My Little Duke


A/W Fashion Preview

FashionSteph Duke1 Comment

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!!

Some of the Topshop girlies at my wedding!

Some of the Topshop girlies at my wedding!

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!

Ems styled in Jacket:   Topshop  . Skirt:   New Look  .

Ems styled in Jacket: Topshop. Skirt: New Look.

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.

Jacket:   Topshop  . Blouse:   F&F  . Jeans:   George  . Heels:   New Look  .

Jacket: Topshop. Blouse: F&F. Jeans: George. Heels: New Look.

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!! 

Phoebe styled in Jumper:   Joules  . Leggings:   Jack & Jillaroo   - both from Little Boutique @ Alana's.

Phoebe styled in Jumper: Joules. Leggings: Jack & Jillaroo - both from Little Boutique @ Alana's.

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! 

Check out Alana Interiors on Facebook or visit their website.

No better time to visit Alana's than when the store looks magical for Christmas! They stock the most beautiful Christmassy delights!

No better time to visit Alana's than when the store looks magical for Christmas! They stock the most beautiful Christmassy delights!

View some shots from the catwalk below!