Saturday, 30 June 2012

On the Run - It doesn't count until you decide to keep it...

Having had a hectic Saturday, I haven't really had much time to devote to clothes - other than ironing my husband's shirts for next week - but I can't really create a blog post out of that.  Well I suppose I could, but not right now.

A few days ago I read a comment that had been left by someone who had read one of my earlier posts - and she liked it!  Having taken a look at it again, I see that only about four people have read it.  Given that three of them were probably in my family and the fourth was the lady who left the comment, I decided that I could probably re-cycle it without feeling too guilty - so here it is:

It doesn't count until you decide to keep it ...

No, seriously, it's official. Incidentally, who first coined that phrase and what does it really mean? Who decides what is "official" and what isn't? Bizarre. Anyway, enough of that. I have decided that it's official that, until you decide to keep something ("something" being clothes of course) it doesn't really count (in the bank department).

Unlike food, which can't be returned and which therefore does count the minute that you've paid for it, it is possible to buy clothes with wild abandon and until you decide that they are yours, you haven't really spent the money. That's my philosophy anyway.

Take today as an example. Today I was good to my children and took them to a soft play area.  We made sure that we left the house on time so that we were second in the car park - even though we had to go via the local newsagents so that the eldest of the two who were with me could nip in and buy the latest copy of Grazia for me. Poor boy, imagine being 8 and having to go into the newsagents to ask for the latest copy of the magazine his Mum wanted. I had to stress the importance of it being the latest copy as sometimes they are a week behind - tut tut.

Anyway, the soft play area was relatively civilised. I even managed to read the said magazine, with half an eye on the children and at the end of it, I decided to try and work out how some of the functions worked on my phone - particularly the "notes" section as I wanted to make a list.

When I tapped the icon I realised that one of the children had already worked out how to use it before I had. It transpired that our eldest, who was 10 at the time of the entry, had written "Buy Flo iPhone for Christmas". Yeah right. Not only had she beaten me to it but she had beaten me to it by nearly 8 months.

Anyway, I finally worked out how to enter the heading for the list, which unsurprisingly read: "Shopping List A/W 2010". Beneath it I made 8 entries.

Now, lists are made for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is for acting upon (unless they relate to jobs you have to do, particularly in the house) in which case the purpose of a list is to add to the bottom of it the things that you have already done, just so that you can cross them off and feel as though you have achieved something, even when you haven't.

Finding myself with ten minutes or so to spare - oh yes, ten minutes - even after hanging out the washing and doing the lunch, I decided that I really did need to act upon the list or what was the purpose in making it? 

And herein lies the crux of the matter. Those Whistles trousers that I ordered, those items from Next (more about those in another post!) and those several Boden items, some in two colours and two sizes - none of them count. I haven't spent a bean. Not only have they not been delievered yet (although apparently the Boden ones are on their way - yippee) but even when they arrive, I still won't have spent a penny and nor will I until I make that fateful decision that they are to be mine. When they enter my wardrobe, that's when I have to hold my hands up. Until such time I had a very pleasant, guilt free, half hour (I know, I said ten minutes but that was a little exaggeration) shopping without the crowds, the travelling, the parking or the children fighting and I didn't even spend a penny. Result.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

On the Run - At last, the White Jeans get an outing!

I spent most of the day inside today, working away listening to the thunderstorms and the rain.  We had to go out this evening though to look at prospective secondary schools for number 2 so I thought that I had better swap my skinnies and converse for something else.

The thing is, that when it gets to that time of day, unless I am showering and starting from scratch for a proper night out, I don't really feel like putting a dress or skirt on. I feel a bit like I am wearing fancy dress.  In any event, the white jeans haven't had an outing yet this summer and I do like wearing them because there's always a Liz Hurley joke in there somewhere. Seriously, that lady must own every pair of white jeans known to man.

Speaking of Liz Hurley, that whole Shane Warne thing is getting way out of hand.  He looks more like a waxwork of himself than a waxwork would, with that shiny complexion and those overplucked brows.

The jeans are from H&M, the shirt Gerard Darel and the gold T-bars, Carvela.  Given their capacity to shorten and widen, I prefer to wear white jeans long, flared and with heels. Having said that I do have some skinny Gap ones which I wear with flats but their days are numbered because when I bend down, they slide down - and that is so not a good look!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

On the Run - In those shoes? Standing up is hard enough!

