburnt..

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Check out my new brogues which finally arrived today after ordering them from Schuh! I'm very excited at a flat style being so fashionable right now, as despite loving the sexy architecture of heels I don't wear them very well and usually end up falling on my ass..I'm definitely a flats girl and these tan leathers make a refreshing change from pumps and are perfect for running all over town in, with dresses and jeans..the leather is super soft and they are priced at €65 from Schuh..I reckon I will be living in these for autumn so they are well worth shelling out for..I've already got my eye on a wine pair at Office and a patent candy pink pair from Topshop..I think one pair will have to do me for now though! :(

All my nearest and dearest's birthdays are clustered around the same dates. It causes a shock to the wallet during the best of times, but this year I have to be hugely creative with my gifting and celebration of their special days.

Two of my best friends share a birthday in October while two others share the same date in June. This has usually meant great weekends drifting between parties to ensure I don't miss out!

However, beating that is the fact all of my immediate family, along with my nanny, favourite aunt and godchild, are all within a few weeks of each other. A serious credit cruncher indeed!

My dad, godchild and youngest brother all celebrated within days of each other recently. I reconciled with my brother that we wouldn't worry about presents this year - with him not working and me adjusting to my new casual work routine. I knew he would be satisfied with a vodka next time we met in the pub.

Dad got a cheap shirt between the three of us and thanked us by taking his troupe for dinner, not quite sure how it ended up that he would pay for his own birthday meal.

I decided however that my godchild wasn't going to suffer because of the recession and I dashed about town snapping up the remains of the TopShop sale and searching for sparkly cupcakes and girlie treats.

Being able to spoil someone you love is just as fun as receiving gifts. I wondered how my youngest brother would manage celebrating his new girlfriend’s birthday last week as well. He is not the best when it comes to remembering important dates and with no job it could prove particularly difficult.

The birthday card he bought for dad lay unwritten on his bedroom floor three days after dad's day had passed and it's doubtless whether nanny will even get a birthday text in the coming weeks as he saves his credit for his leading lady.

So I rang him with some wisdom on how it’s the thought that counts and not to worry about not working, just be sure to remember her special day.
Turns out I needn’t had bothered, he had a weekend away booked and paid for – flights to Brussels and festival tickets all organised.

Astonishingly he had been saving his dole for a few weeks, not as hard when he lives at home. He was determined to push the boat out for her birthday, job or no job.

I guess it proves nothing stands in the way of new love - not even unemployment.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We girls are terrible for spending money on gyms and exercise classes only to see it wasted after the initial motivation has worn off. I once spent €90 on a Pilates course and left after the second week. Many of my friends still spend money regularly buying diet aids, attending Weight Watchers or joining over-priced boot camp sessions all in the hope of achieving their ideal body.

When the rest of our money goes on vodka and pizza, it is an eternal uphill struggle.

Two of my best friends and I had an idea to motivate each other, after constantly complaining that we wanted to get fitter and lose half a stone. One is my gay best friend who looks perfect to me but likes to join in our girlie ranting, while the other is a girl who, like me, wouldn't mind shedding a few pounds.

The word diet is banned but luckily our healthy living plan won't see any competitiveness among us as these really are the best kind of friends. She is that rare precious friend who finds joy in seeing me do well and vice-versa with not a sniff of bitchiness between us. Both of us are pretty comfortable in our skin but feel that keeping the weight off is an increasing battle in our mid-20s.

The plan is to weigh ourselves at his house every Saturday, while during the week we will be upping the anti from power walking to running, and shunning any school-night drinking.

As many friends and colleagues over the years have agreed, breakfast and lunch is easy to smugly munch on Ryvita. It’s dinner that presents the problem.

As I'm working from home right now I need to be extra vigilant with snacking and once I've had my dinner I'll be hiding while my boyfriend fills his lean frame with a cream-drenched carb fest each night.

It’s hard living with a highly metabolised food lover who’s a whizz in the kitchen.

As my female friend and I are both food junkies who love wine and find exercise a chore, we reconciled with ourselves a long time ago that a size 8 was never going to happen and made peace with our size 12 curves, but we would like to be more toned and fit version of our curvy selves.

Our efforts might not go according to plan, but at least it’s a chance to have some recession friendly time together that doesn't involve spending money on eating, drinking and cheaper than going to the gym!