Sunday, 26 June 2016

Being part of the "Styled By You" campaign for the Fort Shopping Centre...

I was really excited way back in April to be asked to be one of the faces of the "Styled By You" spring/summer campaign for the Fort Shopping Park in Birmingham. The idea behind the campaign was that three fashion specialists would be chosen to form the Fort Style Squad, to help inform and inspire Fort Shoppers to update their look for the summer months.  

My Partners in crime were model Tom King (you may recognise him from the TV) and local blogger Sophie Neal, who edits the blog Sophie etc . In my role as an Ambassador, I will be hosting a twitter take over one Friday lunchtime in July, as well as contributing to features for the media. 

I've written about the outfit that I wore previously but looking back now all that I feel when I think about the day that I chose it, is pain! It was the day after the London Marathon and the only way that I could walk down the stairs in the marketing suite was to use the handrails and pretty much swing down them like a monkey. But the walking around the Fort was good for me and I loved the outfit that I got to wear for the photo shoot a couple of days later - the Culotte Jumpsuit from Warehouse (£59) and Adidas Stan Smith trainers from Schuh (£56.99). 

The latest news and style tips from "the Style Squad" can be found on the Fort's social platforms  - twitter and facebook, so do drop by for a look sometime. 

Wishing you all a fabulous start to your week!

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Blushing with M&S

"Blush" is a big trend for both clothing and interiors right now and for my second day working with M&S last week, I chose an outfit in blush tones. Both the sprig printed blouse (£35) and the trousers (£45) were from Per Una. I wore a short length in the trousers so that I got the slightly cropped look that I was after. The shoes were from Autograph (£55) and they were incredibly comfortable. They were made of a very soft suede and also had insolia padding, so they weren't hurting even after 7 hours or so of wearing them.

I don't know if you can see but the shirt is made up of lots of tiny pleats around the torso so it has a nice fit to it. No ballooning but no clinging either!

Apologies for not blogging more regularly at the moment. My usual 9 pm slot for blogging seems to have been swallowed up with other activities of late - although I must admit I'm not really sure what. The work on the house is due to finish on Friday so it's been a bit of a whirl of last minute decisions but I think that we are getting there. I've got lots to share for anyone who is interested once it's all done - from paint colours to flooring, furniture, lighting and accessories so do keep a look out.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

M&S Summer Style Event

Faux leather wrap skirt (£35), Autograph platform sandals (£45), Limited Edition curved bar collar necklace (£18), M&S Collection abstract print top (£22.50)

Today I was working with Marks and Spencer in their Torbay store, presenting their Summer Style Event. The days are long but fun - eight presentations during the day but as ever the crowds, the staff and the tech and events team were lovely (as was the cheesecake that was available to sample!)

There's a very similar skirt in Autograph which is leather but the one that I'm wearing is a brilliant alternative price wise. The shoes were surprisingly comfortable and I kept them on all day which is unusual for me as I normally change into trainers in between presentations. I liked the unusual colours in the top too and the outfit felt right for me and for what I was doing - I'm not very good with floral, floaty summer type outfits especially when I'm working, much preferring the structure of "proper" clothes (if that makes sense!)

Friday sees me in the Exeter store so hopefully I will see some of you there. In the meantime, keep dry!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

It's pleats and bling all the way....

Skirt Topshop, Blouse Topshop (many years old), Adidas trainers no longer available but similar here

The girls went for it on Friday. It was a case of pleats, blouses and bling all the way for me and my 8 year old photographer, who was appearing in her school assembly as a beauty queen. Did she have a lot to say? No. Did she mind? Hec no - for she was dressed in bling head to toe. That's my girl!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Shorts and a shirt for the City

As soon as I put my shorts on this morning the sun went in - which says it all really. But having got that far, I persevered and kept them on well - just because..... Just because I didn't get around to changing, just because it was warm enough to keep them on, just because I like them and just because I felt like flying the flag for all 46 year olds who want to wear shorts!

But there is always that dilemma of what to wear them with. If we lived by the sea, or if it was a day in the garden it would be a boho top and flip flops all the way. But as I needed to go into town and do a hundred and one other jobs locally, I didn't want to look as though I was about to chuck my bucket and spade into the car and head to the nearest beach for an ice cream.
So I felt that this shirt with a scalloped hem from Cos (£45) would add just a little bit of structure and tailoring to my look. Well, insofar as I ever really think about these things.

And that was it really. I also wore this shirt for a night out on Friday with black fitted trousers and big ear-rings and I have other plans for it too. I just love a good shirt for the summer!

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

My favourite summer buy - and it's only £9.99!

Skirt: Zara, Shoes: Dune, Jacket: Reiss, Jumper: Topshop, Bag: M&S, Necklace: New Look

Remember a few posts ago I said that I loved it when the temperature was around 17 degrees? Well this is what I meant. It gives me the chance to wear the sort of outfits that I like, rather than bulking up and covering up with lots of layers out of necessity, or it being so warm that I end up in a Sweaty Betty type mess.

