Comfortable Shoes

It wasn't until I was searching online at John Lewis one day (they have an amazing selection of shoes to click and collect at your local Waitrose!) that I discovered their section entitled "comfortable shoes"... I was intrigued - was this going to offer me Granny shoes or would I be persuaded by the comfort factor over any thought of style? ...quite the dilemma. 

I imagined I would only find shoes like these...

But what a pleasant surprise! I have long suffered with blisters and rubbing, and have quite a collection of gels, plasters, sprays etc to help me get through an evening of torture inflicted by gorgeous, but uncomfortable shoes. I have even had to stop wearing converse and many other trainers, which should be the comfiest, but my heels are rubbed raw with the unforgiving shapes and hard fabrics. I have since been turned to the dark side of Granny Chic shoes. 

Here are a few you will find on John Lewis which may get you reaching for your purse pretty quick. First up in the world of everyday flats; a pair of ballerinas in this totally on-trend burgundy shade to get you through the next few weeks of Indian summer.

Carmela Comfort Cleo Pump £95

Carmela Comfort Cleo Pump £95

Or maybe you prefer a loafer a la Gucci in Hot Pink to add some contrast to all your grey and black Autumn wardrobe?

John Lewis Austin Loafers £75

John Lewis Austin Loafers £75

Or perhaps a more masculine lace-up style to keep you comfortable while you race around all day? Perfect with trousers and any length skirt or dress.

Dune Lace Up Brogue £75

Dune Lace Up Brogue £75

But moving on to shoes which feel a little smarter, or at least add some height... this zebra print low heeled pump could be an all day possibility with your rolled up boyfriend jeans and blazer. Smart, but seriously comfortable!

Gabor Springfield Kitten Heel £79.99

Gabor Springfield Kitten Heel £79.99

And of course we couldn't leave out the all-important ankle boot. Choice is impressive - you no longer need to grin and bear it for the rest of the season. Take a look at these picks:

John Lewis Blue Suede Ankle Boots £89

John Lewis Blue Suede Ankle Boots £89

Pippa Leather Chelsea Boots £95

Pippa Leather Chelsea Boots £95

Willow Suede Shoe Boots £89

Willow Suede Shoe Boots £89

You will even find the totally marmite over-the-knee boots in several different styles, along with some gorgeous knee high boots to take your breath away. And all like walking on air...how can we resist?  This is only at John Lewis - I also recommend having a peruse of Clarks, Geox, Free People, Jones Bookmaker, Shoe Therapy, Eileen Fisher.

And if you are still unconvinced, take a peek at these evening shoes, easily transforming an outfit on any occasion on your social calendar. 

Always Chic in Metallic Bronze at Clarks £70

Always Chic in Metallic Bronze at Clarks £70

Dalhart Salsa at Clarks £80

Dalhart Salsa at Clarks £80

I admit I can still be tempted by some much less wearable styles, but I am drawn to these places for a first look to save my feet. I hope you find something to suit you too.

Meg xx




What To Wear On Long Haul Flights

It always sounds so glamorous when people are jetting off to a faraway destination...but the getting there reality is not as much fun as we might imagine! I have done a fair amount of those hideous journeys with and without babies and children and am still looking for the PERFECT comfortable and still chic outfit...I want to look as put together as this at boarding AND landing...

It seems so effortlessly chic, right? But in my life jeans are way too restrictive to wear for more than 7 hours sitting on a plane. A blazer will have to be hung up as soon as I board (meaning extra hand luggage as I will freeze without another layer!), the heeled boots are never fitting back on my swollen feet, and my hair will be so filled with static I will be desperate to tie it up.  

But I think I can find a halfway, pretty acceptable, version of this for my upcoming 13 hours on Singapore Airlines... read on if you are looking for some inspiration.

First tip is to please make sure your underwear is super comfortable and breathable! Often we just forget this step in our angst at getting the outer garments right. There seems to be some weird situation where as soon as I have been in the airplane for a few hours, I start to feel really bloated all over and my joints start to swell. This actually is due to the increase in altitude and affects different people in different ways. I cannot bare to have an underwired bra as it is so constrictive once the bloat hits (sorry for the gruesome images!). If you are lucky enough to be small-chested, I would suggest a crop top or very soft bra. For those of us who still need some support as well as some breathing space, here I have found a great option which works like a dream... try a band size larger than normal and you can slowly loosen the hooks during the flight. I can't even begin to tell you the difference this can make...

Next we need to address the climate situation...often a long haul flight means a destination with a totally different temperature to the one we are leaving. Help! The only solution for this is layering - which is necessary as each aircraft is different and sometimes you are freezing, when other times the plane is baking hot. For my trip I am doing cooler London weather to hot and humid and rainy Singapore. Quite an easy one, really...

While Kylie Jenner may be okay with wearing gym kit on a flight (and looking gorgeous at the same time), I don't feel I can really carry that off without looking like I just ran out of time to get dressed! But I am stealing the comfort factor and will be wearing black leggings (which are so old I probably should replace them, but they only really come out of the closet for flights!) with an ankle zip and cuff  (to help ensure they are not mistaken for my running kit). I am not great in harem pants, or smart joggers without a heel, so leggings  are the next best thing for me. If you are more a pear shape then definitely embrace the baggier styles and if you just can't face leggings, there are a number of pretty great jeggings (which are super stretchy denim leggings with elastic waistband, but still have pockets?) which could do the trick here. I will be wearing flat shoes - in the form of my favourite skater shoes in animal print. I usually wear them with an insole, so once my feet have swollen up, I can remove said insole and still be able to walk at the other end. No socks to take off - but a cosy merino or silk pair are in my bag to slip on after I am settled on the plane. 

