What I’m wearing today – 1st March 2017.

Bora Da! Well today is St David’s Day so I thought I’d use some of the very few welsh words I know. Thinking about it a friend always used to say this to me and told me it was hello/good day and I’ve never checked it out….Mr M it is highly unlikely that you are reading this but if you are please don’t let me have insulted my readers in your mother tongue!

Anyway I’ve been away for a while and thought I’d do a quick “What I’m wearing today” post. I have some how slipped back into my rut of wearing skinny jeans. Every morning some magnetic force draws me to my blue ones, so today I tried something different.

 

Outfit of the day

I’m pretty pleased with what I came up with. Some of the items are recent so I’ll link them or alternatives below for you.

Shirt:

Khaki Shirt £25.00 from Marks and Spencer.

khaki shirt

I first bought M&S’s Limited Collection shirt £35 (see below) but it just didn’t suit me, the detail above the pocket whilst different seemed to draw attention to my lack of oomph in the chest department.  Anyway my hunt for a khaki shirt continued, the one I bought is exactly the same shirt. The only differences are it lacks the embellishment and turn up detail on the sleeves, its £10 cheaper too so I’m a happy bunny.

embellished khaki shirt

Jewellery:

This necklace is also M&S,  unfortunately it is not available on line. I liked it as it is made from a tan faux leather rather than a metal. It was £25 and I bought it two weeks ago so should still be available. It is actually branded Per Una…shudder shudder!

Skirt:

I bought this faux leather skirt in tan from Warehouse before Christmas and I love it.  They don’t make it any more but they have the following:

A mini skirt in lots of colours including this gorgeous, soft mink:

faux leather skirt

And a pelmet skirt in the same colours but also this khaki shade which has made my credit card twitch!

khaki faux leather skirtThey also have a leather one for a bargainous £65, well I think its bargain when you compare it to the £35 I spent on a pleather one.

tan leather skirt

Warehouse have 20% off their new season lines with the code: SRINGFORWARD until Monday so its the perfect time to buy.

If you are after some detail and a truer tan shade French Connection has one available here for £150. tan leather skirt

Shoes:

My shoes are my good old Jones the Bootmaker pointed leopard flats. I am dreading the day these are no more. If ever there was something to repurchase this was it. I always struggle to find alternatives to these but these are the best ones I can find at the moment.

Accessorize £29.00:

leopard pointed flats Boden in the sale – limited sizes available.

leopard pointed flats

 

 

Handbag:

This handbag is my gorgeous Anya Hindmarch Maxi-Zip Satchel in Clementine. This was an outlet bargain about 3 years ago. It is just a brilliant bag, fits loads in and has a cross-body strap for when I’m out with the children. I love the colour to brighten up a muted outfit. These bags aren’t made any more but are still available in her outlet stores, including Bicester village and Hackney.

Thanks for reading, if you have any questions or things you would like to see featured please let me know!

 

Sunday Saviour: 19.2.17 My Product of the week – Nail Varnish

So this week it’s all about my favourite nail varnish, in this case I am more or less 100% brand loyal which I can’t say is true in any other clothing or beauty related part of my life.

This is the first Sunday Saviour for a while as I’ve spent the last two weeks laid up with some freaky wonder bugs. I very rarely get poorly but these terrors knocked me right down and killed my blogging mojo. But I have to get right back on this metaphorical horse and today seemed the right day!

Nails – To use Nail varnish or not to use Nail varnish?

Any readers of Mumsnet will know that one of the most common questions on the style and beauty section is “How can I feel put together?” And generally the first answer is have well trimmed, non chipped, varnished nails. This is closely followed by having crease free ironed clothes, thats another story. I have to agree with the so called “nest of vipers” here and say their advice is pretty spot on.

Why do I use Nail Varnish?

I always feel that when I have my nails painted I look smarter, feel put together and confident. (I’ve been pondering on what exactly put together means and have failed to a total definition but I just feel it!) An example of this is I actually hate going out at night without my nails painted. I would go so far as to say I feel my whole outfit is ruined if I don’t have my nails done. It’s not in the slightest about people judging me but simply it improves my own self confidence. There is also no bloody way I could leave my house with chipped nails. I keep nail varnish remover in the car for such occasions. I am a slightly special case I will admit, this focus on the minutiae drives my husband to distraction but I can’t help it!

After I had my babies I didn’t have the time or energy to be bothered. There were far more important things for me to focus on. But once I began to feel more human one of the first things I did to feel more myself was sort my nails out. The baby weight was hanging on and my hair was falling out in handfuls but the simple act of painting my nails made me feel like I regained some element of my self. You might be thinking how vacuous and shallow of you, but to me the better I feel in my outward self the more confident I am, and in turn the better I feel in myself. This is inextricably linked, nothing can break my mental association with the two.

Professional job?:

So where do I go to get my nails done, a swish local salon, a nail bar? No I do them myself. I have had manicures galore and discovered shellac several years ago but I prefer to do them myself. The primary reason for this is that I change my mind so often! I wouldn’t wear the same pair of shoes for two weeks running and the same goes for my nails. I know shellac can be painted over, but I can’t see the point, the nail varnish will only chip revealing the colour I was bored of!

