Friday 28 June 2013

A Whistles Stop Tour Of Oxford University

Hold on to your seat, this is a long post from me.
It has taken 47 years but in the past three months I have finally managed to get to Oxford and Cambridge University.
OK, maybe not to study but taking students and attending a teacher's conference will do.
In April I stayed at Magdalene College, Cambridge and this week I stayed at Christ Church College, Oxford.
It is one of the few perks of the job but we do get to see behind the scenes and stay in the hallowed halls where we can imagine, just for a short while, what it would have  been like to follow the road less travelled.

This dreaming spire of Christ Church Cathedral was the  view from my room.

This is the route I followed to dine in the Great Hall for lunch, dinner and breakfast.

This is another view from the walkway.
  And this is what I wore for dinner.
Here is the Great Hall in Christ Church where we dined.
If it looks familiar, it is probably  because you have seen it before in the Harry Potter films.
This hall was recreated by the film studios.

Here I am waiting for a few of the students to arrive for dinner.
This is what I wore on day two when the students were given free rein to visit colleges of their choice in Oxford.
I chose to visit Worcester College as it was the setting for this novel I have just read which is set in and around the college.

These Medieval cottages overlooking the Quad are used by first year undergraduates and are mentioned in the  novel.

As is the Lake.
But what about clothes you may ask.
Did I stick to my promise to keep my purse clasped or did I weaken in Whistles?
I will let you know in the next post!
I wore:
Jacket - Matalan
T-Shirt - Dorothy Perkins
Off the shoulder top - Asos
Jeans - Gap
Shoes - Clarks
Scarf - Next
Skirt - South

Flirty Skirt

I have had this skirt since 2009 and still get several compliments each time I wear it.
I bought it in the Principles closing down sale in 2009 for about £5, reduced from around £40.
I had just one shot at this photo today so apologies for the quality.

Today marks the 5th anniversary of my entry into blogland with my first blog  
It is amazing that some of my blogging friends are still with me from the early days including Darla, Kayleigh and Lorena.

Here's to another five years and whether you are an old friend or new to this blog I wish you a wonderful weekend.

I will leave you with a collage of June's outfits.

Today I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Principles
T-shirt - Dorothy Perkins
Necklace - Pearl Market, Kowloon

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Blue Suede Shoes

I love blue.
Especially on summer days that are not so hot.
Blue is light but still warm.
Fresh but not freezing.
I also got the chance to wear my new blue suede shoes, reduced to £24.99 in the Clarks Sale.
I will be away for a few days as I take some students to Oxford University for an Open Day.
I am sure I will have lots of snaps to share with you on my return.
I will be staying at Christ Church.
Can't wait!!
Today I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Ralph Lauren
Shirt - Matalan

Monday 24 June 2013

Lost and Found

Having a drastic decoration project across the whole house has unearthed some treasures as we unpack wardrobes and cupboards.
I had no idea I had these Gap jeans lurking on a hanger in my son's wardrobe.
I wore them last week for my trip to Manchester rolled up with flats and again today with heels.
I had forgotten how well made Gap jeans are.
Thankfully, the thrill of finding these jeans has gone some way to ease the fact that Top Shop no longer sell my favourite Martha jeans.
I wore:
Sandals - Marks and Spencer
Jeans - Gap
Top - H and M
Jacket - Matalan

Friday 21 June 2013

First Up, Best Dressed

I had forgotten about this top until I saw my daughter wearing it the other day.
She also had my necklace on and I made a mental  note to get up early and grab it.
As my dad used to day:
"First up, best dressed."
And here's a close-up of the Next necklace.
I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Jeans - Tesco
Top - Dorothy Perkins
Necklace - Next

Thursday 20 June 2013

Away Day

Off to a course in Manchester today.
The forecast was mixed and I had to leave home early so I am dressed for our summer's usual four seasons in one day.
I love my Poppy Bag which I bought from Asda last year which I usually use to carry my lunch in.
Today I had piles of papers and books to read.
I also got the chance to wear my new Clarks cross-body bag which I picked up in the sale last week.
And as I expected lots of walking here are my faithful Clarks flats which must be down to about 20p per wear by now.
I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Jeans - Gap
Belt - Marks and Spencer
Shirt - Ghost
Coat - M and Co
Pearl - Kowloon Pearl Market

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Blue Coral

I love the mix of navy and coral.
Add a bit of tan and it makes a perfect summer smart outfit.
It is funny seeing how clothes become a barometer in my workplace.
When a serious announcement is coming I always know several days before, as members of the female senior leadership team don dark suits.
Brighter news means lighter and brighter colours.
Today I bumped into the principal who was wearing white jeans and a pastel floral top.
Happy days!
Meanwhile, I mean business.
It is time to snap those students who have been enjoying a study leave into shape, hence the smart dress and jacket.
Do you every consider what subliminal messages your clothes are giving away?
I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Dress - Marks and Spencer
Jacket - Zara
Bag - Clarks
Necklace - Fossil

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Check List

Clarks Shoes - Check
Petite Blouse - Check
Skirt with Pockets - Check

My go-to smart look for work.

