Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Mum on the Run - A sneaky peek at the clothes for tomorrow's event...

I didn't actually get dressed properly until 3pm today - how dreadful is that? I started off in running gear, which doesn't count. This was followed by my faithful but utterly hideous tracksuit bottoms and fleece with a hole in it which came about as a result of getting too close to an open fire which spat embers and me and melted a hole in it. I am one classy lady!

I didn't head out until 3pm as I was busy catching up on emails from yesterday and preparing for tomorrow evening's style event.  There's a lot to organise in terms of the running order, making sure all of the outfits are complete, letting the models know where to be and when and so on and packing it all up.  

Anyway, I thought that I would let you have a sneaky peek at some of the clothes that will be worn tomorrow.....

together with some of the shoes...
We are going to have so much fun - particularly as we have a Kate Middleton look alike who will be wearing a very "Kate" outfit - pics to follow (no pressure on the look a like now!)

You know that some times you reach that point in the day when you think "Oh flip, what are we going to have for dinner?" That happened to me today and I realised that I needed to act fast - doing my usual trick of minimum effort for maximum effect. So, I got everything ready for our favourite Jamie stew, only to go to the fridge and realise that my husband had frozen the meat. 

At this point I was quite relieved that the only thing I hadn't done was open the bottle of wine or else I might have had to indulge.  On the positive side, when I did eventually start to make the stew, I felt a bit like Delia as everything was already cut up in preparation and stored in little bowls and I just had to chuck it all in with aplomb - which was very satisfying indeed I must say.

Rather than showing a full length shot today, I am showing you my new pink Mango jumper which I have put with my favourite Hobbs necklace and flouro shellac nails - to which I am quite partial.  The jumper is a looser shape, which I like for a change as lots of my jumpers are quite fitted.  It vaguely resembles a dish cloth but I am not swayed by that! This jumper was in exchange for one which I bought at the weekend but which I took back because both my daughter and I felt that it was just too similar to something her Grandma would wear.  Hmm, dishcloth vs Grandma jumper - I am not really selling either of them am I?

It's been a long day and I am off for a sticky toffee pudding!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Mum on the Run - Being a busy bee!

So it was back to earth with a bump after my amazing day out at the shoot for Woman & Home magazine today.  As I walked through the front door tonight the two eldest were fighting over cheese biscuits (I know, why would you?) and the youngest was refusing to go to bed. Oh how I missed them today.

The whole day was a great experience, from the all white studios, to getting my hair and make-up done professionally, to working with Liz McAulay who is an amazing photographer, to being looked after by Sharon Mears, the pictures editor and to being styled by Jillie Murphy.  I also met a lovely lady on the photo shoot who, oddly enough, used to live on the same street as us. Talk about small world! Pics weren't allowed during the day so I am afraid that today it is just me in a bee jumper.....

Which brings me on to my bee jumper - with the words "bee mine" on it.  I came across it yesterday whilst taking a quick whizz around the Fusion section at Monsoon - which I love. The prints and retro styling are very Miu Miu - minus the price tag! What I loved about the jumper, other than the fact that it reminded me of my sis (we have a whole bee/ladybird/gnome thing going on) was that it came with a packet of wildflower seeds, which would provide food, nectar and pollen for the little fellas.  Given what has happened to the bee population of late, this can only be a good thing.  It also comes with a free Burt's Bees honey lip balm which is an added bonus - or will be(e) when the shop actually stocks them. Grey next to my skin isn't really a winner so I layered a white shirt underneath but will probably also put it with stripes, although probably not black or yellow ones, or a bright coloured long sleeved top.

So anyway, I am a bit whacked now and plan to buzz (oh the tragedy of the bee jokes) off to bed, ready to start again tomorrow with plans for the event on Thursday which is getting ever closer... 

Monday, 27 February 2012

Mum on the Run - Day time sparkles (and lots of them)!

Isn't it lovely to have some warmer weather? It was a nice feeling, lightening it all up by swapping the boots for sparkly converse, adding a scarf in "this season's" colours and layering a new white shirt under my favourite sparkly jumper. The outfit was a bit full on sparkly but hey, the sun was out! I am happy to wear skinny trousers but if I have flat shoes on with them, I have to limit the "dumpy" factor by keeping the trousers as dark as possible!

On the subject of sparkles, and tops in particular, I received a comment the other day from a lady who wasn't sure that sequins would go down too well at her village school in the Lake District. I promised that I would post a photo of a top that might be a good "dipping your toe in the day time sequins look" kind of top. It's from H&M, is machine washable at 30 degrees and costs £24.99.

