My week this week (if you wanna know) + shopping picks!

  1. My poor little pup has faced a double whammy of being without me (some would say this is a blessing… some would need to shove that somewhere rude) as I return to work and of having a really-and-truly nasty cold. His coughing fits shake his whole little body – imagine an actual puppy in a tumble dryer and you have an inkling. Thursday was truly horrible with me having to come back from work, my husband having an uber crappy day, even without a poorly boy at home, and that general feeling of ‘holy f*ck, we’re screwed’-ness. We tried to restore our spirits with a KFC and the Downton Abbey Christmas album on the stereo which worked a treat until pup had a coughing fit and vomited THE LARGEST AMOUNT OF VOMIT I HAVE EVER SEEN onto his father’s shoulder. Seriously. Sometimes it is not better out than in…….
  2. The aforementioned return to work has meant a reprisal of the dreaded commute. Ahh, the shouldering of others out the way and stomp towards the ticket barrier…. Such halcyon days *sarcasm klaxon*. Anyhoo, the commute demands a suitable soundtrack and for me that has been Andy Burrows’ Company, Florence & the Machine’s Ceremonials, and the Dirty Dancing soundtrack on shuffle. What I lack in musical kudos I make up for in complete randomness.
  3. On the subject of music, cult mag NME is now being thrown at commuters along with Stylist and the Evening Standard. This is my new favourite though as the Katherine Ryan column is complete and utter class (sorry for the fangirl-ism). The current issue features a review of the year’s music, film and TV and I would be lying if I said that I don’t feel like a terminally uncool person as a result. Who is Grimes? Or Wolf Alice? Or Swim Deep? I have seen none of the ten films featured (not even Jurassic World which has ‘suitable for a sleep deprived parent’ written all over it) and am only just holding onto my credibility by having consumed the epic Channel 4 sitcom Catastrophe which features in the mag’s TV chart. With this seemingly comprehensive list of what I’ve missed, I might just have catch up by the time next year’s review is out. Mebbe.
  4. I have been living in a very cheap and somewhat cheerful coatigan this week, courtesy of the sales in Primark. I’m not sure there’s anything more depressing than buying from the SALE in PRIMARK but at £7 for a camel coloured oversized cardy-thingy, I’m not complaining too much. The colour and slouchy fit have meant that I’ve worn this in lieu of a coat this week, which has proved foolish for several reasons: first, it is entirely manmade fibre so way too warm in the mild December mornings, and second, it is, essentially, a big ol’ cardigan so in no way warm enough now that proper December temperatures have descended. I wish I could say I am suffering from fashion but I fear Wintour herself would smite me if I dared align myself with the F word.
  5. Want to do some shopping? Me too! I still have loads of Christmas pressies to buy but who cares? Let’s shop! Top picks for a rather girly state of mind and all under thirty quids:


Uniqlo Disney Project Knit, £14.90 (love the grey and yellow)


They All Hate Us ‘girl gang’ bangle, £15 approx. (plus shipping)


Gola floral high top trainers, £28


 Duwop rose eyes palette, £21ring
Diamonique rose gold sterling silver ring, £24.96

Category: Cute, Life, Style
My pretties

Post-maternity fashion awaits!

Oh God, the guilt I feel at admitting this, but I cannot wait to get back into my old clothes once the bubba has come along. Of course I am excited about the baby himself arriving, please don’t believe that he is in any way secondary. But bubba, naturally, comes along with the other feelings that first time mums are likely to have: fear, trepidation, joy, wonder, terror……

The thought of getting something akin to my pre-pregnancy body back is one of unfettered joy. I know my body works and is capable of great things, hence having been able to carry this baby with the unequivocal joys of fatigue, asthma and gestational diabetes. I know I may not care two figs for clothing once I’m knee deep in nappies and crying with tiredness but right now, knowing that I have exciting things to wear is a quantifiable pleasure because I already know how it feels to feel good in an outfit. I can’t remember the life where I was regularly out on a Saturday night or eating carbs in a laissez-faire fashion, despite being just over 36 weeks ago, but the clothing stuff? A beautiful stamp on my otherwise squishy brain.

I wrote some time ago about the Clements Ribiero Portobello cashmere and cotton jumper, and that is still top of the can’t-wait-to-wear list. Next up has to be the equally as blogged ripped utility trousers from Topshop. Both have been waiting patiently for me in my wardrobe (read: squashed in a drawer under the weight of maternity leggings).

Come to mama!

Next up is a rather fabulous pair of faux leather joggers from ASOS (now in the sale!), a Christmas present my ace sis G. Aren’t they marvellous? These plus my Peter Pilotto for Target sweatshirt and my grey felt skater shoes from Next (as blogged about by The Frugality) and I will feel the very yummiest of mummies.

