Sunday, 24 December 2017

Happy Christmas - The Seven Outfits of Christmas

 Skirt from Hush (£65), Boots Jones (now £120) sequin top & Other Stories (£49 - almost sold out) Earrings Kaaren Buchanan (£68 - gift)

I had such great plans for the blog this week but as you can tell from my absence - none of them came to fruition. However I didn't want Christmas to come and go without wishing you all a very "Happy Christmas." I also wanted to say a huge big "Thank You" for reading and for your support along the way. Style Guile will be going into its 8th year next year and I know that some of you have been with me from the start. Without you all it wouldn't be here - so thank you! Hopefully next year I will be able to make time to blog more (famous last words) so I should get to chat to you all a little more regularly. 

I love Christmas Eve - it's probably my favourite day of the year. But I'm really conscious that for many, Christmas can be a difficult time. A "first" Christmas after anything sad has happened must be upsetting, so I want to let you know that amongst the merriment tomorrow, I shall be taking a moment to reflect and to send out virtual hugs to those who need them.  

As I haven't managed to blog much - OK, at all - I thought that I would do a quick round up of outfits from the week, together with a couple of other shots. After all, Christmas is about friends and family as much as the outfits.

This week, I've managed to get out early most mornings with my running friends. Those times are so precious to us all and we love getting some fresh air, some exercise and having a chat. It really sets us up for the day. This shot was taken on top of a railway bridge near to my home, just as the sun was rising. It was such a beautiful sight and just stopping (phew) and taking a moment to think about the run that I had just had with my wonderful friends was a really special time. 

Last Sunday we went to see my Mum and her sister and that too was such fun. This is a photo of her sideboard, which she had set up for Christmas. I felt that it captured the essence of Christmas when I was young, perfectly. So many people liked this post on Instagram that I have wondered about handing my account over to my Mum. Forget the fashion - it's all about the mince pies, the cake frill and the Quality Street. Nostalgia is a powerful emotion and so many people commented and identified with this post. The cake frill in particular had lots of love!

And this was my Mum's coffee table, complete with my Aunt's slippers in shot. You can tell that the children had been at the Pringles.

I seem to have been on my feet a lot this week so it was pretty much flats all the way. Dungarees and a new blouse from one of my favourite brands, Mercy Delta (which they kindly gifted to me) was a really comfortable outfit for a full day of Christmas shopping on Monday.

Our eldest daughter is working in John Lewis at the moment and we spent hours in there, taking every single item to her till just so that we could see her briefly. We also took her for lunch and although she was working, it was a really special day for us all. She loved having us so close. Sometimes people can be horrible to shop staff at Christmas (and some can be lovely) so it broke up her day and although I always chat to shop staff, it acted as a reminder to be super nice to them.

I took our youngest to see Alice in Wonderland earlier on Tuesday and I wore this outfit from Great Plains which I wrote about in my last post. This time however I wore it with trainers from Air & Grace together with a huge scarf from Jaeger which I've had for several years now. It just gave a slightly different twist to things. And I'm still quite traditional when it comes down to what to wear to the theatre/ballet/carol service. It would be wrong to pretend that I had made a huge effort but something other than jeans feels right on those occasions.

On Wednesday I was again in jeans and trainers, which were from Air & Grace. The weather has been so mild that the issue of socks (or lack of them) really hasn't arisen. This coat from Linea at House of Fraser is also perfect for this weather and it adds sharpness to an otherwise very casual and "un-tailored" outfit. Note to self - I must wear some more skirts and dresses.

More sparkles - this time from & Other Stories. And surprise surprise, I'm in (old, Gap) jeans (hence the lack of link) and Adidas trainers -again! On Thursday I had some friends come round for brunch and it was lovely to just sit and chat - particularly as they were my running friends and most of our conversations are interspersed with "Can't talk now, I can talk at the top" or "Ooh this really hurts today" or, as in the case of this morning "I thought that somehow running on Christmas Eve would be easy." Why? Who in their right mind would actually think that, let alone voice it?! (Well apart from me.)

