Sunday, 27 July 2014

Two more sunny, summery outfits!


Now that we've left Cornwall for Guernsey, Cornwall seems such a long way away. A quick 25 minute flight over the water somehow changes everything. We've swapped the early morning swims, body boarding in big waves, loud announcements from the lifeguards, busy beaches, (the odd) cocktail and birthday celebrations for something altogether more low key. Empty beaches, gentle lapping waves, ice-creams from the cutest beach kiosks and a "picnic" of chips on the beach as the sun went down.

As the years have passed and the island has developed, I sometimes forget that it is just that - an island and a pretty small one at that. So we were surprised when we went to Waitrose (unheard of until a few years ago) to find that there wasn't a banana, strawberry, raspberry, lettuce, carrot or avocado in sight. Imagine that at home - empty shelves. But that's what I love about it here, everything is at a slower pace and it's very real. Tomorrow we will go foraging in the boxes of veg for sale on the sides of the road to see what local produce we can find.

In the above photo I'm wearing the GAP dress that I bought only a couple of weeks ago now. It's so comfortable and great for all sorts of occasions. I picked up the star clutch, also from GAP, in the sale a couple of days before we left.

The photo below was snapped on the beach a few hours after we arrived - and just after said picnic! I'm completely devoid of make-up after wiping everything off only a few hours after I had put it on. The new CC cream that I bought had a smell about it that was about to kick start a migraine so off it all came. So much for trying to make an effort!

Unsurprisingly the shorts and top are GAP, the bag Cath Kidston and the shoes, converse. It's not remotely stylish and in fact I'd only just put the top on just before we went out, as my other one was covered in mayonnaise thanks to some shenanigans between the older two - but I think that it's best not to go there. Sadly Waitrose hadn't run out of that or else I would have still been wearing a top which worked much better. Having said that I quite like the top to toe peach look. Very 1980's!

And here I'm sharing a Guernsey sun set over my favourite beach - Port Soif. It's just beautiful here - even more so when the sun is shining!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Jigsaw top - my O(utfit) O(f) T(he) D(ay) on a V(ery) H(ot) D(ay)

What else can I say? And what else do you wear at the beach on a hot day but cut-offs and a cotton top (by Jigsaw)? Actually, I'm quite coveting the hat in the shot behind me!

Friday, 25 July 2014

La Mandarine Beachwear - so beautiful in this hot weather

A couple of weeks ago now, after I wrote about pretty peasant style tops, La Mandarine Beachwear was introduced to me by a friend in Northern Ireland.  I went along to the site to take a look and, loving what I saw, I asked the owner, Rachel, whether she would like me to write about her newly launched brand. Luckily she didn't think that was too bad an idea and soon afterwards, a lovely parcel arrived containing several items from the current collection, the contents of which are worthy of a photograph all of their very own.

And inside was a pink sarong (£24) which Rachel kindly gifted to me and which I have used a huge amount whilst I have been away.

Here I'm wearing the Hazel dress (£65) - a pretty beach cover up with an embellished empire line. It has a lovely length to it, roomy bracelet length sleeves and it's a pretty, light fabric.

I've never really been one for beach cover ups, which is not surprising because until last year the weather wasn't really warm enough to warrant one. However now, I'm thinking that it's a different matter entirely.

Today it was so, so hot that I wore it again but rather than bothering the children to take photos, I snook off into a cloakroom where I took a couple of snaps. Underneath I'm wearing a Sea Folly halter neck swimsuit.

Rachel also sent through to me this La Mandarine marine top (£59) which is just gorgeous but I didn't dare bring it away because I knew that I would be tempted to wear it. I could have waited and obtained an image with a higher res but as it's so beautifully hot at the moment I decided that I would just rather tell you all about La Mandarine now.

