Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Velvet shoes - comfortable and chic!

I'm all for comfortable shoes. Gone are the days when I'm prepared to tolerate any kind of discomfort in the shoe department - although to be honest I'm not sure that I ever was. Maybe shoes just hurt more these days. But what I have discovered (huge drum roll please) is that velvet shoes are the best. They're soft, they come in all styles, velvet is a great - albeit not terribly hard wearing - fabric and what's more, they're often quite reasonably priced.

I think where velvet shoes really come into their own is for a night out. Heels and leather can sometimes be a terrible combination. Heels and velvet however, well that's a whole new ball (of the foot) game.

And of course instead of writing completely about velvet shoes, I'm going to start with a pair of leather ones. I love these. I keep looking at them. Backless loafers with pom poms and tassels? Craziness in a pair of flat shoes.

Mango leather shoes £49.99

And speaking of craziness in a pair of shoes (but this time velvet ones) - finally I'm getting back on point - these are on their way to me as I type. Pink, with a lobster on one shoe (anyone remember the whole "Friends" lobster thing of the 90's? We have a house full of lobster stuff) so what better reason to buy lobster shoes?

Mango velvet loafers (lobster shoes!) £59.99

And for something else flat, gorgeous and comfortable, take a look at these slip on loafers. Great colour and a good all rounder for now and into the summer.

Next grey slip on loafers (£28)

And then the heels! Let's talk about the heels. These are so gorgeous. They're a beautiful pink colour and the adornment is pretty. Perfect Cinderella shoes for a great pri(n)ce.

River Island pink velvet buckle court shoe (£45)

And I can vouch for the comfort of these because I have a pair. If I'm going to wear a pair of heels, they are likely to be these.

River Island  leopard print court (£35)

Whilst I get that none of these may appeal just bear velvet in mind as a shoe option. Velvet is for all year round - not just for Christmas!

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The product that gives you lashes that go on forever....

With a post like this, I really should do before and after shots but trust me on this, you wouldn't want to see my face up close! But equally I'm going to ask you to trust me when I say that this is an amazing product that really works.*

Now usually if I had come across a product like this with such a hefty price tag (more about that later) I would have just walked on by. It's the cynic in me! But because I witnessed its effects on someone first, I really wanted to give it a go. 

Although my eyelashes are dark, I wasn't blessed with long ones. Now whilst it's obviously not the worst affliction in the world, I've always wanted longer lashes. And then, when I was having my make-up done by a make-up artist a couple of months ago, I commented on how fabulous her lashes were and I asked her if they were false. She told me that they weren't, that her lashes used to be like mine and that she used Revitalash. And in my mind, the deal was done!

Now, at £65.95 this is by far and away one of the most outrageous purchases I've made but I've squared it off by trading in more expensive mascaras for cheaper ones for the next....ten years or so.

So as to how it to apply it. It comes with a very fine brush and you simply "paint" the product along your top lashes. And you have to be patient - very patient. At first the changes are imperceptible - just as they would be if you were measuring your hair growth. But then suddenly they look much longer and there's more of them. And then with mascara they really come into their own.

I'm not sure when they reach their "optimum" length but I've been using this for about 6 weeks now and I'm definitely getting there.

As an alternative, I've recently come across this No 7 Lash Impact Lash Serum (£16) and the reviews for it are really good too.  I will definitely be investigating it in the future.

This product seems to be great for people whose eyelashes are thinning due to the menopause, or which have suffered due to having false eyelashes, or if the lashes have fallen out through stress. Or if you just fancy a little va-va-voom in the lash department.

*I should just mention that although the product has worked for me and I've never had any problem with it, I do think that it's worth doing your research and reading the reviews before buying - just in case you decide that it's not for you. I would love to hear from anyone who is a long term user, who has used different brands and what they think of each, or from people who hated it!

Friday, 24 March 2017

An H&M gem of a summer dress

This post comes with a warning - and several caveats! First, please excuse the tired face. The day that these photos were taken, I went up to Durham with our eldest and we had to be up at 5am to get there for a 10am start. And it doesn't matter how early I go to bed the night before, I always feel like a bag of poo by about 11am. Secondly, yes, I am wearing a purple bra! I don't think that I was planning on taking my clothes off in Durham :) And thirdly, yes I am also wearing my fitbit. Oh, and the reason I'm leaning against the changing room wall (apart from being in need of a rest) was so that I excluded from the photo, the pile of clothes that I'd just chucked on the floor.

