Monday, 29 February 2016

My Weekend Away at the Blognix Retreat, Northamptonshire

Can it really be the last day of February already? Are any of you brave ladies going to propose to their man on this leap year day? 

One woman that did just that is my blogging colleague and friend Catherine from Not Dressed as Lamb. Having met her lovely husband, I can say that it was a good decision on her part and they recently celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. 

She and I were among a group of  around 70 bloggers from all genres who attended the Blognix Retreat over the weekend at the Hellidon Lakes Hotel in Northamptonshire

It was a weekend of learning, of inspiration and of sharing new ideas and networking. The primary focus of the retreat was business and well-being and the workshops were the best I've ever attended. Some were quite specific to the blogosphere and some more generic and applicable to anyone in business. I have reams of notes to read through and assimilate and I will share these in blog posts over the next month or so.

After registration on Saturday morning, we attended four presentations, punctuated by coffee breaks and a wonderful buffet lunch.

Following the afternoon sessions, I checked into my room which was spacious with a very comfy bed.

What Lizzy Loves Blognix retreat

What Lizzy Loves Blognix retreat hotel bathroom

Despite being among fellow bloggers all day, I forgot to get a photograph taken of the outfit I wore during the day, so a mirror selfie must suffice. I wore my colour block shift dress with nude tights and flat Mary Janes, accessorised perfectly, I think you'll agree, with my conference lanyard. (previously, I wore this Great Plains shift dress with black opaque tights and high heeled black ankle boots).

What Lizzy Loves

I had a little time to get ready for dinner, which in itself was rather blissful.

What Lizzy Loves at The Blognix retreat

What Lizzy Loves at The Blognix retreat

We ate in a function room and were seated on given tables which meant we met and chatted with new friends.

What Lizzy Loves Blognix retreat

One of the biggest and loveliest things about the blogging world is how very supportive it is. Most of us here are working mothers with several income streams so juggling is the norm. Most had connected previously via social media but to meet these wonderful and like-minded women, all aged 40 plus, in person was just wonderful.

From left to right:
Lisa: The Sequinist
Annette: Lady of Style
Michelle: The Bare-Faced Chic
Catherine: Not Dressed as Lamb
Lorraine: Her blog is in the pipeline
Michelle: RetroChicMama
Nikki: Midlife Chic

Over 40 bloggers at the Blognix retreat

This lovely lady is Leigh and we were thrilled to be seated at the same table after meeting on Instagram a few months ago. She is author of the blog Headspace Perspective in which she writes about life after losing her baby son. She is a beautiful and remarkable woman and I was honoured to meet her. 

Elizabeth Yeowart and Leigh Kendall

We all had a brilliant night.The food was good and the fizz even better but my 4am start meant I was ready for bed way before I'd have turned into a pumpkin.

On Sunday morning, there were three more presentations and workshops which again, proved to be invaluable.

What Lizzy Loves at The Blognix retreat

We said our final goodbyes at lunchtime, Catherine took a group selfie and then I headed home back to my children and to iron the school uniforms!

Over 40 bloggers at The Blognix Retreat

Over 40 bloggers at The Blognix retreat

If you are a blogger, I cannot recommend Blognix highly enough. I'll definitely attend any future retreats. It's made me even more determined to succeed as a woman in (a very very tiny) business and to strive to make my blog the best it can be. I am full of ideas and enthusiasm and I hope to implement a lot of new things over the next month or so, some overt and some behind the scenes. I take my hat off to Blognix founders Elizabeth Sellers and Raj Dhokia who organised the event.

In fact I did one thing yesterday which was to open a separate Instagram account for my online jewellery business Lizzy O. If you are on Instagram I would be very very grateful if you would follow me.

Love Liz x

Outfit Details
Mirror selfie:
Art Class Colourblock Shift Dress, Great Plains £65

In the first group picture:
Dipped hem, zipped front printed dress, Mint Velvet AW15
Black suede high heeled ankle boots, Clarks, several years ago.

In the last group photo:
Pink embellished collar top, Dickins & Jones at House of Fraser
Boyfriend jeans, Next


Friday, 26 February 2016

Outfit: Maxi Sweat Dress with Pale Pink Chelsea Boots

The last few days have been beautiful here in North Yorkshire. Clear, frosty mornings, with blue skies and bright sunshine. It's finally beginning to feel a little like spring, but during these transitional times, I sometimes wonder what to wear on my feet. It's still too cold to go bare-legged if going outdoors, yet, it's nice to wear something a little lighter than winter boots and opaque tights.

The answer to this comes in the form of these divine nude pink leather Chelsea Boots. From Clarks, they are the perfect for wearing with both dresses and nude tights and with jeans and they had their first outing today.

Along with my friend Sally,  I went to a brilliant local cafe to review it for April's issue of Aspire magazine. The Pie and Mash shop is famed in these parts for its excellent, hearty homemade food. Located in Skipton's canal basin the cafe welcomes both locals and tourists alike. I'll share the full review when it's out in print next month but suffice to say, it was very fulfilling!

