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

24 and 23 days to go: Playing Shop

It has been another busy weekend.
Saturday was spent running around the kids and meeting up with our friends.
The idea was we'd have an early drink in the local village, back to our house for something to eat before an early end to the evening.
It didn't work out like that.
At 6pm we met up for the drink. Which turned into three.
We ate around 9pm and then watched the Bruce Springsteen At Glastonbury concert on the television.
The evening finally ended at 1am.
Not that I am complaining - a night out with good friends is better than any medicine.
But it was an early start on Sunday as my youngest was playing in a football tournament.
They won one, drew one and lost three games.
As we came home the eldest son appeared as he was refereeing for the afternoon.
On Sunday evening my parents came round and we managed a barbecue in the garden before the heavens opened and the roads were flooded with a torrential downpour.

I spent a little time over the weekend preparing for a grand charity sale.
I have decided to give up on ebay when my last lot is sold and do it myself.
I have around 100 items of clothing and accessories that I think are too good for the charity shop.
I am slowly filing them on a new blog which will be launched at the end of my year.
I will be asking for a donation plus postage and all proceeds will go to a charity that provides medical aid to prevent mothers dying during childbirth in the third world.

On Saturday I wore..
Shoes - River Island
Skirt - Tesco
Top - H & M

On Sunday I wore..
Shorts - Tesco
Vest - Gap
Kaftan - Gold hawk
Shoes - Clarks

Saturday, 27 June 2009

25 days to go: A Simple Life

When I was a young (ish) mother of four very young children I wrote to the author of one of my favourite books.
"Dear Mr Crofts,
You have inspired me to take a leap into the unknown and abandon my staff job to become a freelance writer."
I also added a bit about noticing that he had four children too.
I got an almost immediate reply.
"Dear Jane,
I am so glad you enjoyed the book and that you found it most useful. However, writing is the easy bit. Parenting four children, now that's a different story."
Or something to that effect.
I thought it was an odd reply and duly took the step into the unknown.
I left my job as a features writer at The Liverpool Echo on October 31st 2003.
At the time my children were 2, 5, 7 and 11.
Yes, they argued and of course it was tiring but I felt I had it all.
I managed to find enough work to equal my staff job pay and I could do it around the children.
I didn't have to ask anyone's permission to go to Sport's Day or to care for my children when they were sick.
And I could still pay the bills.
Happy Days.
And then life become a little more complicated.
My children changed as they grew older; as children do.
But more worryingly, the World changed too.
The very hi-tech equipment that had enabled me to work from home was now becoming the instrument of my misery.
Instead of being a friend, the internet and mobile phones that allowed me to accomplish my daily work were now being used by the enemy to bombard and influence my children from all quarters as they bounded into teenagers and High School and all the challenges that these years bring.
Over the past year the balls that I have been juggling for so long have tumbled down.
I can no longer keep my eye on the ball because invidious forces have blindfolded me and tied my hands behind my back.
I wish I could tell you what is going on in my life.
But I can't.
Not yet.
Suffice it to say the more complicated my life gets the more I exert what little control I have through clothes by aspiring to the life I want - a simple uncomplicated one.
The Simple Life that Nanci Griffith sings about.
So today, for my complicated life I have chosen a very simple outfit.
Soft colours, simple lines and everything tucked in and tidy.
And as a new day dawns I am ready to take on the world.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Marks and Spencer
Blouse - Gap
Belt and Sunglasses - Tesco

Thursday, 25 June 2009

26 days to go: Me and the Red Dress Are Friends Again

Do you remember when you were 11 0r 12 and you fell out with your best friend?
The following day you take up where you left off before the fight and when anyone asks why you fell out; you can't, for the life of you remember why.
That's how I feel about this dress.
I loved it.
I fell out with it and now I'm in love with it all over again.
How could I have been so cruel?
The colour brightens my day, however dull it is outside.
The dress ignores my imperfections and loves me for who I am.
One day, when all my troubles are over, we will laugh about the day I thought of banishing it from my life all together.

I am also sporting my new Clarks sandals for the first time.
They are soooo comfortable.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

27 days to go: A Fashion Crime?

I committed the fatal fashion faux pas when crime writer Martin Edwards visited the jail today.
What was my hideous crime?
I wore exactly the same skirt I had on last time I met Martin here.
By the time I realised this it was too late.
Seriously it was a great day.
I used to work for Martin's firm as a PR consultant and through a shared passion for reading and writing we have stayed in contact.
By day Martin is Head of Employment Law at Mace and Jones Law Firm in Liverpool.
But by night he is a prolific crime novelist and short story writer.
The guys had lots of questions to ask and were more than eager to hear about his approach to the art of crime fiction.

