Saturday, 31 March 2012

Mum on the Run - on the beach

Firstly, thanks to you who have dropped me a line about Guernseys.  I love that you have fond memories of seeing your parents and grandparents wearing them.

What a beautiful day it was yesterday in Guernsey.  My sister plus myself and the two girls sat on the beach for the whole afternoon, having first visited town to buy a UV suit for the youngest and shorts for the eldest. Hard to believe how cold it is today, now we are home!

Remember I said that I had planned and packed three outfits for our trip - ice cream, nautical and layering? Well that went out of the window on the first day! I went for the "ice cream" look on day one ie, white shirt, pale pink jumper and jeans - but within a couple of hours was in possession of my new striped Guernsey so had ticked the nautical box too.  This left the layered look for yesterday but I concluded that the top I was going to wear was too nice for the beach so had to cobble something else together - and this was it.

Having only two pairs of jeans with me, I went for the kermit ones and then layered two shirts, one over the other and added a pink scarf from Mango.  From a practical perspective it was great - the right temperature, cotton next to my skin, the white lifted the denim shirt and the scarf added some colour. It wouldn't win any style awards but what I liked was that I was forced to try a different combination, namely layering two shirts (probably something which lot of you do all the time but something which I haven't really done up until now) - and trying something different is always a good thing.

I was grinning like an idiot as my sister was pulling a face at me.

This is part of the sandcastle that our youngest spent at least two hours making - collecting the shells etc and note the colour of the bucket and spade!

Today's outfit: White shirt Gap, denim shirt Next, green jeans River Island, scarf Mango, Converse, Cath Kidston bag. The M&S towels we were sitting on belonged to my Dad and are easily 30 years old!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Mum on the Run - Guernsey Jumpers

A while ago I wrote a post about Guernsey jumpers.  Guernseys have been around for centuries.  Traditionally they were heavy woollen jumpers, hand knitted by Channel Islanders.  Often navy blue, with distinctive stitch patterns designed to mirror a sailing ship's rope ladder, a panel depicting waves breaking on the beach and stitching representing pebbles, stones and sand.  Apparently Admiral Lord Nelson recommended their use as part of the naval uniform and in more recent times they were worn by local fishermen.  However since the decline of the local fishing industry, and the rise of synthetic fabrics to keep us warm, Guernsey woollens, the only company in the world making these amazing jumpers, has had to find a new market - which they seem to be doing with great success.  More about that later.

I was lucky enough to be given a voucher for a Guernsey as a present by my Dad, so whilst on the Island, I went along to choose my Guernsey, and to see where they are made - and this is that place! No bigger than a large garage, here they make 8,000 Guernsey's a year.

These are some of the newer designs of Guernseys - ecru with navy stripes.  They weren't quite yet complete when I was there.  Still in pieces, they were then to be sewn together, part by hand and part by machine by.....

these two lovely ladies who are incredibly skilled at what they do.

As to the way in which the company has adapted to reflect the change in the market place, they are now supplied to Sea Salt, Fred Perry and Pedlars.  Alexa Chung is pictured here wearing an ecru Guernsey with navy "tips".  Cardigans are now also available and the jumpers can be made in cotton, as well as wool with a different neckline to the traditional one.

The jumper that I am wearing above is the only one in the world!  A sample made for the Japanese market because the company were experimenting with a different design, it is slightly more boxy in design that the traditional ones.  It is made of cotton and, surprise surprise, is striped! I knew that it had my name on it from the minute I saw it. However I must say that I also fancy the striped one above, which is in the traditional style.

In addition to the fact that these are beautifully made jumpers with a great history - something really special in a world of disposable fashion - the most amazing thing about the company is the fantastic service that they offer.  If, for example, you were a size 10, Guernsey woollens would send out a size 10 jumper to try which you would then send back, together with your amended measurements.  Whether it's a couple of inches off the arms, an inch or so on the length, or a change to the chest measurements, they will make a bespoke one for you.  Saville Row service from the Guernsey's Island home.

You can find out more by calling Arthur Eldridge on 01481 258183 or taking a look at  - but I would ring Arthur if I were you. I am hoping that there might be enough of us out there to get some pink striped ones made!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Mum on the Run - Packing for a few days away

All went well yesterday for our journey to Guernsey.  The only time I was fearful was as we approached security and I realised that I had absolutely no idea at all what the 4 year old had packed in her trunki.  It could have been full of scissors and kitchen knives for all I knew.  When questioned (by me) she denied possessing any guns or knives but confessed to having drugs in there (together, it transpired with a tea set and a cross from her Easter service at school.)

