I’m Going To Change Your Idea Of A Poncho…..

Mutter the word poncho and you’d be forgiven for thinking of bold patterns and the must-have item for anyone thinking of learning the pan pipes. But there’s so much more to the blanket with a hole in and I’m going to spend the next 10 minutes of your internet surfing time telling you why….

I wasn’t always a poncho fan, it all started this Autumn when I decided to give the whole capsule wardrobe thing a go. I recycled any clothes which I hadn’t worn for a couple of years and headed off to the shops to buy a few staple outfits which would see me through the autumn, winter and spring.

It wasn’t too hard a task as I’m a total jeans devote during the day, and working from home means I don’t have to dress too smart unless I’m meeting clients.   That said, I do try to make a conscious effort to look like I take pride in my appearance, but our glorious British weather means that temperatures can be unpredictable, add in the fact I’m pretty sloth-like as I type away at my desk; I get cold sitting still then have mad bursts of energy as I charge around my house on my breaks or shooting blog or client photographs.

And what’s the perfect item to throw on in the more sedentary moments? You guessed it; a poncho. They also come off just as quickly.

what's the perfect item to throw on in the more sedentary moments? You guessed it; a poncho. Am I'm going to convince you why...

Now back to that capsule wardrobe thing  I mentioned. It ended up consisting of a worn-to-within-an-inch of its life Gap jumper, a thick Next jumper, 2 pairs of skinny jeans, a fabulous white shirt and some quality black and white long sleeved tops which look perfect under, drum roll….. a poncho!

what's the perfect item to throw on in the more sedentary moments? You guessed it; a poncho. Am I'm going to convince you why...

Teamed with skinnies and boots, my brown Woolovers is a go-to when I’m feeling the chills, sitting pride of place on the back of my desk chair, while this teal multiway is a great jumper alternative. This nifty number is also a shrug and wrap (and it’s half price at the moment!) Either way, there’s no denying that a poncho is the A-game of all year round layering.

So have I convinced you to step out of your jumper wearing comfort zone? I’ll give you 5 minutes to think it through while I tinker on these pan pipes…..


This is a collaborative post 


Stepping out in luxury lingerie with Empress Mimi

Answer this honestly ladies, those days when you step out the door in matching undies are the ones when you feel like you’ve got your mojo. I’m working it, I can handle it and yes #ThisMumCan. Even if you’re not feeling fully on trend or classy on the outside, knowing that underneath it all, you’re killing it. I’ve been going by the mantra that there’s no need to save things til best anymore, seriously,  what’s the point of the beautiful things in your life staying locked away in a drawer, only to see the light of day on the odd special occasion? (Answer, there’s NO point.)

So I put on the nice jewellery, wear the posh perfume and most days, not just the good days, I make sure I’m wearing matching undies/lingerie/underclobber whatever you want to call it.

Need an example? Take this cute little set from Empress Mimi for example; what lady wouldn’t raise a smile to a new set like this being delivered to their door each month? This is hands down the most exciting thing to arrive on my doorstep last week, believe me!

Arriving beautifully packaged, opening it up and waiting to see what’s inside was all part of the fun. Almost like a little present to yourself, a well done for being awesome this month, now go get changed and feel fabulous.

Yeah, after a careful, well thought through head rummage, I’m totally sold on the idea of a surprise package of lingerie coming each month.

  • There’s no stress in finding time to go to the shop to buy it,
  • it’s indulgent, because let’s face it, people only buy new undies when they’re having an affair, newly single and ready to mingle or off on a girlie weekend where the pressure to give off the ‘yeah, I don’t own any grey holey numbers, I always make an effort whatever the occasion’  vibe.
  • And if left to a man to buy it, it’s only ever going to be red or black and probably the wrong size.

So here’s a thought. What if you decide you’re not going to be that person who saves the best for best.

What if, for example, you decide to throw away all you old faithful’s, and to step out every day as though you’re dressed for all eventualities because the only underwear you own is simply amazing? (Blokes who are still reading, that applies to you too, ditch the holey boxers. Do it, do it now!)

