Sunday, 29 July 2012

On the Run - Here you can take a peek at the contents of my suitcase for a trip to Cornwall

We're all excited because we are off on on a break down to Cornwall tomorrow to stay in a hotel.  For our trips to Wales, I usually just chuck together whatever I can find (moth eaten items included you will recall) so it's lovely to be able to take some nicer pieces with me.

As always with packing, I sorted everyone else's clothes out first and then dealt with my own.  This is just a snap shot of some of the pieces I have taken, rather than a comprehensive run down - and also to show you the colour scheme I have chosen. As you can see, I have gone for blues/greys/khaki/creams and not much pink for once!

If you are anything like me, you will like to take a peek to see what someone else packs for their time away, so you will be able to get a vague idea from this. But as it's not very comprehensive, I promise to bring you lots of shots when we are away.

Here you can see the obligatory breton knits from French Connection, new Jigsaw trench skirt which I wore yesterday, Lola Rose scarf, denim and chambray shirts, sparkly vests and out of shot chino style trousers and heavier knits.  

As always, I have packed plenty of accessories, again largely keeping to the same colour scheme.

Two pairs of flats and two pairs of heels, again in the same colours (apart from the pink heels I have since added!)

And three bags -  Cath Kidston every day bag: a chuck it all in kind of bag which is indestructible;

Cream Day Bag: Soft and slouchy and it will go with everything. This one was from Warehouse last summer;

Marc Jacobs evening bag in flouro snake print: I will use this in the hotel in the evenings for phone/keys/lippy and such like. This was a birthday pressie from my in-laws, which I am very much looking forward to using.

So, that's me done! I'm really looking forward to our trip away. It's almost 14 years to the day that I last stayed in a hotel so it will be lovely to have the chance to enjoy whole days without thinking about shopping/cooking etc. Yipppeeeeeeeee! Hope that you are all enjoying the summer and don't forget to get snapping away so that you have photos to send me for a blog post of outfits worn in the sun!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Women Behaving Badly - what to do with a flamingo and a donkey (whilst wearing a Jigsaw skirt!)

You may remember that a while ago I highlighted some pieces in the Jigsaw sale which I thought were particularly good buys, and this trench skirt was one of them.

When I first put it on, although I really liked it, I wasn't 100% sure about it.  However I then got a second opinion from my husband, who has a really good eye for these things, despite not caring in the least what he wears himself. He gave it a very positive "yes" so that was a done deal.

I put it with this sequinned top from Topshop and then, for our evening out, wanted to use my new Orla Kiely bag which my husband bought me for my birthday.  It was way back in January that I first mentioned that I was after a blue bag - and the search has gone on for this long but some things are worth waiting for!

So I wore a coral belt to pick out the red/coral clasp on the bag...

...and my blue Pied a Terre T-bar sandals, to pick out the blue in the bag, and to pull the whole outfit together.

However, on arriving at our friends' house for a birthday celebration, it all went rapidly down hill on the style stakes. With a strong Mexican theme for the evening, a sombrero and chilli necklace were added to the outfit, together with a pink flamingo (not sure of the relevance of that but we found it funny) whilst my friend sported a rather stylish striped pinata.

Oh what fun we had!

Friday, 27 July 2012

On the Run - Wearing a French Connection Maxi dress and borrowing a little something from the Wardrobe across the landing!

Do you ever do things without thinking through the consequences?  Well I have got myself in a bit of a pickle with the whole swimming costume debacle. Having thrown the floor wide open for swimming costumes to come my way, I now have five of them, but I am not quite sure how to cover them on the blog.

A shot of each costume laid out somewhere, however artistically done, isn't going to convey much at all. But I am not sure that parading around in them myself is going to do much for them either, or any of the brands come to that.  So what to do? I thought about borrowing the bottom half of my eldest for some close up shots but that would be cheating - and that's one thing I couldn't do.

However, speaking of borrowing things from our eldest, I happened to come across her chambray H&M shirt this morning and I thought how well it would work over my maxi dress.


And when she said to me this morning "is that my shirt?" I responded with the words: "It miiiiiiiight not be." Which of course was a lie because we both knew that it was.

