Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A Flying Visit

My eldest son and his girlfriend came round for a meal tonight.
Although my son still officially lives at home, he spends most of his time at his girlfriend's house.
Sophie's parents also have a home in Spain so they spend a lot of time over there.
Not that my son is complaining.
Sophie's house is very luxurious.
In fact I wouldn't mind moving in myself.
Either way it was lovely to see them both.

I wore:
Boots - Clarks
Skirt - Noa Noa
Shirt - Marks and Spencer
Sweater - Gap

Fabulous Fashionista #5

I discovered this fabulous fashionista after googling this book I saw in Urban Outfitters.

Paris Street Style by Isabelle Thomas cost £16.99 in the shop and I was almost tempted to buy it but thought I may be able to find it at a better price and discovered it was £10.87 at Amazon.

The book is now on the Christmas list along with a grey scarf like the one my Fabulous Fashionista is wearing, although this one at £89 from Plumo is a bit out of my (and my husband's) price range.

I may well get those knitting needles out.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Tartan Tuesday

Tuesday already.
A busy day at work preparing my Oxbridge students for their forthcoming challenge this afternoon.
Later I am off to a Charity Fashion Show with my mum and daughter which has been organised by our local branch of M and Co to raise funds for Cancer Research.
I hope this outfit will fit both bills as I won't have time to change.

I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Marks and Spencer
Top - Asos

Monday, 28 October 2013

Back To Work

So it's back to work and the final term before Christmas.
Since I returned to the rhythms of the academic year I find each half term has its own distinct character.
Each half term is the same but different.
The markers for me this half term are getting all my second year students through the UCAS application procedure while easing the first years into the rigorous demands of the A-level curriculum at the same time as supporting them through the slings and arrows that life will hurl at them.
In many ways the daily life is not dissimilar to the 15 years I spent working in a newsroom when I had no idea what the working day would bring. 
But there is something safe and comforting about the rhythms of the academic year.
As I watch the leaves fall off the trees outside my office window I know it won't be long before the buds are back again.

I wore:
Boots - Clarks
Dress - People Tree

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Bad Face Day

No matter how many snaps I shot, my face just didn't look right today.
Still, when you are going to spend the day shopping for a new vacuum cleaner I don't suppose it matters.
I just wish I could hoover out some of the lines.

Back to work tomorrow and a roast to prepare.

Happy Sunday.

I wore:

Shoes - Clarks
Jeans - Tesco
Shirt - Matalan
Scarf - Shop in Swansea

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Bearing Gifts

Off to Leeds today to visit Joe at University.
A road trip for me, my husband, our two youngest children and my mum.
Look out Leeds!
The car is bursting with goodies.
Meat from our local butcher, Joe's favourite fruit (grapes and bananas) and vegetables (carrots and green beans) and jars of pesto sauce and honey.
His last text was: "You might  want to bring some bleach for the toilet too."
I have as requested also brought two new pillows, a mattress protector, fan and laundry basket.
And a home-made triple chocolate cake.

And yes, I wore my Tartan Top.

I wore:

Shoes - Clarks
Jeans - Gap
Top- Asos
Hoodie - Marks and Spencer

Friday, 25 October 2013

A rare glimpse of.....

......half term sunshine.

I have spent most of the week inside.
Just after I\ took this photo it bucketed down again.
Just as well I had no elaborate plans for the week apart from chilling at home.
Back to work on Monday.
Bet that's when the sun will come out again.

Just seven and a half weeks to go until the next holiday.

I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Jeans - Tesco
Top - Zara

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Tartan Colour Clash

Yes I know it doesn't match but I am not planning to leave the house today and need a bit of colour to brighten up the dull October day.
I will get started on the cleaning when I have finished this cuppa.
Or maybe when I've caught up with my blog reading.

I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Jeans - Tesco
Top - Asos

Fabulous Fashionista #4

I love Jo Wood - the original rock chick.
I love the way she rocks whatever she wears: from glam to grunge to gardening, she always looks fabulous.
I love the way she is always pictured smiling, despite the trials and tribulations of her tumultuous life.

I love the way she does not hesitate to back campaigns that she feels strongly about such as Organic Products and "Love Fashion. Hate Sweatshops."

I love the way she embraces life at every stage from model to mum to grandmother.
I love the way she wears her hair, long and blonde.
I love the way she looks at 58.

Rock on Jo.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Fair Trade Shoes?

I am thinking about buying these shoes.

But before I parted with the cash I thought I would put my money where my mouth was last week and contact Clarks to find out about the working conditions of those who make the product.

