By SolihullStyle      Aug 15, 2021

So this is it!  Another year and another trip to Cornwall! Next year is definitely our last year! With everything that’s happened and still happening around travelling abroad I think we’re just going to, pardon the pun, but “ride the wave!”

I write this blog to showcase a few brands I’ve found and maybe give you some insight into where we visit and why. Hopefully help you find somewhere new to visit or unlock some happy memories of your own. Let’s face it, Cornwall is a popular place to visit and I’m sure most of you have your own favourite destinations.
I’ll start local!

PORTHPEAN BEACH!

This is one of the nearest beaches to our campsite in St.Austell.  We visit this local beach every year though this year only the once! For us it has to be a really sunny day with calm sea to enjoy it. There’s no sand for making sandcastles! There’s paddle board hire but be warned they’re not always available to man the beach front shop. At low tide there’s rock pools. At high tide the seaweed from the rock pools can fill part of the sea where you’d swim but if you’re lucky most of it stays at the edges and gives the sea view that picture postcard look of crystal aqua waters and is as good as being abroad!
It’s a small shingle beach frequented by the locals with a field car park up the hill. There’s no lifeguard but there are loos and a cafe.
And what I wore? Well it was the one and only chance to wear my beach dress! It was those few days of THAT heatwave that I think we will all remember for years to come. It was also the first outing for a new beach bag from a brand called Redefined Objects. I’d found this fab new brand on Instagram before we left Please check them out. They’re making clothes and accessories from fabrics that would normally end up in landfill. I was sent this beautiful beach bag to get some nice pictures of whilst on holiday in Cornwall. It’s a real chance for me to get more editorial style images in these stunning locations and help small brands get pictures of their products without the expense of doing it all themselves. So though I’m on holiday a lot of these pictures are work for me so I try to make them as pretty as I can for the brands I’m supporting. So to be completely transparent I was gifted the bag but this isn’t in paid partnership. The best thing about it was how light and easy it was to pack. Usually I only have room for one large beach bag which is invariably the one I’m carrying! Felt very indulgent to be able to have two! 

 

CAERHAYES CASTLE AND BEACH!

We visit this beach because it’s the closest to us. It’s usually got some swell for body boarding for the kids but I’m not sure I’d travel great distances for it? We’re usually there on a bit of a miserable day so maybe I’m not being completely fair to the place? It’s really beautiful and actually when the sun comes out and the tide is up it is stunning with the castle behind. 
The clothes? Well…this cotton blouse featured in the pics below was from  another amazing brand that I literally contacted as we were leaving! Laura from Maia London posted some clothes to me. Some to the campsite where we were staying. Simply for the same reason I’ve mentioned above. Holiday destinations just provide such wonderful new and beautiful places to photograph products. The colour of the sea, the sky; the sand and even the evening light all help to make an interesting image. So thank you Laura for trusting me with your gorgeous clothes! Xx

HARLYN BAY!

A long windy beach. Great for kids that like waves. Check out Magic Seaweed for information on the swell and wave height. There’s an RNLI lifeguard here and a really great beach café.
This is where I wore more beautifully crafted clothes from Maia London. Honestly have a look at the brand. So lovely to wear, made from hand loomed Khadi cotton. Sustainable and with a passion for fair trade and supporting the communities that work for them. It’s hard to explain what it feels like owning things from brands that care. The fabric is beautiful and so wonderful to wear in the summer. Though saying that, I plan to wear this skirt with knitwear and tall boots in the autumn! The colour has a transitional quality to it and works in the cooler months too. My kinda clothes!

HAYLE!

Another long windy beach with sand dunes and a similar vibe to Harlyn Bay. If you like a leisurely swimming in a sea that’s like a mill pond and the temperature of a bath! This is NOT it! But anyone with kids and teens or with a family member that’s more at home in a wetsuit than a wool suit will understand that this is a pretty cool beach! 
Style note? Well there wasn’t really one but every year I take a long oversized shirt with me. It works as a light jacket over a vest {pictured above with the skirt outfit} and doubles as a beach cover up. I think this white linen one could walk itself to the laundry basket by the time we got home! Bikini? Now over three years old from GOTTEX. I think you get what you pay for with swimwear, well obviously to a point! The bottoms are fully lined and though getting on a bit in bikini years it’s as good as new! When this bikini finally goes to bikini heaven and if my budget allows I will 100% buy from this brands again.

CARBIS BAY!

Well what can I say? This bay really needs no introduction. It’s our favourite beach. We make sand sculptures on its sands every year and we chase the sun and visit as many times as Mr.W can face the drive!
I was back in my Maia London shirt which I adore. Various combinations of linen shorts and suitable layers. This stripped Zara cotton jumper that was a fiver on EBay served me well! Really fairly basic beach holiday attire and a fabulous hat that was totally useless in the wind but made for some great photos!!!! Doh! Ha ha!

TRURO!

