Friday, 30 November 2012

(My) Mum on the Run - in the best Supermarket buy ever!

My Mum came to stay with us yesterday so that she could see our youngest being a chicken (!) in the school Christmas play. When Mum appeared in this cheeky little number this morning I knew that it just had to end up on the blog. How cool does she look with her turned up collar and coral scarf?!

Expecting it to be an M&S number, I was surprised when she said that she got it from Asda and that it was a totally bargainous price of...wait for it....£16. Way to go Grandma Pickles! (So named after her last cat.)

Being the friendly soul that she is, Mum was waving to some young chap who had come to trim a nearby hedge. After she had gone he said "Wow, is that your Mum, she's a character isn't she?" Oh yes indeed! Just look at that legendary blue eyeshadow.

The coat has great detailing on the back,with a little drawstring to give it some shape. We spotted someone else in the same coat when we were out in Selfridges today but I have to say, she didn't wear it half as well as my Mum!

Unfortunately I couldn't see any on-line but I wouldn't be surprised if there was the odd one in the stores. Instead I came across this quilted jacket in burgundy (£19), which is another great find, also courtesy of George at Asda.

Quilted Jacket - Burgundy

I am going to Leeds tomorrow to meet my friend who travels down from Newcastle for our bi-annual shop and catch up so if I don't manage to post tomorrow, I will be back on Sunday.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Easy Living Article - Instant Updates: Victoria Beckham brings us a new style of shoe!

The article that I wrote last week for Easy Living was all about Instant Updates - pieces to add to your Wardrobe to pep it up in a second. Now that sounds like my kind of thing! See what you think to VB's shoes - tricky to say the least me thinks.

Hope that you enjoy it. Next installment coming soon!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

On the search for a dress that isn't backless, strapless, sleeveless or mid-thigh length? Take a look here!

At this time of year there are plenty of dresses of the backless, strapless, sleeveless, mid-thigh variety. Trying to find something with a slightly longer hem, or a sleeve or heaven forbid a v-neckline can be a little more challenging.
As part of the campaign for the Pavilions shopping centre, I was involved in a Style Event at a hotel in Birmingham. Natasha, one of the models, wore this fantastic Invitation Tamsin Dress £199 by Hobbs. 
Natasha loved how supportive and comfortable this dress felt and she was definitely talking about  buying it. For me it's one of those dresses which curvier ladies may steer clear of, thinking that it may not be flattering but I love the way that it emphasises Natasha's incredible curves. I feel positively unfeminine standing next to her!

Hobbs also does a similar sequinned style but with full length sleeves, as does Monsoon (black and gold) and Boden (grey matt sequins). Although there are only limited sizes on the Boden website, the Birmingham store has a wider range of sizes, as they do in many of the pieces which are low in stock on-line.

Natasha's bright red lipstick and bouncing curls also add to the glamour of the dress. Speaking of bouncing curls, what do you all think of the Duchess of Cambridge's "radical" new hair-do? A fringe! I know - how radical is that?!

I also thought that I would show you this Invitation Maze Dress (£133) which too is from Hobbs. It's a really beautiful style for anyone who prefers a knee length hem, a v neck and a dress with sleeves. It also nips in just under the bust, which is the narrowest point on the torso, so from that perspective it is really flattering, as is the slight fullness in the skirt.

I spotted this jewelled chiffon gown from Mango (£159.99) whilst in the shops today. It is such a pretty full length dress with beautiful beading. The addition of the sleeves is quite unusual in a full length dress but I think that they make it more accessible and also very stylish. 
So for anyone who is on the search for a dress that isn't backless, strapless, sleeveless or thigh high - don't give up - there are some gems around.  Coast and Phase Eight are also good brands to take a look at, as are Boden and Whistles, who have plenty dresses with sleeves this season.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Mum on the Run, in Ella by Viyella - have you seen it yet?

I first spotted the Ella by Viyella range in John Lewis at Easter. I recall being there with the children (no doubt buying new school shoes and bribing them with a "lunch in a box" for good behaviour).  
I headed towards the new range, which I had never heard of before, and was suitably impressed - that was until I realised that it was linked to Viyella when I thought to myself "No, it can't be. Can it? It's way too trendy."  And then we left, with me feeling slightly uncomfortable - largely at how shallow I was.
Roll on a few months and I was approached by Ella at Viyella (or rather Sam from Ella at Viyella) to ask me whether I would like to take a closer look at the range and whether I would like to choose something to try. When I took a look at the range, this is what I saw....

