Monday, 28 July 2014

Add A Little Sparkle

I'm sure by now we all realise how important a pair of metallic shoes or sandals are for their ability to go with every single item of clothing you own and how the same can be said for a metallic tote, handbag or clutch, but how about adding something a bit more glitzy to jazz up a jeans, cami and heels ensemble for a night out or even a breton top for day.

A sparkly clutch isn't just for Christmas and I happen to be the proud owner of two glitter clutches, both were sales bargains which were too good to resist and the Anya Hindmarch Valorie was a long time obsession whose turquoise hue was completely ignored, I honestly didn't care what it went with, I just had to have it even though I knew a gold, silver or black bag would of been a better option, but it has served me quite well regardless.

Faux leather bags can often look cheap and patent quite plasticky, but glitter is glitter and sequins are sequins now matter how much you spend, so if the budget doesn't quite stretch to designer arm candy, splash your pennies on something sparkly!

1. Warehouse Gold Sparkle Hard Clutch £28. 2. Chesca Sequin Clutch £45 also available in silver. Anya Hindmarch Valerie Glitter Clutch was £350 now £175. 4. Debut Sequin Molded Clutch £28.50. 5. Juno Black Envelope Clutch was £30 now £21

Are sequins or sparkle on your clutch bag wishlist?

Image 1 & 2 via Pinterest.

Check out more accessories and summer sales purchases in my very first You Tube video. Let me know if you would like to see more! 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Thinking About Quantity V Quality

I always start out with good intentions but often get tempted by a bargain of the high street variety. When I started writing the blog back in spring of 2009, I was full of good wardrobe intentions but it didn't last long.

I am a somewhat complex character with a love of designer accessories but also one who can not resist a good high street bargain, which often means I end up with more cheap items than I would really like.  This often leads to me sitting back taking stock, especially at sale time, when I think to myself "I could of had one really good item for the money I have spent on that little lot".

Sometimes 10 cheap sales bargains add up to the price of a really good designer steal and that is where, we need to decide where our wardrobe priorities lie.

Most of my friends are fans of the high street and quite rightly so, ours is one of the best, but when they say "oh I could never afford a designer this or designer that", but pick up 10 sale items at £10 each, that is of course, not strictly true.  Fine if designer goods don't bother you, but I am sometimes made to feel a bit guilty for indulging in a designer purchase and have difficulty in getting my quality v quantity point across to friends, it can become pretty frustrating!

I think I will always be the kind of shopper who buys from both and likes a mixture of quantity and quality but I remain in awe of women who create a new season wishlist and stick to it with just a few high quality items, I am all too often tempted by a mid season bargain or a garment I would never of wanted until I see how good it looks on someone else.

Case in point, I have just sold seven pairs of shoes in order to purchase a new designer pair on sale and I couldn't be happier! My wardrobe is cleared of shoes that I never get round to wearing or ones I can no longer walk in, so I have more space and a lovely new designer purchase for a tad over £100.

So when it comes to fashion, do you prefer to fill your wardrobe with things that you truly love and desire and are more likely to keep for longer, or do you prefer to buy lots of cheaper on trend items?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

My Summer Beauty Edit

With the school holidays just around the corner and the annual family vacation looming ever closer, I thought it high time I shared with you a list of my favourite summer beauty products. These are the essentials I can't live without (or want desperately) when temperatures are soaring in a bid to keep my hair and skin in tip top condition and my make-up bag simplified, as I hate taking loads of products away with me.


I've been using the Sunsense Daily Face Factor 50 since last spring after receiving a sample sized tube in a Glossybox. Although I have always used a high factor sunscreen I often find them quite thick and when I get hot, they seem to melt and run in my eyes making them sting, but I don't have that problem with this lightweight cream that I have also been using whenever I've been out and about these last few weeks and the sun has been shining. I wouldn't be without it now. £20.99 for 75ml perfect for keeping within the 100ml hand baggage restriction of which you are allowed 1 litre total liquids.


