Monday 31 May 2010

Red Dress Reappears

This is a new version of one of my favourite red dresses.
My old one got too tight across the chest so it is being transformed into a bag by Kiki.
I acquired this one from ebay in a size bigger and it is so much more comfortable.
Today I went to see my son play in a football final.
The good news is his team won.
The bad news is he only played for 5 minutes.
Still - he got his medal.
And before I go just time for a quick apology to Sheila who will also be joining our Capsule Challenge and who I missed off yesterday's list.
Sorry Sheila.
Forgive me?

I wore:
Boots - Clarks
Jeans - Top Shop
Dress - Joe Browns

Saturday 29 May 2010

Lucky May

It's been a lucky Spring for me.
First, I won the book When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson on Anotonella's Blog. I devoured this book and it has made me revisit an author I hadn't read for a while so I am very grateful to Antonella for that.
And then this week a parcel of vintage loveliness arrived from Elegancemaison which you can see here. Many of the items were wrapped up in little parcels with bows - it was a lovely surprise. And my birthday isn't even in May.
Thank you so much to the two wonderful bloggers who brightened up my Spring.
Before I sign off for the weekend and yet another football match I just want to remind everyone of the Summer Capsule Wardrobe Contest which begins on Monday June 7
until June 11th.
Yes 5 days and not 8 days - I got it so wrong in the last post. Please forgive me.
So far we have 21 contenders (including me) Franca, Kate, Kasmira, Lorena, Elegancemaison, Janet, Eek, Biba, Belle, Kiki, Cid's Style File, Chic on The Cheap, BBM,Cara, Legacy Of Pearl Julia, Classroom Chic, Rose, Mrs Hall In Training and Meli.
Just leave a comment on my blog to say you have completed the challenge and I will include you in the round-up.
Good Luck.

Today I wore:

Shoes - Clarks
Dress - Gap
Collar - Principles

Thursday 27 May 2010

A Wacky Wiki Way With Words

Another chilly day.
I was working in the prison in the morning and then I drove for an hour to Liverpool where I attended a drama workshop at The Everyman Theatre with playwright Dan Rabellato.
It was a fascinating talk and we created a short play by the end of the session which we all performed.
What amused me most was that Dan (who is also Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Royal Holloway University of London) revealed that he liked to shock his students by telling them not to trust Wikipedia.
And he does this by changing entries with incorrect information right in front of their very eye.
You have been warned!

Today I wore:

Boots - Tesco
Jacket - Debenhams
Skirt - Gap
Top - Asda
Scarf M & Co

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Channelling My Inner Alexa

Today I am channelling my inner Alexa Chung.
I love her style but as she has so much more going for her than me - young, thin, tall (her); old, short, curvy (me) - I know that I am not going to suit most of what she wears.
However, I was in Gap the other day and saw these boys t-shirts on sale for £2.99.
I decided to go for her mannish t-shirt look when I should really only wear fitted.
I came home, snipped the neckline which was too high, and gave it a go.
I am pretty pleased with the results.
I also picked up this linen skirt from the bargain rale at Gap too for £9.99.
The sun is shining and I am late for work so I will have to love you and leave you.
Have a great day.

Today I wore:

Boots - Tesco
Skirt and t-shirt - Gap
Necklace - Primark

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Countdown

Just days away from the Summer Capsule Wardrobe Challenge.
The rules are simple.
Between June 4th and 11th you wear five garments from your wardrobe but you have unlimited access to accessories and shoes.
I have decided on a dress that can be worn as a skirt, a pair of jeans, a vest top, a cardigan and skirt.
I look forward to seeing what you all choose.

Today I wore:

Jeans - Top Shop
Boots - Clarks
T-shirt and jacket - Debenhams

Monday 24 May 2010


The weather is cooling down so I thought I'd jump up and down to keep warm.
Only joking.
For some reason this skirt makes me want to twirl, jump and have fun.
This morning I got into my car to take the children to school and .. nothing.
The car was as dead as a dodo.
My older children opted to walk while the youngest and I cycled to school.
I had to rearrange a meeting and then spent the best part of the day cycling around the village carrying out errands.
I met with Kiki and gave her what remained of my lovely dress.
Last year I cut off the top which was too tight and made a skirt but it didn't look right.
I asked Kiki to make me a bag so that I can wear it every day.
The dress, like this skirt, is one of those garments which makes every day feel good even when things go wrong.
And the good news if I found the same dress in a size bigger on ebay so I will have a dress and bag to match!

