Monday, 30 November 2009

Overgrown Schoolgirl

I may not wear this skirt again.
I was influenced by this picture.
I liked my version until my daughter came home from school.
"You are not going to the school ski meeting dressed like that tonight. You look A SCHOOLGIRL!"
And I slunk off to get changed.

Hanging Loose

It was one of those days.
I didn't want to dress up too smart.
No belts or bells or whistles.
My favourite floral Next dress, a cosy Cardigan and the biker boots.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Family Matters

Family life is getting crazier by the day and as the holiday season approaches I am sure I will soon be heading for meltdown.
I used to think it was hard when my children were small.
I remember those wise old ladies in the supermarket who would say: "enjoy them while they're young - it doesn't last."
Of course, I smiled but mumbled something about "rose tinted spectacles".
I mean it couldn't get any harder than four children under eight.
Or could it?
I take it back.
I wish I had listened to those little old ladies who would watch me wander down the aisles, stopping every five strides to lecture my little ones on why we couldn't fill the basket with chocolate/sweets/cakes.
But those wise old sages were right.
The glazed eyes and sad expressions that I mistook for amnesia were actually looks of sympathy.
They knew what was in store for me.
And now with four children between eight and eighteen I can see the future and it only looks harder.
A few years ago I used to write a column called "Family Matters" for a series of Trinity Mirror regionals in which I would entertain readers with the familiar minutae of family life.
It was only a small column and took about 30 minutes to write each week.
But in a journalistic career that spans 20 years and has included covering the James Bulger Murder Trial, an interview with Tony Blair and numerous other high profile features, Family Matters was the only work that led to me being stopped in the street and thanked.
On several occasions.
Sadly, the column was dropped due to budget cuts in the wake of the recession.
So I was delighted when the charity ParentlinePlus approached me to write their Family Blog which you can read here.
If you like it please leave a comment - they might ask me to do more!
And as the busy season approaches I will be using this blog to help me plan my wardrobe.
I will spend this week trawling through my past posts to pick some of the more successful outfits I have worn to use as go-tos for this busy month ahead.
I started today with this outfit which I wore a few months back but this time I have added a few layers.

I wore:
Boots - Tesco
Dress - Wallis
Top - Joe Browns

Friday, 27 November 2009

NaNoWriMo Winner

I did it?
I completed my NaNoWriMo novel.
I have learned so much this year.
So much more than last year.
But typing "The End" is only just the beginning.
This novel is merely the backstory for the novel I wanted to write and 50,000 words later I am ready to start.
I apologise for the boring outfit but it was very comfy to sit and write in
Good Luck all you NaNoWriMo's out there.

I wore:
Boots - Dorothy Perkins
Jeans - Gap
Cardigan and top - Tesco
Scarf - M & Co.

Top Of The Shops

Back to Floral Skirts and Biker Boots.
I was recently approached by Dorothy Perkins to be one of their Guest Bloggers and wrote this piece a few weeks back.
There is a Dorothy Perkins in my local High Street and I have picked up quite a few essential pieces form them over the years.
I have never compiled an inventory but it got me thinking about my Top Ten Clothing Sources.
I guess it would be:
1. Marks and Spencer
2. Gap
3. Boden
4. Dorothy Perkins
5. Top Shop
6. Primark
7. Matalan
8. Principles (Sadly, no more)
9. Tesco
10. Next

I love Zara but their fit never works for me.
What's your top ten?

I wore:
Boots - Tesco
Skirt - Matalan
Polo - George at Asda (Children's)

Thursday, 26 November 2009

NaNoWriMo Winner

I did it?
I completed my NaNoWriMo novel.
I have learned so much this year.
So much more than last year.
But typing "The End" is only just the beginning.
This novel is merely the backstory for the novel I wanted to write and 50,000 words later I am ready to start.
I apologise for the boring outfit but it was very comfy to sit and write in
Good Luck all you NaNoWriMo's out there.

I wore:
Boots - Dorothy Perkins
Jeans - Gap
Cardigan and top - Tesco
Scarf - M & Co.

Pounds Per Wear

I love the belt over cardigan look for winter.
And doesn't this blogger do it well?
I found this belt in Primark for £1 and I have already worn it four times in the past week making it 25p a wear.
The Pounds Per Wear Formula was something I heard about many years ago and it may be the answer to Kate's question "Quality V Quantity?"
If you buy a coat for £400 and you wear it 25 times over 20 years that makes it £1 per wear.
And a good, classic, well-made coat should give you that kind of service.
I have had this one for 14 years.
However, a cheap £8 jacket from Primark worn only once works out much more expensive.
I also have one of these hanging in the garage.
So quality or quantity doesn't really come into it.
This skirt from Matalan cost £10 yet it is lined, made out of a thick cotton and always washes and irons beautifully.
I have worn the skirt about 15 times since I bought it and it is still as good as new.
Of course the pound per wear formula is equally transferable to any currency.
Does anyone else use this formula?

