Saturday, 30 June 2012

Monthly Budget Buys

This was a bumper month. Thanks to the early sales I blew my June, July and August budget in one month.
I had set my monthly budget at £88.00.
I spent £309.85 in June. That is more than three months worth.
Despite the spending spree I am pleasantly surprised with some investment buys inlcuding the leather bag, Banana Republic skirts, Gap jacket , ballet shoes and chambray shirt.
I am sure I will get my money's worth with the cost per wear calcuation.
To stop the rot I will participate in 31 for 31 in July.
And I will have an ebay clearout when I finish work for the summer.
Apart from allowing myself a £10.00 charity shop spend I will not be parting with  another penny on clothes until September.
The full list with prices is below the picture.

1. Tan Leather Bag from Clarks £39.99 (reduced from £79.99)
2. White Gap Jacket £29.99 (reduced from £59.99)
3. Grey Banana Republic Skirt £29.98 (reduced from £49.50)
4. Gold Peacock Matalan Dress £28.00
5. Safari Skirt from banana Republic £24.98 (reduced from £45.00)
6. Lace Top £18.00 from local boutique
7. Striped Matalan Jacket £16.00
8. Blue Oxford Chambray Shirt Gap Boys £12.95
9. Blue Tesco Jeans £14.00
10. White Tesco Jeans £14.00
11. Coral Striped Oasis Top £10.00 (reduced from £20.00)
12. Gap Leather Belt £9.99
13. Striped Matalan Bikini £9.99
14. Orange Spotted Peplum T-shirt Matalan £9.00
15. Spotty Matalan Bikini £7.99
16. White Linen Boden Shirt (Charity Shop) £4.99
17. Leopard Print Ballet Shoes Clarks £29.99

Total £309.85

Friday, 29 June 2012

Blue Swan

TGI Friday.
Just one week to go before the students leave for the summer.
And then just half a week and I am OFF WORK for Five Weeks.
I can't believe I have survived my first academic year as a Progress Coach.
Well almost.
I have loved seeing my first year students grow and helped my second year students onto the next stage of their journey.
I will miss the ones who have left but I am looking forward to the new students starting in September.
I have also been given the extra responsibility of looking after the high fliers next year.
I will have the Inspire students - the ones who are expected to go on to Oxford and Cambridge, those who plan to study medicine, Veterinary Science and Dentistry.
I will be guidng them through the UCAS process, writing their references and taking responsibility for their pastoral care.
It will be challenging but I am looking forward to it.
Today I met my first Inspire groups and I wanted to give a good impression which is why I wore my old favourite Gap dress which slots easily into the smart/casual part of my wardrobe.
I love the way clothes can make you feel safe, in control and calm. This dress is the sartorial equivalent of a swan. On the surface it makes me look calm while underneath I am kicking away furiously to get where I want to go.

Do you have old faithfuls too?

I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Dress - Gap
Belt - Tesco
Necklace - Principles

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Four Years Ago Today.........

Four years ago today, I started blogging.

You will notice that my first blog has a different name : Work That Wardrobe.
I started blogging to help me save money.
My work as a freelance writer was dryng up and our income was rapidly dwindling.
I looked at my biggest non-essential expense and it was no surprise to find clothes topped the list.
I pledged not to spend an extra penny on new clothes for a year and the blog followed my journey.
However, being the creative sort I did apply some creative accounting to my pledge.
I could sell clothes on ebay and use the money from that to "swap" for new clothes.
Friends and family could give me gift vouchers for birthdays and Christmas and I did spend the odd Tesco Clubcard voucher on a new skirt.
I didn't say I was perfect.
But it was fun.
I played around with ideas.
I experimented.

Sometimes I looked a disaster.
I still shudder at my Star Trek outfit.
But I learnt a lot about myself.
I got the blogging bug.
And I am still  here.
Four years on.
When I look back so much has changed in the past four years. 

I am no longer a freelance journalist or writer in residence at a men's prison.
Those days are gone and a new career in Education has opened up for me.
I have lost my father and my mother in law.
I have survived four years as a parent of teenagers. 
And still have another eight years of that to go.
Our  marriage has survived several difficult patches and we have come out of it much stronger and happier.
Who knows what the next four years will hold but I thank you all, fellow bloggers old and new for sharing my journey.
Whether you have left a comment, emailed me, followed me or just read in silence I thank you.
During my lowest times it was so heartening to know that I had connections out there.

Thank You for connecting.

Today I am wearing an outfit in homage to that first post when I wore:  jeans, sleeveless top and Converse.