It was the Dandelion Print Blouse which I chose to try as I liked the collar and the detailing across the shoulders. I also think that the right blouse can be a sophisticated alternative to a T-shirt or top, in the same way that a blazer can be a more sophisticated alternative to a cardi.
Here is the blouse on an evening out in Wales. I can vouch for the fact that it doesn't crease at all. Despite having been sent via the post, having been wrapped up in its box for several weeks and then having travelled to Wales, it was as good as new when I hung it up at the other end.

The other thing that I liked about it was how warm it was. Unlike some blouses that are really flimsy, it has a real weight about it. It's not silk but for me that's a bonus!

Here I wore the blouse with wide leg jeans and a leopard print belt and I am sure that I could style it with many other things from navy cropped trousers to my navy lace pencil skirt. It would be nice to pick up the gold in the print elsewhere in my outfit which I shall do in the future - this was just a trial run.
Apologies for the quality of the photos - although I must admit that I quite like the slightly soft lighting look - it's far more flattering!

It's easier to see the pretty dandelion print on this picture.

There are other great pieces in the collection including a hacking jacket, a leather pencil skirt, a bordeaux leather jacket, a lace dress and a cream silk blouse.

So there are some fantastic wardrobe staples and some cracking savings to be had in the sale with skinny jeans down to £24, which is a saving of £56. There is also a black silk shirt reduced by over £104 to £44.

I will definitely be keeping an eye on the collection over the next few seasons. Now I have got my head around it, I like the traditional feel of the brand with the addition of a modern twist.  I suppose it's a little like M&S bringing out their Limited Collection range, which clearly I have got my head around! I think in particular it will appeal to those who are less into fast moving disposable fashion but rather those who, like my friend Sal, will buy two or three fab pieces each season because of the quality, fit and fabric.

I should say that although I didn't expect to, I was allowed to keep the blouse. It was actually quite a relief when several weeks after having received it I emailed Sam to apologise for not having returned it, at which point he said that was OK, I could keep it. I love it when one of those feelings of guilt gets magically lifted by someone else!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Mum on the Run - Bringing you some fantastic pieces from the M&S Limited Collection range

On Thursday and Friday of last week, I was working at Marks & Spencer doing Style Presentations at a cardholder event. I was presenting every hour, on the hour, from 1pm until 9pm. It was hard work but brilliant fun. I was working with two personal shoppers and a sound technician and they were fantastic.
I was encouraged to get up to all sorts of mischief by some of the ladies who came to chat to me afterwards, which included being told to take off my wedding ring so that I could have some fun with other men. When those over 70's have a glass or two of fizz there's no stopping them!   
This is the dres that I wore on the second day of the event. It's the Floral Print Tunic Dress (£39.50) from Limited Collection. By the time that I had sorted out the outfits to talk about there was very little time to choose an outfit for myself.  I needed to have a belt for the microphone and wanted to wear something colourful, comfortable and warm as the air conditioning was chilly - so this dress worked really well.

There were some great pieces in store and for me, Limited Collection is really strong at the moment. I love this Nehru Collar Embellished Blouse (£35). With its pretty detail on the shoulder and unfussy neckline, it's great with jeans, tailored or printed trousers, or a pencil skirt.

These Jacquard Straight Leg Trousers (£35) could easily have walked straight out of Whistles. They are styled here with the blouse shown above.

This is the Circle Jacquard Jacket (£55) which goes with the trousers. Trouser suits are such a massive look at the moment but separating the pieces out and wearing them with other things is a little less challenging - especially if you're not operating in the world of full on London fashionista.

A grey T is hailed by many as the mainstay of their wardrobe. This Sequin Embellished T (£25) is a great piece. The sequins on the sleeves are matt, so they add interest without bling - because bling just wouldn't be right on a grey T.

Whilst working in the store, a lady came up to me to say hello. It transpired that she read Style Guile and that she had spotted this Pure Cotton Jacket as had I.  She then went on to buy it so I am hoping for a photo from her soon to post here!

I hope that you have enjoyed a whizz through Limited Collection. There are several other great pieces too. The collection literally is Limited, so if there's something you like, it's best to be quick!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Mum on the Run - Who wore it best? There's a frock-off going on but there can only be one winner!

There can only be one winner in this particular frock-off and that would be the four year old fashionista!

Here we are, both sporting our navy and white spotted dresses, accessorised with belts.
What I wore: Hobbs shoes, dress and belt, M&S tights
What Matilda wore: H&M dress (chosen herself), Next tights, Clarks shoes, belt c/o older sister.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Mum on the Run - On You Tube and in M&S!