With only a 15kg  baggage allowance between the three of us we had to pack light.  With that in mind I planned my outfits in advance taking into account that we were likely to be doing the following : Collecting eggs from the ducks (muddy) going on the beach and rockpooling (sandy/wet) eating ice creams (potentially messy) - you get the idea.   So I laid my clothes out and named them as follows : nautical/ice cream//layering.  Packing like this really organises your thoughts and stops you from taking items that are unlikely to be worn. Here are the photos of each outfit:


                                                                       Ice cream


To travel I wore the Cos shirt dress which I wore earlier in the week (which I had actually managed to wash and iron in between!) with green River Island jeans and patent loafers.  I should really have belted the shirt dress but I just wanted to be comfortable for travelling.

I am going to get my Guernsey jumper made today which I am really looking forward to.  Alexa Chung has helped to maket them popular again as apparently Colin Firth, after wearing a Guernsey in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.  Now imagine bumping him today.  What a nice thought!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

On the Run - An outfit for an Easter Service

Apologies for the over exposed photo - my daughter felt it was flattering though. Something to do with disguising my wrinkles she said.

This afternoon I went to see our youngest in her Easter service at school so I wore my new Oasis jacket which I bought just after Christmas in the sale. It was reduced from £85 to around £35.  I have just checked and although there aren't any online, I am sure that I saw one in store the other day. I put it with my trusty Cos trousers which serve many different purposes in my Wardrobe (the main one is that they prevent me from being arrested)!

I also wore some new navy patent slingbacks from Carvela at KG. Reduced from £75 to £49, and with 25% off courtesy of Grazia, they were a good price and comfortable too with a nice height heel for every day.  A slightly more pointed toe would make them more on trend but I am more interested in comfort!  Here's a link to them should you wish to take a look - they also come in leg lengthening nude.

Carvela Kurt Geiger Atomic Women Brands Carvela Kurt Geiger Shoes Courts Low Heel Sale Sale Women
I have always thought that it would be nice to feature other ladies on Style Guile on a regular basis.  So, from a week on Saturday I will be starting a new feature "Serious Saturday Style" - but I need your help.

For all of you ladies out there with curves, or who are tall, or petite, or straight up and down, don an outfit that you like and send it to and I will include you in the feature.  It doesn't have to be a going out outfit - just one that you like and which you think suits your shape. Whether it's an outfit for going to the park, going out with friends or going to the gym - I want to see them all - and I am sure that others do too.  If you would rather send a photograph of you with some friends that too is fine - just get them coming in. Please include your name and details of your outfit.

I am off to the Channel Islands tomorrow so will try and blog from there.  If I fail, I will catch up with you on my return. Enjoy the sun - I fear I am going somewhere cold. Typical!

Monday, 26 March 2012

On the Run - the Sun as an accessory (no, not the newspaper)!

I have spent the evening writing a post for Boden so this will just be a quickie! Hopefully the post will be on the Boden community page in the next few days so keep your eyes out for it!

This morning was a scootering kind of morning, hence the coral converse which have been brought out from hibernation. I also wore my Gap skinny jeans, Topshop leopard print belt, Gap breton top and Cos shirt dress.  I quite like a bit of a mix of stripes/animal print/colour for a Monday morning and it's OK against what is otherwise a very plain outfit. We thought that the sun made quite a nice accessory (largely of hiding my face - result!)

I think that I might have to find another door way to frequent soon as the neighbour of this house was looking at us slightly suspiciously this morning. Nevermind there are lots of other nice front doors in the area.

Imagine my surprise when, on opening the May edition of Easy Living magazine, I found an excerpt of an email which I had sent to them about their schoolrunway competition, printed on the letters page. Fortunately it wasn't controversial and our son got a mention, which I am sure he will be pleased about.

I think that their whole school runway idea (namely, looking at what women wear on the school run) has caused a certain amount of controversy - not necessarily the concept but rather what the London Mums in the first feature were wearing both in terms of cost and effort in looking as groomed as they did.  Easy Living should come to Birmingham - we'll show them a bit of mix and match high street!

Hope that you enjoyed the sun today.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

On the Run - Sunday Best? More like Sunday Worst!

Well that plan came back to bite me on the bum didn't it? Having trashed the bedrooms of the eldest two, on the basis that I had a week to sort out their rubbish before they returned from a week's skiing, I now have one of them back. And she didn't even make it onto the 'plane.  She was too poorly to go away so has come home - but she still doesn't have a bedroom to sleep in so she's currently sharing with me, which is quite nice for both of us.

Part of my plan when the children were away this year was to move some of their bedroom furniture around and smarten it up a bit.  I have a couple of lovely wooden stools which haven't been painted for at least ten years so, still having most of the tin of paint left from painting the front door last summer, I decided that they too were going to end up bright pink.  And here they a rather blue light.

