SCHOOL GATE STYLE

Belfast-based, clothes-loving, shopping-obsessed, mum of 3. Wearable fashion on a budget for busy women

Thursday, 28 April 2016

March Empties, New Perfume & a Birchbox Review!

Sorry for the MIA - the last two weeks have been busier than usual between marathon training, work and a bereavement so I just decided to take some family and me-time, away from blogging and social media and it was wonderful. I can thoroughly recommend it. I feel like I've caught up again with all the spinning plates (except the blogging one!)

And I'm back today with a massive beauty post. I'm a simple soul when it comes to beauty - my make up bag consists of about 8 items and my morning/night routine has 3 items. But I do invest in almost every item as I don't think you can get away with less expensive products on 40+ skin.
My favourite beauty posts to read on other blogs are the empties ones....because you really must love something if you've finished it to the end and even more so, if you've re-purchased.

March for me was an expensive one as both my moisturisers and my foundation ran out. Thankfully at opposite ends of the month. Moisturisers first and I've raved about Epionce products on this blog before...
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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Leopard & Camel

Well it was back to earth with a bang. Monday morning, kids back at school. pouring rain.
Then I remembered I found this jumper in Primark last week, on the sale rail, for just £5! Nothing like a gorgeous new sweater to brighten up your Monday morning and make getting dressed easy. Dodgy pose just to show you the shape of it - it's oversized, a little longer at the back and with narrow arms. My favourite!
Despite the rain, I wore my boiled wool Esprit leopard coat.
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Sunday, 10 April 2016

Paris - Day 4

We are all a bit tired today - last night's carry on up at Place de la Republique went on until around 5.30am! We had earplugs but they weren't enough to block out the sirens entirely.
We walked up to the square at 9am to see the aftermath but the cleansing teams were working hard to remove all traces - though the occupation is ongoing with plenty of protesters about preparing for another day of action. It's sad to see the monument in the square defaced but it got off lightly compared to the bank premises. The BNP branch on the square has been almost entirely covered in paint.
But as in any city, life goes on and we were soon en route to Montmartre to have breakfast and visit the Sacre Coeur. Such a beautiful setting and church...
Next, we moved down into town again to walk through the jardin de tuileries to the Louvre. We started our walk at Concorde metro station where I had to get a picture in front of these tiles..
Top - River Island  
It was such a gorgeous day so we sat for a while to watch the world go by..
Then we headed over to check out the newest retail addition to the city - the refurbished and just reopened forum des halles. It's a stunning building with all the usual big chain stores like Zara and Mango....but I resisted the temptation - a combination of cabin baggage pressure and the poor exchange rate....oh and bank account pressures too!
And our time in Paris was over. We headed to the hotel to pick up our bags and then got the train to the airport....where I'm currently making the most of the free wifi to write this!
Back to my own bed tonight where I'm going to sleep like a log....au revoir Paris. See you back in Belfast all. 


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Saturday, 9 April 2016

Paris - Day 3

Today was a new Garmin step record for me...
I'm lying in bed right now and my body aches but it was worth it. In fact we are sitting listening to sirens and wondering if we will get much sleep after all the walking & running. There's trouble brewing up on Place de la Republique - a night time occupation of the square has been going on now for a couple of weeks and it seems to have escalated last night. Tonight sounds at this early stage like it will be eventful. It's a worthy cause but rioting won't help an already struggling tourist industry. We chose not to eat out tonight & instead bought food & wine into our hotel room.
But back to today's adventures and we had an early start as the parkrun was over on the other side of the city. However, when we arrived at the Bois de Bologne, we struggled to find the starting point. Cue 20 minutes of walking in circles around a huge park. So unfortunately, by the time we found it, the race was well underway. 
However we were undeterred and did our best to work out the route and run it ourselves. So no official time or personal bests but we got our run in the park in Paris!
Trainers - Asics (still available on the TKMaxx website)
Quilted Running Jacket - Primark

Afterwards, we took the metro to Trocadero and walked from there to the Arc de Triomphe to watch the traffic mayhem...tho I appreciate there aren't any cars in this photo 😳 - there was a lull...
Then it would have been a shame not to walk the Champs-Elyesse and check out a few shops.
I had a quick scoot around Zara first where I picked up this bag.
I'd admired it in the larger version last year but it was too big & heavy for me. Sadly this cross body one isn't leather but I decided to break my pleather handbag rule just this once. 
I then ventured into Sephora-
...this Paris one was my first experience of Sephora way back in 1997 but today, I couldn't wait to get out of it! You couldn't look for a moment at anything before a sales assistant pounced. I like to browse for a while and consider and then I'm open to being helped but the pushy staff here, combined with the crowds, just made me want to run for air outside...which I did. No purchases made - in any case the GBP/EUR rate isn't great so the prices were no better than you'd get online.
Oh and I got told off for taking this photo! 
Next, we visited the Abercrombie & Fitch store and it was a real wow moment. This is the entrance gate (with obligatory bag check - this is happening in all the stores now)
....you then walk down a tree lined avenue
....to these gorgeous doors into the shop.
A unique experience making the shop one to definitely pay a visit to, even if like me, you'd rather not buy anything there. Don't get me wrong, they have some lovely pieces and I do like their jeans but it's all overpriced in my view. Though I guess those store fit-outs need to be paid for somehow!
Oh and here's where I fess up to wearing my running gear all round town. Ming I know but we were so close to all this and to zigzag across town would have taken a couple hours out of the day. I wasn't smelly I promise!

Onward to a ton of car showrooms for the wee man (and his dad) to look round and then we headed down Avenue George V to see how the other half live...
Picked up some nice gifts here - a bit different and beautifully packaged:
And then it was back in the Batobus to the train station and onwards to the hotel for a rest and shower.
We headed out again initially thinking we would have dinner but went off the idea partly because things looked like they were kicking off and partly because we weren't that hungry - two days of rich food had taken their toll and we just got some wine, cheese and crackers for the hotel room.
We did stop by the centre George Pompidou, which I thought was a shopping centre so imagine my disappointment as I realised it's a museum. Oh well - here's what I wore - to prove I got changed
And that was day 3! I'm ending fast here as my phone battery is about to die and I'm in competition with the husband for the travel plug.
Last day tomorrow - we fly in the evening so there's plenty of time to explore more. Thanks for all your comments, messages and emails - I'm delighted you're enjoying the Paris updates!
Ax
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