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Forget Christmas (temporarily): Are you ready for the Boxing Day Sales?

Have you worked hard all year, bringing up gorgeous, well-behaved, polite children, looking after the family ahead of your own needs, working until late o'clock for your employer?  
Did you work until quarter past late to establish your own business?  
Can you remember the last time you bought yourself something fabulous to wear, that had you twirling with delight?
Well, it's (almost) time to treat yourself!



Check out  my 19 Top Tips  for the sales in Chapter 5, from what to wear to what to buy, in my book 119 Style Boosts from the Size15Stylist
 #53 "...Christmas Eve is a popular day for the January sales to start, and you can pick up a few bargains online without having to move from the sofa..."
 #58 "Only take your partner shopping with you if they really, really like shopping (or you don't like each other)..."
Designed for the busy woman whose life has changed in the last few years (and who may have temporarily misplaced her identity in the growing of an…

Scuba party wear this holiday season

We all want to look our best at least once during December, don't we?
I've always liked to plan wearing a gorgeous Christmas day outfit, you know, the fabulous one to go with the perfect day?  Yet for the last 3 years I've dealt with pregnancy, a baby and a toddler while darting around visiting family, or fiddling with a turkey and executing a running order for potatoes and vegetables that reminds me why I love one-pot pasta meals.  
So my special outfit eventually slid down the priority list and it's been a while since I twirled from my Christmas dress; I bought every one Big Bang Theory t-shirts one year, and temporarily forgot that I really don't suit t-shirts, regardless of the fabulous logo.  I just don't have that body.  Still, I pulled on the reindeer antlers and cracked on with feeding 10 people and a cat.
But, this year, even with a fully-fledged child in tow (we're with my family for brunch and the in-laws for the afternoon), I've nailed m…

Two Free Ebook gifts

To mark the season....


Yes, to celebrate the first week of December, the merriment that is Red Cup season at Starbucks and Turkey, Cranberry and Stuffing butties everywhere, you can download my two ebooks for free this week!
If you'd like to read My Blogging Insights this will be available FOR FREE from your nearest Kindle or Kindle app (did anyone else treat themselves to the new Kindle Fire HDX from Amazon last week?) on these two specific days only: 
My Blogging Insights Monday 1st December and Tuesday 2nd December (2014, in case you wondered) 
119 Style Boosts Then you can download and read my style book 119 Style Boosts for free from: Wednesday 3rd December to Sunday 7th December (again, 2014) 
If you've already bought and read these books, share these deals with your family and friends, andplease use the contact form below to send me your email address and you will receive my 1st book in 2015 for free, as a thank you for being such gorgeously fabulous readers! 

PS - I will be fu…

Does having children make you more productive?

As I was driving my Mum home this evening - after a lovely afternoon spent 'arting' with my toddler-daughter; fluffy sticks, glue sticks, scissors and wallpaper everywhere -I had a bit of a realisation.

In the three years I've been Mummy, I have been my most productive. 

Yes, I spent the first six weeks of motherhood wondering if my eyeballs would stop itching from tiredness (ah, so that's why the pain of a few days in labour is so instantly forgotten).

And I had a few uncomfy months in PND, when I struggled to cope with any slight change in this strict routine I had created for my little family and my coping mechanism included turning into the Tasmanian Devil.

Even at the three year mark I'm discovering that hearing my daughter chat away, while amazing, often means I can't think straight with her barrage of demands (more Peppa Pig NOW!)

But in the last three years I've:

Grown more confident driving. 
While pregnant, especially during the winter party seaso…

Was Blogfest an introverts flashmob?

On Saturday I had the absolute pleasure of attending my first ever blogging event, the delicious Mumsnet Blogfest

I had a grand time listening to such inspiring speakers like Francesca Martinez, the Fleet Street Fox, Suzanne Moore, Rachel Joyce, Harriet Lane, Lynn Barber, Nick Hornby, Lucy Porter and the man that talks faster than I do when I bump into a beautiful blogging moment (ie, a passionate speaker)...Paul Armstrong. And with Rachel's writerly advice to 'forget the washing', it's like she had already heard about my #stuffthelaundry Twitter linky I launched last week!



