Thursday, 23 December 2010

Aspire Style - Sale prep

Morning Campers!

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and then of course it's The Big Day! We're open tomorrow, and then when we return to HQ on Monday it's going to be Sale-tastic so today is a day of mega prep. As I type, the Christmas tunes are blaring out, Libby is merchandising the shop and I am awaiting instructions on how to alter all of the prices on the system - and with a whopping 50% off masses of stock, it's a big job! 50% will come off loads of our clothes, gifts, shoes and bags, and we're also going to be taking 25% off the Autumn/Winter Orla Kiely range which will make them a real bargain!

We're trying to work out how busy we'll be today - has anyone still got Christmas shopping left to do? What's on your Christmas lists everyone? I'm heading back up to the office in half an hour and I don't think I'll have many orders so get in touch, keep me busy! :o)

And finally, if I don't get chance to say it tomorrow, Merry Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and thank you all so much for your continued support.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Christmas party, Aspire style!

(See what I've done there?)

Tonight the Aspire Style ladies are going to be causing a riot in the gorgeous Ardencote Manor and we can't wait! Naturally the only topic of conversation for the past six weeks has been who's wearing what and I can now exclusively reveal that the stunning, stunning, seriously you cannot believe how beautiful she is Lydia (Assistant Manager, Solihull) will be wriggling her way into the our Wiggle dress:

Wiggle dress, £69

Libby (Assistant Manager, Stratford) will be wearing a gorgeous vintage black halterneck pleated dress which will look sensational teamed with her very YSL-esque made-to-measure jacket and killer heels, Jen (Superstar, Oxford) has used the phrase "floor-length", Abbey is wearing a black and gold number not dissimilar to our TFNC dress...
One shoulder chiffon dress, £45

Sassi (best window-dresser in the world) tried on this little number but it's yet to be confirmed what made the final cut....
Silver sparkle one shoulder dress, £45

and as for me....well, who knows. Photographs soon if you're lucky....x

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Orla Kiely bags - last minute shopping!

Well I don't know what I was getting so stressed about on Friday! Yesterday wasn't anything like as busy as the last couple of weeks (maybe clock-mania has died down?!) and lovely Libby was helping me out so actually it was a very pleasant day! Everyone's been busy shopping overnight so the orders are back up, and I'm getting tons of frantic emails from men wanting to purchase Orla Kiely bags and pleading with me to find some of the sold out ones from somewhere and send them yesterday! Tut tut, boys - you shouldn't leave these things to the last minute!

Expecting a huge delivery today which will include more of these gorgeous washbags which I love and which I might treat myself to before my upcoming weekend away...
Toiletries bag - vintage parcel

Paper Plane vintage parcel washbag, £22.95

...and also some more hot water bottles which have almost all sold out now. They're a great Christmas gift though, a nice price and very apt for the Siberian weather we're getting! Also getting some more of the Hoshi dresses, as seen in Grazia and on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two....

Hoshi dress, blue

Hoshi dress, blue/emerald/purple, £40

I love the purple one but I'm trying to work out how I could wear it and still be warm?! One-shoulder dresses can't really be thrown on over a long-sleeved tee, can they? Can they? Help me.

Right, best get cracking on the orders...have a fantastic day everyone x

Monday, 13 December 2010

Monday 13 December. Don't speak to me.

I'm writing this from the lovely comfort of Friday 10 December because by the time Monday 13 December comes, I will be enforcing radio silence in a three yard circumference from me. I haven't quite worked out how, yet, but I'm working on it.

Oh friendlings, I'm sensing that Monday may topple me over the edge of Busy Mountain into the dark depths of Breakdown Valley. Simple everybody will be shopping online over the weekend ready to bombard me with work. Not that I don't love my job! I absolutely do. And I'm a devil for leaving things until the last minute, so I honestly don't blame any of you for doing so, but really my life would be much more stable if just 1/12 of you could do your Christmas shopping in April/May/etc. Pretty please, next year spare a thought for me :o)

Oh gosh, I'm a miserable little kitten. Quick, someone buy me this little compact to cheer me up:
Wagtail compact
And snow bunnies - simply shower me in snow bunnies and I'll be giddy with happiness, I promise...

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Christmas gift mania - this time for real. No polar bears.

So! Christmas gifts. Well the top sellers in terms of volume have definitely been the Bake-a-Like clocks since they were featured in the Guardian G2 Christmas Gift Guide thank you very much! We've sold something like 150 which is just sensational. If you want one, act fast as they've already sold out thrice over and I expect it'll happen again! Here they are:
Bake a like alarm clock
Link here if you'd like to buy one - also available in brand new chocolate brown which is about as retro as it gets! They're £9.95 but you can have 10% off them (and indeed everything) by using discount code "G210" which I believe is valid until midnight on Sunday 19 December.