To break it up a little, I would layer a white shirt underneath (why do I keep typing shite shirt?) or to actually hide it a little, a longer knit could be layered over the top and maybe even a scarf, so that all that would be visible would be a strip of sequins down the middle. It could still be worn with jeans and winter boots/wellies and a practical coat, keeping the look casual but a little bit fun and sparkly too - even in the day time.

Yesterday it dawned on me that I needed to up my game in preparation for my trip to London tomorrow for the photo shoot Woman & Home Magazine. By up my game I meant - do something with my monobrow, do something with my broken nails and sort out my skin. In order to deal with the latter, I lined up all of the free samples of face cream that I had and decided which one looked as though it would deliver maximum benefits in minimum time - a sort of protein shake but for the face. The Clarins serum won and I have been layering it on in the hope that it does something. I'm not sure what but something, anything, would be good. I don't know if it will work and in any event it could all be academic - I've heard that photoshop is very good - thank goodness.

I am not sure that I will be home in time to do a post tomorrow but I may tweet a few pics throughout the day instead and I will be back on Wednesday to fill you in on how it all went.

Today's outfit is: Trousers Cos, Gap (shite) shirt, Warehouse jumper, M&S pumps, Mango scarf, Mulberry bag.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Mum on the Run - A Sunday Best outfit of Reiss and Stella & Dot

Carrying on with my "Sunday Best" theme, today I am all in Reiss. I bought the dress in the sale a few years ago for something like £37.  I call it my "Fifi" dress as it reminds me of Fifi and the flower tots! The detail at the top broadens my shoulders which in turn slims my bottom half - which works really well for all pear shaped ladies.  A similar effect can be achieved, although to a lesser extent, with horizontal stripes, embellishment, shoulder pads and narrow lapels - all of which will broaden the upper body. 

Working down the outfit, the belt was also a Reiss sale purchase, which I am wearing back to front.  It's a grey patent crocodile print. The shoes I bought for my husband's 40th birthday party - and I have to say that they were agony until I wore them in.  The straps on them are also grey crocodile print. I have included another photograph to give a better view of the wedge heels.

I also changed my ear-rings for this art deco inspired pair from Stella & Dot. There's a whole Great Gatsby thing going on at the moment so these are my token gesture towards that particular trend.

Hope that you have had a lovely day in the sunshine. We opened the gate at the bottom of our garden and wandered into the allotments and the picnic area for a game of catch and a packet of chocolate buttons. What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, especially in February!  Oh and then we came back to these for afternoon tea - as made by our son and my hubby when I was out running this morning. Such a treat to come home to and naturally I felt fully justified in having some...or a little bit more than some.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Mum on the Run - With nothing on at all!

This is not a picture of me, not standing outside of our front door and not wearing anything at all! I decided to give myself a little sabbatical today as I have blogged a picture of what I am wearing every day for a long time now.  As the sun was out I decided to re-vamp the pots by the front door and treat us to a new door mat - so I am showing you a picture of that instead.

I thought that I would also share with you another spring purchase for the house - our new rug. I have been after a rug with pink in it for years - literally years. The one I loved the most was from the Rug Company in London and was by Marni. The Rug Company very kindly let you "borrow" them free of charge but I knew that such a move would be dangerous.  I also knew that there was no way we could afford the £5 000 price tag attached to the rug so I kept on searching until I came across this one from Marks and Spencer.

It arrived on Monday but I hadn't had an opportunity until now to open it so tonight was the night!  I love it, especially the pink.

So, back to the clothes.... for some unknown reason I have decided that what my Wardrobe is lacking is a pair of pale blue trousers - I know, don't ask me why! These are the pairs I have come across so far:

Audrey skinny trousers from Whistles. They are £75 which is a bit on the steep side and from the other pictures available it looks as though they don't have back pockets - which can be a bit limiting, should I want to wear a shorter top.

Harris cropped trousers from Reiss which, at £95, are more than I would like to spend on something which I would want to wear on a daily basis especially as I am likely to get something down them pretty much immediately. They also do another pair which aren't online but which are at least machine washable - so perhaps more of a possibility.
 Reiss Harris Straight and Skinny Trousers

French Connection has a lovely pair which don't appear to be online.  However, at £75 they too are pricey and are essentially just a pair of cotton chinos.  The ones in GAP are a brighter blue than I would like but these ones from Topshop may do the trick - depending on the cut around the thigh area! At £28 they are much more of what I had in mind - especially as I am just dipping my toe into this look to see if I like it or not.
Chino Trousers
This pair of skinny jeans from River Island could, as my Grandad would have said, be "just the ticket."  They are reduced to £20 from £30 but they only have my size in a long - so I could either borrow my friend, Vicky's, legs or get them shortened. I'm not too fussy whether I have a chino style or a skinny jean.  I'll probaly try a few, go round in a circle or two and then get something completely different altogether - but I like having a plan!