I had thought it was the absolute wrong time for me to not have Wi-Fi access; I'd swapped my broken smart phone for a Blackberry only a mere few days earlier, and I don't know about you, Dear Reader, but it takes me a good six months to figure out the smarts on a phone.  And my Kindle is reaching it's second birthday, so having the appropriate tantrums: Wi-Fi was available throughout K…

Vanity Fare

I'm rather partial to my beauty products, and vanity cases. 

Bumped into this little lass in Tesco this morning, a cute, purple vanity case of Nivea goodies, reduced from £40 to £20. 



I don't think I'd have paid £40 for it; we're hardly in the Lancome/Estee Lauder/Elizabeth Arden territory.  But it would make a fab gift for any girl or woman in your life (heck, buy two if you're that way inclined).  

 Stocked with these five full size products: Face wash, BB Cream (medium), Wipes, Face cleanser, lip butter and a headband.



Looks lovely within my collection

Don't you think? 

How many vanity cases do you own? 


Stuff the laundry

Here's what I'm thinking today, why don't we instigate a #stuffthelaundry Wednesday?  

Abandon the housework in favour of the following (tick all that apply, and enjoy)

Me time: Zone out with a Latte (#110 in my 119 Style Boosts book) or catch up with your favourite TV shows....I NEVER get the remote between the morning battle with Ben and Holly Vs BBC Breakfast or the post-dinner news/In The Night Garden battle; 11am on a week day could be the only time I get to see Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners.

Personal Hygiene: Have a mid-day bath. Go on. It'll be uninterupted.  Probably.  If you're at work, then don't you have a dental appointment that you've *forgotten* about?  Or, if you book an afternoon meeting into your diary at work, in a room that doesn't exist, by the time you're missed you could have had a nice soak with last Christmas' bubble bath.  You could even Nair your legs, if you like.

Work: Yes, log off social media, don't multi-task wi…

What the blog is blogging all about?

Have you ever struggled to define blogging to someone when they ask?

Ever had anyone glaze over when you start to talk about the fabulousness of blogging?

Are you contemplating writing a blog but wondering if you'll suit the lifestyle?

Has it been a little while since you remembered why you blog? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you're in need of Blogging Insights, my brand new shiny book, available on your nearest Kindle device/app for a fantabulous price of 0.77p!

And, as a thank you to my lovely readers and fellow bloggers, I'll be reducing the price of 119 Style Boosts  from Thursday 6th November.

I'm off now to deal with the laundry mountain I've accumulated over these last edit-oriented days (weeks!) and to soak in a yummy bubble bath, now toddler-daughter is asleep.

Happy reading!

Have you ever wondered about the writing, self-publishing and marketing of a book?

Time to tickle the writer in you again, as NaNoWriMo begins tomorrow.  Some writers I know are really going for the task of writing a 50,000 word draft of a novel this November, and other writers are using November as a generally inspiring kind of month. I'm a little inbetween...I could use the impetus to reignite a novel, but chances are I'll be swept up in Christmas activities with toddler-daughter.

Either end of the writing spectrum, there are a lot of additional words produced in the blogosphere and within beautiful notebooks over the upcoming 30 days.

So, when I read of this amazing offer from a super-talented bunch of published eauthors this morning, I thought the trickery had begun early.  One click on Amazon revealed my eyes weren't deceiving me, and I've just pre-ordered my set to arrive onto my Kindle on Monday.....for 77p in the UK!

I can't remember the last time I bought three of anything for less than 78p.

What am I writing about?

This fabulous offer, ava…

October Christmas Shopping

The beauty AdventCalendars have arrived, the October pay day as either just been or is on the way ... so we can officially start talking about Christmas shopping. 

Plymouth's Early Learning Centre was mad-busy on Saturday with parents taking advantage of half-term offers.  I picked up a world map wooden puzzle for toddler-daughter at half-price, and could have easily gone a little potty with a floor-keyboard and the huge train set she's drawn to. 

