By SolihullStyle      Nov 25, 2018

BIKER BOOTS AND DAY DRESSES!

The clue is in the title. I LOVE my biker boots. I bought them to wear watching the boys play rugby on Sundays just to feel a bit more fashionable really. I spend a lot of time watching my kids and I just got sick of wearing the same dirty old boots! I now have a problem though.. I love then that much that I want to wear them all the time! With black jeans on Sunday is fine and does what it needs to do to keep out the elements. Anyone who stands pitch side in an open field now it’s got so cold will understand the clothing choices we just have to make. The rest of the time though I’ve been enjoying dressing them up! I like some femininity in my outfit when I’m wearing a style of boot like this. I wouldn’t wear combats or blue jeans. Obviously that’s a good look too…just not on me! I’ve worn mine with tailored trousers and a smart coat. I love the juxtaposition between biker style footwear and tailoring. Slightly unexpected. The obvious other choice would be to wear them with dresses and skirts. It’s far too cold now to wear mine with bare legs and a midi dress….come spring I’m in! I wouldn’t wear a midi with tights and ankle boots…it’s just not for me. I do get the idea of opaques and shorter dresses and ankle boots though. I’ve always loved it on other people but never taken the plunge myself. For some reason I woke up one day and decided just to do it! I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. Knowing what suits you and what you’re going to wear can be a very good thing….it’s our comfort zone. Today I stepped out of mine, to not do anything by halves, it was bright red too!

 

DAY DRESSES!

You all know I’m a fan of dresses. They make getting dressed super easy. They are an outfit all in one. The high street is a wash with options depending on your budget and your style. I’m a fan of ALLSAINTS for day wear with a bit off edge and there’s 30% off at the mo for Black Friday. Gap is fab too online for unexpected bargains. My dress was from Gap (previous season but similar online). Every shoe brand has done the biker boot too…short for time? Check out Zara or Topshop for budget friendly options or go all out at designer level if that’s your bag. Add your own leather belt to make a high street find look more expensive and to add your own personality. Mine is a vintage Levis studded belt from a car boot for £3 so wasn’t expensive in itself but adds interest and ties in the boots. I never thought I’d be in a shorter hemline again but you know what…. I don’t care as much what people think as the years go by and I’m enjoying challenging myself out of my own comfort zone.

 

Far left ALLSAINTS; middle two ZARA, and HERE; far right SOSANDAR available in red too but limited sizes

Well I hope you’ve all survived Black Friday. There are still some deals floating around and some may continue through Cyber Monday. The shops have definitely gone all glittery and Christmasy! Scary how quickly the winter season goes. There are sequins everywhere! I hope you enjoy the festive season ahead and I’m sure I’ll pop up with a post or two.  If you enjoy my musings and like seeing more regular updates then I’d love to see you over on Instagram. I’m looking forward to 2019 with lots of exciting new ventures on the horizon with more opportunity to meet people and talk personal style and fashion.  Thank you for all your support this year. I’ve seen my little brand grow and develop in these uncertain times so once again THANK YOU XXX

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Nov 12, 2018

OUTTA NOWHERE!

I wasn’t planning to write this blog at all after I’d got up and got dressed. I’d got up in the morning and thought..and I’ll be totally honest, there’s nothing new here. No point taking any pictures as there’s nothing helpful to tell. Then I thought  I would go along the lines of the outfit being about feeling a bit poorly so being comfortable is sometimes, if not most of the time, ones priority with the busy lives we lead. Hmmmm, but then I’m wearing heels aren’t I so I knew you’d all be screaming at the screen at me! I was feeling poorly so I couldn’t really be a**** to wear much more than my slobs….oh yes I have those!! My youngest son had been nagging ….oh my goodness can he nag… he has this way of grinding us both down until we say yes. Nagging to go bowling! Rugby was cancelled for Remembrance Sunday so after lunch it kinda worked as an option even though I’d rather saw my own arm off. Choose your battles I guess and no one else came up with a better plan. I stared at my wardrobe. I did! I know I can’t say to anyone “I’ve got nothing to wear” so I had to suck it up buttercup and get out of my PJs. I really didn’t want to!!! I even ate my lunch in my bathrobe trying to pretend the inevitable wasn’t about to happen. Sundays is usually auto pilot for me. Put on thermals, put on jeans and really snugly jumper; put on puffer coat and hat and scarf…oh and boots and off to rugby we go! Easy. Today I had to think and I wanted to hibernate!

