No Woman Is An Island

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)


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

On Occasion, I’d Like A Sleeve, Please

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.

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.

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.

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



Spotlight on: Oasis Fashion

One of the nicest things about setting up this blog and writing weekly posts is the interaction with friends, old and new, discussing all things fashion-related.  Not Givin In really has re-awakened my love of fashion, which you can probably guess!


I love it when someone suggests that I check out a store, or a brand I don’t know or haven’t looked at for a while.  I get tunnel-vision quite easily.  Isn’t it easier to stick to stores you know?  Of course, it is, but it’s also limiting.   It does us good to venture out, open our eyes to new styles.


So, when a friend asked me to try Oasis this season I was in there like swimwear.  I used to shop in Oasis stores in my twenties and thirties all the time.  After that I’ve just stuck to their jeans (still love and wear Jade Stretch Skinnys), but that’s it.  To be honest, I felt like I’d outgrown the store.


To me, it’s quite twee.  Very pretty, dainty and feminine and I wouldn’t use these words to describe myself, so felt like I didn’t fit in.  On my first trip back in, in quite a few years, I still felt the same.  I had to look hard for clothes that I really wanted to try on, but I could see the appeal for others.


The current collection is a riot of pattern.  There are lots of floral, tropical, and bird prints to choose from.  Pastels seem to be key for Spring, with more richer colours featuring in the new fashion coming through.  I absolutely love the pencil skirts, they look so smart and they have some smashing dresses, but not many with sleeves, so for older readers, like me, this might not work.


I went in with an open mind, but I had spotted this blouse online that I really wanted to try on.  Ooh and sorry for the poor quality of the following shots.  Lighting in Oasis at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway was not great.  Perhaps its flattering to have it low when purchasing (!), but not for capturing clothes in a pic.


It’s fresh, isn’t it?  It’s their Parrot Print Shirt (£38).  I think I like the zesty addition though, over wearing parrots, so I didn’t buy it.


I moved on to this dress.  I am on the hunt for a dress to wear to my Sister-in-Law’s wedding in June. Again, I like the print (Topaz Bird) and it has a flattering cut, showing some cleavage and a little leg (there is a discreet fasten at the bust so all is not on show) and it’s available for £45.

I’m in love with yellow this Spring.  Absolutely love it.  So I was keen to try on this dress, but it’s too girly for me and at 48, it’s pushing it! Yellow Lace Skater Dress, priced at £48.

Heading to the tropics section and I picked up the next two pieces, either to wear separately or wear together.  If you like these, they are priced at £42.00 (Tropic Bird Wrap) and £38 (Tropical Cuba Crop Wide Leg)

The last items from my visit are these two, both of which I really like.  You can’t go wrong with a blue strip Bardot top and the midi skirt is just lovely and I would buy for work wear, as it is a very flattering length and the belt is a great additional detail.  Priced at £29.00 and £45.00 respectively.

Without hours to spare, these are the items I pulled off the racks, but there is more, much more.  The store was bursting at the seams with ideas, so below are more pieces that I would like to try on, another time.  The pretty skirt below has been worn by Holly Willoughby very well and I might yet try on the Tulle Midi dress, which comes in a few colours, including the beautiful pale blue below, to see if it is wedding-worthy.


Are you a keen Oasis shopper?  Would love to hear what you think?


Have a great weekend.


Gail xxx

Legging It Into Spring

It’s Good Friday and I’ve woken up with a banging headache.  Doesn’t bode well, does it?  The first morning of a four day holiday and I’ve already taken two paracetamol and two ibuprofen.


I’m not feeling or looking my best, so in an attempt to brighten the mood I’m trying to put some goodness back into my face, from the outside in, with a gorgeous smelling Honey & Oat 3-In-1 Scrub Mask from the Body Shop.  I might be feeling crap on the inside, but I better be beaming from afar.


This week’s post is about loosening up on the trouser scene.  Now that we are in full Spring-time mode I really want to ‘stand down’ my jeans. Give ’em a break.  Put them in the wash for starters (!) and try to wear something different.


If you’re a fan of the old black and white movies you can’t but admire the capri pant, cigarette trouser and cropped chino of yesteryear icons.  Think Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot, because I can’t put their images on here or I’ll be sued.


There’s something so feminine about revealing a little ankle.  Worn with pointy flats, trainers that don’t see the inside of a gym, or platform sandals, a pair of cotton trousers can take you anywhere.  I’d like a pair to take me to the French Riviera or the Amalfi Coast, but that won’t be happening this year.  Still, we can but dream…


Photo by linh-nguyen/Unsplash


So this week I started, in earnest, the swop over of clothing in the wardrobe from winter to spring/summer, with the aim of digging out the two pairs of cropped capri pants that I have (in blue and beige). Only they weren’t there. It looks like I’ve bundled them into the charity bag in a moment of madness. In truth I think the blue trousers were too small and the beige pair too big and it probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I’m caught short. Pun intended.