I bought the stool on the left from a reclamation yard about 10 years ago. I distinctly remember painting it whilst heavily pregnant with our son, who is now ten.  It looks to me as though it might have woodworm so I thought that a good dose of toxic gloss would sort them out - or the colour might blind them.  In any event, woodworm probably don't really like mdf so the rest of the furniture is safe.  The stool on the right was my Grandma's so it could be over 100 years old.  It was last painted 15 years ago and I never did like it - so today it copped it. I hope that she would like it - it's certainly much loved in our house.

 After painting the furniture I decided to paint my nails with the Nails Inc nailvarnish bought for me for Mother's Day. I fancied this teal colour for a change. I figure it's good to experiment. I know that they aren't perfect but that's what you get for painting your nails whilst sitting on the door step in the sun leaning on a children's book!

Remember I said that there would be some triumphs and some disasters on Style Guile?  Well today's outfit isn't necessarily a disaster - but it is very "real" which is what SG is all about.

For today's activity it had to be jeans and these boyfriend ones are from Topshop.  The shirt is from Gap, the apron Cath Kidston and the shoes converse.  I only got a little paint on me - well on my shoes - which I then walked all over the tiles in the conservatory.  Ooops!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

On the Run - A lacy racy Saturday!

Oh what a day!  I saw the eldest two and their Dad off on a skiing trip today which always leaves me feeling a bit odd. No fighting, no teenage music, no rubbish on the TV - too much calm leaves me feeling uneasy! Mind you I need a week to get sorted given that I managed to turn each of their bedrooms upside down about ten minutes after they left.  It's always dangerous starting on a sorting out project.  The ramifications go on and on....

Before he left, our son was playing with the hosepipe with his sister.  Unsurprisingly she got wet, so disappeared into the house, only to emerge five minutes later complete with wellies, raincoat and an umbrella - which was hilarious because the reason we were in the garden in the first place was because it was so sunny.

As I say, it was really warm in Brum land today, hence the wedge shoes, painted toe nails and lace top. Great in Brum - not so great at my Mum's where it is 8 degrees cooler. 

As to the outfit - I bought the top last year from Fusion at Monsoon and I am pleased to say that they have done another one almost similar this year - although it is a pinky coral colour. It is called the minnie lace blouse and costs £42 -
Fusion Minnie Lace Blouse

The jeans are from Mango, the necklace from Jigsaw and shoes from Dune.  When driving along I did see women in sun tops, flip flops and shorts but I'm not quite there yet! (Which is fortunate for anyone reading this!)

Friday, 23 March 2012

Mum on the Run: Spring tops - printed tops

This is the last in my series of posts about spring tops. So far I have covered grey marl tops (one with lace, one brighter) stripes and a colour block knit with an interesting design at the back. Today I am covering printed tops.

The thing about prints is that they are incredibly subjective. People seem to know immediately whether they like a particular print or not. Some people like florals, some like geometrics, some like safari, some like retro - the list goes on.  Paisley is huge this season - as confirmed by Stella McCartney in the press today when pictured with some of the Olympic Athletes who were wearing her designs.

The tops that I am wearing above and below are both from Cos and I liked them for the same reasons that I liked the other spring tops I have shown this week - they are just a little bit different.  For a start, they both button down the back. The one above has many different colours in it whilst the one below is more muted in that it is coral and cream. They are both a fairly relaxed fit which, provided they are worn with a fitted trouser, or bottom half in general, works OK - and it's nice not to have to worry about what your tummy/love handles are up to. They can jiggle away to their heart's delight away from view! The style isn't going to suit every body shape but the idea is to keep a look out for tops which are a little different and which have some unusual detail. That should be their attraction - not their detraction (I know that's not a proper word but you know what I mean.)

So, as to the news for the day. I found out that Style Guile has been short-listed in the Style category for the BritMums blog award - which I am very exited about.  Thank you to all of you who nominated me in the first instance - I am very grateful. I had concluded, when standing in the bank sorting out my husband's Euros for his skiing trip, that I hadn't been shortlisted, so it was nice to get home and find out that I had.  It is possible to vote for Style Guile by clicking on the badge to the right of the page. If you did have a spare moment to vote, and you like the blog enough, that would be fantastic.

I forgot to mention that I was on the radio yesterday.  I was asked to speak about "Mantyhose" - which are tights for men.  They come in different prints - stripes, stars and so on.  The presenter was taking the mick out of them so much before I even got on air that there was only one way that interview was going to go.  I have to say, it was very amusing though.  I wonder whether between us we have done as much damage to the brand as my husband has by wearing his Jack Wills hoodie.  Probably almost but not quite.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

On the Run: Spring tops - a fine knit with a difference

So far this week I have looked at two different grey marl tops for spring and also some stripes.  Today it's the turn of the colour block fine knit.  This one is from M&S Limited Collection and costs £29.50.  My aim was to bring you some tops that were a little bit different and I think that this one ticks the boxes on that score.  This is the front......

and this is the back....

