10 days, 10 outfits: what I wore on my summer holiday

For me a summer holiday is an excuse to dress up. As a working mum I dont get a lot of nights out and my summer holiday gives me 10 in a row! Fashion is ‘my thing’ so a trip away is perfect to have some fun, style wise.

I thought I’d round up some of the looks I wore with some details of where the items came from. Want to take a look…?

Look 1: Baby steps with swimwear – I wasnt hugely body confident on this trip. I’m a bit heavier than I was last year and was a little self conscious of my figure. I took lots of cover-ups and soon all that fear slipped away….I found George at Asda great for swimwear with secret support and stuck mainly to one pieces apart from a few days where I braved wearing a bikini!


Bikini top / George at Asda, cover up / ASOS 

Look 2: the off the shoulder maxi dress – I found this dress in Primark for £5 in the sale and then paid to have it altered. Getting a dress that fits you perfectly is worth every penny and I found this was an easy dress to wear both daytime & evening.


Dress / Primark, sandals / Peacocks

Look 3: a slogan sun hat – if you didnt do a photo like this only holiday can you even call yourself a fashion blogger?!? Joking aside, hats saved my life on holiday and this £8 TU one actually fits my enormous head/thick hair!


Sun hat / TU at Sainsburys, Swimsuit / George at Asda

Look 4: the bargain daytime outfit – This dress was £12, the bag £9, sunglasses £3 and sandals £4. I just wore my swimsuit underneath.  Primark, you are a fashion loving holiday makers dream…


Sunglasses/dress/sandals/beach bag – all Primark

Look 5: Saturday Night – I didnt bring a lot of really dressy clothes and I’m glad as it was far too hot to get really dressed up, but this embroidered dress is one of my favourites and worn over a slip was perfect for a night when I wanted a bit of extra glamour.


Dress / Zara, Slip / M&S, sandals / Very.co.uk

Look 6: covering up as I mentioned before, in the day I wanted a stay a bit covered up when moving around and I found a playsuit was perfect for that. This £7 Primark bargain had the cutest tie front and frilled shorts and made me feel very feminine.


Playsuit / Primark, Sunglasses / Esprit, Hat / George at Asda (menswear)

Look 7: Retro vibes – when I saw these retro telephone booths in our hotel I knew I had to pose in them wearing this dress! Its not my normal style but holidays give you the chance to be someone else for a while and I decided to channel my inner Mad Men character. This dress was a ‘new to me’ charity shop buy so a real bargain too.


Dress / Oxfam, sandals / Primark, Bag / Next 

Look 8: Palm print lover – I wore this culotte jumpsuit ALOT while away as it was so comfortable and light. Apart from one night when someone else was wearing the exact same thing (the horror!) it was the perfect evening holiday piece…and I picked it up in the sale!


Jumpsuit / New Look, bag / Next, sandals / Primark

Look 9: boat trip chic – I bought quite a few pieces from Primark for this trip and this dress was one of them. I had been a bit afraid to wearing off the shoulder items as I do like to keep my ample bosum tightly contained (!) but a strapless bodysuit worked really well…I just couldnt do any trampolining!!!

Dress / Primark, bag / Bohema Design, sunglasses / New Look, Sandals / Peacocks

Look 10: Feeling tropical – I do love wearing print and leopard print seemed apt in the hot weather. All over print is too much for curvy, petite me, so a cute black one shouldered top from New Look toned it down.

Top / New Look, skirt / Primark, bag / Next

So what do you think? If you like my style make sure you follow my Instagram here for daily inspiration.

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25 things you learn when you are on an all-inclusive family beach holiday

I havent been on a package/beach holiday for some time and this year was our first ever resort holiday abroad as a blended family and the first time we had visited an all-inclusive resort. Holidays abroad are expensive (stop hiking up the price in the school holidays holiday companies, its so unfair) and can be stressful but its also a unique time where you dont have to ‘do’ anything if you dont want to and the usual chains of being an adult are removed. 

So what did I learn during 11days of resort living?

1) Yes, it can be expensive but once you’re there that wont bother you – in fact you’ll probably start planning your trip for next year. I’ve got to be honest, paying for this trip hurt a bit (I’m notoriously stingy LOL) but once we were there and I saw how happy everyone was, all I could think about was how it was SO worth it and I wanted every summer to be like this from now on.

