Thursday 5 April 2018

Packing for a weekend away with Cove Knitwear

Like any family with older children who are revising for exams, the Easter holidays have become a time where we stay firmly at home. Last year it was Flo's A-levels, the year before that it was her AS levels, the year before that, her GCSEs. My memory doesn't go back any further than that! This year it's the turn of Freddie and his upcoming GCSEs - so Brummie bound we are.

As you can imagine, when I was approached by Cove Cashmere and invited to write a post about packing for a weekend away, to include a couple of their gorgeous cashmere jumpers, I was only too delighted to jump at the chance.

There is only one place that I would go at this time of year and that would be Guernsey. I've been going for over 40 years now and there's nowhere else I'd rather be. Take me for a crab sandwich at Cobo Tea Rooms and a walk along the West Coast beaches and I'm happy as anything. Throw in a piece of carrot cake or some ice cream by the time we get to Pembroke and then we're talking! 

Philly cashmere jumper from Cove £185 - denim with pink and orange stripes

Whilst I may be firmly rooted in our living room, in my head I'm driving along the coast road (top speed 35 mph) in an open top Fiat 500 with Don Henley "the Boys of Summer" on the radio. BBC Radio Guernsey play the best tunes!

Philly cashmere jumper from Cove (£185)

At this time of year, or indeed at any time of year, cashmere is the perfect addition to my "Guernsey" wardrobe. There wouldn't be much heat in the sun and with a chilly wind, both the Philly jumper, above, and the Esther jumper, below, would be perfect for layering with all sorts of pieces. And let's all guess what really appeals to me? Yup, the splashes of pink and orange neon, plus the stripes.  Bright and nautical in one fell swoop - what else could we ask for?

Esther jumper from Cove (£159)

Everyone has their own ideas about packing, so I shall keep my choices and comments short and sweet. I like to wear my heaviest items when I'm travelling and take plenty of accessories to ring the changes - but I'd love to hear your tips too.


Now I don't know about you but I like enough choice to cover any eventuality but not so much that I have to spend too long thinking about what to wear. Two pairs of jeans (one skinny, one straight), a pair of smarter wide legged trousers and a maxi skirt would do me just fine at this time of year. I may roll up a pair of leggings for underneath the skirt in case I was cold and I may also take a pair of yoga pants for lounging around in. But otherwise, we're good! 

I'll come to accessories later but bright bags are good for adding some colour and ringing the changes. I'm a huge fan of cross body bags - both the yellow and the red ones above were from Kate Spade, they weigh next to nothing but make me feel a little better put together. I know that there's always a toss up between opting for a darker/neutral/classic bag that goes with everything, or a brighter one. I'd advise on a brighter one every time. 


I would take a "proper" coat with me, something like a puffa with plenty of room to get layers underneath and also a navy jersey jacket from Whistles, just in case we went out for dinner.

Then three lighter weight jackets would be perfect for those warmer days but they could also go under my puffa if it was really cold. The camo jacket and the khaki jackets would work well with jeans to avoid "double denim".  The denim jacket would work with the wide trousers and the maxi skirt, or the jersey jacket could be a smarter option. 


Well luckily they're easy! Two cashmere jumpers and one big sweatshirt from Hari & the gang (£42)and I would be done. The sweatshirt is large enough to go over the Philly jumper, if required. The Philly jumper would be fine with all of the bottoms and the Esther jumper would be great with the jeans - so there's plenty of variety. 

Tops and Tees

There are some Ts that go with everything, even if they don't really "go" with them at all and the above three Ts work across the board. I would wear the beautiful white embroidered shirt from Aspiga (£68) with everything other than the printed skirt. I would also layer it under the Esther cashmere jumper. I love it when it's time for a white embroidered shirt to make an appearance. It's a sure sign of spring.

Coming back to the Ts and them not really "going" with things, the red lips T from Bricks & Stitches (£25) could go with any of the bottoms that I'm taking with me. The outfit below may be considered a bit of a random mix but I love the T with the printed skirt even though none of the colours reference one another. Anyway, a red lippie, or the red bag, would really pull everything together for anyone who felt the need.

