Is It Just Me: Who Can Easily Outdo The ‘Fails £300 Spring Wardrobe?

I am of course referring to the paper we all love to bitch about (but all secretly read) The Daily Mail, who this week proudly proclaimed they could put together a capsule wardrobe for spring into summer for a “measley” £300. 

They only picked 10 items. Ten items, for £300! Who else raises their eyebrows at how cheap this is and then spits out our coffee everywhere when we recall how tight our budgets all are this year due to Smugron’s continued pinch on us all?


I commented- I had to- that £300 was a ridiculous amount, and if they’d shopped around, the cost of those ten items could have been a hell of a lot more affordable to those who had to cut their credit cards off due to over use and being under paid.

Like me.

Their biggest item was a blazer from H&M, it was very Pippa Middelton, and, granted, a blazer is a classic item which can go with anything.

The thing is, H&M is a nice shop, but a) I never find anything in the store that corresponds to the size listed (I think they prefer those under a size 12) and b) when I went in to buy Mini party tights, they had silly American sizes on them in centimeters and not age range and cost £5.99 for one pair. 

You can pick up so many nicer, cheaper options than that version too. A lot of things I’ve seen second hand of H&M need dry cleaning, and if you’re anything like me that type of outfit is worn once and left in the washing basket.

Here’s a nice one I found on good old George at Asda for £8. It looks identical! Not only that but Asda will deliver it to your flipping door!

The other thing I think they neglected to do with the blazer was accesorise it. If I wear a plain blazer, I may add a fake flower, a chain brooch, anything so as it’s not boring with a pair of jeans and plain t-shirt.

They also had a Breton stripped top. Excuse me while I yawn. That was £15- for a boring top. I see these all the time in second hand stores for under a fiver, but I found a much nicer style one on EBay for the princely sum of £6.99.

The most expensive item was a simple white vest with a bow. Now, if you’re handy with a sewing needle, you could easily make one yourself, but if not, here’s an identical Papaya one for £2.99!

They also have a red dress which they find sexy. It looks like something you’d wear to the office, and wasn’t remotely sexy at all, and their version, from Zara, cost a penny shy of £40. 
Again, I found an almost identical one for a tenner on Ebay, which I think lives up to the “sexy” tag a lot more.

Being on a budget doesn’t mean going without. If you use a bit of common sense and take a few minutes to search online or scout round the cheaper chain stores or charity shops you can easily pick things up that are almost the same as what’s in the fashion bibles as being the must haves for this season (and next). The very nature of fashion is that it goes round in a never ending cycle and ends up meeting back on itself, so buying  second hand is so simple.

This isn’t a sponsored post by the way, I wrote a comment and felt obliged to prove I could do the very same looks for a fraction of the price!

Here’s the rest of the cheaper alternatives I found:

Chain Strap Bag: (£14 on DM) £5, Everything5pounds.com
Blue Heels: (£39.99 on DM)  £28, asos
Necklace:  (£12 on DM)  £7, George at Asda
Green Flats (£49 on DM) £14, F&F at Tesco
Skinny Jeans (£9.99 on DM) £3.99, Oxfam (and they were designer Karen Millen ones)

Daily Fail Price: £299.96
My Price: £85.97

Maybe The Mail should employ me next time it tells us cash strapped females how to budget buy our must haves!

Getting/Not Getting

OK, here is a mish mash post of stuff in the social media and otherwise world which I am getting or just not getting. For whatever reason.

Getting: Twitter is 7 *blows out candles*

Yay! My second fave form of self expression, and the very thing which got me out of my 6 month writers block, Twitter, is 7 today. I joined in 2008, as I was intrigued to know how it worked, and had seen it be widely scorned online and on TV news shows. I remember it being on Click during a BBC Breakfast programme one weekend, and it was seen as a lot of self absorbed geeks writing about what they’d had for tea and other boring, unimportant things from their day to day. It was seen as a bit like belly button fluff- unnecessary, annoying but unquestionably there.

Yes, Twitter can be annoying (like when they got rid of the much better original layout for what we have now which I’ve never liked as much), yes you get the odd troll or spammer. However, from the New Years Pyjama Parties, to the X Factor Shots and #MummiesForMurs campaigns, not to mention the tweets for #HelpHaiti, #TeamHonk, #BoycottAmazon and #KerryinOurHearts, Twitter has earned its place at the top of the net social tree. 

It is still full of self absorbed geeks tweeting about bacon though. Hurrah!

