Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The End

I have finally finished.
365 days without spending any extra money on clothes.
And it feels great.
It has been an amazing journey.
There has been a lot of other stuff going on in my life this year but this focus on the discipline of posting has been therapeutic.
When I have felt my lowest I have hunted through my wardrobe for a pick me up on a hanger.
When I want to look brave outside (even though I'm crumbling on the inside) I have carefully selected the kind of clothes I want to stick up for me.
The suit I wore when I wanted to crawl under the covers took me by the hand and told the people I had to face that I was smart, slick and meant business.
The red top I wore constantly through the darkest days of my recent winter reminded me of the brighter days to come.
I know some people (and they have every right to) feel that those of us who expend a lot of energy thinking about clothes are pretty shallow.
But if it hadn't been for this blog which led to the connection of everyone out there who provided a few kind words at difficult times i don't think I would feel as positive as I do right now.
Through this blog I have met so many other kind souls I would never normally have come into contact with.
And that means everyone who has commented on my journey over the past year and those of you who have followed from a distance.
This blog ends here but I have set up a new one called The Small Fabric Of My Life which will include my musings on what matters most to me (family, friends, clothes, writing, fitness, music etc).
In many ways the same as this blog but without the countdown.
I am ending this blog with the outfit I began with.
I feel this sums up a great deal of what I have learned - stylewise- from this journey.
It is a dress I hardly wore but is, I discovered, the perfect shape, colour and pattern for me.
Thanks to style tips from other bloggers I have learned how to wear it in a casual style, dressed-up and during winter and summer.
Best of all, it always cheers me up.
And that, I think is the secret of a successful style - finding clothes that work for your shape, your life and your budget.
That cheer you up when you are feeling down and stick up for you when you are feeling low.
In essence working your wardrobe is really about getting your wardrobe to work for you.
If you have enjoyed this blog please join me at my new blog with footnotes on fashion, fun, family and friends - The Small Fabric Of My Life.
Au Revoir

Monday, 20 July 2009

3, 2 and 1 day to go: Almost There

Almost there!
In reailty I have done it but in blogland there are still posts to upload.
Here is my weekend wear.
We went to see my brother and his family who live in Cambridgeshire to welcome their new baby, Seth.
It was a very busy weekend.
On Saturday we went into Peterborough to have a look around and enjoyed a fabulous Italian meal.
On Sunday we drove to Nottingham with my youngest two children and my older nephew and niece to see Walking With Dinosaurs which was amazing.
It was nice to catch up with my brother - there are just the two of us - and on Saturday we went for a lovely run together around the villages where he lives.
I have one final post to make but thank you so far for all the congratulations.
It feels good to complete something you set out to achieve!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Charity Sale Announcement

As I write this I am working on my brother's computer.
We are here to meet our new baby newpher Seth.
Seth is a beautiful, healthy baby - just like his brother and sister.
And after a rough labour his mum is enjoying her time with her lovely family.
Sadly, this isn't the case for everyone.
When I decided to try and sell off some of my clothes to raise funds for charity it was hard to pick out one worthy cause.
Until I remembered that had I not received prompt medical care in 1996 I wouldn't be here now.
In May 1996 I had an ectopic pregnancy and by the time I collpased I had lost four pints of blood.
Luckily the swift and effective medical tresatment at my local hospital ensured that not only did I survive but I went on to have two more children.
Millions of women in the developing world are not so lucky.
And that is why I have chosen Women and Children First (WCF) as my chosen charity.
Details of how to make a donation are on my other blog.
Thanks for following me on this journey which will shortly come to an end.
But I hope you will stay with me as I embark on another adventure.

Friday, 17 July 2009

4 days to go: St Swithin's Chic

It is raining again.
And it has rained every day since St Swithin's Day.
Does this mean rain for the next 38 days?
The worst thing about the rain is what it does to my hair.
Apart from that I like splashing in puddles.
It is coller too so I think I need to invest in a long cardigan like these. one.Tonight I am taking my two youngest children to see my new baby nephew Seth and won't be back until Monday which marks the last day of my year-long challenge and some marathon posts.
Have a great weekend.