To counter the whole changing temperature thing, I wear a longline vest to keep me comfortable and stop any gaping, riding up and chills. I layer a short sleeved top or tee with a decent length (or sometimes a tee shirt dress for my hot destination so I can ditch the jeans before landing) and then add a long cardigan or coatigan with an enormous scarf/wrap. I can then take on and off items as and when  I need to.  A huge scarf/wrap is probably the most useful item of all - it is a great cover-up for any incidents which might occur on your flight, and much softer than any nasty airline blanket will be. I tend to favour dark colours when travelling (and all other times as well really) to help cover any spillages or mishaps along the way. If I am flying into daytime and anticipating a long, hot transfer to get to my final destination, I might throw some flip-flops into my hand luggage to ease the swollen feet before I finally get a chance to stop and the teeshirt dress can magically come to my rescue too, if I know I might have to be waiting in the heat while I am still grumpy and overtired from my flight... On my own I manage with my huge tote bag as hand luggage with a few necessities inside (sunglasses, lip balm, moisturiser, hand cream, This Works Sleep Balm, Vicks Micromist, Kindle, notebook and pen, tissues etc). I usually take a small cross body bag also to keep my tickets, passport and other valuables safe and easy to find.

Here you can find some ideas which I think would work really well for a long haul flight.

Zipped leggings from Hush £45, Black Tee from Whistles £45, Longline Vest from Hush £22.50, Cashmere socks from The White Company £35, Lingerie from Marks and Spencer, Madewell Transport Tote £142 Animal Skaters from Evans £21.25, Crossbody Bag from Aurora London £64.50, Becksondergaard Scarf £65, Poetry Merino Cardigan £189

 

Bon Voyage

Meg xx






Eyelash Envy

I have always had Eyelash Envy...mine have been pretty non-existent despite efforts of many different kinds to enhance them! On top of having incredibly short, straight eyelashes, I also have very oily skin and lashes meaning all mascaras end up under my eyes giving the much loved Panda effect. Not my favourite addition to the already enormous bags I am used to sporting under my eyes...

Last year I was very swayed by advice on another blog, fashion fois gras, and after plenty of procrastinating and mountains of research I went ahead and had some eyelash extensions put on/ in! I went to a local salon in Clapham which I would seriously recommend to anyone. It is not too pretty on the outside and you would certainly walk past it a million times and not even know it was there - but my beautician, Marike at Lara Lashes was amazing. The applications were truly painless and the effect was dramatic. I initially did them as I had two Black Tie events close together and thought it would be fun to try...

I am not quite sure how to describe the feeling of waking up each day and seeing these beautiful black fluttery things on my eyes - it was incredible! The downsides were the cost, the maintenance time, and not being able to use eye make up remover without seriously shortening the life of the extensions....I put up with the negatives for quite a few months and became a little addicted to my new eyelashes.

BUT THEN...fashion fois gras once again blogged about mascara which didn't budge and which lengthened your lashes at the same time. I had to give it a shot. She gives a step by step tutorial here which shows the difference. I was not at all sure about the primer underneath business, but I thought it might be worthwhile and let my extensions grow out and then attempted the new mascara. It is absolutely miraculous. Stays on forever with no smudging and makes lashes look at least 3x longer. Despite the extra faffing with the primer, in my humble (and totally inexperienced when it comes to make-up) opinion it is the business!

£10.99 at Boots

£10.99 at Boots

BUT THEN...I was at my usual beauty place having my toes done and noticed the technicians all had extra long eyelashes ( you can see it has become an obsession with me?). Not being shy, I asked if they were real? It turned out they had all been using an eyelash conditioner. After much chat (and obviously a zillion questions from a very suspicious moi) and in a fit of crazy fervour I bought the conditioner. I had to take a deep breath first...at £69

The girls swore that after 1 month, they could see a huge difference. I was not so lucky and it probably took my lashes more like 2 months to show signs of growth and after 3 months they look so much better! I am quite surprised these belong to me!  I am a very happy bunny. 

BUT THEN...the icing on the cake was going back to see Marike at Lara Lashes (nobody else has ever managed to shape and tame my eyebrows quite like her!) for a brow thread and show her my new lashes. She couldn't believe them and dyed them blue-black for me to go on holiday. Apart from this being the best tint I have ever had (have been to many top spas and salons for this treatment and it is uncomfortable and stings my eyes and the effect is almost negligible) which is still going strong 3 weeks later, I managed to ditch the L'Oreal mascara while away.

BUT THEN...I  had been searching high and low for a good waterproof mascara to take away with me, and was coming up with nothing special. Finally I stumbled upon a few reviews of a clear gloss coat to put over your mascara to seal it. At first I was thinking no, that is just one step too far with the faff factor. But then I thought the primer had made such a difference with normal mascara application, maybe I could give it a try? OMG!!! A-MA-ZING !!! This stuff makes my tinted, newly grown lashes look like I have extensions with mascara on! It separates out each lash (top and bottom) and smooths brows perfectly with no clumping and stays until you actually remove it...makes any mascara waterproof too!  Cannot recommend highly enough.

bare Minerals Locked and Coated £9.60

SO NOW I am pretty happy with my eyelashes (there are so many other things for me to improve on now) and I hope I have managed to help any of you out there who also have severe Eyelash Envy.

Meg xx

Holiday Hits

I always have a few things I take on holiday which I absolutely fall in love with...and there are a always a few things I wish I had  never wasted the space in my luggage on. In the spirit of being better prepared next time (and the chance to waste a few precious moments anticipating the next sunny break away) it is a good idea to make a note of these things. A few months down the track and most of us have the rose tinted glasses on and can only remember the great things about the holiday and end up making the same mistakes all over again.

In Sicily this holiday I definitely had a winner. I must have worn my Hush maxi dress nearly every evening. It was all I could do to force myself to wear the other dresses I had with me...it was so cool and comfortable and yet still made me feel like I had made a slight effort for a dinner out. It will be on my wishlist for next summer and I will be first in to buy it, rather than wasting time deliberating and then missing out on my size and ending up getting it from a friend! 

It was absolutely scorchio where we were...too hot to think about putting any clothing on which might touch your body too much. My shorts came out once - but only because I felt obliged! I much preferred baggy shift style dresses to keep me cool. Likewise my feet managed to only be happy in flip flops or my very minimal Sam Edelman Gigis. Even my much adored Gladiators only came out once or twice to ease my packing conscience.

I totally surprised myself by wearing a bikini too - I take it all back! It was too hot for even that extra bit of fabric across my middle. I was super impressed with the styles I chose too - being big busted I went for a halter tie top with side boning from Seafolly in the Goddess range. Every swimwear season I have tried different styles to get comfort and not look too hideous and nothing has come close to these bikinis. Being able to adjust the neck and the chest size with ties really makes a difference! I decided the whole tan lines issue was less important than being comfortable and alleviating the constant need to fuss and fiddle with the fit. 

