Friday, 31 October 2008

262 days to go: Lest We Forget

I posted on Darla's blog this week about how History and English were my favourite subjects at school.
As a teenager I particularly enjoyed studying the war poets. My favourite was Wilfrid Owen - killed within hours of the armistice.
I can still remember the chill down my spine when our English teacher read out "Greater Love" , a poem which begins...
"Red lips are not so red
as the stained stones kissed by the English dead"
Immediately I was transported to the battlefields and the vivid picture of young men wounded and dying.
My favourite Wilfrid Owen poem is "Strange Meeting" and tells a poetic story about two fallen soldiers who had fought on opposing sides.
"I am the enemy you killed my friend" makes me weep as I write this and think of all those young men and women who lost their future for their fellow countrymen.
For those who have fought in the past and for those who continue to fight for us today.
I picked up this poppy yesterday - it will be one of many as I lose countless during the early days of November - and knew I had to wear red.

The skirt comes from Oasis
The red long sleeved top for Primark
The cardigan from TK Maxx
The boots from Zara
The belt is from ASOS
The coat from Tesco
The collar from Tesco
Poppy from The Royal British Legion

Thursday, 30 October 2008

263 days to go: Inspired by Michelle

I am sooo tired!
I have been getting up just after 5am to get as much work in as I can before the children get up.
I managed to slot in a walk to the beach with the dog this morning and finished off a pile of work before the first of them rose around 10am.
My husband has taken the week off work to "help me" - he got up at 11am.
The 13-year-old emerged bleary-eyed - just in time for the bacon butties while the 17-year-old stayed in his duvet with the laptop practising for his driving theory exam tomorrow.
One day I will miss all this.
I got the idea for wearing the brooch this way after falling asleep watching the news and seeing what Michelle Obama was wearing.
Some things are worth staying awake for - the National TV awards weren't!

I wore brown Oasis tunic
Jeans - Joe Brown
Cowboy Boots - Dorothy Perkins
Belt - Matalan
Scarf - magazine freebie
Cardigan - Zara
Brooch -charity shop worn a la Michelle Obama on the Jay Leno show.

Inspiration Boards - Isaac Mizrahi

Karen's post about Inspiration Boards made me dig out this one I did last winter.
I was supposed to be working but ended up flicking through magazines picking out clothes, colours, ideas, words and dreams which inspired me.
At the heart of it all is my family.
I notice there is hardly any pink but lots of red.

Some of those dreams have come true -

I have planted fruit trees in my garden
I bought an inspiring dress (see yesterday)
I made time to watch the sunsets
I enjoyed a lovely beach holiday
I painted the chairs in my breakfast room (red, pink and blue)
I got a pink guitar for my birthday
I acquired (via eBay) a lovely red skirt
I watched Flamenco in Barcelona
I bought some shelves for my writing room (cum dining room cum family room)
I kept on running
We lived (albeit just for a weekend) in a house by the sea
I rediscovered the pink mini diablo pink Cartier pen I was given for my 40th birthday
I saved money (represented by the pink piggy bank) by setting myself this workthatwardrobe challenge

Still to do are:

Visit The Alahambra Palace
Finish my novel
Go back to New York
Live in a house with a red Aga
Own a pair of Ugg boots

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

264 days to go: Pink Oasis

I bought this dress last summer from the Oasis limited Collection.
The dress is based on an original 1960's pattern from the Bath Fashion Museum. This dress was called Poppy Parker.
When I bought this dress I loved it and wanted to wear it all the time. I haven't worn it nearly enough.
The last time was at a summer christening.
I was working in prison today where it is dark, cold and grey.
I needed to lift my spirits with an injection of pink.
I felt I was in a pink oasis all day.

I wore ...
Dress - Oasis
Boots - Clark's
Jumper - Top Shop
Jacket - Gap
Scarf - New Look

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

265 days to go: 100 days of not buying any new clothes

Yey! I have managed 100 whole days without buying any new clothes.
I am feeling good.
I am feeling smug.
I am able to trawl around the shops without wanting to buy everything in sight.
In fact what I see in the shops now are drab.
Just today on my way home from work I popped into TK Maxx to try and buy some new tights (all my old ones have holes and I am allowed to buy hosiery) and there they were racks and racks of Christmas Party clothes.
Several things put me off.
1. The styles.
2. The colours
3. The fact that there were rails and rails of the same thing.

I did stop to admire a knitted corsage on a hat but I was scrutinising it to see how I could recreate it at home with my oddments of wool.
It is official I am becoming thrifty.
My grandmother would be so proud of me.

