Sorry for the pause.  I don’t like surprises, so having a few mechanical problems with my blog this week has been a pain in the ___, but I’m back.

 

Talking of surprises, I love spoiling my husband with a surprise or two.

 

The boy’s 50th birthday in September, was not going to be a big affair.  I get it, some people love being centre of attention and others absolutely loathe it.  We both love going to parties, but never want the party to be about us.

 

So I knew not to get him a surprise party for this special occasion.  That said, I couldn’t bear the idea of being at home with a TV dinner on a day that really should be marked.

 

So I planned a trip away, only telling SP we were going to Cornwall three weeks before the actual date, so that I could make sure he wasn’t working for the 48 hours that we would actually be in Porto.

 

You should have seen his face when I pulled into the airport instead of driving straight past it! A picture. With 48 hours of fun ahead, we merrily dropped off the car and headed for the bar.

 

Porto had been on our to do list since it was spotted in a copy of Lonely Planet a while back and the trip was a perfect fit, with an evening flight time the day before Steve’s birthday and 48 hours to explore before returning home.  This meant we only lost two day’s work – SP is boringly committed to it.

 

The forecasters said it would be in the early twenties, offering a welcome injection of Vitamin D before Autumn really sets in at home.  What’s not to love.

 

Hugging the North West coast of Portugal, Porto is the second largest city in the country and actually not that far (by train) from Lisbon.  With more time, you could/should probably try and do both.

 

No surprise here, but it’s known for its port production – we found that our favourite style is Tawny.  We also found that we could consume quite a bit of it!

 

We stayed close to the historical centre of Porto, The Ribeira.  Classed as World Heritage by UNESCO, this attractive area was our playground for 48 hours and with the Douro river running through it, offering the city one of its most popular photographic opportunities, it was a beautiful setting fit for a birthday ‘retreat’.

 

For a change, instead of me going on, I’ve asked the birthday boy to answer a few short questions to help tell you more about our trip.

 

What three words best describe our trip?

Interesting, fun, sunny

 

How would you describe Porto to someone who hasn’t been?

It’s a great place for a city break

 

What did you enjoy most about Porto?

I liked the Six Bridges Boat Cruise (caught on the harbour, takes 50 mins and costs about 15 euros per person).  Oh, and the port-tasting.

 

Was two days enough?

Yeah, it was a buzzing whistle-stop tour, but you could add on an enjoy an extra day.

 

What would you do with an extra day?

Gone to the football ground (GP – I made the right choice!)

 

What are the must-do activities in Porto?

Cable car and river cruise

 

One lasting memory from your trip?

The fog coming off the Douro.  One morning it was beautiful sunshine, the next pea soup.

 

What would you give Porto out of five?

Four, it lost a point for the food.  We didn’t really like the food choice that much, apart from the (custard) tarts, which were delicious.

 

Some snaps

 

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Pretty isn’t it?

 

As with many mini breaks and holidays you are constantly on your feet, trying to see as much as you can and I was so glad that I  had taken my Adidas Mrs Stan Smiths.  I took a bunch of clothes with me, but I ended up wearing two maxi dresses day into evening.  I felt comfortable, not just on my feet, but in my clothes, and the dresses made sure I was out of jeans for once.

 

I have on many occasion taken new shoes or heels on holiday (what an idiot) only to be a thorn in SP’s side when we’ve had to stop and search for somewhere to buy pain killers, plasters and flip flops, but I think I’m over it now.

 

We are packing for our next trip as I finish this post and I have purchased a pair of slip on platforms from Dune, see below. It’s okay, I’ve been wearing them around the house and they’re like slippers. I will, of course, be taking my Adidas, and maybe one pair of boots for the evening.

 

I bet the boots stay in the suitcase! Here’s some more ideas for great pumps, trainers, kicks, whatever you like to call em. All I know, every grown up woman should have ’em.

Til next time.

Gail xx

 

 

 

 

 

Did anyone else do the seasonal wardrobe change-over last weekend?  I kind of love it.  It’s like shopping without spending any money, finding goodies in the cupboards that you had forgotten you had.

