I’ve always loved fashion in one way, shape or form.
It all began when I was sweet sixteen and on the hunt for a part-time job whilst studying for my A-Levels. Walking past my local high street Topshop store, I spotted their advert for Sales Advisor in the window. I remember dragging my friend into the shop and nervously filling in an application at the counter, under the manager’s steely gaze! The job was part-time for the busy Christmas period, but ended up being extended afterwards for what turned out to be another 6 years, until I decided to give it up to start my PGCE in Teaching.
During those 6 years working for Topshop, I learned an incredible amount; not just about the retail/fashion business, but about myself too. I learned how much I loved communicating with customers, both at the till-point and on the shop floor, fitting and styling. I learned how to merchandise and the satisfaction I got from standing back and looking at my newly merchandised display was too good! I also learned about my own body shape; what clothes just ‘worked’ and what clothes definitely didn’t! Those years in Topshop saw my confidence boom and my weight slowly drop off as I went from a size 16 to a size 8 and at one point I had an item of clothing from every size in my wardrobe!!! (See previous blog.)
I enjoyed my time working for Topshop immensely and made some wonderful friendships with colleagues. After completing my degree in English and Drama I took a year out to get married and to decide on my next career step. I worked around 16/20 hours a week in the store and my passion for retail had me almost heading in the direction of training/studying for Retail Management; but my love for teaching tipped the scales and I applied for a PGCE in English at Queen’s University, Belfast. I knew that I had to put all my focus on my studies so just before I was due to get married, I handed in my notice and my time at Topshop came to an end. I still miss the craic and of course, the discount!!
Unfortunately, being a teacher means that my work uniform isn’t quite as fashionable as it was in Topshop, but I do try and have just a little bit of style – if I can manage it! At the moment though, all I can manage is a bit of mascara some days!! So, to be asked to come as a ‘local blogger’ to the A/W preview at Little Boutique in Alana Interiors – I was delighted! I pulled my lovely sister in on the action and made it a date!
Alana Interiors is a beautiful, bespoke living interiors store in Lurgan. It is hugely popular and for good reason … Affectionately known to us locals as ‘Alana’s’ – it prides itself on stocking only the best designer home décor and fashion brands. This family run department store offers an excellent wedding list service and has a delicious café upstairs serving a fabulous range of hot and cold dishes. My school is right beside Alana’s and too often I’m tempted to nip across and indulge in something sweet! The problem is, I can’t resist having a nosey when I’m there and usually end up buying something and avoiding telling my husband!
I was so looking forward to the preview night and relished the chance to don my heels and spend a night out with my sister Emily. (Matt was on baby duty!) On our arrival we were treated to a delicious display of fancy finger foods – all free of charge. The selection was scrumptious and I definitely couldn’t fit anything more on my plate!! We scoffed the lot before the settling in to watch the fashion show. Honestly, the A/W collection in perfect. There is something for all ages, all sizes and all styles. Each outfit was carefully chosen to appeal to such a wide audience and the models, again, were a range of ages and sizes. There was definitely something for everyone and what I especially loved was how REAL the collection is. Everything was totally wearable and affordable.
After the preview, my sister and I scuttled off to browse the boutique and chat to the ladies. I had kindly been given a £50 voucher to spend so I was on the lookout for something special from one of my favourite brands, Joules. Typically, as mamas do, I ended up with a gorgeous outfit for my daughter Phoebe - a sweet little Joules jumper and the cutest pink cloud leggings by awesome local brand Jack and Jillaroo – nothing for me! Sometimes I totally think Phoebe is more stylish than me!!
Thank you Alana’s for a fabulous evening of food and fashion … if you have never visited, make a point of doing so if you’re ever nearby. Alana Interiors is opposite Tesco, Lurgan and is well worth a nosey. It’s even a good excuse for a cuppa and one of their yummy scones!
View some shots from the catwalk below!