Thursday, 31 July 2014

Seeing double!

Just a quick whizz through today's outfits, of which there were a one. This morning started off cloudy, hence the long sleeved blouse but, not to be deterred, I still wore shorts. It was observed that everything was a little black (that was my nod to D&G) so I added a splash of yellow - just to ensure that I looked like a bee.

Later on when the sun came out, we headed for the beach. These navy Jigsaw slip on trainers remind me so much of the deck shoes that my Grandma and Grandad used to wear when sailing. In fact the first thing that my sister said when she saw them was "You're wearing majesters" which is what they were known as. It was a word that caused us much hilarity when we were children but google doesn't seem to recognise it, so I don't know where it came from.

There are some fantastic beach kiosks here and at some of them, they pack your lunch into these wooden trugs which you can take down to the beach. There's no issue of a deposit or a reminder to return them, rather it's all just done on trust, which is lovely.

And then later on, just for a change, I wore a skirt. It's a long wrap style one, easy to wear in the sense that it is comfortable but as ever with a skirt there is always the top issue, which can be troublesome. It really needed something not too long, and fairly fitted, so as to work with the proportions. I created the shape that I was after by tying the extra fabric from this vest in a knot at the base at the back.

I decided to go with the full on "double stars" look just because I fancied it and when you have a limited wardrobe, you have to play around with things a little more.

It's our last day tomorrow, after which we will return home and I will battle my way through piles of washing. I may come up for air each evening to write a blog post (about what I'm not sure) before disappearing again. You know the feeling!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Stripes and scallops plus yet another swimwear saga...

Today's outfit is a classic look with a simple colour palette.  I wanted something that gave a nod to that whole 1940's, open top sports car/headscarf/Riviera type look and this jumper from Reiss, GAP shorts and Accessorise sunglasses went some way towards it. And if nothing else, at least I have the blue sky!

I saw these scalloped shorts in GAP before we left but decided that I couldn't really justify another pair of shorts and then, when it became clear that it was shorts weather all the way, I changed my mind but needed to find a way to get them to Guernsey. After trying several different approaches (there's no GAP over here, they don't deliver online and a courier would have cost more than the shorts) my sister picked up a pair in her Brighton store and brought them over. Apparently they were a best seller last week so I was lucky to get a pair at all.

I bought this Reiss jumper in the sale before we left. It was reduced from £110 to £40 and I had my eye on it for a very long time before it was reduced to a price that I was happy to pay. But then when it was, I snapped it up and no doubt I will get a huge amount of wear out of it.

Now following on from yesterday's post, I would like to ask everyone to take a minute to note the size of these particular bikini pants. True, they don't make this particular model's legs look about 2" long but clearly she has copied my M&S beauties because they too are on the rather ginormous side.

I actually feel a little bad about taking the mick so mercilessly out of my bikini because I have to say, it is the most comfortable bikini that I have ever owned, to the point that I'm starting to get the whole big pants thing. There were no cheeky bits of bottom peeking their way out and there was no wriggling or faffing with either the top, or the bottoms, to keep it comfortable.

And one thing is for sure, it was a much finer outfit that the one that I wore on our very early morning swim in the sea. Having decided to run to the beach this morning, last night I gave my sister a bag of clothes, plus a towel and bikini to bring to the beach for me.  Although it transpired that I had forgotten the most important thing - the bikini. Not one to be put off by such a thing I wore some H&M brightly patterned knee length swimming trunks belonging to our 12 year old son, and a bra. Sooooo classy.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Bearing all on the beach in a bikin plus launching the Changing Pod....for when you want to be discreet on the beach

This post caused me much hilarity - look at the size of those bikini bottoms! They remind me of the knickers my Mum would wear.

I must give a warning - you may be shocked by the contents of this post. I think that it's fairly obvious that there hasn't been any photo editing of any description. No filters, camera tricks, lighting tricks or anything else to make me look better than the real life "me" were used in taking these photos - and boy does it show. Nope, it was just an iPhone and about 10 quick snaps which took a couple of minutes. We are so used to seeing everyone airbrushed/botoxed within an inch of their lives that when we see something which hasn't been given that treatment, it can be a little bit shocking.

Anyway, predictably there's a story behind the whole debacle, which started with me leaving my nicest piece of swimwear at the hotel in Cornwall. I have two other bikinis with me but they aren't great when I'm doing lengths of the pool, so I needed something else. I'd already decided that next year would be the year that I invested in some serious swimwear and, knowing that I wouldn't find anything that I loved, I decided to opt for something cheap and cheerful instead.