Well, the clocks may be shifting in quantity, but the fact is, just one sale of a gorgeous Orla Kiely bag (multi-stem midi sling has been the most popular in the last two weeks) is essentially worth ten clocks!
Orla Kiely multi directional stem midi sling bag
So in terms of hitting my targets, a big thank you to everyone who's been buying Orla! I must say the purchasers have largely been men so I expect lots of you ladies have been dropping hints - and I don't blame you! If you love it but don't love the price-tag then the purse is gorgeous, too. 

Other top five sellers:
1. Moomin hot water bottle - sales have been insane! Our supplier is now out of stock, but we still have some pink Snorkmaiden ones here, along with our OwlBird and "Tea&Sympathy" ones. Nobody wants to lose a toe to frostbite so get yourself a hot water bottle pronto!
3. Hoshi dress - featured in Grazia this week and worn by Natalie on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two.
4. New Wagtail clasp purse - gorgeous for kids, teenagers and of course us oldies who are a sucker for anything super-cute, so it's a perfect "buy-in-for-emergency-Christmas-present" purchase!
5. Scottie Dog hand warmer and Bird hand warmer - see previous note re: frostbite.

Now if you'll all congratulate me on sticking to the brief, I'll be off!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Christmas gift mania!

Oh lovely lovely people, I am so sorry for neglecting you for such an age. I'm sure you'll all forgive me though as you'll understand how crazy it is here at Aspire Style HQ.

I'm afraid I've had to amend my outfits accordingly - a girl simply can't be running around in the snow in 4inch heels and pretty dresses (actually, I'm certain I could, but my Mummy won't let me) and so today I've had to resort to...dare I say it...jeans. Eugh. Awful, I know. At least they're Diesel (dark, high-waisted, excellent fit around the rear), and at least I'm teaming them with my brand new, very pretty top:
Amapolo top, nude
At £35 it's bargainacious and it's all golden and lovely and will be perfect with my black capri pants and killer heels for sipping cocktails, although the thought of exposed ankles sends my teeth on edge. If only Global Warming could heat my office rather than deprive the lovely Polar Bears of somewhere to play. Where was I? Oh yes, it's available by clicking here on this lovely link and I think you should all buy one immediately!

Gosh, the title really no longer fits the post...where jeans and polar bears come from?! Tomorrow I promise to post about Christmas gifts.....

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Fever Maple dress - the obsession grows

As you've probably gathered from my 27 blogs on it, I love my Fever Maple dress...

And now, I'll have twice as much to blog about, as we now stock it in THE colour of the season: Camel!
Ahhhh the squeals of delight when the box was opened. Stratford manager Abbey has had her eye on the similar Schiffer dress for months and we finally got that in, too...
Such a gorgeous material for the winter, all snuggly and lovely! It will be perfect with thick tights and boots -  the lovely black Power Struggle ankle boots for daytime and the super-cute tan Premiere shoe boots for a night out.

Would love to stay and chatter but I have lots and lots and lots to do - including sending some samples to Grazia, speaking to Glamour about a Twitter competition, sorting the orders, and generally updating the lovely website. In fact, we're thinking about a new shiny website next year - send me some suggestions! What would you like to see on there? What would make it extra-special and pretty and sparkly?

Mmmm have I mentioned I love the Maple dress? x

Monday, 15 November 2010

Baby clothes and teacups

Cold, crisp, sunny Sundays in Stratford-upon-Avon are definitely for aimless wandering, window shopping and mooching, so when I worked in the shop yesterday I was surprised by some of the items catching eyes and grabbing attention - namely the baby clothes.

I don't sell many baby clothes online, even though they're all amazing! This Menace t-shirt goes right up to age 5-6 and I'm definitely buying one for the gorgeous little man who took me for dinner on Friday night.
This baby-grow is adorable and I'm sure parents will agree with the message!!

There are tons more, I'm going to get some new photographs up online today so look out for more here on our baby page.

Other best-sellers yesterday included our range of teacup jewellery. I hadn't put it online as I wasn't sure how well it would sell but I'll definitely be uploading them this week so look out here at our jewellery page.

Right, better get on with some of this work instead of spending the day wondering how/when/if I can get an adult sized "Sleep Thief" romper commissioned....

