About Me

About Me

Sunday, 26 January 2014

My Latest Antics and Outfits

The past few weeks have be super busy but also incredibly fun too!
So here is the down low on the places I've been and the outfits I worn. 

***Theatre Date***

On Thursday 23rd January I went to see the highly acclaimed show One Man Two Guvnors 


It was after work so my outfit choice has to be an easy work to night choice.

I picked this Primark grey with lack belt pencil dress.
For work I simple added a single breasted blazer for a more professional look, then removed it for the evening.

Both items were bought a while ago but a very similar look can be achieved with the pieces from H&M, MissGuided and ASOS.

MissGuided Dress (left) - £12.99
MissGuided Dress (Right) -  £12.99
H&M Blazer - £24.99
ASOS Shoes - £25.00

Theatre Royal Haymarket is stunning and the play very much lived up to expectations!

I'd also recommend Thai Square for a pre or post show meal, great location and the food is beautiful!

***Lime Green Looks***

For a spot of brunch at Surbiton Brasserie I wore my favourite jumper from this winter. 
This H&M lime green jumper!

I teamed the jumper with black skinny jeans and grey ankle boots, then accessorised it with peach and gold earrings and statement gold necklace. 
Similar from TopShop - £8.50

I've also worn this fabulous jumper to work recently. 

For a work outfit I wore a white shirt underneath to show off the collar, and teamed it with my Zara camel pencil skirt and brown wedge NewLook heels. 

  Amy Small Satchel Bag - £49.00
To complete the look I added this Nica brown satchel bag, that I got at The Clothes Show Live.
I love the shape and colour, and really like the added purple floral detail inside. 

***Getting Sporty***

As well as my love for fashion, I'm also a bit of a sports fan. I've been going to football matches since I was 7, I grew up in Twickenham so enjoying rugby is a must and spent all of my teenage years as a competitive swimmer. 
But who says the two can't mix???


Last weekend I went to the QPR v Huddersfield game and whilst getting ready I remembered this QPR shirt my dad gave me some years ago. I believe it was his when I was just a baby.

So with this some what vintage football tee, I buttoned it to the top and added this dirty gold chunky necklace and feel like I created a pretty good look for a footy game!

I then put my hair up in a high bun, with the help of a donut (a really great hair doo when it's supposed to rain) and I was ready to join the Super Hoops fans for our win!!


Just before the New Year the mighty Quins played the Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham stadium. 
Naturally my Quins rugby top came out for the occasion, and not only is this a fabulous pink version of the kit, it was a special charity edition raising money for cancer research.
Sport, Fashion and Charity....Perfect!!!

To add to the spectacular game, amazing atmosphere and a win, Sam Bailey and Luke Friend from X Factor performed, and I have to say, they were pretty darn good!

***Yummy Roast***

Last Sunday was time for the first roast I've had since Christmas and boy was it a goodun. 
We went to the Canbury Arms in Kingston Upon Thames, and even though I've lived around this area most my life, I had never heard of it, and it's such a hidden gem!

For lunch I wore the Jack Daniel's Tee I got from The Clothes Show live and tucked into this black Zara skort.
To keep the look casual I added opaque tights and grey ankle boots.

Bracelet - Adore My Look - £3.00
Jack Daniels Tee - Clothes Show Live (click for similar) - £16.99
Nail Polish - BarryM - £3.99
Necklace - Muru - £55.00
To add a little colour to the black, grey and white, I added this super cute turquoise and gold handcuff friendship bracelet from Adore My Look who were also at The Clothes Show Live, and I continued the turquoise colour in my nail varnish.
To finish off the look I also wore my Muru Snowflake necklace (exclusive to LuLu Winter) and this hollow diamond shape ring (from NewLook before Christmas, sorry ladies I can't find a similar one!)


I met up with a good friend of mine Jack Revell to interview him about working in the modelling/fashion industry.

The gorgeous Jack has been modelling for 3 years and his interview will appear on Bex and the City later next week. 
Keep your eyes peeled lady's, not only will there be more pictures of this hansom face, but also tips on date outfits, the scoop on what the modelling world is really like and some tips for those of you who want to get into fashion/modelling!!

For the interview and dinner (thanks again Jack!) I wore my H&M blue and white striped long sleeve top with this Noisey May black tube skirt. 
I then added another shade of blue in this gorgeous NewLook silver and turquoise ring.

Ahead of the New Year I would not have felt comfortable putting these two pieces together, but since the start of Jan I have lost 1/2 a stone. This has left be feeling a little more streamline in the middle, and more confident in such a body hugging outfit.   

