Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year



Have joined a new book club and went to the first meeting last week.  The book choice Bad Science wasn't really me at all.  For a start it was non-fiction. And it was about science.  Can only recall one other science book I've ever read (The Language Instinct by Stephen Pinker and that was a bit of a struggle).  But persevered and glad I did.  Ben Goldacre, who writes a column in the Guardian with this title, points out the flawed research methods used to prove the effectiveness of anti-ageing face creams, vitamin pills and alternative therapies such as homeopathy  It was very convincing and surprisingly funny, especially the chapter on Dr Gillian McKeith.  I shouldn't sneer though - there's a copy of  'You Are What You Eat' on my bookshelf and I once resorted to homeopathy when conventional medicine failed to sort out a medical problem.  After reading this I won't be taken in again nor will I bother forking out for Clinique. Will stick to my old favourite Oil of Ulay, which I notice is now called Olay. Presumably to make it more European like the transformation of Opal Fruits into Starburst and Marathon into Snickers.


This month's choice appeals to me a lot more.  I've loved Sue Townsend since the first appearance of Adrian Mole and the title of her latest book, The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year,  is intriguing.  Could have applied to me in the last year as I seemed to spend a lot of time in bed, despite being a bit of an insomniac.  Prone to waking a 3am and then would lie half-asleep for a couple of hours worrying about things or inventing things to worry about.  Then tired the next day so I'd have an early night or, at weekends, a nap in the afternoon. So lots of wasted time in bed.  After watching a recent documentary on sleep problem, I have now cut down the amount of time I spend in bed.  Reckon I only need six hours sleep to function properly.   So now I use the time saved to write this blog instead of lying awake worrying. Anyway looking forward to reading about Sue Townsend's character.

No photos of me today.  Am mostly wearing repeat outfits from the minimalist wardrobe anyway.  Still haven't trained myself to mix and match separates and tend to wear the same tops with the same trousers etc.  My Spanish friend, on the other hand, seems never to wear the same thing twice.  Not quite sure how she manages this as her budget isn't much different to mine.  Here's tomorrow's  plan then for an outfit I haven't worn yet. Might change my mind if it turns cold again though and substitute a polo for the shirt.


Black/White Herringbone pattern jacket form Next
White Shirt, also Next
Marks and Spencer, Slim leg Black Trousers.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Project 333 - footwear crisis!

Item 7 M&S Suede skirt, Item 4  Lakeland Leather Jacket, Item 27 Next Black ribbed polo neck

Oh dear - bad hair day.  Thought twice about uploading this photo but currently no one looking at my blog so it doesn't matter much. Have to admit to cheating.  Current cold spell and melting snow have meant that shoes aren't much use and boots are required.  My Project 333 footwear section has two pairs of boots and one is a pair of ankle boots with heels.  Really not practical for current icy conditions (though it is thawing as I write).  What is more I simply cannot bring myself to wear ankle boots with skirts.  So added another pair of boots when I wore this outfit - brown leather ones with a bit of a heel from Gabor - which I had consigned to the spare room wardrobe.  Still sticking to 33 items as some of the clothes on the original list are unwearable in the current climate. So have put away Item 15 on the original list, (See post on 9th January) the Next White Shirt which hasn't been worn yet.

Have also had to resort to wellies as the journey from the car park into work, a mere 50 metres or so, has been so treacherous that I have needed something with a bit of grip. Haven't got anything else with proper tyre-style grippy soles so wore the wellies and changed when I got onto dry land.  These wellies, from Sainsbury's I think, are now a shared wardrobe item with Fashion Girl.





We are almost the same size in shoes, somewhere between 4 and 5. Sadly this does not apply to the rest of our bodies- she's a 6; I'm twice that.  But it does mean that I can just about squeeze into the most expensive pair of boots in the house - her Uggs.  She acquired these when they were the must-have wardrobe item a couple of years ago using a very sneaky tactic.  She sent me a begging letter by email, using paragraphs, connectives and persuasive devices.  Knows how to get round her English teacher mum. We forked out the £169 and didn't eat for a month.

