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Friday, 13 January 2017

Is this the end of Style Guile?


Golly it's been a while. And I've missed you all. But I promised myself that I wouldn't start blogging again until I had finished my list of jobs. As you might expect, I haven't reached the bottom of the list..... Do we ever?

After the children went back to school, first of all there was the house to be sorted. I did a proper spring clean under the beds and on top of the cupboards. I sorted the linen cupboard, went through the children's bedrooms - and anything that got in my way went in a bin bag. Then it was the turn of the tax-return. Then trips to the charity shops, choosing tiles for the kitchen, "doing" the 9 year old's birthday, preparing for the soon-to-be-18's birthday party and with a work trip to London included for good measure, it's been hard to find a window of opportunity. But then today I received a comment asking "Is this the end of Style Guile?" Thank you to whoever left the comment because it has prompted me to get back in front of the laptop.

In all honesty I think that quite a few bloggers have taken a bit of a sabbatical. After Christmas the thought of spending money in the sales makes me feel slightly nauseous and writing about spring trends makes me feel slightly shivery. People get annoyed with exercise and healthy eating posts and I figure that sometimes it's good to just sit quietly in the corner and finish the Christmas chocolate whilst contemplating the New Year's Resolutions that I've made (and broken).


But with a living room to be decorated, a kitchen that's about to have work started on it, two bathrooms to replace, an outfit to be decided upon for both an 18th and a 40th birthday party, plus an offer to write about a new range of active wear, I won't be going anywhere far for a while.

And whilst this really isn't going to inspire many, as you know I do love a bit dash of pink and as it's "the" colour for s/s 2017 (although it's been in season for me for the past 46 years) and as it's been snowing today, I'm going to leave you with my new pink pom pom beanie from Topshop (£14)



Happy New Year to you all, have a super weekend and I'll be back soon! Beth x

Thursday, 22 December 2016

All I want for Christmas...is a new top

There's something about a new top that can completely revolutionise our wardrobes. In fact four new tops and four new pairs of shoes can take a wardrobe from something a bit meh to something totally yeah.

A "new top" is also probably one of the first things that we learn to shop for as teenagers but as life goes on, tops can become increasingly hard to find. Whether it's because of a curvy bust, a "not as flat as we would like" stomach, the need for sleeves, or the cost, the hunt for a great top can be exhausting.

Now I'm not saying that I've found the perfect top by any stretch of the imagination. In fact Mr SG asked whether I was wearing chain mail. But I do like a sleeve, a bit of a frill and something that's not too tight - so it ticked lots of my boxes.


I'm wearing the Zara lace top with frill (£29.99). I've got a black vest underneath mine but I might try it with nude, or white, for a change. I like the way it's been styled on the Zara site but I don't think that it would be fair to go "vest free" when I go round to see some friends tonight. It might put their guests off their mulled wine and mince pies.



Wednesday, 21 December 2016

A soft slouchy (Zara) sweater with statement sleeves....



During a quick trip into town yesterday morning I picked up this soft touch sweater from Zara (£17.99) which comes in pale pink, grey or black. I thought that it would be nice to wear over Christmas, with a long necklace, a statement necklace, or a fur scarf. It's gorgeously soft and the sleeves add that little bit of interest to it. I might just have bought the grey one too....The only problem is that if you do need to do anything of a domestic variety, you really do have to roll up those sleeves - big time! 

A bit of a frill is a lovely feminine touch, so I've linked to the Zara frilly pieces here if you fancy taking a look.  

Hope that everyone's Christmas preparations are going well and that you are all nearly there with the shopping, wrapping and the general faffing! x


Saturday, 17 December 2016

Because Christmas is all about giving....or is it?

Christmas is all about giving and I understand that, really I do. But you know, if you're on your travels and you see a little something for yourself, or if you feel in need of a little addition to your wardrobe to perk it up for Christmas, then maybe I can guide you on your way. So far these are the things that I have bought for friends and kept for myself  think some of you might like....

I love these low court shoes with frill from H&M (£14.99). They won't break the bank and if you don't walk too far in them they probably won't break your feet either. They have such a cute block heel and I would wear these around the house at Christmas time instead of slippers. So whether I was in my trusty Me & Em joggers or beaten up jeans, I would still feel ever so slightly "put together."


