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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Little Red Sixties Style Dress

By the time you read this, I shall, all being well, be en-route to Nerja in Southern Spain with my parents and children for the week and to say I'm excited would be quite the understatement. I don't now what the wifi will be like but I'm hoping to share some photographs via Instagram and Facebook if you'd like some sneak peeks ahead of the blog posts that I'll write upon my return. From what I've seen of the resort online it is absolutely beautiful and I'm very much looking forward to practicing my photography.

I wore this red sixties style dress on Saturday evening when the girls came for drinks and nibbles. It's another of my favourites from three, possibly four, summers ago and I actually have the same dress in a narrow navy and white stripe. It's a ponte jersey fabric which has a nice stretch to it and which is easy and comfortable to wear. I teamed it with my cream and black polka dot sandals and my favourite gold Danon jewellery from my online boutique, Lizzy O. Every month in my newsletter, I include an exclusive discount code to use at Lizzy O. The next one will be out on August 1st, so hurry and sign (under the photograph of the jewellery in the right-hand sidebar of my blog).

Boden red sixties style dress, over 40

Boden red sixties style dress, over 40

Boden red sixties style dress, over 40

Boden red sixties style dress, over 40

Freshwater pearl and gold heart bracelet from Lizzy O

Gold star and crysatl ear jackets by Danon from Lizzy O

Gold stars ring by Danon from Lizzy O

I have another blog post scheduled for Friday morning in which I review a gorgeous little tearoom in Skipton, so if you're planning to visit the Dales or just want to see some pictures of the mouthwatering afternoon tea I had with my daughter, then keep an eye out.

Have a lovely week and I'll be back after my holiday.

Love Liz x

Outfit details:
Red sixties style dress, Boden, past season
Double star ring in matt gold (also available in silver) £25 by Danon at Lizzy O
T-bar heart and freshwater pearl bracelet, £49, Danon at Lizzy O
Star earrings set with a Swarovski crystal, £29.95 by Danon at Lizzy O.
*Amali Ava white and black spotted sandals, £55, Clarks


Linking with:
I Will Wear What I LikeVisible Monday/Shoe and TellBrilliant Blog PostsFun Fashion FridayTop of the World StyleTurning Heads Tuesday

*Disclosure: These items were gifted. All opinions are 100% honest and all content is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support What Lizzy Loves. 
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Sunday, 24 July 2016

How to Work from Home During the Summer Holiday plus My Favourite Pompom Dress Midi Dress.

School's out for summer and I'm as excited as my children are, who after a very long and busy half term, finished on Friday. I've always been the same, I love having them around and have never ever ever wished the school holidays away. Time passes so quickly and in a blink of an eye they'll be off to university- something about which I can't bear to dwell on for too long and it's my privilege as their mother to have them around.  Of course, the lengthy summer break brings with it childcare issues for many families and while my teenagers, (my daughter is 15 and my son is 13), are old enough to come and go as they please, working from home brings its own challenges too, particularly if they want their friends round, something which I have always encouraged and welcomed. 

So, how to work from home during the summer holidays with (teenage) children around? 

Well, as for anyone who is self-employed and/or working from home, discipline is the key. It's tempting to stay in bed a little later, especially when the children in question are teenagers and will naturally sleep in later than they do on a school day. There is no sense of urgency unlike a school morning and this, I've found, can be contagious! I'm a naturally early riser and capitalise on this by looking at emails first thing and writing a list of that day's tasks. I do the essential housekeeping such as emptying the dishwasher and putting a load of washing on. I work at the table in the kitchen-dining area and I can't concentrate unless the kitchen is clean and tidy. At the end of the working day, I put all associated paperwork and paraphernalia away in a cupboard to signify that I have finished for the day and to ensure that it's safe and doesn't get lost, damaged, spilled upon etc.

I try to keep up with my gym routine. During term time, I go as soon as the children have left, (they are old enough and live close enough to school to walk themselves), so I start my working day proper post-shower upon my return, feeling both energised and virtuous. Weather permitting, I walk through the park to the gym, so ensuring I get at least some fresh air (something it can be easy to forget about when based at home). I do a shorter workout when the children are at home but it's important for me to fit some exercise in.

Stopping for lunch is something I must try harder at, day to day. I always eat but don't always stop working to do so. In the holidays, I set a time for lunch and make sure the children know. It's a great way to "touch base" with them, to catch up on their morning. I try to eat outside whenever possible because I enjoy it, but it also saves clearing the decks if working from the dining table as mentioned above. I like to know they have eaten properly and it's part of my job as a mum to ensure this. That being said, if they are out with their friends and want to get a sausage roll and a bottle of Lucozade from Greggs (a culinary favourite of both children and their fellow teens across the nation it seems), I'll happily give them two or three squid to do so. It is the holidays after all. 