You know those heart stopping moments? I had one of those today. Our youngest had been swimming and we were in the changing rooms, where she observed a woman getting changed.  When the words "Excuse me?" came out of her mouth, I froze. What was it going to be? My mind went into overdrive thinking of how I could interrupt and deflect the possible insult that was on its way.

Fortunately, she said "I like your swimming costume." Which, being as it was flouro pink and spangly, she would. The young woman was suitable flattered, giggled approvingly and thought how sweet she was. Oh how different it could have been.

I was off down to Warwick today to do a Wardrobe Consultation, which had been given to a lady by her sister as a birthday present. I love meeting new people and we spent a great few hours together.

After that it was swimming, followed by collecting the older two. These photos were taken whilst waiting in the heat for our eldest to return from a school trip. How hot must she have been in her cut-offs with opaque tights.  Remember those days? Definitely an early '90's kind of outfit!

I haven't worn these Jigsaw shoes for a long time but enjoyed wearing them with my Gap high rise skinny jeans, White Stuff blouse, Topshop belt and La La Rocks bracelet.

What utterly, totally ridiculous shoes to wear when having to walk around the edge of a slippery swimming pool.  There's something about them which make them really hard to walk in. It could be the rigid sole because they're not that high - but they are definitely precarious. I pretended that I was holding our youngest's hand for support but really it was the other way around.

Now that I am home, I am wearing my favourite "Waynetta Slob" outfit of PJ bottoms, vest and trainers. That should frighten any cold callers off!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

On the Run - Where did those cheeky numbers come from?

So, how is everyone? Are you enjoying Wimbledon - or the fact that, for us at least, the football is now over? 

I had another busy day in the shops today, hence the flat shoes. I wear my navy Cos trousers at least once a week and today they had their outing.  As with yesterday, the weather looked unpromising so I wore my leather jacket with this Minnie lace blouse from Monsoon underneath it. It was the first time that I had worn it but already it's in the sale! I also used my pink Russell & Bromley bag, largely because I didn't have time to change it.

 Monsoon Minnie Lace Blouse

On another note, when I was trying on some Whistles trousers in the sale the other day, I noticed something unusual about myself. You know how men have man boobs (moobs) and there's such a thing as a muffin top or a double chin?  Well the things I'm talking about aren't any of these but possibly a combination of all of them. They can best be described as "bum boobs" or "double cheeks" or "bottom creep" and are that additional bit of flesh at the top of your legs (or the bottom of your bottom)! 

Some hours later, when getting changed, I pointed them out to my daughter and said "You see these, these are made from Toblerone and ice-cream" to which she said "Shouldn't they be in the shape of  a triangle then?" Perish the thought! Bridget Jones knickers, here we come! (ps Does anyone else suffer from this affliction or is it just me?)

Monday, 25 June 2012

On the Run - Running around House of Fraser!

I had a very pleasant three hours this morning in House of Fraser (formerly Rackhams), Birmingham, styling a lady for her 40th birthday.  We have worked together previously and because of that, and because she was short of time, I had the luxury of spending an hour choosing twenty plus dresses, and several pairs of shoes for her to try when she arrived.

Anyway, we managed to stretch the need for one dress into two, and then into three and two hours later, we left.  After a quick trip to a shoe store to find the right shoes, our task was complete.

I don't really feel that any of today's shots are worth sharing but then I wouldn't be playing ball, so share them I will in any event.  By the time we got home everyone just wanted to get inside (not that I blame them). Our eldest had the joy of taking the photos and, in true teenage fashion, she delights in taking them whilst dancing around.  This is the girl who also regularly nearly blows up the chemistry lab at school - so you can see what I am up against.

The forecast was good for today but I didn't dare brave the whole full on summer dress experience so instead I opted for a heavier weight cotton A-line skirt from Cos, Jigsaw breton striped top, leather jacket and statement necklace. I was so pleased not to have gone the whole hog on the dress front as it was freezing first thing but fortunately it brightened up later on.