And on Friday I was in....yup, jeans and trainers! These jeans were from Whistles a while ago now and are generally on the tight side, so the fact that I managed to get them on and keep them on all day was a result. I don't know why I decided to do double denim but I like this shirt from Zara and I haven't worn it for a while - so it kind of seemed like a good idea at the time.

We had 9 for dinner that night so there was lots of running around to do, hence the trainers. As we're going away on Boxing Day we had to start our Christmas food celebrations early, so as not to have any left overs. So, our Christmas pudding has already been eaten and the trifle already made and eaten too. I should have photographed it - the cut glass trifle bowl is from my Mum and it's a beauty. I figured that the trifle didn't quite look the same after the first portion had been served.

And look! I'm not wearing trainers! Although I am wearing jeans (Mango from nearly a year ago) and a sparkly top (again) - this time the Great Plains Suraya top (again limited in size). This is clearly not a place to come for outfit inspiration - unless you like jeans, a sparkly top and a splash of colour in accessories.

And then here we are at today and I'm wearing the first outfit. To set the scene, the children and their friends are watching Harry Potter and the Snowman will be on soon, which I love. The tree lights are on, the table is almost set for tomorrow and shortly we're off to Pizza Express before coming home when I will read "The night before Christmas" to the "children". On Boxing Day we're heading for some sun so next time I appear on here, it may well be in a bikini. And if that's not an incentive to keep off the mince pies then I don't know what is. Well, apart from turning a blind eye and breathing in, which is what I will probably do in reality.

I hope that you all have a truly special Christmas. Do come over and follow me on Instagram if you would like to see what I am up to - you can find me here And if anyone is feeling a little blue or in need of a chat, please do just drop me a line anytime. See you on the other side!

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Sparkles and Crepe Joggers for Afternoon Tea....

Suraya sequins party top Great Plains (reduced to £42 from £85) and Crepe woven joggers from Great Plains (reduced from £65 to £32)

I was so excited to be going out for afternoon tea today at The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel with some girlfriends. How very civilised! (Well until I arrived.) And after a week of snow boots and jeans, it was a joy to have the opportunity to get dressed up. The pavements are still a little icy in places and I resolutely refused to walk, instead opting for a cab. The height of laziness really but there are just some days when compromising your outfit is absolutely not an option. 

The Edgbaston Hotel is a beautiful Georgian building which is decorated in an art deco style inside. This gorgeous Christmas tree greets you when you walk through the door. Sadly some things are just too large to slip into your pocket and wander off with *

As to the sequinned top and crepe joggers that I'm wearing, they were kindly gifted to me by Great Plains who asked if I would like to choose something to wear from their range of occasionwear.
They were interested to see what I might choose, how I might style it and how else I might wear it.

No one will be remotely surprised to find out that I chose a sparkly top - the Suraya sequins party top Great Plains (reduced to £42 from £85). I'm currently very familiar with quite a lot of sequin tops and what I think will appeal about this one in particular is that it's not too fitted. It has quite a relaxed shape to it so - and I can vouch for this having eaten an entire cream tea and then some - it doesn't get any tighter. And its relaxed shape means that it's a great one to wear at any time of year with jeans, with pleather leggings, under dungarees or with a pleated skirt. I know you've heard it before but sequins are definitely not just for Christmas.

The other thing that I think will appeal about the top are the length of these sleeves. They finish at a really good point on the arm, enabling you to pile up a whole lot of arm candy. And now that this top is in the sale, the price is really good too.

Now that's what you call a bar! 

In addition to the sparkly top, I also chose these Crepe woven joggers from Great Plains (reduced from £65 to £32) for that high/low outfit look. I have to say that the part elasticated waist was an added bonus and the side stripe gives them more of a modern feel. Just ignore anyone who says "Why are you going out for afternoon tea in your jogging bottoms?" BAD MOVE.

And the best thing about them? They are so versatile and can be dressed right down. On the Great Plains site they are styled with a Breton top and trainers, which is a look I will definitely be wearing. The more wear that I can get out of things the better. I also like the idea of these trousers with a pussy bow blouse and a blazer for a more dressed up look - either with heels or flats.

A sneaky little amuse bouche with compliments from the chef. He's my kind of guy. 