The star slub V Tee from Hush (£35) is another one of those T's that just goes with everything and doesn't require too much thought. The metallic stars just help to make it that little more interesting though and with cashmere being so soft, it doesn't matter that my tops don't have sleeves in them.  


When it comes to packing, I quite often have more accessories than I do clothes. You can ring the changes so easily with a different bag, or a big pair of earrings, so things can always feel fresh and different, even if your core wardrobe is essentially only a small variation on a theme.

I was gifted this multi coloured pouch from Cleverly Wrapped (£36 - below) a few weeks ago now and I'm dying to use it. As you've probably noticed, I'm very much a "try it and see" type of person when it comes to putting outfits together. It's more important to me that there's some colour and texture going on in an outfit, rather than things "matching". People who wait for the "matching" train to arrive often miss the boat! 

It's the bits around the edge that make all the difference - not only to how we feel warmth wise, but also to how we look.

The cashmere wrist warmers, also from Cove (£39), the big scarf with bobbles (old from Boden but similar here from neon beach club (£15), the studded wrap around cuff from Aurora London (£25 - bottom centre), the stack of bracelets from Bella Jane jewellery (bottom right) the neon Copelands Air & Grace (£149)...

- none of them take up much room but they can be twisted, stacked, alternated, layered and worn in so many different ways that really, all you need when you go away, are a few bits and bobs and a couple of pieces of cashmere.

As you can tell, shoes haven't featured too heavily in my weekend away wardrobe. But the thing is that when you're in Guernsey, you're never far away from a beach or a rockpool and I would hate to be hampered by my footwear - so it would be trainers all the way. 

Then again, if like me you have children who are revising for exams - maybe you will be staying put.  But there's always next year! 

House keeping: This post was written in conjunction with Cove Cashmere, for which they gifted the two cashmere jumpers featured in this post. 

Friday 30 March 2018

THE best jumpsuit I've ever come across!

If you're anything like me, you approach jumpsuits with great trepidation. VPL, tight around the bottom and potentially unflattering over the tummy are all things that strike fear into the heart of me. I've been there, done that and seen the photographs. They weren't pretty. 

Jumpsuit in pebble from Asquith (£79) styled with trainers from Air & Grace and a statement necklace

When a brand approaches me and the words "women's activewear" appears in the email, I'm interested! And when that activewear is made "ethically, using eco-fabrics - organic cotton and bamboo" then my interested is really piqued - largely because I don't  know that much about bamboo. And this is exactly what happened when Asquith got in touch to see whether I would like to collaborate with them. 

In all honesty I don't think that I had heard of Asquith before they approached me, which was a real shame as I feel that I may have been missing out all these years. The first thing that I do on being approached by a brand is to head over to their website to take a good look around, particularly at their "About us" page. I'm always interested to know their back story as it often stems from something really interesting. And then quite often I pick up the phone and speak to the brand direct to find out more about them. 

Alice Asquith was way ahead of the game when she created Asquith in 2002. Her love of fabrics and design, coupled with her love of yoga and pilates led to her creating one of the first "street to studio" brands for organic activewear. She was passionate that the pieces were ethically made from the best eco friendly fabrics available and that her designs could bridge the gap between pilates or yoga, the school run, the beach, as loungewear or for travelling in. 

Now, aside from organic activewear being better for the environment, one of the things that interested me was  the claim that clothing made from bamboo really could be soft, sweat wicking and comfortable. In my head I had visions of pandas eating bamboo and I couldn't work out for the life of me how that could be turned into something that I would want to wear.  I also learnt from my conversation with Asquith that bamboo is breathable and therefore so much better to wear than lycra for working out in, plus it is great for travelling in. 

Jumpsuit in pebble from Asquith (£79) - sunnies and sandals are all that you need

The piece that I chose for our collaboration together was the Jumpsuit (£79) which also comes in pebble. As I mentioned above, jumpsuits can strike fear in my heart but then again I thought that I spotted some strategically placed ruching (always a positive) and the legs looked as though they had enough room in them, it also came with detachable straps plus, a jumpsuit can be hugely versatile. 