Definitely try Coco Bay for any Seafolly swimwear.

Definitely try Coco Bay for any Seafolly swimwear.

As far as beach dresses went, I had a definite favourite - my gauze white vest dress from J Crew. It was so lightweight and easy to throw on with all my swimwear. Very sheer, so you maybe might think twice about it at hotel breakfast or out sightseeing, but for all things beach related it was spot on. I will be collecting a few more of these in the sale hopefully... the less lightweight beach dresses I took, I wore once or twice, but kept coming back to this one!

My running kit did come out of the bag, but only the once (embarrassing I know!). Once again, the heat!! Plus being in a villa without gym and without childcare, and the mornings were all about long lazy breakfasts with the family...

As far as toiletries go, I barely wear make-up at the best of times and like to give my skin a good rest on holiday anyway. I always make sure to take my cleanser and moisturiser and a few sample sized masks with me. This holiday I also took the most amazing waterproof mascara with me, which I will tell you all about later...Suncream was easy peasy with Riemann P20. I swear by this for the whole family and my rather oily, blemish-prone skin is happy to use it. Maybelline Baby Lips are my top sunshine lipsticks with a tiny bit of colour and lots of SPF... I do insist on taking my own shampoo and conditioner as well as Hair Veil due to the salon-aided blonde highlights. Luckily they all come in 100ml bottles so I can still put them in my hand luggage.

Rounding up for Next Time I will be sure to leave the shorts and tops at home and go with dresses only. Likewise, I will have to look at the destination and make a decision on running kit. I feel so guilty when I don't pack it! One pair of sandals with my neutral flip flops is plenty for me on a family holiday, but maybe a few new maxi dresses if Hush can sort that out next season? 

Let me know how your packing went?

Meg xx

 

Holiday Prep

If you are not a list-making control-freak sort of person, then you may prefer to look away now! I am most definitely  in the camp for loving the preparations for a holiday almost as much as the actual trip away... this summer we are going very old school and spending two weeks in a villa in Sicily, just the six of us. Time will tell if this is a recipe for disaster or not - but as our lives become more chaotic at home and our eldest has maybe only two summers left before he flies the nest, we decided some quality (read into that a lot of moaning and boredom and in-fighting) family time was on the cards...

So I am in excitement mode as I now can start getting us organised without being ridiculed for peaking too early. We all take hand luggage only. This is a new development in the last few years as I have realised that the majority of the "stuff" we all took away came back home still folded neatly and unworn or unused... Now we take very limited clothing as we will mostly be in swimwear and flip flops (imagine knowing it will be blue skies and hot and sunny EVERY DAY!) with a few sightseeing trips and outings which will err on the side of casual as that is our middle name.  As far as our wheelie bags go, I have invested in Samsonite as they really do last forever. I have only ever owned one cabin bag previously and it lasted 20 years, so I figure it is worth the initial outlay to not have to buy these things too frequently.

 

The "stuff" we pack will include; 

Click on image to buy: Swordfish USB Universal Plug £17.85

Click on image to buy: Swordfish USB Universal Plug £17.85

adaptor USB plugs  : These plugs are amazing - each of us has our own so we only need the leads for each device and then can plug everything in in our own rooms and be sorted. They are great for using at home also...the bright coloured ones are ideal for the last look around the holiday room before departure as they stand out and won't be left behind!

Mosquito Plug-In repellers  Playing Cards  Monopoly  Scrabble  Colouring books and pens (including my mindful book which always gets the kids interested in helping me colour  Flippers  Goggles  Headphones  Devices Books Top Trumps Snacks

In my suitcase will be:

Toiletries: I make the most of the laid-back beach vibe and stick to minimal amounts. I take my cleanser, moisturiser and mascara (therein lies another blog as I have discovered the most amazing eyelash "stuff" and now swear by my mascara and waterproof sealant!) away. I also pack travel size bottles of my shampoo and conditioner along with a hair protector spray for all the salt and chlorine damage. I always have a few SPF lip balms and lipsticks in every available pocket. I include a mini bottle of shower gel and moisturiser with a holiday scent too. As far as suncream goes, I pre-order online at Boots (when the deals hit) and do Click and Collect airside (after security check) wherever we are departing from. This ensures I still get the brands and sizes I prefer, but don't have to pay horrific European prices...

Shoes: running shoes (hoping it won't be too hot and I can burn off some of the vino and gelato), flip flops (mine are ancient Gap ones with a nice soft toe post as Havianas are just too thick and unforgiving for my feet) and my Sam Edelman Gigis. I will sneak a third pair in to wear en route - my new favourite Gladiators.

Swimwear: black sensible swimsuit for all the crazy pool games with the kids, neon bandeau style Seafolly one piece for tanning and maybe a black bikini since it is just the family! Cover-Ups include a white muslin racerback mini dress, knee length jersey black GAP vest dress, blue and white kaftan dress.

Clothing: As I am mostly going to be in my swimwear, I only need clothes for sightseeing or eating out with the family - all super casual and it is going to be scorching hot. I will take my denim shorts and two vest tops (one black, one white), one navy knee length vest dress, a T Shirt indigo striped dress with cap sleeves, and a striped Hush maxi dress. I will travel in boyfriend jeans and tee with a scarf and longline cardy in case I get cold! I keep the jewellery to a minimum too - just a few waterproof bracelets to jangle around and a Swatch watch which is indestructible! 

Bags : I take two BIG beach bags with me - one black and white striped as well as my Longchamp  tan coloured, enormous version which the Hubby can carry (with 4 kids there is a lot to carry!) as well as some zip pouches for suncream, goggles, valuables etc. I make sure I have a cross body bag on the plane which will work all holiday as well as a tiny clutch for any evening excursions.

And that is me done!  It is then all rolled and squeezed into my bag ...

While I am away I make a list (Memo  on my Phone) of what I used and what I really needed and didn't have with me, so that I can remember for the next trip. Equally I note down any items any of the family took and never used! It is always scary closing the bag and starting to second guess yourself as to what you still might need - but rest assured you will manage without, and there are not many places where you won't manage to buy what you desperately need these days!

Enjoy your holidays if you are off somewhere nice! Hope I have encouraged you to pack light?

