What happened to Valentines Day?

Ok, lets get this out the way…I HATE the modern day version of Valentines Day.

I bet you’re thinking – well I guess she’s some super grumpy, unromantic person who hates all this love and fuss stuff? Ironically that couldn’t be further from the truth. Let me explain…

In an age before the internet, social media, Tinder, non stop advertising and the media trying to convince us we should all live/look/spend like the rich and famous whatever our income; a pretty paper card sent anonymously to a loved one was an adorable way to show that you loved/liked/wanted to court them. It was personal and coy and sweet and seemingly now something of a time gone by…Let me tell you a bit about me – I would describe myself as a very romantic person. I tell my fiancé lots of times through the day I love him (as he does to me), send romantic messages and notes, go on date nights, take time to look after myself and look nice/wear pretty lingerie etc (because it makes me feel good – making my boyfriend smile is an added bonus), spend time cuddled upon the sofa in the evenings and generally make time to do things that will make him feel loved, appreciated and wanted. I love being in love and couldn’t imagine living any other way. I don’t dislike the idea of Valentines Day…I hate what marketing and the media has made the day become.

I think because I am a romantic person who loves to make a fuss of the people I care for, it makes me hate the whole concept of the modern day Valentines Day even more. Let me tell you why…

Its fake – So who was St Valentine? The saint of Beekeepers and Epilepsy amongst other things. Why do we celebrate Valentines Day? Well that one is full of debate. One thing is for sure – the whole thing is a mix of other celebrations and twisted to fit in with a modern day event created to sell stuff.

It encourages people to spend money have on things they don’t need – Valentines Day is a marketing dream (I should know, its what I do!). Adverts begin weeks ahead, stores replace their Christmas stock with Valentines stock, magazines tell us instead of a £5 box of chocolates and a card, we should buy the person we love a £200 designer watch because bigger is better and we start to get brainwashed by it all.

A whole industry has emerged created fun ‘novelty’ gifts no-one in their right mind would want – Everyone loves a teddy with a heart on, pair of fluffy handcuffs or fabric rose don’t they? Oh right, they don’t. And don’t get me started on things like chocolate body paint…

There’s some women who use it to make other women feel like lesser beings – There’s always those people who want to show you their huge bouquet of roses, heart shaped balloons, diamond earrings etc. Good for them…but show offs are never fun to be around and there’s a competitive, nasty side to it that I just don’t like. Ladies we don’t need to be like this!

Men generally don’t like it – You know when another ‘special’ day exactly a month later is created (it involves steak and other things men love – see the cheeky details here) by men for men, that Valentines Day is not a thing men on the whole want to be forced to do. There is of course, lots of romantic men out there but who wants to be told when and how you should be romantic?

Its creates ‘the pressure’ – The pressure to buy gifts, the pressure to book an expensive restaurant, the pressure to send flowers, the pressure to have sex that night whether you want to really or not, the pressure to out-do your friends. If you’re single there’s pressure to be in a relationship as that’s what society tells us will make us happy…well, I know quite a few people in relationships who seem utterly miserable. Anything to do with love should feel free, not forced.Whether you are single or in a relationship we all know the truth – we are being manipulated. Don’t be told when to be romantic – in fact if you’re anything like me make an effort of be romantic EVERY day…and don’t expect a present because of it. Do it because you want to. Do it because being in love compels you to do so. For me that’s what true love should do…and the rewards are much better than getting a gift you’ve guilted your other half into buying you.

Personally this Valentines Day, I will choose a card, write a heartfelt message and that night have dinner, watch TV, kiss and cuddle and then go to bed with the man I love just like I would any other night.And you know what? Life is about freedom of choice – if you truly love the whole idea of Valentines Day then go for it – the candlelit dinner, expensive gifts, rose petals on the bed, slow-mo sex; whatever says ‘love’ to you!

But do it because you want to…and don’t share it all over your social media for the attention and likes – the odd pic might be cute but your whole evening?  Intimate moments of love should be for 2 not 200. True love is the most precious thing we can have in our lives – lets not cheapen it – its worth far more than that.All photos via my Instagram – to follow me (its not all romance I promise!) click here.

Uniqlo/Marimekko collaboration

Sometimes theres just a coming together of two favourite brands that you cannot ignore. This happened recently when Uniqlo announced that their next designer collaboration would be with Finnish design house Marimekko.