I took the jumpsuit away to Dubai with me, where I styled it in three different ways for daytime looks, but to be honest, there are unlimited ways that this jumpsuit could be worn. I like the idea of it with heeled sandals, a tux jacket and lots of gold jewellery for more of a dressed up look.

With hi-tops and a utility jacket for a daytime sporty look

 I loved wearing this jumpsuit and can't wait for some warmer weather to arrive so that I can wear it again. With its 95% bamboo and 5% elastane composition, it was super comfortable, even in the heat (and there wasn't a spiky bit of bamboo, or a panda, in sight).  

Alongside a drop of gin and the odd Easter Egg, I'm always up for a little bit of healthy living, which is rich really coming from the person who has just spent five days in bed with something horrible. Having said that it did give me A LOT of time to stare out of the window and think. And I decided on a few things. First, our bedroom needs decorating. Secondly, I need to do more ironing. Thirdly, I'm going to try and carve out some more time for yoga as well as incorporating more bamboo in my life, because I think that it's important to take time to breathe more deeply and to think about the planet a little more. 

Please note: This was a sponsored post written in conjunction with Asquith, whose pieces I am really smitten by!

Monday 26 March 2018

The most FABULOUS competition and celebrating an imperfectly, perfect, laid table

Now bear with me on this one! True, the table cloth needs an iron, the crockery doesn't quite match, the paper napkins are from Ikea and the cutlery could do with a polish. BUT here's the thing. I walked through the door at about 5pm yesterday, the sun was shining but fading, we had a fantastic burrito dinner planned and I felt that spring might just be in the air, so I decided that all of these things were worth celebrating, albeit in a slightly imperfect way. 

Table cloth Cleverly Wrapped (£48) Flowers from Peony Flowers Glasses from Oliver Bonas similar here

I could have waited until next weekend when the light wasn't fading, when I'd sorted the crockery, when I'd ironed the table cloth and found some fabric napkins - but then the moment would have been lost, the time investment would have been disproportionate and it may have created pressure. Hec I may not even be around then!

So this post is about looking beyond the imperfect (other than the flowers which are TOTALLY perfect and which we will come to in a minute) and seizing the moment. Everyone who sat at the table - from the 10 year old to the three teenagers and my husband, noticed and appreciated it, so it was worth the effort. But to be fair even if they hadn't, it made me happy! Plus I'm pleased to report that the new table cloth (which was gifted to me by Cleverly Wrapped at a recent event and which can also be used as a beach throw or a wrap) survived the onslaught of tomato sauce spillages and chocolate sauce being dripped all over it. 

So what was bunged onto the table in addition to the obvious? Bottles of gin of course. Rhubarb, lemon and elderflower to be precise. I love the colour of the labels and also of the contents. A bowl of lemons and limes, a candle from Neon Beach Club which kind of worked with the flowers and the Easter eggs that my Mum has wrapped up for the children for Easter.

But let's talk about the flowers. Oh how gorgeous are they? I met Julie from Peony at QVC on International Womens' Day. We shared a dressing room and got chatting about all sorts of things.  I had seen Julie before, and I knew about Peony Flowers but I hadn't really investigated them. To be honest I just don't think I'd ever really thought about faux flowers. Oh what a mistake was that?  Hello lightbulb moment!

Subsequent to our meeting, Julie sent me this beautiful hydrangea arrangement, together with a stunning bouquet, both of which instantly transformed our room. I think that I messaged her straight away telling her that I hadn't realised that this was just what the room needed. Mr SG is very impressed with the flowers. He's slightly mystified by them and he keeps on taking a look at them, and feeling them, to see whether they are real.

And in her kind and generous way, Julie has offered this Lily arrangement (which retails at £160) as an Easter gift in a competition that I have already launched on Instagram but which I would love everyone to be able to take part in, whether you're on Instagram or not and whether you're able to leave comments on the blog or not.

So really it's very simple. If you're on Instagram please hop over to my Instagram page here and tag a friend who you would like to receive this gift. You can tag as many friends as you like. If you're not on Instagram, just leave a comment below, mentioning the name of a friend. And if you can't leave a comment, please just email me at with your friend request. And that's it! The winner will be announced on Easter Sunday - and believe me, this lily arrangement will be far better than any possible Easter egg ever could be. Good Luck!