As part of the campaign that I did with Pavilions Shopping Centre, I filmed a vlog which was edited into three parts. Should you like to, you can now see the second installment on You Tube

The first part was all about the basics in your Wardrobe - the bottom tier of the "wardrobe pyramid" as I like to think of it. This second installment is about adding interest to your Wardrobe with the inclusion of prints, sparkles, stripes and so on - which is the second tier of the pyramid. The third part will be about including trend items, which will bring your wardrobe bang up to date - and this is the top tier of the pyramid. I hope that all makes sense and I hope that you enjoy it.

Just so that you know, I am off to M&S at Merry Hill tomorrow to work at their cardholder event. This will involve selecting outfits which reflect the different trends within the different brands, doing a rehearsal and then running a style presentation every hour on the hour from 1pm until 9pm, with slightly different timings on the Friday. 

I am particularly looking forward to having a 65" plasma TV next to me playing catwalk videos. I managed to wipe the channels on our TV the other day whilst trying to have a sneaky peek at Home & Away one lunch time, so I dread to think what I will do with this one. Anyway, if you are in the area, please do drop by and say hello.

With that in mind, I don't think that I will have a chance to blog for the next couple of days - but I will see how I get on. The fact that blogger doesn't want me to upload any images at the moment may limit my ability to blog in any event - maybe it just can't take any more!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Mum on the Run - Today you can be my mirror. Is it a yes or a no?!

Prints - something we instinctively either love or loathe! I first saw this Carnaby dress in the Boden catalogue and then in the Boden store. Although drawn to it, I was in two minds until I saw Chloe from Boden wearing it at their press day - and it looked fantastic on her.

So with that in mind, I decided that I would give it a whirl and take it with me on our girls' weekend away to see what my friends thought. Out of the three who were with me, there were two "yes" and one "no". My husband is a "no" our son a "yes".

Today you can be my mirror! Is it a yes or a no?  I know what I think but I am interested in your view too!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Mum on the Run - M&S pants; they can't be beaten!

When I stocked up on new undies recently from M&S, I didn't expect to feature them on here. However when I told my friend about my new purchases, and how good they were, she commented that she didn't really like doing the leg work on those things and I could I write about them - so here they are.

These are the No VPL Low Rise Floral Lace Shorts which cost £5, or £10 for 3. There will never be one style of pant which suits all women but for anyone who likes the shorts style, these are great. They are more supportive than the lace version that I have worn for the past few years and the reviews that I have read (there are 82) are pretty good.

Personally, I wouldn't ever rely on the no VPL assertion - these are pretty good but it does depend on the fabric of the clothes that you are wearing. Also, they do come up on the slightly small (ish) size too, so I would suggest going up a size.

When you find yourself choosing something in preference to anything else that you may own - that's when you know you are on to a winner! So if you are ready for an underwear update, these could be worth trying. They do look like several other styles - as I found out to my cost when, having bought 2 pairs I went back for a whole load more and got the wrong ones - so it's worth taking the "T" number - T618699B.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Mum on the Run - An article about Special Dresses from the High Street

I hope that by including links to other articles, I'm not going to get myself a repuation as lazy blogger!

In my defence the link below is to an article that I wrote and I also spent a long time in A&E this morning as we thought that our eldest had broken her foot. It transpires that she hasn't, which is good but without sounding like a misery pants (that reminds me, I have been asked to do a post about pants!) it meant that I couldn't achieve as much today as I would have liked.

So, here is this week's article for Easy Living online, which is all about special winter dresses - so not specifically party dresses but not those "go anywhere style in lots of different ways" type dresses either. I'm not describing it very well am I? Maybe the best thing would be to take a look!

Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Mum on the Run - Bringing you a couple of Mint Velvet video clips with lots of useful styling tips

I thought that today I would share with you these two short videos from Mint Velvet. Entitled Capsule Wardrobe and 9 to 9 they are each only 2/3 minutes long and provide some really good styling ideas.
I find clips such as these so easy to watch and they are great for giving ideas because they show so many outfits in such a short space of time.. They also give a good feel for the brand - much more so than a look book or website.
I have written about Mint Velvet before and so you will know that I am a fan of their simple colour palette and relaxed styling. It's all very chic and not at all try hard.
Anyway, I hope that you get to sit down and watch them with a cuppa (or something stronger later on) and enjoy!


