By SolihullStyle      Jul 27, 2017

SOMETHING DIFFERENT!

Every once in a while I like to write about beauty products. It’s nice to write about something other than fashion just for a change. This blog has come about on the back of my Facebook posts about making holiday packing easier. The products I’ll be taking on my hols take on the same ethos as my clothing. They’ll need to multi-task and they’ll need to work. For this reason I will only take products I know and trust to perform. So, from top pic to bottom:-

A’kin Pure Radiance rose hip oil

Available from Waitrose and Holland and Barrett and other online beauty products boutiques. I use this facial oil at night after cleansing. I love anything natural and this oil contains no sulphates; no parabens; no silicones; no ethoxylated cleansers; no pegs; no phthalates; no mineral oil; no artificial colours; no synthetic fragrances and no animal derivatives. It quite simply does what it says on the tin and delivers radiance to the skin. It is completely natural and doesn’t smell how you’d expect a posh product to smell. I think it smells like grass? I find this quite comforting actually knowing that I’m not using something that smells highly of fragrance but it might disappoint some?

L’Occitane 100% pure Shea butter

This tiny little pot is great for packing light and providing relief from dry skin. Fabulous for an outdoorsy holiday or a holiday in the sun. I used it for the kids too as it’s so natural. From dry patches on the hands to chapped lips.

Label M (Toni and Guy) Lemongrass shampoo and conditioner

Now this smells divine! I get on best with shampoos that do not contain sulphates as I have naturally curly hair and I can be prone to a sensitive scalp. I’ve found this stuff to work the best for me as an every day shampoo that neither dries my hair out or weighs it down. My hair drinks up the conditioner rather than letting it “sit” on the surface.

Hairburst

I don’t mind admitting that I had issues with my hair through health problems and bereavement. I’m growing my hair again now and there’s nothing quite like the summer months for boosting it’s growing capacity. I’ve been using these supplements for a year or so and I strongly believe I wouldn’t have got this far with growing it without these vitamins. I will continue to take them on holiday to support my hair through it’s growth spurt! Available from Hairburst and from Holland and Barrett who often have offers on supplements.

Ultrasun

I quite simply trust Ultrasun.  My eldest is very pale but, if I use the sun cream (factor 50+) for the body correctly, he has never burnt and it really has lasted all day and even in and out of the water as kids do. I always use the face version. On a normal everyday basis I’ll use the factor 30 but on holiday I’ll use factor 50 if I’m out and about in any kind of sun. Available at lots of retailers now from John Lewis and Waitrose to Superdrug and online (QVC often has great offers).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little read. I realise that we are all different and expect different things from our beauty regime but, as I said before, it’s nice to change things up a little. I’ll be off on my hols soon so I may not get time to post the “outfits blog” before I go but I’ll do it as soon as I can. In brief, I tried to pack by outfit, making sure that I keep shoes and accessories to a minimum. I have posted a few tips on Facebook if you want to take a look. I will have to make a little confession and admit that I am finding it particularly challenging to keep shoes to a realist number in my case!!! Wish me luck! Thank you for reading and I hope you all enjoy your summer holidays no matter where you are.

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Sep 14, 2016

MIXED BAG!

Now and then there are lots of things I want to share with you that, try as I might, don’t fit into a neat little package. This is one such blog. There’s fashion news; designer collaborations and shampoo all rolled into one! It’ll flow about as seamlessly as “The One Show”.

A NEW BRAND AT JOHN LEWIS!

It’s HUSH. A modern and contemporary brand comprising of reworked classics in a fairly neutral pallet. Up until now it was only available by mail order but the range is currently on the shop floor in John Lewis Grand Central Birmingham. If we play our cards right it might come to Solihull? It’s easy breezy styling makes light work of school run styling. Have a look online and see what you think.

 

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DESIGNER COLLABORATIONS!

