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Things To Do This Summer

I know the feeling well. You’re scrolling through social media looking at what seems like everyone’s holiday photos, yet you’re going nowhere that requires a passport. I’ve often had to drag my weary butt away from the screen and do something that will stop me feeling sorry for myself, plus it gives me the motivation to carry on with the dreaded to-do list when I come back.

You don’t need to spend a fortune just to have fun, grab a couple of friends or choose something you’re happy to do by yourself. Doesn’t matter if you’re single or in a relationship, there’s something here for everyone. Even your Granny will want to tag along.

Things To Do This Summer

  • Picnic In The Park – put together some of your favourite nibbles, make a flask of tea or cold juice, grab a blanket and your favourite book
  • Visit a museum or art gallery – great for inspiration
  • Go on a bike ride
  • Be a tourist in your own town – it’s amazing what little treasures you can find and you never knew they existed
  • Visit an animal shelter – both of my dogs, Sandy and Cassie, were rescue dogs  and I’ve made crochet blankets for Wood Green animal shelter to help with their fundrasing.

Things To Do This Summer

  • Go swimming at your local outdoor pool  and lounge on the sun lounger with a cold smoothie afterwards
  • Visit the nearest Lavender Farm – great for photos and picking up a treat in the gift shop
  • Visit the seaside for the day – collect shells from the beach, walk along the pier, have cake in a quaint tea shop, run away from the tide and laugh like you’ve never laughed before.
  • Plan a girls night out – drinks in the local or a trip to the cinema followed by pizza.
  • Start a new hobby – knitting, crocheting, baking, start a scrapbook, painting, you know you can do it if you put your mind to it

Fun Things To Do This Summer

Fun Things To Do This Summer

  • Have a garden party – text friends and family, invite them round, get them to bring a different item of food or drink with them, it saves you doing the shopping as well!
  • Take a walk by the river or canal – if you go with someone, get them to take a few photos for your Instagram or outfit of the day
  • If you enjoy gardening, get outside and see to those forgotten plants, or pop to a garden centre to buy some new ones
  • Put up a parasol in the garden and get outside, listen to new podcast, read a book or play a summer playlist
  • Dig out a recipe book and try making a summer salad, just in time for your garden party

Fun Things To Do This Summer

Fun Things To Do This Summer

  • Be a tourist for the day and take yourself off to the nearest city, check out all the places of interest, it would be London for me so I’d have to visit all the Royal Palaces, Tower Bridge and take a stroll down Oxford Street and Regent Street.
  • Take your Mum, Aunt or Nan to see a show at the Theatre and then for a meal afterwards, see how much they would appreciate that
  • Start an evening class – photography, writing, painting or learning a new language (just in case you need that passport next year!)
  • Have a pyjama party either by yourself or with a friend, catch up on the latest box set, enjoy a few pampering treats like an at home facial, and open that bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion
  • Have a room makeover – paint the walls a different colour, buy some cute cushions, trinkets and prints for the walls.

Fun Things To Do This Summer

  • Visit a theme park – try those rides you’ve been too scared to go on and scream the place down, believe me, you’ll have so much fun
  • Start a new exercise  – at home or the gym, yoga, pilates, Spin session, whatever suits you best
  • Start a photo a day challenge – with all the exploring you’ll be doing, it should be a total breeze

Whatever you decide to do, have FUN and stop worrying about what other people are doing. You can bet you’re bottom dollar that they’re not worrying about you.

Fun Things To Do This Summer

Bag: Guess

Dress: Debenhams

Bracelet: Lilia Rose

Necklace: Etsy

Shoes: New Look

White Sunglasses: River Island

Tortoiseshell Sunglasses: Boots

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Tring Reservoir

It was one of the hottest weekends so far this summer and Adrian and I decided to take a short drive over to Tring. I’m so lucky to have such a beautiful place practically on my doorstep, it’s a wonder I haven’t been here more often. The walk by the canal at Tring Reservoir is a great place to visit for anyone, families, dog lovers, photographers and fisherman and it’s situated right on the boarder of Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. The path itself is also ideal for pushchairs and wheelchair users.

