Staying cosy at home over Christmas

What I look forward to most about this time of year is staying cosy at home over Christmas with family.

What do you look forward to most at Christmas? Do you enjoy all the hustle and bustle of shopping and partying, or do you prefer to snuggle up at home in the warm? I’m definitely in the cosy camp…sure I like to let my hair down, and I love a bit of shopping 😉 But at this time of year it can all get a bit frantic and overwhelming. I do not relish getting hot and bothered in shopping centres loaded with bags…and that’s after sitting in traffic jams and struggling to find a car parking space. That’s not what the festive season should be about. What I look forward to most about this time of year is staying cosy at home over Christmas with family.

Staying cosy at home over Christmas

I’ve got the perfect set up too: my hand knitted chunky blanket, a good book, cute foxy mug and a fabulous new fleece robe from Hunkemoller. There’s something so festive about new pyjamas and dressing gowns…I probably won’t want to get dressed on Christmas Day! I’ll certainly be taking every opportunity to take some time out to relax in the next week. I think sometimes we work ourselves into a frenzy because Christmas seems so far away…and then suddenly it’s upon us. Luckily I have a couple of days off work mid week so that will give me the opportunity to get any last minute gifts. Although I’ve done most of it online from the comfort of home.

Staying cosy at home over Christmas

Reading at bedtime helps me to feel sleepy…and it seems to have the same effect during the day too – not long after we took these photos I fell asleep!

Creating a cosy atmosphere at home makes the long, dark evenings much more bearable. The weather has been dreadful the last few days, but I find listening to the rain and wind outside when you’re all snuggled up is really comforting. I’ve been making the effort to read a bit more, both for myself and to Isobel. I loved reading as a child, but I find myself spending too much time on my phone and not enough time with a book. I’m a big fan of historical non fiction books, especially those about the Tudor period. Reading at bedtime helps me to feel sleepy…and it seems to have the same effect during the day too – not long after we took these photos I fell asleep!

Do you like to party over Christmas or stay cosy at home?

Staying cosy at home over Christmas

Staying cosy at home over Christmas

Staying cosy at home over Christmas

Staying cosy at home over Christmas

Staying cosy at home over Christmas

Robe c/o Hunkemoller

 

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Disclaimer: Items marked “c/o” means I was gifted them in exchange for a review. All words and opinions are my own.

 


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Life's a Ball for the Style Not Age collective, red and gold embroidered dress

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. This last week has flown by (only one week left of September!). It’s certainly been a varied one for me, from a trip to London to model for the-Bias-Cut-com, to donning my wellies and mucking out fox pens. It’s not all glamour! Before we know it, the festive season will be here…which means digging out those party dresses! Well life’s a ball for the Style Not Age collective this month, thanks to Anna who chose September’s theme!

Just when I was beginning to think I’d never find “the one”, I saw exactly the dress I’d envisaged on eBay.

This is probably the trickiest style challenge so far because a formal dress is not something we’d typically wear on a regular basis. I have a couple of prom style dresses, but they just weren’t doing it for me. Instead, I thought it’d be fun to wear my wedding dress again. It’s not actually a wedding dress, but that’s exactly what I wanted.  The funny thing is, I’d looked everywhere for the perfect dress, and I was prepared to pay big bucks for a designer gown. Just when I was beginning to think I’d never find “the one”, I saw exactly the dress I’d envisaged on eBay. It cost the grand total of £40 – how about that for a bargain!

Life's a Ball for the Style Not Age collective, red and gold embroidered dress

We’re going back to Barbados next month, so maybe I’ll take the dress and recreate the moment. But for now I’ll have to make do with the slightly less exotic location of my garden.

My entire wedding outfit was very thrifty because I already had a gold bag and sandals, so I didn’t need to buy any new ones. We blew the budget on getting married in Barbados, although it wasn’t smooth sailing; we had to reschedule the whole trip thanks to an erupting volcano! We’re going back to Barbados next month, so maybe I’ll take the dress and recreate the moment. But for now I’ll have to make do with the slightly less exotic location of my garden. When I came down the stairs ready for the photos I asked my husband if he’d like to get married again – his response was “Yes, but with conditions this time”! I think that means not buying so many pairs of shoes 😉

Life's a Ball for the Style Not Age collective, red and gold embroidered dress

Biba gold strappy sandals

The only things I’ve changed from what I wore on my wedding day are the sandals and jewellery. The sandals I wore on the day are packed away in the loft, but I prefer these by Biba. I replaced my cheap eBay jewellery with these gorgeous earrings and ring from Ottoman Hands and a bracelet from Azuni.

