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

facebooktwitterInstagramgooglebloglovinPinterest

 

Comments Off on CAMEL COAT!

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

facebooktwitterInstagramgooglebloglovinPinterest

 

Comments Off on IN LOVE WITH THE MIDI!

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

facebooktwitterInstagramgooglebloglovinPinterest

Comments Off on TWO COATS!

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

facebooktwitterInstagramgooglebloglovinPinterest

Comments Off on CAMO OR COMFORT ZONE!

By SolihullStyle      Oct 24, 2017

 AUTUMN!

It was straight back to work after the summer holidays and now we are already at the mid season sale point. This is when things start to get interesting and the high street starts to really find it’s feet and come up with the goods as the mid seasons sales disappear and the new drop arrives. After half term I’ll be back to it with a fully booked first week. In short life is hectic. Crammed  full to the brim. On the days I’m not working I’ll kick back with a gym workout and catching up with friends at our favourite coffee shop. Well life can’t be all work and no play can it?!

TO SPEND OR NOT TO SPEND!

That is the question. I don’t need any clothes but obviously I’m drawn in by the trends. I do love winter for it’s cosy knits and luxurious fabrics. The down side is that this can come with a hefty price tag. Good bags and great coats aren’t cheap. I can give you the trends and you can choose if you want to buy into a quick fashion fix or not. I’m seduced by all the beautiful berry shaded coats this season from scarlet red to deepest burgundy. The high street has it’s versions and you can pick your price range depending on your budget. “Check” weave is EVERYWHERE and wear it from head to toe in the form of a matching suit if you really want to make a statement and wear this season’s heritage vibe the 2017 way. I’ll be punctuating mine with a dash of denim if I finally give in and buy a check blazer! I think I’ll be giving check cropped wide trousers a miss. Red boots and sock boots are here to stay another season and actually the red options can be more versatile than one might first expect, looking good with blue denim and more tailored pieces alike. As always the trends prove to be a mine field. This season is no different and the high street continues to be quite extreme. Extreme in it’s styling and extreme in it’s details and extreme in sometimes providing a very oversized fit. I haven’t bought anything new this season yet. I find this blogging malarkey my biggest challenge. I’m increasingly drawn to buying less but buying better. I realise the pieces that I love the most in my wardrobe are the pieces that have cost the most. I am trying to save my money and buy great things rather than lots of bits and bobs that all add up in the end. If you’ve ever got any questions about the season’s looks then feel free to ask away but don’t expect me to be wearing them all! What am I looking for then? What’s on the wish list?

1) A day dress. Huge challenge here so don’t hold your breathe!

2) Comfortable shoes I can walk in all day that are NOT trainers!

3) Simple knitwear to go under coats (I post this every winter so I’m on it  this time around and I’ll keep you posted)

4) Good quality jeans (as per!)

5) Maybe a new trouser shape? hmmmm, not sure, still mulling this one over! Side stripe trousers are still holding strong and I like them but…….

WEEKEND WEAR!

There’s no surprises then that my “outfit of the day” in this blog is fairly classic with some investment pieces thrown in to illustrate my point! The outfit was understated on purpose as there’s a lot going on in some of these pictures!  I can’t get pics of what I wear in the week very easily unless I ask a stranger. The problem is that at the weekends I spend my time watching kids play football or rugby on a cold, wet field. It’s the main reason why buying into trends has become less appealing the older I get. There’s just no chance to wear them anymore. After the normal routine of footie and the gym there was a chance to come home and play with the latest acquisition! No not a new pair of shoes, sadly for me, but something that filled the hearts of my boys with sheer delight! Anki Overdrive is in de house! I’m a mum of boys so I either choose to stay at home or go off on my own and do my own thing or I choose to watch every football match and watch every rugby match and make every bacon butty. I have chosen the later in a very conscious decision to not miss out on seeing them grow up. The arrival of this new game gave me another opportunity to choose to get stuck in and got involved. With no tricky remote control or levers, just download and use your Iphone or Android device to control your car, I quite enjoyed loosing (as always!) to my boys as they roared with laughter at my misfortune!  After a morning blowing off the cobwebs playing sport outdoors, as the day drew in, it was nice to have something to play with that the whole family could enjoy. Other than zoning out on Ipads, it’s the first toy that neither of them has got bored with. It even held their attention for longer than making slime with their Dad. They played happily together without arguments for most of the afternoon. Chatting and discussing their progress with each win giving them access to more features, weapons and vehicle capabilities. I have to say that we were very impressed with the amount of enjoyment it brought. I was kindly gifted it to try and my honest opinion is that I would recommend it to anyone. its like a 21st century Scaletrix!!