I am now making a tiny plea as I don't like asking for help.  However....nominations will soon close for the Cosmopolitan blog awards.  If you would like to nominate Style Guile, and haven't done so already, it would be great if you could do so .It doesn't take a minute and a nomination can be made by clicking on the pink box with "Cosmopolitan blog awards" written in it on the right hand side of the page. It would mean a lot to me to get as far as a short listing.  Being a part-time blogger, who has to fight for the use of her lap-top and with a daughter who dances whilst taking photographs, I don't fancy my chances of getting very far - but I would love to give it a go. Thank you! (Again!) Oh, and by the way, I am in the "Best established fashion blogger" category.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

On the Run - A BIG Thank You to you all!

I decided that I didn't want today's post to be about me, but rather about all of you instead.

I was delighted to find out, some weeks ago now, that Style Guile was a finalist in the "Style" Section of the Bibs (Brilliance in Blogging) Awards, which are held by BritMums

BritMums is the largest and most influential network of parent bloggers in the UK, and it receives over 17 million page views per month.

As some of you will know, Friday and Saturday saw the arrival of the BritMums conference, with the Bibs Awards ceremony being held in London on Friday night.   

The lovely, and utterly deserving, Amanda Start from the Online Stylist won the award.  It was only as a result of seeing an article about Amanda in Woman & Home, two years ago this August, that Style Guile was born  - so I am ever indebted to Amanda for that.

Anyway, I wanted to take this chance to stop for a moment and to say a big "Thank You" to everyone who nominated, or voted, for Style Guile - to anyone who leaves comments and to anyone who takes time out of their busy day to read the posts. I really do appreciate your on-going support and I just wanted to say "Thank you!" I don't always get an opportunity to respond to comments as quickly as I would like, or as in as much detail as I would like, so I hope that you will forgive me, knowing that that they are all read and thought about during my day.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

On the Run - In flowery jeans (part 2)!

It had been my intention to take the jeans that I am wearing, below, back to Primark.  I went in twice but just couldn't face the 20 minute wait each time in the queue - so in the back of my car they remained - until today.

I saw these jeans (below) when I was in Selfridges the other day. They had been massively reduced from over £200 to somewhere in the region of £70/80, I think! It reminded me that I still had my £13 Primark ones in my possession and with a grey day dawning today, I thought that it was the perfect day to wear them.


Here is a picture of the jeans as they appeared on the blog back in May when they weren't particularly well received. I have to say, there is something slightly unsettling about posting a picture of an outfit which you know in advance is unlikely to be well received!

Someone went as far to say that they thought that they were pretty bad and asked whether I would wear them if they weren't in fashion. I was also asked whether they would be in the photo album of shame by Christmas. Ho hum.

Well here are the jeans, both in, and on, the flesh! For what it's worth, I really liked wearing them - although that could have partly been due to the fact that, being from Primark, I went up a size - so they were uber comfortable!

I started off by putting them with a white shirt but in the end opted for a very plain grey Jigsaw top and cream brogues from Dune, just to tone it all down. Our youngest said that my flowery legs were "lovely" and that I could take them to gymnastics with me if I liked. Granted, she's only four but you can always rely on children for an honest opinion. Our son didn't comment either - and he's normally the first one in there with the "Mum....I don't really like...."

Ultimately I don't think that the overall view was as bad as our score in the Eurovision song contest!

I think that my husband is slightly miffed with me. For many years now, we have only had one TV between the 5 of us - and you can guess who never gets a look in, So, after all this time, I had a cable installed into the kitchen so that we could have a TV in there.

Today we went off to get a TV and not only is this one (which my husband refers to at "your TV") newer, slimmer, bigger and more technologically advanced than the family one but it is going to be installed in time for tomorrow's England game - and my husband hates football! I do actually feel quite sorry for him as he loves his TV - whereas really, if I'm honest, I just like to make a fuss about never getting to watch any!

Friday, 22 June 2012

On the Run - Where do you go when you need to buy a new bag? BagServant of course!

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Michãela Deasy-Smith, the Online Fashion Editor for BagServant, which is The premiere handbag site for lovers of luxury & style.

Somewhat flatteringly, Michaela liked Style Guile enough to ask whether BagServant may write a guest post.

Essentially, BagServant brings together in one place, all your favourite brands (to include Mango, Mulberry, Radley, Anya Hindmarch, Cath Kidston, Michael Kors plus many more) from trusted retailers, to include John Lewis, House of Fraser, Selfridges and Harrods.