Within two days I had this response.

"Thank you for taking the time to contact us.

At Clarks, everything we do is built on our strong ethical heritage and the way we do business is underpinned by a strong sense of our responsibility as an international shoe manufacturer.

Clarks also attaches real importance to the welfare of our employees and those employed by our vendors/suppliers. Our Code of Practice sets the standards for the way we expect our vendors and suppliers to operate in the production of all Clarks' products. It requires compliance with all local legal and regulatory requirements and supports the core labour principles of the International Labour Organization.

Clarks shoes are manufactured in a number of countries, predominantly in Asia including China, Vietnam, India and Cambodia. Wherever manufacturing is located, the welfare of the people who are employed by our suppliers to make our products is very important to us. It's really important that we understand the working conditions of people making Clarks products and we do this by auditing and assessing our supplier factories.

The scope of our audit programme currently covers factories producing the majority of footwear for the Clarks group of companies all in geographic locations. The information gathered through these audits informs our sourcing decisions and helps us work with our suppliers to ensure that the high standards that we expect in our products are reflected in the working environments in which they are made. We have a specialist team at Clarks who review and audit working conditions in factories that we use, as well as using an internally recognised audit service provider.

I do hope that my email will help to answer your concerns and thank you once again for your kind interest in our brand."

Before I go I thought I would share a flashback with you.
What I wore four years ago today.
It made made smile - the only item I still have is the necklace.

Sunday, 20 October 2013


It doesn't often happen but I have worn this dress twice in the space of a week.
It is so warm and cosy with my thermal layer underneath and a warm scarf.

I wore:
Boots - Clarks
Dress - People Tree

Saturday, 19 October 2013

What's Occurring?

When I put this outfit on I knew it reminded me of someone.
I couldn't think who it was until it occurred to me - Nessa out of Gavin and Stacey.

I wore:
Boots - Boden
Skirt - Marks and Spencer
Top - Dorothy Perkins

Friday, 18 October 2013

Not So Blue Friday

I may be wearing blue but I am far from blue.
Today we break up for half-term and after a manic eight weeks it is time for a break.
School's out for a week and I plan to catch up with my fitness regime and get the house in some sort of order.
It might not seem like a break but it will give me the chance to get things done that I have put off for far too long.
Today involved a lot of running around hence the flat boots.
It may be a wet weekend ahead but it won't be a blue one.

I wore:
Boots -Clarks
Skirt - Noa Noa
Top - Matalan

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Dad: June 6 1936 - October 17 2010

My New Coat

Having decided to avoid buying purchases from fast fashion trades I decided to try the charity shops for a new coat.
And I have found my new coat.
It was lurking on the rails of the Age UK shop.
Yes, a charity shop.
It was exactly what I was looking for and does look much better on than on the hanger.
It cost £24.99 but I was happy to pay that.
There are signs of very light wear but it is 60% wool, very warm and although a size 10, slightly big which will allow plenty of room for those winter layers.
When you consider a brand new Hobbs coat costs in the region of £350 then it is an absolute bargain.

Happy dance!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

The Frocky Horror Picture Show

I love this spooky horror frock show.
I had time for just one shot.
It was raining and misty.
I didn't intend to create the special effects including the arms disappearing into the flowers.
It just happened.
And I like it.

I wore:
Boots - Clarks
Dress - Boden

Fabulous Fashionista #3

This week's Fab Fashionista  has to be one of my favourite authors,  the Canadian writer, Alice Munro.
In case you didn't know, Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature last week.
I wrote about discovering her work last summer here.

Now in her 80s Alice has hinted that she won't be writing any more stories.
But then when you have won the Man Booker Prize and Nobel Prize for Literature, where is there to go?

It is a great shame if she hangs up her pen for good but she has such an extensive body of work there is plenty to keep the reader busy.

I have read Selected Stories and Too Much Happiness which completely blew me away.
She instantly draws you into a journey into her fictional world that you don't want to end.

She also has great style too!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Fair Trade Fashionista

I am not a big fan of the journalist, Liz Jones.
I will leave it at that.
However, there was one story she wrote recently that broke my heart.
It was about a girl called "Dolly" who Liz met in 2010 when the child was just 13.
A child who worked 12 hours a night, seven nights a week sewing sequins on garments in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
You might remember Dhaka in the news.
It was a garment factory in Dhaka,  like the one Dolly where Dolly worked that collapsed in April killing 1,133 people and injuring 1,700 others.
It is a place where clothes are made for High Street shops like Matalan, Gap, Primark and Mango.
Yet it is also the country where another UK brand, People Tree, also employs local people to make clothes for western women.
But this brand provides free creches, maternity leave and a chance for local people to stay in their villages.
It was also the company that allowed Dolly to return to the village where her parents were born.

