Friday, 28 June 2013

Mum on the Run - Sparkles and silver shoes for an early evening "do"

Yesterday evening I was invited to a networking event at Selfridges in Birmingham. It was one of those early evening do's which was exciting for me as usually at 6pm I am in the midst of the taxi/dinner/bath time/bed time routine which don't get me wrong, I love - but it's always good to have a change.
I also came away with a tin of shortbread biscuits in my goodie bag, which I wasn't quite expecting but which was brilliant as I am a shortbread fiend. A good friend always makes me some for Christmas (actually it's for the family but they don't get a look in) and I love that present, not only for the fact that she's taken the time to make it but because it's so delicious.

So with it being an early evening event and with it being cold, I wore these blue trousers which I bought in the Whistles sale last summer (similar below), together with a Whistles sparkly knit (great for putting layers underneath) also below and in the sale, and these silver shoes from Zara. I can't see the shoes online now but there's a picture below as they may be lurking in a store somewhere in the sale. They were £29.99 full price so clearly not leather but I like the design and the medium heel height. With a closed in toe there's no need for a perfect pedi, which is a bonus in my need for speed (OK, lazy arse) book.

Whistles Elliott crepe trousers (£60)
Zara silver shoes - there may be some lurking somewhere!
Hope that you all have a lovely weekend - fingers crossed for some sun tomorrow.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Mum on the Run - Introducing Saint Bustier, for ladies with busty busts!

Our High Street is great, probably one of the best in the world and it's fantastic for anyone who fits the "norm" - but for anyone who doesn't fit that model, finding clothes or shoes to fit can be difficult.

If you're taller than 5ft 9", smaller than 5ft 3", have a tiny waist and curvier hips, slim hips but a larger waist, a curvy bust, size 9 feet, size 2 feet, wide feet or narrow feet, or if you only like dresses with sleeves, you'll know what I mean. Obviously it all comes down to economics - what sells, in what quantities and the profit margins on those pieces, which is why brands cater to the majority, rather than the minority, all of which makes perfect sense but it can be really frustrating at times.

Quite often niche brands can be find online which cater for a specific, and fairly limited, market. Quite often you find that those brands were started by someone who couldn't find what they were looking for themselves and so went about fixing the problem. There are sites which sell shoes in larger sizes,  bras in larger sizes, boots in different leg width fittings and clothes for petite ladies.

It still astonishes me that more brands don't design jeans for the very obvious different body shapes - M&S and one or two others aside - as it would seem to be a no-brainer and such a simple way to clean up in the jeans market, which is huge. Whilst Pepperberry is also a great idea for ladies with curvier busts, there's always room in the market place for something else.

So, for those ladies who have a curvier bust, Saint Bustier could be just what you've always needed. In a nutshell, the team sources pieces from many brands, which work on a curvier bust without the need to go up a dress size. So no more gaping buttons, or wearing a size too large (and hiding your shape in the process) so as to accommodate a curvier bust. The about us page makes for an interesting read and I would encourage anyone to read it if it applies to you. Saint Bustier caters for dress sizes 8 to 16/18 and from bra size D to H.

Leopard Jumpsuit

Leopard print jumpsuit (£90)

Silver Sequinned Jacket

Silver sequin jacket (£110)

The Marble Dress

The marble dress (£89)

Some of the brands, such as Vivienne Westwood, are more expensive but equally there are dresses available from £86. Whilst that is obviously not the cheapest dress on the market, many ladies are happy to pay that little bit more if something is a perfect fit, especially if it's so hard to get something to fit even remotely well.

Blossom Dress in Ink with Couture Control

Blossom dress with couture control (£145)

Silk Musa Dress

Silk dress by Vivienne Westwood (£379)

Silk Kiss Top

Silk top by Baum and Pferdgarten (£149)

St Bustier is still in its infancy but it's a great idea. As you know, I always tell you if I've benefited from writing about a brand. I think it's safe to assume that on this occasion, I probably don't quite fit the brand's demographic - but I hope that some of you do and that it works really well for you.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Mum on the Run - Oooh, so what did you buy in the Zara sale? Here are my bits and bobs - hold on to your seats now!