Again, can I please pretend that this is our house? It's soooo beautiful. 

The prettiest macarons I've ever seen! 

Afternoon tea Edgbaston Hotel style - you know that relaxed shape top I mentioned and the elasticated waist on the trousers? Oh yes baby. Mucho required. And once I'd kicked off my heels, they were both great for lounging around in when I returned home. That fire and sofa were certainly calling. 

Luckily I have plenty of stamina for many things in life. Including eating a cream tea. I never quite understand when people don't have a sweet tooth - it's as if they're talking a foreign language. Sarnies are nice and all that but really at an event like this, they're just a means to an end.

I'm totally inspired now as to how to decorate the outside of our house. Mr SG loves a little job of the DIY variety. Hmmmmm.

Disclosure: I think that we've all gathered that this outfit was gifted to me by Great Plains and it consists of the Suraya sequins party top Great Plains (reduced to £42 from £85) and Crepe woven joggers from Great Plains (reduced from £65 to £32).

* I would never advocate the theft of anything. Although if I did happen to be invited to the Palace I "may" wander off with an ashtray as per Denise Van Outen.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Glitz and brights for a night out

Pink Satin Shoes & Other Stories (£79) and sequinned Turtle Neck Top & Other Stories (£49)

It's that time of year when those party dates are looming and it's time to plan what to wear. There are so many looks that I love for this time of year from a statement skirt, heels and a fine knit jumper, to silk joggers and a pretty blouse, p(l)eather leggings and a white shirt and then.....a little predictable I know...good old jeans.

The thing with jeans is that because they are a safe option, I feel that I can go to town with the colours and the sparkle, without feeling too conspicuous. Black, grey or navy trousers would enable the same look to be created but there's something about faded jeans in this "new" style cut that I like. "New" being a mixture of girlfriend/boyfriend/mom and straight jeans all rolled into one. No, I'm non the wiser either.

So, having selected your jeans, it's time to have fun. I've mixed dark sparkle on the top (link above), with bright shoes and a bright bag. But the options are endless - sparkly shoes with a bright top and bright bag, sparkly bag with bright shoes and bright top, bright shoes, bag and top - maybe work in a print, or stripes, or some fake fur.

I've been after some shoes in this style for quite while now. I'm a bit late to the "v-cut shoe" party but you know, it's fashionable to be late. The block heel is so comfortable too - really sturdy and, having put them to the test with a glass or two of fizz, and maybe even a glass or two of gin, I can confirm that they are indeed, very sturdy.  

I have to say that I was slightly worried that they might stain easily, with them being satin. But after I went to the loo and splashed water on them when drying my hands, they were fine. Bet you're all relieved to hear that aren't you?! 

The clutch I'm using is a Whistles one that I bought in the New Year - if you wait until the end of January they have amazing reductions. They don't currently have a yellow one but this one caught my eye - I really love the colour of it and it would work so well with the pink shoes :)

Part of my decision to wear jeans was because we were sitting down for most of the night, meaning that it was all about the top. But it's such an easy look to create for any event - chuck on some jeans, hunt down some bright bits and bobs - sparkly or clashing ones if you like - stick on some lippy and it's job done.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Kooky Two - creators of modern and stylish jewellery for everyday dressing

I love it when I meet new people, when we get chatting and then when I discover that they do something fun and exciting. 

I met Claire and Clare from "Kooky Two" at a Red Magazine Style event in October. We sat next to one another and got chatting about what they do - as you do - and it turned out that they ran their own small independent jewellery brand. They source the materials and then put them together which means that they are able to create necklaces with chains of different lengths and styles, adding different charms and beads, for a really personal feel.

I was really delighted when Kooky Two asked me if I would like to write about their jewellery. Their passion for what they do clearly shines through, so I jumped at the chance.

Lightning bolts are definitely having a moment, and this necklace is a real favourite of mine. It's small and delicate and works really well when layered with other necklaces too.

Gold lightening bolt necklace (£25) which also comes in silver (£18)

I love all things star related and this necklace is perfect for layering or wearing on its own. Personally I like shorter length necklaces that just sit neatly at the base of your neck but it comes in four different lengths, meaning that if you're not sure of someone's preferences, you can opt for a mid range length and probably get it right. 

