Autumn Haul: Zara, Primark, H&M, Mac, eBay

Sunday 6 October 2013

Hi All!

I went shopping in my local city on Saturday. This is actually quite rare for me, I’m now at the point that I buy most things online, and I haven’t had a day out shopping in quite a while now. I think this is mainly because I usually have such a clear idea of what I want –I get inspiration from magazines and style blogs, and then it’s just easier to type in what I’m searching for and find it online. But with a golden autumn in the air, I suddenly felt the urge to take a browse around the shops in a more casual way. Here’s what I found:


I have such a love/hate relationship with Primarni. On the one hand, it can be undeniably tacky, and I hate when you get that one piece that everyone is wearing that just screams out where its from. On the other hand, I can’t think of a cheaper place to pick up the basics, or those items that you know will be in for about 5 minutes and then look hopelessly dated (peplum tops anyone?). Every so often I swear myself off going in there, but then the siren call will lure me back! As I‘m on a budget at the moment (again!) due to saving up to move house, I decided it was my best bet to cure the itch I had for new clothes, so I ventured in and found some treasures:

Silver snake chain, gems and spikes chain - £5.00

I have resolved to wear more statement necklaces. I think its one of those simple fixes that can really fashion up a plain outfit, and since I’m not the most cutting-edge person with my clothes, it helps bring a bit of edge to my (admittedly rather vanilla) style. I loved this necklace as soon as I laid eyes on it. And at the bargainous price of just £5, its probably a third of what the same item would cost in Topshop. It’s a heavy silver snake-chain collar, with a row of princess cut clear gems with silver spikes underneath them – a really nice mix of punk and pretty. This will look equally as good with a little dress or with a chunky sweater.

Gold link and cream ribbon collar – £3.00

This little treasure caught my eye as well – the design is so intricate and looks really art-deco somehow. The gold-coloured links are interwoven with a pretty cream grosgrain ribbon. I’ve been liking gold jewellery a lot more lately, it seems to have come out of the dark ages and actually now be cooler than silver tones, somehow. They did have this necklace in a pewter colour with black ribbon also, but I thought there was something really nice about the gold.

Embossed silver cuff with turquoise - £1.00

Ok, so it turned into a full blown accessory-buying spree! But this was in the sale section and reduced down to just £1, so there’s no way I could resist. Ethnic looking, boho pieces aren’t really my usual style, but somehow I was drawn to this cuff. I think it would look amazing with a Aztec style skirt, like the one in my last Outfit of the Night posting. It’s a great accessory for summer, so perhaps one to save until next year! I love the fact it looks really authentic and not plasticky like you might expect at the price point.

Pewter spiked ring - £1.00

I have a serious fetish for spikes and studs (it’s the long-suppressed teenage goth in me), so I was drawn like a magpie to this ring, which was also reduced down to just £1. I don’t usually wear rings (apart from my engagement and wedding bands) so this will be something new for me. I think this piece would be great to pair with a really girly outfit to subvert it a little!

Grey and navy striped crew-neck jumper – £7.00

I thought this was a great winter basic, and I’m looking forward to styling it tucked into a leather skater skirt with some ankle boots and one of the necklaces above. It’s cosy and a bit of a looser fit.

Black jersey vest with chain straps – £5.00

I was drawn to this because I love tops in that kind of slouchy, drapey material that just skim over your body- they’re so elegant. I think there’s something quite 90’s about this top that will work well with the vibe of the season, and this is such a simple piece that looks equally good with a skirt or trousers, I just had to have it. The gold chain shoulder straps just elevate the design a bit and give it a twist. I think I’ll wear this for work and for play –I love items that do double duty.

Black and white dotted jacquard pencil skirt (£8.00) and plum jersey pencil skirt (£5.00)

I love Carine Roitfeld and her iconic style (hands up who’s going to see Mademoiselle C?), and as she is rarely seen out of a pencil skirt, I took the chance to update my closet in homage to her gorgeous style. I’m liking the fact that both these skirts are a longer length pencil, which is tres chic. The first one I picked up was the black skirt – the white pattern is raised up, which gives it a premium touch. I immeadiately thought how well the monochrome would go with all the little boucle jackets I keep buying. It’s one of those pieces that is so easy to wear and yet the pattern makes it a little bit different. On my way to the till to pay, I spotted the plain plum one and thought that would add a shot of autumnal colour as well. These skirts are perfect for work, or also look great with wedge trainers, a t-shirt and a leather jacket at the weekend – win-win!

