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.

More body hang-ups

Having looked earlier this week at boobs, stomachs & bottoms the other potentially troublesome body areas are length of legs, hips, arms and your torso. I wonder if men go through this process? They don’t seem to in the UK!

Short legs

Many women seem to think their legs are too short, and whether this true or not, there is a sure fire style tip to give the ‘appearance’ of longer legs.

classic navy

Continuous colour from head to foot

cont col long legs

Same approach with trousers

The key to creating longer looking legs is to have a continuous sweep of colour with no obvious distractions. If your legs are on the short side then avoid wearing ankle strap shoes with dresses or skirts. Why? The visual effect will be to ‘cut’ the length of your legs. If you also have thick ankles this will be compounded.

Smaller hips

Many women feel their hips are too big. Again, the key is to create a visual balance. Avoid pencil skirts, skin tight jeans and slant pockets on trousers as they will emphasise the size of your hips. If you wear jeans go for flares to create balance and take the attention away from your hips.

NYDJ blue

Flared jeans

a line print

Yes – you can wear prints!

 Italian linen dress

Linen dress over leggings

The above outfit skims over the hips and if you don’t like to bare your legs then leggings are the obvious choice.

Longer torso

There are 2 approaches to creating the illusion that your torso is longer than it is. The first is to wear lower rise pants or jeans and a higher neck top. Thus you have created length. However if you have a thick waist or a substantial tummy you will not look good in low rise pants.

wht shirt

Works on fairly slim torso

classic long torso

This coat creates length

Coats or knitted long jackets elongate your torso. Make sure you avoid too obvious patterns and stick to one colour.

tunic longer torso

More flattering on older women

This creates a good balance and the scarf draws the eye away from the body.

Shorter torso

If you have the opposite concern then  you need to visually ‘break-up’ the torso. Women with long bodies can often have shorter legs so it is best to avoid cropped pants especially if they are wide. The key here is a cropped top – ending above your natural waist line. If you are older then layering can work very well. You could also try a wide belt – if your waist can take it!

dk blue with casual look

Layering tends to shorten the body

jacket and jeans

Cropped jacket breaks up body length

blue with striped top SS

Horizontal stripes shorten

full blk

Full skirt takes attention away from top half

Slim arms

For years I had slim toned arms. I liked my arms! Now they have thickened and have lost muscle tone. I know I’m not alone in this but the thing is I’m living with my arms not yours! The solution is to go for three-quarter length sleeves. They look elegant and certainly take away attention from the top of your arms.

dvf wrap navy

DVF wrap dress

sleeveless jacket

Totally elegant

I seriously doubt if any woman has a ‘perfectly’ proportioned body. Whatever that is! Get to know your body shape and those areas that you want to emphasise or minimise. Work with what you have and you’ll always look good. Remember, style rejuvenation is all about being the best ‘you’.

Body Hang-ups

It’s difficult to feel really confident if there is an area (or areas!) of your body you are less than happy with. Your shape and your size have nothing to do with being stylish. Anyone, regardless of age or body shape, can look good. Easy to say and yet if we do feel ‘challenged’ by our body shape then it can become an issue.

Here are some style tips which will help. There are 9 body areas that can cause concern. I’ll deal with 4 today and the remaining 5 later in the week.

Big Bust

I’ve started with this as I have, in proportion to the rest of my body, big boobs. I’m 5 feet 4 inches and size 10-12. They have been the bane of my life. When I was 13 I had the biggest boobs of anyone in my class and I did my best to hide them. This has resulted in my less than perfect posture due to stooping and trying to ‘conceal’ them. It did NOT  help when well-meaning family members told me I should be “proud of them”. What a totally ridiculous thing to say. Had my boobs conquered Everest? Had they achieved the Nobel Peace Prize? However, there was no getting away from them! Over the years I have learned that the best way to minimise them was that good old stand-by the V-neck.

Satin v-neck

Perfect for generous boobs

navy blue v neck

Classic navy sweater

If you have big boobs and would rather not draw attention to them then avoid frills around the bust and high neck tight sweaters or tops.

Stomach area

If you want to give the impression of a flatter tummy, and women often do, a draped or wrap dress works very well and can also create the illusion of a smaller waist.

turq silk wrap

The front tie is very flattering

deep blue long slv draped

Excellent for large tummies

print wrap

Very figure defining without bulk

Any of the dresses above would flatter and add definition to your figure.