Instead of buying everything with a sale sticker on though, we came home and did a toy audit, and although most ended up in the loft, we have a few bags for Christmas donations in the community. 

And as toddler-daughter's toys are now in her room, or one storage basket downstairs, we saw our lounge floor for the first time in almost three years. 

Autumn Style Signifiers

Scrunching leaves underfoot with toddler-daughter, chasing the last of the dandelion clocks, I've waited patiently for the seasonal shift in the weather.

You know, when the last of the summer warmth clears off on holiday for a few months, the sunrise (when she appears) is near-blinding, and of course retail shelves jostle Halloween and Christmas goodies.

And proper Autumn is here at last, because this weekend I treated my toe nails to their first coating of Chanel's Rouge Noir, the polish glamorised by the iconic Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. This black/red colour reminds me of a lovely glass of red, too, and is the most-often worn from my collection throughout the rest of the year.



I had a rainy day in with toddler-daughter yesterday, playing with wooden beads for hours (lovely change from worrying about SPF), which of course means I can spend rainy nights in,

Here come the gifts for the girls

Just had to take a little break from editing to share some exciting beauty news, I hope you don't mind.

A friend shared on Facebook that she treated herself to the Selfridges Advent Calendar this morning....and it looks gorgeous!

Now, I spent an hour in Boots yesterday checking out their Christmas gifts (they've installed some lovely bookshelves to show off their gorgeous seasonal goodies; smart move - I already want to buy one of everything from Soap and Glory).  And I started wondering where their Advent Calendar was.

A quick Google later and this very helpful information from Cosmopolitan magazine turned up, alerting us girls to a plethora of beauty advent calendars available over the next few weeks.  When you've chosen the one you want, hunt it down, roping in family and friends if necessary....last year I couldn't make up my mind and spent a fruitless December trying to track down 25 mini goodies to see me through the festive season.  Apparently, October is the mo…

Where the blog am I?

If you took a look at my current tri-planning system, calculating income streams for the next quarter, you'd have a proper giggle (perhaps).  (Tri-planning because I can't be the only one who uses a smartphone, a paper diary and random online documents to organise her life by). 

Dear Readers, I have not abandoned you, or style, or the world of blogging (ye Gods, no!), rather I've whooshed from publishing my first book, to upskilling my marketing skills, and landed smack bang in the middle of Book 2 AND the middle of September. 

Before we know it the Boots Christmas Gift Guide will be upon us and the queues will circumnavigate The Trafford Centre.

So, in the manner of a store temporarily altering the window display, I've my head stuck in my book for a few weeks, and then I'll be back, directing my lovely readers to all manner of retail, style, parenting and just flipping well gorgeous delights.

I especially have my eye on posting a Per Una review, once I've rec…

Guest blog at Work from Home Wisdom

Hello, Lovelies

After self-publishing my scrumptious style guide, 119 Style Boosts from the Size15Stylist, I virtually-bumped into a fabulous website, Work from Home Wisdom, a gorgeous crock pot of advice and inspiration for home workers everywhere.  I wrote a guest blog for the site, offering insight into how I published through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing programme - and who helped me along the way (grandparents and partner included).  Why not have a read?

Back to the matter of birthdays, August just passing and all.  To celebrate, I invested in a little art last month:


I most definitely squeeeeeed with delight when I spotted this beautiful DKNY Bryant Park purse, and knew I had to invest.  For more details, check out the House of Fraser link.  There also happens to be a bag available in this print, too ... it's never too early to think about Christmas Eve sales (it launched mid-August and didn't make it into the Bank Holiday sale; fingers crossed for a pre-Christ…

Letter to a new Mummy

The week I become an official Author

It's been a very stylish weekend, what with my first book being uploaded onto Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing, and receiving actual sales.  From non-relatives and friends.

And so I simply had to take advantage of a (flipping well-timed) House of Fraser's bag (and shoe) sale by treating myself to a gorgeous DKNY document holder (55% discount!).

