Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The 12 outfits of Christmas, day 3 - from day to evening....

This is one of those outfits that can take you from the day to the evening quite easily. During the day, it's a simple outfit of a pale grey cashmere jumper and dark grey skinny trousers. For the evening I added a silver/grey jacket, a grey statement necklace, boots with a bit of sparkle on the back and a clutch bag. I wore this to the ballet and whilst heels would have made it slightly dressier, there was a risk that I was going to have to carry our 6 year old from the theatre to the car, which would have been a disaster in heels.

One way to take your outfit into the evening is to add a darker lipstick. For today's gift I'm showing you the Bobbi Brown art stick in electric pink (£19.50). I bought one of these a couple of weeks ago and for me it's a real winner. It comes in eight shades and being like a big, fat crayon, it's easy to apply. It's also easy to increase the depth of colour by layering it up. Equally, I use it in the day time but I apply a layer of gloss first as that makes it slightly lighter, more sheer and less heavy than otherwise.

Anyone hit the sales yet? They're everywhere with some more biggies starting soon, so keep your eyes open!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The 12 outfits of Christmas day 2 - Girls' night out

[Outfit: H&M skirt, Whistles jumper, Liberty bag, LK Bennett shoes, Whistles cuff]

So today's outfit is one that I wore a couple of weeks ago now. It's just as well that I had one or two outfits up my sleeve as I twisted my ankle last night whilst running and I'm a heel free zone for now!

For anyone interested, these were my thoughts when putting this outfit together, although before we get there I think that it's worth noting that I'm generally happiest in about 55 layers, flat shoes or trainers and trousers - but I accept that's not a good look all the time. Even when I up my game during the daytime I still need warm tights and not too high shoes so for a night out it's good for me to see what else I can get away with. 

So back to my thoughts, this was the process which meant that I ended up where I did: Yep, heels are good as I won't be walking too far. As I'll be inside all evening it will be fairly warm which means I can go without tights, which also means that I can wear open toed shoes but if I lose any more clothes I'll a) be cold b) most probably asked to leave so I'll wear a lightweight knit. Equally if I wear anything short with the no tights/open toed shoes I'll look like a bit slutty/muttony so I'll wear a midi length skirt, which, being fairly demure, means that I can get away with a slightly less demure shoe. 

So that's how it came to be that the H&M skirt and the LK Bennett shoes got an outing. I had bought the cropped sparkly turtleneck from Whistles (£75 although I bought it with a 30% discount) a few days before as I've got a few things that needed a shorter knit to go with them.

Moving on to today's gift, I've looked over this Cath Kidston  purse trio (£20) on more than one occasion and I think that it/they are lovely. They're brighter in real life and just so handy to have. They're big enough to use as a bag (well that is unless you're still in that nappy stage) rather than just a purse. I have several that I take on holiday in the summer and they're nice to have when going down to dinner, or just by the pool when not too much is required. Failing that, they're easy to find at the bottom of a dark handbag!

Warehouse has this flat wrist clutch (£8) which is in a beautiful colour - great against black, grey or navy and good for those people who (if any of them do exist) perhaps don't like sparkle - perish the thought.  

Hope that everyone's Christmas preparations are going to plan. Look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

Monday, 15 December 2014

The 12 outfits of Christmas - Day 1, casual glamour (Clamour)

[Outfit: Seven boot lane boots, Cos jeans, Jaeger boutique jumper, Miss Selfridge scarf]

So today I've decided to start my 12 outfits of Christmas feature. It's the third year that I've done this now (I think) but I'm sure that by day 4 I will have run out of ideas and I will be asking you all to contribute - which of course you are all more than welcome to do anyway. Maybe my Mum will even let me have a photo of herself in her New Look Christmas jumper. She's just had her hair permed so I'm sure that she's feeling on top of the world right now. 

My aim is to include outfits for lots of different occasions so whilst the outfits may not all be "live"  hopefully they may give some ideas - whether they be ideas of what to wear or what NOT to wear. As with last year, I'm hoping to include a gift idea each day too. I won't lie, they will be girlie all the way! 

OK so clearly I'm not up to anything overly glamourous today but even on those days when you're doing lots of jobs and ferrying children around for their MOTs (dentists/opticians etc) there's no reason not to include a little something special. So I've come up with the term (or maybe I haven't at all but I've not heard it anywhere before) of Clamour - casual glamour - which is really your scruffs but with a bit of bling, fur, sparkle or whatever takes your fancy.