Don't like the look of Uggs much, but do like the cosy sheepskin lining. She's not worn them much this year so am considering borrowing them. If I can force my feet into them, ugly sister-like. Might only be a 4 length wise but my feet expanded widthwise when I was pregnant and never went back. 

Will have to stick to the wellies.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

On Blogging in Boden


My resolve has slipped.  Daily blogging not happening and alcohol abstinence also abandoned. Still enjoying writing this blog even if only a few intrepid explorers are viewing it. So will write as the muse strikes, rather than seeing it as a chore. And a couple of glasses of red at the weekend is actually beneficial to health so they say...

Above is chosen outfit for weekend drinks at a friend's house:  my recently purchased Boden print dress.  Still not sure about it  - going off this kind of dress though Fashion Girl approved of the the outfit.  (She went too - it was a parents and kids do - and wore her new T-shirt which says GEEK in large letters and a pair of geek-style fake glasses from Claire's to complete the look.) 

Somehow felt a bit frumpy in this dress beside the other mums there.  I'm the oldest as I didn't have Fashion Girl until I was 40 but usually manage to hide this with the help of hairdye and Spanx.  Certainly couldn't match the on trend dress from Zara worn by my style-icon Spanish friend.   It was knitted, so was suitably cosy for the weather and had faux leather sleeves. 

Johnny Boden is attempting to break my no shopping resolution by sending me tempting emails discounting the new collection.  After this weekend I may continue to resist and check out Zara instead.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Pri-marni and Me

Just walking into our local Primark store disturbs me.  There's just so much stuff jammed onto the rails and not much space between them.  Much prefer Jigsaw with those lovely wooden hangers and selection of lovely-but-out-of-my-budget clothes.

Not that I actually shop much in Primark. I know I shouldn't anyway - the clothes are cheap because some unfortunate workers are being exploited and underpaid; the quality is often poor and disposable fashion is bad for the environment.  But Fashion Girl is quite keen on it so did venture in there before Christmas to buy some stocking fillers for her.  Got a maroon pompom scarf, a pair of fingerless gloves with a nifty little hat you can pull over to transform them into mittens and a two pack of black sparkly socks all for around £10.  And she has a really useful hooded navy gilet which looks a lot like the £98 Jack Wills one which some of her friends own.  It was worn illegally the other day over her school tracksuit for outdoor PE. It was well worth the £12 it cost.

I'd be lying too if I claimed never to wear anything from Primark.  Most have been presents.  The pyjamas above were from my sister and are really cosy and cheerful with a bird print and a velvet ribbon at the waist.

I also have quite a few scarves, mainly presents from Fashion Girl.  The red, white and blue took me through jubilee summer and the nautical print one is lovely and silky.  Both seem well made and there's a lot of fabric for what they cost - less than a fiver each she tells me. 

But the Primark purchase I wear most is this silver/grey scarf which was originally bought by me for her but is now a shared wardrobe item.  It's kind of brocadey with a rose print and I like it because it sort of lifts things that might be too grey on their own.

So I'll be braving the crowds, chaos and clutter in Primark again. If my conscience lets me.


Grey M&S ribbed polo, Grey M&S wool dress, Grey M&S Waterfall Cardigan, Primark Scarf

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Donkey jacket top from M&S

Bought my first item of clothing of the year yesterday.  Bit of an impulse buy as I spotted it while on the way to children's section where I purchased two non-matching Batman T-shirts for my twin nephews' 4th birthday. But I already know it was a good buy as I wore it right away today and it passed the test as it is warm, comfortable and stylish.  It's a black top from M&S which has leather (or leather look) panels on the shoulders in the style of a donkey jacket, though offically it is called a Slash Neck Ponte Top.