STRIKE ONE!

I might’ve had a couple of strikes. Is that what you call it?! I am fairly useless at bowling. It starts with the shoes for me and it’s all down hill from there! Back to my thought process of getting out the door when I really didn’t want to! My velvet jeans, that’s it…I’ll start with them! They are the only new purchase. I bought them a couple of weeks ago as I wanted a really black pair of jeans. I can’t tell you how comfortable they are. They are almost as good as gym tights but you can totally dress them up or down. There are other colours available online and they’d make a good staple for smart/casual party season looks. I’m hankering after the others as a change from black. With a true high rise they have become a go to when I feel my brain switching off. When I feel really lazy or under the weather I just reach for black basics. I just do. Something made me reach for something different…no idea why. Maybe it was just there in the pile on the chair! It happened to be a camel cashmere sweater. No rocket science here! If I could’ve put my bathrobe on top I would’ve! I think poor MR.W wants to burn said robe.  It’s not even nice! I bought it whilst camping in Devon one year. I was so cold at night that I couldn’t sleep a wink. We found the nearest shop.. which happened to be LIDL and I bought it there. Unfortunately for him it came home from Devon! Still in denial I instinctively reached for my camel coat. Bathrobe like in it’s appearance and just as oversized and cosy. This coat is HUGE. It’s why I love it but sometimes hate it if that makes any sense? I’ll try to explain. LOVE it because it fits over everything, even really sloppy jumpers, HATE it because it’s not the most flattering garment in the world and I need to be in the right mood to want to wear it.

WHY THE VIDEO!

We did the video to show movement. We don’t stand still in life. Sometimes it’s the way clothes make us feel on a particular day that’s important. It can be how something moves too. It might be how we push up a sleeve or how we flip up a collar. You’ve heard the phrase “she wears it well”. Have you ever put something on one day and hated it only to love it another time? I know I have. That day I wanted to feel safe and in something that felt like a hug. I didn’t want fitted and tailored and camera friendly. I get asked all the time. “Do you ever look at someone and think…they shouldn’t be wearing that”. No is the answer. Who am I to judge someone else’s choices. I don’t know what that person has been through physically or mentally to make that particular choice in the morning. I’ve dressed ladies with all sorts of health issues and problems. I rarely get clients that find shopping easy or are a perfect standard ready to wear high street size, who is?  If they did find the whole process easy they wouldn’t need me. Some of the things ladies tell me about how they feel about their bodies after child birth, surgery or ageing often breaks my heart. When I can help someone feel better in their own uniquely beautiful skin, it’s the best feeling in the world.

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM!

It’s the heels isn’t it? Why oh why if you felt like do-do would you wear heels?! I don’t know! HA ha ha!!! I knew I wanted boots…it was cold and I felt really cold. I couldn’t help myself. I knew I needed black “feet” at the end of my jeans to keep the illusion of height to balance out the oversized coat… I knew I was going to have to take them off at the bowling alley anyway.  I failed at the final huddle to not completely let go didn’t I! I couldn’t help myself! In my defence, if I owned some black leather trainers I would’ve worn them…maybe?! Te he he!

ON A SERIOUS NOTE!

Boooo! Don’t feel like being serious but I guess I need to be helpful somewhere along the lines other than pointing you in the direction of some fab velvet jeans. I have bought a few bits of late so I’ll share when I can. In short I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the leather shoes at ZARA. You know I’m an advocate of buying less and buying as good as quality as you can with the budget you have but some high street finds have excelled expectations this season and if you love animal print, but can’t face a whole garment, then a leopard or snake shoe or boot is quite literally a fun way to dip your toe in. I’ve fallen for COS too where in the past I’ve found their styles a bit too shapeless (rather ironic really considering the oversized content of this blog!) but this season I think they’ve done a few beautiful quality basics at an acceptable price point.

COAT – H&M Premium Quality range… old season, finding your shade of camel is up to you! I like this one.

CASHMERE JUMPER – H&M Premium Quality

VELVET JEANS – Massimo Dutti current collection

SUEDE BOOTS – old season Sam Edelman

BAG – TODS at Bicester Village

I hope you’ve enjoyed my musings about nothing much in particular. Can you believe it’s November. The high street is already awash with sequin skirts and Christmas jumpers. Have you got the party season sorted?! Maybe this is the year I get a Santa sweater? Hmmmm! HO HO HO!