A friend that had trained in beauty therapy showed me the correct way to paint my nails and even if I do say so they look pretty much the same as a salon job for free! To be fair its also a decent money saving, when I was younger an old boyfriend used to compare the price of everything into new tops for me. For example the price for new brakes on your car = six new tops, so the price of a shellac manicure = one top, well it would have been when I was 18 but now its about half a top, but if I had two shellac’s a month that would be a top. I would so rather have a new top then my nails painted twice, so this analogy still lives on today!

My favourite Nail Varnish brand:

So what is my favourite brand – its Rimmel, the simple old Hight Street favourite. I have tried lots of brands including Chanel, OPI, Jessica etc and I still prefer Rimmel. It beats them on staying power, speed of drying and price. I am time poor and hate sitting immobile waiting for my nails to dry so prefer their 60 second range. It dries super fast. I use two coats so I would say it needs 5 minutes to fully harden. The range of colours in the 60 second range are fab and they often bring out new seasonal colours. They are generally priced at £2.99 and are available at all the major drugstores like Boots and Superdrug where the whole Rimmel range is Buy one Get one Half price.  You can even pop them in your grocery shopping at most supermarkets.

More recently I have tried out their Super Gel range. This is slightly more expensive at £5.99 and is designed to be used in a two step process with their gel top coat. I haven’t bought the top coat but instead have been using Seche Vite. This is a fab product, I have it for the rare occasion I can’t find the right colour in Rimmel. You paint this over wet nail varnished it dries pretty instantly and makes it chip resistant. It’s perfect for nail varnish that you love but the formula isn’t quite right. Chanel is a case point, Rouge Noir (here) is amazing, but it chips in less than 24 hours!

My favourite bright Nail Varnish colours:

Going back to my point above about getting bored of a colour quickly,  my nails have to be co-ordinated with my outfits and I like a wide range of colours. So for example, I love navy, but if I was wearing something from the cream/camel/brown range of colours it wouldn’t go. Similarly if I was wearing a blue palette I just couldn’t have brown or green nails. The only near exception to this is coral. The caveat being if I was wearing orange, which I frequently do it would have to go! God its exhausting navigating this minefield!!! So these are the colours I use the most:

This for me is the prefect coral, this is pretty much on my toes all year round. It is also fabulous in the summer with a tan. I like to wear this with khaki, cream and browns.

coral nail varnish

This is a beautiful soft coral that looks amazing in the spring and summer. I would wear this with a simple cream top and jeans for a fresh girly look.

orange nail varnish

Its a bit of a marmite option I know but I love an orange nail. So bright and zingy. I love this with all brown, and with the combination of cream and olive or khaki.

My favourite dark Nail Varnish colours:

 

brown nail varnish

I’ve perhaps unsurprisingly struggled to find a brown nail varnish, but this one is great, I would personally prefer it without the sparkles but will admit it makes what could be a boring colour more interesting. I wear this with cream, camel and khaki.

 

navy nail varnish

I’m not a huge fan of sparky nail varnishes and this is a great high shine flat navy. I would wear this when I am wearing navy, peacock, kingfisher, denim and white.

Apologies for the terrible photo, this nail varnish isn’t available on the high street any more but you can buy it from amazon here, I love it! I tend to wear this in the autumn and winter when I am wearing creams, camel, brown and denim.

My favourite neutral Nail Varnish colours:

brown nude nail varnish

This is probably my favourite nude at the moment, you know that griege colour that has been so popular, well I can’t wear it due to its grey undertones but this is perfect. This wasn’t so easy to find but is online at Superdrug herenude nail varnish

This is a great classic nude for pale skin tones, perfect for conservative work environments or those days and occasions where you want to look groomed but toned down.

Also if you havent already check out Rimmel’s Quick Try On service on their website, its great. Click here to take a look. Once on the webpage click the “Try it on” button and you can see the nail varnish colours painted on a range of skin tones.

Well there are a multitude of other colours I could show you but I think that’s probably enough for now. I am a little obsessed with nail colours but at these prices it a vice I can afford to indulge! I hope you enjoyed reading, please leave me a comment below.

I’ve really enjoyed writing this post and hope to be back on Thursday, but its half term here and by then I could have my head buried in a vat of gin!!

My Skincare Routine

This week I thought I’d blog about my skincare routine. For the first time I’m feeling pretty good about my skin, its soft, clear and glowing. What more could anyone ask for? Hopefully some of these tips will help you achieve that too.

My Skin Type.

I have combination skin. It is very sensitive, prone to spots across my t-zone and dries out if products are too harsh. It’s rare that I find something I can use across my whole face.

Morning Skincare Routine.

As you will have seen from my other posts I am quite time poor in the mornings so I don’t do anything time consuming!

Cleansing:

As my skin is clean from a through cleanse the night before it doesn’t need much. I tried just splashing it with warm water but I found this too drying. I had a sample of the REN Centifolia Cleansing Gel which I liked and re-bought.  It’s a non foaming wash off cleanser with a lovely rose fragrance.  This isn’t a holy grail product although it does the job, I’ll probably look for something else once this bottle is empty. I use it in the shower, a quick wash and rinse, job done.

REN Rosa Cleansing Gel Skincare

Moisturising:

After my shower I use REN Vita Mineral Daily Supplement Moisturising Cream.  This is £20 which I think is middle of the road price wise for a 50ml bottle. It is available from lots of places but I normally get it from M&S as they often have a 20% off beauty discount. I apply this all over my face and neck.