So here's a thought. What if you decide you're not going to be that person who saves the best lingerie for only best?

In the words of Empress Mimi themselves……

There is a misconception that lingerie is exclusively for the bedroom. What is worn underneath your clothes directly reflects how you feel and the energy you emit. A touch of sensual lingerie is the equivalent to a power suit, one that is delicious little secret that only you know about.

And I’m totally with it, as pretty lingerie makes it all better.

So here's a thought. What if you decide you're not going to be that person who saves the best lingerie for only best?

Fancy trying it out Empress Mimi for yourself?
You can get 15% off your first purchase using the code MUMINANUTSHELL15
 And what’s more, they’ll also donate 10% of the proceeds of the purchases made using the discount code to charities helping get more women into coding http://www.projectgirlcode.org
Why coding?
Because we believe that technology and the online world has lowered the barriers to entry for everyone to run their own business (whether as a side hustle or full time). Getting more women into tech will ensure more women at the top of what we hope will become the new world  leading businesses and will ensure that every woman has the skills and knowledge to thrive in the emerging tech economy. More women going online and building like-minded communities that support one another, and more fearless women with the right tools at their disposal to create anything they can imagine .
Empress Mimi


This is a collaborative post. All words and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated. 


Beauty Trends any women over 40’s will love!
I was a little hesitant to age-ify this post but if, like me, you’re the wrong side of 39 then there are occasions when the current beauty trends are best left to the young and the 1980’s when you were first experimenting with blue mascara and Bodyshop Kiwi Lip balm in the safety of the local roller disco.
Don’t take my word as gospel though, if you want to bush up your over plucked eyebrows and draw tangerine blusher up to your temples then go for it. Just remember that by 40 most of use will have some tell-take fine lines, <note to self, get Botox price list> so all I’m saying is sometimes it’s better to not to draw attention to things which could otherwise be ignored. And highlight your best bits.
Here’s a few things which you can do at any age:

Gloss those lips

Great for hiding lines and plumping out thin lips, I for one never truly embraced last years trend for matt lips so I’m glad to see that lip gloss is making a come back. I tend to stick with a neutral colour which I can apply on the go and then a slightly pinkier one for evenings. And the best thing for me is it doesn’t stain my ceramic braces!

Smudged eyeliner

I tried and tried to go on tend with the perfect cat-eye flick,  and failed. Whether it’s my wonky eyes or just lack of hours spent watching YouTube tutorials I assigned myself to a life of looking on enviously at the young and beautiful, then convinced myself I was too old anyway. So hurrah for the return or smudged eyeliner which is set to be a popular look this season. I managed to create the smudged look effortlessly by 11am most morning.

Dewy skin

Just like glossy lips, the dewy skin trend this year helps give a healthy, youthful glow which is always a good thing. Getting advice or a mini makeover from beauty therapists who have access to products and salon supplies is a  start if you’re unsure. I’ve been adding a highlighter cream to my normal foundation or using it on its own on the days I don’t want full coverage.


I’ve added this after reading a great article on 5 minute make up tricks and realised that there is a place for contouring for us with a longer back history in makeup. As you age, you tend to get more definition on your face, Mother Nature is not completely cruel (I’ve got a feeling she added that one in as she got a little older herself) but adding highlighter under your eyes and either side of your nose will work wonders. I’ve found a great piece on The Daily Mail which should give you an idea.

So nothing too scary there, more a relief I’d say!

beauty trends that women over 40's will love


This is a collaborative post



Is 40 the new 25? Why I’m refusing to grow old appropriately

If you’d have said that at 41 and a half I’d be fitter, healthier and slimmer than my 25-year-old self, I’d have laughed in your face. (Then secretly hoped you knew something about my destiny than I did.) Optimistic me likes to hang on to any glimmer of hope, while gullible me will believe anything that you tell me if it’s going to make me feel good. Yet the bizarre thing is, it’s true, along with many of my fellow forty somethings who are refusing to attach themselves to the notion of what 40 should look like.