As you can see it is open at the back which gives a great opportunity to introduce an additional colour by way of bright vest (Topshop is always good for these and they do them with wide straps so that bra straps are hidden) or a print or some stripes.  Or if you have the figure of Kate Moss you could just not wear anything at all - but I won't be going down that particular road.

In the above photograph I am wearing the top with some M&S purple chinos which at £25 are a great price and also their pink slingbacks.

I am so pleased that I am going to have my hair cut tomorrow.  It has turned into a mushroom head and needs sorting out.  Last time I went I told the hairdresser that I had turned into a Beatle - as in one of the Beatles with a bowl head hair do. He looked at me oddly and afterwards I realised that he probably wasn't old enough to know who the Beatles were and instead thought that I was saying that I looked like a beetle.  I think tomorrow I'll just keep quiet.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

On the Run: Spring tops - Stripes, but not as you know them!

I couldn't do a post about spring tops without including some stripes as they are so fresh and spring like.  Personally I love stripes but they are not everyone's cup of tea. Some people say that they can't "do" stripes but really though it's all about how you wear them.  If you take a look at the above top, you can see that the stripes around my waist are closer together than the ones further up - the effect of which is to define my waist, making it look smaller.  There are all sorts of tricks that stripes can play on the eye so it's worth trying a few things on to see how they look.  There are lots of stripes in the shops at the moment but they aren't all horizontal - some are vertical, some diagonal and some tops have a combination. There is a great one that I would like to show you from Marks and Spencer but it is currently at the bottom of one of these:

....the bags which are packed in preparation for tonight's style party which I am so looking forward to and for which I have had great fun shopping. Fond as I am of Marks and Spencer, trying to find things on their website can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack - so I will take a photo of it for you at another time.

The top that I am wearing is in fact a cardigan that I have on back to front as I preferred it that way round.  It was from H and M and cost the vast sum of £7.99. For those of you old enough to remember them, it reminded me of pacers! It could be worn either way around and layered under something (a denim shirt) over something (long sleeved cotton top) and put with all manner of plain bottoms - or even printed if you were feeling brave.  For the price I think it's a cracking little number to have in your wardrobe.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

On the Run: Spring Tops: more grey marl!

Yesterday I started a feature which I am going to run for the rest of the week. It is designed to show you some spring tops which have a little something extra about them, whether in terms of colour, design, print or styling.  With the warmer weather approaching, we are getting ready to cast aside our heavier knitwear but we still need a little warmth in our clothes. 

Yesterday I featured a grey cotton knit from M&S, as shown below.  We are often told that grey marl is the way forward if we want a hugely versatile top in our Wardrobe. Whilst I don't necessarily disagree, I do think that grey can be a hard colour to wear and so I particularly liked this one from the Limited Collection at M&S which had some lace across it - adding a little something in terms of breaking up the "greyness" but without taking away any of its versatility.

My second top is also a grey sweat/knit but this one has a printed front and a scoop at the back.  There is no doubt that the addition of these features take away from its versatility but it would still work well with trousers and jeans - probably more of the 7/8th length or skinny variety rather than bootcut jeans but possibly both. In some ways the scoop at the back makes it an attractive proposition  as a bit of coverage in the bottom area can be a good thing!

This top is from Cos and is available for £45. It won't be everyone's cup of tea but I like the mix of the bright yellow and neon pink and it's certainly falls into the category of being a little bit different.

The shoes that I am wearing are from the Limited Collection range at M&S and cost £25. I quite fancied a slingback for a change and they weren't too much of a financial commitment for a first foray. (Nor are they too high - which is also nice!)

The Kreativ Blogger Award

Oooh, how exciting to be given an award! The Kreativ Blogger award is received from other bloggers who like your blog and in my case, I am very grateful to Poppy's Style for sending the award my way.  Poppy's Style writes about fashion, family, friends and fun - an English lady living in the US, she shares her life there with us.

I like the whole concept of these "inter-blogging" awards, not only because it's nice to know that people like your blog but it's also nice to be able to award it to others whose blogs you like. Whilst I often drop someone an email if I like their blog, an award is a good way of acknowledging publicly that you like a blog's content and it also directs other bloggers their way too.