Writing about someone else's passion is always a little bit of a responsibility, so I asked Rachel to let me have a few words about what makes La Mandarine different to anything else that is currently available. This is what she said....
"La Mandarine beachwear is all hand made in India (Delhi and Jaipur) where the skills such as hand embroidery and printing are still widely practiced. I use companies that I have personally met on my trips there, as opposed to large factories (as my runs are small and I want to have a personal relationship with the producers). The ethical aspect to fashion production is very important to me.  I have also tried to stick with cotton and voile fabrics as they can be washed while on holiday and do not require expensive dry cleaning. I have tried to keep the price point below competitors."
So in a nutshell there we have it: ethically handmade beachwear with a good price point which is made in small factories in India. What's not to love?!


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Heavenly days on sunny beaches in shorts (again)!


There's nothing rad about shorts, that I do know. But it's hot and what's more, what was left of my spray tan has now adhered itself to the inside of my wetsuit so I need to try and get a little colour on my legs. I seem to have done it pretty well on my nose, with Mr SG asking whether I was matching my lipgloss to the colour of my nose tonight. He needs to watch it or he might find his beloved crocs being sold on eBay.

This combo was just some GAP printed shorts, a GAP hat bought in the sale on Saturday, a plain white H&M vest, Jack Wills flip flops, La Mandarine sarong and a silver Oushka clutch.

I've recently mentioned some new goggles that I bought. My old ones were terrible and I had to stop every five lengths or so to de-mist them and empty them of water. They also left deep welts under my eyes, which is also the reason that Sharron Davies doesn't swim much anymore (apparently). Anyway, for any swimmers out there, I can't recommend the Aquasphere goggles highly enough. This morning I did my entire swim without having to stop once. Attractive they are not but they do a good job.

Tomorrow it's my birthday so I may take a little blogging holiday, depending on how it all turns out! However I am sure that I will be posting the odd pic of the birthday proceedings on Instagram. I think that I may have had wind of one of two things that might appeal to some of you out there...

Ooh, and yesterday's post was my 1000th post. I think that I worked out that if each post took on average one hour, that's about 42 days, or seven weeks of my life that I have devoted to blogging. I'm not quite sure what to make of that.  

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Holidaying in Cornwall - and a footwear (attempted) theft already!

So these next few posts were nearly the posts that weren't - if that makes sense! I thought that I had left my laptop charger at home which would have been a disaster for some and a relief for many. As it was the charger appeared this morning so I'm raring to go.....having said that, the photos are slow to load and there won't be any proof reading, so please forgive me. I'm just going to be hitting the button - and quite possibly regretting it!

Yesterday we left nice and early for our trip to Cornwall. We made great progress. In the first hour we had travelled 12 miles. Ho hum.

I was wearing comfortable jersey trousers and a lace top for the long journey and I was soothed by my lovely new sarong that I had with me (there are always temperature wars in the car between myself and Mr SG) which was a gift from Rachel at La Mandarine more of which I will tell you about in a day or so.

So far a lot of what we have been up to I have been posting on instagram (there's a button at the top left of the page if you would like to follow me there) but the blog is where you can read the story behind the pictures such as.....

How when I took this swimming costume out of the case, I noticed that the padding was missing. Having had three children and having spent approximately 4.5 years of my life breast feeding them, there was no way that I was appearing in this without a little "assistance". Luckily my running stuff (for some bizarre reason) had some extra padding in so one "boob padding" transplant later, and I was good to go.

Instagram also doesn't explain that whilst these goggles may be the best in the universe, they leave marks like no others, so that for the rest of the day I have to wear sunglasses.

Nor does it explain how I waited until 2 members of the family were sleeping and 2 were surfing until I ordered this. Yesterday it was attacked by everyone else. Not so much today!

Nor does it let on how I told Mr SG that this parcel, which arrived an hour after we arrived, was an early birthday present from the people at Boden. I so could have got that past him but I confessed that it was actually a skirt that wouldn't have reached me in time, had I ordered it to our home address.

