Friday 16 December 2022

Plaid Friday


According to the news, today is Mad Friday.

But I have decided for me it's going to be Plaid Friday.

I love this red Zara dress that I picked up from Vinted last year.

I adore the pattern, the colour and crucially, the fact that you can fit four layers underneath too.

It was another chilly start this morning but I was out and about meeting up with friends after finishing teaching for the year yesterday.

First, I met my friend Pauline for a chat before driving off to my alma mater, Edge Hill University.
My friend Lisa works there now and we met up for a coffee on the campus which is a beautiful setting especially on a frosty morning.
I first visited Edge Hill University in 1973 when my mum's cousin was studying teaching there.
In 2010 I enrolled as a student for a year when I studied for my own teaching certificate - a PGCE English.
While I hated most of my teaching placements, I loved being on campus.
I thoroughly enjoyed the visit today.
It was a lovely atmosphere as it was the students' last day before the Christmas break.
I remember saying to a friend once that what I loved about working in education was the rhythms of the year.
She rather cynically replied 'you just love the holidays.'

After a coffee and catch up we strolled around the campus.
I can't believe it is 11 years since I was a student here.
I hope it's not too long until I return again.

Back home now and I am going to curl up on the sofa with a couple of dogs, a hot vimto and my (sort of) campus  based novel, Ghosted.

Have a lovely weekend.

Boots - New Look
Dress - Zara via Vinted

Wednesday 26 October 2022

Rainbows, Rivers and Light

A half family day out with two of my four children, my husband, daughter in law, mum and my two grandchildren, Heidi and Mason.
It was half-term and we decided to visit Speke Hall before meeting up with Briony's husband in Liverpool later.


It was very wet although there was a beautiful rainbow to enjoy.

Not that the weather stopped Mason and Heidi enjoying the entertainment in the Great Hall.

I couldn't resist snapping this shot of my husband, Paul, who happened to do his musing just below the antlers.

We arrived in Liverpool city centre about 5pm and got the last table at Duke Street market where we all enjoyed our favourite foods.

We left a long queue snaking outside Duke Street Market and headed towards the waterfront for the 2km light show, The River of Light - a series of light inspired installations.

The children loved it and judging by the crowds so did half of Liverpool. It was heaving.

It was such a lovely thing to do in the autumn evening.

Not very often you get free family entertainment in this day and age but it was wonderful.

Heidi couldn't get enough of the light show.

We were all home by 9pm filled up with good food and more happy memories.

Tuesday 11 October 2022

A Walk on the Wildside


When I was 18 I briefly went out with a DJ on our local radio station, Radio Piccadilly in Manchester.

He had gone to the same sixth form college as me. 

I was a first year and he was a third year and we met in a drama production.

Every morning when he was covering the early morning show he would play Walk on the Wild Side for me.

That was in 1984 and I have loved walking on the wild side ever since.

Especially if that wild side has a coastal view.

As part of our plan to eventually walk the rugged Anglesey Coastal Path my husband, myself and our two close friends Denise and Kev decamped to Newborough for three nights to cover yet another section.

Our previous efforts were documented here.

Day One started at Newborough beach and we walked along the sands to the ruins of the memorial to the Welsh equivalent of St Valentine - St Dwynwen.

St Dwynwen is the patron saint of lovers and lived in the 5th century, her day is celebrated on January 25th.

You can find out more about her here.

Day Two and Liverpool were playing so the boys watched the game in Beaumaris while Denise and I had a mooch around the shops and a quanit little garden centre.

After lunch we walked from the village with the longest name in Wales 

( shortened to Llanfair PG) which took in both of the Menai Bridges.

Along the way we came across Church Island and a gorgeous little church that dates back to the fifteenth century.

Day Three and by far the hottest day where we walked along South Stack near Holyhead and saw a group of dolphins swimming close to the shore.

Day Four and our final day was a few miles along the coast from Aberffraw.

It is the most beautiful coastal path to walk and I am determined not to rush.

I want to savour every inch.

Sadly, the relationship with the DJ didn't last long but my love of walking on the wild side has stayed with me forever.

Thursday 18 August 2022

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 a very proud mum.

The theme was Ivory and Gold and my dress was made by Liverpool designer Mark Melia.
Although I did find my shoes on VInted!

While the bride and groom took centre stage, Mason was star of the show and so good.

A fabulous day was had by all and it was so lovely to see my four children together.

