Some of my evening outfits from our cruise.
Dress: Phase Eight (charity shopped) Shoes: New Look (charity shopped) Earrings Debenhams.
Dress: Phase Eight Cardigan: M&S (charity shopped) Watch: Debenhams Jade Earrings: Bought in Hong Kong a couple of years ago
Dress: M&S Shoes: Alexon (charity shopped) Earrings: Bought in Tenerife last year
Top: Phase Eight Skirt: Alexon (belonged to my mother) Shoes: New Look (charity shopped) Earrings as before
Chiffon Blouse: charity shopped Trousers: charity shopped Shoes: Carvela Pearls: Bought in an antiques shop in Bridport this summer.
Hope you enjoyed this little peek into my cruise wardrobe. Dressing up was such good fun!
I saw this dress in a charity shop and fell in love with the embroidered pattern. I bought it for £3.25 but when I tried it on it was too short (no-one needs to see my knees). Normally I would re-donate but this time I was desperate to hold onto it for the fabric. Then I had this brainwave – I could cover this old footstool that was gathering dust in my office.
My dad was an upholsterer so luckily I have inherited a whole load of upholstery tacks. All I needed to do was cut up the dress and tack it on to the foot stool pad. Et voila! A pretty boho stool for my living room!
It really is worth charity shopping with an open mind as you never know what you might end up with.
We’ve just spent a blissful few days in Bardolino on Lake Garda, Italy. No sightseeing, just getting away from it all. On Tuesday night we went to the opera so I chose a pretty frock from Debenhams Collection and my trusty white linen jacket from M&S. The weather was scorching, so the jacket was surplus to requirements really.
The dress is one of my charity shop buys – it cost me a fiver and no doubt after a couple of wears it will go back for someone else to stumble across it. That’s the beauty of charity shops. You can shop guilt free, have lots of different outfits, then give them all back at the end of it to make room for more! I never tire of it and happily spend hours browsing. I also don’t give a monkey’s about who owned it before, or any potential stigma attached to second hand. To me, a charity shop is like a dressing up box: just full of sartorial opportunity! This dress actually came with matching green strappy shoes, but no way I was walking more than a mile in them, so they stayed at home for a more suitable occasion.
There comes a time in your life when you just don’t care what other people think of you. At the grand age of 54 (and a half) I’ve reached it!
These are some of the things which have led me to this conclusion:
- I was in the gym today, having a cappuccino and reading a magazine; in other words, not actually exercising. Did I feel the need to offer an explanation? No.
- I don’t care who sees me without make up
- I buy what I like to wear – whether it be in fashion or not. In fact I have a wardrobe full of what could be deemed as inappropriately fluffy items of clothing which make me look like a hamster, but so what!
- I sing out in choir, whether I’m confident I know a piece or not, I don’t mind getting it wrong. It’s not a crime, it’s a song.
- I wear ugly shoes for walking.
- You can’t make people like you, and if they are gossiping about you, then at least they are leaving someone else alone.
- I buy loads of things from charity shops and don’t care who knows it.
- I blog (gotta be thick skinned to do this!)
- When I feel the need to wear sequins, I do, whether it’s Christmas or not.
- When I feel the need to stay in my PJs, I do.
- I don’t feel peer pressure to have an extra drink, stay up late, have the latest phone, run a marathon or whatever.
- I don’t brush my hair very often and don’t care how wild it looks.
Why on earth it’s taken this long, I have no idea, but it’s a good place to be.
Having tried so hard to get to a healthy weight and achieved just a couple of pounds weight loss, today I’m wondering why I’m bothering, and thinking I should just give up. I’ve been feeling like this for a few days and yesterday did a sweep of my wardrobe and piled a whole load of dresses (one never worn) ready to take to the charity shop, accepting that I’m never going to get into them again. I don’t know why my motivation wavers so much, as I have really good health reasons for needing to get the weight off, but I really cannot get my act together. Why is it so blimmin’ hard? Answers on a postcard please……..
PS anyone looking for an evening dress in size 10 or 12 ask me now, before I take them to the charity shop! The one pictured is from Coast, size 10. You’re welcome to it!
I’m not sure how exactly it’s happened but I seem to have managed to achieve a sense of calm. We’ve been on holiday to Menorca, staying near Es Castell, in the 18th century Collingwood House. There are strictly no mod cons at this place (no TV, no aircon, very basic food), although you can get wifi in the main reception. We read books, played scrabble, went for walks and enjoyed the wildlife (lots of lizards and big bugs). There are places to eat out within easy walking distance, but for the most part, we kicked back and relaxed. At bedtime it was very dark and very quiet, great for a good night’s sleep.
It’s only a two star hotel, once the home of Admiral Collingwood, second in command to Admiral Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. The interior has been lovingly restored by the current owner who has been adding to his collection of artefacts since 1961 and the style reflects how it would have looked in Collingwood’s day.
Although not far from Mahon, we heard that the owner had bought the surrounding land to prevent development, so you have the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere.
Being in such a calming place has really made me think about stuff. And I do mean literally ‘stuff’. We were very happy with the simplicity. Logging on once a day to check emails and happily ignoring social media. I read a couple of great books and indulged in time frittered away. There was no dressing up and no putting on make up.
It made me think about why we feel we need so much stuff in our lives. In fact, the first thing I’ve done this morning is drop a load of clothes off at the charity shop. I also realised just how much time I spend on social media and have to ask myself, does it really benefit me, or is it just a drain on my internal resources?