I aim to finish work at 5.30pm but if the children are out with friends, I work a little later. Being flexible is key here. But assuming they are home, I tidy my work away and prepare supper for us to eat together. Homework-free evenings means time to catch up on films so we have each written a list of what we'd like to watch. Charity shops are a great source of DVDs and also books of course, and we are going to have at least two movie nights per week.

We're going on holiday abroad for a week but I'd also like some days out upon our return so I am actively trying to schedule them in. That way, we know to keep those dates free and have even more to look forward to. A mini break to London is top of our list at this time. 

Above all though I accept and embrace the fact that my routine will be a little bit different for the duration of the summer holidays. My magazine work and my optometry column are non-negotiable, are deadline driven and pay the mortgage, so they are the priority, but the other branches of my work, namely my blog and its associated social media and Lizzy O, my online jewellery business might have to take a back seat for a short while. Because no mother ever looked back and wished she'd posted more on Instagram.

So to summarise...

-Get up at the same time as you would during term time and do this on each and every working day.
-Write a to-do list.
-Ensure your workspace (especially if it's in a communal area), is clean and tidy before starting. 
-Continue to workout and exercise as normal (in fact continue as normal with any hobbies).
-Take a twenty minute walk.  
-Stop for lunch and eat with the children. Or let them eat out in town with their friends. 
-Finish work at a set time and tidy everything away.
-Make the most of homework-free evenings. Make a list of  DVDs and watch them together. With popcorn. 
-Schedule some days off and decide in advance where to go and what to do on those days.
-Set aside a half-day to get new uniform, shoes etc as early as possible in the holidays. Ditto haircuts, dentist appointments and eye-tests.
-Bloggers and small businesses- use apps to schedule social media shares. I've recently started using the brilliant IFTTT for several aspects of this and have been using Buffer for Twitter a few months. Both are intuitive and have made a huge difference to me and my time management. (Read this popular post about time management and doing it all while staying sane). 
-Above all enjoy. Make the most of every moment with these wonderful young people and embrace the change in routine. Celebrate anything and everything.

So yesterday heralded the start of the summer holiday and the children and I had lunch with my brother and his family. We went to The Woolly Sheep Inn in Skipton and had a walk around the town. I wore my pompom midi dress, one of my favourites from last year and one I teamed with tattoo tights and nude heels in spring in what proved to be a very popular post. Skipton's cobbles mean that flats are a sensible option, so tan sandals were the order of the day.

 & Other Stories cream pompom midi dress

& Other Stories cream pompom midi dress

& Other Stories cream pompom midi dress

& Other Stories cream pompom midi dress

wordsearch table

Burger on ciabatta at The Woolly Sheep, Skipton

& Other Stories cream pompom midi dress

I think it's clear that I love the holidays.

& Other Stories cream pompom midi dress


Love Liz x

Outfit details:
Cream pompom midi dress, & Other Stories, past season
T-bar heart and freshwater pearl bracelet, £49, Danon at Lizzy O
Leopard print and diamante wrap bracelet, £12.50, Lizzy O
Hummingbird watch, Olivia Burton, past season
Tan leather sandals, Boden, past season

Please follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more.

Linking with:
I Will Wear What I LikeVisible Monday/Shoe and TellBrilliant Blog PostsFun Fashion FridayTop of the World StyleTurning Heads Tuesday


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Friday, 22 July 2016

Botanical Print Eco-Dress with Mulberry Bayswater Bag and Sandals

Hasn't it been glorious these last few days? Finally, finally, we've had some hot weather here in the UK with wall to wall sunshine (plus the odd clap of thunder), and I absolutely love it. Around the house and in the garden, I've been wearing shorts with sleeveless, loose tops, but we're not used to it and it can be hard to know what to wear for work, meetings and appointments in hot weather. 

To me, a dress is the obvious choice- loose fitting but with some structure. For such occasions, I'm more comfortable when my shoulders and chest are covered. These also happen to be my most sun-sensitive areas and despite being incredibly vigilant with high SPF suncream, they often still go a little pink. I actually find this happens more when there are straps and necklines involved as they tend to rub it off, rather than when sitting on a beach in a bikini where I can spray over and over without fear of ruining clothes and without missing bits. Covering these areas gives me one less thing to worry about when out and about.