To go with them I quite like these blue lace ups from Clarks, at £49.99, because they will be great for dashing around in when the warmer weather arrives but when it is still too chilly for sandals. They will also give me a nice change from converse which are what I tend to wear in the spring/summer with trousers. These gold ones, also from Clarks, may have potential but I would need to see them in the flesh.  As I used to ask the oldest children when they were small "Yummy or yuck?"  I fear that they could be "yuck" but who knows?  It's good to keep an open mind on these things.

Casual Bodkin Bay

Should you like the idea of some brogues for the spring you can also find them in Marks and Spencer - online only and in four (neutral) colours, sparkly ones in Dune, pink and cream/green and cream in New Look, patent ones in the sale in Hobbs online, Topshop, Office - the choice is endless!

I don't know about you but the warmer weather (in February? I know, ridiculous) has made me start to think about what I might need to add in for the summer. That transitional stage of "not being cold enough for thick tights but not being warm enough for bare legs" can be tricky - hence my looking to coloured trousers and brogues in lighter colours to keep things interesting, whilst still remaining practical, until it warms up properly. The other thing to do of course is to swap your winter scarf for a lighter one, together with your coat and bag and you will be well on your way outwitting the British weather (yeah, who am I kidding?!) Tomorrow I will show you the Reiss bag I have my eye on to go  with the pale blue trousers. It's a dangerous world out there!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Mum on the Run - Time to give the trench an airing!

After yesterday's heatwave I thought that it was time to give the trench coat its first outing.  I had about five minutes to get showered and changed having been for a quick run.  I swapped the trench belt for a studded one from Topshop - which was very similar to one which I had seen in Jigsaw but which was too expensive. I also worked in my favourite Hobbs necklace and my pink Mulberry for some colour.  For me it worked fine - not too hot, not too cold, casual enough for the styling I was doing today and smart enough for the meeting that I had afterwards. 

We had a great time selecting more clothes for the event next Thursday.  Just some final bits to get and then I should be pretty much there. I keep going over in my mind whether I have covered all of the different trends/brands/bodyshapes/heel heights/colours/types of accessories/price brackets and so on.  I would like to try and please everyone but experience has taught me that it's not always possible.  Hopefully everyone will have a good time though and take away something positive from the evening.

I was hoping for a rest from shopping tomorrow - yes, even I need one occasionally!  However our eldest has other plans so back to the Bullring it is. I should just pitch a tent there and be done with it.

Hope that you all have a good weekend. Personally, I am looking forward to baking cakes with the children, going swimming and having a rest!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Mum on the Run - A dress and a slouchy knit

First of all I would like to say a big "thank you" to all of you who have nominated in the Style category for a BritMums blogging award.  I am genuinely touched, so thank you.

I am pleased to report that our four year old has seen the error of her ways and is going to turn over a new leaf. She announced yesterday that she was no longer going to call anyone "a silly old bugger" or tell them to "bugger off".  I know I shouldn't have laughed to myself but actually I did.  Had she been number 1, then maybe not but now that number 1 has turned out OK, I am am willing to let a little more go.  A fine bit if parenting if ever there was one (not) - just wait for that to come back and bite me on the bum!

It's been a bit of an exhausing week - although not that I am complaining as I love shopping and compared to my friends who have to do serious things like save lives, it's a doddle.  It just means that I can't go in and look at all the lovely blogs that I like and leave comments so apologies for that.

Model number three was styled today and it's the turn of model number four tomorrow. Here's a sneaky peek at another pair of shoes that we bought today. I love these - a nod to this season's sports trend, with a slight heel but still flat enough to walk in. The black/grey/pink colour combination makes them really versatile and in my book there's always room for a bit of flouro in a girl's wardrobe. They aren't necessarily the perfect shoe if your ankles aren't the slimmest (like mine!) but there are plenty of ladies out there who do have slim ankles, so to them I say show them off - you have to play to your strengths!

As for my outfit, I used a black dress that I have had for ages, and the top of which I don't like very much any more and layered a long sleeve T underneath and a slouchy sequin jumper over the top, together with a long pendant.  I quite liked a bit of "slouch" for a change!