REN Daily Supplement Moisturising Cream Skincare

 

Eyes:

Then I pat the Superdrug Vitamin E eye cream £2.99 gently under and over my eye area with my ring finger.  I have spent fortunes on eye creams in the past and most of them make my eyes run, this is the only one that hasn’t. I’m starting to see more fine lines appear around my eyes so might need to upgrade this soon. Any recommendations would be gratefully received.  Superdrug Vitamin E eye cream. Skincare

I leave about 5 minutes for everything to sink in, or the amount of time It takes me to drink a cup of tea before I start applying my make up. (If you are a make up junkie like me my last blog post was all about my make up routine so whizz over and have a look).

Evening Skincare Routine:

Cleansing:

I mentioned this product in my Sunday Saviour this week. If you haven’t already seen every Sunday Evening I do a post about my favourite product of the week. (This weeks Sunday Saviour) Anyway so every evening I cleanse with the Una Brennan Superfacialist Oil, £10.99 I absolutely love it, its like a mini facial every night and my skin is really benefitting from it. The School Run Style Social Product of the week. Skincare

After this I use the Superdrug Naturally Radiant Hot Cloth Cleanser £5.99

Superdrug Naturally Radiant Hot Cloth Cleanser Skincare

In my opinion this is equally as good as Liz Earle, the main differences are that it doesn’t smell as nice and the muslin isn’t quite as good. It is also a bargain in comparison, and is often on “buy one half price” making it even better value. I apply this to a damp face and polish off with a flannel, although this comes with a muslin I prefer the exfoliation a flannel gives. I use Ikea Krama Washcloth £3 for 10, they are brilliant.

Toning:

Approximately 2-3 times a week I then use PIXI Glow Tonic £18, a glycolic acid toner.

PIXI Glow Tonic Skincare

I have really noticed a reduction in my open pores, less imperfections and generally smoother looking skin since I’ve used this. The pores aren’t completely gone though and I might try a different type of toner once this has run out, but I’d say for anyone starting to acid tone this a great first product.

Moisturising:

But this time I am desperate for my bed but just three (face) products to go!!

First I use the Aldi Lacura Caviar Serum, I can’t link to this as it isn’t for sale on the Aldi website, it is only stocked during their special offer weeks. This cost around £8 and is favourably compared to La Prairie’s range of caviar creams which are £150+. This is applied all over my face, and for the price it goes on my neck and sometimes décolletage too! I like it, it’s my first foray into serums and its good, my skin likes it and looks good, what more can I say?Aldi Lacura Caviar Serum Skincare

 

After this I apply my Eye cream (same as above) and a few moments later once the serum has sunk in I use REN V-Cense Revitalising Night Cream £32. This goes all over my face and neck. It is pricer in comparison to my daily moisturiser but you only need a small amount so its lasts a while. Ren V-Cense Night Cream - Skincare

So thats it, I’m done, apart from hand cream and lip balm!! Some nights I wish I could just roll into bed, particularly if wine or gin has been consumed. However, I think I’m at the age where I really need to prioritise skincare otherwise I’ll be punished. I hope to live for many years so a few minutes a night isn’t too much of a sacrifice!

Finally…

My last word, I think one of the best skincare tips I can give you is drink lots of water. I am pretty religious in my consumption of at least two litres of water a day.  If this drops for any reason (normally inversely proportional to my chocolate consumption) I can see it in my skin.

Right I am off its been a long day. I’ll be back on Sunday with this weeks Sunday Saviour, which is a new member of the family…..intrigued? See you on Sunday then!

Sunday Saviour 21.1.17 – My product of the week.

Good Evening,

Hope you have all had a fab weekend. Tonight its all about my product of the week, but I fancied a bit of a chat first.

You may have seen on my instagram on Friday that its been a challenging week in the Smith household. On Monday I was like, “Blue Monday” what is that? not in this house. However, by Tuesday we had all crashed. I don’t know quite what caused it, the cold grey weather, slightly stressful builder situations? Or the fact that our SKY TV subscription finished so no more Disney junior (clearly that affected the girls not me). Perhaps the fact that my husband and I had a 45 minute row about a rich tea biscuit. Either way we all limped to the weekend, so celebrated with a homemade fake-away. We’ve struggled to get our girls into curry eating but now they are embracing it. I think they are more into it because of the poppadoms and mango chutney but I can live with that. Happy full tummies all round.

Saturday was spent in a whirlwind of playing games, reading books and tidying the house. The latter only because we were going on a much needed night out and therefore a babysitter had been employed. When it was bedtime our youngest daughter said “Mummy it’s so funny I haven’t got to get into my jammies because I’m still in them, can we do it again tomorrow?” a girl after my own heart that one!

Sunday has flashed by with more DIY and a birthday party. I haven’t got the energy to get started on that one, safe to say my biggest mistake was no breakfast (low blood sugar = Grumpy Mummy).  To add to my woes the coffee machine at the bowling alley was broken. Say no more!

So without further ado…..

This weeks product of the week is:

 

The School Run Style Social Product of the week.

Una Brennan Superfacialist Vitamin C cleansing oil. £10.99 from Boots.com.

Oil Cleansing is it for you?

I have hot cloth cleansed for probably two years now with a variation of products ranging from Liz Earle, Avene and Superdrug. As my make up wearing increased (see last blog post for more detail) my skin started to look dull and feel more congested. This led me to research and I found out about double cleansing, using an oil first and then a hot cloth cleanser. I had always shied away from any kind of oil on my skin as its quite a tricky customer. I’m prone to spots and blackheads if I use anything too rich.

