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.

Birthday Bonanza 

So last month it was my birthday. Its lovely to receive presents particularly when most of the year youre spending your money mainly on other people (kids I’m looking at you). Want to see a selection of what I was lucky enough to get?

As a working mum/stepmum of three boys, doing up a house, with a foreign summer holiday on the cards, there’s nothing too extravagant here but have a look and hopefully get inspired for some present choices of your own…

V by Very colour block coat, V by Very embellished cross-body bag / Very.co.uk

I had been after this coat for a while and when it went 50% off in the Very sale pointed my boyfriend towards it. It is wool with different colour panels and really looks fab with just jeans and a t-shirt.

This bag was another item that went into sale, it was out of stock for ages but when a few appeared online I made sure one of them ended up as a birthday gift for me! The detail on the strap is just lovely and has got quite a few comments plus they go together nicely too!


Embroidered sleeve peasant top / Next

Everywhere on Instagram, this top will be a summer staple for me. Be warned though it comes up quite short so I went up a size to the medium. The detail is amazing though and it looks like a £300 top not a £40 one.

Love you to the moon and back artwork / Clintons


I am going to hang this within a collection of artworks on one of our feature walls – its a phrase my fiancé always says to me so has real meaning too.

Boho jacket, fluted sleeve jumper, assymetrical earrings / M&S


I had been given some money so put it to good use in good old M&S. The fluted sleeve ‘it’ jumper had been on my wishlist since Christmas so I decided to treat myself but instead of my usual grey I went pink!

Reasons I love you gift box / Not on the High Street

This was the cutest little birthday gift from my fiancé…there are 10 handwritten notes in this pretty box saying reasons why he loves me ☺️ I do love a personalised gift and a romantic gesture too. 

Bloom by Estee Lalonde/ Amazon


I was interviewed by Estee as part of the behind the scenes filming on the Garnier advert I filmed last December and was struck by her cool Canadian style. Her book has all sorts of tips and information in and I really like its relaxed but stylish vibe.

‘Hello Lovely’ hanging mirror plaque / Wilkinsons


Because if you can’t have a mirror tell you youre lovely then whats the point? This is really lovely and adds a feminine touch to my usually quite retro tastes.

Vintage 1980’s necklace / Vintage Fair


Ah my best friend knows me well! I will wear this with a black polo neck or t-shirt while channeling my inner Melanie Griffiths in Working Girl. I love vintage jewellery for its uniqueness and love this look.

And that is a selection of the bits I got!  I hope my presents gave you some style inspiration – its lovely to receive gifts you love and I usually set up a wishlist or ask for money to achieve just that. 

So I’d better start building it back up – its only 8 months to Christmas!!!

The Art of Self-Gifting

So do you do it? Its kind of naughty, a little selfish and *ahem* very satisfying… I am of course talking about self-gifting. The act of treating yourself to the thing you want because, well, you’re worth it!

Now, I have a few personal rules for gifting to ones self.

  • Firstly they must be bargains (no extravagance here, thats for wish lists and actual gifts from loved ones),
  • They should be relatively frivolous – theres no joy in self gifting yourself something like nail varnish remover but a lovely nail varnish, now thats completely different,
  • They should ALWAYS make you feel good,
  • They shouldnt cost too much – £20 is usually my limit, spending more for no reason makes me feel a bit guilty!

We all deserve a treat now and again and as women we often put everyone before ourselves, particularly once we become mothers.

So, need some self-gifting inspiration? Here’s the last 10 things I self-gifted myself starting from just £1…

1) Striped tee £4.99
2) Tulle skirt £14.99 / all New Look


3) Adidas red gazelles (kids) £19.50 / Very.co.uk


4) Lace ruffle top / £15 / V by Very


5) Stationary inc planner clipboard £1.50 / Wilkinsons
A5 lightbox £12.99 / New Look


6) Embroidered biker jacket £10
7) Pin badge set £1
8) Gold textured boots £7 / all Primark


9) Asymmetric earrings £3 / Topshop

10) Glitter boots £7.50 / TU at Sainsbury

Not so keen to self-gift? Why not try the ‘I’ve bought this and you can give it to me as my birthday/mothers day/theres an r in the month present’. I find that one works well too!!!

Do you love to treat yourself and what do you treat yourself with? I’d love to know…

The boon. Christmas Shopping Challenge 

When boon. got in contact with me and asked me if I wanted to take part in their Christmas challenge I just couldn’t say no. Their challenge if I chose to accept it? To find some fabulous Christmas fashion available on the high street now, paying via my phone using the boon. pre-pay Mastercard and then share it with you guys.