A day in the city! Full of all the shops you’d expect in a seaside city. Sea Salt, Joules, white Stuff, The White Company, Fat Face….and so on. In amongst the obvious are a few lovely little boutiques and independents. Lots of places to eat, loads of coffee shops and a fun day out if the weather lacks lustre. Hmmmm actually can’t remember what I wore??? Ahhh yes…. Levi’s and my Maia London shirt! Perfecto!

TINTANGEL CASTLE!

This was our first visit and I want to go next year on a sunny day! The boys both now have full face snorkels and I think they’d love using them here. It’s rather busy with visitors for the bridge and the castle so not sure I’d want to sit in a bikini on the beach? But then, who cares right? It’s an English Heritage site so you have to book tickets to cross the bridge and visit the castle but the beach below and the rocks and Merlin’s Cave all have public access without tickets. The kids enjoyed the caves and taking panoramic pictures of the bay. Gosh I’d love to see that sea in the sunshine! Oh and in the town there’s a “She Sells” crepe shop for amazing crepes and a great coffee!

GORRAN HAVEN!

I’m not 100% sure how we ended up here? It was a dull day and we decided to just have a drive around and check out some beaches. This became a walk along a pretty coastal path down to the beach. Walking on rocks and skimming stones!

MEVAGISSEY!

This is where we go in the evening. Great fish and chips, some cute shops though a lot of the independents close early, another She Sells crepe café and the boys go fishing with dad here until it gets dark. There’s some nice restaurants too but we’ve always just sat in the harbour with fish and chips on our laps! It’s just the sort of place where time slows down.
The evenings weren’t that cold this year and I made good use of an old poncho I pulled out when I did my holiday packing. I haven’t worn a poncho in years. Don’t know about you but I felt like ponchos had had their day but for some reason this year it felt like the perfect layer to pack to wear over a linen shirt.
I think I’ve possibly covered everywhere we went this year? Ahhh no just Charlestown left! The weather was challenging camping for 14 nights. We started in a heatwave, somewhere in the middle was a storm with 70 mile an hour winds whilst sleeping under canvas and there were lots of days when the sun only shone in the evening. Despite the hurdles we had a blast! As usual….Cornwall we had fun and see you next year!

CHARLESTOWN!

Last but by no means least. Charlestown is a great place to visit for an evening stroll or a bite to eat. The picturesque location where Poldark was filmed. If you want to go posh nosh there’s The Longstore which has to be booked to avoid disappointment. Or there’s the Smoking Harbour BBQ that’s exactly what it says on the tin! Sit outside on picnic tables or on the ship that’s moored in the harbour for drinks or seafood served straight from the BBQ.

FEATURED BRANDS 

MAIA LONDON – rust stripe skirt and ochre stripe blouse

REDEFINED OBJECTS – frill tote bag

SISTERS BY CRAFT – hand crochet shopper 

TOAST – large straw hat 

Thank you for reading the blog. I hope you enjoyed it. As the summer draws to an end I have everything crossed for a bit more sun coming our way! For those struggling to balance work and child care I hear you! For those enjoying their summer hols I hope you have fun. Until the next blog! XX V

 

Thank you for reading! XXX

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Feb 14, 2021

Where to start?

There’s so much that so many of us are going through right now from saving small family businesses, to struggling with home schooling and oh my goodness couldn’t the list just go on in one endless list of negativity that no one needs to read right now….so I’m gonna do my upmost as usual to give you a light hearted distraction and write my usual pointless drivel!

I think in the summer when we were able to get out in the sun things felt different. Now the climate is colder and often wetter making any kind of effort has become more of a mental challenge. My daily exercise has been a walk. This has involved LOTS of mud so I have literally been stuck wearing chunky soled boots. Good job they’re a massive “thing” right now! I’ve always worn them for watching the kids play rugby but never as an every day style choice! This different lifestyle has made me dress every differently but you know what I like it!

To feel like me I found that wearing the chunky boots with tailored pieces was a revelation! A pleated front masculine trouser worked well and was all that was needed to elevate even a simple quilted coat. Good job I saved this old Zara pair of black trousers from the charity bag!

Layering became my best friend. Bibs, tank tops and padded under layers all helped to feel warm and cosy and a way to add texture and interest to otherwise very dull outdoor essentials.

I’ve put some of my favourite looks to follow:-

Boots – H&M similar here

And then there was Christmas! The first time I’ve not been with extended family at Christmas and my first time cooking a Christmas dinner! One of the highlights of 2020 was a very special surprise Christmas gift from a brand I fell  in love with this year. I bought a dress that spoke to me! A Justine Tabak dress. The minute I saw it I knew I’d love it! You might remember it? I wore it to death in the summer! The neon gingham rainbow dress? Little did I know I’d meet the designer in London at an event. just before lockdown no.3. Pure luck or was it fate? Justine walked into the venue at the exact same time I had my 20 minute slot to view a selection of dresses! We connected….it’s a long story after that but Justine recognised me from the pictures of me in my dress on Instagram. She’s the loveliest person. I’ll cut that long story short and just tell you that she sent me a gift of a dress which arrived on Christmas Eve Eve. A wonderful dress. A dress I’ll love forever! Purely as a thank you for supporting her brand on social media. All I did was gush about a dress that was worth gushing about. She’s got some real treats coming soon for spring so please do follow her journey on social media if you can.