I wore:
Jeans - Gap
Boots - Dorothy Perkins
Cardigan - Tesco
Shirt - Boden (eBay)
Belt - Primark

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Tough Floral

When I bought these biker boots I knew they would be a good buy.
They are even better now as I have slipped the lining from my Ugg boos into them.
I bought this dress on eBay for a very small sum and have worn it a few times here and here.
It was also a staple in my 2008 Capsule Wardrobe Challenge.
I like it best with cardigans.
In fact Floral Dresses, Cardigans and Boots make up my winter favourites.
And I think I wil be topping up my cardigan collection with some of these.
I have toughened up the dress with the boots or softened the boots with the dress
Whatever way round you see it I think it works.

I wore:
Boots - Tesco
Dress - eBay
Cardigan - M & Co
Belt - Primark (£1!)

The Green Shoots Of Recovery

When I am feeling low I like to curl up into a small ball and cry.
The smaller I can make myself and the longer I cry - the better I feel.
I took this picture after I'd had a good cry and dusted myself off again.
Green is a colour of rebirth and renewal which is why I may have subconsciouly chosen this skirt.
I wore:
Boots - tesco
Skirt and Wrap - Joe Brown's
Polo - Primark

Monday, 23 November 2009

Boden Mum

Who Do You Want To Be Today?
Today - I want to be a Boden mum.
I want to look effortlessly stylish.
Age Appropriate.
In the background I have a happy, fulfilling marriage and never row with my husband.

My home has an artfully lived in look.
I am witty, caring and always say the right things.
At the right time.
I have four beautiful but impeccably well-behaved children.
And a faithful chocolate brown labrador to cuddle up to in front of the fire.
Unfortunately, very few of those aspirations are true.
My real life is best summed up in one word - "messy".
Today I had a meeting with a teacher at one of my children's schools.
Earlier in the week there had been an incident.
A messy incident.
One of my children ended up with emergency dental treatment including one of their front teeth put back in.
And, I am sad to say they were architect's of their own misfortune.
Over the past few months my life seems to resemble a Jeremy Kyle/Jerry Springer show.
OK maybe not that bad but every day I cross my fingers and hope.
For the school meeting I wanted to seem as though as I was in control, calm and competent.
Everything I don't feel right at this very moment!

I wore:
Boots - Clarks
Skirt and Jacket - Marks and Spencer
Shirt - Boden

Friday, 20 November 2009

Attack Of The 50ft Story - Part Two

Remember the project I was working on a few weeks back?
I was tasked to lead three workshops to inspire a group of homeless youngesters to write about what life was like for them.
Last night the event was launched in the wind and rain.
Skelmersdale Library was turned inside out as the stories were beamed across the outside of the building.
It caused quite a stir and lots of comments from passers-by - which is exactly what the project was all about.
I loved it when a group of teenagers skated over when they saw "The Skate Park" and stood and read all about it!
It also gave me the shance to wear my other red jacket.
But before I went to Skelmersdale I led a PR Workshop in Skelmersdale advising a group of small business owners on how to do their own PR.

Inside I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - tesco
Top - Primark

Outside I wore:
Boots, jacket and Beret - Tesco

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Got Your Harley Outside?

That is what I was asked when I arrived at the prison today.
As it turns out I wish I had.
In the afternoon I had to be at the world famous Aintress Racecourse for the annual Train 2000 awards.
I popped home and had a quick change into a smarter outfit but sadly no time for a photo.
But it was worth the rush - the awards were brilliant with lots of inspiring women who have changed their lives (for the better) by becoming their own boss.
I wore:
Boots - Tesco
Skirt - Matalan
Top - Primark
Scarf - Albert Dock, Liverpool

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Red Hot or Not?

This jacket has been hanging in my wardrobe for a few weeks.
The tag is still on and I'm not sure whether I should take it back or not.
I love the colour and it is a petite fit which means the shoulders and arm lengths are just right.
But I have a red jacket (not as nice as this one).
And I feel guilty about having two red jackets.
I also have a problem with this beret.
Whatever way I wear it it seems to look a little odd.
I'm not sure if it's my head.
Or the hat!

