Grey pleated Asos skirt Dorothy Perkins pink jewel collar top

I’ve always found it difficult to define my style, and this outfit compared to the previous one demonstrates why. I’ve done a sartorial U-turn and gone from punk to pink, feisty to floaty, and loud to ladylike…is that too much alliteration? Anyway, I was in the mood for something softer and calmer…an outfit to put me in a relaxed frame of mind, so I pulled this Asos grey pleated maxi skirt out of the wardrobe and paired it with a blush pink jumper.

I love maxi skirts but I rarely have the occasion to wear them except on holiday because it’s usually either too cold, too wet or too windy.

I love maxi skirts but I rarely have the occasion to wear them except on holiday because it’s usually either too cold, too wet or too windy. I’ve had this skirt for a couple of years but hadn’t got around to wearing it. It’s not the easiest thing to iron, so that rules it out of my holiday wardrobe, but I do love the colour. I find soft grey a very soothing hue, particularly when teamed with pale pink. I last wore this jumper with jeans and a floral jacket, but as it’s quite a thin knit and has elbow-length sleeves it works well in Summer. The skirt has darker satin sections in it which create a little shine when the sun catches them.

Asos grey pleated skirt and pink jewel jumper

Everything about this outfit is calming and peaceful: the silvery-grey hues of the skirt and bag, silver and pearl jewellery, the flower-embellished sunglasses – it’s impossible not to feel serene in this ensemble. While the world seems to be going crazy and everything appears to be in turmoil, the need to create a sense of calm is more important than ever. An outfit might not change much…but it’s a start.

Are you a style chameleon like me or do you tend to stick to the tried and tested? Let me know in the comments!

Modalu grey leather bag

Asos flower sunglasses

Modalu grey leather handbag

Pia mother of pearl ring silver flower bracelet

Boden spotted shoes

Skirt: Asos (similar), jumper: Dorothy Perkins (similar), shoes: Boden (no longer in stock but these velvet ones are gorgeous), bag: Modalu (similar), ring, bracelet and earrings: Pia, sunglasses: Asos (I also love these).

 

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Sex Pistols tee Very coated black jeans

When an article entitled “The 40 things every woman should know about fashion over 40” was published by the Telegraph I sighed inwardly and thought “oh, here we go again”. Just where do fashion journalists get off on telling people over 40, or any age for that matter, what they should and shouldn’t be wearing? Nothing magical happens the day you turn 40, it’s just a continuation of life as it was when you were 39 the day before. Wrinkles and grey hairs don’t suddenly appear like a bolt from the blue, your zest for life and love of fashion don’t evaporate overnight, so why should we stop wearing certain things just because we’ve hit a milestone birthday?  Judging by the response the article received on social media it’s evident that many of us ladies over 40 feel that way.

For me growing older isn’t about losing something…it’s about gaining: in confidence, contentment and being liberated from the stifling pressure of caring too much what other people think about me.

For me growing older isn’t about losing something, or having to give up wearing specific items of clothing because someone who doesn’t know me thinks it’s no longer appropriate, it’s about gaining: in confidence, contentment and being liberated from the stifling pressure of caring too much what other people think about me. In my teens, 20s, and even my 30s, I cared more about fitting in and wearing whatever my peers were wearing than allowing my style and individuality to show through. Now I don’t want to fit in. Life would be very boring if we all looked the same. Sure I follow trends but I’ll either make them work for me or leave well alone. I’m not a sheep or a fashion victim.

Sex Pistols tee Asos studded clutch

The Telegraph article isn’t the first of its kind, so it’s hardly ground-breaking stuff, and I wouldn’t normally grace such journalistic tripe with a response, but the tone of writing was so patronising I felt compelled to have my say. Being told I need to “grade up” my shoes like a teacher might tell a pupil to pull their socks up really hit a nerve:  “More to the point a shoe is where you score your fashion points when you are past Sex Pistols T shirts and floral coronets (which you are)”- the cheek! Also out apparently is leopard print: “Tips over into blowsy any day now” as well as bows, foundation and knees…yes, I know, it’s utterly ridiculous. So I decided to flick a sartorial two-fingered salute to Shane Watson and all other journalists who try to tell us what not to wear by combining the double sin of a Sex Pistols T-shirt and leopard print shoes…I like to think of it as Uptown Punk. I’ve always had a rebellious streak, and being told I can’t or shouldn’t do something only makes me more determined to do it. So never mind the “rules”, here’s to wearing what the hell you want and not giving a damn. Go to it ladies!