Liberty Print Cotton Camden Passage Dress – Justine Tabak

I made a pact with myself that I’d get up and show up whenever possible. Not just for me but for you guys too. I’ve had so many lovely personal messages from ladies that have enjoyed my daily drivel!  I love writing a blog because it’s more personal. It’s for those that like to read something. For those that enjoy understanding processes and getting to know other people better. I’ve grown to love and be proud of my social media through lockdown. It’s been one of the only creative outlets I’ve got with the restrictions in place at the moment. I hope you’ve enjoyed it too? At times it’s been a real challenge to find something to say or to even simply getting a photo! Most days I’m not dressing up! Walking has kept me sane and I’m not walking in freezing temperatures in a silk blouse or sequins!  Not even for you lot! Lots of layers, lots of snow and lots of laughs!

Side split sweatshirt – ARKET new season colour here 

I’m wearing an XS/S in last years cream

Amongst it all there have been moments of normality. A chance to still go into Smart Works and help our clients there at the centre to continue to receive  the services we offer. Even more important at present than ever. At a time when these  most vulnerable women need help it is crucial that these charities can continue to deliver the support they need. I love working at Smart Works as a stylist, feel honoured to be part of the team and have made some very special friendships along the way. I can’t wait to get back to the office again. Some of the ladies there have worked selflessly as coaches still delivering support at this difficult time. THEY’VE BEEN AMAZING.
I met Ann, oh gosh is it about  four or five years ago now? We met when I helped at a Smart Works event in Birmingham. A mutual contact from one of the brands that support the charity asked if I’d help and of course I said yes!  It wasn’t until a few years passed, the charity moved to the centre of Birmingham and the kids got a bit older that I was able to commit to the charity properly. I’ve been working at Smart Works Birmingham now for a couple of years as a stylist.

So I got to dress up for some filming at Smart Works and a radio interview for BBC West Midlands. I also put on my glad rags for some Zoom wardrobe edits and style coaching sessions which have now started online for the season ahead. Things are looking up and there are glimpses of life as we knew it! I’ve put on some more stylish pics just to show it wasn’t just one big walk in the park! Ha ha……see what I did there?

Recycled plastic shopper – My Funky bags 

Wool trousers – H&M   

I’m wearing a size 10

Fingers crossed the next blog will be over on the other side with the promise of spring, some sunshine and new season style. Hang in their team, we’re getting there! This too will pass! Lots of love to every one. A huge high five to any fellow parents out there and teachers. Enjoy your half term!

I hope you get some inspo from the blog? If nothing else you can take comfort from the fact that I chose to live in my gym kit too! Ha Ha!!

Thank you for reading! XXX

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Nov 21, 2020

I’m going to start with some good news because I think I’m understandably quite quick to talk about how difficult it is at the moment for any business and I think it’s important to acknowledge achievements despite the circumstances we all find ourselves in. We all need good news right now don’t you think!

So I’m super proud and excited to share that I’ve won an award!

Personal stylist of the Year Central England, West Midlands 2020/2021.

Who would have thought this year could’ve turned out to be such an exciting one!

I massive heartfelt thank you to you lot out there that have kept me sane, kept me going and given me such lovely support and encouragement over the years. You know who you are and I can’t thank you enough XXXX Right back to business…..

As well you know I do like to document the styling videos I do in the week on Instagram over here on the blog too.

This week was all about a week in a puffer coat.

Something for work because that station platform can be chilly in the morning. I’m kinda missing my trips into Birmingham first thing!  Something for walking the dog  or walking yourself to the park via the local coffee take out with a friend! Something for fun because sometimes it’s nice to make an effort just because! A puffer coat all cozy and casual with jeans and trainers but definitely not boring and a puffer coat with a dress! Obviously I’ve used my own clothes and I’ve kept the palette neutral but go and have fun making outfits of your own using what you have at home.

Long Puffer – ZARA

Short Puffer – Marks and Spencers

On a practical note that is far from dull! Black Friday is looming so get organised. Work out what you really NEED to watch. Make a well thought through wish list. Prioritise that list and go for your favourite first. It will be busy this year and your favourite brands may well be offering even better discount incentives. Fail to prepare…prepare to fail! Ha ha!

I’ll be posting a few hot picks over on stories so keep your eyes peeled!