But the funniest thing of all - and this will appeal to those who know Mr SG - someone tried to nick his crocs on the beach today. They are the flip flop style ones, at least 750,000 years old and he spotted their red (inner) soles on someone else's feet as he walked off in them. Mr SG gave chase, the bloke kicked them off and he was duly thanked for keeping them warm. Out of all the things to try to pinch eh? The crocs. Brilliant.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Packing like a pro (!!!)


So if I ran a blog where everything was perfect, including my packing, this is what it would look like. There would be a carefully selected number of pieces in a simple colour palette which could be worn in a multitude of different ways over two weeks, to create an endless supply of stylish outfits.  There would also be a stylish piece of hand luggage into which everything would fit, therefore avoiding the need to check a bag in, together with all that entails (particularly at the other end). 

As it is, this is the reality. A not insubstantial amount of different coloured clothes with varying prints. Knowing me the dread of having to wash everything when I get back will mean that I only wear a fraction of it so it will be more "Wear one dress to death" and "How to accessorise 50 different ways with loom bands" rather than anything else. My suitcase is just that - a suitcase plain and simple but note the use of the word "my". Having selflessly packed everyone else's clothes first, it just so happens that there's a whole suitcase left for me. Whoever would have thought it?! I like to think of it as packer's prerogative.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

A lovely Breton top - you may be surprised where it's from....


Now I bet that some of you are wondering why a trendy (!) young (!) thing such as myself (double !!) is wearing something from Damart - a brand historically associated with a customer base, I think it's fair to say, somewhat older than myself.

You may be surprised to know that I made my very first Damart purchase at the age of 21. It was a pair of thermal gloves which I wore for the entire winter (and several afterwards) whilst riding my bike to law school in Chester. Not only that but they were recommended to me by possibly one of the coolest girls in the year. How she came to find out about them I never did find out but to this day, despite having bought several other pairs of gloves for cycling/running since, they were by far and away the best. Incidentally whilst at Chester I was knocked off my bike as, it turned out, by a Lecturer in Road Traffic Law at Liverpool University. The irony wasn't lost on me! Fortunately both I, and the Damart gloves, survived unharmed.

So, when Katy from Damart asked me whether I would like to wear something from the collection, I was only too happy to help. Not only because I loved my gloves all those years ago but also because Katy obviously took the time to read Style Guile and to make some suggestions based on what she saw.

I chose this striped sailor neck t-shirt which is £19. It comes in a navy with red trim, or red with a navy trim and is 100% cotton. It's a really lovely quality and with my Jigsaw boyfriend jeans and Stan Smith Adidas trainers, it felt a really nice, casual outfit. You just can't beat a good Breton top and this is definitely up there with some of the best that I have tried.  I think that my approach to fashion and styling can be best summed up as follows: There isn't any one brand where I like everything, but for every brand that's out there, I like something!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

One of the best dresses for a hot day - the Eliza dress by Allium B


Ironing or blog post? Ironing or blog post? Oh hum the blog post won.

So, what to wear on one of the hottest days of the year? (Apologies to those of you for whom it's winter at the moment. Your turn to gloat will come!)

You all know what a fan of Liberty prints I am and this Eliza dress by Allium B (£95) is perfect on a hot day. The length is good but it's not too long, the skirt is slightly A-line, the straps are wide enough to accommodate bra straps and it's nicely nipped in at the waist without being too tight. I don't get to wear it a lot but when I do I really enjoy it because I know that the summer has well and truly arrived. My dress is from last summer but this season's blue one is very similar and for info purposes, I'm wearing a size 8.

I'd started to get a little freaked out by the fit of these red sandals because I usually slip them on and off without undoing them. However I've found it increasingly difficult to get them back on, which has led me to wondering whether my feet are swelling or something. The 15 year old denied wearing them so then I asked the 6 year old. She 'fessed up to wearing them because "they make me taller." When reporting this to the 15 year old she said "I've been meaning to talk to you about that...." and then too admitted to having worn them. So independently of one another, and without me knowing, there they both are trying on my shoes when I'm not looking - which I suppose is a compliment really. Anyway, at least it explains the swollen feet (or lack, of as it transpires.)