Sex Pistols tshire Very coated black jeans

H&M black coachella cat sunglasses

Asos goldtone spike bracelet

Miss KG leopard print shoes

Sex Pistols tee black very coated skinny jeans

T-shirt: eBay, jeans: Very, shoes: Miss KG, clutch and bracelet: Asos, sunglasses: H&M, ring: Merle O’Grady.

 

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Lorraine Kelly JD Williams JD Williams Lorraine Kelly wrap Beach to Bar Maxi Dress

When it’s time to pack my case for a beach holiday there is one item I cannot live without: a maxi dress. After a day on the beach or by the pool you can slip a maxi dress on over a bikini, add a few accessories and you’re good to hit the bar. Finding the perfect beach to bar maxi dress means looking for a few key features: the material needs to be crease resistant, preferably stretchy and easy to slip on.

This black and white maxi dress  from JD Williams ticks all those boxes. The crossover deep V cut is flattering because it elongates and slims the upper body while the elasticated waist band gives definition. The material has enough weight to hang nicely, skimming over the hips and disguising any lumps and bumps. It’s stretchy enough to step into it and just pull it on, plus it’s lined so won’t show a VPL…and…it has pockets!

My holiday footwear needs to be comfortable, go with everything else in my travel wardrobe and not take up much room in the case.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m on a beach holiday I hardly ever wear heels. Although I might take a pair of wedges, I usually stick to flip flops by day and dressier flat sandals for evenings out.  When JD Williams invited me to choose a dress and a pair of shoes to create this beach to bar look I was instantly drawn to the Heavenly Soles range. My holiday footwear needs to be comfortable, go with everything else in my travel wardrobe and not take up much room in the case, so it didn’t take long for me to select these metallic sandals. They are very comfortable due to the padded sole and wide fitting (they’re available in an E and EEE fitting) plus they have a zip at the back so you don’t have to undo the buckles to get them on. They are the perfect addition to my summer wardrobe – I can see myself wearing these with jeans, long wide-leg trousers and shorts.

JD Williams Lorraine Kelly wrap Beach to Bar Maxi Dress

While I’ve styled the dress here for more of an evening look with a silver clutch and a few pieces of jewellery, it would work equally well for a day out sightseeing with a beach bag or shopper and a big floppy hat. If the evenings are a little on the cool side then a lightweight denim jacket worn over the dress would keep it looking modern. A cover up that defines the waist – maybe a shirt tied at the waist – works best over a maxi dress, anything long and voluminous will ruin the silhouette.

Lorraine Kelly JD Williams black and white maxi dress

Silver River Island clutch black and white wood ring

LizzyO white leopard print wraparound bracelet

Heavenly Soles JD Williams sandals

Dress and sandals: JD Williams, bracelet: LizzyO, clutch: River Island (old), sunglasses: Missoni, ring: bought on holiday.

 

JD Williams have a wide range of maxi dresses and sandals so there’s bound to be something to suit everyone! Do you have any tips for perfecting the beach to bar look? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @thestylesplash! Have a great weekend!

 

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, however I was gifted the dress and sandals. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

 

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Last Night in Paris at the Terrasse Hotel Montmartre Galeries Lafayette rooftop Opera Garnier

After our trip to Burgundy we returned to Paris for one last night. As well as staying in our favourite hotel we found ourselves back at Galeries Lafayette to exchange a broken toy we’d bought earlier in the week…it wasn’t sabotage, honestly! Anyway, as we just had to go back we took the opportunity of popping up onto the roof for a few photos. The view is pretty spectacular as it overlooks Opéra Garnier.