So, having thanked Poppy's Style, I now have to try and comply with the rules of the award, which I hope I manage to do and which are as follows:

  • Thank the award giver and link back to them in their post (I am hopeful that this has worked!)
  • Copy the award and post it (think I have that one sussed too)
  • Tell readers seven things about yourself (oh hec - I don't think I have anything that interesting to tell!)
  • Award multiple others and tell them about the award (reckon I can manage that - fingers crossed)
So here goes with my seven things:
  1. I am left handed but none of our children are (boo!)
  2. I did ballet until I was 18, at which point I was the only one left in the class. Everyone else was too cool for ballet - not me!
  3. I used to play the violin so badly that the cat would run out of the house!
  4. I have a wonderful husband and we make a great team, something which I appreciate more and more every day; 
  5. When I get an idea in my head I am a formidable force. My husband has taken to giving me "projects" to keep me out of mischief!
  6. Our children have made me more tired, more cross, more scared (when they are ill) and sadder (when they are upset) than anything, or anyone, ever could - but they have brought me more joy, happiness and laughter than anything, or anyone, ever could and I am so proud of them all;
  7. My Mum is fab. x
Here are the others to whom I wish to give the award - please drop by their blogs and say hi:

iStylista - Your Online Personal Stylist

For those of you who have been reading Style Guile for a while now, you may remember that I wrote a post a while ago about "iStylista" - Your Online Personal Stylist. 

Just to re-cap, iStylista is run by Chantelle Znideric, an award winning personal stylist. Chantelle founded iStylista in 2007 as a result of a desire to offer personal shopping and professional style advice to women anywhere in the world, at the click of a button.

From the consumers point of view, iStylista can be utilised in three way. First, by entering your details, it is possible to download your very own personal style guide, tailor made to take account of your bodyshape, colouring, height - everything really! The guides are fantastic, very detailed and a real reference point for the future.

Secondly, by completing an online style profile, the team of stylists at iStylista will pre-select pieces for your specific requirements which can then be purchased on line or direct from the stores.

Thirdly, if you would like enlist the service of a Personal Stylist to help you re-vamp your Wardrobe, shop for a specific occasion, create a capsule wardrobe or for any other styling requirement, you can use iStylista's global personal stylist directory to find a stylist in your area, who will also be happy to provide a free fifteen minute telephone consultation. And yes, it does include me!

So if you have a spare few minutes during your lunch break and would like to utilise the services of a personal shopper from the comfort of your desk,  it could be well worth dropping by iStylista to familiarise yourself with the site and to see how it can benefit you.

Happy shopping!

Monday, 19 March 2012

On the Run: Spring tops - Grey Marl

I have decided to do a series of posts this week on tops for spring.  Personally I think that tops can be quite tricky. Finding ones that have some interest about them whether by way of their shape, colour, print, fabric, or design, can be challenging.  There are plenty of t-shirts and long sleeve t's available but not only are they a teensy bit dull, they can also cling in the wrong places or alternatively if too big, can cover any hint of a shape. Shirts are OK but can be a bit corporate and boxy and generally they need ironing. Arggh! So finding something that is pretty but warm and a little different as I say, can be tricky.

Popular opinion is that we should all have a grey marl sweat top amongst the tops that we own and that it will be our saviour in any given situation.  Whilst I don't necessarily disagree, flat grey can be hard to wear.  However I quite like this Limited Collection pure cotton grey striped jumper which is quite cheeky and at £29.50 is a good price.  The fact that the grey is broken up with the cream lace makes it easier for my fair (OK, pasty!) complexion to carry off. 

The shoes are from Clarks and are called Trilby Hat.  They cost £44.99 and also come in yellow and red. I have to say that they are very comfortable and I quite like them because they are fairly covered up and not too "naked" if you know what I mean. True, they are fairly chunky but that is definitely a good thing for those with slightly heavier legs as they can make them look slimmer whereas dainty shoes just create an imbalance.  Remember when there was that whole Rachel Zoe look going on in the states when the waifs carrying the huge bags looked small enough to fit in them?  Well with chunkier shoes it's that kind of idea but not quite so extreme.

 Trilby Hat
Just as an aside, you can see from the above photo how the short top makes my legs look longer than they are.  Raising the waist will have that effect.  It is possible to achieve the same effect with a dress by layering a short bright jacket, or a bolero, over a dark dress - quite a nice trick with a work dress if you also add some heels.

Speaking of heels, they were something that I was not wearing at 4pm this afternoon when doing a substitute ballet lesson at home with our youngest, as she was unable to attend her proper lesson. To stop her tears I had to pretend to be a rabbit leaping around the kitchen, finding a carrot, pulling it out of the ground and then eating it.  This expanded into me being an elephant, giraffe and finally a hippo rolling in the mud.  At least she found it funny 

Sunday, 18 March 2012

On the Run - Some Sunday Fun at the Wedding Show

The first thing that I did this morning when I woke up was to go and show our eldest my Harry Styles quiff.  Whenever I see him on TV I am aghast at the ridiculousness of his hair do - really, it could have featured on Dynasty in the 80's. So, the last laugh was on me when one of my Mother's Day presents just happened to be - a poster of Harry himself, which is now proudly displayed on the wall of my work room.