I really liked wearing this outfit - not that there's anything special about it but it was just a case of no tights and I wasn't cold, a leather jacket and again I wasn't cold, a lightweight fitted jumper and my new favourite necklace - and one which I will wear all summer no doubt. I felt covered enough and smart enough for work but still comfortable in my current favourite Dune flats.

As to the necklace, it's the multi coloured spike thread necklace from New Look (£9.99). Predictably I love the colours - as does my two year old niece. As soon as I arrived last week she was straight after my necklace (and bracelets) and it's so sweet as everything looks so enormous on her. But it is so pretty but in a neon type way - and it will go with everything.

And just to clarify the motor bike isn't mine. We'll leave it at that for now. But maybe one day I'll do a post on hobbies that our hubbie's take up as they approach 50. 

Monday, 30 May 2016

Renovations update!

It's a while since I've done an update as to the work that we're having done. The project should be nearing completion but we're a little way off yet. But you know, we're doing well. So far I've bought four light fittings and a coffee table so all is good. Anyway, here are a few shots...

This was the back of the house before the work started...

A couple of days after the work started, the conservatory with its leaky roof and rotting frames had gone...

It's hard to explain how it all fits together but this was the inside of the conservatory before its destruction.

The room behind the windows to the right in the above shot, and the left in the shot below, has been knocked into the new space, with the original space being extended but only about 1.5m.

And this is an idea of the space that we have ended up with. The roof is much higher and pitched, rather than sloping, which gives an amazing feeling of space. This is the main living area but to the right there's also a utility room and behind this shot there's a dining area (see the shot below) and a storage area.

The doors and windows are due to go in this week, which will make a huge difference as to how it feels. The floor tiles have started to go down too but to be fair they're pretty much the same colour as the current concrete floor.

And this is a shot facing away from the garden and back into the house. The plywood wall that you can see is the back of the kitchen. You cannot imagine how desperate/excited I am for that wall to come down as only then we will really be able to see how it fits together. And then I can start on the fun stuff - the paint colours, a new dining table and a few other bits and bobs.

 And this is the coffee table that I mentioned earlier. It's from Habitat and it's the rose gold hammered aluminium coffee table. It should have been £195 but I had a 20% discount with Living Etc, which was handy. There will be a lot of grey and white and clean lines - but lots of texture too - plus a bit of warmth from the rose gold seemed like a good idea
Our electrician has warned me that it takes about 55 weeks to put the lights together that we've chosen. Think that I had better get cracking...

Sunday, 29 May 2016

A Wedding Outfit Without Heels!

I've always maintained that shoes can either make, or break, not only an outfit but also an entire wardrobe. A wardrobe full of gorgeous clothes can be killed dead in an instant with hideously frumpy shoes. Equally, adding a few pairs of the right shoes to even a very basic wardrobe can give it a whole new lease of life. And we're not even talking expensive shoes or high heels here but just ones that do a great job style wise.

Anyway, I digress slightly from the whole point of this post which is about pretty dresses and low heels. I have about four or five dresses tucked away - the above one from Reiss in Bicester included - that in previous years I've worn with high heels. Not really being one for heels anymore, I hadn't worn the dresses for a while. Then I thought what a shame that was and with a wedding to go to earlier in the week I decided just to go for it anyway and to wear the dress first of all with silver trainers for the mile or so walk to the ceremony...

...and then later with silver shoes from Topshop - similar here from Whistles (£136)

Now I know that it's hardly mind-blowing or a great discovery "Ooooh, let's wear some flatter shoes with pretty dresses so as to get more wear out of them" but the realisation that I'd found some shoes that I liked and that would do the job that I needed, meant that they opened up a whole new host of wardrobe possibilities. It also meant that I didn't have to wear trousers and flats (again) or compromise in some other way.  And that's what it's all about. Identifying the gaps and filling them so that you get the most out of your wardrobe - whether it's the right shoes, a top that's the right length to work with all of the skirts that you have, or a dress that you can style for many occasions.

You would be surprised at the number of ladies I work with who really only need a few bits adding here and there for their wardrobes suddenly to come together and be complete. Sometimes it seems like magic but really it's just a case of taking a good hard look at what you have and identifying what you need for things to slot into place.

So here's looking forward to the wedding party this coming weekend with another fancy pants dress and flatt(ish) shoes.

And as for a couple more options, so I know that these aren't exactly flat but they are gorgeous - and their block heel makes them more sturdy than others. They are £35 and they are from Next plus they also come in navy.

However if lower heeled and "of the moment" is what you're after, minus an ankle strap or a pointy toe which many would rather steer clear of, there's always the glove shoe from Next (£55) which come in this gorgeous rose gold.