Friday, 12 November 2010

Orla Kiely handbag phenomena

Come on, own up, who's ordered seven Orla Kiely bags today under different names? Oh, nobody? Must be genuine orders then...should probably package them up, including this Orla Kiely cross stitch caraway bag...
Likey? Wanty? Be quick, there's only one left (in our Warwick shop if you don't have £295 spare and would just like to go and touch it). Someone bagged (geddit?) themselves a bargain as they used a 10% discount code

In other news, it's the weekend! What are you up to? Tonight I'm taking a gorgeous boy (a model, no less) out to dinner...don't worry, admirers - he's only five. Tomorrow I have to make as many scarves as possible (18 orders, eek!), and meet a friend and babysit, and Sunday I'm covering in rest for the wicked! Next week, though, I'm off to Dorset with my new beautiful lovely lovely weekend bag (below) where the most I'll do is run on the beach with the pup.
although I do secretly a little bit wish I still had the boyfriend in the City as I could have this Pretty City London overnight bag instead...
Right, enough chit-chat, must work....or maybe have lunch. Yes, lunch.....

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Telegraph "Best Small Shops"

Oooh lovely lovely blogger friends, what have we here then...

The Telegraph Magazine is running a "Best Small Shops in Britain" competition, where categories include fashion, wine, books, and more...we'd simply love to win so if you think we're the best small shop, then please vote for us here. I think if we all agree to vote for our Stratford shop, the address of which is Aspire Style, Wood Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, then we won't all be voting for different shops and making the totals lower....if you get me.

In other news, we've just had lots of these gorgeous purses (£12.95) delivered...
as they're pretty much our best selling product and people are definitely shopping for Christmas now so they're flying out! Get yours here while you can!!

And don't forget, please vote for your favourite independent shops here  :o)

Monday, 8 November 2010

Konnie Huq wears pretty Aspire dress!

Konnie Huq was wearing one of our dresses on Loose Women last week -
This gorgeous Darling Maisie dress is £65 - there's low availability so buy now to avoid disappointment!

It's also been spotted on Lorraine Kelly's show so it's enjoying a week of fame!

It's a great work-to-cocktails dress as it can be kept simple with dark tights and a blazer or dressed up with killer boots and accessories.

I'm freeeezing today so snuggling up to my gorgeous warm fluffy Yumi Faux Fur jacket (£45)...

Time to go and put the kettle on....have a lovely day everyone!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Aspire Style launch party review!

Last Saturday was the grand opening of our Solihull shop, and last night we had a little party to celebrate! Thanks to everyone who came - we really appreciated all of your support, and hope you enjoyed the bubbly, goody bags and of course the discount!!

Firstly, thanks to the excellent photographer Karen Massey for coming along in the day and taking lots and lots of lovely snaps!

Secondly, thanks to my lovely Twitter/Blog/Facebook friends who managed to come to the event, it was so wonderful to put faces to names!

Second Hand Shopper Caroline has written a fab review but I haven't read it all because I got distracted by "Caroline's Cakery" and then in turn by the frequent use of the word "Nutella" and something spinachy that looks unbelievably delicious.

Crazy Roisin has also found the time to stop trying on pretty dresses and write something ;o) I wish you'd shown me the black with white shoulder-drape situation Vintage Allure one because you look GORGEOUS in that photo! But the Ethel looked equally beautiful.

And Molly Louise, I know you live in the Outer Hebrides or similar, so you had a good excuse for not showing up, but we do love your blog and those shoes look truly magnificent on The Princess pedals.

Well, at the risk of sounding like Porky Pig, "That's all, Folks" x

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Why not? Wednesday

So....the last couple of Wednesdays haven't had a Why not? because I had one ludicrously busy Wednesday and one Wednesday out of the office, but fear not! Today it's back.

This week I'm going to give you all the chance to win a gorgeous tea towel to brighten up your kitchen chores! But not just for a simple click of "like" or "follow", no no no, this week you've got to earn your prize! So tell me...
who would you most like to see doing your washing up for you and why?

I'd like to see my colleague Libby doing the washing up as every time I go in the kitchen I see a trail of her lunchtime activities! The cupboard is left open, things fall out of the fridge when I open it, there are little bits of soggy lettuce on the draining board, there's an overflowing bin-bag, the washing-up bowl is FULL of freezing cold water...I'll tell you what, it's a good job I adore her! ;o) hi Libby xxx

Alternatively, I'd like to see George Lamb doing my washing up. Just, y'know, because.

Ready, Steady, Go!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Solihull Launch Party!

Hello hello!

Our gorgeous, fantastic, lovely, beautiful new Solihull shop opened on Saturday and to celebrate, we're opening our doors to our most favouritest of all people on Thursday from 6pm-8pm for champagne, goody bags and of course a whopping discount on all things Aspire.

Subscribers to the newsletter: please feel free to donate to my NBF (New Brain Fund) as I'm sure you noticed I managed to write October instead of November...whoops! Now I know how editors feel when I write to them being all smug and hyper-intelligent, saying "Juuuuust to let you know...I spotted six grammatical errors in the book I just read". It hurts.

