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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Broderie Anglaise and the Beauty Of Bluebells

What-Lizzy-Loves- blue-broderie-shell-top-floral-skirt-silver-Superga-sneakers-pumps

I love all flowers but there's something about bluebells that makes my heart sing; they bring such joy with their glorious, transient, laissez-faire carpeting of the wooded areas they inhabit. They never fail to stop me in my tracks; there's something magical and fey about them which appeals to my romantic nature. 

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It was the (almost bluebell) colour of this top that made it leap out at me- my eyes drawn to the vibrant hue. Broderie is one of my favourite summer fabrics too and always appeals.  and this shell top is exactly the sort of versatile addition to the wardrobe that I like. It works with skirts, jeans, linen trousers, jeans and shorts.

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The floral pattern on the skirt is super pretty and delicate and it could easily be worn with yellow, pink (this top is available in pink actually),white or grey and although it is a spring summer skirt, I think it would look fabulous with a chunky knit, ribbed tights and some battered biker boots in autumn. Pockets of course are always a welcome functional style feature and the pink zipper at the back just makes it that little bit more special. The top has buttons all the way down the back, a detail which again, elevates it from the norm. Both are from Tulchan, a local brand I have mentioned on numerous occasions and one whose clothes are in a wonderfully cohesive pallette making mixing and matching a very simple task, and whose design details always add a little extra something.

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I accessoried the flora with fauna. The Danon Swarovski-set t-bar bee bracelet is one of my favourite spring summer bracelets. If you like it too, sign up to my monthly newsletter here for exclusive subscriber discounts at Lizzy O.

Danon Swarovski bee bracelet

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Silver Superga pumps seemed the perfect footwear for clambering on tree stumps and walking through the woods.

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Love Lizzy x

I'm wearing:
*Broidery Top (also available in pink) £29, Tulchan
*Flower Garden print skirt, £40, Tulchan
Swarovski crystal set t-bar bee bracelet, £29.95, Danon at Lizzy O
*Silver Superga Pumps, £55, Aspire Style

I'm linking up with:
I Will Wear What I LikeBrilliant Blog Posts/The Saturday Share

Disclosure:
*These items were gifted. My opinions are always 100% honest and the content is always my own. Thank you for supporting those brands that support What Lizzy Loves.

For more of What Lizzy Loves, please follow on Instagram and Facebook

Photographs: 
Thank you Ian for being so patient when we were searching for the right light to make these photographs work. Thank you even more for making me laugh and smile so much x 

Danon jewellery, wrap bracelets, pendants and scarves
Sign up to my newsletter and receive an exclusive discount for Lizzy O every month



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Thursday, 18 May 2017

My Hopes, Dreams and Achievements as My Blog Turns Four

What Lizzy Loves bluebell-top-blog-fourth-birthday

When I published my very first blog post on this date four years ago, never in my wildest dreams could I have foreseen that every aspect of my life would change beyond recognition. Not only that, if you'd have told me that it would turn into the most exciting, wondrous adventure and that all of my dreams would come true, I'd have accepted it as little more than a whimsical thought and moved swiftly on. But, that's exactly what has happened and I can't quite believe it. 

This post is celebratory, it's about how my blog has shaped my life, so I debated whether or not to include the next paragraph because it revisits old ground, but I do feel I need to include at least some of my "back story" to give my current and incredibly happy status some context. (And rather than cluttering the post with the links to the relevant posts to which I'll refer, I'll list them at the end).

My Harder Times
To those that have followed since the early days, you might recall that three years ago, on my blog's first birthday, I wrote about the life-changing events following my discovery eight weeks earlier of my former husband's long-standing infidelity, (with a woman I had considered a friend). The divorce that ensued was brutal, horrific and exhausting and within eight months, my children and I moved from our large country barn conversion into a new build in the centre of town. To say my emotions were tumultuous at that time would be one almighty understatement. Fear, humiliation and shock took it turns to occupy my mind day and night, but I chose to swim, (although my natural optimism and positivity meant sinking was never an option), and slowly, with the unwavering support of my parents, brothers and sisters-in-law and my friends, I came out the other side, stronger and with a greater understanding of life and its priorities and free from the abusive marriage that I had chosen to stay in for the sake of my children. That chapter is something I plan to write about one day in depth, not because I wish to wallow in self-pity, far from it, but because I am proof that time heals, that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that, most, most importantly, though it's nigh on impossible to believe at the time, happy ever afters do happen. I received so many wise words and learned so much that I want to pass on. I want to share what really helped me to get through it.  