To complete the look I added this glass column necklace from Primark. I really like the opposite direction of line between the top and the necklace, plus it adds a little sparkle to it too! 

Would love to know what you think of my looks, and keep your eye out for Mr Revell's interview!

x x x

Thursday, 23 January 2014

*Cover Flatter Flaunt*

Emma of Bella & Bear

Tell me a little about you...

Hi my name is… Emma. I'm a 30 something, mother of two, I'm British and I'm divorced. I've lived on two continents and have had the benefit of enjoying extensive and prolonged travel. Travel really does broaden the mind. I hope as my children grow up I am able to share my love of other cultures with them because it is something to treasure. The variety and complexity of modern-day society is awe inspiring and so are attitudes to style and fashion.

I would say my style is elegant, a little fun and possibly even flirty, but never raunchy. I've always had expensive taste, without knowing I usually pick up the most costly item in the store and then baulk at the price but a love of the finer things in life is not a hinderance to finding affordable fashion, it just makes me more particular about what I choose to purchase. I favour well proportioned, structured and well made clothes to disposable style. I admire stylists who are able to sense what people want and give it to them just as they are beginning to realize it; take Tibi and their covetable midi-skirts… swoon! I rarely flash a lot of skin, I would rather hint at the possibility of what lies beneath the layers.

I believe personal style is just that, personal. It reflects how we feel, what we are doing at a particular time and how we wish to be perceived by others. What we wear and how we choose to wear it speaks to people. There have been studies (please don't ask me to quote my source) into perception and how we judge each other based on first impressions and how we present ourselves. The general outcome of which is that people pay more attention to you if your appearance is appealing. Horribly shallow isn't it? But there you are, millennia of evolution and we still judge each other on appearance. 
With this in mind I take a thoughtful approach to style, it's a fine line between a considered look and one that is overdone. A very great friend once quoted this to me 'after dressing always remove the last accessory you put on, now you are ready.' It's a good guide to the less is more approach.

How would you describe your body shape?

Image from bycelina.com

I've been blessed, genetically speaking, with height and a reasonable metabolism. As a teenager I retained the body of a child, all gangly limbs and no boobs until I was nearly twenty (I did those bust exercises to no avail, sob). I always felt like a boy compared to my more petite, curvaceous friends and I would have described my shape as an oblong. 

At university I didn't exercise, I gorged on pizza and chocolate bars, I went up two dress sizes and wore a UK size 10/12, back then I would have described my shape as hourglass. I still had teeny tiny boobs but my ass had filled out nicely and my shoulders had become slightly broader. 

After two children I had gone up another two sizes and I would have described my shape as a pear. 

When I was going through a divorce I dropped a lot of weight very quickly and everyone called me skinny. Now, with my youngest son at three and a half years old I have rediscovered running and light weight training and I would describe my shape as athletic. I have been many different shapes over the course of my life, all of which are me. I'm not certain which body type I fit into but sometimes I still feel like that tall, gangly woman-child with an outlandish mop of red hair.

What are your problem/least favourite areas?

Having two children leaves a mark. In my case many little marks, stretch marks and a very slight paunch. That joke about preparing to carry a child for nine months where you strap a bean bag to your front and then after nine months remove seven beans was horrifyingly accurate for me. Fortunately, skin is elastic and given time does spring back. The key here is patience, perseverance (hours of crunches at the gym ladies, hours) and acceptance. I have been cursed, genetically speaking, with ham arms… more commonly known as 'bingo wings'.
 Even as a svelte young thing my upper arms would wobble like the proverbial jelly on a plate. 
The same is true for my rear. 
I don't twerk, someone could loose an eye!!!

Cover - How do you cover your problem/lest favourite areas?

The best thing I've done for my stretch marks is bio oil. 

Being very pale helps too, the silvery stripes kind of blend into my translucent pale white/blue skin. I use a light self tanner in spring and summer, the visual benefits of a slight tan are mind boggling to me. 

The bingo wings are a challenge. I avoid tank tops or flimsy slips, some strapless tops are also a no go. The best way to cover or disguise them is with three quarter length sleeves or a short sleeve that sits horizontally on the upper arm. 

Anything that cuts diagonally across the widest part of your arm will have the effect of widening that part. Not good unless you have killer biceps/ triceps. I roll the cuffs of long sleeve tops to just below the elbow, this also helps to disguise a disfiguring scar I have on my left arm resulting from the removal of a malignant melanoma in 2005. 
With sweaters I roll the cuff once then push them up my arm, it looks less contrived.