Meg xx

One piece vs bikini

Everywhere we look, we are being told that the one piece is "back". But everywhere we go, it still seems to be the majority of women remain loyal to the bikini. After all, who doesn't want a more all-over tan at the end of their holiday? Which camp do you fall into? I have to admit that I have never really been a bikini kind of girl - far too many body hang-ups for me to embrace so much naked skin in the presence of others! But, I often feel I am the only one on the beach or poolside in a one piece and stand out like a sore thumb. I have submitted to the bikini, only to get bored with the constant hoiking and pulling and adjusting and swiftly re-embracing my one-piece...

Not often you will get a photo of me in swimwear - this is probably 5 years old!

Not often you will get a photo of me in swimwear - this is probably 5 years old!

The annoying thing about trying to buy a one-pice is that they always look AMAZING on the tiny slender models who, let's face it, are going to be in a string bikini in real life... Those of us who have shunned the bikini due to necessities like racing after small children, or playing pool and beach games with older kids, or perhaps the ever hated mum-tum post babies, still want to look chic and sun kissed on our holidays and sometimes we even want a bit of support. Luckily there are plenty of brands who offer all these things to us...

Definitely the easiest place to browse online (and I really advise shopping online and trying on in the peace and quiet of your own home after a few relaxing drinks?!) is  www.cocobay.com.    This website has some fabulous brand as well as incredibly helpful reviews and sizing hints for every item. Plus it doesn't have too many pieces to choose from, so you are able to get on and order more quickly! (Or is it just me who can never make a choice without looking at every single possibility?)

Seafolly Goddess Pleat Front Maillot £96

Seafolly Goddess Pleat Front Maillot £96

The style above is perfect for any size bust up to a D Cup and is great if you are not keen on tan lines. The leg is not too high and not too low and the back is high cut for extra support if you fancy it!

Baku St Martins Maillot £99

Baku St Martins Maillot £99

This is still a great style for fewer tan lines, but also has a slimming effect with the tonal side pattern, helping those who may not have such a small waist these days. 

Banana Moon Swamis Chocolat Dreamy Halter Swimsuit £76

Banana Moon Swamis Chocolat Dreamy Halter Swimsuit £76

If you are less well endowed in the bust area then this style is stunning. You still have full tummy coverage but the back is cut to mirror a bikini. Perfect compromise?

Moving onto the bikinis at Coco Bay...a huge selection but still sticking with their same tried and tested brands. Best of all, you can mix and match sizes to get your bikini fitting exactly the way you like it. For any pear shaped girls a bikini which has lots of detail on the top is a great distraction from any curves you are not wanting to flaunt. 

Aguaciara Emerald Gingham Bandeau Bikini Top £95 with some plain black bikini bottoms if you are feeling self conscious. Or stick to the matching pants if you are not!

Aguaciara Emerald Gingham Bandeau Bikini Top £95 with some plain black bikini bottoms if you are feeling self conscious. Or stick to the matching pants if you are not!

Team this patterned top with with some plain black bikini bottoms if you are feeling self conscious. Or stick to the matching pants if you are not! The opposite advice works well for a larger bust - draw the attention to your bottom half with patterned bikini pants and keep the top as simple as possible.

Seafolly Goddess Halter Bra in Hot Red £61

Seafolly Goddess Halter Bra in Hot Red £61

If you like a more personalised fitting and soft support, this bikini top can be adjusted with ties at neck and back to get it sitting perfectly. Comes in many colours... And can be teamed with a multitude of bottoms styles.

When trying to find the perfect bikini bottoms - it goes against your best instinct, but often the less coverage, the smaller the bottom area appears. A boy-leg or shorts style should be avoided unless you have a very boyish figure! A tie or string bottom is immensely flattering to most curvy figures. Equally a higher cut leg is more flattering too. Anything with adjustable sides can be made to show you at your best...

Seafolly Miami Stripe Seychelles Tie Side £41

Seafolly Miami Stripe Seychelles Tie Side £41

Seafolly Goddess Chartreuse Banded Tie Side £41

Seafolly Goddess Chartreuse Banded Tie Side £41

As for many of the Seafolly sets, you can mix and match patterns and plains so that you can pull the eye into where you would prefer the attention to be! Any little help is welcome?!

There are still loads of styles and sizes available - luckily the market is beginning to reflect that we don't all rush out and buy our swimwear after the Christmas sales end! If you are having trouble deciding, call the advisors - they are so helpful and kind...  Plus keep an eye out for their sale as it is usually a good one and you can be very lucky to get a bargain for next year. 

Enjoy your sunbathing!

Meg xx


Be True To Yourself

I think we all have a tendency to fall in love with whatever the latest fashion trends are and sometimes adopt them despite the fact the trend doesn't really suit us?

I have to constantly remind myself not to fall into this trap, and help clients to steer clear of what isn't the most flattering item on them. But it is equally unfair to have pass up on some of the pieces which could so easily update your wardrobe, if they only suited you! My advice is to have fun with your clothes and always be comfortable and confident - these are the most appealing parts of any outfit.

It can be really helpful to define what your personal style actually is. Once you have that sorted, you can keep to your best shapes and mix up whatever is latest on the trend scene.

A mix of basics which flatter you are your best means of getting dressed.

A mix of basics which flatter you are your best means of getting dressed.

This can mean you feel like you often end up wearing very similar versions of the same thing over and over, but the secret is in accepting your best looks and moving forward with them, rather than being a slave to the latest and newest thing everyone else seems to be wearing.  Here are a few tips to help you...

Finding someone you admire and following (some may call it stalking?) their style can help put you on the right path. Use Pinterest, Instagram and other social media.

Have a look at your wardrobe and see what you choose most often, and what you are constantly coveting, but end up returning constantly.

Think of five words which you would use to describe your style (or the style you are aiming for) and keep them firmly imprinted on your mind whenever you start making wish lists for the season ahead...

Figure out the colours which best suit you (these colours should ideally fade the wrinkles, make your eyes shine and generally add a look of wellbeing)) and then use the correct shades for you to match up whatever the latest trends are...

 And finally think about where you are wearing your clothes; are you mostly in the office, or mostly with the kids, or mostly entertaining and out on the town? Try to divide your wardrobe accordingly so you have enough outfits for each part of your life, with some crossover to make full use of all items.