I had to find the following –

  • A Christmas party outfit that could be worn 2/3 different ways
  • A secret santa gift for a friend that says they’re not a hipster, but are, bought from a charity shop.
  • A Christmas party accessory
  • A Christmas jumper

So far, so exciting. But first of all I bet some of you are thinking, what is a boon. card? Well, good question. I am new to using boon. (and Apple Pay in general) and was a little nervous at first. But my worries were unfounded – its super easy to use, very secure and a great way to stick to a budget (something I always need help with!)

So boon. (the full stop is part of its name) is basically a digital, prepaid MasterCard. You download the app and sign up to use it with Apple Pay and store it in your Apple wallet. You can top-up your account via your bank account, debit or credit card and it works via your phone at any contactless payment terminal.

It is very secure (my primary concern) as when you add a credit or debit card to Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device, nor on Apples servers. Instead, a unique device account number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored on your device, then each transaction is authorised with a one-time security code. You have an app on your phone that tracks your payments, sending you a message when money leaves or enters the account as well as providing you with a statement of your spending.

So, phone in hand, I was ready to shop… but what did I choose?

The Christmas Party Outfit – 


Sequin sweatshirt / £10.00
Metallic pleated skirt / £15.00
Leopard boots / £12.00

Earrings / £2 all Primark

This will be my boxing day/night outfit but then I will wear the top with black jeans and the leopard boots for a more casual party look later in the week for a night in the pub and the metallic pleated skirt with a lace top and heels for a sexier, party look which would be perfect for New Years Eve. Mix and match party dressing – perfect!


The Secret Santa Gift – 

I saw these 1980’s Ladybird books in one of my local charity shops and I just had to get them! Retro and cool Ladybird books would remind any hipster of their childhoods and we all love a bit of nostalgia dont we? They could even frame the illustrations and front covers to create some really cool art for their walls.


Disney is always a hit whatever your age but then I saw this ‘Frog Chorus’ one and I had to buy that too…how perfect for Christmas is that!?!  I have no idea why this is a Christmas song but it is on about every Xmas compilation I own! All together now “Bom, bom-bom, baw-ah-wah, Bom, bom-bom, We all stand together…”


Ladybird books / £1 each all Scope Charity shop

Did you know some charity shops take boon. too? If they have a contactless payment terminal you can use your phone to pay just like anywhere else and if you want to get in on the secret santa action, boon. are currently running a competition on Facebook where you can win some credit for yourself too. Check out their Facebook page for more details!

The Christmas Party Accessory – 

Lately I have been wearing more things with a high neckline and consequently have been moving away from wearing necklaces, prefering statement earrings and bracelets. This stunning duo look glitzy without being tacky and would go with any colour party outfit.  I like that the earrings are hooped rather than chandelier style, keeping their style contemporary and the bracelet is adjustable like a necklace – perfect if you have tiny feeble wrists like me!

Diamante bracelet / £4
Diamante earrings / £3 both Limited Edition by Atmosphere
I also couldn’t resist these gift bow earrings…so cute for subtle Christmas dressing up.

Bow earrings / £1 Primark

The Christmas Jumper – 

Ok, so I’m gonna level with you – I’m not really a Christmas jumper person. I like being festive and I LOVE sparkle and embellishment but having a cheap, novelty jumper on isnt really my thing. I will if I have to, but at 43, I’d rather create something a bit more stylish. However I do like to embrace the festive period so I thought about how could create a Christmas jumper that wasnt actually a Christmas jumper and my stylish solution was this…


Pink roll neck jumper / £9.99 
Brooch / £5.99 Wreath brooch / £5.99 all New Look

I added a couple of my own vintage brooches, and….et voila!
Bow earrings / £1 Primark
Vintage brooches / my own 

I love this look – it has all the sparkle you want at Christmas but it is not silly, plus you can wear it all year round – if you want to make it a bit less Christmassy you can just remove a few (or all) of the brooches. I’m going to wear it with a metallic skirt and  silver brogues over Christmas for a pretty, girlie look.


Skirt/Socks/Shoes my own

So you’ve seen my Christmas Shopping Challenge buys – I stayed within my budget and came home with a set of items I just love and think will improve my existing wardrobe, plus I donated to charity too.  I hope you love my choices as much as I do and they inspire you this Christmas whether you are buying for yourself or for friends and family.