Large Bottom

Although Beyonce and the Kardashians seem to have a love affair with their extremely prominent rear ends, many women feel this is a body area they do not want to draw attention to. So if you would like the appearance of a smaller bottom then wide leg trousers and full skirts will help. It’s really all about proportion. Wide leg trousers balance the width of the bottom as do full skirts. If your bottom is large avoid pencil skirts and skinny jeans.

wide leg pants

Classic black trousers

print flared

The style and print work very well

Small Boobs

Oh how I wish this was an issue for me! If you have small boobs you can easily add some size by wearing tops that have frills or other embellishment.

embellished blouse

Beautifully feminine

neutral silk pleats

I love this – but not on me!

So – boobs, bottoms and tummies can require some thought when choosing outfits that flatter. We will look at legs, arms and your torso in my next post.

Hidden Gems

Quite by chance, when staying with a friend, I encountered a fabulous independent fashion retailer. The business, called Nero e Bianco, which is based in Sutton Coldfield, offers the two key ingredients essential for success. Absolutely lovely clothes (sourced in Italy – where else!) and  service delivered with passion and professionalism.

nero bianco shop

Impossible to walk past

The owner, Jill Hartley, spent some time talking time about her business journey and the philosophy behind it. The business was launched in June 2015 when the shop was opened in Sutton Coldfield quickly followed by the opening, in October that same year, of a shop in Bleper, and has had remarkable success. She loves style and one look at the fabulous clothes on the rails confirms her expertise.  In her own words she wants to, “Make the everyday woman feel fabulous in clothes and spend time giving a good service”. Jill comes from a nursing background and spent many years working with women who were experiencing a range of challenges, including self esteem issues. It is this background that she ascribes to her ability to build a relationship with her clients and provide a personal touch. Jill recognises that there is an emotional component to how women feel and look and sums it up by saying that shopping is more than simply buying clothes. I couldn’t agree more.

neiro bianco interior

My idea of heaven

The business, which includes 3 shops (and a fourth on the way) offers very chic, stylish casual and occasion wear. You can be sure you won’t find clothes like these on the High Street. Jill is now also stocking Italian menswear. She works with like-minded suppliers and she believes this has given her business a great foundation. Jill is surprisingly calm and modest about her journey into the business world.

If you are in the area pay a visit to Nero e Bianco. It may just change the way you shop! I freely admit that clothes are my passion but so many clothes shopping experiences fall short of the mark.

Sunshine Therapy – Step Three

Having prepared and then applied your tanning products there are some simple steps to help maintain your tan. The first thing to do is the make sure you keep your skin well hydrated by using a good quality body moisturiser, preferable tinted. This will avoid any patchiness and dry areas of skin.

Avoid too hot showers or baths. A fabulous product from Temple Spa called Goldentini, which is a body oil and glaze, provides radiance and sheen and light colour (£25 for 50 ml). This is a remarkable product which is simplicity itself to apply and you only need a small amount.


Goldentini – body oil & glaze


On your face use a tinted bronzer or if you want an instant glow, use Temple Spa’s, Lovely Day ( £25 for 30 ml), which is a tinted bronzing gel. By following these steps not only are you maintaining your tan but you are also caring for your skin.

golden day

Lovely Day – immediate response bronzing gel

So – Prepare, Apply and Maintain. Sunshine therapy in 3 easy steps!

Summer feet

Whether you are lucky enough to have had  a holiday in the sun or are planning for one the decision as to what to wear on your feet is important. If yours is a beach holiday then there are certainly some lovely flip flops around. Because I have unattractive toes I prefer to keep mine covered, although I’m envious of those who can show off their feet.

ted baker rose

Ted Baker rose leather

dune diamante flip flop

Dune diamante

If you want to go upmarket Katie Spade (available on line) has some very attractive styles. Another high quality brand is Stuart Weitzman. usually available at Russell and Bromley.

ks blk leather flip flop

Katie Spade black leather

stuart weitzman white tassle

Stuart Weitzman

If you find sandals with toe posts uncomfortable (many women do) the above white leather slip on’s are ideal, or the red and brown sandals shown below. If you do ‘uncover’ your toes then your feet need to be in tip top condition and your nails polished. If you have pale skin it is a good idea to wear some self-tan. Invest in a pedicure if your nail painting skills leave a lot to be desired.

perfect feet

I wish my toes looked like this!

red brown leather open

Simple leather sandals

I’m currently looking at some of this seasons nail colours so I’ll let you know what takes my fancy.