For those not familiar with Finnish design house Marimekko, their style is bright, fun and vibrant and having started in the 1950’s has a very retro feel.  They create fashion and homewares and their fabrics are often used within interior and retail design projects.

The collaboration itself is a range of 6 different prints repeated into dresses, tops, trousers, bags and shoes with all the price points sitting within Uniqlo’s affordable set pricing structure.

After visiting the store and trying on a few pieces (being a Japanese brand I find Uniqlo clothing can come up a little on the small side) I settled on two t-shirts and a dress. I could of bought lot more but was strict on myself as my wardrobe is already bulging at the seams.

This is what I bought…

Dress – £19.90

Uniqlo Marimekko fashion range via www.AlwaysaBlueSkyGirl.com / Blueskygirlie

The print itself is named Polle (Horse) and is based on an image the Marimekko design team took of what they describe as the “round hoof prints left by a plump small pony.” so I’m already in love this print!  This is a comfortable slightly A-line fit, t-shirt dress and I went for a small which would fit a 10-12 fine. Its sizes run XS – L, is 100% cotton and costs just £19.90. Oh and did I mention it has pockets!!!

T-shirt – £12.90

Uniqlo Marimekko fashion range via www.AlwaysaBlueSkyGirl.com / Blueskygirlie

A boxy shape, I went for a size medium for a slightly roomy fit. It has all its print to the front, is available in sizes XXS – XL, is 100% cotton and costs just £12.90.  The Pompula (pompom) pattern depicts flowerpots. According to Marimekko, its been used as flowers are a warm way to remember friends, family and loved ones on different occasions.

T-shirt – £12.90

Again a boxy shape, I went for a size medium for a slightly roomy fit. It is white with just the print on an oversized chest patch pocket featuring that aforementioned plump pony print! It is available in sizes XXS – XL, is 100% cotton and costs just £12.90. Perfect with jeans and trainers I loved the cute simplicity of this tee.

All the items are all beautifully made and fantastic quality for the price.  Sizing can be a little confusing and I’d recommend a try on session but as ever Uniqlo has come up trumps.  It even comes in its own lovely paper carrier bag…

The range is available now in selected Uniqlo stores now and online here.

Doing Valentines Day your way…

Now lets start with a disclaimer…I am no fan of Valentines day. In fact I wrote a whole blog about it being a marketing ploy that we should not get caught up in (read my thoughts here). I personally don’t like being guilted in to acting a certain way and all these ‘holidays’ do seem to do that.

Instead lets talk about things I do love…

  • Fashion
  • Hearts
  • Vintage
  • Personalisation
  • Cute design
  • Being romantic

Regardless of the date, let me share some lovely ways to be cute around Valentines Day or Galantines Day or just a random day in February depending on your view, using things I love.

Dress the part –

Don’t worry, I’m not talking sexy underwear (although most men would agree its never a bad idea, I’m sure!). I’m talking a cute reference to the season without looking like you tried too hard. This cropped jumper looks great and I co-ordinated it with a leather skirt for a low key sexy look. It has a sense of humour (a key part of fashion for me), is a great price and best of all you can wear it any day of the year! After all, who doesn’t love LOVE!

Jumper / Divided at H&M, Skirt / Very.co.uk

Get retro –

As you may know I love vintage (I run a vintage shop full of curated pieces on Etsy – take a look) and buying vintage items is a cheap and cheerful way to add a unique touch to proceedings. I discovered these 1960’s glasses in a local secondhand shop and just had to have them.

…and they came in a pair so are perfect for a glass of bubbly with a loved one during a cheeky romantic meal – or how about using them for a yummy dessert?

Smell great –

They say our sense of smell plays a huge part in arousal and smelling good makes you feel confident which in turn makes you sexy. So add a few sprays of a great scent onto your skin and see what happens! Lately theres been some fantastic perfumes launch that don’t break the bank, in fact my two favourites at the moment are actually budget buys from Missguided and Primark.

