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Sunday, 20 August 2017

The Slip Dress Recipe for Success...

I've realised that the one dress that I reach for time and time again when I want to wear a dress but don't want to be "dressy" - is a slip dress. Each time I wear mine I get lots of people asking me where it's from so I thought that the slip dress deserved a post of its own. 

The great thing about slip dresses is that they can be worn all year round - as ever, winter florals will be huge again.  If it's exceptionally hot (hmmm) they're great on their own. If it's a bit chillier, wear a T-shirt underneath and when the winter arrives, go for the full on black ribbed turtle neck for added warmth and a chunky cardi over the top. Some are slimmer fitting than others but in general the shape of them is good because they have a neat silhouette without clinging. The fabric can play a part in whether they work or not too - so try a few on and see where you get to. 

The ones below are largely from & Other Stories and H&M but I've also linked to M&S for anyone who wants to take a good look at what's out there now. 


Lace Slip Dress (£69) Other Stories


Lace Trimmed Slip dress (£69) Other Stories



Leaf print dress (£59) Other Stories



Gilded pleat dress (£59) Other Stories

H&M  slip dress (£9.99)


H&M pale blue slip dress (£7.99)



As an alternative, if the idea of a slip dress "top" appeals but not the bottom half of the dress, the Jigsaw cami (£29) comes in 12 colours and looks great with a simple crew neck T underneath.

If you're a regular slip dress wearer, I would love to hear how you style yours. Or if you've not gone there before, could you be tempted?! Have a lovely start to the week. Beth x


Friday, 18 August 2017

Pleated skirts - my pick of the pack

Today I had a little wardrobe sort out. True, it was interrupted by the chap from Virgin who came to fix the phone as we couldn't make outgoing calls. As it transpired the phone wasn't actually broken. It was just that a call bar had been put on it due to overuse by someone in the family. We'll say no more about that but suffice to say that there is currently a rather large pile of clothes in the centre of our bedroom floor.

I was categorising each item into one of three categories. First, there was "couldn't live without" (arguably a little dramatic I know, but there you go). Secondly there was "don't love but don't want to part with" and thirdly there was "on its way out".

Without a shadow of a doubt my Topshop pleated skirt fell into the "couldn't live without" category. Arguably it needs to fall into the wash bin category as I'm not quite sure when I last washed it. If ever. What an admission. Have you seen how many times I've worn that skirt? Anyway, moving swiftly on.

Why do I love a pleated skirt? Well the silhouette is neat but there's still plenty of room in the skirt for a big stride - I guess that's pleats for you. They are swishy and feminine but work  with trainers (I know, I'm off again) and a leather jacket as well as with a silk blouse, blazer and heels. They wash and dry really well (ignore that. How would I know?) and they have been here for a while so they are a good investment.  Despite what people say, I believe that there's a pleated skirt for everyone.

These are some that I've found recently on my travels...



This red dot pleated skirt from Stories (£59) also comes in navy with white spots. It has buttons down the front and is a slightly shorter length than some that are around. It's quite fresh and spring like but I think we're going to see a lot of dots going into the winter and even if not, who cares? If you love dots wear them all year round!

This black pleated skirt from Stories (£55) also comes in light blue as well as a floral print. It's a good starting point for anyone who doesn't want to stand out from the crowd too much. The darker colour is good for slimming the bottom half and then you can have loads of fun on the top half with print and colour. 


Now in the run up to Christmas, a metallic pleated skirt is a great option. I had one from H&M last year which I wore on into spring and summer with a t-shirt and denim shirt. Again, this one is from Stories (£45). I like how the skirt is styled with a longer line jumper in this image. If the proportions feel a little off with flat shoes, a boot with a bit of a heel will help to redress that. 


Oooh and probably my favourite - the emerald Stories skirt (£69). It's a bit mermaid like really - metallic and green with a richness about it which is just gorgeous! 


Then for an every day cool skirt with a bit of an edge and touch of slouch, there's the Me & Em long jersey pleated skirt (£79). Some may find the jersey takes away from the girliness of a silky pleated skirt - making it more accessible for daily wear. The length is great too - layer those leggings underneath it when its chilly. And it has a lovely wide waistband too for extra comfort. I'm really tempted to try this one.


And finally, for something pink and frou frou, there's the Baltic pleated skirt from Finery (£89). There are quite a few pieces from Finery that are currently on a waiting list and I think that if the fashion pack pick this one up and run with it, it too will sell out quickly. Either that, or it will be heavily discounted in the sale at the end of the season.

