So! (my favourite word to start a blog with, in case you hadn’t noticed…)

I’ve recently been up to London a couple of times and met some ‘virtual’ friends which I’ve made along the way since joining Instagram back in March.

The first meet-up was with a group of #mystylephotochallenge ladies back in the middle of November; ‘my style photo challenge’ (@mystylephotochallenge) is a a monthly list of daily prompts organised by the lovely @melanie.1811 to get you posting a different photo each day whether it’s of a pair of walking boots, a party outfit or just of fairy lights.

I started joining in with this challenge in April mainly because, being new to all Social Media, I was struggling with knowing what to post on Instagram on a daily basis and it turned out to be just the ticket to get me into an insta-posting-rhythm.

However, more than that, the best part has been the funny exchanges and ‘friendships’ which have blossomed over the past few months.

As I set off for the station, Mr T warned me to “be careful – could be a Catfish situation” to which I replied, “well, if it *is*, there will be a whole school of us catfish, around 14 – 16 of us!”

A far bigger drama than meeting any potential ‘catfish’ was ‘what to wear???!’ as they are all a stylish bunch of ladies with some fabulous handbags!

I had to think sensibly, as my train journeys would be long (engineering works) and plus, because we weren’t meeting until 2pm, there was a small window of opportunity to go shopping in LONDON (yesssss!!), so this is what I wore:


this outfit started with the boots of course..

  • Wearing:
  • Chloe Susana boots – MatchesFashion
  • Glitter Socks – TopShop
  • Culottes (Warehouse – from last spring) – similar
  • Lightweight Cashmere Turtle Neck – HM
  • Leather Biker – TopShop
  • Leather Tote (old, White Stuff) – similar

I was looking to be comfortable and warm and stylish, and though I certainly managed two out of three, not sure my crumpled culottes could be described as terribly stylish!

On arriving at Waterloo, with a 40 minute delay to my name I had just one hour 15 mins to get to Oxford Street and browse in an actual, real ‘& Other Stories’ shop instead of browsing online.

It was a mad dash, but I made it!

There were a couple of dresses I’d had my eye on and it was so nice to be able to try them on instead of having to commit to ordering them and going through with the anxiety-inducing returns process of &Other Stories (i.e. sending back to the Netherlands with no bar codes for post office to scan, so no proof of postage etc etc).

First up was this galaxy print shirt dress which I’d had my eye on for *SO* long, it sold out.  Luckily for me, there was just one left in-store and in my size:


excuse the ‘chelfie’ photo – like I said, I was in a hurry!

So, the dress is meant to be mid-thigh length, but I like that it was knee length on me.  It is a shirt dress and so has long sleeves which are of course (surprise, surprise…) slightly too long on me, but nothing that a turned up cuff couldn’t solve.

Yup: I loved it and bought it… it was £42 or £45 I think.

Next I tried on this dark green Spackle Print Dress:


Love this colour, and in fact, 2017 is all about the Greens!

Now, although I loved this online, given the length of the dress on the model, I wasn’t holding out much hope of liking the length on my short backside:


In reality – a lovely length, don’t you think?

It was actually an ok length on me: what do you think?

This dress is still available and is only £45 *AND* has pockets!!  So why didn’t I buy it?

Well. It’s described as being made of 100% viscose on the website, which I’m sure it is… but the over-all slinky feel of the fabric is one which I fear my puppy would wreck in a nano-second!

It’s that sort of (and I’m going to show my age here) that thin ‘crimplene’ kind of fabric which drapes beautifully but snags very easily.

My puppy still likes jumping to greet me, so with my sensible head on, I left it behind.

However, I still keep thinking about it – such an easy throw on number, I’m going to keep my eye on it over the next couple of weeks and if it goes into the sale, I may just have to buy it.

After all it’s a great length for us petites AND it has pockets AND its stretchy with room to breathe but not too shapeless or sack like.

Yep – I’ve just convinced myself of making a purchase!

Other bits I had my eye on but weren’t available in-store yet, or just not in my size were these Knitted Cropped Trousers, again £45:


these would no doubt be full length on me…

These ‘knitted’ trousers are made from a viscose/polymide/elastine mix and I imagined them to be full length on us petites – which would be perfect as it’s exactly what I’m after for wearing with sneakers.

Unfortunately they were ‘new’ on the website back in November so weren’t available in-store.  Again, I plan on ordering these as I love it when there’s no taking-up/sewing involved in trousers for my short backside!

I also tried this Starburst Sweater on, but in my haste forgot to take a pic:


This was a perfect fit…

The size XS was a perfect fit on me, and I loved the print.  However, I didn’t feel like I’d get enough wear out of it and though I desperately wanted to buy it, at £69, and with Christmas looming, I was sensible and left it behind.

It was *incredibly* busy in the shop and so I dashed to the till and managed to add a new phone cover into my basket whilst queuing to pay for the dress.  I’m such a sucker!

I then made my way to Covent Garden where I was meeting up with my Insta-pals and rather strangely I didn’t feel apprehensive or nervous about this ‘online’ world becoming a real-life ‘offline’ kind of reality.

We were meeting in an Italian restaurant – Boulevard Brasserie for afternoon tea.

Yup – afternoon tea in an Italian restaurant – you read that right!

I was the last to arrive and as I walked in I felt so at ease seeing everyone in proper 3D (or is that (4D?!).

It is surreal to meet people you’ve only seen photographs of, to hear their real, actual voices when you’ve only “chatted” online, and yet, I felt I knew everyone already.

