Wednesday, 31 July 2013

July Outfits

A break in the holiday countdown for a July retrospective.

Until I saw the collage I didn't realise just how much striped action there was in July.
It was a fabulous month with almost three weeks of wall to wall sunshine.
Coral emerged as my favourite summer shade.
I wonder what August will bring.

* This is a scheduled post,  normal service will resume soon.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Holiday Countdown: The Reading List

This should really come under anything else but as I am a book lover I think it deserves a post of its own.
Every time we go with Eurocamp there is a book and magazine swap facility and I have read some amazing books I would never have chosen over the years including: A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Girl Who Played With Fire and A Change of Heart.
So I will be limiting myself to 3 books and one magazine as I will pick up some swaps.
I will be taking:
1. Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro

2. The Summer House by Santa Montiefiore

3. The Stranger in the Mirror: A Memoir of Middle Age by Jane Shilling

The latest edition of Psychologies magazine
* This is a scheduled post,  normal service will resume soon.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Holiday Countdown: Make-Up and Everything Else

This year I am trying to collate everything I pack on holiday.
It may be helpful to readers who struggle to organise their holiday packing  but for me it will act as an aide memoire for next time I go away.
After my clothes I divide my list into:
1. Make Up
2. Toiletries
3. First Aid
4. Electrical equipment
5. Anything else I may need
1. The Make Up

Tinted moisturiser
Eye shadow
Eye liner
Lip gloss
Eye lash curler

2. The toiletries


Dove soap
Eye make up remover
Cotton pads
Facial Moisturiser with SPF
Body moisturiser
Sun cream
After sun
Baby Wipes

3. First Aid

Migraine tablets
Dental Floss
Lavender Oil
Savlon Cream
Insect Repellant
Bite/Sting Cream

4. Electrical Equipment

Phone charger

5. Anything else
Hair elastics
Sewing kit
2 pens
Playing Cards

If you were limited to 5 toiletries and make-up items what would you take?

* This is a scheduled post,  normal service will resume soon.


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Holiday Countdown: The Capsule Wardrobe

Today starts a series of holiday countdown posts.
For the past eight years in a row we have opted for a European campsite.
We usually go with Eurocamp and stay in a mobile home that has three bedrooms, full working kitchen, bathroom and shower and decking outside.
We started with a campsite called Vilanova near Barcelona in 2005 when my youngest was 5 and my eldest was 13.
European campsites have been the holy grail of holidays for us.
Lots to do to keep kids of all ages happy, enough security to give the children the freedom they need inside the campsite and sun, sun, sun.
If you grew up going to Butlins and Pontins (like I did) the thought of a campsite may make you tremble but once you have visited a European campsite you will be converted.
European campsites are more like resorts - the quality of facilities and cleanliness is excellent.
In 2003 when I was working as a journalist we were fortunate enough to get a travel feature to the five star ForteVillage resort in Sardinia.
It was nice but I have enjoyed our campsites more.
Since 2005 we have visited campsites in Spain, France and Italy but it is the region around Barcelona that we keep coming back to.
It will be the third time we have been to the campsite we are going to this year - Park Playa Bara and it has everything for all of us including a beach outside the campsite, local towns to walk to, bars, pools and one of the finest restaurants (better than any in Fortevillage) I have eaten in inside the campsite.
Did I also mention the nightclub that stays open until 5am that my teenagers tend to frequent?
So here goes, let's get started with the clothes which I think I have pared down to a fine art.
Left to right.
Top row: Dress 1: New Look; Dress 2: Next; Dress 3: French Connection; Dress 4: Joe Brown's;  Beach Cover Up 1: Marks and Spencer.

Row 2
Beach Cover Up 2: Matalan; Sarong: Shop in Swansea; Bikini 1: Fig Leaves; Bikini 2: Tesco; Tankini: Fig Leaves; 
Row 3
Bikini 3: Tesco; Swimsuit: Jasmine Guinness; Denim Skirt: Dorothy Perkins; White Skirt: Tesco; Top: Local Shop
Row 4
Vest: Gap; Top: Next; Wedges: Gap; Flat Sandals: Boden; Beach Sandals: Birkenstock

Not pictured:
1 nude multiway bra
5 skin tone pants
Tan belt 
1 bath towel
1 beach towel
Spare pair of ear-rings
Silver Necklace
Cath Kidston book bag used as a beach bag 


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Beach

I am fortunate in living within walking distance of this lovely beach.

When the children were little we would go all the time in the holidays.
Now it's me and my husband and the dog.
The children still go but now they cycle down and meet their friends.
Living on the West Coast means we get amazing sunsets.
A few years ago there was a whale washed up on the shore.
Some people have found fossils but we never have.
Further up from where we walk are the remains of England's first ever lifeboat station.
We will be swapping this beach soon for one where we can actually swim in the sea - you can't have everything!