Friday, 18 July 2014

A printed Primark dress for £13

The next time that this dress appears on here it may well be as a top! It's a Primark dress which I bought for £13 from Selfridges many weeks ago now. I loved the print but when I got it home I decided that it was too short. I then made several unsuccessful attempt to return it, so finally decided that I would cut it down to a top. However, when the sun shone yesterday, I thought that I would try it on - and there it stayed. Well, for a few hours at least!

Dressed down with Jigsaw plimsolls (Now £29 instead of £59) and this bag from Oushka in silver ((£155) I can just about get away with it - but it's a close call! However being the hottest day of the year does allow a certain amount of leeway on these things, I think.

On Monday we're off to Watergate Bay in Cornwall, where I will celebrate my birthday. This will be followed by a week in Guernsey. With five of us, two destinations, temperatures potentially ranging quite a lot, you can only imagine the fun that's going on with the packing. I have images of the scene in Notting Hill applying to me - the one where Rhys Ifans is wearing a wetsuit complete with flippers and snorkel inside in the middle of the day because it's the only thing he can find that's clean. Watch this space!


Thursday, 17 July 2014

A day out in London and a tale (there's a surprise) about a dress

There's a story about the dress that I'm wearing at the bottom of this post which goes like this....

On Monday I was working in London. Being as hot as it was, I decided that I didn't want to travel in my fancy pants gear so instead I opted for GAP shorts and top, plus trainers.

On arriving in London, I decided to walk the 3.5 miles from the station to the venue, so I was pleased to be wearing these Nike trainers. I plugged myself into my ipod, set the sat nav on my phone and off I went.
On the way I passed the London eye....

The Shard...

Tower Bridge...

And the Tower of London

But most importantly, I saw a women wearing this dress, which I recognised as the GAP striped shift dress (£19.99 in store). So the very next day, when doing my returns in Birmingham, I bought one.

And here it is! Lovely cotton and fully lined, here I'm wearing it with my Jigsaw skater trainers, which oddly is also how the GAP lady is wearing it. I promise that I didn't copy her!

Thanks to everyone in London for such a great time and apologies for the lack of photographs from the event. Once I got there (having set the alarm off in the lift - oops!) it was time to set to work.

A little bit of Primark, Jigsaw and Kate Spade

There wasn't time to blog last night and with the weather being as beautiful as it is, I'm desperate to get to the shops to buy a picnic so that we can all go out. My Mum is coming today and I'm thinking of taking her to the Botanical Gardens and sticking her on one of the mobility scooters so that she can do her best impression of Gangsta Granny. That is until she has her new knees at which point she'll be doing the ironman.

Yesterday it was pretty warm but not boiling, so I took the opportunity to wear the type of outfit that most people can wear when it's 15 degrees but for me it needs to be 20 degrees! Primark coated trousers, Mango sandals, Jigsaw jumper and Kate Spade bag.

I can't wait to decide on today's outfit. It won't be anything glam but maybe, just for one day only, I'll drop below four layers!!!! Enjoy the sun.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Re-designing my Peter Pilotto sweatshirt....


This top started out as a sweatshirt i.e. it had sleeves. I bought it when the Peter Pilotto for Target collection was launched and although I loved the blue and white print, I really didn't like the print on the sleeves. With a trip to Cornwall and Guernsey coming up, and with its fleecy lining, I knew that it could have a place in my wardrobe but not in its current form. So today I made the decision to chop the sleeves off. And here's how it went:

Get one top and one pair of scissors....

Try on the top and get a rough idea of where you want the finished length of the sleeve to be, then cut a bit below that so that there's room for a turn up;

Use the chopped off sleeve as a measure against the second sleeve so that they end up pretty much the same length. Two minutes later, job done!

Kirsty flippin' Allsop, eat your heart out, you're not the only one who's good with a pair of scissors. (I wonder whether she would think of using the chopped off sleeves as leg warmers though? I feel  a Flashdance moment coming on!)