Even if you're not a big fan of sparkle, a sparkly top coat of nail varnish is always fab over any colour - and it makes your nail varnish last longer too. Barry M diamond glitter from Super Drug (£2.99)  is brilliant. Another idea is a glittery liquid eyeliner. Topshop sell them (although not online) and I love putting mine over the top of my ordinary eyeliner. It's an easy Christmas make-up update.


I love these rings from H&M (£5.99). They can be worn on the upper and lower part of the finger. Sometimes it's just nice to try something a little bit different but which doesn't cost too much. Things like this give me a little "whoop whoop" in my stomach at least!



I love an ear cuff too. It means that you can have all the fun of an additional ear decoration without having another piercing. Claire's Accessories have a really great selection which I've linked to here but in particular I like this gold star cuff (£4.50)


And these are currently my most favourite socks EVER. They are the glitter star wars socks from Topshop (£3.50). I'm rubbish with Star Wars - I don't understand it and fall asleep when watching it but I feel that with these socks I'm no longer the Star Wars outcast of the family.


Some of my favourite presents have been ones that are personalised and I love giving them as gifts too. A great place for personalised stationery and notebooks is the aptly named Papier. They do a great selection of notebooks, such as this flamingo travel notebook (£12.99)


Or I really like leopard notebook (£12.99)


And finally, what more could a girl want than a pink fluffy bag? This one is the one that featured on the blog yesterday but it reminds me of the whole "pink fluffy pencil case" scenario in the Daisy, "Eat your Peas" books, which both of our girls loved. This bag is from River Island and costs £20


Or there's this navy blue furry bag from Skinnydip at Topshop (£28)





Oooh but before I leave, whilst we're on all things furry, how about some ugg sheepskin innersoles from Schuh (£18)? Whilst they seem the ultimate in the wholly unexciting and practical present, if you have a pair of wellies or trainers that are too big, or you own boots that are fine with thicker socks but not with tights (that might be me then) - these would be heaven. 



And finally, this is something that I have my eye on and absolutely love. It's the ultimate star from the White Company (£42). It's sold out online but I've seen plenty of them in our local store. And for me this wouldn't just be for Christmas - it could stay out all year round.  As one who has been looking at wall art for a while now, I have about 75 places I would love to put it! In this picture it's had some fairy lights woven through it but it's made of glass beads so it will catch the light without them.


We give so much to others at Christmas - both physically and emotionally - that it's important that we nurture ourselves too. And if that's not a fabulous excuse for treating ourselves to a pressie or two that we can wear/make lists in/look at whilst tidying the house/cooking the food/doing the washing etc - then I don't know what is!

Friday, 16 December 2016

My perfect Christmas party outfit (as "chosen" by the children)



Last week I was approached by the Fort Shopping Park and asked if I would like to take part in their Christmas Style Challenge - but there was a twist....

The brief was that, in return for a £150 Gift Card to spend at the Fort, I would be styled in a Christmas outfit - chosen by my children. Initially I came out in a cold sweat at the suggestion but then I thought about it and figured that it couldn't be too bad. Could it?


So I set to work, asking them what they would put me in if they could choose. (Luckily two of them were still at school so they couldn't attend in person). But they come up with the following:

Christmas jumper
Comfortable but stylish
Sparkly, shiny, cool
Furry bag


Great flamingo impression huh?

But first, a little more about the Fort. It's located a few miles outside of Birmingham along the A38 near to that great Birmingham landmark - the Dunlop factory. Parking is free (big bonus), it's all on one level (again, big bonus) plus there's plenty of space to move about as it's outside. Sometimes I like shopping where I can see what the weather is doing, rather than being cooped up inside without any idea as to what is going on. There's a huge Primark, Boots, Debenhams, River Island, Next, New Look, H&M, Oasis and plenty of Sports Shops as well as places to eat.


So as to the shopping trip, I was accompanied by our youngest and her friend.  Both started off quite enthusiastically looking at the jewellery in H&M but their interest soon waned so I knew that I had to be quick.

I didn't tick the Christmas jumper box but I did tick the "bright jumper" box instead, with this gorgeous fuchsia pink jumper from River Island which was £38 - similar here. How that was going to work as part of a Christmas party outfit I wasn't quite sure - but that's the fun of making things up as you go along (and with having two 8 year olds in tow, one of whom was very grumpy - and it wasn't the friend!)