I'm hoping to come across a velvet pleated skirt soon. H&M, Jigsaw and Topshop don't have anything right now but I don't think that it will be long before we see them appearing. And Whistles have these metallic options which might be of interest. 

So, there's my pleated skirt round up. Do many of you own one and if so how do you style it. And for those who haven't gone there so far, are any of you now tempted? 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Magic Roundabout - a metaphor for solving a problem

When my friend came up with a brilliant way of thinking through a problem, I asked her if she would put her thoughts in writing so that I could share them with you all. It's a fantastic way of approaching whatever life throws at us. The ability to visualise what she's talking about really helps to. So, over to Libby....


"I have a particular friend who I absolutely love to bits.   We share life together, raise children together and pound for miles along streets, canal towpaths and even motorway verges training for some bonkers race or running event which will knacker our knees and mean our Achilles will never be the same again. 

I love her for lots of reasons.   One of the best things about her is where she "comes off the roundabout!"  Back up I hear you cry; loving your friends and sharing life with them, all good, but what’s all this talk of roundabouts? Let me explain. 

I get stuck with a problem.  These problems can be small or large; dealing with teenagers, navigating a mid life crisis (that’s mine and not my husband’s – why should we miss out?), dealing with loss and bereavement or processing a health scare.  I will mention this to my friend, she will muse on the problem and then often come out with a totally different view point and perspective on my situation.  It’s like we’ve come to the same roundabout, I have taken the first turning on the left but she has stayed on the roundabout and come off at the third exit.  Same problem, same roundabout, different exit, different perspectives, new solution!  It is so very liberating! 

Now when I have a problem I like to go back to my roundabout and think myself off at a different exit and a different solution.  The analogies are many and varied; staying on the roundabout until you find an exit you can handle, going down an exit you’d rather not go down but, because of circumstances, you have to go there and learn to enjoy the view anyway, they are endless.  The message remains the same; if the solution you find for a problem doesn’t sit right, it’s rarely irreversible.  Go back to the magic roundabout and find a new exit."   

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Seeing stars....but not in my eyes!

It started with Phoebe Philo wearing Stan Smiths at Celine's A/W 2011 show in Paris. Since then, fashion has adopted trainers as its own. No longer are trainers worn just in the traditional "training sense", which for many has been a revelation. Whether it's a feminist take on fashion or just more of a practical take on fashion I don't know - but I love it.  With a lacy dress, a pleated skirt, smart trousers, to a business meeting, on the red carpet or when heels just won't do - trainers can, do and will. 

Now, one thing that I really can justify buying is a new pair of trainers. My Adidas silver Superstars are probably the most featured footwear on my Instagram account and they are rarely far from my feet. My Fitbit tells me that I've walked miles and miles and miles in them - and the four holes that I have now worked into them is testament to that. Cost per wear - less than nothing. 

For a long time now I've been debating what to replace them with. You will not be surprised to hear that usually a decision of this nature doesn't cause me any problems but in this instance. Well, let's just say that the debate has been ongoing. It's almost as if the fear of making the wrong decision - of replacing something so amazing with something inferior - is  just too big a risk to take. But now - well now I have made a decision as to what I would like. And they feature stars. I don't think that I will ever tire of stars. From star jewellery, to t-shirts, to handbags, to jeans and our latest wallpaper, stars adorn pretty much everything. These are my favourite picks so far...

Well hello baby! These are high on my wish list. Not just sparkly stars but glittery stars. Hush Galaxy Trainer (£145)



I saw these Star lace up sneakers in & Other Stories (£75) when I was in London earlier in the week. I'm not quite so sure about the multi-colours - the jury is still out - but they could be a contender.




Russell & Bromley moodboard sneakers (£195) - not strictly stars in their own right but there's definitely a star presence. 





Or how about the Dune Equel patchwork cupsole trainer (£60)?  The reviews of these say how comfortable they are so I'm definitely drawn to them. [Sorry about the poor quality image; Dune make it tricky to get them!]


M&S star trainer (£29.50) - now I've already ordered these in the name of "research". I really liked the white ones but they are out of stock. Black could be a little bit interesting. But I think that I might just still need some white ones too. 