So with a rethink on the cards, I’m re-energised and ready for the run up to the winter solstice. Can’t say I’ve thought about giving up blogging though….I spent loads of time scribbling notes in my little yellow diary instead. Can’t live without committing my thoughts to paper…it’s the habit of a lifetime. Happy Days!
These two pretty Devon towns are linked by the South Devon railway which runs along the River Dart.
Totnes is a hippytastic heaven for a flowerpower child of the sixties and seventies like me, with its abundance of offbeat boutiques, charity shops and of course the wonderful Neals Yard. I spent ages in here just looking at the essential oils and jars containing herbal remedies. Please open a shop in Chester soon! This time, I bought some juniper essential oil which I will be burning in September for that ‘new term’ vibe that autumn brings.
Totnes also has lots of teashops and it would be rude not to have a cream tea. I loved this mismatched china.
We went onto the little town of Buckfastleigh to visit relatives who own and run the Baker’s Oven – a lovely bistro on the main street.
The town was bedecked with bunting while we were there. Not sure if this is all summer long, but it does give the place a summer holiday feel.
These two towns turned up my best charity shop buys of our road trip: a set of retro seventies jars and a jam making pan – just what I’d been looking for. I can’t pass a charity shop without a mooch!
Having a clearout so that I have room for a new A/W edit. So this is what went to the charity shop today.
- A shearling coat by Planet which is too small but I’ve been in denial and kept it for too long.
- A Whistles leopard print chiffon dress which has had lots of wear, but now feels as if it’s not ‘me’.
- A high necked sleeveless top from Next which I’ve worn to death and still like but it’s had its day.
- A red chiffon kaftan which doesn’t seem to go with anything.
So that’s a start – still lots more to go!
By the time we get into our fifties, most of have developed our own sense of style and know what works and what doesn’t. The danger with this, is that you can sleepwalk through your wardrobe buys, getting the same thing over and over, so that when you look back at your holiday photos you might as well have been wearing the same outfit for twenty years.
I like to try new shapes and styles, but I do have a basic set of rules in my head to avoid too many mistakes.
- My wardrobe basics are: Black patent good quality leather boots, black leather jacket, Breton stripes, cashmere in pretty colours, black cigarette pants, bright tees with long or 3/4 sleeves, silver sandals, dark jeans, silver clutch, oversize tote, mini shoulder bag. These take me almost anywhere and I add accessories to put my stamp on them.
- Wear some colour. Pure monochrome does me no favours any more and a pop of colour lifts any outfit.
- Worn or boyfriend jeans just don’t work any more – I look more ‘allotment’ than ‘catwalk’ in them, so dark denim or white jeans look smarter. The cut matters. Nothing low rise, but equally, not too high waisted if you want to avoid the granny look. Very skinny skinnies just look ridiculous, so a bootleg, flare or straight works better.
- Printed pants now equal PJs. I bought some this year, thought I looked great ’til I saw the photos – I looked like I’d just popped downstairs for my shredded wheat.
- I love a boho vibe, but don’t overdo it (with the exception of holidays when I indulge big style). One boho piece per outfit is enough then keep the rest simple.
- Demure is now a good look, so no boobs and legs, but on the other hand, don’t want to be twinset and pearls either, so have one edgy thing per outfit.
- Accessorise with maybe one huge ring or necklace, but not loads all at once. I feel that this is my time to wear fabulous statement jewellery.
- Only wear shoes you can walk in. I have so many pretty shoes in my wardrobe, but they go nowhere. Nothing looks more ridiculous than teetering in stupid shoes. Good quality and comfort matter.
- Sequins and sparkle – I love them and will never give them up, but as with boho, not too much at once and keep jewellery to the minimum when wearing sparkle.
- Buy quality handbags – even if they come from a charity shop!
- Cashmere – if I see it on sale, I buy it. I’m building a cashmere collection and so far I still have every piece I ever owned. Handwashing and proper care means they will last and get softer with time. Most of mine comes from M&S.
- Prints-I accept that they have a short lifespan and move them onto the charity shop after a few wears. Nothing looks sadder than a washed out print that you’ve had for donkey’s years.
- Dresses – I love the simplicity of a dress and for an occasion you can’t go wrong with Phase Eight.
- Gym wear – stays in the gym. Leggings serve no useful purpose outside of Zumba, yoga or Pilates.
- Charity shops – I search them for stylish classic pieces and give back by donating once I’m fed up with something.
I love reading style rules, so if anyone has any, please share.
Last weekend we were at the fabulous Cheshire wedding of my God daughter Gemma and her new husband Craig. The setting was the sumptuous Rowton Hall and we partied all day and stayed overnight to enjoy the fab hotel.
So, what to wear for a wedding? I went for one of my ‘go to’ labels for dressing up, Phase Eight. I have a few Phase Eight pieces in my wardrobe, but, confession time, this one came from a charity shop for a tenner. The cream linen jacket is from M&S and the shoes are Gina, also from a charity shop. I love the grey clutch which I bought in Century 21 when in New York last year. I’m a bit shy of hats, so instead, had an ‘up do’ with this fab comb from Boots.
The mother of the bride. Linda, my best friend, is looking amazing here in a John Charles designer outfit, from Imagination, a boutique in Tarvin, Chester. Linda’s outfit is beautifully matched with daughter Louise in a peachy bridesmaid dress, from Debut at Debenhams.
Now, I guess you want to see the bride? Gemma looked radiant and swished her way through the day in this beautiful dress from the Ivory Lounge in Chester.
This is a sneaky peek at our bedroom in the hotel. Lovely squashy bed and Aromatherapy Associates products in the bathroom. Heaven!
Who doesn’t love a wedding?