5 Things I Would Consider When Booking A Personal Shopper


booking a personal shopper


So, you’re booking a personal shopper.  What a great idea!  Of course, you would expect me to say that, but long before I qualified I worked with a personal shopper and I still have the pieces today that I bought back then.  It’s an investment for sure, but its one that should have lasting benefits to you.  A great shopping experience not only results in some clever purchases but also a new found confidence in your own shopping skills.


To get the most out of your personal shopping experience I’m going to share my top tips to ensure you have any experience that is shopping trip gold.


Carve Out A Little Me-Time Before Booking A Personal Shopper


Like any investment it’s worth carving out some time to give some real thought to what you want to achieve.  Consider what you need clothes for and why.  Think about your lifestyle.  If your wardrobe (full of clothes) is no longer working for you chances are they simply don’t fit your lifestyle now.  Perhaps you once worked in an office but now spend your days running a business from the kitchen table.  Or you’ve not long become a mum and are trying to work out who the new you is and adapt accordingly.


Answer these four questions?


  1. What’s in my wardrobe that I’m not wearing?
  2. What percentage of my wardrobe gets worn?  If its only 20-30% consider why?  Has your lifestyle changed?  Perhaps you need to consider a Wardrobe Reboot before you go shopping to identify the gaps in your wardrobe?
  3. How has my lifestyle changed?  For example, are there items I need more of now than I used to.
  4. What is coming up in my diary that I need an outfit for?


Spending time looking at what you need now will really help you reap the rewards when you go shopping.  It will create a brief to give to your stylist and ultimately helps you get to the root of any wardrobe issues that has resulted in your need for some outside support.


Consider How You Want To Spend Your Money


It would be great if we all had endless wads of cash to spend on ourselves, but it’s likely that just like me you’re working within a budget.


So don’t just think about how much money you want to spend; consider how you want to spend it.


Are you thinking of making an investment. Do you want a coat, suit or statement dress that is essentially an investment purchase, or do you want to mix it up with high end/low end price point pieces?


Perhaps it’s a whole outfit that you need, in which case your stylist can help identify which piece within the whole outfit to spend a little more on. For example, you might fancy a trench coat, Breton top and Capri pants with loafers to finish.  The coat and shoes would likely be more of an investment purchase with the aim of enjoying a great cost per wear ratio from the purchase, while the top and pants can be less expensive.


Alternatively, you could a set budget that needs to really work hard for you.  You might need a lot of items.  Either option is absolutely fine, but if you consider your objectives and brief the shopper from the outset, she or he will truly understand where you’re coming from.  Their job is to align your budget to the shops they suggest when you go out together.


Have A Bra Fitting First


It’s actually not an obvious thing do to, but if you haven’t been shopping at all for a while it might be worth having a bra fitting before you go full throttle on a major  shopping expedition.  Or if you don’t have time beforehand make it part of the shopping experience.


What you wear underneath your clothes is truly the foundation for how clothes will fall and shape your body.  A good bra fitting is a great place to start.


Fittings are free in most major department stores and the ones I’ve tried, House of Fraser and Marks and Spencer have not been pushy for you to make a purchase.  There are also brilliant independent shops up and down the country.  If you’re in Bristol or Bath I can’t recommend Perfect Fit in Keynsham enough.  It’s a business that has been going for 26 years or more and offer a very personal service.


The last time I went for a bra fitting (House of Fraser, Cabot Circus, Bristol) I was wearing a 36c bra when I went in.  I left wearing 34DD.  Needless to say my boobs are back in the right place!


Open Your Mind To New Possibilities When Booking A Personal Shopper


No matter what your objectives for booking a personal shopper you should expect them to work to your brief but also, I believe, explore new possibilities when it comes to your style.


Yes, the stylist needs to listen to what you want, how you live your life and if there are more pressing pieces you want for your wardrobe than others, but you can also use the opportunity to see yourself in someone else’s eyes.  So my advice is ‘go with an open mind’ and let the shopper show you fresh and exciting ways to wear new clothes.


There is nothing I like more, or have had a better response from, than when I’ve taken clothes into a changing room that the client would not have picked for themselves and they’ve been stunned by how great they feel and how good they’ve looked.


All I can say is for a true transformation, be open, explore all the possibilities personal shopping offers you and let stylist guide you to a new, stylish you.