Flatter - What styles do you wear to flatter your problem/least favourite areas?

To camouflage the slight paunch I steer well clear of any trousers that sit tight on the hips or lower, instead I opt for a more flattering mid to high waist. The same is true for skirts and bikinis. 
Fortunately my stomach is naturally flat and like Megan in Bridemaids 'physically I don't bloat' even so I avoid tight t-shirts in clingy fabrics opting for cotton or linen shirts instead.

Now lets get positive, what are your favourite areas?

As a redhead I've always stood out from the crowd. As a tall redhead I'm impossible to miss in most situations. Umbrella's are unnecessary on group outings with me, just follow the hair! 
Over the years I've had a love-hate relationship with my colouring. Being teased occasionally at school wasn't much fun but my personality is and always has been ebullient enough to drown out the haters. Now I wouldn't be any other colour, I own it, love it and embrace it fully. 

And Emma is in fabulous company in the rocking reds club!

Who can complain about long legs either? My height has meant that when I carried a few (read about 20lbs) pounds of baby weight post pregnancy I carried it well. They also make walking up hills easier. 

Lastly I have a tiny waist. It even surprises me, I can't lie… I love it!

Flaunt - What do you wear to flaunt your best bits?

Redheads kind of get grouped into one big 'red' category which is crazy. There are so many different shades of red from the lightest strawberry blonde, through the coppers, to deepest auburn. Skin tones vary a lot as does eye colour. I am a natural copper/ auburn with the palest skin that will tan, but ever so slowly and blue almost grey eyes. Deep earthy tones of green, red, navy and brown suit my colouring and flatter both my skin tone and my hair.

Most natural redheads have to choose shades of red, yellow, orange and pink very carefully, pastels are easier to wear, particularly mint or pastels in the blue-green spectrum. My eyebrows and eyelashes are so fair they are barely visible without some careful tinting (my dear friends kindly named them my 'pig's bristles' this in spite of their engaging length). Pale eyebrows can be aging even on a relatively young face; so regular eyebrow and eyelash tints have been part of my beauty regime for years. The first time I had it done I felt like two furry caterpillars had taken up residence on my face, it was quite off putting but it makes such a difference to my appearance by framing my eyes and even helps to define my cheekbones by providing a counter point.

Making the best of long legs requires more thought than at first appears. A lot of moisturising goes into keeping my pins in tip top condition, waxing takes longer too! 

Mini-skirts can take on a tarty quality if not tempered with appropriate hosiery. I also have to choose trouser lengths carefully. A normal trouser length on me usually results in ankle swayers, a cropped pair and I'm in pedal pushers… A high waist is a wonderful way to elongate my proportions but can make the top half of my body seem under proportioned. I get around these issues by knowing my brands well, particularly denim brands. When I need to buy a new pair of jeans I will dedicate an entire weekend to finding the perfect pair, in the perfect size in the perfect colour.
My go to denim brand is '7 for all Mankind'. I also love Chloe when the price is right.

I make the most of my waist by belting it when appropriate, wearing shift dresses can look great but depends on the fabric. A light silk or jersey shift is perfect because it grazes my curves highlighting the shape underneath, a heavy jersey or cotton shift just sits like a shapeless sack and with little to no bust to perk up the look it's not a great look for me. Bandage or crossover dresses on the other hand are incredible for accentuating my waist and hips.

What is your go to piece/shape that always words for you?

You'd think it would be one of my many pairs of jeans because I spend a lot of time running around after my kids, but I don't think they are.
 I think the most hard working item in my wardrobe is my off white tulle midi-skirt. I wear it throughout the year irrespective of season, weather or event. It travels well because creases just fall out of the tulle.
 I love dressing it up with a little basque and heels or down with a chambray shirt and flat ankle boots. It's a provocative item of clothing, not always appropriate but it always garners flattering comments. 
It's a keeper!

What is your favourite piece in your wardrobe?

Oh this is not easy. Perhaps I'm too fickle to have a favourite piece; at the moment I am deep into a love affair with jumpsuits. I've only blogged one on Bella & Bear so far. It's a floral monochrome wide legged jumpsuit with an incredibly flattering v-neckline. 
I feel so glamorous when I wear it, like a 1940's film star gone rogue. The best thing is the length, it required no alteration and I can wear it with flats which is a plus for schlepping around on the London Underground.

What is your favourite accessory that you own?

