Wednesday 22 August 2012

If I could I would ... week 2

Following on from last week, I've decided to make this a weekly feature.  These are the things I would buy in a heartbeat if my bank account was just a little more fatter than it is right now!

I spend hours on the internet looking at clothes, I help others out by finding items and as a result I see things that I love.

As always, it's high street all the way and if I find a bargain along the way then even better - Tesco ALWAYS has something if you look - they really are amazing at their bang on trend clothes at supermarket prices.  I cannot wait for Sainsbury's to catch up and get their clothes online too.

So my top picks for this week - it's a random 10 and in no particular order here they are:

Mint Velvet - Storm Skinny Cargo Jeans - £69

Dorothy Perkins - Charcoal knitted coccoon top - £18

Next - Pewter Sequin High Peep Toe Shoe Boots - £18

New Look - Black Stripe Burnout T-Shirt - £7.99

Coincidently all of the above would look AWESOME for a night out! Let's carry on and try and get away from grey/black!

Tesco - F&F Spot print flutter sleeve dress - £18.99

I couldn't possibly do a wish list of clothes without including Tesco and this dress reminds me of Julia Roberts at the Polo Match in Pretty Women.  Would look great with some nude heels I have and a cream blazer.

Tesco - F&F Limited Edition Side knot jersey dress - £25

This would be a great dress for work - all year round.  Team it with a blazer, tights/stockings and heels for the winter or wear on its own with tan courts/wedges in the Spring/Summer.

So what have you spotted this week?  Any lusts?  Wants?  Needs?  Must haves?

Until next week



Tuesday 21 August 2012

Are Maxi Dresses still fashionable?

I can’t believe I just wrote that title – I DON’T CARE is my honest answer.  I bought my first maxi dress from New Look 3 years ago and I bought my last one (earlier this ‘summer’) from Sainsbury’s.  I have never been a slave to fashion and as you get older it’s gets much harder to follow all trends ... I do follow what’s ‘in’ (you can't avoid it in most high street shops) and if it’s something I think I can wear then I wear it …. But I also wear a lot of the other items in my wardrobe and some of that is 10+ years ago … if you see me and I look like an 80s reject (this look is allowed if you’ve been to Rewind in Henley) then please tell me!!!!

So – this love of ours .. the simple maxi dress - how do different women wear a maxi dress?

At Avenue 57 we all love a maxi dress.  It’s a real trial and error to finding the right one for you (bit like finding the perfect pair of skinny jeans or knee high boots .. don’t get me started on those two).  If you’ve tried on a/several maxi dresses and still not found the right one DO NOT GIVE UP!  There is a maxi dress out there for you – I promise.

A lot of women think they can’t wear maxi dresses because they’re too short, have big boobs, or a thick set waist etc etc (our gripes about our own bodies is endless!) but the reality is if you pick the RIGHT ONE you can wear a maxi dress regardless of your shape or size.

I love to dress up a maxi dress by adding a necklace or dress it down with a denim jacket.  I’ve worn a maxi dress with a jumper over the top and biker boots and I’ve worn them totally on their own – sometimes the dress speaks for itself.  I used to think maxi dresses were only for ‘best’ or a special day occasion such as meeting friends or going out .. but now I find them the most comfortable thing to wear and chuck my favourite black one on for any occasion – mostly when I’m lounging at home.

Here is a collection of the maxi dresses I own and how I’ve styled them.
Below are some examples of the gorgeous women at Avenue 57 and how they wear theirs.

Here are my Top 5 maxi dresses I’m coveting right now – most of them could be worn all year round too:

I would love to see you in your maxi dress – how many do you own? I own 4, which isn’t a lot to be honest as I bought my first one in New Look a few years ago.

If you have a maxi dress you love, then head on over to Avenue 57 to post your look.



Monday 20 August 2012

30 Day Shoe Challenge – week 2

Another week gone and another 7 pairs of shoes worn - that's 14 different pairs in 14 days so far - half way through my 30 day shoe challenge - if you missed the first week and a bit of 'why are you doing it' then check out my previous blog post.

It's not only me doing this, lots of other women are doing it on Avenue 57 too - hop over and check them out ...

So with a mixed bag of weather I'm able to wear flip flops, ballet pumps and even winter boots!  Don't you just love living in the UK in summer time?!  No, me neither.