One of the first designer collaborations I remember was when Marks and Spencer worked with Betty Jackson, John Rocha, Anthony Symmons and others who at the moment I can’t remember. It must have been around 15-20 years ago when I was working in London as I can remember seeing the clothes on the shop floor in their Marble Arch flagship store. Since then there have been many high street retailers who have followed suit with lesser or greater success. We are all familiar with Designers at Debenhams I’m sure? H&M is also famous for it’s collaborations which causes queues for miles in the early hours of the morning in Regent Street when the collection is launched in store. Within moments it’s sold out online if you even manage to get to see it before the site crashes under the strain. So what’s new this time? John Lewis has joined forces with designer duo Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding to create “MODERN RARITY” (read the VOGUE article here). The clever bit and what makes this range different from other collaborations is that it obviously has amazing design flare but it’s totally wearable. Beautifully designed classic pieces to treasure as opposed to a short lived trend taking the credit. My kind of clothes! There’s some great items for work and their famous shirts have almost sold out at the minute on line. Have a look in store and again, see what you think?

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WHAT AN EARTH WAS I THINKING!

I probably wasn’t!!! I just go full stream ahead! Stuff to say, tick! Put it in a blog, tick! Bonkers! Oh well, let’s talk shampoo then! Everyone has their favourite and everyone has a price they are willing to pay and everyone has different hair types. I’ve tried so many over the years and you could argue that all shampoos are the same. They just wash your hair don’t they? But a hairdresser once said to me that that was like saying all men are the same. Overs the years I have come to realise he was right. I’ve done the “I’ll just use baby shampoo because it’ll be kind to my hair” phase. By the way, it wasn’t (kind), it made my hair like straw. I’ve done the “I’ll buy a stupidly expensive treatment variety” because you get what you pay for don’t you? Well I didn’t (get what I paid for), I got really greasy hair! I’ve had short flings with some that I didn’t even get to the end of the bottle and I’ve had love affairs with some that lasted a good few years! At the moment I’m loving LabelM’s ( Toni and Guy) Lemongrass Shampoo and conditioner. I wash my hair everyday. My hair isn’t easy. It has a natural curl so like all hair prone to frizz it absorbs moisture making it flat and lank some days and super curly on others or even a mixture of both! It’s short but takes FOREVER to dry as it holds so much moisture. It gets greasy quickly so needs a cleansing shampoo but not one that dries it out, strips it of moisture and leaves it frizzy. All in all there’s a lot to “balance” when it comes to washing my hair. I’ve not even mentioned the dilemma of conditioner yet. Too heavy and I loose the curl and it just looks lank and oily by the end of the day; too light and I get frizz. The answer at the moment just simply seems to be this stuff which smells divine by the way too. It’s a fab everyday shampoo that quite simply does the job! I buy their supersize bottles on line which work out much cheaper and last for ages. If you’re not happy with the products you’re using at the moment then it might be worth a try? In fact I have tried a number of LabelM products and I have found that they do do what they say on the tin. WOOOHOOO, I can make a link. As it’s London Fashion Week next week I thought it only fitting to post about LabelM products as they are the official London Fashion Week hair care products. Phew, I did it! Right at the very end! Take note “The One Show!”

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LABELM Organic Moisturising Lemongrass shampoo and conditioner

I hope you’ve enjoyed this slightly nuts blog? Life it’s always wrapped up in neat little packages but I guess that’s what makes it fun. I’ll keep posting outfits as the season progresses and keep you up to speed with what I find. And by the way, I LOVE “The One Show”!! Thanks for reading!

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Mar 14, 2016

FROM THE TIPS OF YOUR TOES!

It’s starting to feel like Spring and it is the time of year when there’s often a bit more skin on show and therefore, naturally a time when we might reach for a few quick fixes to beauty dilemmas.  When it comes to beauty products I have to admit I’m not one to try lots of new things. I am the polar opposite of a “beauty junky!” I’d rather buy a new pair of jeans than the latest face cream. I’m the sort of person that needs a ‘problem to solve’ to invest! It’s a real “need” situation that will make me succumb to the purchasing of such frivolity! If my nails need some TLC I’ll research nail treatments and try the one with best customer reviews. If my skin is parched then I’ll buy a moisturiser, it’s that basic!  I know that often prevention is better than the cure but I can’t help who I am!

 

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As I’ve got older and as I guess the “need” for products has gotten greater, I’ve become more interested due to the results that some products can give. We’re all different and I realise than one persons treat is another persons nightmare. What is one ladies spray tan is another ladies Christian Louboutin. So, in a nut shell, if I buy it more than once it has to work, for me at least.