Today I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Principles
Vest - Gap

Cut My Hair Longer

"Can you cut my hair longer?" was the request I gave my hairdresser Lucy.
She knew what I meant.
I showed her a picture of how I wanted my hair to look when it was longer and she trimmed it accordingly.
I have been going to the same hair salon for about 10 years now and I am lucky that there are two hairdressers who know the way my hair works.
If one is off then I am more than happy for the other to do it.
I like to keep my options open.
The weather was very hot again so I kept cool in one of my favourite frocks.
It was a weekend of balmy barbecues when no chores were done.
A perfect weekend!

I wore:
Shoes - Fitflops
Dress - Primark

Sunday 23 May 2010

Max Factor

They say if you keep something long enough it will come back into fashion - and here's proof.
I bought this skirt in 2004 from Dorothy Perkins.
Today I went into Dorothy Perkins and saw an almost identical version - take a look here.
I have around three of these long tiered skirts - one in pink and another in black.
And as you can see I have worn them when they weren't bang on trend.
I feel like one of those sad runners who gets lapped in a race.
Depending on how you look at it they are so far behind they're ahead!

Today I wore:
Shoe s- Clarks
Skirt - Dorothy Perkins
Vest - Gap
Scarf - Betty Jackson

Thursday 20 May 2010

Black Linen

I used to love the Estee Lauder perfume White Linen.
It always smelt fresh and new and like a whole clean blank page.
Unusually for a writer I love blank pages.
I never get writer's block because I always have something I want to say.
I wonder what Black Linen would smell like?
After I took this picture the zip on my black linen skirt broke.
I was never sure about the skirt.
In a way I am glad I have got an excuse not to wear it.
I don't want to bother getting a new zip to fix it but I think I will give it to my friend Kiki who makes amazing bags out of recycled fabric.
Before I go I'd like to say a big thank you to Kayleigh of Fashionably Later for the two awards she has given me.
We have been blogging friends for almost two years.
We were both women over 40 trying to find out style when we began blogging.
Sadly in April last year Kayleigh was diagnosed with breast cancer and almost anything that could go wrong and become complicated, has.
On the plus side she has been supported by her husband and two children, her family and friends both close to home and in the blogsphere.
I salute Kayleigh for her strength and spirit and the fact that she never gave up blogging.
I always felt happier seeing a post and knowing she was on the (at times winding and very slow) road to recovery.

Today I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt and Vest - Gap
Jacket - Oli
Necklace - Dorothy Perkins

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Jangly Jane

"I can't write; Jane's bracelets are putting me off.
Can you stop them jangling please?"
That was the polite request I got from one of the members of my prison writing group today.
And yes they do jangle.
Another prisoner who originates from India was telling me why Hindu women wear bracelets.
He told me that it is customary for men to take their wives to their father's house after they marry.
Once a woman is married she wears bracelets so the sounds can be heard by male members of the household and alert them to her presence so they can ensure they do not behave in an indiscreet manner.
He told me that most of the bangles the women wear in India are made of glass.
I am not sure whether it is true or not - the prisoners tell me lots of things that aren't true which is what makes them great storytellers - but I like the idea.

Today I wore:
Boots - Clarks
Jeans - Top Shop
Vest and necklace - Dorothy Perkins
Jacket - french Connection
Bangles - Top Shop and H & M

Monday 17 May 2010

Hair Trouble

My hair is doing my head in - to coin a collaquial local phrase.
I can't decide whether to grow it or have it cut much shorter but still in a bob.
My youngest son wants me to grow my hair long again "just. 'cos."
I find it much easier to get ready when it's shorter.
I love the flexibility of longer hair.
But I hate the way my fine hair gets messy very quickly.
Short hair requires too many trips to the hairdressers to keep looking good - at least every six weeks.
My short bob looks so classic and thick and shiny.
I have made an appointment for Saturday but I still have no idea what I will ask my hairdresser to do.

Today I wore:
Shoes - Fitflops
Jeans - Top Shop
Vest - Gap
Shirt - Matalan

My Hot Chefs

I have been poorly this weekend with a bad cold.
But luckily I have my two hot chefs to take care of me.
My husband cooked a wonderful prawn and asparagus risotto on Saturday and Ben made this lovely Pavlova for Sunday lunch.