Anyway, moving swiftly away from my incapabilities, I'd love for everyone to come to the launch party on Thursday, so please do let me know if you can make it - I need to put enough goody bags together for everyone!!

Hoping to see you all there so that we can put faces to names.....
Catie x
Picture of my new favourite item to make this post prettier - a VERY soft and quirky leather wallet:
Pretty City - London leather wallet

Friday, 29 October 2010

Shoes, shoes, shoes!

Who loves shoes? Silly question - we ALL do of course! That's why we're giving all of our most favouritest customers 15% off all shoes and boots this weekend - even the brand new ones!
I'm simply going to have to treat myself to these fantabulous Poetic Licence Femininity boots, which are £125 but this weekend are down to £106.25....

As previously mentioned in my blog, the cost per wear is going to be so cheap that really it'd be foolish not to buy them! Ssshhh, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I think the manager of the Stratford shop, Abbey, is going to implode if she doesn't take these Poetic Licence Premier shoe boots home soon....

...and I don't blame her because they really are very pretty and with 15% off they're down to just £67.15. The ruffles look so cute, whether it's against bare skin, thick tights or my personal fave, some little schoolgirl socks. What? It's Winter, I get cold feet!

Went out for a quick drink last night with my lovely friend Jo who I think will absolutely love those tan shoe boots, too, and I know she'll have a giggle at these new super-sparkly sequin shoes from Irregular Choice...

...because last year she went to a fancy dress party as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and these would have been perfect! That's not to say they wouldn't also work as pretty shoes to add a splash of colour to your LBD this party season, though.


Right, enough pictures of shoes, better get the blu-tack out and start putting all of the 15% off posters up!

As always, feel free to buy me a present...preferably the aforementioned boots...x

Monday, 25 October 2010

Pretty vintage Christmas gifts

Payday looms and it's time to plan Christmas presents! Let's hope none of my girly friends bother to read my blog as I will be divulging what they're all getting...starting with these:

They're so pretty! The picture doesn't do them justice, they're very shabby chic and vintage, and actually really useful if like me you take your earrings/watch/bracelet/etc off and leave them on the nearest surface then forget where you put Mum (yes, my Mum, I'm 24 but still live with her, call me a loser if you like but then get jealous about the financial connotations of "rent/mortgage" vs "housekeeping"!!) is forever collecting hair-ties which I casually leave around the house in the oddest of places. Eh where was I, oh yes, these fabulous boxes are 13cm square with very pretty birds on and you can buy them here for only £9.95!

These glass heart trinket holders are also great for stashing things neatly and if you're buying for someone whose room style you're not sure about they're a pretty safe bet...
Glass heart trinket holder
They also work beautifully as tealight holders, or follow the lead of one of the Aspire girls and fill with pretty-coloured sweets for gorgeous table decorations. You can buy these here and they're even more of a bargain - only £5.25!

Well, almost home-time, just need to pop down to the shop and buy some of these on my way out to my car! No trains again today because, y'know, the day ends in Y.

Have a fantastic Monday evening, everyone....

Friday, 22 October 2010

Winter Boots and Christmas Mittens

Winter bird mittens
are quite possibly the very best mittens in the whole entire universe.

Irregular Choice Backlash, black and purple
are the best shoe boots that Irregular Choice ever invented.

But these...
Poetic Licence Femininity
are quite obviously, clearly and undoubtedly the hands-down winners. Please buy them [for me]. They are so pretty and lovely and comfy and will go with simply everything, and I know they're £125 but they will probably last three winters, and I'll wear them twice a week per winter, so per wear that's....well practically free. So basically, what I'm saying is, these boots are free. Sort of. Except the initial outlay. Who's with me????

Have a fabulous weekend, all!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Hot Water Bottle Mania

This incredible, amazing, lovely hot water bottle.......

 so very, VERY cute - I absolutely love it and I would very much like one please Mummy if you are reading this - and it seems you all agree! This morning, JUST this morning, I had four orders for them! I know four isn't a colossal Earth-shattering number, but I don't think I've even had four of them ordered on the net in the last month! Maybe it's been featured somewhere and I just don't know about it?!

Now got the matching mittens to this equally adorable hot water bottle...

Noticing a lot of packages are being sent out to men this afternoon...which can mean only one thing: CHRISTMAS PRESENTS!!

We've just had 16 giant boxes of Christmas decorations and stock delivered, so our shops will soon be transpired into Santa's Grotto treasure troves! Until then, though, upstairs is unimaginable. Boxes and glitter and polar bears and fluffy reindeer heads everywhere. In fact, the postman just came in, shrieked "Oh my God it's worse than my daughter's bedroom in here!" then ran away pronto.