Then, in a totally random "these don't really work together at all but I like them" kind of way, I spotted this gorgeous pink faux fur bag, also from River Island, for £20. As a furry bag was on the list and as our daughter's friend stroked everything in sight that was furry, it was a done deal. But with a fuchsia pink jumper and a salmon pink bag, where next to take the outfit?

Well the answer was in the question. The next place to take the outfit was to NEXT where I came across this gorgeous black dipped hem skirt for £65. It's beautifully embellished, which you can see more clearly in the picture below. I liked it because a statement skirt is a fabulous addition to your wardrobe, it ticked the "comfortable" box and hopefully the "stylish" box too. Also I've never had a dipped hem skirt before and I liked this one because the front, although shorter, wasn't too short.


Then we came to the shoe part. I was definitely intending on ticking the "sparkly" box with these but everyone else had obviously had the same idea and there weren't any left in my size, so instead, having chucked fuchsia pink, salmon pink and fur at the skirt, I went the whole hog and threw some velvet and leopard at it too, in the form of these velvet leopard print shoes from River Island, (£35). I have to say that being velvet they are really soft and incredibly comfortable which if heels generally kill your feet after a few minutes, like they do mine, is a good thing.


So by now I was at £158 - ooops! But given that I still hadn't managed to fulfill the sparkly element of the brief, now wasn't the time to quit, despite the pleas of the eight year olds. So whilst buying the shoes, I also grabbed a pair of sparkly, frilly, ankle socks, similar here or here (£4). They're all the rage this year and I thought that it might be fun to see what they looked like with the whole outfit. So here they are!


So, there we go. One outfit for a Christmas party with input from the children but with the overall styling left to me and two eight year olds. At £162 I was £12 over my budget but I know that I will get a huge amount of wear out of everything that I chose, so I'm happy! I just need a Christmas party to go to now.


Thursday, 15 December 2016

Double sequins - faux pas or OK?


You may remember that a few posts ago, I mentioned my double sequin outfit. Well here it is. Get that for sparkle overload!

The top was from H&M last year. It was bought by so many bloggers that between us we probably kept H&M going through the winter period. It wasn't expensive but I loved it then as I do now. H&M has done another version this year but it's a slightly different shape - looser maybe - which may work better for some, than for others.

Sequin top H&M (£29.99)


As to my trousers, they are the coated skinnies from Boden from a few seasons ago now but they have been such a great buy. New Look has a great pair this season  and here I've linked to all of their coated skinnies and leggings - for they have a few.

And the shoes - well these are the Topshop glitter shoes which have pretty much sold out now and which I've probably worn in every post for about the last three weeks.  But there is the odd pair lurking here and there in store and Topshop are pretty good at tracking them down - so don't give up if you have your heart set on some! Plus the silver are available online in a size 40.

Please bear with me whilst I release my inner fairy....I fear that there may well be many more sparkly and glittery outfits to come in the upcoming weeks.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

The sequin star jumper from Next - it's a beaut!



Every day is Christmas jumper day for me between now and well, about the end of January really, but for an all round super jumper that ticks the Christmas box without being too "Christmassy" this one could just be for you.  It's the sequin star sweater from Next (£32). Bob's your Uncle, Fanny's your aunt, job done - love it! (Just go down a size)

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

For the love of the Me & Em lace trim slouchy jogger



A few weeks ago the lovely team at Me & Em invited me to choose a few pieces from their current collection to style. As you all know by now, I really love pieces that are both pretty, and comfortable, so it was inevitable that the the lace trim slouchy jogger would feature among my choices.

Whilst in years gone by joggers were confined to being worn only at home, now they can be seen on even the reddest of carpets and at the glitziest of parties and with versatility also being so important to me, this really sealed the deal for me.


First things first - I started off with the size 8 but as they are so generous I had to go down to a size 6, which is just something worth bearing in mind. And then although the 6 were a little snug to start off with on the calves, after a few hours of wearing them, they warmed up and gave so that now they are the perfect fit. The great thing about them is that they are pretty substantial so I don't wander around feeling self conscious and fearing VPL or wobbly bum syndrome!  They also come in black or navy,  which should keep most of us happy.