Not Getting: Kids and Illness

Obviously, not the majorly big illness thing. No, we’re  thankfully doing fine in that area. I’m talking the tummy bug, or House of Vomness that has hit my two children since last Friday without warning.

Friday night saw the start of epic tummy related issues hitting Littlest first, who was fine and dandy and his usual gobbly guts self. Until 10.30pm, when he yakked everywhere. All over himself, all over his bed, and all over his huge rug. Eww. The washing machine was fired up for Mummy Vs Yak, round 1.

He was up most of the night until 3am, then woke up fine and dandy at 8am Saturday. As you do. 

We went to the cinema to see The Croods, everyone had a lovely time, had lunch and dinner, and I got the Brats off to bed at a respectable 8.30pm.

At which point, 11pm came round and Mini decided it was her turn to yak in her bed, her hair and all down herself too. She continued in much the same vain, all into Sunday. Again, the washing machine was switched on for Mummy Vs Yak, Rounds 2-9. 8 loads on from Midnight on a rainy Sunday in March. Lovely.

I started to think I should just leave both the Brats in the bath to cut down on washes- as Littlest had decided to join in with the tummy bug “fun” (ahem) but erm, well, he wasn’t yakking. 

You figure it out.

I begged for peace and an end to the plague, and was rewarded on Monday by Mini feeling all fine and rosy of cheek (by which I mean she was happy to clock her bro for any minor annoyance, as usual).

She went back to school on Tuesday as she was fine and eating well. But by Tuesday lunchtime, she was sick again and sent home. Mummy Vs Yak, the Rematch, began. 

Thankfully, today she has stopped, and hasn’t been sick since 11pm last night (why the hell do kids always yak most at night? Especially when its Elder’s birthday which I forgot I’d made a huge Indian meal for and had a nice bottle of Jacobs Creek ready to drink?) and Littlest has gone back to school, apparently cured at last (fingers, toes, everything crossed). 

I hate kiddie viruses. They suck.

Getting: The Vitriol directed at the Tory Government.

Yeah, loving the choice words directed at George “Couldn’t organise a sensible way of getting us out of an insolvent future with a book called “Idiots Guide to avoiding Insolvency” Osbourne. This is again why I love Twitter and online sites like Mashable as it means that instantly, everyone becomes a pundit and says what Levenson has insured the press can’t.

They suck, period. How Smugron can possibly ditch a benefit for sick and disabled people which not five minutes ago he used to receive for his own disabled child despite being rich is an irony I find he is that thick he doesn’t recognise.

The sooner they are outta there the better.

Not Getting: TV Agony Aunts

Due to the general House of Vomness, I’ve caught lots of crap daytime TV as Mini needs her hugs. I happened upon some right rubbish, including Louis Spence still being on TV (why? Why? Surely we need to do a Go Compare style ad where Louis is removed from the planet). 

I also caught the Letters bit of This Morning. Eugh.

The advice was, well, utter crap to be fair. The problems faced included a couple arguing over night time feeds. The advice was to draw up a rota. 

Excuse me while I remove myself from the floor where I find myself after falling about laughing.

That shit don’t work my friend. I tried to suggest this to Elder. He got round it by sleeping on his “deaf” side (true fact, he is actually near on entirely deaf in his left ear, which is why when I wish to cuss him, I do so on that side). Of course you are going to have heated debates (or shout at each other in hushed comedy whispers when the Baby finally sleeps). You have a newborn. You are both knackered. There are all kinds of hormones flying about. If there was ever a time when a minor annoyance will become a full blown barney, its after a baby comes along. 

Its how you deal with those that’s important. I suggest a frying pan round the back of the head. Elder suggested going to a festival when I had a 14 month old Mini and was pregnant with Littlest. Either way, if you manage to break up over something as minor as who takes turns with nigh time feeds, you have some serious relationship questions to ask yourself anyway.

Or there was the friends who had seen their other friend’s hubby out with another woman in a bar! Shock and indeed horror.

The general consensus was that he must be only a hop skip and jump away from having actual sex with an actual tart in the actual bar.

Why?

Elder has lots of female mates. He has met up with groups of guys and girls at our home and outside it at his Fogey Raves. Does it worry me? No. I’m mates with someone who he had a dalliance with before we ever met. Is it in the back of my mind that, the minute I’m out the room, he is having an orgy with any of these ladies? No.

Its called trust.

Not every guy or girl who is married or in a long term relationship is just looking for any excuse to shag outside it. Men can be mates with women, they may have been there on business. For all these nosey interfering bats ladies knew, she may have been with her husband? There are lots of explanations which don’t end in a Mills and Boons ripping of clothing in passionate lust. 