It was also the final game of football for the season.
My daughter's team lost 5-1 to the league leaders but it has been fantastic to see 11teenage girls (12-14) stick with it through thick and thin.
They have trained on a Tuesday night in rain, hail, sleet and snow.
They have forsaken Saturday sleepovers to travel up to 60 miles on a Sunday morning for a game.
And the team has been managed by a dad who is in the Royal Navy and based at Portsmouth (a 4 hour drive away) Monday to Friday - he commutes every weekend and spends the best part of Sunday with the team.
He even sent coaching texts from Iraq when he was posted there for a short training session during the season.
I organised a collection and bought some gifts but it was like a military manoeuvre trying to get the girls to sign the card without him seeing.
Sadly he will only be able to manage the team for half the season next year as he is due to be posted to The Congo!
This weekend I wore:
Boots - Clarks
Jeans - Top Shop
Top - Marks and Spencer
Scarf - Betty Jackson
Cardigan - Tesco

Friday 14 May 2010

Denim Dwarf

"What do you know about fashion you denim dwarf?"
That was just one response I got from my outfit today.
The second was a 13-year-old girl who rearranged my scarf to make me "look more trendy Miss."
But it was all in good fun.
It was my third Friday working as a Creative Practitioner at a Blackburn High School.
I am working with another writer, a poet called Norman, and together we are presenting a series of writing workshops to help engage pupils with a wider vocabulary.
It is a wonderfully creative project.
Each week Norman and I use our work to stimulate a writing workshop with each of the four classes we work with.
By July we should have enough material to create a book.
Today's workshop was entitled "The Small Fabric Of Our Lives" it began with Norman and I commenting on each other's clothes hence the "Denim Dwarf" jibe which made me laugh.
What was funny was the way the students leapt to my defence.
"She looks trendy not like you - you look like a binman," they told Norman.
We chatted about how clothes can be used as weapons and Norman did a fantastic job performing Jenny Joesph's poem "Warning" about the woman who vows to wear purple when she is old.
The school is almost entirely made up of Muslim pupils which led to a fascinating debate about Asian clothing and the scarves that some of the girls wore.
I talked about Catherine Hill, the woman featured in Linda Grant's brilliant book "The Thoughtful Dresser".
After being orphaned in a Concentration Camp a young Catherine risked her life to create a headband from the "striped pyjamas" she was forced to wear.
Catherine fashioned the headband to remind her of the ribbons her mother once put in her hair.
We listened to Mary Chapin Carpenter's song "This Shirt" and talked about favourite items of clothing.
It was a fabulous day and the students aged between 12 and 15 wrote some brilliant pieces - funny, thoughtful, moving and much more.
When the book is finished it will be published and available on Amazon.
I will keep you posted.

Thanks to everyone who has signed up for the Summer Wardrobe Challenge - quite a few will be on holiday so it should help with the packing.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Today I wore:
Boots - tesco
Skirt - Marks and Spencer
Top and Scarf - Designers at Debenhams (Betty Jackson)

Thursday 13 May 2010

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Update

There are just a few weeks to go until the Summer Capsule Wardrobe Challenge in June.
But this is a challenge with a difference.
This time I challenge style bloggers to create a five day Monday to Friday wardrobe from:
5 items of clothing but unlimited shoes and accessories.
The challenge will take place between June 7th and June 11th.
As usual I will create a round-up and award a winner.
Please sign-up in the comments box below.

Today I wore:
Boots - Clarks
Jeans - Top Shop
Body - Dorothy Perkins
T-shirt - Gap
Necklace - Spanish Market

Tuesday 11 May 2010

In Search Of The Holy Grail

I am trying to find a replacement skirt should anything happen to my beloved blue denim one from Marks and Spencer.
I saw this one in Matalan but I'm not too sure.
The waist is too hight and the length a little short.
The fabric isn't nearly so good.

Today I wore:

Boots - Clarks
Skirt - Matalan
Shirt - Boden

Monday 10 May 2010

All The Fun Of The Fair Sevillian Style

The Liverpool Echo published my travel feature here today.
here it is with some additional photographs.

I hear them first. Clip clops of horse hooves echoing through the narrow streets of Seville.
And then out of the darkness I see a silvery glow as a white horse ridden by a straight-backed young man emerges.
The man is suited and booted in traditional Traje Corto (short jacket, tight trousers) and draped around his waist is the long elegant arm of a beautiful young senorita riding side saddle in her red Flamenco dress.
And as they emerge from the shadowy lanes I see another horse and then another. Six couples in all.
They walk slowly and rhythmically to the tall table outside the Bodega de Santa Cruz where I am enjoying a final midnight glass of red wine. And then they are gone.