Stay safe everyone and I hope you enjoy the video XXXXX

 

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Sep 22, 2020

Well I think we can safely say that it’s autumn! It’s that funny time of year we call transition as we dig out our autumn clothes and maybe store away our high summer pieces.  Sometimes I find this time a bit weird. A time to feel a little unsettled as to what to wear. This year it’s not felt so strange? I’m not sure I can say why? Maybe the weather has been kind to us and we’re not straight to wearing  puffer coats! Thank goodness!

I’m hoping to not get seduced into buying too many new things. Often easier said than done as all the gorgeous new season coats, boots and knits hit the high street!

There will always be the odd piece that needs replacing with something similar that’s really worked out well. Often a chance to buy an updated classic? He he!!!!

So what’s on your radar? What you “need” we will very different to me. I say it all the time, however, if you’re reading this I’m guessing you enjoy seeing what’s out there! Maybe you’re looking for a little inspiration or maybe just enjoy a light hearted read? Let’s face it my blogs are rarely very long!

Sometimes it’s nice to realise we’re all going through the same thing and often asking the same questions?

I will confess to often being drawn to the same types of clothing. There’s nothing wrong with that because I’m drawn to them because I know what works for me, what I’ll actually wear and whether it fills a gap in my wardrobe to make other things feel fresh again. Every now and then it’s worth just stopping and thinking though whether you buy the same things ALL the time and feel frustrated or stuck in a rut? We’re all different as to how we answer these questions. Are we’re moving forward with confidence knowing what we really like and spending our hard earned pennies really well or are we just playing safe and missing out on feeling really amazing? It’s an interesting topic for debate!

This brings me nicely onto the point of this blog! Who’d a thought I’d write a blog about a denim shirt! Well maybe it’s long overdue! It’s a classic for sure! But why this one amongst so many? I liked the clean lines, the soft lyocell fabrication; the colour and the fact that, because of all these things, it had a blouse like quality to it that works for my feminine style. I’m a horror at buying a white shirt. Nothing wrong with this but the brighter blue denim just gave my neutral wardrobe a little transitional lift. This reflects my earlier points of discussion! A new white shirt or something different?! I realise that a denim shirt is hardly “out there” in the style stakes but it’s something that I’d never bought before so for me it was a tiny step out of my comfort zone into a place of freedom!!!! Ha ha!

So me being me, I had to do you a little styling video just for fun and hopefully show how versatile this little wardrobe staple can be! There’s obviously soooo many more ways to style it but there’s only so many that work nicely in the space of a palatable length vid! You could belt it or even wear it open as a jacket/over shirt over pretty much anything…..the possibilities are simply endless! 

top left – MASSIMO DUTTI

top middle – M&S

top right – BODEN

middle – ZARA

bottom right – ZARA

bottom middle – HOBBS

bottom left – MASSIMO DUTTI

H&M

GANT

H&M

I hope you enjoyed this little dive into the blue! There’s lots of exciting things ahead here at Solihull Style. It’s full steam ahead with all things social medium based and lots more Instagram reels coming you’re way which are great fun to do. The whole family has gonna involved and I’ll even rope in the nearest friend who’s willing! I’m been back to work as a stylist at Smart Works Charity in Birmingham which felt so good to feel normal again despite working under very different restrictions. the wonderful uplifting results for clients were the same which is the main thing. I’ve got new and returning clients over the next few months which is obviously amazing and I’m off to London for an exciting fashion event in October. PHOOOR so It’s all go! 2020 despite it’s faults is my year! 

Thank you for reading, and watching!

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Aug 28, 2020

I wasn’t planning on writing a blog about a dress! And this dress is more than likely sold out by the time this blog is published but it’s happening anyway!

I’ll be honest, partly because we got so many lovely pictures of it in a pretty location it just seemed a waste to not document it in some way! The handmade crochet bag came about because of this dress too! The dress is so amazingly neon bright that nothing was bright enough to work with it! It even made my neon bright lolly pop lady Zara coat look dull! Now that’s saying something! So the way to go was to put a neutral tone with it so Barbara at SistersByCraft ( Etsy shop here) made me this beautiful “cappuccino “ cotton crochet shopper in her chunky yarn. I love it and I think the heavy open weave works really well in this colour.

So this blog is about a dress. About a couple of amazing brands that you might not of heard of and all about buying things that you’ll love for a very very long time!

Justine Tabak. Designed and made in The British Isles with British fabrics where possible. Read all about the brand here. I have no affiliation what so ever to the brand, I just bought a dress that spoke to me! It’s that simple!