Tomorrow I'll be back with more rose gold. But this time for the house. Until then, have a super bank holiday weekend. Beth x

Saturday, 21 May 2016

It's midi, it's pleated and it hides a multitude of sins...

So what are the sins that this skirt hides? Let's think - bruises, blemishes, failure to attend to one's less than smooth legs?  So far so good. And it "wafts" beautifully in the breeze, making one feel almost lady like - although it also catches in the back of my trainers as I walk down the stairs which could, quite possibly, result in a less than lady like fall followed by less than lady like language.

There are lots of pleated skirts around at the moment. One of my favourites is this grey jersey one from Oasis (£30). It has a slightly more casual feel about it, so is good for those who don't fancy wearing satin on a daily basis.

Or for a bit of colour, there's this coral one from Oliver Bonas (£55), which also comes in blue or white. 

New Look has a great selection of pleated skirts, including this stripe monochrome one, for £27.99

The skirt that I am wearing is the satin pleat ankle grazer skirt from Topshop (£49), which also comes in a midi length (and that comes in tall and petite too.) I liked the khaki as a change from my usual grey, navy or black and they are surprisingly easy to wear - trainers, ankle boots, block heels, skater trainers, sandals - plus as I mentioned above, they hide a multitude of sins.

Lots of people have asked me whether they can get away with a pleated skirt and the answer is yes - it just has to be the right one. Some are very voluminous and they don't always work so well with flats, so the satin ones, or the ones with fewer pleats help with that. The longer ones also create a really nice vertical line, so they are surprisingly elongating even on a petite frame. So if you're tempted, go and have a good try on with some different styles of shoes and see what you think. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

An outfit for a fashion event....

I'm kind of wondering why I'm writing about this outfit, given that most of it no longer seems to be available in the stores, but it may be good as a "What to Wear" or quite possibly a "What not to wear" discussion that anyone may have going on with themselves.

So today was the event at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham. To anyone who came along, thank you for doing so and I hope that you enjoyed it and that it gave some you some ideas and talking points. We had an official photographer there so hopefully I will have some shots to share in a few weeks. But for now, this is how it looked backstage when I was preparing everything and before it all started to get just a little bit crazy!

Shoes, shoes and more shoes! 

The nearest that I can find to the Whistles cropped wide trousers (or culottes) that I am wearing are these, also from Whistles. Another good option is Cos, who have similar here. I ordered mine on New Year's Eve and first wore them to the Hush press day. They are my "go to" outfit at the moment as I wore them at an event last week, and again today but I'm good with that as I need to get my money's worth, plus they're just a little different and (most importantly) they are so comfortable.

See that chair in the background? The Bobbi Brown concession from John Lewis brought it along as they did the models' make-up today. Not only that but we had Amy along, who is an International Make-Up Artist, (Bobbi's right hand woman no less) and she does the make-up for the models at LFW and NYFW. How she coped with the glamour of Edgbaston I have no idea. It must have been completely overwhelming for her.

The top that I am wearing is from Jigsaw and it's the winter version of this ivory cropped shell top, which is £89. I picked mine up just after Christmas for £23. It's a really great length for higher waisted pieces like these culottes, or a skirt. For anyone who likes it, I would be tempted to see whether it comes back into stock in the A/W collection - and then wait for the sale.

My shoes are from Karen Millen, again in the sale just after Christmas, reduced from £140 to £40. Lots of people have asked about these shoes so I'm going to have to hunt around to see if I can find similar and do a post on them. They may be in Bicester (I've checked the outlet section on the KM site and they're not there).

My necklace is from Hannah Walker jewellery. I'm hoping to write about Hannah soon as we've worked together before and her jewellery is beautiful. And my bangle is from Livto which is a favourite local brand of mine.

And I thought that I would just share a quick snap of my hair which Craig, the fabulous hairdresser from & Beauty in John Lewis Birmingham, created in about 2 mins by whizzing the straighteners through it and then doing something flicky at the ends. I still think of my hair as really short but obviously it can't be and it was lovely to have a change. I felt very glam and I'm going to go and have a master class with him so that he can show me what else I can do with it - other than relying on it drying whilst I'm eating my breakfast, or on the school run.

Until next time, I hope that you all have a fabulous week. Beth x

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Hello Lovely (from Boden!)

Zara jeans, Topshop shoes, Boden sweatshirt (current), M&S bag (last year), Jigsaw sunglasses and necklace

I think that I have had half an eye on a logo sweatshirt for a while, but the words needed to mean something to me. When I saw this "hello lovely" sweatshirt by Boden (£41.65) it pretty much had my name written all over it, as this is a phrase that I quite often say to my friends. And if that isn't a brilliant excuse to make a purchase, what is?!