She was in such a good mood though that she didn't mind.  The reason for the good mood was because she was going into town with her friend to do some emergency jeans shopping.  Fortunately, this particular friend is very trustworthy, which was a good thing as everyone is fully aware of our eldest's capacity for disaster.

I gave her strict instructions to put the money I had given her into two separate purses, so that it would be more difficult for her to lose it all in one go - although she did still manage to lose her train ticket. Mind you, having said that, I locked us all out today so she probably gets it from me anyway.


So, anyway, here's the outfit - French Connection Maxi Dress, Long white vest from M&S layered underneath it so that I don't get arrested for indecent exposure, H&M chambray shirt and Jigsaw printed bag.

Oh, and this was probably the longest conversation that Mr SG and I had yesterday evening:

Mr SG:   "Have you had your Barnet cut?"
Me:         "Yes."
Mr SG:   "Thought so, it looks good."
Me:         "Thanks."

Never let it be said that we're not deep!

I was really excited when I heard from the Senior Editor of today to say that the article that I had written for them about flat shoes that every woman should own, had gone live on the site. If you would like to take a read, you can do so here

Hope that you are still all enjoying the sun!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

On the Run - Selfridges, Isabel Marant, Milkshakes, Louboutins and chocolate desserts - all in a (birth)day's work!

Sometimes, "doubles" have negative associations - double chins (not good) double dip recessions (not so good either) double boobs (because one's bra is too small and and there's a boob in the bra and another one at the top of it - definitely not a good look) but the day before yesterday I was "double" 21, and it wasn't so bad at all.

For a start the sun shone.  You would think that having a birthday in July would mean lots of sunny birthdays - oh no! You wouldn't believe how often it is raining on my birthday.

I started off with a short, and rather lame excuse for a, run before Mr SG went off to work. Then after a chat with my sis and my Mum, I opened the cards and pressies from the children - and amongst them was this! I could have stopped there and would have been perfectly happy.

We then headed into town for a quick stop at Selfridges, which is a great store for all of us.  The children had milkshakes, which were fab. Then we had a wander at the "gadgety area", Cath Kidston, Pedlars and also the sweets. The youngest loves escalators which is great because guess where the women's clothes are...yep, the top floor. Fantastic!

On arriving there she headed straight for these...

...the Louboutins. Let's not mess around with Dune or anything else, let's go straight for the big guns. Mind you, after the Salvador Dali experience the day before, these were small fry!

After my post on wedge trainers a few days ago, I had to smile to myself when I saw these Isabel Marant Bekket trainers.  They have been sold out for months but here they are - back in good old Selfridges in Birmingham.

Still not for me though. Nope, never. Even fickle old me won't change my mind on that one.

After our trip to Selfridges we headed to Reiss where I replaced the the bracelet that I lost the day before - and it was in the sale so it wasn't all bad.

We then collected Mr SG from work and headed to Stratford (Upon Avon) that is, not the Olympic site, where we had a picnic, went up the viewing tower in the RSC and had a boat trip  - and all in the sun! Our trip to Stratford finished with a quick look around their Jigsaw - which was lovely and light.

Then it was home for a quick shower before going to Pizza Express for dinner - always a winner with our family. Neither my son nor I could see a thing when these were taken, so it's lucky that a couple were OK.

Here I am wearing a Jigsaw dress which I have had for a couple of years and some Dune wedges.

I was due to go to the Marie Claire fashion party in London in the evening and was all ready to go.  I saw people tweeting about it in the day and was so excited but also torn and in the end, I decided to stay at home. When, in Pizza Express, our youngest said "you are the best Mummy in the world and I love you with all my heart" I was so glad that I had.

And this is what my son spent two evenings lovingly crafting - home made brownies and chocolate biscuit cake...

...which he then turned....

with great care and the assistance of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, chocolate mousse, cream, and maltesers...

...into this! And it was divine! [Note the card below, courtesy of the eldest, complete with song from 1D!]

My lovely pressies were opened at about 10pm and I am sure that many of them will be making appearances here over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

On the Run - in a white lace Mango dress and Episode shoes

Being British, it's only right that I should mention this fantastic weather. I am never happier when the temperature it warm enough for me to wear just three items of clothing - undies (that counts as two - just to be clear but without being too specific) and a dress.  Heaven!

