When and why I bought new summer Gap basics …


As we all know I’m rarely short on basics and loungewear. In fact right now I’m also not even close to being short on sportswear either so why purchase two more new basics? Is this a shopping addicts cry for help?

What’s been the most interesting regarding undertaking capsule wardrobes in order to find my own personal style is sometimes not quite believing what you find.

If I get straight down to honesty as much I can talk about needing a great pair of jeans, or a structured dress my true happiness lies in soft cotton pieces that drape around me like the secret hippy I am.

I love soft brushes cotton, I love pieces that cling and fall and never strangle my insides and that’s why this year I picked up two new ‘basics’ because however basic they may be to you, to me they are an essential staple of my own personal style. 2017 is the year of fashion honesty as well it seems.

The culottes jumpsuit

A potentially controversial piece, when I first saw the blue version of this in GAP and my true style desire this uber soft pink one from Saturday/Sunday at Anthropologie I fell in love so quick and deep I knew that this was going to be the look for me this SS.

Before Christmas I actually purchased a similarly shaped number from the Next Sale, a loose blue beach pullover version I couldn’t have been happier with the shape on me. The tied up waist to give me much needed definition, the leg length I could work with flats, sand wedges and heels. I also love the ability to accessorise with a thicker plaited leather belt and a short in the waist structured jacket like this one+

100% Annie hall meets Indian jones but lets be honest I’m totally on board for that.

The casual jersey dress


There was a bit of a toss up when it came to this number in fact. One that I’m sure I’ll rectify with the next money off voucher whether to have this dress with the longer sleeves and v neck or to have it’s tied up sister in an almost navy blue. I ended up choosing this particular one for several reasons.

Firstly I love a good v neck it works perfectly on my body shape breaking up my heaviest area. 

Another plus is this came in tall, ensuring that yes this midi dress will be a midi dress on me! I’m also a massive fan of this baseball shirt hem … I’m looking forward to polishing this up with a jersey blazer and ballet flats and making it more casual with sandals perhaps in a great pair of leather wrap ones … on the weekend I can pop on a baseball cap, tie my chambray shirt around my waist with flat trainers for errands and coffee (tea) runs.

If I’m honest for my first two (besides sandals) purchases for SS I’m so pleased with them both. They add something insanely wearable and realistic to an otherwise daydreaming set of left overs from last year! 

When it comes to your basics be it t shirts and jeans or casual dresses or shorts and shirts what’s your go to basic every year?

Health and Fitness | Gym Attire and shopping plus size


Suedette Hat: Zara Men, Blue Nike pullover (old), Purple Adidas top (I couldn’t find this online?), Workout tights: Next, Trainers (old) New Balance

Yesterday I discussed the awkwardness of walking into a gym feeling bigger than your comfortable with. As I found out, people of all shapes and sizes attend the gym so really its not something to be worried about at all. Going shopping for bigger clothes to work out in however? Near to impossible… offline that is.

Its not something I suppose you think of, struggling to find larger sizes but as we headed into TK Maxx to do you know what I found? XL accounted for being a size 14!!! In womenswear, to say I was horrified was an understatement! In the mens section however, there were all types of different sizes and their Large was a real large unlike the female sides which were truly lacking.

Thankfully the sports stores do think women over  size 14 exist but only to the size 18 in general. Shopping was almost like bra shopping for bigger chests, upsetting and disappointing. Honestly, the whole thing made me wish for a better shopping experience. I’ve been mulling one over for a while now and I would just like stores to be better accommodating to sizes and shapes outside of the mannequins, imagine feeling welcome no matter the size on the hanger, to find clothes made for you instead of putting yourself into a pattern.

Where I can suggest however, is sadly, online, Next have recently launched their own sports range for women, I love Adidas for good sizing, great quality product and affordable price tags and for something fun, mix it up with other store brands like Zara and New Look who offer fun athleisure wear.


Craft | Make a dress into a Skirt


What you need: A pair of Scissors, Sewing thread, sewing machine

Did you know you could take a badly fitting dress and make a good skirt out of it instead and do so in only about…Oh, I dunno an hour? Even better you can do it for free.


