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!

Beach cover ups

2 sarongs

Tasteful sarongs

Even if you are young and shapely you will still need something to wear over your swimwear when it gets hot or you go to lunch. A pet hate of mine is seeing people sitting at the table for lunch, even on the beach, in their swimwear. Whether you go for a sarong, kaftan, cotton dress or tunic there is plenty of choice around.

Personally I can’t see the point in paying a lot of money as, if you are anything like me, the garment ends up being covered in suntan lotion and seawater. I find those articles entitled, “Look cool on the beach” or “How to remain chic when on the beach” very amusing. If it’s hot I always have a pink sweating face and whatever I wear as a cover up is creased and looks like I’ve found it in the rubbish bin. I digress. Let’s look at some practical, stylish and reasonably priced cover ups.

tropical sarong

Easy to wear and to pack

white cover up

Over-sized top

The top above works because it is short. If it was full length it would end up looking like a nightie! As with other garments balance and proportion do matter – even in a beach cover-up.

shift dress

Simple shift

The benefits of a shift or tunic dress is that they are casual enough for the beach or pool but acceptable for walking to the shops or back to your room. With the sales on at the moment it is relatively easy to pick up a bargain.

striped tunic

Casual striped tunic

If you prefer to keep your legs covered there are some stylish maxi skirts and dresses around. Make sure the garment really fits you or it may end up looking frumpy if it is too baggy.

white long kaften

Long kaftan – very chic

orange long kaften

Great colour to show off a tan

trousers and vest

Sometimes the best cover up is a pair of linen trousers – especially if pants are your ‘go to’ item. Of course even wearing your cover up you need to use an appropriate sun tan lotion for your skin type.

Sandals on the high street

As it is summer (!), despite our good old British weather, I thought I’d do some research into comfortable summer sandals that won’t break the bank. I have to say that, overall, I’ve been somewhat disappointed. I’ve selected affordable (in most cases £25 – £35) and versatile sandals. If you’re travelling abroad the weight restrictions certainly concentrate your mind on what to pack. A few years ago I simply threw a few pairs into my case, never having worn the half of them! I’ve looked at sandals that could be worn with jeans, shorts, skirts and dresses. There are some good sales at the moment which is exactly the right time to buy, especially if you haven’t had a holiday yet. Here goes.

grey leather dune

dune legend blk

Dune Sandals

My research certainly highlighted the range of style offered by Dune. Added to which their sandals seem reasonably well made. Not always the case on the high street.

m&s white platformm&s blk and cream

Marks and Spencer

Personally I don’t find M & S footwear particularly comfortable. Regular blog readers will know of my ‘challenging’ feet. If you don’t have any bother with your feet then their prices are very reasonable.

crossover sliders next

Crossover sliders by Next

clarks duck egg

Clarks

Having worn Clarks sandals as a child, as virtually everyone at my school did, it’s a well known and respected brand. It has gone through several identity crises over the years, although I do think from a style point of view they are beginning to get it right.

hush puppies nanette

Nanette by Hush Puppies

Hush Puppies is another established brand with a less than stylish image, so you can imagine how surprised I was to come across the above sandals.

finery sliders

finery blue blk slidesFinery of London

The above sandals are, strictly speaking, not on your high street unless you live in London. If you are happy to buy on line (some people aren’t when it comes to footwear) then they offer both style and comfort.

As I’ve already said the sales are on and there is choice. Perhaps I am getting more difficult to please as I get older but I have been disappointed in this years sandals. Perhaps I’ll find a pair on holiday!

Style is a choice

Different people have different ideas about what style is. Which is perfectly understandable. At it’s most basic it is how you ‘present’ yourself when you go out in the world. Some people say they don’t care what they look like. I’m not sure I would agree. If you are happy with how you look you are more likely to feel confident which in turn helps with your self esteem. Some people say it’s not important. Well, compared to family, friends and health it isn’t. How you look does matter because it can affect your mood and it does send an unspoken message to others. We tend to judge by appearance, often getting it woefully wrong. But we still do.

jck print pants

Chic and flattering 

The above outfit is, essentially, a simple T-Shirt, print pants and a fitted jacket. Virtually any woman could wear this. It is not over-the-top but it is modern.