Ottoman hands turquoise and gold ring

Ottoman Hands earrings

Life's a Ball for the Style Not Age collective, red and gold embroidered dress

Now let’s see how Jacqui, Hilda and Anna dressed for the ball…

Jacqui is looking very sophisticated in a classic black dress with a beautiful beaded neckline. You’re hot to trot Jacqui! Pop over to Mummabstylish to see more!

Mummabstylish

Hilda recently bought this beautiful beaded deep green gown for an upcoming event at her local yacht club. I’m sure you’ll be the belle of the ball Hilda! See the full post at Over the Hilda.

Over the Hilda

Last but not least is the star of JD Williams’ new TV campaign! Anna certainly has good reason to slip on a ball gown and party! Head over to Anna’s Island Life to see all the details!

Anna's Island Life

So that’s it for another month! Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget to pop back tomorrow for the Style With a Smile link up! Hope you have a lovely day 🙂

 

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Five major fashion trends for A/W 2018

I’m now fully in A/W dressing mode and loving all the new season stuff that’s hitting the rails. On the high street, Zara and Mango are really knocking it out of the park, with animal and check prints featuring heavily. Some trends seem to come around every year, which is great because you don’t have to buy anything new. But fashion always throws up a few surprises and these can really divide opinion.

…I’ve picked out five major fashion trends for Autumn/Winter 2018 that you’ll wear over and over again.

While I keep up to date with fashion trends I’m not interested in one season wonders. I prefer to invest in the styles that have longevity, which benefits both your bank balance and the environment. So if you’re looking to update your wardrobe for the new season I’ve picked out five major fashion trends for Autumn/Winter 2018 that you’ll wear over and over again.

Animal print

Five major fashion trends for Autumn/Winter 2018 , leopard print outfits

Arguably the most prominent trend for Autumn is animal print. While it never goes out of fashion, suddenly it’s everywhere; leopard, snake, cheetah and zebra prints are BIG this season! I’m certainly not complaining 😉 I’m sure most of us have some animal print in our wardrobes, even if it’s just a bag or belt. That’s the beauty of this particular trend, you can go as subtle or as bold as you fancy. I’m more in the bold camp, but if you want to dip your toe in the water, then accessories are a good starting point.

Five major fashion trends for Autumn/Winter 2018 , animal print outfits

Tartan, plaid, houndstooth and check print

Five major fashion trends for Autumn/Winter 2018 , check, tartan and plaid print outfits

Another group of prints that are popular right now is what I’d loosely term check. Tartan, plaid, houndstooth and Prince of Wales check prints seem to feature every A/W. This year they’re bold, colourful and guaranteed to brighten up a dull Winter’s day. If wearing head-to-toe tartan is your thing then Zara has some great co-ord sets. But if understated is more your style, opt for houndstooth or a more desaturated check print. A big tartan blanket scarf is one of my favourite accessories when the weather turns really cold. I wear it doubled up around my neck outside, and use it as a shawl indoors.

 

Trouser suits

No longer confined to the boardroom, trouser suits (or pant suits) have made the transition from office wear to street style. They definitely don’t have to be dull or boring, not when there are so many colourful ones to choose from. (And don’t forget that you can wear your suit as separates for multiple outfit options). Go for full on glamour with a silky pussybow blouse and heels, or for a smart casual look wear with a slogan T-shirt and some classic Stan Smiths.

For an edgier option team your suit with another of this season’s big trends: chunky trainers. I decided not to include these on my list of major trends because a) I think a lot of people find them quite ugly, and 2) I suspect they’ll soon look a bit dated. (You just watch me be proved wrong now!) They’re certainly not as versatile as simple white tennis shoes. But if you haven’t got upwards of £500 to drop on a pair of Balenciaga Triple S trainers, there’s always good old Zara with some budget versions (which I actually prefer). I don’t yet own a matching jacket and trousers set, but it’s top of my list of new season purchases.