Let me tell you if I can do this you can and even better you can do it without even really having to know how to sew and bonus as this is just for you, if its a little rough around the edges who cares?

Also if you want to watch someone do this on camera check out youtube there are so many tutorials out there its amazing. I watched about three before I took a deep breathe and did this for myself.

Firstly I made this really easy on myself by firstly choosing a dress that already has an elasticated waist band. From here I simply chopped the top of the dress off whilst allowing myself enough space to make a new waistband. Once I did this came the longest part of the process.
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(It was a full scale, family mission in our house to get this sewing machine going. Thank heavens I’m marrying an engineer hey?)

Who knew that pins took so long to put in place? The reason for doing this is simple and that is so while you are feeding your fabric through the sewing machine the waistband can remain as even (or odd) as you want it to!

Once this was in place I very messily sewed the two sides of the fabric in place.


As you can see above this left the edges of the fabric (where I could get the foot of the machine close enough to the waistband to curl. In all honesty if I was in a rush I wouldn’t worry about this. (Only because this type of thing is only for me! I’m not selling this on so I wasn’t too bothered) However I had time so actually ended up manually sewing the edge to the internal part of the waist band allowing room for the fabric to stretch.

As you can see, once you’ve done this your waist band sits pretty flat! I also quite like the line through the middle as it makes it look a little bit strategic (even when it wasn’t at all). Also remember this tut gives good results uber fast so whilst its not a master piece its a great project to get you started!

The Capsule Wardrobe | Still Picking Favourites, Shoe Addition

_DSC0402I thought when I started capsuling that having only 9 pairs of shoes would be the worst thing ever.

Perhaps I was over dramatic but it was a serious concern of mine that maybe 9 pairs would not be enough. Funnily, once you get immersed in a capsule after a few months you start realising that it doesn’t matter how many pairs of shoes or how many T-shirts you own, you still pick favourites.

For todays post I wanted to focus primarily on three pairs of shoes that I have worn to death even when I have various other pairs to choose from!


The suede boot from, New Look

I made such a killing on this pair. I bought them for only £8 when they were around £50 full price. Even more surprising is they are only a size eight but over the past autumn and winter I have worn this pair so much that one is now a drastically different colour to the other. They perhaps won’t last long past this winter but they have been my constant, friendly companion and for that I am really thankful.


The fur lined boot from, New Look

As much as I am a magpie, I am a hoarder for all things faux fur. These lined boots are so warm its criminal and even better they have fantastic grip for those icy days!

The Leopard print flats from LTS, barefoot Tess

I was so worried about these because they are really flat with minimal support but these have made an appearance during all our house demo work and I love them for a casual weekend. Now, I’m not even sure if I could live without them, not to mention they are leopard print so really, how could you not?

In the Details | The deep V-backed jumper

(jumper: Zara Summer Sale 2015, Ripped knee jeans (Zara christmas 2014), flat leopard print shoes: New Look 2013

In the Details | The deep V-backed jumper

This jumper was one of my sale purchases from a while back. During the Zara sale I waited until towards the end of it and scoured the site for any great finds that no one else had spotted and this jumper was one of them.

As you know, I am invested in finding interesting pieces this year and the idea of a reverse sweater ticked all of those boxes. Although you run the risk of a cold back this winter I liked the idea of a simple sexy.

So far I have mainly paired it with jeans for casual Sundays but I see it having potential for more dressed up outfits. I like the idea of mixing it with different textures and shapes like my grey midi skirt and a fancy necklace.

Grocery shopping style

Cardigan: Topshop (2008!!!!), Brie Bella “Brie Mode” T, WWE Merch, Sweat pants: Gap, Trainers: Converse

Grocery shopping style

You didn’t think you would get away without a casual summer shot right?

So the other day I was laying on my yoga mat reading blogs. (I know what you’re thinking that’s an odd way to read blogs . . . but actually I was doing yoga, only obviously I got distracted. That doesn’t really make it any better does it?) Anyway I suddenly realized in my capsule pieces photos I forgot I had added joggers but had I worn them on the blog? Nope and honestly you won’t see them today either . . . sorry.