I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Matalan
Top (not seen) - Boden
Jacket - Marks and Spencer
Beret - Tesco

Monday, 16 November 2009

In For The Kill

I am powering away on my NaNoWriMo novel now and have reached 27,000 words.
New plot turns continue to surprise me every day - my characters have a life of their own and I love it.
Tomorrow I will be killing the odious ex husband of my main character.
He embodies everything I despise in a man.
But I am not that cruel.
I will let him die a hero - helping save the life of another character who falls into stormy seas.
I enjoyed reading this story in the Daily Mail - a twist on the uniform project- and E's story about the remixing of her shrit dress.
I plan to wear this Shift dress from Next once a week for a month to play along too.
Today I had to take my son to Walton Hospital to check up on a niggling sore in his mouth.
It turns out it is a blocked saliva gland which was probably damaged when he was punched in the face a few years back.
I have to take him back tomorrow for minor surgery to get it removed.
Now I know some people berate the NHS but how is that for great service!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Biker Boots for £16

Do you like my new boots?
I didn't have any flat black boots and everything I wanted to wear required black boots.
As I said earlier this week I am condemned to a flat shoe shuffle for the forseeable future.
But as I was shuffliing down the aisles of my local supermarket there they were.
Like manna from the Gods.
Biker Boots.
For £16.
My local Tesco.
In the children's department.
The boots go up to a UK size 6.
And even better there is 20% off at the moment which makes them - oh I don't know - cheaper.
(Sums aren't my strong point).
Of course they aren't leather.
But if you are a vegan or vegetarian it can only enhance your status.
Grocery shopping never felt this good.
Don't they look great with this dress?
I can't wait to try them out with one of my evening dresses.
I just love this one.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

An apology and....(almost) Half-Way there!

Firstly, I must apologise.
I have been a bad blogger.
I have not commented on as many of my favourite blogs as usual.
I have sucked up all your wonderful comments and given nothing back.
Or very little.
I apologise.
But there is a reason.
A good reason.
At least I think so.
I am taking part in NaNoWriMo.
Every spare minute is spent tapping those keyboards in a bid to complete a 50,000 word novel by the end of November.
Today I broke the 20,000 barrier.
But this means I am getting a little lazy about my clothes.
This outfit is almost the same as one a few weeks back.
But not quite.
Different boots this time.
Flat ones!
In December I will return to being a good blogger.
I will comment on every blog I vist and take the time to leave valuable comments.
Until then - please forgive me.

I wore:
Boots - Clarks
Skirt - Marks and Spencer
Top - Gap
Scarf - Florence and Fred

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

These Boots Were Made For Walking

I love these boots.
They are about five years old.
I bought them from Clarks in the winter sale.
They are soft brown leather that have stood the test of time.
I have walked miles in these boots.
I am in the prison today and that means endless corridors to negotiate.
These boots will stand me in good stead for the day ahead.

I wore:
Boots - Clarks
Skirt - Matalan
Top - New Look
Collar - Etsy

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The Flat Shoe Shuffle

The other not so good news about my poorly hip is that my therapist says I must wear flat shoes wherever possible - ideally trainers.
Trainers are for working out.
End of.
And at 5ft and half an inch I need all the help I can get.
However, I have decided I will make the most of the cooler weather and spend the next few weeks in boots and bring out my favourite flats.
It will make dressing a challenge - how to fit an outfit around flat shoes.
But - I love a challenge.
Today I went to the gym first thing.
And yes I wore my trainers.
But for the rest of the day I am working from home before collecting the kids and transporting them to their various football training and Cub Scout sessions.
Before I go I'd like to say thanks to Biba from Angels and Blossoms in Slovenia for graciously giving me an award.
I will not nominate any more blogs as everyone on my Blog Roll has earned thier place and to me they are all award-winning.
I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Tights and T-Shirt - Marks and Spencer
Striped Rollneck - Primark
Skirt - Dorothy Perkins

Monday, 9 November 2009

I Put My Blue Jeans (Skirt) On

"When I wake up
in the morning light
I put on my jeans
and I feel alright....."

This song takes me back to Guide Camp in 1977 when I was 11 years old.
In those days each pack had to create their own show and we used a popular song which we acted out by getting out of our sleeping bags and putting on our jeans.
The jeans I had to dance around in were some old cheap jeans that while serviceable were pretty unflattering.
The other girls in my pack were older, shaplier and their jeans looked great.
I remember feeling very small, dumpy and unattractive against these long-haired, long limbed lovelies.
Ever since I have hoped that one day I would find a pair of jeans that made me look like them.
I never did.
And now I have to accept that jeans emphasis all the worst parts of my body.
I can just about get away with wearing them when I am at my fighting fit but when I am caryring a few extra pounds as I am at the moment they make my wide hips look wider and my short chunky legs, well, shorter and chunkier.
But thankfully I have the antidote - my faithful denim skirt from Marks and Spencer.
It is knee length - the perfetc length for me.
The waistband emphasies my smallish waist and skims over my childbearing hips.
It feels so good I wore it both Saturday and Sunday - just like you'd wear an old favourite pair of jeans.
So it is no wonder that:
"When I wake up
in the morning light
I put on my jeans skirt
and I fell alright!"

