Sunday, 31 August 2008

324 days to go: A dirty job

It's a dirty job but someone has to do it - clear the garage that is.
My faithful Cowboy Boots were back on today (although I think I will be giving them a rest now they are well worn in for the autumn).
While we were clearing out I rediscovered two ballgowns my 80-year-old mother in law gave me. They were handmade in the 1950's out of a very heavy satin and lined.
My favourite is a rust coloured gown with diamante and feathers stitched at the front. The buckle at the back needs repairing. The other is an eau de nil with a textured gold bodice.
Why are they in the garage you ask?
They smell. When I kept them in my room it quickly developed the scent you normally associate with Miss Haversham - rotting and decay.
They are badly in need of love and attention. And a damn good clean. But I fear this will be very expensive. And will I wear them? And will it be worth it?
Any advice greatly received.
By the way I wore..
Gap Jeans (2008)
Rust top (M&S 2008)
Cowmboy Boots (as before!!!)
Top Shop Necklace (2005)

Saturday, 30 August 2008

My daughter has made the front page

I was shocked when I went to buy my copy of The Guardian today.
I knew my story would be in the travel section, but I didn't expect her photo to be on the front page of the main paper!
Here it is

Friday, 29 August 2008

Another diversion

I was reading the September issue of UK Vogue the other night and read a great article, "Show and Tell" by Cressida Connolly. It is all about the Dulwich Picture Gallery's new exhibition. Forty people in the public eye were asked to choose 8 from a list of 12 favourite things such as favourite food, animal, pastime etc. Then they had to illustrate them in all kind of artistic ways. It is based on a Victorian Parlour Game.
I decided to trawl through my magazines and pick pictures of things that inspired and motivated me to create a collage.
This is what I came up with. It includes what I already have and love - my family, my fruit trees, my red clothes, running, notepads, pens, stationery, guitar etc
More ethereal/fleeting aspirations and experiences such as writing a book, flamenco, sunrises etc.
And my wish-list, a room of my own to write, a visit ti the Alahambra palace.

"What Are You Like?" runs from September 9-December 14

325 days to go: Red-dy for action

The school holidays end this week and the last couple of days have been manic.
New shoes, trying to tidy up after holiday, repairing a leak, repairing a smashed window and feeding the armies who come through the door.
I need to be red-dy for anything. I loved this dress last year and wore it to death (see picture of our trip to Rome in April 2007).
I don't know why I haven't worn it since.

Red Dress...Joe Brown (2007)
Gap Jeans (2008)
Belt, ASOS (2008)
Cowboy Boots (as the previous 2 days)
Bangle (as Tuesday)

Thursday, 28 August 2008

This has nothing to do with clothes but I won!

I am sorry for adding this into my blog but I wanted to share my good news with all my friends in blogland.
Earlier this month I entered the Guardian (a British broadsheet newspaper) Travel Writing Competition. I just found out today that I have won the Family section which will be published in the paper this Saturday.
Here is the entry and a pic to go with it!

The Return of King Crab

For 20 years my husband has held on to a small, tarnished silver cup.
Wherever we move this ageing relic follows.

“What is it dad?” asks our 11-year-old daughter.

It turns out that in 1975 my husband had been crowned King Crab of Cemaes
Bay after winning the annual crabbing competition in the most northerly
town in Anglesey.

The rugged resort was where my husband and his four siblings spent every
summer. Unlike ours. Our summers have been France, Italy, Spain and
Sardinia. But the credit has crunched and a UK holiday beckons. Cemaes Bay
it is.

We pick up the keys for The Studio Cottage from the landlady of Ye Olde
Vigour pub.

“It can’t be Cerys,” gasps my husband.

“Paul, I don’t believe it. How are you? It must be more than 20 years,”
she adds.

A long conversation follows and I begin to feel cheered as she refers to
holidaymakers as “visitors”.

And our children begin to believe the impossible - their dad was once a boy.

Three hours later after a marathon beachcombing session where we find
crabs, mudskippers, baby lobsters, a baby eel and rock pools we head

The following day we visit the small pier and the harbourmaster’s cottage
to arrange a fishing trip.