Black tights 40 denier - £3.00

Okay, boring basics alert, but this is the whole reason I went into Primark in the first place- you can’t beat them for stuff like this, and their tights are thick and good quality for the price. I am trying to resist putting tights on for as long as possible, because I feel like the minute they’re on, you don’t get out of them for six months. Plus, putting black tights on is the spiritual death of summer and I’m bad at letting go! I like my tights to be absolutely opaque, so with Primarni tights, you know what you’re getting. I plan to go through my lingerie draw and weed out all the holey pairs from last winter!

Black suede wedge ankle boots – £15.00

Black ankle boots are a cold-weather wardrobe essential for me, and I have several pairs that are all a variation on a theme. When I saw this pair with a wedge heel, I knew I would wear them to death, so I didn’t hesitate to add them to my basket! I’ve had a wedge revolution and lately, and gone from loathing them to choosing them over every other style. I can’t stand for my feet to feel uncomfortable and I walk like Bambi in stilettos, so I don’t know why I never considered before that wedges are the perfect solution. These are a perfect, plain ‘everything’ shoe and remind me of something from COS (but again, at a fraction of the price!)

Grey angora beanie hat - £2.00

I’m quite fussy about hats, and not a lot suit me, but I do like to wear them when it gets bitterly cold. Consequently, I’ve worn the same black chunky knit beret for several winters now. And of course, the blogger and celeb beanie mega-trend hasn’t escaped my notice, so I was looking for one. I prefer them when they are bit softer and less structured (more forgiving to the face), so this light grey angora number fitted the bill really well. I’m actually almost looking forward to it getting cold enough to wear it!


I only actually bought one thing in H&M (shock horror!). I find their stuff a bit hit and miss sometimes, and there wasn’t much that caught my eye – plus my husband was breathing down my neck to leave at this point!

Slouch jersey Breton top with ruched shoulder panels - £7.99

A Breton top must be one of the most overworn and hardest working items in my wannabe Beatnik wardrobe. They’re just so versatile and great for layering, look good with jeans or skirts…and I liked that this top was a bit of a twist on the usual, because it has the button-down neck and the cream pleated panels on the shoulders. It’s that lovely slouchy fabric as well. I got a small but it seems a little on the large side perhaps, but my husband wisely told me not everything has to be skin-tight ( I need to learn that lesson). I think I prefer it tucked in – I’m a massive fan of tucked in things at the moment.


Zara is, hands down, my favourite high-street shop. In fact, I often say that if I was only allowed to shop in one place, that would be it. It’s elegant and yet still current, and the quality is amazing for the price. I actually went in there wanting some of their sharp, skinny trousers in a navy or a camel colour, but my luck wasn’t in. As usual, I saw a million things I wanted to buy but I was quite restrained and really limited myself. They had a small sale selection and I chanced upon this:

Drape leopard print dress - £7.99

This is one of those pieces that didn’t look great on the hanger, but I knew it would be flattering on. It’s a sort of raw silk feel material, and has that lovely billowy top and ¾ sleeves to it. The reason I was drawn to this piece was its versatility. Something about the fit and fabric makes it the perfect item to dress up or down. While I think it will look killer with black tights and riding boots, there’s something sweatshirt-y and sporty about the neckline that means it would work dressed down with trainers as well. I also think it would be just as good on the beach as with a winter coat. I couldn’t pass it up, particularly at the price – sometimes the sale rack yields a gem!

Wild Orchid rollerball perfume - £3.99

I don’t normally bother with the perfumes in clothes stores, but I was bored waiting at the till at ended up testing this. The scent of orchid is one that’s really growing on me lately. There’s something intense and unusual about it that’s taken me a while to embrace, but now I love how different and unique it is. I’ve always loved the flowers (although they don’t smell of much), and there’s something darkly sensual about the scent that’s grown on me. It’s also a strong note of Lady Gaga’s Fame, which I wear a lot. The slim glass tube and rollerball applicator make this so ideal for carrying around in your bag or on a night out as well. Although this was totally an impulse buy, I am now planning to go back to Zara and buy a couple more, because you never know how long they have these things for! They also had Wild Rose, but I’m not so keen on that.


