Category Archives: Fashion

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?

The long sleeved dress

White Stuff long sleeved dress

The long sleeved dress is having a moment. Grazia even gave it a double page spread last week. Which is funny because long sleeved dresses are nothing new.

They’ve always been a staple in my wardrobe because they’re pretty, warm and practical. Right now I love them with tights, knits and brogues. When spring arrives I’ll be wearing them with pumps and a denim jacket. They’re the perfect transitional piece.

I recently bought this beautiful long sleeved dress in the White Stuff sale. There are still a few left if you’re quick. It’s a real bargain at £29. It marks a departure from my usual style of dress. As a pear-shape (who’s a bit challenged in the bust department) I’m usually drawn to high, round necks and tunic shapes. So I’ve been really surprised by how much I love the femininity of this style with its low neck and tie waist. I’ve worn this out in the evening and it glides effortlessly between day and night. 

Long sleeved dress

Here are some more I love:

Long sleeved dresses

From left: Seasalt, £59.99 / Warehouse, £36 / White Stuff, £49.95

I love the pink poppy dress! Which is your favourite?

Beauty inspiration on a budget

Boots Seventeen makeup

Recently I’ve noticed I’m not looking as fresh-faced as I’d like. It’s partly age, partly the time of year. Lack of sunlight and fresh air; central heating and comfort food – they all take their toll. I’ve never been one for lots of make-up. I prefer the simple look. But these days simple basically just means looking tired. I need a little helping hand.

I don’t have the budget for a dream-like splurge. I’ve always found it difficult to justify spending lots of money on cosmetics. I invest in good quality skincare from Liz Earle, but I don’t have much left for make-up.

So on a grey, rainy Sunday I went for a little mini-splurge in Boots. The Seventeen section caught my eye for the first time in years. I don’t think I’ve bought anything from there since I was, well, about seventeen.

Anyway, the thing that first caught my eye was a highlighter stick that struck an uncanny resemblance to a YSL Touche Éclat. I had one of those once and loved using it under my eyes, but I hadn’t been able to justify the price tag (about £25) for a while. This one was only £4.99. Worth a try.

Boots Seventeen makeup

How did it compare to the expensive stuff? I have to be honest: it doesn’t feel as nice – the texture is a bit heavier and less silky. But, it did do a good job of covering up the dark circles under my eyes. The packaging is so nice, I could almost kid myself I was using the real thing.

I also bought one of their mascaras in dark brown. I usually wear black, but thought I’d try this  for a more subtle brightening effect. It didn’t do much to lengthen or thicken my lashes, but it did create a pretty and subtle look. It also didn’t smudge at all during the day. I usually wear Maybellene, which probably looks better but always give me panda eyes. Good for a subtle, barely-there look, but not so good if you prefer a dramatic eye.

Boots Seventeen mascara

Excitingly, there was a free lip palette when you spent £6 (or £4.99 when purchased). I love the idea of bold red lips – but they always make me feel ridiculous and self-conscious. These lip stains are a much more subtle and pretty way to wear colour. They are pretty, flattering shades which are really brightening my look and making me feel happier.

Boots Seventeen makeup

Buying something new has reminded me to make more of an effort with my appearance. I’m finding the time each morning to apply highlighter, blusher, concealer, mascara and lip gloss. My Seventeen budget buys are never going to feel as luxurious as the expensive stuff, but I’m really pleasantly surprised by them. It’s perked me up and it cost less than a tenner.

What are your favourite budget beauty buys? I’d love to add more to my collection. 

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Spare a thought for yellow

Yellow Rose

Greenery. That’s the colour of the year according to Pantone. I’ve always loved green, and I’m looking forward to writing about it. But first, can we spare a thought for yellow?

Yellow has been on my mind a lot lately. What does yellow make you think of? For me it’s sunshine, daffodils, lemons and smiley faces. It’s such a happy colour. And I think we need a bit of that in winter, don’t we?

Is it possible to make yourself feel happy just by looking at a colour? Maybe. It depends what you define as happy. I’m a firm believer in the little things. Looking at a jug of daffodils probably won’t change your life, but it’ll give you a fleeting moment of light and happiness. Catching enough of these moments can make all the difference.

So how about embracing a little bit of yellow this week? Wear it, look at it, eat it.

Wear a hint of yellow with your winter clothes. People always say yellow is hard to wear. But anyone can wear a little hint of yellow. These are my favourites:

Wear a hint of yellow

Left to right: Blouse, £25.99, Zara / Jersey, £35, White Stuff / Scarf, £27.50, White Stuff

Choose a bunch of yellow flowers. A cheap and cheerful bunch of daffs, some carnations or a pretty primrose. Costs less than a cup of coffee and makes you feel better too.

Yellow flowers

Buy some lemons. Make a lemon drizzle cake, drink hot water with lemon or a G&T with ice and a slice. The colour and flavour is so uplifting!

Does yellow make you happy too?

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