Sunday, 13 July 2014

A peasant style top in action and a weekend of friends, fizz, flowers, food and fires!


These are the weekends of which I dream when it's cold and dark outside. Hot afternoons followed by balmy evenings in the garden with friends, food, fizz, flowers and a fire (I didn't realise that I had a thing about "Fs" but with a "Freddie" and a "Flo" as children, maybe I should have done!) I love having all the windows and doors of the house open - just because it's warm enough to do so - and it seems to be at that point that the house comes into its own (particularly the new John Lewis cushions - got there in the end) and all is right with the world.

Anyway, enough of all of that pontificating. When it's a hot day, you need a new top don't you? Luckily the Lola Top from Boden (was £59, now £23.60) was in the Boden parcel that I received the other day and it fitted the bill nicely. It's still available in every size so clearly no-one else likes it but I do!

When it's hot enough for a top like this - minus a vest please note - then the temperature must be in the mid 20s, which means that it's also a day for shorts so apologies for the lack of a stylish bottom half to this outfit.

So this is where the fizz came in. The pink champagne was a present to my husband for his birthday in April but he kept it for when our friends from Brighton visited....

I have to admit to being a total and utter philistine when it comes to fizz - much more babycham than Bollinger - so I donated my glass to Mr SG (he was happy) and instead went for a drink made of prosecco, elderflower, mint, lemon and ice. Sweet and with lots of bubbles. I'm such a cheap date!

Then we moved on to flowers and alfresco dining. I love hydrangeas -  they have the same silhouette as my Mum's hair - although she hasn't quite reached the blue, pink, or lilac rinse stage yet.

Next came the fire, complete with wood foraged from the bottom of the garden....

After a night's sleep and a long morning walk (well, for two of us and one of us was sort of co-erced into it by me) we headed for brunch at our local. Mint tea, a jammy dodger and a tea pot with a woolly hat - what could be better?!

Please remind me when I'm complaining about the cold that sometimes, just occasionally, the weather plays ball and that everything comes together as it should.  
As an aside, the World Cup Final is on but the six year old isn't impressed with Argentina. Right at the start of the World Cup I told her all about Maradonna and "the hand of God" incident which was particularly relevant at the time as she was learning a song at school with the same words in it. Amazingly she remembered and has branded the whole team a bunch of cheats as a result of which she wants Germany to win. Maybe I'll cease with the history lessons...

Friday, 11 July 2014

Whizzing through my outfits over the past couple of days....

OK, so this is a quick dash through what I've been up to over the last couple of days.  First off, yesterday morning I had a  "meeting" (no, seriously it was) with a friend. Handily it was in a local pub across the road from school. The converse allowed me to run up to school alongside the quickest thing on two wheels (our six year old on her scooter) but at least it enabled me to test the elasticity of the Whistles tube skirt. It passed. I'm wearing it with a Jigsaw silk front top.

As soon as I was home, I ditched the skirt in favour of Topshop cut offs. Much better given it was such a warm day.  I can't remember what the eldest was doing to make me laugh - probably taking the mick in some way shape or form. After all that's what we're for isn't it?! The bruised legs are as a result of visiting "go ape" last weekend. I think it's fair to say that at times I was petrified but when there's no other way down than to cross those wires 30ft above the ground, you just have to get on with it.

I was out working last night but this arrived whilst I was out. A lovely surprise for today! I've had a quick look at some of the items in it. The trousers looked as if they were more suited to the six year old demon scooter girl, than me. I must try them later to see if I can get them past my calves.

We have three children all of whom break up for the holidays on different days. One finished at lunchtime today so I squidged in a quick run before I had to collect her.

Later on today, being short of time, I reached for the nearest thing - namely the Jigsaw tencel chinos that I wore the day before yesterday and the coral marl vest top from GAP. These trousers are good on a warm day. Admittedly they're not the most flattering but they're great because unlike skinny jeans, the air can circulate through them. Maybe tomorrow I will have a little more time for some outfit planning!