Packing for a (short) Staycation

I’ve been standing looking at my wardrobe for a good hour now, at times I’ve also sat down.  SP and I have been invited for a weekend in Devon with friends and I have that sicky icky feeling that I’m trying to quell, cause I don’t know what to pack.  I mean, what do you pack for a weekend in the UK where you have no idea what the weather is going to do?


I want to make sure I’ve got all my bases covered and it would be dead easy to just pack for practicality (it’s bound to be cold and wet isn’t it?).  But, I want to appear as if I’ve stepped out from one of those A5 catalogues that fall out of the Sunday supps.  Yeah, I want to look like I’ve got some sense of style like these pics below that I scooped off Pinterest.  A tall order.  So I better get started.



Boden. Image via Pinterest

Hush. Image via Pinterest

Hush. Image via Pinterest

Boden. Image via Pinterest

Boden. Image via Pinterest

Hush. Image via Pinterest

Hush. Image via Pinterest


Four days later and what looked like a promising weather forecast has turned out to be but a dream. It’s going to be grey sky all weekend.


Things can change though!  So, with a colour theme finally decided, blue, (I’m rad, I know), I’m going to pack lots of layers, take a few light pieces, but make sure there is plenty in my weekend bag to keep me warm.  Hence my bag will include:


  1. blue/white striped t.shirts
  2. cotton chambray long-sleeve shirts
  3. denim jeans –  1 boyfriend/1 skinny
  4. grey cotton harem pants (dead comfy)
  5. denim shorts (ever optimistic!)
  6. swimming costume (there is a heated outdoor pool – item most likely to stay in bag!)
  7. off the shoulder cotton day dress (in case the sun does show its face)
  8. two blue light-weight knits
  9. blue hoodie (part of the back-up plan)
  10. one floaty easy-to-wear dress (heading out for pub dinner Saturday night)
  11. low-heel embellished sandals to go with above
  12. Adidas Originals trainers to go with everything else
  13. large bright yellow tote to add a pop of colour
  14. cross-over tan bag
  15. fluffy socks….

Continuing on the blue theme, I did a little snooping on the net and found these lovely pieces that would have been great additions to my weekend wardrobe, had I had the spare cash.  I am absolutely loving all the baby blue off the shoulder tops that I’ve seen around and you can pick up some great bargains in the sales right now – try Mango and Zara for cheap deals. I would also like a sweatshirt with a cheeky message, a long denim skirt, which would be a great addition to the wardrobe and would see me into Autumn as well, and some longer-length boyfriend cut-offs.  Ah well, I can dream.


Hope you have great plans for the weekend. Enjoy!


Gail xx

Bags of Interest

Does anything say summer more than a big ole straw bag?  These roomy, bung-it-all-in bags are perfect for carrying everything you need for the beach, a picnic in the countryside (or nearest strip of grass in the city), visits to a market town fair (where you’ll spend next week’s shopping money on a bottle of artisan chilli oil you don’t need), and swinging from your arm on the streets of a city that’s not raining (if you’re lucky).


I think I’ve mentioned this already, but I’m going on holiday soon!  So a big bag that will take me from airport to hotel to shopping on the streets of Dubrovnik, is on my mind.


My last bag was from Warehouse. It’s a bright, orange striped bag with a zip, that has done a very good job for a fair few holidays, but it’s starting to look ragged and I’m now on the hunt for a replacement.


You don’t have to look very far and from what I’m seeing on the high street straw/wicker/jute  bags/baskets/totes/shoppers, whatever you want to call them, are are having a fashion moment this summer.


There is a lot of choice and I’ve done some searching online and come up with a ton of choices below.  My personal favourites can be found in Mango as seen in this shot taken by me while out shopping.  There’s a lot of choice in store.




I’m in love with anything sporting a pom pom or a tassel, like these four.

Mango - Jute Cotton-Blend Bag £29.99

Mango – Jute Cotton-Blend Bag £29.99

Mango - Embroidered Shopper Bag £29.99

Mango – Embroidered Shopper Bag £29.99

Accessorize Raffia Pom Pom Bag £29.00

Accessorize Raffia Pom Pom Bag £29.00

Straw Bag £14.99

H&M Straw Bag £14.99


I love all four bags, but I better make a choice soon or they’ll be gone.  In the meantime, here’s a larger selection, in case, like me, you’re in need of a hard-working accessory this summer.

