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The Shopping List

Saturday, 27 February 2010

So Monday heralds the dawn of the long awaited shopping trip. I haven't been properly shopping for an awfully long time and I am partly looking forward to it but partly filled with dread at the thought of having to try on things and look at myself in mirrors all day. But I'm now 5 stones lighter than I was in August last year (woohoo!) so perhaps I just need to get a grip and start thinking that maybe I'm not so mahoosive anymore. I shall try and think positive.

Still haven't worked out exactly what my budget is but I do need to keep it restrained. And although I'd rather not buy my entire wardrobe from Primark, I need a fair amount of new basic things that hopefully won't fit in a few months so I don't really see the point in spending much on them.


Jeans - no idea what style will suit me best but I'm prepared to try on as many pairs as it takes until I find something that looks good.
Frocks - lots of them!
Many many pairs of delightfully coloured tights
Plain long sleeved v neck tshirts
Boyfriend cardi (or two)
Plain black cardi - I have a crafty project in mind
Trainers of some description
Pretty florals
Most likely something green


Cricket sweater
The blue sequinned IC heels I've been lusting after
Longish fitted shirt
Knee high boots (but only if they're cheap enough)
Ballet pumps
City shorts (but only if they actually suit me as I'm not entirely convinced they will)
Lots of new jewellery

When that's all written down it seems like quite a dull list! I suppose I'm just out of shopping practice and I still don't really know what suits me, so it'll probably be a case of trying on an enormous amount of stuff and picking what I like.

Any suggestions?


Friday, 26 February 2010

Apparently it's National Wear Red Day tomorrow - who knew? Not me, that's for sure, as I appear to have used most of the red clothes in my wardrobe today (I don't have much choice!). I'll have to have a rummage and see if there's anything left that I can appropriate for tomorrow.

I'm a bit unsure about wearing red generally. I do love it as a colour but I somehow feel as though I should have really bold Spanish style colouring in order to carry it off and I'm milk-bottle white and normal looking. I felt vaguely as if I was dressing up for Christmas all day today, probably due to the fact I was wearing a bright red pashmina (not pictured) and that the print on the dress is sort of poinsettia-ish.

Dress - Primark (has a weird neckline so I can't wear it just as a dress)
Jumper - not sure as I've cut the label out
Tights - George (not happy with how annoyingly see through and unflattering they are)
Boots - Evans

Hmmm, what are your thoughts? This was a very last minute sort of outfit and no thought went into it so I won't be offended if you say it doesn't suit me!

A giveaway, because I'm feeling happy!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Perhaps it isn't the done thing to have a giveaway when you only have 20 followers? I don't know, I'm new to this blogging malarkey. But what the heck, I'm going to do it anyway, just because all of you who follow and/or comment on here are lovely people who brighten my days up considerably and I wanted to say thank you. Despite being uber-stressed at the moment, I'm still feeling fairly happy with life so wanted to spread the joy a little.

The prize is a random assortment of goodies:

Sequinned and beaded scarf (very pretty but hasn't photographed to best advantage), No7 eyeshadow palette and Liplicious lipgloss in Marshmallow and B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful eyeshadow in Bay. And a mystery item of jewellery which isn't pictured, just to keep you all guessing!

To enter, be a follower and pop a comment on this post telling me something that's made you happy today. It's open to everyone and will close in a week, so that's Wed 3rd March at 10pm GMT.

Good luck everyone!

My default settings

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

1) Wearing a jumper.

2) Looking at the floor.

Sorry about the latter - I have a big double chin going on in the rest of the photos for some bizarre reason. But I'm not apologising about the jumper. I flipping love jumpers and this is just so cosy and warm. And it was a nice excuse to wear another pair of lovely shoes.

Jumper & broderie anglaise trimmed top - Dorothy Perkins
Leggings - M&S
Shoes - New Look
Necklace - Tu

And as I was heading out (in the snow) to the theatre this evening, I bundled up in jacket and many woolly accessories. The jumper has totally ridden up in this pic - I haven't been flashing that much thigh all day!

Jacket - George
Pashmina - ancient
Hat - also ancient
Armwarmers - a handmade Christmas present from my lovely friend Sharon - ribbon woven in and they have jingle bells on them!

Vix wanted to know about yesterday's hair - I just put it into three plaits (one at each side and one at the back) when it was wet, slept with it like that and then undid them in the morning and shook them out a bit. Quite pleased with how the waves lasted actually as they usually fall out and just look limp for the rest of the day. Unfortunately my hair has now rebelled today and gone super static-y and flyaway, grr!

Shoes first...