As for today - it's pink again.
In fact I think I will pink it up for the whole of the week.

jeans - Gap
Shoes - Tesco
Black Shirt - Boden (dyed)
Cashmere Tank (as yesterday)
Pink Scarf - marks and Spencer

Monday, 27 October 2008

266 days to go: Pink Again

It is half-term.
My children are off school.
My husband is off work.
And I am trying to work and take care of everyone.
I can't wait for this week to end.
Another dose of pink therapy is called for so I wore.....

Brown Boots - Clark's
Pink Skirt - Gap
Cream top - Marks and Spencer
Pink Cashmere Vest - ?
Brown Scarf

Crafty Blogger 2 or "How To Make A Courgette"

Thanks to everyone who made suggestions for the remnants of my recent dress/skirt hemmings.
I decided to make a cummerbund style belt and corsage.
Or as my youngest son called it - "a courgette."
I found a "recipe for courgettes" on the internet and in my sewing "bible" - "Yeah I Made It Myself."
Here are the fruits (or vegetables) of my labour.

267 days to go: Brown and Turquoise

I am following Sheila's advice today who recommended one of her favourite mixes - brown and turquoise.
It was a rainy day today, the children were cooped up, there was no football due to half-term and everyone was a little tetchy.
I don't know what effect my clothes had on my mood but I went to bed early glad to get the day over with.
I wore
Jeans - Gap
Cowboy Boots - Dorothy Perkins
Dress - Primark
T-shirt - C&C
Cardigan - Gap
Scarf - free with magazine

Sunday, 26 October 2008

268 days to go: Calling crafty bloggers

Continuing my theme to make do and mend I discovered two skirts I had bought from a charity shop in the back of my wardrobe.
I know why I had bought them - I liked the colour and they were both pure new wool.
However, shortening them would be a tricky job for my basic skills so I decided to take them to the tailors and am very pleased with the result.
Today I wore the pleated plaid one to take my two youngest to see High School Musical 3 ( which was great!)
My how they've grown.

But back to my skirt.
I had asked the seamstress to give me the remnants as I was sure I could use them.
But now I'm stumped.
Any ideas anyone.
The blue one is 6 inches by 40 inches.
The plaid one 9 inches by 75 inches.
My whole outfit consists of
Charity Shop skirt, shortened.
Black Polo Neck. New Look
Blue Whistles Boots
Pendant from magazine
Tights: Matalan
Bracelet - Murano glass bought from Venice in 2006.

Friday, 24 October 2008

269 days to go: In The Pink

Thanks to all your get well messages - the healing force has arrived.
I am on the mend but had to miss my son's Presentation Evening last night.
Ah well, that's one of the positive benefits of having four children - there will be another similar event along in another few years.
During the evening my son was presented with his Year Book and I had a tear in my eye looking at the photographs - some were students who had gone to nursery with him and how they've changed!
Sam's teacher wrote "A man of many talents - he will go far!"
How true - but a talent for back-chat and fighting with his siblings (hmm!).
If he carries on he will go far; he will be packing his bags.
Only joking!
After my bruised picture yesterday I have gone for some pink therapy.
When I was a little girl (so my mother tells me) I was very pasty looking but whenever she dressed me in pink my skin would miraculously transform before her very eyes.
I am hoping for the same miracle today.
I started with the dress given to me by my friend Joy, added some opaque tights and a belt before piling on the pink with a scarf and cardigan.
If that wasn't enough I added my Boden coat and a pair of wellies to take the dog for a walk.
Hope you all have a great weekend.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

270 days to go: Bruised

Brown and purple are normally colours I would associate with the later stages of bruising - ugly but healing.
And it may be an unconscious choice in colours today as I am slowly mending after a fearsome migraine.
I feel ugly and delicate.
I had hoped to blog about my shopping trip with Jenn but haven't felt up to it. A reluctant shopper, Jenn enlisted my help to replenish her meagre wardrobe in preparation for the Manchester Blog Awards later that evening.
Stop Press - she won.
But more importantly she wore the dress (Oasis) and boots (Primark) I made her try on.
I am hoping I will feel better later as it's my eldest son's Presentation Evening.
Wish me luck!
Dres - Ciel
Belt - ASOS
Necklace - Next
Tights - Autograph
Shoes - Clark's

Honest Blogger

The fantastic Shoegal awarded me an Honest Blogger Award - I am honoured.

Here are the rules of what to do with this award, and then the list of 10 honest things about me.