The waters are a little choppy but we manage to find our sea legs and our
13-year-old swaps the thrill of a mobile phone beeping to the pull of a

Safely back ashore, my husband catches sight of a plaque commemorating the
life of a local fisherman. He stops and is instantly transported back to
the day of his father’s funeral when he was just 13.

The young boy found great comfort from the reassuring presence of several
Cemaes Bay fishermen who had made the long trip to Liverpool for the
service. One of those men is the name on the plaque.

We walk back along the headland and to White Lady Bay, named after the
rock which creates the shape of a lady’s head.

Past and present merge as we explore beaches, coves and caves. Our
youngest two wade bare-chected through the River Wygyr with fishing nets
in hand like latterday Huckleberry Finns.

Finally, the big day dawns. King Crab must face his toughest test. Our
four children are handed buckets and crabbing lines to challenge for the

At noon the high tide rolls back to shore, seagulls scream overhead and
the five intrepid crabbers cast their lines.

After a slow start there are two clear winners. Our 13-year-old and his dad.

At 26 crabs each there has to be a decider.

A small crowd gathers and within seconds Joe feels a pull. Inch by inch he
carefully pulls in the line before plopping the unsuspecting crab into the
crowded bucket.

There is a new King.

King Crab is dead. Long live King Crab… until next year’s rematch.

326 days to go: Working the Wardrobe

The great thing about this experiment (not buying clothes for a year) is that I get to experiment. I don't feel afraid to make mistakes. And looking back I have made some howlers.
But I do feel free. Free to make mistakes and free to play around.
I liked the boots, belt, dress combo from yesterday so last night I thought about how I could work it again.
I love this dress, it's a DVF, bought on eBay for about £50 in 2005. I don't wear it nearly enough because I had always kept it as a going out dress. Not an option when you need to maximise the wear of your wardrobe.
So here it is....
Red and white DVF dress (2005)
Belt..ASOS (2008)
Cowboy Boots (as yesterday)
Necklace..Tesco (2005)

Style Crosses the Language Barrier

"Why are you buying those magazines. You don't even speak Spanish?" asked my husband as I deftly deposited a couple of glossies into our supermarket basket crammed with calamari, fresh fish and olives.
"I don't need to," I replied enigmatically.
In reality, there were two reasons.
One, there was a fantastic jewellry giveaway in Instyle Magazine and you don't have to be able to read to look at the pictures!
What I wanted to do was try and get a variation on the usual Fall magazines. I wondered if it would help give my wardrobe a European edge.
If I can't shop over the coming months I need to be more creative and what I intend to do is adapt what I have to suit my body shape with a nod to the fashion edits.
Here are the magazines I bought and a sample of the ideas I will be adapting over the coming season.
Apologies for the photographs but the magazines have creased transit!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

327 days to go: Cowgirl rides again

Yesterday's heels were a little ambitious after a holiday spent mainly in flats or barefeet.
My poor feet ached and the newly soft skin on my toes rubbed in even my favourite well-worn shoes.
I wanted flat (tish), warm and stylish.
I ha dnothing.
Until I remembered a recent rummage through the garage to find my son's wellies (for a camping trip).
I had caught sight of an old pair of cowboy boots I had barely worn.
I went back to the garage and recovered these this morning.
As for the dress, well, what remains of my tan has to be shown at its best with a white linen dress.
I barely wear this dress as it is an odd shape. I bought it from Zara in 2003 when I was about 20 pounds heavier. I decided to cinch it in with a tie belt and add some jewellery I got free with the Spanish Instyle Magazine I read on holiday.

Boots.. Dorothy Perkins (2003)
Dress.. Zara (2003)
Belt.. ASOS (2008)
Necklace and Bangle (free with Spanish In Style Magazine)

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

328 days to go: Home Sweet Home

Back home to grey skies, wind, rain...and a leaking roof.
Happy Days.
To cheer myself up I wore....
Red Dres.. Monsoon (2006)
Waistcoat/Vest.. Debenhams (2008)
Gold Shoes.. Clark's (2008)
Belt..ASOS (2008)
Red Pendant.. Virgin Vie (2008)

329 days to go: Homeward Bound

We had a lovely time but home beckoned.
We had a civilised 1pm flight.
Here I am waiting to catch the coach to the airport.