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Oct 30, 2018

A DRESS FOR ALL SEASONS!

It’s gotta be the best style of dress EVER. Love anything that can be worn lots of different ways. My days of buying something in haste for a Saturday night out are over. Don’t you just love items that you can wear with sneakers or dress up for work or a nice day out. This was one such day. It was my birthday and we were going to watch Bohemian Rhapsody at the cinema. If you get a chance to see the film I can highly recommend it. Like most life stories of talented people it’s both sad and wonderful at the same time. Thought provoking and challenging. There’s a tragic dark side but his talent and his character were larger than life. He made no excuses for being talented and I loved that. It made me think.

LIMITED EDITION!

My dress has pretty much sold out. I know this can be annoying when bloggers post stuff you want but you can’t get anymore. I then wanted to write this blog anyway because actually it has made it more relevant to an individual. What do I mean? Well, often it’s better to find what works for you. I’ve been shopping with clients and friends and been asked where the good dresses are by lots of  people since I first posted this particular Mango dress and actually you can’t beat going out and doing some real shopping. It’s an easy style to style! But it’s not always as easy to find one that suits you. The length, the neckline; the colour and the “look” will all determine whether a certain one feels like your perfect dress. If you want to add curves to your torso you could wear a thin polo neck underneath. If you want to minimise a bust then maybe try a wrap style dress or a shirt style dress and unbutton as low as you dare. If you’re petite or feel some dresses swamp you then find a more tailored fit that’s not too long. It’s taken me what feels like forever to find mine. I’ve ordered so many on line only to hate them on arrival. It’s why I  tread very carefully when I post random items on my posts from the internet. I don’t want you guys to waste your time on something that in reality is just pants! Either the print is white and bleached on the back and clearly visible when you walk or the fabric is just cheap and nasty. You often can’t tell from online images. You’d think the price point would give you a hint to the quality of the product but sometimes this doesn’t always pan out. Sometimes, obviously not always ( some of my online punts have been great buys), it’s easier in the long run to go shopping and be able to touch it, feel it; smell it as it were!!!  It’ll depend on how much you want to invest in the look too as to where you choose to shop. Animal print, polka dots and floral prints are everywhere..just go with an open mind and try lots of different ones on. Try not to get frustrated, stay calm, stop for a coffee and have fun! You will instinctively know as a dress has a way of taking no prisoners. There’s nowhere to hide, you will either love it or hate it. I went shopping with a friend recently on a Sunday for a bit of a jolly to set me up for the half term! I was not on personal shopper mode…it was my day off …. I made her try lots of different ones on and she knew what she liked once the different styles were on. It boiled down to colour and length for her. Like me she loved the idea of being able to wear a dress lots of different ways for lots of different occasions. Be inspired and have a go.

FROM BEACH TO BAR!

Obviously not literally. Though saying that the theory works! I will wear mine with flip flops when the season chances! Wear with sneakers, ankle boots (flat or high… whatever style floats your boat), high boots or slides. Chuck on the cover-up of your choice from an oversized belted cardi to a biker, a blazer or a tailored wool coat. Adding your own belt can make a high street dress look more expensive.

 

DON’T JUDGE ME!

I have had birthday money burning a whole in my pocket. The past tense is a clue. I have to say I think this seasons’ styles have been particularly good and I’ve had a little bit of a splurge! I’ll share them over the next few weeks. Let’s just say I’ve fallen in love with COS. I never did very well there before as I find the fit a bit shapeless but this season I could’ve spent a small fortune in there! I hope you’re managing to stay warm in this cold snap. Thank you for reading. thank you for every like, comment and share. It means the world to my little home grown venture and to me… XXX

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Oct 25, 2018

A TRIP TO TRINNY!

I’m going to make this short and sweet so that you get yourself down to Selfridges in Birmingham ASAP! It’s that simple. Trinny Woodall of Trinny london make up brand is at her pop up store in Selfridges until the 31st October. I figured that if it’s your thing you’d just like to know it’s happening and be able to go rather than wait for a detailed blog and it be too late?! There’s a whole press release about all the products but I think you’re going to love the range as much as me and what you want to achieve with your make up will be as beautifully individual as you are. The team there will guide you through. You can make appoints online at Selfridges. I just turned up for a nose as I was lucky enough to meet Trinny at Bicester Village where I had my “match to me” profile done. She was so lovely today and so hands on I couldn’t quite believe it actually. She got stuck in and helped anyone that she could with the colours that would suit their complexion best, cool tips and the best way to achieve a flawless look. My favourite products are the BBF cream, the lip to cheek and the lip glow. All in little stack pots that are ideal for the gym, your work bag or travel. There’s a new warmer shaded highlighter too….but I’m not going to spoil your fun! Part of the excitement is in the discovery of something new! Once you understand your skin tone the world is your oyster. If I prattle on at length this blog won’t happen and you’ll miss the chance to go. Let’s face it (pardon the pun!)… if you want to know more have a sneaky peak online! Rocket science here!