But back to sartorial matters. I have noticed I wear my denim jacket a lot during the summer months and as it happens one of my favourite fashion writers wrote about this recently.
So maybe my crimes against fashion can be forgiven, after all!

Today I wore....
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Gap
Vest - Zara
Necklace - Top Shop
Scarf (Sarong) - Tesco
Denim Jacket - Tesco

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

28 days to go: To eBay or not to eBay?

I am being ruthless with my wardrobe edit.
I am thinking of ebaying this dress.
I know I have posted about how much I love it.
But - I am not sure if it fits into my new rules.

1. Does it suit my shape?
Not so sure now!
2. Is it age appropriate?
Again, not so sure.
3. Does it go with anything else in my wardrobe?
Not really.

I am thinking with my sentimental hat on now.
I love the colour and the print of the dress - it cheers me up when I'm down.
It has travelled to Rome, the South of France, Barcelona and Anglesey with me.
And I may get Scraggy Sarah Syndrome.
What's that?
Well back when I was about six years old my mum had asked me to clear out my dolls for a Toy Sale at church.
There was this doll I never played with.
She was filthy. She had no clothes to fit her.
I had hacked at her hair and one of her eyes was wonky.
She was the first to go.
But the following night I couldn't get to sleep.
I thought of some other little girl being given Scraggy Sarah.
And then I started to cry a little; then a lot.
By 11pm on this Sunday night I was inconsolable.
My poor mum rang everyone she knew who was collecting the toys.
At 11pm - that is how desperate she was.
Finally she managed to find out Sarah's location and the teenage son of the woman whose job it was to clean up the dirty dolls arrived just before midnight with the special delivery.
I was so happy.
I cuddled Sarah all night.
And ..........never played with her again!
Anyway here's the dress, please help me decide.

Today it is hot and sunny and I am cleaning the house.
I wore....
Shorts, Vest and Scarf - Tesco
Shoes - Birkenstocks

Monday, 22 June 2009

29 days to go: Question Time

I was leading a PR Workshop at Train 2000 today which is a monthly event I always look forward to.
In Fact by the time I lead the next workshop my year-long challenge will be over.
So maybe it is time to start answering some of the questions you left on my blog yesterday.

Notsupermum wants to know if I will have a mad spending splurge when my year is up?
I wish. Financially things are still very tight and with a soon to be 18-year-old son about to go to university (and three siblings, hopefully, to follow) I can't see that changing anytime soon.
Having said that I really don't feel the urge to buy anything yet. I think the year has helped me see how much stuff I don't wear and how much stuff I buy which doesn't really suit me. I think I will set a budget and be much more discerning.

Shoegal wants to know if I will keep on blogging my dailywear.
Yes. I have made some great friends out there and you have all helped me through some rocky roads along the way this year. However, I will be directing you to a new blog which will still include a dailywear picture but there will be more about my reflection on clothes, my life and the universe.

Heather wants to know - Will I Write A Book?
I have been toying with the idea for a while and I think I have a proposal to put to some smaller publishers. I have learned so much and I would love to share my ideas and findings with other women of a certain age. The working title is: "How To Find Your Style Without Losing A Fortune."

But back to today.
I wore....
Shoes - Clarks
Suit - Next
Shirt - Whistles

Sunday, 21 June 2009

31 and 30 days to go: Home Straight

There are less than 30 days to go until July 19th when my year-long challenge will end - and what a journey.
I am starting to think how I will reflect on the challenge about what I have learned.
This weekend was very casual.
Saturday was spent in tracksuit watching my daughter play in a netball tournament.
Sunday was running round tidying up and preparing for the week ahead.
I also managed to post the rest of my summer sales on ebay.
From the £84 I received earlier this month I bought the ASOS cardigan and have just ordered two pairs of shoes from Clarks which you can see here and here - both reduced by 50% in the sale.

I wore the denim skirt on Saturday and the jeans on Sunday.
Hope you had a good weekend.

Friday, 19 June 2009

32 days to go: Stand And Deliver

I've ended the weekend in swashbuckling style.
My husband says I look like Adam Ant - a cross between a pirate and a highway(wo)man.
An opinion shared by the prisoners I worked with today.
We are writing a collection of children's stories to be read by the prisoners to their children on Family Days.
One of the stories is about a pirate.
A good pirate.
I now think of my cardigan in a different light - as a muse!
I love cardigans and there are some fab ones here.

