Belfast-based, style loving mum of 3. Fashion, Lifestyle, Food & Fitness

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Weekend Outfits & Shopping for Britmums!

After a lovely long weekend in Tipperary, I'm back in Belfast again. We had a great time travelling around the county and over to Waterford too, catching up with the family and just generally chilling out. Can't beat it with a big stick :)
I managed to work a very small selection for 4 days. I hate travelling with loads of clothes and prefer to challenge myself to stick to one main colour and work as many outfits around the minimum number of items.
I decided that grey was my palate and apart from the breton top, it featured heavily. Travelling down, I wore my new Matalan jersey skirt. Perfect for 4 hours in the car so I also wore it on the way home!
Our first full day was quite showery so I wore my Target Dry parka over a Boden breton top and Gap boy fit jeans:
and then on our second full day, we visited the beach while the sun was shining and nipped into Waterford when it started to rain! So I alternated between the parka and this Primark grey biker style jacket, worn over skinny jeans, a grey Dorothy Perkins top and a TK Maxx scarf.
Back home late Wednesday night and it was up early today for a trip to the post office with lots of scarves and then onwards to M&S as I'm in Britmums planning mode and wanted to think about what I might wear. 
Found some gorgeous items and I need you to brace yourself when I tell you that I tried on loads from the Per Una range and loved it all! There's been a real turn-around in the brand since legendary fashion expert Hilary Alexander become involved
Here are some random shots from around the shop today with links where I could find them. First up - loved the Per Una statement necklaces - especially this Tribal Warrior one:
The Per Una dress on the left is a really lovely flattering fit. Gorgeous colours and a loose silky detail on the back make it great for a summer wedding. On the right, I spotted these basic 'boxy fit' breton tops in navy or cerise pink stripe. Only £15!
Next up is a bit of a random choice but I'm a bit of snakeskin fan at the moment and I loved this Per Una fitted top with a zip up back. The trousers are fab too - ankle zip sheeny skinny trousers - great for going out. 
Loved this bag which M&S have had for a few seasons now in various colours. This Limited Collection cream/navy/blue one is perfect for summer:
This silk Per Una top is a great option if you like to cover your arms. there are opening in the arms and it's got a flattering bell sleeve. Also comes in white but I can't find it online.
And a couple of other bags that caught my eye - can you tell I'm on a real cross-body bag obsession at the moment? On the left, a Limited Collection cross body that comes in gold and black (and other colours online) and on the right, a lovely tan leather bag, perfect for day time.
and here starts the cream obsession...I cannot get enough of cream at the moment. First up, this soft fabric biker style jacket is a lovely weight and material for this time of year.
Next up - a contender for the Britmum Blog Awards night was this Per Una cotton sequin detail dress:
And yet another cream jacket that I totally fell in love with but frustratingly couldn't find online. It's Per Una Speciale and has gorgeous detail on the shoulders in a darker cream/beige. It's cotton and perfect for this time of year. And with 20% off this weekend...tempted!
My outfit throughout
Sandals - LK Bennett (outlet sale - similar)
Cropped Indigo Jeans - M&S (old - similar)
Cream Top - Zara
Necklace - Vintage
Bag - LK Bennett Anina
The exciting news is that I've actually finalised both my outfit for the awards ceremony and my outfit for the Britmums conference the next day. Keeping it under wraps until the weekend of the 21st June but I can reveal it does contain at least one item from the photos above! I know - don't you just hate when bloggers do that? Sorry...truth be told, I actually just didn't get photos of the final choice because the school run was looming and I had to work fast! 

Ok, off now to sort the hair & nails ahead of the big weekend - yes, the 40-Fest begins tomorrow (Friday) with school run mum-lunch, followed by Chinese with friends in the evening. Who knows what Saturday and Sunday (the actual birthday) might bring? I may not be in a fit state to blog but will do my best to take photos for sharing next week xx