This post was written in conjunction with boon. but all views expressed are my own. Find out more about putting boon. in your Apple Wallet here.

MY VERY.CO.UK SALE HAUL

Regular readers to this blog will know I’m quite a fan of Very. I have been a customer for a long time now and as well as loving the ranges I also like, as a online catalogue, you can have an interest free account and pay your balance in 3 parts using their ‘take 3’ option. This can be quite useful to spread the cost of things across 3 paydays or split a bigger purchase such as a leather jacket into more bitesize pieces.  And then theres the sales…

Have a look at what I bought recently – 

Definitions asymetric tunic – £9.75 (from £25) – the coral colour sold me on this top and its such an easy summer wear with leggings and sandals.


Vila suedette and stripe breton top – £16 (from £22) – I loved the updating of the classic breton with the suedette top and it works perfectly with the South boyfriend jeans – £15 (from £32) – distressed jeans look great in the summer rolled up with sandals and the dark wash on this pair is just perfect and looks really premium.

Shoe box lace up flats – £10 (from £20) – I’ve been seeing lace-up flats on fashion bloggers everywhere and at this price I couldnt resist!


River Island bib collar – £6 (from £16) – OK, OK its clear I love a collar! I find them so versatile and love the look they create without ruining the line of your clothes. 

South skinny cropped jeans £11 each (from £20) – not the most exciting items in the world, but these will become a wardrobe staple and with their tight capri leg and high waist suit my figure perfectly.


All items available at Very.co.uk now while stocks last. New customers can open a Very credit account and get £30 off your first £60 spend using code FDNWW.

New Look Mini Haul

I love New Look and popped in the other day…and left with a carrier bag full of bargains! Want to see what I bought?
  

Camel boxy jumper – £7.99  This jumper has been used in a lot of New Looks adverts as its at such a good price. I wanted a simple jumper in this seasons big colour, camel, and this one was perfect and a total bargain. Its nice a roomy and a size small will easily fit anyone 8-12. It is also available in sizes medium and large.

915 glitter Mary-Jane block heel shoes – £6 (from £19.99) Ok, they’re not the Boden ones but if you have feet size 6 (EUR 39) or smaller then the 915 teen range has some amazing fashion shoes. I will team these with opaque tights and party dresses this winter for a festive fun look.

915 metallic silver brogues – £6 (from £19.99) How nice are these? A perfect way to jazz up an outfit of jumper and skinny jeans this winter. Again smaller feet = fab bargain shoes! Hoorah!

Leopard print skinny scarf – £1 (from £4.99) I am going to use this as a pussy-bow for blouses and fitted jumpers.

Orange slice novelty bag – £3.50 (from £12.99)  I loved this in the spring when it came out but couldn’t justify buying another novelty bag (I have a few!) but at 70% off? It would of been rude not to!

I love a bit of New Look! What have you bought lately – I would love to know…

Visiting Copenhagen

My partner and I have made a promise to ourselves to see a new city and do a new thing every year and this Easter was the turn of visiting a new place. 

I’ve wanted to visit Denmark for a while.  Its one of the most stylish places from a design perspective, is a totally different experience from travelling in southern Europe, embraces English as a language and is said to be one of the happiest place to live.

I instagram’ed A LOT while there so let me share with you what I saw, discovered and felt…

The airport – yep, Denmark scores high in the design department, even the airport is stunning.


Tourist attractions – theres so much to choose from but heres a few I loved…

There are a lot of royal palaces to visit as various ones were built, burnt down or replaced since the 1700’s. The current royal family live in two modest palaces (similar to an English stately home size) protected by Bearskin wearing guards not unlike ours. 

The Little Mermaid has to be THE thing to visit while in Copenhagen.  It can be reached on foot and is quite amazing to see in real life. Hans Christian Andersons legacy can be seen all around the city and gives it a magical air. I have to say I got quite emotional seeing it in real life.  There is also a ‘Big Mermaid’ to visit further up the shores edge where you can also do watersports and sail.