A GILT FREE CHOCOLATE BOX!

 

 

 

I realise this blog hasn’t got it’s usual wit and attention to detail whilst showcasing my normal literary prowess but jokes aside this stuff is serious stuff with serious results so, seriously you’ll be glad I didn’t get on my soap box this time! Thank you for reading. I’d love to know what you think of the range if you manage to visit the pop up or if you’ve already bought anything. There’s a short video over on stories on my Instagram @solihullstyle.

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Oct 14, 2018

TWO COATS!

I wasn’t planning to write this blog. It just happened! A few weeks back I did my own wardrobe weed. The season felt like it had changed. Flip flops no longer felt like the correct footwear for the time of year and certain colours just looked wrong. For some reason though I wasn’t ready for full on winter attire on the days that were still sunny and dry. We all talk about layering and I feel like I’ve had to hone my skills more than ever with the challenges to our wardrobe the change of season brings. It’s definitely not as clean cut as it used to be. Summer used to be a real summer and we knew it when winter arrived. I now have to go by the colour of the leaves on the trees or the leaves on the ground and not the sun in the sky or the temperature outside. It’s easy to fall down a hole though and think just because it’s mild our summer clothes will see us through. There is still a divide. Be it the fabrics, the textures; the colours or quite simply the vibe that some items give off. So two coats came about! I’m not talking two coats of Dulux, that’s just a must as we all know if you just do the one you’ll see the previous colour underneath! I’m talking about the denim and wool variety. Why? Denim has a wonderful way of making an outfit less formal. It “knocks the edges off” one might say. Worn under a tailored coat it just stops things looking too serious and provides a lighter layer if the day warms up. Add smarter trousers to avoid double denim if it’s not your bag. I get asked all the time, “how do I bridge the gap between really casual (i.e. just my boring skinny jeans and a T-shirt) and too smart at the weekend?” Have a go at some comfortable trousers. They could be velvet jeans like mine, Sports lux trousers (think all the side stripe options on the high street) or a classic straight cut pant. Add sneakers to “knock those edges off” again and you’re good to go….not too smart and not too scruffy! If you’re petite then just tweak the proportions of the overcoat to suit. Juxtaposition… well that’s a long word for a Sunday night!  Putting smart pieces with casual pieces to give a grown up take on jeans and a T-shirt.

FAVOURITE THINGS!

We all have them in our wardrobe, in our bag collection or in our jewellery box. Some jewellery is obviously going to be our favourite for sentimental reasons. I hate cheap costume jewellery that goes green or manky but it’s not always easy to find affordable good jewellery. Now I’m not denying that these Nomination Italy rings aren’t a considered purchase but they were gifts at different times from my husband. This makes them special for that reason alone but they feel special because they are beautiful without breaking the bank. They are stainless steel like a watch strap with 18ct gold details are real semi-precious stones. There’s lots of colours and I stack them for a bit of impact. I wear them nearly every day as you don’t have to think if you’re wearing gold or silver hardware elsewhere on your outfit. Breathe a sigh of relief!

BY THE WAY!

Another favourite thing actually while we’re on the subject…and it’s not whiskers on kittens..love kittens but not sure about whiskers??? And woollen mittens..aren’t they just annoying? By design I’m not sure you can get a techy finger on a mitten so that just makes them really impractical in my book! Oh yeah…favourite things… handmade wool coats….WHHHAT?! They definitely didn’t feature in The Sound Of Music. It is The Sound Of Music isn’t it? I just had to Google it to be sure…see told you that you gotta have a glove with a techy finger NOT a mitten! Ha Ha! Handmade wool coats. They are everywhere on the high street. They used to be a real designer thing. 100% pure wool in two layers hand stitched together, unlined but gorgeously warm. The high street has provided it’s offerings in a much more affordable price point with a wool blend construction. The fact that they are unlined makes them great for layering. Slightly softer in form with no shoulder pads to avoid adding unnecessary bulk. I’d go as far as to say as nearly as comfortable as your cosy faithful cardi but with a bit more polish. That’s a lot of as!