As we aren't going abroad this summer, I wanted to extend an invitation to those SG readers who are, (or indeed who aren't) to get snapping whilst on holiday, with a view to featuring on the blog in all your holiday finery! Whether it's beach cover-ups, sight seeing outfits, swim wear, sundresses, shorts, or outfits for an evening out, I would love to do a post or two on what you are all wearing on holiday. So, if you can persuade your family to get snapping, whilst you channel your inner [insert words of your choosing!] that would be fantastic. Then just send me a handful of your favourite shots, letting me know where you are, and I will put some posts together.

We were having a bit of a trip out the day that these photos were taken. We started by talking to a team of firefighters who had parked up for lunch in Brindley Place in Birmingham, which was very interesting for us all!
We then went for a walk along the canal, where our youngest spotted several men without shirts - and boy did she let them know that she had spotted them! Oh crikey - where to turn?!

Once the warm weather was on its way, I decided that it was going to be dresses all they way.  It's time that they did some work for me. This is one of my favourite dresses - a white one from Mango which I bought last year and which it is rarely warm enough to wear - until now!

I agree with Grazia (above) that a white sundress is a great item to have in your Wardrobe and I like to ring the changes with the belt and the shoes I put it with. I am wearing mine with a blue belt from Topshop and pinky/red snake print flats from Episode.

Unfortunately this shot shows the last known siting of my favourite blue snake skin Reiss bracelet, which I have worn so much. We used it as a reference point when re-tracing our steps to try and find it - but all to no avail.  The children were brilliant at looking for it and were duly rewarded with milkshakes at TGI Fridays.

To escape the heat (now that's not something I could have imagined writing any time during the past few months) we went into the ICC and to the art gallery there - where they had on display, and at a perfect height for a four year old, a sculpture by Salvador Dali worth £27 500. She was mesmerised by it - together with the other two on display - so rather than being bored as I hoped she might be when I saw the price, she wanted to stay for ages. And at we all know at that age, it only takes one sneeze, one trip, one involuntary movement before everything comes crashing down. Oh help!

Monday, 23 July 2012

On the Run: Miranda Kerr - Not so much a style crush as a style inspiration

I'm not really one for having crushes on anyone, whether it be of a style nature or any other nature - that is excluding Gary Lineker and Gary Barlow of course - but those "crushes" have existed for far too long to be classed as crushes in any event!

There are celebs/A-listers who I think rarely put a fashion foot wrong - Diane Kruger and Solange Knowles to name but two but on the whole, a lot of celebrities just irritate me.

When I saw this picture of Miranda Kerr last week, her dress reminded me very much of a dress that I have had sitting in my wardrobe for quite some time, and it gave me the impetus to dig it out.  Not so much a style crush as a kick up the bum to get something different on (weather permitting)!


Now clearly I don't have Miranda's figure on my side, nor the Balenciaga shoes to go with the dress, nor indeed the big burly bodyguard (I would make a joke here about not needing a body guard as no-one would want to steal our children but that would be in bad taste).  However, as far as the dress being similar goes, I think Oasis was way ahead of the game, all those years ago! What do you reckon?

Bet she can't chuck her dress in the wash when her little munchkin wipes his dirty mitts all over it. But then again I don't suppose dry cleaning bills are much of an issue for her.

Dress Oasis - over half a decade old now
Shoes by Jigsaw - ditto
Owner - starting the slow but steady creep into her fifth decade tomorrow!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Kate's Stella McCartney Dress - And some alternatives courtesy of Hobbs and Fever Designs

We all saw pictures of Kate Middleton looking fabulous in this electric blue shift dress by Stella McCartney at the National Portrait Gallery last week. 

The debate will always rumble on as to whether Kate is stylish or trendy enough, whether she spends too much or not enough on her clothes, whether she should really share her Mum's wardrobe or not, and so on.

With her figure and her budget the fashion world is her oyster but, unlike the rest of us, she has rules imposed on her not only by the "firm" but also from many other sources.  I think if I were her I would be scared of walking out of the door each morning, fearful of what people would say - so I have nothing but admiration for the way she sticks to her guns and her LK Bennett Sledge nude courts! Although having said that, she didn't wear them on this occasion and in my view they may have been better suited to the dress, or perhaps a pair of some slightly more on trend.....See what I mean about people criticising her?!