Everyone else gets the cheap stuff but I like to be seen using something nice on myself. As we usually travel with hand baggage only I order our sunscreens from Boots online and pick up at the airport once through passport control when you don't need to worry about liquids. Make sure you choose the "airside" and not "landside" branch from the correct departure terminal ie north or south if flying from Gatwick or 1,2,3,4,5 if flying from Heathrow. Easy. Clinique Factor 30 £20.


I would be utterly distraught if I didn't take something to protect my hair. Even though I mostly wear a hat in the sun, I still spray my hair with a sun protector. I figure that you protect your face and body so why not your hair, especially important if it's coloured. Any products over 100ml I decant and have some spray plastic bottles perfect for purpose. £15.


I prefer to stick with my favourite mascara's even when on holiday, so never switch to a waterproof version. Instead I buy this Double Fix Mascara from Clarins which really does the job of keeping my mascara in place and also doubles up to fix and groom eyebrows. Also perfect for weddings (and I should know). £20.


I've been using the Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for lips and cheeks every holiday for years now. You can't beat a dual purpose product when trying to travel light. I have Rose at the moment but am thinking coral or melon this year. I don't like to use powder of any sort on holiday but take a translucent powder compact incase I get hot. £19.


I have had this cream bronzer by Chanel on my beauty wishlist for the past two summers and have only ever heard good things about it and the fact it often sells out. I tried a friends a couple of years ago, I just seem to forget to buy it! £32.


I always wear coral, orange or tangerine hued nail polish on holiday with Chanel's "Orange Fizz" and "Holiday" being favourites in recent years. This year I shall be purchasing "Mirabella" slightly more orange than orange fizz. £17.50.


I love most of the Fake Bake products which is why I use them on a professional level on clients as well as on myself, but the reason I adore the Tan Enhancer so much is because it works on a natural as well as a fake tan, giving longevity and gold glistening particles to both. £13.


These Dermalogica skin kits are perfect for travelling light and will easily last you on a two week vacation if used sparingly. The kits contain everything you need for your daily skincare regime and I find the cleansing gel bottle and toner spray come in really handing for decanting other products once empty, I have a stock of them in my holiday drawer just waiting to be filled! £25.50 available for skin types.


I was lucky enough to be sent these summer beauty treats from the Body Shop. The pot of Vitamin E Aqua Boost for face £12, contains microsphere technology to cool and plump skin. Keep it in the fridge to really cool you down! This will be the perfect make-up base before you go out in the evening. The Aqua Boost Body Sorbet £8, is a welcome addition to their Vitamin E family and offers 24 hour hydration when the heat is on.  Containing organic Aloe Vera, the range of body sorbets are the perfect aftersun essential.
Two new products I will continue to use as I love them both! Shop here and save £10 on a £25 shop and £25 off a £50 shop with free standard delivery on orders over £25.

What summer beauty products could you not live without?

Monday, 21 July 2014

Where Fashion Fits - JD Williams/Lorraine Kelly

On Wednesday evening I was lucky enough to be one of just three bloggers and a group of journalists invited to Londons Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard for a presentation dinner in celebration of a joining of two well established forces, as Lorraine Kelly is named brand ambassador for JD Williams.

I was aware of JD Williams who started out 140 years ago in the mail order sector providing clothing to a more mature demographic, but that is about to change with more fashion forward collections aimed at women in their 40's, 50's and beyond with Lorraine Kelly providing a "Lorraine Loves" A/W edit and already sketching her own designs for S/S15.

Lorraine has a passion for good quality reasonably priced clothing and is a big fan of the British High Street when it comes to her own clothing choices. Lorraine said she was "chomping at the bit" to get involved and represent a growing number of women who like myself, believe that style is for every age. The presenter said she was thrilled to be involved with the brand in addition to creating her own range of designs and at 54, still loves fashion.  Lorraine topped a poll of JD Williams customers as someone they can trust and admitted she feels that women in this age group are constantly ignored by retailers despite them representing a large portion of the market and hopes that she can help to change this.

Honoured to be seated right across from the lady herself, Angela Spindler - CEO of the Brown Group, Mark Heyes and Hilary Alexander, our dinner conversation consisted of everything from Zumba to Liz Jones, but I'm sorry to tell you guys, I don't think we will be seeing Lorraine doing Strictly any time soon, although with her love of Zumba, I'm sure she has a lot more rhythm than previous morning television presenters that have taken to the dance floor in recent years!