For me sales shopping involves a little bit of searching for pieces to fill the gaps in my wardrobe, a little bit of falling in love and snapping things up (price permitting) and a little bit of seeing things and thinking "you're just what I need in my life - how did I ever manage without you?"

When I was in Zara I fell in love with the scarf below because the colours are so unusual for me and different equals good. Quite often things jump out at me because they remind me of something else and I've definitely seen this combination of blue and red somewhere before but I can't remember where, so whilst different, it also felt familiar - if that makes sense. Just to add to the madness of the colour and print, I wore it with a Breton striped jumper from French Connection.

If I had seen it, I would have been quite tempted by this leopard print neon scarf too (£15.99). A bit of neon pink, a bit of neon blue and some tan, black and cream would be a great pick me up for a classic winter coat when it is time for them to come out again - but let's not think about that right now.

If I had a birthday or something special coming up - (hubbie, if you're reading this, you could take the hint) I would love to add this scarf from Lily and Lionel (£100 reduced to £70) to my collection. They have a fantastic range of scarves, which you can take a look at here. It also comes in navy and tangerine and I'm a bit partial to the Wanda design too. OK, so now hubby has to read between the lines - "does she want the one featured, the same one in tangerine or perhaps navy, or the Wanda one - and if so which one." Tricky huh?!

 OK, so hold on to your seats for this truly exceptionally, exciting piece - an anorak! I know, how amazing is that? Now this is one of those pieces that I was talking about. One that you didn't really know that you needed in your life but now it's there - well, how ever did I manage without it? Usually I would wear my All Saints trench or a blazer in the summer but there was definitely a need for a sensible coat with a hood amongst my arsenal of clothes to fight the elements. It was well and truly put to the test on Sunday when it was cold and blowing a gale and it easily justified its £29.99 price tag.

This year will see us holidaying in Cornwall (potential for rain, high) and Guernsey (potential for rain, even higher). True, holidaying in the UK is better for the skin than a hot holiday but I sorely needed a coat with a hood and a bit of warmth to it - and this is it. With great big pockets I can fit all my rubbish in them with ease, I can zip it up, pull up the hood and I'm good to go along the rainy, windswept beach, without the need for a bag.

I have to laugh - some of my clients are busy buying beautiful suits, dresses, cashmere knits and silk scarves and I'm buying a summer parka with a hood - brilliant!

On the way out of Zara I spotted this cut out faux leather top (£29.99) but I didn't have time to investigate closer - ie try it on and assess the potential for sweating.

The fact that this top is actually on the Zara website, as opposed to the scarf and parka that I bought, slightly concerns me. Does it mean that being faux leather it is sticky and yucky to wear and everyone has returned them - unlike that coat which is soooooooo chic - or that they are just too cool for school so there are lots of them left? I'm kind of intrigued so if they're still around when I next have time to shop for me, I'll take a closer look.

Other than that I bought a plain black jumper but I'm saving that for another post - probably one from Cornwall not only in the rain but in the cold too. Ah, the perfect summer holiday.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Some other Mums on the Run, wearing fabulous hats at Ascot!

Whilst I was sitting with my friend, Sally, at sports day on Friday, she received some pictures from her friend Jo, who was at Ascot, together with another friend. Although we were having lots of fun at sports day shouting for our children (some louder than others it has to be said - and yes, that included me, somewhat embarrassingly for our son although I enjoyed every minute) I think that we probably had some musings about how nice it would be to be at Ascot with a glass of something fizzy in our hands on a warm Friday afternoon. Anyway, I digress...
I've never met Jo (or her friend) but Sally had told me all about Jo's outfit and the Whistles Bella (I think!) dress that she had bought for her day out. On seeing the photographs I immediately seized on the opportunity to feature Jo and her friend and luckily both agreed.
Well, there's no point being in the Royal Enclosure if you don't get a photo as evidence is there? As you may know, I'm a big fan of this style of dress from Whistles and Jo looks amazing in it. It's just one of those dresses that fits in all the right places and it is so versatile that it can be worn on many other occasions.  