So, now we've got all of that out of the way, let's take a look at this H&M dress which I found in the Durham store. Apparently it's new stock and I can't find it on the website yet - but it's one of those dresses that I felt was a bit of a gem and which I wanted to share before they all came and went.

It's gorgeously pretty - if you like that sort of thing. Personally I find summer dresses quite hard to find, well at least ones that I like enough to buy, although oddly I've recently added one or two to my collection (thanks Mr SG for being 50 soon. Very convenient.) But this one has sleeves, a good length to it and enough coverage so as not to feel too naked. The under slip is too low on me at the front (I had to choose my photos carefully show as not to flash any cleavage) so I will either turn the under slip around and wear it back to front, shorten the straps, or buy another one.

Now at £69.99 admittedly this is quite pricey for an H&M dress but there is enough about it to make me think that it's worth it. It only comes in two sizes - XS/S and M/L (I think!) I'm wearing the XS/S and it's pretty big - possibly too big for me. On the other hand the style of the dress means that it can get away with being slightly looser and of course a pair of heels can fix everything in life. Also, I like the idea of wearing it to a festival or a summer party and not worrying about it clinging in all the wrong places :(

Have a super weekend everyone and let's hope that the sun shines!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

(One of) THE shoe shapes of the season - the V throat toe sandal (no, I don't really understand that either!)

Next £38 - they also come in black, red and orange

I'm going to have to ask you to bear with me on this one because these shoes really don't make a very good first impression do they? If you were out on a date with them you'd maybe have a G&T with them before making your excuses and leaving. And as for thinking about having them in your wardrobe? Well in some ways they're not really an obvious choice. But then let's take a minute to think shall we? Because stranger things have happened. I mean people wear furry Birkenstocks after all.

Darcey flats from Office (reduced to £32 from £58)

I tried a pair of these yesterday and in that odd sort of "these are so horrible I quite like them" kind of way, they suddenly became quite appealing. For a start they're a little different to what has been around for the past few seasons (well, other than way back in the 90s) and that's always a good thing because when you've done quite a few summers (like I have) it's good to see something different.

Office grey leather slingbacks (£69)

And they're flat. Which for Mrs Sensible in the corner (i.e. me) that's a really good thing. They also offer a decent amount of foot coverage so for people who don't want too much on display, that too is a good thing. But the sling back makes them slightly more summery. Am I persuading you?!

New Look suedette slingbacks (£18)

A lot of the styles are fairly pricey - but the New Look ones (above) are a good price point and a great choice for those who prefer not to wear leather.  And whilst we're considering the pros of these little babies, let's look at the "V" styling at the front - which makes them really flattering and leg lengthening. Which may go some way towards counteracting their ability to create cankles.

These Autograph leather slingbacks from Marks and Spencer (£49.50) come in black, as well as white, and they also come in half sizes. It's good to see M&S in on the act!

Block heel slingback from Office (£68)

Now maybe a block heel will increase the appeal of these slightly ugly ducklings - which I have to say are growing on me the more that I write this post. I like the idea of these  with a midi skirt - probably my pleated Topshop one that I lived in last year and that I'm wearing now. I'm trying to get myself out of trainers but I'm finding it hard to wean myself off them as they're so comfortable.

Magic bow back slingheels Office (£68)

With straight leg, slightly cropped, jeans these too would be great. I think that for people as pale as I am, a little fake tan on the ankles also assists against these paler grey and cream colours.

Sling back court shoe by Topshop unique (£115)

But where this style of shoe could really come into their own is with a heel. Maybe if there's an event coming up, such as a wedding, the races, or a birthday party and you have an outfit that's been worn before but which just needs a lift, these could inject what's needed to bring the outfit up to date. Plus, they can be worn again with jogger style bottoms and a white shirt, or jeans and a fancy pants top.

Grey suedette v-throat toe pointed slingback New Look (£22.99)

And again, for some that are a great price, look no further than good old New Look.

I'm heading into town in the next few days so I'm going to have a good try on and see what I think. Where do you stand on the v-throat toe sandals? Love them, loathe them or sitting on the fence?