Velvet trousers – Citizens of humanity – old but these are fab too (I have just bought them!)

T-shirt – old Topshop similar here

Denim jacket – old Gap similar here

Steel rings – Nomination Italy

Bag – old Banana Republic

Sneakers- Adidas Stan Smiths widely available

 

Handmade coats..from left to right…Mango, Zara, Mango, H&M

I hope you enjoyed this rather impromptu little blog. There will be a few mid season sales knocking around and some discount codes too. Watch out for Black Friday deals coming soon. Until the next blog..thank-you for reading XX

Bye for now!

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Sep 09, 2018

BIKINIS AND KAFTANS GO TOGETHER LIKE SWIMMING POOLS AND UNICORNS!

Finding the right swimwear is up there with finding the perfect pair of jeans. Our body shapes vary so much and it can be tricky to tick all ones boxes at the same time. I’m bigger in my top than my bottom which tends to be different to the average woman so more often than not I steer towards styles that offer a cup sized bikini top. Swimsuits can be less of a challenge but not always. I mentioned in previous blogs that I had planned to do a swimwear blog this year. I like to do one every year as It’s the one chance I get to take some really different pictures in sunny holiday locations and to highlight anything I think is helpful to readers. This spring I didn’t find anything that really floated my boat. I preferred the ones I had from previous years so you all know me by now and know I won’t buy anything I don’t really love and I’ll always wait until I find “the one”. Well now I have! I was recently approached by an online swimwear boutique and asked if I’d look at their swimwear to possibly write a blog. When I looked at the brands they stocked the answer was absolutely yes! I won’t post anything on my blog that I wouldn’t happily buy and wear myself. I can’t tell you how I wish I’d seen their website before I went on holiday in July. I’m not going to dwell on it anymore though as actually it doesn’t matter, I’ve found them now and I will continue to buy their swimwear and beachwear. I chose a bikini by GOTTEX  from a few different styles and brands that I ordered to try. The colours are gorgeous, it’s fully lined and is such a comfortable and secure fit. Popping in and out of the pool, swimming and lounging around it just didn’t move. I love the fact I can actually swim properly in it and it can be worn as a full bandeau, a halter (as pictured below) or from the centre and tied around the neck. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own and I was totally in control of the styles I chose to feature. I have managed to get you guys a discount code!!! (all details at the end ). I’ve already got quite a wish list going on myself including a sun hat for next year and another kaftan! If you’re lucky enough to be going away for some late summer sun now the school hols are over then have a little look online. If you’re a gym bunny they stock a nice selection of Speedo. If you like “Miraclesuit swimwear” then there’s new arrivals to tempt you. If you love your spas and retreats or if you realise, like me, that there’s never a wrong time to buy the right thing and a lot to be said for being prepared, then have a mooch. It’s nice to find something a bit different isn’t it? Oh and they stock kaftans and beach dresses, fake tans; kids swimwear; mens’ swimwear and various other accessories. I’m wearing a kaftan by Aspiga… you may have heard of them? They stock cover-ups and bikinis (often designed to go together) which makes shopping online easy without excessive delivery charges.

 

 

 

 

 

BIKINI – Gottex Island Hoping Bikini (I’m wearing size 10E) – full GOTTEX range here

KAFTAN – Aspiga festival kaftan  (I’m wearing a size S/M) – full ASPIGA  range here

BASKET – mini pom- pom Bohemia design

FLIP FLOPS – Havaianas at The White Company

SUNGLASSES – Missoni at TK Maxx

JEWELLERY – Whistles

DISCOUNT CODE!

We all love a discount code. Readers of this blog can get 15% off at www.ukswimwear.com with code SOLIHUL (notice there’s only one L) for a year until 04/09/19. It’ll work on everything including sale items but not in conjunction with any other offer. The code can be used once per customer. Delivery charges will apply but there’s free returns.

So the bikini blog happened after all. Maybe not in the conventional way but I guess that’s me all over! We’ve had an amazing summer this year with glorious weather. I’m not buying into winter fashion just yet though it’s back to work for the new season with clients. There may be leopard print ahead!

