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

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Ladies' Seasonal Style Lunchtime Event at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens - Wednesday 18th May

Ladies, I have another date for your diary!  It would be wonderful if you could join me at lunchtime on Wednesday 18th May at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, together with a host of lovely models and local businesses who will be showcasing their talents. The Gardens make a spectacular setting for the event and it also holds a special place in the hearts of so many of us. 

This is the second year that the event has been run and it promises to be just as much fun as last year. I am styling and presenting the event, with the clothes being provided by John Lewis. We will also have an International Make-Up Artist along from Bobbi Brown to do the models' make -up and to offer those much sought after hints and tips.  

All of the details are below so please do take a look and if you would like to book tickets, they are available via the Botanical Gardens website I really look forward to seeing some of you there. Beth x

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Anyone fancy a good night out?

Sorry, this event is now sold out - but thank you for your interest!

Tomorrow Mr SG and I are nipping off to Cornwall for a couple of days but before I go, I wanted to let you all know about an event that I will be styling and presenting next week. It's at Old Swinford Hospital School, which is in Stourbridge, and the ticket details are below. 

I'm particularly excited about this event as a) I love shopping (clearly) and I'm basically buying outfits that I love - but which will obviously work for my models who are teachers/a Mum at the school b) presenting to busy Mums who are up for a good night out with a glass of fizz always makes for a fabulous atmosphere. Plus of course we have Tim Scott-Wright (famed hairdresser) to make the models looks beautiful, together with many other attractions. 

I never really like to give too much away before an event (it stops me from going off piste and changing my mind on the spot) but as a teaser, I'm going to cover outfits for a smart event and sunny days, together with trend led outfits and a whole section entitled "a day in the life of" - which will contain outfits befitting a super hard working Mum with a great social life who gets wined and dined by her husband (so that's all of us then?!) In between outfits I will be covering different topics which are dear to our hearts (note no teaser on these as I haven't quite finalised them yet!) 

For tickets please drop an email to and I really hope to see some of you there. I promise that it will be fab night. 

Monday, 2 May 2016

Marathon Moments....

Firstly, I owe so many of you a huge thank you for your support in the run up to the London Marathon. From those who donated to my fund-raising page, to those who bought items from my Style Guile Sale. To those of you who bought the cakes that I made, who offered Good Luck wishes via cards, email, text, Facebook, Instagram and twitter and of course thanks to those for the words of wisdom that rang in my ears: "Your brain will always tell you to stop but just keep turning the legs." Wise words indeed at mile 25 when I really DID. JUST. WANT. TO. STOP! 

And of course thanks to my friend Libby (I would never have done it without her) and to our long suffering families who endured the journey with us, turning out on the day complete with banners and food for afterwards and by no mean logistical feat, making sure that they saw us as often as they could. 

After all of your support, it's only fair that I share a few photos. Not the most flattering but I love them nonetheless.  All of them are taken somewhere between miles 14.75 and mile 22 - apart from the last one which, as is pretty evident, was taken at the end. 

The day was fantastic. In fact the whole weekend was fantastic. It was really like a girls' weekend away for us with a bit of running thrown in. We were disciplined and didn't do any shopping, or sight seeing as we needed to keep off our legs -  but we went to the Mae Deli (Deliciously Ella's Deli) for our pre race dinner of sweet potato, roasted veg, rice and hummus plus (in my case at least) the most enormous piece of peanut fudge brownie - which was delicious.

In our hotel room the night before, we managed to spend five hours doing nothing other than eating, fixing our race numbers to our tops, sorting out kit, attaching the chip to our trainers, checking and re-checking kit and our race bags. Talk about a lot of time spent doing - well not a lot really.

As to the race itself, the volume of runners was phenomenal. The atmosphere was incredible - a bit like a huge party but also tinged with sadness given the causes for which people were running. Oddly the miles whizzed by which sounds crazy. How can you run for 4 hours and for it to go so quickly? A lot of time is spent checking your watch, altering your pace, overtaking, taking on water, remembering to eat, watching for the family, checking you're still both where you're meant to be and so on.

We were really, really lucky. Neither of us got cramp, stitch or blisters. Neither of us needed the loo or hit the wall (well it wasn't likely really given the flapjack, sweets and fudge that we managed to get down us!) and nor did we need to walk. The only real surprise - other than finishing - was that we both got slight sunburn. For those who like a bit of race geek talk, all of our 5k splits were pretty even, averaging about 27/28 mins per 5k. We finally came in at 4.00.13 - just a few seconds more than we would have ideally liked - but not enough to go for a re-match!

You see that's the good thing about having a Physiotherapist for an Aunt. Although it doesn't really look much fun does it? That lactic acid stuff hurts - but only really when I stopped.