Top.. Zara (2004)
White Capris.. George (2008)
Belt.. Miss Selfridge (2008)
Shoes..Birkenstocks (2008)

330 days to go

Our Last Night!!!!

We spent a lovely day on the beach with the family of our eldest son's girlfriend. They also have four children and the kids hired a pedalo. My husband snorkelled and ---yes you guessed it, I read my book. Although I did swim in the sea.
It was a lovely day.
In the afternoon I retired to pack while my husband and our son's girlfriend's dad retired to the pool bar. The children watched Shrek.
In the evening we went out for paella at a restaurant by the sea.

Pink Bikini .. Marks and Spencer (2006)
Cream dress. River Island (2008)

Pink Silk Skirt..Boden (2007)
Black Top.. Next (2003)
Black Flip Flops.. my 8-year-old son's!

331 days to go

The farewells continue

Tonight Mandy and Michale whose children have spent the entire holiday with ours are getting ready to return to London.
It was a happy day but a sad evening.
After they left we headed off to see the parents of our son's new girlfriend and we spent another two hours chatting and drinking tea!

Tesco Bikini (as before)
Blue dress.. Zara (as before)

DVF dress (as before, worn with straps)

332 days to go

So Long..Farewell!

The first of our new friends left this evening.
The day was spent with them at the pool and the evening we sat and chatted while our children played.

Pink Bikini .. Marks and Spencer (2006)
White Skirt.. New Look (2005)

Black Skirt..Dorothy Perkins (2004)
Black Vest.. Top Shop (2005)

333 days to go

The results of our eldest son's GCSE exams.
My mun had picked then up form school and phoned over the reuslts at around 11am.
He had done well.
He had also met a girl on holiday who had done very, very well.
That evening we went out for a meal with her family and rounded the evebing off with Karaoke.
Our son and his girl sang "Summer Nights".
I sang "Holiday by Madonna!"
We all ended the evening with a midnight swim in the Med!

Blue Bikin .. Tesco (2008)
White Skirt.. New Look (2005)
Pink Vest.. Gap (2007)

Red Spotted dress.. Tesco (as before)

334 days to go

Another day. Another book. Now I am on Sepulchre by Kate Mosse.
It means, pool, relax, read!

Ripcurl Bikini (2004)
Turquoise Skirt ..New Look (2006)

Black Vest.. Top Shop (2003)
Pink Silk Skirt .. Boden (2007)

The bag was a free gift with Instyle magazine and designed by LK Bennett. I used this bag to death on holiday.

335 days to go

The evening was the highlight of my holiday - The Flamenco Show. The last time we had been to Spain I had watched transfixed by the clapping and stamping and fabulous dresses.
The Flamenco Show this evening was just as good.

Tesco Bikini (as before)
Zara Strapless Top work as a short dress (as before)

Dress by DVF (2005)

336 days to go

By an amazing chance I spotted one of the mums from my children's school. They had arrived the previous day after eight weeks touring Spain in a Campervan.
That evening we met up for drinks while our children played table tennis.

RipCurl Bikini (2004)
Kaftan.. Primark (2008)

Black Skirt (Dorothy Perkins, 2004)
Black Halter Top.. Next (2003)

337 days to go

Another lazy day which started off with coffee and croissant by the pool.

Red Bikini (Tesco)
Blue Kaftan (My Wardobe)

Red Dress.. Primark (2007)

338 days to go Getting lazier

Although I have been going for a run for 30 minutes along the promenade every morning I have done little else but read by the pool while the chidlren swam and played with new friends they had made.

Dress which I dyed earlier this summer (from white to Bermuda Blue).. Zara (2007)

Evening (not pictured)
White Capris
Pink Top

339 days to go

Spent the day lazing by the pool. I was reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carolos Ruiz Zafon; a story set in nearby Barcelona.
I wore a bikini and top (as a skirt) during the day and peach dress during an evening out at a local bar where we watched a band play.

