Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Holiday Packing Challenge - It all starts with a perfectly packed case. Case 1 - the girl who wants to take too much.

Although I am not off on my holiday just yet, I have decided to pack early as it is looking doubtful that I, nor anybody else in the family, shall be needing to wear any summer clothes and I do like to be organised as feel the later you leave it, the more likely you are to forget something.

Firstly today, I packed Claudia's case and although the contents of hers will in no way resemble what I plan to take, it is just to give you an idea, some packing inspiration and to see what your own daughter might wish to take and I don't want you to despair.

She kept going on and on about how I wouldn't be able to fit all her clothes in, a bikini for every day and 7 night time outfits, a couple of pairs of sandals and some day time options which can mix and match easily.  I told her to relax, I could easily do it and sure enough I did and this is for a girl who couldn't pack a full size case with exactly the same amount of clothes in, when she came back from Ibiza last week!  I did meddle with the nightwear, underwear and bikini quota a bit as I have no problem with putting a few bits in the wash with our swimming costumes every night.

The sandals were a bit dodgy but to keep their shape I filled them up with swimwear and underwear. The other sandals she wants to take are clumpy flatforms so I have told her she must wear those to travel in.

I started by laying her beach towel and dresses in first, with the ends hanging over the edge of the suitcase.  It may seem a bit strange but it is a great way to encompass all of the contents when you get to the finishing line to help secure them and keep in place.

So although this may be the contents of a 19 year olds case, the rules can be applied to anybody, after all I have another three to pack and they will all have different contents, but by using the same method, I am hoping to prove a point that for a 7 night holiday you don't have to pay baggage charges if you are using a budget airline.

So to pack we have:-

3 Dresses
4 pairs of shorts
I playsuit
5 tops
1 sandals
1 beachbag
1 book
I beach towel
5 swimsuits
1 sarong
flip flops
5 pants
3 pyjamas
2 suntan lotions
lip balm

It is my intention to spread the toiletries out over all four cases, as you can imagine when it comes to packing my 11 year old sons, I should have a lot more room and weight to play with.

Firstly I laid everything out on my bed.

The sandals packed with bikini's and pants!

Laying the longest items in the case first, this may be long trousers in your case, but use the same principle.

I put the shoes and flip flops in plastic bags and laid them in the case next, so that I could fill in gaps around them with underwear and small clothing.

To maximise space I am constantly pushing the contents down and as soon as I feel a gap, I fill it! Sorry about picture of giant hand!

Nearly there!

Bringing the longer items up and over the contents of the case.

Once you have done this, you may well find some small gaps around the edges of the case, I filled these with small toiletries.

I was flattening everything down constantly as I did up the straps.

Finally think about your time of arrival. If you can go straight out and sunbathe, put your swimsuit and towel on top but as in our case it was pyjamas, toothbrush and toothpaste, yes straight to bed for us as we arrive in the early hours.
All done up, no problem, I am packing genius!

Then on to the bathroom scales to make sure it is not over the 10kg hand luggage allowance. No sweat, I might even let her take another bikini!

Have you got any packing tips to share?

Bargain du jour

The bargain to top all bargains, thanks to Jools who managed to score some of the famous and iconic Terry De Haviland wedges!  Sadly they are all sold out now, but there are two pairs of beauties left in black or bronze, reduced from a mind blowing £315 to £50!  Miss out and you may live to regret it!

Terry de havilland Aries sandal Black leather

Was £315 now £50 buy here.

Terry de havilland Aries sandal Bronze leather

Bronze was £315 now £50 available here.

Monday, 30 July 2012

5 pieces to buy now and wear Later.

With the sales now on their "last knockings" and the strong possibility we have seen the last of the sunshine, its time for me to look ahead and shop the sales for new season trends and wardrobe staples at massive reductions.

Stormy Fur Hood Coat
I have wanted a Parka since I watched the live streamed NYFW shows in Feb 2011, still haven't got one, but now is the time!  Not only are Parka's still around (both military and camo are still bang on trend this season) they don't really date and if you are anything like me and prefer a day time outerwear option that has a hood and eliminates the need for an umbrella, then this French Connection number surely gets the thumbs up! Was £160 now £79.