I've added this fur scarf from Miss Selfridge (reduced from £25 to £12.50) to my outfit, which I'm also using as my gift idea for the day. They come in several colours - pale pink, mint green, black and mine is the grey one. I'd been after a fur scarf for a while but all the ones that I had come across were pretty pricey. Then I saw this one and thought "that will do nicely thank you very much" and I haven't taken it off since. Although it isn't furry on the back, it has a nice satin lining so it still looks nice and it's also slightly gathered at the bottom which makes it sit well. I reckon that receiving something like this on Christmas morning could make that enforced after lunch walk a whole more appealing, especially when all you really want to do is to sit on your bum watching telly and eating chocolate. 

So anyway, onwards and upwards. Here's looking forward to Day 2.....

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Meet my latest accessory, which also serve the purpose of the being able to see variety....

[Outfit: Whistles trousers, All Saints jumper, Adidas trainers, Cocinelle cuff, shirt from boutique]

I know that you wouldn't think it just by looking at it but this outfit actually took a while to pull together. First, I had to iron my shirt (not a pleasant activity for a Sunday morning).  Secondly, I had to stitch the cuff of my jumper which had come undone and if that wasn't enough....well it was actually so after that it was just a case of getting dressed. But the thing was that today I went to pick up my new (and first pair of) glasses so I wanted everything to be plain and safe. And you can't really get much plainer or safer than navy trousers, navy jumper, white shirt and white trainers can you?

My prescription isn't strong but I think that for the cinema and also for night time, or early morning, texting my glasses will make a difference. Mr SG is slightly freaked out about them. He thinks that it's rather like having a new wife. Interesting. I'm just wondering whether this new wife might possibly be in need of a whole new wardrobe???

ps sorry about the blog looking different. In getting my computer fixed, the settings have been mucked about with and I'm not sure how to re-set them. Everything is so tiny. Great timing on the glasses front really!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Camo, leather, fur, patent and embellishment - sounds a lot for one outfit!

[Oufit: Topshop skirt and jumper, Oasis leather jacket, Damart gilet, Dune shoes and no, I've no idea what I'm doing in this photo either!]
Oh crikey so much to say, so little time to say it, so I'm not going to regale you with tales of how I really want a t-shirt with the slogan on "I'm just trying to get the house tidy for Christmas" which I can point to each time one of the children leaves a wet towel on the floor, or school books in our bedroom, or shoes piled in places that shoes shouldn't be piled - all of which happens frequently. 
Nor am I going to tell you about how I'm trying to be a Domestic Goddess, using every spare second to bake cakes, make stews or whizz up desserts, all of which I can freeze before Christmas so that a beautiful meal can be produced with minimal effort. Sadly I'm lacking some of the assets of the real Domestic Goddess (namely huge boobs, big red lips and a silky negligee) but you know, a onesie will do.
That aside, yesterday I resurrected one of my favourite skirts from last winter. I bought it in Topshop in Belfast, along with the grey embellished jumper, whilst I was over there speaking at a lunch last year. I have such fond memories of that trip - everyone was so friendly.
To keep out the chill I've layered it with my old (and on its last legs) cream Oasis leather jacket and a fur gilet from Damart (£39) which they kindly sent to me to review. Having worn a few fur gilets I have to say that this is a lovely one. It's not too bulky which is great as the idea of fur can be good but the reality can be a little honey monster at times. It also has hidden hook and eye fastenings plus as it's collarless it has a nice simple line about it. I really like layering fur gilets over a leather jacket for a layered look - plus the added warmth of course. This one is a good price too so if you've not ventured down that particular road before but are considering doing so, this is a great place to start.
Must dash - time to go and order myself a silk negligee so that I can come down and eat the Christmas leftovers from the fridge in the middle of the night in true Nigella style.

Monday, 8 December 2014

When all else fails with ideas for a post, just take a photo and write! (Wearing Zara, Whistles, &Other Stories)

[Outfit: Whistles jeans, Zara boots, & Other Stories jumper, Oasis necklace]

Each day after an outfit photo has been taken, I try and think of an angle to take on it when writing the post. Whether it's something to do with the colour of an outfit, a particular trend, a styling trick, divulging a great find or pairing the old with the new, I usually (hopefully) come up with something.

However today I've come up with a big, fat zilch. My initial reaction was that I needed to get my hair cut (that's already booked) and that I look as if I could do with eating a pie or two - but honestly that's just the angle.