Day off tomorrow (no, not a good fun day off, a dentist day off) so we'll catch up on Friday......

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Our clothes are gorgeous - but are they rainproof?

Imagine 20 gazillion litres of water falling from the sky in 47 seconds*. That's what just happened in Stratford-upon-Avon. Which was an EXCELLENT way of testing the waterproofness (word?!) of some Aspire Style products, i.e. the ones which were on my back during said rainfall. I know it's a constant worry for fashionistas all over the world...and the results are in:

1. Darling Jude skirt: surprisingly sturdy in a downpour! The skirt has three layers - a silky lining then two layers of net, which certainly helped.
2. Charming Nina cardigan: luckily only a small amount was peeping out as I'm not sure how much soakage this could stand. Beautiful, though, and it washes well so maybe it'd have been alright...
3. Fever Bunty jacket: coped amazingly well, droplets of water sat neatly on the fabric, ready to be bushed off with a mitten-ed hand (mittens in THIS design, going on the interweb very soon).

And that's the end of this fabulously interesting waterproofness review! I welcome and indeed encourage your comments, so if you would like to add anything about rainproof clothing then please do get in touch. And yes, I do realise that if I'd had any of these beautiful umbrellas with me then it could all have been avoided - but then you would all have been unsuspecting victims in the next rainfall where you are...

*Disclaimer: measurements may not be completely accurate.

Just reading this back to my lovely colleague and we're crying with laughter. Please take it as a fun review rather than any reflection of how interesting Aspire Style is - I promise we usually have better things to talk about than the weather ;o) xxxxxxx

Monday, 18 October 2010

Orla Kiely bags

Hello! Gosh, it's nearly home time and I have only just had chance to think about a little blog.

As always with Mondays, today has been very busy thanks to lots of internet orders. Today there have been a lot for Orla Kiely bags - maybe there's been a promotion somewhere and it's made people remember how fantastic they are?! We seem to be the cheapest suppliers so hopefully people come straight to us!

Also lots of gift items - at least four of the jewellery trees have sold which are perfect as girly Christmas gifts.

Very sleepy today after a restless night so shall be drinking this sleepy tea before bed - it really works!

Nightnight everyone!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Coats and scarves

Afternoon all!

Today has been frantic - there was a bit of a lull in the week for internet orders but today I've had lots and lots! Probably thanks to our newsletter going out with the 15% off all coats offer that is lasting all weekend, as I've had a few coat orders. Also had a couple for scarves so it's obviously getting colder, although the heating in here is absolutely roasting me so I wouldn't know! Sent out a lovely Orla Kiely handbag, I'm quite jealous of the recipient...I really want the Orla Kiely Rosemary bag which is just tooooo cute, and it's in the sale so very tempting...but it's the last one and I really should let a customer have it!

Other items selling well this week are the Mariko Evie dress which I have mentioned before - genuinely great for a Christmas party and a total bargain - and our new Irregular Choice and Poetice Licence shoes. I'm desperately trying to come up with a reason for NEEDING the Scottie Dog shoes...

If you can think of any then please let me know as I really do want them!
But also trying to save up for a I can only buy things I NEED.

In other news, we have lots of new stock coming in for our soon-to-open Solihull shop, so watch this space for fabulous new dresses!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend - what are you all getting up to?

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Pretty coats - 15% OFF ALL WEEKEND!

Hello hello hello!

Problem: It's cold. You need a coat.
Solution: This weekend all coats are 15% off!!

Technically, this should be starting at midnight tonight, but I can't think of a way to do it all in my sleep so I have activated it now!

My favourites are this gorgeous pink Charming Taylor coat, now only £67.15 and the Yumi Faux Fur jacket, which I already have and it's soooo lovely and warm and everyone says it's beautiful - now only £38.25!!

Happy shopping, everyone..........
Catie x

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Why not? Wednesday

It's that time of the week again! Why not do a giveaway?

I am just too good to you. Last week it was the lovely Damask purse, this week it's a fabulous jewellery selection from this gorgeous range! For your chance to win, we need more followers, more Likers, more bloggers, more more more of everything! I know, I know, I'm being greedy, but a girl has to keep herself in Ginger Nuts and Olbas Oil.

On your marks, get set, GO!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Fearne Cotton in Darling Elsa top

After the novel of yesterday, here is, as promised, a short blog.

Fearne Cotton on Celebrity Juice:

The Darling Elsa top as on our site:

I know what you're's even nicer in grey and you'd like to buy one. Yes, I thought so.