I was sceptical, and there are so many products on offer but a quick google search led me to this Una Brennan product.  It is reasonably priced at £11, easily available in Boots and most importantly it is non comedogenic (meaning it wont block pores, a must for skin like mine). You can get a huge range of cleansing oils with many different blends and fabulous smells but if you skin is easily congested you must research first.  Here is a quick guide:

Steer clear of:

Anything containing coconut, palm, evening primrose, wheat germ, lanolin and linseed oils (to name a few)

Look out for:

Jojoba, aloe, cucumber, olive, organ, hemp and rosehip oils.

So how do you do it?

  1. Tip about two to three small drops of oil into your palm and rub your hands together gently to warm the oil.
  2. Massage the oil into your face using small circular movements. This feels amazing like I am having a mini facial every night. I try to massage upwards as I remember my eccentric art teacher always saying rub your skin upwards to prevent wrinkles. I can do this for as long as two minutes, I’d say one is great, but anything under a wee bit short.
  3. Put a small amount of warm water into your palms and then rub this on to your face, the oil and water should then combine into a milky solution, if it doesn’t add a little more water. This solution means that the oil won’t be absorbed too much by your skin, so won’t block the pores but will remove make up and impurities.
  4. Rinse your face as normal with warm water.
  5. I then follow this with my usual hot cloth cleaner.

What are the results?

In just over a week my skin felt great. I haven’t had any breakouts, it feels healthy, well moisturised and I’ve got my glow back. Without a doubt this product is my hands down Sunday Saviour Product of the Week!

I would highly recommend giving oil cleansing a go. It is suitable for all skin types, just make sure the type of oil is right for your skin.

Thats all from me, have good week. I’ll be back on Thursday with another post, I’m relishing getting into a good routine instagram-ing and blogging bi-weekly . I hope you are enjoying it too, if you are, leave me a comment and let me know.

Make-up, my love of it and my fast five minute morning routine.

Evening, tonight’s post is about make-up, my love of it, and my fast morning make up routine.

The story of my make-up love affair.

My first taste of make-up:

If I’ve not told you before I love make-up. My love affair didn’t get off to the most auspicious start though. Aged around 11 I had a sleepover with a friend whose Mum was awesome, so she allowed us to delve into her make-up bag. I came home wearing an orange bourjois foundation, bright blue eyeshadow and pink blusher. As soon as I got home, the words “get that muck off your face” were uttered by my father. Looking back I would have been a fright but I felt great and everyone has to start somewhere right? From that day on I was a little obsessed by make-up. 

My make-up highs:

It was when I hit university that my make-up collection bloomed and my obsession grew. I felt that my student loan money was well spent on MAC eyeshadows and foundations. I had so many it was ridiculous, I would kill for that make-up bag now! My friends and I loved nothing more than starting to get ready three hours before we were due to leave, the primping, preening and make-up application were almost as much fun as the going out and certainly helped our friendships strengthen in those early days.  I’ve still got a couple of eyeshadows from my Uni days, especially the ones I wore for my graduation ball, they haven’t been used un a while but aren’t going anywhere (MAC Retrospeck and Romp). 

My make-up now:

The next major stage of my life was entering parenthood and whilst I have always worn make-up it was more needing to use it not to scare people than the love of the products. Fast forward to now and post baby three all of a sudden my passion has been reignited. I don’t quite know what did it, probably a quest to regain some of the focus on myself and an improved social life after six years of pregnancy, TTC and breast feeding.

I devour posts on Mrs Gloss and the Goss like they are going out of fashion. (If you don’t know what this is let me tell you about it, it is an amazing Facebook group, with a community of over 30,00 like minded supportive individuals all discussing make up, skincare and everything girly) A trip to my local Superdrug (also a recent discovery, some of the low cost drugstore brands they have are amazing!) features as regularly on my shopping trips as Aldi. Mrs Gloss has I suppose also become a little bit like my university friends all over again, If I want advice or opinions I now have hundreds of people to get ready with!

My 5 minute morning make-up routine:

So on to the good stuff. What make-up do I wear on a daily basis?

Well in the mornings time is precious so this is what I do, it takes 5, maybe 10 minutes maximum.

Step One:

After moisturising my face and my eye area, I have a cup of tea whilst it all absorbs, if you put your make up on too quickly it will be absorbed with the moisturiser and your make up coverage will be poor, patchy and it won’t last long. I only want to apply my make up once a day (unless I’m going out in the evening of course) I haven’t got time for touch ups galore.

Step Two:

Depending how my skin is feeling, and what I have on that day (i.e lunch out, something after school where I would like a more polished and longer lasting make up) I might use a primer, but often only on my cheeks where I suffer from open pores. Again, this should be given a little bit of time to sink in, I’m currently loving Maybelline Baby Skin or if I’ve had little sleep or need a perk up i’ll use this magic in a bottle Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow, it can be used under foundation or even alone on days I’m in a rush or need little coverage.

Mabelline Baby Skin Make-up primer.

Step Three:

Eyebrows, mine are non existent, I’ve been having them tinted since I was sixteen. Last year I got fed up of it all so I had them micro bladed, they looked amazing at first but have sadly faded very quickly. So at the moment I am having to push some eye brow pomade NYX Tame and Frame in to them to make them stand out, and its vital that I don’t cover them with foundation otherwise they disappear completely. I really need to up my eyebrow game though!