I wore..
Jeans, shirt and scarf - Gap
Cardigan - Asos
Trainers - Nike

Thursday, 18 June 2009

33 days to go: Old Ideas Dressed In Better Clothes

"Old Ideas Dressed In Better Clothes," that was one of the key phrases at the launch of PALink at Edge Hill University today.
The quotes came from the keynote speaker who talked about how society takes old ideas and dresses them as something new and exciting.
I loved that phrase.
PALink is a network of drama practitioners delivering applied theatre in the community.
I was invited by a senior lecturer from Edge Hill University who came to the prison a few weeks ago with two of her drama students.
I spoke about the work I did and during the conference I discussed an idea to develop a programme of inclusive games aimed at Year Seven girls (age 11/12) to develop into a drama about friendships.
We spent an hour discussing the idea and I now have a list of experts ready to develop my idea.
So maybe something good will come out of my daughter's bad experiences.
Or did I just dress up an old idea in better clothes?

I wore my favourite feelgood striped t-shirt and felt on top of the world as I left - something I haven't felt for quite a while.
Just had to let you know - those well-dressed braniacs at Academichic have posted a special on jackets and blazers. I was thinking of getting a new blazer for the summer.
What do you think about these womens jackets?

I wore...
Shoes - Clarks
Skirt - Tesco
Belt - Principles
Scarf - an old sarong
T-shirt - Primark
Cardigan - ASOS (new - bought with eBay sales)

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

34 days to go: Reasons To Be Cheerful - Part One

I love the Ian Dury song - Reasons To Be Cheerful - Part Three.
The song always makes me smile.
Like this cardigan.
I bought it in the Karen Millen sales about four years ago for around £30.
I love the colours, the stripes, the shape.
I have repaired it, I have cut off tassels but still I love it to bits.
Today I am going to look for all the reasons to be cheerful.
One reason I feel a bit more cheerful is I have had anther purge of my wardrobe.
The last eBay sale raised £88.00.
Here's a sneak preview.

Monday, 15 June 2009

37, 36 and 35 days to go: Tough Clothes For Tough Times

Thanks for all your greetings and good wishes.
They really help.
Things have gone from bad to worse but I can't talk about them.
Please believe me - you presence helps.
I am going back to where it all began with the focus on clothes.
I will not give up.
On Saturday I dressed up in my polka dot dress and took my mum to a Reader's Day and one of the workshops was called "Strange Poems For Strange Times" with the fabulous Rebecca Goss.
The weekend requires comfort which is why I wore the leggings and easywear top.
Today needed even more tlc so I went for my very favourite Joe Brown dress.
Here's to a better week than last week.

Friday, 12 June 2009

38 - 42 days to go:Bouncing Back

I am feeling better.
Yesterday I was bouncing back - on the trampoline.
It has been a harrowing week but the school have finally acknowledged my request for help and my daughter has the mentor I have been asking for since she was attacked by another girl in February.
But not before everything I said was going to happen, happened.
From Monday she has a new start.
A new class, a new house and a new teaching set.
She has also been chosen to be a Peer Mentor for next year.
This role provides a support system for new pupils starting the school next year who may be having a tough time.
Maybe going through tough times is worthwhile if it helps others.
I am not a great fan of Posh Spice but I remember her being interviewed after the scandal of David Beckham's affair.
She told the interviewer:
"What doesn't kill us makes us stronger."
Hear Hear.
Although I haven't been posting I have been snapping so here's a round-up of my outfits this week.
All items are remixed.
Thanks again for all your messages of support - they helped.
So much.
Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Some Things Are More Important Than Clothes

...like my daughter.
She is having a difficult time coping at her High School and I need all my energy to be there for her.
I will be back soon.
I won't give up.
I promise.

Monday, 8 June 2009

44 and 43 days to go: Wear and Wear Again

I'm still embroiled with "stuff" which has given me little time to think about what to wear.
Both today and yesterday are recent repeats - give or take a few accessories.
Hopefully, normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

47, 46 and 45 days to go: Low Balls

Life has thrown a few low balls this week which is why I will keep this post brief.
The suit is new - from Next- and bought with the credit from selling this DVF dress a while back.
I was saving the funds for something important.
I wore the suit to a very difficult meeting and feeling good about what I was wearing played no small part in helping me get through a very difficult situation.
I will be needing it again on Monday.
Apologies for the mystery but the matters involve other people and I can't really comment.
Have a great weekend.