STILL A CLASSIC GIRL AT HEART!

Talking fashion. There’s nothing ground breaking about my outfit but I felt good in it. It felt like me and felt comfortable while still special with the addition of some investment pieces bought over the last year. A plan had come together shall we say?! A pea coat. Always in fashion and if you can wear a double breasted coat it’s a great item to invest in as it can look good worn with jeans; tailored trousers or over a floaty dress (hence the wish list above requiring a day dress!). The great white shirt, well no introduction required here but every wardrobe needs one. Vintage style jeans. They are mahousive this season and the high street is awash with it’s offerings. I have tried many and I have to say that I now believe that premium priced jeans are worth their price tag. Loving high cotton content denim with authentic vintage wiskering; a button fly and a high rise. Even the super polished Mrs.Beckham has been papped wearing her Vintage Levi’s! Now I have tasted quality jeans I will gradually be rebuilding my denim wardrobe styles with better versions so watch this space! A great bag. Gotta have a great bag right? Nuff said! Adds polish and the finishing touch. Boots. I have found sock boots to work really well for me. They are tight to the leg so this boot style just goes underneath my trousers or jeans. Working with all the style of trousers I have in my wardrobe from straight cut denim to kick flare trousers to cropped wide leg trousers. Simplz! There’s no worrying where everything finishes or where the bulky rouching of denim around the ankle goes. The most frequent question I get asked? “What do I do with my jeans when wearing ankle boots?” “Do my jeans go inside or out?!”

THE LEARNING CURVE!

As I get older I realise I need far less and as I grow and know who I am I find it easier to invest in clothes that I know I will wear. The risk has gone and it’s a wonderful feeling when you really know what you like. The days of buying a going out top on Saturday afternoon for the night out on Saturday night are well and truly over! The frustrating part is that I now find it really difficult to part with my hard earned pennies on poorer quality items. There’s been a turning point in the last few years and I’m trying to get my head around the shift! There’s definitely been a tipping point in my latter 40s. Having said all that, fear not Zara, I will not completely desert you and I vow to find the gems amongst the mountains of polyester!

      

GREY WOOL PEA COAT – The White Company (old)

STRAIGHT HIGH RISE JEANS – Agolde  (sold out but similar here)

WHITE SHIRT – H&M

SOCK BOOTS – Topshop (old similar here)

HANDBAG – Tods (Bicester Village)

WATCH – Fossil

BRACELET – Pandora

MUG – Villeroy and Boch

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little hop scotch around my life! Family, fashion and a good old dollop of fun. I’ll keep posting outfits and fashion when I can. Stay warm you lovely lot! Thanks for reading. XXX

Thank you to JAVA LOUNGE for letting me take pics of their cakes!

Valerie

facebooktwitterInstagramgooglebloglovinPinterest

Comments Off on THIS IS AUTUMN!

By SolihullStyle      Aug 12, 2017

ON THE DAYS THAT WERE LESS THAN PERFECT!