After all work out/lounge gear isn’t on the capsule so this is ok right . . .? What will make it alright is this is pretty much all I wear nowadays to work out in, these cropped work out leggings are from Gap active and are quite honestly the best things I have ever worn, so thick and comfy I can barely deal.

Now this top. You will have seen it a while back on instagram and probably either thought random slogan T or thought, you like wrestling? Not exactly . . . Me and Josh just love watching E’s Divas and I in particular love the Bella Twins so we have it my dedication in T-shirt form, yep I bought it, official WWE Merchandise don’t judge me. After all I’m in Brie Mode (not to be messed with).

My ideal day is to spend it in leggings as we know and so my favourite Saturdays are by far the days where I wake up do yoga or go swimming and then hit the grocery store before the rest of the day starts, leggings, brie mode and all.

AW Capsule Wardrobe Budgeting | Little sale updates

AW Capsule Wardrobe Budgeting | Little sale updates

One of my favourite ways to save money is to buy new season items in the sales for half the price. For instance, I bought three pairs of boots for AW15 back in the mid-season May sales and now I have bought my jumpers. I had no intention on buying only jumpers just as I had no intention on buying a load of boots the other month but I am pleased to see that the next season might be all jumpered up!

The only downside to this is that I set out for cardigans (or coatigans) but I seem to have only come back with jumpers to upside to this of course is I am going to be super, super snuggly this winter and that obviously is the dream.

The black v backed jumper.

When I was a kid ribbed jumpers freaked me out. I couldn’t explain why but they always made me feel . . . strange. However the design on this one from Zara had me quickly overlooking my childhood fears and for only £7.99 I thought it was best for my own benefit to trial this out.

Now I am going to be honest I don’t think this looks so good with the drop back facing backwards I think that is simply because of the way they have had to build it to keep it on your shoulders so yes it does have the potential to make your chest look a little strange but I am totally going to risk it. Another thing which I like is that I can turn it around and where it as a v-neck jumper which I love.

Multi-coloured jumper

My next jumper is a multi-coloured knit again from the Zara sale with a drop back. This is quite honestly the thickest and warmest jumper, but then again when I tried it on it was one of the hottest days ever so what do I know? This may or may not be on the blog in AW. I say that just because it is so thick it is more of a snuggle jumper than a high fashion one!

The light white holed jumper from Gap

I waited this little number out like a pro and I finally got it when it hit £7.99, success again. Of course I then wore it and at dinner out with Josh dropped chocolate sauce down it, which was of course far less successful. This is possibly to light for winter but it is perfect for now and the transitional stage.

The sporty jersey dress

I had seen this for full price in H&M a while back but it never seemed quite worth the cash so instead I again waited this out. I think this only cost me £6 which is great for me as I think that this will be a really casual dress for me, something to pull on, on the weekend and wear with Josh for coffee dates and the likes. I also see myself wearing it over one of my flippy skirts as well to make a slightly different look.

The suede T shirt

When I first saw these T’s I tried it on a navy and fell in love. I risked it however since I had recently bought my summer capsule and let’s be honest suede in the summer as a T-shirt? Not a good idea but in the cooler months? Yes please!!

Now I always love suede I think I have worn suede (or faux suede) boots every single winter and this one will be no different! I certainly want to wear this trend more and I am contemplating one of my five to be something fun and suede (I love those waistcoats, or a suede jacket!) but I haven’t quite decided yet since I am also pretty hooked on the idea of a sleeveless blazer.

The bright Scarf

I have actually Instagramed this scarf before but its quickly become a go too. I believe because its such a switch up in colours for me I love the idea of embracing more soft, khakis and beige tones for autumn to mix in with deep reds, burgundy’s and denim.

A little gold plated jewellery

Since getting engaged I have struggled with cheaper jewellery because in all honesty once you put really gold or silver next to fake gold and silver you can really, really tell the difference! Thankfully Accessorize now sell their Z collection which offers gold plated pieces and for me they have been really bridging the gap between full expensive pieces and cheap throw away a pieces! During the sale I stocked up on stacking rings which I like to wear everyday to work!