I thought about going down the route of how Style Guile was always meant to be very much feet on the ground fashion, which it is, but that would be copping out. Then I was going to talk about how I'm preparing for my 12 outfits of Christmas posts, which gives me leeway to look like a scruffy bum before the sparkles start. That's not so much of an excuse but it's not really a good enough angle. And then I was going to write about how I was just flipping freezing and that I wanted to be warm, which is true but then again it always is, so that's hardly new. Then I was going to link to my lovely necklace (a bargain at £6 from Oasis) but it's no longer online so that angle failed too. So in the end I decided to write about how all my angles for writing a post had failed and in doing so I seem to have written a post. Hope that's OK with you all for tonight!

One thing that I did do though and which I hope may be of some use, was to visit the & Other Stories site, just to see if I could find a similar jumper. In terms of shape (a bit short and a bit boxy) this Wool pearl detail sweater (£79) is pretty similar (although in terms of anything else it's not even remotely similar) and it's also just, well, pretty really. Possibly rather nice for Christmas day I thought.....

Sunday, 7 December 2014

The best jeans in the business, from a lady who knows....

Tonight I'm doing what I see as my civic duty and bringing you a pair of jeans which I have been told, on very good authority by my friend Sal, are fantastic. They are the skinny high rise Levi's  and they are £90.

I've been given clearance by Sal to divulge why they are good because you know none of us likes what we've said to a friend being shared to the world, especially when it involves one's tummy, but as she said "they're great because you can tuck everything in and they hold it all in place."  Sounds good to me.

By way of extra info, but hopefully not too much info, Sal is a very slim size 10 apple shape which as many of you will know means that her tum, in proportion to her long slim legs and narrow hips, can be harder to dress. She looks stunning in jeans  and whilst she's not fussed by the label on her bum (or anywhere else for that matter) for her it's worth spending a little more on jeans to get them just right. Often the rise is too low for her to be comfortable, or the leg length too short. Previously she has worn Seven for all Mankind but after wearing these Levi's, which in turn were recommended by a friend at work, they seemed really uncomfortable. These jeans come in 9 colours and she loved them so much that she's going back for a second pair.

So for anyone who finds buying jeans a nightmare - you know the scenario, you get them to fit around the waist but then they swing around the hips, or when you bend over they show your bum - these could be your saving grace and just in time for Christmas too.

The composition of these jeans is good too - they're 72% cotton, 26% polyester and 2% elastane. Any more elastane and they can become more like leggings than jeans and although traditionally we perhaps turned our noses up slightly at anything containing polyester, I prefer jeans to have some in. They just feel softer and more comfortable to wear.

I love sharing what people love and swear by so if you've come across anything that works well for you, do please let me know at

Saturday, 6 December 2014

A scarf (Accessorize), Spakles (GAP) and Spots (Topshop) - not all together but not far off!


Sorry for the radio silence. I've been whizzing around the country for a couple of days, working other days and we've also had the decorators in so sadly blogging has had to take a back seat. Oh but most exciting of all - how could I forget - today we booked tickets to go and see 1D in concert in October. Already we're hugely excited!  However despite all that's been going on, it doesn't mean that I haven't been thinking about you all and wondering who needs what in the run up to Christmas.

For my trip away I took this shrunken (although to be honest I'm not sure what about it is shrunken, exactly) metallic sweater GAP (£44.95) but which I bought for £30. Last week a friend dropped by and she was wearing a lovely chunky navy jumper and a big scarf and given that the forecast was chilly I decided that it was a great combo for me. Obviously I don't own another chunky jumper, or indeed a navy sparkly one - but you know how it goes.

And I know that I'm extremely late to the blanket scarf party but I was waiting for the right one, which I found in Accessorize. I can't find it online - it must be me, sorry - but the bright colours were right up my street and it is so warm. There are stacks of them about from New Look to River Island, H&M and Topshop and if it's not somewhere that you've gone yet they are a great way of adding some colour and/or giving a new lease of life to a slightly tired coat.

This evening the eldest and I braved the Bullring. Oh crikey me. We had a great time together though and this caught my eye in Topshop (£85). Now, I have a particular friend who loves fur coats - in fact she loves coats of any description - and she loves spots. So I'm just waiting to see if she can resist it.

I'm not sure which shot is a better reflection of its actual colour - but both are pretty lovely. Worryingly I seem to be tempting myself now. So, moving swiftly on.....

This is as Christmassy as I have got yet. These lovely letters arrived today from the wooden letters company which was a great find online. They make a wide variety of different sized letters in varying fonts and finishes. It would be so easy to get carried away on there.

And I thought that I would share with you the new wallpaper on our bedroom wall. To my surprise the whole family loved it. When I said to Mr SG a few weeks ago that I thought we needed to do a bit of updating in the house, he just said "I tell you what, why don't you do what you like and let's see if I notice." I think he noticed.