This is not a dream nor a ghostly flashback to Spain of old.
It is La Feria de Sevilla of the 21st Century.
The annual celebration of history, culture, food and Flamenco which takes place two weeks after Easter in Seville.
My husband and I are enjoying a second honeymoon in this most passionate of Spanish cities to celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary.
La Feria or Fair dates back to 1847 and began as a livestock fair. Since then it has become one of the most symbolic festivities in Seville, a meeting place for Sevillians who sing, dance and enjoy all the fun of the fair for five days and nights.
The Sevillians even get a public holiday on the Wednesday.
It begins with a horse-drawn parade from the fairground to la Plaza de Toros – the bullring - where there are daily bullfights throughout the festival.
And there is a fairground which would rival even Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach in size.
The permanent Feria site is located on the banks of the River which runs through Seville and from where Christopher Columbus (whose bones are buried beneath the 16th century cathedral) began one of his epic voyages to the Indies.
The Feria site is filled with hundreds of lavishly decorated “Casetas” (little tents) where the gatherings begin around 9pm each night and continue until 6 or 7am every morning.
During the week the local women from seven months to seventy years wear elaborate Flamenco dresses which you can see on sale in the local shops – starting at around 600 Euros apiece.
The men too are not to be outdone and it is not unusual to see men of all ages from teenagers to pensioners striding out in their smart suits throughout the day.
The only downside about visiting Seville during The Feria is that there is so much to do it leaves little time to see the impressive sights which detail the history of the city; once the fourth richest in the world thanks to its location as the European gateway to the New World.
Seville is one of the hottest and historic of all the Spanish cities.
It was once the centre of Islamic Spain where North African Moors would migrate and a popular home for the Jewish community.
But in 1477 the mood changed when the Spanish Inquisition began in Seville after a Domenican Friar persuaded the Queen Isabella that some recent converts to her Catholic faith were not all they seemed.
Today the rich history of the Islamic, Catholic and Jewish cultures is still very much in evidence in both the fabric of the city – the Catherdral, the pretty Santa Cruz quarter which was once home to the Jews, the palaces and the general architecture not to mention the spiritual heartbeat of the city – Flamenco.
There is a whole museum dedicated to the history of Flamenco in Seville which is well worth a couple of hours and where you can take part in a dance class and watch a show.
I had it on great authority that the best Flamenco Show to watch in town was at Los Gallos in Santa Cruz, a traditional Flamenco house or Tablao which has been a sell-out venue in the city since 1966.
For 30 Euros a head you can experience the passion of Flamenco through a team of ten singers, dancers and guitarists.
Flamenco is believed to have begun around 1447 and has its roots in Hindu, Arabic, Jewish, Greek and Castillian cultures - each clap and foot stamp an act of defiance by the oppressed groups from where this tradition began.
In its earliest form the only instruments used were those of the human body – the voice and the claps to establish a rhythm and the dance - a physical response to the passion.
The guitar was later incorporated and if you want to see Flamenco in its most stripped down form then Los Gallos is the place to go.
The rest of our weekend is spent wandering through the historic streets and resting in the squares, most of which boast mosaic-tiled seats and elaborate fountains and strolling through the honeysuckle-scented parks where horses and carriages carrying beautiful Sevillian senoritas trot through the walkways.
We enjoy long lunches al fresco in the old town of Santa Cruz washing traditional Iberian stews and tapas down with the local sherry.
It is only April but already the temperature is above 30C which make Spring the perfect time of year to enjoy the city as the mercury rises to above 45C during the summer months.
We spend the final night of The Feria strolling through the fair and enjoying “Bunuelos” (Spanish doughnuts with hot chocolate) before the midnight firework display marks the end of The Feria for another year.
And as we stroll slowly back through the Sevillian streets hand in hand our thoughts become one and the same: “How many days until next year’s Feria?”

We flew to Seville from Liverpool Airport with Ryanair. A bus outside the airport runs every 15 minutes and it costs just over two Euros for the six mile journey into the heart of Seville.
We stayed at Hotel Dona Blanco, a 20 minute stroll to the Catherdral which marks the centre of the city. Our three night stay for two cost 345 Euros during The Feria but prices start at 50 Euros a night the rest of the year.
If you want to know more about Flamenco visit the museum website on or to see one of the Los Gallos shows online visit
The Feria takes place between the 3rd and 8th of May 2011.