I wore...
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Marks and Spencer
T-shirt 0 my daughter's (from Primark)
Brolly and Belt - Primark

Thursday, 16 July 2009

5 days to go: Back to Front

Another busy day today.
I went for a run with my friend Denise this morning before returning home for a shower and some work.
This afternoon I will be going to watch my youngest son perform in the end year concert at his school.
After that I will be going to Liverpool to sit an exam as my counselling course comes to an end.
I love the buttons on the back of this top and have worn it both ways.
It wil get great use in the autumn and winter but I need a jacket to go with it.
I was searching for women's jackets and came across this great one.
Although I avoid wearing it when I meet my friend Sue.
She has koumpounophobia (fear of buttons).
What always surprises me is that someone in her line of work can function.
She teaches dressmaking!
I wore..
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt and camisole - Gap
Top - eBay
Necklace - Next

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

6 days to go:Poetic Pink

I couldn't post about my last week without wearing a little pink.
My current crush on red will fade but my long lasting love affair with pink will prevail.
There is quite a lot of alliteration there.
Purely accidental.
Or was it?
Today I will be leading a poetry session at the prison.
I have found my old "A Puffin Book of Verse" which was presented by our local vicar for my attendance at Sunday School in 1973.
That book imbued my seven-year-old self with another long lasting love affair - poetry.
And I have found the poem I loved the best.
One I recently recited from memory to the prisoners.
It was "Matilda" by Hilaire Belloc.
It's a poem about a little girl who tells lies and ends up being ignored when she needs help the most.
If you don't know it I urge you to look it up.
The rhyme and rhythms and gory story of the poem are perfect for children.
We will be looking at list poems today which will give me a chance to read out another favourite poet - Adrian Henri.
Long before I arrived in my adopted home of Liverpool I was obsessed with the city.
Not because of The Beatles but because of a poetry book called "The Mersey Sound" which features the work of Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Patten.
In fact at university where I studied English I asked my tutor if I could do my dissertation on The Mersey poets.
He said the body of work was not sufficient and I ended up writing some dull paper on "Demonology And Witchcraft In English Renaissance Drama."
Henri, like Walt Whitman, possesses a great skill in handling the list poem and we will be looking at "Love Is" and "I Want To Paint" today.
You can see both poems here.
I love my pink cardigan - I think I need more. Take a look at these long cardigans - perfect for autumn.

I wore....
Shoes - Clarks
Jeans and Shirt - Gap
Cardigan - French Connection
Necklace - Drome, Liverpool

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

7 days to go:FlexiDress

I love browsing through women's dresses online.
I bought this one from American Apparel.
I decided to wear it as a high-waisted skirt with a simple white vest.
I love the way the wasitband drapes and the ties fall.
It is such a shame the cotton isn't heavier as this keeps the dress very casual.
If only they could do it in a better quality material that looked smarter.
After the rain yesterday the sun is shining.
I feel so much better.

Shoes - Clarks
Skirt/Dress - American Apparel
Vest - Isabella Oliver
Necklace - Virgin Vie

Monday, 13 July 2009

8 days to go: Odd

An odd kind of day.
It wasn't exactly cold but it wasn't warm either.
One thing was for sure - it was wet.
Very wet.
To cheer myself up I opted for the cardigan that always gets positive compliments.
And the skirt I have come to love.
Just a week to go now and I think I am finally finding my style.
I wore:
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Tesco
Cami - Marks and Spencer
Cardigan - ASOS
Ring and bangles - Top Shop
Necklace - Monsoon

9 days to go: A Change Of Pose

My husband thinks my daily pose with my right leg out in front is hilarious?
So to confuse him I have adopted a new pose.
I'm still not sure about it.
The outfit was created with a busy shopping trip in mind.
My daughter needed new school shoes.
Yes. I know there are only 8 days of the school year left but she couldn't go in bare feet.
She also wanted some new things for her holiday.
The weather forecast said sunshine, showers and wind!

I wore...
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Marks and Spencer
Top - Primark
Necklace - Principles

Sunday, 12 July 2009

10 days to go: One Dress 15 Ways!

I had £28.57 left from my recent eBay sales.
I invested it in this dress from American Apparel which cost £28.00.
I wore No. 9 today!
I tried the combinations with another halter neck dress.
It didn't work.
The secret is the spandex material and the fact that it is cut on the bias.
I love the way it converts into a top and short dress by turning it upside down and back to front!

Friday, 10 July 2009

11 days to go: The Great Escape

Ssh! Don't tell anyone but today I helped some prisoners escape.
Nine of them actually.
Bear with me on this.
I took in some articles I had written about New York, Hong Kong and Spain.
We talked for a while about what makes a great travel feature and how to take someone on a journey with words.
I then took them through a guided writing exercise in which I asked them to think of a place they had once been.
As we worked several members of the group were smiling at their memories.
Following the final reading they thanked me for "the best session ever."
I had enjoyed listening to their journeys and helping them escape.
For a few hours at least.