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The top five trends on the High Street this spring - Gingham

There was a time when gingham was only worn by those going to fancy dress parties dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, or by those wearing it as a summer school uniform i.e. the under 11's. But now? Well now it's everywhere. There's just no escaping it - which doesn't mean that we have to wear it but if you fancy it, perhaps now is the time to give it a try.

Gingham ruffle midi-skirt Topshop (£39)

I have two distinct memories of wearing gingham. On my 7th birthday I was presented with a pale pink gingham shirt and some denim dungarees made by my step-mum and I loved them both. Thinking about it my outfits choices haven't really changed much over the last 40 years have they? I also bought a pale blue and white gingham shirt in Bali when I was travelling. I loved that shirt. It had a tie at the waist and it was probably the most sophisticated piece in an extraordinarily non-sophisticated travelling wardrobe.

So the Topshop skirt above, I owned for a while and although I liked it I didn't love it enough to keep it, so I returned it. But don't let that put you off - the length is great, it has a little split which means it's OK for taking big strides in and it was comfortable too. It also comes in plain colours for anyone who likes the idea of the style but not the gingham.

You know how I mentioned that the skirt came in other colours? Well here's one of them! And it's worn with this mutton sleeve blouse from Topshop (£29) which I first worked with a few weeks ago when I went to talk to some soon-to-be 6th formers. I loved it then and I still love it now. It's not as fitted as some tops, so that's just something to look out for but tuck it in, nip it in with a belt or just leave it loose for a more relaxed look.

However this option from New Look (£19.99) looks more fitted so it could be a better option for some.

If I could I would but I can't (well I don't think that I can) so I won't be! Topshop shorts (£29)

And for outerwear, there's this gingham cropped frill jacket from Topshop (£49). This jacket also comes in four other colours and if I was contemplating buying a summer jacket, it would definitely be one of these. I keep walking past it in our local Topshop and looking at it longingly.

And finally from Next the black and white trench coat (£90). I'm kind of intrigued by this coat! Some of the reviews say that the print is too much and I wondered whether that's why they photographed it in black and white. However it looks really good on Alex at the Frugality so I'm going to order it and see what I think. Despite it forming a huge part of their marketing material and being featured on huge boards in the store, our Next didn't have them in, which wasn't their fault at all but I do think that if a store is asked to have an image of a piece on its walls it should be at least sent some. But maybe that's just me!

So there we are - gingham. You'll see a lot of gingham on the High Street this season not only on clothes but also bags, shoes, bikinis and trousers, so if you haven't already done so, give it a whirl and let me know how you get on.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

A quick spring update - wearing your underwear as your outerwear

But we're not talking wearing your pants over your tights, Superman style. Just in case you were wondering.

I'm interrupting my series of posts about the five top trends on the High Street this Spring, to bring you this quick Wardrobe Update. The interruption is largely due to the fact that I will have an abandoned child at a train station in Birmingham if I do the post that I was planning on doing but it's also because I really like this look - and if like me you're not so good with a plain t-shirt, this might just be for you too.  

We've seen bralette tops making a big splash this spring, not only as underwear but as outerwear too and this is how the look is shaping up....Fancy trying one? No? Why ever not? 

Bralette top Zara (£25.99)

So in comparison this is a very tame look. OK so your husband/partner/children may well ask you if you've put your clothes on in the wrong order but what do they know about fashion? Pah! Nope, this is the quickest way to update your look. Chuck on a t-shirt, bang a pretty cami over the top. Job done. 

Or if you're uber lazy like me, you can buy this Zara top and t-shirt (£17.99) and the work has already been done for you.

That child* that I mentioned. Well she's now been officially abandoned. Ooops.

* said "child" is now over 18 so please don't call Social Services.

Friday, 10 March 2017

The five top trends on the High Street this spring - watch your back

Watch your backs ladies! There's a lot going on behind us at the moment! Whenever I pick something up I find myself turning it round to see what is on the back, because that's where it's all happening and that's where the interest is at.  

Kicking off with a spring coat at Zara in classic navy, which is gorgeous. Just see what is on the back!

It's so pretty. I love the bright colours against the navy coat and here again we can see the embroidered trend stealing the limelight.

Zara coat (£89.99)

Moving on to something a little more casual, we've got pom poms, we've got khaki, which is everywhere right now...

and on the back we have....A LOT going on! More pom poms, brights, zig- zags. It's a marmite item, I get that. But I think that it's brilliant!

