Hot Toast

Toast (the shop, not the bread product) is a bit of a British institution. It’s been around for about 20 years has promoted simple, functional clothing long before hipsters started getting obsessed about the quality of denim. It has its own style, rather than fashion, and sells its inspirational lifestyle as much as pieces.

Now, I don’t find the clothes at Toast suit me. I like and admire them but having large boobs and hips, I find that the ‘simple’ style looks a bit bag-like on me as things tend to hang off the boobs:

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Cotton poplin smock dress: £135 (was £195)

I love this look, the simple lines of the dress, the socks, the masculine shoes, but it would not suit me at all. The clothes are also really expensive. However, I do like the shoes they sell at Toast: simple, functional and beautiful is what I need. They sell a lot of high quality flat shoes; however, again they are expensive, so think investment pieces rather than high-fashion.

So, it’s always worth waiting for the sale and as we seem to be having a particularly long winter here in the UK (the snow can do one now, thanks), you might still get a bit of wear out of them this season before getting the summer sandals out of the wardrobe. These would work with trousers and skirts, and the chelsea boots are, especially, a real bargain:

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Cheaney Noah: £135 (was £275)
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Cheaney Noah chelsea boots: £135 (was £310)
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Ida boots: £175 (was £350)

If you can’t bear the thought of buying more boots, they do have sandals in the sale, from the brand ‘Mudlark’, of which I was previously unaware:

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Mudlark sandal: £55 (was £165)

Of course, the real stars are the sandals for next season, although they’re full price of course. Although these all caught my eye, the Chie Mihara are a particular favourite. I’ve heard lots of good things about the Spanish brand, which has a pretty, retro styling. It’s worth checking out their website here too:

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Chie Mihara sandals: £259
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Fracap Luca sandals: £165
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Teva sandal: £65
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N.D.C Sara sandals: £180
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Black Friday! BUY BUY BUY!

I’m not going to do a massive Black Friday post. Mainly because I think people are more likely to be shopping than reading blogs about shopping, and hopefully everyone knows the rule that you buy something you have had your eye on anyway, so don’t feel swayed by what I want. Also be aware that discounts are often meaningless in these days of dynamic pricing, so don’t feel pressured (for example, mahabis slippers are offering a 10% discount on Black Friday with the code BLACKFRIDAY, but they email me a 10% discount at least once a fortnight throughout the year. In fact, of you have been on the mahabis website, you’ll probably get a 10% discount come up in targeted advertising… could do better, mahabis).

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So, things I really have had my eye on includes most of Uterqüe, and they have up to 40% off selected items from 22:00 tonight (GMT). I don’t know which selected items but given I do want a lot of the shop, there is bound to be something I covet. Bear in mind that Uterqüe recently did 40% off their lovely trainers, so if I don’t get that discount again, I’ll feel short-changed.

Also on my wishlist have been these amazing burgundy (slightly too high but don’t ruin the moment with facts) velvet boots from Office, which is doing a 20% discount with the code SHINE:

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Office Alabama boots: £72 (normally £90)

However, Black Friday is most useful for things that are usually out of your price range that rarely go into the sale, but are kind of essentials. Last year I bought a Protected Species waterproof coat (regular readers will know I spend a good junk of my time walking the dog in Britain’s crappy weather), and not being wet is of utmost importance. Not looking like a tit is also pretty high up there, so when I found a coat in which I could walk the dog and follow that immediately with a pub lunch without looking like I had been up Snowdon, I was over the moon. I had to pay dearly, however, for such coats do not come cheap. However, Protected Species are doing a 20% Black Friday discount with the code CYBER20 across all their coats:

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Protected Species Parka: £180 (normally £225)

The parka is great, the fabric is soft and not at all ‘rustly’, and it keeps the rain out. It’s a great coat and I’ve no qualms about wearing it into town when it’s chucking it down.

Happy shopping!

Like a bat out of hell

Not only is Halloween upon us but it’s mid-season sale time too, and we can all indulge our inner goth, which can be hard to pull off if you need ‘sensible’ shoes, as it tends to involve pointy shoes or heavy, clunky boots. Neither of which are good on sore bones. Despite the fact that I am now more sloth than goth, I do like a bit of rock chic… a bit grungey and rough, even if I now feel most gigs go on beyond what I deem as a sensible bedtime.

I therefore really like some of Zadig and Voltaire’s range — not all of it, I think a lot of it is overpriced tat that’s been made very cheaply in china, but the shoes are a good bet — and I had my eye on these boots that just went into the sale:

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Zadig and Voltaire boots £166 (from £415)

What a total bargain, and skulls over the back! It would have been rude not to, and I think many people thought the same and they’re now all sold out, but there are, at time of writing, a few of the more-expensive leather (rather than all-nubuck) version here.