After a lovely family breakfast the eldest and I headed off to the wedding show, where we got into trouble for taking photographs - it's all to do with copyright and the NEC being worried that people will nip home and in the whisker of a gnats whatsits whip up a copy wedding dress and sell it. Had they ever witnessed my sewing skills that really wouldn't have been a concern of theirs. I am challenged by the name tapes so copying a wedding dress would be way beyond my capabilities. Anyway, when we saw the above image we couldn't help but take a photo of it. Oh what rebels we are!

For anyone who loves retro sweets - or just the look of them, this was an amazing stand...

and if you love flying saucers in particular, just take a look at this... Should you like the look of them for your wedding, they were by "Candy Girls" who you can find on facebook at "Candy Girls Tables"

I really took the photograph below for my husband as I knew that it would appeal to his sense of humour.  There was a stall advertising a hog roast but for obvious reasons real piggies (dead or alive) weren't allowed in the NEC. However stuffed toy pigges - well that was a different matter entirely.

I have to say that some of the wedding dresses were more Fat Gypsy Wedding than I would have liked.  From a stylist's and a personal perspective, there seems to be so little choice out there.  The majority were off the shoulder, lots of big skirts, ruffles and very fussy.  There were few with sleeves or simple lines.  See what I mean?!!! I am hoping that you will let me off this week from "Sunday Best" and that the dress below will count instead. I think that I might be pushing it there though!

However, there was one stand run by Silk of Lichfield ( and they had some really stylish dresses, such as this 30's inspired one below...

and this lovely simple 1950's inspired dress.  If you happen to be a bride over a certain age, weight, or bust size, or even if you just don't want to follow current trends in bridal wear, your options are fairly limited at the moment so it's worth starting your research early if you want something which will really work well for you.

We had a great day out, lots of fun and laughs and we are soon off to Pizza Express to round off a lovely Mother's Day - famous last words!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

On the Run - Some Serious Saturday Style!

Today my lovely friend, Vicky, came to visit me and kindly agreed to let me take a photograph of her for Style Guile.  I met Vicky the first day that I started work in Birmingham in 1995 and we had many, many great lunchtime shopping expeditions before she eventually moved to Newcastle about nine years ago. However, we still meet a couple of times a year in Leeds for a shopping/eating/chatting day out and I look forward to those days so much.  Fortunately we have one coming up in May, so we are both very excited.

Vicky has the most incredible Wardrobe and is the Queen of Chic! She has a fabulous knack of mixing designer with high street and always looks totally polished and amazing.  She is an accomplished sale shopper and has a great eye not only for a bargain but also fantastic pieces.  She always has a very clear idea of what suits and what she is looking for and she doesn't settle for second best - if it's not exactly what she is after, it stays on the shelf.

The beautiful bag  that Vicky had with her today was from Patrick Cox but she also told me about a new site she has discovered from which she recently bought an orange leather bag for £40. Last summer she bought a linen suit for work from Primark and swapped the buttons for some John Lewis ones and I can imagine that she looked stunning in it. Her shoe collection is pretty impressive too and today she told me about her new Michael Kors ballerinas and also some pretty Dune flats too. 

Tomorrow I will be bringing you "Sunday Best" from the Wedding Show - I am very excited about going as I love weddings.  As our eldest was at our wedding, 9 months old and with a virus so crying constantly, I would love to get married again - to my husband, naturally!

Vicky's outfit today was:

Skinny side zipped jeans - Reiss
Top - Newcastle Boutique
Cardi - White Company
Shoes - Can't remember!
Bag - Patrick Cox
Scarf - Malene Birger

Friday, 16 March 2012

On the Run - Hobbs spotty dress

Having worn stripes yesterday, today it was the turn of some spots.  I was out at a lunch networking event and thought that I would trial run this Bryony dress from Hobbs, which I hadn't worn before.  I like the fact that it is a bit flippy but modest in terms of its length and the fact that it has sleeves.   It is also lined which adds a bit of warmth.  Unusually for Hobbs it's quite a snug fit for its size.

To stop it from being too formal I wore my cream leather jacket and, as I was walking to the venue, I put it with some red patent ballet pumps, and my pink Mulberry handbag. All was well with the outfit, other than my tights which kept wrinkling around my ankles, Nora Batty style - so chic!

Lunch was great - held at our local Italian Restaurant and it gave me a chance to catch up with my friend Caroline, who owns Caroline's Cake Company. She makes the most fantastic, utterly divine cakes, both in terms of design and taste.  If you want to take a look at her magical creations you can do so here  Living around the corner from her has a distinct advantage as quite often a tin arrives on our door step with some tasty morsels in it.