For all the drafts of my second book, you see.

In lime green and  mykinda* pink this beautiful accessory also doubles up as a clutch (not an accessory) - pretty handy for upcoming birthday celebrations.


Back to work this morning, however, with a six am start (think I'll reserve the five am geddups for the editing process).  I created my Author Pages on Amazon's UK and USA sites, which was more challenging than proofreading my first book.  What do you say about yourself, when you nestle amongst other authors?  FFS their sample biography was that of multi-award-winning Mr Frank McCourt! (Love his books, though).

Still, at l…

Are you ready?

My brand new, shiny, helpful style guide, is now available for your reading delight!

119 Style Boosts from the Size15Stylist

Written as a light style enhancer, this handy reference guide reminds readers to look after themselves as well as others. Top style essentials and five minute instant boosts to recharge with throughout our busy days.

What's your favourite tip from the book?


6 Hair necessities

I love my hair.  

This was not always a sentence I was comfortable saying - I had a perm right after I watched Dirty Dancing in 1987 and it took me twenty years to become happy with my hair again.

I now offset bad hair days against productivity (stay with me, this isn't a technical post) and realised that I should head to the salon each 6-8 weeks and consider this my vice, if necessary, to maintain this routine. The days of staring into the mirror, despairing over roots and frizz, because I was:
a) fed up of home-dying my shoulder-length mop, and
b) thought hair salons were expensive,  are lonnnnnnnnng gone. 

My first grey hairs showed through, my then-hairdresser announced, when I was 17.

Yes, not quite as romantic as Sinatra lyricises in It Was a Very Good Year.  Now, I'm friendly with dyes and after many colours, I chose to finally embrace my DNA by working blonde hair and black eyebrows, because:
a) I just don't suit dark hair and
b) wouldn't bleach my Cara Dele…

Waking up two hours before the family

For the last few days I've set my alarm to wake me up two hours earlier than usual. 

So instead of waking up at 7.40, blurry-eyed and blah, by my partner dressing for work and then my toddler-daughter needing a nappy change, I've been waking just after five.

Now, I'm really not a morning person, but I work from home and I have writing deadlines to meet and it's the summer (nursery's closed!) so I deduced the only way I'm going to be productive is before the day has really begun (by bath-time I'm only fit for reality TV on the sofa).

So far, I've been very busy-bee-like, enjoying a stress-free breakfast and a gentle start to my day, allowing my mind the opportunity to wake up as it was always meant to - with coffee and quiet and creativity.  If I can maintain this habit then I may even find time for a spot of stretching and exercise of a dawn morning.

I said may; Autumn and a 10 tog duvet are around the corner. 

But for the moment I'm writing and edi…

This early-morning writing malarky

This is day two of my challenge to wake at 5am,  before the house is awake, before toddler-daughter starts demanding Peppa Pig or Curious George. 

Yesterday I woke naturally at 4.50am, so that was fine (although by 10am I wasn't quite sure who the hell I was and by 3 I definitely needed a sit down).

Today, I woke at 4.30 and reset the alarm for an hour later. 

I'm following the advice of other, more published, writers out there, to crack on with my first ebook, which has a title change about every half an hour (procrastination, eh?).  I write alongside planning my marketing campaign (eh?) and eat my way through our snack box (don't look at me like that, I'm on a self-imposed deadline).

But it's now almost 8pm on day two of early geddups (and the toddler is still asleep I give thee) and I've stopped thinking clearly. 

Few more pencil squiggle edits on my paper draft and I'm off to the other sofa. 

This working from home malarky is almost as fun as the early-mo…

A Canterbury Tale, and a Designer Outlet

Well, what a weekend I've had of it, and it's not even Saturday morning, yet! 

On Thursday I popped along the south of the UK to arrive in Ashford, home of friends, and a McArthur Glen Designer Outlet

But before I could mind my Gap, we headed to Canterbury today, and what a lovely city! Amongst the narrow alleyways and recognisable brand names, however, we happened upon the lovechild of Ikea and Paperchase: Tiger.