Slash Neck Ponte TopI wasn't quite sure what ponte is so I checked it out and the term refers to the fabric which is a kind of jersey - not as bulky as a jumper but thicker and warmer than cotton.  It's quite fitted too so I wore it tucked in to my Red/Black Geometric Print Skirt (Wardrobe Item 6). Also like the three quarter length sleeve.  Not sure about the leather trim at first but think it will look quite good too with my Next skirt with the leather trim on the waist and pockets.  So this item is added to the 33 to replace the black cotton long sleeve t-shirt (26) which is too chilly for the current weather.  No picture of me today - no time what with all the de-icing to be done this morning.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Brassed off with Clearing Clutter

  
 Clutter clearing in crisis - I'm not a natural at creating order as this fridge magnet given to me cheekily by a more organised relative suggests. Two weeks into term so the ironing board is permanently erected and piles of books, papers etc are scattered around the kitchen.  I'm too easily distracted, you see, and now that the initial enthusiasm has worn off, I'm falling back into bad old habits.  Today instead of clearing up I baked caramel squares (or millionaires' shortbread) for a charity cake sale.  Should have taken a picture but too late now as they have all gone.  Pretty good too even though I singed the shortbread slightly.

But some progress as I have decluttered the cupboard under the sink, the one that contains cleaning fluids, various dusters and dubious cloths.  It also contained about 25 empty jam jars carefully saved because of my intention to make my own jam.  As I child I remember how my granny had jar and jars of jewel-coloured jam -strawberry, raspberry, blackcurrant and gooseberry -  all made from fruit grown in the garden by Granda as we called him.  I long to recreate this idyll and did a couple of years ago make some strawberry preserve using a Delia recipe.  The house smelt divine, better than any overpriced scented candle, and I was transported back to my childhood in Northern Ireland.  But I only made a couple of jars.  I don't need 25, so I recycled them.

Out also went various bottles of unused, half-empty cleaning fluids.  But found it hard to part with this Brasso, which is practically antique.  Love the retro styling of the container.  It dates from the time I used to polish the brass on my front door, a messy business which wrecks your hands. I did this occasionally to please my mother in law, who sadly passed away a few years ago. Her door furniture was always gleaming and her kitchen immaculate: she even employed someone to clean her wheelie bin.  I fear I was a bit of a disappointment to her as I don't care very much about such things.  So I've kept the Brasso for now in homage to Hilda.


Here I am in my outfit of the day from the capsule wardrobe in front of one of my newly decluttered kitchen cupboards.
Item 9, Boden skirt, Item 25  Next blue long sleeved top, Item 10, M&S cardigan, 31. Gabor Black Patent Shoes.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Warmth versus Style in Boden and Next

 Wardrobe items: 28, 14, 29
M&S Polo, Boden Tunic Dress, Black Patent Boots

My choice of clothing from the capsule warbrobe is a bit limited now that winter has started to bite: none of my dresses is particulary warm.  So on Friday I layered a grey polo under this Boden dress and added a necklace.  The dress looks better without the polo really - not sure this works.  But at least I was warm. Also added number 23 (it's like a takeaway menu), the M&S grey waterfall cardigan, at one point but then took it off in work when it warmed up and left it there in a classroom somewhere.  Hope it hasn't disappeared into lost property, buried under a pile of discarded blazers and smelly socks.  

Tan Ankle Boots form Clarks

Orla Keily Scarf
I also have a photo of Saturday's outfit but I look horrible so I won't print it.  Perhaps I should use headless photos which seem to be the practice in some of the fashion blogs I have read.  I put my denim shirt (17) over the black narrow leg trousers (21) and wore my tan ankle boots (30).  Would have been happier in jeans but Fashion Girl tells me double denim is not acceptable.  And these trousers didn't cover my ankle boots which are one of my favourite wardrobe items right now.  Added my lovely Orla Keily print scarf from Uniqlo.  It was a real bargain at only £9.99 -great quality for the price and everyone admires it.  Thanks again to Beth at Style Guile who blog spotted it and wrote about it in her blog.