We parked the car right near Bluebells Tea Room at the start of this particular walk and all I could smell was delicious food, I wasn’t hungry yet somehow I just wanted to sample a large piece of carrot cake.

Tring Reservoir

It was actually quite busy, yet it seemed so peaceful,  a really lovely place to visit and feel almost as though you’re on holiday. It reminded me of the time I went on my neighbours canal boat for a champagne boat naming ceremony, the boat was christened Blue Moon. I would love to have gone on one today, but still I appreciated the calming, relaxing stroll by the canal instead. Even the swans came over to see what we were up to.

We made sure we stopped to take loads of photos, I think you’ll agree it’s such a beautiful place, especially if you live or work in a busy area during the week.

Tring Reservoir

Tring Reservoir

Tring Reservoir

Tring Reservoir

We carried on up the canal towpath, taking in the stunning scenery, wild life and of course the barges which were prettily decorated with flowers and some had such lovely names. Thankful I wore one of my many hats as it was an extremely hot, sunny day. The dress I chose was an off the shoulder, flowing maxi wrap dress. The material is lovely and soft, feeling cool against my skin. I thought my straw cross body bag went perfectly with the floral design on the dress.

Tring Reservoir

We’d taken a mini picnic and a huge flask of tea, it wasn’t anything fancy as it was literally a last minute decision to go. We’d stopped off at the supermarket on the way and bought a cold pasta salad, fruit salad and a pack of chocolate chip cookies, perfect for dunking in our tea, haha.

Tring Reservoir

I honestly didn’t want to go home, it was lovely to just sit and watch the world go by, I was so relaxed I could quite easily have closed my eyes and gone to sleep. Everyone who went passed us was extremely friendly, saying hello or stopping to have a chat. They were complete strangers, and that’s something you don’t normally get in a big town or city.

We continued walking past the pub at Bulbourne and on for another 3 miles, before deciding it was time to turn around and come home. I’m sure it won’t be too long before we return for another walk by the canal.

Tring Reservoir

I couldn’t end this post without sharing these two excellent shots of a Grey Heron taken by my husband, who is a keen wildlife photographer. I’m sure he won’t mind.

 

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Summer Slip Dress

When I find an item of clothing I love I’ll wear it time and time again, especially when it’s as easy to style as a simple Summer Slip Dress. I own quite in a few with various prints but there’s something very classic about a striped design.

It was a boiling hot afternoon and I had been stuck indoors for a few hours. Needing to get out for some fresh air I threw on this striped slip dress, which seemed ideal for a walk by the river. It’s not the best material in the world, it’s like a soft jersey, but I didn’t want anything that was too restrictive and was going to keep me cool.

This style of dress can be worn very casual, as I have done, or smartened up with a jacket and heels. I think even a pair of trainers and denim jacket would look great with this. This style of dress is one of the most versatile dresses I own. This particular dress is from Amazon, You may have seen on my Instagram stories that I’ve also invested in this one from Nobody’s Child, which was slightly more expensive and more of a cotton material. It’s in the sale for £15 at the moment and there are a few sizes left.

Summer Slip Dress

Straw Bag

Summer Slip Dress

straw bag

A straw bag is bang on trend right now and makes the perfect accessory to to accompany a summer slip dress. I’ve had a few in my wardrobe over the years and picked this one up from a charity shop for about £3. It’s just the right size to fit my mobile, card holder and a few beauty essentials. Topshop have some amazing straw bags is you’re looking for one for your holidays or just to go with any pretty outfit.

I’ve added one of my favourite straw hats and a pair of wedged espadrilles to complete my look. I did have to add this photo, not sure what I was doing but I most definitely had fun messing about by the river.

Summer Slip Dress

What’s your go-to outfit for a hot summer’s afternoon?