Tune in tomorrow to check out my Why not? Wednesday, where I will be giving away a few lovely bits of jewellery....

Catie x

Monday, 11 October 2010

My day. My bad day.

So I go up the train station bright and early (well not too bright and a little bit late to be honest, but still...), and there's a man in a nice orange day-glo number, and he looks at me like I'm an alien and shakes his head vehemently and says "ooh, there aren't any trains today love" as though I should know, as though it's been planned for years that the line from Henley-in-Arden to Stratford-upon-Avon was going to be out of action on 11 October 2010 and I'm the only moron on Earth who didn't know.

"Oh right", I said "oh, I must have missed that, sorry" [feeling like the alien moron he is making me out to be]

"Train derailed this morning at Whitlock's End you see."

How could I have possibly known that?! So I walk back, get in my car - it takes the same time but it's cheaper to get the train as two of the conductors now come round, look at me and say "I'll come back to you later <wink>" then don't. So I drive into town only to remember that the Stratford Mop (if you're not from Warwickshire, the Mop is a funfair, which is only fun when you're three and allowed on the carousel or when 16 and sneaking booze onto the waltzers) and all of the roads are closed! 25 minutes later, having been sat still for ten, going in circles for fifteen and eventually driving the wrong way through a car park because I cannot think of any other way of getting to work, I arrive late, stressed, bedraggled, and generally completely traumatised.

As if all this isn't enough, I then manage to break my nail all the way down - eeeee it's horrible - and to top it all off we've had some lowlife thief steal lovely things from our lovely shop :'( sob. We've got them on CCTV and told the police so hopefully they'll get caught.

So all in all it's been a miserable day and I would like you all to send me comforting comments, messages, tweets, etc etc to cheer me up. Although I have a feeling this M&S cookie might just do the trick. If not, I am definitely buying myself all of this Martine Wester jewellery and these Poetic Licence shoes which I have wanted for ages and possibly also this washbag which is so adorable and generally lovely.

Who else has the Mop come round and disrupt their lives? Who else has a traffic trauma story? Who has broken their nail all the way down and can relate to my upset? Please, get in touch.

Sad, sad Catie x
P.S. Sorry it's a novel. Short and sweet tomorrow, I promise.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Happy weekend!

Friday afternoon is upon us! Hooray! What is everyone up to this weekend?

Here at the Aspire office we have very exciting plans - one of us has just returned from America with a wedding band firmly on the finger and the jet-lag and bank account state that can only come from LAS VEGAS! Tomorrow is the UK leg of the wedding party and all we can talk about is what we'll be wearing!

I'm planning on pulling something special out of the bag...the sale bag, that is! This gorgeous silky, slinky silver number is half price at just £22.50 and it looks fabulous on.

Mariko Evie dress, now £22.50

And I'm going to go for black tights and the stunning contrast of these beautiful cerise shoes at just £39.50!
Poetic Licence Miss Betty shoes, was £85, now £39.50
I have a little clutch the same colour, so it's going to be a fabulous outfit! Just need to add a bit of sparkle with a pretty headband and job's a goodun!

Let me know what you're getting up to, and whatever you're doing, have a fantastic weekend!


Thursday, 7 October 2010

New shop!

Good morrow! Gosh, it's nearly 5pm and I haven't had chance to even think about blogging, so this may be a little rough around the edges. I sat here for a couple of minutes thinking, have I even got anything to even talk about?! -  but of course! Our new store is opening in a mere matter of weeks!

That's right! Anyone in, near, or on the same train line/bus route as Solihull is in for a smashing treat soon as we are opening our fourth shop in Mell Square! We're half way between M&S and House of Fraser so you're sure to be able to tempt your Mumma down there to buy you some goodies. And we're just around the corner from HMV so you can drop your other half in there, marvel in our treasure trove for an hour, then go and pick him and his square eyes up from the Playstation 3 section.

We seem to be having huge deliveries made every hour, directly onto my desk (ok, twice a week into the stock room, but I feel like I'm drowning in it all!) of lovely brand new goodies! Lots of new shoes which I'm hoping to get round to putting on the website tomorrow. And sparkly sparkly new jewellery and even some CHRISTMAS things! Including adorable little sparkly owls on clips that can go on the tree, over the mantelpiece on your fairly lights, or, let's face it, in your hair. Glittertastic. Also lots of Winter things like hand-warmers and hot water bottles and oooooh yes I nearly forgot some sensational new boots!

This is where I usually go through and add website links to everything that I've mentioned, but I haven't quite got around to putting them online yet so I should probably get on with doing some real work before I get fired and have to wave goodbye to all those sparkly owls........