Choosing a natural fibre helps too of course. This dress is composed of Tencel, a fibre about which I wrote in my post about eco-fashion last month, (which was very well received and is currently the most read post of the month). It's by eco-brand Braintree but is from an independent shop here in Skipton. The botanical print did more than catch my eye, it positively hit me in the face. The colours, the flowers, the works. Tencel is lightweight with beautiful draping properties and remains almost crumple free and because of this I think I'm going to wear it to fly to our holiday destination next week. 

The nature of my work means I can wear sandals, but if it did need to be a little more formal, a pair of nude or tan mid heeled court shoes would be ideal. 

Ethical fashion Braintree botanical floral print dress with tan sandals and Mulberry bag. Over 40

Ethical fashion Braintree botanical floral print dress with tan sandals and Mulberry bag. Over 4

Ethical fashion Braintree botanical floral print dress with tan sandals and Mulberry bag. Over 4

Ethical fashion Braintree botanical floral print dress with tan sandals and Mulberry bag. Over 4

My bee bracelet is the perfect fauna for this flora. It's by Israeli brand Danon which I sell on my accessories website Lizzy O. If you sign up to my monthly blog newsletter, you'll get an exclusive discount code which is valid for all items on there for two weeks after receipt. I send them out on 1st of each month, so just pop your details in the box in the right hand side bar beneath the collage of the jewellery. The silver angel wings drop earrings below are also by Danon at Lizzy O.

Danon jewellery Swarovski set bee charm bracelet

Danon jewellery angel wings earrings

These bracelets are from Bella Jane Jewellery. Run by fellow mum and business woman Annabel Davies, this was one of the very first brands I collaborated with and I still wear the bracelets frequently, especially in hot weather because they're lightweight and feel "barely there."

Ethical fashion Braintree botanical floral print dress with tan sandals and Mulberry bag. Over 4

And my bag. Well this bag is a bag for life, (read Michelle, RetroChicMama's post about her shoes for life), saved up for and purchased during what now seems like a completely different life. This beautiful Mulberry bag sometimes feels like it's an imposter because its fellow designer accessories went the same way as my large country home, my Land Rover and my wedding ring two and a half years ago. I've been tempted to sell it on several occasions because my new life is so different and I need nor want any mementos of the former. It's simpler now, more real and infinitely happier. However, over the years this bag has worked hard for me and has earned its keep and I suspect it will end up being a bag for my daughter's life too (as she hastily reminds me whenever I mention selling it!)

Ethical fashion Braintree botanical floral print dress with tan sandals and Mulberry small Bayswater cookie cutter bag. Over 4

Ethical fashion Braintree botanical floral print dress with tan sandals and Mulberry bag. Over 4

Love Liz x

Outfit details:
Amelie botanical floral Tencel dress by Braitree at From The Source, currently reduced to £59.90
T-bar Swarovski crystal set bee bracelet, £29.95 by Danon at Lizzy O
Silver angel wings earrings, £19, by Danon at Lizzy O
Silver bracelets, from a selection at Bella Jane Jewellery
Pink watch with diamante face, Next, past season
Flat tan sandals, Boden, past season
Small Bayswater Cookie Cutter Satchel in oak, Mulberry, past season

Remember to follow along on Instagram and Facebook too.

Linking with:
I Will Wear What I LikeVisible Monday/Shoe and TellBrilliant Blog PostsFun Fashion FridayTop of the World StyleTurning Heads Tuesday

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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Marks and Spencer White Top and Denim Challenge.

This is not just a white top. 

This, (insert sultry voice), is an M&S soft white, pure cotton, broderie anglaise blouse, cut, for a relaxed fit...

And isn't it pretty? I love all things broderie and this caught my eye while wandering through Marks and Spencer several months ago. There were only a few sizes left and I was in a rush, so I made a mental note to order it online. But could I find it? No, I could not. In common with the store layout, the website is not the best to navigate in terms of using the filters (I'm not convinced they actually work properly) or the keyword search. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen something in a magazine or on a fellow blogger that looks like a designer piece, to discover it is in fact from M&S. Desirable, well-made and well-priced, I've wanted several such items, but they have proven nigh on impossible to find. On this occasion though, my tenacity paid off and eventually I managed to find the top again when in-store. 

Some weeks later, my blogging friends from the The Over 40 Collective and I were discussing Marks and Spencer and in general concluded that it's a favourite for food and lingerie and is a popular "go-to" store for basics. With this in mind, we decided to challenge ourselves to each choose a white top to style with denim to demonstrate how basics from a retailer targeting our age-group, (35+), look on women like us, who are actually in that demographic.