I went to bed far too late last night so I am running out of steam and as it's nearly time for the second Coronation Street I shall sign off now and wish you all a fab Friday night!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

On the Run - If you're going to wear stripes, they may as well be bold....

I didn't get a chance to post yesterday as I spent a large proportion of the day with a headache and the rest of it at our daughter's school watching her dance production (with an even bigger headache) but a very proud one, if there is such a thing.  As the Queen of headaches it might actually help me to give them characters - they spend so long with me - but that's all getting a bit too much like voices in the head so perhaps I'll stop that line of thought before it goes any further.

This evening I have been at a swishing party. Yes, that's right, SWISHING.  It was held at the children's school and it was really very good.  I was open minded about the whole idea of clothes swapping but not really sure how it would operate from a logistical point of view. However I was pleasantly surprised with how it all went.  The ladies were very chatty, got involved, listened to what I had to say (something I'm not used to at home) and all went home happy. Later it was back to school to collect the eldest thus completing my marathon evening of six round trips for the evening.

This outfit was the one that I wore yesterday. I am not really sure how I decided upon it.  It probably stemmed from the need to find something different to wear every day!  I do like my H&M jumper dress though. I know it's too big but I like the relaxed feel of it and with heels it just styles it up a little bit.

Yesterday's outfit was:

H&M jumper dress (there were similar in GAP last week)
M&S tights, Jigsaw shoe boots

Special thanks to ten year old Lily for the photo!

If you would still like to "Like" my outfit for the Easy Living Magazine competition, you can do so by following this link!/photo.php?fbid=340703882632950&set=a.337285469641458.68306.129074297129244&type=1&theater

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

On the Run - The Topshop pink brogues get their first spring outing

When the sun finally came out in Birmingham yesterday, I decided that there was only one thing to do and that was to cast aside some winter layers.

I'm not one for revealing all to the world at the first sight of the sun - oh no, it has to be very hot for me to do that and I wouldn't inflict myself on anyone without a certain amount of preparation - but I do like to lighten it all up a little when the sun shines.  I do this by swapping my winter coat for a trench, moving away from woollen scarves, wearing less heavy knitwear and changing my boots for something more spring like. Of course tomorrow it may be snowing so those winter items are never too far away!

I have been looking for some pink brogues for a while now - it must be at least a week - and this pair from Topshop fitted the bill.  I am a sucker for patent so they always were going to grab my attention.  It's always a risk ordering on line but I was fairly confident that they would work for me and anyway, the in store returns policy is so good that it wouldn't have mattered if they hadn't.

Whilst I am unlikely to wear these with a dress (wrong shaped legs but I'm not complaining) others will and for me, they are great with skinny jeans and trousers.  I really hate being restricted by the footwear I am wearing and these will enable me to skip about to my heart's content - like a spring lamb.  Oh, OK, maybe that's taking it a bit far but you know what I mean. I fear that my back may also be telling me to take it easy on the heels so flat shoes are perhaps something I should be wearing a little more often but I shall deny ever having made that statement if I am cross examined on it.

Here's a closer pic of the brogues and you can get hold of a pair by clicking here

This was my second attempt at some pink brogues, my first attempt having not worked too well.  They were an example of an online purchase which didn't quite go to plan, only because the colour wasn't the same in reality as online.  They were more of a ballet shoe pink than a baby pink, so had to be returned to Office but again as they could be returned in store it wasn't a problem.  At the sale price of £20, had they worked they would have been a great buy.

When I sent the pic of me in the Topshop brogues to Easy Living Magazine they responded that they thought they were "cute", which I much preferred to the "practical" and "sensible" considerations which prompted my to buy them in the first place!

Speaking of Easy Living Magazine, I really would love to try and win the schoolrunway competition that they are running this month.  So, if you felt able to "Like" my picture by clicking right here I would be very grateful. It may mean that I get a chance to appear in Easy Living Magazine, which is a very exciting prospect and I know that it would make my Mum very proud and give her something to tell the neighbours!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Calling all fashionistas and bargainistas - Buy My Wardrobe is coming to Birmingham!

I just wanted to thank the team over at Buy My Wardrobe for the lovely blog post they have written about me in advance of the Buy My Wardrobe event being held on Saturday 14th April at Nuvo Bar in Birmingham - the first time that such an event has been held outside of London. You can read what they have to say here

I am delighted, and very excited, to have been asked to be the stylist at the event, which is a role normally undertaken by the Nicky Hambleton-Jones style academy at the London events.