What's yours?

I wore:
Shoes - Clarks (obviously!)
Skirt - Gap
Petite Blouse - Marks & Spencer
Necklace - Fossil

Monday 17 June 2013

A Variation On Simple

I wore this for the UCAS Higher Education Conference.
We took our first year students to Liverpool University to find out more about university options.
The event (as usual) was on a rainy day and included lots of walking around.
It was on the chilly side too.
I needed to be warm, comfortable and (hopefully) stylish.
At 5ft 1in I often get mistaken for being younger - until folks catch a close-up but I don't think there is any chance of me being mistaken for a sixth former anymore!
I wore a similar outfit last week; this time I chose blue trousers.
I just love this gingham shirt, it always smartens up a casual look.
I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Trousers - Tesco
Shirt - Boden

Friday 14 June 2013

Feeling Blue

A meal out with mum tonight.
I love pale blue and the sliver of sunshine called for my summery white jacket.
I don't have any plans for this weekend apart from trying to restore order in the house after the painters have been.
I will also be pining for my eldest son who is off on a two week holiday with his girlfriend (to the Dominican Repubic) to celebrate the completion of their degrees.
Have fun whatever you decide to do this weekend.
I wore:
Sandals - New Look
Jeans - Tesco
Top - Zara
Jacket - Gap

Thursday 13 June 2013

The Perfect White Shirt

A few months back I reported how I had spent some of my birthday  vouchers on a pair of John Lewis trousers.
After just two washes they looked liked I'd had them for two years.
I took them back to John Lewis and they refunded my money without a fuss.
I was determined to buy something I wouldn't normally buy myself and went for this Ghost shirt.
I am hoping I will  get lots of wear oout of it.
The sleeves can be rolled up or left down.
The collar and cuffs are satin and the buttons are concealed.
It has all the attention to detail that elevates it from an ordinary white shirt into something a little special.
Thanks again for all your birthday wishes for Briony yesterday - we had a lovely day.
I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Banana Republic
Shirt - Ghost

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Sweet Sixteen

This little tinker will be 16 today.
This is my favourite photo from her childhood days.
You can see the glint in her eye and the cheeky determined smile.
Briony Jane was born at home on Thursday June 12th 1997 at 6.20pm weighing 6 pounds 2 ounces.
I remember it had been a drizzly sort of day and then after she was born the sun came out.
A neighbour had picked Sam and Joe up from school and given them their tea.
They arrived home when their little sister was less than an hour old.
I celebrated by tucking up in bed with a bowl of Frosties and ice cold milk and my new baby at my side.
It was magical.

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Raging Against The Dying of the Light

I will in the words of Dylan Thomas "rage against the dying of the light."
A trickle of sunlight poured through the skies this morning before the drizzle began.
Hasn't it been so wonderful to have a week of (almost) wall to wall sunshine.
It was a reminder of what summer used to be circa 1985.
I hope that's not it for another 28 years!!
I can guarantee it will rain at some point tomorrow.
It is my daughter's birthday and it always rains on her parade.
Today I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Jeans - Tesco
Top - Warehouse
Necklace - Wallis

Monday 10 June 2013


I love the simplicity of gingham.
As I am never sure which way the weather is going when I leave home early I need an outfit to bridge the gaps between sunny and cloudy.
There will be lots of running around today as our first year students are back after their study leave which is why I have opted for cropped trousers and flat shoes.
We have had a lovely run of summer weather recently and I am just hoping it will hold out a little further.
I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Trousers - H and M
Shirt - Boden

Saturday 8 June 2013

Cream Lace

I didn't realise how much I love wearing maxi skirts until this recent burst of warm weather.
They are perfect for covering up my least favourite assets while looking cool and stylish.
I much prefer baring my shoulders and arms than my legs.
This latest skirt is from the Very website and is made by a brand called South who produce a petite range.
It is the perfect length for me and cost just £16.00.
Today we are making the most of the warm weather and enjoying our first barbecue for two years - that's if my husband can stop swearing as he tries to put the new bbq together!!
Are you eating al fresco this weekend?
I wore:
Sandals - Boden
Skirt - South
Top - Top Shop

Friday 7 June 2013

The Price Tag

It is CPD Week this week - Continuous Professional Development.
Today we had to reflect on our recent observations.
My first didn't go too well.
My second ticked all the boxes.
My verdict:  my first lesson was by far the best.
The second was next to useless for my students but thanks to the bells and whistles I got a borderline "Outstanding"
As a parent, I would have preferred my children were in the first lesson rather than the second.
Now I would like to share a story about a teacher I know
who is highly rated by his  students who on average gain a grade A or B at A-level.
He was observed.
He got a "3" which means "Needing Improvement."
When he asked why he was told there were large parts of the lesson in which the students were doing nothing.
His response: "They weren't doing nothing, they were thinking."
His observer said: "But I can't measure thinking."
As my dear dad used to say: "They know the price of everything and the value of nothing."
Today I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Dress - Miss Selfridge
Top and Jacket: Matalan