Throughout those hard months, I realised that the career break I was taking needed to come to an end so I could take steps to become financially independent but I wasn't of the right mindset to return to optometry. I'd always wanted to write, so I tentatively emailed the managing director of Aspire, a Skipton-based magazine to see if I could get some work experience and included a link to my blog. She read and liked it and offered me a monthly fashion feature. Three months later, I was offered the role of copywriter, editor and journalist, a position I accepted with relish and still hold. 

My Blog's Evolution
Once settled into our new home, I found myself wanting to improve my blog. It was still a hobby but one I was becoming more and more passionate about. I look back and cringe at some of my early posts; the photography was poor, I didn't understand the technicalities of writing it such that search engines would find and like it and I had no concept of the importance of social media or how best to promote my posts. Slowly, though, I learned on the job, (I'm still learning every single day), and in February last year, I attended my first blogging conference after realising I would need to run my blog as a business, so time-consuming was it, to sustain it. This proved to be a life-changing weekend because there, I met six other bloggers, only one of whom I'd met previously. Such was our connection that we kept in touch and one year later, launched The Over 40 Collective, (which I've written about and mentioned on many occasions). Next week, we are invited guests at a very special event which I am considering to be the pinnacle of my blogging career so far. The itinerary we have is incredible and I can't quite believe that it has all come about because of my blog; that it's actually part of my job. We'll all be sharing snippets next Friday on social media with full blog pots to follow. I can't wait to share it because it truly will be an awesome day.


The Over 40 Collective
The Over 40 Collective

My Hopes
This year I've worked with more brands than I could ever have hoped for. It's a privilege to wear clothes from little known brands and to make a difference to a start-up company by wearing one of their tee-shirts on Instagram. It's an honour to have been named the blogger expert for certain brands and to be invited to press days. My blog is constantly and organically evolving. I'm doing more restaurant reviews and beauty reviews and the boundaries between style and lifestyle are increasingly blurred. I am, (very happily), writing more sponsored posts, but must reassure that every single one is authentic. I wear and use everything that appears on my blog and I turn down more than I accept. I speak and write from the heart with integrity and honesty and that will never change. My goal now is to keep on building my blog, to work with more brands and to improve my photography skills further. I also want to write some more personal posts as mentioned above, those that are both emotional and emotive; I've been through a lot and I have a lot of things to share that might help. I've also made my share of mistakes but I've learned from them; I'm not afraid to hold my hands up to them.

My Dream Come True
And now onto my happy ever after. I'm the world's most romantic and sentimental person and always hoped to find my prince, but after kissing a few frogs, I had almost reached the conclusion that I'd be better off on my own, because nobody seemed to tick all of the boxes. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't looking for perfection because I can't offer that in return, but there are some fundamentals that are incredibly important and my experience of dating throughout the last two years has taught me not to compromise on them; things simply won't work out otherwise. Experience has also taught me to trust my gut instinct. Listen to it, ask it if it's not forthcoming and believe what it tells you because whether or not you like what you hear, it's always right.

It was indirectly through Michelle, The Barefaced Chic, (also in The Over 40 Collective), that last October, I met Ian. From the first moment, I knew he was everything I have ever hoped for. Caring, sensitive, romantic, kind, intelligent, cultured and... tall. Yaaay! Tall enough for me to wear my highest heels and still have to reach up. It's difficult to use the words I want to use without sounding overly sentimental or gushy, but he is the most wonderful man and I can't imagine life without him. It's not been plain sailing. It isn't easy for my children to see their mother as a romantic partner, rather than as just their mum and I have been accused by them of behaving like a giggly princess in his presence, but his patience, understanding and personality shine through and everything is falling into place. He supports me in all of my work, is a very patient photographer and is the best Instagram husband this blogger could wish for. I've waited my whole adult life to feel like this, to be treated this way and to have a relationship that is not only exciting but is grown-up and firmly underpinned by mutual respect, understanding, equality, honesty, a shared go-getting, positive attitude and a lot of fun and laughter.