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SO TWINKLE TOES?!

There are brands that I love and if I could buy everything they produce I would. One such brand is L’OCCITANE EN PROVENCE. I love ALL their hand creams; lotions and more… My first desert island beauty product has to be L’OCCITANE foot cream. Not glamourous I know but it is lovely all the same. After the first application you can see a difference. It doesn’t smell like medication either. Spring is here and it won’t be long before we will all want to get our feet into sandals and flip flops. After a good old foot file (nice!!) I like to slaver this rich lotion all over the feet before bed. In the pics you can see I’m in need of fresh supplies!

 

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L’OCCITANE EN PROVENCE foot cream

HARD AS NAILS!

Well not mine! My second hero product is NAIL ENVY from OPI. It’s a nail treatment that needs commitment to see results but after years of searching (and bitten brittle nails) I’ve found NAIL ENVY to be the only product that protects my fragile nails successfully. I’ve tried various nail strengtheners and hardeners but always found that they made my nails hard but also brittle. Nail envy keeps the flexibility of a natural nail to avoid breakages whilst protecting it from absorbing moisture which can damage the nail from within. I now wear rubber gloves while washing up and use my NAIL ENVY. I don’t have long talons because of this product as I can’t function with long nails but I do have good condition nails with a nice little bright white tip. Sticking to the regime is the key to success as if I stop using the treatment then my sensitive nails return.

 

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NAIL ENVY OPI

A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN!

The perfect partner to nail envy is OPI’s NAIL POLISH REMOVER. Once I had discovered NAIL ENVY I soon realised that I was still damaging my nails due to the harsh remover I was using (the really smelly cheap paint stripper variety!!) It made sense to try OPI. Their remover does what it says on the tin but doesn’t damage my nails. I feel I also need to mention here my LEIGHTON DENNY crystal nail file which has also played its part in restoring the condition of my natural nails.

 

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POLISH REMOVER OPI

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LEIGHTON DENNY crystal nail file

 

BACKWARDS BEAUTY BLOGGING!

I should have done hair, skin and then nails! O.K, I’ll work backwards! It’s onto skin care then. I’m not going to even think about tackling moisturisers as you will all have your individual favourites and budget. I mean some face miracle creams can be hundreds of pounds. No, I’m going to discuss the humble make up remover (cleanser if you want to be posh). It’s something that a lot of us don’t pay too much attention to, cleansing, and most women might say they just use wipes. I have to admit when my eyes are ragging at the end of the day and I’m too lazy to do it properly I have been known to resort of one of the kids value wipes!  Since I’ve had my hair cut short I have found that I wear more eye make up if I need to be smart or if I’m going out for the evening. It all needed to be taken off at bed time. This is where the “need” kicked in and I had to find a product fit for the job. I did my usual product search on line and there were so many cleansers. I needed more than just a cleanser though. I needed something to really cut through make up and not leave me with panda eyes in the morning after long sessions of scrubbing and dragging at my eyes. I tried Liz Earle Cleanse and polish due to it’s amazing customer reviews but it didn’t suit my skin and I ended up with breakouts that were worse than the spots that I got as a teenager. I thought it must be something else but I stopped using it and my skin went back to normal. The lady at Liz Earle said it was because my skin was used to not being cleansed properly after all the years of using wipes! Not convinced I went on line and searched through what was on offer at QVC. This is one of the best places to try out Beauty Brands. I’ve learnt so much by watching the experts talk about the products. So what did I find? I decided to try a cleanser by an Australian brand, ALPHA H. I’ve never looked back. No break outs just very clean skin and no panda eyes! It takes off every bit of make up, even bullet proof waterproof mascaras. There’s no scrubby or pulling of the eye area as the creamy lotion melts away your make up. The only thing is that it is so effective at liquefying my make up that I look like ALICE COOPER before I manage to wipe off all the black with a hot flannel!

 

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ALPHA H balancing cleanser – QVC (super size pump bottle)

ALPHA H!

On the back of being so thrilled with their everyday balancing cleanser that I have now purchased their micro cleanser. I’ll use this once a week as a scrub to slough off dead skin cells and give my skin a lift for the weekend! Check me out!