So here is my white Marks and Spencer top with cropped, flared jeans and spotty sandals. I love the cropped, boxy shape and the pretty elbow-length sleeves, which hide a multitude should you need them to. The soft white is very flattering to paler skin-tones such as my own and I can imagine wearing it with denim shorts and a flared midi skirt as well as any other shape or colour of denim jeans.

White Marksand Spencer broderie top, cropped flared jeans, back and white spotted sandals

White Marks and Spencer broderie top, cropped flared jeans, back and white spotted sandals

White Marks and Spencer broderie top, cropped flared jeans, back and white spotted sandals

White Marks and Spencer broderie top, cropped flared jeans, back and white spotted sandals

White Marks and Spencer broderie top, cropped flared jeans, back and white spotted sandals

White broderie top, cropped flared jeans, back and white spotted sandals

White Marks and Spencer broderie top, cropped flared jeans, back and white spotted sandals

And now for the rest of The Over 40 Collective. The girls will be publishing their posts throughout the week so please do keep checking back. I will add their links and photographs as they do, so you can see how they too styled a white Marks and Spencer white top, shirt or jacket with denim.

The M&S white top and denim challenge
Michelle, The Barefaced Chic
Michelle, RetroChicMama
Michelle, RetroChicMama
Nikki, Midlife Chic, Marks and Spencer white top and denim challenge
Nikki, Midlife Chic
Marks and Spencer white top challenge
Lisa, The Sequinist
The Marks and Spencer white top challange
Annette, Lady of Style
The Marks and Spencer White top challenge
Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb

And just so you know, this isn't a sponsored post. We bought our tops ourselves and were not paid for writing the posts. It was something we felt would be an interesting experiment.

And my conclusion to this experiment? 

I love, really love a lot of the clothes as well as the food, lingerie, tights and home accessories. I have it on good authority that the upcoming AW16 collections are strong so I'll be watching with great interest. I am also impressed with environmental concern Marks and Spencer have shown with their Plan A.
I would like to see a slicker website with better photography and I would like the stores to be completely re-merchandised so it is easier to see the wood for the trees, but I think this challenge has proved that Marks and Spencer basics are excellent and I think we as a collective, with our individual styles, tastes and builds attest to that. 

Good old M&S. 


Love Liz x

Outfit details:
Pure cotton broderie top, Indigo at Marks and Spencer, now out of stock (!) but these are similar.

http://www.marksandspencer.com/MSFindItemsByKeyword?searchTerm=broderie+blouse&langId=-24&storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&categoryId=0&typeAhead=
Available at Marks and Spencer
Cropped flared jeans, Next
Leopard print wrap bracelet, £12.50, Lizzy O
*Red soft leather clutch, Kaleidoscope
*Amali Ava white and black spotted sandals, £55, Clarks

Linking with:
I Will Wear What I LikeVisible Monday/Shoe and TellBrilliant Blog PostsFun Fashion FridayTop of the World StyleTurning Heads Tuesday

*Disclosure: These items were gifted. All opinions are 100% honest and all content is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support What Lizzy Loves. 
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Sunday, 17 July 2016

A Nude and Grey Crochet Maxi Dress for a Night at The Casino

Last night I went to the casino. Well, it was actually the Town Hall in the Dales village of Grassington for a fundraising event which had been, in part, organised by one of my friends for her son's school PTA. It was a great evening. The Prosecco flowed and we enjoyed Black Jack and Roulette and chatted and laughed throughout the evening.

The dress code was "Dress to Impress" so I wore a grey and nude lace crochet maxi dress with my beloved glittery Jimmy Choos.  I love the simple shape of the dress with its soft romantic lace detail and flattering draping. The colours are delicate and easy to wear and I thoroughly enjoyed wearing it.

Nude and grey crochet maxi cocktail dress, over 40

Nude and grey crochet maxi cocktail dress, over 40

Nude and grey crochet maxi cocktail dress, over 40

Nude and grey crochet maxi cocktail dress, over 40

Nude and grey crochet maxi cocktail dress, over 40

Nude and grey crochet maxi cocktail dress, over 40

Nude and grey crochet maxi cocktail dress, over 40

I feel the dress has a slight vintage look and feel so I accessorised with pretty pearl jewellery

bella-perlina-cubic-zirconia-and-black-freshwater-pearl-sterling-silver-adjustable-ring.html

Nude and grey crochet maxi cocktail dress, over 40

It wasn't a late late night, but I had to be up at 5.30 this morning to take my daughter to school because she's going away on a trip and the combination of the fizz and the early start means I look rather less glamorous and party ready today.