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Sunday, 26 May 2013

Grey Marl Maxi Skirt

When I featured maxi dresses the other week, I got a couple of questions about maxi skirts. I've always fancied myself a nice jersey maxi skirt but never saw one that I really liked...until today as I walked through Matalan on the hunt for croc-style shoes for the kids (which they have for £3 incidentally). Meet my new grey marl jersey maxi skirt -
For it's first outing, I wore with my denim jacket and a scarf that picked up the grey nicely. And my converse style trainers which I never usually wear as I don't like them with skinny jeans...looks like they have found a second wind in my wardrobe!
Maxi Skirt - Matalan
Denim Jacket - M&S (similar here & here)
White Top - Superdry
Scarf - White Noise from my Scarf Shop
Canvas Trainers - Dunnes (similar hereactual Converse here)
Just go with me here but something struck me when I glanced at the label inside the skirt. I notice stuff like this. Am I wrong?
Heading to my sister's for a few days today so scarf orders received between now and Wednesday will be dispatched first thing on Thursday morning via first class post. As always, drop me a mail if you've any questions about orders or stock - schoolgatestyle@yahoo.co.uk

UPDATE: Just been reminded that Joanna at Poppy's Style featured this very same skirt worn exactly the same way on the post on this link! I'd totally forgotten she had this skirt and had somehow missed this post of her wearing it so how spooky that we dressed exactly the same....love it really x 

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Friday, 24 May 2013

Zara Bird Print & LK Bennett Bargains!

Today the sun shone! YAY! After yesterday's hail and high winds, it finally felt a bit summery today. I even got a whole load of washing dried on the line outside. That's the definition of summer in Ireland I think! So it was the perfect day to wear my only clothing purchase from  the trip to France - Zara bird print trousers.
I fell in love the pretty pattern in these trousers when I spotted them in the Zara in Monte Carlo (surely the poshest Zara ever - and since I saw the UK price, I can confirm it's the most expensive). The base is cream and the birds are different shades of blue with pink/green/navy/grey going through them. This means they will work well with many of my tops and jackets - including denim - so although they are distinctive, I think I can create a few different looks with them and therefore they'll get plenty of wear this summer. I bought the size 40 (12)
Today I went with the nude/pink shades and wore the Boden Photographer Jacket (in a 12), nude M&S ballet pumps and my pink LK Bennett Annina bag. You may remember, I picked up this bag last year in the LK Bennett outlet in Banbridge (just outside Belfast) and what do you know, wasn't I heading there again today? To check out the LK Bennett pop-up shop that's open from 25th May - 9th June at The Outlet Village. This shop is separate from the regular LKB shop in the Village and has even more discount - up to 90% in fact.
Just look at the sight that will greet you in Unit 20...shoe heaven with prices starting at just £10 for shoes and £40 for boots.
Now there is plenty of stock though sizes are limited in some lines and as you'd expect, there are more larger and smaller sizes. Plenty of 36, 37, 41 and 42. But I was able to find enough 39's and 40's to keep me happy.
Clothing wise, the stock is largely autumn winter with lots of dresses, jackets, skirts and trousers. Especially perfect for a working wardrobe or if you're looking for some classic pieces like black trousers or a blazer/short jacket.
Finally, there is a good range of accessories though I imagine they will sell out super fast. There are some cross body handbags and dressy evening clutches that range in price from £20-40. 
All in all, WELL worth a visit. I spent £75 and got items that originally sold for a total RRP of £750 - 1 pair of ballet pumps, a pair of flat sandals, a little black dress and a handbag. I was hugely tempted by a pair of ankle boots and some cream shoes but managed to resist...for now! Lauren, the manager at the LK Bennett store in Banbridge told me that there will be more stock arriving during the sale so not to worry if you can't get down when it opens tomorrow morning. I think that made my mind up to pay another visit in the next week or so.
While I was there, I met up again with some of the other local bloggers, Louise, Ruth, Gemma-Louise and Rosanna (below) from Silver Brogues (who came to my Boden party!). Loving her neon top which Rosanna told me she got in Matalan.
Thank you to everyone at the Outlet and in the LK Bennett Pop-Up Shop for a wonderful afternoon. Here are my bags as I left the store..

I'll share what's inside soon, I promise! In the meantime, it's the weekend so enjoy! x
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Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Scarf I Stole Today..

I've actually started dreaming about scarves after a week sourcing, photographing, counting and posting them. But on the upside I get to feature one each day - I'm calling it 'The Scarf I Stole Today'!