Thursday 6 June 2013

All Things Must Pass

I am making the most of the good weather by cycling to and from work.
It takes about 45 minutes each way but I love the meditative process of cycling.
I love riding past the horses in the field, past the duck pond and watching the ducklings waddle away.
More than half of the route is on cycle paths and the rest is fairly quiet.
I feel I need this wind down time.
Lets me just say the temeperature isn't just rising outside.
Take one unforgiving stubborn daughter, add one unforgiving, stubborn father and a trio of sister-baiting brothers into the hormone stew and you get the idea.
Cycling 90 minutes a day is a doddle compared to home sweet home!!!!
I am hoping the great Liverpool prophet, George Harrison is right and:
All things must pass."
I trust my wonderful dad is looking down and chuckling away as he remembers me as a 15-year-old.
Happy Birthday Dad - wherever you are.
You are missed.
I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Jeans - tesco
Top - Next

Wednesday 5 June 2013

A Day At The Museum

I am lucky.
Where I work we are given one day off a year to pursue our passions.
The day is called "Healthy Minds" and we are encouraged to rediscover our passions.
As I run the college writing group and was a journalist for nearly 20 years, I took the opportunity to look for inspiring stories around my local city, Liverpool.
We are well served with museums in Liverpool but I decided to opt for the Museum of Liverpool which is located on the waterfront.
There were exhibitions about the history of "The Pool Of Life", the Overhead Railway, Liverpool Writing, Roger McGough's poetry exhibition about Doors and many, many more.
But it was the East Meets West exhibition that captured my imagination.
Liverpool has long links with China thanks to a shared maritime and trading history and the East Meets West examines this long relationship.
However, what really took my breath away was the exhibition about the forced repatriation of Chinese-born seamen who had settled in Liverpool and married local woman.
In 1946 when the local troops returned there was a shortage of jobs and housing.
The authorities decided the easiest way to rid the city of a large number of industrious men would be to round them up and haul them back on a one way boat back to China.
Which they did.
Unsuspecting women and children waved goodbye to their husbands and fathers as they went to find work or to meet up with a friend and never saw them again.
For many it was weeks before they realised what had happened and it was hushed up.
Even the man I share an office with who is Liverpool born and bred and a political activist had never heard about this until I told him this morning.
You can find out more here.
Hard to believe this happened in our recent history.
The exhibition contained dramatised accounts of these womens' stories and I was riveted.
After the exhibition I headed off to the newly refurbished library and spent two hours writing a short story inspired by this.
So, so sad.
Today I wore:
Dress - Primark
Denim Shirt - Barcelona Shop

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Maxing It

There is a method in my maxi madness.
Last week I fell down a set of stairs at our local bar and have two massive bruises on each shin.
I wouldn't have minded so much if I had had a few drinks as it may have hurt less but I had only had one glass of wine!

Thankfully, my yellowing legs are healing nicely and I may be able to wear a shorter skirt before the sunshine disappears.
I wore:
Shoes - Converse
Dress- Miss Selfridge
Scarf - Next
Jacket- Debenhams

Monday 3 June 2013

Our Happiest Days So Far

Nostalgia alert.
We have the painters in at the moment which has meant spending a lot of time clearing rooms to get ready.
It meant going through lots of photos.
And I mean lots.
It made me quite sad.
I began to think that possibly my happiest days were gone.
The long, lazy summer days in the garden when all it took to keep my little ones entertained was an ice lolly and lots of games.
When we used to go out together - all six of us.
This rarely happens now.
But it was an old memory that saved me.

Here's me (second left) appearing in a High School production of Salad Days, the musical about students moving on after graduation.
One of the songs has the lyrics:

"We mustn't look back.
Whatever our memories are.
We mustn't say these were our happiest days,
but our happiest days so far."
Looking back at the photos of my children when they were young then these were my happiest days so far.
Today I wore:
Shoes - Converse
Dress - Miss Selfridge
T-shirt - Warehouse

Sunday 2 June 2013

Pin Curled

My daughter is always pin curling her long locks and I wanted to have a go myself.
While it is not as picture perfect as her polished look,  it wasn't bad for a first attempt.
I must admit as my hair has grown longer over the past two years I have enjoyed having the time to play around with it - something I couldn't do when the children were younger.
My favourite tutorials have to be The Small Things Blog.
Sometimes I feel like getting it all cropped again but then I try out another idea I have seen on the internet and I am glad of the length.
So for now it stays.
Today I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Jeans - Tesco
Top - Boden

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...