Tips To Stay Cool In The Heat

Now that it’s hotter than Bali in the UK, I’m sure we’d all love some tips to stay cool in the heat – without spending a fortune or having to brave an overheated shopping mall – particularly with the added challenge of social distancing and a distinct lack of stock.

tips to stay cool in the heat - woman in lacy top with her hand on her sunhat looking out to sea

Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash

As a redhead, I have always found being out in the sun for too long a really uncomfortable experience.  My skin turns red in about 10 minutes!  Now I have kids it’s even more important to be aware of the risks of too much sun exposure and to have an arsenal of techniques to keep your children cool, particularly if they struggle to sleep at night.

Ieuan was a June baby and those of us who have given birth (or are about to) in hot summer weather know how difficult it can be to stay cool and comfortable.  And what about those of us working in offices where we are still expected to wear formal attire in the absence of air conditioning?  I’ve worked in a fair few offices like that.

So, here are my tips to stay cool in the heat.

Tips to stay cool in the heat

Choose loose-fitting clothing in cool, comfortable fabrics

Cotton and linen are cooler than man-made fabrics and there is no need to sacrifice style in your quest to keep cool. Personally, I always feel far more comfortable if my skin is covered, rather than exposed to the full glare of the sun. I’m a big fan of maxi dresses which you can dress up or down and, if you’re going through the menopause, tight clothes with manmade fabrics are a definite no-no!

Stay hydrated

Make sure that you carry water with you during the day and drink it regularly. Dehydration can lead to some quite unpleasant physical symptoms so know the signs: – increased thirst, sleepiness, headaches, and dizziness are clear signs you need to up your water intake.  Water, that is, not caffeine drinks which are diuretic and will leave you spending more time on the loo!

Another idea is to carry a water spray in your bag for a quick cool down and you can also cool your body by putting your wrists under cold running water.

Eat plenty of water-rich foods

Our bodies also take water from the foods we eat so it’s important to choose foods with high water content.  Natural whole foods have the most with fruit and vegetables containing 80 to 98 per cent water.  Great water-dense veg to eat include carrots, cucumbers, celery, and tomatoes. Try some great easy-to-make summer salads.

Stay out of the sun

A bit of a no-brainer this one but try to avoid staying in the sun for long periods. Don’t forget your sun hat and you could even use an umbrella as a parasol.  Stay out of the sun between 11 am and 3 pm to minimise the chances of sunburn too – particularly important for little ones.

Protect your skin with sunscreen

It’s so easy to leave for work in the morning without thinking about applying sunscreen but you should take every chance to protect your skin, not least to ward off wrinkles and accelerated ageing.  There are plenty of high factor sunscreens for the face (I love Clinique’s City Block) and don’t forget the back of the neck and your ears.   Here’s what the British Association of Dermatologists has to say on the importance of sunscreen.  I also have some tips for applying your makeup in the heat.

tips to stay cool in the heat - woman on top of an office block in a deckchair

Take lukewarm showers

You may find a tepid shower more cooling than a cold one.  And why not keep your body lotion in the fridge for an extra cooling effect.  It’s tempting to drench yourself in a highly perfumed body spray but I have never found these particularly cooling and an overly fragranced product tends to give me a headache.  These don’t really work as an effective deodorant either.

Make sure you’re prepared for the heat if using public transport

There’s nothing worse than being stuck on a swelteringly hot bus or train – and the temperatures can really climb on the underground.

Make sure you take water with you in case there is no buffet car or trolley on the train.  Portable fans may help too.  The husband tells me people passing out from the heat on the London underground is a regular event.

Now, of course, we have the added challenge of having to wear a mask on public transport in both England and Wales to protect us from COVID-19.  Make sure you choose one that meets the necessary safety requirement but is made from a soft and wearable fabric.  Some, of course, are permitted to forego masks for certain medical conditions, however, it is better to be safe than sorry in my book.

Keep as calm and relaxed as possible

I’m sure you’ve noticed that temperatures definitely tend to fray quicker in the heat.  Make sure you stay as mentally chilled as possible by ensuring your self-care doesn’t slip and you prioritise your health and well-being.

Whether that’s by changing the time of your daily exercise to the cooler early morning or evening or finding a cooler location to practise your yoga or meditation, it’s important to protect your me-time.  That’s especially important if you’re dealing with over-heated and fractious kids!

Here’s hoping you stay cool and comfortable for the rest of the summer!