And there were a few! On a UK holiday in Cornwall the weather was less than perfect for most of the holiday. We managed to get to the beach by just going for it despite the weather. Once on the beach it didn’t seem so bad and the sun would break through the clouds. Our favourite beaches this time around were Portminster beach and Carbis Bay in St.Ives. Both required a train journey or parking quite a long way from the beach and walking. On the days that were dreary or very wet we had to find alternative activities. One day was a trip to Charlestown Maritime Museum on a very wet day. I can recommend The Longstore restaurant in Charlestown for steak and seafood but be warned it can get very busy for dinner so book! The next was various trips to Mevagissey for fishing over the harbour wall using crab nets with the boys and eating fish and chips on our laps in the wind! Another great day out was a visit to Looe harbour where the boys caught 146 crabs. OK, not the most glamorous of holidays but my kids had so much fun and learnt so much about a different way of life; meeting different people and about having fun spending time together. On a fashion note. Camping and days out in the rain became a challenge from a style perspective. It was more of a survival game than a fashion parade. Getting us all out and about warm and dry was the priority. Basic layers became the building blocks of a casual, comfortable and practical (booo! ha ha!) outfit for stomping around cobbled Cornish streets and blowy harbour bays. A pair of chinos; an oversized denim jacket; a sweatshirt and some shoes I trusted to take me the distance. There may not be much fashion flare or flurish here but I stayed happy, warm and dry with the addition of my pac-a-mac! Once again, no make-up and crazy wind swept hair were the order of the day! If you’ve been reading my holiday blogs you will see there is a great deal of repetition in the items I’m wearing. Believe it or not this was intentional. I posted before I came away on Facebook the outfits I was taking and some ways I make my packing easier. For camping I had to pack light! Very Light! Everything had to work across the board so be prepared to see the same items worn different ways.

1st landscape on location in Charlestown

2nd landscape on location in Mevagissey

3rd landscape on location in Looe

outfit

DENIM JACKET – GAP icon oversized jacket

SWEATSHIRT – H&M (old but widely available)

COTTON CHINOS – M&S  (Autograph)

MULE ESPADRILLES – DUNE (sale) they run small, I’m a size 6 but had to size up to size 7 (I’m NEVER a 7!!)

BLOUSE – ZARA (sold out but I like this one!)

ROUND BASKET – BOHEMIA DESIGN

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you enjoyed it. I wish I could add noise to the last picture as my eldest screamed as the crab tried to have his fingers but I wanted him to hold on so I could get my shot! (bad mom!).

Valerie

facebooktwitterInstagramgooglebloglovinPinterest

Comments Off on COOL DAYS!

By SolihullStyle      Aug 09, 2017

GOT ALL THE GEAR!

My wardrobe is always evolving and each season I take note of what I was missing to make my fashion life run more smoothly! This year was no different and I got to reap the rewards of my efforts! In the sales at the end of last summer I bought this rash vest featured below from SWEATY BETTY. A brand which is well known for it’s stylish and fashion trend led sportswear. I do love their styles but sometimes the price tag is a bit, err, well, ouchy! The sale rail made this little life saver do-able. I like to protect myself in the sun but I still like to enjoy swimming and getting into the sea with the kids, though this rash guard doesn’t offer any insulation unlike a wet suit, it does stop my shoulders and back from burning in the sun. It’s one of the best things I’ve bought and I’d wholly recommend thinking about having one in your swimwear repertoire. BODEN does them in season and various other swimwear brands too. Even though the thought of actually surfing scares the heebie geebies out of me as I’m such a chicken, I still felt like a bit of a surfy dudette in it! Another holiday hero was my OBAG. Gosh I love it so much. Loved it even more this year than last. Filled with sand; covered in suncream or holding the whole families wet swimming stuff, it remained un-phased and easy to clean at the end of a day of fun in the sun. I could put it down anywhere, on sand (particular fun with it’s Obag beach bottom!); on wet grass or at the side of the pool. This year I was gifted some different coloured rope handles. In the picture towards the end of this blog you can see the pic from last year on the left and my bag in the same spot on the right this year. It shows you the versatility of the product whilst also illustrating the fact that it then worked with this seasons’ holiday outfits. My bag now matched my espadrilles so I was good to go!

 

RASH GUARD – SWEATY BETTY (sale last year but similar here and matching swim bottoms here)

NB: I’m wearing a size small rash guard and a size medium swim bottoms

BEACH BAG – OBAG (Obag Beach classic here)

(long robe handles in black here and in natural here)

SURF BRACELET – OBAG (slim flower bracelet here)

SUNGLASSES – TIGER

Pics on location at Portminster Beach St.Ives

Pool side pics on location at Tregarton Park St.Austell Cornwall

I hope you enjoyed this post and thank you for reading. I think it really pays to think about what was missing from your wardrobe each season and buy accordingly when you’re not panic buying. None of my pictures are filtered or photo shopped, the only changes we might make is to remove a child or holiday maker from the background. All freckles and blemishes are my own! Stay safe in the sun! Every good day by the sea should end with a sleep in the car on the way home; ready salted crisps and a slush puppy! If you’re 8 and 10 anyway!