When you first start out building a wardrobe for YOUR style, it can be easiest to start with simple basics you can wear often and change the look with accessories...eg: a patterned bold dress you may only want to be seen in once or twice with the same gang, but a more subtly coloured number could be changed up each time you wear it with different jacket, scarf, jewellery, shoes, bag etc, so that the dress is merely a background which is not as noticeable. Once you feel more confident in making the right choices, you can start to add in more one-off items. Each new season starts to become a time when you just add in a few of the latest trends (tailored to your style) which keep your constant staples looking fresh and new.

So be wary in the summer sales! It is not a bargain if you never end up wearing it! And if you need a shopping buddy, check out my website and give me a call...

meg xx

 

On the run bags

I find I am constantly dashing out the door and really only need my keys, phone, wallet and sunglasses...although I ALWAYS have to also carry some sort of Lip Balm!  I end up trying to fit all this into my hands and pockets and then fail miserably and drop something (usually my phone -eek!). But I just don't always want to take my "proper" handbag out with me... I guess this a Mum's life story! And is it only me who finds that I can never find space on the table when I go out for dinner if I have a clutch?!

I have been converted to the teeny, tiny cross body bags which allow minimal stuff, but save your phone being dropped and smashed and can add a cute accessory to your outfit at the same time! 

First on my list is the very soft Willow Bag from www.auroralivingstyle.com...it is a very clever copy of the Celine Trio (which I adore, but it is so expensive and so hard to buy!)

Aurora Willow bag £59.50 available in tan, black, red, blue and grey with possibility to have initials stamped on.

Aurora Willow bag £59.50 available in tan, black, red, blue and grey with possibility to have initials stamped on.

A few of the others I have been watching recently are...

If you are feeling flush, or have a special occasion to celebrate these are gorgeous...

Anya Hindmarch Smiley Crossbody £495

Anya Hindmarch Smiley Crossbody £495

Anya Hindmarch Perforated Mustard Maxi Zip Cross Body £297

Anya Hindmarch Perforated Mustard Maxi Zip Cross Body £297

Chloe Marcie £435

Chloe Marcie £435

Hopefully I have given you food for thought and perhaps an excuse to go out and buy another handbag?! You are welcome!

Meg xx





Fit Kit...

Are you keen to get fit and strong, but the thought of trying to squeeze yourself into skintight lycra puts you off?  It doesn't have to be that way anymore, and I promise you also don't need to resort to old, baggy trackie bums with an even older tee shirt to cover yourself up... It can seem a little daunting to join an exercise class or group where everybody already appears perfectly toned wearing super skin tight lycra.  But a few tricks can help you to feel better in your work-out kit, which will hopefully encourage you to exercise more often too. Win win!

If this is what you are already wearing - this blog is not for you!

If this is what you are already wearing - this blog is not for you!

Even exercise kit needs to be styled according to your body shape in order to look your best...any leggings you choose are best if their finished length ends at one of the narrowest points of your leg. This is usually below your knee or ankle grazer length. There are very few among us who can actually look good in capri style tights which end on the widest part of your calf muscle; so these are probably best avoided. Obviously dark colours are both the easiest to buy and the most flattering on. If you are wanting to draw attention to your legs and away from your top half, then go for a dramatic pattern or colour - there are plenty to choose from today.. Here are a few which I love - I am a big fan of the cheaper Nike basic tights which you can use the zipped ankle to adjust to best flatter your leg!

Now what to wear on your top half? Firstly, please make sure you are wearing a properly supporting bra. No matter your size, it makes sense to protect this sensitive tissue as much as is humanly possible. For those less well endowed you have a very wide selection like this one or this one. For those of us who need a lot more support the selection is very small. I am a huge fan of the Shock Absorber Bra which goes up to an F-Cup. Another very popular model is this Freya one which I plan to trial next.

What to wear on top? Since we are in warmer weather, I will stick to some tips for short/sleeveless options for you...If you want to disguise a less than taut tummy, look for something which has a bit of flow to the shape. If you are looking to lengthen your legs, the longer your top the better. If you are very busty, a lower neckline is more flattering, making a high neck great for flatter chests.

I am a firm believer that if your clothing is of a more technical fabric, feels soft on your skin with no rubbing or chafing, and looks ok to be seen on the street in, then you are far more likely to throw it on in the morning. Once your kit is on, it is half the battle towards working out already done. I never really want to go for a run, but I love the feeling once I am home again, knowing I have been doing good for my body. I do think the most important piece of kit has to be your footwear (and the right socks!). It is well worth having a proper fitting session with a professional. Once you know which brand and fit are best for your foot, you can then shop online for the best price. A double layer sweat wicking sock is also amazing in the warmer months - you will thank me once you have tried them!

Definitely keep your eye out in the sales; which are starting as we speak...the higher end brands like Sweaty Betty and Lululemon have amazing sales where you can grab yourself some great bargains. You may need to shop out of season, but it is so worthwhile when you finally get to wear that fabulous piece of kit you coveted for so long.

I hope I have inspired you to get your Fitness Kit on and get out there. 

Meg xx

 

 

 

 

 

too hot too fast?

So I got caught yesterday trying to do my fake tan with the surprise heat wave in London  and managed to forget to wash it off! Cocoa Brown, you are amazing! Still no streaks and colour not too bad at all despite my misuse of the product!

But what on earth do you wear when the weather changes from day to day between seasons and sometimes even in the space of a few hours? If you are young enough and brave enough I say get your legs out! Shorts can look amazing if you get the top half sorted correctly. In this current weather, a breezy, floaty long sleeved top with something strappy  underneath for any possible sunbathing is perfect. Something a little like this? Anything goes on your feet with this sort of outfit.

But if you are a mere mortal unblessed with these golden limbs and gorgeous figure we need to look further for something comfortable and warm weather appropriate for real life! For those of you blessed with a waist still, you need to embrace the skirt. Any shape is great...knee length or midi are the most on-trend at present as is of course anything denim. Add a floaty plain white tee to a patterned skirt or some bright colour to a denim skirt or clash it all up something like below...If you feel a little over-dressed in a skirt, make your footwear more solid and "ugly" to ground the prettiness. Trainers, skate shoes and sliders work well here.