Lorraine was wearing a dress by Joanna Hope at JD Williams and has picked some gorgeous pieces for the forthcoming season in the Lorraine Loves edit.

JD Williams are part of the Brown group which houses brands such as Simply Be, Marisota and Gray and Osbourn.

I look forward to showing you my own top picks in a future blog post.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Bodens Best 70% Off Bargains

So I filled the tan flat sandal gap in my shoe cupboard, and the black (although they have a small heel) but something tells me that reduced by 70% to just £17.70 - the gold gap doth need to be filled also. And maybe the black flat gap at the same price? I think my husband might go just a tiny bit crazy as I really do have too many shoes but two pairs for less than the full price of one sounds like an offer not to be refused! Buy here.

As regular readers will know, I adore my Lola top in navy but again with 70% off and at £17.70, the white is calling my name! Come to Mumma! Shop Lola Tops here.

I've been loving yellow this season so it's good to see the Selina Dress in this colour print has 70% off and is now only £38.70 from £103.20! It looks like the perfect summer frock, great for holidays or dress it up for a summer occasion.

Trying hard not to sob over the fact the first Beach Throw On I bought is now £14.70. You would be a complete fool not to put one in your suitcase. Can somebody please pass me a tissue?

These Marigold jeans make a great alternative to white when it comes to summer denim. I love the styling here with the monochrome print top and tan sandals, stylish summer simplicity and I can imagine just how well these will work with denim shirts and a black cashmere knit come autumn. Now £14.70 from £49.

I don't usually wear scarves in summer but if I did and I know that an awful lot of readers do, these pretty print scarves are worth stocking up on with ten prints now only £7.50 from £25.

What bargains have you snagged in the Boden sale this season?

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

White Dress

It took me years to find a white summer dress and then two summers on the trot, I got one. First a short sleeved option from a local boutique and then last year this one from Gap.

For me a white dress is a summer wardrobe staple, so easy to throw on and wear with any colour sandals you may already have lurking in your shoe cupboard although I particularly love white worn with tan. There are still some white dresses lurking around but be quick before the shops fill up with boring black jumpers - winter clothes are such a drag.

Rosalie Broderie Dress £59 Monsoon.

White Brodrais Sundress
Mint Velvet Broderis Sundress was £59 now £49

NW3 Evie Dress
NW3 at Hobbs Evie Dress was £179 now £134.

French Connection Sunflower Dress was £110 now £55

Do you have a white dress hole in your wardrobe? If you have one, what colour do you accessorise it with?

Four Essential Areas Of Your Style You Need To Customise!

All it takes is a quick flick through the glossy magazines or even just a glance at people walking down the street to realise that individuality and customisation is in, and off the rack is pretty much out the door. The great thing is we’re not just talking those high end clothing boutiques that make stuff to order – it’s a lot more about combining some of your favourite styles and creating a great partnership that looks unique and really defines ‘you’.

This guest post, provided by the jewellery customisation experts at Simon Wright Sapphire Engagement Rings, runs through some of the essential areas of your style that you need to tackle when taking things from high street to unique.

1. Restyle & Refashion Your Outdated Wares
Your best option, especially if you’re a bit unsure as to how skilful you are with a needle and thread, is to start with something you’re not particularly bothered about – that way, if it ends up in a fabric-based massacre you won’t be mourning the loss of your favourite threads. Buy something cheap or second hand with the purpose of doing it up and get creative with other fabrics!

Add leather sleeves to a denim jacket; grab some fabric flowers and liven up an old cardigan; revitalise the hems of skirts and dresses with some lace or satin. The possibilities are endless so just jump in at the deep end and experiment!

2. Rockify Your Denim
Nothing lets people know you love throwing up the horns at a gig than denim, and if you’re a fan of heavy metal then it’s time to get metal heavy. Take your old, tired looking denim jackets (or pick one up at a charity shop for that vintage distressed look) and add metal studs, chains, zips and studded words/band names on the back. If you’ve got something a little big or baggy, then roughly cut off the sleeves and let the edges fray – take that society!