Copenhagen is quite unique as it has a theme park right in the middle of the city. Tivoli Gardens was founded in 1843 and has become one of the cities biggest attractions. Hans Christian Andersen visited many times, as did Walt Disney who was said to of used it as inspiration for Disneyland.  Part of Tivoli Gardens’ secret is that there is something for everyone – the scenery is beautiful with exotic architecture, theres fantastic food and drink, it has historic buildings and of course the famous gardens. At night, thousands of coloured lights create a fairy tale atmosphere that is completely unlike anywhere I’ve ever been to. It is quite expensive if you want to go on all the rides and eat dinner but its definitely worth it.  I will never forget how magical it was.

  

For a great view of the city visit the Rundetårn (The Round Tower) which is a 17th-century tower built as an astrological observatory. It is most well known for its corkscrew style path instead of stairs leading to the top, and for the great views over Copenhagen.  We liked the glass floor where you could look down and see how high you were plus we got to do one of our holiday traditions of kissing at the highest point we can find in the city!

  

  Food and drink – 

Denmarks food is fresh, simple and tasty. Copenhagen is expensive to eat and drink so it was great to have a good breakfast at the hotel before we started our day. Hot breakfasts arent really a thing in Denmark so expect boiled eggs, breads, meats to make sandwiches, yoghurt and many types of pastries.  Open sandwiches with variations of salt beef, roast beef, fried eggs, beetroot, herring, liver paté and rye bread should definitely be tried for lunch.  And for dinner?  Well I loved their steaks…

  Nyhavn – 

If you picture Copenhagen you will probably picture the postcard prettiness of Nyhavn (New Harbour).  Bright coloured buildings line the side of the canal with lots of beautiful boats moored there.  Its a great place to eat and drink or take one of the sightseeing boats round the city – we did both.  Absolute holiday perfection.

 
Love Locks – 

Last year we visited Barcelona and left a engraved padlock there and it has now become a holiday tradition to do so.  This years padlock is now happily amongst the others on the bridge at Bryggebroen where you will find hundreds of other peoples padlocks too. 

If you don’t know the idea, also seen in many other big cities, it is that couples come and lock their padlocks (decorated with their names, dates and other messages) to the wires of the bridge, then throw the keys to the water below as a sign of unbreakable love. Pretty romantic, eh?  See our love lock below…

Modern Architecture – 

As well as the old, Copenhagen also has some amazing modern architecture.  It really takes your breath away as it is such a stylish place. My favourite was the ‘Black Diamond’ building (seen below with us reflected in it) built to reflect the water all around so ever shimmering like a gem and close second was the Opera House (seen after). 
Shopping – 

I did some shopping of course!  Strøget, the main shopping street in the city is Europe’s longest pedestrianised thoroughfare, running for well over 1,000 yards.  The selection of designer homewares is amazing with recognisable Danish brands everywhere plus lots of antique shops.  There’s also a real ‘healthy’ feel to shopping with the biggest selection of fitness clothing across different shops that I’ve ever seen including specific departments just for kids.  Clothing wise, H&M rules the high street and its not hard to see why.  Look out for further blogs on what I bought there!  My partner loves Lego and he was not dissapointed either.  Made in Denmark its presence is strong in department stores, toy shops and its own stores and it looks great.

  

Bikes – 

Continuing the healthy feel, there are so many people riding bikes.  It is a very ‘green’ city and you can hire bikes and park them pretty much anywhere.  This leads to a very laid back vibe, with the streets clean and quiet. 

We found everything really easy in Copenhagen. You can fly there cheaply (our flights only cost us around £50 each return and that was during the Easter break), the people are very friendly, everyone speaks English and signs/announmcements are all in both languages. The weather in April was warm and not that different to the UK.  Its easy to get from the airport to the city centre (about 20 mins on the train) and the city can be navigated easily on foot or by metro/train.  It has definitely become one of my favourite places and I would highly recommend a visit.

Its the perfect city break!  

Cath Kidston + Gola = Trainer Perfection

This Spring, iconic British retailer Cath Kidston launched a collaboration with retro British sports brand Gola creating a range of fun trainers, in the classic Gola ‘Harrier’ style re-imagined in four gorgeous Cath Kidston prints.  Four different versions were created – something for every girls taste, even if (like me) they weren’t a dedicated Cath Kidston shopper before.


source

There are four statement prints to choose from – ‘Mini Clouds’ which brings a quirky, dreamy, retro style, ‘Mini Patchwork’ – this is a cute, fun, vintage look and finally ‘Paradise Fields’ giving a fresh, feminine, floral look in indigo or chalk colour ways.  


source

I think the Gola design merges beautifully with the Cath Kidston print and red embroidered logo. Originally launched in the sixties, the Gola ‘Harrier’ design remains a firm favourite within the range to this day.  The result is a super comfy trainer due to its wide fit, suede trims and soft textile lining but also something that looks that bit different.