Gail xx

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

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

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

Cover It Up (Or Not)


“Four weeks from today we’ll be on holiday, ” were SP’s parting words as he left for work this morning.  Cue a scramble for trainers while shoving last night’s bed head into a semi-smart workout ponytail and heading outside for a pre-work run.

No joke, we all want to look our best on the  yearly vaca, don’t we?  Last week I talked about what not to pack in your pull-along (or in my case, backpack).  So this week I’m turning negative into positive and thinking about what to take on those hotly anticipated few weeks of the year when we don’t have to wear our daily uniform.

Next month  SP and I are heading for a week by the sea in Croatia and I can’t wait.  So the starting point for my holiday, as it will be mainly pool-side, is what to wear to and from the water’s edge.

Cover ups can be tricky.  I used to be a dress down kind of gal in my youth.  You know long/old T.shirt over short shorts.  This was not my best look; I dare say it wasn’t for many.  The late 80’s were cruel years for fashion.  The boxy shape of a T.Shirt does not lend itself to a woman’s figure, hell no, even men wear slim fit nowadays.

No, I’m relieved to say that when I got married I found my way into an Accessorize store looking for honeymoon garb and came out a (new) woman, realising that a) you could look feminine if you didn’t have a pronounced waistline and b) I could look feminine …. if I tried.

Pool-side, no make-up, hair slicked back and wearing a two-piece is, dare I say it, a challenge for anyone, but a cover up, now that’s a girl’s best friend.

Have you ever noticed that girl who looks like she’s just thrown herself together in a millisecond?  She’s likely to be wearing what appears on first glance a man’s shirt.  It’s cute, it’s wearable on anyone of any age and now you can copy this sexy little look with the help of Next.  See below, a lovely white shirt in 100% viscose, so it offers a gentle drape and doesn’t crisp up in your suitcase. Bingo. Here’s your chance to be that girl.

Next - Photo from Pinterest

Next – Photo from Pinterest.  White Shirt £25

Sticking with white and incorporating the trend for dresses that are off the shoulder, here’s another pretty option.  Great for the pool bar too.

Next - Photo from Pinterest

Next – Photo from Pinterest. White Dress £35

Personally, I spotted this cover up in one of Next’s ads and I love the design.  Though on closer look it’s quite thin material, so I’m not sure whether it’s for me.  I’ll need to try it on, but it’s a nice mix of colours, which could pick out the colour in any number of bikinis or one-pieces.

I could include lots and lots of ideas from Next here.  It’s definitely worth checking  them out this season.

Next - Photo from Pinterest. Multi Geo Print Kaftan £26

Next – Photo from Pinterest. Multi Geo Print Kaftan £26

Talking about see-through, this kaftan from Matalan is a gorgeous blue and on trend with the cold shoulder design.  Great choice if you have the confidence to carry it off.


Matalan - Photo from Pinterest

Matalan – Photo from Pinterest – Cut Out Shoulder Kaftan £10

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Matalan of late, particularly when it comes to beach wear.  They have tons of designs, including the following dresses, all at bargain prices.

Matalan - Photo from Pinterest. Floral Print Kaftan £14

Matalan – Photo from Pinterest. Floral Print Kaftan £14


Matalan - Photo from Pinterest - Printed Sequin Kaftan £14

Matalan – Photo from Pinterest – Printed Sequin Kaftan £14

Last, but by no means least, we have Accessorize. It has been my go-to store for beach wear many times (though Matalan might pip it to the post with their prices this year).

Accessorize, Xenia £59

Accessorize, Xenia £59

Accessorize, Harika Floral Lace Insert Kaftan £29

Accessorize, Harika Floral Lace Insert Kaftan £29

Accessorize, Rose Lee Ombre Dress £27

Accessorize, Rose Lee Ombre Dress £27

Accessorize, Lace Insert Beach Maxi Dress £37

Accessorize, Lace Insert Beach Maxi Dress £37


That last dress!  Just add large hat, straw beach bag and go…

I have to say that I absolutely love a long maxi dress, but it does bring me back to the issue of needing a heel, so this year I’m going thigh-skimming kaftan all the way.  My legs haven’t given up the ghost yet, so with a drawstring or nipped in waist it will give me some definition and show off my, erm, best bits!

