Sunday, 30 November 2014

Another glamourous lady in a leather skirt from Oasis, plus some Zara and Reiss


Carrying on from my last post, another of the outfits that we covered at our Glamour Evening last week was the school carol service, which for us is held in the (slightly chilly) chapel, with one service being held in the evening.

I think that it's probably fair to say that this outfit is perhaps a little OTT for a carol service but then again the evening was all about Glamour. You may recognise the coat from a post in the not too distant past!

The few shots below show you what we were getting up to.  Further down is a clearer pic of the outfit, with links where possible. 

For info the outfit comprises a green leather pencil skirt, sparkly jumper, pink statement necklace and pink clutch and a Zara fur coat.

I liked the idea of a leather skirt for the Christmas period for a number of reasons. First, it's a little different and this one is a good price. The green is a nice change from black too. It's warm (always a bonus) and it can be dressed up or down over the next few weeks - a looser crew neck jumper and ankle boots would work just as well as this cropped sparkly jumper and heels.

The combination of the shorter jumper and higher waisted skirt does a great job of elongating the legs too.

Aside from the coat, which is from Zara and the bag which is from Reiss, everything else is from Oasis, who have some great pieces at the moment.

The above shot shows the Grace leather pencil skirt (£85), Sparkle crop jumper (£35), Cara sparkle fabric court shoes (£40) which are great as they aren't too high. The necklace doesn't appear to be online but there are, or were, plenty in the stores.

Friday, 28 November 2014

A glamourous Mum in a glamourous outfit from Coast, Dune, Carvela and Jigsaw

A very beautiful lady!

Last night we held a Glamour Evening at school and I styled the fashion side of things. It was a joint event between myself and a friend who is an Arbonne representative, plus we had a hairdresser come along to do an "up do" on one of the models, a make-up artist, a team of ladies threading eyebrows and another lady promoting her teeth whitening business - so there was plenty going on. The entrance to the event was lit with tea lights (I can't take credit for any of this) which made it look really pretty.

The board room was transformed - a little bit Winter Wonderland and a little bit Downton Abbey!

Well, what's a mantelpiece for if not for displaying shoes....

...and the odd bag?

During the evening we covered a number of different events that might arise during the Christmas calendar and "black tie" was one of them. A lovely Mum from school had her hair and make-up done for the event.  In preparation for the event I chose this fabulously opulent Rita skirt from Coast (was £125, now £87.50) which I knew would make the most of her tiny waist and which I hoped that she would agree to wear - and luckily she did. [They are only available in limited sizes now but if anyone is desperate for a size 10, I have a spare one - although only at the full price.]
I've displayed the outfit in the pictures below and in addition to the skirt you can also see the bag that I used, which is from Dune (Now £52 instead of £65) as I wanted to pick up the blue in the skirt elsewhere in the outfit but this could just as easily be done in some shoes or in some jewellery.

I also opted for the Coast Sunnita jacket (£85 full price though it is available with a discount at some stores) as it has a nice neat fitted shape to it and I didn't want to spoil the line of the skirt, some Stella & Dot earrings, a Coast thick gold bangle and Carvela Lacey shoes which have little spikes on the front and which were included just to add a bit of an edge to the outfit.

Carvela Lacey shoes - tricky to find right now, House of Fraser have sold out and the Very website has crashed but there will be some somewhere!

I also used this 100% silk cami from Jigsaw (now £35.10 instead of £39). These are fantastic for layering under jackets as they aren't too tight, the V-neck isn't too low and the straps are adjustable so they're not constantly falling off your shoulders. They come in a whole range of colours too - just in case anyone is after something similar.

I hear that Santa may be buying this outfit for a black tie event which this lady has coming up. He sounds like my kind of chap!

Monday, 24 November 2014

An idea for a Christmas outfit and a very old (and very pink) coat!