I think that he's noticed the fish on the walls too. In fact I suspect that they may have been swimming around in front of his eyes last night - but it would be wholly unfair of me to say exactly why that may have been.....

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Livto - the go to jewellery brand for personalised, hand made jewellery at a great price.


When I was styling the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter Lifestyle event, I came across the jewellery brand Livto which I immediately fell in love with.  

Not only do I like their jewellery but the Livto story is lovely too. It's amazing how many businesses start out with best friends from school getting together and making "their own rules" and it was the same with Kate and Gemma, the creators of Livto. Taking simple coins, they stamp words or phrases on them - there's a selection of twelve quotes, or it's possible to choose your own quote of 17 letters for £5 extra (different criteria apply to different items).  I love the fact that the business is made of only a tiny team and that everything is made by hand and individually wrapped by the girls.

I'm wearing the double rose gold necklace (£27.99) together with the tan leather bracelet (£20). Livto also make silver bangles which can be personalised and with Rose gold being so popular at the moment, this Rose gold bracelet (£25) is a real winner and makes a fab Christmas present.

There's a huge trend at the moment for personalised things - from monogrammed luggage, to notebooks with quotes on them, to gifts bearing your children's name or indeed your own name. There's something so special about receiving a personalised gift and the Livto jewellery is brilliantly priced.

In addition to Livto jewellery and the Mint Velvet top and Boden coated jeans that I'm wearing (neither of which seem to be available any more which is a bit rubbish!) I'm wearing  the Carter boots from the Reiss outlet (£95). I whipped them off the feet of my sister in law when she was here. Apparently she was after some Reiss boots and the staff in her local store directed her towards the Reiss outlet (online) which has a great selection of past season pieces at a reduced price - so another little gem to peruse when you have a spare five mins.

Monday, 1 December 2014

A (not too) sparkly outfit for a night out...or for a night in, if you fancy it...


OK so I accept that this is not the closest shot of the outfit that I am wearing but it gives an idea of its silhouette at least. It's a two piece; a high waisted A-line midi skirt and a short top, which looks short enough on the hanger to reveal a little too much mid-riff but in fact it doesn't reveal any (luckily).

A two piece can work really well as an alternative to a dress particularly for those ladies who wear a different top size to skirt size - and a high waisted skirt fits neatly, avoiding the gaping that can come with a skirt which sits lower on the hips. So do give one a try, even if it looks as though the top will finish somewhere up near your arm pits - they are really nice for a change.

I wore this Jacquard top from Miss Selfridge (£24.50),

together with this jacquard skirt from Miss Selfridge (£31.50) and a pair of very high sparkly Dune shoes just because if you can't wear sparkle when its Christmas, when can you? It looked and felt far more expensive than its reasonable price tag. If someone had stuck me in it and said it was from Reiss or Whistles, I wouldn't have argued with them.

I spotted another double trouble outfit in Warehouse today, which isn't online but if you're passing and if you're after a two piece outfit, it's definitely worth a closer look. From memory it was black, sparkly (there's a surprise) again with a skirt - possibly pencil - and a short sleeved top combination.

And I'm including this just because I love it and one might just be on its way to be sometime soon.....a sequin skirt from Miss Selfridge (£38.50). Now we're starting to verge on the ridiculous. Is there such a thing as excessive sequinnage? 




Sunday, 30 November 2014

Another glamourous lady in a leather skirt from Oasis, plus some Zara and Reiss


Carrying on from my last post, another of the outfits that we covered at our Glamour Evening last week was the school carol service, which for us is held in the (slightly chilly) chapel, with one service being held in the evening.

I think that it's probably fair to say that this outfit is perhaps a little OTT for a carol service but then again the evening was all about Glamour. You may recognise the coat from a post in the not too distant past!

The few shots below show you what we were getting up to.  Further down is a clearer pic of the outfit, with links where possible. 

For info the outfit comprises a green leather pencil skirt, sparkly jumper, pink statement necklace and pink clutch and a Zara fur coat.

I liked the idea of a leather skirt for the Christmas period for a number of reasons. First, it's a little different and this one is a good price. The green is a nice change from black too. It's warm (always a bonus) and it can be dressed up or down over the next few weeks - a looser crew neck jumper and ankle boots would work just as well as this cropped sparkly jumper and heels.

The combination of the shorter jumper and higher waisted skirt does a great job of elongating the legs too.

Aside from the coat, which is from Zara and the bag which is from Reiss, everything else is from Oasis, who have some great pieces at the moment.