Another shop that I occasionally dip into is The Kooples. I do like many of their designs, like Zadig and Voltaire, they often have really good prints, but a lot of it is overpriced and in unforgiving cuts, but I have also found some star pieces and they’re worth watching in the sale. These shoes are in the sale, and I love the studs and iconography:

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Kooples loafer: £166.50 (reduced from £238)

Isabel Marant is not a brand I particularly associate with rock chic, but these zebra boots from The Outnet are really cool:

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Isabel Marant boots: £258.75 (from £575)

They also come in plain black if the zebra print is a bit much…

These are all, of course, still expensive shoes. On the highstreet, the mid-season sale is mainly embracing old summer stock rather than the studded boots; however ASOS have the Chloe-esque studded western boots at a reasonable price (they’re not leather though):

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ASOS truffle boots: £35 (from £56)

and while these are not in the sale, they are a steal at the price, the instafamous Deichmann buckle boots:

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Deichmann buckle boot: £34.99

 

Again they’re not leather, they’re far too cheap to be leather. If this is a deal breaker for you, Office have a leather version:

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Office academic buckle boots: £88

Accessorise with your Halloween costume of choice (it’s gone very Harry Potter in ShoesLifeBlog towers this year) and you’re good to go…

 

Bargains with a side helping of bargain

So, the UK had a general election, in which you could legitimately vote for Lord Buckethead and Mr Fishfinger, so it’s not been the most normal couple of days. The knock-on effect of the surprising exit polls was to send the value of the pound down against the euro. So, what should you not do if you’re in the UK? Shop in euros. What did I do anyway because of free delivery and 20% of already marked down prices? Yes! I shopped in euros!

If you are also feeling a bit nuts, you may like to know that Ancient Greek Sandals are having an extra 20% off their sale items with the code MRK20, which is valid until the 18th of June 2017. If you do it today you will also get free shipping to EU countries (better make the most of that while we’re still in, eh? #toosoonforBrexitjokes?)

But seriously, these discounts do make the prospect of an expensive, yet very beautiful, pair of sandals a bit less of a hit on the bank balance, despite the weak pound, and if you’re shopping using euros as currency, you go girls and boys! There are bargains to be had.

I went for these because I love the steel grey colour:

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Alethea: €120 + 20% off at checkout

But these also took my fancy, there are a range of sizes left, so everyone should be able to find something that they like…

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Athanasia: €102 + 20% off
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Clio croc: €128 + 20% off
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Eros: €116 + 20% off
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Fotini: €116 + 20% off
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Niove: €156 + 20% off

This is just a small selection; I purposefully haven’t included the ones that tie around the leg or the slides, as they are not great for the arthritis, but there are some beautiful shoes in both these categories if they tickle your fancy so have a look…

20% off Clarks all weekend!

I received the email about the Clarks discount yesterday, but with the terrorist incident that unfolded in London on Wednesday, I didn’t feel much like blogging about shoes. To be honest, I still don’t, but life goes on and I intend to live it to the full, and that involves doing things I enjoy, such as blogging.

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So, there is 20% off adult shoes at Clarks until midnight on Monday (27th March) with the code BSPRING17. So of course my mind went straight to their Trigenic range, because they are so good for people with arthritis. The summer range is now out so it’s worth using the discount to stock up ready for summer.

One of my favourite styles is still the Tri Angel, which I have in grey, but for spring, I am seriously loving this pale yellow version:

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Tri Angel: £52 (with discount)

These shoes are perfect for a casual weekend. They are light and comfortable, and they look great with a pair of jeans.

I also loved the Tri Alexia shoes last year, which I wore pretty much constantly, including a trip to Venice, when I walked for miles and still looked good. The design also draws attention away from any swelling at the ankle or toe joints. I have the black, but this year I am very tempted by the nude colour:

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Tri Alexia: £48 (with discount)

I have a few tan-coloured sandals (and these also come in tan) but nothing camel coloured. It goes with everything (it’s especially good as a neutral against bright colours). I wear a lot of red in the summer, so these sandals may be perfect. I am very tempted!

Similar to the Alexia are the Tri Nora, which have a similar shape, but without the moccasin-style stitching, and with padded uppers:

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Tri Nora: £44 (with discount)

There are also some new designs in the Trigenic range. I really like these trainers, and if it weren’t for the fact I am trying to curb my trainer-buying habit at the moment, these would already be in my wardrobe:

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Tri Swirl: £48 (with discount)

I love the orange bands and the mesh fabric, they look a bit like Marni (a brand I really like, but can seldom afford). I am not sure how good these would be for something like running, as they are not adjustable, they slip on and off and have an inner sock, which I find comfortable, but you may have to try if you have wide or swollen feet as they only come in regular width.

If you needed more of an adjustable trainer, the Tri Soul have a classic upper design, which contrasts with the chunky sole:

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Tri Soul: £52 (with discount)

Or these lovely blush-coloured trainers:

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Tri Actor: £56 (with discount)

These are more fashions shoe than a high-impact sports shoes, I certainly don’t think anyone would be running marathons in these, but the Tri Souls are certainly supportive enough for long walks, and their lightness helps a lot.