When it comes to jeans and colder weather, its all about the "skinny" for me.  Nothing else quite fits the bill when it comes to tucking jeans into boots and if you are in the market for an absolute bargain on one of my favourite wardrobe staples, then head on over to Donna Ida, the denim specialist where you can get an extra 50% off of sale prices using code "extra50" at checkout which makes these jeans an astonishing £45!  James Jeans were £180, now £90 with discount £45!

The Isabel Marant "Dicker" boot and the Ash "Jalouse" obsession shows no sign of abating this season (well not with me anyway) but if your wallet is more used to carrying pennies rather than pounds and your debit card makes a weird sort of screeching sound when you go to checkout, then the only option is to look for a High Street alternative and especially one that is even further reduced in the sale! I love that these boots are white, lets not give up on summer too quickly and these will make a great transitional footwear item if you ever get to wear a skirt or dress again.  Dune "Pickett" Boots was £99 now £59.

Nothing feels more luxurious than a silk shirt and although this Tucker blouse from Stanwells gives a nod to this summers pyjama trend, I still think this will fast become a luxurious "go to" wardrobe piece and will look fab with jeans either tucked in or hanging loose. Tucker Silk Shirt was £295 now £88.50.

The Asymmetric Jumper | Tops | Isabella Oliver
I ordered this Isabella Oliver Asymmetric jumper in orange a few months back, so decided as I am looking ahead to cooler temperatures, it was time to invest in the navy option.  So easy to wear and a great layering piece whether over a classic white shirt or long sleeve t-shirt, for me it was a no brainer.
Was £75 now £45 but with an extra 10% off using code "extra712" at checkout here.

Are you shopping ahead with staple pieces at sale prices?

Stanwells Denim Den, J Brand, Mother Denim, Goldsign, MiH, Nobody Denim, Citizens of Humanity

Sunday, 29 July 2012

My week in iphone pictures.

After missing out on the first two days of sunshine and decent temperatures due to work and blogging commitments, I decided that the beauty of being self employed and living so near to the beach was that I could throw caution to the wind, get my priorities right and spend some quality time beside the sea with my son.
Claudia was still in Ibiza, Courtenay packing for Cyprus, so I made up a picnic lunch and off we went and what a lovely afternoon we had, just the two of us.

The tide was coming in and we had to move up the beach three times in the four hours we were there and I can't describe how lovely it was to lay and relax, feel the waves trickling over your feet and hear them lapping at the shore, so therapeutic, and I managed not to lose my Haviana's
My old Juicy Couture denim shorts (a purchase from Choice in Bluewater, many years ago) have stood the test of time and got their first outing of the year and are still the perfect length for someone in their forties, I even rolled them up a bit! 

Fast forward a couple of days and the garden told a different story with an overcast grey sky but I was soon cheered by the arrival of my first GLOSSYBOX and a lunch of pitta bread and humus. What do you mean I'm easily pleased?

They say all good things come in little packages and when unexpected parcels arrive containing anti-ageing skincare and make up goodies that will be great for my holiday, the product junkie in me went into overdrive!  I couldn't resist trying out the Avon nailwear pro+ nail polish and although I am not normally a huge fan of pink's, I absolutely love it, such a gorgeous summer shade, Viva Pink and thank you Halpern PR!

Hope you have all had chance to spend some time relaxing in the sun this week!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Ticking my box with GLOSSYBOX!

I have been toying with the idea of signing up to one of these monthly subscription beauty boxes for some time now, so when I was contacted by GLOSSYBOX and offered to trial their July box, being a complete and utter product junkie, I was beyond excited and couldn't wait for its impending arrival!

"Every month, GLOSSYBOX delivers a mix of 5 exciting product miniatures packed in a beautiful box for you to test at home"

I have read mixed reviews on beauty boxes from various brands and wondered if  I would be disappointed with my first one.
Described as a "Festival Box" I was slightly apprehensive when I opened my parcel, as my Festival going days were over about 20 years ago and the closest I get now is to a Harvest Festival, where I have to empty my cupboards out for the school to give food parcels to the local old peoples home!
However, upon closer inspection there were a number of products which were as suited to a holiday, either home or away, as they would be to a Festival, so I was a very happy bunny with a trip to Marbella coming up in the not too distant future.

1. The Awapuhi Wild Ginger Texturising Sea Spray.
This Paul Mitchell hair product will be great for achieving a tousled beachy style to my hair and can be used on wet hair before blow drying or on dry hair to add texture to your style and it smells divine.  Great to use for an evening out on holiday when you are too hot and bothered to style your hair every night.
A generous 25ml product - perfect for travel and the Full size 150ml bottle retails for £18.95 making this worth around £3.