 

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ALPHA H micro cleanse – QVC

The product combinations at QVC are always changing and I can only find their micro cleanse sold with other products in their range at the moment but it is worth taking a look at the range as a whole actually as there is something for everyone and some impressive customer reviews. QVC – ALPHA H

HAIR TODAY!

Geese, this is a tricky one! Where do I start. A bit like moisturisers, It’s a huge area of discussion where you will again all have your favourite product. This isn’t going to be about shampoo for exactly that reasons. This is about the sensitive issue of hair health. I was going to start with saying that I wish that I had long flowing locks then I realised that I didn’t! If you know me or have seen a pic you will know I have short hair. I had it cut short after the birth of my second son. If I’m honest I think my hair had lost the plot after the birth of my first son but I was probably too busy to notice at the time. I struggled with the lack of fullness to my locks so I decided to get rid of the problem. My hair and not the children! So it wasn’t a style choice thing it was a survival mechanism with the dynamics I had to deal with. Not a life threatening condition, granted, but a hugely complex and emotional issue for a woman. I mean we aren’t supposed to loose our hair are we? I was only in my 40s and there were a lot of tears. After the kids there was personal heart ache with the loss of both my parents in a relatively short space of time and a small operation (double tonsillectomy) which I’m convinced led to the shedding of my hair. I tried various vitamins and supplements. I read a lot about the triggers that are thought to be related to hair loss which included all the above. It happened in cycles so I had good times and bad times but it was happening. Then I stumbled across HAIRBURST. I first saw it on Twitter of all places. A celebrity was praising its results after trying it. I was intrigued so looked into the claims further. I’m not usually swayed by such endorsements but desperate times and all that! I liked the fact it wasn’t dodgy! It was a vitamin supplement available from HOLLAND AND BARRETT ( I’ve only found it in the larger stores or readily available on line). After a few months I wondered if it was just wishful think but my hair definitely felt more manageable.It happened slowly. I realised one day that I had got ready to go in super quick time and hadn’t fretted about my hair! I persevered and I’ve been using it for 6-9 months (religiously) and I can now say with hand on heart that I can feel a real difference in the density of my hair. I don’t think it’s good enough to grow it long ( I wouldn’t want to now) but at least I don’t panic about what my hair is doing when I leave the house! What is there is better than it was: the shedding has stopped (for now) and my hairdresser has described my hair as “normal” after knowing me for the last 7 years of hair crisis management! Happy Days, my hair covers my head! That’s all I ask!

 

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HAIRBURST – Holland and Barrett (box of 3 jars)

Buy one get one half price at the moment on all products including supplements

Single jar (60 capsules)

IT’S ALL A BIT GRAPHIC!

Sorry if this blog has turned into a catalogue of my ailments?! I started out quite up beat didn’t I and all flowers and pretty products then it all turned a bit “bodily”. Apologises, again! I did it in the hope that some of these beauty bits and bobs might actually help someone?

ON A LIGHTER NOTE!

The next blog? It’s going to be what I promised last time! Some outfit ideas and hero finds off the high street for the summer months ahead.

 

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SWEATER – Zara JEANS – Zara NECKERCHIEF – H&M BAG – Banana Republic SHOES – Office

Until next time I’ll leave you with a little taster of some clothing, shoes and accessory items that have caught my eye. I hope you enjoyed this blog? I’m wondering what it is that you can’t live with out? Please don’t say chocolate and Prosecco, that goes without saying!

Savings to look at!

New Look Discount Code

Marks and Spencer Discount Code

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Jul 02, 2015

WHITE OUT!

This is a quick one as things are hotting up fast and the Summer sales are in full swing. You’ve guest it, an old favourite! There’s nothing quite like a cool, floaty, white dress on a really hot day and this week we have been blessed with lots of lovely sultry hot days. I bought my white Broderie Anglaise dress when my eldest was a new born in his push chair. I remember my husband waiting patiently with him while I tried a few dresses on. This one fitted the bill!!! Lovely and loose post baby! The fit has continued to serve me well in this heat by being generous with lots of drape! A characteristic synonymous  with GHOST ( a wonderful brand that has fought it’s corner to survive over the years). It’s a brand that has stayed true to it’s roots and is famous for the floaty viscose fabric it always uses. I think I feel close to the brand as I remember having a project at Fashion College where we were privileged enough to work with this fabric for one of the degree shows. I remember all the washing, dying and pre-shrinking we had to do and I was fascinated by how GHOST  managed to create clothes to fit so well from such a temperamental cloth. Some of us students had a few disasters!!! I am a big fan and have collected a few pieces where I can. For some reason I find that boho styling with a white dress ever seems to date. Embroidery, lace inserts and crochet edges just seem reassuringly appropriate on a hot day. A dress is as easy as pie to wear if you find your perfect style. Pop on with sandals ( high or low) or flip flops and you’re out the door.

