I think it is officially winter


Simple and easy to wear

The clocks go back this weekend so I ‘think’ that means we are officially into winter. I live in the Northumberland hills and we appreciate the changing seasons probably more than town dwellers. I really don’t ‘do’ cold. However, I’m certainly not ready to start wearing heavy coats just yet. Sometimes a light jacket is all that is required. So, one way of ensuring you are never out in the cold is to have a scarf or pashmina with you at all times. When not in use it can be put in your bag or tied around your handbag strap.


Worn with knitwear – not a coat in sight

Another benefit of carrying a scarf is that if you are going through the menopause and experiencing hot flushes the thought of wearing a heavy coat or jacket is simply awful. Pashminas are great at wrapping around your neck and your shoulders and back. They also look stylish.


Feminine and fresh

valentino blk & wht

Lighter weight scarf – beautiful detail

If you are not a fan of pashminas or heavier scarves then they are some really lovely light weight ones around. Check out smaller independent shops. I recently bought a fake Hermes in great shades of gold and teal for £10 in the sale, at Sassi (Market Place) in my nearest town, which is Hexham. They sell great bags and costume jewellery too.



Never underestimate the ability of a light silk scarf to keep you warm. It can also add a hint of colour – which is always appreciated in the dark days of winter. They also make great Christmas presents!

Can you have enough knitwear?

I’m back from the lovely Greek Island of Rhodes where I discovered a creative designer called Ioanna Kourbela. I purchased a ‘versatile’ cardigan, shown below, which I know I will wear for many a year. Mine is in a mocha/coffee shade. There is even a video on her website showing the many ways to wear it. I shall experiment during the dark nights of winter!


Even given the current exchange rate (don’t get me started) it only cost £53, which I think is good value for money. I’m a big fan of Sarah Pacini who has lovely knitwear designs, however, they are more expensive.


Sarah Pacini – yarn has a metallic twist in it

Fine knitwear is a good transitional piece as we go into the colder weather, but it’s not cold enough for heavier yarns. Plus they can take the place of jackets or coats.


Simple Cardigan – with well chosen necklace


 Navy Gilet – for colder days

I am a self-confessed knitwear addict. The versatility is second to none. You can wear the gilet above, for example, with jeans, tailored trousers or a dress. Can you ever have enough knitwear? No, is my response.

Don’t try this at home!

We all want to spend our money wisely (well sometimes!) so it can be tempting to go for the do it yourself approach. Cut your hair? Of course you wouldn’t. Practising at home dentist? Never. Whatever you do not be tempted with DIY face masks believing that as they contain ‘natural’ ingredients they will work. They may do but it’s unlikely. As regular readers will know I work in partnership with Temple Spa who make luxury spa award winning skincare. This means I get to spend great time with women who amongst other things are interested in good skincare. I recently spoke to a friend and noticed her eyes were red and puffy and looked very uncomfortable. The cause? She read on-line that eye makeup remover was a waste of money and using olive oil worked just as well! Your skin is precious and can easily be irritated.


Your skin is the largest organ in your body

Obviously I recommend Temple Spa’s ‘Go Easy’ eye makeup remover as it is effective and very gentle, also caring for the delicate skin around your eyes. I looked online and was amazed at the concoctions people were advising.


Many years ago someone told me that placing a slice of raw cucumber on each eye prior to a night out made your eyes sparkle. The only thing this did for me was to make my eyes itch!


Please don’t try these at home

I am completely intrigued by the recipes above, particularly the moisturiser. How on earth would you keep this on your face? Also, as moisturiser is used prior to make up application then I think you’d end up looking most strange. I have nothing against natural products such as honey, olive oil, eggs etc. – but I think they are better eaten with our meals! When all said and done stick to reputable brands.



Me time!

In the rush of life – family, work and keeping everything ticking along, something women are very good at, it can be all too easy to forget about yourself. As you know, if you have been following my blog, I offer style services. Everything from creating a fabulous capsule wardrobe to dressing for that special occasion. What you may not be so aware of is that I offer a bespoke skincare service in partnership with Temple Spa, who have created Mediterranean inspired skincare using essential oils, anti-aging ingredients and lush botanical ingredients.


Over time our skin can change and certainly if you are going through the menopause then it is likely you have experienced some challenges. Break-outs, enlarged pores, dry patches and discoloration. Hopefully not all at once! Although there is a plethora of skincare companies in the beauty departments of our high street stores the consultant is usually young and may not fully appreciate some of the concerns older women have, or that how we look can affect our self-esteem. I can offer a personal skin care consultation, or if you prefer, get a few friends round to your home (up to 8) and I can coach you all through a quick yet effective skin care routine. The ultimate ‘Spa To Go’. If you prefer the one-to-one session then I can give you the facial, all you need to do is sit down and relax, or I can coach you through the process. There is plenty of time to ask any questions you want.