The site is easy to navigate and it is possible to search for a handbag by style, shape, colour, brand, price - you name it, it's possible.  So, if you wanted a yellow sherbet Mulberry Bayswater but didn't know where to go to get it, BagServant would have the answer.  Which is John Lewis, by the way (and it's in the sale)!

It's such a simple, great concept and an easy and convenient way to shop - perfect for those who are short of time. And let's face it, who isn't?

Additionally, BagServant offers us the opportunity to find out which one of twelve "Handbag Personalities" we are.  I found that little bits (for want of a better phrase!) of me fell into more than one but the Personality into which I fitted most closely, was Miss Practical.

Now, the lovely girls at BagServant have written some very complimentary words about why I fall into that category - but we all know that the truth of it is that I fit the description of having a bag full of shopping lists and food wrappers and that all good intentions to keep my bag tidy have fallen by the wayside by Tuesday morning.

Anyway, we thought that it would be nice for BagServant to tell you all a little bit about some of the different handbag personalities, so here goes....let's have some fun on a Friday!

For some of us, fashion can be a complicated affair. Stepping out of the carefully tailored wardrobe chosen by your parents and into your own can be a liberating and terrifying experience. There are clothes in bright colours, clothes with flowers on them or spots or stripes, clothes made out of denim, leather and satin, clothes for the super rich and clothes that are just plain ugly. While some individuals get lost in the jungle of fashion trends and sparkly lip gloss, some of us are quite content with a minimalist pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

We spend a great deal of time thinking about what we should be wearing and how to keep up with the trends until the whole business can seem like a massive bore. Eventually, all you end up doing is looking at how other people look in magazines, becoming more and more disillusioned with how you look. This is not a productive use of your time.

But you know what? Once you’ve realised an important truth that is so obvious, you’ll wonder how you didn’t see it before.

Underneath all your clothes, accessories and makeup, there is a little thing called your PERSONALITY. To quote Monty Python’s Life of Brian: ‘we are all individuals!’  

Should this be the only thing that dictates your style? When we really get the core to what kind of people we are, your mind becomes like a sieve and sorts through your wardrobe. You could pick up items you have had for years and say ‘ugh, what was I thinking?!’ Soon it becomes about what you want to wear, not what you think you should be wearing. Then finally, when all we have is what makes us happy, we ooze confidence and give off vibes of self-belief. Surely these two things never go out of fashion? 

At BagServant, we have embraced this idea and have been helping women and men find the right hand bag for them. Enter our 12 specially designed bag personalities, we call them our flirty dozen, each one as unique as all of us.  

 And we would like you to meet a few of them.

Sugar Delight

She’s the sweetest thing in our office and it would break your heart to see her with a frown. She’s the woman that has a smile on a rainy day and a spring in her step on her way to work. Her sweet sentiment comes through in her style with her endless amount of pastel pinks and yellows from designers like Miu Miu and Riki Rosetta. If you’re not adverse to pretty bows and sprinkles of diamantes, then you and Sugar Delight should probably get together for some tea and bright coloured macaroons.   

Now we might have sounded like we were against the fashion magazines and trend culture of chasing after celebrities and catwalks. But we know that some women love indulging in designer fashion and the latest styles, none more so than our lovely Little Miss Label. She’s the kind of girl who will drag you through Bond Street with her credit card as her weapon of choice. Jimmy Choo, Victoria Beckham, Alexander McQueen and Givenchy are just some of the labels this girl goes gaga for, but we love her for it. Although, we do wonder where she finds the money to fund this passion of hers...

She is the well dressed elegant bag lover. The girl about town minimalist who will wear the Parisian style Breton striped top and classic trench, she even wears simple knits with effortless ease. She loves structured shapes in basic colours which she knows will work effortlessly for her, whether she's wearing a suit or a little black dress. She prefers to shun trends for timeless pieces, and is always therefore fashion desirable. She is calm and confident and loves nothing more than a good giggle with her friends.

Miss Practical

One of our most popular personalities. She knows what she wants in a bag and in her style and doesn’t usually indulge in anything too elaborate. We’ve been told that the lovely Beth Goodrham thinks she is one of our Miss Practical's which we thought was brilliant as this girl is as elegant as she is well-dressed.