Here are my latest shoes and the outfits I wore them with.  Favourite ones are the Purple Birks and the red and white ballet pumps:

I'll struggle next week and it's not because I don't have enough shoes - I do .. it's what to wear with them and the places I go .. whoever saw someone in high heels at Legoland for example?

I have also submitted my last outfit to a FANTASTIC blog I came across last week - it's all about red trousers and contains some swearing so do not click if easily offended - if you like a laugh and love red trousers then check out this very funny blog.


Friday 17 August 2012

The Mumpreneur Conference & Awards 2012

No point in waffling on - let's jump right in:

For Immediate Release

Local "Mumpreneur" Reaches Finals of National Business Awards

Local mum, and entrepreneur, Fiona Blake, has earned herself a place in the final line-up of The Mumpreneur Awards, an annual ceremony aimed at celebrating parents throughout the UK who manage the difficult task of juggling business with family life. The mother of 2 from Newbury, Berkshire, runs Avenue 57, a website for women want friendly, down-to-earth advice on how to dress from the REAL experts: other women.

Fiona has been shortlisted for the Best Interactive Business Award, sponsored by Hero Media, which is open to businesses who physically work closely with clients, where interacting is an integral part of the job. Having launched Avenue 57 in March 2012 she has spent many hours in conjunction with other women building the website into a popular place that women come to be inspired by others in how they dress or to show their own daily look off, Fiona hopes to she has what it takes to walk away with the prize.

As well as being shortlisted for this category, Fiona is also in with a chance of winning the title of The Inspirational Business Mum 2012, sponsored by Viking, which will be awarded to the mum who is an inspiration to all women in business, and could walk away with a fantastic prize.

Having reached the finals of The Mumpreneur Awards, Fiona said "I am delighted to have been recognised for my achievements and am thrilled that so many women every day visit the website - some come to look, some post their looks and some comment on the looks that are posted - each woman uses the site on a level that is comfortable for them and all are welcome. I`m really excited to find out if I`ve won the award!"

Judging Fiona`s entry will be a panel of top entrepreneurs including Glamour Magazine`s Editor-In-Chief, Jo Elvin, but she`ll have to wait until 30th September, when the winners will be announced at The Mumpreneur Conference, sponsored by SageOne, being held at the Heart of England Conference Centre in Warwickshire.

This event is open to all parents who juggle family and business, and also for those interested in taking the plunge and starting up. Tickets prices start at just £40, and
can be purchased through the Mumpreneur UK website, where you`ll find a whole range of resources and information for business mums

To find out more about Avenue 57, please visit Fiona`s website

## ENDS ##
Notes to Editors
1. For more information on Avenue 57, email Fiona Blake on
2. For more information on The Mumpreneur Conference & Awards 2012, contact Laura Rigney on 07855240442 or email
3. Photographs available on request

Thursday 16 August 2012

Top 10 stylish umbrellas

As I type this the heavens have opened, it’s VERY dark in the house and I’ve put lights on!  The rain is LASHING down outside and I can barely hear myself think! (I lie .. I wrote most of this post yesterday and that was true of then .. now it’s a new day and the sun is shining!!)

I’ve never owned an umbrella other than the bog standard black fold up ones .. and I’ve lost them all.  I don’t know why I don’t use one, I do the school run and I hate getting wet – makes sense to use an umbrella then!  I guess as I’m starting to take more pride in everything I wear and in particular how the use of an accessory can make an outfit, I’d better start take more pride in the umbrella I own!

I recently found one in my parent’s garage.  I saw it and loved it for its vintage look.  It's a fabric umbrella and I found out later it belonged to my late Gran so I know its PROPER vintage!!

I’ve started to use it more and more but it’s also got me thinking about buying a new one for other days – ie trying to match my brolly with my rain coat (more on rain coats later, it deserves a whole new blog post of its own – as does wellies).

There are MANY basic standard brollies on offer wherever you look but if you want a funky umbrella then the search continues .. but I’ve done all that for you and here are my Top 10 Stylish Umbrellas that won’t break the bank.

In no particular order, here are the umbrellas I found when searching and fell in love:

This is so pretty and girlie, I love the colour and the pattern. It’s a mini one so perfect for always having in your handbag.