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My Destiny
There have been times when things have been unbelievably difficult. There is so much more to say about several aspects of this post and at times, my life has seemed like a soap opera. Friends have suggested that I write a book about it but I honestly think that it would seem too far-fetched to be true. Some things have seemed almost beyond belief and certain behaviours, especially those of my former husband are incomprehensible, indefensible and unforgiveable. But I look at my children and I couldn't be prouder. They have shown resilience beyond their years. Poppy is sixteen and is in the throes of her GCSEs. She's bright, conscientious, beautiful, honest, unpretentious and kind. Harry is a sports mad, intelligent, spirited fourteen year-old who despite being horrified that his friends discovered my Instagram, tells me almost daily that he loves me. He doesn't need to tell me that he's proud of me because I can tell. They both have an excellent sense of perspective and they know I do my very best to be both parents to them, a role supplemented in bucket loads by my own wonderful dad and my two brothers and my mum continues to show unstinting love and support towards each of us.

What Lizzy Loves children

As I sit and type, I can't help but believe that this was always the plan. It feels like I was destined to write for a living, that I was destined to live a sociable and fulfilled life in the town and not a rather isolated one in the country. I was destined to meet new friends that I wouldn't have met in my old life. I'm so thankful that I had the courage to start my blog four years ago, that I was brave enough to put myself out there. I am thankful I emailed the MD of Aspire which led to my writing work. I am grateful that my parents looked after my children so I could go to the blogging conference which led to the formation of The Over 40 Collective and indirectly to Ian and I finding each other. I am so glad that the woman I once called a friend gave me a definitive reason to end my marriage. As crazy as it sounds, I want to thank her because it  resulted in me regaining the freedom that had been taken from me throughout my marriage in a controlling, insidious way. I got myself and my sparkle back.

Thank you for reading my blog and for the support, comments and feedback which mean the world. If you are thinking of starting a blog, then go for it. It's a lot of hard work and is quite addictive but it is the best way of expressing oneself and if you're going through tough times, keep on believing in yourself and I promise, you will get through it. Talk and allow yourself to feel every emotion. From then on, make the most of every opportunity; grasp it with both hands. Have the courage of your convictions. Be honest, be true, be authentic, be brave and most of all, be yourself.

Love Lizzy x

Related Posts
My Blog's First Birthday
A Very Emotional Moving Day
My Blogs Second Birthday
My Blog's Third Birthday
How To Do It All And Stay Sane
Friendships and The Over 40 Collective
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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Fashion, Fizz and Friendship: A Day Out In London For #AW17 Blogger Events.

What-Lizzy-Loves-Kaleidoscope-AW17_Press-Day-Snakeprint-maxi-dress

You may have seen on my Instagram Stories last week that I was in London for a round of press days. Throughout May and November, companies present their upcoming collections for the following season, so it was the AW17 ranges that I went to look at along with my lovely blogging friend, Michelle, The Barefaced Chic.


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I work closely with Kaleidoscope, (I write a monthly post for their blog), and it was there that we started. I was asked to pick out those pieces that caught my eye and this blush snake print maxi dress was the first thing. This is a transitional piece that will be available in July, hopefully in time for my holiday to Nerja.

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 Here I am with Hayley from PHA Media. It's always such a pleasure catching up with the team.

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What-Lizzy-Loves-Kaleidoscope-AW17-Press-Day-Snakeprint-maxi-dress-detail

The other standout piece for me was this black and white faux fur jacket. It's absolutely gorgeous and is on my wishlist for autumn winter. 

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Kaleidoscope do accessories and footwear particularly well and I these tapestry boots will be a versatile addition to the autumn winter wardrobe.

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We were close to Covent Garden so stopped for lunch and fizz and a long overdue catch-up. Along with the rest of The Over 40 Collective, we chat daily via WhatsApp, but I haven't seen any of the girls since we did a photoshoot in London last November so it was wonderful to have some time together.

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Our next port of call was at Lotus. Embroidery, jacquard and tapestry featured on both shoes and boots (in a very similar vein to the Kaleidoscope boots above). 

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These grey and black shoe boots with gold hardwear were my favourites though; the shape and cut makes them perfect for dresses and skirts as well as narrow trousers or skinny jeans.

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From there we went to Coast, which is renowned for occasionwear. The AW17 collection looks stunning and I'm hoping to have sufficient invitations to justify buying at least some of this new collection.