Starting with today's one - which literally just arrived in the shop. The Rebellion Aztec in Orange. It's the orange version of the blue/coral one that has sold out a couple of times this week and I'm loving it for brightening up the misery of 7 degrees in May (almost June).
Wearing with the same outfit I wore on this post 2 months ago. Striped top from Tesco, skinny jeans from French Connection, navy boots from M&S and my endlessly useful Target Dry Emily parka.
Such a pain to be back into wintery clothes again. I had to hunt down the ankle boots this morning from the top of the wardrobe.
Yesterday was a bit nicer with sunshine so I wore my H&M white jeans with another of my scarf shop favourites, the Teal Escape Scarf.
White Jeans - H&M
White Long Line Vest - Kaleidoscope
Green Jersey Cardigan - Room 31 (similar herehere)
Patent Pumps - M&S Footglove (winter sale - similar)
Scarf - School Gate Scarves!
I love how it transforms a plain outfit of jeans, jersey cardigan and necklace into something way more stylish. And I'm so pleased to have another excuse to wear this teal colour as it's not one I wear enough. 
As I type, I'm wearing a hoody over my outfit from earlier and furry boots. Le sigh. Thank goodness for wine and Kettle crisps!
I'm off to the Banbridge outlets for a bit of LK Bennett love tomorrow. They are opening another pop-up shop on Saturday with up to 90% off over the Bank Holiday weekend. I'll check it out for you at this preview event and report back :) x
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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Holiday Outfits!

Well the kid-free break has been and gone and I'm still feeling the benefits. It was truly lovely to have a laid back holiday mooching about, taking our time over a coffee and shopping without interruption (a personal favourite!). 
Each day on Facebook, I shared my outfit and thanks to everyone for your comments and questions. Lots of people asking about some of the items and where similar can be purchased so I thought I'd show the pictures here along with some links to exact items or similar ones. As it turned out, we got VERY mixed weather so there's nothing here that can't be worn during our excuse for a summer here. Every cloud and all that ('scuse the pun)
First Full Day - Cannes
Denim Jacket - M&S (post on denim jackets here)
White Skinny Cropped Jeans - Tesco
White Longline Vest - Dunnes (similar)
Blush Lace Cropped Top - TK Maxx (similar)
Metallic Sandals - TK Maxx (similar)
Day 2 - A Rainy Day in Monte Carlo
Navy Mac - Kaleidoscope (similar here & here)
Boy Fit Jeans - Gap (similar here & here)
Cobalt Blue Vest - Next (similar here & here)
Rainbow Scarf - Uneeka Truro but not available online :(
Cobalt Blue Pumps - Deichmann (similar here & here
Day 2 Night Out & Day 3 - Antibes
Maxi Dress - Tesco (sold out online but in stores)
Denim Jacket - as before
Metallic Sandals - as before
Handbag - The Sac (similar)
Necklace - Cos
Day 4 - Nice & Homeward Bound
Navy Mac - as before
Boy Fit Jeans - as before
Stripy Breton - Boden
Scarf - Benetton (old)
Cobalt Pumps - as before
Day we arrived (refuses to go to the top of this post!)
Stripy Breton Short Sleeved Tee - Boden
White Skinny Jeans - as before
Navy Flat Sandals - Boden
Apart from my Tesco tankini, I wore everything in my carry-on suitcase. I came home minus the cobalt pumps, which unfortunately came a cropper in the torrential rain we had on the last day...but I did come home plus a 'significant birthday handbag'. Has been squirrelled away by Mr SGS until the actual day of my birthday. Can't wait to share then!

Before I go, I've been overwhelmed by orders and lovely messages from so many of you about my new scarf shop. Thank you! There's a delivery arriving either tomorrow or Friday, which will fulfil all of the reserved orders. Please just email if any of the scarves you want are out of stock as I can have them back in stock within a few days. Hopefully once I'm up and running for a few weeks, I'll be better able to manage my supply and demand!

STOP PRESS - I've made the Britmum's Brilliance in Blogging Finalist List! The awards are on Friday 21st June in London. I'm so honoured to make the final, thanks to everyone who voted for School Gate Style! x
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Monday, 20 May 2013

A Scarf for my Orange Jeans!