“When you receive the prize you must write a post showing it, together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back.
Choose a minimum of 7 blogs (or more) that you find brilliant in their content or design.
Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing they were prized with ‘Honest Weblog’.
Show a picture of those who awarded you and those you give the prize (optional).
List [if you can and/or dare] at least ten honest things about yourself. And then, pass it on.”

Right here goes......
1. I spend far too long reading other people's blogs when I should be working.
2. When I was eight I hated the name Jane and told everyone at school that my mum had changed my name to Ursula (don't ask!)
3. When my children are at school - I jump on their trampoline.
4. I don't like chocolate.
5. But I do like red wine - and too much of it.
6. When I was 10 I cracked my brother's head open after pushing him against a coffee table. He has since forgiven me.
7. I raid my 11-year-old daughter's wardrobe when she is at school.
8. On my first day at school I got smacked by my teacher for stealing someone's chocolate (maybe that's why I don't like it now!)
9. I am a fairweather runner - I love to run but if it's windy (like today)I will forget it.
10. When I grow up I want to be a Blue Peter presenter.

The 7 bloggers I would like to win the award and 'fess up are (drum roll....)

Jenn of Every Day I Lie A Little
Heather of The Middle of Nowhere
Darla of Bayside to Mountainside
Stacy of A Rosy Outlook
Karen of A Certain Age
Sheila of Ephemera
Sue of Della Street Dreaming

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

271 days to go: The future is Orange Part Two

I was scrolling through my blog looking for inspiration for today when I remember how bright and cheerful I felt wearing this outfit.
As it's a working in prison day today I paired it with pants.
Later I am going shopping with Jenn.
I have no idea how that will turn out but you can be sure I'll keep you posted.

Boots - Zara
Pants - M & Co
Shirt - La Redoute
Vest - Oasis
Jewellery - magazine gift (again)

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

272 days to go: Make Do and Mend - Part Three

I think there is a theme going on this week.
I got this dress on eBay (bah!) a few weeks back and it was far too long but I loved the colours.
I shortened it at the weekend and am pleased with the results.
I may wear it with tights later this week.

Jeans.. Gap Curvy
Pendant.. magazine gift
bracelet - my daughter's
boots.. Zara

Monday, 20 October 2008

273 days to go: Black Monday

Ah! I don't always get it right.
In my enthusiasm to make do and mend my wardrobe I tried to shorten this dress. It went a little too short.

Instead of a flirty little dress I am left with a straight up and down tunic.
I wasn't put off.
I was on a mission.
I found these Gap pants which are too short so I rolled them up.
I had tried tucking the trousers in the boot but they just wouldn't zip up again.
I tried it plain then decided to give karen's belt a go.
Any votes on which you prefer fellow bloggers?

Customised tunic..M&S
Trousers.. Gap
Boots.. Zara
Pendant.. Magazine free girt
Belt... gift form Karen.

274 days to go: Comfort Clothes

I am on a high after receiving such positive comments about my wardrobe makeover yesterday. Thanks - I feel encouraged to try some more.
It couldn't have come at a better time after a nightmare day when my washing machine, dryer and phone line stopped working.
Not to mention the fact that I sold 15 items on eBay and for some reason Paypal won't let any of my buyers pay into my account.
Despite repeated emails to both eBay and Paypal I am no further on solving the matter.
Time to reach for some comfort clothes.
Joe Brown Jeans
Silk long sleeve shirt
Black thermal top
Aqua Scarf
Zara boots

Sunday, 19 October 2008

The LBD 20 years on

I loved this dress by LK Bennett when I first saw it in my InStyle magazine.
And this is a big BUT - there were two problems.

1. It cost £499.00
2. I had pledged NOT to buy any more new clothes for a year.

After catching a glimpse of the dress in almost every magazine I saw which seemed to taunt me in a "na na na na na!" kind of way, I remembered.

I remembered that 20 years ago I wore a similar style dress for my husband's very first Christmas Do.
It was 1988 and we were fresh out of university - very excited that we finally had real jobs.
I splashed out £49.99 on the dress from the Next directory.
The only difference (I felt) between this dress and the LK Bennett dress was the long sleeve which had never felt right as they were too long.
After much trepidation I dug out the dress, took to the scissors and began.
I found the red belt on a shirt I had bought and put it all together to wear on Saturday when we went out for a meal.
I had originally planned to wear the dress at Christmas and looking at the photographs I think it may need a little more work around the arm holes but ta da!
As a footnote it may interest you to know that most of the clothes I wear are a standard British 10. This dress is very snug and a size 12 which may say something about the sizing policy over the last 20 years!
Dress: Next
Belt: Off a shirt
Diamante Necklace - Inherited from my Grandmother
Boots - Tesco