Step Four:

Now I conceal under my eyes, I have terrible dark circles and can remember having them since puberty, no amount of sleep or water can reduce these babies. So I first use a colour corrective concealer Pixi Colour Correct dabbed on with my fingers, then once this has set I use a light reflective concealer Charlotte Tilbury the Retoucher in a v shape under my eye, lightly patted in with my beauty blender.

Step Five:

Next I apply Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation, I use a dampened beauty blender and tap it into my skin, I don’t apply foundation under my eye area at all I just make sure it is all blended around that area to ensure there are no lines. 

Step Six:

I set my concealer with a pressed power dabbed on with a big fluffy brush. I’ll also put a small amount on my cheeks as it helps my blusher blend and stay put. Cheap and cheerful is fine with pressed powder, I use Rimmel Stay Matte.

Step Seven:

When applying blusher I imagine a line directly under my pupil down to the apple of my cheeks and apply from there across and blended up to my cheek bones. If I’ve time I’ll apply highlighter across the top of my cheekbones, forehead, nose and brow bone. My current favourite blusher is Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Cheek in colour First Love

Step Eight:

I apply a slick of mascara to the top lashes and a very small amount to the bottom ones. I’m currently using Boots No7 Extravagant Volume Mascara in Brown. I haven’t found my holy grail mascara so I would be grateful of any recommendations.

No7 Extravagant Volume Mascara.

Step Nine:

Finally, lipstick or gloss depending on the colour clothes I’m wearing and the time I have left. Lipstick is a little more time consuming as you need to be precise. Most days I reach for Charlotte Tilbury Kissing Lipstick in Bitch PerfectCharlotte Tilbury Kissing lipstick in Bitch Perfect.

And thats it out the door as fast as I can! I hope you found that useful. Next week’s post will be more of my favourite go to make-up products including cheap dupes for high end products. Be sure to check back for my next scintillating instalment!

Thanks for reading, as always please get in touch I’d love to hear your views and any tips you have for your School Run make-up.

 

Sunday Saviour 15.01.17 – My product of the week – Lipbalm

Tonight is the first of my weekly “Sunday Saviour” posts. Each Sunday night I’m going to be telling you all about my favourite product of the week.

The product I simply could not have lived without this week is:

My new Burts Bees Lip Shimmer, a tinted lip balm. It was very kindly bought for me by the husband as the entire Burt’s Bees range is buy one get one half price at Marks and Spencer, so when treating himself he could hardly leave me out could he? Well try he might, the words “spending to save” may have been uttered but I stood my ground right up to the till point.

I chose the apricot shade, which as the name suggests is a creamy, warm peach shade, it gives a lovely pop of colour without being over powering. The reason I couldn’t live without it? It is perfect for slicking on whilst half running up the road dragging two grumpy children and pushing a pushchair, plus unlike my favourite Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks no passing wing mirrors are required to ensure perfect application!

At only £6 it provides great colour and contains all of the lovely nourishing ingredients Burt’s Bees is known for, so it keeps your lips moisturised and protected, perfect given the current weather being thrown at us.

Burt’s Bees is a brand I have great affection for, I remember discovering its lip balms on a visit to Florida some 20 or so years ago and bringing them home, I then rediscovered them at possibly SpaceNK when it first opened. Fast forward to 2010, when Baby Smith the 1st was “cooking” we purchased a Baby Bee starter set and once she was big enough to have products on her skin, she was bathed in the bath product and smothered in the oil. They have been must have products for all three, I will remember the scent on their gorgeous chubby baby skin for as long as I live. The dog has also been known to bathe in it but those memories are not quite so evocative.

I’m starting to think that this might sound like an advert, it very definitely isn’t, all of these views are my own. As you get to know me you’ll realise that I gain very strong affinity with things; my favourite flower isn’t based on its beauty, its because it reminds me of my lovely Mum, my deodorant? not the one on offer that stops me from “glowing” but the one whose scent reminds me of our trip to Boston, our best ever holiday as a couple and where our gorgeous big girl was conceived. Very little is simply just because in my world. I’m pretty sure I’m not on my own with this, are you the same? What’s been your must have product this week? Have you tried this lip balm what did you think?   

I hope you have enjoyed my new look blog post, and comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.

P.s Has anyone else noticed the demise of the justify button in the new WordPress update? After fifteen minutes of frantic googling I have discovered its still available in shortcut form, (Shift+Alt+J). This and the hyphens have almost sent the laptop through the window!

New Year….new post!

Happy New Year, is it still ok to say that 15 days later? Its been ages since I last posted, I’ve been concentrating on consistently posting on my Instagram…what am I saying, you all know its been Christmas and with three children getting organised is no mean feat, plus I wanted to enjoy some time with my husband and our self assembled family of friends. It was great, some wonderful times were had by all, there were also door slamming (them) tearing hair out (me) type moments, but this is social media so we should gloss over them eh??? I still can’t believe its all over, I’m behaving like a jilted girlfriend unwilling to let it go, much to the husbands displeasure the fairly lights have remained in the lounge plus some other prettiness in the kitchen. My eldest Daughter keeps saying “I wish it could be Christmas everyday” or is that me saying it to her? either way I’m grieving the loss of the family time, feel good films, lazy mornings and the food, oh yes the food; the chocolate, the cheese, the mounds of turkey, the puddings and the gin. Well this hasn’t gone completely but January has heralded my return to the gym and with it a little more self restraint on the food and drink front. The week before Christmas also saw the breaking of the ground on our new extension, phase 3 of 250 on our house renovation has begun. This alone is driving me to drink, not to mention all the cups of tea I am making for the builders means I am drinking more tea and a cup of tea without biscuits alongside is lonely…so all in all I am doomed on the dry January and dieting front, but its not all my fault, its circumstances isn’t it?

