The Summer Holiday Packing Post

Style Theory: Possibly one of my worst jobs...packing. I tend to put it off until the last minute as I never know what to take on summer holidays and always, always overpack (for me and the kids..the Husband takes near to nothing!) I am always worried that I will not include that one top or one pair of shoes that I 'need', that would be perfect and just make my summer wardrobe 'work'. Well, times have had to change (mainly due to Easyjet's..we fly cheap...teeny case weight allowance) and the fact we take 2 cases between the four of us (plus two trunki's..possibly the worst idea we have ever had) so now I have to pack smarter, less clothes, less shoes and leave all those things that I just 'might' wear.

So here it is, my entire holiday outfits for two weeks...

This is my most important item/s of clothing to get right as we spend most of the holiday by the pool or on the beach running after the kids, dipping in and out of the sea or pool (looking more Godzilla than Halle Berry) so comfort, support and most of all swimwear that is as flattering as possible is a must. I will be taking one swimsuit and two (maybe three bikinis) this year. These are from CocoBay and after trying on hundreds of bikini and swimsuits these are stunning pieces and were actually flattering (a miracle!!):
Swimsuit c/o - CocoBay Seafolly Mod Swimsuit £66.50

Bikini c/o - CocoBay Aquaclara top £95 Pant £68 *
Lace Cover Up Top - Spain
Shorts - See below
Sandals - Mango (still avail in some stores)
Bracelets - Black and Sigi Hemmingway Bangle £29
T-Shirt Top - Mango £9.99
Vest Tops - H&M
Bikini c/o - Coco Bay Bandwave Bikini Top £56 Bottoms £39 *
Sandals: As above
Sunglasses - Asos 
*20% off all full priced CocoBay swimwear with the code SCHOOLRUN20 this will be valid until the end of August

I would love to say I have a magic formula to packing, but unfortunately I don't. For daytime I like my shorts and tops to work with the swimwear underneath, some slight coordination there ..with daytime dresses this is not so important as the swimwear is covered. After years and years of having a patterned beach bag I now always keep it quite plain, an oversize straw basket bag fits the bill perfectly and is also used as my airport bag...
Tops from top:
Black - Mango (last year)
White - Mango (last year)
Pattern  - Mango (last year)
Cold Shoulder top: Vila (last year)
Vest top - Next

Shorts: Gap darker wash here £17.99
Levis 501 - Urban Outfitters £36
Short denim shorts - River Island similar here
Beige linen shorts - Topshop similar here
Black Strappy Sandals - Mango £19 (in store)
Sandals - Palmairas £42
Stripe Top - Asos £14
Top: Zara £22.99
Skorts: Zara (old season)
Shorts: As above
Shoes: H&M (sold out)
Sunglasses: Rayban Wayfarers £125
Bangle : Black and Sigi  £33
Ring: Black and Sigi £19

These are easy to fling over a bikini in a flash, useful when a child announces they are desperate for the toilet on the beach and can't wait. They also take you from the beach straight to a restaurant for dinner without looking too underdressed.
Dress Left - Topshop (past season)
Dress Right - Topshop (avail in store)
Left sandals - Next £24
For me, this year it is all about the dress (plus I have just slipped in one black jumpsuit..just incase!) Dresses mean minimal fuss, I always buy them fairly loose fitting so they are comfortable, not too hot and can be dressed up with heels or if I am walking far they look fab with flats.
Lace Dress - Zara £29.99 (currently in store)
Bag: Aurora London Willow Bag £59.50
Bracelet - Gold Meridian Bangle £35
Shoes - As above
Dress: &Other Stories now £27
Rest: As above

Dress: &Other Stories last year
Sandals: H&M last year

Dress - Zara £25.99
Accessories - As above
I love this dress, it is a real stand out piece in my case, the fabric is a little thick and I have been warned by my sister it is incredibly hot in Spain at the moment but I am going to take it anyway as I love it!

So there is my packing list in photos...hopefully it all works together, so far the cases look ok still beach towels and toiletries to go in (eek) follow me on Instagram @Schoolrunmum to see my daily outfit updates and other holiday snaps...

I am hoping to pick up a bright large clutch or bag in Spain to brighten up my black dresses, but if not I am happy to go all black, I quite like it when I have a light tan (in the last two days!) 

How do you pack, do you have tried and tested methods, I would love love to hear them, would love any tips...