Top Tips on Choosing a Vintage Engagement Ring

So you’re set on proposing to your special someone and your plan is coming together – the flowers, the date and even the restaurant. You’re ready to make your commitment official and now all that’s left to do is buy a beautiful diamond engagement ring from a reputable jeweller like https://carusjewellery.com/.

Luckily, you already know your partner adores vintage rings. Half the struggle of choosing the right engagement ring is already over when you know what style your partner prefers. You only need to choose the best looking vintage engagement ring and you’re ready to pop the question.

vintage engagement rings - diamond ring on a grey background

Few of us are experts at shopping for vintage engagement rings so here are some tips you may find useful.

Shopping for Vintage Engagement Rings

You will also find vintage and certified diamond rings in the UK from Serendipity Diamonds. Not only do they have a great selection, but they also have a wonderful customer service that makes your shopping experience much easier.

Check the durability 

The ring may be vintage but there’s no excuse for it to break after just a few years of wearing. Check the durability of the engagement ring. It should hold just as well as modern rings.

The great news is that most vintage engagement rings are made with sturdy materials. This was back when mass-produced rings weren’t popular yet and artisans actually took the time to craft jewellery. Quality materials were used to build handmade rings back then.

The setting should not be loose 

Some vintage rings, because they are old, can have loose stones in them. Check if the ring’s stones are firmly held together by the setting. If not, you can have it re-set at the jeweller so it holds tight as if it’s brand new again.

A return policy is a must

If you’re buying the vintage engagement ring online, checking the return policy is a must. You never know when you need to return the ring. It could be because your special someone may want to get it replaced or it’s not what you thought it would be like in person. Whatever it may be, a good return policy is always needed in case you need to return the ring.

All the 4 Cs are estimated

Because vintage rings are already intact, you most likely won’t be able to get a true valuation for your ring. Most jewellers won’t be willing to disassemble a vintage ring simply because you want to know the clarity. Instead, you will be given an estimate of the cut, clarity, and colour of the ring.

A sensible approach is to begin narrowing down your choices at reputable jewellery shops known for providing an accurate valuation for their rings. This helps take off the worry of whether the price you are being asked to pay is reasonable.

vintage engagement rings - two white gold wedding rings on an order or service

Consider the metal used in the wedding band

Vintage engagement rings often stand on their own which means it may be a challenge to find a band with a metal that will go best with your vintage engagement ring.

If you appreciate the beauty of hers and hers wedding rings and plan to get one for your partner, you can wear it on the hand that doesn’t have the vintage engagement ring on it. It keeps the integrity of the vintage engagement ring without neglecting the wedding band which symbolises the union of your love.

Those are just some of the things to keep in mind when shopping for vintage engagement rings. I hope these tips help. And if things come to worst and your partner doesn’t like your choice, remember that return policy!

What other tips do you have for choosing a vintage engagement ring? Let me know in the comments!

PR Collaboration




Web Analytics Made Easy - StatCounter


Review: A Unique Glazed Rose Heart Pendant From The Eternity Rose

If you are looking for a truly special gift or keepsake, I have discovered The Eternity Rose  – a company specialising in precious-metal-coated or glazed natural roses.

The Eternity Rose - purple rose heart pendant

They use roses from their own nurseries, tended by their skilled horticulturists. When the roses have reached their ideal stage of growth, they are hand-picked and subjected to a long and complex preservation process which results in a blossom that will never tarnish or deteriorate over time.

Their flagship product is the 24kt gold dipped natural rose (£119) but The Eternity Rose also creates some exquisitely beautiful pieces of jewellery all of which would make a unique gift for birthdays or Christmas and a really romantic gift for weddings and anniversaries.

The Eternity Rose - Purple Glazed Rose Heart Pendant

I was sent a beautiful Purple Glazed Rose Heart pendant (£51) and it is a beautiful and very unusual piece. Made using real miniature rose petals edged with 24kt gold, the heart is surrounded by 21 radiant synthetic diamonds to add sparkle.

The pendant comes on a matching 24 karat gold multi-link chain and is presented in a lovely velvet pouch for safe storage.

My pendant also came with a Certificate of Authenticity, guaranteeing that the piece was made from natural miniature rose petals which have been glazed and embossed with 24kt gold.

The pendant is a decent size and the chain is good quality.  You may wish to substitute the chain if you want a longer pendant but I found mine sat just right around my neck.

There are a range of colour options, including red, pink, white, purple and blue plus sets with earrings, dipped vases and gifts for him such as 24 kt dipped poker cards and even golf balls.

