Thursday, 31 July 2008

354 days to go: Dye another day

I was walking around my local hardware shop the other day when I noticed the dyes.
I had dabbled with dyes a few years ago....with disasterous results. But, after reading Kasmira's blog about dyeing her jeans I decided to have a go.
I wish I had a before picture but I haven't. I bought these Levi Jeans in New York when I flew over to run the New York Marathon in November 2002. I went into a shop, told the assistant I wanted some Levi Jeans and she just looked at me. Then looked at the thousands of jeans on the racks, dived into one and handed me this pair. I don't know how she did it, but they fit like a glove. Even the length was spot on.
Over the years they have faded. It is a nice light blue but as I have short and rather chunky legs I felt they made my legs thicker - something I am quite self-conscious about.
As I hardly wear them now I thought it was worth dyeing them.
I picked a machine wash Dylon dye in Indigo.
I threw in a cream camisole that I never wear.
The jeans came out a lovely dark shade. And while they used to be quite lightweight it appears the dye and the wear on the jeans had added a lovely texture to them.
My daughter didn't want to be left out and picked a pink dye.
The pictures show how we got on!

And here's me wearing the jeans today.

I am wearing...
Levi Jeans ? , New York (2002)
Red sheer shirt, local shop (2008)
Red and black bracelet (Gift, several years ago)
Black waistcoat..Oasis
Snakeskin belt ASOS (2008)
Ear-rings (mad eby me last night)
Shoes...yeas, the Clark's sparkly ones again (2008)

You may also be able to spot my chocolate brown labrador, Harvey, who refused to move while the picture was being taken!

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

355 days to go: Sunshine tinted glasses

"After the sun, the rain. After the rain, the sun."
Those are two lines that I remember from the hymn, "Glad That I Live Am I" which we used to sing at primary school in the early 1970's.
Now in 2008 after the sun we have had the rain which means, after the rain, the sun.
Until the sun comes back these magic sunglasses help.
My daughter bought them for £3.50 from our local Tesco's.
Whatever the weather , when you put them on the sun looks as if it is shining and even on the cloudiest day they seek out the patches of blue and make it more vivid. And full of promise.
I would like to keep these glasses but my daughter loves them too.
I have just dropped her off at Cheerleading Class which means I have them for another two hours.
Until then I am wearing...
Cut-off jeans...Tesco, children's section (2008)
Navy Kaftan...(My-Wardrobe, 2008)
Pale taupe Camisole... Gap (2008)
Necklace... Top Shop (2005)
Ear-rings... (Gift)
Bangles...Debenhams (2008)
Shoes...Clark's (2008)

Picture: Ben

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

356 days to go: Freedom!

It is my last day working in the prison until September 2nd. I love the job but it is a long commute and the work is exhausting. I am taking the rest of the summer to be off with my kids.
Today I wore....
Jeans, Gap Curvy (2008)
Clark's Shoes (2008)
White Linen Mix Shirt, Zara (2002)
Pearl Necklace: Bought at the Hong Kong Pearl Market in Kowloon (2002)
Cut-our Silver Cuff, ASOS (2008)
White Waistcoat, Dorothy Perkins (2008)

Monday, 28 July 2008

357 days to go - adding a sparkle

Today started off dull, grey and hot. I just got back from walking the dog and the heaven's opened with a massive downpour. I needed something to create a sparkle in my day.
These shoes I had been saving for winter but I dug them out today.
They sparkle like Dorothy's shoes in The Wizard of Oz. But they are a golden brown, not red.
I rolled up my jeans because they are too cute to hide!

Jeans: Gapy Curvy (2008)
Top: Next (2007)
Waistcoat: Debenhams (2008)
Shoes: Clark's (2008)
Necklace: Gold, Silver & Bronze Debenhams (2008)

Sunday, 27 July 2008

358 days to go: Life's a peach

Peach has never been a favourite colour, I suppose this peach is more a mixture between coral and red. But my mother in law (who visited today) insisted it was peach.
Anyway here's the "peach" dress I wore with jeans on Tuesday. I have put the slip back in and dressed it down with my "peach" Birkenstocks.
The dress was easy to wear on a busy. hot weekend which began at 6.30am due to my youngest son's sleepover. It was followed by trips to my daughter's gymnastics class, swimming with Ben at the gym, lunch with granny and walking the dog.
Ben (my youngest) was determined to appear in the picture.