And another by product? For a few minutes I couldn't talk, so the only way to retrieve my running bag from the lorries that they are put on was to lift my top and thrust my chest forward with my race number on it to the young man who was handing the bags back. Not once, but twice. Because still I couldn't speak. And now I bet neither can he. Traumatised he must be. Traumatised.

I'm so happy that I managed to raise just over £2000. Thank you again for all of your support. Please do let me return the favour sometime. Beth x

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Photo shoot shots!

I know that it's been a while and that one or two people are wondering whether I've actually finished the Marathon yet or whether I'm still en route, so I thought that I would share with you what I've been up to this week. I plan to do a "post Marathon" post when I have a little more time but for now...

For now, I've been having fun on a photo shoot. It's always lovely when the chance comes along to be in a shoot rather than styling it and having your make-up applied by a professional make-up artist is a fabulous experience. Mind you, I'm rubbish at the more serious shots. I can't help laughing and now that I have lines whatever my expression, I would rather have a smile to accompany them.

I'm allowed to share the clothes but not details of the campaign just yet.  And given that there's a sale on, I thought that I would crack on in case anyone fancied trying this navy Warehouse jumpsuit (£58). With the code TREAT20 it has 20% off. I loved wearing this but I should share that when it comes to sizing, it's quite short in the body so I went up to a 10, which also gives a bit more room in the boob department too. 

I also chose to wear these Snake print Stan Smith trainers from Schuh (£72). I'm such a trainer girl these days. But I do like the mix of smart and casual and of course lots of styles of shoe would work with this jumpsuit, from block heel to stilettos and wedges too.

 If I hadn't just bought the Baukjen jumpsuit that I featured a few weeks ago, I could well be tempted with this one...

Hope that everything is good with all you lovely readers and I plan to be back soon. Thank you for your patience and concern x

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Style Guile Sale Part 2!

It's been a while since I've said "hello" so I thought that it was about time that I made a brief (and somewhat slightly scruffy) appearance.

I may have a sewn monkey hanging behind my head (that's the browny thing in the background) but at least I've swept up, changed the door mat and planted up the pots so I feel a little more organised....sort of.

Thank you to all of you who emailed me about my blog sale for Coram. Almost everything has been sold now but the good news is that I've just uploaded some more pieces, which you can find on my "Style Guile Sale" page above. Thank you so much. I promise that your money is going to a wonderful cause and you get a lovely new item for your wardrobe too so it's a win win!

Outfit: Gap boyfriend jeans, Zara denim shirt, Jigsaw boots

My answer to everything: wear a blouse with a bow. It just makes you feel glam even when nothing could be further from the truth. Life looking out from the pink front door is great.

Looking in however - it's a big old mess. But look at our lovely loo. Great colour huh?!

Monday, 11 April 2016

There's a new addition to the blog - a sale page!

There's an exciting new addition to the blog that I wanted to tell you about - A "Style Guile Sale" page, where I'm selling some of my much loved pieces - many of which have barely been worn.

The page can be found on the full version of the blog in the pages header under "Style Guile Sale" and on the mobile version, in the drop down menu at the top of the screen. But here's a link just to make it a little easier: Style Guile Sale

All proceeds will go to Coram, the charity I'm fundraising for in the London Marathon. (I should be out training now but it's too wet so I'm going to do some Joe Wicks in front of Coronation Street shortly. Bet that's what all the Olympians do too!!)

So please do take a look and let me know if there's anything that you would like. Thank you!

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Renovations update....

So I know it's been a while but I thought that I would give you all a bit of a renovations update. Sorry for those who aren't remotely interested in these things but if you're anything like me - a fan of Grand Designs, or Ugly House to Lovely House, then you might just like to take a peek.

This is how the house looked before we started...

It's looking rather naked at the moment - but I'm not sure that it suits it!

It's fair to say that the back of the house is pretty much ripped to pieces. Although thinking about it the front isn't much better, what with the portaloo and skip on the drive. The portaloo is a very nice shade of turquoise though.

The gap on the left is the back of the kitchen, the gap on the right was a playroom/study but they have been knocked through.

The steels have gone in and it's also possible to see the perimeter of the new room. The roof will be going on this week. Yippeee.

This is from the back of the right hand gap, looking out.

And this is looking through now that the adjoining wall has been knocked down. The floors have also been levelled and the concrete has now been poured, ready for the under floor heating.

A view from above...

And one of the best bits of all? Let me introduce you to the new utility room. Doesn't it look amazing? Well no of course it doesn't but hopefully it will do in a few weeks. The false wall at the end of it is the back of the kitchen where it's been partitioned off. I can't wait for it to come down. At the moment I can't quite imagine how it will be when it's all opened up. 

And this is the wallpaper that I've chosen to go in the utility room behind a glass splash back. I don't know why but I've just fallen in love with it...

Nordic houses wallpaper from John Lewis (£19). I mean, it's not as though there are 101 big decisions to be made so what do I do? Go and choose some wallpaper. Nice one.