Liz also worked with the people at People Tree to help get Dolly back into school.
It is also the brand that has persuaded me to end my fast fashion habit and from this day forward ensure, wherever possible, that the garments I buy have been made in a place where the workers are treated as human beings.

Yes me, who has raved about £5 jeans from Tesco and bargain basement items from Primark.
I am not going to throw out all my old items but I will ensure that any new garments I buy will make me think twice about their provenance.

And today it starts here with my new dress from People Tree.
The company has lots of information on their website about how you can get involved including the  Clean Clothes Campaign
If you do only one thing today, try and sign the campaign to support garment workers across the world earn a living wage.

Thanks for reading.

I wore:
Boots - Clarks
Dress - People Tree

Monday, 14 October 2013

Neutral Mixing

Brown, black and grey with a dash of leopard.

 I wore:
Boots - Clarks
Skirt - Marks and Spencer
Shirt - Marks and Spencer
Jumper - Gap

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Sunday Errands

 Dashing about here, there and everywhere this weekend as Joe, my 18-year-old son is home from university.
It is the first time we have seen in in six weeks and he looks amazingly well.
I was worried he would be burning the candles at both ends and not eating properly but he has been surprising me.
He showed me a photo of a meal he had cooked recently. With vegetables.
This is Joe who gave up carrots for Lent one year.
"But you don't like carrots, Joe."
"I know," he grinned.
Yesterday we went to Liverpool and got him a warm winter coat to keep him cosy during the West Yorkshire winter.
My husband has also cleaned and oiled his bike which will be going back with him.
I'm missing him already.
No time for tears, I have a roast to cook.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Jeans - Tesco
Top - M & Co
Thermal layer - Marks and Spencer
Jacket - Paul Costelloe
Bag - Clarks

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Tartan And Thermals

It's getting chillier. 
The thermals are back.

Shoes- Clarks
Jeans- Gap
Top- Asos
Thermals - Marks and Spencer

Friday, 11 October 2013

Inspired by...

The weather may be too cool for bare legs but a bright skirt and chambray shirt is still an option.
Still on the search for a winter coat.
Top of my shopping list is this black military coat from Wallis which I tried on the other day during a lunchtime shop.
I quite like the way it clings to my curves and it is a heavyweight fabric despite being £56.
I am going to Liverpool tomorrow so unless anything else grabs me I think this may be the coat.

Today I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Karen Millen
Shirt - Matalan

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Shades of Autumn

There is no getting away from it, Autumn is here to stay.
Time to dig out the boots and add a warm jacket.
Out of all the months, October is my least favourite followed closely by November.
October marks the death of light and warmth and it also marks the month that I lost my father and some close friends.
November means we are as far away from summer as possible
In the past I have seen these as months to get over.
This year I will try to embrace the best the season has to offer otherwise there will be 61 days of my life I won't get back.
Can you help?
What's great about October?

I wore:
Boots - Clarks
Dress - Boden
Jacket - Paul Costelloe
Bag - Clarks

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Shades Of Grey

I just love these grey skinnies from Gap.
They are supposed to be ankle skimmers but I bought the regular size because I wanted them full length.
I am trying to reduce the amount of black in my wardrobe and grey seems a flexible alternative.

It feels like the mercury is finally dropping around here and it will be time to brace myself for five months of freezing.
Still, it may motivate me to find the winter coat I was looking for.

Buy Fenn Wright Manson Renee Coat, Steel Grey Online at
I like this one from John Lewis but at £375 it's a bit on the pricey side.

And I quite like this one from Wallis.

Trouble is what looks great on a model won't on me.
There's no way round it, I'm going to have to hit the shops and try them for size.
I may be some time.

Today I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Skinnies - Gap
Top - Vero Moda

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Fabulous Fashionista #2

Apparently this is Sarah Rutson, the face of a Hong Kong based company, Lane Crawford.
According to reports she doesn't give her age away but I am guessing that she is probably in at least her late 40s.
I love the denim shirt and bright skirt combination but what I love most of all is her face.
A woman who appears very happy in her skin.

Dream On

In my head the outfit I planned while lying in bed with the snooze button on repeat looked so much better.
I forgot I was 5 foot nothing and carrying some excess baggage.
In my head this outfit looked stylish, slinky and sleek.
But then again I dreamt I was 18.
Onwards and upwards.