The ASOS faux leather joggers

An oldie but a goodie next: my ASOS ripped jeans. These have been worn to death, being equally as perfect with a slouchy t-shirt and trainers as with heels and a going-out top (God, is that a thing anymore? Do women have going-out tops or am I relic from the days where being able to go to a bar with some flared jeans, a sparkly top, and heels was a luxury because jeans had been previously outlawed? Wow, I am OLD.). These jeans are simultaneously “Whatever, I don’t care”, and “Look at me, I made an effort!”. Ooh the excitement!

These jeans make me very happy!

And to stay on a jeans theme, my much worn patchwork jeans from H&M are another love of my (trouser) life that I can’t wait to slip into. These with a loose sweater and boots are just calling to me……

H&M patchwork jeans as seen on Wearing It Today’s Laura Fantacci (www.wearingittoday.co.uk)

I clearly shopped at H&M a lot before pregnancy as their rather famous full skirt is next. This won’t be worn immediately as the waist was a slight challenge pre-bubba bump but the notion of a t-shirt being tucked in with a statement necklace and this gorgeous skirt is such an idea of sartorial excess in comparison to my present state that I can’t quite believe I ever had the opportunity to dress like that previously.

H&M full skirt with nipped-in waist
The inspiration: this silhouette shall be mine again!

Finally, the last item on my list is a bit of a cheat, for it comprises my beloved sweatshirt collection that I have had to relegate for fear of stretching into incomprehension. My little green utility number from ASOS, the aforementioned Peter Pilotto for Target, the little grey marl from the Vogue Festival 2013…. Ahh my pretties, I shall be with you soon.

My pretties

And the best part in all of this? Once I’ve gotten to dress me, I get to dress bubba in his magnificent array of beautiful grows and rompers gifted from his already adoring fans. What a stylish pair we’ll be!

Come on, baby!

P.S. Aren’t these the best baby shoes EVER? A little Christmas pressie from Loz and M, these will be bubba’s first ever slippers. I love them so much I almost can’t look at them. Thanks Loz and M!

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Category: Style
White Dee

What’s your benefits beef?

The Guardian website recently published an interesting piece on benefit fraud, with shocking statistics to match. Not shocking in the way you might imagine. Startlingly, these stats highlighted how few people are defrauding the system, rather than trying to fly the banner for the train of thought that says everyone who claims benefits is “bad” or “lazy”. Apparently, only 70p out of every £100 spent on benefits is paid out to a fraudulent claimant, and society’s perception of fraud is 34 times higher than evidence suggests.

For me, vilification of benefits claimants has been a constant occurence for many years. Having worked for organisations providing two different supplementary benefits [these are the ones you get to assist you, rather than support you, which is what Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support and Employment Support Allowance are designed to do] I have seen the people with the huge TVs, nice looking houses, and seemingly designer accessories being supported by the State, all the while not being able to evidence that they have a bean in their bank accounts. Yes, it is frustrating to visit a claimants’ house and see that it is bigger than yours and they don’t have to pay for it.

However, I have also seen the fifty year olds who have worked their entire lives and still can’t support their families; the people with disabilities who would desperately love to work but face barrier after barrier to gaining employment; the women who have to be supported by the State because they thought they were having children in loving relationships only to be bullied, beaten, and tortured by their despicable partners.

If worthiness and whether you are nice person or not counted for anything in the world then it isn’t just the numbers of people receiving benefits that would change. Charities would win the lottery and no one would be homeless or abused. But life isn’t like that, and just because someone is a bit of an arse doesn’t mean that they don’t have the right to be supported when they need it. Is there fraud? Well, yes. There is plenty of it. But there isn’t as much as some publications and political parties would have the wider public believe. Do I get angry thinking about the fact that I will have to carry on working and therefore miss time with my child when other mothers get to stay at home and be supported? Yes, sometimes I do. But this is my upside: I have always been able to work and therefore have a society-sanctioned sense of worth. I own my property and have enough money to buy food, not just once every two weeks, but all the time. I have travelled the world. I have things in my life and experiences to cherish because I was lucky enough to be able to work. If you think I’m a mug then so be it. I think that’s more of a reflection on you then it is on me.

Being on benefits was as much fun as a dodgy curry wurst for me
Being on benefits was as much fun as a dodgy curry wurst for me

So why do we feel free to fling our scorn and hatred at benefits claimants? One reason could be that working is really hard. By the time you’ve slogged your way through traffic, commuters and whatever else impedes your journey, all just to get somewhere you don’t want to be, it’s difficult not to think that you’re missing a trick somewhere. If you’re struggling then why isn’t everyone else?

Another reason could be the fact that being on benefits isn’t an intrinsic part of ourselves. Hate someone for being gay, black, or a woman and you are hating their very being. Aiming your poison at a claimant doesn’t make you an “ist” and is a pretty safe way to vent your anger. After all, who out of the working population doesn’t think that benefit cheating scum should get a bit of rough treatment?

Well, actually, I don’t.