I love the romantic ethos of The Eternity Rose and their pieces would certainly last longer than a bouquet of red roses (and cost a little less!).  The colours of the roses can also be matched to wedding anniversaries (for example red for 2nd, purple for 6th).  Much nicer than cotton or iron!

Actually, Mat and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary on 25th September this year and I’m pretty glad he didn’t get me anything made from iron (or an iron, come to that!).  My wedding bouquet was of dark red roses studded with imitation diamonds so my pendant very much reminds me of it.

You’ll also find relationship and dating advice from clinical psychologist Dr Carissa Coulston which, as an online relationship coach myself, I found very useful.  Check out my weekly problem page here.

Choosing the perfect wedding ring

You’re already engaged, and you can’t wait to finally marry your husband-to-be, but one thing is missing – choosing the perfect wedding ring.

Choosing the perfect wedding ring - a beautiful diamond ring

When you’ve already had your engagement ring chosen for you, sometimes it can be difficult to decide which wedding ring is right for you. With so many different types of cut, colour, clarity and carat to choose from, it can be a daunting task before the big day arrives. Together with Angelic Diamonds, specialist retailers in bespoke wedding rings, here are the definitive need-to-knows when it comes to choosing a ring that looks perfect on your finger.

Things to consider when choosing the perfect wedding ring

Diamond cut

Out of the four key characteristics of your ring’s diamond, the cut is the most important. This is because the cut has the greatest influence on the diamond’s sparkle, meaning the better the cut, the more the diamond will sparkle on your wedding day.

You should keep in mind that just because a diamond has perfect clarity and colour grade, it can still appear dull. The only thing that keeps a diamond from looking dull is its cut.

To put it simply, a diamond’s cut is dependent on its light performance – or what we generally consider it sparkle. So, the perfect ring with an ideal diamond cut will not be too shallow or too deep, and it will allow light to pass through it so that it reflects evenly throughout the diamond.

Colour

Of the four, this is the second most important factor when considering the perfect wedding ring.  The eye detects sparkle from the diamond cut first, and then detects the colour of the diamond second.

If you want to make the most of your wedding ring on a budget, then choose a near-colourless diamond grade between G-H. Colour will not be detected by the naked eye, which will make you and your diamond look perfect on the day, and in the photos. Colour in diamonds appears as a pale yellow, so if this is evident anywhere in the ring you are thinking about buying, we would recommend avoiding it.

Clarity

If you’re unsure as to what this means, the clarity of your diamond ring refers to the small imperfections that are within all diamonds, which are known as inclusions. The fewer inclusions in the ring, the better the clarity, which means your wedding ring will shine bright no matter where you are.

Don’t worry, if your ring only contains a few inclusions that are visible to the naked eye, it’s unlikely that they will be seen easily. By purchasing an SI (slightly included) quality diamond, you’re able to buy something visually stunning, without having to pay the cost of a diamond that contains no inclusions and no imperfections.

Carat

Many brides misunderstand this all-important factor when it comes to the 4cs, the carat weight of the diamond on your wedding ring. Many believe that it refers to the diamond’s size, and not its weight, this isn’t the case – so try to keep this in mind when choosing your ideal ring for the wedding.

The cut of the diamond will change how large the carat weight appears, so it’s important to get a good balance of both so that your ring sits well on the finger, but also provides you with the shine and brilliance you need to make heads turn on your wedding day.

Go-to quick tips

To make sure your ring matches the perfection of your wedding day, take these other factors into considerations when choosing your ring:

If carat weight is important to you, consider a diamond with a good cut, with an SI1-SI2 clarity and an I or J colour grade.

Keep in mind that based on the size of your finger, the larger the diamond will appear.

Not all ring fittings will fit all diamond carats and shapes, so it’s important to consider what type of diamond shape you’d like before choosing its design.

Choosing the perfect wedding ring needn’t be complicated if you follow these tips and you can use them all over again when you choose an eternity ring!

Art Of Football Artwork T-Shirts For Dads & Kids Review

If you are looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary for a gift for the man in your life or for Father’s Day, take a look at www. art-of-football.com, a unique clothing and artwork site which offers a range of t-shirts, sweatshirts, prints and canvases featuring your favourite football stars in artwork painted by a number of designers.