Benetton coat, GAP high waisted jeans, Topshop belt, Cos jumper, Zara boots (breaking all the rules of taking decent photos by wearing a coat the same colour as the background. Ho hum.)
It has taken me many years but the penny has finally dropped that when Mr SG says that he gets stressed about choosing Christmas presents for me, he really means it. It's not that he's just mildly concerned, or unsure, he's genuinely worried. Given that it's one problem in life that I am able to resolve, today I assisted him with it and he has now bought me a lovely ring from Links and some Bobbi Brown make-up. When I rang him at work to tell him what a productive morning he'd had, he was most impressed AND he was chuffed with himself for saving 20% in Links. Just a few more bits to get and then he's done. How easy was that?
Today I finished shopping for the event that I'll be at on Thursday. For once I will aim to take photos of the outfits before heading out with them all. Otherwise I pack them up after the event and take them back to the shops before getting a chance to share them. Hopefully they may give some ideas for outfits in the run up to Christmas. This year I will, once again, be doing my 12 outfits of Christmas so if anyone fancies joining me by letting me have photos of their outfits, or posting them on facebook, please feel free to do so. I hope to kick off on 13 December, or thereabouts.
So, just one idea for a slightly different style jacket in the run up to Christmas - the kimono jacket. They've been around for a while but it seems that they're here to stay and with a pair of straight or skinny jeans and some heels, they make a nice alternative to a leggings/tunic outfit which can all too often be a default position.  They aren't too fitted, or too tailored, so they have that nice relaxed feel about them.  They work well with a looser vest style top underneath which again avoids the overly clingy/tailored look which isn't always appealing from a comfort, point of view.  They also come in lots of prints, colours and textures so there should be something for everyone. Anyway, I'll leave that one with you to ponder. The ones below are from Oasis but they are everywhere and M&S, in particular, has a good selection.
Cherry blossom kimono jacket Oasis (£42)
Sequin kimono Oasis (£45)

Lace Kimono jacket Oasis (£50)

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Designer blog quick!

Earlier in the year my Sister in Law was lucky enough to get herself invited to the Net a Porter sale. There she bought a number of pieces which she has asked me to see if any of you lovely ladies would like via the blog.
I think that we'll go down the same route as the last blog sale, as that seemed to work well. Just email me at if you are interested in anything putting the name of the dress/shoes in the email header and we'll take it from there, on a first come first served basis. Once I'm in cleared funds I will send the item out, although I can't promise to do it the very next day!  Postage for each item will be £3 unless anyone wants to do it any other way. All items are non returnable and sold as seen. So here goes...
Nicole Farhi grey mink narrow striped knee length dress, size 12. It is made from 45% wool, 36% polyester and 19% cotton. It has a black exposed zip at the back, has pockets and is dry clean only. The RRP is £220 but it's being sold for £80.
Iris and Ink green 100% lamb leather knee length dress, with a polyester lining. It has an exposed silver zip at the back and it also has pockets. It's a Size 14 (dry clean only by a leather cleaning expert). The RRP would originally have been in the region of £600 and it has more recently been sold on the Outnet for £220 but it's being sold for £135.

There are a few "splash marks" in three small areas on the dress but they are not very noticeable.

Alice by Temperley blue mini rose tunic style dress. It's 100% silk and is dry clean only (but then apparently it's OK to give it a cool iron!) It's a size 12 with a RRP of £288 but is being sold for £110.
Black lace and ribbon Alice by Temperley Vanessa dress, size 8. It's 100% silk and is dry clean only (but it can take a cool iron on the reverse). Its RRP is £420 but it's being sold for £180. It doesn't have its ribbon belt but that will be easy enough to replace.

Pour La Victoire shoes, UK size 6. The RRP is £285 but they are being sold for £50.

The shoes are brand new but they are marked in a couple of places, hence the great price.

Good luck!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Something furry from Zara for a chilly morning...