Monday, 22 February 2010

Today's outfit was mainly inspired by watching the Winter Olympics last night. I love watching sport. And despite never having strapped on a pair of skis or ice skates in my life, I can't get enough of watching people hurl themselves down mountains or leaping about on the ice. The skicross last night was amazing - I was bouncing around all over the place cheering people on and gasping at the high speed crashes!

Ahem. Where was I? Oh yes, outfit inspiration. Well these rather fantastic shoes made their way into my life a few weeks ago and winter is really the only time I can wear them so I thought it was time to give them an outing.

I know they might be a bit bold and in your face for everyone's taste but I love them. Knitted shoes, can't go wrong! And the colours are so happy and make me feel cheerful. Plus, it's got to be a good sign when you get to work and the first thing anyone says to you is "Amazing shoes!"

The rest of the outfit followed from there really. Both the dress and cardi have been blogged before (separately) I think. I'm not so sure it would have occured to me to put them together before now, but I like the way it looks.

Tunic dress - Dorothy Perkins
Cardi - Matalan
Tights - M&S
Shoes - Irregular Choice via my trusty supplier ;-)
Beads - car boot sale
Hair - somewhat larger and curlier than usual!

And the photo is my best attempt at a smile - it just doesn't come naturally to me when taking my own pic!

Oh and as I completely forgot to reply to it at the time, Lou - my cocktail ring is some type of quartz, I think possibly rutilated quartz? The photo doesn't really do it justice, it's so beautiful.

My Unfashionable Past

Saturday, 20 February 2010

So Dad has been busily working away to scan in all the old family photos and slides and presented me with a cd full of photos last night. I've been browsing through them all day and just had to share a few of the pics. Oh dear me, the perils of growing up in the 80s and 90s. Luckily there don't seem to be too many of me wearing lycra neon leggings or cycling shorts (believe me, I owned far too many pairs!) The enormous pink Deidre Barlow specs though - who ever thought they were a good look?!

It's probably a tad shameful to admit this but if I still had this outfit in a grownup size, I'd so be wearing it. How amazing are the tights?!

What well dressed girl doesn't wear a full ski suit and knitted hat to go and feed the ducks in?

Taking the nautical trend a little too far in a full sailor suit..

This is possibly the most terrible thing I have ever worn. I mean really, look at the state of it!! Floral velour AND giant baggy trousers?

I am really quite a fan of leggings now. But the old way of wearing them - 3/4 length, in an "interesting" colour, teamed with a huge tshirt. Very glad I've progressed since then!

Half tucked in blouse - check. Hideous culottes - check. Socks and sandals - check. Completely oblivious of how awful it looks - check!

The floral skirt is tolerable I suppose. But teamed up with a satin shirt and sparkly jelly shoes? Oh dear. And quite why I thought ankle bracelets would look good with it is beyond me now.

And the horrible mid 90s fashion for weirdly patterned strappy dresses over white tshirts.

Then I got horribly self conscious at about the age of 14 and stopped having my photo taken so you're spared any of my fashion disasters from then onwards! It terrifies me how much time and energy kids spend on their appearance nowadays - I might have been an unfashionable kid but I had such a happy childhood - there were better things to do than worry about makeup and hair!


Friday, 19 February 2010

How cold has it been today?! In retrospect, wearing just tights on my legs was a mistake. I've only just thawed out now. Anyhow, moving swiftly on, the person that invented wireless broadband deserves a medal. I'm currently tucked up in bed, catching up on blogs, listening to Paloma Faith (love her so much) and generally winding down after a long and very tiring week at work.

I'm having a bad photo day today. I still haven't properly worked out how to use my camera or the new tripod, and I still feel like a complete div taking photos of myself. I actually felt really nice in this outfit today but looking at the pics is filling me with a bit of gloom - is it really as shapeless as it looks?! May be time for the cardi to get charity shopped. Yes it's pretty and yes I am very fond of it but it's too big now. I need to get a bit tougher I think.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Outfit below:

Tunic - Dorothy Perkins
Cardi - Monsoon
Tights - M&S
Pumps - New Look

I actually much prefer the pic where I'm bundled up for the chilly cold outside world. That's probably due to the earmuffs though - I defy anyone to put these on and not feel happy with the world.

Duffel jacket - George
Earmuffs & mittens - Accessorize

And I found this bag which I thought was utterly lost, hurrah! Cute with the pumps, yes? It's from ASOS and a good few years old but bows seem to be back on trend now so I'm very chuffed to have rediscovered it.