Cowboy boots

In my late teens I had a pair of cowboy boots that I wore pretty much every day. I’m sure I even wore them all through Summer too. They were so comfortable, and as I lived in jeans they were my go-to footwear. Back in those days I only had a few pairs of shoes and boots (hard to imagine, I know!) so by the time they had to be retired they were like old friends. In fact, the only reason I stopped wearing them was because they got wet and went mouldy, otherwise I’d be digging them out and wearing them now!

If the traditional cowboy boots are are a bit too “yee haw” for your taste, try a pair of Western style ankle boots. I like the ones with buckles, but there are plenty without, in various colours and prints and finishes. The shorter styles look great with jeans as well as maxi dresses for a boho vibe. The boots in the photo below are really comfortable, and and even though I’ve had them a while they’re still available in most sizes from Asos.

Five major fashion trends for Autumn/Winter 2018 , LOTD red faux fur coat, Truffle Western ankle boots

 

Scarf print

Remember when the Queen made a surprise visit to London Fashion Week in February where she sat on the FROW of British designer Richard Quinn’s show? Well, that might give us a clue as to why scarf print is making such an impact this season. Her Maj presented the first ever Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design to Richard Quinn, who is an emerging talent celebrated for his screen printing. The show featured outfits made in a patchwork of silk scarves and models wearing headscarves. But Quinn isn’t the only designer to showcase scarf prints; they also made an appearance in the Versace, Balenciaga and Vetements A/W 2018 collections.

As with all catwalk looks, scarf prints have trickled down to the High Street, so you don’t have to spend a fortune to buy into the trend. A maxi dress and boots makes for a stylish outfit, which you can layer a biker jacket over. Or team palazzo trousers and a silky blouse or camisole for an evening out, topped off with a velvet jacket. If neither of those take your fancy, a scarf tied at the neck instantly elevates a plain shirt or T-shirt. You can even tie it around your handbag for a more subtle option.

Which is your favourite trend for the new season? Are you buying anything new or shopping your closet?

 

 


 

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Wild About Animal Print

It’s the last Monday in August which means it’s a Bank Holiday (in the UK)…and it’s time for the Style Not Age collective to take on another sartorial challenge! This week also brings the Summer to a close, which I can’t help feel a little sad about. But there’s always lots of lovely new season clothes to ease the pain. This month it was my turn to choose the theme, and I wanted to look towards the A/W trends. Luckily one of my favourite prints looks set to be big this coming season, hence the theme “WIld About Animal Print”. It’s never really out of fashion though is it?

When I think of animal print it’s leopard that immediately springs to mind because it’s my favourite. However, I’m quite partial to a bit of snake, tiger and zebra too.

When I think of animal print it’s leopard that immediately springs to mind because it’s my favourite. However, I’m quite partial to a bit of snake, tiger and zebra too.  My wardrobe is awash with various animal prints, but I chose this outfit mainly due to the weather. It has turned quite cool here, and the day we took these photos it was sunny one minute, throwing it down the next. The ground was wet, so I needed chunky heels to avoid sinking into the grass. Going through some old skirts I found this one from River Island that I bought on eBay a few years ago. It’s a stretch jersey material, so it’s comfortable, but it does cling to tights and bunch up. Are there such a things as cling-free tights or did I imagine it? At least they smooth over any lumps and bumps, which is what I need with a figure-hugging skirt!

I love statement sleeves, but they do make wearing anything on top of them difficult.

Black is the obvious pairing for leopard print, so I chose this jumper with big chiffon flared sleeves. I bought it from Very in the January sales but didn’t get around to wearing it before the Summer. I also ordered it in blush pink but they got the order wrong and sent the wrong top, which was a shame. Now, I do love statement sleeves, but they make wearing anything on top of them awkward. A sleeveless trench or faux fur gilet would both be good options if you want to add another layer while the weather is still mild. For colder weather I’d opt for a thick cape-style jacket.

I extended the feline theme with a panther ring, cat eye sunglasses and velvet kitty bag, which I use so much.