SistersByCraft handmade in London

COTTON NEON RAINBOW GINGHAM DRESS – Justine Tabak

WHITE LEATHER ESPLAR TRAINERS – Veja

ALPACA MIX CARDIGAN – The White Company (sale) KNITS

CHAIN NECKLACE – Fossil at Bicester Village

DISC NECKLACE – Lucy and Jane

COTTON CROCHET HANDMADE SHOPPER – SistersByCraft at Etsy

SUNGLASSES – Katie Loxton

Very short and sweet but still written with oodles of love.  I hope you all find your way through your own personal style journey. I think of late I’ve really embraced mine and enjoyed being different and liking different things to others. It might be that I no longer do the school run so I care far less how high eyebrows might go! HA HA! Not that I cared for me before but I think I played safe for my kids! But no more! xxxx

Thank you for reading. Things are going from strength to strength as I’ve had more time to focus on social media through this time of lock down. So, hello to lots of lovely new followers! I’ve been doing this fashion thing since I could walk so it’s lovely that finally I’m making a bit of headway and reaching more like minded women.  Those that enjoy a light hearted look at style, ways to make the most of their own wardrobes and hopefully get a bit of inspiration to push their own boundaries too and get onto happy street! We all know that something worthwhile is rarely easy but if we’re in a place where we feel we have some support that journey can feel easier and the challenge can feel fun rather than a mountain that’s too high to reach. It’s often not as hard as we first thought and you might not be as far off the path you want to be on as you think? So if you’re feeling a little lost, come and join the party!

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Aug 25, 2020

JUMPSUIT

Having another one of those moments here, when I realise there’s a lot of catching up to do!

Ok, right… SUMMER 2020 blog done, styling video done! Now there’s the styling video blog to be done! Phooor … it’s all go!

I do like putting the videos on the blog as it’s a chance to explain them a bit more and not everyone likes a long Instagram post. We’re all different and I get that!

Sooooo, what’s the deal with the linen jumpsuit then?!

Well…I first saw it on Instagram on the lovely Becca, the owner at Cristal Womenswear in Knowle. It was exactly what I’d been looking for for my holiday in Cornwall this year. Though said ship has obviously sailed, it didn’t put me off! It’s classic isn’t it? And actually will go nicely into the cooler months and great now with this unsettled weather. One minute it’s so humid, the next the heavens open!

To cut a long story short they sold out so I had to wait but every cloud and all that….Becca came back with the kind offer of gifting me one so I could post it. Once I’d gotten my sticky little paws on it I realised how lovely it’d be to style and how alive it would come if I could show you it in motion!

I’ve tried to use, as always, things you might have at home or at least things you could easily get yourself if there’s something that might work for your proportions. We’re all so different aren’t we! A white shirt? A denim jacket? Sneakers? A cardigan?…… the things you have will be a different fit to mine but hopefully the video is something that’s nice to watch at the very least! I’ve linked what Ican.

This jumpsuit is quite long in the body so maybe good if you’re tall. If you’re smaller it may work as illustrated in the videos, it may not but it’s impossible to style every body shape with one item. There’s no fixed waist point so there’s definitely some versatility there for fitting different body shapes and different proportions.

This video was also a chance to showcase a little brand I found by chance whilst searching on Etsy. It’s the cotton crochet shopper. I can’t tell you how much I love it! Check out her shop here on Etsy. All hand made by the lovely Barbara in London. They are so beautifully  made and I’m planning on buying more! There’s something so magical about buying something handmade from the person that’s actually made it! It came with a handwritten thank you card and a free surprise gift. Just so lovely. If there’s not a colour that works for you she’s happy to take commissions.

I hope you enjoy the video. Feels good to support a little local independent boutique and a small business on Etsy.

I have no idea what’s next! Already feel like I need another holiday! Te he he!

Have a good week… see you on the the squares!

LINEN JUMPSUIT – Cristal Womenswear Knowle

COTTON CROCHET SHOPPER – SistersByCraft on Etsy

STRAW MARKET BASKET – MMAA Social

TAN LEATHER SLIDES – Dune London

KNITTED WAISTCOAT – ZARA

BLACK WEDGE ESPADRILLES – CASTANER

other knitwear from previous season – The White Company

WHITE LEATHER TRAINERS – Veja esplar

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Aug 15, 2020

The start of the holiday was a little rocky to say the least. Firstly we had the issue that everyone has faced this year with the possibility of holiday cancellations and secondly we had to go later than planned whilst I had my tooth pulled out! Very glam ey?!

But after a period of convalescing we got there and were more grateful than ever to have a break and get away from our four walls!

If you know me well you’ll know we’ve been going camping to the same site in Cornwall for the past four years.

I like to write you a blog because I know lots of you visit the coast with your families and I love seeing everyone’s holiday snaps and find it helpful to know where they visited and why so hopefully this blog will help someone else to discover something new down South or reignite fond memories of their own trip away.

PORTHPEAN BEACH

We’re base at St. Austell. Our nearest favourite beach is Porthpean Beach. Like most British beaches it looks bleak on a cold day but picture postcard stunning on a sunny one!

Porthpean on a sunny calm day is absolutely beautiful and a real hidden gem frequented by the locals. It’s a shingle beach until the tide is right out. There’s a place to hire kayaks or paddle boards which my boys enjoy every year depending on the weather and the height of the waves. Being a small sheltered cove it’s rarely very rough but we did have one day when they were called in off their kayaks as the surf became too much. From time to time the seaweed can take over too so we rock up every year with an open mind to what we will encounter! If everything is in our favour it is hard to beat as it’s short drive from the campsite via Costa!