I chose my outfit with this in mind, opting to wear my maxi sweat dress by Monks on Vacation.

My double stars ring and my stack of bangles are by Danon. Everything mixes and matches and is very versatile looking equally good alone or together.

I'll be having an early night tonight because I'm attending the Blognix conference in Northamptonshire this weekend. It means a 4.30am wake up tomorrow morning, for me to get on the road and arrive for the start. My wonderful parents are looking after my children, reminding me as always that I have the best family. I'll miss the children terribly- I always do- but I know they're with people who love and cherish them as much as I do, and I rest easy knowing that. 

I'll blog about this next week but please keep an eye on my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram which I'll endeavor to update while I'm there! 

Have a lovely weekend,

Love Liz x

Outfit Details
*Maxi Sweat Dress, Monks on Vacation, SS16 £160
Double Star Ring by Danon Lizzy O, £25
Heart drop earrings with fish hook fastening by Danon, Lizzy O £19
Pink leather strap watch with diamante face, Next AW15
*Taylor Shine nude pink leather Chelsea Boots, Clarks  SS16 £60

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Red Carpet Glamour and My New Occasionwear

We are heading towards the end of February and awards season is in full swing, the pinnacle perhaps being the Oscars which will take place this Sunday evening, 28th February. Already we have seen the Baftas, The Elle Fashion Awards and The Brits to name just a few. 
I have always loved analysing the red carpet looks afterwards and with a worldwide television and digitial audience of millions, it's little wonder the designers want their work showcasing by the world's most glamorous women.  

It would of course be lovely to be dressed by a top fashion designer, but actually, achieving red caret glamour is quite easy.

The following four collages each show on the left hand side, a gown worn to the Baftas earlier this month, (all images taken from the Vogue website), alongside a dress from Kaleidoscope Occasionwear on the right. 

I have a few special occasions of my own coming up. There won't be any red carpets, though I would love to strut my stuff down one, but each occasion is equally special and exciting.

The first is a dinner to celebrate my grandparents' 70th wedding anniversary in March. My dad has five brothers all of whom are fathers and five of the six are grandfathers. It means that my extended family is quite large so we have a restaurant booked to accommodate our vast numbers and as the family is spread throughout England, it will be a welcome opportunity to catch up and to celebrate a quite remarkable wedding anniversary.

For this, I have chosen to wear a navy and white striped prom dress from Kaleidoscope. It features a modern Bardot neckline and the cutest grosgrain bow at the waist. Composed of a very stretchy scuba fabric, it seemed a wise choice when I know I'll be eating a three course dinner.
It falls beautifully and is incredibly comfortable. I love this most feminine of shapes and I feel it needs little in the way of accessories.  I like the contrast my orange quilted Mulberry shoes afford but I also have some beautiful floral shoes, a Valentines gift, that I may wear on the night.

What Lizzy Loves wears Kaleidoscope navy and white prom dress

What Lizzy Loves wears Kaleidoscope navy and white prom dress

What Lizzy Loves wears Kaleidoscope navy and white prom dress

What Lizzy Loves wears Kaleidoscope navy and white prom dress

What Lizzy Loves wears Kaleidoscope navy and white prom dress and orange Mulberry shoes

The second occasion is the day after and is a Mother's Day lunch with my children and my parents. We have decided to eat at my parents' home and I have chosen, rather unusually for me, a skirt and top, again with a Bardot neckline.

The floral print satin skirt has a mesh underskirt, an exposed gold zip at the bag and a high waist so tops can be worn tucked in or left out.

What Lizzy Loves wears Kaleidoscope floral skirt and Bardot top

What Lizzy Loves wears Kaleidoscope floral skirt and Bardot top

What Lizzy Loves wears Kaleidoscope floral skirt and Bardot top

The top is a beautifully soft handle jersey with a delicate looking mesh neckline and ties at the sleeve.

What Lizzy Loves wears Kaleidoscope floral skirt and Bardot top

What Lizzy Loves wears Kaleidoscope floral skirt and Bardot top and Boden bow shoes

I'm very much looking forward to wearing both outfits and to styling them differently throughout the season. I think the skirt in particular will prove to be very versatile.

Over the years I've attended a lot of weddings (I refer back to the large family mentioned above and must add that my mum is also from a family of six siblings), black tie events, ladies' days, cocktail parties and balls and feel that choosing the outfit is almost as exciting as the event itself but there are a few things I always bear in mind.

I find that these tips work for almost any occasion and outfit. 

1. Make sure the outfit and shoes are comfortable. If it is the slightest bit uncomfortable when trying on, it will only get more so as the day or evening progresses. This is especially true for shoes.

2. See how the outfit looks from behind. A quick snap on a phone will be a much truer reflection than any amount of contorting to see the rear view in a mirror.

3. Choose appropriate underwear. In both of my outfits above, I'm wearing a nude coloured strapless bra, an underwear staple. Make sure it stays put when raising the arms, especially if planning to dance. 