Coat: Zara, jeans: Whistles Maya; Boots; Dune, Bag: Kate Spade
So after yesterday's post, I've raided the Birmingham Oasis and relieved it of many of its striped jumpers. Ooops!
Today saw the inaugural outing of the Zara fur coat (£69.99), which I have had sitting in my wardrobe for about 6 weeks now. The timing had to be right and today was the day. It may have had something to do with the fact that I saw the much lusted after Shrimp coats in Selfridges yesterday which, on closer inspection, didn't feel any different at all in texture to this considerably less expensive Zara one. Or it could have been that because it was a Friday I was feeling frivolous. I know, living life on the edge or what? Or maybe it was just because, at long last, I felt brave enough to venture out in it, despite the reservations of the six year old as to its shape which I get, although not to its colour which is what was I expecting. Having said that, she did keep on stroking it as I walked her in to school.
I have spent more hours in the shops this week than I can count. Next week I'm working at an event at the children's school. We're holding a glamour night and we will have a talk from a skincare and make up brand, there will be a hairdresser there doing up dos, along with someone doing eyebrows. I have a teacher, parents and friends modelling for me. We're doing a metaphorical walk through the Christmas calendar together with the outfits that you may want for those events and I'm having a ball indulging my inner glam (which doesn't often make an appearance) buying all things silk, satin and sequinned. I can't really share any photos yet of the things that I bought but I hope to do so after the event. We only have about ten tickets left and if anyone would like one, please just drop me an email. I am soooo excited about it!
Look forward to catching up next week!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Anyone who loves stripes, come with me.....

I keep repeating to myself the mantra "I do not need it and I will not buy it. I do not need it and I will not buy it. I do not need it and I will not buy it." Except sod it, yes I do and yes I will. I'm going into town first thing tomorrow. Anyone want me to get them one?! (Oasis jumper £42)

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

A whizz around the High Street for a dress, some boots, jewellery, jeans and most importantly, chocolate!

Boden coat, Nike trainers, Kate Spade bag, Gap trousers, Topshop jumper

There are a few very non specific things that I would like to share with you today. Things that keep on popping in to my head that I keep meaning to write about and then I forget. So here goes

These GAP skinny high rise jeans (£44.95) are a must have in the run up to Christmas. Once they're on they don't shift. There's no hoiking them up, needing a belt or wriggling around. And if you do happen to have been left a little extra flesh curtesy of a baby, you can tuck it right in. Mine aren't as loose as this on the leg but I guess that's models for you!

Upselling is really annoying. After Clarks tried to flog us wellies and slippers that we didn't need, today BHS tried to flog me a teddy bear that I didn't need, or want. In fact it was impossible to move at the till for flippin' Teddy Bears. And they were hideously ugly. Chocolate, maybe (in fact come to think of it, that often works in WH Smiths) but a Teddy Bear. Really?

This Phase Eight dress (£79) is a really great dress for lots of different occasions. The sleeve length is flattering as is the length of the hem. It has some texture to it so it's slightly broken up and the ruching works. It's a great "dress up - dress down" type of dress - create the illusion of a V-neck with a long pendant, wear with bright shoes, metallics will work well as will sparkles, dress it down with knee boots and a long line cardi, layer a striped top underneath it and wear with flat pointy shoes. The option are endless!

This Kate Spade bag (£245) is a real beauty. I was looking at it in Selfridges today and was intrigued to know whether a bottle of Diet Coke would fit into it. So I took a quick look inside and thought about it. Then I concluded that there was quite a strong chance that they wouldn't really appreciate me shoving a bottle of coke into a brand new bag, especially given that I'm not always that great at putting the lid on securely. So I'll put it on my Christmas list and ask Mr SG to check out that very point instead.  Te-he.

Can anyone please tell me why it is that I like these Adirondack boots by Ugg (£220)? They are so not me but they just look so sturdy and warm and comfortable and they are sheepskin lined (I copped a feel earlier). I can see that I'm going to have to drag our son kicking and screaming to more rugby training just so that I have an excuse to buy them and wear them. Although I must admit that standing on a rugby pitch, just so that I can wear a particular pair of boots is a little extreme, even by my standards.

This range of jewellery by Z for Accessorize is really lovely. Not everyone is a glitter bunny or a statement necklace queen and there are some lovely delicate pieces in this collection which could be layered together or worn on their own. It's reasonably priced too so would make a lovely Christmas present. Worth a look despite the shocking images!
Bracelet (£15)
Galaxy trio pendant (£15)

Hope that everyone's week is going well. I've made a great start to Christmas - a pink sequin tree decoration and a huge chocolate Christmas tree from Hotel Chocolate. Well, I figured that some families spend a fortune on joints (of the meat variety) at Christmas but we'll just spend it on chocolate instead. Oh and if children of mine are reading this, hands off, you're having Cadburys.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Running gear for when the temperature drops...