2) Before you leave you will probably worry a bit about wearing swimwear but after a few days of seeing real people, rather than airbrushed magazine shots or Facetuned Instagrams you will not give a damn! Embrace that body – its the only one you have and its beautiful because it’s unique and it’s yours!

3) Your holiday doesnt start till someone gets stung by a wasp (me, day 5)

4) As Baz Luhrmann famously said – use sunscreen. Take loads – you always use more than you think you will. We were doing really well, had one off day when it was cloudy and then really had to pay for it via copious applications of after-sun and anti-hystermine. Slight parenting fail! Its also worth considering using rash vests/sun suits – I bought some cheap ones for our 3 boys from Sports Direct and they were brilliant – especially for our sun-adverse red-head.

5) It might come as a surprise but a £10 pool inflatable can make a child more happy than a £400 games console ever will…

6) All-inclusive food and drink brings out the gluttony in human beings – be better than that. Anyone that goes up for thirds at dinner with 3 bread rolls under their arm and their eye in the dessert bar needs to have a word with themselves!!! I will miss that choice of every breakfast food imaginable each day though…

7) By halfway through the holiday you’ll know all the words & dance movements to the resorts chosen theme song with your kids begging for the resorts overpriced disco CD (just say no – if they are really desperate for a song, Shazam it and then buy it as a download when you get home – they’ll of forgotten by then anyway)

8) Pool sliders may look ugly but they will save your life (and soles of your feet) 

9) Foreign crisps are better than UK crisps. End of. And in HUGE bags!

10) Palm trees are the best trees

11) Bring at least of 2 of everything for your kids that goes near water. Swimshorts, towels, caps etc. – that way you have time every day to dry or wash through the day befores clothing.

12) If you want to dress up, do it. If you want to relax and dress down, do that. This is your holiday. I love to dress up and use Instagram, so was never gonna miss the chance of creating fashion looks using some fab backgrounds…

(look out for a separate blog featuring what I wore)

13) Exercising on holiday is fun! Yes – we are that couple…We always fit in some form of exercise while away, and found that because we had more time for it, it felt easier and less of a chore. Running is easy to fit into a day and needed minimal extra stuff packed.  An added bonus – it takes a long time to form a habit, especially if that habit is regular exercise – so if you can keep up some of the momentum while you are away, it’s much easier to get into it again when you get back.

14) As a mum in particular, it can be hard to give yourself permission to relax – but you need to do it.  I’d say it took me 3-4 days to properly relax…Use whatever you need to – a good book, headphones playing your favourite music, romantic walks or a nice cocktail. No guilt allowed – youre on holiday!

15) Holidays have the ability to bring siblings together in a way that nothing else can. You will get those ‘melt your heart’ moments when you least expect it…cherish them.

16) A kids disco at any other time might seem like hell but seeing your child experience entertainment purely for them, and seeing them dancing/singing/playing games on stage (if your child is anything like mine) is just the most wonderful thing.

17) In an all-inclusive resort, order the maximum amount of drinks allowed each time you visit the bar that you can. This is not being greedy, it just means you won’t have to keep queueing up (and those queues can be LONG!)

18) Reading an actual book is wonderful. I read two that I had been meaning to read for ages and just hadnt had the time and felt so satisfied.

19) Entertainment staff are all the most beautiful people on the planet and will make you feel totally ugly in comparison but remember the rest of the guests in the complex will remind you that people come in all shapes and sizes!

20) A great view can lift your soul

21) If youve got kids under 12 bring a bottle of Capol or Inbruprofen plus some anti-hystermine. We needed medicine for 2 out of our 3 children during our 11 days away.

22) Beaches look great in an Instagram shot but are really hard work especially with kids coming back with sand in areas you didnt even know they had.  However theres just something about them that makes it worthwhile – for our boys it was when they found out there was free wifi (we banned them for going online at out hotel) and for me nothing beats the sound of the waves lapping. Talc helps remove the sand and make sure you utilise the beach showers.