This is definitely one of the perks of having a scarf shop now - I get to 'purchase' my favourites for my own use! Though my husband is less keen on that idea...not sure why?
When I saw this scarf in the wholesalers, the first thing I thought of was - 'wow, that will look amazing with my orange jeans'. 
You see, orange jeans are quite full-on and often scarves with orange in them are too or have other colours going through them and it all gets a bit too multi-coloured for me. I was looking for a scarf that had a denim colour in it - to tone down the jeans a little so I feel braver about wearing them. I also wanted a scarf that would work well with jeans generally. One to brighten up the simplest outfit of a white t-shirt and blue denim jeans.
Scarf - School Gate Scarves
(low stock but more en-route to me. Email/PM/DM to reserve one!)
Denim Jacket - M&S (last summer but other suggestions here)
Orange Jeans - H&M (similar from New Look)
Navy Pumps - Zalando
White Top - Zara
And we finally got a new door mat - from Next. Actually, my sister in law bought it for us as she got fed up looking at the one we had...it was quite tatty but you know how you don't tend to notice what you see every day? Anyway, now I can proudly do photos at the front door - thanks Carol...and hasn't Mr SGS done a great job with the pots?!
Working on the holiday photos still - sorry for the delay but I need to put quite a few links on it and that is quite time-consuming. Hoping to publish it later tomorrow.
I'll finish with a big thank you to all of you who've bought scarves from the shop to date. I really appreciate the support and I'm so glad you like what I have chosen to sell. I'll try to feature all of them over the coming days and weeks so you can see styling suggestions if you've already bought one or are interested in doing so.

Talk tomorrow! x

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Sunday, 19 May 2013

School Gate Style Scarves

It gives me great pleasure to announce the launch of the School Gate Style scarf shop
We all knew about my scarf addiction so it was a logical progression for the blog I guess. But these are no ordinary scarves - they are beautifully printed, cotton, linen & viscose scarves sourced from a fantastic Scottish company and ordered via a local clothing wholesaler here in Northern Ireland. 
I've only chosen the scarves that I love and would buy myself and I've pared back costs as much as possible to make them affordable.
Please take a look at the shop on this link
Stock is limited but can be re-ordered within a week. 
Watch out for many of the scarves (that haven't already!) featuring on the blog in the coming weeks...

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Saturday, 18 May 2013

Guest Post - Top 7 Tips For Going Blonde At Home


As a busy parent, finding the time to visit the hairdressers is tricky. Plus having your hair coloured in a salon can be expensive. So, how about a home hair dye kit? If you've never considered using one for going blonde, you might be pleased to hear it's no longer as scary as you think!

Until recently there has always been the risk of brassy yellow hair with home colour kits, but they have come a long way in the past few years. Dying your hair at home can be just as successful as a salon colour if you follow the instructions and some of the tips below for achieving beautiful blonde hair at home.

1. Think about your natural colour
It's going to be unrealistic to go from a dark raven black to blonde in one step, at home. As a first step, go a couple of shades lighter than you currently are and if you're not sure how you'll feel about going lighter, think about trying a temporary dye first.

2. You'll need to change your hair products
Blonde hair dye contains much higher levels of bleach and ammonia than other colours, so it will cause your hair to change slightly. It's important that you use blonde hair products and invest in an intensive conditioner to restore the moisture.

3. Just how blonde do you want to be?
There are loads of different shades to choose from. Although it's easy to pick up the first kit on the shelf, make sure you do pay attention to the shade, thinking of your skin tone. Warmer skin colours can take a brighter blonde. The most successful colouring will involve moving just a few shades lighter than your natural hair colour.

4. Make sure your hair is in good condition
If your hair is already in poor condition...then don't dye it blonde. Hair in a bad condition can often end up with a pink or blue tinge. If you really want to go blonde, give your hair a few months of intensive conditioning and ease off the heat (especially straighteners) until it's stronger.

5. Change your make up
Being blonde may mean you'll need to change your make up. Lighter hair usually suits more subtle, lighter toned make-up. If you're struggling to know what to do, pop along to a good make-up counters for some free advice. 

6. Ask a friend
Bring a friend along with you when you're buying the colour to get their opinion. And always have a friend with you to help apply the colour if you're not used to doing home colour. It will help ensure you get an even coverage and that you time the process correctly.