I wore:
Shoes - Converse
Skirt - South
Top - Warehouse

Monday, 22 July 2013

Lady And The Lamp


I love the way the lamp in the tree matches my necklace.
It's that time of the year when I am trying hard not to wear anything I will be taking away with me.
Most of my holiday wardrobe over the past few years has featured red heavily.

This year I am trying to add more corals and pinks.
I will let you know how I get on later this week.
Today I wore:
Sandals - Boden
Dress - Primark
Necklace - Next

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Next Clearance Bargains

A little later than planned but here are the bargains I bagged at the Next Clearance Sale last week.
The Kaftan was exactly what I was looking for and the sequin neckline means that I can dress it up for the evening with a white vest underneath.
The black jacket is a linen mix and will be ideal for when I return to work in the autumn.
The sequin top is a lovely colour and feels excellent quality.
And the scarf - how could I leave my new favourite summer colour for £2?

Friday, 19 July 2013

The Holiday Spirit

This heatwave is wonderful for getting into the holiday spirit.
Here I am sporting my new holiday hat before  it's time for a pedicure. 
I think those orange lilies may have influenced my varnish of choice.

Hat - eBay
Dress- Mantaray
Flip Flops - Monsoon
Necklace - Next

The Wanderer Returns

Joe's back from Zante.
Forty eight hours later and he is still catching up on the Zzzs.
I picked him up at midnight on Wednesday and it wasn't until the next morning I spotted his black eye.
Don't ask.
I am so glad I didn't know what he had been up to until he got home.
Arriving back at the hotel at 9am, taking quad bikes for rides around the cliff, hiring a speedboat and packing a crate of beer in the back.
Ah to be 18 again.

Thursday, 18 July 2013


Another day for pottering: school run; gym; post ebay items; shopping; laundry; walk the dog; helpson with his final degree assignment; help another son apply for a part-time job; clean bedroom and plan holiday wardrobe.
And that's just before lunch.
Phew, until I wrote down what I did I thought I was having a lazy day.
Still, at least I can fit it all  into my day instead of shoe-horning it all around my normal eight hour working day.
Still in relaxed mode and while I am no Liz Hurley with the white jeans I thought I would dig them out in honour of the heatwave.
Yesterday I took my daughter for an interview at Liverpool FC for a weekend job waitressing.
On the way back we went though Walton, a part of Liverpool I don't normally go through.
 But I am glad I did as I spotted a Next Clearance store en route.
I cannot believe how much we got and I will reveal all tomorrow.

Today I wore:
Shoes - Tesco
Jeans - Tesco
Top - Dorothy Perkins

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Lazy Summer Days

There is nothing more blissful than getting up in the morning, knowing you are off work for a while and there is nothing but sun, sun, sun on the horizon.
It's a jeans and converse day today.
A morning spent ordering currency, booking taxis, checking flight details and running around my children.
That doesn't mean I don't get time to take a break for some holiday reading.
I am into short stories at the moment and reading The Mortgaged Heart by Carson McCullers and have just finished Selected Stories by Alice Munro.
I just want to weep when I read Munro.
If I live another lifetime I will never be anywhere near as good.
If you haven't read any of Munro's work yet I urge you to do so - she is my absolute favourite.

I forgot to add that on my cycle ride last Sunday I managed to sneak into the Next Sale and I was largely underwhelmed.
The only thing that caught my eye was this lovely necklace reduced from £8 to £4.
I hope you are luck enough to be enjoying the sun today.
I will finish my coffee and the next chapter before starting on some more chores.
Or maybe not!
I wore:
Shoes - Converse
Jeans - Gap
Top - H and M
Necklace - Next

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The Prodigal Top

 I love this New Look top and wore it to death last year.
And when the sun came out I hunted high and low to find it.
I asked my daughter who shook her head and denied all knowledge.
The other day she asked me to take her to her friend's house to pick up some clothes she had left.
Guess what?
Yes, there it was at the bottom of the pile.
I know it needs a good iron but I was so desperate to wear it today and it is too warm to iron.
I wore:
Sandals - Boden
Skirt - South
Top - New Look
Necklace - Next

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Cycle Sunday

A beautiful day today.
My son had run out of tennis balls.
The nearest big town is Southport which is eight miles away.
Usually I hop into the car but today I tied up my hair, threw on some jeans and saddled up my faithful white steed.

Through the woods. 


And along the coast road.
Six miles of the journey is off road or on cycle tracks.
It was a real pleasure.
Must do it again sometime.
I wore:
Sandals - Boden
Jeans - Tesco
Dress - New Look

Circuit Training

I just love my Saturday morning Circuits class.
It is tough but so worth waking up for; it makes the weekend indulgences even more enjoyable.
Today I am getting my hair done and off to a  barbecue.
What else would I be doing on this glorious Saturday evening?
PS: Only when I got back from the gym did I realise I had worn my vest inside out.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Date Night at Bistro Moulin

Time to dress up and start the weekend as we mean to go on.
Date Night and the chance to wear this Boden dress again.
We were off to try out a new restaurant that has opened locally.
And what a treat: Beetroot and Goat's Cheese Salad to start with Sea Bass Fillets, Couscous and mixed veg to follow.
A perfect way to start the weekend.
I wore:
Shoes - New Look
Dress - Boden
Bag - Gap

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Maxi Stripes

Phew what a scorcher!
Not that I'm complaining.
I love the sun.
I started the day off with a sundress but much preferred my maxi.
It was perfect for meeting up with a few friends for a glass of ice cold lime and soda or three.
Let's hope the weather stays this good for a little while longer.