Saturday 24 March 2018

A Style Challenge - "Mom" Jeans

Call me old school but I'm not a fan of the word "Mom." And don't even get me started on "gotten." I can move with the times when it comes to "reaching out" "see you later" (even though later could be in two weeks, so not really later at all) and "like". There are a lot of "likes" in our house. But gotten? Nope, not going there. Anyway, back to the point. Mom jeans.

A few weeks ago, House of Fraser asked me whether I would like to choose something to feature from their denim range. After going around the houses a little, I decided on a pair of  "Mom"* jeans. I've never done them before and nor have I seen many others in my age group wearing them (perhaps there's a reason for that!) I thought that I would give them a go - not expecting to like them in the least - but then again entering into the unknown and not being sure of what you're going to find is the point of the "Style Challenge."

Red Lips Tee from Becky at Bricks & Stitches (£25)

It's the "rear view" in Mom jeans which I've always found a bit troubling. With their high waist and generally small pockets, your butt can look as if it's as long as your legs. Whilst at the same time shortening your legs. Not necessarily what we strive for in life.

But then again their high waist can create a nice shape and give curves where there may not be any. And actually the tapered "carrot" leg is quite flattering. In fact I really like the shape of the legs on these Mom jeans. Tucking a top, such as this red lips tee from Bricks & Stitches (£25), in to the jeans is the best way to style Mom jeans. Wear a longer top at your peril! If you like this tee do get in touch with Becky at Bricks & Stitches quickly, as they sell like hot cakes.

KLAXON WARNING  - rear view shot! 

See what I mean? My bum does look quite deep but actually the pockets are placed quite high - so it's not as bad as it could be. Well at least I don't think that my butt cheeks look as if they're down near to the back of my knees. But I could be wrong and in fairness I think that other styles may be more flattering. Then again, in some ways the older I get, the less that type of thing concerns me. 

You may wonder why the label is still on the jeans. Well the thing is that I had decided to return the lovely Mom jeans gift because the waist is just that bit too tight. But actually since wearing them, they have given a little and it may be the case that they are OK. 

That is, depending on what you, my lovely readers, think about the Mom jeans. Shall we go there for a change, or just leave them to the young 'uns? Does my bum look deep and do my legs look short, or do the strategically placed pockets deal with that. And for heavens sake can we please come up with a better name for them? 

* I should say that this particular style of Mom jeans are not currently available at House of Fraser but I have linked to all other available styles above. Both the jeans and the tee were gifted to me. The shoes are from Next (£48)

Monday 19 March 2018

How do we feel about these? Do they remind you of your student days?

They're like a brain worm that won't go away. Try as I might, I can't stop thinking about them. DM boots. Perhaps the cold weather has frozen my brain, perhaps it's a mid-life crisis. Or perhaps it's just because I genuinely really like them and I can see how they would work with my wardrobe.

We all wore DM shoes at University. Come rain or shine, summer or winter, we all wore DM shoes which we bought from Sheffield market. The only variation was that in the summer we would wear them without socks and everyone over the age of 35 would ask whether they hurt. But they never did. The cost per wear of those shoes over the 3 years was peanuts - and they carried on long after the 3 years were up too. 

Now it's not so much the DM shoes that I'm attracted to because "street" trainers have largely taken their place. No, it's the boots that I really like. Especially the pink, navy or silver. Well I'm nothing if not predictable in my unpredictability. True, they wouldn't go with everything but most skinny/straight/girlfriend/boyfriend jeans would work with them and maxi dresses and skirts too. 

Iced Metallic (£110)

So why now? Maybe it's because I'm looking for something different but which is still wearable. Having not worn DMs since I  hit about 20, they definitely tick that box. But they're still comfortable and practical too. That doesn't mean to say that I will be re-visiting my multi coloured polka dot ra-ra dress from Tammy Girl circa 1983, or my mini kilt, ruffle blouse and white tights combo circa 1985 - but then again I just might.

