Category Archives: Fashion

Shake your pom poms!

Make your own pompom accessories

I have an enduring love for pom poms. I’m so drawn to the little fluffy balls of colour, you might as well call me a pom pom magpie. So I’m excited that they’re having moment this summer. You’ll find them on bags, tunics, scarves, earrings and anything else you can think of. 

Have a go at making your own pom pom accessories. Like most summer trends, this one’s probably not going to endure beyond the end of August. Why spend lots of money, when you can decorate the things you already have?

And was there ever an easier craft to make? Invest in a pom pom maker (trust me, this is one purchase you’ll never regret) and you’ll be churning them out in no time. It’s the perfect craft for hot summer days when anything more fiddly is too difficult to contemplate.

All you need to do is make a few pom poms and leave their long strings (the ones you tie them together with) intact. Then, you can then tie them to every possession you own.

Have a go at making your own pom pom accessories.

I’ve decorated my French market basket

Have a go at making your own pom pom accessories.

…and my favourite summer sandals. There’s no sewing involved, just knot them on. You can cut them off when you get fed up of them, and change the colours according to your outfit! 

Have a go at making your own pom pom accessories.

Don’t fancy getting crafty? Here’s my pick of the best summer buys. Please forgive me the momentary lapse in taste – I think we all need a pet pom pom parrot for summer.

Summer pom pom accessories

Sandals, £25.99, New Look /  Parrot keyring, £4.99, New Look / Earrings, £7.50, ASOS / Basket, £21.99, ASOS

make your own pom pom accessories

Are you ready to shake your pom poms?

 

 

Make a blazer your new best friend

Summer blazer

I’ve always overlooked blazers. It’s easy to do. They’re a bit unassuming aren’t they? Always in the shadows, they were never going to win the popularity contest to be my best friend.

That’s a bit mean though, isn’t it? I’ve decided it’s time we made friends. My fear has always been that blazers are a bit dull. But this perceived weakness is actually the blazer’s greatest strength. Its simple, utilitarian style is pretty cool.

Summer blazer

A simple navy blazer goes with everything – pleated skirts, floaty dresses, ripped jeans… But my favourite way to style it is with wide-leg linen trousers and a Breton – classic summer attire for those days when you want to feel a little more pulled together.

Summer blazer

Summer blazer

Keep things low-key by choosing a slightly stretchy, jersey fabric for a more unstructured look.

My jacket is from H&M. It’s now sold out online, but it’s worth trying your luck in store. If you’d prefer to shop online, let me point you in the direction of this gorgeous jersey jacket by Boden:

Image: Boden

Or, if you’d prefer something more loose and unstructured, this jacket from New Look is perfection:

Image: New Look

My t-shirt is by H&M, and my trousers are last summer’s linen wide-legs from Marks and Spencer – who do fantastic linen at brilliant prices. This pair from their current collection are very similar.

Do you have a blazer lurking at the back of your wardrobe? Get it out and make it your new best friend! 

Summer blazer

A very clever dress

Clever occasion wear

It’s June, which means it’s time to get ready for the Great British summer of events and occasions. Like most things in Britain, it’s complicated.

Whether you’re going to a wedding, a garden party or the races you’ll face a few challenges. Not least of which is the notorious Great British summer weather. Yes, that. The days that go from scorching hot to soaking wet, all at the drop of a hat.

And it’s not just the weather that’s changeable. Summer events can vary hugely – genteel one minute, and raucous the next. You need to be flexible.

Outfit indecision is rife. As is the fear of getting it wrong. You need to get smart and choose a clever outfit. Something that’ll feel great, and take you anywhere. Step forward the shirt dress, the most versatile of outfits. It’s smart in every sense of the word. Dress it up, dress it down – it’s up to you. 

Clever occasion wear

And I think I’ve found the perfect one. When Simply Be invited me to try out their summer occasion wear, I knew immediately that this was the dress for me. I toyed with flowers and maxis, but kept coming back to this dress. It’s a classic.

Why’s it so good?

Firstly, it’s flattering. The fluttery sleeves hide my upper arms, and the belt accentuates my waist. The longer length helps me feel taller and slimmer. Add on some comfortable heels and I’m ready.

Simply Be shoes

But more importantly, it passed the weather test. On the afternoon of these photos it encountered a Great British rainstorm and survived to tell the tale. And it still looked chic for a glass of fizz.

Clever occasion dressing

And that’s the very definition of clever dressing, don’t you think?

This post was written in collaboration with Simply Be. 

 

Low-key denim for sunny days

Relaxed summer denim

Do you wear denim all year round? 

Denim on hot days always reminds me of being a teenager – sweltering in thick jeans because you couldn’t imagine being seen in anything else. Too hot, too tight, too stiff. These days my jeans get pushed to the back of the wardrobe in summer time. I like lighter, floatier fabrics.