I wore:
Trainers - Converse
Trousers - Top Shop
Vest - Tesco
Necklace - Fossil

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Oxford Blue

It was a blue and pearls kind of day today.

The weather was cooler and I had been longing to wear one of my budget-busting new garments.
This shirt is from the boy's section of Gap. It is a lovely quality Oxford shirt and I find the boys age 9/10 as perfect for me right down to the length of the sleeves.
I can see this piece will be an investment buy.

I am also sporting my new Clarks bag.
A tan leather bag was on my wishlist and I was waiting for the summer sale.
This bag was reduced from £89.99 to £39.99.
The leather is so soft.
My sister in law has a Mulberry bag and I swear the quality is not disimilar to this one.

I wore:
Shoes & Bag - Clarks
Jacket - Debenhams
Skirt - Boden
Shirt - Gap
Pearls - the Hong Kong market, Kowloon

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Mrs Grumpy

I apologise in advance for the grumpy face.
Honestly, I feel great but my face hadn't woken up when I took this picture.

I have worn this outfit before but this is the first time I have topped it with my new white Gap jacket - reduced to £29.99 in the sale.

I had been looking for a white blazer for a while and was almost tempted by one I had seen in Zara.

I am glad I waited this one was £10 cheaper and the fit is better.

I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Marks & Spencer
Shirt and Blazer - Gap
Belt - Tesco

Monday, 25 June 2012

Back To Front

I love this top so much.

The colour always puts a smile on my face and helps me make my own sunshine.

But even better - the back has some lovely detail which I haven't shown you before.

I am so glad I spotted this in New Look in May.

I think it will become one of my favourites for a long time to come.

I wore:
Top - New Look
Skirt - Gap
Necklace - Top Shop
Belt - Tesco
Shoes - Clarks

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sunshine Sunday

We woke to rain.
Cricket was cancelled.
I went to the gym.

And I came out to find........................ sunshine.
Yes, some lovely sunshine.
Windy sunshine.
But sunshine.
I grabbed a quick shower and got dressed.

I am not taking an chances though - lots of layers - just in case.

I wore:
Shoes - Marks and Spencer
Jeans - Top Shop
Vest - Dorothy Perkins
Lacy Top - Local boutique
Cardigan - Tesco
Necklace - Fossil

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Le Weekend

As expected, The Boss was boss.
On stage for 3 hours and 20 minutes WITHOUT a break.
This is what I wore underneath my waterproofs - (although hopefully I got rid of The Psycho expression on my face by the time we got there).


Sixty two years old and he still moves around the stage with as much energy as when I first saw him in the summer of 1988.
My husband introduced me to Bruce when we started going out with each other in 1986.
He had been introduced to The Boss by his older brother in the late 1970s.

Last night there was a wonderful moment when Bruce pulled a young boy - about 12 - onto the stage and let him sing a chorus from Waitin' On A Sunny Day.
The average age of the audience last night must have been around 50 but it was great to see lots of younger kids, teenagers and many in their early 20s too.
I think my days of hoping to be pulled on the stage for Dancing In The Dark are long gone.
Yesterday evening he got not one, but two girls onto the stage for that song during the encore.
Although I wasn't looking forward to the rain last night it did stop when Bruce took to the stage and I am certainly glad I went.
I have been to see Bruce six times and this was, by far, the best concert I have been to.
If you ever get the chance to go and see him live - please go, you won't regret it.

I wore: Boots - Clarks (swapped to wellies later)
Leggings - Tesco
T-Shirt - H and M
Denim Shirt - Barcelona shop

Friday, 22 June 2012

Hoping For A Boss Day

To Scousers (people who are born and bred in Liverpool), the word “boss” is an adjective used to describe something that brings great pleasure.
“That was a boss meal that,” translated to standard English means:  “That was a lovely meal.”

However, when the word is used as a definite article and proper noun such as “The Boss” it means something entirely different.

I am, of course, talking about Bruce Springsteen.

And this is what I am wearing.
My 12-year-old son's waterproofs.

Today we will be braving the wind and rain to watch The Boss in Manchester - a city famous for wet weather.
When I booked the tickets as a Christmas gift for my husband in December I imagined June 22nd would be filled with blue skies and warm sunshine.
When I checked the forecast yesterday I was wrong. Very wrong.

"Generally cloudy with rain for much of the day, this heavy in places.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Budget Busting

My June clothing budget of £88 is well and truly blown.

I have bought lots of sale items that I have had my eye on for a while - but it means that I have spent more than double my monthly budget.

This belt from Gap was reduced to £9.99 from £24.99 and a new tan leather belt has been on my wishlist for a while.