Alternatively if you are brave and don't have the same scaredy-cat attitude I have to dressing too summery and getting caught in the deluge later, you can go straight to your summer dresses and add a long cardigan or denim jacket if necessary? Again emphasise the utilitarian style of footwear to take away the smarter feel of a dress...

A maxi dress is also a Godsend during these kinds of changeable weather spells. Covers the legs for a bit of warmth (or modesty or laziness if you can't be bothered to tan or defuzz) and yet keeps you cool if the sun does get fierce. Easy enough to add a jacket or cardigan to, and flat sandals or trainers for a great running around outfit. Plus this can be a staple in your holiday wardrobe for every possible occasion from over your swimsuit for breakfast to dressed up with some jewellery for dinner out...

Bea Stripe Maxi Dress at Fatface £50

Bea Stripe Maxi Dress at Fatface £50

Perfect warmer weather casual style?

Perfect warmer weather casual style?

If you still feel like these options are all too dressy for your daily routines, some 3/4 jeans or chinos with a cool top are the perfect easy ensemble...this is where online store Hush gets things right every time!

As the sun continues to come and go, I am still clinging to my jeans - I am an addict! But I hope these ideas have helped the more summer-embracing of you out a little?  

Meg

xx

 

Spring is my favourite...

Over the last month I have realised that Spring is definitely my favourite season to dress for. I think we all have our own individual style and often it is when you look back at photos of yourself that you have a "ta da" moment and realise you have found a uniform which suits your life and personality perfectly and appears to be on almost constant rotation. In my humble opinion this is all good news!! Go with it!

Despite loving hot, sunny holidays and being a slave to a suntan ( I know, I know - I do always use sunscreen!), I am not sure dressing for hot, sticky weather and living a busy life in London really match up very well when you are gone 40. Nobody out there needs to see too much of my old lady legs or flabby arms at the best of times. At least on summer holiday everybody is relaxed and after a few glasses of rosé, I am no longer bothered by my long list of bodily imperfections. 

Ahh, but in Spring things just work out so well. I can still wear long trousers of any cut I fancy and I can still layer up my tops with vests underneath, long sleeves, short sleeves, a jacket, a cardigan, a blazer. So many versions of my perfect silhouette. And I think it is far easier to look stylish with more than 2 items in an outfit? If you are still dithering about your spring wardrobe and haven't yet managed to find your style, don't panic! In England we will have much more of the Spring weather than we do of summer and so you can invest time and money in getting this right.

This outfit is incredibly simple and yet screams style at the same time...check your wardrobe for these staples and try them on to find your best look. By simply adding a necklace, an armful of bracelets, some bright dangly earrings, a fitted blazer, a clutch purse, heels or even just a vest under the top you can create many different styles for the same outfit of basics.

Finding the right cut of jeans is your most mammoth task and worth really spending the time on. It rarely happens on the first try-on! Once you are confident in what is the most flattering cut for your body (and also suits your lifestyle - don't go giving in to jeans which require stiletto heels to look great if you know you will NEVER get the shoes out of the wardrobe!) try different washes, colours, distressing, patched, etc...  I am a huge Denim fan and can barely be found to be wearing anything else. I mix it up with many different styles, but all adapted to suit my body shape and compliment it the best I can. 

Then move to your top half. Do you like colour, pattern, stripes, neutrals? What is your preferred neckline? Are you a baggy top kinda girl or fitted and neat? Once you have the top sorted, you can add layers to adjust to the weather - it is nearly always off and on weather with Spring! I know I don't really feel the cold and I prefer not to overheat, so I usually err on the side of too few clothes - you do what feels right for you. I love a blazer to style up any casual t-shirt I am wearing. It can just pull a whole outfit together and yet not look overly dressy. Start with ponte fabric blazers if you like the look. Equally longline slim fit cardigans can help add height and flatter proportions as well as giving some woolly warmth for this of you who feel the cold. Don't be afraid to try different lengths, cuts and fabrics out.

If I am honest, my biggest issue is always with footwear. It can make or break your outfit! I HAVE to be comfortable and any shoes which hurt my feet don't often get a second wearing. Yes we all look amazing in heels, but can I really manage them all day running around after my kids, doing the school run, shopping with clients? Comfortable stylish shoes are my Holy Grail and I am always still on the lookout.  The trend of the "super flat" has made me extremely happy! My latest comfort finds - if you have this same issue- are:

Camper Micro Platform £110 in orange, grey, red, navy and black

Camper Micro Platform £110 in orange, grey, red, navy and black

This is a similar style to the iconic Swedish Hasbeen clogs, but the sole is softer and lighter.

Camper Right £85 in red, black, blue and mint

Camper Right £85 in red, black, blue and mint

Eileen Fisher Sport Wedge £188 (also in sand and black)

Eileen Fisher Sport Wedge £188 (also in sand and black)

If it is too warm for sandals I am currently favouring flat pointed numbers like these:

Russell&Bromley logo-lace £295

Russell&Bromley logo-lace £295

Alice Flat at Boden £99

Alice Flat at Boden £99

Jones Bootmaker Glint Ballet Pumps £69

Jones Bootmaker Glint Ballet Pumps £69

Whistles Peep Toe Shoe Boots £136 (sale)

Whistles Peep Toe Shoe Boots £136 (sale)

These are my new all-time favourite between-season shoe. They look great with ankle length jeans, boyfriend jeans, midi dresses and skirts as well as above knee length. Plus the leather is butter soft and they fit like a glove. The heel height is a bit too much for me everyday, but because it is so solid I am good for a fair few hours! There are many variations on this style and I am now tempted to add a few more to my wardrobe...they certainly solve that dilemma of skirts/dresses and which footwear without looking mumsy?!

Mint Velvet Maddison Shoe Boots £129

Mint Velvet Maddison Shoe Boots £129

Carmela Asset Peep Toe Shoe Boot £100

Carmela Asset Peep Toe Shoe Boot £100


I hope you have some fun figuring out what your "uniform" is and whether you like it or need a change up? Let me know if I can help?!

Meg

xx



Onesie for Grown-Ups

I think we all saw the Jumpsuit appear on the scene last winter and a few of us jumped right up and bought into the trend. Those of us who have been slow to embrace this grown up version of onesie (hoping it would be a one-season wonder) are now seeing it pop up everywhere for all occasions and wondering whether to now get in on the act....