Pink Candy fragrance / Primark, Babe Power fragrance / Missguided

Wrap a gift but make it personal* –

I discovered Pretty Gifted just before Christmas. They are a fantastic online seller of personalised gift wrap – you pick your paper colour, your print foil, your font and your message and they do the rest. For £7.95 you get a large sheet of fantastic quality wrap, a gift tag and a metallic pen. This time I chose the new rainbow foil effect and went for a cute little message to my boyfriend to wrap a token gift in – ‘can I borrow a kiss? I promise to give it back…’ I’m smooth right!?!

Wrapping paper / Pretty Gifted, Ribbon / Wilkinsons

I have kindly been given a code for my followers to receive an exclusive 10% off all orders – bluesky18val . It is valid until their Valentines cut off (midday on Friday 9th Feb)

Have a nibble –

My local independent baker makes the cutest cookies and cakes for Valentines (and lots of other seasonal events) and I bet yours does too. For just a £1.50 or so you can pick a super cute treat for a favourite person to have with their coffee which is guaranteed to make them smile and remind them how much you care…oh and you get to support a small independent business too!

Be cute not crass –

One of the reasons I’m not a fan of V-day is the pressure it creates. It encourages us to spend money we often cant afford on booking restaurants or spending £50 on roses that will be dead in a week, feel we must be waiting in red underwear ready to ‘perform’ as if we were in a XXX movie and the fake world of social media has just made it even worse. Thanks Facebook/Snapchat/Insta but I don’t need to see 37 photos of *insert name here*s Valentines day…no one does!

Often a token gift can mean much more than something expensive but with no thought behind it. A pretty pair of earrings because he knows you love to dress up, a lip balm because he loves to kiss your lips, a Lego mini figure of a favourite comic book character, a book mark because he knows you love reading…These type of things mean much more to me and are the things I have come to cherish particularly as I get older…

Heart Peg / The Works (pack of 10), Earrings / F&F, Trinket dish / Clintons, Lip balm / Beauty Base , Silver Love Heart / Suck UK , Love potion bottle / East of India, Harley Quinn figure / Lego.

So for a simpler way to celebrate, put your phone away, don’t broadcast what you’re doing or not doing and just do something that makes the person you love (whether its a lover, a friend or yourself – self love counts too remember) happy. Write a note, share a memory, make a favourite meal or just sit on the sofa watching a favourite film. Obviously feel free to do any of the other ‘Valentiney’ things if thats your bag, but do them because you want to and can afford to, not because you’re trying to out-do the rest of Facebook, impress your friends or feel pressured to by others.

Celebrate or don’t celebrate, but do it you way!

…And most importantly, none of the ideas shown in this blog cost a lot… because I truly believe love shouldn’t come with a price tag! xx

*items marked with an asterisk denotes a gifted item but all views stated are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer section.

Hankies at the Ready…

I do like to find a piece of clothing that has something about it thats a bit different – a detail, a print or a cut. Style is about finding your voice and the clothes you pick are a great way to do that.

I found this dress by chance when popping into the George clothing section in Asda a few weeks ago. It was crammed on the sale area, all on its own between jumpers and jeans just asking to be looked at. It didn’t look that much in the hanger but I loved its hemline – it was so unusual with it handkerchief hem I just had to try it on. It was a size bigger than I usually buy but I often size up with George and wanted a kind of boho looser fit which when I tried it on it was. And the price? Just £10!

George at Asda snakeprint handkerchief hem dress via Always a Blue Sky Girl aka blueskygirlie fashion style blog

George at Asda snakeprint handkerchief hem dress via Always a Blue Sky Girl aka blueskygirlie fashion style blog

George at Asda snakeprint handkerchief hem dress via Always a Blue Sky Girl aka blueskygirlie fashion style blog

It had a matching tie belt but to make it look more premium I replaced that with a dark silver belt and matching ankle boots. And due to always feeling cold I added a roll neck bodysuit (great if you want to layer without lumps and bumps under your clothes)

George at Asda snakeprint handkerchief hem dress via Always a Blue Sky Girl aka blueskygirlie fashion style blog

Its the hem that makes this dress though. Unusual without being too quirky its one of those items you can dress up or down, layer up in cold weather. Plus for women over 40 like me – it has long sleeves – always a winner.

I absolutely love this item and am so glad I found it…isn’t it funny that sometimes the random things you chance upon become favourites? I probably wouldn’t of looked twice at this if I’d of seen it in a magazine. Its sold out online but have a look in your nearest store – I’ve seen them in a few stores since and it been reduced to £7 – thats practically a steal!