 

I’d left it until I was well within the time of reaching for light cardigans and was starting to search out thicker knits.

 

I also bought some really snuggly jim-jams in Top Shop on Saturday.  There’s no turning back now.

 

I’ve been real busy with work late (sorry again for the no-show last Friday) and I’m dying to get into town and have a mooch.  I have managed a few quick hits, but not really got stuck in to the new season yet.

 

Luckily, there is a retail park near me and I quickly popped down the other week.  Really just going to rummage I was stopped in my tracks when I spotted this gorgeous red jumper.

 

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Being brutally honest, I’m not much of a fan of slogan jumpers.  I really don’t see what the fuss is about regarding Bella Fraud’s 1970 jumper, but I love the colour of this one, so I bought it.

 

I’m hoping I don’t lose my “Funday” mojo, but even if I do I will enjoy wearing this red number on the sofa.

 

Red is everywhere this year.  I particularly want to try on the M&S cable knit, that also comes in a neon green/yellow and ecru.  This red is more orange and that’s one of the great things about this season’s red pieces, there’s a shade to suit every complexion and nearly every store is indulging us in choices.

 

Here’s my selection.  Maybe think about adding a pop of colour, before we all drown in grey, brown and black.

 

 

Have a great weekend.

 

Gail xx

Tuesday was a beautiful day, don’t you think?  Better than pleasant, with sunshine from the moment we got up til the time we went to bed.  Obviously a state of bliss was never going to last and we’ve had solid rain the past two days. It rather sums up British Summertime, you just never what it’s going to throw at you.  So, when I hopped on a train to London last weekend I took my new BFF to meet an old BFF (calm down Spilly, it’s just a joke) and for once I was properly dressed.

 

 

Having a leather jacket to hand when the weather turns slightly foul, literally lifted my spirits.  The addition of a garment that’s cool and edgy, stylish and simple has been one of my favourite purchases this summer.  The black leather biker jacket is iconic, worn by everybody who’s anybody, and now by little ole me.

 

I am one of those people who covets from afar for a while before going “balls deep” and buying a luxury item.  I’m guessing most of us do this, unless we’re spending someone else’s money, then for some reason it’s always so much easier!

 

I’m the same with retailer All Saints.  If I had pots of cash lying around and wanted a new edgy look in varying degrees of grey and black, I would head to my nearest store.  So, it was genuinely a surprise to me last month, when I stopped by All Saints in Bath for a mooch and came out an hour later with a new black biker jacket.

 

I couldn’t resist.  That and I would have felt quite sheepish saying “I’ll think about it” after I had a shop assistant to myself, gathering up every leather jacket in sight for me to try on.    She had been really helpful too.  Did you know that when you buy a leather jacket, a rule of thumb to knowing that you’re wearing the right size, is to check the arms. The leather here should be tight to the arm.  I didn’t know that.  Also, leather “gives” once you start wearing it, so don’t worry if it feels a little stiff, it will loosen.

 

And I can totally say that has been true of my new jacket.  As you do with new purchases, I’ve worn it at every opportunity and it has become softer, looser and even better than when I bought it.

 

It is a new favourite in my wardrobe.  Worn with jeans, obvs, but also over dresses and with skirts, adding a little edginess to more feminine pieces this summer.  I’m hoping this love affair lasts, it’s gonna have to as I exchanged £318.00 of my hard-earned cash to pay for it.  But, I reckon I’ll get a good cost per wear ratio out of it, Autumn is approaching and it will be the first jacket I reach for I’m sure.  I’ve seen that culottes are still on trend and oversized belted wide-leg trousers….and don’t get me started on long dresses and boots.

 

Here’s the full range if you’re interested and have a great weekend all.

 

Gail xx

If you follow me on Instagram and watch InstaStories you’ll know that I have a current fascination with Love Island.

 

It’s on ITV2 and I haven’t quite worked out what it’s about yet.  I think it’s a dating competition, following the “goings-on” of a group of twenty-somethings living it up in a villa in Ibiza.  Let’s assume it’s about finding love and generally there is a lot of flirting and “coupling up”, with a good measure of tears and tantrums tossed in!