But I miss my jeans and I’m always looking for an alternative. Step in the Tencel jogger by White Stuff. As soon as I saw them in my local store I knew I had to try them. They look like denim, but feel light, soft and drapey. They’re everything I want a summer jean to be. Loose and low-key, and reminiscent of camping trips and days in the park.

Relaxed summer denim

The denim jogger is a new shape for me. It’s tight on the waist, baggy on the thighs and tapered round the ankle. It’s not the easiest shape to wear, but it’s everywhere this season.

If I’m wearing these trousers my top half has to be close-fitting and minimal. A pretty, floaty top looks unbearably dowdy (on me at least). A basic stripy tee feels more at home, tucked in if you fancy.

Relaxed summer denim

Trousers, £49.95, White Stuff / Tee, £6.99, H&M / Basket, £21, Kosmopolitan

I  know these are going to be my easy-peasy, throw-it-on, trouser of choice this summer. A little bit crumpled, but a whole lot relaxed – just the ticket for school runs, park runs and ice cream runs! 

Beauty favourites for May

Now I’m in my thirties my beauty routine needs an extra helping hand. I used to wear hardly any makeup, but motherhood and age have taken their toll. Barely there now looks barely decent!

But that doesn’t mean I don’t still crave the fresh-faced look. I’ve never liked lots of foundation, and I’m not ready to start just yet. So I’ve been trying a tinted base coat instead (which basically means a tinted moisturiser). I’ve invested in this one by Liz Earle. It’s my first foray into her make-up, and I’m impressed. It’s very light and I put it on over my daily moisturiser. It creates a nice base for my blusher, concealer and BB powder to sit on and really evens out my skin tone. It makes me look subtly better – like I’ve had a great night’s sleep!

I’ve always been afraid of tinted moisturisers – wouldn’t they make my combination skin even greasier? I’ve been using this one for a couple of months now and I haven’t noticed any real difference. So I’ll be sticking with this clever base, which also has a SPF. When the weather’s hotter I might mix a little stronger sun block into it for extra protection.

I’d also really recommend Liz Earle’s concealer too. It works really well with the skin tint to cover blemishes and redness.

I’ve already mentioned my combination skin. It seems to be getting worse as I get older and my pores are getting bigger (and more blocked!). I’ve read about the benefits of Origins Clear Improvement clay mask on numerous occasions and I’ve finally invested in some. It’s not cheap – my purchase was made during a prosecco-fueled shopping spree at the airport.

Origins face mask

I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and I’m beginning to see improvements. I’m also trying to be good about not poking and squeezing my pores too much as I’m sure this makes them worse. I’m using it weekly, followed by those sticky pore strips a few days later.

Now, let’s talk about hair. Mine is thick, wavy and coloured. Conventional shampoos do very little for it. I’ve been reading about the co-washing trend for a while and recently took the plunge. I’m using Lush’s Avocado Co-Wash, which looks disconcertingly like a piece of cheese, but smells like heaven.

Lush Avocado Co-Wash

It’s completely different to normal shampoo. I take a little piece and rub it into a lather in my hands, then work it through my hair. It’s a very different way to wash your hair. You don’t get that squeaky clean feeling – instead my hair feels soft and moisturised and much less frizzy and fluffy. My hair is very thick, so it can take this. I imagine if you had fine hair, it would feel unbearably greasy.

It’s hard to explain, but I prefer my hair this way. It retains more of its natural oils, but it still feels clean. My hair also smells amazing after I’ve used it! If you have very thick hair give it a go. It’s quite expensive but, the lovely girls in the Cambridge Lush gave me a small piece to try for free before I committed to buying a big piece. Their customer service is great, I’m always really impressed.

Have you tried anything new lately? I’d love to hear about your new finds! 

And one last thing…It would totally make my day (year?) if some of you lovely people would like to nominate me in the Inspire category of the Britmum’s Brilliance in Blogging Awards 2017! 

The pleated skirt of dreams revisited

Primark pleated skirt

A month ago I wrote a post about the pink pleated skirt of my dreams. It’s so good, I’ve since bought it in two more colours!

It’s probably breaking some kind of blogger etiquette to write about the same thing twice, but I can’t resist sharing this skirt with you again. Simply because it’s such so perfect and versatile. The kind of clever buy that I know will carry on being useful until autumn. And all for £8.

Pleated skirt + tee + denim jacket = my easy-peasy new uniform

Primark pleated skirt

Unusually for Primark, it’s a really good fit. Especially if you’re (like me) a pear shape. You’d think a pleated skirt would be unflattering, but I find it skims over my tummy and hips, and accentuates my waist. The fabric is also key to its appeal – soft jersey, which is practical and informal.

These skirts were back in stock in my local Primark last week and I snapped up a khaki green and a soft blue. I tried about a million other things on, but these skirts still came out tops. They’re a hidden gem that’s worth investing in – even if it means you have to go and rummage in your local store!

Primark pleated skirt

Have you got one of these skirts? How do you like to style it?