I just love this shot - isn't it brilliant? Two friends looking relaxed and happy and having a great day out!

This is the hat that Jo had made to go with her outfit. It's fantastic! Sally had told me about Jo's peacock hat but I couldn't quite envisage what she meant until I saw the photograph - and then it all became perfectly clear.

Jo's hat was made at a shop close to Cardiff, which is where she lives. I'm still working on where the shop is exactly and when I manage to find a link, I will include it.

And here's another fabulous hat, which Jo's friend wore. It's vintage and no doubt it has a great story to tell which would seem to be very fitting for such a traditional event.

Sadly I didn't quite manage Ascot but I did manage Jamfest Europe today - a cheerleading competition which was held in Liverpool. The very nature of the sport, which is incredible to watch, meant that there was a lot of pink lycra, fake tan, hairspray and false eyelashes involved. And that was just my outfit. I wonder, was anyone lucky enough to witness that particular spectacle at the Echo Arena today?

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Mum on the Run - perusing the Allium B sale - the go to brand for dresses made for ladies who don't want to flash their pants (not unintentionally at least)!

For anyone in need of a lovely summer dress or two, Allium B has just launched its sale. With 50% off some lines and 25% off full price dresses (just for the weekend) I can't think of many better ways to spend half an hour on a rainy Saturday afternoon!

Apply code SALE 25 at checkout,  until midnight on Monday 24th June
You may remember the lovely Allium B Eliza dress that I was wearing a couple of weeks ago in Wales, in the sun (what a distant memory that is)!

In an effort not to be defeated by the oodles of rain that we have had this week, together with the colder temperatures, I put a coral H&M sweatshirt over the dress. Sometimes I prefer the look of a sweatshirt to a cardi, especially over a more traditional print - such as this Liberty one. It just keeps everything more up to date.  Also the proportions of the shorter length on the sweatshirt worked well with the dress. A little shorter would have been even better but it's not worth getting too hung up on these things.

The Eliza dress has 25% off it this weekend, taking it from £89 to £66.75. There's also free delivery and returns. Some of my other favourite dresses are the Audrey because of it's pretty neckline and elbow length sleeves and also the Susana for it's nipped in waist and the fact that a shirt dress is definitely a wardrobe work-horse rather than a dress that's wardrobe work-shy - and let's face it, we all need pieces like that in our wardobe.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Mum on the Run - It's only a tank but I like it....

Give me a hot day and the need for a simple summer top and I'll show you a problem. Simple tops, like many things, can be tricky. I've never been a fan of T shirts - for some reason they just don't feel right. When it comes to vests, the straps can be too strappy, the vest itself too fitted - almost as though you're wearing underwear as your outerwear. Fine if you're Madonna, Kylie, or 15 but otherwise not such a good look. The need for tops specifically for the summer seems to be decreasing as the years go by so versatile tops have to be the way forward.
So I was quite excited to come across this tank from GAP (£14.95). It's one of those pieces that whilst it doesn't look as if it would set the world on fire, I feel that it could have a million and one uses in your wardrobe and after owning one, you might wonder how you ever managed without it. 
So, what do I like about it? First off the fabric. It's 100% viscose, which I know some won't like, but I really like the soft, slightly silky drape on it. Secondly I like the fit. It doesn't cling, so for anyone with a bit of a tum, it's a godsend. The hemline is slightly scooped so there aren't any horizontal lines across the hips, which is also good and the straps are wide enough so that whatever you may require in the bra department, the straps won't be on show.
The arm holes are quite deep, so another vest is required underneath (unless you're wearing a bikini top or are happy to flash your bra) but again for me that's a bonus. It's a chance to work in some stripes/sequins/another colour underneath the top, whilst an additional layer adds some warmth and a little support!
Here's a quick snap of one in the flesh. Obviously having had a hard week at school it would have been unfair of me to ask anyone to move from the settee to take the photo but aside from I suppose it's a nice shot of my Grandma's sideboard and the typewriter that my Dad gave to my Mum when she was 21!
As you can see below, they come in a whole range of colours from vibrant green and royal blue through to navy, white and pastel colours too. The sizes are generous. The xs would have been fine for me but I am wearing a small as it is all they had and with the tops being a loose fit, there's probably very little to choose between the two sizes.