Monday, 4 April 2016

An outfit for a spring wedding....

It's been such a long time since I've blogged and I'm so sorry. The time that I usually devote to blogging is generally taken up these days with wiping away the brick dust that settles each evening. That and keeping tidy and organised the small downstairs space that we're living in at the moment.

Before I kick off with the wedding outfit, I wanted to thank all of you who entered the M&S competition. I'm sorry that I haven't been able to get back to all of you who sent through such lovely emails but I will try to do so over the next few weeks. The winner has now been notified so sorry if you weren't lucky this time :(

Baukjen woodley jumpsuit (£109) - I bought this a couple of weeks ago and tried on the morning of the wedding. I quite often leave important outfits to the last minute. I actually find it less stressful. Bizarre I know!

Don't you just love how your kids always have their phones glued to them and always have plenty of storage or capacity for what they need to do but as soon as a snap is required, oh dear, the storage suddenly seems to be full? Hence the rubbish photo with the shadow and not terribly flattering pose but hey ho, that's what this blog is all about! And really it's my fault for leaving my bag and phone somewhere else.

But anyway. I really enjoyed wearing this outfit for the day. True, my husband had to check with the eldest that the trousers were meant to be the length that they were but then I'm used to that kind of thing. It was soooo comfortable, I could layer a vest underneath it, it was long enough in the body plus I can wear it again to another wedding in May, a wedding party in June and an 80th birthday party in June - so I will get plenty of wear out of it, which isn't always the case with wedding outfits.

These Topshop metallic slingback shoes (£48) are the closest to the shoes that I wore on the day. It was the first time that I had worn them and I wore them all day without the slightest problem. I'm avoiding heels at the moment and so this block heel was a perfect height for me.

And I know that I keep banging on about the Marathon but I'm going to include the link to my donations page, just in case anyone would like to donate to Coram, the Children's charity I'm running for. Thank you x  Oh and I'll be back soon with a renovations update post for those who have asked!

Friday, 25 March 2016

Diamonds are a girl's best to win some whilst supporting a fabulous charity

As many of you will know, in four weeks' time I will be running the London Marathon. I am raising money for Coram, the oldest Children's Charity in the UK and I have a target of £1750 to raise.

Coram are such a well respected charity by many professionals and they do so much with disadvantaged and underprivileged children. Some of the services that they offer include running an independent adoption service, using a variety of creative therapies to help children from complex and traumatic backgrounds, supporting parents who are having difficulties in caring for their children and offering health, well-being and drug education in schools.

We all have demands on our resources all of the time and there are so many fantastic causes, so I hope that you don't mind my plea for help. However in return I hope that I am able to offer something that may bring a little happiness to you, or a loved one, or another charitable cause. So here goes...

Back in February of 2014, I entered a competition to win a gift card for £1000 to spend at 77 diamonds, who are recent winners of the 2016 UK Wedding Awards. I had to blog about what made my best friend so special.

Diamond Studs - oooh yes please!

For anyone who is interested, you can read the post here. Anyway, incredibly, I won and I've decided to put the £1000 Gift Card up as a competition prize, hoping that along the way I can raise money for Coram.

Eternity Rings - rings are definitely some of my favourite things

So, this is how it will work:
  1. Please make a donation to my page  (obviously it can be as little or as much as anyone would like to donate and  I promise that the money isn't for my private shoe fund, but for Coram);
  2. Please email me at and your name will be put into my metaphorical hat (which is seeing a lot of action at the moment)!
  3. The competition will be open until midnight on 31st May 2016, with the winner being notified by email on 1 June 2016;
  4. The winner will be put directly in touch with 77 diamonds who will arrange for the £1000 Gift Card to be sent to the winner;
  5. For anyone entering, if you felt able to mention the competition on your social media sites, or if you could spread the word amongst your friends and work colleagues, I should be so grateful. 
And that's it really. Hopefully many of you will see it as a great opportunity to win a fantastic prize whilst at the same time supporting an incredible charity. Ultimately I would love it if, between us, we could use that £1000 gift card as a competition prize time and time again to raise as much money as possible for as many charities as possible. There are so many wonderful causes to raise money for and with a bit of teamwork I think that it might be able to rustle up a few pennies for a few different charities. 

Engagement Rings -  do we hear the sound of wedding bell(e)s?

On the other hand if whoever won the Gift Card fancied treating themselves, or if a someone was about to make a marriage proposal and this enabled them to get a wonderful engagement ring, or if it was used to celebrate a long standing anniversary, how fabulous would that be too?  We all love a feel-good story. It would be great to share on here how that Gift Voucher is spent, or where it ends up.

Before I sign off, I would like to thank 77 diamonds for their support in helping me to use the Gift Card to run the competition in this way. It is very much appreciated - thank you. And Good Luck to everyone who enters!