My sons were groomsmen and my grandaughter, daughter in law and son's girlfriend were bridesmaids.

Thank you to the amazing Stacey Oliver for the professional photographs.

Monday 27 June 2022

Confessions of a Hen Do: The Final Part

The cases are packed, the taxis are ready and after retrieving Linda's Chanel sungasses from the bottom of the pool the Hen Do is finally over.

But not for me, my daughter and her mother in law to be as we meet up with Jordan, (her husband to be), the baby and her father in law to be.

Jordan's family have an apartment in nearby San Pedro and I have booked into a hotel nearby.

My morning starts with a swim and book by the pool.

After brunch in the port we catch a boat to Marbella Old Town and enjoy a few drinks in this beautiful old square and dinner by the beach.

The next day we visit a Beach Club and Mason enjoys a swim in the pool.

And all too soon it's over.

I have loved finally getting abroad for the first time in two and a half years and I have loved spending time with my daughter and her friends.

I think this will probably be my first and only Hen Holiday but what a Holiday it was.

Now its time to get ready for the wedding.

Confessions of a Hen Do; Part Four in which we get an indecent proposal


The final day of our Hen Do and it's a full day to appreciate this beautiful villa,.

The theme is White and Gold.

The Hens are in white and the bride to be in gold.

I went for my old Zara dress but almost everyone else was in beachwear.

Today its a real treat as two chefs arrive with pots, pans, plates and food to prepare a feast while the Butler in the Buff creates cocktails for us and a DJ plays some tunes.

After the food and drink there are party games organised by the matron of honour, my daughter in law, Sophie.

I couldn't quite get the hang of the balloon game.

It all ended with two teams competing to make a wedding dress with toilet rolls.

And the indecent proposal?

My daughter in law and my son Joe's girlfriend, Poppy, were seeing the butler out when he uttered the immortal words:

'Fancy a quickie?'

Luckily they didn't!

At least I hope not.

Monday 20 June 2022

Confessions of a Hen Do: Part Three and the Beach Club


After a relatively early night and all that fresh air I sleep like a log and spend the morning lazing by the pool in my preloved Top Shop swimsuit and charity shop sarong.

As most of the girls are sleeping off the previous night's excess I get a chance to read my book The Black Dress by Deborah Moggarch which I am thoroughly enjoying.

By lunchtime we are getting ready for the Beach Club and a Champagne Spray whatever that it.

I decide to wear this Butter by Nadia multiway dress that I got from eBay and my old favourite Top Shop sandals.

Before we go the matron of honour,my daughter in law,  insists on a party game and Poppy (my son Joe's girlfriend proves to be a winner).

Ocean Beach Club was, shall we say, an insight into how the other half lives.

The money wasted on spraying champagne was obscene.

And those ladies by the pool on the right provided most of the entertainment for the afternoon when they arrived en masse on a Stag Bed next to us.

 Although the show became x-rated as the afternoon progressed.

One of our party couldn't resist copying their pose!!!!

I wasn't sorry to leave and while the Hen Do is almost over I was looking forward to Day Four the most although there was an Indecent Proposal which I will tell you about next time.

Saturday 18 June 2022

Confessions of a Hen Do: Part Two in which we escape



No. It wasn't an accident or an illicit romance.
Just a plain row which prompted one hen to pack her bags and do a moonlit flit from the house.
When everyone emerged the followng morning heads were in varying states of soreness and confusion about the events of the previous evening but there was no time to dwell as we were being picked up ay 11 for the boat trip.
As I was first up I enjoyed a couple of hours sunbathing and got the chance to wear my preloved white shorts that I'd bought from Vinted together with an anicent swimming costume.

Then it was time for a quick change into this black crochet preloved New Look Dress and preloved Top Shop swimming costume.
The taxi arrived just in time and we were taken to Marbella port where we caught the boat.
The dress code was black for us and white for my daughter.

And what a fabulous day it was.
For four hours we enjoyed drinking, dancing and sunbathing.
When I saw we, I mean most of us because three hens spent most of the trip lying down indoors with seasickness!

Briony enjoyed a Titanic moment with a mask of Jordan and she looked fabulous.
Just four short months ago she was four stone heavier after giving birth to baby Mason.

Time for a group shot.

I managed one photo with my son Joe's girlfriend Poppy before she disappeared for the duration nursing her hangover seasickness!