I haven't come across a heart beat necklace before and personally I think it's a great one to gift to yourself from a loved one in a "Look what you bought for me" kind of way adding, just for good measure "you make my heart skip a beat." How could they possibly deny you the joy of such a gift?!

I'm a huge fan of ear-rings, to the point that I'm thinking of getting another piercing, just so that I can wear way more of them. Ear-rings have come on leaps and bounds over the last few years, not only in the sense of big, statement, dangly ear-rings but also in the sense of cuffs, creepers and all sorts of intricate and delicate pieces that don't dangle but rather just adorn. 

I have these earrings and love how delicate they are, whilst at the same time being a little more modern that a traditional stud style earring. A similar style are these silver triangle ear creepers (£20) below.

If like me you just can't keep away from the lightening bolt theme, there are also these lightening bolt earrings (£18)

I also love the branding of "Kooky Two". Claire and Clare (one with an "i", one without!) are obviously brilliant friends who have come together to run a business which suits their lifestyles. Their aim is to create minimal, modern and stylish jewellery for everyday dressing, which can take an outfit from day to night. For them it's about a simple approach, whether it's with something personalised or layered, dainty or more statement in style and "wowish", such as their Crystal Innovations  collection, using Swarovski Crystals.

For something a bit rock chic there's these silver hoop earrings with jet black crystals (£25) which are fabulous if you like an earring to make a statement without them wearing you, like some of the huge ones can.

They also come with a metallic blue swarovski crystal (£25), which are stunning.

And how fantastic would it be to wake up to these on Christmas Day? They look like a flippin' great big diamond and to be honest, that would be good enough for me, for sure.

Additionally, Kooky Two offer personalised necklaces and bracelets, where the girls hand-stamp discs with letters or numbers.

This necklace comes with one, two or three discs and can be personalised  with two styles of font, three styles of chain and adjustable lengths depending on the style of chain chosen. The entire range of personalised pieces can be seen here

Whilst I am the first to admit that I champion our high street, when it comes to jewellery and special pieces it's nice to have a personal relationship with the brands, and the people behind them. Supporting small businesses, which are often run by busy women in positions similar to ourselves, is increasingly the way forward. Do take a look at the Kooky Two site - I'm sure that Claire and Clare would love to hear from you.

Disclosure: This post was written in conjunction with Kooky Two but I chose which pieces to write about. Kooky Two kindly gifted to me a gold lightening bolt necklace and a pair of heart creeper earrings.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

My favourite faux fur scarves...

I think that it's safe to say that there's some cold weather on its way. We've had pre-emptive letters from the schools warning of early closures and our son is positively ecstatic at the prospect of the trains not being able to run due to snow.

Over the years I have tried many items/coats/fabrics in the fight against the cold and what I can't work out is whether it's my imagination that tells me that fake fur is one of the best, or whether it's actually true. Does it so closely represent the real thing that it is actually really warm - despite being man made - or is it because it's quite heavy - or am I just making it up in my head?

There's one item that I own and whenever I wear it, people ask me where it's from. And this is it - a £16 fake fur grey scarf from Miss Selfridge which I bought when we still had a Miss Selfridge store.

I find that if my neck is warm, it helps with everything else too and it's definitely warmer than lots of scarves that I have. So here's a few of my favourites that are out and about.

First of all there's this White Company grey faux fur stole (now £49.30 instead of £69). I went and had a look at this one in the store yesterday and it's lovely. Really soft and long too so definitely one for the Christmas present list.

The other place that I have seen some gorgeous ones is Jigsaw

They have this Seraa faux fur scarf (£70) which also comes in a lovely cream colour and also in grey. Going off piste slightly, there's also this fabulous sheepskin scarf in Jigsaw (£98).

This is one of those pieces that's just really fun. It's hard not to put it on and smile at its slight craziness. And for something bright, look no further than Oasis for this amazing faux fur tippet (£25)

which also comes in navy (£25)

Oasis also has a faux fur scarf in grey (£25)

This Ted Baker scarf (from John Lewis £89) is only what can be described as "snazzy". It's a real eye catcher and the perfect way of brightening up darker winter coats and jumpers. I quite often wear mine in the house if I'm chilly - but it's not a good idea to go too near to a naked flame in them.