It’s a real treat to go to the spa although hardly practical, or affordable, to do so on a regular basis. If you are busy or stressed using these spa products (they are used in some of the most prestigious spas in the country) will be an opportunity for some ‘me time’. It’s not ‘hope in a bottle’ but used regularly your skin will look and feel amazing.

TS Skin Truffle

This service I offer is an opportunity to try before you buy in the comfort of your own (or a friends!) home. This is why the service is free. Yes that’s right – it’s not a typo. I want every client to experience Temple Spa products and I know from recent experience you will buy because your skin tells you to. Whether you go for the class experience or the one-to-one, you will be able to take advantage of the special offers not available on the website. Go to www.templespa.com/brendakilgallon

Oh and if you decide to host a class you get a lovely free gift as a thank you from me. Interested? Simply leave a comment and send your message, together with your contact details.


Don’t know what to wear?


Quick view

How many of us have stood in front of our open wardrobe and said to ourselves, “What am I going to wear?” We may be running short of time grab something we are familiar with – or the first thing that comes to hand – jump into our clothes, take a quick look in the mirror and groan. Perhaps we didn’t notice the missing button the last time we wore the jacket or the fact that the jacket doesn’t really go with our skirt. Still, no time to change so off we go to wherever we need to be, not really feeling we are looking our best.

I’ll let you into a little secret. Those women we know who invariable look well put together, with great accessories etc actually take the time to make it happen. Style never happens by chance it requires some thought, inspiration and, importantly, time. But I haven’t got any time I hear you say. Here are some pointers that will help.

  1. Put your clothes out the night before. Underwear and accessories included.
  2. Have at least 4 outfits that you know work well and keep them at the front of your wardrobe, or easily accessible.
  3. Create storage order. Whatever works for you. It could be all knitwear together or everything colour co-ordinated.
  4. Spend 10 minutes once a week checking any items that need cleaning or repairing.
relaxed older women

Well put together

mono chrome coat

Everything thought through

The next time you look enviously at a women who looks good remember, she took the time. You need to create some kind of control to have effective style options. Without this you spend time looking for ‘lost’ items.

I am not a morning person so I always lay out what I’m going to wear the night before. I have been doing this for years and it only takes a few minutes. Most of the storage I use is from Ikea so you don’t have to go out and spend a small fortune. Put the effort in and you will get results.


Why grey hair is a matter of choice

Many women of my mother’s generation (she was not one of them!) accepted grey hair as a natural progression – as indeed it is. Increasingly we are seeing women in their forties having grey put ‘into’ their hair. Unthinkable even 10 years ago. Should you let nature take it’s course or are you not prepared to give up the colouring sessions at the hairdressers. As in all matters of style it is a personal choice. My hairdresser who has been cutting and colouring my hair for over 20 years beautifully describes her clients hair as ‘the gown you always wear’. Very true. If I have a bad hair day it doesn’t matter what I am wearing I just don’t feel right.

trench coat and jeans

Relaxed & confident

One thing to bear in mind if you have grey hair is to keep your style contemporary. It’s interesting that a women, say in her thirties, can wear very classic clothes and yet look fresh, whereas a women in her fifties and beyond can look too staid.

curly with glasses

If you have grey hair and wear glasses choose frames that actually ‘frame your face’. Darker frames have more definition and tend to look better with grey hair.

young with glasses

Good use of jewellery

jeans and white sht

tweed jacket

Both the above outfits are relaxed yet in very different ways. Having grey hair does not mean twin sets and pearls. If you decide to go grey bear in mind this will take a while, depending on how quickly your grows, so you may need to hang in there. Talk to your hairdresser and get their advice. Also bear in mind that as our hair goes grey so we experience a loss of pigmentation in the skin. To prevent looking ‘faded’ wear tinted moisturiser and lipstick. If you don’t already, now may be the time to consider a natural colour blusher.

good quote

Accepting your grey hair can be liberating as the image and quote above shows. Will I be letting my hair grow out? Not yet. I still have my ‘original’ brown colour at the back and I think I would look odd. Some day, but not now.

How to look stylish when the weather is hot

The title of this article may not be the most appropriate for us here in the UK however I feel it is much more difficult to look stylish in warm weather than it is in the winter. Add to this that the typical British high street, not to mention the workplace,  does not lend itself to showing acres of flesh (Yes I know some people do!), yet if it’s hot we don’t want to be too covered up.