Mat and Ieuan Hobbis playing football in the back garden
The boys enjoying a friendly game

Art of Football has a very interesting philosophy. All of their designs have been thoughtfully made primarily as a piece of art to do justice to those moments of high energy and elation which mean so much to fans.  The designs aim to capture all the raw emotion and energy felt during those seconds of celebration and to capture these with style.

They want to move away from the majority of football T-shirts that feature generic, screen-printed images of footballers like Luis Suarez to create something really unique.

You can even send in those sporting moments that mean the most to you to suggest a new design they might like to feature.

Football isn’t the only sport they feature, however, there’s also boxing and rugby.  It’s easy to choose your favourite as you can pick your favourite team using a drop-down box.

We were sent two t-shirts to try.  Mat’s features the legendary Ronaldinho.

Both the names of the garments and their descriptions are rather special too.  Here’s the description of the Ronaldinho football artwork t-shirts and sweatshirts.

Mat Hobbis wearing Art of Football Ronaldhino T-Shirt
Art of Football Ronaldhino T-Shirt – £25

“No one can compare to Ronaldinho. I remember his plays, his dribbles. I remember him winning every title at the Camp Nou. He made history at Barca, he made history with Brazil and he’s still making history.” — Neymar Jr

“I’ve worked with some great players in my time and all at a very interesting period in their careers, nineteen to twenty years old. But, with due respect to the others, Ronaldinho was a cut above the rest.” — Celso Roth, Ronaldinho’s coach at Gremio, his first club”

Ieuan’s t-shirt is called Enter The Dragon which celebrates Wales qualifying for the Euros last year. Here’s the description and there’s even a YouTube link to relive the moment captured on the t-shirt. This particular design is also available as a print.

Ieuan Hobbis with Art of Football Enter The Dragon T-shirt
Enter The Dragon Kids’ T-Shirt – £14.99

“After a superbly exciting campaign, Wales reached the finals of a major tournament for the first time since 1958 as they head for France and Euro 2016. Here the superstars Bale and Ramsey celebrate but this was a team effort from the boys in red. Having beaten one of the favourites Belgium along the way, they fear no-one. History beckons.

Relive it : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OaWTEoYGIM

Made of soft and good quality cotton and beautifully packaged in retro football paper, these would make a great Father’s Day gift for the football-obsessed dad which is really something quite special.

Art of Football wrapping paper

Art of Football t-shirts make a perfect gift for a footie mad dad (or mum!) and their son (or daughter!). Great for Father’s Day or just to celebrate your love of The Beautiful Game and reasonably priced too.

Charnos Tights SS17 Collection: Funky Tights That Fit!

These days I rarely depart from my school run uniform of t-shirt, leggings and socks, much to Caitlin’s increasing displeasure, but when I do dress up, it’s usually a dress and either tights or hold-ups.

I often find myself in Marks & Spencer’s hosiery department and rely on their trusty hold-ups because the sizing is generous and the prices reasonable.

Charnos Tights and Hold-Ups from the Spring Summer 2017 collection

I have not, I must confess, ventured towards any other hosiery brand for a long time, generally because I have found the sizing constrictive and the finer the denier, the more likely I am to put my finger through them or scag them on something.

I also have quite long legs which means lots of tights struggle to get past mid-thigh or if they do, are a little tight around the old mum tum.

Charnos Hosiery kindly sent me a selection from their new Spring Summer 2017 Charnos Tights collection to try and I was expecting the usual problems but not a bit of it.

Floral Net Tights in Black
CAEV Floral Net Tights

Not only is the quality excellent but they fitted perfectly (I tried the medium to large size).  They came up to my waist comfortably, the elasticated waistband was generous and I didn’t have to wrestle them over my thighs.

CAGO Floral Tights from the Spring Summer 2017 collection
CAGO Floral Tights

I tried three pairs of their patterned tights, the material of which was quite strong and resilient. There is a cotton gusset, which was a bonus I wasn’t expecting and a reinforced toe to add extra durability. All retail around the £8 – £10 mark per pair.

I was a bit worried that the patterns would be overwhelming but actually they are quite funky without being over the top.

CAGJ Diamond Net Tights in Natural from the Charnos Spring Summer 2017 Collection
CAGJ Diamond Net Tights

I was also sent some of their lovely comfy socks to try which the Husband was very pleased about as he’s always moaning about the fact I wear his.  Having size 8 feet often makes men’s socks a better bet as for some strange reason lots of ladies’ socks only go up to a size 7.