The Capsule Wardrobe | The Problem with Shopping Addictions

Hat: Marks and Spencers, Black Blazer: Zara, Blanket scarf: Zara, Grey v-neck: H&M, Jeggings: Dorothy Perkins (2013/14), Red and White thick socks: Primark, Workmen Boots: George by Asda

Guys all I can think about is Spring and Summer. I can honestly promise you only one thing; if you are a bit of a shopping addict when you begin the capsule wardrobe challenge you will spend a great deal of time thinking about your next one. Or at least, I do.

So now it’s all about the warmer months. So much so that I have been following huge amounts of Australian style bloggers to start building my basics for SS15.

Now obviously the other problem with spending great deals of time planning for the next season means that I can on occasion feel a little lost in my current wardrobe. I have definitely started transitioning the way I wear my winter wardrobe through wearing more of the paler items and making sure I don’t always pair dark colours together. I am also desperately trying to avoid the colour combinations, which I found myself stuck in continually repeating.

Back to Spring, get ready for me to talk an awful lot more about lighter colours! I am so excited to introduce new colours and patterns into my wardrobe. I am also intending to focus less on amounts and more on creating a solid summer wardrobe which can be brought forward each year and be as relevant that year as it was the last.

I am still working out the basics of it all but let me tell you guys I have never been so excited about Breton stripes, denim, floral’s and pale blue and lavender everything!

My hat didn’t like being worn with this scarf however, but I figure that jaunty angle adds a little, no?

therealjlow 2014 in review and resolutions.

Recaps and resolutions.

Its only been in recent years that I have begun making resolutions. Not a big fan, its taken a while to realise the benefits in having goals for yourself and not just for your career or business. This year has been incredible because it has been stabilising. Finally after almost three years I feel like I have a handle on this whole being an adult out of university business. We are no longer making really silly mistakes with our finances and time management but instead have been saving up a storm and making ‘us’ time which has been vital in our day to day happiness. So in this year to come its all about making big steps in small ways that don’t undo our past years good work but instead start building pillars on our new shiny foundations!

Make things easier on myself.

Did you know that I am entirely self taught on photoshop? Probably you didn’t, mainly because (I’m secretly uber proud) that therealjlow doesn’t use any photoshop, “retouching.” Thats not to say it won’t in the future but bar a few crafty Instagram filters therealjlow is all, you get what you see and yes that is my real face and in all its “real” glory. But in my day job a huge percentage of my day is filled with photoshop used, professionally.

However, I have never taken a class, read probably three tutorials in my lifetime and watched 1 youtube video and although that should make me incredibly proud its also made me frustrated and upset more than once – why? Because what came to others easily was harder for me and for one really daft reason, because I thought it would be better to fiddle until I learnt it. Well here’s the thing, there are tricks to photoshop as there are in all things and this year I have decided to not make everything so difficult and to instead make everything that little bit easier. So hello tutorials, books and workshops, I’m coming for you!

Personal goal? – to take a short course on Fashion Journalism

Work Goal? – To take an up to date course on social media and in particular getting the most out of analytics and associated programs.

Start planning a wedding!

In 2014 something huge happened! We got engaged! A massive milestone which I haven’t really spoken about here is that by November this year we had only done one thing towards actually getting married and that was choosing a time and rough estimate for when we wanted it to happen, October 2016! Now any woman who has gotten married will tell you that in the grand scheme of things that is hardly any time at all! But of course you’ve met me (and heard I like to do things the long way) so of course I am eager to accept the challenge of getting a lot done in a short space of time so here goes in 2015 we will start planning! (or at least looking busy)

Personal Goal – to find and put a deposit down on a venue and get our theme together!

therealjlow will . . . . get a domain at least!

Finally you might be thinking I am planning on taking the plunge and moving therealjlow to be hosted elsewhere and to have its own domain. Its gotten to a point that I think therealjlow deserves its own space on the internet and I hope you agree that this is the next step!