Sometimes her friends look at the way she casually throws together an outfit and think ‘how does she do it?’ The truth is, she just knows what works for her, similarly to the reason why Audrey Hepburn adorned ballet flats as her staple item, it just worked for her. Although her casual ways cause a bit of clutter in her handbag, she always makes time for a weekly cleanup. She even has her own Twitter account, why not drop her a line?
We have many more to discover on our website. Find out which one you are to help you give your look some personality!  

Thursday, 21 June 2012

On the Run - A day at the races with a little fashion show courtsey of Harvey Nichols

Today I was at an event where I got the best bits of being at the races but without the worst bits - and it was fab!

It was a real treat to be offered champagne at 11.30am (I say offered because I was driving so was on the soft stuff), to watch a fashion show by Harvey Nichols and to have a lovely sit down meal at the new Marco Pierre White restaurant in Birmingham.

This was one of the models who was showing the new A/W '12 collection from Harvey Nichols.  There's a strong equestrian trend coming through, as reflected in the Alexander McQueen jacket.

Although not an obvious pairing, I really liked the leopard print Louboutins with the jacket...

...because there is that danger that, in wearing a jacket like this with boots of pretty much any description, you might look as if you were about to leap on your horse -so shoes were a much better option.  I am sure that we can rely on Zara to do lots of interpretations of this style of jacket.

This too was a great combination and not an obvious one.  White jeans, amazing heeled ankle boots in purple and a Proenza Schouler bag, also in purple, and which cost £1100 - or thereabouts. Wow!

The model in this shot was wearing some amazing Michael Kors snake print trousers which looked great on her. Perhaps hard for the rest of us to wear, but great on her. They weren't a skinny fit so it's possible that they may be slightly easier to get away with for those of us on the, let's say, more mature side. If you get my drift.

 The top is a great colour and totally lifts the neutral colours in the trousers.

What can I say about this dress? It looks great on the model but it's one that would be difficult to translate for the rest of us. I suppose a bit of length would help! You seriously wouldn't want to bend over in it would you?

I loved this dress - despite it being a pale colour, which can be hard for some to wear, the sparkles make it less tricky. The overlay is a really lovely feature and stops it from being "just another short dress".  The addition of an overlay all of the way round would make this dress accessible to even more shapes and sizes.

So pretty isn't it?

In comparison to the looks above, I look a bit bright! The dress code dictated that we be race appropriate - or something similar.

I hadn't contemplated that women would go the whole hog and wear fascinators etc. To coin a phrase from a lady who left a message on the blog the other day, I personally would have felt a "bugaloo" had I been wearing a fascinator, or hat, sitting in a restaurant in Birmingham on a Thursday afternoon - but good on others for embracing the event head on (excuse the pun).

By the time these were taken, I had been drenched twice. It was soooo wet today. At one point our youngest had asked me to retrieve her hat from inside my handbag to stop her from getting wet. The trouble was that my handbag was stuffed under my coat so that it didn't get wet - so she too had to suffer for the sake of fashion.  I reckon it's a good lesson to learn whilst young. (For those concerned, she didn't get that wet).

And as for the betting - I won! I actually won! I decided to bet on a horse called "Reckless Abandon" - because it's so not me! I am the sensible one - not drinking because I am driving, swapping my heels for the school run, dashing via Tesco to get snacks for the children after school. So to be £20 better off for being square - I'm not complaining.

I had a great day out and would like to thank the lovely people who invited me and also the lovely people that I met.  I even spoke to Bob Champion who won the Grand National in 1981. When I explained to my friend's son what I had been doing today he looked at me in amazement and said: "Wow, have you been riding horses in races today. And winning? That's so cool." I didn't like to disabuse him of the notion!

What I wore: Reiss dress from Bicester, reduced to £77 from £179, LK Bennett Sledge

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

On the Run - Oh yes, the sun is out and I will wear that new dress!

And so it finally arrived. A day when it was actually warm enough to wear a dress.

I bought this dress a while ago now from GAP, knowing that it would be a good every day kind of dress and I finally got the chance to wear it today.

It's a good length for me and the addition of a leopard print belt in place of the navy tie belt with which it came made it a little more up to date. There's enough fabric in the skirt not to limit my movement but I had to watch that the wind didn't take hold of it and reveal a little more of myself to the world than would have been good for anyone.