On Sunday Fashion Girl said she'd choose my outfit.  Below is what she selected. No 16, the Teal Reindeer Print top from Next. With short sleeves.  Even layering it over a cami (underwear, so doesn't count in the 33), I was still freezing.  She of course never feels the cold and was wearing her usual shorts and tights combo. Sub-zero outside at that time so I added 22, Grey Cardigan and the scarf again for warmth and have felt cosy all day.   Not sure about the reindeer print when I first bought this top from Next.  Was it another item that was just for Christmas? But love the colour, the fabric and the shape - the way it flows out and then is nipped in again is very flattering.  And to be honest you can't see that they are reindeer unless you look closely.  In the Spring/Summer directory there's one with mini-elephants on it and a jumper with a huge cat on the front.  What is going on with animal thing?  The cat one is hideous.















 


Saturday, 12 January 2013

What I really wear



Will have to add another item to my Project 333 list.  Forgot to check the downstairs cupboard which stores the outdoor coats.  This red Berghaus waterproof coat is worn practically everyday as I am chief dogwalker in our house and it has of course rained non-stop for most of this year.  It is paired with my very muddy grey/pink walking boots and often accessorised by a lovely green nappy sack of doggy poo.


Above is the offending mutt who I love dearly despite the fact that he is smelly and creates mess everywhere.  Though that criticism could be levelled at other members of the household too.

Will have to therefore remove one item from the 33 in the wardrobe.  It will have to be the most expensive item, the red Jigsaw coat, bought in the outlet store at half price £175 in October.  It's beautiful - soft and really well made with details like a bow on the back.  I wore it quite a lot on the run up to Christmas, feeling very festive in it on occasions such as the Christingle service.  But it seems a bit out of place in grey January.  And it doesn't really go with much in the rest of the wardrobe. Will put it away until next Christmas, but worried whether the styling with the bow detail and the slight flare will date it.  Should have invested in a more classic camel coat with that amount of money.  Another foolish impulse buy I fear.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Capsule Wardrobe: What I Wore Day One

Slim leg Trousers, grey ribbed polo,  waterfall cardigan, necklace.  All M&S

Have chosen my 33 items which will form my capsule wardrobe for the next three months, by which time I hope it will be getting warmer and I can switch to Spring/Summer clothes.  Have decided to post what I wear weekly as attempts to photograph outfits without me in them haven't worked very well.  I'd also like to have a record of what the clothes actually look like on me.  Above is my choice for Day One - a work outfit which I repeat fairly often (despite it being shades of grey).

I love these trousers and found them with the help of stylist Beth Goodrham at Style Guile.
She told me I didn't have to stick to the boot cut styles Gok advises for those of us with bottom and thighs.  They are from M&S and are still available this season in the same cut but with slightly different styling of the zips etc.

Here's the list then and a collage picture featuring most of the items:

1. Red Winter Coat from Jigsaw outlet
2. Dark Purple Doublebreasted Moleskin Winter Coat with leather trim from Next last year
3. Black/White Herringbone Jacket (Next several seasons ago)
4. Brown Leather Jacket (Lakeland Leathers)
5. Black Work Jacket (Next)
6. Red/Black Geometric Print Skirt (Phase Eight, new this year)
7. Suede Skirt (M&S Sale Bargain last year)
8. Navy Work Skirt with leather trim and zip detail (Next)
9. Shadow Print Skirt (Boden)
10. Navy Fine Knit Cardigan (M&S)
11. Bright blue cardigan with silver buttons (Next)
12. Mini Pansy Print Dress in Pine (Boden)
13. Colourblock Tunic Dress (Boden)
14. Purple/Grey Fine Cord Print Dress (Boden)
15. White Shirt (Next)
16. Teal Reindeer Print top (Next)
17. Denim Shirt (Next)
18. Burnt Orange Jumper (Next)
19. Black Slimleg Trousers (M&S) 
20. Highwaisted Bootcut Lift and Shape Jeans (Next)
21. Black Cotton Tapered Trousers (Next)
22. Grey Boxy Cable Knit Cardigan (Celtic Sheepskin)
23. Grey Waterfall Cardigan (M&S)
24. Navy Sequin Jumper (Next)
25. Blue long sleeved Cotton Scoop Neck Top (Next)
26. Black long sleeved Cotton T Shirt (Next)
27. Black Ribbed Polo (Next)
28. Grey Ribbed Polo (M&S)
29. Black Patent Mock Croc Flat Boots (Gabor)
30. Tan Lotte Beccles Ankle Boots (Clarks)
31. Black Patent Mid Heel shoes (Gabor)
32. Black Brogues with heel (Clarks)

33. All accessories - scarves, necklaces, bag etc.


Ok so I am cheating lumping all the accessories together.  But it's my new slimmed down wardrobe is a an improvement on the confused clutter that used to reside there.