Not one to pigeon-hole an age or say what’s right or wrong, but in my twenties I had already decided that once I hit 40 I would cut my long brown hair short and stop trying to keep up with fashion,  I’d dress sensibly, probably at Boden, and take up a craft like hobby. Weekends would consist of routine of ferrying kids around to sporting events and gardening. Or so I thought.

Why exactly I decided that would happen is a little bonkers given that my mum was doing things at 40 for the first time, and still very much the life and soul of the weekend party goer. The 2o years between us meant nothing when you were raising the roof and mock pole dancing at family functions with a who gives a fidget attitude. She taught me well!

I think back to how I was behaving at 25 and it’s possible I peaked too early, maybe that’s why I took a restock of my life? I’d done sensible and it was time to claw back those prime years while I still had time.

So after F-day had passed I gave up red meat, joined the gym, started teeth straightening treatment and bought a whole new wardrobe of ageless clothes and make up. I even tried eye liner flicks (and failed) considered facial fillers (not brave enough) and switched to listening to radio 1 (sorry Jeremy.)  There are some things which I won’t be doing, like joining Tinder (might be subject to change) and getting ‘down in da club’ all night, I need beauty sleep and my feet ache if I dance too long in heels. I’m not a complete lose cannon, plus the teenage sons who lurke in my house somewhere might abandon me totally.

There’s always a catalyst to a radical lifestyle change and I suspect that the end of my marriage was mine. Suddenly I had weekends to fill and time to focus on Ali the person and not just Ali the wife and mother. Didn’t see that one coming at 25!

And 41 I have no hesitation in admitting my age,  I’ll be keeping my long brown locks, touching up my roots every 6 weeks. I’ll keep trying out the latest fashion, cursing when appropriate and blasting out the latest chart hits in my sensible Mercedes A-class.

One thing I’ve learnt which comes with age, aside from a little wisdom and a chunk of hindsight, is the confidence to not give a toss what others think of you.

And I have a sneaky feeling that I’m not alone in the 40 somethings growing old in appropiately.

I'm joining the growing number of 40 somethings who are refusing to grow up and grow old gracefully in the most sensible manner possible.


Rocking The Lotus Booties From Brantano!

Change of weather means new wardrobe, right? Out with the old, that’s so last season season, you really need to think ‘on-trend’ daaaaaarling. Ok, so maybe I’m bigging up the I’m a trendy mum thing a little. I’m really not that bling. But I do try with a little edgy fashion pieces so I give a 7/10 effort in the style stakes once in a while. This autumn is all about changing my mantra for dressing for comfort and not for style. That sucks when you’re 40 and age becomes a little bit more than a number. So I’m swapping the fail safe boots for a welcome night on the tiles for some Lotus booties / shboots / shoe-boots. (?)

Call them what you like, I’m really not precious for the name, (or any the wiser after Googling it.) Shaped like a low cut ankle boot, they’re a sight lot more comfortable to walk in as they hug your foot (no toe curling to keep them on, you see) than my impulsive buy sparkly black high heels I have been sporting down the local wine bar lately. And wobbling home in for all the wrong reasons.

New season, new shoes, or booties to be precise. I've been wearing these from Lotus with jeans or a little black dress now we're into autumn fashion

After browsing the range of feet eye candy on the Brantano website, (uber quick delivery Brantano, high five to that!) these beauties stood out straight away. The jacquard print and metal details are real swoon worthy booties, jazzing up a simple emsemble of black jeans and top or even a trendy, not too formal LBD outfit. Showing off the ankle means they don’t shorten your leg length too much which sometimes, booties and dresses have a danger of doing.

And the side zip means they’re easy to slip on or off after dancing the night away, while the heel is a sensible height avoiding any Naomi Campbell moments while you navigate your way across the room for a visit to the little girls room.

So now I’ve got the footwear in place and a couple of outfits to wear them with, that just leaves me to organise some more nights out.

Not that I need much persuading at the moment!

loving these booties, perfect for dressing up jeans or a little back dress this autumn and winter


This is a collaborative post.

Family Fever