I would love to have some of your thoughts what do you love on blog sites and what do you hate? I’m talking layout and usability! I know my own pet peeves but as readers this will be more important to you all! So please leave any thoughts you have below or on any post or even email me! on therealjlow@hotmail.co.uk

therealjlow photos

Have you noticed a pattern up there? I always put my head to the same side and worse the backgrounds are getting more than boring, right? definitely time to find some new photograph spots!


This feels a little bit like the last non big deals year for a while with 2016 hopefully being getting married and 2017 being a house this is our year for saving and getting ourselves as together as possible.

The clothes –

This year has been the year of good outfits. Clothing wise I am somewhat better dressed and as that was my aim I’m pretty proud of that!

Keep an eye out for my winter capsule! Ack! I am super pleased with this one and I hope you guys will be too! Equally however I am also very much excited for Spring! haha see you back to normal come Monday!


Worst nightmare.



Lets be honest here folks. I think this dress has been secretly (and sneakily I may add) been getting shorter over the last year. I am pretty sure that when I bought it it was a tiny bit longer and that makes me sad because I love this damn dress. and to a slightly lesser degree its yellow counter part. In fact I kick myself for not getting it in black as well!

See its one of those dresses, always cute, always summery, loves me on my fat days and my skinny days alike looks good with flats and with heels. I just . . . what will I do without it? For a £15 H&M dress its gotten more wears than most in my closet, bar perhaps my Zara jeans. Guess that gives me an excuse to buy a new summer dress right?

So tomorrow is the beginning of our little Easter break! Me and the bear (Josh) are really looking forward to some down time. Which of course includes a house clean (the lazy girl in me made me spray down the en suite the other day while I was in the shower. That probably make me all kinds of strange and wrong. But a lazy girl’s gotta do her cleaning when she can be bothered!) probably a trip to Rochester to grab a coffee and walk up and down the street, throw in a bicycle ride and a BBQ with friends and we have one great weekend planned!



Day to Night Sports Luxe


(I assure you my heads not really twice the size of my body – I think . . . and hope quite frankly . . .)

Snood: Next, Blazer: F21, Top: Next, Jeans: Dorothy Perkins, Boots: New Look Find my go to make up look here+ 




I have a love hate relationship with these boots. Firstly I bought them on a whim when I was addicted to having as many pairs of ankle boots as is humanly possible! Now that was great before I hurt my metatarsals and found that all heels hated me and that flats were the only way to go. So couple that with the endless rain we found ourselves having I literally lived in these boots!

So now if I can avoid them I try too which is silly because I have really worn them in nicely now and they look quite good with this get up. This outfit I think is great from going from work to night I feel like I can wear this for date night as well as the work day which in my mind is always a keeper! And also, who can pass up an opportunity to wear an uber comfy tee like this one?

Tomorrows outfit today . . .



Top: Next, Bag: Accessorize, Jeans (Eden): Dorothy Perkins (The ones I’m wearing are their regular length rolled up one I am 5ft 10 3/4, Heels: New Look, sadly I couldn’t find any similar? what!? – if you do find any please do link them in the comments and I’ll add a link up here!


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Today I am in leggings and a tunic something like this . . . In the middle of the working week you ask? Why yes, yes indeed because today I have been living the dream and have been out shopping for Phoenix and the Lions Spring Antique and Vintage stock  at Newark’s International Antiques and Collectors Fair. We spent a grand total of five and half hours today collecting some really great pieces for the store and man do my feet want a break!

In fact on the topic of feet I have been missing my heels with a passion! I have lived in flat boots, converse and ballet pumps for so long now that I will do (almost) anything to put on my heels again. So of course date night with the boy has become a weekly thing just so I can wear my many heels for a few hours! (not all at the same time of course – that would be silly . . . or genius?)

Luckily this weekend we are going away to Oxfordshire with my family to celebrate my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary! So not only do I get to spend time with my favourite people in the world but I also have an excuse to pull out my heels again (and tower over Josh – He must love me!)

Until then for what we got up to (with limited internet I may add – the horror!) Check out the official Phoenix and the Lion Twitter page! we found the cutest pigs that have a fantastic story that’ll all be revealed soon!


psstttt . . . I’m wearing this tomorrow! (god forbid I explain the title! – it’s been a long day . . .)