Today's outfit is: Dress Marks and Spencer, Long sleeved T H and M, Warehouse Jumper, Jigsaw pendant, Jigsaw shoe boots, Marc Jacobs bag.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Mum on the Run - Some yellow accessories as, in the words of the Beatles, here comes the sun!

I was off styling again today - my second model in two days, for the event next week.  I have four models in total and today I was working with an 18 year old girl who was lovely and brilliant to work with. We had a fab time in the shops and the great thing is that I can style her in all the trends that I wouldn't necessarily put the other models in - or wear myself.  As we walked into Topshop I turned to her and said "bet this is better than a normal Wednesday in sixth form." She just grinned.

I have decided to let you have a peep at a couple of the things that I bought yesterday as I just really love them! They are the accessories to go with an outfit from Preen at Debenhams - which was a really great range for the lady I was working with yesterday.  Anyway, as yellow is THE colour of the season, I thought that I would introduce these to the outfit...Apparently the shoes are really comfortable, despite their height. 

I pity anyone who comes to the door over the next few days.  I feel that it is my duty to give some of the clothes a whirl, just to see how they fit/fall/feel etc so there is a danger that at any given time I could be wearing palazzos, shorts, a dress, skirt, pink jeans, shirts, knitwear, blazers and any number of shoes and bags. Poor postman.

For myself, I thought that it would be nice to have an outfit of no black, either shoes or accessories, so I went for tan and navy instead. Given that I knew that I would be dashing around in the stores, I also went for comfortable footwear again.

What I am wearing: Tan Jones boots, Gap long and lean jeans (which need replacing but I haven't got round to it yet), Boden blazer and jumper, H&M snood, Stella & Dot necklace, Cath Kidston bag.

Off to town again tomorrow to style model number three...

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Mum on the Run - Mango Lace Skirt, Red Patent KG shoes

I am not sure that anyone else will be particularly interested but I was pleased to find out that it was, in fact, our youngest who had put the hairbrush in the fridge yesterday so on this occasion at least, it wasn't me suffering from a severe case of memory lapse.

Today saw me running to school again and then running back home, for a telephone interview with one of the glossies - which was something different for a Tuesday morning.  Next Tuesday I am off to London for a photo shoot.  I might squeeze in a quick cuppa with my sis too, which would be super fab.  Tuesdays seem to be my day for fun things happening.

After my interview I went into town to meet and style my first model for the Style Event that I am holding next week in Birmingham.  We had a great time. It's such fun styling people and just buying whatever we fancy (within reason).  There are lots of lovely colours and prints out there and it's just so nice to see come colour. I would love to put the photos up of my favourite things but I guess that would kind of spoil it for next week.  I am meeting another of my models tomorrow and then two more the following it's a busy but fun week. There's only one thing to turn to in when there are lots of balls to juggle...Toblerone!

Today's Outfit Is: Mango Lace Skirt - great because although it's lace, it is made from cotton (if that makes sense!) and has some stretch in it, Warehouse sparkly jumper, KG red patent shoes.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Mum on the Run - An outfit for sprinting on the school run!

I'm slightly worried because when I went to the fridge for a mid-morning scoobie snack I found a hairbrush in it. Anything that can act as storage in our house is always welcome but the fridge?  I'm not so sure.  Either I put the hairbrush there in error - quite possible but slightly worrying - or our youngest thought it amusing to put it there - quite possible and less worrying - and also better, I suppose, than her previous penchant for sitting in the fridge.

It was the first day back at school after half term and I knew that we would be making the journey on foot (and/or scooter) which can only mean on thing - footwear that I can run in, and run fast in, if necessary.  So today I had to plan my outfit from the ground up - which is actually quite often the case. 

My Cos Chelsea Boots are the best for running in. Having opted for those, it had to be skinny jeans really.  Some gazelle like girls can do a skirt/dress and Chelsea Boots but not me. I have a little roll of chub that comes out of the top of the boots - not a good look really.  Sort of a peplum look really which is very "on-trend" for this season but not if it's made out of chubbiness!

After that it was a case of a top which was long enough to be decent. I'm not a fan of skinny jeans and short tops - I feel happier with a bit of length to cover me up. Then I opted for the pink Benetton coat, Zara printed scarf and M and S gloves.

After the drop at our school I headed to another local school to do a bit of PR for my upcoming Style Event on 1 March in Birmingham (OK, handing out flyers).  You can find further details of the event on the "Events" page at the top - if you would like to!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Sunday Best - Why not try a pair of Palazzos?