To help me keep on the straight and narrow I have decided to create a monthly post of my purchases.
I am hoping this will help me stick to my budget in July which will be £0.

And to help with that plan I will be taking part in the 30 for 30 (or 31 for 31 as it is July), challenge.
I am glad I have given myself lots of time to think as July is an unusual month.
I will be in work for less than two weeks and then we break up on July 10th until August 22nd.

I am also going to be travelling to Wimbledon for Men's Final Day.
I don't have tickets for the final but I do have tickets for number 1 court that day.

And then there's the weather - at the moment we are experiencing wind, rain, grey skies, sunshine and thunderstorms - all in one day!

Do you set yourself a budget?
If so, how much?
And if you do - do you ever bust your budget too?
or is it just me?

I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Shirt - H & M
Cardigan - Principles
Belt - Gap
Trousers - Primark
Necklace - Wallis
Sunglasses - TK Max

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


Have you tried Pinterest yet? 
I love spending a few idle minutes browsing the pins on the Food and Women's Apparel boards. 
When I am struggling for ideas my boards give me some inspiration. You can check out my boards here but you will need to be a member. 
I have created several boards including "My Style"; "Summer 2012" and Autumn 2012.
 If you haven't given it a go yet, try it - you may be surprised. 
But beware - it is addictive!

If you use Pinterest, how do you use it?

 I wore: 
Shoes - Dorothy Perkins 
Trousers - Primark 
Top - Oasis
 Cardigan -Tesco 
Necklace - Walis

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Come on England

Tonight we are off to our friend's house to watch the England match.

I am not the biggest football fan but I do like getting dressed up to go to friends and enjoy some good food, good wine and great company.

Football matches mean it is still a family affair and the kids come too.

Whatever the outcome of the match it will be win win for me.

Shoes - Marks & Spencer
Jeans - Tesco
Top - H & M
Necklace - Top Shop

June 27th

Monday, 18 June 2012

Who Am I Today?

When I was a child there wasn't a lot of money going around.
My parents saw clothes as purely functional and they were usually bought as cheaply as possible, bearing in mind that cheaper brands then did actually last.
Marks & Spencer was the height of sophistication as far as I was concerned.
I yearned for garments, any garments from the store where the "posh people" shopped.
The only concession my mum made was for shoes.
We had very few shoes but she made sure they came from Clarks or Start-Rite.
And again this was functional, she felt a well made pair of shoes, properly fitted , was vital for our physical health.
I must admit that in the (not to distant) past I have picked up sale items with a label purely for what the brand said to me rather than it suiting me or the rest of my wardrobe.
There is an interesting article about the way we wear clothes in this month's Pyschologies magazine.
According to psychotherapist Tracey Cleantis, when we buy something to wear we are purchasing a psychological quality.
"Clothes," she says, "show who we are, and who we aspire to be.
"Ask yourself what qualities you gain through buying a particular brand.
"It's always about 'this is who I am' or 'this is who I am trying to become.' "
While I sometimes scoff about over-thinking things, I have to admit this article has made me think about what I wear and why I wear it.
Jennifer Baumgartner, author of "You Are What You Wear" suggests we look into our wardrobes and ask ourselves some searching questions.

When you wear something revealing are you celebrating your body or are you looking for attention?

When putting together an outfit, are you dressing to create or disguise yourself?

Do you usually opt for black? Are you trying to blend in with the crowd or is it a hangover from the past, for example teenage rebellion?

What is your wardrobe like? Is everything thrown is, or is it organised?

Does any item in your wardrobe cause you anxiety? Why?

What would it be like to wear the opposite of what you wear? Is there anxiety around wearing the opposite? Ask yourself why.

Today I wore:

Boots - Clarks
Leggings - Lytesse
Vest (not shown) - H & M
Linen T-Shirt - Zara
Necklace - Wallis

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Layered Leggings

More leggings today.
Actually they are the same pair as yesterday -  I have two pairs!
As we are currently experiencing four seasons in one day, I wanted to make sure I was prepared for whatever today's weather  threw at me.
I started with the leggings and vest followed by a lacy top, then my trusty denim shirt and finally by favourite summer scarf.

At least it will be good preparation for The Menopause.

I wore:
Boots - Clarks (bought 2010)
Leggings - Tesco (bought 2012)
Vest - Gap (bought 2008)
Lacy Top - local boutique (bought 2012)
Denim Shirt - Barcelona Shop (bought 2012)
Necklace - Fossil (Gift 2011)

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Laid Back Leggings

I am not a big fan of leggings.
As someone who is only 5ft 1in and has short legs to boot, they are generally not very flattering.
However, I discovered a magical garment in my wardrobe that eases the pain of sausage legs -  my denim shirt.
It is long enough to cover my rear end (as even the shapeliest of behinds look a bit dodgy in leggings).
I also find that wearing it open gives the illusion of slimmer hips.
I may only ever wear them at the weekend or the airport, but finding new ways to wear them has added a whole new dimension to my wardrobe.