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As bloggers, it would have been remiss not to visit Liberty, perhaps one of the most Instagrammed spots in London, so we got a table across the road and refuelled before heading across to photograph the flowers and the floor. 

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It was a brilliant day so do take a look at Michelle's blog post about our day and see her vlog here. I'll be back on Thursday with an extra post because it's my blog's fourth birthday!

Love Lizzy x

I'm wearing:
* Victoriana lace blouse, Marks and Spencer, past season
*Leopard print jacquard jacket, Kaleidoscope, past season
Skinny jeans, Next, past season
*Woven leather espadrilles, £45, Kaleidoscope

I'm linking up with:
I Will Wear What I LikeBrilliant Blog Posts/The Saturday Share

Disclosure:
*These items were gifted. My opinions are always 100% honest and the content is always my own. Thank you for supporting those brands that support What Lizzy Loves.

For more of What Lizzy Loves, please follow on Instagram and Facebook

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Friday, 12 May 2017

Cocktail Time Logo Top and Leopard Print Boots

There are times when an item of clothing almost speaks for itself and needs little or nothing by way of introduction or explanation. This Happy Hour Cocktail jumper features an embroidered Martini glass complete with red sequinned cherry, so of course I wore it when I went out for drinks last weekend with Ian, my friend Sally and her husband John.

What Lizzy Loves. Cocktail glass logo top worn with skinny jeans and high-heeled leopard print boots

The three-quarter length sleeves are ideal for trans-seasonal dressing and for wearing during the changeable weather we have in spring. These photographs were taken on a very sunny, but windy afternoon, attested to as always by my windswept hair!

What Lizzy Loves. Cocktail glass logo top with sequin cherry

What Lizzy Loves. Cocktail glass logo top worn with skinny jeans and high-heeled leopard print ankle boots

40 plus style blogger What Lizzy Loves wears What Lizzy Loves. Cocktail glass logo top worn with skinny jeans and high-heeled leopard print boots

What Lizzy Loves. Cocktail glass logo top worn with skinny jeans

What Lizzy Loves. Cocktail glass logo top with skinny jeans


What Lizzy Loves. Cocktail glass, cocktail time logo top worn with skinny jeans and high-heeled leopard print boots

What Lizzy Loves. Cocktail glass logo top, sequin cherry

What Lizzy Loves. Cocktail glass logo, cocktail time top

The frivolous, lighthearted feel of the outfit called for fun jewellery, so my gold pineapple bracelet and gold pineapple ring, accompanied by the gold honey-bee bracelet, fitted the bill perfectly, (and yes, I do have goosebumps). I think both designs are fabulous for summer and for those that favour cooler tones, they're available in silver too, all from Lizzy O (Sign up to my monthly newsletter here for exclusive subscriber discounts).

gold pineapple bracelet, gold honey bee bracelets by Danon

Danon gold honey bee bracelet and gold pineapple bracelet

Gold pineapple ring by Danon

I'm a huge fan of animal print and have said over and over just how versatile leopard print is. Like a neutral, it matches everything I can think of, yet adds so much to an outfit. It's a simple way of making a statement and of elevating an outfit into something eye-catching. These ankle boots are leather, the mid-height heel of which allows for tottering on Skipton's cobbles irrespective of the number of cocktails consumed. I got them last winter but there are still some available for half-price, the links to which are at the foot of the post. 

Bluma Leopard print high heeled boots by Lotus

Love Lizzy x

I'm wearing:
*Joanie Happy Hour Cocktail Jumper, £45 Aspire Style
Bluma leopard print boots, reduced to £44.99, Lotus at House of Fraser
*Bluma leopard print boots, reduced to £45, Lotus
Skinny jeans, Next, past season
Pineapple bracelet in gold, £27, Lizzy O 
Pineapple ring in gold, £24, Lizzy O
Sign up to my monthly newsletter here for exclusive subscriber discounts at Lizzy O.

I'm linking up with:
I Will Wear What I LikeBrilliant Blog Posts/The Saturday Share

Disclosure:
*These items were gifted. My opinions are always 100% honest and the content is always my own. Thank you for supporting those brands that support What Lizzy Loves.

For more of What Lizzy Loves, please follow on Instagram and Facebook

Photographs: Ian

Danon jewellery, wrap bracelets, pendants and scarves
Sign up to my newsletter and receive an exclusive discount for Lizzy O every month

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