Saturday, 18 October 2008

275 days to go: Karen's Belt

The very kind Karen of A Certain Age took pity on my plight of not buying any more new clothes and sent me this lovely belt.
It came all the way from California and arrived in Liverpool today.
I was so excited I couldn't wait to wear it.
Last night I picked up my son's girl from Liverpool and we all had a lovely evening together.
This morning we went to watch our 13-year-old son play football against a Sheffield school.
This evening we are off to the home of our friend's Denise and Kevin.
I spent the afternoon trying on some outfits while my daughter was at gymnastics and our youngest enjoyed a pool party. The lovebirds are meeting up with friends while my other children are sleeping at Grandma's tonight.
I wore
Red Dress and Jeans -- Joe Brown
Cowboy Boots - Dorothy Perkins
Silk undershirt - Marks and Spencer
Belt by Karen!!!

Friday, 17 October 2008

276 days to go: Freaky Friday

I don't usually like to wear trousers or jeans during the week unless I have to as I spend most of my weekend in them.
However, today is an exception. I will be running around cleaning and tidying the house.
Why? You may ask.
The reason - the girl my son met on holiday is spending the weekend with us. They met on the first night and three months later it is still going strong.
I am looking forward to him being on his best behaviour because he has been a pain the a*** the last few weeks.
Let's see!
I am wearing..
Joe Brown Jeans
Boden Linen Shirt
Black Warehouse Vest
Black Zara Boots
Pendant from Spanish magazine.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

277 days to go: Little Black Boots

Check out these fantastic boots I picked up from the post office this morning. I won them for £7.00 on eBay. They are from Zara and a lovely patent leather. AND they possess that perfect mix of style, height and comfort.
I may well sleep in these tonight.
The boots determined what I was going to wear today.
The turquoise M&S dress (eBay) looks great with black.
The t-shirt is from Primark, the belt is a year old and from Wallis.
The necklace (again) is from Accessorise, the tights from Tesco and the bangle is my daughter's ( a holiday gift from my mum and dad).
The only problem is the new to me clothes need to make some memories before they will become true treasures like yesterday's cardigan.
I wore that cardigan to La Manga for a great couple's holidays for my husband's 40th birthday (2005). I also wore it to one of the best Christmas parties ever at my friend Joy's when we sang Karaoke until the early hours (2006). In 2007 I wore it to a business meeting when one of the high-powered lawyers I was writing a press release about whispered "I love that cardigan" when the po-faced partner left the room.

278 days to go: An outfit for all seasons

It was a long day today and the weather forceast was for sun, wind and rain. My working day began at 7.15am and didn't end until 8pm which was followed by dinner with friends.
I had to find an outfit that could stand the test of time - not to mention three seasons in one day - which is why I opted for safe black and my cardigan for all seasons.
The day began at 6.30am when I took this photograph before driving to work at the prison.
After a busy day teaching and helping with the prison magazine I had to drive 40 miles to Liverpool where I led a workshop advising new businesswomen about the dark art of PR.
At 8pm my husband joined me in the city and we went to the Albert Dock to meet my friends Cathy and Peter. Cathy lives on a tugboat which is moored on the Albert Dock - just where Fred's weather map used to be.
We had a lovely meal, caught up with news before returning home around midnight.
I was pleased the outfit more than earned its keep. I bought the high-waisted trousers from Tesco last year. The cardigan was from the sale rail at Karen Millen circa 2005 and the Boden shirt was originally white but I dyed it black as I needed a black shirt and didn't have one.
Thank goodness I can have a lie-in until 7am tomorrow!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

279 days to go: Mind The Gap

Today was a difficult day. I love to write but the whole day was dedicated to writing my annual report for my first year as writer in residence.
If that was not bad enough I then had to find every receipt to account for my £1,000 project fund.
It was not an inspiring day and to distract myself for a while I went for a run!
However, it is done now and I can relax - for another year.
But there were good points to today. I had to set up a new email address as my blueyonder one seems to have gone to ground. I sent a blanket email to everyone in my address book to inform them of my new address. As a result lots of old friends got in touch including my old Features editor, Fiona and a lovely lady called Lindsey who we met on holiday.
And having all the admin out of the way I can focus on more creative pursuits. I have agreed to embark on the madness of NaNoWriMo wiht my friend Jenn. Jenn is trying to finish her second novel and I am trying to complete my first. NaNoWriMo challenges writers to complete a novel in the month of November.
It doesn't have to be great - you just have to commit yourself to writing around 2,000 words a day.
I have just enough time to clear my decks.
Today I wore some more ebay bargains including this fab skirt from Gap, shrug worn as a wrap top from Gap, Whistles shirt, grey camisole and blue boots from Whistles.