Worn with shorts, jeans, on the beach over a bikini, to work under a jacket with a scarf, or out for the evening with a pendant, skinnies, heels and a blazer/printed jacket/tweed jacket/leather jacket - one of these could be just what you have been looking for.

Fortuitously I had to nip into town first thing, which just happened to coincide with the Zara sale. Did I buy anything. Well, perhaps just one or two items. Whilst there I spotted this top that I featured a while ago and which I know several of you were after.

I've also included a shot of the details for anyone who wants to try and track it down online or in store. It's now selling for £29.99 and they do come up fairly small so it's best to size up.

Hope that everyone has something lovely planned for the weekend. Fingers crossed for some good weather.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Mum on the Run - Wearing flared jeans and taking style inspiration from Rod Stewart and Bruce Springsteen

Yesterday evening my husband and I went to see Rod Stewart. Whilst I didn't wear this outfit, Rod was sporting a mighty fine white jacket just like mine - although I don't suppose that his cost £30 from Zara a couple of years ago.
Apparently the reviews described it as brilliant but camp and slightly cheesy (his performance that is, not the jacket), which is absolutely true and that's what made it fantastic. The best bit was when Rod, without realising it, was caught on a huge screen eyeing up one of his female musicians - of which, unsurprisingly, there were many. Classic!
I'm sure that some who have followed Style Guile for a while now will remember this outfit from last summer and possibly the one before. Really long, kick flared jeans with a wedge heel are great for giving the illusion of longer legs and additional height and fortunately a solid wedge heel makes it a fairly practical option. These jeans are also a nice change from skinny ones and there's no doubt that a flare on a jean does have the hip slimming effect that it claims. The jeans that I am wearing are from Mango and they come in a 34" leg as standard.

For a similar pair, Mango currently has these jeans for £16.99

To keep everything the right side of smart, I also wore a blue printed silk shirt from Gerard Darel at Bicester, Zara white jacket, Dune wedges and Orla Kiely bag.

As to his outfits, Rod had some great Kermit coloured green trousers, which I guess were a reference to his passion for Celtic. What with several changes of outfit comprising a white jacket, some leopard print, skinny black trousers and a yellow shirt, I think that he may become my new style inspiration. It's a good job that I'm not going to see Bruce Springsteen in concert tonight or it could be double denim and bandanas all the way. Wow, imagine that. On second thought, perhaps it's better not to.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Mum on the Run - Outfit round up; flats to heels, trousers to errrm, trousers. That's our summer for you!

Right, I think that we'd better get straight down to it or it will be time for bed!
Luckily for me there have been lots and lots of ladies of late who have wanted me to style them, hence the absence on the blogging front. At the end of a long day in the shops, whilst I am buzzing with new ideas and with things that I want you to tell you about, I don't always have the capacity to do that. No doubt that will change during the summer holidays so I hope to be able to pick up the blogging a little more but for now, here's a run down of a few outfits that I have worn...
With photography courtesy of our five year old, things are always a little open to chance - but bless her she does really well.
The trousers that I am wearing above are similar to these silk twill cuffed trousers from Jigsaw (£95). Mine are cotton and were in the Jigsaw sale last summer. I suspect that these too will be in the sale soon. I like a bit of a cuff on a trouser. They are just that little bit different to skinnies/chinos/cigarette pants, which are the obvious trouser summer choices. They tend to have a little more room in the leg too - I suppose that they have to really or else there's nothing to nip back in at the ankle in the form of the cuff - so to that extent they are good for anyone who likes the idea of a narrower trouser but perhaps not a skinny one.
This is the Whistles jumper that I am wearing - still available in some stores but not online last time that I checked. They quite frequently do something similar though.
And this is the jacket, which I bought from Warehouse just before Christmas I think. Warehouse has a sale on at the moment and I am pretty sure that I spied one from a distance in our store yesterday on a sale rack.