Zara parka with embroidery pom poms (£59.99)

This jacket is a real treat and could (arguably) slot its way into a wardrobe quite easily. It's more bomber in its style but being navy, frilly and blingy on its back (and front) it still has a very feminine feel about it.

Embroidered jacket with frills Zara (£49.99)

And then finally, for anyone who is a fan of snoopy, Zara has small range of clothing with snoopy on its back which I couldn't resist including. There's a jumpsuit and this Zara overshirt with snoopy print (£59.99)

So ladies, watch your back. You don't know what's lurking behind you!

Thursday, 9 March 2017

The 5 top trends on the High Street this spring - embroidery

Today I'm looking at all things embroidery related and oh my golly, you can't walk through a shop without being accosted by an embroidered top, a pair of jeans, a pair of shoes, a bag, a jacket - you name it, it's been embroidered. It's such a HUGE trend this season and so easy to tap into in  a really minor way. Plus some may find it more accessible than the military, or army, trend that I looked at yesterday.

First off, embroidered jeans. I tried some Topshop ones at the end of last summer and decided that I looked a plonky head in them so left them in the store. This year I may try them again. No doubt others will still think that I look a plonky head in them but I'm not ready to give up quite yet.

First off there are the Next embroidered jeans (£42). Quite a lot of the styles that I've seen seem to be heavily ripped, so it's just a question of finding that balance between pretty and roughed up.

Anyone tried the Mom jeans yet? I really, really hated them to start off with but I'm definitely coming round to them - although they can make your bum look seriously big! These are the Moto floral mom jeans from Topshop (£59).

These Zara mid-rise jeans with embroidery (£39.99) are cropped. I love the floral but the cropped length can make them a little less versatile. Sometimes I like to be able to play with the length of my jeans, depending on the shoes that I'm wearing, or whether I've bothered to apply any fake tan to my ankles.

Then moving on to tops. Peasant style embroidered tops will accost you from every angle, as they did last year. But if they're not for you, then there are alternatives...

This mandarin collar floral embroidered shirt from Zara (£25.99) is a lovely little number and it's 100% cotton too, which is a bonus in the summer months. I don't think that us mere mortals would end up doing an abs flash in it.

Here we're going full on peasant style with this embroidered off the shoulder top from Zara (£25.99). For some the volume may be too much whilst others will love it. The sleeves offer good coverage for those who would rather not have their arms on display and there are lots of different coloured tops in this style around.

This is quite a pretty, girly, option  from Zara (£25.99). It taps into trend for all things frilly, as well as all things embroidered. I love it. Again I wouldn't really fancy ironing it every time that I wore it and it's probably on the young side for me but....

Then there are embroidered shoes, such as these tie sandals Topshop (£52). I can understand that people may feel that an embroidered shoe (even if not this style) is an easier option than a piece of clothing. Embroidered backless loafers would be a good option.

Or even easier than a pair of shoes - a bag! I like the detailing on this bag in addition to the flowers. And a cross body bag is always such a useful addition to a wardrobe. This is the floral cross body bag Topshop (£35).

Hopefully this offers up a little bit of an idea as to what is out and about there when it comes to embroidery. There are endless options and if the embroidery trend appeals to you, no doubt you will find something that you like. Do let me know how you get on and what you come across on your travels! Just tag me in a post @bethgoodrham_stylist on Instagram if it's easier.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The five top trends on the High Street this Spring - In the Army

Over the next few posts, I'm going to take a look at some of the big trends hitting the High Street. As with each season, there are distinct and definite trends, although having said that there is some merging and cross-referencing of trends along the way. And the best way to bring yourself up to speed is to take a wander around Zara. Their stores are laid out in really clear trends and in colour packages too. Even if you don't buy, it's still worth taking a look - and chances are if you're anything like me, something will grab you!

The first trend I'm going to look at is "Army". Its influences can be seen not just in the traditional camouflage sense, although there is plenty of camo around, but in badges on shirts and in subtle detailing too.

Oversized shirt with patches from Zara (£25.99)

Starting with a white shirt with army badge detailing, this could be thought of as quite a subtle nod to the army trend, as opposed to a full on bear huge embrace. It's crisp, white and slightly oversized and it's lovely. I nearly bought it the other day but didn't. I think that I might be paying the store a return visit

 Military shirt from Zara (£29.99)

This is also a subtle nod to military styling, the main reference being simply to it's khaki colour. It's a lovely soft tencel so easy to wear, great on a hot day, for travelling in, or over swimwear on the beach.