Think About Where You Want To Go Shopping


Where to go shopping?  Do you have a favourite brand or shop but you want a fresh pair of eyes to help you identify new looks for you?  Or are you tempted to try a store but feel intimidated to go in?  That’s where a personal stylist will come in to her own, because nothing phases someone who shops for a living!

Sometimes a department store is a good place to start, so consider which one has brands that you like or want to try.  You’re going to be shopping for a few hours, so perhaps when booking a personal shopper think about the area.  Independent stores can be stuffed with some really great pieces, but you’ll be wasting time in a car if you have to drive from one to another during your time with a stylist.  My advice would be to pick an area where there are clusters of shops that interest you.

It’s likely you won’t get everything done in one big shop, for example, in Bristol, Zara is based in Cabot Circus, but you might also like Hush, which is only available in John Lewis at the Mall, Cribbs Causeway. At this point, you just got to prioritize or book more than one personal shopping experience.  Whichever way, have a think about where you want to shop, to make the most of the time spent.



And that’s my five tips for you.  Hope you enjoyed it. Please do share in the comments below if you have you worked with a personal shopper?  How was your experience?  Do you have any tips for readers booking a personal shopper?



Gail x






Nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award



It’s always nice to receive a little recognition, so I was delighted when Heidi of Chronic Beauty Style nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award.


If you don’t know it’s an insider’s award scheme where fellow bloggers nominate blogs that they enjoy, sharing them with their readers, while answering five questions on the topic of blogging themselves.


So, here’s my answers to Heidi’s questions and if you’re looking for some fab beauty advice head over to Chronic Beauty Style afterwards.  Four more terrific blogger recommendations are at the bottom of this post.


Q 1:  What encouraged you to create a blog?

I caught myself in the mirror one afternoon and didn’t like the look of the woman staring back at me.  She needed sprucing up.  I googled fashion and make-up ideas for mid-life women and came up with very little information or ideas.  It kind of got my goat.  Was I invisible?  I jokingly said to my husband, I should start a blog documenting my journey to polishing up my appearance and he said, yes, do it.  There was no going back.

I did lots of research and set up my own blog site (that was painful) and Not Givin In went live September 2015.  I can’t believe that I’ve been a blogger that long to be honest.  P.S.  Technology has improved and companies now exist with services at relatively low cost, so setting up a blog isn’t that painful any more.



Q 2:  What would you say you offer your readers?

Some insight into presenting the best version of yourself to the world.  Like a supportive friend I’m sharing what fashions I’ve seen that will work for you, classic beauty treatments to stock in the bathroom cabinet, fresh make-up ideas, like the latest mascara that doesn’t smudge, or a cute lipstick that helps you to feel great.

It can also be lifestyle discussions.  One of my favourite posts from the last year has been 35 Things I Learnt in My Forties.  I wrote it when I turned 50 and I really wanted to share how I was feeling about life at this stage in the game.  It’s written from the heart and I really enjoyed writing it.  I guess it was a subject that I’m expert in!


Q 3: How do you see your blog developing in the next few years?

I’m excited to say that Not Givin In has been brought to life.  I’m now a qualified personal stylist working in Bristol and Bath, offering 1-2-1 services including Personal Style Development and Colour Consultation, a Wardrobe Reboot and Personal Shopping experiences.

It’s great to be supporting women who want to make the most of their appearance and find their own unique style.   It can be a thorough wardrobe declutter that reveals the hidden gems within it, so they spend less money and live more sustainably, or tapping into my savvy shopping skills to find key pieces to elevate their appearance. I love it.

The blog continues, of course.  I love sharing style tips, ideas on the latest fashions that work for all ages.  Perhaps some to avoid!  I mean, I keep it real!  I also love beauty and make-up, so when I find a good product, I have to tell my readers. That’s how we learn, right, from others who are in the same position as us but have had good/bad experiences they can share.

I hope Not Givin In continues for a long time.


Q 4: Do you prefer blogging or social media and why?

When I started to see conversations popping up that blogging was going out of fashion in favour of social media, I decided not to read too much into it as I enjoy both and believe there is a place for each style of communication.

When blogs became popular there was a lot said that getting information online would outstrip print media and yes, some magazines have sadly gone by the wayside, but there are always new ones popping up and truly great magazine titles are still going strong.  I think blogs have their place in the wide variety of media available.  There is room for all, but to get the most of writing blog posts you need to write compelling articles that people want to read.

I love Instagram’s instant connection with everyone and that its multi-layered. I think Insta Stories will overtake interest in the grid.  Personally, I love the quick fix of entertainment I find by watching Stories and I’m often more interested in posting that way myself.