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DRESS – GHOST, BAG – GHOST

So mine is as old as the hills! An investment that has paid off. A classic that I can rely on year after year. The sales are on and there are lots available. I have noticed that popular styles have sold out on line ( no surprises here) but often the sizes are available on the shop floor. I’ve tried to post ones that I’ve seen in the shops in most sizes but it doesn’t take long for the good stuff to go so I’m sorry if it causes any frustrations.

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JAEGER – Linen shirt dress ( sizes limited on line but definitely available with a bit of leg work) WAS £199 NOW £39

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FENN WRIGHT AND MANSON – WAS £169 NOW £84 ( I’d undo the shirt buttons!!!!)

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FRENCH CONNECTION – this seems to be very popular as It’s pretty much sold out on line but there were most sizes on the shop floor in John Lewis in Touchwood so I’m fairly confident that no matter where you are you could lay your hands on your size! WAS £75 NOW £37.50

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EAST – £69

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FRENCH CONNECTION – on line exclusive WAS £110 NOW £77

The next few dresses I’ve listed are from petite ranges ( a request from a lovely lady at my gym). The NEXT and the GAP options are available in a regular fit. GAP also does a tall fit.

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NEXT – petite £44

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NEXT – petite £65

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GAP – petite WAS  £49.95 NOW £34.99

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GAP – petite WAS £44.95 NOW £32.99

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PRECIS PETITE – WAS £119 NOW £39

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A little nota bene!! This product is a bit like Marmite! I struggle with fake tan. I’m soooo pale I’m blue!! Fake tan is usually too harsh for me and no matter how much or how little I pay they still make me go an odd colour. I have found this Bare Minerals duo a bit of a hero product as it actually hardly does ANYTHING!! Well that just sounds silly I hear you cry?! If you’re really pale and want a natural hint of colour without the full on Tango look then it might be for you. I usually buy my premium beauty brands from QVC if I can as they offer a 30 day money back guarantee even if the pot is empty!I have to pay postage but if I want to try an expensive product like good self tan and I’m sceptical then it makes sense?

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errrm… what’s next???

As always, thank you for reading, until next time…..

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Jun 10, 2015

It started with a BBQ on a sunny day. I remember reading an article a long time ago by a well known TV stylist about dressing appropriately for an occasion and to NEVER wear white to a BBQ for fear of the inevitable dollop of red sauce that would slide from your hot dog and end up on your newly laundered pale attire! I get this but once I had kids I decided that no clothing would stay that precious and most items get messed up on a day out anyway so, me being me and not taking life or clothes too seriously, I decided, therefore to do the exact opposite and don my white trousers. FLARES no less!

Every story should have a beginning; a middle and an end. The middle bit is that I enjoyed wearing my whites so much that they got a few more airings until they needed a wash. I find myself doing this a lot. Is it just me??? I find an outfit I like, wear it to death then move on! Well, any way, the next day wasn’t quite so gloriously warm so a suitable layering piece was required. I’ve found this little blazer from last Summer a life saver this year. An item like this can really open up your wardrobe and can be styled lots of different ways. Dressed up or down a little jacket can give you a more put together look and beats that bobberly cardi in the car hands down! There are plenty of these trophy jackets around this season which look great over dresses; tailored pieces; your favourite jeans or even city shorts and culottes. Layering pieces are worth considering, if you haven’t already, as they are invaluable in our weird and wonderful British climate. If you like wearing prints then find a plain pop of colour that works with your existing wardrobe. If you sway towards block colour dressing and usually seek texture, colour or print in your accessories then be brave and find an embellished or embroidered number like mine that can take you from beach to bar! The one that fits well and works for you will depend on lots of factors. I’ve just listed a few below for inspiration which I haven’t seen in the flesh but I think you get my drift?! As far as the trousers go, yes you’ve guessed it, they are an old chestnut in my wardrobe!! Most high street retailers have had a go at wider flared trousers and jeans this Summer so go to where you usually find your best fit and take it from there. My wide linen pair were from a Designer Outlet so their original price tag wasn’t cheap. The point being, they are a well made classic that I have worn every summer for a LONG time. As I’ve got older I have learnt that every now and then it’s O.K. to invest. So the outfit evolved from first thing when I walked out the door on the school run in a simple pair of wide trousers and T-shirt to a full on fashion blog with Aztec prints; flying fringes; bits of blue and basket weave!!