In the fourth of my "Sunday Best" features, I am showing you some pleated Palazzos from Top Shop.  I had been after these for ages but thought that I had missed the boat as they had sold out online. However I found them in the sale and a pair of leggings from Warehouse dealt with the "blimey I am too old to go out in something this see through" dilemma!
For this outfit, I have put them with a sparkly top from Oasis, a black blazer and Dune silver pointed shoes as shown here:

Palazzos are great for ladies who carry more weight on their bottom half.  They skim, rather than cling, and because they are so wide at the bottom, they balance out wider hips. A pair of high heels can make them very elegant and keeping the top half fitted gives a nice silhoutte.  A dark plain pair, teamed with a lighter embellished top, or a plain top with jewellery, is the best way to slim your shape down.  They work equally well with pretty sandals in the summer.  For the evening, they are a nice alternative to a dress or skirt and would work well with a structured jacket, or a leather biker jacket.

You can find these ones (from left to right) at Phase 8, £59 and £79 respectively, and bottom M and S, £29.50 (although the M and S ones would look better if the trousers were longer or the heels lower!)  I have also come across Palazzos in Topshop (flower print and tree print), Dorothy Perkins and F and F at Tesco - so there is a lot of choice.  They might be worth bearing in mind the next time you are looking to try something a little different whilst not wanting to venture too far outside of your comfort zone!
Women's BlueSpot Palazzo Trousers           Women's MetallicsPalazzo Trousers    
Wide Leg Floral Print Palazzo Trousers

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Mum on the Run - How to wear a midi length skirt

This is a really simple one - there is only one way to wear a midi length skirt and that is with heels (unless you have legs like Alexa Chung.)  Whilst we are constantly being told that midi skirts are the "new" length, in fact I don't think that they will ever take off in a major way.  They have to be styled out of the doldrums or else you can be left looking humpty dump(t)y frumpy! The problem with them is that they finish at an unflattering point on the leg. This one isn't too bad actually but the ones that finish further down the leg need even more height! 

Swimming was the order of the day, hence the large Cath Kidston bag.  Oh what fun we had!  There's a new public pool opened near to us and all the staff are uber efficient.  One life guard was constantly counting people in the pool and kicking some out when there were too many.  I thought that the Baywatch style float on his back was slight overkill, given that the water in the learner pool wouldn't have come any higher than his knees, but there we go, at least he was well prepared.

I have been digging around on Pinterest today. Apparently it is going to be the next big thing.  The concept is really straightforward - you create pin boards containing images of things that you love, from clothes, to interiors, to books, to recipes.  Images can be added either from pictures stored on your computer or direct from any website at which you may be taking a look.  If people like what they see they can then re-pin one of your images to their own pin board, leaving a comment as you go. You can follow other "pinners" and they too can follow you. All very jolly - twitter but in images I suppose!

Anyway, I am under strict instructions to watch Johnny English tonight and my lap top is banned, so I had better dash before I am in trouble!  Oh, by the way, cracking photography by the 4 year old don't you think?!!

Outfit: Zara skirt, Boden jumper, Oasis scarf, Jigsaw shoeboot, Cath Kidston bag

Friday, 17 February 2012

Mum on the Run - A turquoise H&M silk shirt and Mulberry handbag

I started off the day with a bit of the old Tracy Anderson.  During the school holidays there's less time for me to get out and run so I try to make a start on Tracy before the children get up. 

Some of the exercises are quite tough so I take a minute's breather in between and do whatever jobs are achieveable within that minute.  So, my first job was to put away the sloe gin that had been sitting in the kitchen since Christmas.  The second job was to rinse out some cake tins but the problem was that I found a really lovely lemon biscuit in one of them which I wasn't sure what to do with. So I ate it.  I am not sure that was really part of the plan but I suppose that it was better than drinking the sloe gin at 8.00am. 

Today I decided to wear my silk H and M shirt which I bought the same day as the pencil skirt that I wore to the Marie Claire blog awards.  It was fairly warm today but I still managed to layer a vest and a long sleeved top underneath, without them being able to be seen. I love the colour of this shirt - it's just so nice to wear something bright.  I put it with dark Gap straight jeans, my now faithful Jigsaw shoe boots, a chunky Jigsaw necklace and my pink Mulberry handbag.

People often ask me what my view is on colour and colour analysis in general.  I may be sticking my neck on the line here but to be honest, I don't really buy into it.