I looked in the sales at White Stuff, Joules and Seasalt but to no avail and then, when we were in M&S in St Peter Port, this little gem caught my eye. I've called it a sporty/40's hybrid with the top being sporty and those less than brief, briefs, looking like something from the 1940s. It cost me about £10 in total, rather than the £38 that it should have done and I left with a huge grin on my face, knowing that in all likelihood it would give us a giggle, if nothing else.

My dilemma.....

The thing is, how does one go about getting changed on the beach, especially when that beach happens to be very busy and without any facilities? When we holidayed here as children, we had great "changing pods" -  towels made into a tube with elastic around the neck which we put over our heads whilst changing underneath. As an adult I hadn't seen anything similar but there is no way that I would get changed on a beach without something fairly significant between me and the rest of the world.

The answer?

A few months ago now I was asked to speak on the radio about what politicians shouldn't wear on holiday. The image of  David Cameron struggling to get changed under his Mickey Mouse towel on the beach in Cornwall last year came to mind. It was obvious what he needed and, subsequent to that radio interview a friend, who had made a changing pod for herself a few years before, and I did some market research and concluded that there was a market for them and so we looked into producing them, under the company name "Bathe & Change". Whilst there are some out there in high tech fabrics, they are designed with surfing dudes in mind. We were after something very much more "bucket and spade" - something a little bit spotty, or striped, functional but aesthetically pleasing and which was just a really nice piece to have with you on holiday.

This is one of our earlier prototypes. We are still tweaking the design (they will be available for men, women and children), planning our PR and marketing strategy and talking to stockists - but here is one in action. It has also been tested, and approved, by Mr SG who is one of the most discerning people there could ever be when it comes to getting changed on the beach. He is very much one for keeping himself to himself - unlike the men we came across yesterday on what appears to be a nudist beach (in Guernsey?) But that's a whole different story.

And here I am part way through the changing process. Not a thing to be seen!

Wow, look at those pants! I said that they would give everyone a laugh. Bridget Jones eat your heart out. My husband's words were: "I don't think that it's the most flattering piece of swimwear that you've ever had. " Understatement of the century but then, even with the best designers and technology in the world, I'm not convinced that any swimwear is really that flattering is it? When things are on show which shouldn't be on show and which are only covered by a small amount of fabric, there's always going to be room for improvement isn't there? ie getting dressed.

And there we have it - all changed without a flash of anything!

Still astonished by the size of those pants!
For anyone who would like to find out more about Changing Pods, please email me at


Monday, 28 July 2014

A birthday outfit and a very "boy-like" comment...


Whilst we were in Cornwall, I celebrated my birthday. For some reason, I keep thinking that I am a year older than I am, so when I was asked how I felt about being 44 my response was that I felt great, because I keep thinking that I'm 45. Next year bodes quite well too because then I will only have reached the age that I already think I am, so really it's all shaping up quite well on the age front. Until I'm 46 that is.
The cupcakes were ordered by my husband from the restaurant but he was so eager that I should also have a dessert that they weren't brought out until after dessert had arrived - hence both the cheesecake and the 12 cupcakes. Sugar rush! (I think that it's still going on.)

This is the outfit that I wore when we went out - it's a Hush dress, Oushka clutch and Zara heels, although I must admit that I ditched the heels before I even put them on and wore flop flops instead.

There was some great improvising on the wrapping paper front. What could be better than having your pressies wrapped in pages from Grazia - and the current copy no less?!

I was treated to this lovely Kate Spade watch and wore it with a stack of friendship bracelets from Accessorise. Predictably, I immediately fell in love with the pink detailing on it.

And for once the sun shone, and shone and shone!

I wore this dress on our last evening and also for our journey to Guernsey. I wrote about it fairly recently as it being a favourite that I have had for many years.

Mr SG very rarely comments on what I am wearing (although I am sure that he has plenty of thoughts!) but he did say how much he liked this dress and how well it fitted me and how (wait for this) it was less "tent like" than the one that I wore the evening before ie the Hush one. I gently reminded him that the term he was actually after was "more fitted" rather than "less tent like". Boys!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Two more sunny, summery outfits!


Now that we've left Cornwall for Guernsey, Cornwall seems such a long way away. A quick 25 minute flight over the water somehow changes everything. We've swapped the early morning swims, body boarding in big waves, loud announcements from the lifeguards, busy beaches, (the odd) cocktail and birthday celebrations for something altogether more low key. Empty beaches, gentle lapping waves, ice-creams from the cutest beach kiosks and a "picnic" of chips on the beach as the sun went down.