These joggers are such a great option for a Saturday at home with a breton striped top and sneaker boots, or for a long car journey with ankle boots and a coatigan, or as I've styled them here with glitzy shoes and a lacy top. My next plan is to wear them with a lacy cami, a tuxedo jacket and heels. And come about 4pm on Christmas Day, when it's time to cast the dress aside, these will come into their own big style! Already the list of possibilities of when I might wear them is heading towards endless because they will also take me right through to the summer too.

For those who haven't wandered down the jogger route yet, other than for the purposes of jogging, or chilling at home, these are definitely worth a full and extensive investigation! I've had several pairs of joggers over the years from lighter weight ones (long jumpers only - let's not do the VPL thing) to heavier fleecy ones (extremely sexy - not) to silky ones which I love for a night out but perhaps not for everyday. And, let's really go full circle now, I love the lace. It's subtle but I know it's there!

Saturday, 10 December 2016

The H&M silver pleated skirt....


(Outfit: Skirt H&M current season, Shoes Dune, Jumper Whistles, Bag Boden, all previous seasons)

I know, I look like a very silver Christmas tree. Although compared to an outfit that I wore the other evening - first to parents' evening (the Head must have thought I was slightly crazy donning double sequins) and then out with friends, this is positively tame. In fact I came out of parents' evening slightly hot and flustered due to trying to cover up said sequins with a fur gilet and a coat. Bad move.

Anyway, I digress, here I'm wearing the H&M silver pleated skirt (£29.99) which is uber comfortable for a number of reasons. First it has an elasticated waist, secondly it's a great length, thirdly it has plenty of room for taking a big stride. What more can you ask from a skirt that looks like it's made of bacofoil?

And as for re-styling it? Biker boots and a turtle neck maybe, or high open sandals and a chunky jumper, or a lacy top. no socks and ankle boots, or just to add to the glitz, sparkly socks with anything and everything? Now we're talking! (So who's going to comment on the fact that I clearly didn't take my socks off early enough, hence the sock mark on my ankle? That's why I love instagram. These things don't show up!)

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

My pom pom has to be bright!


There's no doubt that over the past few years, bobble hats have come into their own and one of the best brands for them is the aptly named Bobbl. I've been looking at bobble hats for a while now and I was looking at (OK lusting after) the Bobbl ones the other day. However I just felt that the total price of £72 for the hat and the bobble, which can be bought separately, was more than my internal budget of "how much is an appropriate amount to spend on a bobble hat" allowed. But there's no denying that they are gorgeous! 


So then I got to thinking. Hmmmm. I had a grey cable knit beanie from the GAP and a skinny dip London pom pom key ring that I hadn't yet used, so I got my pliers out, de-constructed the key ring and sewed the pom pom to the hat. And hey presto, I had my pom pom. Obviously it's not quite as good as the bobbl ones but effectively it was free. So I'm happy to go with it for now. 

To create your own, you could go fort this cashmere ribbed beanie GAP (£23.96), which also comes in black...




....and put it with this pink split pom pom £6 from Skinny Dip London. Personally I like a faux fur bobble rather than a knitted one as I can't feeling it crashing around on the top of my head. It's just me. I'm a bit funny about things like that. Oh, and I like it to be bright! 


or this lilac split pom pom £6 from Skinny Dip London

Or there's this Next pom pom key ring which comes in plum, teal or orange (£6)


...and then you're pretty much there. There are cheaper beanies around of course, Primark, H&M, New Look etc will all have them. 


 And these were also contenders for a bobble hat purchase, had I decided to buy one...

Joules  pink bobble hat £19.95 - just look at that pom pom!

Joules yellow bobble hat (£19.95) - the colour is probably the nearest thing we're going to get to anything resembling sunshine right now! 


There's also a great one in Accessorize that's yellow and white Fair Isle with a yellow pom pom and John Lewis has some with writing on them - "Prosseco Ho Ho Ho" I think one says, plus there are a couple of others in the same range with slogans on them but I can't find them online. Sorry! Anyway, happy pom-pom-ing!




Monday, 5 December 2016

The only thing to wear on a chilly day...