Catie x
P.S. If you are (or anyone you know is) a blogger/journalist/all round superstar based in the Midlands then please get in touch as we are planning a launch party for the new store and would love to meet some of our online friends.....

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Why not? Wednesday

Afternoon everyone!

Today I've decided to have a Why not? Wednesday. You know, when you see something in a shop and you don't know if you should buy it and you just go Why not? - that sort of thing. And today I thought, why not give everyone the chance to win a lovely blue purse? So on Twitter and Facebook people are retweeting and liking and hopefully passing it on to friends and of course you can all enter as well, just make a little comment on the blog :o)

What else is happening today? Lots of orders for our paper plane range - the purses are still out of stock (email me to put yourself on the waiting list), but the fabulous parcel wash bag is back in stock - might have to buy myself one - and the travel pass holders are popular.

I'm wearing my gorgeous new Fever Tulip ruffle dress which is featured on the Domestic Sluttery blog at the moment and which is very lovely indeed.

Right, must get back to work. Get commenting for your chance to win the purse - and if you don't win, they're only £9.95 so treat yourself! It's even prettier in real life - so why not?


Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Exciting new jewellery line!

Look at our fabulous amazing charming beautiful lovely wonderful pretty (add commas where appropriate) new jewellery!

Rabbit cluster charm bracelet (£14.99)

Deer cluster charm bracelet (£14.99)

Owl cluster charm necklace (£17.99)

Sparrow charm necklace (£19.99)

There's much more but I'm too excited to blog, I'm going to go and play with them! Prices range from £12.99-£19.99 so have a look here to see lots and lots more.......and please feel free to buy me one!

Catie x

Monday, 4 October 2010

Just another Manic Monday

This morning has been insane! But it's 11:30am and I'm having a cup of tea and a few quiet minutes to blog and catch up and just generally breathe.

The 10% discount we ran this weekend went really well - I came in this morning to see 25 internet orders which is fantastic! Mondays are always busy but today is particularly so. Lots of orders for little purses, snow bunny keyrings and trinket boxes which I guess are some Christmas gifts. Also lots of party dress orders - I particularly love this Mariko Evie which is in the sale at just £22.50! I think we should bring it back out of the sale, it's great! Silver and silky with some shoulder detail - it's perfect for a Christmas party with black tights and glamorous heels like these from Poetic Licence. And of course, lots more orders for coats. Pavia and Betsy are the two favourites I think, although I love the new Fever Empress.

Right, five of my ten minutes are up and my tea should be at drinking temperature now (although we've got no milk so I might not be able to drink it if it's too strong) so I shall down it and get on with some more orders.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Friday, 1 October 2010


Capital letters, how brash...but seriously, it's EXCITING, isn't it?!?!?!

Take a look online at a host of goodies available, including my new favourite, the Vintage Envelope Travel Pass holder. My Oyster card is looking pretty scraggy (is that even a word?) in its boring holder, and this beautiful travel pass is the perfect way to achieve a stylish swipe...although I can't guarantee it will make the shutters any less vicious/temperamental, or reduce queues for topping up credit. And at £9.95 (or £8.95 with the discount), it's a great bargain - you could even buy a few and hand them out for Christmas presents!

It's absolutely pouring down today (lots of umbrellas selling downstairs in the shop), and my office is très chilly so I've borrowed a Yumi faux fur jacket from the stock room, and let's face it, I'll be buying it later because it's AMAZING. I am all snuggly and warm and fluffy. It's like having my cat here with me. Here's my cat:

Don't worry, I won't turn into one of those nutters who posts endless pictures of her cat. Although, has everyone seen the Ikea advert?? TOO CUTE! It was a cinema advert on Wednesday - giant kittens!! Right, enough about cats. Who likes owls?! This hot water bottle is absolutely brililant!

Time to go before I start ranting about cute animals...I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! Pass on the message about 10% off - the code is ALL10 - and get shopping!

Catie x
P.S. Deer washbag, butterfly purse, bird compact

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Zandra Rhodes handbags

Morning everyone!

Who likes Zandra Rhodes? Who wants a Zandra Rhodes bag?

Well, we've just had a delivery, and look what the postman's dragged in..........

Zandra Rhodes

Browse today, buy tomorrow! Well, if you're signed up to our newsletter that is, because there's 10% off all weekend for our bestest friends. Sign up now, or if you're too late, start making some friends in the right places so you can bag, borrow or steal that voucher code!!

Ciao Bellas!


Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Ginger Nuts

Morning campers!

Seeing Eat, Pray, Love tonight - anyone already seen it? Taking my Mummy as she's been looking after me very nicely indeed lately (i.e. for the last 24 years). She's got a lovely new grey coat so I'm also going to treat her to a sparkly brooch to make it even prettier. I'll be sporting my Fever Toulouse dress with a black belt and my Nica Clutch.