I'd like to do a post on brands which are hot on environmental and social responsibility issues. Luckily this is something that most new brands take seriously as part of their ethos.  Dr Martens have a really detailed Social Responsibility page on their site covering everything from child labour, to working hours, how they source their leather (they also do a vegan range here), the materials they use in their packaging and the charity work in which they engage. 

So my question is this. Can any of you imagine going down the DM route or are they a big fashion "no-no" as far as you're concerned? I would love to hear what you think. 

From the feedback that I have received, I know that many of you would like to see more outfits posts, so I will try and include a few outfit pictures at the end of each blog post (if the post itself doesn't constitute an outfit post.)

I wore this outfit to an event that I went to on Friday. I thought that people may appreciate the macarons (by the Crow Kitchen) and biscuits (by Juliet Sear) - if nothing else. I know that I did.

Same outfit - different shot. The trousers are from Mango. I wrote about them here, the trainers are from Air & Grace, the blouse is from Mercy Delta and the bag is from neon beach club

OK so this was me being brave in a skirt that I thought that I might return but which I decided to keep. It's from ASOS and is the floral pansy skirt. The trainers are as above and the jumper is an old one from Topshop.

Oooh it was chilly this day. I was lucky enough to be sent a fab sweatshirt from Hari and the gang (£42) which I layered under this Topshop coat and wore with Gap jeans, Topshop boots, an LK Bennett bag and frilly socks (all past season.)

So that's it for now. I'll see you anon and hope that you all have a fabulous week. xxx

Saturday 17 March 2018

My top eleven pleated skirts and some ideas on how to wear them

Pleated skirts are, much to my Mum's delight "Oh I DO love a pleated skirt", going from strength to strength. They are a trend that's not going away, which is funny in some ways because other than a brief spell that I remember as a child, they pretty much disappeared from the skirt scene with pencil, mini, skater and midi skirts being more popular. I think that it may have been the rise of the popularity in midi skirts a few years ago now though, that saw them come back in to favour. Most pleated skirts fall into the "midi" category, so they ticked the box of being a "variation on a (midi skirt)" theme.

Sophia pleated skirt Reiss (£155)

I featured this skirt on my insta stories when I took some of you for a virtual shop earlier in the week. It's absolutely beautiful. The pleats are razor sharp and edged in black for an even sharper look. 

I still believe that there's a pleated skirt for everyone, somewhere. Most crucially the issue is what kind of waistband is on the skirt and how the pleats fall from it. I've included lots of pictures below of me in various pleated skirt outfits and I'll try to explain what I mean when we get to them. 

Elsa pleated skirt Reiss (£155)

I haven't seen this skirt in real life but the shape is virtually the same, if not the same, as the one above. What I like about this skirt is that the darker colour over the tum area is really flattering. And it's just such a striking skirt - great if you're after something different and you're not really a floral/spots type girl. 

Printed pleated skirt Mango (£49.99)

But then again, if spots are exactly your thing, this skirt from Mango could be just the ticket. It's really lovely in real life and in the store they paired it with a pale blue jumper which looked gorgeous.  Spots feature hugely on the High Street at the moment so expect to see a lot more spotty pieces over the next few weeks. 

Printed pleated skirt Mango (£49.99)

This skirt ticks a lot of trend boxes in one go. The navy/yellow/white colour combo is a big trend this summer. Work in a go faster "athleisure" stripe along with a split and the pleats and oh boy you would so be nailing it. I really like the sporty vibe about this skirt - great if you're not someone who loves girlie floaty skirts - or if like me you do but you're also a bit of a chameleon and like sportier urban pieces (I totally made that phrase up - but I know what I mean!) too. 

Stripes pleated skirt Mango (£49.99)

Stripes! Again another huge trend this season on everything from tops, to skirts, trousers and accessories. I love the interesting colour combination of this skirt which is again from Mango. They are really doing pleated skirts so well this season and there are also some pleated dresses coming through too, which are an interesting addition to the dress scene.  