Remember the song from The Little Mermaid, where she's singing about whosits and whatsits and everybody's old favourite, thingummybob? 

We felt like that as we walked two laps, yes, two, of the store.  We oohed at and wanted everything we picked up, whether stationery, craft or home item. 

Choice, at a reasonable value, and sturdy products in a clean environment. 

Ah-mazing, said the Size15Stylist and her friend, over tea and cake and chicken salad.  Please be sure to check out your nearest Tiger store if you're heading to the south of England, Cardiff…

Would you like to be included in a stylish ebook?

Hello, Dear Readers

July has been rather zoomy, hasn't it?  Amongst all the day trips I've managed to squeeze in for toddler-daughter and family, I've almost finished editing my first ebook, Style Boosts for Busy Mums, yay! (And hence the blog hiatus).  So......

I would love to include any quick/essential tips you have on feeling good fast in Style Boosts for Busy Mums!

Your tip can be absolutely anything, ideally around clothes ( incl. bags, accessories, jewellery), hair, beauty, home or travel style.  I'm not looking for product advertisement, but would very much value real tips from busy Mums (or Aunts/Carers/Dads),

I’ll have final edit but I will credit your tip in my ebook (usually name and location, possibly website if it's suitable)...and I’ll let you know which tips I use. Feel free to ask your friends and families if they’d like to be included, too! 
Please feel free to add your tip as a comment to this post, or email me at: size15stylist@gmail.com  
Thank yo…

Free: two-hour consultation

To celebrate the summer, that traditional-down-time, I'm offering free two-hour consultations until 25th August 2014.

Yes, free.  

If you, or your business, would benefit from a workshop in any of these consultancy areas, email me for a free no-worries quote and to book your free two-hour consultation.

Styling
Are you in need of a new image or is your business in need of a restyle? Have you recently experienced a life-change that needs to reflect who you are? Do you wear the same clothes every week? I offer either online or one-to-one enhancement support.

Shopping
Are you searching for that perfect outfit, or a perfect gift?  Perplexed by the available consumer choice? Looking to save money on your holiday shopping? I offer a chance to discuss your shopping requirements and narrow down your search; you have the final purchase decision. 

Writing
Would you benefit from the services of a qualified and experienced writer? Does your blog or business need inspiring content?  Would you…

Stylish Housework

What day of the week do you give up to housework?

When I worked full-time and had no children it used to be done over several evenings, normally before visitors; the weekend was for shopping and socialising.  Now I'm a WAHM it tends to be done on a Friday, because to do it on a Tuesday (or any other day of the week) would feel like we were missing out on adventures; the weekend is now family time (and once every six weeks hair/shopping time for me).  

Because I do work from home I don't spend too many hours with my head in the cleaning bin (although the early signs of age spots on the back of my hands could relate to the Lady Macbeth-esque washing that comes from growing a baby into a toddler).  My Dyson attachments only come out for sofa depths when there are too many shouts for lost items, otherwise there's no satisfactory-haul feeling.  It would be like only shopping for one shoe at a time.  This afternoon I've retrieved a magnetic zebra from a storybook that Mr …

12 Books to Blog By: Books #5 & #6

Hello, Dear Reader

For a quick catch-up on my previous posts reviewing my 12 essential books for bloggers, please read these posts from the 19th May 2014 and 23rd May 2014.  Of course, even if you're not a blogger you're more than welcome to read my posts and these books.

Book #5 
Back to my story.  It's November 2013, and I'm still dissatisfied with employment - not the salary, but definitely the routine.  I work part-time in an office, and full-time as a Mum and Social Media Hound.  I am shattered and not capable of thinking ahead for two anymore.  As a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network (MBN) I happened upon the blog of writer Rosie Fiore, and her novel Wonder Women.


After a hectic Septober (the merging of September and October) period in work, I was ready for an escapist fiction read.

And these characters, of strong business women maintaining sanity and family alongside growing their skills, resoundingly clicked into place.

I have long advocated the combination …