2. Jelly Pong Pong Lip Frosting.
A fab product which doubles up as a lip and cheek colour perfect for lightweight packing. Again a product that smells divine, in Irish Cream Pavlova, a lovely shiny medium pink which will work for all skin tones.
This is a full size 15ml product and retails for £10.

3.Kryolan Satin Powder eye shadow.
I don't usually wear eyeshadow but having tried this on the back of my hand, I really like it and would be happy to put a wash of colour over my lids on a night out.  It can easily be built up for a more intense peachy colour which I tried on the back of my hand.
Another full size 3g product that retails for £4.75.

4.Collin Resultime Gel.
We all know the importance of Collagen as it supports the skin and wrinkles develop as the collagen begins to break down beneath the surface and this product which contains 15 key skin molecules and can be used as a sleep mask or a serum, will be a welcome addition to my skincare routine.
This is a generous 15ml sample and a full size 50ml tub retails for a whopping £47.25(!) making this sample worth around £14.

5. Monu Calming Cream
A green tinted cream which reduces redness is not a product I have ever thought about purchasing but I know I could probably do with one to even out my skin tone, so again very pleased with this.
This is a 20ml sized sample and 15ml is actually full sized so this is even bigger than that. 15ml retails for £14.95 making this worth around £20.

6. A bonus product not on the contents list was an Elizabeth Arden sachet containing an exfoliating cleanser, skin serum and balancing lotion with an spf15 which always come in handy when you have run out of products or to take with you if staying overnight somewhere.

For me with my skincare and trial sized product obsession, the box was perfect and I am definitely taking out a subscription, just look at how much the products are worth!

For just £10 a month (+ p&p) and with the confidence of being able to cancel at any time, personally I think it is a fantastic way to trial new products and brands that you may otherwise never have even looked at. GLOSSYBOX also offer a "gift" option and what a perfect way to buy a gorgeous pressie for the girl who has everything!
I also love how it would be something to look forward to receiving every month and especially how you can earn "Glossy Dots" by simply reviewing the products which in turn can lead to you getting free boxes!
"For every completed individual product survey, you will receive 50 GLOSSYDots and with 1000 GLOSSYDots your next box is free."

GLOSSYBOX are offering readers of the Blog the opportunity to try their beauty boxes with  20% off the first GLOSSYBOX of all subscriptions using the code AFF2LOOKFAB until midnight on 5th August 2012. Click here to sign up.

Are you open to trying new beauty products and would you buy GLOSSYBOXES for yourself?

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Look Book looks to love at Donna Ida and Boden.

It was a sad day when I decided to throw out my spring and summer look books.  Both the dining table and side table in the sitting room looked remarkably bear, but OH was pleased as my home office which is usually spread over two rooms and has no designated space for all the things I need to be a dedicated follower of fashion, began to diminish and make our living space look like it should be, a living space.

But I wasn't without them for long as Tuesday saw the arrival of the first two Autumn/Winter offerings and although the temperature outside was scorching and I had just returned from an afternoon at the local beach, I couldn't help but get excited by what the new season has to offer.

Donna Ida the designated denim destination, has me salivating over shaggy Yeti style faux fur (one of my many weaknesses), cobalt blue, metallics and a rather tempting fur trimmed Parka, something that had been high up on last winters wish list but I never managed to snag one in the January sales. Donna shows us how to dress up our denim with cutting edge, fashion forward pieces that will take you through the colder months ahead where jeans are the staple we can't live without.

Meanwhile over at Boden, the words "effortless" and "style" sprang to mind, two words not normally associated with my Boden vocabulary, but that is exactly what it is and although middle class mums all over the UK might be baulking at the brands lack of bright and funky signature prints, this season offers a collection full of appeal to a much wider demographic, although the prints are still there, but in more muted autumnal tones.
I have a shopping list as long as my arm and after the success of my first grown up Boden purchase, the long sleeve Breton, this season's colours are right up there!

What looks are you loving for autumn?

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Five Star Protection.

It seemed a little ironic that finally the UK see's Mediterranean style temperatures and Monday's nights "Horizon" on BBC2 was all about anti-ageing!  I couldn't fail to be amazed by the amount of people on my Facebook who left a status at some point that evening saying how burnt they were, with the words "tomato" and "lobster" featuring quite heavily in their painful sentences - seriously do people never learn?