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

One little black dress from Hobbs - worn by three very different women in three different ways

As part of the campaign with Pavilions Shopping Centre I was involved in a style event at Hotel La Tour.
During the course of the evening I gave a presentation which covered key trends, instant updates and workwear. I also featured one dress worn in three different ways and we had two female models who were styled in three different outfits.
[From left to right me with Laura from Luxx Mint and Emily Jayne Philips  - Birmingham blogging friends of mine.]
 This is what I wore for the evening, the Hobbs Selina Dress (£159)
 I also wore these amazing gold Astra court  shoes (£103.20) which too were from Hobbs. They also come in a fantastic pewter colour.
The final part of my outfit was this Cawthorn belt (£39) in leopard print, also from Hobbs.

So really I wanted to talk about the dress - just because it's so simple and easy to wear. The elbow length sleeves are really flattering, as is its knee length. It was this dress that all three of us wore in different ways.


And here are the three of us in it. These are just ideas but there are so many things that you could do with this dress.

On the left is Angie, wearing hers in a modern way with a pop of colour from her bright pink H&M necklace and red Hobbs bag. On the right is Natasha (you may recognise her from TV adverts) looking glamourous with an inky blue faux fur stole, also from Hobbs, and a patent bag from H&M. Equally it could be styled with pearls - a long string or chunkier style, for a Chanel look.

We all wore heels (Angie black snake print courts, Natasha black peep toes) but I think that it would look great with patent loafers or brogues, ballet pumps or sparkly smoking slippers. It could also take you from work to evening with the addition of just a few accessories. Coloured shoes would be great too!

As you can see, we are all very different. Angie is 5ft 11" tall and wears a size 12. Natasha has the most amazing curves and wears a size 14 to 16. Then there's me, 5ft 6" and a size 8

Thanks to Angie, Natasha and Graham, our male model for the evening, who were supplied by the Alan Sharman Agency and who also supplied the make up artist, Carol Maye. Thanks also to S&X media for organising the event and for my friends for coming along to offer their support.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Easy Living Article - Grown Up Glitter

How to Wear Grown-Up Glitter

It was published a little while ago now but I haven't yet had a chance to point you in the direction of last week's article for Easy Living Online - How to Wear Grown Up Glitter. So here it is! I hope that you like it. Sorry I can't stay longer!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Teacher Feature - the lovely Mrs Daffurn shares with us, the outfits that she wears to school.

Mrs Daffurn was our youngest's first teacher and I wanted to feature her on Style Guile a long time ago. However I thought that it might be prudent to wait until Matilda had moved on a year before asking her. Luckily she agreed to appear but I know that she is slightly nervous about it. Occasionally I would drop by her classroom after school without any pre-warning - so this post isn't in the least bit contrived.
I think that teachers have a tricky time when it comes to getting dressed for work. Without being patronising, or wishing to imply that it's not possible to dress nicely as a teacher, all that bending, lifting and moving around, plus the risk of getting covered in paint, glue, glitter and various bodily fluids would probably make me want to dress in a nuclear suit. 
I was always full of admiration for the way that Mrs Daffurn managed to pull something different out of the hat every day, especially given the constraints on what would be comfortable and practical to wear whilst teaching a class of three year olds. Personally I don't think that she ever wore the same outfit twice but she assures me that she did!  
I love this outfit which is so simple but which, with the addition of a belt, bright beads and Hunter wellies, is really pretty and stylish.

How great are these for wet soggy school days?

I will probably get into a little bit of trouble for posting this picture but for me, it captures the essence of Mrs Daffurn. She is always so happy to see the children and parents and they are all so adoring of her.

A little bit of colour and print is great for the children too - I know from what my own children say to me that they like bright clothes. Only just this morning Matilda told me that she liked all of my clothes, apart from the dark ones!

Here's another great outfit which combines a dress and cardigan with a printed scarf. The shape of this dress is really flattering as it nips in at the waist and the looser boyfriend style cardigan keeps the look relaxed.

And here Mrs Daffurn has added her Barbour which she brought over from home (Ireland) as she knew how practical it would be at school, where the children have to walk outside to get to the dining hall, irrespective of what the weather is doing. I love how the turn back on the sleeves of the Barbour picks up the colour of the cardigan.

I think that Mrs Daffurn is a bit of a Joules fan and I know that this dress is from Warehouse. Other than that, I didn't think it fair to quizz her too much further but with her Barbour, Hunters, scarves, beads, stripes and clever use of colour, she gets top marks in the teacher style stakes!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Mum on the Run - A Saturday casual outift of Jigsaw, Boden, Oasis, Cos and Primark (my fave piece!)

This morning our youngest and I had a date at a soft play area. One of her friends was 5 (so grown up don't you know!) so off we went, present and card in hand.
Now that Matilda is older I don't need the full on soft play regalia of jeans and converse. I'm pretty confident that she's likely to come when I ask her to and if not well, I'll just kick off my heels and go in and fish her out.