When I talk to style clients I’m often surprised at the emotional aspect to choosing clothes. When women rejuvenate their style the first thing I notice is the sheer delight and pleasure this brings. Sometimes this comes as a surprise to them! What tends to get in the way is being concerned about what others think. Dress to please yourself. If your partner, family, children and relatives aren’t supportive – and may even be dismissive – that’s their concern.

If you want to rejuvenate your style you need first to make the decision to do so. The key (if there is one!) is to look modern and avoid that dreaded style error so many older women make of not wanting to stand out. So, they either wear what they have worn since they were in their thirties, thereby dating their overall look, or believe that they shouldn’t wear anything ‘too’ modern or they will look like “mutton dressed as lamb”. Stop apologising for yourself. You have earned the right to look your best.

fashion star!

Confidence and style

I think the woman in the above image looks incredible. Would I wear this outfit? No, because the jacket it too short and would draw attention to my boobs and the overall look is too busy for me. Personally I think she would look better with a longer jacket. The image below is again about confidence but the style of this woman is less flamboyant.

black shawl with orange

Comfortable in her skin

italian older woman

Italian older woman

I think the Italians are starting to overtake the French when it comes to style. I love Italian cities not only for the architecture, food and general energy, but also for the people watching. The amount of stylish older people is fabulous to see.

blk and animal print

Simplicity

pants and lacy shirt

Contemporary

Style is a very personal thing. I believe that as we get older we owe it to ourselves to look our best. This can be jeans and a T Shirt or a floral dress. Style is a choice. Not caring what you look like is also a choice.

The art of accessorising

If you’re a bit bored with a certain outfit or garment one way to ring the changes is through accessories. It’s always a cost effective way of cheering yourself up when you want something new to wear but your budget won’t stretch to that lovely top you keep looking at!

with wht shirthermes on wht t shirt

A patterned scarf with a white top looks very stylish

In this post I’m not going to talk about handbags I’m going to look at jewellery and scarves. Never before has there been such a good choice in costume jewellery. I’m lucky, in the small town where I live, there is an independently owned accessories shop and over the years I’ve found some real gems. Of all the department stores Debenhams and House of Fraser seem to consistently have the best selections.

silver earringblack metal feather earring

Discreet or more flamboyant?

A really neat pair of earrings looks very feminine and can ‘finish’ an outfit. The black feather earrings look sophisticated and could be worn with a simple block colour dress or a more formal work outfit. Yes, really! If you have read one of my previous posts about simple steps to being stylish you will remember that a little element of surprise and contrast is stylish and makes you look as if you have made an effort. You don’t want to look like everyone else, do you.

metal broochswirl metal brooch

Brooches – the most under-used accessory

Wearing a brooch may remind you of your Grandmother or favourite Aunt, however, brooches can make a real impact on plain outfits. Visit vintage fairs where you can pick them up for anywhere between £5 and £30. I have a large diamante brooch which I wear with my denim jacket. In the 2 images above imagine there were no accessories. The outfits would not be remarkable in any way.

Most women will wear a necklace and a pair of earrings but there are still women who tend not to wear bracelets. This is a pity as there are so many three quarter length sleeves around and bracelets can balance this.

bracelet with red tasslesilver squiggle bangle

Casual or more sophisticated? It’s up to you.

When you accessorise you need to take into account the size and placement of the jewellery. The larger the piece the more likelihood of the eye being drawn to that area of your body. For example, the bracelets put onto chain is a novel way to give depth to a plain white top. I wouldn’t wear that as it would draw attention to my boobs! The last thing I want. I would wear the wood and brass necklaces especially with a severe round neck.

bracelets on chainwood and cord necklace

Can older women wear leggings?

This is a question I’m frequently asked and I noticed recently in another style blog the same question being asked. I have no problem with leggings per se and I do wear them myself. You’re sensing a ‘but’ here aren’t you? Well here’s the ‘but’. If you are an older woman you need to make sure what you are wearing with the leggings is stylish and looks good. Too many woman wear leggings because they are easy and comfortable. Nothing the matter with that, however, if you give little thought to the rest of your outfit you may end up looking sloppy, or even worse, frumpy. You’ll look as if you have made little effort.

