I can imagine that in the South, Boden parties are ten a penny, a bit like Pampered Chef, but up here there only seems to be one a year – but boy is it a good one to go to. Last year my friend and I were unsuspecting, just putting the postcode into the satnav to see where it would take us and were quite alarmed when it took us down a mile-long sweeping drive bordered by trees until we reached an amazing stately pile. We half expected a gamekeeper to appear with a gun and tell us to get off the land. However we were at the right place and to be honest, were more interested in exploring the venue than the clothes! There are lots of these incredible houses nestling in the countryside around here, as I said last week one of our friends owns one and we can never wait until it’s her turn to host a book club or a PTA meeting.
This year we were better prepared, it was at a different house but the giveaway was the address of ‘xxxx Hall.’ We had another glorious drive through stunning countryside, another sweeping driveway where we had to keep stopping for lambs on the track and yet another gasp as we saw the house.
It even had a sweet little summer house and you can just see the swimming pool in front of it which their children were splashing about in.
Anyway for those of you who haven’t been to a Boden party, there is always a good discount (22% with free delivery and returns for us) and a donation to charity from Boden. There are lots of rails to browse through that include samples of most things in the catalogue. There is usually only one size in each style so I tend to go through picking up the 12s and trying random things that I wouldn’t have thought of before. The only time it can be a bit frustrating is if there is something you really want to try but it’s in something that you can’t even begin to squeeze into like a size 6, so that’s why you need to take friends of different sizes with you. Between us we managed to pan a size 6 – 8, an 8-10 and 12-14 so we were pretty well covered. So, here are some of the things I tried:
The Holland Park coat. I have to say that I hadn’t even noticed this in the catalogue this year but it jumped out at me from the rails and it felt fantastic on, I ended up surrounded by lots of very well to do ladies who decided they were going to order it (Boden I should be on commission!). The photo doesn’t do it justice and the sample was a size 8 so it didn’t fit properly but it’s a lovely stiff fabric and hangs really well. My problem with it would be the dry cleaning – it’s the sort of thing you’d end up keeping for best – but if you have a wedding or are going to the races, I highly recommend it. It’s currently reduced from £149 to £104.30.
Next, the modern pencil skirt £59. Again this is a size 10 so is a bit tight but I liked it more in real life than in the catalogue and toyed with ordering one for work. There just isn’t a colourway that is grabbing me, although I have to say that the dark denim was tempting. (Can you see the edge of the huge handpainted mural that covered the wall on my left and the little calendar on the mantelpiece made by one of their children).
Now I had no intention of buying the Nancy dress £89 because I know I would get bored of it really quickly but it’s one of those things that I’d seen in the catalogue and just had to try. I do like it but (I don’t know whether you’ve noticed) I hardly ever wear pattern, somehow I just can’t concentrate when I’m wearing something busy. This is the best piece of wardrobe help that Mr MC ever gave me when I despaired of the things I bought and never wore. He spotted that they were always patterned so I made a rule to stop. Anyway I digress. If you’re wondering about ordering this I think you need to have narrow shoulders for the neckline to be truly flattering. My friend who does tried and ordered it in the ‘navy etched spot.’ Her frame is more gamine than mine and she looked gorgeous.
Now my finger has hovered over the buy button on the Casual Weekend Dress a few times. As we all know, jersey dresses like this can be a godsend in the summer for easy (but still chic) dressing. However as we all also know, they either look great or they look frumpy – it’s all in the cut. This was huge on the bust on me (as you can see in the second photo)- designed for someone with a better embonpoint sadly as I love the colour.
Moving swiftly on – as you can see, my friend was getting bored in the background. I am indebted to Sharon (one of my blog readers) who messaged me and asked me to try the Chelsea crops when she heard I was going to a Boden party. Being happy with the Bistro crops which I have in many colours and wear a lot for work, I had ignored these. HOWEVER – they are the softest cotton and the fit was really flattering – to use the old cliche they are that pair of Audrey Hepburn trousers that I’ve been looking for. Naturally I wouldn’t choose them in this print but I have ordered them in black and navy hoping that the 8 week waiting time is accurate because I shouldn’t be buying anything wintery like these now (the fabric is quite thick so they will be great for Spring / Autumn / Winter but too hot for summer).
And finally (and I cringe as I upload this) I tried these bistro shorts £45 for my size 6 friend because she wanted to see them on and there weren’t any in her tiny size. So here goes (as you can see I haven’t fake tanned – sorry).
The fabric and cut on these are great and I would buy them. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt smart in shorts and they’d certainly look great in France or Italy, wandering around a market or sitting on a terrazza sipping an espresso. My friend ordered them, I didn’t – I’ve already bought some shorts this year and these are just a bit too expensive for something I’d only wear for a few days each year. They are lovely though – if you have a shorts shaped hole I recommend them.
The one thing I did try but didn’t take a photo of because I was laughing too much was this flowershow dress which looked great on the hanger but made me feel like a pantomime dame:
It’s another one to avoid unless you’re very diminutive in stature. I then had the horror of thinking I wasn’t going to be able to get it off – it comes up small!
And finally lots of people were commenting on this Imogen dress £89 which looks as though someone has tried to alter it by sticking a scrap of old fabric in at the shoulders, it just doesn’t work and it seems really strange that Boden have let it through.
So that was the Boden party. Between us we bought: some flat, pointed slingbacks, a Nancy dress, some Bistro shorts and (I was very restrained) the Isabella Heels in tan (which have arrived but I haven’t tried yet because they’re suede and it won’t stop raining).
I do think a Boden party is a brilliant idea, especially if you’re fundraising. We’re hoping to hold one in Autumn so watch this space – you’ll all be invited and you could tie it in with a weekend in the Lakes if you live faraway. We’re just negotiating the many rules that Boden have sent us to see if it’s viable.
I hope you have a fantastic Bank Holiday weekend. We’re off to Northumberland to try something new and stay in a caravan for the first time which is playing havoc with Mr MC’s sense of identity – he’s strictly a ‘nights under canvas’ man. So that, along with the boys’ reaction last night when I explained to them that caravans don’t have wi-fi, doesn’t bode well. Anyway you can guess what my next post will be: caravan chic – now there’s a challenge!
So tell me – have you been to a Boden party or held one yourself. If not, would you like to go to one and how far would you travel? Do you think Thursday nights or Saturdays would be best? I’m interested to know what you think before we organise one. Happy half term to those who are breaking up. Speak soon.