SHOP THE LOOK

Henry gave it his approval by falling at my feet…that cat will do anything for a belly rub and a chin tickle!

Let’s see how Anna, Jacqui and Hilda went “Wild About Animal Print”…

Anna is looking radiant amongst the flowers in her leopard print trousers and graphic t-shirt. Head over to Anna’s Island Style to see all the details.

Jacqui has chosen an elegant dress and neutral accessories for a very chic look. You can see the full post on her blog Mummabstylish.

Hilda is a woman after my own heart in that gorgeous leopard print coat and fabulous hat…but there’s a third animal print in there! See the full post at Over the Hilda!

 

Well, that wraps it up for this month. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing these very different looks. Are you “Wild About Animal Print” too? What’s your favourite…is it leopard, cheetah, tiger, snake…or maybe giraffe or zebra? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

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Looking back on seven years of blogging

Thursday was the seventh anniversary of publishing my first blog post…how things have changed! Well, actually some things have remained constant – namely my love of fashion – but others have changed beyond recognition. When I started blogging I was completely clueless when it came to technology. While I have still have lots to learn, I’ve managed to get my head around aspects of blogging that once completely baffled me. What began as infrequent posts featuring quick outfit snaps taken on my phone has become more like a job. But I mean that in a good way!

Looking back on seven years of blogging there are things I wish I’d done differently, but it’s all a learning process.

I find the end of Summer/beginning of Autumn the ideal time to re-evaluate and look ahead to new goals. Having a blog anniversary coincide with the changing of the seasons is fortuitous in that respect. Looking back on seven years of blogging there are things I wish I’d done differently, but it’s all a learning process. Everyone learns the most valuable stuff “on the job”, whatever that job is. Blogging is no different. One thing I do know is that other bloggers are the best source of information, and the blogging community is like an extended family. If you have a question, put it out there on social media and the help comes flooding in. The support from other bloggers is amazing!

Things I wish I’d done differently

There aren’t too many things I wish I’d done differently, but the main one is regarding web hosting. When I started out I chose Typepad for as my blog’s platform because I didn’t realise you could have a vanity URL with Blogger. It soon dawned on me that I was basically paying for something I could get for free with Blogger, and moving to self-hosted seemed like an immense challange. Actually it wasn’t; when I finally got my act together and took blogging more seriously I just got on with it. I bought a template from Pipdig, who were incredibly helpful and made the whole process easy. Afterwards I was kicking myself for not doing it sooner!

When I was forced to take a career break (due to my new job not being compatible with childcare) it galvanised me into focusing more on blogging.

In my defence though, we’d had a tumultuous 18 months of living apart, starting new jobs and relocating to a different part of the country. During that time Pete was living at his mum’s and working in Manchester while I was back in Nottingham with Isobel, so I had no photographer. Using the timer function on the camera and a makeshift tripod (I don’t recommend!) became my only option! When I was forced to take a career break (due to my new job not being compatible with childcare) it galvanised me into focusing more on blogging. I decided at that point that the time was right to take it up a level…and that meant getting my head around social media.

At the start, I was just basically talking to myself. I would write a post, hit publish and nobody read it apart from me and my husband. I just didn’t feel comfortable promoting myself on social media…and to be honest, I didn’t really know how to anyway. Learning all about hashtags, Twitter chats, blog hops, link ups – it was all a mystery to me. The first link up I participated in was Jess’s Turning Heads Tuesday, and I’m sure that was the breakthrough I needed in becoming part of the 40+ blogging community. I may have been in my late 30s when I started blogging, but it was only when I hit my 40s that I felt like a “proper blogger”. Life begins at 40 and all that.

What does the future hold?

Staying on top of the developments in social media is a big part of being a blogger. I work in TV and it’s both exciting, and a little alarming, at how quickly social media platforms are encroaching on the territory of traditional forms of media. Have we reached peak saturation? Will people still be watching TV in 10 years time, or will everyone be glued to their phones watching beauty tutorials/toy openings/cats doing funny things? This topic dominates many conversations among my colleagues. Will YouTube (or something similar) kill off TV? Will blogging be replaced by vlogging? One thing’s for sure, you have to be ready and willing to adapt.

