A fashion and style blog for the over 40s covering body shapes, colour palettes, how to wear neutrals, style personality and capsule wardrobes. Come on in!


My Very Minimal Holiday Make-up Bag

I doubt I could reduce the contents of my make-up bag much more. It all feels rather....naked. 

Don't adjust your sets....it is blurred in parts, I know.

So here goes...

Bought as part of a 3 for 2 offer a few weeks ago. I haven't actually used it that much as it hasn't been needed under the Dermablend foundation. But I'm not taking foundation (eeek). I never wear it on holiday anyway so I don't know why I'm eeeking. I know I'll get shot down for this but I tried it under my eyes the other day - only a little bit and it was actually ok so I'll use it to cover the dark circles and cover the odd blemish.

Vichy very kindly sent this to me after seeing my glowing post about the Dermablend Corrective Foundation. I nearly fainted when I saw the colour. We're talking full on Casper-esque. So it was with some trepidation that I tried it and.....it's actually excellent. Although it looks white, it doesn't change your skin colour. Don't ask me how that works, I'm no scientist but I can report that I saw no change in colour at all. I tried it without foundation the other day as I can't abide shiny skin on holiday and it works! So this will be my shine control. Boots have an online offer if you spend over £25 at the moment (a free Botanics Instant Moisture Mist - sounds...interesting, personally I prefer the 3 for 2s)

The Holy Grail of bronzes yes? Isn't the Hoola similar to the game of Monopoly? There's one in every household? Three reasons why I love it;

1. it's not sparkly (I hate sparkly bronzers)
2. it's not too dark
3. it lasts!

Hate the packaging though. It feels so darn flimsy. 

So Hoola is my sun - I try not to peep out from under my hat very much for fear of getting even more wrinkles. At least I can be assured of a bit of colour in the evening from my bronzer. It will also act as blusher because I'm a lazy mare on holiday. It's such an effort - lifting that cocktail from table to mouth and back again.

I swapped from my faithful Colour Me Beautiful Teal to this earlier in the year. Got to say it lasts and lasts. So much so that I actually have to remove it at the end of the night, it doesn't wear off. Such a pain (lol). The pencil is really soft, we're talking verging on crayon so lovely to apply. Fellow blogger Sharon is a Younique UK rep

I only picked this up today (£3 off in Tesco at the moment - oh the glamour of shopping for your make-up in a supermarket. I wouldn't normally wear waterproof - I mean, you have to remove it at the end of the day don't you. Far better for it to wear off itself!!!!! Anyway, I'm sure it will do the job and I'll give it a little test during the day by the pool too. I don't actually get in the pool if I can help it. Gosh no, far too minging, there's toe bogies in there and everything. 

I think it's the middle one in the photo (or maybe not now I look at it again but I need to go to bed so I'm not changing the photo, use your imagination) - it's a very neutral shade and not overly glossy. Quite a change from my usual sparkly Dior one. 

So that's it, 6 products and 1 brush. Actually I'm not sure what the brush is for. Maybe that won't make the cut. 

Truly hoping I don't have to do an emergency dash to Sephora. Oh well, at least I've got enough room in my make-up bag for 4 or 5 Ariel tablet thingies. We'll have clean clothes if nothing else.

A day of dashing around doing last minute holiday prep today. If you follow on Instagram you may have seen my comment about this dress. Every stripe lines up at the seams, even under the arms and on the shoulders. Very, very pleasing indeed. Because these things matter don't they. Victoria Beckham take note. I still can't get over your cat print dress from a few seasons ago, truly shocking it was. 

Dress - boutique in Marbella (similar here but can't guarantee the stripes will line up)
Navy Blazer - Zara (similar)
Lille Lace Up Point Shoes - Boden
I'll love you and leave you. Unlikely you'll get a post from me for the next few weeks (thank god you say) but you can follow our adventures on Instagram.


Not Just A Holiday Dress

Last year I came to the conclusion that the only way forward for holiday outfits and, particularly during the day is the dress. I don't do skirts (although I still need to scratch the A-Line itch - I'll leave that until Autumn) and I can't seem to get shorts to fit. In fact I pulled out my favourite only pair of white shorts the other day and wondered where the rest of them had gone. Short shorts, indecently so.   What was I thinking? I have one okish pair of denim cut-offs which I'll be taking with two tops. The rest of my day wear will be made up of dresses.

I've really had to start from scratch. But here is the dilemma. I probably have 3 (at a push) 4 summer holidays a year so I don't want to invest in dresses that will be in the holibob drawer most of the year. I want them to work in the UK too (although Monday in Cheshire was a woolly jumper and fluffy socks kind of a day - cue the heating went back on).