As the years have passed and the island has developed, I sometimes forget that it is just that - an island and a pretty small one at that. So we were surprised when we went to Waitrose (unheard of until a few years ago) to find that there wasn't a banana, strawberry, raspberry, lettuce, carrot or avocado in sight. Imagine that at home - empty shelves. But that's what I love about it here, everything is at a slower pace and it's very real. Tomorrow we will go foraging in the boxes of veg for sale on the sides of the road to see what local produce we can find.

In the above photo I'm wearing the GAP dress that I bought only a couple of weeks ago now. It's so comfortable and great for all sorts of occasions. I picked up the star clutch, also from GAP, in the sale a couple of days before we left.

The photo below was snapped on the beach a few hours after we arrived - and just after said picnic! I'm completely devoid of make-up after wiping everything off only a few hours after I had put it on. The new CC cream that I bought had a smell about it that was about to kick start a migraine so off it all came. So much for trying to make an effort!

Unsurprisingly the shorts and top are GAP, the bag Cath Kidston and the shoes, converse. It's not remotely stylish and in fact I'd only just put the top on just before we went out, as my other one was covered in mayonnaise thanks to some shenanigans between the older two - but I think that it's best not to go there. Sadly Waitrose hadn't run out of that or else I would have still been wearing a top which worked much better. Having said that I quite like the top to toe peach look. Very 1980's!

And here I'm sharing a Guernsey sun set over my favourite beach - Port Soif. It's just beautiful here - even more so when the sun is shining!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Jigsaw top - my O(utfit) O(f) T(he) D(ay) on a V(ery) H(ot) D(ay)

What else can I say? And what else do you wear at the beach on a hot day but cut-offs and a cotton top (by Jigsaw)? Actually, I'm quite coveting the hat in the shot behind me!

Friday, 25 July 2014

La Mandarine Beachwear - so beautiful in this hot weather

A couple of weeks ago now, after I wrote about pretty peasant style tops, La Mandarine Beachwear was introduced to me by a friend in Northern Ireland.  I went along to the site to take a look and, loving what I saw, I asked the owner, Rachel, whether she would like me to write about her newly launched brand. Luckily she didn't think that was too bad an idea and soon afterwards, a lovely parcel arrived containing several items from the current collection, the contents of which are worthy of a photograph all of their very own.

And inside was a pink sarong (£24) which Rachel kindly gifted to me and which I have used a huge amount whilst I have been away.

Here I'm wearing the Hazel dress (£65) - a pretty beach cover up with an embellished empire line. It has a lovely length to it, roomy bracelet length sleeves and it's a pretty, light fabric.

I've never really been one for beach cover ups, which is not surprising because until last year the weather wasn't really warm enough to warrant one. However now, I'm thinking that it's a different matter entirely.

Today it was so, so hot that I wore it again but rather than bothering the children to take photos, I snook off into a cloakroom where I took a couple of snaps. Underneath I'm wearing a Sea Folly halter neck swimsuit.

Rachel also sent through to me this La Mandarine marine top (£59) which is just gorgeous but I didn't dare bring it away because I knew that I would be tempted to wear it. I could have waited and obtained an image with a higher res but as it's so beautifully hot at the moment I decided that I would just rather tell you all about La Mandarine now.

Writing about someone else's passion is always a little bit of a responsibility, so I asked Rachel to let me have a few words about what makes La Mandarine different to anything else that is currently available. This is what she said....
"La Mandarine beachwear is all hand made in India (Delhi and Jaipur) where the skills such as hand embroidery and printing are still widely practiced. I use companies that I have personally met on my trips there, as opposed to large factories (as my runs are small and I want to have a personal relationship with the producers). The ethical aspect to fashion production is very important to me.  I have also tried to stick with cotton and voile fabrics as they can be washed while on holiday and do not require expensive dry cleaning. I have tried to keep the price point below competitors."
So in a nutshell there we have it: ethically handmade beachwear with a good price point which is made in small factories in India. What's not to love?!


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Heavenly days on sunny beaches in shorts (again)!


There's nothing rad about shorts, that I do know. But it's hot and what's more, what was left of my spray tan has now adhered itself to the inside of my wetsuit so I need to try and get a little colour on my legs. I seem to have done it pretty well on my nose, with Mr SG asking whether I was matching my lipgloss to the colour of my nose tonight. He needs to watch it or he might find his beloved crocs being sold on eBay.

This combo was just some GAP printed shorts, a GAP hat bought in the sale on Saturday, a plain white H&M vest, Jack Wills flip flops, La Mandarine sarong and a silver Oushka clutch.