Would love to hear any views or advice on my version of Project 333.


Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Project 333 - the launch



So wardrobe is decluttered and my 33 items have been selected. Most of this was achieved at the weekend, but I've spend a few days thinking hard and removing a few more items in order to reach the target.  I love how neat and spacious the wardrobe is now.  And to be honest most of the things I actually wear are still there.  I've not been too strict about things like accessories and jewellery: will put all scarves in one category and all jewellery in another.  Do handbags count?  Can anyone help me on this?

What I have noticed is how few wearable tops I actually have to go with the trousers and skirts in my wardrobe. The selection here is basically everything I have that is not cheap and nasty or the wrong colour.  And some of them need replacing.

So a shopping list:

White shirt
Black top (Crossover style?)
Colour top to go with black trousers
Black shoes with wearable heel to replace well worn ones above right

No time to list the individual items now.  Hope to do this tomorrow and plan some outfits using the column system devised by Linda at making things beautiful again.  Then I will take a photo of what I wear each day and post this every few days.  Perhaps not for 3 months but for one at least.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Secret Blogger no more




Today I came clean and told my husband about the blog.  Had been posting in secret but now I've reached my first milestone a whole week of daily posts without deleting the lot, decided to tell him.  Well used to my various experiments in creative writing, he wasn't that surprised. He hasn't actually read it yet though.  I've quite enjoyed writing these posts though it's taking a long time mainly because of my lack of technical competence.  I also keep getting distracted by reading other blogs - there are some fabulous ones out there which have really inspired me.

Not much time for reading with all this blogging, but did read a bit with Fashion Girl the last two nights.  She still suffering from a really nasty cold but has struggled bravely through exam week at school, bless her.  But in the evenings she's gone back to being a little girl and last night she wanted me to read to her in bed.  She's reading Ketchup Cloud by Annabel Pitcher. Ordered this for FG as a Christmas present as we'd both read and loved her debut novel 'My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece' in the summer.  She was nominated for a Carnegie award for that novel which is why we read it as we were shadowing the judging.  She captured perfectly the voice of her child narrator and the reality of family life in the way that Jacqueline Wilson does so well.  And FG loves Jacqueline Wilson.

So therefore was happy to read a bit of Ketchup Cloud to her as we snuggled up under her duvet last night.  Didn't get very far.  This time the narrator is a 16 year old girl rather than the 10 year old boy who narrates 'My Sister'.  And the chapter we read describes her going to a party, drinking vodka, going for a walk with a boy...That's when I decided to stop after I skim-read the next page in advance.  Books should be marked with an age rating like films!  Thought about taking it off her to read when she is older but not much point now.

Actually two of the most enjoyable books I have read in the past year have come from the Carnegie shortlist. 'A Monster Calls' by Patrick Ness moved me to tears.  The original idea for the novel came from wonderful Northern Irish writer Siobhan Dowd who sadly died from cancer before she could complete it.  You can probably guess what the 'Monster' in the title turns out to be.   And 'Trash' by Andy Mulligan was a really good read too, a real page turner with a happy ending this time.

Not much fashion today so apologies if that's what you are expecting, dear reader, if you are there at all.
 xxxxxx

Monday, 7 January 2013

To Buy, or not to Buy: the Biker Jacket.

Next Brown Leather Biker Jacket

Roise Milliard in leather

Watching Daybreak over breakfast on Friday, Fashion Girl made some rather unkind comments about journalist Rosie Milliard, who was appearing with Aled on the sofa.  According to FG she was too old (she's 47,  I googled her) to be wearing the black leather biker jacket she had chosen for breakfast telly. I thought she looked great. Couldn't find an image of her in that jacket but here she is in another zip up leather one.  And my neighbour who is 60+ was wearing a biker style jacket with a diagonal zip, admittedly a sheepskin lined one, when I met her last week.  She also looked great.