Here’s hoping!  Happy holidays ladies.


Gail x


Holiday Wardrobe Wars

Photo from Pinterest

Photo from Pinterest


The holiday had been planned a year in advance.  I had booked our flights in February, spent hours researching a route to visit various islands in Thailand and finding the right accommodation.  So how come, with all this preparation time in hand I had packed my suitcase so badly?

Yeah, this is not a post that boasts about how I got it so right, au contraire, it’s how I got it so wrong.  Hopefully by sharing I can literally pack up my troubles and not make the same mistake again.

I had, or thought I had, quite a good wardrobe of holiday clothes.  Built over the years, gradually wheedling out items that were passed their sell-by date, didn’t look as great as they once did, or were so out of fashion it aged me.

So when we got to Summer last year I thought I’d give shopping for new stuff a miss.  I bought one gorgeous cover up in River Island and an on-trend one-piece for those stylish boat trips (!), and a new hat.  That was it.  I didn’t give it any more time.  I was having a busy period of work and just didn’t have the brain power or the energy to go looking for more.

About a month before we were due to head off I remember saying to myself that I would get my summer clothes out and see what I could fit into. It wasn’t a fun afternoon!   I hadn’t got to grips with The Body Coach 90 Day SSS Plan that I had started in June (bad school report here) and hadn’t lost any weight.  In fact I’d gained and would continue to have a fight with weight gain right up until the day we left for the holiday.

I didn’t venture back to the wardrobe until the day after Boxing Day.  The day before we were leaving.

Which is how I went on holiday with a bunch of stuff that I would literally carry on my back (backpack) for the duration that I either didn’t really need, couldn’t fit into, or plain hated the sight of.  Gradually, over the two weeks, I would ceremoniously dump said items in hotel bins before moving to the next stop.

I left three pairs of shoes, tops that had passed their sell-by date, unflattering dresses and a hat that I had carefully carried over from England, which for the amount of times it was ‘in the way’, I could have purchased for thru pence ha’penny anywhere in the world.

So this year I’ve made some new simple rules and having learned the hard way, I will be sticking to them.  These are:


  • When relying on a holiday wardrobe that is put away until you need it, make sure you get it out at least three months in advance and first off chuck out everything you didn’t wear last time, cause chances are it’s been building up dust for years.


  • Check that everything fits, comfortably (and not when you’ve lost a few pound on holiday cause that gelato will bite you in the ass)


  • Take a mix of holiday classics and buy a few new on-trend pieces (they don’t have to be expensive, see H&M for great holiday wear bargains), so that your look is current yet sophisticated


  • Don’t take the same colour garment that’s cut in three different ways.  I once stopped a friend from packing five pairs of beige shorts for one holiday.  You will only want to wear that colour once.  And let’s not forget going on holiday is the one time you can wear a rainbow of colour that you wouldn’t normally be seen dead in


  • Don’t take something you love and always pack, but never wear. (I’m the Queen of this).   Perhaps it’s a look that you love, but secretly don’t feel confident wearing. Or, see point 2, bought it thinking that it would look great if you lost a few pounds, but never do and therefore never wear


  • Don’t take heels if you can help it.  At 5 ft 3 (and a bit), I wear heels constantly.  I’ve spent years running around London in them, but leave them for city life.  Heels aren’t for walking around resorts and worse still across sandy beaches.  I didn’t see one woman wearing heels in Thailand, not one. I left my only pair of heels in the first hotel bin


  • Don’t bother buying a hat before you go. It’s a pain in the bum carting it around on the journey.  Particularly painful at the airport when you need 12 pairs of hands and wearing the hat looks like you’re trying too hard.  There will be plenty of hats to buy at your destination, worn and left with a new owner at the end of your hols in you’re feeling generous


Photo from Pinterest

Photo from Pinterest

Mmm, just making this list has me out in hives, but I’m really (really) hoping that next time around I will pack more efficiently.  Wouldn’t it be dreamy to arrive at your destination, unzip your suitcase and have the best wardrobe of your life?


Over the next few weeks I’ll be tackling what to pack!


Til then have a lovely sunny weekend.



Gail x