What are your tips for wearing leggings?

I wore:
Trainiers - Converse
Leggings - Tesco
Top - Oasis
Necklace - Top Shop
Shirt - Barcelona boutique (very cheap)

Friday, 15 June 2012

The Return Of The Spotty Shirt

Thank You so much for your comments when I blogged about the hole in my spotty shirt here.
I mentioned a tear right at the front of the shirt.
I was thinking about sending it out to the charity shop until a few of you suggested repairing the hole.
The tear was right at the front and I wouldn't have been able to sew it.
However, I decided to fold it over and stitch it back so that it emphasised the peplum effect of the blouse.
A repair and a trend all in one.
I don't know how much longer the fragile fabric will hold out for but I am grateful for the comments you  made that helped me to salvage one of my favourite shirts.

I wore:

Shoes - Clarks
Chinos - Primark
Shirt - Sara Berman

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Something Old, Something New.....

Don't worry - this is not a bridal post.
As the weather is still cool I needed to wear boots and this lovely thick, flouncy skirt that I have had for at least two years.
The top is my last purchase of May and I love the way the coral mixes with the blue.
After losing a few unwelcome pounds with Weight Watchers I feel a little more secure wearing my belts again.
I am still at least 10 pounds heavier than when I started blogging in 2008 but I think I am destined to carry a little extra to flesh out the ageing process.
Still, I saw a poignant reminder on a poster today which listed things to be grateful for.

It said:

I am thankful for....

the clothes that feel a little too snug as it means I have enough to eat.

I wore:
Boots - Clarks
Skirt - Principles
Top - New Look
Belt - Tesco
Necklace - Fossil

Wednesday, 13 June 2012


Today was a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Day.

The brief was "Healthy Minds."
And it was my turn to organise an event for our team of 10.
As Progress Coaches at a sixth form college, our role is pastoral and to support students through their educational journey between the ages of 16 and 19.
We each have responsibility for 180 students who we see twice a week in group sessions.
The rest of our time is spent supporting individual students on a 121 basis, liasing with home and generally problem-solving/troubleshooting.
Our role can be quite stressful and our students go through a very challenging time while they are with us.
I have students who are recently bereaved, have terminally ill parents, suffer from long term health problems and all the other difficulties modern life can throw at them.
I was interested to see how meditation could help.
If it is good enough for Oxford University, it should be worthwhile for our students too.
With this in mind I contacted the local Buddhist Centre and asked if they could arrange a talk and series of Guided Meditations to give us a taste of what meditation could offer.
My colleagues were happy to investigate and so we spent a relaxing session at The Buddhist Centre near Sefton Park, followed  by a meal together at a lovely Gastro Pub in Lark Lane.
A colleague and I are now planning to set up weekly meditation sessions for students in September. I will let you know how we got on.

I wore:
Cardigan - Principles
Black Trousers - Primark
T-Shirt - Zara
Shoes - Clarks

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Birthday Shop

Today my darling daughter, Briony, is 15.
It will be very difficult to get a photograph as she hates me taking snaps nowadays.
But on the left is one taken a few weeks ago when we visited by brother and his family.
My brother also shares her birthday and there have been several years when we have celebrated together.

The photo on the right was taken on her seventh birthday when she was more than happy to pose.

Briony was born at home on the day she was due,  June 12th 1997 at 6pm. 
I spent most of the two hour labour in the bath as the gas and air did not work.
My older two children, then six and two, were having tea at a friends house around the corner.
This snapshot was taken just before they arrived home

This year I treated her to some new clothes for her birthday and on Saturday we spent the day shopping in Liverpool where she got some shoes from Office, some tops from Zara and River Island, a faux leather jacket from Warehouse and some jeans from Miss Selfridge.

We are almost the same height and size now which means that both of us have the capacity to double our wardrobes.

Next year she will be 16 and I imagine her birthday trip will include shopping for her Prom.

I can't wait!