23) If youre anything like me and spend all your time checking everyone has remembered everything, you will probably end up losing your own stuff, most likely your sunglasses. Pack a few pairs of cheap ones – I kept mine safe till the last day and was feeling smug and then lost them going through Spainish security on the way home. Primark is great for cheap but stylish pairs.

24) Dont forget those chargers and travel plugs. We didnt allow much screen time but trying to keep our own phones, plus ipods, cameras, portable chargers and tablets charged was quite a challenge.

25) Travelling abroad with young children can have its stressful moments but the joy it brings both them and you makes the best memories, ones that will stay with them forever.  Giving yourself permission to relax is a huge step in self love and the moments it creates are priceless.  There really is nothing like it.  

So kiss your kids, snog your partner and most importantly, love yourself xx

I’ve set up a direct debit and am ready to start saving for next year – after all, taking holidays are one of the reasons we work so hard the rest of the year! Its only money, right?!?

We travelled to the island of Majorca in the Spainish Baleric Islands with LoveHolidays.com.

Midweek Meal Inspiration with Capsicana

Last week I was lucky enough to be sent some new cooking sauces to try out by Latin food experts Capsicana as part of their #CapsiCarnival event. Capsicana is an authentic Latin American cooking sauce range, inspired by real Latin American dishes such as Mojo sauce from Cuba, Aji Verde sauce from Peru and Moqueca from Brazil. Bursting with real authentic ingredients from the region they also contain no artificial colourings or flavourings, are suitable for vegetarians, gluten free and only use non GM ingredients too.


For our first use we went for the Mexican Chilli & Honey sauce. This is a sauce based on ‘Puerco al horno con salsa de chile ancho y miel’, a classic Mexican dish. To recreate it, Capsicana use Mexican-grown chipotle & ancho poblano chilli peppers as well as honey, which has featured in the country’s food since Mayan times. The Mayans believed that a native stingless bee had been given to them by one of their gods and that it was a link to the spirit world – honey has been integral to Mexican cooking ever since. Its a medium level heat so I thought was a good place to start!

Following the receipe on the packet (I love a bit of receipe inspiration) we needed fresh chicken breasts, some peppers and an onion to create our feast. Its a lovely thick sauce which smells delicious the minute you open it and theres lots in a pack. One pack = two servings and its definitely enough for two hungry people.  

Once the chicken was done, we chose to serve it with sautéd potatoes and a fresh salad and I have to say it was delicious! The sauce has a deep, rich flavour and a good heat to it without being too overwhelming. It is measured as medium heat which I’d say is about right. The sweetness of the honey isnt sickly, in fact it balances out the chillis really well and I found it a really delicious and easy to use cooking sauce.

Capsicana latin cooking sauce review Mexican Chilli and Honey - Always a Blue Sky Girl blog

Capsicana latin cooking sauce review Mexican Chilli and Honey - Always a Blue Sky Girl blog
Capsicana latin cooking sauce review Mexican Chilli and Honey - Always a Blue Sky Girl blog

Overall, I really liked this sauce, its consistency, pack size and flavour and it created a quick and easy dinner for two which as a busy person, I liked even more. 

But best of all? I’ve still got three more sauces to try yet…

Capiscana quick cook sauces are available in Sainsburys and Waitrose priced at £1.99 each. 

For more information and recipe ideas visit http://www.capsicana.co.uk

*I was gifted this product but all views stated are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer section.

July Favourites

July has now come to an end…want to know what I fell in love with, bought and found so far this summer?

Of course you do!!!

Jumpsuits
I have worn a lot of jumpsuits so far this summer. Being 5’2″ I often have to have them shortened but its definitely worth it. I find them really flattering for my curvy figure and like dresses they are simple – they are all you need for a complete outfit.

Tassel earrings
Tassel earrings have been everywhere this summer and they are a great statement piece. I have bought them from all kinds of places the cheapest being shipped from China via ebay for less than £2.50. My favourites have to be the now iconic H&M ones – I have them in a few colours and they make any outfit feel special. They are just £8.99 a pair so if you see them in store grab a pair!