4. For an all day event such as a wedding, or one where walking or dancing may be involved, consider taking an alternative pair of shoes that work with the outfit. Ballerina pumps or flat sandals are good options and are relatively easy to carry around. I have a pair of black sparkly fold-up ballerinas that are smaller than my purse when folded and are ideal.

5. Many events have roaming photographers so perfect your pose beforehand to show the outfit off. A full skirt like mine above can be shown to its full potential by placing the hands on the narrowest part of the waist or  by pulling the skirt out to one or both sides. A long straight dress with a slit will be shown to its best advantage by standing tall and placing one leg slightly forwards. Drop the chin very slightly so the eyes are looking slightly upwards and smile. It's the best accessory.

Love Liz x

Outfit Details
Stripe Prom Dress, Kaleidoscope SS16, £65
Orange quilted shoes with Postman's Lock, Mulberry, several years old.

Bardot Bow Detail Top, Kaleidoscope SS16 £29
Floral Print Satin Skirt, Kaleidoscope SS16 £65
Long drop earrings, Next AW15
Black bow shoes, Boden AW15 (at the time of writing this style is available in several sizes in the clearance section)
Black clutch bag, a Valentine's gift.

My clothes were a gift from Kaleidoscope. All opinions are 100% honest and all content is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support my blog. 

This blog post links up with:
#I Will Wear What I Like (Not Dressed as Lamb)

Monday, 22 February 2016

Outfit: Cosy Layers and Biker Boots for Formby Beach.

If you read my previous two blog posts you'll know I spent a few days last week staying with Adam at his home in Liverpool. I love the bright lights of this most wonderful city but I also love its proximity to beautiful beaches. After spending Thursday in the city centre, we spent Friday morning blowing away the cobwebs on Formby Beach.

I decided layers would be the best thing, so over this grey crocheted dress, I added a very warm cardigan, which feels much like wearing a blanket as well as thick ribbed tights and a scarf.

The beach was rather exposed and a little windy...

...but the sand was as beautiful as I'd remembered from my previous visit.

We then took a stroll through the Formby Squirrel Park, a National Trust area renowned for its red squirrel population. We did see some but they were either too quick or too far away for us to capture on camera.

The decidedly autumnal looking ground, as nice as it is, makes it hard to believe that spring is on the horizon.

Such a perfect few days and in an area I'm growing to love more and more. It's well worth a visit if you're in the area, even on the coldest of days.

Love Liz x

Outfit Details
Grey crocheted dress, Fat Face, AW14
Ecru fringe cardigan, Next SS15 £38
Danon Swarovski crystal bee necklace, Lizzy O £49
Danon double star ring, Lizzy O, £25
Pink watch, Next AW15
Gabriella Roxy Grey Ribbed Tights, My Stockings, £15.98
Grey cable gloves, Debenhams, AW15
Grey and plaid scarf, Stradivarius (in Lisbon), AW15
Grey biker boots, Clarks, approx 2014


Saturday, 20 February 2016

Outfit: Great Plains Colourblock Shift Dress for Lunch in Liverpool

I've just returned home from spending a few days with Adam at his home in Liverpool to belatedly celebrate Valentine's day and also his birthday which was on Thursday. It's something we'd both looked forward to for some time and which was as lovely as we'd hoped for.

We spent the morning looking around the city and the shops on what was a beautiful, but bitterly cold day.

Great Plains colourblock shift dress

St George's Hall, Liverpool

The Liverpool Wheel

The Liverpool Wheel

The Albert Dock, Liverpool

We had lunch at Chaophraya, a Thai restaurant which we've visited and enjoyed before and where the loos have the most beautiful fish tanks.

Chaophraya, Liverpool

Great Plains Shift Dress

Chaophraya, Liverpool

Chaophraya, Liverpool

Chaophraya, Liverpool

My dress is from Great Plains and is my favourite type of dress because of the versatility it affords. It can be worn with opaque tights and high-heeled ankle boots, with nude tights and brogues or with bare legs and sandals and can be accessorised to suit any occasion, day or night. The simple silhouette lets the bold pattern speak for itself and I know it will become a wardrobe staple.

Great Plains Dress

Great Plains Dress

It is just one of many beautiful dresses at Great Plains fitting the same criteria.
Inspired by "The Art Class", painterly prints and delicate botanicals in Lavender Blush, Lunar Grey, Orchard Purple and Lemon Sugar make for a chic, feminine, understated and very elegant new collection.

Love Liz x

Outfit Details
*Art Class Printed Shift Dress, Great Plains, SS16 £65 (Do take a look at the Great Plains website to see the rest and it's worth signing up for their style news too for collection previews and special offers.)
Grey faux fur cropped jacket, Country Living Fair, AW14
Black suede high heeled ankle boots, Clarks AW 2013
Pink watch, Next AW15
Grey leather Pandora bracelet with charms, John Greed Jewellery.
Grey nail colour, 818 by Kiko

My dress was provided by Great Plains. All opinion is 100% honest and all content is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support What Lizzy Loves.
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