For the shopping trip I wore:
Leggings - Tesco
Boots - Clarks
Top - Small boutique in our village
Necklace - Principles.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Sky Blue

When I was a child my next door neighbour was a big Manchester City fan.
I didn't know much about football but I loved the colour of the kit - sky blue.
Actually, I love any shade of blue.
My house is painted in a mixture of blues and whites.
This morning I went to Tesco for some loo rolls.
Yes, loo rolls.
So why did I end up combing the clothes rails which is about as far away from the loo roll aisle as is possible?
These were the only pair of sky blue ankle grazers on the rail.
And in my size.
Should I add them to my basket?
At £14 it would be rude not to.
The great thing about ankle grazers is that they are the perfect length for us petites.
If I want ankle grazers I will just roll them up but here I can wear them as full length jeans.
Two pairs for the price of one.  
Buy One, Get One Free.

Here is a close up of my Primark top which Kasmira requested.
It cost £8 and I love the muted colours and the scalloped edge.
I think this will be a summer staple in my wardrobe for years to come.
Are you ever tempted when you are shopping for groceries?

I wore:
Shoes - Marks & Spencer.
Jeans - Florence & Fred (Tesco)
Top - Primark

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Messy Bun

Still having fun with The Small Things' Hair Tutorials.
Today was the turn of the messy bun.
I think I should have curled it first and used those clear plastic ties to make it look as good as Kate's but it is good for a change.

I have also noticed that here excellent blow dry tutorial has added extra body to my usual down dos too.

Another casual day today to make it easier to run around the house tidying up.
I am actually looking forward ot going to work next week so I can dress up a bit.

I wore:
Trainers - Converse
Jeans - Top Shop
Top - Asos
Necklace - Fossil

Friday, 8 June 2012

With Or Without You?

Favourite grey scarf I couldn't decide.
With Or Without You?

In the end I went with the scarf as it was such a chilly day.

I can't believe it is winter boots and leggings time again.
What is happening with this weather?

I wore:

Boots - Clarks
Leggings - Lytesse
Vest Top - Isabella Oliver
Denim Shirt - Spanish shop
Scarf - River Island

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Happy Birthday Dad

It would have been my dad's 76th  birthday on June 6th.
It is the second birthday we have had to celebrate without him.
I thought the first year of firsts after his death would be the hardest but it doesn't seem right to have a June 6th without my dad here laughing, joking and teasing my mum.
Little things get me like when I am walking the dog and I see a man of his height and shape in the distance.
I know I am not the only one because our dog starts to wag his tail too.
When I am running my favourite route through the pinewoods I remember when he would cycle by my side.
But most of all when I see my mum's eyes mist over and know that however hard it is for me it so much worse for her.
As exasperating as he could be, he was the love of her life.
Tonight we will write messages on our Chinese lanterns and send them up to the heavens.
Wherever you are dad, Happy Birthday.

I wore:
Trainers: Converse
Trousers: Top Shop
Blouse: Boden (thrifted)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Charity Shop Finds

There are around six charity shops in our village and on Saturday  I went round them all.
I have managed to uncover some treasures in each and today was no exception.
My first treasure of the day was this lovely white cotton Dorothy Perkins skirt for £4.00 in the Marie Curie shop.

And just when I was on my way home I made my final stop at the Claire House shop where I discovered this brand new 100% linen Boden blouse for £4.95.
 I always save this shop until last because it rarely disappoints.
Last winter I found this Hobbs skirt there.

I usually leave it a month or so between shops and allow myself £10.00 to spend.
This money doesn't come out of my clothing budget as I consider it a donation to charity.
The only rule I have is that for one new thing I buy in a charity shop I must donate two items to a different charity shop.
Do you ever shop in charity/thrift stores?

Today I wore:
Trainers: Converse
Skirt : Thrifted Dorothy Perkins
Vest: Tesco
Denim Shirt: Spanish shop

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Sunshine Street Party

The big day dawned for our street party and guess what?
The sun came out.

There may have been a chill wind blowing but the sun shone from the time we started putting out the tables, through the festivities, and finally setting at around 8pm when we packed away.

It was a wonderful day, organised on a whim by one of our neighbours who pushed a piece of paper through everyone's door asking if anyone would be interested in having a street party.

That was three weeks ago and more than 20 people arrived for the first meeting.

My mum was one of the chief organisers and I helped her out on the craft table where we helped the younger children decorate bunting and make crowns.

We even got a visit from our Olympic Torchbearer, Nick Giles who patiently waited while everyone in the street had their photo taken with him and the torch.

Every child uner 16 was given a medal to remember the event.

Overall, a wonderful day.
Here's to the next Jubilee in ten year's time.

I wore:
Trainers: Converse
Trousers: Zara
Top: Top Shop
Bodywarmer: Primark

Nice Day For A White Wedding

  After two years of planning my beautiful Briony finally became a bride. It was a wonderful wedding at Merrydale Manor in Knutsford. I was ...