The event promises to be a real treat - not only in terms of what will be on offer to buy but also because the event is being held at one of Birmingham's premier bars - Nuvo bar - where there will be a live pianist, champagne, lunch and afternoon tea being served. 

As to the concept, Buy My Wardrobe was launched in 2008 as a fashion recyling event.  At these events there are those ladies who go to sell pre-owned  items and those who go to buy a designer piece at an affordable price.  I guess that some may do both, which is even better.

For those ladies who are selling, the items should be of top end high street, or designer, quality.  A Buy My Wardrobe event is the perfect chance to part with those items which may no longer fit, which were perhaps an impulse buy or pieces with which you may just simply have fallen out of love. And let's face it ladies, we all have at least a few such items in our Wardrobe. Those ridiculously high shoes which can only be worn for an hour, those expensive jeans which are now too tight, those "I must buy it, it's in the sale dress" which never really suited your shape or fitted you properly.  Well now is the time to part with those guilt gremlins which serve to hide in your Wardrobe and then haunt you whenever you open it!

The event provides a fantastic opportunity to part with those items, whilst earning a few pennies with which to buy some new items.  After all, there's no point having those items sitting in your Wardrobe when they could be earning some money for you and working hard for someone else - and let's face it, that is their purpose in life! 

There are only 20 places available for ladies who are selling with each place costing £100.  Selling a few designer items would easily cover this cost but if it is more the case that you, together with a few friends, have a number of top end high street items with which you would like to part, there's always the option for you to share the cost of the stall and divide the proceeds - may be spending them on some different items or a girls' night out.  It wouldn't be necessary for each of you to sell that much for the figures to make sense.

For those attending the event in the hope of securing an amazing purchase at a discounted price, I am sure that you won't be disappointed.  Birmingham is a place for fashionistas and bargainistas so I have no doubt that there will be some amazing pieces on offer and that tickets will sell quickly, as they do for the London events. This is a great opportunity to own a designer item for a fraction of the price.

VIP tickets cost £20 each and permit entry within the first hour of the event, which is between 12pm and 1pm.  Subsequent tickets are priced at £5 and permit entry after 1pm.  Tickets are available through Eventbrite:

For anyone who would like assistance in selecting items, ensuring that they don't make a mistake when buying, of if you would simply like guidance on your body shape, what styles of clothing will suit you and the trends for the season, I am offering 30 minute styling sessions at a cost of £20.  These may be booked with me direct at but places are limited so that's just something to bear in mind if you are thinking of booking a session with me.

I am really looking forward to the event which is a real coup for Birmingham and I look forward to seeing you there.  Please do come and say hello!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

On the Run - Weekend Wear for a Trip Away

Although I may not have participated in "Sunday Best" this week, leaving that duty to someone far more glamourous, it was always my intention when I started Style Guile that I would share as many outfits as I could with you - including the good, the bad and the ugly.  None of us finds it too difficult to flounce around in a lovely dress and heels but it's the day to day attire which proves more challenging in so many ways.

We were away in Wales this weekend, where we have a much more "outdoorsy" existence than we have at home - lots of walks along the beach, lighting fires and pottering around outside, just faffing really.

For me, there are two approaches to packing.  First, take a capsule wardrobe and work out what to wear as each day comes, knowing that everything will work together. The risk with this approach is that it ends up being less capsule wardrobe and more entire wardrobe, as it can be hard to know where to stop - and you can still be grabbing items as you rush out of the door (says she, speaking from experience!) Second, take specific outfits for each day.  The latter option is the much braver one as there is either little, or no, room for maneouvre. Having said that, it can also be much quicker to get dressed in the morning as one's options are so limited.

I took the second approach this weekend and packed two distinct outfits - one for Saturday and one for Sunday.  The things that I had to bear in mind were the temperature, the need for practicality taking account of the beach/playing with fire/eating ice cream/wandering around the local town activities and the fact that I was likely to be wearing wellies on at least one of the days - so wide leg or boot cut jeans weren't an option.

The Saturday outfit (above) had a dark blue theme of skinny jeans and a shirt dress with accents of pink from a long sleeved top, belt, coat and pink Campers.

For the Sunday outfit I went down the grey and peach route with grey skinny jeans, two grey long sleeved tops, peach/pink jumper, grey and peach scarf.  It was just a bonus that the F&F at Tesco wellies matched - even I'm not that sad! 

So, there we have it. Essential every day weekend wear which allowed me to do all of the things that I wanted to do without worrying about my clothes or worrying what to wear because I had no choice in the matter!

What I Wore:

Saturday outfit: Gap jeans, Cos pink top and navy shirt dress, Hobbs pink belt, Camper shoes, Selfridges coat;

Sunday outfit: Grey Cos jeans, one grey Jigsaw and one grey French Connection top, Mango scarf and jumper, F&F wellies