 

shirt with leggings

Effortless yet well put together

The cardinal sin with regard to wearing leggings (except at the gym) is to keep your bottom covered. I live in a market town and we have a great mix of people in the area. Unfortunately there are some women with large bottoms who clearly have no knowledge of this ‘no no’! Even if your bottom is not large if your top doesn’t cover it you will simply look as if you have forgotten to put your skirt on! Please take note.

with white shirt

Casual summer look – great for holidays

A loose long shirt, or shirt dress, looks good with leggings as the proportions work and balance the outfit. Make sure the top is not too baggy as this will not be flattering, particularly if you are petite.

with silk tunic

Silk Tunic 

Not only the cut but also the fabric worn on top will help to determine how casual, or otherwise, you wish to look. This will depend on what you are doing and where you are going. The silk in the tunic above immediately elevates the leggings.

shirt dress

This could be worn by any age group

bright top and sandals

Easy to wear

Leggings are versatile and they don’t need to cost the earth. In winter (sorry to mention it!) they team well with ankle or knee length boots and look good with chunky knitwear.

50 Shades

french manicure

French Manicure

Your hands are always on show and one of the best ways of looking well put together is to have manicured nails with a complimentary shade of nail varnish. My favourite for daytime is a French Manicure. Needless to say it doesn’t happen often as I have to get a professional to do it.

If your budget doesn’t run to regular professional manicures then make sure you nails are kept reasonably short and well filed. There are so many shades of nail varnish on the market making a choice can be difficult. Pale or dark? Pink or blue?

chanel nail polish

Brilliant summer colour

I am a big fan of Chanel nail varnish. They always have a great range of colours and the varnish lasts – unlike some of the cheaper brands. Orange and corals look really good in the summer and combine easily with other colours.

chanel pink may

Chanel – ‘May’

If you are a bit of a traditionalist then a soft but bright pink will work for you. Or you may want something with more zing as in the colour below.

chanel tentation polish

Chanel – ‘Tentation’

Because there is often a tendency to wear lighter, brighter colours in the summer the introduction of darker, deeper polishes can have real impact.

marc jacobs grey

Very stylish!

nars mint polish

Would look just as good on toes

nails inc porchester square

Versatile and modern

Whatever colour you choose please ensure you use a good quality hand cream and ALWAYS remove chipped varnish. You do don’t you?

Simple is often best

If you want to rejuvenate your style and have a wardrobe that works for you, then you can’t go wrong with black and white. It is timeless, classy and rarely looks cheap. You can ring the changes with accessories to keep your look fresh. If you want a splash of colour then add jewellery or a scarf.

t shirt and crops finery

Simple T-shirt and pants from Finery

blk long top wht jeans

Great holiday look

Both of the above outfits are simple yet effective. Wear long or three quarter sleeves if you feel more comfortable.

pleated trousers zara

 

Relaxed evening look from Zara

evening look classy

Very stylish & upmarket

Perhaps it’s just me but I do think the above outfit is far more chic than rows of frills in a garish colour.

long white top

Casual and easy

Unless you are very short this would be an informal look for summer and YES you can wear trainers. It’s official!

white nike

Nike – worth every penny

white jumpsuit sneakers

Plain yet poised

If the above outfit is too plain for you add a scarf or piece of colourful jewellery. Personally I would have had a more neutral bag as the one above looks too business like.

The benefits of black and white are versatility and cost. Very colourful busy prints can often look cheap. More Primark than Prada!

Bags of choice

tan tote

Classic tan tote – great with black, white & navy

Whether you are a bagoholic or not every women needs something to carry around all her ‘stuff’ in. There is so much choice sometimes it can take ages to actually decide. Do you go for lots of cheaper bags or do you want that fabulous designer bag you know you’ll love wearing for years. That’s up to you – and of course your budget!

Prada white tote

Prada white tote – lovely but totally impractical!

Black work

Serviceable work bag

suede tote mustard

Suede tote casual & good with most colours

Is it possible to have a bag that takes you from day to evening? Really that’s up to the evening in question. If you are going out to supper with friends or a quick drink after work then possibly it is. All the above bags would work for an informal evening. What about a’posh’ evening or Ladies Day at the races?

Pink occasion

Definitely an ‘occasion’ bag 

Blk silk clutch

Silk clutch

This is a truly elegant bag and one that would compliment a dress or chic  trouser suit. Very French.

clutch animal with tasel

Animal skin with tassel

I love the ‘idea’ of a clutch bag – so much more freeing than a large leather tote. However, as I have a tendency to carry everything but the kitchen sink they don’t work for me.

Dark beige

All round practical bag

Personally I would go for the tan tote or the bag above. They are good colours for me and offer the opportunity to carry all those items I can’t seem to do without.