47 days
Skirt - Tesco
Top - Sara Berman
Shoes - Clarks

46 days
Suit - Next
Vest - Zara
Scarf - Marks and Spencer
Shoes - Clarks

45 days
Shoes - Clarks
Jeans - Tesco
Top - H & M
Wrap - Joe Brown

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Wardrobe Clearout Part One

I am starting on phase one of my wardrobe clearout as my year is nearly up.
I have just posted some dresses on eBay here.
I loved all of them when I bought them but they just don't seem right now. I have put a little weight on over the past few years and some don't look so great on me anymore.
There's a DVF dress and a Marc Jacobs dress amongst them and I think I have been hanging on to them just because of the brand.
Others I just don't seem to have the occasion to wear them.
Here's a collage of the first phase of my clearout!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

48 days to go: Oasis Poppy Dress

I wore this dress on the very first day of my challengehere and again here .
I love the dress but I was struggling to find some flat shoes to wear it with.
I am sure I would wear it more often if I had the right shoes.
Any suggestions?
I fell in love with this dress when I saw it in a magazine and bought it straight away.
It cost £80.00 and I was horrified when I went shopping with Jenn a few months later and it was on the sale rail for £25.00!
Still, I had it when I wanted it.
If I could I'd spend every day in dresses, party dresses, evening wear, day dresses - any dress!

Dress: Oasis
Shoes: Clarks

49 days to go: Later - beware of cheap dresses

My dress received some lovely comments but after the picture was taken the straps snapped.
Both of them!
I will have to get my sewing box out but with three little boys to take care of it had to wait (I was looking after two of my friends' sons).
So I quickly changed into my trusted Joe Brown Little White Dress - usually reserved for holidays - and trundled down to the beach.
Dress: Joe Brown

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

49 days to go: Free Love

I had some great news the other day.
I was told I had won the New Romantics' Free Love For A Year competition
I had almost forgotten about the story which I wrote way back in March.
I was on the train heading to the Writers In Prison Network when I decided to have a go.
The task was to describe your most romantic moment in 100 words.
Several drafts later here's what I was left with.

The Girl With The Bike With A Basket

“Why choose that film?” asks my husband.

“Because the girl has a bike with a basket – I've always dreamt of riding one.”

Two weeks later it’s my birthday; but in these cash-strapped times I’m not expecting much.

At daybreak he leads me to our freezing garage. I struggle to focus through the hazy half-light and debris of a four-child family.

Then I see it.

Over the past fortnight he’s spent every spare minute restoring an old skipped bike before re-spraying it my favourite colour.

Best of all, attached to the sparkling silver handlebars is a brand new wicker basket.

And here's the bike!

The prize is a selection of romantic novels for a year.
The other day I received a wonderful package of three books - a hardback copy of The Secret Shoppers Revenge by Kate Harrison; The Bride Hunter by Amy Appleton and The Self-Preservation Society by Kate Harrison.
I will have a parcel every other month for a year.
The trouble is I will be too busy reading to write!

Today is supposed to be the last day of the current heatwave and we will be back to seasonal temperatures tomorrow.
I am making the most of the warm weather by wearing this halter neck dress from Primark which I last wore here.

I wore:
Dress - Primark
Shoes - River Island
Sunglasses - Tesco
Necklace - Top Shop
Bracelet - as yesterday.

Monday, 1 June 2009

50 days to go: A Milestone

There are just 50 days to go before my self-imposed shopping ban ends which is a timely opportunity to reveal the contents of my closet.
Sole Mate asked to see inside so before I had time to tidy it up here it is.
Or rather, here they are (below).
I have two wardrobes.
The first is one in my eldest son's bedroom.
The bags overhead are stuffed with holiday gear that only comes out once a year.
The second wardrobe is in my bedroom and I share it with my husband.
There is a selection of shoes in the bottom but my boots and several other pairs are stored in the garage.
And I haven't even mentioned the chest of drawers of four storage boxes full of clothes.

Once my 50 days are up I will be reviewing this blog and if I haven't worn anything for the past year it will go unless there is a very good reason.
As an aside, the lovely Mervat's Meme made me laugh so I decided to take up her invitation to join in.
You need to answer the questions using the first initial of your name.
You can only use the same answer once.
They must be true.
And, if you follow someone with the same initial then all your answers must be different.
If you want to - join in the fun.
It's not as easy as it looks but you do discover some rarely used storage shelf in your memory bank.
I mean - Jilted John!!!
1. What is your name: Jane
2. A four Letter Word: Jape
3. A boy's Name: Jim
4. A girl's Name: Jenny
5. An occupation: Journalist
6. A color:Jade
7. Something you wear: Jeans
8. A food: Jam
9. Something found in the bathroom: Jelly (Petroleum)
10. A place: Jakarta
11. A reason for being late: Jaywalking
12. Something you shout: JOE!!!!!! (My 14-year-old who is usually winding his sister up)
13. A movie title: Jacob's Ladder
14. Something you drink: Juniper Berries (Gin!)
15. A musical group: Jackson 5
16. An animal: Java Sparrow
17. Street name: Jericho Lane (in Liverpool)
18. A type of car: Jaguar
19. A song title: Julie by Jilted John

Today I wore...
Dress - Matalan
Sandals - Birkenstock
Sunglasses - Tesco
Necklace and Bracelet - freebie with Spanish In Style magazine