These fitted fine, although they could have been a little bigger for the longer toed among us (I know, I know – feet, don’t you just love them?), but they are lovely and soft and come a decent way up the leg.

CGBH Geo and Stripe Sock in Rose Mix from the Charnos Spring Summer 2017 Collection
CGBH Geo and Stripe Sock in Rose Mix

The range also includes sheer tights, knee highs, spotted and diamond patterns and natural tan tights. I keep promising myself I may actually try a spray tan but haven’t got around to it yet so the latter have been added to my shopping list.  We redheads very rarely go very brown without help.

Would I buy these?  Yes, I would – they’re a great way to add a bit of an edge to a conservative date night dress or perk up your office wear without going over the top.

You can find out more at www.charnoshosiery.co.uk where you will find a list of stockists, or you can connect with Charnos Tights on Facebook or Twitter. 

Review: Jacamo Menswear – Great Value, Great Fit

When you work it’s very easy to keep adding to your workwear and to just rely on the same old staple casual clothes which get worn to death.

It seems a bit of an extravagance, doesn’t it, to splurge on casual clothes.  The Husband’s wardrobe is stuffed to the gills with suits and formal shirts but he very seldom adds any new casual clothes.

Happily, he was given the chance to try out Jacamo, a name with which we are already familiar, not least because of Freddie Flintoff’s association with the brand.

We were expecting, good value well made clothes with a decent fit – and that’s exactly what we got.

Menswear brand Jacamo used to have a reputation as catering for the plus-sized gentleman but things have changed and their new advertising slogan is “Any Occasion. Jacamo Fits.” As part of the JD Williams stable, it’s not surprising that their marketing and service delivery is good.

As well as Freddie’s own range, you can find many well-known menswear brands such as  Adidas, Duffer of St George, Firetrap, French Connection, Lacoste, Pringle, Vans and Wrangler.  You can now find menswear for any occasion, whether work or casual wear or holiday wear including swimshorts.

The Husband was sent two items to try.

Jacamo review: Joe Brown Denim Shirt With Badges
Joe Brown Denim Shirt With Badges

This blue denim shirt is customised with badges and stitch detail and has a vintage ‘overwash’ and popper buttons.  It’s made of cotton and is machine washable.  Sizes range from chest 39″ up to 66″.  The Husband had one in L42/22 which fitted perfectly.

Mat Hobbis wearing Joe Brown Denim Shirt from Jacamo

Detailing (badge) on Joe Brown Denim Shirt from Jacamo

This denim shirt was quite heavy-weight and since it was a warm day, no t-shirt was needed underneath.

We were also sent the Luke Sports Mead Pique Jet Black Polo – a short-sleeved polo shirt from Luke, featuring a red-tipped three-button collar with contrasting red top button and a stitched logo on the left side of the chest.

Luke Sports Mead Pique Polo Shirt in Jet Black from Jacamo
Luke Sports Mead Pique Jet Black Polo

Again, it was well made, roomy and the red detailing lifted it out of the ordinary.

Mat Hobbis at the Fox & Hounds, Llancarfan wearing Luke Sports Mead Pique Polo Shirt from Jacamo

We were really impressed with the quality of the clothing.  Delivery was fast and you can spread the cost of your purchases with their buy now pay later scheme.

And certainly a lot easier than a shopping trip with these two.

Mat, Caitlin & Ieuan Hobbis at The Fox & Hounds, Llancarfan

Find out more at www.jacamo.co.uk, or connect with them on Facebook or Twitter.

Review: ChloBo Noodle Disc Peace Bracelet

Hands up, I had heard of ChloBo bracelets before but as I have recently been consumed by all things Pandora, they had passed me by.

Linda Hobbis wearing ChloBo Noodle Disc Peace Bracelet
Me, wearing my lovely ChloBo Noodle Disc Peace Bracelet

Happily, a chance to review one of their lovely sterling silver hand-made bracelets has rectified that, as I was sent the ChloBo Noodle Disc Peace Bracelet to try.

Part of their Iconics Collection, this is one of their best sellers and it’s made from 925 sterling silver large noodles, 6mm discs and 4mm beads. It also features the peace charm which symbolises desire, love and peace.  And let’s face, when you’re a parent you’ll try anything for a bit of peace.

Showing off the ChloBo Noodle Disc Peace Bracelet

ChloBo bracelets are designed to be worn as a stack and there are so many lovely ones I have my eye on.   You can either buy them separately or as a predesigned stack.  They come in silver, rose gold or gold and the featured stones are Black Onyx, Eagle Eye and Pearl. There are also rings, necklaces and jewellery for men.