So after so long off, what am I doing going forward? Well my plan is to do a “Sunday Saviour” post which will feature my must have item for the week, and then on a Thursday publish a longer post which might be, a weekly outfit round up, an insight into my skincare/make up/hair routines, a look in my wardrobe, a shopping haul, my take on a new trend, the general musings of a shopaholic or any combination of the above. If you have anything at all you would like to see please comment below or use the contact page, I would love to read your ideas and add them into my schedule.

To complement my blog posts I will be posting five out of seven days a week on Instagram www.instagram/com/theschoolrunstylesocial so follow me there for outfit posts and snapshots of our family life. I also have a Pinterest page www.pinterest.com/schoolrunstyle where I pin outfit ideas, and new purchases and my ever growing wish lists! If you are interested in reading more, or just seeing if I keep my promise of regular posting please subscribe using the form in the sidebar and my new blog posts will be delivered directly to your inbox.

Thanks for reading, its good to be back.

 

What I wore today – ok the 31st October!!

 

Anna Smith - Style Blogger - What I wore today

Ok so the Halloween banner gives the game away slightly, this clearly wasn’t today, I’ve been procrastinating for so long that I’ve taken until now to post it. So why have I posted it, well it was a seminal moment. I have been practising taking outfit post photos for quite a while now and they just were not what I wanted this was the first photo I took I was happy with so I couldn’t post it, its symbolic.

 

So what am I wearing from top to bottom:

M&S check scarf

Sainsburys TU jersey jacket – I only purchased this a couple of weeks back but its not showing on line. I’ll come back and add some similar items later.

M&S Orange Crepe Top

M&S Super Skinny Jeans (otherwise known as jeggings)

M&S Brown Suede Ankle boots.

Its been a very M&S heavy day today, is that a bad thing?

As always please let me know any of your thoughts or comments. All of my outfits are shown on my Instagram so if you aren’t already following me please take a look at the schoolrunstylesocial.

Thanks

Not just any coat a school run coat….

Its December, my most favourite month of the year. Its full of promise, excitement, colour, fun, glorious food, copious amounts of alcohol and the presents, well I couldn’t be a fashion blogger without the love of presents both giving and receiving I hesitate to add, but slightly more love for the receiving.  So on this bitingly cold beautiful December morning my thoughts turn to a school run coat……..one of the many shopping quests of Mothers up and down the country and across the world come to think of it. Today I’m looking into what makes a school run coat and hunting down some on the high street.

So what are the key attributes of a school run coat:

Waterproof…

Well this needs no introduction, clearly in this country a school run coat must be waterproof, not showerproof actual full on waterproof. Has anyone else noticed that at approximately 2:45 most days even when its been clear and bright all day the clouds start to gather and there it is rain, sheets of the stuff. In my two and a half years as a “school run mum” I have been drenched on many occasions, I mean drenched to the bone, get home take all your clothes off, your pants are wet, your shoes need tipping out as they are full of water (I wore ballet pumps that day…will I never learn!). This happened to some of my friends a week or so ago, luckily I had delegated pick up duty to the husband, the gods were smiling at me for once! Anyway back to coats. Proper waterproof is required mark…my…words!

Warm…

Again a bit of a no brainer but before I started school I didn’t actually own an actual warm coat. My job meant getting out of a toasty car walking as fast as humanly possible to a warm dry shop and staying there all day and often night only to return back to the car as fast as possible. I owned plenty of coats all right, beautiful black wool coats (I’ve still got my absolute favourite from Massimo Dutta, it was a thing of beauty and love at first sight so even though Ill never wear it again it still justifies its place in the wardrobe) a gorgeous Cadbury’s purple dress coat I bought for my best friends winter wedding and several biker jackets…you can never have too many of these right. Well for the school run it’s wrong all wrong. You need a proper about to walk up a mountain, like I’m still wrapped up in my duvet type of coat, it helps ease the pain I feel when I realise its 2:45 and I’ve got to leave the log fire and head out to collect my little darlings, a little.

Long..

So this is where the stylish aspect of a school run coat can fall down slightly. However length is all important. Personally I’m quite short well average I suppose with a long body and I really shouldn’t be wearing a coat that falls anywhere past the top of my hips or at the very least the thinnest bit of my upper thigh to get my proportions correct. However and this is where although you might know all of the fashion rules sometimes you have to break them my absolute favourite school run coat is a calf length down padded jacket (remember I said duvet, well this is it!) Ideally your coat would be long, the biting wind and driving rain getting to your jeans is not comfortable and what is stylish about being a hunched shouldered, shivering blue lipped, wet jeans kind of girl.

So why is it so important…

Well I was pondering this thought with one of my fashion wife over the weekend and a coat is really bloody important, not just to protect you from hypothermia and overexposure, I do live in the midlands as apposed to the outer Hebrides but I firmly feel both of these could be a possibility if I ventured out without a coat. It is so important as lets face it for 6-8 depending on the weather months of the year its all people see of you. I can spend ages deliberating what to wear but once a coat is over it no one will see, unless its the dog once I get home!

My top picks..