Feeling tired today, think it's a hangover from the immense number of Ginger Nuts I ploughed my way through yesterday. Seriously. Ginger Nuts. Even though I'm not a 76 year old man. It's just they were half price and I thought I could fancy a Ginger Nut. Then one turned to two, to three, to ten. Anyway, anyone working for a biscuit company should feel free to send me the kind of biscuits that self-respecting 24 year old women ought be munching on.

New stock in today for our new store - lots of Irregular Choice boxes and Darling coats everywhere! Will put anything new on the website ASAP.

Someone, anyone, come and confiscate the biscuits....

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Olbas Oil and Soup


Good news - I can now officially breathe through my nose! I'd like to thank Olbas Oil for sponsoring this cold, and my brother, for bringing it home with his washing and ironing last week.

So now that I'm feeling all chipper, what have I been up to? I've been blowing fuses in the office which I didn't notice until I put a spoonful of fridge-cold butternut squash and coconut soup (M&S) into my mouth and thought this isn't right. Twenty minutes later, covered in dust from searching every nook and cranny for the fuse box, I had hot butternut squash and coconut soup and it was amazing. Highly recommended. Managed not to spill any on my fabulous new Fever dress thanks to my genius idea of basically covering my entire self in Moomin tea towels, so it's all good in the Aspire hood!

I've also been bombarded with orders, as per. Today it's been lots and lots of sale dresses - loads of fantastic bargains to be had so I'm not surprised - and more stunning coats. Brrrrr. Also been working on the next newsletter - subscribers are in for a treat, so spread the word, tell all your friends to sign up, and enjoy!!

Off to take some photographs of our brand new jewellery - in the mean time here's our current range.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, 27 September 2010

Tick Tock

Arghh, I cannot believe it's quarter past 5! But the watch around my neck tells me it is, so it must be!

How was your weekend, everyone? What did you get up to?

I went shopping on Saturday with my bestest friend, despite the fact I was a bit snotty (Ok, a LOT. Shut up Charlie). We went on a road trip to Milton Keynes - very random but great! My only regret is that we were far too cold to explore outside and look at the markets and hunt down any independent little shops, so we had to stick to the giants. If I'd bought this amazing Yumi coat last week I could have coped. I love that our Aspire shops are so well placed - not on the outskirts of a town with a big shopping centre which is sadly where a lot of independent retailers end up due to ludicrous rent costs.

Are any of you independent retailers waiting to win Lotto and get a big store?

I'm much, much poorer than I felt at the end of last week. Did I really need 5 long sleeved t-shirts, yet more leggings, three pairs of over-the-knee socks and black wellies?? Winter terrifies me. On a happier note, though, I'm feeling much healthier thanks to all the special tea I've been drinking and far too much Olbas Oil. Note to all readers: never touch your eye with an Olbas Oil finger, or take the "sprinkle 3 drops on your pillow" to mean "pour the whole bottle on your pillow, then enjoy rolling over in the night and getting it in your eyes, ears, mouth, and really not that much up your nose".

Anyway, the weekend is over, and I came in to what is becoming my usual Monday of a gazillion internet orders and lots of emails. Big sellers this weekend have been this Flutters and Fancies satchel and yet more tea towels. What's with the tea towels, everyone?? Lots more people emailing to be on the waiting list for the Paper Plane purse - and I'm one of them!

Nearly home time now, and to me, that means go downstairs and buy the following items:
Lovely soft Yumi jacket - because I really am very cold,
Antique watch necklace - because my friend will kill me if she doesn't get her hands on one soon, and
Tea with the Queen tea towel - because, well, if everyone is....


Friday, 24 September 2010

Playing dress-up

This morning I went to a Macmillan coffee morning for a spot of tea and cake with a bunch of complete strangers...I don't really know how I ended up getting invited but nevertheless it was a very pleasant home-made double chocolate chip cookie morning! Everyone complimented my Fever Maple dress, which was lovely. Then I rushed over to get to work for midday, only to arrive and find my workmates playing dress-up in the shop!

Here's the beautiful Libby in the gorgeous Darling Josie tunic and Darling Betsy coat:

Here's Marie looking stunning in our new Fever Empress coat, patent Orla bag and Too Sweet shoes:

And lastly, a very rare snap of photo-phobic me, wearing my beloved Fever Maple dress, and a warm, snuggly coat which isn't on the website yet, so it's all mine for now!

Now we've finished playing dress-up, it's time to get back to work.....although I love my job so much it doesn't exactly feel like a hard slog!

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend! What are you all up to?

Catie x