ChloBo Mini Disc Hamsa Hand Bracelet from the Cuties Collection

One of the major plus points for me with my ChloBo bracelet is… no tricky to use clasp.  Much as I love my Pandora charm bracelet I still haven’t managed to do it up myself on more than a handful of occasions.  ChloBo bracelets simply slip over your wrist as they are elasticated.

ChloBo Feature Bead Tassel Bracelet from the Iconics Collection
ChloBo Feature Bead Tassel Bracelet from the Iconics Collection

Because they are made from sterling silver, gold plating and semi-precious stones, you do have to treat them with care. ChloBo recommends that you keep your jewellery away from perfume, fake tan, lotions and chlorine, and that you gently clean the silver with a polishing cloth.

ChloBo bracelets are designed to be appreciated in stacks but I think my individual bracelet is pretty enough to be worn on its own and would be a great gift that the recipient could add to over the years.

The designs are a little edgier than some of the other jewellery ranges and are, as ChloBo themselves say, bohemian rather than traditional. That said, I think they are as likely to appeal to fashion-conscious young things as they are to us, um, slightly more mature women who refuse to be defined by their age!

ChloBo Gypsy Collection: Dusk Wanderer Stack
ChloBo Gypsy Collection: Dusk Wanderer Stack

They are not inexpensive (my bracelet is £90 and the stack featured above is £350) but they are certainly not costume jewellery and you are paying for the ability to create a pretty unique bracelet which should last for years.

You can search for stockists and find out more at www.chlobo.co.uk.

Strike A Balance Between Comfy And Cool With Your Look

Getting fashion right isn’t always easy, and we tend to go through different stages of it throughout our lives. When we are young, free and single, most of us prioritize looking good above all else – even if that means constantly having to straighten out a shirt that’s ruched up under your pencil skirt, or wearing a dress so tight, you aren’t quite sure whether you will ever breathe again normally.

Lady's foot wearing a trainer
Image source

Promotional feature

As we get older and work and family life takes over, a lot of people tend to head to another end of the spectrum entirely – the land of comfort. This means that gone are the days of lace blouses and tight denim – now it’s all about sweatpants and plain jumpers (the baggier, the better). But this transformation into the typical mum uniform can be pretty disheartening for many mothers.

After all, since when did having children mean that you can no longer dress in a way that allows you to express yourself?

Fashion is an art form, and when we lose our fashion mojo, it can sometimes feel as though we’ve lost a lot of our creativity along with it. But is there actually a way to be a style icon while being a busy mother, AND holding down a full-time job? You’ll be pleased to know that there IS a way to achieve this – but you’ll need to get savvy.

In order to create a workable look for yourself, you’ll need to be prepared to fit the fashion around your lifestyle, not the other way around.

The key to doing this is to find workable pieces of clothing that are comfortable, but that also speak to you on an aesthetic level.

This way, you can strike a perfect balance between being comfortable and able to run around after your kids, but also looking pretty fabulous while you do so. Check out my guide below.

Rock some flats

Have you grown up in an era where the ‘feminine’ thing to do was to wear heels 24/7? Sure, heels can make a woman’s outfit look that little bit more girly and glam, and there are some occasions where a pair of heels are very much warranted – a fancy dinner, or a work party, for example.

But wearing them all the time (even mid-heeled boots) can end up causing long-lasting damage to your feet.

Blisters, bunions and ingrown toenails are the least of your worries when it comes to wearing heels – nerve damage, spider veins and even back problems can all be caused or worsened by the long-term wearing of high heels.

In order to preserve your feet for years to come and to make rushing around throughout the day just that little bit easier, make a point of investing in some stylish flats.

Many women think that a flat shoe cannot be stylish, but this is where they are wrong!

There are so many different designs available. For example, you might go for a preppy loafer or boating shoe, or maybe a daintily embellished ballet flat.

Alternatively, a good pair of trainers is something every woman should have in her wardrobe – trainers aren’t just for teenagers, you know! Opt for a classic brand such as Converse or Vans for a timeless look – shoes like this can add a fun, youthful edge to just about any outfit.

Pair of baggy jeans photographed from the bag
Image source

Loose trousers

If there is one item of clothing that restricts our daily movement more than any other, it is the tight trouser. We are all aware of the fashion for skinny jeans – sometimes jeans that are so skinny they almost look as though they were sprayed on!