I will not be blogging over the next couple of weeks so I'll catch up with you in a few weeks, in the meantime come join me on Insta (@Schoolrunmum)

Happy holidays, Frances xxxx 

Outfit Post - Can't get enough of the Off The Shoulder Look

Style Theory: A surprise hit with me, the off the shoulder look is now dominating my summer wardrobe. It is suprisingly easy to wear and incredibly flattering. The high street is now well and truly on board with the trend and there are so many to choose from. They can be so easily dressed up or down, perfect for popping over a swimsuit or bikini for a cool beach look as they are to wear with culottes or a midi skirt for an evening out.

Here is how I wear mine dressed up (well, about as dressed up as I get!):

Top: Asos now £14
Jeans: Levis 501ct @Very £95
Sandals: H&M (last year)
Jacket: H&M Concious range (sold out) similar here
Pineapple Necklace: Cabbage White England £70 - love this necklace!
Bag: Topshop (old season) similar here
Dressed down for a day running after the kids...
Top: As above
Shorts: Gap (couple of seasons ago) similar here
Sliders : Dune £49
Bag: TK Maxx similar here
Necklace: Cabbage White England as above (shortened)
Sunglasses: Ted Baker prescription (I am as blind as a bat!)

The top is cotton so cool and versatile, I find it sometimes pops up on my shoulders (depending on how carried away I get when talking) but I quite like the look on the shoulders too creating a more square neckline which I also find quite flattering.

Here are a few more of my favourites from the high street:
Zara Poplin Top £29.99
This is similar to a very expensive Tibi top and no doubt will be sold out soon. I believe you have to size up on this one as it comes up a little small. Wear with button through denim skirt and strappy sandals.
Zara Boat Neck Top £22.99

I just bought this top and am planning on wearing it with my denim shorts and Mango black strappy sandals on holiday.

Topshop Lace Bardot Top £28

I keep stopping by this top in Topshop but never have time to try it on, this week I will try it on, I love the lace look.
Topshop Bardot Top £14

This top is a good way to try out the trend if you are not sure, the top is not super expensive and has had good reviews. I like this grey marl colourway, pop over a black bikini sling on a pair of shorts and a gold havianas and you will look beach perfect!

New Look Navy Embroidered Top £17.99

This top is longerline therefore good for taller ladies as so many of these off the shoulder tops seem to be cropped and after two kids I don't do cropped! Love the tassel detail and navy is always flattering against your skin, softer and less harsh than black. Wear this top down to the beach with denim cut offs or out for the evening with skinny white ankle length jeans, tan strappy sandals and a tan bag.
Asos Stripe Top £14

Another fab, fab top, I am sooo tempted to order this too. It is pretty see through so wear with a nude strapless bra or wear over your bikini down to the beach, would look fab when popping up for lunch at a beach bar with navy shorts and tan strappy sandals.

So there is my round up of more off the shoulder tops, it is official I am obsessed. And ladies with bigger busts have a try honestly they do work with the right bra! 
My holiday wardrobe is looking decidedly monochrome this year (just by chance, not planned) but I guess that will make mixing and matching easier.

Next time a round up of what I will be packing for my summer hols (if I get the three baskets of ironing done in time!!) 

Have a fab Monday, please leave a comment I love reading all your thoughts and ideas, until next time, Frances xxxx

Your Summer Saviour - The Little Patterned Dress

Style Theory: This summer dresses have taken over as the 'must have' item, they are so easy to style, keep you cool and are unbelievably chic. With very little matching required the patterned dress comes in many guises from short to maxi with the key midi in-between. The little patterned dress having a big moment and here are a few of the best on the high street and how to style..

images via Pinterest

Patterned dresses make a statement so keep accessories simple and nude colours. Just a great pair of brown or tan sandals and a matching leather slouchy bag and you have stunning look...

Here are the best on the high street now..

Etre Cecile @theOutnet now £82.50
I am a huge fan of the cool label, Etre Cecile, all the garments have clean lines with a design edge, the prints are stunning. This is a dream dress, wear with pale tan heels and sunkissed skin for an edgy, cool look.
Zara Printed Dress £25.99