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Creased but cool and comfortable, just go with it I say!

 

 

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A simple ensemble! Tee and trousers….. add a bag; add a hat; add a cuff; add sunglasses….

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Things got a bit chilly!

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White flares are not the most flattering when stationary so I’m on the move!

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NECKLACE – I bought mine from one of those pop up stalls in the centre of Touchwood (Solihull) years ago but there are loads of holiday inspired pieces available in the shops depending on your budget. From beads at ChloBo ( some items at 50% off at Fabulous Collections in Touchwood) to tassels at Boden ( pink leather tassel charm necklace).  Accessorize and TOPSHOP ( pink tassel on a beaded necklace) have all sorts of  festival inspired jewellery to choose from.

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Add a jacket and tweak the accessories… building an outfit…..

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BEADED RING – (just seen) ChloBo at Fabulous (Touchwood, Solihull) similar here and here

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WOVEN LEATHER BASKET – (old)  TK MAX  ( similar straw basket below)

HOME MADE LEATHER TASSEL

LEATHER CUFF – KURT GEIGER  (last season)

VINTAGE ITALIAN PANAMA HAT – similar listed at the end of this blog

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STRAW SHOPPER – John Lewis ( Touchwood, Solihull) On finding the link I’ve spotted that the black colour way pictured here is out of stock online. Navy is still available and If you’re quick black might still be there in our Touchwood branch?

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If you like rules then I’ll give you guide lines and style theory! How to wear wide trousers? The answer, with a neat fitted top  and a high wedge or a block heel sandal. Go as long as you dare with your trouser length and add inches to your legs!

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KIMONO JACKET – M&S

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BLAZER – ZARA  ( I had to stop myself from putting on most of their website here!! If you want a funky little jacket that won’t break the bank, Zara has nailed the trend!)

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PRINTED BOMBER JACKET – Zara 

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STRIPED COTTON JACKET – Zara

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JACKET – M&S

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The beauty bits! L’OCCITANE foot cream; CLINIQUE chubby stick in 15 pudgy peony; CLINIQUE nail enamel ( part of a set).

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SMART LINEN TROUSERS – Pure Collection

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PANAMA HAT – The White Company

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STRAW HAT – River Island

Image is from ASOS

The moral of this little story is that classic, well made ( and often investment) items will last the test of fashion time. These items pay you back in pound per wear and will give you a sense of satisfaction that you’ve spent your hard earned pennies well. They become the building blocks of a seasonal wardrobe and provide the spring board from which you are able to then play with your styling and have a go at the new season in a way that feels right for you. You’ll tackle those tricky trends you want to try with ease as they’ll be grounded by the clothes that make you feel your best. You won’t catch me in a peasant blouse and strappy gladiator sandals that tie up to my knees but I’ll still have a go at doing things my way and wear “that” blouse with some beautiful tailored cigarette trousers and killer heels!  Find your feet and you’ll never look back!

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THE END

As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading! Do you have items in your wardrobe that come out to play year after year? I’m such a bargain Betty and obviously fashion is my thing so I’m always on the look out for different and interesting bits and bobs. I won’t be able to always give you links to buy the same thing. I’m more about inspiring you to have a go and have fun. Keep your eyes peeled when you’re out and about. You never know what you might find!!

P.S. Just so you know, the white trousers survived the BBQ unscathed, however, by the time I’d finished crawling around on my hands and knees in the garden taking the perfect angled photo they were in a bad way!!! I bet the stylist on the BBC never thought about that, did she??! Xxxx

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Oct 08, 2014

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!