A very quick look in the shops has revealed that options include a roll-up hem, which I’m not interested in. I’m looking to slim and lengthen the leg and drawing attention three quarters of the way down will just cut it off.  No, I’m looking for a classic cut.  Something like one of these:


In fact any one of these, delivered to my door, would be fab.  So that’s the plan.  I’m off to check out sizes before I roll up my sleeves and hurtle towards the cooking fest that is Easter.  Perhaps I should order anything post chocolate consumption!

Have a great Easter everyone!

Gail xx

Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion

So, it’s finally here.  Spring has sprung.  The forecast is good, with sunshine this weekend, and I’m ready for it.  Or am I?  Yesterday I ended the day hot under the collar for the wrong reasons and still in boots, raced to the shops post day-long meeting, to find shoes that didn’t go halfway up my leg.


You’re never quite ready are you?  Anyway, absolutely must not moan.  It was my own fault for not being prepared.  What I should have done is taken more notice of the forecast and followed some of the ideas that I saw at Bristol Fashion Week last Friday.


A showcase for the stores at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway, the show is great way to spot new trends and ideas of what to wear in the new season and I have to say the retailer that really got my attention was Marks & Spencer.  It had the right mix of style and nod to the current trends, while being wearable for all age groups.  Though I don’t know if Gail Dibble, aged 21, would agree!  However, Gail Painter whole-hardheartedly loved it.


My friend and I hot-footed it the store after the show, keen to try on some of the styles, but unfortunately the key piece my friend wanted to try on was sold out, which on the second day of the fashion show, was a bit off.   Come on retailers, you know people are going to visit the store after the shows to buy what they liked, it’s the whole point.  Nevertheless, we pushed pass that obstacle and tried on some clothes.


Of course, once in store, I spotted a whole raft of clothes that I wanted to try on, so I was good to go.  Meanwhile, my friend went head first into the sales rack.  More on that later.


The first piece I wanted to try on was this dress.  I know it’s a popular choice as I’ve seen it on a lot of people and this gorgeous cotton blend striped skater dress is pretty eye-catching.


I know it doesn’t work on me, as my top half is too heavy and I’m spilling out in the wrong places, but please don’t be put off, this dress is really lovely, on everyone else.  It’s £69.99 and is a gorgeous occasion dress.  Don’t wear it with black boots though, eh!


Next up is this pure cotton striped shirt dress from the Autograph range (£59.99).

Have I ever mentioned that years ago I was part of a much larger PR team that launched Autograph?  I was and my colleagues and I used to joke that I got paid and would then give the money back as I loved buying the clothes.  So, I really do have a soft spot for this range.  I really like this dress (ignore my winter boots).  I like the colour and simple fit and flare style.  This is a 10, which as you can see is too snug across the bust, however the 12 is too big on the hip for me, so it’s a no-go, sadly.


This dress, was a random pull off the rail as I headed to the fitting room, choice.  I like floaty numbers.

It was too big (I tried on a size 12) and I’m not keen when there are layers of different sizes, but the print is pretty and I like the idea of wearing off the shoulder.  Does anyone remember the flake ad? LOL.  Anyway, I’ve looked and looked but I can’t find this dress on the M&S website, so I can’t share any more detail about it, I’m afraid.  Maybe it will go ‘up’ over the weekend.

Lastly, and I’m tempted to go back for it, is this pleated skirt.  I’m really loving the midi length this season.

This metallic pleated A-line midi skirt feels really nice on.  A little crisp to the touch, but I like being wrapped up like a chocolate.  It is £49.50 and I’m wearing a size 10 (slightly snug on the waist. I did say chocolate!).  Also, I have sourced very similar, cheaper versions in H&M for less than £30, but this one is of better quality.


That’s all I had time to try on, but there’s also a pair of orange wide leg trousers with a striped waistband that look fab, wear every wear mules for less than £30 (the gold ones will go with everything) and a pair of wide leg cropped trousers, that were not cropped on me, so I didn’t take a photograph.  Short female problems and I didn’t have time to go back and look for ‘short’ on the rail.


In the reel below are these and a few more ideas to scroll through.



Back to the fashion show and I headed back to dig my friend out of the sales rack.  She’s only gone and found me a striped shirt dress with tie sleeves for £10.98 in the sale hasn’t she.



Sometimes it pays to shop the sales.  Every time it pays to buddy up.  Thanks Maria!


Have a great weekend all.


Gail xxx