The 20 and 30 year olds amongst us still have time to do something about the effects of the sun on their skin (although as in my case and the long hot summer of 76, not so much, as a lot of the damage is caused when you are a child) but I learnt something from the programme and taking care of your skin in the sun and which protection to use, and I thought I knew it all but it is all about the Five Star UVA protection.

I always use factors 50 and 30 and am still trying to spread the word and make the more ignorant around me understand that you will still get a tan with a high factor, you just won't burn, simples!  Even with my constant nagging about sun protection my three daughters all have different tanning habits. The elder one uses sunbeds occasionally despite my moaning and never seems to come back from holiday as tanned as she did when she still came away with the family and wasn't allowed to go below a factor 30.  Now she burns and then has to spend a few days out of the sun to recover, tut tut.  Middle daughter is no different and thinks it is acceptable to start your holiday on a Factor 15 and the only one with any suntanning sense is the youngest who rang me from her last day in Ibiza yesterday to say she had the most wicked tan (which I will see for myself this afternoon) and hadn't dropped below a factor 30 for the whole 10 days of her holiday. Well done girl, at least someone listens to Mummy!

Whether at home or abroad, when your pasty lily white skin gets its first outing in the sunshine, it is going to burn and just as importantly, age, unless you take adequate steps to prevent this.

So with a planned picnic lunch and an afternoon at the local beach yesterday for me and my 11 year old son, it was obvious some serious sun protection was required,so upstairs I went to my "holiday" drawer where all things summer are stored and out came a vast array of sun tan lotions.  If I hadn't have watched the Horizon programme I wouldn't have known to check for the 5 star protection thingy, so was amazed to find that a lot of the brands we love and trust are actually only 3 star UVA, naughty, naughty.

Here are a large selection of what I found, all family favourites and please bear in mind that some of these belong to the daughter who is off to Ayia Napa with a one way ticket on Friday (oh to be young again).

So here we have it:

1.Piz Buin - 3 star UVA
2. Boots Soltan - 5 star
3.Superdrug - 5 star
4. Nivea (shock, horror) - 3 star
5. Tesco - 5 star

Ah very interesting I thought, as a lot of the brands I often buy only have a 3 star UVA rating, so thanks Horizon for the eye-opener which I hope in turn will alert Blog readers who may not yet have bought their summer holiday sun protection, or who like me, think it is really important to protect young children adequately.

Another thing to look out for is the life of your sun tan lotion once opened, as lots of us use bottles which have been left over from the previous year, so look out for the little symbol pictured below of an open lid, which applies once your product has been opened. Again these vary on my products with some being 12 months and some 18 months.

If you still haven't bought your sun tan lotions, I find one of the best and most cost effective ways to buy this is with the Boots Soltan family pack, which contains a kids product, an aftersun plus 2 sun tan lotions for only £12.99 and you know you are getting 5 star protection for all the family and products with an 18 month shelf life along with a really handy plastic pouch which I use to take other perishable products on holiday with me.

Buy here.

Are you aware of the importance of 5***** protection?

Maximise Your Sales by Offering a Variety of Delivery Options.

I realise that many of you like me, shop online or either buy and sell clothes, shoes and accessories on auction sites, so with the start of the Olympics this Friday and the imminent disruption this will cause, with an estimated 1 million extra people on the roads of London, have any of you given any thought to delays that may be caused to parcel deliveries over the next few weeks and what delivery options you can offer as a seller or an e-tailer?

A reputation for fast and reliable parcel delivery is increasingly important to UK businesses, especially as more and more customers are choosing to do much of their shopping online. While 8.3 percent of all retail sales were made through the Internet in 2011, that amount may rise to above 10 percent in 2012. Most companies see online selling as a way to actually increase their customer base by inviting global browsers to visit their stores at any time and any day of the year.

Since 88 percent of regular Internet shoppers read site reviews before they place their order, retailers need to establish a positive online reputation if they hope to attract more customers. Being appreciated for rapid parcel delivery is one way to accomplish this, and choosing a courier service that offers reliable collections and delivery options is an important aspect. By offering a wide variety of rapid delivery plans, the courier service can help retailers maximise their sales opportunities.

Parcelforce Worldwide, a division of Royal Mail Group, is probably best known for its next-day and 2-day service guarantees. However, it is also able to offer slower collection and delivery services plus overseas shipping options. Online tracking is another helpful feature that allows customers to follow their packages to their proper destinations. This process also allows retailers to manage their customer orders quickly and efficiently.