After the boat trip we went into Puerto Banus for a couple of cocktails followed by a meal at a fabulous Italian restaurant in the port.
While most of the girls stayed on to party Briony, Sophie and me made our excuses and went back to the villa to enjoy a warm evening in the hot tub as we paced ourselves for the festivities to come the following day.

Tuesday 14 June 2022

Confessions of a Hen Do: Part One in which we lose a hen.


So, the day finally dawns and here we are - all of us together for the first night only - more of that later.

But lets begin at the beginning.

While hen party was originally used in the nineteenth century to describe a sedate gathering of women in the United States, it lost something in translation when it travelled to our shores at the beginning of the twentieth century.

The practice of women enjoying their last day of freedom before their wedding has something in part related to this female gathering but its also linked to the word 'honey' or 'hinnie' and has nothing to do with birds!

Modern women like my daughter now enjoy freedoms my grandmother's generation could never have dreamed about.

She was a machinest at Burton's factory near Bolton and I remember her regaling us with tales of young women decorated in toilet rolls with L plates tied to their backs.

In those days women generally gave up work to get married.

Most female factory workers were either single or like my grandmother, widowed.

One of the things that links the olden days (as my children refer to pre-1980s days) and today is that generally Hen parties were about taking the bride out of her comfort zone and nothing has changed there.

So history lecture over lets turn the clock back to 2am on Friday May 27th when the alarm rings.

After a quick shower my son's girlfiend, Poppy, who lives with us drives us to my daughter's house and we pick another hen up on the way.

After a 4am pick-up we enjoyed a glass of champagne in the taxi and arrive at Liverpool Airport.

My daughter is nervous and excited. She has left her four month old baby in the capable hands of her fiance.

I am also nervous and excited. I have never been on a Hen Holiday before.

I didn't have a Hen Do when I got married and the only Hen Do I had been on before was a rather sedate afternoon tea for the oldies when my daugher in law got married to my son in 2018.

I am excited about the prospect of some sun and fun but nervous as I don't really know many of the others apart from my daughter, daughter in law and son's girlfiend.

I have met my future son in law's mum a handful of times and her friend I have met once.

Apart from that I don't really know anyone else.

But as a former journalist I am used to being on the outside looking in.

We board the plane around 6am and the others are enjoying a drink or three while I sleep - you can see me sleeping through in the bottom right!.

By the time we arrive in our fabulous villa in the Elviria Hills near Marbella I am fully recharged and enjoy some R & R with my daughter along with a few drinks.

After we get ready, my daughter experieinces her first stride outside the comfort zone when the stripper arrives.

You can see my toes curling in the foreground of this photo.

The evening ends at The Supper Club in Puerto Banus.

12 of us leave but only 11 come back.

Find out why in my next post.

But until next time I will leave you with a tour of the villa.

Thursday 26 May 2022

Secondhand Stories: the travel one


Today in our joint Second Hand Stories series, my blogging partner Sarah London and I will share out latest preloved finds.

And for me it has been all about the holiday wardobe.

I am about to go on holiday abroad for the first time in nearly three years.

And for me the holiday begins by planning what I will wear.

I have a little notebook where I plan what I will take and also journal the trip too.

This is an entry from March 2010.

I will be taking this book with me to Marbella tomorrow as we celebrate my daughter's Hen.

As it is a Hen Do the days and events are planned out in detail, even down to colour themes: Black Day, White Party, Supper Club etc.

It has made planning a lot easier and I was determined to take as much second-hand stuff as I could.

I also bought new items from the proceeds of my Vinted sale.

I have been scouring the preloved sites since January and I have found some great buys.

About half of  my holiday wardrobe is preloved and here are some of my favourites.

The pink Seafolly costume is from Vinted and the black costume from Top Shop via Vinted.

The Top Shop white shorts and black New Look shorts are both from Vinted.

These beaded Top Shop bag was £3 from Vinted and the BNWT Zara bag also Vinted was £10.

This gorgeous white Reiss Dress still had the £238 tag on it and I paid £40. Again from Vinted.

And my absolute favourites are these leather and wood Mulberry Sandals which came with dustbag and box and had never been worn.

I paid £40.

In the first picture I am wearing a sarong I bought yesterday for £3 from a local charity shop with the Top Shop costume and preloved Dolce & Gabana sunglasses.

I am off to see what Sarah has added to her preloved collection this month.

I will be back soon to share the holiday snaps.

Have a great day,


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