So that you get where I am coming from, I am going to start with my conclusion and work back, so here goes: The hardest colours to wear are those at either end of the spectrum - either very dark colours or very light colours. They have the capacity to drain like no other! We all need a couple of base colours (which may well be black or navy) but I suggest working in other colours which have some depth to them. Coral, turquoise and jade green all have an intensity about them which work well without being too overpowering. People are often naturally attracted to colours that suit them so bear that in mind too. The idea is to have fun, to experiment and just to give it a go. 

Going back a stage: it's true there are some colours which suit us better than others but the problem I find is that people fall into one of two categories. Either they are so nervous about wearing the "wrong" colour that they stick to black, ironically probably the hardest colour to wear.  Alternatively they stick so rigidly to colour charts that when they are unable to find the exact colour they have been told to wear, they buy nothing at all - or something black.

So hopefully you will see where I am coming from.   Some colour, any colour, is better than no colour at all.  Now who's for trying the colour of the season - Canary yellow??!!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Mum on the Run - Harvey Nichols stocks fantastic new brand - La La Rocks!

Just before Christmas I was lucky enough to be invited the launch of a new brand of jewellery - La La Rocks. When I walked into the venue I was greeted by this amazing silver tree with fairy lights and bracelets hanging from it.  I was immediately smitten!

What I really loved about the bracelets was the fact that from a distance they looked all girlie and pretty but on closer inspection, each bracelet had either one gold skull in between the beads (funky but subtle) or one black skull (more edgy).  The choice of light, dark, coloured, silver or gold beads with a gold or black skull means that the bracelets have a wide appeal from footballers and their wives to younger girls and to more grown up girls - like me!

Now, I should say at this stage, that at the launch I offered to write about the bracelets on StyleGuile - just because I liked them.  Subsequently I met with La La Rocks' PR, Faith, on a different matter and she gave me a bracelet to review.  Me being me, Miss Naive, asked her how she would like me to return it to her - by post or hand delivered. 

Faith looked at me kindly, in the way that you might look at someone when it is their first day at school and they don't know the ropes and she said "No, it's OK, it's for you. You can keep it."  So whilst it's true I have received a gift of one of the bracelets, I was  going to write about them anyway, just because I liked them and I know how appreciative I am when anyone gives me a helping hand.

La La Rocks is run by  30 year old Carla Hancox. Carla uses semi-precious stones from Birmingham's jewellery quarter to hand make the bracelets to be worn by both men and women. They start at £45 and look fabulous either on their own, or stacked together.  I wear mine with all sorts of outfits from a casual jeans look to a dressy look and I love it because it is so versatile.

In only a couple of months Carla has gone from strength to strength with her business and has now achieved the amazing success of being asked to supply Harvey Nichols in both Birmingham and Manchester with a range of the bracelets. How incredible is that in this financial climate?  You can't beat a good success story!

Top of the new season wish list is the stunning ‘ultimate gold’ bracelet, made up of nine carat gold beads set off with a funky skull-cut dyed howlite stone.

Carla explains: “The basis of the product has always been to use the highest quality stones and because they are handmade, each one is unique.

Of her recent success, Carla says “I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the success LaLa Rocks has enjoyed since it was launched – it has been a non-stop whirl of orders and meetings. The invitation to meet with Harvey Nichols’ buyers was the icing on the cake.

Harvey Nichols represents exclusive, chic, luxurious products, and that’s exactly what I wanted LaLa Rocks to be when I set the brand up last year. I can’t wait to see the reaction of Harvey Nichols customers to the brand once they’re in situ. To me, being stocked by the UK’s premium retailer is a sign that it was all worth it – LaLa has landed!”

Kevin Breese, general manager of Harvey Nichols Birmingham, added: “We have been so impressed by what Carla has created in such a short space of time. We can really see her collections appealing to both our male and female customers.”

You can find the full range of bracelets at Every girl should have one in her jewellery collection!


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Mum on the Run - How to use a bag (Orla Kiely of course) to pull a look together

It was all about the bag today - no, not me, the patterned one above. I have been a little remiss of late in changing my bag i.e. I have been using the same one since before Christmas, so I decided to break the habit today and use this Orla Kiely one which was a present from my hubby a few birthdays ago.  I love the print and the colours are great for pulling a look together.

For those not familiar with Orla Kiely, she is an Irish designer based in London who, as you may imagine from the print on the bag, does the most lovely retro style clothing.  One of her pieces of clothing is something which is definitely on my wish list (ps - note to Mr SG, if you are reading this, hint hint!) 

I also wore some Whistles trousers, my Warehouse sparkly jumper and Jigsaw shoe boots.