Last Night in Paris at the Terrasse Hotel Montmartre Galeries Lafayette rooftop Opera Garnier

Last Night in Paris at the Terrasse Hotel Montmartre Galeries Lafayette rooftop Opera Garnier

Spending our last night in Paris at the Terrass Hotel in Montmartre was a real treat as we stayed there on my 40th birthday trip a couple of years ago. It was closed for refurbishment when we were in the city last year so we were eager to see how it had changed. As well as the reception area being completely rearranged and modernised, the bedrooms have been given a serious revamp. But the most impressive alteration is the restaurant and bar area on the 7th floor. Whereas before it had been just a small outdoor terrace area (albeit with fabulous views) it has since been expanded to include a sleek and modern restaurant overlooking Paris with a prime view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

Last Night in Paris at the Terrasse Hotel Montmartre

Each of the 92 bedrooms have been decorated in the style of performing artists’ Loge rooms with studio lamps and directors’ chairs. Our room was plenty big enough for the three of us – Isobel’s single bed was by a large window with views of Montmartre cemetery and the Eiffel Tower in the distance. The luxurious extras of the Tassimo machine and L’Occitane toiletries were the perfect finishing touches! If you can’t bear to leave your pooch at home, fear not: the hotel even accommodates small pets for an extra €15 per night – baskets and bowls provided!

Last Night in Paris at the Terrasse Hotel Montmartre

The reception area has been completely redesigned and the layout changed. I could have happily sat there reading and drinking coffee but there’s so much to do and see in Paris that I just wanted to get out there exploring!

Last Night in Paris at the Terrasse Hotel Montmartre ground floor reception

Last Night in Paris at the Terrasse Hotel Montmartre pool table

Last Night in Paris at the Terrasse Hotel Montmartre ground floor

Last Night in Paris at the Terrasse Hotel Montmartre bar view Eiffel Tower

It was a real treat for Isobel to sit at a bar with a view of the Eiffel Tower and wake up to one!

Last Night in Paris at the Terrasse Hotel Montmartre view from room

I love Montmartre, it’s my favourite place to stay in Paris. We’re already planning our next trip to the Terrass Hotel…in fact I’ve been eyeing up the Penthouse…well a girl can dream!

 

Do you love Paris as much as I do? What are your favourite places to go and things to see? Let me know in the comments 🙂

 

 

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Montreal Burgundy

It was only a couple of months ago that we took a trip to France but already it’s starting to feel like a distant memory. After six days in Paris, where I ran the marathon and did a little shopping in Galeries Lafayette, we took the train to Burgundy where we spent a couple of days with friends and former colleagues of my husband. It was a complete gear change from the hustle and bustle of Paris. Our hosts Christine and Graham own Maison Crème Anglaise, a beautiful old building in the medieval village of Montréal.  The house has three floors with a stone staircase in a turret, a barn with a grand piano, and a heated outdoor swimming pool!

Maison Creme Anglaise sign

Montreal door sign Montreal street

Maison CremeAnglaise courtyard

Maison Creme Anglaise daffodils

Maison Creme Anglaise piano

Window Maison Creme Anglaise

Custard

We have this handsome fellow to thank for our trip to Montréal and a renewed friendship with his owners. A few years ago Christine wrote a children’s book about her dog Custard, which she sent to her former colleagues at the BBC. We were given the book for our daughter, who was only a toddler at the time, but kept it for when she was older. The book is published in English and French – English on one page and French on the other – so is a great way to learn the language. Reading the book prompted us to get in touch with Christine and Graham, and we decided to extend our trip to Paris to include two days in the Burgundian countryside. Since “Cowardy, Cowardy Custard” was published, the star of the book has been joined by two new companions: Crumble, who looks like his younger brother, and Rhubarb the cat. Crumble and Rhubarb’s play-fighting had us in stitches! I think it’s fair to say the cat came out on top every time!

Crumble

Rhubard the cat

Maison Creme Anglaise terrace

It was a bit too cold to use the swimming pool…even if it is heated!

Maison Creme Anglaise garden view

Blossom Montreal arch

Montréal is a typical Burgundian medieval fortified village with houses of local stone dating back to the 13th century.

Les Deux Comperes sign Montreal Burgundy

Montreal ecole

Avallon arch

On the second day we spent the afternoon exploring Avallon, where we found a small art exhibition and strolled around the pathway encircling the town. The sky looked rather ominous but we managed to dodge the showers!

Avallon town centre

Avallon wall art

post box and mural in Avallon

twig sculptures

ountryside around Avallon

We ended our walk with a look around the castle and a visit to the park opposite.

Avallon Castle

Avallon castle triple shotCoat: Damsel in a Dress, hat: Zara

 

This was my first visit to this beautiful region of France, and hopefully not the last as we only saw a very small part of it. Have you ever been to Burgundy? Let me know if you have any recommendations for my next visit!

 

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