Bikini...Tesco (2008)
Strapless Top.. Zara (2005)

Peach Dress.. River Island (2008)
Shoes..Tesco (2008)

340 days to go...Beach Babe

After arriving on holiday my wardrobe was strictly divided into two. During the day which was spent at the pool or the beach it was bikini and cover-up.
In the evening we went to watch the evening show or wandere dinto the local village for a meal.


Turquoise Skirt...New Look (2006)
Pink Gap Vest (2007)

Evening (Watching a Mexican Dance Show)

Pink Silk Skirt.. Boden (2007)
Black Vest

341 days to go: Preparing for take-off

It is Wednesday August 13th and here I am at Liverpool Airport.
It was freezing so I wore...
Jeans..Next (2007)
Blue and white striped top ..Primark (2008)
Gap Fleece (2008)
Red Heart Pendant..Virgin Vie (2008)

Back in Blighty

Back today with a camera full of photographs and a heart filled with happy memories. I will get back to work posting later today.
Before I get cracking here's a family picture on our last night.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

342 days to go: Hooray it's Holidays

In less than 24 hours I will be renewing my acquaintance with my old friend - sunshine.
It has been so grey and wet here for the past few weeks I think summer is fast becoming a distant memory, like the ice age.
I fly out to Barcelona tomorrow morning for two weeks of sun, fun and some Flamenco. Of course before we get there my husband and I will have argued several times, the children will be moaning and fighting. It will make that first walk on the hot sand even more pleasurable. Knowing the pain I have endured to get there!
I will make no attempt to post while I am there as the queues to use the internet will include gangs of teenagers waiting to chat on msn.
Instead, I will catalogue and photograph my daily wears for posting when I return.
Hope the sun shines for you all over the next two weeks.
Today I am wearing
Overdyed Jeans (Levis, 2002)
Sparkly Shoes (Clark's, 2008)
Red Shirt (my-wardrobe, 2008)
Necklace (Virgin View, 2008)

Monday, 11 August 2008

343 days to go: Red and Green are never seen except upon a....

When I was at school there was a rhyme which went:
"Red and Green are never seen
except upon a fool."
I think it came from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night where Malvolio is tricked into wearing red and green stockings cross-gartered.
Who cares? I love red and green.
I was dashing around sorting out last minute things for our holiday and packing.
I have my packing list finished and its all in a pile waiting to be packed.
Today I wore...
Red and Green Skirt..Boden (2008)
Red Camisole..Zara (2006)
Green Cardigan.. Zarah (2007)
Red Shoes.. Brantano (2008)
Necklace.. Top Shop (2005)
Bangle..Tesco (2008)

Sunday, 10 August 2008

344 days to go: The Colour Purple

After the dinner party I was sooo tired.
Today I spent the morning clearing up and ferrying my children around.
In the afternoon we went to Southport to get the last bits of things we needed for our holiday on Wednesday.
It rained all morning but the afternoon was windy yet sunny.
At 6pm my parents came round for dinner.
So I wore...
Purple Ciel dress... (2008)
Clark's Shoes (2008)
Amethyst necklace (which I hadn't taken off for the evening before (40th birthday gift)

The Party Dress

Our Greek evening went well. There were nine of us. Our friends, Joy and Andrew, Denise and Kevin, Jane and Dave and sister-in-law Leah.
My husband cooked. We had Houmous, Tsatsiki, Taramasalata, Greek Salad, Pitta Bread, Olives and sardines to start.
The main course was a Chicken, Tomato and Aubergine Stew with a Vegetable Bake for the veggies which was served with rice.
Dessert was mixed fresh fruit (mangoes, melons, blackberries, grapes) with Greek Yogurt, honey and flaked almonds.
We listened to the soundtrack of Mamma Mia (several times, Joy!), Johnny Cash, Song Bird and Essential Songs.
Here's some pictures including my dress....
Purple Dress..George (2006)
Shoes..Karen Millen (2006)
Amethyst Necklace..Gift from my husband for my 40th birthday.