The pink pleated skirt of dreams

Pink pleated skirt

A pink pleated skirt is the fashion equivalent of a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis.

I bought this jersey skirt in Primark. It also comes in grey and bottle green – my usual colours of choice. But my inner butterfly made me reach for soft dusky pink instead. For £6 it was worth a little punt out of my comfort zone.

And guess what? It’s now my favourite thing. It’s happy-making. When paired with my favourite greys and dark blues, it’s the perfect way to kick off the warmer weather. It’s also surprisingly informal. Pink skirts are definitely not just for weddings!

Pink Pleated skirt

T shirt, £8.99, New Look /  Skirt, £6, Primark (in store only) / Shoes, White Stuff (similar available here)

I also love this version from George – especially when dressed down with this t shirt (which I’m about to order right now).

Will you be trying a pink pleated skirt? They’re the perfect transitional piece. Wear with tights now and sandals later! 

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Three things I’m loving this week

Spring blooms

I think we can now say that spring has sprung, can’t we? I’m sitting here typing with the window open, birds singing outside. When the sun comes out it actually feels warm – it’s a tantalising glimpse of things to come. 

The prettiness of early spring has inspired me to shrug off my winter clothes and buy a few new things. Perky little purchases, that don’t cost much but make me feel really happy.

These rose gold trainers are a case in point. They’re shiny, bright and cheerful. Feeling unsure about the current gold trend? At £12, these trainers are a great way to dip your toe into the water.

Rose gold trainers by Peacocks

Spring is also a great time to try a new fragrance. As the days get lighter, I like my perfume to feel brighter and fresher. I’ve recently discovered Liz Earle’s botanical fragrances. I was given a set to try for Christmas and they’re great for layering over each other. I struggle to find perfumes which are light, but last all day. These do. My absolute favourite is Botanical Essence No9. It’s hard to explain a fragrance, but I’d recommend you go and try a sample in John Lewis.

Liz Earle fragrances

This week I’ve also been brightening up my brain with a bit of matcha from teapigs. Try swapping your normal latte with a matcha one and see the effects. Matcha powder is made from ground up green tea – so you’re getting all the intensity in one cup. Imagine the kick you get from coffee, times 10. It’s an acquired taste (better when sweetened with honey) and I find it’s best to make a small cup with milk and down it in one. You can find out more here.

Teapigs matcha

I’ve also enjoyed… 

Watching The Replacement on BBC1

Reading W Channel’s wonderful interviews for International Women’s. Including my own!

Drinking Adnam’s Mosaic pale ale – a great beer for spring.

Teapigs were kind enough to send me some matcha to try, but all photos and thoughts are my own. 

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Hello blossom!

Blossom and a lacy blouse

What is it about blossom? Every year I forget how great it is. I’m busy gushing over daffodils and snowdrops, and then I open my front door and get the biggest surprise – nature has thrown a bag of confetti over everything. 

It starts with a small smattering of blossom, and before you know it tree after tree is dressed up like a pom-pom.

It’s the best kind of surprise. The kind of surprise that fills you with joy, quickens your step and lightens your heart.

Pink blossom

Blossom is generous. You don’t have to go searching for it. It’s there on every street corner or busy road. It turns the dreariest, prickliest roadside tree or hedge into a sugary confection.

It feels a little warmer, and the sweet scent of blossom fills the air. The sky takes on that bright, intense blue. You might even shrug off your coat in the afternoon.

Blossom

Trees in blossom

It’s all the more special because you know it’s fleeting.

But don’t worry. We haven’t even reached peak-blossom yet! There’s weeks and weeks of it left to come. What we’ve got now is just the warm up. Soon enough it’ll be even bigger, better and fluffier!

Blossom and a lacy blouse

Shirt, £29.99, New Look.

I think you need to dress up to compete with the blossom, don’t you? 

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Say hello to spring with a new blouse

Blouses are having a bit of thing at the moment.  And we’re definitely talking blouses, not shirts. They’re high-necked, feminine and lacy – maybe  with a few ruffles or some broderie anglaise. I normally steer clear of pretty, frothy, clothes, but I can resist no longer.

Maybe it’s the feeling of spring in the air? After a long cold winter in bobbly woolly jumpers, there’s something deeply tempting about a few light ruffles.

They’re a bit of a contradiction – slightly austere, but also really feminine and frilly. Of course, there’s a danger of wandering into Edwardian lady territory – you know, tea on the lawn and parasols. To avoid this, wear your high-necked blouse with a pair of relaxed jeans.

The high necked blouse

My blouse was a great find in a charity shop last week (actually brand-new M&S with tags). It’s at the plain end of the market, but now I’ve dipped my toe in the water, I’m planning on purchasing something even more ridiculous.

I’ve picked out some of my current favourites from the high street to tempt you even further:

Left: New Look, £29.99 / Right: Marks & Spencer, £29.50

Left: New Look, £24.99 / Zara, £25.99

So, will you be trying one soon? Or maybe lacy blouses are your idea of hell?