Here are some ideas that may help you keep your cool while at the same time looking stylish.

carvela blk suedesnakeskin open toe

1. Keep your feet cool and lose the heels

When it is hot one of the first casualties will be your feet. If appropriate don’t wear tights but do make sure if your sandals are open-toed your feet and nails are up to scratch. This means unchipped polish and no hard skin! I can’t wear totally flat sandals as I have a high instep and my feet ache. A small heel will offer support. Many women get swollen feet and ankles during hot weather. There is one product which is guaranteed to solve this problem and that is award winning AAAHHH! Soothing Balm for Aching Feet and Limbs from Temple Spa (www.templespa.com/brendakilgallon). The product name says it all. From retail staff to pregnant mums this product is amazing.

aaahh award winner

Invest in this at www.templespa.com/brendakilgallon

With dandelion, peppermint, lavender, clary & black pepper. So refreshing. £20 for 150mls so it lasts for ages.

2. Skirts and dresses are better than jeans

I love jeans but they are hot to wear when the temperature rises. If you don’t feel comfortable in skirts then wear loose linen trousers.

chic blk pleatedblk wht full

Long pleated skirts look elegant and are not just for evening. A full print skirt looks stylish and worn with a plain short-sleeved top or long-sleeved shirt, will help to keep you cool.

shirt dressmarc cain blk and wht

If a dress is more your thing, think carefully about the fabric. It should be light and of course the looser the fit the better. Remember, the more skin you bare the hotter you will be. Shirt dresses combine style with ease and provided the fit is right look effortlessly stylish.

3. Looser tops work better in the heat

By which I don’t mean sloppy and too oversized. Whilst close fitting tops can be flattering (depending on your figure) when the weather is hot you need some air flow. There are many loose fitting tops around and the sales are on!

batwing chiffon beigeshirts

Paler colours are meant to keep you cool. I’m not sure about the science of this but I do think pastel shades look good in the summer. If your skin is not sun friendly then go for long sleeves.

grey and pearllinen look

Easy to wear

4. Carry water and drink frequently

You must keep hydrated when the temperature soars. If plain water is not your thing then put some lemon slices in a water bottle – or some fresh mint.

5. Carry a light cologne

There is nothing more refreshing than regularly spritzing with your favourite cologne. Not only does it make you feel better but is gives you the confidence that you smell good! Obviously what you choose will depend on your preference. Perfume & cologne is a very individual thing. We only need to smell a particular scent and the memories come flooding back. My two summer choices tend to be Eau d’Orange Verte Hermes (which is unisex) and ever since it was launched in the 1970s I always go to Chanel Cristalle in the summer months.

eaud'orange hermes

The smell of summer

chanel cristalle

Fresh and sharp


You are now good to go and even when everyone around you is wilting you will remain cool and stylish. Don’t forget to take a reasonably roomy bag!

The most versatile item of clothing you will ever have

Regular readers of my blog and my Facebook visitors will know that I’m just a tad obsessed  with white shirts. There are so many styles to choose from and therefore so many different looks and style themes to explore. I recently ‘found myself’ (as in I wonder how I drifted this way rather than a moment of spiritual enlightenment) on the Kings Road in London and wasn’t surprised to see the white shirt in great evidence.

with long skirt

A white shirt does not necessarily mean a corporate or formal look. Worn as above it is chic and unexpected. Being stylish is always about the element of surprise.

Whether it’s worn as a beach cover-up, under a smart jacket, with a knitted jacket or denim gilet you can get great mileage out of this garment. Wear it with a piece of statement jewellery or a colourful scarf. Experiment!

zara peplum

Zara Peplum – under £30.00

The white shirt is timeless and you can pay next to nothing for one (Zara, Matalan, H&M) or a small fortune. Over the years I’ve found it best to have a small amount of stretch in the fabric as although I have a fairly small frame I have the ‘issue’ of my boobs. Too stiff a fabric and the shirt sort-of launches itself from my boobs! The downside of stretch is that the shirt may not be the pure white you tend to get with 100% cotton.


Givenchy. Price? Don’t even ask!


Marks and Spencer

The above shirt is simplicity itself and the length of the sleeves is very flattering on older arms. Dress it up or down the choice is yours.

crisp beltedtunic look

A belted shirt looks crisp yet casual

hugo boss ultra stylish

Hugo Boss 2016 – so elegant

classic sarah harris

Style always beats fashion!

The above image is of Sarah Harris (always stylish and yet relaxed) wearing her shirt with turned down dungarees. Now that is being creative! Why not hit the sales now and pick up a white shirt. You won’t regret it.

5 Things I always take to the beach

travel toiletries

Try piling this lot into a beach bag!

It’s that time of year when foreign beaches beckon. Well , they do for me. Last year I didn’t get my beach holiday in the sun – mainly due to reasons of logistics! Very boring. Over the years I’ve learned that there are items that are essential for beach survival. I’m a massive Greek island fan which started almost 33 years ago when I went there on my honeymoon (obviously a child bride!). In the early days I would carry a huge beach bag loaded down with ‘stuff’, which my husband always ended up carrying. As he wouldn’t go anywhere near the crowds we would trudge for a mile (it seemed like it) in the sun and eventually, hot and disgruntled, find a ‘suitable’ spot.