How about, before you ring your mate (some mate- why wasn’t she out with you in this bar?), you ring the hubby and ask him directly? If he is having an affair, you’ll hear the guy sweat down the phone line  If you’re wrong, you’ll lose a mate, you’ll cause upset for her and her husband, it wont be good.

The advice though was to totally tell her, straight away. Sorry Denise, but I don’t agree love. We’re not in the 1950s anymore. 

I may start me own advice column here.

Getting: My Guilty Secret

I love Hollyoaks. There, I’ve said it and can’t take it back (well, I could, but I can’t be arsed).

I especially have love the character, the legend, that was Brendan Brady. So, when it was announced that the Double B was off, I was hoping the writers wouldn’t let me down.

My goodness they didn’t. 

I wont say much as I’ve seen the “Can’t wait so watched it on E4” ep which is shown on Channel 4 tonight. But I defy you to watch and not scream at the end.

I hope they keep it up (‘Oaks seems to have up years and then massive down years, I should know as I’ve watched since ep 1). I hope Emmett ends up doing well from it. He was amazing.

How many other actors can portray a gay, thuggish multiple murderer with a love of Johnny Cash, and still have women fall about for him and root for him? The name of his character trended worldwide on Twitter for 2 hours after the episode aired.

Good bless ye Brendan Brady. Oim Gonna Miss Ye.

Fiat 500L Hands Over to The Dads!*

A little while ago I brought you a preview of Fiat 500L’s amazing video “The Motherhood”. Well, that went viral as it gave such a funny but true depiction of how us Mum’s really feel.

Not to be left out, its the Dads turn, with yet another hilarious song based advert- “The Fatherhood”



I’m sure you’ll agree that this video ad is as funny and real as the original, and gets the tone just right. We love our children but sometimes long for the simpler, pre-child days when you could jump in your car and go where you wanted.

I love the use of a more Eighties style of electronic music (which is seeing a resurgence in popularity). I’m sure lots of new Dads can relate to the situation of coming home from work to a frazzled other half, and the long nights spent driving round the town at night to aid the babies off to sleep.

The content was well researched- Fiat undertook a nationwide survey of Dads- which revealed that new Dads on average drive 1,300 miles a year just to get their kids to go to sleep.

It touches on the overwhelming sense of change new Dads- often the forgotten parent- feel on becoming a Father for the first time, but rather than patronise it uses sharp humour and funny lyrics.

My personal fave line was when he describes how he’s been left with the children while his wife falls into a deep coma! I’ve certainly been there and I’m sure Elder will agree with me.

Its a clever way of advertising a product without the usual slick young guy in a suit driving with abandon around the city, and while its obvious its a Car advert, it doesn’t constantly stick the car in your face.

The new Fiat 500L is perfect for the former Jack the Lad, now Jack the Dad, as its both stylish and economical, its slightly larger than the iconic Fiat 500 model and comfortably seats a family of 5.

I for one hope Fiat keep the clever ads coming- perhaps we can have the Dad at the children’s wedding fulfilling his threat to Dad Dance in revenge?

For more info on Fiat products, head over to http://www.fiat.co.uk

A Vigil for Bieber’s HAMSTER? Bitch Please!

* if you’re a Beileber, or under 16, you may want to look away now…..


Justin Bieber, he of the frankly crap songs and poor time keeping is in the news and collective thoughts of his army of nut job fans today as he has suffered a devastating (cough) loss.

As a result, fans are holding tearful candle lit vigils for this lost soul.

All sounds quite nice and respectful, and not even slightly mental until you find out he lost his sodding hamster.

Now, hamsters aren’t known for having a long old life span, hence why you may have a hamster indoors for your kids which only you know is about the third variation of its original.

I’m all for animal rights and freedom of expression but how bat shit crazy are teen girls these days that the death of a rodent only one step up the vermin ladder (and lets face it if one crawled out at you in the kitchen you’re going to broom that bugger, not ask if its a friendly pet or a rat) calls for a candlelit vigil and hysterical blubbing.

What on earth is fuelling this massively over the top behaviour regards one pop star? In the last few weeks alone, we’ve had girls review his album, favourably and get death threats as they don’t class themselves as the hardcore of Bieber fan, and we’ve had mass hysteria and hanky clutching because he fainted during a show.

This was as far as we went in 1992-I’ve had this since I was 10. And it still fits! 

I hold my hands up and freely admit I loved Take That back in the day. We were just fans though, we didn’t have stupid fan names, and although there were hardcore fans who turned up everywhere the guys went, these girls were viewed with scorn and as a bit weird (not to mention they must have been stupidly well off to travel around the world).

