The Long and The Short Of It

Our trip to the Amalfi Coast was everything I hoped it would be.  Picture postcard scenery, beautiful weather, delicious food.  It was a real treat and I’ll write up a blog post with all the details of how we got on soon.  In the meantime, as I know a lot of people have their holiday plans ahead of them, I wanted to give you feedback on the clothes situation and in particular what I felt I didn’t have.


Obviously, I had done a little bit of shopping before I went away and had focused on dresses and swimming costumes mainly.  However, when I got there I found that the most worn item, apart from two blue dresses, was my trust pair of denim shorts.


They’re just the easiest item to pack and perhaps the pair above are getting a little short for me now (!), but I still reached for them nearly every day.


To be honest I wished I’d taken more pairs.


I didn’t expect that to be the case, but for sightseeing, general trudging to and from the beach, having a pair of shorts was the handiest, simplest and coolest item to pair up with T.shirts and strappy vests in the day and dressed up with light flowing blouses or crisp cotton shirts and piles of jewels in the evening.


Daisy dukes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.  I understand that. But I’ve taken a look around and retailers this season have taken this on board and introduced longer length denim shorts.


If you don’t want to reveal your thighs to the world then a length that ends just above the knee can give you a more flattering silhouette.  Takes me back to the cycling shorts of the eighties!


Marks & Spencer has even introduced a Sculpt and Lift Denim Short. Made in cotton, the denim has added stretch so that it is kind to your curves and helps accentuate your figure.  See the red pair in the reel below.


It’s worth trying on shorts with a nice pair of wedge espadrilles. The perfect summer shoe, they generally are easier to wear than strappy heels and can elongate the leg.


What do you think?  Fancy trying some on?  Here’s a selection of shorts on the high street.


Have a great weekend.


Gail xx

Back to Basics


Hi!  How is everyone feeling about the start of a new month?  I’m feeling quite uplifted.  January was long and tortuous and March is on the horizon, so although it is still raining while I type this, I have hope.  I have just done a 5k run and the smell of bacon cooking is wafting up the stairs.  Things can only get better.


Clothes-wise, I’m finding myself looking at all the new styles coming through for spring, but still reaching for old favourites in the wardrobe.  Who wants to buy stuff that’s still going to sit in the wardrobe for another 6-7 weeks.  Flying by the seat of my pants or holding on to my hard-earned money, you decide!


So, what can we do for the next few weeks, while the last of the dreary days go by?  Well, I’ve been trying to plan what I’m wearing a bit more and making sure the wardrobe is fully in use and not just mine, SP’s wardrobe too.


Last weekend I borrowed Steve’s pea coat (admittedly slightly on the large side) to finish a black and white outfit.


Prompted by a desire to wear my white boots and a skirt (found at the back of the wardrobe) I didn’t have a coat that would complete the look and let’s face it, there’s a permanent downpour waiting to happen at the moment, so I grabbed SP’s coat.



Also on repeat is this striped jumper from French Connection (apologies for the wind swept mop).  Yonks old, I’m on the look out for a replacement at the moment and I think long sleeve T.shirt options are the ones to go for rather than wool, as they offer a lighter layer for wearing under blazers in the spring and solo with shorts come summer.  I’ve put a few options in the reel below if you’re interested.



Finishing off the look I teamed thick opaque tights with an A-line pleather skirt that again is years old from Zara, but it was quite nice to wear something above-the-knee for a change and the opaques cover up and keep us warm.


If you like the look I’ve popped similar pieces in the reel below.

Have a great weekend.
Gail xx
What are you wearing in this transitional period?  Are you waiting for the weather to change before making spring purchases?  Let me know in the comments below…

The Eyes Have It

There was a time when my eye area was not at its best.  Late nights, early mornings and let’s be honest, too many post-work drinks, had really taken its toll.  I thought I’d done permanent damage.  Thankfully, however, it was not too late, cleaner living (only having a few glasses Thursday – Saturday!!) put paid to puffy bags and swapping wine for water and getting more sleep, started to reduce the dark rings.  Phew.


However, you can’t stop the signs of ageing and I’ve mentioned this before, my eye area needs extra attention.  So when I spotted a well known style blogger asking her readers how she could improve the dark shadows underneath her eyes, I tuned in.


Turns out, this little baby – Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer – is one of the most popular products around, with readers saying it was their absolute favourite.


I obviously hot footed it to the nearest department store and asked a willing assistant to match me a shade and came home with Light 3 Honey (£23.00, House of Fraser)


It’s early days, but I am in love with the results.  It is creamy and simply glides on to the skin.  Light to touch, you can build up layer-by-layer to the level of coverage you want.  I use it lightly on the lines from my nose to my mouth, and around the nose, then build up coverage around the eye area.