I wore:
Shirt - Marks and Spencer
Cardigan - TK Maxx
Boots - Clarks
Skirt - Next

Monday, 7 October 2013

18 Again

It may have been the red wine.
It may have been the painkillers I took when I woke up with a headache before drifting off.
It may have been the 18th birthday party we had just been to.
But I had a dream.
One of those vivid movies than run through the brain in a fitful sleep.
I dreamt I was 18 again.
But instead of it being 1984, it was 2013 and my siblings were my own children.
There was a row, a snog and for some reason, a shower.
I woke in my husband's arms, bemused and amused.
It was quite a nice trip.
It gave me the urge to hunt out some old pictures.

Not the greatest quality picture but you can see from the hair and the clothes that it is very 1984.
I was 18 and on holiday with my friend Karen in Pineda, Spain.
I had just taken my A-levels: a B in History, D in Sociology and a D in English.
I re-took them the following year, ended up with BBD and a place (like Bridget Jones) at Bangor University to study English.
I remember that photo being taken.
It was just before Karen and I went out for the evening.
She met a Spanish guy who rode into the  bar on a motorbike and I ended up with a boy called Kevin from Northampton.
I wonder what 1984 Jane would make of 2013 Jane?

Today I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Trousers- Gap
Shirt- Spanish shop

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Caught In The Act

A great book and a large mug of black coffee - my favourite way of spending a sunny Sunday afternoon.
I have just discovered Muriel Spark and devoured four of her books in the last five days.
I've read, Memento Mori, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Driver's Seat and a collection of short stories.
How wonderful to discover there are 19 novels, more short stories and poems to go.
It is the first time I have enjoyed reading such an obtrusive narrator.
Memento Mori was written in the 1950s but it is still so fresh and original.
I am halfway through her last book, The Finishing School, which was published in 2004.
If you like quirky, fresh and funny with a dark side then I urge you to read one of her novels.
Most of them are just over 100 pages and it is perfectly possible to read one in a sitting.
Now, excuse me I just  need to get to the end of this next chapter before it is time to iron my son's school uniform.
I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Trousers - Gap
Shirt - Zara
Jumper - Gap

Weekly Round-Up

Apart from the Downton departure (what was I thinking?), there is a theme going on here.
Fitted knee-length skirt and patterned shirt.
It wasn't planned.
My daily outfit seldom is.
I think my favourite is the middle one.

Saturday, 5 October 2013



I love this new app on my phone. 
I can dream  .........
Have a great weekend.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Floral Dance

"I thought I could hear the curious tone
Of the cornet, clarinet and big trombone
Fiddle, 'cello, big bass drum
Bassoon, flute and euphonium
Far away, as in a trance
I heard the sound of the Floral Dance."
Now that's what my shirt reminded me of.

Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Asos
Shirt - Zara

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Taupe October

I didn't realise how "cowgirl" I looked in this outfit until I saw the photo. 
Definitely a departure from Downton Chic. 
The last few weeks have made me fall in love with this taupe skirt.
I love the fit and the colour.
I think it may be a Taupe October.

I wore:
Boots- Clarks
Skirt- Next
Shirt - Tesco

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Waitress Chic

I am going up in the world.
I've been promoted.
Bye, bye scullery maid, hello waitress.
The cream blouse and black skirt wouldn't look out of place at my local restaurant.
Who knows by the end of the week I may reach lady of the manor chic.
Or maybe not.
I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Marks and Spencer
Blouse - Top Shop

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Fabulous Fashionista #1

I love seeing photographs of women older than myself to have something to aspire to.
A reminder, if you will, that the best is yet to come.
As a tribute to that brilliant Channel 4 documentary on Fashionable Fashionistas I have decided to start an occasional series of inspiring women.
Here's number 1.

I have no idea who this woman is.
I found this catwalk shot while browsing on the internet.
But doesn't she look amazing?

Scullery Chic

For some reason, the Downton thing has passed me by.
I am not a big fan of period dramas but last night I was too lazy to do anything apart from laze on the sofa while said serial drama was on.
It may have been my inferiority complex coming out but I found the whole thing dismal, especially as I could not see further than the downstairs landing.
"If I'd been born in the Downton era I would have probably been the scullery maid, "I moaned.
"Really, I am sure I would have been Lord of the Manor," said my husband. 
With a straight face.
There you have it, our relationship in a nutshell.

And here I am looking dowdy and Downton.
Must snap out of it.

I wore:
Boots - Clarks
Skirt - Very
Top - Vero Moda
Jacket - Paul Costelloe

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...