My sum total of fan behaviour was to wear a T-shirt and carry a lunchbox. I had posters, I bought CDs tapes and records and knew lyrics. But some of these fans are so desperate to know every single fact about their idols that the press will go out of its way to dissect even the most tedious of info, from credit files (as felt by Beyonce and Jay Z amongst others this week), to the inside leg and sexual habits of Wand Erections Harry (Yvette Fielding? Really?).

Girls have had to leave Twitter and Facebook simply for being linked as a possible snog to Bieber and Wand Erection. Surely if they like the boys so much, its better that a) their idol is happy and b) not gay and thus completely off limits to girl lust? 

Where will it end? And where is the parental control? I saw one Mum crying with her child after the Bieber two hours late due to hissy fit debacle. 

Sure, I knew that Mark Owen’s Iguana was called Nirvana. But I didn’t cry myself into needing valium when it died.

Seriously, things have gone too far, and we need a collective bitch please, when kids are skipping school to wail over a hamster they never met, belonging to a teen only getting ever more stupidly rich off their pocket money.

Sort it out!

Diet Diary: This Week, I am Mostly Reading Packaging

This horse meat scandal is mental, right?

I mostly cook all my food from scratch. I never ever used to as I couldn’t cook to save my life. A mixture of learning from Elder and then Littlest being so very allergic to certain foods (fish, peas, nut and all their counterparts) means that its simpler to adopt the DIY option.

It seems I’m not the only one- Lazy Girl Cooks has seen quite an increase in UK readers of late (previously it was very much a cult site in the US).




I am concerned though about the processed meats theory though. I do use these, the Brats have sandwiches everyday at school, being that Littlest can’t and Mini wont go school dinners. I also have a sandwich for my lunch (rather than when I used to have a cooked lunch pre-diet), I’m partial to salami. I’m having to read packets now though as I wouldn’t have placed bacon in the processed meats category- and I love a bacon roll on a Sunday (granted only once a month as a treat!)

I am enjoying being able to fit back into certain clothing that I’ve had to overlook for ages. Some of my size 14 stuff has sat lingering in draws for around 18 months. The last time I was a proper- by which I mean I could actually do button’s up without them gaping- size 14 was around the time of the last Cybermummy, so 2011. Ouch!

I got rid of quite a few bits shortly after that and started to rely on size 16, and then size 18, so its nice to go the other way and start selling off the big girl clothes and buy one or two dress sizes smaller. With one pair of New Look jeans without Lycra, I actually need a belt to keep them up.

It can be a slog losing weight and trying to be healthier, but the buzz I now get by having to ask for a smaller size when I try on clothes, or just being able to see a difference in the mirror is worth it.

I’m still working on having a smaller bottom, but my chest size has decreased, as have the wobbly bits on my arms. I think my thighs are definitely slimmer, and my tummy is starting to flatten out too. I hope that soon I will have lost enough weight to ask my GP to refer me to have my Section scar tidied up. Littlest was born in a hurry as he was so early, and it doesn’t sit right but was sewn far too tight. I don’t like that I have to wear spanx to cover this up and give myself a nice straight line under tighter dresses, but they wont do it unless you are your perfect weight.

I think in the past my relationship with dieting was unhealthy. I’d go all out, cutting out food groups and make myself feel ratty, tired and in the end ill. I now think the best way to do it is to perhaps not calling dieting or weight loss at all. I prefer to think of it as a lifestyle change, being more sensible with foods. 

It also becomes very boring, very quickly surviving on chicken, fish and a few veggies. I now eat a wider range of foods but the portion sizes are smaller, and I am more sensible with what should be eaten in moderation, as I said on my final UKMums.tv Diary today, I can buy a packet of biscuits, I just don’t need to eat the whole packet in an hour!

I have now ended my diary along with the other 4 lovely ladies who joined me at UKMums.tv, but I will keep up with this diary here. I really hope that, if you are sitting reading knowing you need to change what you eat or increase your level of exercise, that by reading my diary you’ll not feel alone! I hate it when I look for support online and find fresh faced, never eating creme cakes in their lives spokeswoman who claim to have the answers. It can make you feel despondent!

If you have enjoyed my Diet Diary, UKMums Tv is offering one of us he chance to stay at a Spa. I’m not going to lie, I have never been to a spa before, and I would love to go! You can vote at http://www.ukmums.tv/competitions/nominate-a-mum-for-a-ragdale-hall-spa-break– voting closes today!