I love a ditsy floral print umbrella and I knew Cath Kidston would deliver that for me.  I love green and the flowers and it’s a small mini size, so again, perfect for the handbag/pushchair basket for the school run rain (incidentally, why do it always rain at school drop off and pick up times?)

The price alone is why I fell in love with it – plus the heart design.  Matalan never fail to deliver on cute every day bargains.  I’ve not handled this one so I can’t say how robust it would be in a windy rain storm but for a light shower I bet it does the job!


I would feel 5 years old if I had this one – it’s so childish in its design but very practical to protecting you from the driving rain.  At £10 it’s a bargain too.

This shouts out timeless classic to me – I think the name alone helps!  It’s sophisticated in its blue, funky with its stripes and versatile due to the multitude of colours.


I love orange and have an orange mac .. I reckon this would be the perfect accessory for that coat and others (denim jacket, blazer etc).


If it’s navy and spotty then I’ll love it – I have an obsession with polka dots (and stripes, but that’s a whole other blog post right there!).  This one is what I would say VERY pricey but the detail and quality even from a picture stands out – 16 fabric panels – swoon. 

This is awesome – I love a crook handle umbrella and this would be fantastic for a parasol or as an umbrella

This is simply gorgeous – the red is stunning and the grey trim really adds to the look of the brolly

My love for spots and stripes is almost equal to my love of animal print – this is an elegant umbrella and not one that leaves you looking like Bet Lynch (there are lots of them on the market!!)

How many umbrellas do you own?  Do you use them?  I am off to buy some (it’s close call between the Kensington Stripe and the navy polka dot one!)


Tuesday 14 August 2012

If I could I would ... week 1

I thought it might be nice to share with you my favourite items in the shops right now .. I'm on a shopping freeze at the moment so this is all virtual but they are items I'll be adding to my birthday present wish list next month!

Firstly I cannot carry on without getting this item out of the way - it's so cute and it's one that will be perfect for all year round wear (I would have worn it many times this 'summer'!)

Debenhams Flamingo Jumper - £24
It looks light weight enough to wear on its own or with a vest top underneath for winter warmth.  I can already 'see' me in my dark blue straight leg jeans, grey converse and an oversized tan bag.  A necklace or scarf would just get in the way of the birds!
(and I have serious hair and face envy on the model - I'm having a girl crush on her right now)

Great Plains - Blue Paisley Dress - £61
To me, this is not only about the dress, which is so versatile (couple with tights and blazer for the winter), it's about the red shoes - what a genius mix - I love it so much.

Matalan - Yellow bird print dress - £16
Seriously, Matalan have grown up so much in the past 12 months.  The quality of their clothes has increased so much that it's now one of the first places I look if I want something!  I fell in love with this dress last week whilst I was having a look for a wedding outfit on a budget and if you team this heels and a clutch you'd rock the wedding guest look I'm sure - here are the shoes and bag I'd team it with also

How cool is this?  Check out the price!!  There are a million ways I'd wear this - skinny jeans (black, blue, white) with heels, ballet pumps, flip flops and of course it would look epic under a blazer for a swishy day do or an evening out with the girls.

How elegant is this?  I love how they have styled it with a black shirt tucked in .. totally what I would wear for a night out (if I ever had them!).  Can see this with a simple white vest top, denim jacket, scarf and flip flops for Spring/Autumn or team with chunky black polo neck and biker boots for the winter - totally love this .. I wonder if I should thaw that shopping freeze?......

I'm not sure how much I can go on but I'd like to do this as a regular weekly feature - perhaps my Top 5 MUST HAVE buys of the week

What do you think?  What have you seen in the shops that you are loving right now?


Thursday 9 August 2012

Part 2 - What to wear to a wedding on a budget

Following on from my post the other day about what to wear to a wedding on a budget, I've upped the budget to £200.  It's very easy to reach £200 even when shopping on the high street and not really trying.

I've gone for a hat this time because I saw this one and fell in love!

I love black with red but wanted something a little different so I've gone for orange as it's one of my favourite colours.

What do you think?  It's on the more casual end for a wedding but I loved all the pieces and together I reckon they'd look cracking on.  If only I had a wedding invitation!