Knowing how people like to take a look at what Kate is wearing and re-interpret it for themselves, I have found  a couple of more accessible (in terms of cost) alternatives to the dress that Kate is wearing above.

This is the new season Hobbs Harpur Dress  which costs £159. Although the sleeve is styled differently, it is a similar vibrant blue colour and being from Hobbs, you can be sure of a reasonable hem length. Apologies for the quality of the photo - it will be clearer if you go via the link.


This Molly dress from Fever Designs at £69.99, was a fabulous alternative.  Oddly, when I looked on the site last night it was available in a 6, 16 and 18 but today it appears to have disappeared totally. So, why am I including it at all?  Well, sometimes items disappear temporarily and then re-appear, so you might still be lucky.


Also, Fever Design also do this Austen pencil dress in midnight blue £69.99, which is a great alternative for those who prefer a sleeve.  The banding under the bust is also really flattering and it comes in several colours.

                                 Austen Pencil Dress Midnight Blue
I have provided you with a link to the brand information about Fever Design, just in case you would like to take a look.  It's signature style is inspired by vintage prints and feminine silhouettes, which I thought may appeal to many - and the prices are good too. As ever, it won't be for everyone but there are a handful of really pretty dresses.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Maje orange cape dress - and an alternative from Cos

Just to say thank you to everyone who left comments yesterday regarding the wedge trainer debate.  I love reading them all. There's nothing like clothes, shoes, bags and jewellery to bring out our strongest feelings!  Whether it's intense like or dislike for a piece, extreme disappointment at not being to get hold of something we have fallen in love with, elation at securing it - or just that heart skipping moment when whatever we have been searching for comes into view - it's instinctive and to me, fascinating.

On another note, this orange drape dress by the French brand Maje has been seen out and about a lot recently, on celebreties such as Heidi Range (below), Lisa Snowdon, Gizzi Erskine and Jools Oliver.

A little different to your average short dress, the cape element adds some interest and the vibrant orange colour makes a change from black.  Although having said that, I am bringing you a black alternative!


This belted side drape dress is from Cos and costs 69 Euros.  A great alternative to the dress above, some may feel less conspicuous in black than bright orange, and it would certainly be very versatile.

It may be worn with, or without the belt and may well be the only LBD you ever need. Of course, if you did fancy it in a brighter colour, it also comes in a bright green/yellow which could be perfect for a late summer wedding, paired with some of next season's shoes which are now hitting the stores - just to get you on your way.

Hope you like!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Ladies, I need your view on something...

We have just found out that the fastest man on the planet is staying within our mile of our house.  Usain Bolt is training at Birmingham University and we thought that if we invited him round for tea, it wouldn't take him very long to get here at all.

Anyway ladies, I need your help - so I am throwing a question open to you all - wedge trainers, love them or loathe them?

I think that this photograph of Victoria Beckham wearing these Dries Van Noten wedge trainers in 2007 sealed the deal for me.  I recall someone fairly senior in our organisation bringing the newspaper over me at my desk for my view on said trainers.  I suspect that the look on my face conveyed a thousand words.

In fairness, it may be that it was the contrived nature of the outfit that put me off as much as anything but I don't know - trainers with heels. It just doesn't seem right does it?

                                                 Victoria Beckham and Dries van Noten Wedge Sneakers Photograph

However, since the days of the VB wedge trainers, they have become acceptable as a wardrobe staple, with Ash being one of the go to brands and the styles Thelma and Genial being very popular.

                                                                                                              Ash - Thelma Nappa - Clay            

Objectively I can see how they could work, especially in a wardrobe like mine which includes lots of jeans, blazers and fairly casual pieces.  Also, I can't deny that they look great on some. 

Perhaps it's the VB image that I can't get out of my head, perhaps it's the fact that they feel a bit too "try hard" for me or perhaps it's the fact that I feel they would be suited to someone 10 years younger than me.  I recently wrote a post for the Style It Light  blog along the same lines but the thought of them just won't go away and now I'm not sure - what do you think?  Perhaps they are one for a "test the trend" post.