The above shot shows the Grace leather pencil skirt (£85), Sparkle crop jumper (£35), Cara sparkle fabric court shoes (£40) which are great as they aren't too high. The necklace doesn't appear to be online but there are, or were, plenty in the stores.

Friday, 28 November 2014

A glamourous Mum in a glamourous outfit from Coast, Dune, Carvela and Jigsaw

A very beautiful lady!

Last night we held a Glamour Evening at school and I styled the fashion side of things. It was a joint event between myself and a friend who is an Arbonne representative, plus we had a hairdresser come along to do an "up do" on one of the models, a make-up artist, a team of ladies threading eyebrows and another lady promoting her teeth whitening business - so there was plenty going on. The entrance to the event was lit with tea lights (I can't take credit for any of this) which made it look really pretty.

The board room was transformed - a little bit Winter Wonderland and a little bit Downton Abbey!

Well, what's a mantelpiece for if not for displaying shoes....

...and the odd bag?

During the evening we covered a number of different events that might arise during the Christmas calendar and "black tie" was one of them. A lovely Mum from school had her hair and make-up done for the event.  In preparation for the event I chose this fabulously opulent Rita skirt from Coast (was £125, now £87.50) which I knew would make the most of her tiny waist and which I hoped that she would agree to wear - and luckily she did. [They are only available in limited sizes now but if anyone is desperate for a size 10, I have a spare one - although only at the full price.]
I've displayed the outfit in the pictures below and in addition to the skirt you can also see the bag that I used, which is from Dune (Now £52 instead of £65) as I wanted to pick up the blue in the skirt elsewhere in the outfit but this could just as easily be done in some shoes or in some jewellery.

I also opted for the Coast Sunnita jacket (£85 full price though it is available with a discount at some stores) as it has a nice neat fitted shape to it and I didn't want to spoil the line of the skirt, some Stella & Dot earrings, a Coast thick gold bangle and Carvela Lacey shoes which have little spikes on the front and which were included just to add a bit of an edge to the outfit.

Carvela Lacey shoes - tricky to find right now, House of Fraser have sold out and the Very website has crashed but there will be some somewhere!

I also used this 100% silk cami from Jigsaw (now £35.10 instead of £39). These are fantastic for layering under jackets as they aren't too tight, the V-neck isn't too low and the straps are adjustable so they're not constantly falling off your shoulders. They come in a whole range of colours too - just in case anyone is after something similar.

I hear that Santa may be buying this outfit for a black tie event which this lady has coming up. He sounds like my kind of chap!

Monday, 24 November 2014

An idea for a Christmas outfit and a very old (and very pink) coat!


Benetton coat, GAP high waisted jeans, Topshop belt, Cos jumper, Zara boots (breaking all the rules of taking decent photos by wearing a coat the same colour as the background. Ho hum.)
It has taken me many years but the penny has finally dropped that when Mr SG says that he gets stressed about choosing Christmas presents for me, he really means it. It's not that he's just mildly concerned, or unsure, he's genuinely worried. Given that it's one problem in life that I am able to resolve, today I assisted him with it and he has now bought me a lovely ring from Links and some Bobbi Brown make-up. When I rang him at work to tell him what a productive morning he'd had, he was most impressed AND he was chuffed with himself for saving 20% in Links. Just a few more bits to get and then he's done. How easy was that?
Today I finished shopping for the event that I'll be at on Thursday. For once I will aim to take photos of the outfits before heading out with them all. Otherwise I pack them up after the event and take them back to the shops before getting a chance to share them. Hopefully they may give some ideas for outfits in the run up to Christmas. This year I will, once again, be doing my 12 outfits of Christmas so if anyone fancies joining me by letting me have photos of their outfits, or posting them on facebook, please feel free to do so. I hope to kick off on 13 December, or thereabouts.
So, just one idea for a slightly different style jacket in the run up to Christmas - the kimono jacket. They've been around for a while but it seems that they're here to stay and with a pair of straight or skinny jeans and some heels, they make a nice alternative to a leggings/tunic outfit which can all too often be a default position.  They aren't too fitted, or too tailored, so they have that nice relaxed feel about them.  They work well with a looser vest style top underneath which again avoids the overly clingy/tailored look which isn't always appealing from a comfort, point of view.  They also come in lots of prints, colours and textures so there should be something for everyone. Anyway, I'll leave that one with you to ponder. The ones below are from Oasis but they are everywhere and M&S, in particular, has a good selection.
Cherry blossom kimono jacket Oasis (£42)
Sequin kimono Oasis (£45)

Lace Kimono jacket Oasis (£50)