When I pull the wand from the tube I can literally see the radiance from the product.  Nars pack it with antioxidants and it is very hydrating, so it’s not going to dry out the area, which is exactly what you need.  Dry, cakey make-up accentuates wrinkles. The dewy-look is not just in fashion, it’s the only way forward as I pick up speed towards the Barbara Cartland years.


It is not the only product that I’m currently loving.  The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted Boots Beautiful Skin Overnight Revitalising Eye Balm.  Part of a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law, this tube lives on my bedside table, so that I make sure to use it, and has quickly become an integral part of my beauty regime.  I really like it.


I just use a tiny amount under each eye on clean, slightly damp skin, before I go bed.  It’s hypo-allergenic, so no irritation and because I’m already in bed, it can sink into my skin as I sleep and do its job, which Boots says is to “visibly improve dark circles and puffiness”.  Does it work?  I’m not sure if this alone is improving my eyes area,  but overall my eyes are looking better.  Of course, I don’t think I’ve found a miracle!  But, my little mix of all the above seems to be working its magic, and that’s good enough for me. I’ll keep on using this bag of tricks if I look less haggard.


Have you tried either product and found the same or different results? Please share in the comments below.  Or, if you use other good stuff, again share with me and let readers know what’s in your bag of tricks.


Thanks and have a great weekend.


Gail xx

Natural Is Essential

I’m a big fan of using an oil on my skin at night.  When I was young, it was enough that I remembered to take off the day’s make-up. Nowadays, there is a Routine, which involves putting something back in to the skin, after I’ve taken all the crap, u-hum, expensive make-up, off.


There are some real miracle creams out there, and I like a few, but for a real glow that is evident the next day, I like to use an oil.  It has hours to sink in, eight if I’m lucky (I’m loving these perimenopausal years).  At least while I toss and turn the night away I know something good is happening and can see it the next day.


So, I was delighted to be invited to an open evening at Amphora Aromatics the other week.  In truth, I hadn’t heard of the brand before, but what a little powerhouse of quality products on my doorstep it is.  A family run business in Clifton with a store on Cotham Hill, it is one of the UK’s largest suppliers of essential oils and aromatherapy products.


Walking around the store, there’s literally thousands of products to choose from, from skin creams to shampoos and cleansers to candles, but it was the vast range of essential oils that caught my eye and I was delighted when  Clinical Aromatherapist, Zoë Green, asked me if there was a specific treatment that I was looking for.


Now, do you remember the other week, when I found out that the centre of my face is quite red (around the nose area)?  The disappointing part of spotting something awry in the beauty department, is that you can’t un-see it, and I’ve found myself not wearing make-up to see if, by some miracle, it’s vanished.  It has not.


Now bugging me, I spoke to Zoë about said issue and she said that I should try Amphora Aromatics Chamomoile Matricaria Essential Oil (£3.60).  Highly beneficial for the skin, it has soothing and calming properties that can help me, over time, reduce the redness.  Pre-diluted to 5% in grapeseed oil, I can use this product straight out of the bottle.  I’m giving it a go, but it’s too early to share the results with you.  I’ll keep you posted.


Amphora also do my favourite, Rosehip Seed Oil.   I’ve tried other brands, so I was keen to give this one a try. Recognised as a wonder oil, I know that Rosehip is good for your skin – personally I love the glowing soft skin I get when I use it.  Rich in Omega 3 and essential fatty acids, it also contains Vitamins C, E and F and also really helps with scarring, so popular for stretch marks.  I also noticed that you get more for your buck in this store – Amphora Rosehip Seed Oil, 100ml £10.80, unnamed competitor, 20 ml, £19.99.


It was my first forage in the store and I really wanted to focus on the “Red Centre”, but there’s so much good stuff that I want to go back and investigate further.  All the Amphora essential oils are 100% pure, from one botanical source, unless they state otherwise.  The benefits are both physical and psychological and if they’re sourced naturally, from plants and herbs, then that must be good.


I do believe in having an arsenal of beauty products to hand.  The is nothing to stop you layering products on as you need them.  You can use a night serum, night cream and essential oil, if you think your skin needs some extra moisture.  Yes, I’ve been reading up!  Did you know that if you are layering, you should put oil on last?  No, well, it’s recommended that you start with water-based products and work up to the oil, so that each product has a chance to do its magic and the oil seals the deal.  I actually just use Rosehip Seed Oil on it’s own at night.  For me, a few drops of this good stuff is all I need.


I really like this modern way of looking after your skin.  My mum would probably swear by using a tub of Ponds Cold Cream (some of you may remember this wonder cream of its time), but where’s the fun in that.  I feel like I’m now making more of an effort and you know what they say, if you study hard, you’ll get the results you want.