Or alternatively, I could ask Usain what he thinks when he comes round for tea.  After all, he's had plenty of experience in the trainer department.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

I blame Harvey Nichols....

It's nearly two years since I started blogging and I thought that, given that I am on my holidays, I would re-post one of my earliest posts.  If you haven't read it previously, I hope that you like it.

I blame Harvey Nichols, not for the fact that I spent too much in there, but for the fact that we are now the proud owners of three goldfish - Bob, Dora and Merlin.

This is how it all began....Having just reached 40 (I wish!)  I felt that it was my duty to consider spending some of my birthday money on an "investment" - (OK, a Mulberry handbag) and so with two of our three children in tow, we merrily headed off to Harvey Nichols, (via the local Tesco for material with which to bribe said off-spring).

 On walking through the door, we spotted the Creme de la Mer counter with....the tank of fish, which of course the 2 year old loved. Having plotted together (the persuasive power of a 2 year old is amazing) the off-spring decided that they required three fish - one for each of them and one for their brother (who was otherwise wisely engaged at tennis camp). In my effort to say "yes" more times that I say "no" each day, I agreed. And so here we are, three fish and one rather dis-gruntled husband later.

Anyway, the Mulberry bag. Needless to say that my favoured style was also favoured by many other women in the UK and is no longer available. Oh well, I am sure that an equally divine style will make an appearance in the not too distant future. As for the wearable this year: the beautiful DVF dresses, the uniquely clever and outrageous Vivienne Westwood collection, the new Project D range by Danni Minogue (I am sooo addicted to her new series) and it's great to Amanda Wakeley's new collection in the store, after all her trials and tribulations.

So, there we go, no bag, no clothes, plenty of lusting and three gold fish. Not bad for a day's work.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

On the Run - The holiday outfits so far...

Today I really wanted to say a big "Thank You" to everyone who nominated me for a Cosmopolitan Magazine fashion blog award.  The short list was announced on Monday and although I didn't make it that far, I am so happy with the short listing that I received for the Marie Claire fashion blog of the year award earlier this year, that I couldn't be too disappointed.  I am very grateful to you all though.

I recently wrote a post for the BritMums blog, in which I did a round up of the fashion blogs that I have been reading.  I included a variety of blogs, so hopefully there should be something for everyone.  The post was published today, so please feel free to take a look here if you would like to.

When packing for our holiday in Wales, I knew that it all had to be practical, warm and waterproof - no sheer kaftans or silk slip dresses for me - more like cable knits and wellies. 

Although I know the drill, I decided to try out a new approach, as most combinations for this horrible weather have been exhausted!  I layered up on the top half, working on the basis that if that part of me was really warm, I might not feel the cold on my legs so much.  My husband did ask why I was wearing such a thick jumper in July!

So, I layered a long white vest under an M&S cotton shift, added a Warehouse jumper, a belt and a waterproof Cath Kidston bag plus wedges - and we were ready for the off. Did it keep me warm all over? No! I boiled on the top half and froze on the bottom half.  So that didn't work.

I can't even remember what I wore the next day, other than wellies! It was so wet that's all we could do. Because I found them so comfortable, I wore wellies again the following day and they were required at times - so at least I didn't look completely stupid.

What I also brought with me from home, were several Jigsaw knits which the moths seem to have had a nibble at.  They are a bit holey to be worn at home but they are fine for over here. I also brought these Topshop navy trousers with me which I haven't worn for years because they were too big (and had been hiding in the ironing basket) - but now they seem to fit!

So, that outfit comprised Tesco wellies, Topshop trousers, long sleeved white Topshop top, pale blue Jigsaw knit, Gap cardi and Lola Rose scarf - as damage limitation!

Today's outfit, as with yesterday's trousers, was a bit of an ironing basket find.  The wrap over top was bought from Boden years ago and I used to love wearing it, so I decided to bring it away with me.  I put it with Gap straight jeans, a Jigsaw vest layered underneath and coral converse. 

And accessorised with a ragamuffin!