I’m not really a practical practical kind of girl but I know that if looking for waterproof and warmth North Face comes high on the list of a brand you can rely on. The North Face Arctic Parka is a school run perennial but at £350 doesn’t come cheap.

8fdecdc18412a6b2f402eaf73c6f8a68For a slightly more slim line version have a look at the Zaneck Parka which is a more reasonable £250, still a frighteningly large amount of money for something that is practical, however if this is to be your only coat the cost per wear will come down very quickly. If you are like me and may need a brown, navy, green and cream version you may need to think again!.

7648234579a422ce865d2c786ae02f3eIn recent years I have found myself moving away from North Face, primarily as the fit isn’t quite right on me but also as they seem a little too practical and moving into brands that seem to be able to combine the performance required (often North Face and Berghaus are more than I need which is reflected in the cost) and moving to a newer more niche brand. My current favourite is Ilse Jacobsen. I have a pair of her Hornbaek wellies and they are awesome so when I am next due a coat I’ve shortlisted this one.

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Next on my list to try is a Didriksons parka:

bl_208756_aAs I have been searching for this online I have found that several retailers now have this reduced to £160, tempted oh so tempted, I need to sit on my hands and get this blog finished!

For those of you looking for something more reasonably priced look no further than M&S, my favourite duvet coat is from here and its Per Una of all places!! Look out for their coats with stormwear as its their waterproofing trademark and it really is very good. Here are some of this years offerings:

Long stormwear available in navy and black, £99:sd_01_t49_3726_y0_x_ec_90Shorter storm wear coat available in Black, Navy and Cream, £69:sd_01_t49_3560_sw_x_ec_90

Also here is a Per Una offering that admittedly is not stormwear but looks really cozy and warm and its oversized collar and tie waste make it a smarter alternative to the ones above, it looks a little light sausagemeat in this photo but I have higher hopes for it in the flesh!sd_01_t49_3816l_sr_x_ec_90

I love Massimo Dutti as it suits my casual smart style perfectly (I’m not smart casual, that makes me think of men in chinos with no ties) and they also have some smarter padded coats for the school run, I have tried these so can’t comment on their actual waterproofing or keeping warm abilities but they are definitely more stylish than the North Face offerings.

Navy with fur collar £2296726601401_2_1_13

 

Navy fitted parka £109

 

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A brand that also gets lots of love for the school run is Seasalt. Their Janelle coat at £140 in particular has got the most love, rated 5 star on their website.

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If you don’t like the fact its knee length the Kellifray at £99 is a mid thigh option but isn’t available in the rainbow of colours the Janelle is.

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But…

But what if you want to ignore all of these rules and you just seen a coat and you love it and it isn’t waterproof and it isn’t warm and it hits that sweet spot right at the thinnest part of your leg…well here a couple of tips for making it work for you:

A uniqlo ultra light down jacket, these little beauties roll down to nothing and can hide inside your wool coat making them toasty warm. Choose a matching colour or even a complementary contrasting one which will add a bit of interest if its seen.

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Also at uniqlo their heattech range is amazing, shown below is a crew neck long sleeved tee, they do these in all different styles and colours of the rainbow, they are thin and are perfect for layering, adding warmth without bulk.

And accessorise accessorise a huge scarf like my new Zara khaki one (Ive done a whole post on scarves here) adds warmth and colour.khaki

Gloves: I love my sheepskin gloves mine where from M&S last Christmas but here are this years version:

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Finally the all important one, don’t forget your umbrella, you can even get ones that attach to your pushchair….a buggy brolly. I’ve never tried one, but they are one of those inventions that I’m sure thousands of mothers across the country have wished for!.

I hope this has been helpful, if you have enjoyed reading or have any coat finds of your own please comment below or contact me here and ill get back to you. There are a million trillion coats out there and I have only linked a few but I have a specific Pinterest board dedicated to school run coats here which I add to as and when I find anything I like so head over and have a look, don’t forget to follow it so you can see my new finds as soon as possible.

Enjoy your day, go forth and eat mince pies!

When is a scarf not just a scarf? Where to buy, how to tie and storage tips.

Towards the end of summer I often hear friends talking of looking forward to getting out their ankle boots or opaque tights, for me I cant wait to get my scarves out. How I love them, and therefore unsurprisingly have a rather extensive collection. As I mentioned in my post about getting ready in a hurry I find that a great scarf can really brighten up any outfit, they take two seconds to put on and there is always one for every budget.

Here are the top four scarves in my wardrobe:

 

1. Zara Check – Zara is great for scarves and this was a bloggers favourite from last year. This review is short and sweet, this scarf ticked my two most important scarf boxes: first and most obviously colour, its got lots of colours woven in to it so can be worn with so many different colour combinations and secondly size, this scarf is massive it easily wraps my neck twice and its width means it comes up to my ears, perfect for those chilly days. I also think a large scarf looks more stylish than its thinner more traditional counterparts.

 

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I would say that Zara is now my first choice shop when looking for a scarf, further on i’ll list my top picks from them this season.

2. Mulberry woodland – this was a thirtieth birthday present from my husband. Mulberry scarves can be hideously expensive but if you visit their outlet stores they can be picked up at more reasonable prices, Bicester village has a great selection but their Shepton Mallet store more so. This scarf’s cost per wear is probably about 1p now as it is so easy to throw on whatever the weather as it is so light. Whilst the print might not be for everyone I find that all of the colours are perfect for me so complement pretty much 90% of my wardrobe.