I've recently mentioned some new goggles that I bought. My old ones were terrible and I had to stop every five lengths or so to de-mist them and empty them of water. They also left deep welts under my eyes, which is also the reason that Sharron Davies doesn't swim much anymore (apparently). Anyway, for any swimmers out there, I can't recommend the Aquasphere goggles highly enough. This morning I did my entire swim without having to stop once. Attractive they are not but they do a good job.

Tomorrow it's my birthday so I may take a little blogging holiday, depending on how it all turns out! However I am sure that I will be posting the odd pic of the birthday proceedings on Instagram. I think that I may have had wind of one of two things that might appeal to some of you out there...

Ooh, and yesterday's post was my 1000th post. I think that I worked out that if each post took on average one hour, that's about 42 days, or seven weeks of my life that I have devoted to blogging. I'm not quite sure what to make of that.  

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Holidaying in Cornwall - and a footwear (attempted) theft already!

So these next few posts were nearly the posts that weren't - if that makes sense! I thought that I had left my laptop charger at home which would have been a disaster for some and a relief for many. As it was the charger appeared this morning so I'm raring to go.....having said that, the photos are slow to load and there won't be any proof reading, so please forgive me. I'm just going to be hitting the button - and quite possibly regretting it!

Yesterday we left nice and early for our trip to Cornwall. We made great progress. In the first hour we had travelled 12 miles. Ho hum.

I was wearing comfortable jersey trousers and a lace top for the long journey and I was soothed by my lovely new sarong that I had with me (there are always temperature wars in the car between myself and Mr SG) which was a gift from Rachel at La Mandarine more of which I will tell you about in a day or so.

So far a lot of what we have been up to I have been posting on instagram (there's a button at the top left of the page if you would like to follow me there) but the blog is where you can read the story behind the pictures such as.....

How when I took this swimming costume out of the case, I noticed that the padding was missing. Having had three children and having spent approximately 4.5 years of my life breast feeding them, there was no way that I was appearing in this without a little "assistance". Luckily my running stuff (for some bizarre reason) had some extra padding in so one "boob padding" transplant later, and I was good to go.

Instagram also doesn't explain that whilst these goggles may be the best in the universe, they leave marks like no others, so that for the rest of the day I have to wear sunglasses.

Nor does it explain how I waited until 2 members of the family were sleeping and 2 were surfing until I ordered this. Yesterday it was attacked by everyone else. Not so much today!

Nor does it let on how I told Mr SG that this parcel, which arrived an hour after we arrived, was an early birthday present from the people at Boden. I so could have got that past him but I confessed that it was actually a skirt that wouldn't have reached me in time, had I ordered it to our home address.

But the funniest thing of all - and this will appeal to those who know Mr SG - someone tried to nick his crocs on the beach today. They are the flip flop style ones, at least 750,000 years old and he spotted their red (inner) soles on someone else's feet as he walked off in them. Mr SG gave chase, the bloke kicked them off and he was duly thanked for keeping them warm. Out of all the things to try to pinch eh? The crocs. Brilliant.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Packing like a pro (!!!)


So if I ran a blog where everything was perfect, including my packing, this is what it would look like. There would be a carefully selected number of pieces in a simple colour palette which could be worn in a multitude of different ways over two weeks, to create an endless supply of stylish outfits.  There would also be a stylish piece of hand luggage into which everything would fit, therefore avoiding the need to check a bag in, together with all that entails (particularly at the other end). 

As it is, this is the reality. A not insubstantial amount of different coloured clothes with varying prints. Knowing me the dread of having to wash everything when I get back will mean that I only wear a fraction of it so it will be more "Wear one dress to death" and "How to accessorise 50 different ways with loom bands" rather than anything else. My suitcase is just that - a suitcase plain and simple but note the use of the word "my". Having selflessly packed everyone else's clothes first, it just so happens that there's a whole suitcase left for me. Whoever would have thought it?! I like to think of it as packer's prerogative.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

A lovely Breton top - you may be surprised where it's from....


Now I bet that some of you are wondering why a trendy (!) young (!) thing such as myself (double !!) is wearing something from Damart - a brand historically associated with a customer base, I think it's fair to say, somewhat older than myself.