I bought this one the other week from Esprit which fitted the bill perfectly! It's true to size, I ordered a medium. It's a gorgeous little dress - a kind of thin towelling cotton which is still cool to wear but gives it a little bit of structure.

Striped Cotton Dress (now £27.99)

And I couldn't wait to wear it except in my head I kept hearing my mum saying 'save it for your holidays' - didn't you have everything new for your holidays when you were little??

It's now in the sale and there's a few sizes left in each colour way. I bought mine pre-sale. Not that I'm kicking myself or anything. I ordered the navy in a large which was too big so that went back. I really should have reordered it in the medium but it's too late to cry now. Worn with sandals but come August I'm sure I'll be back in ankle boots and a blazer so it will carry me through nicely.

Striped Cotton Dress (Navy) now £27.99

I also ordered this one pre-sale too (grrrrr). Contrary to the fitting advice, I think it comes up a tad large so size down.

Light Jersey Dress With Belt now £19.99

All sizes available in the blue, grey and black. I've got the blue. It's such an easy-wear weekend dress.  Flip flops or sliders and job done!

I don't know why I didn't notice this next one when I put in my order. Maybe it's new in. It comes in 7 different colours (including 2 patterns) but shock horror, black is my favourite. I know, I know, I don't get black in my colour palette but as I've said before, worn away from the face and with a tan, I think I could just about pull it off.

Embroided Jersey Dress £25

It's one of those clever little day to night / night to day dresses isn't it. Not that I would advocate the first option. That would be really rather minging! Amazing how a change of accessories and shoes can create a whole new look. I bought these bracelets a while ago along with an ethnic inspired embroided clutch (which is packed so I can't show you). Perfect for an evening holiday look. Thrown over a bikini  swimsuit the following day and then teamed with my leopard print toe-post sandals and stacked gold bracelets when I'm back.

I need this dress! Google has just informed me that the nearest Esprit store at our holiday destination is one thousand miles away. It's not going to happen is it? I might pop another order in when I'm away - something to look forward to on our return. Let's not even think about that. The hubby accused me of having zero emotional intelligence this morning when he was getting ready and I pointed out that he'd be back in his suit in 2 1/2 weeks. I was only saying!

My final holiday/home pick has to be the white kaftan style dress (also in black).

Kaftan Style Dress £39

I think this will be in my wardrobe far longer than the very ethnic inspired kaftans with tassels, pom-poms and all that razzmatazz and if you remember from last time, I said I want to build up a summer wardrobe that will last me a few years. Tan sandals and a satchel this year...who knows what we can do with it next year.

There's been no real planning or thought to my packing this year. I mean I have a colour palette, it just seems to be rather large; navy, cream, yellow, green, red, black. In my defence most are dresses so as long as I have a good selection of shoes, I'll be fine. My mantra this year has been '"if it fit's in it's going and if it doesn't, I'll sneak it into someone else's luggage". The family are none the wiser.

By the way, if you fancy any of the dresses, do what I did and sign up for the newsletter to get 10% off (not sure if it works on the sale stuff through).

I've got one more post up my sleeve before we go on Saturday, holiday make-up. And then I'll leave you in peace.


An Old Love, A New Love & A Passion For Fashion (But Not In That Order)

Yosa is an online boutique owned by Rachel over at Rachel The Hat (you need to visit her blog, she's awesome). She contacted me recently to ask if my daughter, Ashleigh and I would like to pick a couple of pieces from the boutique. How lucky are we?

I've been looking for something for ages to replace my Wallis statement necklace that I bought last summer. Sadly these days it's looking rather forlorn having lost one too many 'diamonds'. 

It really was a no brainer when I saw this one. 

I'm not even sure where to begin, it really is one of the best pieces of fashion jewellery that I've ever owned. I mean, it's silver and gold so I don't have to worry which bracelets to wear - either goes. It sits perfectly and doesn't move around (although beware, too much jumping around at a Take That concert could result in a black eye). There's enough bling going on but not so that it looks cheap and tacky. Seriously, it's ace. Of course I couldn't wait to wear it so my outfit to see Take That was planned around the necklace (as you do). I broke all the rules in the book and wore black next to my face - but The Show-Stopper helped lift the look.

The Show Stopper Necklace - Yosa
Black long line kimono tee - Me&Em (currently on sale)
White skinny jeans - M&S
Nude bling wedges - Dune (similar)
Black box bag - Next (currently on sale)

Told you it was gorgeous!

Turning to Ashleigh's choice. She has a totally different style personality to me. In fact the only thing we cross over on are basics, white shirts, jeans, plain tops. She's very much more attracted to pretty things so chose this little stunner.