Dress: Rover Island (2008)
Birkentocks: Littlewoods (2008)
Sunglasses: Tesco (2008)

Saturday, 26 July 2008

359 days to go: Lingerie Challenge

Despite the title I will not be posting pictures of me wearing lingerie.
However, I have take up a new challenge from
Sahm asks that we make an effort to wear good lingerie this weekend.
So for the first time ever I have a new starting point for what I'm wearing today.
The lingerie set is an Elle Macpherson one.
Red underwear narrowed down many options. I wanted to wear this skirt and it went well with a red camisole. It is quite a low camsisole which means the top of my bra shows, but as its red and pretty I figure that is OK.
Before that I played tennis with my friend Michele and our children.
So here today...
Tennis skirt...ebay (2005)
Nike Top (2005)
Nike trainers (2005)

Skirt...River Island (2008)
Camisole .. Zara (2006)
Shoes....Brantano (2008)
Pendant...Virgin Vie(2008)
Ear-rings...Gold Hoops from Dubai (a gift)

Friday, 25 July 2008

360 days to go: Feeling Blue

Working in the prison today. I have just one more session after this and then I am taking the whole of August off.
My husband went out last night so after the children went to bed I rummaged around my wardrobe. I found this top I bought a few months back and hadn't yet worn. I think I had planned to wear it on my holidays.
It is a navy blue sheer silk Kaftan which I got from
I wore it with jeans, turquoise camisole, turquoise and silver beads and silver bracelet.
The sun is still shining here....but for how much longer?

Jeans...Gap Curvy (2008)
Camisle....Marks and Spencer (2008)
Beads...Gift from Monsoon (2008)
Silver cut-out cuff Asos (2008)
Shoes: Mexx (2008)

Thursday, 24 July 2008

361 days to go: Bright and white

I had no idea what I was going to wear today. I tried on a few things while the children were still sleeping (thank goodness for summer holiday lie-ins) but nothing looked right. Then I went back to my wardrobe and this dress/tunic screamed "wear me". I wasn't too sure as the last time I wore it, a few Sundays back it didn't feel right. I felt fat and frumpy. I think the mistake I made was wearing it with wide leg white trousers and flat shoes. Today I clinched it in with a white leather belt, added slim leg white trousers and higher heels.
Tunic: Marks and Spencer
Cropped trousers: George
Shoes: Tesco
Belt: Miss Selfridge
Necklace: George
Ear-rings: Tesco

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

362 days to go: Starting with the skirt

It started with the skirt today.
I wanted to wear it.
I bought it from ASOS and sits perfectly on my knee.
I love the bow tie waistband.
But it is tricky to wear.
You can't cover up the waistband.
You need something cropped on top.
The vest is the perfect length but it needs something with short sleeves.
I love the blouse but it is sheer.
It needs something underneath which is why I chose this camisole. It is also red but not a matching shade.
I wore my red necklace.
And it all matched the big red cut on my knee that I acquired at 8am this morning after I tripped over my dog during our morning run to the beach.
Et voila!
Skirt: Asos (2008)
Vest: Oasis (2008)
Shirt (Local shop 2008)
Shoes: Tesco (2008)
Necklace: Virgin Vie (2008)
Red camisole: Marks and Spencer (2007)
Ear-rings: Gift from brother in law in Dubai (1998)
Later I swapped the shoes for flip flops (Gap Kid's 2004) when we went for a play on the beach.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Orange and Blue: 363 days to go

Inspiration behind today's outfit was one of the judges on Last Choir Standing (a BBC reality TV Show.
She was wearing navy blue and orange together and it looked sensational. I can't remember what she said about the choirs but I do remember thinking what I had to replicate the colour scheme.
Not so long ago I had bought this dress which comes with a cream slip from a shop in my village. It had a River Island label in it but it was reduced to £5.
I paired it with my jeans and a long navy camisole.
I may not be able to sing yet but I can still wear orange and navy which is a great start.
I am also wearing one of my favourite necklaces from Top Shop and Ear-rings made by my daughter, Briony.
Dress (slip taken out) River Island (2008)
Primark Jeans (2008)
Navy Camisoles, Dorothy Perkins (2008)
Denim wedges Dorothy Perkins (2008)
Bracelet, Tesco (2008)
Ear-rings Gift (2008)

Monday, 21 July 2008

no new clothes for 364 days

Today is the launch of the school magazine.
I have been working with the schoolchildren on this since May.
I was very excited.
I got my handwritten invitation from Izaak and put the date in my diary.
When I arrived I was escorted to my seat by a very excited six-year-old.
The magazine was brilliant, it even had two fashion pages!
It was the first Creative Partnerships project I had worked on.
The children and staff were lovely.
They have given me permission to publish this photo of the children and me with one of my old colleagues from the Liverpool Echo, Jason Roberts, who came along to photograph the class a few weeks ago.
It was a very special day so I dressed up.