Whilst working on some articles at home this morning, I got a call from the BBC asking if I would mind going on air to talk about a feature they were doing on keeping diaries - blogging being the new form of diary and all that. 

Having spoken to two other guests at length (!) about the contents of their diaries, the presenter then came to me, allowed me about 30 seconds to speak before telling me that a blog wasn't really a diary at all and then cut me off.
I thought that it was an interesting idea to invite me on the show to give a different perspective and then tell me that I was talking rubbish.  I just find those kind of things so funny as it happens to me all the time - which probably says more about me than anyone else! However as my daughter so rightly observed: "That's why it's called a blog and not a diary. It's different."

So anyway, I am off to a very swish event tomorrow for Ladies' day at Ascot. The event is being held at Marco Pierre White's new restaurant in Birmingha. There is a fashion show from Harvey Nichols and the races are being shown on the screens.  Remember the My Fair Lady "Move your bloomin' arse" comment? That has my name written all over it! However I shall try to put thoughts such as those out of my mind and act with grace and decorum befitting of the occasion...

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

On the Run - Having fun in the Reiss sale

Late last week I received advanced notification from Reiss that they would be going into sale today. I was asked not to advertise the fact and so left it until this morning to tweet about it.  I then spent a pleasant few minutes checking to see what the reductions were like.

I was really grateful for the fact that it was sports day this afternoon as it meant that I had an hour or so this morning to go and have a whizz around the sales.

I started off at Reiss, the brand know for providing clothes of designer quality and style at (top end) high street prices.  Together with Whistles, it's a firm favourite with fashionistas.  Any items that I have bought from Reiss have always been bought in the sales, which is when their prices become slightly more accessible.

When it came to the sale, there was a slightly interesting arrangement in the Birmingham store. It was on, although not advertised as such, and the clothes weren't marked accordingly. The benefit of this was that there wasn't a mad rush on. The disadvantage was that one of the assistants who works there (and who is fab) had the fun task of checking a print-out to establish whether the items I liked were in the sale, or not.

These are just a few basic pieces that I liked but there's so much more - pale blue tapered trousers,
pale blue shorts, leather jackets, blazers and silk shirts. The images on the Reiss site aren't that great, which is why, in most cases, I have included a link to the product - just so that you can get a clearer look.

Working around the images in a clocwise direction from the dress, here are details of the pieces I have chosen:

1. I love the vibrant colour of this Karina dress. It has a great length and is stylish but comfortable. The back is slightly unusual so it might be worth checking it out. They are showing only UK size 4's on line but the B'ham store has 14's too and I am sure that there will be more to be had. It's reduced from £169 to £118;

2. I really like this Fell textured jumper.  It's a love it or hate it kind of jumper and it won't suit all shapes but I love it. It's reduced from £89 to £63;

3. I brought this mini Bleecker bag to you a while ago when I went to Leeds. A great colour and perfect size, it's now reduced from £195 to £136;

4. This striped Nellie dusty rose top is perfect as an alternative to a classic breton top and is reduced from £59 to £42;

5. Another rose coloured top, this is the Chloe cotton pointelle jumper reduced to from £110 to £77. It comes in stripes and rib knits too;

6. There's always space in my wardrobe for some smart navy trousers and these Dilly tapered trousers would fill that gap nicely.
Remember, this is only round one of the sale and there will probably be better reductions further down the line - although availability becomes more of an issue.  Bicester also has some great pieces but it's just best to go with an open mind.

Have a browse of the site and see what you fancy - and then while away the time plotting how to make it yours!

Monday, 18 June 2012

On the Run - A blue and white outfit consisting of Zara, Gap, Converse and Orla Kiely

You know how there are only a couple of months each year when there isn't a school holiday of some sort or another (usually November and possibly March, depending when Easter falls or June, depening on when spring half term falls)?

Well there are also a couple of months in the year when I make a conscious effort, as opposed to a half hearted attempt, not to shop. One of those months is July and the other is around February or March time.

I figure that by this time in the season, I will probably have filled most of the gaps in my summer wardrobe and I then start thinking about what my winter wardrobe may be lacking. So, as you might to expect, that's where I add a caveat to my "no shopping" policy.