3. Customise Your Jewellery!
If you’re not too au fait with a needle and thread, but still love to get creative, then customising your jewellery is a great way to go. Adding charms or gems to earrings and necklace chains is a fantastic way to give yourself something new and unique; perhaps try salvaging an old necklace and re-purposing it as a cute little bracelet.

Customising your jewellery is perhaps one of the easiest ways to get individual with your style, and also one of the most effective.

4. Get Arty With Your Shoes
Take a look in your wardrobe and count the number of pairs of canvas shoes you have, and which you likely haven’t worn in a long, long time. Before you start grabbing the black bags and recklessly tossing them in, just remember one key word in their name – canvas. They can be a fantastic clean slate for you to get creative and own some truly unique, individual shoes that don’t cost anywhere near as much as their store bought counterparts. Grab some fabric pens, trace some designs and revitalise your footwear!

When it comes to customising your clothing, accessories and overall fashion sense the potential options are virtually limitless – these are just four of the key ways to get creative and truly individual. It doesn’t matter how adept with a needle and thread or sewing machine you view yourself – even the smallest of changes can take something from generic high street wares into something everyone else will be jealous they don’t have in their own wardrobes.

When in doubt, just run with your gut instinct – what have you got to lose?!

This guest post was written by Tom McShane – a blogger working in association with custom engagement right jewellers Simon Wright Jewellery.

 *sponsored content

Monday, 14 July 2014

Summer Series - Poolside Chic On The Cheap

If like me you live in an area where the kids don't break up from school for at least another week and are heading off to the sun sometime during the six week holidays but haven't given a thought to your holiday wardrobe, now is the time to take action!

With the summer sales starting earlier and earlier each year, it's so easy to forget about buying for your holiday wardrobe and even harder if you need pieces that will take you from day to night due to luggage restrictions when the shops will be filling up with coats and knitwear by the time you head off to the Airport!

I always keep things like swimwear and cover-ups in a holiday drawer so it's pretty easy to see what I need or what needs replacing. I have a rough idea on clothes and footwear, it will just be an extension on what I took to Marbella in May but that was only for three nights whereas our end of August break is for nine (but virtually 11 days due to flight times) and we are still only taking hand luggage only, so it will take some very canny planning. On that basis I thought I would compile a list of holiday essentials that are either super cheap at full price or heavily reduced in the sales. A compliation of items you simply can't leave home without, but also a few multi tasking pieces that will double up from day to night with ease, if like me, you are only taking a carry on but with up to 70% off in some stores, sizes are selling out fast, so it's time to get organised!

1. Butterfly by Matthew Williamson shorts now £10.50 Also in White here.
Shorts in all sizes are really hard to find but Debenhams is probably the best website at the moment because they have more styles available. Opt for a classic colour like beige, white, black or navy and remember a smarter style can be worn out in the evening with sparkly flats or wedges and a pretty top but dress down easily with t-shirts for lunch or day trips.

2. Black Crepe Floral Kimono £12.99 New Look.
It's only since buying one I realise just how invaluable they are. You can wear it to the Airport over jeans and a vest top, with your shorts for daytrips, over block colour dresses in the evening and demote it further into your holiday as a swimsuit cover-up. Although this one isn't on sale it's still cheaper than those that are and New Look certainly have a good priced range available. Top Tip: buy one that fits with the colour of other clothes you intend to take.

3.Straw Beach Tote £12.50 Marks and Spencer.
A neutral coloured straw beach bag will go with all your outfits and can double up as your carry on.

4.Purity Bikini Top was £45 now £31 and Bottoms was £40 now £28 from Sweaty Betty. 
Get more looks but less packing with reversible swimwear this summer. Great if you still wear a two piece not so easy to find in a costume. This grey stripe with pink trim bikini from Sweaty Betty is plain grey on the reverse. Check out other reversible ranges at Simply Beach (which includes a Moontide Tankini in black and white) here and at Next here.