280 days to go: In praise of Mrs Haslem

When I was a little girl I lived in awe of Mrs Haslem, the ballet teacher.
Mrs Haslem always looked different to the other mothers.
She had the elegance and grace that only a woman who has practised ballet from the age of two could possess.
Her hair and clothes were always immaculate - jewel covered crossover tops adding a flash of colour to the ubiquitous black swirly skirts and tights.
Mrs Haslem was the only ballet teacher for miles around and despite my pleas, my parents would never let me join the class. I have never discovered why.
I sometimes wonder if I would have been taller, slimmer more graceful and elegant had I joined Mrs Haslem's class instead of judo and gymnastics!
I am wearing black skirt - Asos
Black tights and shoes - Tesco
Purple crossover shrug - Gap.

Monday, 13 October 2008

281 days to go: The eBay Swap Shop

Today (Sunday October 12th), it was lovely and warm all day with temperatures up to a tropical 18C!!
I wore this grey fine knit dress from Gap with a turquoise camisole, brown Clark's shoes and the beads which inspired my current turquoise phase.
The dress is another eBay "Swap" and I have been asked by several bloggers to explain how it works.

In essence it is my own made up Swap Shop. There is no facility on eBay for this but as my blog is called workthatwardrobe, I have decided to use that ethos of working with what I have.
Essentially I post items of clothing that are too big/too small or don't suit me on eBay.
I usually add an £1 - £2 to the postage charges which gives a little added extra to cover the fees for the items that sell and those that don't sell.
So for example this weekend I got £6.95 for a new Look skirt which is too big, £10.50 for some Next Trousers which make my legs look like two short planks and £5.74 for this skirt I got on EBay a few weeks ago for £3 but it is really too long and too big on the waist.
So, having sold a few items I get the money paid into my PayPal account which I use as credit to bid for new items.
I make sure that there is enough credit to cover the postage costs I incur (which I transfer to my bank account) and the eBay charges I get for posting and selling.
The bonus is I get lots of parcels through the post and money has never left my purse.
Heather has suggested that using this method I may never have to purchase any new clothes again.
I think she may be right!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

282 days to go: The Gymboree

It was the highlight of my daughter's year tonight - the annual Gymnastics Club Presentation Evening.
She trains 16 hours a week and the gym club is her life.
But on a rare weekend off from training my darling daughter had arranged a shopping trip to our nearest big town.
With £20 of hard earned cash in her sweaty little palm she came back with a complete outfit, paid for her lunch and her train fare. I was impressed.
Here she is wearing it. Dress with puffball skirt, Shoes, Bangles and T-Shirt - Primark. Long socks and headband - the indoor market.
I tried to take her photo at the event but she couldn't keep still. Her brother was less than impressed.
During the day I had lots of jobs to do including getting on my bike to collect another eBay parcel from the sorting office.
I wore Gap Curvy Jeans, Turquoise T-shirt from C&C, Red Converse trainers and oatmeal vest from Dorothy Perkins during the day.
In the evening I dressed up this skirt from River Island and wore it with a Black Halter Neck Top from Next and Black and Purple Shoes from Karen Millen. It was a long walk home in those heels, I can tell you!

Friday, 10 October 2008

283 days to go: More gammon than gamine

I wasn't blessed with great legs.
When they were handing good legs out I was at the back of the queue with the little pink guys.
I suppose it could have been worse and I could have ended up with trotters!
Short and stubby the only good things I can say for my legs is that they are both in perfect working order.
Sadly my legs will never be compared to those sleek, long lithesome limbs associated with racehorses.
Instead I have to resort to trickery and when I read Kasmira's post about long legs that go on forever I couldn't wait to give it a try.
I made two attempts and stuck with the second one (the stripy cardigan).
They will never be great but OK is well, OK for now.

Picture One
Skirt H&M
Cream silk shirt. Autograph
Black Thermal T-Shirt - Debenhams
Pearl Corsage..??
Belt - Asos.
Black shoes and tights - Tesco

Picture Two
Skirt.. Wallis
Black thermal T, blakc tight, black shoes, as before.
Belt from Skirt
Cardigan. Primark.