I had to rely on our son taking these photos on Sunday and sending them to me as my phone was elsewhere. The colour isn't great so please excuse the anaemic look. Here I'm wearing GAP broken in khakis (these have more room in the leg than their skinny mini khakis) but the sizes are huge. I also have a Hobbs NW3 top, Miss Selfridge necklace and giraffe print converse.

Here's the same outfit but tweaked with the addition of Zara sparkly smoking slippers and my Hobbs NW3 blazer. I wanted to try the colour of the trousers and blazer together to see if they worked. I think that in real life they looked better than they do in this photo. The bag was from the Reiss sale at Christmas. Which reminds me, Reiss has gone into sale today so there could be some good bargainous purchases to be had.

Yesterday it was pretty cold in the morning so I decided that the Topshop spotty trousers would work just fine, together with a Warehouse sequin jumper, Oasis leather jacket, Zara boots and the same Reiss bag from the day before. These boots are great for walking around in all day long. As you all know, not only do I love a lighter coloured leather jacket but I also like a lighter coloured pair of boots too. I like to move away from black come the spring. It's one of the few ways that I can differentiate between the seasons!

Today it was lovely and warm, despite the clouds. I don't often wear cotton shirts as I find them a bit stiff and uncomfortable with a jumper over the top. However I have had this GAP shirt for a few months now so thought that it was time for an outing.

I'm also wearing GAP sexy boyfriend jeans, Hobbs NW3 shoes (from Bicester, see below), Boden sunglasses, Topshop studded belt and a pink Mulberry handbag. With 60 seconds to go before needing to leave for a meeting, I decided to paint my toes using my 90 second drying nail varnish from Rimmel. Fortunately despite the 30 second time difference which wasn't in my favour, things turned out OK.

Phew! So that's a quick whizz through a few outfits. I hope that all is well with all of you and I'm so sorry for not having responded to your comments recently.  I appreciate the time that you take to leave them and I will get back to you soon!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Mum on the Run - An outfit for a soggy sports day part 2

Almost two years ago now I wrote a post entitled " A soggy sports day". It has turned out to be my second most viewed post of all times, which says a lot about the weather at school sports days!

Given that there are likely to be sports days happening all over the country, and given that I was at one today which could at best be described as chilly, I thought that I would post another outfit for "a soggy sports day".

This was an outfit of layers! For my first layer I wore a peacock blue lace vest from Jigsaw (see picture/link below, although I'm not sure that there is a peacock blue one at present. Mine is quite old now). These are great vests as they have lace around both the neckline and around the hem, which gives a nice touch to an outfit.
The next layer up was a silk/cotton cowl neck top from Jigsaw (again, the picture/link are below), followed by a Zara blazer. The top also comes in navy. I wasn't too sure about it to start off with but I like the cowl neck, the fact that it has some "thickness" about it, if that makes sense and the fact that it is versatile and can be accessorised with necklaces/scarves/belts etc. Also it's quite a relaxed fit.

This is a clearer picture of the silk/cotton cowl top from Jigsaw (£79)

Accessories came in the form of a leopard print Topshop belt, leopard print Boden bag and Kurt Geiger sweep boots. I also wore three bracelets layered together - one Fat Face, one White Stuff and one by La La Rocks.

Was I dry? Yes, because it didn't rain. Was I warm? Flip no, that's why I also wore my thickest grungiest Jigsaw parka over the top. The parka which really should have been consigned to a wardrobe somewhere far, far away in about March, or April at the very latest, but sadly no it was still on the coat stand in the hall.

I have another sports day next week - let's see what the weather does for that one! Ooh, by the way, who else is excited about the new collaboration between H&M and Isabel Marant? I can't wait to see the preview of that collection - what a coup for H&M.