Shippers can also specify how they want to handle the collection and delivery of their merchandise. Parcelforce Worldwide will send out a driver to pick up parcels, or customers can bring their package to one of the many Parcelforce Worldwide depots. Barcoded address labels can be printed online.

Deliveries are just as easy. Knowing that many people are not at home during regular working hours, customers can make arrangements to have their packages dropped off at a neighbour’s home, at their local depot, or at one of the 11,000 Post Office outlets scattered around the country. Parcel recipients can even request an email notifying them of the arrival of their package and where to pick it up.

With a hectic summer schedule and anticipated disruptions due to hosting the London Olympics and the Paralympics, couriers are adding extra employees, hours, and routes to their normal collections and delivery schedules, and retailers will still be able to provide their customers with the fastest and most reliable shipping services. As a result, they will be looking for those valuable, positive site reviews that will become the fuel for increased Internet sales—and that’s a very good thing.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Take the Fashion Fright Out of Your Night Out.

The weekend is approaching, your foot taps a little faster, and you can’t take your eyes off the clock. Your thoughts turn to your upcoming night out, and you grin, picturing music, cocktails, laughter. But then your face falls. Nothing in your closet is right.

You surf the ‘net but the choices seem overwhelming.

Take a deep breath. Follow a few simple rules when it comes to evening dresses and you’ll be setting the style standard in no time.

Long is in.

Maxi dresses are in this season, so don’t shy away from longer skirts and dresses. The tendency is to think that long = ultra formal, but this doesn’t have to be the case.  From kaftans by Etro to the hippie-meets-posh Ted Baker offering,  designers are snatching these looks right from the runway to keep you looking current.

Gather ‘round the gathers.

For truly glamorous evening dresses and cocktail dresses, lush pieces with draped and gathered fabric are dominating the scene. The one-shoulder and vintage-inspired designs are back, and both bold colors and pastels are stylish right now. Fashion favorite, Monique Lhuillier, combines all of these looks in a cyan one shoulder number made of pure silk for a truly drop-dead gown.

Your little black dress doesn’t have to be all black.

If you really did experience the above panic when thinking about your closet, it’s time to invest in that LBD. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box; choose something with a pattern, or blocks of color. Just remember to always pick the cut that works for your body, not the mannequin’s.

Happy shopping!

Monday, 23 July 2012

The return of the "it" bag with Fendi's new season offering.

The Carrie Bradshaw/Fendi partnership will be well remembered, not just by fans of Sex and the City but from fashionista's the world over as it started the rise of that well used term, the "it" bag.  In the early seasons of the series, Patricia Field the show's stylist, used thrift shops to source both clothes and accessories for the show to keep within tight budget restrictions, then Fendi, the first important designer to loan items, came along with the Baguette and the rest is history as they say.

From her sequin Baguette being stolen along with her Manolo's, to Samantha toying with the idea of buying a fake Fendi out of the boot of a car, the brand's arm candy became one of the most coveted handbag brands the world over.  Fast forward a few years and after massive success with the Spy Bag and more recently the Peekaboo, the brand is again kicking up a storm with a brand new arrival for Autumn/Winter 12/13 which has already been seen, pre-release, on the arm of Sarah Jessica Parker who has her own monogrammed version of the Fendi 2jours Elite Tote.

It appears the Star has taken advantage of Fendi's monogramming service and had her black tote embossed with her initials.

Although I prefer the classic black with gold hardware, there are other colours and sizes available.

Alligator Fendi 2jours Bag

Other A-Listers already carrying the 2jours include Kate Moss and Tilda Swinton.


Check next your must item below the link!

Yoko Kondo/近藤陽子(Fashion editor)


The side leather on the bag is different to that used on the mainframe. The front and back leather is the same leather that Prada use for their bags and is also used by Michael Kors on the Hamilton tote.

image via bagservant

Grab yourself a Latte whilst you have your luggage tag embossed with your initials in Selfridges where the bag is now available.

image via baghag
image via baghag


I can guarantee this bag will be the Fashion Editors bag of choice come September Fashion Week, it is certainly right up there on my wish list alongside anything from Chanel and Celine although I still wouldn't say no to the far more reasonably priced Philip Lim Pashli.

What do you think of Fendi's new offering?