I wore...
Red Polka Dot Blouse..Sarah Berman
Navy A-line skirt ---Autograph
Tan wedges....River Island
Red Heart necklace....Virgin Vie
Snakeskin print belt.....Asos

Y Vivia Espana: Capsule Wardrobe Challenge

Thanks to everyone who responded to my ten items, one working week challenge. The results were creative and inspiring.
Here's another. In three weeks I will be going on holiday to a campsite (mobile home) in Barcelona with the family (husband and four kids).
Our days are usually spent by the pool, the beach or playing tennis. The evenings in the outdoor bar area watching flamenco etc. We usually have one sight seeing day.
We will be away for 12 nights.
I am starting with four bikinis.
I will allow myself three pairs of shoes (one walking, one flipflops and one strappy sandals).
After that I'm getting stuck.
I want to make sure every item I take can be worn at least twice but in different ways.
Any ideas would be gratefully received.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

no new clothes for 365 days

The new rules are set and the year of no clothes starts here.
Today we went to a christening.
It was bright but very cold for July.
I wore a 50's style dress from Oasis with the belt worn over a (warm) black jacket.
The shoes are from Accessorize and the bag from Next.
The necklace from an independent fashion boutique in Liverpool called Drome. It was a gift from the owner, Louise, after I wrote an article about her for the Liverpool Echo where I used to work.

This is why I will buy no new clothes for a year

Jenn told me I need to be stricter with my rules when I told her about the jewellery-making kit I bought.
"That counts," she said.
"I'm not sure," I said
"You need to be stricter," she said.
So, here are the rules.
1. From this day henceforth I will buy no new clothes for 365 days. This includes charity shops as they will be new to me.
2. I can accept hand-me-downs from friends and family but if I do I must make a charitable donation.
3. I can buy new underwear if needed to replace old stuff.
4. I can buy hosiery.
5. Now I have my jewellery making kit I can make jewellery with found objects but not new beads etc.
Is that OK Jenn?
If you are feeling sorry for me. Don't. Here's why I don't need any new clothes. The evidence of my clean-up yetsterday!

Mamma Mia! husband took me to see Mamma Mia at our local cinema in Southport followed by an Indian meal.
Great start to the weekend. This is what I wore....
Wide leg high waist Jeans, Tesco (2008)
Red and white polka dot blouse, Sarah Berman (2008)
Wedges, River Island (2008)

Over the top
Red summer coat from Boden (2007)
Snakseskin thin belt , Asos, (2008)

Friday, 18 July 2008

Day 21: Purple or Orange?

I once worked for a PR firm whose corporate colours were orange and purple and it seems to have seeped into my subconscious somehow.
It is cold and dull. I want to be warm and bright. But I couldn't decided purple or orange cardigan?
You decide.

Jeans: Gap
Tunic: DVF
Camisole: Top Shop
Shoes: New Look
Necklace: Top Shop
Shoes: Mexx
Ring: Debenhams

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Capsule Wardrobe Challenge. Day Five

Back working in the prison.
Dress sash tied around waist
Court shoes

Here's a close-up of the lovely necklace my husband bought for me last Christmas. It has lots of different colours and makes it really useful for wearing with lots of things.
Thanks Sweetheart!

Capsule Wardrobe Challenge. Day Four

Working form home
Ciel dress
Black vest

Capsule Wardrobe Challenge. Day Three

Working in a city centre office.

Dress, vest and courts.

Capsule Wardrobe Challenge. Day Two

Working in the prison

Ciel Dress
Gap Jeans
Neutral Courts

The Capsule Wardrobe: Day One

Day One
Working from home

Gap Dress
Laura Ashley Blouse
Pink Sandals
Black Vest
I wear the same ear-rings and carry the same bag all week.