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Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

If there’s one wardrobe staple during the summer months it has to be the simple maxi dress. It’s my go to outfit and so easy to style for day or night, the item I’ll reach for if I have a last minute coffee date or meal out in the evening. The maxi dress can look casual if I’m going out for the day or paired with a pair of heels and a clutch if I’m meeting friends for a few drinks in the evening. The maxi dress can look feminine yet feel really comfortable to wear and so many have found their way into my wardrobe. You can guarantee if I had a last minute invite with only an hour to get ready, I’d be wearing a plain coloured maxi dress, delicate gold jewellery, a clutch and pair of strappy heels and feel like a million dollars. It’s the style of dress that’s been around for years and never goes out of fashion. My very first maxi dress was a short sleeved version in blue with a tiny white floral print and I wore it so much until it literally fell apart.

It was the Bank Holiday Weekend and a few friends had asked me along for a late afternoon picnic at The Swiss Cottage in Bedfordshire. There was no last minute “I have nothing to wear” panic as I had the perfect dress for the occasion.

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

This navy blue wrap dress is such a simple design, the shape is incredibly flattering and the tie waist accentuates a wonderful feminine silhouette. The material is soft and flowy which hangs beautifully, I love the pretty cap sleeves and the deep neckline even though I did have to wear a modesty vest as I’m not one for showing too much cleavage. I’d been on the hunt for a wrap maxi dress for quite a while, although navy isn’t a colour I’d normally have chosen, I can see I’ll be getting a lot of wear from it over the coming months. It’s one of those dresses you can just throw on with minimal effort.

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

The straw bag screams out Summer and I’ve collected quite a few over the years. I fell in love with this cross body style as soon as it came into my possession. It’s a gorgeous camel colour and looks amazing with a lot of my summer outfits, especially next to the navy dress and paired with some strappy high heeled sandals. The strap sits comfortably worn on the shoulder or across the body and has a clasp that pops shut securely, so no danger of all your contents falling out. Inside it’s fully lined and is large enough for your mobile, keys and card holder, as well as a lipstick and compact for any touch ups throughout the day. This is a firm favourite already.

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

I kept it simple with the rest of my accessories and completed the look with a few of my favourite items of gold jewellery. I bought them last year, yet they seem to go with so many things. They totally transform a plain white t-shirt and jeans by just slipping on a blazer and pair of heels for an evening look.

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

When the temperature started to drop I wore my trusty denim jacket which gave the maxi dress a more casual look, even though I was wearing heels. One accessory I do not own is a pair of casual pumps or a pair of trainers, but I’m sure they’d look equally fab with this dress too.

Let’s face it, this dress has everything I need for any occasion, it’s comfortable for travelling in, looks great for a day out with friends, it’s smart enough for a garden party and still looks classy for an evening out.

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

Dress: Tobi

Straw Bag: Tobi

Denim Jacket (Old): Gap (Similar)

Necklace and Earrings: JewelleryBox

Bracelet (Old): Lylia Rose

You may also be interested in How To Style An Off The Shoulder Dress

Styling A Maxi Dress For Summer

*these items have kindly been sent by the PR team at Tobi, all photos and opinions are my own.

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An Off The Shoulder Dress

Every year I love to add at least one new dress to my ever growing collection. When I purchase each dress I like to know that I’ll pull it out of the wardrobe and it’ll go with the majority of my accessories. I want to be able to wear the dress to any occasion, day or night, without having to think too much about how I’m going to style it.  My style is mainly floaty and floral, and I very often stick to what I feel comfortable in. Yet there’s nothing wrong with trying something different once in a while, is there?

When I think of an off the shoulder dress, I imagine days at the beach and holiday destinations. I see women wearing them all the time, women who are confident and know exactly how to pull them off. I’ve always needed the security of at least a spaghetti strap to make sure I’m held firmly in place. I’ll always remember when I was on holiday in my late teens and wearing a brightly coloured bikini in the sea, a huge wave rolled up and dragged the bikini top down and, well, all I can say is I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life.

So you see, I do expect miracles from one summer dress.

Summer Off The Shoulder Dress

In a moment of extreme braveness I came across this white Off The Shoulder Dress* on the Tobi website and thought, hey, why not give it a try. Not only did I choose off the shoulder but decided on a mini length as well, I would normally have gone for a maxi dress but oh no, I stepped well and truly out of that comfort zone.

There was something about this particular dress that I felt drawn to, maybe the delicate polka dot print made a welcome change from floral or maybe it was the fit and flare skirt that I knew I’d feel more comfortable in rather than a tightly fitting design.