What the Guardian piece really told me is that it fits the prejudice-driven agenda of a few people very well to vilify one section of society. That minority opinion can start to become the public consciousness however, perhaps we should all act like human beings and remember that everyone is too. Time to buck the trend.

Category: Comment
Come to me all you pretty things...

TK Maxx: you rock

Dear TK Maxx, you are awesome.

OK, perhaps occasionally awesome is a better description, but my last haul there was somewhat epic by my standards.

Having met a friend for lunch in a town about thirty miles from where I live, I decided to fill the rest of my time until the next train by having a mooch about the town centre. This is quite a risky manoeuvre these days as the amount of empty stores abounding most high streets leaves little incentive to rock out and have a grand out shopping trip. Nonetheless, England’s oldest recorded town, Colchester, does have one thing that deserves attention: a city centre TK Maxx (my local one is frustratingly on the outskirts of town).

Now, I know that ye olde TK Maxx can be a bit hit and miss, with some stores resembling extortionately priced jumble sales but this store was a scene of serenity and calm. Everything ordered and displayed rather attractively. The toiletries department in particular was home to rather a nice spot of colour coding.

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Anyway, the real point is that not only was I able to snap up a small DESIGNER treat for myself but positively cleaned up in the luxury-health-and-beauty-gift stakes (totes a real thing). With impending birthdays and Christmas, I like to get an early jump on things and pick up gifts that the recipients wouldn’t think of getting for themselves. And, thanks to my loyal readership of A Model Recommends, I think I’ve quite a good eye at spotting a beauty bargain.

So what did I get? Well then………..

Come to me all you pretty things...
Come to me all you pretty things…

First up, a couple of gifts.

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NEOM is a luxury organic range which not only looks rather nifty but smells pretty define too. They have a bath and shower oil that I have coveted for some time so I was familiar with the brand, and the Real Luxury Body & Hand Lotion was perfect for my poor post-op sis. At more than half the RRP, that alone was enough to make me feel smug.

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Also for post-op sis, a rather lovely Rituals Himalaya Wisdom body scrub. With a hit of fresh mint, this will do the job to buff the body before applying, oh I don’t know, maybe a luxury body lotion of some description……. Coming in again at less than half of the RRP, this was genuinely bargainous.

2007-07-05 04.18.04A lesser known brand for our final gift pick but one with a wee bit of cult status: Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps. What really sold this to me was the almost olde-worlde medicinal look of the label, and the smell is amazing.

2007-07-05 04.17.26This hemp and peppermint organic soap is an excellent stocking filler or proper pressie for a cult-beauty junkie. This bad boy had about a third off so still a decent saving, and I’m rather looking forward to dressing it up with parcel paper-style wrap and a homemade Christmas tag.

But nothing really compares to the treat I got for myself. Not to sound narcissistic, but I was preeee-ty chuffed with myself.

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Oh yes, my Clements Ribeiro Portobello cotton and cashmere jumper. Oooh, it’s so lovely!

2007-07-05 04.12.02

In a classic grey with teal stars, this is the gift I will give to myself once baby bump has been born next year. It is so soft, and not totally unlike the gorgeous Chinti & Parker jumper from my Covetables post earlier this week.

2007-07-05 04.12.35

Yes, it’s from a diffusion line and, yes, it’s only 5% cashmere, but it was a mind-blowing £19.99. This is even more mind-blowing when one considers that this is CURRENT SEASON and still available on the website for £86. I would call this a WIN.

And that is why TK Maxx rocks. The end!



Category: Style

Covetables: A+EM London Visor leather ankle boots

Good grief, look at these beauties. Aren’t they rather stunning? I know that a website can use good lighting to sell virtually anything but these look The Business.


These leather ankle boots are from a brand called A+EM London (nope, never heard of them either) and were spotted during a routine inspection of the Red Direct site. Y’know the kind of thing: it’s Friday afternoon, everything work-related is dull and you’re just trawling your favourite sites in a kind-of this-is-what-my-life-will-look-like-when-I-own-my-own-internet-business-and-feature-in-lifestyle-sections-of-glossy-magazines. Or is that just me? As an FYI, I also find the fabulous homewares on Not On The High Street, handbags on The Outnet and the brand-spanking new inspo/shopping site Wardrobe Icons excellent for this type of browsing.

Anyway, back to the boots…..


I am a big fan of the back zip and the little cut-out above it. The boot has enough lift for an evening but looks like it would serve as an all-dayer, too.


The snaps from the site make them look more petrol blue than black but black is the only colour option.

At £230, they are certifiably Not Cheap, but who doesn’t need an excellent, high performing boot come autumn? In my dream life, I’d pair these beauts with a pair of ripped utility trousers from Topshop (not that dreamy at £36 but still not an inconsequential cost)…..


….. and a fabulous knit from luxury brand Chinti & Parker (totally dreamy at an eye-watering £360).



Well that’s autumn sorted then (and mortgage payments obliterated for the foreseeable future)……..

Category: Style