The Starlet £16

Silver is perfect for a cooler skin tone. It's another gorgeous piece and looks exactly as it does in real life with it's uneven quirkiness.

The Starlet Necklace - Yosa
Top - Primark
Skirt - Pop Up Boutique
Boots - Top Shop

Something we do have in common is that we don't save things for best. I love the fact that Ashleigh has dressed down the necklace with a denim skirt and boots.

The Show-Stopper has proved so popular that Rachel was waiting for more stock so she sent me The Ancient Coins necklace to be going on with until it arrived - how kind was that! And they arrived with a lovely personal note (these things matter).

To say that I haven't taken The Ancient Coins necklace off since I received it is an under statement. Even the son has asked if it's a permanent attachment to my body.

Sadly it too has proved to be a best seller and is currently out of stock but take a look at this one in a similar muted metal.

I carried out a little test on my friends and asked them how much they would pay for The Show-Stopper. They were rubbish. The nearest guess was £35. Ha! It cost almost half of that.

Thank you Yosa from both of us. We are totally smitten.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you might be aware that I've been helping a friend set up a new boutique in Macclesfield (follow our adventures on Instagram and Facebook. It's still early days but we're getting there.

We're a pop up shop for another few months and then closing down for a total refit and a new name. Exciting times. Please do follow us at the social media links above. We don't have a website....yet but watch this space.

I seem to have my fingers in lots of pies at the moment and as a result am running around like a headless chicken. So, the prospect of standing up for 4 or 5 hours at the Take That concert last Thursday wasn't terribly appealing. Though that thought evaporated as soon as we walked in to the Arena and I took on a mission of a woman possessed to get as near to the front as we possibly could. This near actually.

There were just 7 bobbing heads between me and my boys. Totally fabulous evening with Ashleigh - love the fact that she adores TT as much as me.

So, the countdown to our hols has begun (yippee) and as I sit here writing this, Ashleigh is boring the pants off me by reading every review on Trip Advisor. Seems to take great delight on finding the odd bad one. I have my final dress  instalment post to get out before we go - chances of me wearing one before we go are zilch. I blame Tlaloc. Someone's obviously upset him.

Back later in the week.


Happiness Is....Finding A Dress That Actually Fits

The biggest problem I have with dresses is the fit. Often I have to go up a size to accommodate my top half (and I'm no Katie Price pre boob reduction - hers not mine I hasten to add) but then the bottom half is too big. Or  I squeeze myself into a  smaller size so the waist and hips are ok but it's positively indecent everywhere else. Help!!!! Oh well, it keeps my dressmaker in business - I dropped off 4 items last week all to be taken in at the hips. I think God forgot about hips when he made me. Heaven knows how I've had 2 children.

I came across Pepperberry after reading about it on another blog (and I can't for the life of me remember who it was - sorry!). And in the company's own words... 

'Pepperberry launched in March 2011, born out of the Bravissimo clothing range, selling a range of clothes designed with boobs in mind'

And if anyone knows about boobs, Bravissimo does.

Well that's got to be worth a further look. The idea is that clothes are cut to a UK standard size but with boob allowance. Trousers and skirts come in standard sizes - they don't need boob allowance - obviously!

You answer 2 questions (honestly, no cheating) and your 'Pepperberry' size is calculated. Of course me being me felt the need to speak to an advisor who popped up on the screen. Sometimes I can be between sizes - she told me that the sizes are neither big or small. We decided to base my sizing on Next rather than teeny-tiny H&M. I'm a 10 really curvy (oooh get me).

I ordered the Gather Neck Maxi and this is the result...

Dress - Pepperberry
Straw Panama - Laura Ashley
Fringe Bag - H&M (similar)

A truly perfect fit from top to toe. Actually when I first took it out of the box I think I muttered 'well that's not going to fit' as it seemed so narrow under arm to under arm. But I was wrong, so wrong. There's no bagging at the waist or hips and plenty of room in the chest area. The reason that it looked so narrow is that the under arm is cut quite high which of course means no bra straps showing and all the back fat (sorry, but it has to be said) is tucked away like magic. The main thing though is that it's so comfortable.

The pattern is perfect for a Soft palette - sometimes it's really hard to find a subtle pattern in a maxi dress. 

Even the husband said wit-woo. That's something coming from him! I'm so looking forward to the Autumn Winter collection. I may even find a proper fitting shirt. 

Pepperberry seems to be aiming for a classic style so you're not going to get your boho inspired mini dress and ripped dungarees from here but oh the sheer relief of knowing I can buy wardrobe staples that actually fit. 

And continuing on the theme of maxis, I'm loving this one. Proper decent shoulder straps that will give good support. How fabulous on sun tanned skin. 