I love this dress and have just bought it for holiday. It is quite thick fabric so skims overs lumps and bumps (hopefully it won't be too hot on holiday) It looks fab with my tan Palmairas sandals  and as all these dresses does not need any accessories, I cannot wait to wear this.
Zara Maxi Dress £39.99
This maxi dress is new in Zara, it looks so much better on, if you are not mad on the loose fit you can always put a vintage tan belt around it and wear with flat tan strappy sandals, the Next ones in previous posts would be fabulous with this.
oasis Maxi Dress £75
This dress is stunning and would look equally as good for a wedding guest dress as with flat sandals for a evening out on a warm summers evening.
Edit Secondhand Preloved Marni Dress size 12 £60
I adore this dress, you can see it styled in the streetstyle photo above. This is from a Editsecondhand, they have one in a size 12, if it was in my size I would snap it up in a heartbeat. It looks fab teamed with tan and red heels (see image above)
Topshop Floral Print Ruffle Dress £48
This dress was brought to my attention by Joanna from Poppys Style, she emailed me a photo and said that this was right up my street, she is so right, I love this style of dress, the print looks designer-esque and will work through to the winter with 70s style tan knee high boots. 
Topshop Woodland Print Dress £46
This again looks so much better on than in this photo, Pandora Sykes in the streetstyle photo above styles her with a biker jacket and black strappy sandals, she has also worn it with a mustard puffed sleeve top underneath (it looked incredible!) Definitely one to try.
Mango £39.99
This dress is very D&G, the print is very similar to a D&G dress I had my eye on last year but was far too expensive this is a great alternative. The bare shoulder look is key and is so flattering, wear with a bandeau bra underneath (M&S has some fab ones) 
Jack Wills Dress now £39
I am a little obsessed with dresses with boats or land scenes on them, they look quirky and cool, this dress from Jack Wills is a summer beauty, and now £39. They have just sold out in my size so I am off to track it down in my local Jack Wills.

Are you a fan of the Little Patterned dress, have you got many hanging in your wardrobe. Which dress caught your eye or are you more of a colour girl? As always I would love to hear your thoughts and comments, until next time Frances xxx

Victoriana Lives On


Style Theory: Victoriana style blouses are set to be a big trend this Autumn/Winter, the catwalks were full of beautiful ruffled blouses in sheer fabrics with lace details. Why not get on board with this trend now, Victoriana styling is incredibly versatile and translates beautifully from the summer, through the Autumn into the winter. The high street's exciting new stock is full of nods to this trend, I adore this look it is grown up with a cool edge and so easy to style...
Wear with distressed denim shorts and flat strappy sandals this summer.
Victoriana tops look fabulous with flared jeans..another 2015 must have.
A beautiful ditsy print looks fabulous on a ruffled blouse, toughen up the look with skinny jeans and heels
Alex Chung does Victoriana impeccably, add a leather pencil skirt and pointed flats for style perfection
An embroidered dress mixes victoriana with boho chic...
Love this modern take on the Victoriana loook.
Victoriana tops are so easy to wear in the summer, pair with denim cut off shorts and strappy sandals for a cool day look, wear with a midi, long, button through skirt and tan sandal heels for an on trend 70s look. In the winter pair with flared or skinny jeans and throw a blazer over the top.

Here are the best on the high street available now, a perfect addition to your summer wardrobe..
Free People Lace Top £98

I adore this top, it is a little pricey but this style of top is worth investing in as it is so versatile and will see you through season after season.

Free People One Eyes Open Top £78

A floaty option, keep your bottom half  skinny, skinny ankle length jeans or denim shorts.

Free People Babylon Dress £138
French Connection Dayton Frill Blouse £125

I put this on instagram a while ago and am still obsessed by it. All bells and whistles, such a statement blouse keep the rest of your outfit simple.

Zara Combined Guipure Lace Top £25.99
Zara Combined Dress £39.99

I have just bought this see how I have styled it below.

Topshop Victoriana Dress £46
Topshop Victoriana Dress £46

Love this dress in the black, wear with black/snakeskin Mango strappy sandals for an understated, cool look.

Mint Velvet Victoriana Top £35
Asos Victoriana Top now £18
River Island Red Bow Cropped jumpsuit £55
This culotte jumpsuit ticks so many trends and is the perfect AW15 colour , dark red, wear with tan sandals now and with tan knee high boots in the winter.

My Style:
The Zara dress mixed up with yellow and tan for the summer...

I adore all of these tops, so love this trend, I cannot wait to wear in the winter with dark, berry lips and heavy midi skirts and boots..I always get a season ahead of myself at this time as I get so excited about the new stock and styles dropping in stores. For now I will be buying items I can wear for the rest of the year, layering up as it gets colder then I really feel I am getting my moneys worth! are you a fan of the Victoriana top, have you bought any so far, do any of the above catch your eye, as always I would love to hear your thoughts and comments, until next time Frances xxx