No life guard.

TROPICAL PRINT MAKEUP POUCH – PIPET Design

BEACH KAFTAN – John Lewis (old)

BASKET BAG and SUNGLASSES linked later in blog

CAERHAYES BEACH

This is not my favourite day out! The kids love this beach on a wet, windy day as it’s perfect for body boarding. I however either brace myself and get into the sea too or sit and watch under an umbrella! And let’s make it perfectly clear that it’s not just for half an hour! They are immune to the cold (ok they are in wetsuits) and stay in ALL day! We can’t get them out, however, jokes aside I absolutely love watching them having so much pure unadulterated fun.

No life guard

BRIGHT SIDE JUMPER – FUND Jumpers

RASH VEST – Sweaty Betty (old)

PALE BLEACHED JEANS – Levis (old)

CARBIS BAY ST.IVES

I love this beach. It has white sand and it has crystal blue water. Much quieter than Portminster Beach it’s become our family’s favourite destination. Granted it doesn’t have all the cobbled streets and cute little shops to look at on your walk down to the beach but it’s just so beautiful once you are there. We were obviously in no rush to join the crowds in small side streets or cram ourselves in amongst other holiday makers on the beach. We visited Carbis Bay instead of ST.Ives numerous times this year come cloud, come shine!

Though there aren’t gift shops there are places to eat and places to hire water sports gear from at Carbis Bay. Life guards on site.

I realise I haven’t mentioned fashion that much! I suppose because it’s the sort of holiday that is about relaxing and switching off and just feeling comfortable. I packed very little this year as I know that in the past only half gets warn and I end up washing everything anyway when we return! Who else dreads that huge pile of washing?!

I only packed two pairs of shorts and just lived in them both so please excuse the lack of different outfits!

This year I really delved into the depths of my wardrobe and revived some old favourites. I’d  been looking online at all the brands that do great holiday fashion. In particular I wanted an oversized slouchy 100% cotton chunky knit that would feel comfortable on sandy sun kissed skin, still giving a bit of warmth in the chill on the afternoon wind whilst wearing damp swimwear! I think you get my thinking? So? I dug out this really old Zara cotton jumper.  It’s naturally become lovely and soft with it’s own washed out patina. It no longer felt precious! I cut the stitches at the neck for a slouchier less boxy fit and viola! Yay, happy days!

DENIM SHORTS – River Island, as old as the hills

ZARA COTTON SWEATER – just as old!

BIKINI – GOTTEX at UK swimwear HERE

LINEN SHIRT – H&M current season but sells out fast online TRY 

or…. HERE

LINEN SHORTS – ARKET current season

LINEN VEST – H&M current season, again sells too fast online to link!

HAVAIANAS – widely available

FLORENCE SHOPPER – Bohemia Design I’ve had for years but still available

TOWEL WITH TASSELS – H&M Home current, similar HERE

SUNGLASSES – Katie Loxton

I absolutely love linen in the heat of summer. There are some great pieces from the high street to high end. I could write a whole blog on it and probably I will take note and do one at the beginning of the summer next year. There seems little point at present but maybe invest now if you see a timeless item in the sales? There are some amazing bargains this year. Try ARKET, Poetry Fashion, H&M Premium Quality Range, NRBY Clothing….to name but a few, even your local little independent boutique may have stock of interestung linen pieces? If you’re local to me pop to Christal Ladieswear in Knowle. Becca has some lovely linen jumpsuits and dungarees. I may have one that will feature on an IGTV video some time soon! Wink wink!!!

WHITSAND BAY

Well I messed up here because I left my phone on charge back at the tent! We chased the sun according to the weather forecast only to sit in cloud all day! The kids always enjoy this beach as usually there’s waves suitable for surfing. There’s a local surf school there too that’s happy to hire out boards. Life guards on site. It’s here where Mr.W stood on a weaver fish last year and needed their assistance. I featured this beach on last years blog…read it here.

MEVAGISSEY

MEVAGISSEY, I love Mevagissey! It’s a proper Cornish harbour town with lots of character and the most amazing fish and chip shop! It’s particularly lovely in the early evening for supper on the quayside watching the sun go down and the boys fishing. Seas Shells Cafe does a legendary crepe with Cornish ice cream in an array of different flavours and a great cup of coffee!

HARLYN BAY

This turned out more successful than the picture below might lead you to believe! The weather was better than it looks and the kids absolutely loved it here! They used their own body boards ALL day so we didn’t need to hire a thing!

Life guards on site.