Coconut hair products
I love the smell & taste of coconut and have fallen in love with these hair products. The Inecto Naturals range is a low price but extremely good organic coconut oil based range and if you have hair that needs taming it is AMAZING! I also struggle with shampoos making my thick, wavy hair fluffy and unmanageable but since moving on to a low shampoo (find the review here) have found my hair much better. The new Garnier Ultimate Blends are silicon and paraben free and although don’t foam up as much as some shampoos (don’t be fooled, the foaming does little to actually clean your hair) have made my hair feel soft, managable and smelling great. They will now be a regulars on my bathroom shelf.

Basket bags
Summer means the beach and hopefully a holiday and I always find I start to use different bags day to day once the sun comes out as well as packing one for my holiday. These type of bags make you feel so summery, don’t cost that much and I managed to buy 3 this month!

HEMA
HEMA is a company I have only just discovered. Originally from the Netherlands, its a Tiger/Ikea/Paperchase hybrid and as well as all the cute homewares, stationery and food it has a really amazing make-up range! I bought a fab orange/red lipstick and lipliner for under £6 for the 2 and I havent stopped wearing them! The beauty range is huge, is great quality and very well priced. Currently mainly located in London main train stations go check them out if you’re travelling anywhere.

Primark £4 cross-over sandal
Sometimes you find something simple yet stylish that you just love. My advice? If it comes in other colours buy them…you’ll regret it later if you dont. These sandals by Primark have been a fabulous find for this summer and now I have them in 4 colours – and at just £4 a pair you can afford to buy multiple pairs.

Pineapples
OK its bordering on an obsession, but theres just something about a pineapple design that makes me so happy. I love to eat them, look at them, wear them and have them around me!  The homewates were bargains from Asda and Aldi, the necklace was from Peacocks and the shirt was from one of my favourite stores, Zara.

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water
This stuff is the bomb! You can cleanse your face plus remove any make-up (inc eye make-up) and it softens your skin too. Micellar water is made up of micelles (tiny balls of cleansing oil molecules) suspended in soft water. The idea is that micelles are attracted to dirt and oil, so they are able to draw out impurities without drying out the skin, therefore, it can be used as a facial wash, makeup remover and moisturiser all in one. It looks like water but when you put it on your finger and feel, it has a different texture than water – I just love it!


Slogans
I do love a cheeky slogan and couldn’t resist this sun hat from Tu at Sainsburys and these adorable pumps from H&M. Both were under £10 too…

I’m off on my holidays now and I’m sure you’ll see a few of these pieces popping up in my Instagram photos.  Finding things you love brings you joy…simple as!  

Enjoy the rest of the summer xx

Skin Chemists Aqua Repair Facial Serum

Does your skin ever feel like it needs a long drink of water? For me, particularly in the summer months, I find my skin feeling drier and ‘thirstier’ than normal and usually begin moisturising more trying to refresh and feed my sun and heat damaged skin.

Skin Chemists 24hr Aqua Repair Facial Serum via Always a Blue Sky girl beauty fashion blog

This serum from Skin Chemists is a little saviour in a tube! Its 30ml size seems small yet because you only need a little of the serum each day it definitely lasts for well over a month of use. It also fits nicely into your bag and I also used it as a cheeky skin ‘pick me up’ in the afternoon when my skin was really feeling tired.

The main active ingredients in the serum are:
1) Rose Water to calm and soothe the skin 
2) Allantoin to moisturise and soothe thanks to its healing and anti-inflammatory properties
3) Aloe Vera to stimulate the healing process of the skin, its anti-inflammatory properties enable gentle soothing of the skin

Its feels cool and refreshing when you put it on and even though it seemed to refresh my skin totally, it dried really quickly to a matt base. I really liked this as it meant you could easily apply make-up over it without your skin feeling sticky if you wanted.Another lovely thing about this serum is its smell. It has a strong, sweet, fresh smell that lingers on the skin beautifully and makes you want to use it again and again. I love a nice smelling product and find it really makes a difference to my mood.I loved the refreshed feeling it gave my skin and although I didnt see much difference in my skins quality as a whole it definitely made my face feel calm, refreshed and hydrated. I’m off on holiday soon and it will definitely be coming with me to keep my skin feeling refreshed in the holiday heat.

Buy Skin Chemists 24hour Aqua Repair Facial serum here.

*I was gifted this product but all views stated are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer section.