I say if you have the figure for it - buy one now! It makes dressing so simple as there is no top to match or decide to tuck in or leave out etc etc...If you go with a version which is ankle grazer length with slim legs, then equally you can wear any footwear you like from trainers to stilettos depending on your mood or where you are off to. I also believe a jumpsuit could be a great travelling outfit as it looks comfortable but still pulled together.

Personally I am steering clear of the Jumpsiut as I am a typical apple shape and with no waist to speak of, it just isn't my best look. Not to say it doesn't look okay on me, but there are definitely many other things which I think I can look better in! This has not not stopped me trying on a gazillion of the things. The closest I have come to purchasing was this one at J Crew...

It was fresh off the delivery when I tried it on in the blue colour way (comes in green, black and blue) and I was very taken with it.  £148. The fabric is lightweight crepe and hangs beautifully, and could easily be very casual with a denim jacket and flip flops and then be transformed into evening wear with heels and clutch. Word of warning the black is seriously the darkest black I have ever seen! I may still be tempted, despite it not being so flattering on me!

It was fresh off the delivery when I tried it on in the blue colour way (comes in green, black and blue) and I was very taken with it.  £148. The fabric is lightweight crepe and hangs beautifully, and could easily be very casual with a denim jacket and flip flops and then be transformed into evening wear with heels and clutch. Word of warning the black is seriously the darkest black I have ever seen! I may still be tempted, despite it not being so flattering on me!

Other easy to wear versions, in my humble opinion are the following...

Selected Femme Blue Denim Jumpsuit £75   Simple scandi style here. Equally easy to dress down for daytime with flats and tote.

Selected Femme Blue Denim Jumpsuit £75  Simple scandi style here. Equally easy to dress down for daytime with flats and tote.

The most popular version has to be the khaki boiler suit at Topshop which has all but sold out and has a waiting list for any possible returns. Just goes to show how fashion can be a great game for sheep!

And how about this as a foil for my beloved J Crew version also at Forever21...think that will be in my basket for a try on...Zip Front Jumpsuit £21

I feel the need to warn you to be wary of shorts jumpsuits though...mutton and lamb come to mind very quickly. There is definitely a time and place for them - possibly on your very casual beach holiday - but you will be hard pushed not to see the same number worn by your own or a friend's teenage daughter and causing you extreme jealousy seeing how they are supposed to look! Just don't do it to yourself. It is a tricky line to tread, but we can do it.

Hope you manage to find your perfect jumpsuit.

Meg

xx

 

 

 

 

Totes Amaze Balls

Handbags are just so glorious to lust after...a bag can totally change the look of your outfit and update your regular pieces so easily. I think it is better to buy High St super trendy bags as you are probably only going to want to wear them for the current season. But a timeless piece can be something you save towards and really invest in to keep forever - even if it is retired to the back of the wardrobe for some seasons!

The current trend is for small saddlebag models like the Chloe Drew Bag  as modelled here by Laura Fantacci from WIT blog.

Or also proving incredibly popular is the Alicia Shoulder Bag £149 at Jigsaw... 

I love the idea of a small bag, but I always end up with multiple carrier bags as well to haul all my bits and pieces around, ending with the charming effect of looking a lot like a bag lady.  Another trend  for this season has been the Bucket Bag as proven by the Mansur Gavriel model which sells out almost before it has hit the market...

But for regular everyday out and about and hauling the kids to school amongst all the other seriously glamorous tasks of my daily life, I have become firmly wedded to the Tote Bag. I started with a cheaper High Street version to see if I would really get on with it - you know the drill? Would it just be too big? Would it fall off my shoulder with the straps being too short? Would I just overfill it and give myself backache? Could I live with the same bag everyday? I fell in love almost instantly and have not looked back and managed to nab myself a second one from J Crew which has become my new best friend.

My current Spring picks on the High Street are: 

John Lewis Eden Tote Bag -£39 in grey and navy. Even has zip pocket and phone pocket inside to avoid the black hole conundrum some of these bags can present!

John Lewis Eden Tote Bag -£39 in grey and navy. Even has zip pocket and phone pocket inside to avoid the black hole conundrum some of these bags can present!

Zip Shopper Bag from Zara £39.99 with a nod to the current boho tassel vibe for Spring. Interior pocket and magnetic top fastening too. I love this shade of not quite grey and not quite beige!

Zip Shopper Bag from Zara £39.99 with a nod to the current boho tassel vibe for Spring. Interior pocket and magnetic top fastening too. I love this shade of not quite grey and not quite beige!

Really want to see this one in the flesh. Such a perfect shade of tan for this season and looks as if it would age perfectly too. Oasis Unlined Leather Shopper at Asos £38 (genuine leather and inner sip pockets!).

Really want to see this one in the flesh. Such a perfect shade of tan for this season and looks as if it would age perfectly too. Oasis Unlined Leather Shopper at Asos £38 (genuine leather and inner sip pockets!).

Downing Tote in Persian Red from J Crew £64  (on offer). I think this red could be classed as an easy neutral in my wardrobe as it just lightens all the denim, khaki and white!

Downing Tote in Persian Red from J Crew £64 (on offer). I think this red could be classed as an easy neutral in my wardrobe as it just lightens all the denim, khaki and white!

What sort of bag are you carrying at present? Which bags do you have on your forever wishlist? 

Meg

xx




Spring Cleaning

I have finally managed some time to do my own Spring Wardrobe Detox...it is definitely not as easy doing your own as it is for clients. Lack of objectivity really gets in the way! Luckily I have a pretty small capsule wardrobe of mostly neutral, classic items with the odd bright or pattern thrown in, which makes things a little less challenging. One thing which I always do for myself, as I am putting away the winter things for storage is to make a note of what items were my most successful (read there that I ended up wearing them ALL THE TIME) and what items hardly saw the light of day! It can be a fascinating journey and really helps to figure out your individual style and idiosyncrasies, before going on to make purchases for Spring.

You do need to start with an entirely empty wardrobe, and only put the items you have tried on and LOVE back into circulation. As you are trying on, figure out some different ways to wear your favourite things and imagine which new items can slot in to bring you up to date for the season ahead. 