The right to bare arms

silver squiggle bangle

Delicate yet eye-catching

As you get older, even with exercise and the gym (!) women’s arms can loose their muscle tone. This means you may be reluctant to wear sleeveless tops and dresses. Unfortunately if the weather is hot or you are on holiday somewhere that actually has summer weather, then it is not practical to wear long sleeves all the time.

isabel marant cuff

Isabel Marant cuff

Although the cuff above is expensive there are loads of different style to be found on the high street.

Being realistic you can’t suddenly start using those dumb bells and in 3 weeks be ready to bare. Even if your arms are less than perfect they will look better with some self-tan on them as tanned skin often gives the illusion of being slimmer than it is.

You can draw attention away from your arms by wearing bracelets and cuffs.

silver gold bracelet

Silver & gold bracelet – on my wish list!

multi jewellery

Marakesh anyone?

A simple T-shirt, pair of jeans and a pashmina can be transformed by jewellery. Notice how the bracelets show off the tanned arms to advantage. Get those arms out girls!

Sunshine Therapy – Step Two

In Step One we looked at the importance of preparation and in today’s post we are looking at application.

Once your skin is fully prepared you are ready to apply your self-tan product. Invest in specifically designed gloves or mitts to avoid staining your hands! You can purchase these from chemists or supermarkets. Thankfully some self-tan products are fairly easy to use and smell considerably better than they once did!


Sol Mate by Temple Spa

Over the years I’ve tried many products (often with pretty poor results) and to date the above self-tan is the best. At only £25 for 150 ml it represents good value too. It is non-sticky, has a lovely smell thanks to the grapefruit essential oils and contains anti-aging ingredients.


Apply in a dry environment not a steamy bath or shower room as this will make you perspire and may lead to a streaky finish. To be avoided at all costs!

Ensure your skin is well moisturised and that the moisturiser has been applied at least one hour before application to ensure even application. Work fairly quickly with light but firm strokes. It is always best to use a tinted product so you can actually see where the product is going.

Tricky areas! The elbows, knees and heels require a slightly different approach as these areas in most people tend to be drier and/or darker in skin tone than the rest of the body. Lightly moisturise and apply the product sparingly. With most products you can build up the tan – if you wish- over the next few days. It is important to keep the skin moisturised.

In Step Three we will look at maintenance.

Sunshine Therapy – Step One

Whatever your thoughts on sunbathing most people agree that a light natural looking tan on your  face and body makes you look healthy and rested. If you are jetting off to the sun then obviously you need to protect your skin and stay out of the strong midday rays. If you haven’t managed to get some rays, or you prefer not to sun bathe, then the convenience and benefits of self-tanning products are for you. As a Temple Spa Lifestyle Consultant I can strongly recommend their all year bronzing solutions. When self-tanning goes wrong, as it often does (orange and streaky!), it’s usually because the skin has not been prepared properly. The time taken to prepare ensures your self-tan looks natural. As in all matters of style you need to invest some time.

For the perfect (well as near as you can get it) self-tan on your body follow the 3-Step PAM process.

Preparation, Application & Maintenance

Let’s start with preparation. If you have never tried dry  skin brushing this may seem a little odd. I have been doing this for years and it definitely makes a difference. I do it irrespective of whether or not I am applying self-tan. It’s good for the circulation and gets rid of dead skin cells. Every morning before your shower or bath brush your skin, always in the direction of your heart, in long firm strokes. I have now discovered a skin massager which I use immediately after the brushing. This takes no more than 5 minutes. If you haven’t time in the morning do it in the evening!

skin brushing


Dry Brush

no pain no gain


sugar buff

Apply a skin scrub. I use Temple Spa Sugar Buff to buttocks and thighs because I do get cellulite. You need to use the scrub wherever you intend putting the self-tan. Then wash off and dry your skin.

buttock cellulite

You have now prepared your skin and it should feel soft and smooth. There will be no dry patches that the self-tan product can adhere to. You are now ready for Step Two, which will be posted soon.



The wonder of white jeans


Chic all in white

Yes it’s that time of year when I fervently hope that summer is not far off. What better time to get out the white jeans? Although I do wear mine all year round. White jeans are possibly the most versatile item in your wardrobe. They can look ultra cool, very casual and smart.

with flat glitter shoes

Dress up with glitter flats

with beige loafers

Dress down with loafers

Depending on how you accessorize the number of outfits you can create is almost limitless. If you are worried about white over a generous sized bottom then simply make sure your top covers the offending article. And remember, you can put white with virtually any colour and wear white jeans with sandals, brogues, ankle boots – you get the picture!

with black sweater

Great with simple black sweater

black top and sneakers

Good holiday look

If you don’t possess a pair of white jeans I would suggest you are missing out on a timeless approach to style rejuvenation.