You may be surprised to know that I made my very first Damart purchase at the age of 21. It was a pair of thermal gloves which I wore for the entire winter (and several afterwards) whilst riding my bike to law school in Chester. Not only that but they were recommended to me by possibly one of the coolest girls in the year. How she came to find out about them I never did find out but to this day, despite having bought several other pairs of gloves for cycling/running since, they were by far and away the best. Incidentally whilst at Chester I was knocked off my bike as, it turned out, by a Lecturer in Road Traffic Law at Liverpool University. The irony wasn't lost on me! Fortunately both I, and the Damart gloves, survived unharmed.

So, when Katy from Damart asked me whether I would like to wear something from the collection, I was only too happy to help. Not only because I loved my gloves all those years ago but also because Katy obviously took the time to read Style Guile and to make some suggestions based on what she saw.

I chose this striped sailor neck t-shirt which is £19. It comes in a navy with red trim, or red with a navy trim and is 100% cotton. It's a really lovely quality and with my Jigsaw boyfriend jeans and Stan Smith Adidas trainers, it felt a really nice, casual outfit. You just can't beat a good Breton top and this is definitely up there with some of the best that I have tried.  I think that my approach to fashion and styling can be best summed up as follows: There isn't any one brand where I like everything, but for every brand that's out there, I like something!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

One of the best dresses for a hot day - the Eliza dress by Allium B


Ironing or blog post? Ironing or blog post? Oh hum the blog post won.

So, what to wear on one of the hottest days of the year? (Apologies to those of you for whom it's winter at the moment. Your turn to gloat will come!)

You all know what a fan of Liberty prints I am and this Eliza dress by Allium B (£95) is perfect on a hot day. The length is good but it's not too long, the skirt is slightly A-line, the straps are wide enough to accommodate bra straps and it's nicely nipped in at the waist without being too tight. I don't get to wear it a lot but when I do I really enjoy it because I know that the summer has well and truly arrived. My dress is from last summer but this season's blue one is very similar and for info purposes, I'm wearing a size 8.

I'd started to get a little freaked out by the fit of these red sandals because I usually slip them on and off without undoing them. However I've found it increasingly difficult to get them back on, which has led me to wondering whether my feet are swelling or something. The 15 year old denied wearing them so then I asked the 6 year old. She 'fessed up to wearing them because "they make me taller." When reporting this to the 15 year old she said "I've been meaning to talk to you about that...." and then too admitted to having worn them. So independently of one another, and without me knowing, there they both are trying on my shoes when I'm not looking - which I suppose is a compliment really. Anyway, at least it explains the swollen feet (or lack, of as it transpires.)


Friday, 18 July 2014

A printed Primark dress for £13

The next time that this dress appears on here it may well be as a top! It's a Primark dress which I bought for £13 from Selfridges many weeks ago now. I loved the print but when I got it home I decided that it was too short. I then made several unsuccessful attempt to return it, so finally decided that I would cut it down to a top. However, when the sun shone yesterday, I thought that I would try it on - and there it stayed. Well, for a few hours at least!

Dressed down with Jigsaw plimsolls (Now £29 instead of £59) and this bag from Oushka in silver ((£155) I can just about get away with it - but it's a close call! However being the hottest day of the year does allow a certain amount of leeway on these things, I think.

On Monday we're off to Watergate Bay in Cornwall, where I will celebrate my birthday. This will be followed by a week in Guernsey. With five of us, two destinations, temperatures potentially ranging quite a lot, you can only imagine the fun that's going on with the packing. I have images of the scene in Notting Hill applying to me - the one where Rhys Ifans is wearing a wetsuit complete with flippers and snorkel inside in the middle of the day because it's the only thing he can find that's clean. Watch this space!


Thursday, 17 July 2014

A day out in London and a tale (there's a surprise) about a dress

There's a story about the dress that I'm wearing at the bottom of this post which goes like this....

On Monday I was working in London. Being as hot as it was, I decided that I didn't want to travel in my fancy pants gear so instead I opted for GAP shorts and top, plus trainers.

On arriving in London, I decided to walk the 3.5 miles from the station to the venue, so I was pleased to be wearing these Nike trainers. I plugged myself into my ipod, set the sat nav on my phone and off I went.
On the way I passed the London eye....

The Shard...

Tower Bridge...

And the Tower of London

But most importantly, I saw a women wearing this dress, which I recognised as the GAP striped shift dress (£19.99 in store). So the very next day, when doing my returns in Birmingham, I bought one.

And here it is! Lovely cotton and fully lined, here I'm wearing it with my Jigsaw skater trainers, which oddly is also how the GAP lady is wearing it. I promise that I didn't copy her!

Thanks to everyone in London for such a great time and apologies for the lack of photographs from the event. Once I got there (having set the alarm off in the lift - oops!) it was time to set to work.