I think that’s it this year? We kinda stayed where we felt safe and avoided the big touristy destinations. We did have our annual visit on a really wet day to Truro, one of Cornwall’s cities. It was fine and not overly busy to be honest. Maybe because of lockdown, I don’t know, I’m not 100% sure, but the beach trips came first and foremost this year? Maybe it was the need to be outside in the fresh air as much as possible? Though the weather was probably the worst we’ve had yet by the coast, it was by far our most enjoyable visit to date. Grateful. Quite simply, grateful x

OK, some fashion…..

If and when I want to up my game on the beach shorts front I may well try these? Denim shorts and beach wear in general size up! Tailored shorts get the right fit. Length…find your own “sweet spot!” and what makes you feel comfortable and confident.

DENIM SCALLOP SHORTS – WYSE Lndon

SCALLOP

BERMUDA

CUT OFF

PINK!

And the products?

Well here’s the thing! I’ll have to disappoint you all here. I was make up free all holiday bar factor 50 Ultrasun and factor 30 Tan accelerator which I discovered while away. The only make up I wore if I did was Trinny London Lip 2 Cheek in CHLOE. I blooming love this little pot of summer kissed glow on my pale olive self! Lip 2 cheek….hmmm, I stick it on as an eye shadow too!

Well I hope you enjoyed my little virtual tour of Cornwall? I’ll be back to the styling videos soon. I’ve got some great finds I want to ping your way!

Thank you for reading and I hope you all enjoy some form of holiday this year. XX

Oh gosh almost forgot! 10% off for readers at UK Swimwear which has the most amazing selection of designer swimwear. Use code BEACH10 at the checkout. I can’t recommend my GOTTEX bikini enough. It is so comfortable and feels so secure on. You can see me nearly falling over in the waves but the bikini didn’t shift! Even when I wasn’t wearing the straps. I’ve had it a few years now and it’s as good at the first time I wore it and it’s been wore a lot!

TIP: Hand wash swimwear. As in really hand wash! Allow to air dry. No heat, no radiators and absolutely no tumble drying! To avoid saggy bums, loose Lycra threads and those see through patches that others can see when you bench over! Ha ha ha!

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Jul 10, 2020

The weeks are whizzing by and it’s not long until the school summer holidays kick in if they haven’t already for some. This year there’s not the big signing off and the blatantly obvious end of team. My kids have been home for over four months and I have to keep reminding myself that the hols will soon be upon us. It should’ve  been quite a send off this year as the youngest leaves his primary school. Such a shame for so many children for lots of different reasons.

Of late the blogs have revolved around the IGTV styling video. This one is no different!

It’s all about a skirt. I’ve used a bias cut slip skirt ( previous season)  but it could easily be any floaty or even pleated skirt that you might have in your own wardrobe. It could even be a wide floaty culotte or palazzo pant to be honest. As always it’s a mixed bag of my own clothes that I have at home. Ive included ideas for the summer, ideas for work ; a shopping trip or lunch with friends and some ideas to take you from desk to dinner with a “Mary Poppins” style bag!

I can get a bit funny about dress lengths with coats, maybe that’s why I love boyfriend blazers so much? As this particular skirt was asymmetric it kinda didn’t matter and made bringing you different looks with my own coats easier. Stuff like that is a matter of personal taste and will depend on what suits you as an individual. I’m afraid I can only dress myself for the purpose of these videos! Tweak the proportions to suit your own shape!

So once again I hope you enjoy the video. It’s a little longer than normal as I got carried away….I could’ve kept going!

I’ve linked some other skirts that are available at the moment, I’ve no personal experience of now they fit or what the quality is like but I’ve tried to find a few different price points for you and some sale bits! Most sizes were available for the sale finds at the point of writing this blog but stock sells fast as there are some incredible bargains out there.

SATIN SKIRT ABOVE – Massimo Dutti

LINEN VEST – H&M current season

CERAMIC MISS MATCH EARRINGS – Zara

RING – Nomination

BASKET SHOPPER – MMAA Social

TAN SLIDES – DUNE

BLACK SANDALS – & Other Stories

LINEN MIX COAT – Zara sale this season

CARDIGAN – Pure Collection London sample sale but LOVE this!

SKIRTS ABOVE – Both SALE at The White Company left right

SWEATSHIRT WITH SIDE ZIPS = ARKET sale (may be stock in stores?)

TRAINERS – sold out but I like THESE

TRENCH = M&S old

TOTE BAG – LK Bennett lots similar online HERE

COURT SHOES = LK Bennett HERE

SATIN SKIRT ABOVE – ARKET

TUXEDO POPLIN SHIRT – ARKET sold out …similar HERE

BLAZER – ME+EM options HERE

BLACK ANKLE BOOTS – Zara but styles widely available

JUMPER – The White Company lots HERE

TALL BOOTS – ARKET

LEFT – ME+EM 

MIDDLE – ARKET

RIGHT – ME+EM

Makeup throughout is Trinny London.

Thank you for reading and now I’m off to plan some outfits for holiday! Yay! XX

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Jul 05, 2020

Well I’m on fire!