The trip to the dentist went well, although our eldest found it necessary to come and switch my music down just before we left, which also coincided with her just getting out of bed.  Apparently she had meant to come and turn the music down earlier but had fallen asleep again before managing to get out of her bed.

What I want to know is this: Why is it impossible to wake a teenager up?  I have even been given lessons in how to do it (by said teenager) but I still get it wrong. Apparently she doesn't like a loud voice - which is all well and good but she doesn't respond to quiet tones. One of her friends' Mum's wakes her daughter up by going "Come on sweetie, it's time to get up now." When I do that I am met with the retort "There's no need to be sarcastic."  Sometimes I just leave her as long as possible in the hope that she will wake up naturally - which she eventually will - at about 11am - at which point I am in trouble for letting her waste her day.  I give up. That aside, she is the perfect daughter.

This post has gone totally off track - it was meant to be about this amazing new brand of bracelets called La La Rocks, made by a local jewellery designer and which are now being stocked in Harvey Nichols in Birmingham and Manchester. It was also going to be about how Buy-My-Wardrobe is holding its first even outside of London, in  Birmingham, and how I am going to be the Stylist at the event but time is running out so that will all have to wait until tomorrow..... 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Mum on the Run - Wearing red shoes with hearts on for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day wouldn't be complete without a picture of something  involving hearts, so here we go:

Needless to say the picture was taken several hours ago and there are probably more empty gaps in the box now than there are chocolates but life's too short to sit and look at chocolates and anyway, it's the children who have the dental appointment tomorrow, not me (how mean is that?!)

As to the outfit, it was the turn of the high waisted Zara skirt today, H and M striped top, Warehouse cropped cardi, Oasis scarf and Jones shoes, which I wore especially for Valentine's Day as they had hearts on them*. 
I had to keep whipping the skirt and tights off to don my tracksuit bottoms and do a couple of Tracy Anderson moves before swapping back to go and collect/drop a child somewhere.  There was quite a lot of whipping on and off of said items and my husband was unlucky enough to come through the door when the tracksuit bottoms were on and I had a Peppa Pig sticker on my sleeve.  Oh, I am one classy chick!

*The part about wearing the red shoes for Valentine's Day because they had hearts on them - totally made up. I've only just realised.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Mum on the Run - the first day of the holidays and I'm whacked!

There's a story behind this picture which is this: just before we left the house, I was hungry so I had a cereal bar.  As the photos were about to be taken, I looked down and noticed that there were crumbs in the cowl neckline of my jumper dress - so I flicked them out and in doing so, flicked one into my eye.  Our son just snapped me as I was trying to get the crumb out of my eye. In fact it was probably the best photo of the lot so I am running with it today - which goes totally against all sensible advice about having fantastic shots.  Much as I might love to show really beautiful shots in stunning locations, my life just doesn't permit that kind of indulgence - hence shots being taken by the pink front door, on local streets and in the supermarket car park! You'll be pleased to know that the eye was OK though.

Anyway, the outfit consisted of grey skinnies  and boots from Cos, Gap jumper dress, Oasis leather jacket, Longchamp bag and M&S pink leather gloves.

I don't know about anyone else who is on half term this week and looking after children but I have found today exhausting - and one of them wasn't even here. We've done baking biscuits, baking bread, colouring, play-doh, Jigsaws, reading books plus the general household chores. I think that I have done all of my weeks' parenting in one day so I reckon that they can now watch TV for the rest of the week.

On the subject of chores, our eldest was asking our youngest what would keep her busy if she was a different member of the family. When asked what she would do if she was me she said "jobs" the answer for her brother was "maths" and for her Dad "go to work". So far so good. When asked what she would do if she was a Member of Parliament she said "play with play-doh" and a Local Councillor "Go shopping".  So still fairly accurate there too I see.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Sunday Best - In the Duchess of Cambridge's Jesire Dress (or nearly!)

Kate       Kate 

Did you see that TV programme a few months ago about the young women who wanted to dress like the Duchess of Cambridge?  There was footage of them wandering around a department store selecting items that they thought she might wear.  It was a bit tragic really.  But probably not as tragic as me showing you a coat dress for this week's "Sunday Best" which I have had for six or so years now and which was bought from Jesire, the brand which also made the coat dress that the Duchess was wearing last week (above) and which is fairly similar in design.  (I say tragic because the Duchess of Cambridge was probably still at freshers week when I bought mine!)  According to the newspapers, Martin Vines, the former chief of the Hong Kong based label, is hoping that the "Kate Factor" could result in a re-emergence in the UK of the brand, which ceased trading in the UK last August after 13 years.  I really hope that it does as it's always nice to hear a success story.