BTW, The turtle sand sculpture was the work of Mr.W all by his lonesome while the kids played in the sea! Once it was finished my youngest decided to stake his claim on the art work and stand next to it with his chest puffed up; arms crossed and proudly announcing to all the astonished passers by that it was his!!!

Valerie

facebooktwitterInstagramgooglebloglovinPinterest

Comments Off on GOT ALL THE GEAR!

By SolihullStyle      Aug 09, 2017

MY HOLS!

Before I went on holiday I posted a few outfit ideas on Facebook including a few things that I find helpful when packing to go away. Here’s the thing. What I wear on holiday can be very different to what I’d wear at home for normal daily duties. My day always entails a school run so there’s no way I’d wear denim cut offs then. Holiday, however, is a whole other story. If the sun is shining and everyone is on holiday mode then I’m happy to wear a little less than normal. I’ll wear no make up (except Ultrasun factor 50) and let my hair dry naturally. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t actually like my photo being taken and the thought of a swimsuit shot fills me with dread but it’s the world we live in now with social media that means I have to throw my inhibitions aside and try to smile when my insides are turning! I love wearing blue on holiday. The colour of the sea and the sky. I love my denim shorts and I don’t enjoy buying shorts! I bought them at least a size too big to give them at nice relaxed slouchy vibe and give them a bit more length down the leg. The problem with this was that a loose top felt wrong for me. Too sloppy! This year with the wrap blouse being mahoosive I found something that worked. It balanced out the volume in the bottom half and felt more current and feminine than an over sized T. It’s slightly cropped proportions weren’t a problem with a one piece swimsuit underneath! We were on our hols in Cornwall so the weather was typically very British with scorching sun one day and torrential rain the next. On the best days we headed to Portminster Beach in St.Ives. Last year was all about the bikini but this year I felt the need for a one piece. I’m not sure why? Maybe it was subliminal messages from fashion trends and other blogs that put this little multi-tasker into my radar? Maybe it was that I’ve gotten so used to layering this season with our changeable weather that having an item that could be worn as a top with shorts as well as under shirts made more sense than wearing a bikini? Who knows but it took me a while to find the right one. I wanted a plain back swimsuit without too many straps that would leave tan line. Not that I’m into tanning. I tend to factor up in the sun these days. So, the outfit came together through a love of blue and filling in the gap between my blouse and my shorts!

 

BLOUSE – ZARA (sale but try new season or H&M)

DENIM SHORTS – (old but widely available)

BARDOT NECKLINE SWIMSUIT – WHISTLES (sale but some sizes still available at Whistles stockists online)

MULE ESPADRILLES – DUNE (sale)

ROUND BASKET – BOHEMIA DESIGN (current)

EARRINGS- TOPSHOP (current)

NECKLACE – WHISTLES (sale but I’m pretty sure it’s still available in store?)

SUNGLASSES – TIGER

Hydrangea pics on location at Tregarton Park St. Austell

seaside and beach pics on location at St.Ives and Portminster Beach St.Ives

Thank you for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed the post. Portminster beach was idyllic and one of the most beautiful British beaches we’ve visited. We were camping near St.Austell and were by no means glamping! The kids loved it and no one wanted to come home! On a personal note, after all this is a personal blog. I’d like to thank my long suffering husband for taking the photos that are of me. I don’t know how many times, I’m sure he could tell you, that I walked down that path! I’m sure he’s sick of telling me to “smile” because I’m terrified in front of the camera but I’m desperate to get it to be worth looking at and to show the details I’m trying to highlight. Whether it’s an earring; a neckline that can be off the shoulder or on; a bow on the correct side of the photo or a cute shot of my son on his sand mound in the distance!  So, Mr.W, “thank-you!”

PS: re swimsuit. I found it true to size. Often I find with swimwear that I need to size up. Not with this one. I’m wearing a size 10.

Oh, and by the way, if you read my post about buying holiday sunglasses? My £4 Tiger shades lasted the hols and came back in one piece!!!

Valerie

facebooktwitterInstagramgooglebloglovinPinterest

Comments Off on HOLIDAY BLUES!