No trip to town is complete without a visit to the Mac store! Obviously, its like a playground for big girls and obviously I wanted to buy everything in site and really had to restrain myself. Think I did so well to only come out with two items!

Matte Eyeshadow in Charcoal Brown - £12.50

A make-up bag essential for me, because it’s the perfect shade for filling in my eyebrows. I like to use the Maybelline Brow Drama mascara on them first, and then fill in the gaps with this. Powder gives a much softer and more convincing finish than a pencil in my experience, and its also easier to shape your arches, provided you have the right brush. This is also a great shade for doing a gorgeous, bitter chocolate smokey eye, which would go much better than black with the new lip colour I purchased…

Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Full Speed - £15.50

I went into the shop actually wanting to pick up a sort of neon pink shade, but I ended up emerging with this instead. It’s just such a pretty shade that I couldn’t resist. Sort of a hot coral pink I guess? It’s certainly bright, and I love bright lips during the winter, when you wear so many dark colours. I’ve been doing red or orange lips to death lately, so it will be nice to have something a bit different.


I rounded off my foray into town with a visit to the Poundshop. As I’ve spoken about before, even though the teenage me would have never set foot in one, the grown-up me can’t resist it. I’ve unearthed some ridiculously good things in there, like Stila tinted moisturiser, Urban Decay lipgloss (seriously!) …it would be rude not to have a look when going past!

Famous by Sue Moxley

They seemed to have a lot of this range in (has it done into liquidation?) and I know its decent quality, so I picked up this pressed eyeshadow in a gorgeous metallic midnight blue, and this loose shadow pot which is an unusual shade that’s kind of grey-purplish-copper as well. Both are really nicely pigmented. I also picked up a clear lipgloss from the range, because you can never have too many clear lipglosses, obviously!

CK Calvin Klein

Goes to show what great brands can be lurking in their shelves, semi-anonymously (these were packaged so you couldn’t see the brand until you opened the outer packaging). This is a black cream shadow which is really useful for layering under a metallic powder when doing smokey eyes to really make them pop and can also be used as a liner with a flat angled brush, so its win-win!


I have also ordered a couple of items from sellers on eBay that I thought I would include in this posting.

Rose gold Screwdriver bangle (£1.70) and rose gold ‘Juste Un Cloue’ (£8.48)

Ok, these clearly aren’t actual rose gold but it’s the colour. They are both based on hugely expensive Cartier designs that I could never hope to own. The ‘Juste Un Cloue’ braclet is like an industrial nail, twisted around and the real deal has been spotted on plenty of stars, like Miranda Kerr and Kristen Stewart. But depending on the metal, this bracelet can cost £25,000! That is absolutely gobsmacking…but luckily, eBay has a few sneaky copies. Look magazine alerted me to this fact, so I had a quick search and found that style, and an ‘homage’ to their style with the rivets as well, so I had to get them both. I love accessories that are a bit quirky but also refined, and seeing as I can’t afford the real thing, this is a great way to get the look on the cheap. Look magazine is full of brilliant little ‘designer cheat’ tips like that!

Long biker coat with contrast quilted leather sleeves - £24.99

I’ve wanted a coat with leather sleeves for a while now, and I saw some beautiful designs Zara did, but they’d sold out by the time I saw them (boo!), so the internet stepped in. This coat is a total rip off of a Zara design (the pictures on the listing, I’m pretty sure, were of the Zara coat, as I sadly recognised the font on the tag) but at the price it was at, I decided to risk it on the quality front and was really pleasantly surprised when what turned up was decently made. The main material is sort of a black felt, and then the collar and zips are like a biker jacket. I love the quilted sleeves. Athough I preferred a version I saw from Zara where the main body was camel and the sleeves were black, I thought I’d settle for this all-black version. This will work for the office and for play, so I think it was a good buy!

And that was my splurge this month – what have you been buying as we transition into autumn and have you got the black tights on yet?

1 comment

  1. i like the items you have brought.