When looking at my winter clothes, I had a few pairs of jeans which I absolutely adored, but they never really helped me to look my best. You know those days when, every time you catch a glimpse of yourself, you vow never to wear them again?! So they have gone to the charity bag. I also had a few tops which were great on a seriously skinny day, but mostly stayed in the cupboard as I like to eat too much...I decided I am not going to be held to ransom by them and they can go to a skinnier home. The old faithfuls are still the same and I have to admit I manage to smuggle lots of them in for Spring as well - lets face it Spring in UK still calls for some warmer outfits!

The sad thing is I don't have many gaps to fill - I hate to have so many clothes I never know what to choose, so my researching and list making skills are really being tested now. 

I like to think I know my current style (we all change constantly I think) and am mostly a background, non-attention grabbing dresser. I like to be comfortable above all else. I give a slight nod to current trends, but tend to stick to my tried and tested looks. My head is easily turned by the latest magazines, blogs and Pinterest, but as I get (much) older, I am just as happy browsing as I am actually forking out the cash and buying the items! My virtual baskets are many, but it is not often they actually make it to the check out!

On my everyday wishlist for Spring:

- the Perfect White Tee (another blog coming up- this is like finding a needle in a haystack). 

- a super comfortable for lots of walking, gladiator sandal, in exactly the right shade of neutral

- khaki trews - style and fabric to be determined but something like this perhaps

- white relaxed jeans

Ripped Boyfriend Jeans at Zara £29.99

Ripped Boyfriend Jeans at Zara £29.99

These few items will keep my fave pieces ticking over while the weather comes and goes. How is your wishlist shaping up? Do you have any rules you follow or tips for us all?

Meg xx

 

 

 

 

You really need this...

So with the weather the way it is at present, who knows what to put on in the morning?! Quite the conundrum. And if we have another spot of amazing high summer temps like we had in London this week, it will be just as excruciating getting out the lily white legs and arms, wouldn't you agree? 

I admit I am not a fast transitioner and it takes me longer than most to give up on my trusty jeans and move into summer dresses or shorts. I am always impressed by the girls wearing their strappy dresses or tiny shorts as soon as the big yellow ball in the sky shows its face. Not for me so far....but I have a discovery which may help me change my mind and my clothes sooner...

Probably old news to many of you, but I am not big on beauty knowledge (in fact I am the most minimal girl you ever met when it comes to beauty routines) and I took up some blogosphere advice on Self Tan this week.  I Was Amazed!

Come on down Cocoa Brown Self Tan...

I have not used self tan since they all smelled hideous and made you turn a nasty shade of orange with horrid telltale streaks everywhere you touched. I was, naturally, very nervous and pretty much already decided that this would just be another big disaster. Boy was I pleasantly surprised!

I was so sure this wouldn't work for me that I only purchased a trial size (serious error on my part). I followed all the steps laid out ...the beginner kit I bought included exfoliant (which was heavenly) and moisturiser (which comes out a scary brown colour even though it has no tint whatsoever). The final step is the tanning mousse which I applied with a tanning mit. The secret is to leave it to develop for a minimum of 3 hours. Quite boring, but it is best to let your skin air dry really well first and the longer you can stay that way, the better your tan will be. I was only doing legs which was pretty easy. But after the three hours you rinse the mouse off and hey presto - you should see some tan. I was a little disappointed at first and wished I had waited longer, but later that same day my legs were a really healthy looking shade. Not super tanned off the beach, but not white and nasty either. I Like It A Lot. I may become addicted..

This is the cute travel kit I bought online and then used the clear plastic bag for all my travel liquids after.

This is the cute travel kit I bought online and then used the clear plastic bag for all my travel liquids after.

 

This stuff is pretty popular it seems and can be hard to track down, so my advice is to stock up whenever you see it. It is currently in Superdrug £7.99 for 150ml and buy one get second at half price... I can even see myself giving this a shot instead of my usual spray tan before holiday, particularly as it should be easy enough for even the husband to apply where I can't reach? 

Let me know how you get on - if nothing else just buy the Tough Stuff body scrub as it looks, feels and smells divine!

Meg

xx





Very long wish list here...

I am a very simple dresser and have my favourite brands and haunts which I use all the time. But I am equally open to finding a new brand to fall in love with. I am pretty fussy about what I buy as I like to keep a smallish capsule wardrobe for  myself. (That is a whole different topic and if you are at all interested I urge you to jump over to www.un-fancy.com where Caroline is an amazing teacher on capsule wardrobes). I am currently putting together my wishlist for Spring 2015 and Massimo Dutti keeps popping up for all sorts of items.  After buying a black lace dress there a few months back, I am very impressed with the quality and styles and the lack of shouting its label out when you are wearing it...

Top  5 items on my Wishlist are :

Nude High Heel Sandal £89.99  - not pretending I could walk much in them, but would be so perfect with almost any denim this Spring.

Nude High Heel Sandal £89.99 - not pretending I could walk much in them, but would be so perfect with almost any denim this Spring.

Cotton and Linen Long Overshirt £64.95 So great for now with denim and khakis or over black skinnies in the evening and then even better over swimmer on summer hols or maybe even half tucked over cut-off denim shorts. The linen should just crumple nicely so it has that lovely casual lived-in look. I am not sure if I am trying to convince you or me of its merits?!

T-Shirt with Kimono Collar £22.95 in coral and white. Will cover up all those indulgences we allow ourselves on a summer holiday - or is that just me? The white version looks gorgeous too, but I have a thing for coral in the sunshine.

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 16.30.23.png

Open Cardigan with Pockets £64.95  Keeping in mind the climate we live in most of the time, this cardigan would be fantastically handy over the top of any outfit you have! And what a perfect topper for your travelling outfit as per my last blog???? 

Two-Tone Chain Necklace £32.95  Despite being a silver girl, I like the idea of mixing metals and there is plenty of High Street jewellery out there which only seems to come in gold, so this could bring it all together nicely?

Two-Tone Chain Necklace £32.95  Despite being a silver girl, I like the idea of mixing metals and there is plenty of High Street jewellery out there which only seems to come in gold, so this could bring it all together nicely?

And I have to sneak a 6th on to the wishlist as I want it so badly...and it is so totally impractical for my life! 

White Blazer £79.95

So that is what I am lusting after for today - but the final cut to my wishlist of real purchases is still to be confirmed. What are you wishing for to get your Spring Wardrobe going?

Meg

xx