As fabulous as they can look, however, they are not the most practical things to wear on a daily basis.

Of course, you may try to run your various errands in them – going to work, doing housework, ferrying the kids to and from their various after-school clubs. But all it takes is one awkward squat as you reach down to pick up a discarded toy off the floor, and that’s when you hear it: the dreaded rip.

No one wants to be accused of public indecency swanning around in a pair of torn jeans – so this is just one definitive reason why you may want to consider switching to boyfriend jeans.

Boyfriend jeans (just like the boyfriend shirt or jacket) are designed in such a way to make them look as though you borrowed them from your boyfriend. In this respect, they are usually made with a wide yet straight leg, have deeper pockets (very useful) and need to be tied up around the waist.

They allow for much more movement simply because they are looser, but that doesn’t mean you need to compromise on style.

Wear your boyfriend jeans with a tucked-in stripy t-shirt for a casual cool, or you can even pair with a lacy crop top for a night out.

Other types of loose trousers are also great for everyday wear if denim isn’t really your thing. Palazzo pants have recently come back into fashion as the seventies trend resurfaces, or how about a good pair of harem pants – perfect for both lounging in and going about your daily business.

Woman in white lounge suit and pink top looking at her iPhone
Image Source

Casual cool

Over the past year, we have seen a couple of interesting new trends emerging in high fashion. One is the sports luxe look – the other is the trend for pyjama suits.

Huge fashion brands such as Fendi have been branching out into clothing that takes inspiration from sportswear – but that has been twisted so that it is acceptable to wear on just a regular day.

The benefit of all this? You are on trend and my, you are comfortable too!

An easy way to get this look is to don a pair of luxe joggers (if Fendi is a little out of your budget, there are plenty of great high street imitations too) and pair with a simple, chic t-shirt or jumper.

As far as the pyjama look goes, things are a little more complex. You have to get it completely right. Otherwise, it can just look as though you simply haven’t bothered to get dressed that day.

The first step is to look for something tailored – this is what will make your ‘pyjama set’ look more like actual clothes, rather than sleepwear. Then, pay attention to the material you choose. Avoid cotton at all costs – instead opt for something like a suit material, or maybe satin if you are feeling particularly luxurious.

Woman wearing a knitted poncho
Image source

Throws and ponchos

We may be on our way into spring now, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still have the occasional bitterly cold day.

When the temperature drops and it’s rainy and cold, most of us want nothing more than to hide out in a cosy blanket at home, away from the prying eyes of the world. But, as is life, we usually need to leave the house to get on with our days.

Thankfully, there is a way you can stay cool and comfy and warm all at once – and it is with the help of blankets and ponchos.

We really saw blankets come into their own in the autumn/winter season of last year, so if you’ve still got one, don’t be afraid to rock it!

Simply wrap up in it whichever way feels most natural to you – if you want to make the look a little more streamlined, simply cinch yourself in at the waist with a stylish belt. As long as your arms are still free, there really isn’t a more comfortable piece of clothing to snuggle up in on a cold and frosty morning.

Fashion and comfort don’t have to be mutually exclusive – there are plenty of ways you can feel good and look good every single day.

The Dressing’s in the Details: Little Style Touches That Make a Difference

Looking your best every day isn’t an easy task. When you’re a mother, it can be even harder to find the time to put yourself together every day. But just because you’re busy, it doesn’t mean you have to neglect yourself.

If looking good is important to you, you can find your own way to create your look in the time you have available.

Image credit: Pexels

One of the ways to look good all the time is to pay attention to the little things. Even if you’re dressed casually, you can still have a unique necklace on or an eye-catching bag.

Try these little touches to elevate any outfit.

Wear a Watch

Perhaps currently you use your mobile to tell the time. A watch might seem a little pointless to you, but it can be the ultimate accessory for a busy mum.

Whether you wear a traditional analogue watch, a digital watch or even a smartwatch, it can look good and help you stay on track.

Your watch can be an ever-present accessory that completes any outfit, and it can do a variety of other things too. If you get a smartwatch or fitness tracker, you can watch your activity levels.

Smartwatches can help you stay on top of your schedule and calls.

Image credit: Wikimedia

Get an Arty Phone Case

Most people have their phone with them all the time nowadays. You’re probably forever having to get it out, whether you’re taking a business call or scheduling a play date. If it’s going to be surgically attached to you at all times, you might as well make sure it looks good.