Thank you to Becky for her help finding a location for this blog at short notice and Karen for the use of her pool. Thank you to Rachael at ukswimwear.com, I must’ve driven you nuts! Thank you to Emma for lending me your unicorn. A massive thank you to the long suffering Mr.W for taking the photos and his patience. I won’t let him use any filters or touch up any pics but we do remove the odd football or fence from the background! I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog and manage to make use of the saving on your next purchase.

 

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Aug 26, 2018

SHE WORE HER PYJAMAS OUT IN PUBLIC?!

Oh yes I did! Often been known to wear my pyjama top under my coat on the school run, I’m no stranger to wearing strange things in strange places. I think you know what I mean? I wish I could put emojis on my blog! I’ve always worn sleepwear as outerwear out and about, maybe not on the school run or into my local town but most definitely on holiday. There’s huge benefits to wearing sleepwear as daywear, I’ve not gone completely mad I promise! It makes perfect sense. It’s usually easy care so washes well and dries quickly, it often comes in pretty colours with nice little details and if you buy summer weight sleepwear then it’s super cool to wear in really hot climates. The right pieces can make great swimwear cover ups or beach trousers. Avoid really obvious bedtime prints. Look for sporty details, pom poms or tassels. These will all enhance a holiday, care free vibe.  I’ve had these GAP neon printed shorts for absolutely yonks. Wearing them with a new this summer linen blouse they felt current again. I’ve found a new trick too this summer. Well new to me anyway. You stylish lot have probably always been aware of the benefits of athleisure wear!? I’m a bit late to the party! I’ve fallen for wearing a sports bra on holiday. Oh wow how ground breaking! (emoji needed!) But seriously! I just can’t get on with strapless bras and the ones that actually fit are all padded and boned and just too darn hot and restrictive on holiday. I feel like I’m one step away from wearing a ball gown! The benefit of wearing a low impact sports bra (I’d need high impact for any real exercise) is that they tend to have thinner and prettier straps. Way thinner and prettier than any boulder holder I have to wear on a normal day to day basis. I quite like the thin satin straps on show under a top. I’d much rather see that than a wide nude utility strap, you know the sort I mean that usually appear on T-shirt bras or the bra fat ( OMG there’s no other way to describe it I’m sorry xx) and ridge I get with a strapless bra! I’m a real stickler for not showing bra straps in normal situations. It’s a phobia of mine. Stupid I know. So the whole sports bra thing on holiday has just been such a style revelation for me after years of struggling with the right lingerie under strappy tops and vests and racer backs ….and and and! Thank goodness for sportswear being such a massive movement in fashion. I hope it’s a trend that sticks around. So as feeling cool and relaxed and comfortable on holiday reigned so this outfit emerged from the pieces that remained clean in my case towards the end of a wonderful holiday.

WELL WHA’DA YOU KNOW?

Who would have thought that a pair of pj shorts and a humble £7.99 brightly coloured sports bra would have got me so excited!! It’s the possibilities that now follow that has made me sit up and take notice. All those floaty strappy sun dresses that I thought I couldn’t wear? All those slightly sheer sporty sun tops? Oh my next summer…. nothing is gonna stop me!

 

BLOUSE – massively oversized… I’m wearing UK size 6  – H&M

SPORTS BRA – H&M

COTTON SHORTS – GAP

SUNGLASSES – H&M

LIP GLOW – Trinny London in Tallis

This may well be good-bye summer? But maybe not? I’ve not yet done a blog about swimwear. I tend to do one every year but this year I didn’t find a new cozzie. I tried, I really did. I tried swimsuits and bikinis but nothing really floated my boat so I made do on holiday this time around… But ….. watch this space because I may well have a little something up my sleeve!

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Aug 16, 2018

TALKING SHORTS!

Well a slight exaggeration… but out the door in under 30 definitely! Usually I’d reach for a dress in these kinda situations but with all the wonderful weather we’ve been having of late I’ve been forced to embrace shorts. For some reason this year I just thought, what the hell, no one cares what I look like and it’s too darn hot! So on this morning where I wanted to be outta the house ASAP shorts it was. I’d been taking it so slowly that morning but I just got to the point where I was sick of the kids playing Fortnite! Does anyone else do that? Let them play for ages then suddenly feel guilty and shout “GOOOOO!” ” We’re going out NOOOOWWWW!” Then realise you’re not actually out of your PJs yourself!! All the time the electric baby sitter is working for me I’m happy to go along with it and have the rest but once I get a bee in my bonnet that enough is enough, then that’s it…I shout “off”  like some screaming banshee! The boys must wonder what suddenly changes?! Bad mom! With no extra time to think once I had committed myself to going out I just grabbed my shorts, chucked on a white T; slid on some slides; grabbed a bag and bundled them into the car. I love these wide leg linen shorts from H&M. I bought them a few weeks ago and love how comfortable they are, maybe a bit too comfortable! They have sold out on line but I picked mine up in store. FYI, they are generous and I went down a size.