On a separate but related note, whilst the Duchess of Cambridge may be responsible for the hoped re-emergence in the UK of one brand, my husband has taken it upon himself to be responsible, single handedly, for the demise of another, and very popular brand, that being Jack Wills. When  at Christmas time he threatened to get a JW hoodie to wear so that he could damage the brand's reputation (let's just say that he's not exactly their demographic) I thought that he was joking.  However my worst fears were realised when I let him go shopping on his own today for the second time in our married life (the first time he re-appeared with orange and yellow t-shirts which have now, oddly, disappeared) and he came home with a fur lined JW hoodie.  Apparently the plan is to put it on over his suit jacket in the morning when dropping our eldest off at school.  The poor, poor, girl - words almost fail me.  However I fear that he may be successful in his plan. (I could at this point make a very lame attempt at a joke about the Duke of Cambridge rescuing Jack Wills - something along the lines of "Wills rescues Wills" but that too would be even more tragic!)

As to the coat dress, I have worn it to virtually every wedding I have attended over the last six years and I love it because I can put a pretty dress underneath it and then when the evening arrives, off comes the coat and hey presto, there's a new outfit underneath. Fortunately most of the weddings have been with separate sets of friends but I don't really mind in any event - I have even be known to layer thermals underneath it on one particularly cold April day.  You know me, I like a versatile item!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Mum on the Run - Long velvet Topshop skirt and a snuggly knit

I took our eldest to her ice skating lesson this morning and boy, it was freezing in there, which gave me the perfect opportunity to bring out my long Topshop skirt with plenty of thermals/tights underneath it. It's velvet(ish) so to stop it from looking too "eveningy" I put it with a chunky knit, denim shirt and biker boots.   I like making items as versatile as possible - so dressing down velvet/lace and sequins with denim/stripes and chunky knits. It can make apparent evening pieces work so much harder for you in your Wardrobe and for me, that's what it's all about.  It's not my favourite outfit but it's good to keep ringing the changes. 

My hubby and I are really good at buying cards for one another well in advance  -  so we are always well organised for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas etc. The problem is that he forgets that he's bought them and I forget that I've hidden them, which means we often have to dash out at the last minute to buy more. I found my Mother's day cards in the sideboard last October and my Christmas card on top of the kitchen cupboard in January. I have also just found the first Valentine card that I bought for my husband (having bought a reserve today) together with his Christmas card that I couldn't find, in my bedside table. Oh well, at least the intention is good.

We went out this afternoon and I thought that this was an amazing winter sight. Makes you feel chilly doesn't it? I can't imagine that I will be packing away the Heat-tech any time soon!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Mum on the Run - One day, two outfits.

Some days you see something and you just know it's a sign. So today's sign? A banana skin on the ice.  What could it possibly mean other than I was going to fall flat on my butt at some point? In fact I didn't fall on my bottom but when I arrived home there were several people on the road directing the traffic to slow down as there had been so many bumps.  It is lethal just outside our house and I remember skidding down the hill one year and crashing into  -  a grit bin! Oh the irony of it! So there I was chucking grit onto the road with the neighbours - all very community spirited of us!

My friend and I thought that it would be amusing to take my photo under this one way sign.  It also prompted an early redition of "the only way is up" which we found funny at least.

My outfit for the school run included Mango jeans - the shape of which is good because they are quite trouser like - if you get my drift. They are also wide enough to accommodate the leopard print boots which are the only things that keep me upright in the snow. I really should invest in some decent wellies which actually keep the water out but I just can't bring myself to pay decent welly prices.  I am a Woolworth's girl at heart when it comes to wellies!  It doesn't stop me from admiring my friend's Hunters though.

For a bit of colour I added my Whistles coral cardi and my Zara green and coral scarf.  I am not sure whether the Reiss biker jacket is actually very warm or not but with that many layers underneath it, it is certainly snug and would have a hard job not keeping me warm.

Later on in the day I changed into this for a meeting that I had about an exciting new project which I will tell you all about once I have got my head around it all!  This is the very short dress that I featured a couple of weeks ago - it is far shorter than something I would normally wear but it's quite conservative in style and with thick tights I can just about pull it off - on a good day! I also wore a Boden cashmere cropped cardigan - not only are they warm but they finish at the right place on dresses. Naturally I changed back again for the school run and my mad tidying the house and cooking fest in preparation for the weekend.  I am trying very hard to be a domestic goddess!