5.Beach Collection Sunglasses at Debenhams was £16 now £8.
If I had a pound for every client who leaves a pair of sunglasses in my beauty room throughout the year, I swear I would be rich and it at least makes me understand why some women won't pay a lot of money for summer eye wear. Me, well I treat my sunglasses as if I have just given birth to them and would be utterly distraught if I lost any but you can still look ultra glam on the cheap with a pair of large black "Jackie O" style sunnies and these Debenhams ones even have a diamante feature at the temples to crank up the glam factor in a very Bvlgari esque fashion! They have a great selection of styles at similar price points here.

6.Janet Reger Natural Floppy Hat was £19.50 now £15.60.
The floppy hat really seems to have overtaken the Panama and Trilby in the beach hat steaks this year. Far more glamourous to look at and offers a lot more protection and coverage to your face, hair and neck. Look like a A-Lister as you carry yours around the Airport, or wear it if you are young enough to not look and feel like a complete fool! Top Tip: If you need to pack your, fill it with underwear or swimwear and put in upside down as you get near to the top of the case, pack around it, leaving the brim free and flat so that it will be the only thing touching the lid of your case. 

7. Jigsaw Mandarin Silk Maxi Dress was £179 now £107 available here and here.
If you only take one dress, make it a maxi in a simple style that will dress up with jewellery for evening but look equally as good during the day or as a swimsuit cover up later in your holiday, If you've been in store and seen how stunning this Jigsaw maxi dress is, it will need no explanation at all. Such a bright and beautiful colour it would look amazing with a tan. Budget friendly options include this fab dress from Debenhams for £23.70 (scroll down page for full range of colours available).

8. Moda In Pelle Sandals available in gold, silver or pewter was £59.95 now £49.95
I know I would struggle to pack just one pair of shoes even though I only ever take hand luggage. I like my Haviana's for the pool and they pack easily enough. I also like to take a wedge for evenings but if you are really restricted and can only fit one pair in your suitcase, then opt for an embellished or metallic sandal that can be worn round the pool, on day trips and also for evenings out. 
Also love these from Boden if you prefer your sandals more streamlined and without a toe post, such a fab bargain too! Top Tip: Keep things streamlined by wearing silver jewellery with silver sandals and gold with gold etc 

9. Kin By John Lewis Vest Top was £35 now £17.
The go with anything top is a wardrobe essential whether at home or abroad. Wear yours with denims shorts, chino's, harem pants, the list is endless. Will also work under your kimono. Budget friendly options are available from New Look where a jersey cami top starts at £2.99 and three packs start at £7.50 here.Top Tip: Go for a floaty style in a luxe looking fabric as these work better for evening.

10. Gold Lace Effect Collar was £12.50 now £8.75.
Sometimes all you need to lift a holiday outfit from day to nightwear is a pair of heels and a statement necklace and this season I have picked up some great bargain jewellery from Wallis. Their Opaque flower pendent is a homage to the Banana Republic one I can't afford and their silver link necklace is very J.Crew, also without the extortionate price tag. Shop all necklaces at Wallis here. Top Tip: Don't forget to match your costume jewellery to the colour of your metallic sandals.

11. RJR John Rocha Ikat Printed Trousers was £35 now £17.50.
Printed Trousers or Harem Pants also serve as a great holiday piece especially if you opt for silky lightweight luxe fabrics that work for both day and night. I tend to wear trousers in the early days of a holiday when my legs aren't quite as tanned as I would like. They pack easily and could double up to form part of your travel outfit if you don't want to arrive at a hot destination wearing jeans. Top Tip: Opt for a monochrome print so that you can wear them with various colour tops and cami's to get more looks, just imagine these worn with cobalt blue, red or orange, simply stunning!

12. Accessorize Lotus Flower Clutch was £32 now £22.
Ever since the Accessorize breton stripe embellished clutch hit the headlines back in April, every fashion editor and blogging worth their salt snapped one up and naturally it is now out of stock! A pretty more feminine alternative is the Lotus Flower Clutch featured above but you might try your luck by ringing your local store. Top Tip: If taking a box clutch or larger bag on holiday, save on space by filling it will knickers or swimwear before you pack it.

Have you grabbed any sales bargains for your holiday or in a panic because you haven't yet?