And finally, although I don’t like straps that fit around my ankles because I find them restrictive (and they emphasise when my ankles are particularly swollen), but I realise that some people need the support there, in which case I do love the colour of these:

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Tri Alice: £52 (with discount)

I love the leopard (it adds an edge to an otherwise standard strappy sandal), and I really like how it’s teamed with the pink edging to really make it stand out. It just elevates it from something that could be quite dull into something quite cool, and these are very arthritis friendly with the adjustable strap over the foot… it’s not often you get such arthritis-friendly shoes in a cool, edgy pattern.

There are, of course, the non Trigenic shoes that are also on offer. I have a wedding to go to in June and as it’s one of my oldest friend, who is pretty original and quirky, I am planning to forego the usual bland ‘smart wedding attire’ for something a bit more ‘me’. I am currently planning on wearing brogue shoes (though that may change as the weather warms up). My ultimate fantasy shoe would be these from Grenson:

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Grenson Rose: £220

However, these from Clarks are a good, much cheaper, alternative:

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Clarks Alania Posey: £48 (with discount)

So, there are lots on offer from Clarks for the spring and summer, and with 20% off, it’ a great incentive to think ahead.

Christmas sale

Just a quick round-up of some sale stuff I like as I am sure everyone is so busy at this time of year, and you don’t want a great big post.

I really hate sale shopping, there’s no way I’ll be shopping in the crush of Oxford Street at this time of year. There are probably some really good bargains in Harrods, Selfridges or Liberty to reward the brave, intrepid shopper, but that is not me. Instead, I furtively surf round some websites for some gentle reductions for things I wanted anyway.

Boden are pretty good for having discounts through the year, but the sale gets you up to 60% off. I like Boden shoes, but they are often very narrow, so not always the best for people with arthritis. If they work for you, the Mollie boots I bought in the Autumn are now reduced to £90.30, though there are few sizes left:

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Boden Millie boot reduced from £129 to £93.30

I’ve also been admiring these trainers:

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Boden slip-on trainers reduced from £69.50 to £48.65

I haven’t bought them because I don’t really need another pair of slip-on trainers (I don’t need another pair of any style of trainers to be honest), but I really like the pattern on these; it’s a bit more subtle than leopard, it look a bit like the pattern on a fallow deer, which I love because it reminds me of walks in Richmond Park:

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Picnic recce squad

Boden also do really good cashmere. I’ve always written cashmere off as being too expensive, but then I bought some and realised what the fuss was about. It’s soft and warm and (if you don’t accidentally wash it on a cotton cycle) it lasts a long time. I have merino jumpers, which I love, but in the deep of winter I put the cashmere on. The sale is the perfect time to stock up on some classic colours.

However, I’ve been most taken by these shoes from Zara:

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Zara studded sneakers reduced from £45.99 to £29.99

I really don’t need more black converse-style sneakers, so I didn’t buy them when they were full price, but I still really love them… the studs, the patches, the frayed edge, they are perfect. At £30, I feel I can justify a frivolous buy like this, which I think for me, is what the sales are about.

 

 

 

Perfect autumn shoes (in the sale!)

If there’s one texture that could sum up my life in the nineties, it’s velvet. I wore it all the time, particularly in a trouser format, but dresses, jackets, hats, bags, chokers… all of these were found in my wardrobe made of velvet. I was very much smitten with this poster of Jarvis Cocker, sporting velvet trousers, and this was a look I tried to emulate but at which, being a busty girl and not a willowy man, I failed quite spectacularly.

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Oh Jarvis…

So naturally, now that nineties styles are back in, I am drawn to velvet like a woman in her thirties is drawn to nostalgia. However, I don’t really want to go back to my teenage wardrobe. So then, I am very much drawn to this beautiful pair of velvet shoes. For some reason velvet clothes have been about over the summer, when no one wants to wear velvet, and as such there are some very good pieces in the sale.

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Bimba Y Lola Velvet Blucher: £58

These shoes are reduced from £145 to £58! They are a bargain, and really good quality shoes as well, the velvet has silk content, and they are lined with leather. OK, you won’t be able to wear these in the autumn rain, but for a dry day, they would look great and are so autumnal it’s untrue!

Also in the Bimba Y Lola sale are these rather splendid trainers, which look a little bit like the red Marni trainers (at a fraction of the price), reduced from £115 to £69.

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Bimba Y Lola Sneakers: £69
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Marni Sneakers: £350

Alas the Marni trainers are out of my price range (but maybe they will be in the sale one day), but the Bimba Y Lola ones are pretty cool, and a really attractive shape. The mary jane strap, smartens them up, and I could happily wear these for work. So there we are, sale shoes to buy now and wear later, it’s how it should be!