A shirt, or top, is such an easy way to tap into any trend. This New Look embroidered trim military shirt (£22.99) is a great option for anyone - and I include myself in this - who prefers some feminine or pretty details alongside the more utilitarian army type feel.

Camo shirts were a huge trend last summer and they are back again. I bought one from New Look at the end of last summer and this year it's been repeated (New Look green camo print shirt £24.99). It's 100% cotton and fairly thick, so it could double up as a jacket on a warmer spring day. Oh, and if you're wearing cut offs but want to cover any less than toned bits at the backs of your legs, just tie it around your waist and rock your inner Cara at the same time. Who says that you can't look cool whilst covering cellulite?!

So now we're getting to the real deal in the form of Zara camouflage cargo trousers (£29.99). Side pockets always remind me of the band All Saints. I know, I'm showing my age! They can be kept quite "tough" with a slogan t-shirt and biker jacket, or prettied up a little with an embroidered top - of which there are many and which I'll be looking at in a future post.

Coming on to jackets, there's the Hush Kafka jacket (£70) which is a great choice. I like that it's not too long so you can see a jeans belt. Belts - they are having a revival in a big way! And if you have a wardrobe full of denim, navy and black,  a camo jacket will work its way in there nicely.

For something a little more full on in the army style stakes, there's the Camouflage print parka Zara (£49.99). I like the styling of this with its statement neckline and big sleeves plus it has a hood and a waist tie, so you can create some shape at the waist.  And if you're out and about a lot pushing a pram, going on long walks, in and out of the car, or just because you fancy it, this is a versatile spring coat.

Hopefully there's something for everyone here - whether you want a nod or a full on embrace, or just to try something a little different. Hope that you're having a great week and I hope to be back soon! x

Thursday, 2 March 2017

The jumpsuit and leopard print heels post!

Topshop denim jumpsuit (previous season) velvet leopard print court shoes from River Island (£35)

Whenever I post a picture of this jumpsuit on Instagram, people seem to really like it, so I thought that I would try and find some that are similar, which of course provided harder than anticipated!

I'm not quite sure what it is about a jumpsuit that appeals in particular but I know that whenever I see one on someone I really like it - they just look quite cool and stylish (not that I think that when I look in the mirror I hasten to add - only when I see others in them).  

And when it comes to wearing them, they are so comfortable. I've done long haul flights in mine and it's worked so well, despite there being the potential for loo issues! It's a one stop outfit which really only a dress that can compete with but a jumpsuit is so much better. Comfortable, able to be layered, can be worn with flats or for a night out, wear with a leather biker or a blazer. A jumpsuit is the perfect piece for a weekend away on hand luggage only.

This lyocell blend jumpsuit from H&M (£39.99) is one of the best options that I've come across. It's from their conscious range and comes in sizes 6 to 20. It's the most similar in style to the one I'm wearing insofar as it has long sleeves and the trouser hem isn't cuffed. I think that I could quite easily be persuaded on this one too.

The soft utility jumpsuit from Oasis (£52) is made from modal (65%) and polyester (35%) which will give it its softness but I'm slightly concerned about the VPL issue with this one and wonder whether it might just be a little too soft. Nevertheless it made it into my top 3. It comes in khaki as well as dark grey, both of which make a softer change to black.

At £75 the Hush jumpsuit is the most expensive but this too is a gem. I bought it last year and wore it virtually non stop when I was away with work for a couple of days. It was so easy to style in different ways and it was hugely comfortable too. Because it was around last summer, it has 52 reviews for you to read and it has been awarded five stars.

I haven't managed to find a denim one, despite much searching - but I will keep on looking. And as for a word about the shoes, these are my favourite heels at the moment. They are velvet and wearing them is like wearing slippers. They come in nine finishes, including metallic, orange and pink velvet (unsurprisingly I have my eye on those too!)  Because I'm not great in heels for any length of time, at £35 these are the right price for me.

So, over to you wise readers! Do you have any top jumpsuit tips that you would like to share? Could you be tempted where previously you haven't and the all elusive question - have you found a lovely denim one anywhere?! Thanking you in advance x