An artistic iPhone case can add a splash of colour to any outfit. Even if you’re conducting the school run or going to the gym in leggings and an old t-shirt, it shows that you’re usually much more fashionable.

Match a Few Details in Your Outfit

If you’re unsure about how to bring an outfit together, consider picking a motif to run through your outfit.

There might be something on one piece of clothing that you can match to other things. For example, perhaps your floral skirt could go with a flower necklace. However, you could also add something that’s not on your clothes.

Use the same motif on your hairclip as you wear on your bracelet or as a brooch. Nothing has to match exactly, though. You could pick a more general theme to run through your outfit.

Image credit: Pixabay

Pick a Signature Accessory

Do you know someone who always has an amazing bag with them or never takes off their colourful scarf? If you want to look good even on your lazy days, this is one way you can do it.

Pick a signature accessory that you always have with you. It doesn’t have to be the same item every day. You can simply build a fun collection of scarves or statement necklaces, so you always have one to show off.

You don’t have to do anything big or flashy to look good. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make a difference.

Win A Man’s Suit From Dobell Menswear

After the Christmas festivities, it can be a bit of a relief to don our workwear again and prepare for a fresh new year.

Dobell Blue Man's Suit

We make our New Year’s resolutions and determine that this year will see us become even more successful and what we wear definitely helps us to “walk the talk”!

In fact in a survey undertaken by car manufacturer Kia in 2014, when asked what made them feel confident, the top 10 list for women included: high heels, a little black dress, and designer perfume and for men the list included: a freshly shaved face, a new suit, and a nice smelling aftershave.

If you’re looking to spruce up your man, there’s nothing like a crisp new suit to make a statement and Dobell Menswear have kindly provided a man’s suit for a lucky Mother Distracted reader.

Dobell menswear have created fine men’s suits, tuxedos and wedding suits for over 10 years, and create handsomely fitted suits and formalwear accessories, at great value – up to 50% cheaper than the high street.

They stock leading suit and shirt brands such as Paul Costelloe, Tommy Hilfiger, Noose & Monkey, Esprit, Lambretta, Paul Gross, and Alexander Dobell.

They also cater for men who want to look and feel correctly dressed when they’re attending black tie dinners, weddings, balls, business conferences or calendar events such as Glyndebourne and Ascot.

There’s free standard delivery, and free UK returns, a next day delivery service, and international delivery. Their site offers on-site expert advice articles and sizing guides or, if you prefer, you can talk to their dedicated customer service team who are on hand to help from 9 am to 6 pm weekdays.

For a chance to win, just enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.  Terms and conditions apply (please see my Competitions page).  UK entrants only.

The prize is one Dobell branded man’s suit in your preferred size (jacket and trousers).

The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on Friday 13th January 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Review: Howick Junior Kids Clothes at House of Fraser

GIFTED: Since Caitlin had some new clothes for her birthday in November, Ieuan has been worrying about his ‘look’.  Convinced he is the new Derek Zoolander I am under strict instructions to find him something ‘cool’ to wear and happily House of Fraser has stepped in to help out.

Ieuan wearing Howick Junior Quilted Pique Polo

Howick Junior is just one of a number of designer brands at House of Fraser with great clothing for kids.  (You can also find Hugo Boss and Calvin Klein for example).

Ieuan chose the Howick Junior Quilted Pique Polo (now £13 reduced from £22) and the Howick Junior Padded Boys Gilet (now £21 reduced from £35).

Detailing on Howick Junior Polo

I particularly liked the detailing on both garments which are very well made.

Ieuan is tall and can take an age 8-9 or even a 9-10 in some brands but both these were in age 7-8 and fitted him perfectly.

Ieuan wearing the Howick Junior Pique Polo Top

The length of the polo shirt is good too – nothing worse than a top which gets no further than the waistband of the trousers!

Ieuan wearing the Howick Junior Boys Padded Gilet

The lining of the Howick Junior Padded Gilet

The gilet is nicely padded with a bright lining and two pockets to keep hands warm.  It has a zip and studs.  Again, the length is good.

If you’re looking for kids’ clothes for Christmas you can find some great savings now.  There’s free delivery when you spend over £50 or you can order up to 6 pm for free buy and collect next day.

We are lucky as we live just outside Cardiff which has a large House of Fraser store. In fact, I worked there for two years many moons ago but that’s another story ……

Ieuan giving the thumbs up by the Christmas tree

For more information on the Howick Junior Kids Range go to www. houseoffraser.co.uk.