The afternoon passed in a blur of eating and drinking with Carlos our waiter ensuring that no one’s prosecco glass was half empty at any time.

And, in a very un-instagram kind of way, I hardly took any photos but instead, as per the constant stream of ‘inspirational quotes’ that clog up my feed, I ‘remained present’ and actually ‘lived in the moment’!!

I did manage a couple of pics though:

@prawnspringroll trying on my boots!

I was sitting next to Abi, who is rather petite (though, as per the law of the land, still taller than me!) who got to try on my Chloe Susanna boots whilst I fawned after her gorgeous Gucci Disco Bag.

A rather poor quality light (we were seated in the basement area, by candle light!) selfie:


it’s me, @smalltownthreads with @mrsEbojones!

And yes, though I forgot to taken an pictures of the delicious finger sandwiches, macaroons, cakes and scones (OH MY GOD! HOW MUCH FOOD?!) and yes, also didn’t manage a group photo, all I can say is, a really great fun afternoon was had: loved meeting everyone in the flesh!

A smaller group of us carried on:

the #hardcorepossie awaiting the first of many porn star martinis!

It was so lovely to be #outout in good old London Town, haven’t done it in years; but alas, with the wretched engineering works I had to make a dash for my 18.42 train only to discover the 17.30 hadn’t left yet and passengers were so stuffed into the carriages they were virtually hanging out of the doors.

So, an epic 4.5 hours later, I arrived home and was utterly exhausted.

The following morning both my body and my brain would NOT function but for taking part in the funny direct message exchanges between the My Style Photo Challenge ladies.

More recently, courtesy of the events team at River Island Style Studio I got a pair of tickets to “An Evening with Jo Elvin, Editor of Glamour Magazine’.

I invited one of my London based insta-buds who works in PR, Patricia, and again, I’d never met her before but it was so good to meet and we just hit it off as though we’d known one another for years!

Shelf Goals @ River Island Style Studio

It was a fun evening, being served drinks and delicious canapés whilst listening to Jo Elvin talk about her humble beginnings at (Australian teen mag) Dolly and how she came to be the Editor of Glamour.

There was of course mention of her favourite hashtag: #clothesmyhusbandhates much to our amusement.

Jo then talked us through a small collection of her favourite current River Island pieces after which we could put questions to her.

Jo Elvin talking about River Island’s collection: statement tee’s are here to stay!

Naturally, my hand was up first (eek!) and I asked her what she thought about the fact that though many retailers are now recognising the need for both Tall & Petites ranges, but unfortunately, all too often these ranges are not cohesive capsule collections and items which are the same as the Regular range sized clothing are in different colours, which is sort of patronising to the Petites/Tall amongst us?

Clearly, Jo couldn’t comment on why retailers were doing this specifically, but she was in agreement that it wasn’t necessary to change colours of garments based on the length and equally that we have moved on from the prescriptive 80s where shorties like me were told to only wear certain length skirts or face looking short etc etc.

So there you have it: the editor of Glamour magazine is in agreement that we need more thoughtful and less patronising Petite /Tall ranges!

Now, purely by coincidence, Donna from Sulky Doll Styling, whom I’d met at the Donna Ida Clinic @ Hero, Stockbridge, had also bagged herself a couple of tickets to this same event, and so, it was not only great to see her again, but lovely to meet her very good instal-pal, Karen (@thestylenurse):

Karen wearing a gorgeous Bella Freud jumper and Donna in her to die-for Donna Ida Eliza Dungarees in plum-jam. Delicious!


So good to see my old friend Selfridges! It’s been 6 long years

Again, it was such a blast from the past to be out and about in London, at night… I haven’t visited the west end in many, many years and although I didn’t get to pop in for even a browse, let alone a full blown shopping trip… just seeing my old favourite department store Selfridges all lit up for Christmas set my heart a flutter.

The crowds on Oxford Street though… so much crazier than ever.  If I do go for a Selfridges trip anytime… it won’t be around Christmas!

And finally, last Friday, I made my way down to Winchester which is an hour or so from my Small Town to meet up with the very talented photographer Marlene (@cookiesandcandies).

The crazy thing here was that – we parked up in a cafe, started talking and pretty much didn’t stop for the next four hours!  You’d never have guessed that we’d only just met.

And given Marlene is more of an Instagram veteran than me (only by 6 months or so as it turns out) you’d think she might have taken some photos even if I didn’t?!

Oh well, we were having far too much of a good old chinwag to bother interrupting ourselves with photos.  Perhaps next time!

And who knew?  That after shunning all social media for 44 years of my life that starting this blog where by, I naturally took up various social media as well, that a just a few months later I’d be meeting up with people I’d met online!

Instagram has by far and above been my favourite: there’s a steady stream of women supporting women, a great deal of support and positivity, and the pure ease at which I’ve felt meeting these new friends says everything really.

(Ok, gushy bit over. As you were!)

Right, its over and out from me for now, but as ever, I’d love to hear your thoughts on my & Other Stories picks… and of course whether or not you have ever braved an Instagram meet-up?  How’d it go?

Leave a comment & I’ll get back to you.

Coming up next – a NYE idea: a rather lovely thing to do with the kids on the big night to stop them going too bonkers.

Speak soon!

B x

Here I am in my &Other Stories Galaxy print shirt dress with a simple Gap sweater over it and as it was a Gingerbread House decorating ago with friends and kids, I opted for my veja sneakers rather than boots.