The summer sales can be a good place to pick up winter coats and winter boots - which are usually the biggest items of expediture in your wardrobe. Unless you are after the latest "must have" styles for coats or boots, then great savings can be made, hopefully leaving more funds available for next seasons' every day items - where you may want to tap into the trends a little more.

I often find that it is also a good time to pick up accessories and I sometimes get a belt or an evening bag from Reiss when their sale starts [keep your eyes on this space for news of the Reiss sale].

With LK Bennett, Hobbs, Jaeger, Ted Baker, House of Fraser, Harvey Nichols and many others currently in sale, now is definitely a good time to look out for those staple items. I often look at brands that would normally be too pricey on an every day basis but which, with the benefit of a hefty discount, become more accessible.

Anyway, on to the outfit.  By the time it came around to getting the children from school it was relatively warm, so I decided to wear my white Zara cotton blazer, which hasn't seen the light of day since this time last year.

I'm not generally a t-shirt kind of girl but I like this one that I bought from French Connection a few years ago now.  The blue is quite strong, which is good for a pale girl like me!

Sticking with the blue and white theme - again because having run I only had about 10 minutes to shower and change - I wore my blue converse and grabbed my Orla Kiely bag, which a couple of weeks ago I had filled with all of the remnants from my other handbags when I sorted them out.

So, I now have a large pile of receipts, tickets, half opened packets of oat cakes, pens and all other manner of detritus which lurks at the bottom of my handbags, to sort out. I liked the bag with the outfit though so I'm cool about it. (In as much as I could ever use the word "cool" to describe anything about myself!)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

On the Run - At a "summer" BBQ in a thick jumper, jeans, scarf - essentially a winter outfit really!

I find the varying approaches that people take to clothes really interesting.

In addition to going to the Pet shop today (weed for the fish) and looking around several garages (husband's choice of activity for Father's Day) we were invited to a friend's BBQ and fundraising event. [Re the photo below, the four year old was directing and demanded that I crouch down.]

Being cold makes me miserable so I decided to dig out one of my heaviest jumpers, wear my jeans and just not worry whether I was up to the mark or not.

When we arrived I was greeted by a friend who was wearing a couple of vest tops layered together.  She was working on the principle that, come rain or shine, she was going to pretend that it was warm.  Whereas I - being arguably more negative than her - just couldn't face being cold any more.

Two friends, both female, same event, similar outlooks on life, similar size - two utterly and completely different approaches to getting dressed.

I could just about face baring my ankles but it was my only concession to the fact that it was June. Otherwise it was winter all the way with a Warehouse cable knit jumper, Gap real straight jeans, Jigaw striped top, Lola Rose scarf and Jones flats.

There were some lovely outfits at the BBQ - blazers, skirts, bare legs, nice jewellery - none of which I was sporting but I wasn't cold, I didn't totter off any heels and I didn't mind when the four year old launched herself at me covered in chocolate.

In my view when it comes to daily dressing, styling yourself for comfort and to suit your lifestyle definitely has to rank up there as two of the most important criteria.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

On the Run - With 10 minutes to shower, wash hair, dress and do make-up before dashing out of the door again!

I got myself into one of those slightly sticky situations this morning. As our youngest had been up since 7.15am watching TV, and would have stayed there quite happily for the entire day, I decided that we needed to do an activity.

The problem was that I also wanted to squidge in a run before we went. Given that the run took longer than I thought, which was not as a result of going further than I thought but rather being a bit of a lazy whatsit because I didn't have my friends to keep me amused, I had precisely 10 minutes on returning home to shower, get dressed and do my hair and make-up. 


I can say with certainty when I left the house that I was clean but the hair and make-up didn't feature at all. It was not until I got to the gym class that I dealt with the make-up, where I sat in the gallery and applied it. I probably looked a bit chavtastic in the process but it was better than not wearing any at all.

It was then on to the school fete where I was serving on the Pimms stall. Result!

Clearly the outfit was incredibly hurried and would have benefited from a bit of ruching of the jumper, but frankly I was just pleased to have pulled something even half decent together.  It would also have been better if the school hall didn't have a teracotta floor as it clashed a bit - but there we go.