It only takes one high profile influencer to be caught out being dishonest for the whole community to be tainted.

The marketing power that bloggers/influencers have now is being recognised by companies. The challenge for us all – collectively – is to stay honest and transparent. It only takes one high profile influencer to be caught out being dishonest for the whole community to be tainted. One thing I always keep in mind is that the trust of your followers is everything. It takes time to build up but can be destroyed in one bad decision. Honesty is always the best policy, even if it means posting a less-than-glowing review of a product.

Plans for the immediate future

I have a big list of things to do, but in order to achieve those I need to manage my time better. Shooting more than one outfit in a day, batch editing photos, scheduling time to reply to comments and participate in link ups will help me get back on track. I’ve been struggling to do half of what I need to do lately, so better time management is essential…if you have any tips please send them my way! When the new school year starts I’ll have fewer interruptions so that will help.

On the subject of kids, I know Isobel would love to do more “mummy and me” outfit posts (like this one). She’s now nine and is very into fashion so we will make this a regular feature. I’m sure it won’t be long before she’s actually wearing my clothes! Becoming a mum was what prompted me to start blogging in the first place, so it seems only right that she’s a part of it now.

Learning when to say no…and yes…

Replying to emails seems to take up more time than ever recently, particularly the ones from people who basically want something for nothing. I’m sure you all get them too…you don’t reply immediately so they bombard you with passive-agressive follow up emails pushing their “amazing” offer of a poor quality infographic (in return for a follow link of course), or $5 for a blog post. Yeah, they really bug me. I’m starting to be more direct with these chancers and let them know I wasn’t born yesterday…this is a blog for mature women after all so they should know that!

Learning to say no is one thing, but having the courage to say yes to opportunities – even when they push me way out of my comfort zone – is something I’m getting better at. Taking a ride in the Seabreacher was something I’d never have done if it wasn’t for this blog, and it was a blast! Remember the bucket list I shared? Well for my birthday Pete bought me a race track experience (after reading the post, so drop those hints ladies!). I can’t wait to burn some rubber in a Lamborghini!

One thing that I’m determined to do in the next couple of months is a design tweak and rebranding. As well as being a TV director and vision mixer my husband also does graphic design, so I need to pin him down (so to speak) to help me with this. I’d love to do it all myself but, you know, why have a dog and bark yourself? 😉

Looking back on seven years of blogging

Going to the 3040 Blogger Meet Up still stands out as one of the highlights of my whole blogging career…even now I smile when I think about that day 🙂

I’m sure you’ll all agree that one of the best (if not THE best) things about blogging is meeting up with other bloggers IRL. Going to the 3040 Blogger Meet Up still stands out as one of the highlights of my whole blogging career (if that’s the right word). I got to meet up with so many fabulous bloggers who I’d been following for years…even now I smile when I think about that day 🙂  So, when an email offering early bird tickets for the Blogosphere Festival landed in my inbox I didn’t hesitate in buying one. It’s in Marylebone, London on December 1st, so if you’re going too let me know and we can meet up!

Long term goals

Producing good quality YouTube content is top of my long term goals (I’ve said it here now so I have to do it, right?). Working in TV I don’t really have an excuse not to, other than time constraints (which goes back to scheduling my time more effectively). I’d like to include this in my immediate plans but I have to be realistic. The plan is to set up a space in the wooden cabin at the end of my garden to use as a set; I just have to move the bikes, old toys and spiders lurking in every corner!

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

In terms of content I feel it’s inevitable that I will gradually steer the blog towards ethical fashion and beauty. Since becoming vegan last year I’ve continued to question my choices when it comes to what I buy and consume. This doesn’t stop at food; as I’ve discovered, there’s so much more to veganism than simply not consuming animal products. But it’s an ongoing process, one of perpetual learning and refinement. I always keep in mind the Maya Angelou quote “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” There’s a difference between not knowing and not wanting to know. As long as we are prepared to learn and change our patterns of consumption we can all make a positive change.

So that kind of sums up the last seven years of blogging…I wonder what the next seven years holds! How has blogging changed your life? Do pop back tomorrow for the Style Not Age August post!

 


 

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