Oooh now aren't these snazzy? They're the ASOS  Dawn Star Trainer (£25). They're not leather, which some may prefer and as it says on the image, half sizes are available which can make a huge difference comfort wise. 


Or there's the ASOS Delilah moon and star trainer (£25)

I would love to know if any of you have bought any star trainers recently and if so, what the comfort factor is like. And if you don't already have some, I would love to know which ones grab your attention. It might help me to decide which ones to go for! 

  










Tuesday, 15 August 2017

New Season Hush - My Top Ten Favourite Picks

It's here! The new season collection from Hush has arrived and I'm going to share my favourite top ten pieces with you. And don't forget, there's a 10% discount with the code A17PREVIEW

First up, knitwear. One of my absolute loves. Which is apt because this is one of my favourite jumpers....


Hush Love Jumper (£85) which isn't strictly a "new season" piece, rather a repeat from last Autumn/Winter - but it's a favourite nonetheless and will replace my old and worn out New Look one which has seen much better days. The reviews of this jumper are great but be prepared for it to sell out. It also comes in midnight with white writing. There's also the Big Love jumper which is going to be not just big, but HUGE.


Moving on to lightening bolts, which are having a huge fashion moment...


Hush Lightening Bolt Jumper (£85). I love how it's styled with paler jeans but through into the winter the "custard" colour will add a bolt (I prefer "bolt" to "pop") of colour to darker pieces too.

For a skirt, I'm loving the look of this one....
Hush Odessa Lace Skirt (£55) which looks to be a straight, not pencil, style. A real dress up/dress down piece. I love lace for the day (as well as sequins, velvet and leopard print) so team it with a simple knit and some ankle boots for a great stylish, but comfortable, day time outfit.

For another skirt which is a good all rounder, Hush have re-released the Marina Skirt (£65) which has that lovely combination of a decent length whilst at the same time showing a bit of leg through the sheer fabric - great if the shape of your legs are still great but if the tone isn't quite what it was.


Just as good in the day time as for the evening. 

I have found a knitted dress to be invaluable in the winter months and I can't wait to try this one...


Hush Althea Knit Dress (£89). This dress is a medium weight knit and is a wool and cotton mix (55% merino, 45% cotton) For those who run hot, this will be good news. I'm going to check it out and see how it feels, to see whether it's thick enough for me.  If not, I can always put my ninja layering skills to good use.

I think that these Kick Flare Trousers (£75) could be a snazzy alternative to the classic skinnies/straight legs that we all own. In some ways they're not quite as easy to wear - the hem length, boot height (as in where the boot finishes on the leg) and the boot heel height need to work together but if they're right, they can look amazing.


For a relaxed look (that you can still dress up) I'm loving these...


Hush Metallic Striped Joggers (£45) which just have that little bit of a metallic detail to elevate them above the every day.

The Anais Bag (£110) would be a lovely little addition to the haul...

The bag adds just the right touch of leopard print which works so well at pulling blacks and browns together and working in some texture, print and interest to an outfit. After all, an outfit is all about its accessories!

The one thing that I have managed to order so far are these Hackney Boots which have been reduced from £210 to £130. They enable a bit of a sock flash around the ankle, which I quite like as I have lots of sparkly socks which really shouldn't remain hidden from view in the winter.


And finally as well as new winter boots we all need some new shoes but not just any new shoes...... red shoes!

I love how these Ascot heels (£120) have been styled on the site. They just look so great with everything! And red is going to be THE colour of the winter, so a red pair of shoes in the style of the season is a great investment. These remind me so much of my first pair of work shoes - some Marilyn Anselm shoes from Hobbs that I bought in Covent Garden. I NEVER thought that they would become trendy again. Lucky that I kept them!


There will be lots more coming but as a starter for ten, I think that there's enough to keep us going when planning a few new bits for the winter.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Let's look on the bright side....


If you think about it, mid-August is a funny time clothes wise. There are those who are willing the last rails of summer clothes out of the shops to make way for the shiny new Winter collections. And then there are those, like me, who are very happy to see what's on its way into the stores whilst  desperately hoping that we will have a last blast of summer warmth - particularly as we still have a week in the Channel Islands coming up.