Q 5: What drives you to keep blogging when niches can be so flooded?

A blog more often than not documents a personal journey and generally its readers have a shared interest.  I think readers either like a writer or not so once you have a connection it’s as good as any loyal friendship.  Not everyone will ‘get you’ but concentrate on keeping the conversation going with interesting articles with those that do and the relationship will continue.

This leads me nicely to a blogger or two that I would like nominate for a Sunshine Blogger Award.  Can I recommend you go and read these fantastic online resources:


The Silver Kat


Small Town Threads

My Fashionable 40s

Also Nadine Baggot – Nadine is actually on YouTube, but I never miss her uploads and nor should you. She is ace.


As is the traditional, if these bloggers would like to take part here are my questions for your award post:


  • What was the catalyst to writing a blog?
  • How much time do you give to it each week?
  • Can you share three top tips to keeping motivated?
  • Where do you find inspiration?
  • What other platforms do you use to communicate with your audience?


Bikini vs One-Piece? Once more unto the beach dear friends

“According to what I heard on the radio, it’s the one-piece that’s in this year,” said SP while he was washing the dishes last night.  I know what you’re thinking. What would I do without him!


I also know that many of my friends are making the change from two piece bathing suit to one-piece this Summer, and, while I can see the benefits of doing so, I’m not sure I’m ready.  (Though others by the pool might think I am!)


It might sound silly, but for me, it would feel like a move towards more mature times, like shopping in BHS, and I’m not ready to give in.  I expect there are plenty of you who disagree and I’m not that hard of face or opinionated to look at the alternatives.   Am I making a mistake?  What are the options out there?  I thought I’d take a look-see.

Next - Photo from Pinterest (3) Jungle Print Multiway Swimsuit £32

Next – Photo from Pinterest (3) Jungle Print Multiway Swimsuit £32


I have definitely changed my pool-lounging habits over the past eight-nine years.  I still have the bikini that I wore on my first holiday with SP, but I haven’t put it on in years.  Designed by Kylie or for Kylie by H&M, it’s a metallic, no-bigger-than-a-piece-of- floss-style bikini with padded bra for extra oomph.  It doesn’t cover much.  It wasn’t meant to, we all know how tiny she is.  And so was I, a little bit, back then.


Certainly as I kicked in to myforties I made sure there was more support and more material to my bikinis and I found Marks & Spencer, year after year, has had some of the best options on the high street.  They always produce a really good selection of bandaux tops each year, which means you won’t get strap marks and have to limit your choice of evening wear on holiday. They come in the latest colourways and have removable padding, which normally I dislike in bras, but I’ve found these to have just the right support for me.


M&S Halterneck Bandeau Bikini Top £10


Bottom-wise, the floss has long gone and I’ve chosen M&S’s Roll Top Hipster Bikini Bottoms for quite a few years.  The material is always gorgeously soft and the added width to my hips give me a little more shape.

M&S Roll Top Hipster Bikini Bottoms £14


All in, £24.  That’s not bad and I will be taking my collection with me this year, but what if I, or anyone else, fancies switching it up this holiday season.

The choice of one-pieces out there are actually really, really good.  I did a bit of snooping around and every store that is showcasing its new beach wear has a nice collection of wearable swim suits.  Next has so much choice there’s bound to be something for everyone, from plunging fronts and pretty florals, to more sporty numbers and the one that I’ve included in this post, the multi-way jungle swim suit.  Of course that young slip of a thing looks hot, and not in the same way as I would actually be hot (!), but this one-piece is designed to be worn in six different ways including halterneck, plunge, crossover and one shoulder.  I absolutely love its crisp clean colours.  It would look fantastic on my friends who tan easily.


Matalan has some very pretty pieces as has M&S.  The latter also has a collection of swim suits with secret slimming tummy sections. Thanks guys!  However, it’s John Lewis’ collection that has really stood out to me.  Check out the collection below of really gorgeous prints and colours, many of which are strapless.  We may be losing a number of options in the clothing department as we get older, no more daisy dukes, but by god no-one can take bare shoulders from us girls!

Finding these gorgeous pieces is making me re-think my position- the designers are making it so easy to take the leap.  And wouldn’t it be nice to feel in absolute comfort in a one-piece.  No-one else sees me apart from SP anywho and he’s obviously given me the go-ahead.  Ah, go on then.  I think I might be giving in after all.

Gail xx