I'm just going to take a moment to list what is is that I love about a jumper dress, particularly this Woolovers jumper dress in khaki which was gifted to me from the Woolovers 100% merino wool range

First of all, I love their versatility. I can wear this jumper dress over jeans, with pleather leggings, with tights and boots or bare legged with gold caged heels and a long pendant, so it's not going to languish at the back of the wardrobe sitting there looking pretty but not bringing anything to the party.


Secondly, and don't all roll your eyes now, it's warm. I can get a good couple of layers underneath this one on a chilly day without it looking too bulky. But for those who don't have reptilian like tendencies like I do, or if you're in a heated environment, given that it's 100% merino wool it's fairly fine so you won't boil in it. In essence it's a win win, whether you, or your environment, run cold or hot.


And that brings me on to the third thing that I love about it - its shape. It's slightly oversized but not in too huge a way but then it tapers in cocoon style towards the hem, which is really flattering, And it doesn't need a belt, so there's plenty of room for that mince pie/Christmas pudding/alcohol food baby (or indeed even a real baby) and no-one will be any the wiser. Body con dresses, you  have permission to languish in the wardrobe.


And finally the colour. I'm wearing this lovely khaki colour which is good against my fairer skin in the winter - but it also comes in black and red which are great base colours for layering accessories over. For information purposes, I'm wearing a small, which fits me perfectly.

If you haven't had a chance to pop over to Woolovers yet to take a look, it's definitely worth doing so. I find that knitwear can be so expensive but there are some fabulously stylish pieces at a really good price and there's something lovely about spreading the word about independent brands.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Cashmere. No more words are needed!



As soon as the weather gets colder I'm the first to reach for a jumper - and if it's of the cashmere variety that's even better. 

So when Woolovers asked me whether I would like to try a piece from their cashmere range, I was over the moon. The grey crew neck cashmere jumper that have been wearing for the last five winters has started to go into holes, so it's days were really numbered. 

Woolovers has been in existence since 1989 (that's a really long time now - I was at University then!!) and they supply knitwear to over a million customers all over the world. This season they really have some fabulous pieces with a very modern feel about them, from ponchos and wraps to coatigans as well as more "traditional" pieces. I love how a poncho or a coatigan can make a very plain outfit something really quite special.    


So, back to the cashmere, I chose this soft blue jumper and it's absolutely gorgeous. The softness and warmth of cashmere is undeniably one of the finer things in life - (and there is absolutely no itching at all which gets a huge thumbs up from me). The colour will work with so many darker winter colours from navy to grey, and plum and camel. And it's really given this Whistles skirt of mine a new lease of life. I've always loved the colours in it but the blue jumper really lifts it. 

I have no doubt that the lovely folks at Woolovers would love it if you dropped by to take a look at what they have on offer this season and in a few days time I'll be styling a piece from their merino range. 






Saturday, 26 November 2016

The tale of the Fur coat and its changing colour...



The finished article!

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that for a few weeks now I've been playing with the colour of this Zara mint fur coat that I've had for a few seasons now. Given that I bought the coat via my own free will, I obviously didn't dis-like the colour per-se but I wasn't a fan of it on me. The colour wasn't quite deep enough and on occasions I felt a bit Orville like but nonetheless I loved its fluffiness and warmth, so I decided to dye it to see what happened. 

This was its colour pre-dye...


I dyed it with one box of navy blue dye which was really easy to use. I had to wash the coat on its own, wash it again with the dye and then run the washing machine through again whilst empty.

One box of dye is sufficient for a garment that weighs up to 600g. At 750g that coat was slightly over the limit but I bit the bullet in any event.

So this was the coat after its first round of dye. In all honesty I'm not sure that this colour is a true representation of how it really looked after round one and prior to round two, which probably isn't really that helpful but it at least it provides an idea. Still, I did keep wondering whether, if I used two boxes of dye, it might finally go navy. I knew from reading the instructions that i was unlikey and instead, that the coat would end up a mix of its original colour and the colour of the dye...but I'm an eternal optimist.


Which is exactly what happened. It didn't go navy (other than the inside label) but it did go a darker shade of green - but a shade that I really like so in the end (wait for the pun)....it all came out in the wash. And actually I have to say for a pretty inexpensive fake fur coat, it washes like a dream.