I know from nearly 14 years of bitter experience that these places can be cold so I layered my new fur Primark gilet under my leather jacket, just to see whether it would work as much as anything. M&S Autograph tights with cashmere and cotton are very cosy, so they worked a treat under my Jigaw skirt.

I also wore my Cos roll neck, to which I appear to be surgically attached at the moment, together with Rockport heeled loafers and my Boden leopard print bag - just to thrown another animal print into the mix - and because it's a handy size.

Later on in the day when we went to the High Street, I swapped the heels for ankle boots but other than that the outfit has stayed the same all day - even as I sit here now I am cosy - but we have just had friends around for dinner so the waistband on my skirt is a little tighter than it was this morning!

Friday, 9 November 2012

The Boden press day Part 2 - the clothes!

In this second post about the s/s '13 Boden press day, I am moving on to the stories behind the clothes and the best part - the clothes themselves.
The colour block collection is all about simple shapes in a rainbow of colours from chalky tones to citrus shades with a punch of neon. The colours are to be clashed or toned - as you choose. 
There are also bold patterns and prints in the collection which are from the Boden archives, or which are found at vintage fairs, which are scoured by the Boden team.  

This rail gives an idea of the colours in the colourblock collection.

There are lots of patent shoes in the collection, so for anyone who likes patent, you won't be disappointed as you can see here...

..and here with these lovely two tone flats...

...and here. Talk about neon pink! These are gorgeous.

This is an example of one of their prints on the bistro crop trousers, the style of which has been really popular this season. Sarah from Boden was wearing these trousers with a simple pale pink jumper with buttons up the back and high platform peep toe leopard print shoes. The whole outfit looked amazing on her.

Here's another shot of the rail from a different angle, where it's possible to see a good old smattering of stripes.

This rail is from the sixties collection which features clean, uncluttered shapes in formica colours. There are also large swirly psychedilic prints in zingy colours. There are beautiful crochet and jacquard dresses and this story features pieces in cream, coral, lemon and mint.

I love these Edie Sedgwick style shoes, which come in a wide array of colours.

They have this cute sixties block heel. After years in the style wilderness, pointed toe flat shoes look refreshingly modern. I definitely have my eye on these!

I loved the style of this dress too. I like its elbow length sleeve and knee length as they make it an easier and more stylish option than so many strappy and revealing styles which are around in the summer.

This is a pretty cream blouse with a peplum detail which appealed to me because it is a floppy peplum, rather than a big, stiff, sticking out "hey look at me" kind of peplum.

Some refreshing polka dots are always nice to see in the summer and this cute peter pan collar, whilst not for everyone, is not as high as some that are around, which makes it more wearable.

And this is one of the psychedelic prints to which I referred. I love it. Actually come to think of it, it reminds me of our bedroom wallpaper (one wall only) - but I like that too, so I don't see it as a bad thing. I would wear this piece as we have used the wallpaper, in a one wall only kind of way - with everything else really plain.

For those of you who have bought these sixties heels this season, this is the updated version for the summer. They still have a kitten heel but the strap over the foot has been moved slightly so that it is further up the foot.

And again a few more stripes. This lemon and grey colour combination is a nice change from the navy/white combination which we see so much of each season - although they too will feature somewhere no doubt -well I hope they do.

As it's possible to see from the rail, this collection has a completely different feel about it. It is the texture and shine story and includes textures of all varieties from broderie to woollen yarns with metallics for subtle shine. Fabrics have been shot through with sparkly threads which are usually reserved for evening wear. The idea is to mix those pieces with everyday pieces for luxe daytime looks.

This is a really pretty embellished dress in simple blue/grey navy shades.

With a closer picture of the embellishment, which is so pretty.

These bistro crop trousers (which are the same style as the psychedelic ones above) are just lovely. They have a subtle sparkle weave through them and could be worn for all sorts of occasions depending on whether they were paired with a white shirt, a bright vest, a silk cami or a fine knit and flats.

These are the shoes which again reflect the whole feel of the collection with neutral colours with shine and sparkle.

The fourth collection, which is the spots and stripes is a transitional collection and contains simple shapes and clean lines in cashmere, cotton and merino wool. They pieces are designed to create streamlined silhouettes.  Unfortunately I don't have a picture of that particular rail but being the transitional collection, it will be out fairly soon, so it won't be too long before it's all revealed.
I hope that you have enjoyed this whizz through what Boden has in store for us next season. Whilst I like to live in the here and now, and don't think it's right to wish my life away, I can't wait until it's available to buy.
Enjoy the weekend!