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY!

Off we all went to get the things on our list ticked off. Take strapless bra back, get eldest to try school shoes on (didn’t happen!) and look at other strapless bra options in John Lewis. The search is still on btw for the holy grail of strapless bras to miraculously show itself! I’ve got the perfect camisole to wear with these shorts still languishing unworn in my wardrobe. If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while now you’ll know the main reason why they don’t happen more frequently is because I struggle to get photos at the weekend with busy family life and kids sporting activities. Back from holiday and a little mooch around town with a coffee break seemed the perfect opportunity to teach the little people how to take a picture suitable for social media. Simple right? WRONG! It became a competition and a fight for my phone and who could take the best pic! It was like watching men fight over the TV remote. Anyway it cost me two fizzy drinks, a chocolate brownie and a packet of biscuits but they had also had to endure Bravissimo too so fair is fair, right?! They were horrified that the store actually used the word “BOOB!” and “there were pictures of pineapples on them too mummy!”  Boys!  This blog wouldn’t have happened without them and joking aside they were great and very patient and not bad pics were taken despite the hilarity.

 

 

 

 

SHORTS – H&M

LEATHER SLIDES – Banana Republic

LINEN T – The White Company

LEATHER BASKET TOTE BAG – Tory Burch at Bicester Village

WATCH – Fossil

SUNGLASSES – FCUK at Boots

NECKLACES and EARRINGS – Whistles

 

 

Thank you for reading. the next blog will follow soon…..more shorts!

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Jul 01, 2018

BIG ON BICESTER!

You’ve all heard of Bicester Village. I’m sure many of you have shopped there. If you haven’t been for a while then it may well be worth a visit? A lot has changed and there are new units with a swanky new extension to the existing Village. Some of your favourites may have moved and there’s lots of new brands like Joseph, Under Armour and Lululemon. The older I get the more I learn to appreciate what Bicester has to offer in way of a shopping experience. I love going there. It feels like a treat. It a beautiful place to shop and it’s lovely being able to see and touch beautiful things. I’m more than happy to admit that I’m learning to like better quality as I mature. The kids are getting older too so my lifestyle is changing. I no longer have sick down my back…. ewww!!  My day is very different now that I’m working and the children are in full time education. I can actually get away with the odd dry clean only item! I don’t believe in keeping anything for best but a few years ago buying anything of quality was just a complete waste of money, emotionally exhausting and silk suicide!! Obviously high street buys have their place. I love buying my holiday wardrobe. Some fun bits to wreck on my hols! For this I tend to take myself off to Birmingham and actually go shopping for myself. Real shopping, not online shopping. I’m sick to death of ordering copious amounts of clothes online only to return. Finding ones size has become particularly frustrating of late on the high street and I find trying clothes on in store much more effective. I find buying a whole outfit much easier if I’m shopping in a real shop. It’s all there on hand to try together. If I buy an outfit I find I wear it rather than having a wardrobe full of white elephants where nothing goes together. Holiday packing is way easier if you pack outfits that work together and find pieces that also make sense in other scenarios too. This also helps to limit packing too many shoe styles. I’ll probably post my outfit flat lays for you soon to illustrate the point.  Any way, back to Bicester.

BACK TO BICESTER!

A few weeks ago I got the amazing opportunity to go to an invite only VIP Prada event located in the “Apartments” at Bicester Village. I was a dear friend’s plus one. How super lucky was I. All the pieces were samples so most, if not all, were one off pieces at up to 70% off. We had the most amazing day in the stunning VIP suites. This is just the most beautiful hospitality space for special events and guests of the Village that wish to elevate their day to something more tailor made to their shopping needs. The staff were really friendly and it was a great experience.  One I felt hugely privileged to be able to take part in and a day I’ll never forget. Thank you Bicester.  After the event we did some extra shopping in The Village. I totally get that we all have very different budgets and what is a daily spend to one person, is totally out of reach to another but I’ve always enjoyed my visits to Bicester Village. If you go with good company and an open mind then you never know what you might find. That’s the fun of it! It seemed rude not to share these photos with you so I hope you enjoy them.