At the moment it's my oversized Michael Kors watch. It's gold and shiny and reminds me of the man's watch my own mum has always worn. Thank heavens masculine tailoring remains current because I'm not ready to give up my manly watch in favour of a more dainty time piece.

What is your Style Mantra?

Oooh, do I have to pick one? I have so many! I guess the one that's always in my mind is the classic and overused 'dress the body you have, not the body you want'. For me though, this isn't just about choosing the right clothes for a particular shape, it's about about embracing and accepting every part of me for what it is as well as the journey my body has been through. 
A little self-love goes a long way and really does effect how you see yourself and when you're confident, it shines through. I also stick to this rule 
'if you don't love it in the shop, you'll hate it when you get home'
 (thank you Sandra Bullock in 'The Blind Side')  
Beware of those impulse buys!

Who is your Style Crush?

I have two style crushes. I love the laid back look that Alexa Chung sports with such ease. She's able to embrace any trend and give it her own twist without diluting the look or straying from her own flawless sense of style. It's no accident that she's the darling of the fashion world. 

Image from fashion.telegraph.co.uk/

The second is the author of Atlantic-Pacific, Blaire Eadie. What that women doesn't know about layering is not worth knowing. She's arguably responsible for the preponderance of 'arm parties' adorning the wrists of fashion bloggers everywhere. Her style encapsulates the demure elegance I strive for in my own outfits.

Image from whowhatwear.com

I hope you've enjoyed my interview for the *Cover Flatter Flaunt* series on Bex and the City. 
I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you'd like to check out my blog Bella & Bear here are the links:

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

What body shape are you?

Following on from Monika's fantastic interview about dressing for your shape I received some feedback, asking about how to work out what body shape you are?

So I've done some research. LADIES get the measuring tape out and lets figure out our body shapes!!

Get yourself a piece of paper, a pen and write down:

As you take each measurement write the number against the body part.

You may need a little assistance with this measurement.
Place the end of the measuring tape at the tip of one shoulder, wrap its the whole way round so you are measuring the widest part of your shoulders. The tape should just skim the body, do not pull it tight so it's pressing into your skin.

You may get offered help with this measurement, but I think we've got this one on our own!
Place the tape about the back of your bust and measure around the fullest part.

Wrap the tape around the smallest part of your middle/torso, again as small as we want to be if you want to do this right, make sure the tape skims the skin and isn't pressing into it.

Place your measuring tape just below the hip bone take it around your hips, over the largest part of your bottom.

My measurements to work out my body shape

Now comes the maths...

Image from www.sos-swim.co.uk/

Are your shoulder and hip measurements within 5% of each other and your waist similar or larger than your hips and shoulders? 
You are Apple

Is your hip measurement more than 5% bigger than your shoulder or bust measurement? 
You are Pear

Are your shoulders or bust 5% bigger than your waist?
You are Triangle or Strawberry

Are your shoulder, hip and bust measurements within 5% of each other? Is your waist less than 25% smaller than your shoulder or bust measurement? 
You are Rectangle/Ruler

Is your waist at least 25% smaller than your shoulder, hip and bust measurements? 
Your Hourglass 

My Measurements: Just looking at mine I can see there is quite a big difference between my shoulders and hips measurements compared with my waist. Which even from just looking at the pictures would steer me to the hourglass measurements. But to work it out

My Body Shape
Waist 29 divided by Shoulder (or Waist) 42 x 100 = 69
So that means my Shoulders are 69% larger than my Waist OR
my Waist is 31% smaller than my Shoulders, making my body shape Hourglass

***Celebs working their Body Shapes***


Image from fabanista.blogspot.co.uk


Image from fabanista.blogspot.co.uk


Image from howtodressforaparty.com


Image from fabanista.blogspot.co.uk


Image from fabanista.blogspot.co.uk

I love that all of the women above have very different shapes but all look sensational!!!

Make sure you keep a look out on Friday for the next Cover Flatter Flaunt feature!

x x x

Friday, 17 January 2014

INTRODUCING *Cover Flatter Flaunt*

The fashion industry is huge, there are so many places to shop and get style inspiration, but how to know what trends, shapes and styles work for you?
It's question I'd like to think I can answer for my own body shape because I've been dressing it for 26 years, but other body shapes I could only guess.
With this in mind I'd like to introduce the first in a series of interview style posts called 
***Cover Flatter Flaunt***

I'll be interviewing bloggers, sports women, models, women in the fashion industry and fashion lovers of all shapes and sizes. They'll open up about their body hang ups, how they cover and flatter those areas, and celebrate their best bits and how they flaunt them.