 

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3. Hush camel scarf £59.00, the newest addition to my scarf wardrobe. I have been on the hunt for a plain camel scarf for a while, I love to wear my Jones Leopard print ballerinas (currently out of stock but similar here and here) and get the heeby jeebies when I reach for those and my normal scarves, I would like to be able to clash patterns but it just isn’t for me. This is on the pricier side but I had some John Lewis vouchers so that made it in line with Zara prices and it is 100% lambswool which I am happy to pay extra for. I predict you will probably become bored of seeing me in this quite quickly! This is currently out of stock online at hush but is available on the John Lewis website here and in stores.

 

hush-camel

 

4. Becksondergaard coral cashmere blend. This brand makes brilliant scarves, they are often printed, stars being one of their signature styles. I have a couple of these scarves but this plain one is my most reached for, it just brightens up any outfit and this colour looks good against my face. My wardrobe used to be devoid of colour, it was mostly filled with black and charcoal grey as this formed the basis of my working wardrobe. After the birth of my first little girl I found myself lost as I only felt confident in my work clothes, things I would not be wearing again for many years (they are still in a box in the loft though, I loved dressing for work and do have hoarding tendencies) so I decided to inject some colour into my clothing. I found that bright clothes particularly tops, just seemed out of my comfort zone but scarves were a different matter. So to those of you who are frightened of colour use a scarf to ease you out of comfort zone too.

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What are your favourite scarves and why? leave me a comment at the bottom so we can swap scarf stories!

My top picks from Zara this season:

 

This years version of my scarf £19.99  for the reasons I outlined above this is a brilliant scarf, the colours are a little cooler than last year but the black and traditional green and reds make it a great choice for winter.

zara-check

 

 

Zara leopard print scarf £17.99 Leopard print is an incredibly popular and versatile print, its classic colours complement many others so is a go to for me. For many leopard might be daunting and can to some be perceived as cheap (Bet from Coronation Street anyone?) but a leopard scarf, shoe or bag is a great way of weaving it into your wardrobe if you are just dipping your feet into this trend. Unhelpfully the Zara website doesn’t seem to give its dimensions but it is lovely and chunky.

zara-leopard

Camoflage £19.99 Camoflage is another of my favourite prints and is very “on trend” this season with the fashion for military style clothes continuing. It is also huge at 100x200cm so you’ll be able to wrap it perfectly.

 

zara-camo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My definite purchase khaki plain £19.99 I am hitting the ordering button on this as we speak, there is a khaki scarf shaped hole in my wardrobe and this looks like it fits the bill perfectly, at a whopping 210×120 it ticks my colour and size boxes so needs to be mine. It also comes in plenty of other colours sure to tickle your fancy.

khaki

 

 

There are lots more Zara scarves I could show you but we’ve got other things we need to discuss so here is the link for the Zara scarves page should you want to head over there, once you have finished reading this post of course.

A new brand? Becksondergaard.

 

Some of you may have already heard of Becksondergaard but for others this may be a new discovery. They aren’t the cheapest out there but if you shop around you can get them at H&M prices, look out for them in the ASOS sale and also at TK Maxx where they are between £15 and £25. Here are my current top picks:

Light pink and grey : this is a great spring early summer colour combination, I can see it paired with grey skinny jeans, ankle boots and a charcoal oversized woolly jumper, it’s also a bargain and can be winging its way to you tomorrow courtesy of amazon prime, what’s not to love?

becksondergaard

The dressing room is the UKs official Becksondergaard stockist and has a fabulous selection of their scarves and now bags too. The dressing room is a fab independent store stocking lists of niche brands and I believe if you sign up to their newsletter you get 10% off your order, it’s well worth a look at their website. I’ve currently got my eye on:

 

 

becksondergaard-edison-scarf-in-bruschettabecksondergaard-louvre-scarf-sycamore

becksonder-supernove-scarf-sycamore

How to tie your scarf:

 

I tend to tie my scarves in two ways:

 

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They are easy throw on styles, after all I’m a Mum in a hurry!

How to store your scarves:

 

So with an unabating scarf obsession how do I store them? I turned to pinterest and discovered lots of people using the Ikea komplement multi use hanger which I duly purchased and filled but with my long thick scarves it looked messy, too big to fit any where, and it was a little fiddly to tie them on (I am time poor, or is that lazy???) but is a great idea for those of you with short thin scarves. So on my very own I came up with the idea of using ikea hanging storage compartments. It seems like I’m not the only one with this idea. This is how my scarves look:

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I quickly roll each scarf up and pop it in the pocket. They are hanging next to my coats so are easily seen and its perfect for grabbing a coat and a scarf before I fly out of the door! As you can see I have the floral pockets which are no longer available, the picky in me would much prefer plain but too many ikea trips (the meatballs made me do it) and my lifelong search for storage solutions have left me with an excess of these ones (I have two more that can be yours for the price of postage if you would like, just message me, better still if two of you want them I can finally justify my need for the plain ones!!!)

Lastly a major hint for those liking thinner scarves when you buy them in store they are coated with a wonderful substance that keeps them crease free and full looking but after a number of wears and certainly once they are washed this goes and no one likes a limp scarf so I iron and use spray starch, in a couple of minutes your scarf will be restored to looking brand new.

As always I would love to hear your comments or questions so please leave them below or email me at anna@theschoolrunstylesocial.co.uk.

Thanks for reading.

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