Epibrow Brow Design & Ultimate Lash Serums

I was recently sent two really interesting products from beauty experts Epibrow International to try. They are products that aim to make your brows and lashes fuller and thicker using some advanced professional beauty science rather than be a cosmetic fix. 



So what were my brows and lashes like before? 

Well the quick answer is, not good. My eyebrows are sparse due to over plucking (Thanks to Madonna’s Erotica look in the early ninenties mainly) and my eye-lashes are dark but short and dont really show unless I wear mascara, which I dont like to wear apart from on full make-up days. So basically anything that might help them I am interested in.


The products themselves – at £55 each these products arent cheap. So what do you get for your money?

Epibrow Brow Design Serum – what does the packing say? 

THE ULTIMATE EYEBROW SERUM FROM THE EPIBROW EXPERTS – Get the beautiful, bold brows of your favourite supermodels with this eyebrow enhancing serum.

  • ADVANCED FORMULA – The fast-working formula contains ingredients such as iron and vitamin B, which are essential nutrients for hair growth.
  • NATURALLY THICKER & FULLER EYEBROWS – Key ingredients help speed up the natural growth process and give your brows a thicker, fuller shape.
  • EASY TO USE – For best results that can also make your brows look darker, use this advanced serum treatment once a day on clean, dry skin while massaging the area to boost blood circulation.
  • EXTENDS THE ANAGEN STAGE – Keeps the hair in its growing ‘anagen stage’ for a longer period of time, so you get full and maximum growth

Buy it here.

Epibrow Ultimate Lash – what does the packaging say?

DREAM LASHES – Wake up to lashes of your dreams with this overnight treatment.

  • ADVANCED GROWTH INGREDIENTS – Formulated with essential minerals and polypeptides, this easy to use serum is applied along the base of the lash line (upper and/or lower lash line) before bed.
  • SIMPLE TO USE – Repeat every night for 4 weeks and over this time the nourishing formula gets to work, feeding the hair follicles and leaving you with thicker, fuller, longer and stronger lashes.
  • EFFECTIVE ALTERNATIVE TO EXTENSIONS – For long term results that offer a highly-effective alternative to extensions, wait 4 weeks between treatments then repeat.
  • EXTENDS THE ANAGEN STAGE – Keeps the hair in its growing ‘anagen stage’ for a longer period of time, so you get full and maximum growth.


Buy it here

Ok, sounds interesting! But does it work?

I used both serums regularly each evening for about a month. I found both easy to apply and neither irritated my skin or eyes. The brow serum has a very distinct and strong smell to it (a kind of menthol aroma) so I would suggest only using it once you’re sure your going to sleep as it is VERY noticable.

I first noticed my eyebrows thickening by the amount of make-up I was using.  Instead of filling in my brows quite considerably with eyebrow pencil I was just having to add a few strokes.  Small but noticeable new hairs had started to appear too and by week 3 I has having to neaten up my brows with tweezers.

(I obviously have make-up on in these 2 photos but I can still see a real difference)

My eyelashes looked longer and when I put mascara on, my bottom lashes in particular looked a lot longer. I also noticed less eyelashes ‘shed’ during the period I was using the serum.

At the end of a month using these products I can definitely confirm they make a difference. My lashes are thicker and particularly my lower lashes are longer.  My brows have thickened up, some new hairs have grown and I am using a lot less eyebrow pencil on them.

These products are not cheap but used regularly definitely can make a real difference and a little goes a long way.  I am definitely going to continue to use them and look forward to seeing continued results.

Ultimate Lash / £55*, Brow Design Serum / £55* – Epibrow International via Amazon

*I was gifted these products but all views stated are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer section.

Getting Ready for Holiday

I have less than a month before I go on holiday and I think its fair to say I’m starting to get excited. This is our first family holiday abroad as a blended family, and my first resort holiday in quite a few years – we are staying in an all inclusive family friendly resort in Majorca.

Holidays are great but you know what I like as well? Holiday shopping!!! Have a look at what I’ve been buying for the beach/by the pool…and you know me, they are all bargains!!!