It was suggested to me by some readers that it might be a good idea to write a post about what to wear when running in the cold winter months, so I rose to the challenge and asked some running friends of mine for their tips and, together with my own tips, hopefully we have come up with some useful suggestions.

Between us we must have run thousands and thousands of mile. The friends that I spoke to have run marathons which include London, New York and soon to be Florence, along with half marathons which include Birmingham, the Great Parks, Stratford, Bath, Long Marston and no doubt several others.

Aside from what clothes to wear I would say that good trainers are a must. Generally trainers come up small so it's good to try them on before buying them. Running clothing can be picked up for a snip at Primark and until you get into longer distances, really great wicking fabrics aren't that important but from day one (I would say) that everyone needs decent trainers - not of the standards of Olympic athletes, but decent.

So what was the advice and what were the suggestions?

One friend always runs in compression clothing and in winter, that includes thermal compression clothing. She sometimes wears the leggings the day after a long run too. Her favourite brand is Skins. Beware, apparently the clothes can be tricky to get off though, particularly the tops!  Having never tried them I can't really comment but if I decided to train for a marathon I would definitely give them a go. With longer distances and colder weather, everything helps.
I wear capri length running bottoms all year round and I have a couple of GAP pairs that I really like. Something like these from GAP (£15.99) work fine for me, although I do like a splash of colour on them somewhere if possible.

Another friend said that she felt that the winter was all about layering. She has a thermal Nike Dri fit top which she loves as it's really soft.

I always start off with a very fitted running vest top, just to keep everything in place and snug - maybe something like this from GAP (£22.95)

On top of that I wear a long sleeved lightweight running top - maybe something like this from H&M (£24.99) or the Helly Hansen range of base layers is really good.

On top of that I wear a waterproof/windproof jacket, maybe something like this Gore windstopper jacket (£112.49) which one of my friends absolutely swears by. I have a Reebok one bought from an outlet in Brighton about 9 years ago now for £10 and it's brilliant. Another friend loves a jacket with detachable sleeves so that she can turn it into a gilet for those days when only core warmth is needed.

For less expensive options, H&M and as I mentioned earlier Primark, have a good selection of running gear as does Decathlon. Sports Direct has a huge choice of Karrimor running gear, which not surprisingly is made of great fabric.

As to hats, most of the girls find that they make them too hot when running but the neoprene or fleece bands are useful for adding some warmth and keeping unruly, curly, hair under control.

Lightweight gloves were suggested for looking after hands. When it's really cold I run in leather gloves. The pain on a cold day when the feeling comes back to your fingers can be excruciating so anything that can prevent that level of cold in the first place is a must.

Oddly none of us seemed to have different socks for summer or winter running but there again the most comfortable ones are padded and quite thick anyway. One of the girls preferred the double layered ones as they prevent blisters. I picked up four pairs of running socks in GAP when they were reduced to £1.99 each and they have been just as good as some running socks which have cost me £12. After wearing proper running socks there's no way that I could run in anything else. They are one piece of kit that, for relatively little investment, can make a huge difference. 

We didn't seem to chat about bras. I think it very much comes down to the level of support required. Some vest tops have a built in bra which will be sufficient for some.  I always wear a bra too, although not a sports bra which I know I should. However I've never found one that I'm comfortable with. I must investigate them again but frankly I'm not sure that they're going to rescue anything anymore! Here's a link to technical running socks and bras for those interested.

I have one friend who is a real ninja in the Sweaty Betty sale and she picks up some great running pieces. They are really stylish and look great. I haven't quite made it to the lofty height of SB yet, only having bought my first set of "matching" running gear last year, despite having been running on and off since the age of 15.

And one friend swears by leaving layers on her route and collecting them on her way back. Apparently no one ever steals anything from allotments!