The good thing about the less than perfect summer weather though, is that it gives us a chance to wear those outfits that "normal" ie non-pathetically chilly people, wear all year round. Using the above outfit as an example, this is what I mean:
  • Boots without tights - a common sight at the February London Fashion Week. In reality nothing could be further from the truth for me in February. Hello corned beef legs. Well, that is if you can see them through the hair - personal grooming isn't high on everyone's list of priorities during the winter months;
  • A shirt without a vest, or a long sleeved top (or both) underneath - not obvious to many, if any, but I know that my waistband is slightly looser because of it and it's just a nicer, lighter, feel;
  • A skirt without leggings underneath it - again a revelation. I find "the leggings under the skirt" look particularly attractive when the leggings show beneath the skirt hem (!);
  • No coat or jacket - again, a rarity for me in month other than June, July or August but again, refreshing;
  • A bag small enough not to take any additional layers of clothing in it, for example a thermal vest, long johns, woolly socks - you get the drift. 
So rather than lamenting the colder summer weather, let's look on the bright side, dig into our wardrobes and use it as an opportunity to re-work some pieces into lighter weight (but not full on summer) outfits. Anyone with me on it?!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Mother, get your knitting needles out....


I know that some of you may, (quite rightly) think that I have taken leave of my senses but oh goodness me how much do I love this Ganni Faucher sweater from Net a Porter (£355)? Yes, that's right. £355. Gulp.

But then again the ways it could be worn are endless. And arguably that would be rather handy as this could be the sum total of my winter wardrobe.

Given that I tend to feel the cold, knitwear is going to be "big" for me this winter I've decided - in more ways that one - from statement pieces, to jumper thickness and, it would appear, price - it's going to loom large.


This jumper is hand knitted in Italy by local Tuscan artisans and it takes three days to complete each one. Which got me thinking....my Mum and her friends are great at knitting. My Mum was taught by her Auntie Vi, who was a prolific knitter and who could have rattled this off in a day or so. Sadly she is no longer around but my Mum, with her pals Vera, Freda and Pat - well they could become the "Breaston Artisans" and furnish me with one of these in no time at all. Are you up for the challenge Mum?

This is one of my other favourites this year, the Bella Freud 1970  cashmere jumper, which at £390 is even more expensive than the one above. BUT it does have my actual, genuine, year of birth on it, so that makes it more than worth it doesn't it? The problem is I've seen Jamie Oliver's daughter's wearing it in what is clearly an ironic kind of way. If I wore it I think that people might look at me and just feel sorry for me in a "Crikey you're quite an old lady" type of way or even worse a "Really? 1970? Surely you must mean 1962" type of way. And they might have to lift my chins up to actually see the date, which is never a good look.

But seriously, if there's anyone out there who would even vaguely like to attempt knitting a jumper like the Ganni one above, I would love to chat!

Friday, 11 August 2017

You are always on my mind - the Baukjen leather leggings


Much as it's my job to know about the upcoming trends for the season, and what's in the shops, I try to steer clear of thinking about winter clothes for myself until...well....the winter. If I miss out on a winter coat in August, I'm sure I'll manage.

But, as in the words of the Elvis song "Always on my mind" these navy leather leggings from Baukjen (£350) really are always on my mind. Well not always, that's a slight exaggeration - but more than they should be, given the time of year.

But then again just think of the endless ways that they could be worn - from now until, well, probably all year round - other than one or two vaguely sunny days. With a silk shirt/pyjama top type combo, through to a chunky jumper or cashmere round neck. With loafers, heels, trainers and winter boots. Now they're not only on my mind. I've talked myself into a full blown obsession.

For now I shall hold off. But watch this space. One day they may appear....out of the blue (I know. Terrible pun.)

Is there any other piece of clothing that is "Always on your mind" at the moment?!

Thursday, 10 August 2017

The trouser detail of the season....

We saw them last season and they're going to be back again with a vengeance .....(re)introducing the side stripe trouser.

What I love about side stripe trousers is that they're not a "shape" of trouser but rather a detail on a trouser. And as well all know, not all shapes suit all figures - but this detail is accessible to all. Plus what a flattering detail it is, effectively narrowing the width of the legs. Double love!


I also think that compared to last season, we're seeing more textures used in the stripe on the trouser. For example this Gap pair has a satin side stripe (£54). I quite like the style of these trousers which is clearer in the image below...


They are high waisted, pleated and a peg leg but none of those features are too extreme, making them more wearable than some other, similar, styles.


For a smarter look, there's the Charlbury wide leg striped trouser from Boden (£98). With their red side stripe, they have a little bit of a nod towards a soldiers' uniform. Although of course anything can be dressed up or down these days, so stick them with some trainers and a t-shirt or crew neck jumper and you have much more of a casual look going on. 