Bikini top – £10/George at Asda
Bikini bottoms – £6/George at Asda

Swimsuit – £12/George at Asda



Sunglasses – £3/Primark
Sunglasses case – £2/Primark
Hard Sunglasses case – £3/Primark
Earrings – £8.99/H&M


Sun hat – £8/TU at Sainsburys

Earrings – £3, Necklace – £4/Peacocks

Playsuit – £7/Primark


Leather sandals – £20/Peacocks
Straw bag – £32/Bohemia Design
Sunglasses – £9.99/New Look
Hard Sunglasses case – £3/Primark
Beads – £1 (vintage)/Cancer Research UK
Lipstick/lip pencil – from £1.50/Hema
Hair products – from £1/Tresemme 


Sandals – £4 a pair/Primark

Bikini bag – £1.50 / Primark

Straw bag – £9 / Primark

Bodysculpt control swimsuit – £12 / George at Asda

And of course a load of dresses etc for the evening but we’ll leave that for a different post!

Are you going on holiday this year? Have you bought some perfect pieces that you cant wait to wear in the sun? I’d love to know…

Missguided Bluewater grand opening

I attended the grand opening of the new Missguided store in Bluewater a few weeks back. I may be over 40 but the lure of a 25% blogger discount, free ice cream, a DJ and ‘mocktails’ made me brave Bluewater on a Saturday. The store itself is amazing – described as ‘Missguided in real life’ it is in the old Forever 21 site and I really wanted to share its look with you because it really is worth a visit…

The visual merchandising and displays of the store are fantastic with life-like mannequins of all different skin tones accessorised with crazy props such as this giant banana!


As ever with Missguided there is lots of positive affirmation for its ‘babes’ and cheeky slogans such as ‘Send Nudes’ or ‘Get Naked’ written in neon on the walls…


Love shoes? Youre going to be in heaven! The store houses a good accessory range – mainly shoes with a small section of bags and then stands of affordable jewellery and sunglasses near the tills.

There’s a great lingerie and nightwear range…

…and of course swimwear – it is the season!


And if all that shopping has exhausted you and you fancy a drink of water (or in this case ‘Mermaid Tears’) – they’ve got it covered! £1 a can…

Of course the real lure of this second Missguided store (the first is in Westfield Stratford) is that you can see and try on the usually online products in a traditional store environment.  Theres tons of staff and a whole community vibe going on with lots of interaction.

And what did I buy with that discount? I bought a few bits but my favourite has to be this denim jacket… cute huh? I have had so many compliments about it.


Jacket £40 – available in regular and petite ranges Missguided

Find the full Missguided range here – or visit the store on the lower level of Rose Gallery in Bluewater.

Palm Power

As it is now summer (hoorah!) its time to embrace all those colours and prints you wouldn’t normally wear any other time of the year.  There’s something about a tropical print that always feels really summery and I am quite the slave to the palm print in both fashion and home.  

So when this little gem caught my eye in the TU clothing department in Sainburys for just £20 I thought it was a really wearable summer staple and snapped one up.  

It is described as a jumpsuit but I would describe it more as a culotte dress. I’m 5’2″ and its length sits like a midi dress on me. It is a fitted shape with square neckline and short sleeves and zips up the back and for those who hate summer and the nightmare that is thigh rub this is the perfect solution!  Overall the shape is very retro and flattering and the wide cullottes balance out the fitted top perfectly.

Sainsburys TU palm tropical print jumpsuit culotte dress via Always a Blue Sky Girl Sarah Gorlov
I co-ordinated my new buy with some amazing OTT palm leaf acrylic earrings I got from New Look many years ago because, well, I love a Palm! I always wear these earrings in the summer and they have been a great buy.Sainsburys TU palm tropical print jumpsuit culotte dress via Always a Blue Sky Girl Sarah GorlovThe tie waist adds an extra flattering element meaning you can pull the waist in if you wanted a looser fit (I chose to wear mine quite fitted) and the fabric has some stretch to it as well as being a vibrant mix of greens, black and beige highlights.  I feel really great wearing this, have so far worn it to the office and can’t wait to wear it on holiday too.

Sainsburys TU palm tropical print jumpsuit culotte dress via Always a Blue Sky Girl Sarah Gorlov
Its available in store now but will sell out fast so grab one while you can!

Culotte Jumpsuit / TU at Sainsburys
Sandals / Primark (past season)
Earrings / New Look (past season)