As a result of speed and having not having been able to wear jeans for a while due to working, I opted for Cos grey jeans, a Jigsaw coral jumper, Mango scarf, Oasis leather jacket and Carvela wedges.

As I say, a bit of ruching of the jumper would have been good but given that I hadn't taken a look at any of it in the mirror, I was happy enough.

I hope that you are enjoying your weekend and no, I didn't have any of the Pimms.  The 11.30am to 1pm slot was a bit early for me but you will be pleased to know that I have made up for it this evening with my husband's fab cocktails. Hic.

Friday, 15 June 2012

On the Run - A plain outfit of Cos, Hobbs and LK Bennett with a statement silk scarf.

You know sometimes you just have those days when you wake up and think "Oh hec, what I am I going to wear today?" Well, I had one of those this morning.

As I knew that I would be in the shops styling all day, flat comfy shoes were a must.  The rain ruled out dresses and skirts, which only really left trousers.

Having worn my spotty trousers yesterday, my Zara textured (for want of a better word) ones the day before and ruling out chinos and jeans on the basis that they weren't smart enough, I headed for my faithful (and now nearly on their last leg) Cos trousers. I swear that they are getting tighter by the day - they must be losing their elasticity. Or something.  


Oh flip, so what to put with the trousers. There are several sayings I have in life. The first is: "If in doubt do nothing." It's an absolute gem when it comes to making difficult decisions but doesn't really apply when needing to get dressed in a hurry in the morning.  So, I reverted to another favourite saying of mine: "Keep it simple." Yep, I liked that for today. So it was head to toe navy, including the bag, with the addition of one statement piece, which was a Hobbs silk handpainted scarf.

Impressively, the photos were taken by the munchkin before school. I had to laugh - she holds the phone so near to her eyes when taking a photo that she goes cross-eyed. It's very funny to see.

As for silk scarves, I only have this Hobbs one and the Hermes one that I bought from the Buy My Wardrobe event, but it was really nice to wear for a change.

Our son has returned from his trip to Wales with school, utterly and totally exhaused.  We had one of those special moments when he arrived back. His sister threw her arms around him and said "I love you Fred. Come and see how much my snow [sun]flowers have grown." And she led him by the hand into the conservatory to take a look.

Today's outfit: Cos trousers and top, Hobbs shoes and scarf, LK Bennett bag

Thursday, 14 June 2012

On the Run - A mixture of Topshop "Vintage" and Topshop "current" (ish)

Given that our youngest was having a meltdown when we left her friend's house, I am amazed that I secured her co-operation in taking photos 5 minutes later when we arrived on the drive.  Some are a bit "headless" and some are a bit "shoeless" and most are a bit fuzzy - but I think that you can get the idea.

To say that the photos were hurried is an understatement.  It would have been good to have had a couple more seconds to adjust the outfit out a little but nevermind - that's life in the fast lane for you!

I felt that these Topshop trousers would be the right weight for today's weather and started with those as the basis for my outfit, putting them with my Gap white shirt.

I also whipped the pale pink belt from my blue Next chinos and wore that too.  Ordinarily I discard belts that come with trousers as I think that often they are quite cheap looking - but I reckon that a pale pink patent belt could look cheap however much it cost! It's a bit like Dolly Parton saying how it costs her a lot of money to look as cheap as she does.

I then dug out these Topshop shoes which I bought prior to child number 2, I think it was - so over 10 years ago now at least - but which I had only worn once. Thinking that they were really high, I had been put off from wearing them but in fact they weren't that high at all - although the slim heel would have made it difficult to run in them.

I had a chance to have a quick whizz around the Selfridges sale before finishing for the day. As with the Marni for H&M debacle, the grabbing and throwing around of the bags, in particular, made feel quite sad. 

There were Mulberry bags reduced from £800 to £400 which, whilst not damaged, had clearly been man-handled.  I'm all for using nice pieces, rather than keeping them in the Wardrobe [rant warning!]but there's no forgiving the way that some people treat things which aren't even theirs and which others may want to buy. 

The clothes were in a much better state with Vivienne Westwood dresses half price.  At £450 they still weren't cheap but such a discount would definitely make them affordable for some. Ted Baker and Coast had great offers too as did LK Bennett, Jimmy Choo and Prada. As for the High Street - ladies, if you want to shop, now is the time to do it. There are sales galore!