Handbag – PRADA

Thank you for reading. I hope you are all enjoying this glorious weather we are having at the moment. Hopefully I’ll get to do another blog soon, until then, stay safe in the sun! XXX

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Jun 27, 2018

STEPPING OUT OF ONES COMFORT ZONE!

This seems to be the theme for me at the moment. This is a personal blog so it’s not always driven by fashion but by my journey in life and some of the highs and lows of setting up ones own business. Not completely from scratch because I’ve not had to retrain, I’ve just had to adapt and rebuild a new “brand”. Building a business is very different now to when I did it before over twenty years ago. I’ve mentioned the mine field that is social media and how I’ve struggled with it as a more mature woman to make it work for me. I’m no model. I’m just me, trying to make the best of me with the other commitments that being a mum brings to the table too. Most of us juggle A LOT as women these days and often we have to compromise our goals for the things that are more important to us like our children and our partners. Last Friday I went to a Women in Business Event in Birmingham City Centre run by Headz Up Business. I went on my own to challenge myself and to meet other like minded women. I’m used to working in a one to one environment so I found this to be well and truly out of my comfort zone. I’ll probably talk more about this subject in another blog but I wanted to “put it out there” while it was still fresh in my mind. We are lucky to live in a world where barriers are being broken and issues are being discussed. Balancing family life and ones career isn’t easy and it’s very hard to summarise everything that was said at the expo but I came away with a warm fuzzy feeling that I was not alone and that there are lots of amazing women (and men!) doing wonderful things in local business. I felt encouraged to keep going and felt proud of what I had achieved so far. I also think that a blog about work wear might be helpful? I touched on the subject with Pushpa (the brains behind Headz Up Business) when I met her at the event. I’ve had a few clients lately that have specifically needed help with work wear. Either to feel confident in their clothes to get recognised as the right material for a particular promotion or looking the part for the role they have already. It’s a sensitive subject to tackle and depends hugely on the individuals’ needs and what they are trying to achieve. Whether we realise it or not we “talk” to other people through what we decide to wear. Our clothes send out a message. It’s basic human nature to “read” what we see. “Is it a lion?”, therefore “should I run?” or “is it a cat, can I pick it up and stroke it?”  This process becomes very difficult when you are talking about being in business and dressing for work. Work wear choices will depend on soooo many different factors. Still being you is hugely important. Who you are and what you stand for is a positive thing and needs to be reflected in your choices. I realise I’ve started writing a different blog already when I thought this blog was just going to be about camo print trousers!! HA ha. I will open up this can of worms another time! It’s too hot today, thank goodness, to write anything too challenging on my brain. So back to camo as promised in my last blog.

STILL STEPPING OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE!

Believe it or not, wearing a pair of camo trousers is way out of my comfort zone. I know I say “buy less buy better”  but I’ve also said, if you’re gonna try something new “style wise” then don’t invest in case you hate it!!! Simple! When I saw these cropped camos for £11 in Gap it felt rude not to give them a go. The weather was still a bit iffy and I thought that they’d be a lighter option than jeans and just super easy to chuck on with flats and go. I’m really pleased with them and I’ve already got my eleven quids worth out of them! I’ve worn them with an embroidered slogan T shirt and with pretty tops and heels. In the autumn I may well pull then out with a tailored blazer, crisp white shirt and heels for work. I love mine as the print is dark and foresty (my own word!) so they suit me but if you suit a more subtle colour palette then there’s loads of options on the high street.

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

TROUSERS – GAP (sale discounts may vary)

BLOUSE – TopShop last year

EARRINGS – Whistles (current sale)

BASKET – Bohemia Design

TASSELS – Bohemia Design

SLIDES – Dune London

RINGS – Nomination (red or black)

cropped – GAP   middle – TOPSHOP  end right – WHISTLES

HELLO HOLIDAYS!

I’ve posted some holiday buys to lose, get covered in sun cream or completely trash on holiday in the collage below!!! Oh and a sneaky peek at a fab skort from Zara which is now in the sale! Yay!

 

beach dress – GAP   sunglasses – H&M   blouse – H&M  slides – Dune London

 

Thanks for reading and all your on going support. Social media wouldn’t work without you guys so I’m hugely grateful. Sharing is caring! Next bog? Hmmm I said shorts didn’t I??? There’s a skort above, can that count please?! XXX

Valerie

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