Have a great weekend.


Gail xx


Hush! You’ll Want To Hear This




Yesssss it’s a bank holiday weekend!   Hope you have lots planned for the three day break.  I think I’ll be doing some gardening, likely some baking, and then visiting my mum, who is going to be 85 years young on Monday.


Now I’m not sure what the weather is going to be doing, but it didn’t look that great on the Countryfile forecast last Sunday, but here’s hoping for some sunshine.  Come rain or shine you might, like me, feel in need of ripping off your winter woolies.  I can’t believe my boots haven’t  been polished and packed away for next year yet.


I would really like some colour in my wardrobe and last weekend when I was going out with ‘the girls’ it took me forever to pull together an outfit.  I was desperate to wear a skirt or dress instead of trousers and ended up wearing my faux tan suede wrap skirt with tan boots and a dress as-a-coat over the top, which was kind of Autumnal in colour, but a step away from black.


So I’m definitely on the hunt for a dress or something to help lighten up the wardrobe.  To follow me on my shopping adventures you can catch me on Instagram.


Meanwhile, I’ve fallen in love with an online brand.  Hush is a clothing label that I’ve seen mentioned by bloggers since I’ve been more engaged online.  Recently there was a special showcase of their latest collection as part of Bath In Fashion and when I heard they were coming to the city I quickly bought a ticket.


Held at the Bath Priory Hotel with  a two-course lunch cooked by Michelin starred chef, Sam Moody, it was a sell-out.  The two-hour event included an exclusive preview of the Summer 2016 range, including an as yet unseen Beach collection. It was billed as a walk through by hush stylists, but we were fortunate enough to also have Mandy Watkins, the founder and owner of hush, join us and talk us through what she looks for in the clothes she wears and how this informs the designs she creates for us all to enjoy.




Mandy started the business in 2003 when she was 35 years-old.  From a lap top in her kitchen, she began to design nightwear and loungewear to suit cosy nights in that developed into the range we see today, which includes everything from jeans and shoes, to dresses and jackets.


Mandy Watkins talking her designs

Mandy Watkins talks us through the Hush designs


First and foremost Mandy wants to wear clothes that can morph from day to night and be worn with ease.  The fabrics used are super-comfy and none of the designs are tight-fitting.  To me the range is fashionable, yet grown up.  There are very flattering cuts and flashes of the latest trends that I won’t feel silly wearing and it’s all very feminine and and sophisticated.  Funnily enough Mandy told the same story as I did earlier this year, about the cold-shoulder trend, and likewise couldn’t see the point of cut outs in big woolly jumpers.  If you do fancy going off the shoulder there is soon to be a ‘Bardot’ style cotton top in the Beach collection.


Within the collection you will find slogan sweatshirts as the one pictured below, shirts, cute tees, tanks and silk blouses.  Trousers include a fab pair of cargo sweats, harem pants, joggers and of course skinny and boyfriend jeans.




I absolutely love the look of their boyfriend jeans and have ordered a pair already.  I was a bit cheeky and tried on a few things in the toilets after the show (I wasn’t the only one doing it), and I loved the relaxed cut of the jean, also they aren’t that distressed so I can wear them to see my mum without her asking if we’re decorating!


I also really liked this jumpsuit and I can think of a number of friends that it would suit. It has a ‘moveable’ waist, because it’s elasticated, so should fit those short like me or those longer in the body.  A lady sat next to me was wearing the jumpsuit (hi, if you’re reading) and she was about my height and I was quite surprised, as looking at the piece I thought it would be too long in the body for me, but apparently it’s all to do with the waist.  It fits more than one size and comes in black and olive.


Photo from Pinterest

Photo from Pinterest

I also think this dress is great, especially with the loafers, and there are plenty more lovely ones here if you want to take a look-see.

Ascot Dress from Pinterest

But, what really took my eye is the new Beach collection.  There was a lovely bikini in orange stripe that was slightly padded, but not too much, a gorgeous black swim suit that needs a beach bar to wear it in and some absolutely divine beach to evening-wear, including this fabulous throw-over pictured below.  The collection isn’t out at the time of writing this post, but it will likely be up over the bank holiday.



You will also spot in the pic above that there is a short pair of denim shorts and a longer leg of denim shorts in the collection, which I think goes a long way to show how Mandy and her team design for women of all shapes and sizes.  Not everyone wants to show off their legs and others do.  For my part, if the orange number at the front of the rack isn’t in my wardrobe before summer, my name is not Gail Painter.


Mandy Watkins and her team essentially design the type of clothes they want to wear.   Me too.


Happy bank holiday!



Gail x