After my protests FG did accept that it would be OK to wear this style of jacket over the age of forty if it wasn't black.  She has a biker jacket herself, from H&M in pleather with studs on.  She clearly doesn't want her mum to copy her style. 

The new Next directory arrived on Saturday and couldn't help myself  flicking through it and turning down the corners of pages which featured items I need to fill the gaps in my newly decluttered warbrobe (See post later this week.  Have spotted a brown leather biker jacket which could replace the rather dull Lakeland leather one I currently own.  Tempted to order it just to make a point. 

Not sure.  Have made a pledge not to indulge in impulse purchases.  And £160 is quite a lot to pay just to make a point.



Sunday, 6 January 2013

Sale Bargains?

Have had quite a lot of time to get on with things at home today as any plans to go out were abandoned because of Fashion Girl's (aged13)  nasty cold/flu virus.   So continued with the Wardrobe Edit, consigning to the charity shop bag any items which don't fit properly or which I don't feel comfortable in.

And I have done a lot of thinking about my shopping habits. Many of the things I put in the charity bag were 'sale bargains': a tunic from Next in a print I liked but in a 14 so it has never fitted properly (am a 12) and pastel blue chinos also from Next which are really not flattering on me but I loved the colour.  I didn't buy the chinos when I first tried them on but in the summer sale they were reduced to half price so I bought them.  They still didn't look right and haven't been worn much.  So in fact they were not a bargain at all as, price per wear, they were much more expensive than my £45 jeans which have been worn to death.

Here's an example of a recent bad sale decision.

The Phase Eight Heart Print Twist front dress I wanted but didn't buy at £55

The Boden Pimlico Dress I have bought  for £27
And it's the same with the Boden sale.  I usually don't buy full price Boden as it's kind of out of my budget.  So I stick to the sales.  But of course the things I really wanted in the first place have totally sold out by then (a Great White Shirt).  This year I bought another jersey print dress shown above. I like it.  It fits beautifully; is flattering and comfortable.  But I don't love it.  Or need it.  I bought it because it was £27.  I really wanted the twist front jersey dress from Phase Eight.  But it's still quite pricey, even in the sale.  Didn't buy it.

My new year resolution then. Don't shop in the sales.  Choose what I need and  love. Forget the rest.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Wardrobe Edit Phase One:Boden Dresses

Busy day so just a short post.  No comments yet but have just discovered the stats information which shows that some people have viewed the blog.  So I will keep going.  But if you are reading please do comment as I'd love to hear your views on my posts.

Have started on the wardrobe edit, choosing which of my 3 Boden print dresses will make it onto the list of 33 items I will keep in my decluttered wardrobe. I own three of these, each bought in the Dec/Jan sale in the last three years.   The one pictured above is last year's purchase and I have decided to edit it out. Have decided that the pink in the print isn't great with my already pinkish colouring. And it makes me look a bit chunky.  So out it goes.

Not to a charity shop yet though. I'm not that brave so edited out items will go in the spare room wardrobe for now.


Thursday, 3 January 2013

Wardrobe Edit

One of my goals for the year is to buy less (or fewer to be more grammatical) clothes and to make smarter choices about what I do buy.  There are too many impulse buys in my wardrobe especially separates which don't go with anything else.  So this month I plan to edit out those things I don't wear at all and make a list of what is needed to make the best of what I have got.

I've been inspired to do this by reading 'Just a little less' which is a great blog about minimalism with beautiful photos and several posts about creating a capsule wardrobe.  I was interested in the posts about Project 333 which encourages subscribers to limit their wardrobe to 33 items over 3 months.  So the plan for this weekend is to select the 33 items.  May be a challenge though as Dolly Mixtures at Just a Little Less based hers around black and grey co-ordinating items whereas I am a colour addict.  