I wore...
Shoes - Clarks
Jeans - Gap
Vest - Isabella Oliver
Jacket - Next
Silver Jewellery - Top Shop
Bag - free with In Style magazine.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

12 days to go: Defiant Red

I am looking forward to my holidays.
We are going to Spain.
I love Spain.
I love the weather, the food, the people and the landscape.
But most of all; I love Flamenco.
The first time I saw the dance performed by Spanish dancers I was mesmerised.
It wasn't just the dancing, the music, the costumes, the theatre.
It was everything.
Along with the dream of living one year of eternal sunshine by swapping the northern hemisphere for the southern hemisphere is a long-held ambition to visit Southern Spain at the time of the Flamenco festivals.
The strange thing is for someone so physically active I don't want to learn to dance Flamenco myself.
I couldn't.
I just want to watch and absorb the spectacle.
Over recent weeks I have found myself in a very difficult position battling with authorities who I know are wrong (and will be proved so in court)but currently wield the power.
And now I know why I feel a kinship with flamenco which is described thus:
"Flamenco is an emotionally charged and expressive Gypsy soul music where each hand-clap is a scream from the heart and every heel-smack an act of defiance."
So it was no contest about what to wear today.
My new (acquired through ebay sales) Joe Brown skirt.
It may not be a flamenco skirt but its colour and billowing freedom remind me of the ultimate triumph of the oppressed.

I wore:
Sandals - Clarks
Skirt - Joe Browns
Top - H & M
Tesco cardigan
Necklace - free with Spanish Instyle magazine

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

13 days to go: The Girl In The Striped Top

I love this top.
I always feel great when I wear it.
And to think it was tucked away in my wardrobe for aeons because I hadn't worked out how to refashion t-shirts by cutting the neck and the sleeves.
I'm escaping to prison today after a week's holiday.
Once I'm inside the prison I lock the doors and escape all my troubles which I leave outside.
Maybe I won't bother to pick them up on the way back out today.
This morning we will be writing in different voices after creating characters using the Marcel Proust questionnaire.
I get so excited about creating new characters and getting to know them.
I love the made up world.
When life is tough isn't it wonderful to create your very own world to escape to?

I wore...
Shoes - Clarks
Jeans - Gap Curvy
Striped Top - Primark (refashioned)
Jacket French Connection (overdyed)
Necklace - Next

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

14 days to go: In or Out?

I have been thinking about proportions quite a lot recently.
And even more so after Imogen's post about the Fib formula.
But I still can't decide.
Should the t-shirt be tucked in or out?
That is the question.

Shoes - Clarks
Skirt and t-shirt - Gap
Necklace - Matalan

Capsule Holiday Workout

Life is tough at the moment but there are three things that keep me sane - exercise, music and writing.
And boy did I need some exercise today.
However, after my family left for school and work this morning I realised I was locked in.
What do I mean by locked in?
No, it wasn't a prison day - thankfully.
What happened was my husband and two sons went off with all the keys for the house.
Until they returned I couldn't go out because I wouldn't have been able to get back in.
I had planned a 4 mile run but was now stuck at home.
Yet if I didn't exercise I would be like a caged animal when they returned.
Determined to rid my body of some residual frustrations I decided to get my ipod and work out a circuit using one exercise per music track.
To warm up I started on the trampoline. (Will Young's Leave Right Now)
Next, Hula for a track (I kissed A Girl by Katy Perry)
Then skip for a track (Don't Stop til You Get Enough by Michael Jackson)
Then I rolled out my exercise mat and did some squats and lunges using a broom(I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker by Sandi Thom)
Back on the trampoline (She's So Lovely by Scouting For Girls)
Some More Hula's ( Billie Jean by Michael Jackson)
More skipping (Hips Don't Lie by Shakira)
Then cooldown to Ben by Michael Jackson and finally a handstand for a few minutes.
I checked my heart rate monitor and my workout had lasted just over 40 minutes with an average heart rate of 141 which is around the same as a slow 4 mile run.
Job done and apart from the trampoline I can take everything else on holiday with me as my hula hoop breaks up into sections.
Yesterday I was planning my capsule wardrobe for my holiday next month.
I hadn't really thought about my holiday routine as I normally just take my running shoes and go for a run.
But last year the heat was so intense from early on I had to rise at 6am to get a run in.
Now that is one less problem to deal with.

Monday, 6 July 2009

15 days to go: Geranium Top

It is much cooler today.
And wet.
And grey.
Which means I need some colour to brighten up my day.
I love bright scarlet geraniums like the ones in my hanging basket.
I acquired this top from the sale at LK Bennett.
I got the funds from selling two dresses on eBay.
From now on I will call it my Geranium Top.