Friday, 6 November 2009

Hot Under The Collar

I've been looking for a collar to brighten up my black dresses and to prevent the black draining all the colour from my face.
I came across this one on Etsy and am thrilled with the results.
I can't wait to try it out on other items of plain clothing.
And I had some great news this weekend.
Back in August I had been advised by my GP to stop running for a while after suffering from severe pain in my groin and hip.
The pain was waking me up around 6am every day but once I was up and about it eased off.
Unfortunately no exercise has meant a very unwelcome weight gain of five pounds over the past three months.
But yesterday I finally got my appointment with a Sports Therapist and it turns out the problem is due to a very tight muscle.
After a (very painful) stretching session I woke this morning with no pain.
But I have to stretch every day for 20 minutes.
I am looking forward to starting my new regime.
Instead of four runs a week I will be running 2-3 times and adding a yoga class.
I am hoping that with some sensible eating and gentle exericise I can shed the weight in time for Christmas - a great gift to myself.
The bonus is my 18-year-old son says he wants to try yoga too so it will give us a chance to spend some time together.
Have a great weekend.

Celebrating Tradition

Life is busy.
It gets busier every year.
The older the children get the faster the pace of life.
And sometimes things slip.
Like Halloween.
Last Saturday my nine-year-old was so excited about Halloween and he was desperate to go Trick or Treating.
We had done it for many years.
When the older children were little we dressed up, held our own parties, went to parties and made a big thing of it.
But there are so many other things in our life (and their lives) now.
This year I wanted to forget it.
I didn't even bother getting the cosutmes out of the loft.
On Thursday evening I had to dash to Tesco to get an outfit for a school dress-up for him.
Saturday came and my older two (age 14 and 18) were doing their own thing, my daughter( age 12) was going to a party with her friend and I felt a little guilty.
In the end I allowed him to invite a friend and walked to a few homes that we knew and then settled in for the night.
By 6pm it was all over with.
The following day I read this article about the importance of childhood memories, tradition and celebration.
I felt a little more guilt about the rushed Halloween.
Last night was Bonfire Night and although it was cold and wet we still trudged to the local Cub Bonfire and Firework Display.
My older two had their own plans but we went back to the friends we have spent the past six Bonfire Nights with for sausages with the younger two.
Today I emailed my brother and asked if he wanted to bring his children up in December so we can celebrate an early Christmas with our parents and our children. Something we have never been able to do before.
And I hope that these memories will remain alive for my children for many, many years to come.

I wore:
Jeans - Gap
Boots - Dorothy Perkins
Sweather and gilet - Primark
Scarf - Principles

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The Style Monologues

We are working on a project at the prison to create monologues for a performance in December.
I have spent the past few days reading as many monologues as I can get my hands on.
This morning a book I had ordered from Amazon arrived - The Vagina Monologues.
While it is not one I would plan to share with the prisoners it was a fascinating read.
In fact when time is short I very often read plays as they can be absorbed and enjoyed very quickly.
It got me thinking that maybe a style monologue would be worth experimenting with.
What do you think?

Today I wore:

Boots - Clarks
Skirt - Joe Browns
Top - Dorothy Perkins
Jacket - Debehnams

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Attack Of The 50ft Story

Great title - sadly it's not mine.
It's the title of the big project that I have been working on with young people in Skelmersdale.
Their words will be illuminated across the exterior of the library building at the end of November.
Last Friday was the final workshop when I spent the afternoon working with a group of young people in the Crisis Homeless Shelter.
I loved the energy of these feisty young people.
They may not be everyone's cup of tea - the language was choice and the insults flying across the room were outrageous.
But it is their spark and energy that has helped these troubled youngsters survive harrowing journeys.
I hope it won't be the last time I work with them.
If you want to find out a little more click here for a sneak preview.

It's cold and wet and windy today so time to dig out a favourite winter warmer - my red Zara top.

Shoes - Clarks
Jeans - Gap
T-shirt - Primark
Top - Zara

Monday, 2 November 2009

NaNoWriMo - Update

I will be able to think of little else this month.
NaNoWriMo is taking over my life.
I had such a complicated set of dreams last night which today ended up in my novel and took the book on a completely different track.
That's what I love about writing.
The way it consumes you.
The way your characters take on a life of their own.
And the way you can immerse yourself in a completely different world.
A world you help shape.
Nothing like real life at all.
I reached 3,600 words today.
I am aiming for slow and steady.

Last night I went out for a meal with my husband and two of his sisters and wore the dress with tights instead of jeans and today I am influenced by the red and gold leaves in my garden.
This scarf was just £2.50 from a little shop in the Albert Dock, Liverpool.

Breton Bull Dog

  Its spring on the farm and time to break out the Breton Top. Fresh and clean but with long sleeves to keep out the chill wind that blows a...