Times change, as does stamina, so here are a few tips if, like me, you prefer the beach to the pool. So much better for people watching and I love the sea.

  1. Water – absolutely essential

I don’t like carbonated drinks so you will never see me drinking Coke or similar. There is no substitute for water. A good tip is to put some in a travel size spray bottle and spritz your face from time to time. Very good to get the salt water off your face. As we know salt has a tremendously drying effect.

  1. Sun protection – in a reasonably high SPF

TS Self Defence spf 30For your face

Up until working with Temple Spa as a Lifestyle Consultant I always used Piz Buin for my body and a reputable brand for my face. I go for a SPF of 30. I tan easily and as I tend to keep my face out of the sun this works well. This year I will be using Temple Spa ‘Self Defence’ which is a specially created cream for the face with an SPF of 30. As you would expect it has UVA and AVB protectors, also helps to even out skin tone and helps diminish uneven pigmentation, which I do have. Can’t wait to use it. I’ll report back!

  • Facial wipes
burt bees wipes

Gentle and effective

I’m not usually a fan of facial wipes as I don’t think they work as well as a cream or gel. Also there can be tendency to be too heavy handed and when using them on eye make-up this drags the skin. For the beach however, they are useful and convenient as a temporary measure. There are so many to choose from on the market, but bearing in mind you want something that will not dry the skin then I would recommend Burts Bees. Every once and a while you will need to freshen up and these wipes do work.

  • Baby Powder
johnsons baby powder

Admit it. You’re just a bit puzzled. This is a relatively new discovery and is based on my dislike of having sand sticking to my hands, especially after applying sun lotion. I also dislike sand sticking to my feet & toes. At this stage you’re probably wondering why I don’t stay around the pool! Basically I’m perverse. I used to use wet wipes but then the sand would transfer to the wipe and there we are, back where we started. Try this tip it really does work. Simply shake some baby powder into your hands (you don’t need much) rub gently together and the sand disappears. Magic!

  • Elizabeth Arden Tinted Lip Protector SPF 15

For years I would use a SPF lip balm but found they made my lips look greasy and didn’t last long. Then I discovered the Elizabeth Arden Lip Protector. Initially it was only in 2 shades. A soft rose and a brown/beige. Now, I believe there are at least 4 shades. Mine usually lasts 2 -3 years. Obviously it depends how much time you spend in the sun. Not only does it protect your lips but it also looks good. If you holiday with carry on luggage only (and great respect if you can do this!) it would also double up as a regular lipstick.

EA lip spf 15 tinted

Lovely to use

With my 5 essentials (plus my towel and a good book) I’m ready for the beach. It makes such a difference from those loaded down days.

Can older women wear white?

white skirt and top

Looks great – but you may need shape wear

Readers of my blog will know that I am a fan of white shirts. They are so versatile and timeless. But what about a totally white look? Firstly, I believe older women can and should wear what they want. Will they look stylish? Perhaps – perhaps not. The above item looks very stylish but admittedly wouldn’t suit everyone.

long wrap

Flattering and simple

with grey hair

Some colour needed here?

The above outfit does little for this women and looks more like a surgical robe. With the addition of some jewellery or a coloured scarf this look could be transformed. If you want to wear white and have grey hair (except that gorgeous steel grey shade) and are fair skinned then try a pop of colour next to your face.

white sleeveless

Basic yet effective

The sleeveless top can be worn by virtually anyone and any age. It will hide a thick waist and can be dressed up or down. If you have loose skin and poor muscle tone on your upper arms then wear a jacket or light cardigan.

asymetric wht linen top

Timeless piece

wht linen tunic

Great if you are tall

No matter what you wear you need to bear in mind some basic proportion guidelines. There are many linen (and linen-type) boho, or ethnic, tops available. They can look really good or dreadful. There seems to be no middle way. Often ethnic-type tops come in one size. Ridiculous! Don’t even bother. Apart from the size the cut may be too generous for you if, like me, you are only 5’4″. Basic rule: voluminous top streamlined bottoms.

wht blazer and top m&s

Clothes by M & S!

The above is a fairly classic yet chic approach to wearing white with jeans, if the looser more unstructured look just isn’t for you.

lovely day

Lovely Day by Temple Spa 

If you feel white drains you or you have very pale skin, yet want to wear white, then try 1 -2 pumps of Lovely Day mixed with your moisturiser. Simply put your usual amount of moisturiser on the back of your hand, add the Lovely Day, and mix. You will achieve a light natural looking colour which will ‘lift’ the white. Oh, and a final point. Try to choose clothes you can wash rather than have to have dry cleaned. White in my experience doesn’t keep clean for look – it does look good however!