Casino night

Love Liz x

Outfit details:
Dress, Little Mistress Phoebe Crochet Maxi, Aspire Style £69
*Sofia Bracelet in Pearl Vintage Grey, Lily and Rose £99
Shoes, Tahiti in champagne glitter , Jimmy Choo, past season
Silver satin bow bag, Laura Ashley, past season.
*Black freshwater pearl and cubic zirconia ring, £60 Eternal Collection


Linking with:
I Will Wear What I LikeVisible Monday/Shoe and TellBrilliant Blog PostsFun Fashion FridayTop of the World StyleTurning Heads Tuesday

*Disclosure: I was lucky enough to be sent these items. All opinions are 100% honest and all content is my own and I was not obliged to blog about them. Thank you for supporting the brands that support What Lizzy Loves. 
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Friday, 15 July 2016

New Gym and Leisure Clothing (and Upping The Ante at the Gym)

One of my resolutions at the start of the year was to re-join the gym after a hiatus of almost two years. Exercise and sport have been a significant part of my life since I was at junior school where I was in the skittle-ball and rounders teams. Throughout secondary school, I cycled, played netball, swam and took part in all kinds of athletics from discus to sprint relays. University saw me graduate to badminton and the aerobic phenomenon of the 90s, Step classes and a decade later, once both of my children were at school, I spent a lot of time in the saddle at spin classes as well as in the gym, on the resistance machines and walking and sprinting at intervals, on the treadmill.

The feel-good factor is what motivates me along with the desire to stay as fit and as strong as I can for the sake of my children. It's three hours of "me-time" each week and I consider it to be an essential investment into my future. It's wonderful for my well-being and my self-esteem and yes, of course, I want to look as good as I can. Don't we all?

My holiday is fast approaching and unlike last year when my children and I huddled in beach towels on Woolacombe beach, this year we'll, (almost certainly), be privy to bikini weather, so I've upped the ante by increasing both the repetitions and weights within my programme and have been trying to fit in an additional session each week when possible.

Ilu means beauty in Estonian and is the name of the brand that has sent me the fabulous kit below. It is a small British company aimed at the over 35 woman and counts Amanda Holden as one of its fans. The pieces are beautifully constructed and are an absolute joy to wear. To me, beauty is about health, happiness, strength, (emotional and physical) and spirit. Inner happiness reflects on the outside just as inner strength does, but equally, one's outward appearance affects that all important inner self-confidence. The physical and emotional are inextricably linked. If you feel good you look good and vice versa.

The jacket is made from a bamboo blend (tying in nicely with my recent post about eco-fashion). It is incredibly soft and is a beautiful fabric to wear. The flattering ruching and thumb holes make it extra special.
The leggings are seamless and have a high-rise ribbed, foldable waistband, ideal for smoothing and for keeping any errant muffin tops at bay. They stay in place during my workouts, no hoiking up required mid-sprint!
The cropped top, also a bamboo blend, offers light-support and removable pads, the ribbed edge ensuring that it too stays in place. Most, most important.


Ilu teal gradated gym and yoga clothing for women over 35

Ilu teal gradated gym and yoga clothing for women over 35

Ilu teal gradated gym and yoga clothing for women over 35

Ilu teal gradated gym and yoga clothing for women over 35

Ilu teal gradated gym and yoga clothing for women over 35

My lovely daughter saw this water bottle and thought of me recently, because in wet weather I do drive to the gym (Ubers have yet to reach Skipton) but on a dry day I walk through this park to get there which is the perfect warm-up and final cool-down.

I Uber to the gym

Ilu teal gradated gym and yoga clothing for women over 35

Ilu teal gradated gym and yoga clothing for women over 35

Ilu teal gradated gym and yoga clothing for women over 35


Love Liz x

Outfit details:
*Supersoft Chic Jacket, £72, Ilu
*Supersoft yoga leggings £39.99, Ilu
*Supersoft crop top, £32, Ilu
"I Uber To The Gym" water bottle, Urban Outfitters,
Nike trainers, past season
Please follow along on Instagram and Facebook for more.

Linking with:
I Will Wear What I LikeVisible Monday/Shoe and TellBrilliant Blog PostsFun Fashion FridayTop of the World StyleTurning Heads Tuesday

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