Leopard print skirt H&M (£34.99)

Yeah! Good old leopard print. This is a small print and not too "leopardy" if you know what I mean, making it a fairly easy leopard print to wear. I love leopard with anything red, denim, or neons too and as we know, leopard is the new neutral, so it's definitely one to have fun with. 

Satin pleated skirt Whistles (£99) which also comes in metallic gold, green and black. I've linked to them all here

A metallic pleated skirt always feels a bit glam without being too try hard. It really is a great one to dress up or down and it can take you to so many different places just by changing up your top and/or shoes. 

Batik Lily pleated skirt Whistles (£139)

I think that this skirt is a little bit marmite. It's definitely in the colour of the season but whether it's your cup of tea or not is a different matter. I think that a skirt like this works either if you're going to go the whole hog and dress it up for a wedding, or dress it right down with a slogan tee or denim. Anything in between might just not work. But I'm happy to be proven wrong!

Pleated skirt HUSH (£89) (lined and elasticated waist)

I haven't seen this skirt in the flesh as HUSH in our John Lewis don't have it but having said that, I'm really tempted to order it and see what it's like on. The blue and green combo are really striking but  in a very wearable way and without being too dressy.

Pleated skirt in watermelon Jigsaw (£120) it also comes in blossom blue

The above skirt from Jigsaw is a real gem. It's a great length, hangs well and the pleats are quite "flat" when they come out of the waistband, meaning that they fall in a really flattering way. It also comes in blossom blue (below) and gravel (below that). 

Pleated skirt in blossom blue Jigsaw 

When something is a little more on the expensive side (such as this skirt) as we all know, there are lots of things to consider for sure. It may be that it's perfect for a wedding, or an event, but something that you would also get a lot of mileage out of afterwards, bringing the cost per wear down. 

Pleated skirt in gravel Jigsaw (£120)

Or it may be that you're not sure whether a pleated skirt is going to be for you, in which case maybe start off with an inexpensive one and see where it takes you. Or maybe the inexpensive one is perfect and there's no need to look any further. Or perhaps you just fall in love with one like this, or it's an amazing fit. So many things to think about!

Stripe maxi skirt Ted Baker (£120)

For anyone who is super tall, or who likes their pleated skirts to be full length, this one from Ted Baker is a possibility but I think its "sheerness" might need to be checked. 

Contrast pleated panel maxi dress Ted Baker (£239)

And remember I mentioned earlier about pleated dresses? This one with its panel of pleats is so pretty. If anyone I know would like to get married, I'd be very happy to wear this to the occasion. 

So here are some outfits "that I prepared earlier" - in some cases a lot earlier! 

This gold M&S skirt is great for the winter. The velvet is lovely and shimmery. It has an elasticated waist band which is good because I can either wear it on my waist or drop it lower if I feel in need of a bit of extra length. The pleats aren't too small or knife like, which I think suits me slightly better. Heels and a leather jacket give this skirt more of a dressed up feel.

This skirt from Topshop again has fairly open pleats and as there aren't too many of them, there's not so much volume in the skirt.  I like the length of it and it's a really versatile skirt. The heels glam up this skirt and jumper outfit but with boots or trainers it would look completely different.

This is an H&M pleated skirt. I find it harder to wear - possibly because there are more pleats in it and the fabric is quite stiff, meaning that if I bend over the skirt sort of folds and digs in. Sounds weird huh?!

This is probably the least favourite of my pleated skirts. The waist band isn't elasticated and there are lots of pleats with lots of volume. As it's pleather, it's also a bulker fabric, so it's less flattering than the green Topshop one.

It's the Zara silver one again but this time with a fitted knit instead of a denim shirt. 

Topshop again with metallic boots and a star print shirt

Topshop again with a blouse and trainers

And finally the Jigsaw skirt which I've linked to above with some crazy green boots! 

I realise that pleated skirts won't be for everyone, but I hope that these outfits have provided some ideas on what to stick with your pleated skirt. I think the fact that they're not short, or clingy, that they have some volume (which is good if you like to take a big stride or don't have the teeny tiniest of hips) all help to make them super wearable for busy ladies who love a skirt but who don't want to feel restricted when it comes to bending over, loading the washing machine or striding out in force.