I wore..
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Gap
Top - LK Bennett
Necklace - Virgin Vie

16 and 17 days to go: Le Weekend

Another busy weekend.
Apart from the usual running around getting ready for next week and taking children to their various friends/parties/activities I had a meeting with a group of friends and two barbecues to attend.
On Saturday I got together with some of the mums I met around 10 - 14 years ago at various ante-natal and nursery schools.
It was good to catch up on the news and plan another walking trip in the summer holidays.
On Saturday evening there was a barbecue to celebrate the end of my eldest son's football team after ten years.
From September the boys will be 17 and 18 and many will move on to new teams.
We dodged the showers and managed to make the most of the sunshine when it peeped through the clouds.
On Sunday my husband, the Cub Scout leader was running a Wet Day at Southport's Marine Lake and he took our youngest along with him.
They all had a great time sailing on rafts and canoeing.
Next weekend my husband is leading a Cub Camp so in the afternoon he had to check all the tents were in good repair.
To round the weekend off we had another barbecue with our good friends, Kevin and Denise.
I just love the flexibility of a wardroe full of dresses and am always on the look out for more ladies dresses.
We did manage to cook outside but the rain was so bad we had to eat indoors.

On Saturday I wore...
white capr pants - Tesco
Shoes - River Island
Dress - Matalan
Wrap - free with a magazine
Necklace - Principles

On Sunday I wore..
Dress - Ciel
Shoes - Clarks
Belt - Principles

Sunday, 5 July 2009

18 days to go: Freebie Friday

I am a little behind in posting because it has been so busy.
It was Sport's Day on Friday for my youngest and little Ben won all three of his races - the sprint, the obstacle and the relay races.
I was so proud of him.
Today I am wearing a collection of free gifts.
The vest is currently free with August issue of Elle magazine.
The bag came with last month's Instyle.
The sunglasses with May's issue of Tatler and the hat came free with a bikini and sarong I bought at Tesco (with my vouchers).
The only things that weren't free were my sandals form Clarks, the belt from Tesco and the skirt from Marks and Spencer.

Friday, 3 July 2009

19 days to go: Eternal Summer

I had a lot of running around to do on my bike so I wore this dress over these shorts.
I want to put it on record that I am not complaining about this hot weather.
I love it hot.
I can't bear the cold.
My dream is to spend my life in eternal spring/summertime.
I'd live April to September in the northern hemisphere and October to March in the southern hemisphere.
Maybe I'll try it one year.

I wore....
Shorts and Belt - Tesco
Dress - Matalan
Sandals - Clarks

Thursday, 2 July 2009

20 days to go: Venice Revisited

It is still hot here.
So it's about time to dig out some holidaywear.
The last time I wore this dress was in 2006 when we went to Italy.
We stayed at a campsite called Union Lido and spent the day in Venice (see below).
I bought the dress from Next.
In the sale, of course.
It cost £14.99.
I wore it a lot that summer but it has a very low back and there are no visible means of support available - if you know what I mean!
So now it only comes out on hot days and holidays.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

21 days to go: In A Spin

I finally took delivery of my new Hula Hoop.
I had read about using Hula Hoop's to have fun and get fit when journalist Rosie Millard, tried it out in The Times recently.
My daughter was once voted the Hula Queen at a local summer play scheme when she managed to keep going longer than anyone else. She was five at the time.
So, if you can't beat'em, join 'em.
I had great fun following the DVD routine with instructor Betty Hoops (I kid you not!).
I managed to keep up with most of the moves although I certainly need more practice in others.
For my retro routine I chose a retro influenced outfit of stripes and spots.
Forgive me if I have not commented on many blogs this week but I am having a screen break.
To recharge my batteries I have taken the week off work and have limited my use of the computer to 20 minutes a day to deal with urgent enmail (and this blog).
I spent most of the day getting back to nature by gardening and planting some new herbs in my herb garden.
I wore..
Shoes - River Island
Dress - Matalan
Necklace - Top Shoop
Hula Hoop - Gaiam

Monday, 29 June 2009

22 days to go: Mercury Rising

It's very hot here today.
The mercury tipped 33C in the car.
Most of the day was spent running errands.
I appear to have lost my youngest two children who have disappeared down the road to play with a family who have a swimming pool in their garden.
I can't say I blame them - I would love to dive in right now!

I wore....
Sandals - Clarks
Dress - Per Una