Today wore a favourite skirt from Phase Eight called Lisy Jacquard with red geometrical print. There are still some left in the sale. I bought it last autumn and it's one of the items I have nothing I like to wear with.  Today wore rather tatty black ribbed polo and black jacket.  Any other ideas gratefully received.

Still struggling with camera so here's the skirt from the website rather than on me. Women's Black/Cherry Lisy Jacquard A Line Skirt

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Shades of Grey at Fifty

http://www.celtic-sheepskin.co.uk/ladies/knitwear/ladies-cardigans-1278/box-cardi-web-offer/

Back to work and ready to face building which hadn't been heated for a couple of weeks so choose to wear cosy combination of light grey ribbed polo and my Celtic Sheepskin slate grey box-shaped cardigan. Have tried to do a link to it here since my camera battery is dead and so haven't taken a photo of mine. This is from their website. Not sure if it will work.

This was a Christmas present last year and has been worn a lot. Like the boxy shape and the buttons, but the upper part of the arms is a bit bulky.  It's not too granny-like I think because of the neckline and the shape.  It's still in this year's catalogue also coming in blue and natural and it's on offer for £55 at the minute.  Which is what I think I paid for it last year. Well worth it though, because unlike the Next one featured yesterday it hasn't gone all ball-y.  So price-per-wear it's better value.

So far this blog has been more fashion than the fiction or folly also promised.  So thought I'd say a little about the literary allusion featured in my post title (Perhaps this will get me some readers. Is anyone out there? ) . Didn't finish Fifty Shades as couldn't bear to read any more of the dialogue.  What woman in her twenties says 'Holy Moses' or 'Oh my'? So skipped through it, just reading the 'interesting' bits.

Got going on 'The Prague Cemetery' during a bout of insomnia early this morning, reading the first chapter.  Regretted not getting it on Kindle as I could have done with the dictionary feature - it's not an easy read. And tonight got a text telling me that the book club member who had suggested it has found it unreadable and so has selected a different book!  May persist as I did like the first chapter even if the central character is entirely dislikable.

And my first 'inspired folly' of the new year was making my own version of sticky toffee pudding loosely based on Jamie Oliver's recipe.  Very nice with half price brandy flavoured cream from Morrison's. The only alcohol I'm allowing myself for the next week. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A Jumper is for life; not just for Christmas

I spent most of NewYear's Eve cleaning and getting ready for arrival of guests so had to wear something comfy and not too precious.  So I choose my favourite pair of jeans from Next which are supposed to Lift and Shape your bottom.  They've been well worth the £45 I spent on them as they are so comfortable with a bit of give and stretch which is handy at this time of year.  I suppose they are a lower cost version of the pricey Not Your Daughter's Jeans which I've seen in magazines.  I actually bought another another pair of high-waisted boot cut ones as a 'going out' pair but they've not been so good as they have no belt loops and so I am forever yanking them up.

I wore the jeans with another less successful purchase from Next, a navy jumper with sequins.  It was bought back at the beginning of December and I have worn it a lot, getting quite a few compliments.  I like the length, the colour and the neckline, though it tends to reveal  flashes of bra strap.  But after only a couple of washes it looks terrible: the fabric is all ball-y.  I'm not sure this is a technical term but you know what I mean and you can just about see it above though it's not a great photo.  It wasn't that expensive - £28- but I expected to last a bit longer than this.  And I am not so sure I'll feel comfortable wearing daytime sequins in January anyway.  So I'll probably pack it away with the Christmas decorations.

I also made a trip to the library to return the trashy, but very enjoyable book I've read over Christmas.(TheWild Bohemians by Kate Saunders) and picked up the one I'm supposed to read for the book group I've said I'd like to join - The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco  Will wake up my lazy Christmas brain I think as it looks like a more challenging read.

For the evening celebrations I wore another more durable sparkly knit - a cardigan bought in Zara a couple of years ago - over a really old LBD which is a sleeveless shift.  Not keen on revealing upper arms.  You can just about see the cardi in the photo below.  This was taken before my bit of folly for the day - downing a delicious vodka laced gazpacho shot which along with the champagne and red wine with dinner has left me feeling a bit under par now on New Year's Day.