7. Do blondes have more fun?
Think about why you want to go blonde. If it's because you've heard blondes have more fun, you might want to think about your lifestyle rather than your hair colour!
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Friday, 17 May 2013

Summer Must Have - No 5 - The Coloured Cross Body Bag

We're ending on a coloured high with my final summer must have. 
The Coloured Cross Body Bag 
I have one of these in bright pink and I love digging it out in the summer. It's a fun pop of colour as the fashion peeps would say. And a perfect addition to your white jeans/denim jacket/metallic sandals combination.
My favourite from all the trawling of the internet is this cobalt blue bag from Zara. It also comes in kelly green and lime green (neon)
Zara Messenger Box Bag


or how about this more subtle number from River Island in a gorgeous blush pink colour
River Island Pink Zipped Mini Messenger
Great to see Vince Camuto's stock coming into the UK via the Kurt Geiger website. They do amazing boots and up to now, it wasn't possible to order to the UK. This gorgeous cross body is a real treat item but look at the colour and the metallic strap - divine!
Vince Camuto Judy Cross Body Bag
Loving a bit of yellow this summer so this black/yellow bag caught my eye on the Next website:
Next Black/Yellow Cross Body Box Bag
Indulge me to finish...I've got Mulberry's on the brain right now.
A red Alexa - lush!
Mulberry Alexa Valentines
There's also a purple Mulberry but I'm not going there...it's too tempting!
Hope you enjoyed my 5 days of Summer Essentials. While you've been reading them, I've been sunning myself in the South of France with the husband. I'm back tomorrow so will share some holiday pics with you once they are downloaded! 
Tomorrow's post is a guest one to cover some of the holiday costs - needs must and all that.
Back with you Monday x

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Thursday, 16 May 2013

Summer Must Have - No 4 - The Maxi Dress

It feels like I should be reflecting on 10 years of marriage today but oh no, I'm talking dresses. Happy Anniversary Mr SGS!
So bit of colour today as I show you my favourite maxi dresses for this summer. 
What more do I need to say about the maxi? Perfect for our mixed weather and for those of us shy about showing our legs. Make sure you find one that nips you in where you are at your slimmest and it should be long enough to skim the ground.
Now I wrote this before I bought my super versatile Tesco maxi so I'll just add the link in here for those of you who missed that post last week 
Here are the rest of my high street favourites..

First up, cheap as chips in 4 colours. You've got to love H&M!
H&M Jersey Maxi Dress
Boohoo have these gorgeous twist front dresses in both black and purple. Only £20!
Jess Crossover Front Dress
I like the sound of the built in tummy control in this next maxi dress from Next. Definitely going to check it out when I'm in store.
Next Turquoise Shape-Enhancing Maxi (also available in stone)
This floral one from Next also caught my eye - would work so well with a denim jacket:
Next Floral Print Maxi
Loving the Missoni inspired print on this next one from TK Maxx. It's also got a back and shoulders on it so you can wear a bra/vest underneath. Great neutral colours here too.
Chelsea & Theodore Print Maxi Dress
Finally, leaving you with a Boden favourite. Love these as the jersey is a gorgeous weight and quality. A tad pricy for some but the plain colours are a good investment. If you like but feel it's outside your price range, check out the sale later in the summer.
Boden Jersey Maxi Dress
A welcome bit of colour for today's summer essential - just one more to go tomorrow! 
Off now to celebrate the anniversary. Anyone who can stay married to me for 10 years deserves bubbles :) xx
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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Summer Must Have - No 3 - The Denim Jacket

We've had our metallic sandal and white trouser. Now for something to throw on when the day is a bit cooler. Also perfect for putting over a colourful maxi dress. 
The denim jacket.
To avoid a lack of colour like yesterday's post, I'm also including a couple of coloured ones in this post! 
Luxury alert next but I'm justifying it because a denim jacket is so timeless and you'll have it for years and wear it LOADS. Black White Denim have this incredible one by Paige Denim:
Paige @ Black White Denim

River Island next and a slightly more distressed version.
River Island Denim Jacket
And good old Gap - always delivers a classic denim jacket every season:
Gap 1969 Denim Jacket
The next one is collarless, which I do like in a denim jacket. It's also part of the So Fabulous range at Very.co.uk so goes up to a size 32. Take that Mr Abercrombie & Fitch!
So Fabulous Collarless Denim Jacket
And just to break up the denim - how pretty is this cropped patterned denim jacket from Esprit?
Esprit Patterned Denim Jacket
Boden now - I am well impressed with their denim jacket this year and have talked about it before. To avoid repetition, I'm showing a photo of the coloured version, which is down to £41.40 in clearance at the moment - also available in coral:
Boden Denim Jacket

Finally, check out H&M for some great denim jackets all below the £30 level. Can't work out the difference between some of them so click on the link here to see them all!

Day 4 tomorrow - can you guess what's next on the Summer Must Have List? x
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