And this one (she's obviously sat on her hat and squashed it)

And this. The detailing on the shoulders is gorgeous. There's a little more fabric around the hip area so idea for anyone feeling a little self conscious with the tighter fits above.

And let's just throw in another one because I can! One for the beach. The slit up the side will bring welcome relief in the hot weather (maxi dress wearers will know what I mean). 

I'd wear any of these and if the fit is like mine, I'd be one very happy bunny. 

Now is it wrong to be excited by Autumn/Winter? Please let there be a chambray shirt in the collection.

Back soon with more dresses, I'm on a roll.


It Seems I'm Not The Only One That Struggles With Summer Dresses

I've had so many emails and comments about the pesky summer dress. I thought it was just me that had a problem getting it right. Obviously not. The length, the fit, the colour, the trend. So many things to think about for one single item. Anyway, I'm determined to crack this and over the next few posts, I'll be looking at a few that have caught my eye.

I'm totally not going for one season wonders. Our summers are too pants for that. I want classic styles (but not frumpalump) that I can bring out year on year.

It's about time I did some Mango. Love the shop, it's a little bit fickle though as it doesn't always love me back. Jackets, cracked it. Dresses, a bit hit and miss. I usually end up ordering several stupid amounts online and returning lots. Mind you there's always an absolute pearler in the bunch.

Starting with this shirt dress. One of the things about Mango is that you can never gauge the length, I mean, they don't give you the measurements (not that I could be bothered to get a tape measure but I do know that 30 inches is positively indecent on me). I wouldn't call this over generous in the length department but it's certainly not short-short. Teamed with tan sandals and bag for an easy wear dress in this country and slip on a blazer for cooler days. It's actually a really inoffensive colour for most palettes. There's a couple of other colour ways but this is my favourite.

Flowy Shirt Dress £29.99

Another print that I think could be a useful little office number. I remember finding it so difficult to find a decent dress that wasn't a stiff, fitted shift. Totally uncomfortable on a steaming hot day. This fits the bill perfectly, especially if you have to wear a jacket (a navy blazer would work perfectly) and would take you out for drinks later.

Flowy Printed Dress £34.99

Same dress, different print.

Flowy Printed Dress £34.99

One for the pear shapes now. The shoulder detail on this white one is perfect for balancing out your proportions. If you're an inverted triangle (shoulders wider than hips), I'd avoid this as it will make you look even broader across your top half. Sadly then for me, it's a no-no but this could be a really hard wardrobe worker if you do white using different accessories. Weddings. Christenings. Summer Balls. Sorted!

Shoulder Detail Dress £44.99

I deliberately set out not to include anything boho or ethnic or tassels as these could quite possibly be 'so last year darling' come 2016. But this one caught my eye. In my defence, you could easily cut the tassel off next season. The length looks good (tick). I love the corporate colour on a more laid back style. So maybe another one for the office?? The loose cut really appeals too. and if that isn't enough, the upper arms are covered (double tick). Office/going out/casual - another dress that you'd get your wear out of. And, it's transitional too.

Tassel Shift Dress £49.99

And if you prefer a slightly warmer colour, it also comes in khaki.

Tassel Shift Dress £49.99

It would seem that maxi dresses are most definitely here to stay. What are we on now, must be at least the 7th year they've been around. I think we can confidently say, that investing in a maxi (or long dress as Mango says) is a safe bet.

Belted Long Dress £59.99

Ideal for women who have a waist. If you have a waist you really should show it off (not jealous, not jealous). This looks so pretty on, much more blouson. And, it would appear that the model has the belt on back to front which I prefer.

A bright colour I agree and not for everyone so luckily it also comes in night blue. Shock horror, I prefer the red.

A style that we see year after year is the safari style shirt dress. Love the colour of this one, it's a bit different to the norm. Mind you...linen (shudders, I don't do linen). To be fair, it's a linen blend so may not be so high maintenance. Sometimes it's totally impractical to whip off your dress and iron it midday :-o

Shirt Linen-Blend Dress £29.99

Linen can be a tricky one to wear unless it's cut on the bias when it will drape much better. Standard cuts are stiff (I suspect this one) and will literally stand off curves. Perfect if you have a straight or angular body line, not so good if you're curvy. It also comes in white which I'm guessing will be see through or at the very least, you'll see the lining of the pockets so I'm not posting it here (ha ha).

So there you have it, a few timeless summer dresses, all under one roof. They're not going to set the fashion world alight but I can guarantee that you'll be wearing them for years to come.

I've picked up a few dresses over the last couple of months and I think I'm finally making headway on this front. I'll tell you all about them next time.

Dresses love em or hate em?? Have you picked up any corkers that I should know about? Do let me know.