The Capsule Wardrobe Challenge: Part One

OK, here goes.
The Capsule Wardrobe I have designed from my own wardrobe using ten items of clothing/accessories.
Before I continue I need to explain what my working week involves.
Every Tuesday and Friday I work in a prison as a writer in residence.
On a Monday and Thursday I work on various commissions for newspapers, magazines and writing projects.
On a Wednesday I spend a day working on PR matters for a womens' enterprise agency.
The ten items I chose were.....
1. Pink dress (Ciel, 2008)
2. Black and cream strapless dress (Gap, 2005)
3. Pink sandals (River Island 2008)
4. Neutral court shoes (Mexx 2008)
5. Diamante stud ear-rings (Tesco, 2006)
6. Heart necklace with different coloured stones (Christmas Gift 2007)
7. Gap Curvy Jeans (Gap 2008)
8. White short sleeved blouse (Laura Ashley from a charity shop 2008)
9. Tan leather bag (Oasis 2006)
10. Black Vest (Oasis 2008)

Day 20: The Leaving of Liverpool

Today is my daughter's Leaver's Mass. Tomorrow she leaves primary school to go to High School in September. The Leaver's Mass always brings a tear to the eye so it will be hankies at the ready.
Sometimes they sing The Leaving of Liverpool which makes me cry every time I hear it. Anyway, what goes with tears?
I settled on....
Pink organic cotton dress by Ciel (2008)
Black and grey courts (New Look, 2008)
Black Vest (Oasis 2008)
Sash from dress tied around the waist.
Necklace and bracelet were both 40th birthday gifts.

I have posted a close-up of the shoes because I love them.
Later I will be posting my Capsule Wardrobe, of which the Ciel dress plays a dual role.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Day 19: Flying around

Today will be a busy day.
First, I have to collect my cheque from the lawyers after a nasty car accident last year. My car was written off and I will finally get the money back for my car hire charges.
Next, I will pick up a DHL parcel which was delivered while I was out yesterday. It's near a big shopping centre and I need to buy gifts for my younger children's teachers and a gift for Grace whose christening we will be attending at the weekend.
Then I will collect my son from John Lennon Airport in Liverpool. He has been sunning himself in Portugal with his friend for the past 10 days and I have missed him so much.
After that I will collect the younger ones from school and get home just in time for our weekly guitar lesson.
Then my son has two of his pals round for tea so it will probably be bouncing on the trampoline.
As there will be lots of running around I have gone for flat shoes and easy pieces.
The Top Shop jeans I am wearing under the dress are faded and frayed around the thigh but I can't bear to throw them out.
They were the first size 10 (US size 6) jeans I bought in 2004 after I finally shed the post-baby flab that had accumulated around my body from four pregnancies over eight years.
The dress was from eBay in 2005, I think it's supposed to be a DVF.
The Birkenstocks are my favourite summer sandals for running around.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Capsule Wardrobe Challenge

Calling all you creative fashionistas. If you could choose only ten items to see you through a working week, what ten items would you choose. This includes everything including accessories but not underwear!

Day 18: Prison Pink

There is a prison in the US where the Governor makes all inmates wear pink.
At the prison where I teach creative writing we had a vote: who would like pink?
There was only one vote in favour. Guess who?

So today I wore.......
Gap Curvy Jeans (2008)
White Laura Ashley Blouse (Charity Shop 2008)
Pale pink Cashmere Tank (Pure, 2005)
Necklace, (Debenhams 2008)
Shoes (Mexx 2008)
Bracelets (my daughters)

Monday, 14 July 2008

Day 17: Thanks Kasmira and Allison

I was inspired by Kasmira's blog about the multi-looks one strapless dress had given her.
I had this dress (picture taken straight out of the shower) in my wardrobe since 2005. I bought it because I liked it. And it was cheap. Very cheap in the Gap sale.
I have worn it twice. Once when we were on holiday in Venice and the second time to my now 13-year-old son's Leaver's Mass when he left primary school. Both times I wore the dress I spent the whole time hitching it up, hoping my strapless bra wouldn't fall down. I loved it but couldn't wear it.
Until now.

I decided to wear my aqua camisole, bought to match a wonderful necklace my friend Allison bought for my birthday this year.
I layered a sleeveless black vest and wore my faithful "Flamenco" shoes.
I also tried on all my bikinis and photographed them but I'm not posting them here.
However, I have found the answer to my previous question: "Is 42 too old to wear a bikini?"
Answer: Probably, but I have too many to throw away. Maybe I'll wait until next year for a one-piece!