It all worked well for our day out surfing down the sandunes on body boards and crabbing off the pier at our local town.
I have no idea what little outfit gem will be created tomorrow - I have many holey jumpers to work through yet!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

On the Run - A day off for me but a guest appearance by someone else!

Today I am featuring Ceri, a really lovely lady who had several events coming up and who needed an outfit or two to wear - and this is one of them.

Ceri and I have worked together before and on that occasion, as one of her outfits, we opted for a black, v-neck style ruched  jersey dress from Coast. 

This time we decided to go for a different colour and fabric, with a hint of an Adele look about it. Ceri prefers a knee length dress, and the lacy fabric and sheer lace sleeves worked really well for her. The fact that it nipped in just under her bust was also really flattering to her figure. This dress was also from Coast.

On this occasion, Ceri put the dress with black tights and high black patent Kurt Geiger Assemble shoes, which you can see here

                                                      Carvela Kurt Geiger Assemble 
On another occasion, Ceri styled the dress with nude tights...

....and these amazing sparkly Anna shoes, also from Kurt Geiger, which she found really comfortable to wear when dancing away to Abba! She says that whenever she wears them, people always ask her where she got them from.  Ceri is definitely a shoe girl - the higher and brighter the better!

                                                       Carvela Kurt Geiger Anna 
I love these shoes - they are proper Cinderella shoes.

Ceri loves her dress, which she has said was her best buy ever - with her shoes being her second best buy ever. I love it when people have things in their wardrobe which they enjoy wearing.  I have come across several ladies recently who have cancelled a night out as a result of not having anything to wear, which is a real shame.  We all need at least one lovely outfit we can call on when an opportunity comes our way - because we never know when that may be.

Monday, 16 July 2012

On the Run - Hot off the press, turn ups are back!

You can only imagine my relief to hear that turned up jeans are back! Actually, thinking about it, I wasn't sure that they had ever really been "in" or "out" - in the same way that stripes aren't ever really in or out - they just "are".

Anyway, Jennifer Aniston, SJP and Cheryl Cole have all been spotted wearing them - so we too now have permission to wear them - excellent stuff!

Actually, looking at Jennifer Aniston's outfit, I'm not convinced by the whole turning up baggy jeans look. I don't think that the turn ups stay there very well - and the thought of ironing them in place - no thanks. I would just rather wear them full length. Then there's the whole "down on the farm" element about them. So, whilst Jen may just be about able to pull them off with her tanned slim ankles and uber white pumps (bet she doesn't wear hers more than a couple of time - or stick them in the washing machine come to that) I don't think that I will be going there.

No, I will just be sticking to my Gap straight leg or high waisted skinnies  - rolled up as they have been on and off for many years, just by way of a bit of variety whilst the bloomin' rain cloud which hovers over the UK refuses to shift!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

On the Run - (though not in these shoes) on a night out

Just to let you know that I am off today, not so much for a change of scene as a change of rain.  We are heading away from the Birmingham rain, to the Anglesey rain, which, with its Royal connections, is obviously a far superior kind of rain to the type we have here. I have scheduled a couple of posts to come out on Monday and Tuesday but it may go a little quiet after that, depending on whether my dongle works or not!

We were off out to a friend's birthday party last night and given the chance to dress up, I thought that I should make the most of it.

Here is a closer look at the dress which I showed you a couple of days ago.  I found it at Reiss in Bicester - it has been there for ages in fact - at least since the last time I went but that didn't put me off. (Although maybe it should have)?!! It was reduced from £189 to £126 to £76 and my husband declared that it was a "bargain". Little did he realise the effect of his comment! Green light or what? I wonder whether he realises just quite how many "bargains" there are to be had out there at the moment.

I loved the vibrant green colour. I have had a green Jigsaw dress for many years but it is falling apart at the seams and needed replacing.  People always commented on the colour when I wore it and being of a fair (OK, pale) disposition, a bit of colour is good for me. The length was also very civilised!

I didn't get a chance this week to find the right necklace to go with it, so opted to go without one.  Sometimes less is more. I also wore the sparkly Dune shoes which I bought for the party I had at Christmas and which you can see here

Fortunately my friend whose birthday it was brought along some tape to hold it in place as again, I didn't have time to get any, which saved us all from embarrassment!