Then there's the side stripe jean from Me & Em (£139). What I like about these jeans is that they come in sizes 24" to 31" - which means that they start very small and they don't miss out any of the sizes in between, which so many brands do. Plus note the kitten heels. If you've any lurking at the back of the wardrobe, this is the season to dig them out. 


And finally, with a nod to the side stripe trend, there's the Boden indigo jeans with navy velvet stripe (£60). Again there's texture in the stripe and this one is a narrower one, for people who prefer something more subtle.

Last winter I had a pair of side stripe trousers from M&S but I can't see any online at the moment and Oasis also had a pair in the other day but again, they're not online yet. (Well unless someone else succeeds where I have failed). But I don't think that it will be long before they're everywhere. What do you think? Tempted or not and have you seen any great pairs out there recently?  




Tuesday, 8 August 2017

A stylish (and supportive!) swimsuit from Cocobay - plus a 15% discount


Seafolly Castaway Stripe Bandeau Maillot Swimsuit (£118)

For some people, floating about in a swimming pool with cool cans of coke being brought to them by an inflatable flamingo is a regular occurrence. For me, less so. But for this post I can at least pretend can't I? 


Can I also pretend that I wear a sunhat and sunglasses in the pool too? Because of course it's not likely that some little (or large) monkey is going to come along and tip me off now is it?



But enough of that. What I really need to talk to you about is this fabulous swimsuit that I referred to in an earlier post. Without a shadow of a doubt some women would rather wear a swimsuit, preferring the coverage and support that it offers over the tummy area.   

There are a number of reasons that I love this swimsuit. First, I love the look of it and that's the most important thing because if it doesn't look great, it's not going to get any further with me. It makes an impact but in a subtle way. The stripes are cleverly designed in such a way that they flatter and narrow the torso, cutting into it, rather than widening it as full width horizontal stripes tend to do. This indigo - or navy - colour is also one of my favourite colours that there is. So that goes in its favour too.  


Secondly, the fabric is really supportive so everything feels well contained and you don't feel in the least exposed. It does take a little bit of a wriggle to get it on but that's testament to how supportive it is once on. Once in place, it doesn't move an inch - and neither does anything that's inside it. I loved wearing this swimsuit. I'm generally more of a bikini girl but this sort of felt like an "outfit" and if I was staying at a resort where there were lots of people, or if I was away with a group of friends, I would definitely feel more "dressed" even though I was in swimwear.  


In terms of detailing, the cups have a hidden underwire and they are moulded, plus they have gripper tape so that everything stays firmly in place.  The swimming costume also comes with a detachable halter neck strap. To me it also felt a little bit like a glamourous swimsuit from the 1950s that had been brought up to date. 


There's also a clasp across the strap at the back of the swimming costume too. 

At £118 this is definitely an investment piece but Seafolly are not just about a tag. This swimsuit really does have something to offer, namely longevity, style and a great fit. I've worked as a stylist for many years now and there are some things, that for some women, it is worth them investing more in - whether it's because of the fit, or because it does a particularly good job, or because of the way that it makes them feel. I am definitely a high street girl at heart but having been lucky enough to wear bikinis and swimsuits from Cocobay for three years now, I absolutely understand what they are about. My advice would be that if you think that this may be the holy grail of swimsuits - the one that you've been searching for and which so far has eluded you - try it just to see how you get on. 


The Seafolly swimsuit from Cocobay also comes in a white/black combination for those who prefer a different look.

The lovely people at Cocobay have set up a 15% discount code which is valid until the of September, just enter BETH1517 at the checkout. Happy shopping! 

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

The Topshop white lace shorts


 These cutwork broderie shorts from Topshop (£26) have been a real winner whilst on holiday this week. I love a bit of white, especially in the summer. Plus I love a lot of lace. And the zig zag hem does a great job of breaking up the thighs. So far I've managed to dodge the chocolate ice cream wielding 9 year old. But I fear that it's only a matter of time (especially as her habit has increased to about three a day.) 

As you can see above I've worn the shorts with a white lace top for a playsuit effect and below, with my striped Boden top for a different look. They will be coming to Guernsey with me later in the summer too - even if I have to wear them with several jumpers and trainers. And for those slightly nervous of white, they also come in black.