Friday 7 May 2010

Breaking News: Greens Romp Home in Polling Day Result

"I like your shirt Jane; it looks like we should have a picnic on it."
And that is how I was greeted when I went to work in the prison.
Mobile phones and internet connections are banned in the jail where I work but sometimes the comments I get make me wonder.
Such as
"Yesterday you were green and before that blue, what's the colour thing going on?"
We often talk about clothes and I have a few writing workshops based on what we wear.
One of them is to play the Mary Chapin Carpenter Song "This Shirt" which relates a story about the journey of a woman's shirt.
Another workshop begins with the Jackie Kay poem "The Shoes of Dead Comrades" which links her father's communist values with the solidarity of his dead friend's shared views."
And now for the hot news.
The Greens have romped away with my Election Week Special grabbing 32% of the vote with the True Blues second and sharing joint third place are the Reds and Yellows.
Thank you to everyone who voted and congratulations to Candycane who has won The Seville Scarf giveaway - please email me on to claim your prize.

Today I wore:
Boots - Clarks
Skirt - Marks and Spencer
Shirt - Matalan
Vest - Tesco
Necklace - Top Shop

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Polling Day

So in a light-hearted diversion from the more serious poll going on in the UK today cast your vote here.
Which outfit gets your vote?
Will it match tomorrow's results - how strange would that be?
Don't forget it is also your last chance to enter the Flamenco Scarf giveaway here.
Good Luck.
So Who Gets Your Vote?
True Blue
Red.Not Dead
Mellow Yellow
Green Day free polls

Election Fever Part Four: Green Day?

OK so The Green Party may not be mainstream in the UK. Yet.
What is there not to like about The Green Party's politics?
Their values tie nicely into mine.
I am vegetarian.
I love to recycle and of course I care about our beautiful planet.
Especially on a perfect sunny Spring day as this.
Come to think of it I would vote for a "More Pink Blossom Trees Across The Globe" Party any day.
But will today be a Green Day?
It's up to the UK Electorate.

Today I wore:
Jeans - Toop Shop
Top - Tesco
Cardigan - Principles
Scarf - M & Co.
Boots - Clarks

Tuesday 4 May 2010

Election Fever Part Three: Mellow Yellow

I would never have found this outfit if I hadn't been doing this Election Special week so I have something to thank the Liberal Democrats for.
I found the t-shirt in my daughter's wardrobe.
I love this shade of yellow - it's not quite lemon but it is not the bright sunshine yellow I usually think of.
Instead its a kind of mellow yellow.
And mellow is the word I would use to describe the Liberal Democrats especially when you contrast them to the harsher shades of red and blue otherwise known as Labour and Conservative.
If the vote was simply down to colour then Nick Clegg would get my vote.
He'd also get my vote for the best looking prospective Prime Minister.
But I'm not that shallow.
There are more important things to worry about like jobs, education, the health service and defence as in how will I defend myself when my daughter finds out I have been raiding her wardrobe?

Today I wore:

Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Tesco
T-shirt - my daughter's

Election Fever Part Two - Red. Not Dead.

Red is always a favourite colour for me.
I haven't worn my flat red shoes for a while but my poorly hip means I'm back in flats for a while.
I wonder if Gordon will still be in flats above Number 10 on Friday.
We will have to wait and see.
I remember when Labour won the 1997 General Election.
I was a reporter covering the West Lancs area for The Liverpool Echo.
My newsdesk sent me there because they thought it would be a quick count and I was eight months pregnant with my third baby at the time.
Unfortunately there was a recount.
I finally arrived home at 6am and had to be back at work for 11am.
A few weeks later my own Labour began and my daughter Briony was born at home on June 12th.
Incidentally, it rained most of the day but as soon as she was born the rain stopped and the sun streamed through the windows.

Today I wore:

Shoes - Clarks
Chinos and Shirt - New Look
Vest - Gap
Necklace - Top Shop

Sunday 2 May 2010

Election Fever Part One: True Blue?

Today is the start of Election Week in the UK.
I am still having trouble deciding which party will get my vote.
However, one thing is certain I will be voting on Thursday as I am indebted to those brave women who put their lives on the line so that women got the vote.
And to celebrate the efforts of these women I will explore the options I have today which in effect comes down to four choices, blue, red, yellow or green.
Today I will consider the blue option.
But don't forget there is another important contest this week - the chance to win a Flamenco Shawl all the way from Seville.
If you haven't already check out the details here.

Today I wore:
Jeans - Top Shop
Shirt - Marks and Spencer
Wrap - Joe Brown
Boots - Clarks

First 24 Hours in India

  Ten years after qualifying as a yoga teacher I finally realised a dream - to travel to the birthplace of yoga. I have been planning this t...