Before I sign off, I thought that I would just share a couple of photos of the interior of Watergate Bay Hotel where we went for a short stay a couple of weeks ago. It's all so simple and calming, with a lovely gentle colour palette.

I half wish that our home could look like this some of the time but then it wouldn't be a home - and anyway who could I shout at to tidy away their shoes/school bags/general detritus? Actually I've realised that quite a lot of it belongs to me. I seem to own way more shoes than I have feet.

Oooh what a tidy desk. Impractical - but tidy. And after all that's what counts isn't it?!

Hope that you are all having a good week. Beth x

Friday, 13 May 2016

Plain and simple sometime work the best - a new Baukjen T!

Apologies for the selfie in this post - I think that all photographers were on strike. This is just a quick OOTD from our trip last week and what I really wanted to share was this Baukjen Drue Top (£55), which also comes in grey.

One of my favourite things about this top is that you can faff and fiddle with it, get the position just right so that it's the right length/covers any lumps or bulges and then it stays there all day, so that you don't have to faff again (other than when you've been to the loo. As to the rest of the outfit, I've just whacked a Jigsaw tassel scarf with it from last year (similar here). I shared the Dune shoes a couple of days ago and the battered jeans are from Zara.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Rainy Day Yellow Mac...

I'm interrupting the sunny posts from Cornwall to bring you a newsflash. It's raining here. A lot. But the temperature isn't too bad and last year I had a realisation that 17 degrees is my perfect temperature.

Any hotter and all I can be faffed with is some shorts and a top; any colder and we're into four layers including vests, tights and a coat. But 17 degrees? Well that's just perfect. It means that I can wear those clothes that sit in my wardrobe the rest of the year and which I look at longingly, before resorting to jeans, boots and a roll neck.

Everyday this week I've managed to wear something that I haven't worn for ages because it's been too cold to do so and today it was the turn of this Whistles dress. Please excuse the photo - I have to get a snap in in between the workmen arriving/someone using the portaloo/a delivery lorry appearing etc.

And because it was raining (but not too cold) it gave me a chance to wear my Petit Bateau coat, which really does keep the rain off - on the bit that it covers anyway. As to the rest of me? Well by the time I got home my dress had pretty much risen up to the bottom of the coat, so the dress didn't get wet which was good.  Luckily I didn't take the route which went via the police station.

No, I didn't go via the police station. But I did go via Sainsbury's because we had reached that dire stage of running out of everything that a house needs to function properly - loo roll, toothpaste, clingfilm, silver foil, bleach, bathroom cleaner, kitchen cleaner, milk. With our current living conditions I feel slightly like a student - but I'm trying to embrace the general mess and disorganisation rather than fight it. Anyway, whilst in Sainsbury's, the lady serving me commented how much she liked my coat and asked where it was from. I told her that it was from Petit Bateau and that Warehouse had a similar one last year and then, when I arrived in town, look what I found in Topshop - a yellow hooded rain mac (£55).

So I googled the number of our local store, called her and told her the good news. I think that she thought that I was slightly crazy but she was very happy too and on her day off, she's going to go and buy one. So that was all good. Given that the rain will probably hang around on and off for a while yet, I thought that you all might like to know about this coat too. Happy splashing!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

My favourite new (Dune) shoes...

I thought that, because I was on holiday and that because my shoes were new and needed a bit of wearing in, it wouldn't matter too much if I wore my new Marks & Spencer socks with them - as long as no-one saw.

And then I decided that I quite liked the slightly nerdy shoe and sock combo, so I'm sharing the photo on here. I did it again today but this time with the cherry pair. Sorry if I cause anyone offence!

My shoes are from Dune and they are the Ebby Tassel trainer. They are the blush colour, which I really like as it's slightly better than cream or white against my skin.  What also appealed was the slightly pointed toe, which makes them a little more elegant.  The chunky sole stops them from being too flat and they are hugely comfortable too, which is important for me as my feet seem to have given up with shoes of the smart/heeled variety :(

Monday, 9 May 2016

My favourite new (Cos) top!

As I mentioned previously, last week Mr SG and I had a short trip away. We headed down to Watergate Bay Hotel in Cornwall where, for once, we were really lucky and the sun shone. On our second day there, we took a 10 mile walk along the bays and over the cliff paths and I wore this new striped detail frill top Cos (£55) - which I bought on a whim just before we left.

For me it was the perfect top for a perfect day. A little bit nautical, a little bit frilly and one of my favourite colours. I find tops quite tricky as often they are too square for me and my preference is to be fairly covered, even in the warm weather - but at the same time I like a little bit of something pretty too.

I also love the bardot tops, especially the blue striped ones, and have previously written about the Whistles and Zara ones on here. But this one is much less faffy for me and I plan on getting a whole lot of wear out of it this summer.

Tomorrow I'll be back with more outfits from our trip to the seaside. In the meantime, enjoy the sun! x