When the dress arrived I couldn’t wait to try it on. It fitted beautifully in all the right places, not too tight or so loose it would fall down. The elasticated part across the chest enhanced my womanly shape, one I didn’t know was there before. It wasn’t low cut so I didn’t feel exposed and wanting to pull it up all the time. The website describes the dress as a skater style, measuring 72.4 cm length, I’m nearly 5 foot 8 inches and on me it reached to about my mid thigh. The skirt section has a sheer top layer and a soft satiny lining underneath. If white isn’t your thing, don’t worry, this dress also comes in red and black.

Summer Off The Shoulder Dress

I love the extra detail around the neckline and the arms, the delicate frill gives a real girly feel to the dress. The tiny polka dot print gave the dress a simple, classic feel rather than being bold and in your face. The material was so soft and not in the least bit scratchy, the dress feels such good quality and looks well made, it could easily have come from a high end store. I felt absolutely amazing while wearing this off the shoulder dress, I felt a strong, confident woman while retaining my femininity. It suited both my shape and style without looking like I’d tried too hard.

Summer Off The Shoulder Dress

I’d set myself a little challenge. I knew I could easily pop on a pair of pretty summer sandals and add a straw bag for a casual day look which would be ideal for a day at the seaside, but would it still look as good styled up for an evening event.

Accessories are a great way to completely change the look of an outfit, from shoes to bags, even jewellery can make a difference. A pair of brightly coloured tassel earrings would bring an element of fun for a day look, however I prefer to wear delicate gold or silver jewellery. With my neckline on show, I chose this beautiful gold layered necklace* to add a hint of glamour to a simple day dress. The smaller chain is in a choker style and the longer chain includes a disc pendent which sits perfectly just below the collar bone. I think it’s one of the prettiest necklaces I have ever seen.

Summer Off The Shoulder Dress

Summer Off The Shoulder Dress

For my shoes and bag I’ve chosen two items I’d picked up from Amazon. For months I’d been searching for a dupe of the Chloe Nile Bracelet bag. I love that this one is practically identical, although it’s not made of leather and definitely doesn’t come with the hefty price tag. I was surprised at how well made it was, it has good quality stitching and doesn’t look or feel cheap. The bag can be worn cross body using the adjustable shoulder strap or as a grab bag using the circle ring handle. It’s the ideal size for an evening out, there’s a slot for a card holder, along with a larger section for a mobile and a few makeup essentials.

Summer Off The Shoulder Dress

Summer Off The Shoulder Dress

My shoes were another amazing find from a brand called Rock On Styles and are a very similar design to the Valentino Rockstud pumps, but for a fraction of the price. The heel height is roughly 3 inches, so not too high if your’re going to be on your feet all evening. They’d also look absolutely beautiful worn for a prom or with a bridesmaids outfit. They are made of good quality faux leather, with studs along the straps and the front of the shoe.

To complete my look is a blush pink and rose gold watch from Anne Klein, which was a birthday gift from Adrian, he knows me so well as I simply adore these colours (it also comes in Chestnut or Navy). I slipped on an off white blazer from Anastasia (Similar), sadly mine’s out of stock but there are loads around like this one from Tobi.

Summer Off The Shoulder Dress

Summer Off The Shoulder Dress

I may have been going out for the evening but I wanted to keep my makeup looking quite natural and fresh. First I applied No7 Aqua Perfect Cushion Foundation, which is your base, concealer and powder all in. It’s also a handy size compact to pop in your bag. For my eyes I’ve used my trusty Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette and Better Than Sex Mascara. To finish off the look I’ve used Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy in the shade Insatiable Ivory and Essie Nail Polish in colour Bare With Me.

All I needed was a glass of Prosecco in my hand.

Summer Off The Shoulder Dress

Summer Off The Shoulder Dress

Summer Off The Shoulder Dress

Summer Off The Shoulder Dress

Dress: Tobi*

Necklace: Tobi*

Bag: Amazon

Shoes: Rock On Styles

Watch: Anne Klein

*These items were kindly gifted to me by the PR team at Tobi

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