 

You don’t need to tell me.  I know I’m too old to be watching this type of TV show. I should be older, wiser, and basically over it, but I’ve always been young at heart and having stumbled across it, I’m hooked.  Not just on the lingo they speak, I had to press rewind a few times to work out that “did you neck on” is cryptic for “did you snog”, but I’m also loving the fashion.

 

In the nineties we wore the bottom half of a bikini, a scrunchie and a smile!  Modern fashion dictates that you wear a bikini, with as many straps as a swimsuit, “arm, neck and ear swag”, full make-up, false lashes and four inch heels.

 

I mean literally, I’m glued!

 

 

I’m not taking the mickey, cause I know I would be in the thick of it.  Gold waist necklace, the lot.  I’m also loving it because if the young ones are wearing more on the beach, so can we.

 

It’s been a timely insight as last weekend, SP and I want to St Ives.  We couldn’t have been more lucky.  With temperatures hitting the high 20’s and ice lollies selling out as they hit the fridge, we spent the whole weekend on the beach, plastering on the sunscreen.  We “coupled up”, obviously, but no-one wants to film a married couple having fun!

 

For the first time ever, I only packed a black costume (H&M).  There’s no point in denying it, I just couldn’t be bothered to worry about dieting the week before, I wanted to chuck on a tummy control costume and have done with it. Never have I felt more liberated and comfortable eating a Cornish pasty, on the beach, ever.

 

Here’s a pics of my costume.  I think it’s quite sexy and the shaping makes it more so. The pic below is from when I bought it (ignore the slippers and candle)

 

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Fancy getting in on the swimming costume act?  Here’s some ideas…

 

There are loads of shops selling swimming costumes with shaping. Why not take advantage of it. After all, like the girls on Love Island, we should be making the most of what we’ve got, with a little help here and there.

Now, for false lashes….

Til next Friday.

 

Gail xx

How hard is it to find dresses with sleeves, lately?  If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I’ve been searching for an outfit to wear to my husband’s younger sister’s wedding for a few months now.

 

It has taken a lot of research, to be honest.  And one of the main reasons I’ve found it hard is that I really want to have sleeves on my dress.  It sounds silly doesn’t it, that with all the brands around us, I found it hard.

 

It’s a country wedding, so I wanted a floaty dress with romantic ruffles.  It’s not just at a wedding, I’m on a date with my husband!  Doesn’t everyone get a bit soppy at weddings?  I’m hoping he will.  Months ago by and you realise you haven’t said much more than what’s for dinner.  So I’m really looking forward to my seeing the beautiful bride, and I’m looking forward to a bit of fun with him indoors, outdoors.

 

Back to dresses and I thought I would look for a light-weight maxi dress and spotted this fabulous dress in Miss Selfridge.  I absolutely love it, but wasn’t sure, so shared on IG for feedback.  As one clever friend suggested, it’s wearing you, rather than you wearing it.  Beautifully embellished, it was quite heavy. Reluctantly, it went back.

 

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Miss Selfridge, £120

 

Back to the drawing board and I was helped by two very lovely assistants at the Bath store of French Connection, who picked out this number for me.  It is fab, don’t you think?  I was going to keep it, in fact, I had made up my mind it was THE dress, because it fitted well and I felt nice.  Until, I spotted a top and skirt in Zara.

 

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French Connection £85.00

 

This is what I am wearing to the wedding.  Not a dress, but it fits the brief perfectly, don’t you think?  The skirt is high-waisted, maxi and full of frills.  The top is cropped, but because of the skirt’s high waist, I can get away with it. Sleeves, light as a feather and almost down to my elbows.  No wings from me.  Bingo.

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Zara, Top 29.99, Skirt £59.99

I’m going to get a bright orange bag to go with it, have booked up for acrylics and a blow dry on the morning of the wedding and, hopefully, I’ll be presentable.

 

Of course, now a few stores are starting to bring out more dresses with sleeves!! If you’re in need, here’s a selection to help you through the minefield. I really wanted a long length, but I’ve included shorter options if you prefer.

Are you going to a wedding this summer? What are you wearing?

Gail xx