George at Asda snakeprint handkerchief hem dress via Always a Blue Sky Girl aka blueskygirlie fashion style blog

Dress / George at Asda
Roll neck bodysuit / New Look
Belt / Dorothy Perkins
Boots / Primark

Prince of Wales check – vintage style

Sometimes a fashion item is just EVERYWHERE. Now, I love to update my wardrobe but I also love a bargain. When everyone started wearing Prince of Wales check blazers I wanted one too. I tried on the £17 one in Primark but it looked terrible on me, I tried on the £65 Topshop one but couldn’t justify the money. So what is a girl to do?

Well in the case of an item which is a re-do of a style from the past you choose vintage!

This whole trend is a re-hash of an 1980’s look so I set my sights on sourcing a vintage 80’s ladies suit jacket and after about a month of searching I found one! Often true vintage will need a little updating and in this case it was a case of removing a set of shoulder pads but then it was ready to go.

This is the result – for a £3 spend I think it works pretty well. £3 – can you believe it? Another reason I love to look for vintage items…

Vintage prince of wales check jacket blazer via Always a Blue Sky Girl blueskygirlie fashion style 40plus blog

Vintage prince of wales check jacket blazer via Always a Blue Sky Girl blueskygirlie fashion style 40plus blog

Styling-wise I went for a smart casual look, wearing a slim fitting roll neck underneath then rolling up the sleeves. Jeans made the whole look more modern, as did a pair of silver boots.

Vintage prince of wales check jacket blazer via Always a Blue Sky Girl blueskygirlie fashion style 40plus blog


I love the more relaxed look of boyfriend jeans and western boots. These silver boots are currently in the Primark sale at just £3 too! They are really comfortable too so definitely worth grabbing if you see them.

Vintage prince of wales check jacket blazer via Always a Blue Sky Girl blueskygirlie fashion style 40plus blog

Jacket / Cancer Research UK
Roll neck / M&Co.
Jeans / TU at Sainsburys
Boots / Primark

So would you rummage through a charity shop or two to save yourself some money? Eco friendly, charitable and gives you more money to spend on other things…I think its always worth a look!

Getting back into watch wearing

I used to wear a watch.  In fact I wore a few.  I had Swatch watches in the 80’s and 90’s, a G-Shock in the 00’s and by my thirties I had worked up to designer brands.

And then I got a smart phone. 

Technology is great, and yep, your phone tells the time but its usually in your bag, or the batteries dead or (worst thing ever) you’ve left it at home. I am forever asking my boyfriend (who sensibly wears a watch) what the time is and I realised that smart or not, my iphone was really not doing it for me anymore.

Step in Plus Watches.  After a quick look round their website I fell in love with a gorgeous, classic watch which I thought had a timeless style and would go with anything. It was from the Marc Jacobs section, a brand I have always loved and thought suited my style (which has evolved slightly since wearing a Casio G-Shock back in the day, thankfully).

It was gold with a off-white dial, a real leather strap and said ‘designer’ without screaming it. Understated style with a luxury feel – thats what I wanted in a watch so I picked this Marc by Marc Jacobs beauty…

Find it here

It was a bargain too – reduced to £112.99 from £199.00 which I thought was a really good price for a watch of this quality.



Delivered really quickly and securely (and for free – I do love free delivery!) it arrived in a lovely gift box which would make it perfect as a gift too. It has a Quartz movement and is water resistant to 5ATM (50m), but the thing I liked the most about it is its tan pigskin leather strap.  I have really small wrists and most watches swamp them or if they have link straps have to have links taken out. With this being a traditional style strap, it fitted my wrist perfectly…and didnt look out of proportion either.  Its perfect.


With it being quite neutral in its colour mix, it goes with so many of my other accessories particularly things I like wearing in the Autumn. I will layer gold coloured jewellery with it to create a strong Autumn/Winter look.  By Christmas I will add brooches too all with the same golden theme.


I have hardly took this watch off since I received it.  I have worn it most days and it really has gone with everything I’ve worn. 

I guess I’m back in love with wearing watches!

.

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Marc by Marc Jacobs watch / via Plus Watches.

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

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.

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

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.