If you’re a fan of Cath Kidston you can buy matching pieces to complete your look.  There is so much to choose from.  I can feel my bank account diminishing as we speak!  Come on, who could resist a pair of matching cute socks for only £6.00?  Or a matching bag?  Or even a full print dress, scarf or skirt?  Be brave – Spring is a time to embrace brighter colours and great prints. 


source

As it was my birthday recently I asked for a pair of the cloud design trainers for my birthday present. I had seen them in the press and instantly fallen in love with them.  The design is one of my favourite motifs – I just love the image of blue skies and clouds.  It makes me feel happy but I also love the idea of blue sky thinking – to be the most creative you can be and to not be held back by current thinking.  I want to be that type of person.  My blog is called ‘Always a Blue Sky Girl’, my business is called Blue Sky Visual Merchandising and BlueSkyGirlie is my Instagram/Twitter name. Yep, its definitely a thing for me!

At £65.00 they are not cheap, but well worth the investment in my opinion. The quality is fantastic, the fit is great and I just can’t stop looking at my feet and smiling!!!  You get an extra pair of grey laces but I opted for the bright yellow ones that were already laced into them – the extra pop of bright yellow alongside the yellow Gola stripes really adds to the quirky look. 


What a way to make a statement with your feet!  I’m currently wearing mine with skinny jeans, cotton tees, blazers and slouchy jumpers.  I think they’d also look cute with a dress for a fun look.  Whatever way you want to wear them let the shoes do the talking. 


The range will be sold exclusively through Cath Kidston online and its stores and concessions in the UK and worldwide.  I guarantee these are going to sell fast and you’ll see them on the feet of celebrities and top fashion bloggers.

All I have to do is work out which pair I want next…

March birthday wish list

It’s my birthday month.  Did I mention that? Oh I did?  A lot?  Yeah I do that… Heres my list of the things I am currently coveting, desperately searching for or if I’m lucky, receiving this March.  Did I mention its my birthday?



As someone who has lost a lot of weight and now runs 5k 3 times a week, Karrimor clothing plays a big part in my life.  This bright zip up fleece will see me through chillier runs as is a total bargain reduced to just £8.99.



I’m obsessive about my underwear matching and a pretty set always works (plus the other half appreciates it too!).  Debenhams has an adorable hearts lingerie set by Floozie at £32.50 for the set which I think is super cute and feminine. 

I love GIRLS (the HBO show) and this £7.99 TK Maxx Red Nose Day journal with Hannahs amazingly arrogant and hilarious quote is just fantastic.  Plus you’re donating to a great charity at the same time.  Actually, thinking about it, maybe I am the voice of my generation….😂



As a ‘Blue Sky Girl’ I HAD to have these Cath Kidston collaboration Gola trainers after I saw them at the Press Show.  At £65.00 they are more than I would usually spend but luckily I’m getting them from my partner for my birthday present.  And gosh I just adore them – expect to see them in many Instagrams. I love the entire ‘Clouds’ range and hopefully will get a few of the home bits too.



I’m a dinky 5’2″ so this £7.99 New Look Petite t-shirt makes me smile.  Great to throw on with a pair of jeans and some trainers.



The Jenny Mollen book ‘I like you just the way I am’ looks so funny. She is just wonderful!  Still not got it (it was on my Feb wish list LOL) and at £16.99 (thats the cover price so will be cheaper online) is money well spent IMO.



This New Look sleeveless coat is something I want so badly but is currently out of stock online.  I will now start a desperate search around all the stores in the south east – you are killing me New Look!  Its £39.99 if you can find it



Sia – 1000 forms of Fear CD.  I’m getting this as part of my birthday present from my sister and I can’t wait.  Her music is just perfection – Elastic Heart has been one of my favourite songs of 2015 so far.



This eBay cat jumper is an aquired taste but I love it.  I do like a piece if clothing with a sense of humour – and it’s bargain at a tenner too. Meow!!! 



I saw this Lavish Alice Cape blazer worn by another blogger and fell in love with it.  A real statement piece but something I think you’d wear forever.  £54.00 at ASOS and just so sophisticated. 



So, birthday or no birthday, has any of that got you wanting to shop? Whats on your shopping list this March?  

All images sourced via the website linked on the text.