As an alternative to the one above, there's this bright blue scarf from New Look which is a brilliant price at £10.49. It also comes in pink too (below) - for those who don't want to blend into the background.

Hello - now that's what you call bright pink! 
Clearly I could go on all night with my faux fur scarves. I love them for their warmth, glamour (even when wearing scruffy jogging bottoms and a sweatshirt at home) and their pure snuggliness on a cold day.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

When the stars align...

We've seen flamingos, pineapples, stars, hearts, lightening bolts and lips...but now it's time for all things space related. 

Space and cosmic type things seem to be having a moment. Last week Prince Harry talked about "how the stars were aligned" when Meghan (we're on first name terms you know) came into his life. And tonight there's going to be a "Super" moon.

It was this time last year when all things space like came into my life, in the form of sparkly Star Wars socks from Topshop. I acquired many pairs, to replace my older socks. Deep. I know. 

I've noticed more and more space/planet/moon related prints and pieces becoming available and here's a pick of some of my favourites. But if you happen to see any more out there PLEASE tell me!

First of all, a word about Rixo London which was started in 2015 by two friends, Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McClosky. Both Creative Directors studied at the London College of Fashion and their brand (which is a combination of their two names) is going from strength to strength. They have such a gorgeous selection of silk clothing with the most fabulous prints - I think that I may have to re-think my Christmas Day outfit.

I think that this Rixo London Georgia cosmic constellation skirt (£220) could well be the most gorgeous skirt I've ever seen. In fact I absolutely love the whole outfit. The combination of colours, the two related prints. Please, can someone I know get married and invite me, just so that I have an excuse to buy this outfit?

And then if they would like to have a baby and invite me to the christening - no wait, that would take too long - perhaps the bride could have a hen do and then I could wear the Rixo London Thalia space age floral silk midi skirt (£220). Can I swear? Just ever so slightly? I bloody love this skirt too. Oooh, I've just had a thought - I think that some of my friends would like this skirt too. Anyone fancy doing a time share?

Rixo Marissa Cosmic Constallation midi deep V-neck dress (£325)

I'm not sure that I could quite pull this dress off - well not without a lot of assistance in the (masking) tape department for my top half (and maybe some other kind of assistance in the tanning/pruning department to accommodate the high split). BUT - oh how I love it! 

Rixo Sheena space age spot (£295)

Now, if the other prints aren't quite your taste - after all prints are very subjective - then this black dress with the white space age spot might appeal more. I love the simple elegance of this dress. 

Rixo Pluto teal cowl neck blouse (£165)

As you've probably figured, this is the top in the shot above. I can't help but smile when I look at all of these pieces which, granted, when you're home alone in front of a Christmas film is ever so slightly weird - but then I talk to my clothes sometimes so it's actually quite normal for me. 

Rixo Georgia skirt in navy moonlit sky (£205)

This is the Georgia skirt again but this time in navy moonlit sky. And there's a blouson sleeved top (£175) to go with it, giving the illusion of a dress. 

And then out there on the High Street, there's this stunning Zara printed midi dress (£69) which I was going to buy but then the lack of slip to go underneath it put me off. It should have come one with one but I think that someone decided that it was just what they needed, so they took it instead. 

And this is right at the very top of my Christmas list. Being a fan of all things sci-fi, I think that my husband was quite surprised (and obviously secretly delighted) that I would like something else bag like and sparkly. 

I know the Queen UFO glitter clutch bag (£75)

I know the Queen has so many amazing glitter clutches with fabulous designs from sharks, to your initials, stars, slogans. They're brilliant! 

Topshop glitter moon and star socks (£3.50)

And coming full circle, we're back to the Topshop socks. Maybe a touch of space like magic is all that you need for now, in which case these could be perfect - with a midi skirt and heeled sandals for a very modern look, or tucked inside your boots for when the cold weather hits. 

And as I said before, if anyone comes across anything planet like or cosmic or sparkly, please do let me know. I would love to take a peek!