We have blogs and styling videos coming out of our ears don’t we team!

As always it’s not about buying “this” dress or “that” thing though I always link everything that I can or try and find alternatives for you. It’s about thinking about what you like and what works for you. Sometimes it’s good to recognise that we can appreciate something works on someone else and is not for ourselves. There’s so much advice to read and imagery to look at these days which is obviously really wonderful isn’t it  but you can’t beat understanding what you like and more importantly what makes you feel great inside.

Nothing split the room quite like this “buffet” dress! And I love that! I love the fact that styling can make a difference to turn an “no way” opinion to “”ooooo, errrr, actually…..I quite like it like that!” At fashion college we learnt so much about the power of styling. The building blocks of an outfit don’t change that much but how you put them together and how you play with proportions can make all the difference. Mixing smart and casual. Mixing hard and soft textures. Mixing feminine and masculine. The list goes on…..

Also I wanted to highlight a brand. It’s for no personal gain. I’m not working with them and I’m not getting any commission, just a warm fuzzy feeling supporting a small company that’s doing great things. It’s MMAA Social. The market basket in this blog and video took 2/3 days to weave. MMAA Social supports the women and their communities in Ghana  that make these amazing works of art. If you’re on Instagram and can spare a follow?

So as always, a huge heart thank you for taking the time to read my blog and for watching the videos.

Hope you enjoy this one XX

MARKET BASKET – MMAA Social

SILK/COTTON DRESS – H&M

trainers featured in the video sold out but I like THESE

SLIDES – DUNE LONDON

PLATFORM SNEAKERS – Russel and Bromley

TALL BOOTS – ARKET

SUNGLASSES – KATIE LOXTON

The statement earrings featured in the video are old  – but LOVE these!

MAKEUP throughout –TRINNY LONDON 

I think I’m finally up to speed and everything thus far has been documented on a blog! Today should have been planning the next IGTV styling video but as usual life got in the way and we spent the afternoon as a family making mud pies and bike ramps out of dirt at our local park! I was feeling kinda smug and ahead of myself and then suddenly, out of nowhere, I’ve dropped behind!

Thank you again for reading XX

Valerie

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By SolihullStyle      Jul 04, 2020

And away we go! I have to admit it was a bit daunting doing the videos after what has felt like very long break!

We all got through the last few months in our own way. Some of us lived in our sportswear and some of us dressed up for dinner at home.

As life is moving forward and I felt comfortable buying non essential items online these videos seemed relevant again. I felt like I had the head space to give them the time they need to plan. The styling videos have never been full of new season pieces and have always been more about giving you ideas and something fun to watch using  clothes that you may well have similar to yourselves at home. For this reason they’re not always exactly as I’d like them to be but that’s not the point! It’s not about “that” dress or “this” thing….you’ll have different items in your wardrobe and you’ll suit different shapes and lengths. Hopefully it’s inspiration enough to show how versatile certain items, we’ve probably all got a version at home, can be. A logo top? A printed skirt or dress? A satin slip skirt? Trainers? Jeans? Shorts? 

Ironically this video is all about the FUND JUMPER. A new discovery found in lock down! I fell in love with everything about the brand when I saw one on a connections post on LinkedIn. It’s a small brand that’s giving back. Every jumper sold funds 100 school meals for children in poverty. Beautiful British wool/cashmere jumpers made to last and be loved. Each one lovingly embroidered with an inspirational or thought provoking quote. My son chose my quote for me which makes it extra special. I do admire small brands that are prepared to give back to charities and communities that are in need of help. Imagine what could be achieved if the big guns did this too?

You may have a logo T or sweater of your own that you can style different ways. For the beach, worn with print, for a day shopping or for casual drinks with friends. I’m sure you could all pull out a skirt or a dress that you could style this way? I’ve always loved how a piece of soft relaxed knitwear can make everything look a bit more effortless, like you’ve not tried too hard.

I hope you enjoy this one. I’m in dire need of the hairdresser and my hair just got bigger and fizzier under the lights as the video progressed! I’ve included make up and lots of different accessories on the video.

Thank you for watching.

JUMPER throughout FUND Jumpers

MAKE-UP used throughout – TRINNY LONDON

BASKETS throughout – BOHEMIA DESIGN

SUNGLASSES –  H&M

DENIM SHORTS –  UNIQLO UK

SLIDES –  DUNE LONDON

NUDE LEATHER MULES – M&S

JEANS – AGOLDE available at REVOLVE (I’m wearing a size 27″)

Trainers sold out sale but I like THESE

I hope you enjoyed this short and sweet little blog post? There’s another one coming soon to flag up another small but great brand that I found and fell in love with too over the last few months when I was able to slow down and spend some time looking at things that made my heart sing. I’m a bit like the no.19 bus through London…no blog for months then three come all at once! Ha ha! X 

Valerie

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