My first guest is the sensational Monika aka High_Maintenance on wiwt

Tell me a little about you...

I'm not a blogger, I just have a passion for clothes. I would say that I'm quite classic on my tastes, I like to be fashionable but am not a slave to the trends. For example, I love tartan and it's quite a big trend at the moment but I don't have any tartan pieces as it reminds me of when I was at university 20 years ago!!!! At 42, I think it's important to dress in styles that suit me and that I'm comfortable in, that doesn't mean I need to be frightened of new styles but learn to make it more me, normally with accessories!! 

How would you describe your body shape?

Image from www.lockyep.blogspot.co.uk

My body type is rectangle, I'm have a petite frame and am only 5ft tall, I'm a size 8 with not much of a defined waist it's 26", slim hips 32", and a 30E bust.
I keep fit by going to the gym 3-4 times per week to weight-train.

What are your problem/least favourite areas?

I've had three kids, all of which were c-sections so my tummy is reasonably flat but not as firm and smooth as when I was younger.  Without scaring all you and going into too much detail, I just find certain clothes don't flatter such as low-rise jeans that create an unsightly muffin top!! I also avoid bodycon dresses in thin fabrics. 

Cover - How do you cover your problem/lest favourite areas?
I wear skinny mid-rise jeans, I've only recently started wearing jeans as I couldn't find a pair to fit correctly. As my waist measures 26" to 26.5" I would get 26" waisted jeans, but they are in fact too big! 
When buying jeans buy ones that are a size smaller than your actual size, yes when you first put them on and button them up they feel too tight, but give it 10-15mins and the jeans will give a little and feel more comfortable. My favourite brand of skinny jeans is Nudie and Levis demi-curve that are both mid-waisted so my c-section scar is hidden.

Levis Denim Curve Skinny

Flatter - What styles do you wear to flatter your problem/least favourite areas?
In order to create definition around the waist, I wear a wide belt (but not too wide) around a loose tunic style dress, or a slim belt with a tailored dress. I look for waist bands on dresses to give the illusion of a smaller waist. I particularly like full skirts with added linings for poofiness, also skater dresses work well too. I like to wear midi-skirts, the fullness of the skirt balanced by a fitted top gives me a smaller waist.

 TopShop Skater Dress
Love this TopShop skater dress!!

Now lets get positive, what are your favourite areas? 
I have slim legs which are toned (that can be attributed to doing squats with some heavy weights and running!!) 

Flaunt - What do you wear to flaunt your best bits?
I like to wear wool tailored shorts with opaque tights & heels. It shows off my legs without being too overpowering. Something that you can wear to the office.
 I don't mean tiny shorts that show buttocks!!! 
As I'm petite, I often wear short dresses & skirts, tend to be mid-thigh rather than buttock skimming!!

What is your go to piece/shape that always words for you?
A tailored dress works for me every time. I love the double cloth styles by Karen Millen that give you a structured shape that's very slimming. 
Usually with a high neckline, as I have a big bust I prefer to keep if covered up, otherwise all you see is cleavage. 

What is your favourite piece in your wardrobe?
My favourite item in my wardrobe is a leopard print midi pencil dress by Red Valentino, I bought it in the sale just love the thick fabric, something very opulent about it. Its has a vintage hollywood glamour feel about it.

 Similar - ASOS Animal Print Dress
Similar ASOS dress

What is your favourite accessory that you own?
A chunky silver necklace by Kenneth Jay Lane, it's unusual and makes an outfit by adding to simple dress.

 Kenneth Jay Lane - Chunky Silver Necklace
Similar Kenneth Jay Lane Necklace

What is your Style Mantra?
Whatever you wear it has to suit you and you need to be comfortable in it. 

For example, sometimes you see celebrities that have been over styled, leather dresses are a big trend at the moment, they look fabulous on Rihanna but on someone like Eva Longoria it looks like she's trying too hard. 
I recently bought a chartreuse skater dress in scuba fabric. I like bright colours but I was unsure about all that 'lime', however I added a scarf that was printed with different shades of blue/grey and lime patches, it worked really well, it helped to tone down the dress. I also added a jacket, there's nothing wrong with my arms, but I just prefer them in sleeves!! 

How sensational does Monika look!!!!

Owning this look with fab accessories! 

Who is your Style Crush?
Olivia Palmero

Image from www.everything5pounds.wordpress.com

Do you know how to work your body shape as well as Monika? Would you like to appear on another addition of Cover Flatter Flaunt? Get in touch at beckyjimiles@gmail.com

***Happy Friday***
x x x