Dress; Gap (2005)
Camisole (Marks and Spence (2008)
Vest (Oasis 2008)
Flamenco Shoes (tesco 2008)
Snake print belt ASOS (2008)
Necklace, Monsoon (Gift 2008)

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Day 16: The happy moment

I spoke yesterday about how I wore my "happy skirt" to cheer me up on a day I was dreading.
And despite being at an amusement park.
And despite being at an amusement park in the rain.
And despite being at an amusement park in the rain and the cold; the sun did come out.
For one brief moment.
Kid Rock was playing "All Summer Long" in the background.
I was on the dodgem cars with my daughter and her friends.
And I felt happy.
Not pretend happy but real happy.
The skirt worked.
Now that's all I will remember about that day.
The happy moment when the sun came out and it was all due to that skirt.
From now on that skirt will be my "magic" skirt.
But back to today.
My husband, the scout leader, has been away all weekend on a camping trip with his pack.
At 2am this morning (I assume by the time every child was safely asleep) he sent me a text.
It said: "I love you."
And for that I am making the effort for his return.
I have chosen ......

Multi-colour tunic top from Autograph (Gift, 2008)
White trousers, George, (2008)
Orange Birkenstocks (2008)
Oakley Sunglasses ( 40th birthday present. They are scratched to bits but I have run two half marathons and swum in the Adriatic and the Mediterranean Seas in these and I love them)
Bracelets (my daughters)
Necklace (Top Shop 2005)

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Day 15: Amusement Park Chic

We are off to Blackpool Pleasure (?) Beach. My daughter, Briony and her two friends, Carly and Lucy. It is Briony's annual birthday treat. She loves Blackpool Pleasure Beach. I hate it. But as a good parent, I smile and I try to look as if I am enjoying it.
To cheer myself up I wore...
Red T-Shirt, Primark (2008)
Boden Children's wear Skirt (2008)
Converse (as before)
Red heart necklace (as before)
Green ring (as before)
Denim Jacket (Tesco, 2005)
Gold hoop ear-rings. Gift from Dubai (1998)
Here's an extra pic from the day.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Day 14: A breath of fresh air

Maybe it's because I'm going to spend the rest of the day working in the prison or just because I feel like a change but today's picture is taken in my garden, courtesy of my 13-year-old son, one-take Joe.
"One take Joe" is so-called for obvious reasons, he is a boy. He is a teenage boy. he is a very busy teenage boy who doesn't have time to take more than one picture because he always has "stuff to do, Mum."
So here it is......

Floral top, George (2008)
Burnt orange vest M&S (2008)
Gap Jeans (2008)
Black leather shoes, Tesco (2008)
Necklace, Top Shop (2005)

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Day 13: All wrapped up.

The weather is better. Sport's Day finally took place this morning. It was abandoned last year due to rain. Abandoned the year before because it was too hot! My daughter came first in the skipping race which was cool as it was her final Sport's Day at primary school.
I won't show you what I wore to that as I dashed out after writing a feature and walking the dog.
This afternoon I am leading a PR workshop for small business owners. I need to look grown-up so I dug out another DVF dress that has been hiding in the wardrobe because I don't really know how to wear it.
The dress is reversible and so you would think versatile but the tie belt and the double layers make me look like a sack of spuds around the middle.
I have been following the style advice of Kasmira on her blog ( which details how to wear a wrap dress.

I tried my best in the 5 minutes I had.

Dress (DVF, 2005)
Green Camisole M&S (2007)
Pink Cardigan, Zara (2007)
Neutral shoe (Dunce, 2005)
Nude fishnet tights
Green ring (Debenhams, 2008)
Silver Bangle (Christmas present from my husband, 2005)
Necklace (Christmas present form my husband, 2007)
Belt, off a M&S Dress (2007)

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Day 12: We're going to win the cup. (I hope!)

Today I am watching my son play football at Everton FC's training ground. For those who don't know much about football, Everton is the second best team in Liverpool!
My son's school have reached the local finals. Parents have been banished to the stands but I hope to catch a glimpse of my little one.
The forecast is for showers. And as we all know there is no such thing as unsuitable weather just unsuitable clothing. So, I am prepared. I have my trusty mac. I will be wearing.......
Jeans. Primark (2008)
Top (Next, 2007)
Belt, Mexx (2008)
Shoes, Mexx (2008)
Bangles, Debenhams, (2008)
Necklace, Christmas Gift from my husband.
Mac, Gap (2005)
But before I go I just wanted to share this cute bag with you. It is a resuable shopping bag created by Cath Kidston for Tesco, to raise funds for Marie Curie nurses. It will certainly brighten my shopping trips up and I plan to use it as a beach bag in Barcelona this summer.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

I am thinking of changing my hair style

I have had this hairstyle for the past 10 years.

I am thinking about a bob.

Would it work?