I wore:
Sandals - Boden
Dress - Primark

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Keeping Cool

 Still a  bit saddle sore from Sunday but it was time to  get back into the saddle for the final commute to work this academic year.
The sun is still shining so I needed to keep cool and this French Connection dress is perfect.
The leggings help me retain my modesty as pedal power gets me to work.
I have lots of plans for the next seven weeks and hopefully time for some longer blog posts.
Happy Wednesday.
I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Dress - French Connection
Leggings - Lytesse

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The Summer of 1984 Revisited

My 18-year-old son is off to Greece on his first holiday sans parents.

I was going to say the first without an adult, but of course, he is an adult.
He is so excited.
Here's his neatly packed suitcase.

He is the group leader, having organised the original trip for 12, collected the money and readjusted when two dropped out and the travel agent he had booked it at closed down.

He has just checked all his documents, passport, E11 card, travel insurance and weighed his bag (14.1k) to ensure it does not exceed the 15k allowance.

On the whole he is sensible but and here’s the big but – so many things can happen to him.

Every newspaper I have read over the past few days reports some holiday tragedy: drowning after drinking; getting stabbed for chatting up a girl; being robbed of all cash hours into the holiday and so the list goes on.

But maybe the chickens are now coming home to roost.

It was the summer of 1984.
I had just sat my A-Levels and told my mum and dad  I had booked a holiday to Spain with my friend Karen.

I had saved and paid for the holiday with the proceeds of my Saturday job in a sweet shop.

What I had failed to mention was that it was a Club 18-30 holiday.

Some things parents just don't need to know because, hey,  they worry too much.
It was late August and we finally arrived at a dusty little town on the outskirts of Barcelona after a tortuous 36-hour coach trip.

Seconds after stepping on Spanish soil we were promptly stripped of our luggage and dumped in the pool by fellow holidaymakers.

(Me, front right and Karen in The Rovers Return bar, the night it was announced Corrie stalwart, Stan Ogden had died.)
We hooked up with a gang of lads from Northampton and Essex who on the whole, acted as big brothers to us.

(Here's me in my holiday togs, fake vest and white jogs - top right , if you hadn't guessed!)
In fact there was an even bigger brother amongst the gang – a Freddie Mercury lookalike who appeared to sniff out danger at every corner.

He barely drank, spent the evenings scanning the bars and quickly steered us out of harms way every time there was a scuffle.

Although he had tagged on to our group he appeared to be a solitary figure.

On the last day he was late for our evening out and I went to find him.

It was the first time I had seen his room and unlike ours it was immaculate – everything neatly folded and not a can of hair gel out of place.

He caught the surprise in my eyes.

“You don’t get much space to yourself in Wormwood Scrubs,” he replied.
 (Can you spot "Freddie"?)
I am still not sure to this day whether he was telling the truth but I do know that I arrived back home, safe and sound.

Cycle (Not So) Chic

A flashback to Sunday.
Now I am a  big tennis fan and Andy Murray was in the Wimbledon Final.
But a great sunny Sunday afternoon only comes around about as often as a Brit winning Wimbledon.

So Paul and I decided to head out with our pals, Kevin and Denise for an epic 50 mile ride.
Here we are at our first stop, enjoying a coffee at a farm café.

Along the Leeds Liverpool Canal we met this fluffy family.

Back home and there was still time for a barbecue.
And plenty of Pavlova.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Jean Genie

The students have now finished and we have just two more days to go.
Thankfully, no students means a much more relaxed dress code including jeans.
However, there is relaxed and relaxed when it comes to dress codes and I was surprised to see some members of staff wearing shorts.
My problem isn't with shorts per se it is just the amount of flesh on display that bothers me.
It is still a workplace after all.
A time and a place.
Or am I a prude?
I wore:
Shoes - New Look
Jeans - Gap
Top - Top Shop
Jacket - Primark

Friday, 5 July 2013

Friday Feeling

The morning after the night before and I had to go to work.

Still, it was a lovely sunny day and there is more sunshine forecast.
A smart jacket for work and a cool top for  play. 

This weekend I will be looking forward to a barbecue, a bike ride, circuit training and a Wimbledon final.

What are your plans?
Shoes: Clarks
Jeans: Tesco
Top: Top Shop
Jacket: Primark
Necklace: Marks and Spencer

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