And finally, today's jewellery. The necklace is, I think, a Silver Jubilee crown piece. Another find from Grandma's jewellery box. The ring is probably my favourite piece of jewellery. I've always steered clear of rings, convinced that I had sausage fingers and they didn't suit me. I was at a craft fair at Chatsworth a couple of years ago, saw this and fell completely in love with it. It definitely wasn't cheap and I did the whole try it on - walk away - come back and try it on again - walk away again - do complicated sums to see if it can be afforded - buy it anyway routine. So glad I decided to get it.

From the dregs of my wardrobe...

Thursday, 18 February 2010

I am rapidly coming to the end of my clean clothes. Must try and do some washing and ironing very soon or I'll be going to work in my pj's! Ach, it's just so difficult to try and fit everything in at the moment. If I'm not actually at work then I'm doing work at home (have only just finished stapling together a mammoth pile of handouts for a training session I'm running tomorrow) and the dull houseworky stuff just seems to fall by the wayside.

So today I pulled this black jumper out of the very back of the wardrobe. It was a desperate purchase pre-diet when I needed something smartish and was basically limited to Evans in terms of shops available to me. I don't particularly like it - I feel as if the decoration round the neckline is a bit old ladyish - but I thought I'd give it another go. It won't be part of my wardrobe much longer as it's already too big.

Jumper - Evans
Jeans - Dorothy Perkins (do I shop anywhere else? Not often!)

Worn with my Minnie Mouse shoes (Irregular Choice via ebay). The perfect thing to jazz up an all black outfit!

Slouchy sweaters

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

are possibly one of my favourite things in all the world. I've always worn them with jeans but now that leggings and tights have entered my wardrobe, hurrah for the advent of the sweater dress!

I bought this one a few weeks ago, mainly because it was on sale (only £10, bargain) and I loved the colour. Didn't quite think through what I was going to wear it with, or whether it suited it me. Out came the debit card and home with me it came. I decided it was time to give it an airing today. Working with the limitations of my wardrobe, the outfit looks like so:

Dress - Dorothy Perkins
Black long line long sleeved tshirt - Dorothy Perkins
Leggings - M&S
Boots - Evans

What do you think? I'm not convinced that the boots entirely go with it but I needed a bit of height today and none of my heels were quite right.

Jewellery is from my inheritance - Grandma's jewellery box. None of it is worth anything but that's not the point, the memories are lovely and she had some fab quirky costume stuff. I love this ring, so sparkly and pretty.

Oh and I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who comments on here - it means a lot to me :)

At last, a frock!

Monday, 15 February 2010

So half of the title of this blog is about frocks - have I worn one yet? Not until today! This can be partially explained by the severe limitations of my wardrobe at present, but I suppose the rest of it is due to the fact that although I am the sort of person who really wants to wear dresses, I've always been a bit too lacking in confidence to actually do it. I prefer to hide in trousers. But I've been wearing leggings recently and really, tisn't too much of a jump from there to wearing tights. If I've got tights on, I might as well just wear a dress, right?

We had an event at work this afternoon for people who've donated towards a project we're running so I felt as if today was the day for dressing up a bit. So I wore:

Dress - Dorothy Perkins
Cardi - Matalan
Tights - M&S
Pearls - Bobijou

And yes, the cardi doesn't fit very well and I think the cut of the dress could be a bit more flattering, but it's a start!

That photo was taken entirely too early in the morning for my liking, hence me hiding my unmadeup face! I felt a bit better than usual today though, so took a pic later on at work. I wasn't feeling mardy but for some reason I look it!

Cake & Cookies

Sunday, 14 February 2010

As I don't really do getting dressed on Sundays if it's not strictly necessary, there won't be an outfit post today. Unless there is a huge demand to see me in pj's and a stripy Primark hoody? No, thought not.

So moving swiftly on, today I have done some baking. I love to mess about in the kitchen but since moving house (the old one had an enormous kitchen, the one in this house is absolutely tiny) and especially since being on the diet, I've been baking a lot less. But I can get around the lack of space by washing up as I go along (groan!) and I'm at the stage where I trust myself and my willpower not to eat everything I cook. So I made:

Chocolate Orange Drizzle Cake

This is so easy to make but you do need quite a bit of time to deal with the topping. Tastes absolutely delicious, even when made with dairy free ingredients - I make virtually everything with Vitalite and soya milk, we don't have any normal stuff in the house!

6oz (175g) butter, softened
6oz (175g) caster sugar
3 large eggs
Grated rind of 2 oranges (yes, there are 3 in the photo - I ate the other one)
6oz (175g) self-raising flour, sifted
2 tablespoons milk

Juice of two oranges
4oz (100g) granulated sugar
2oz (50g) milk or plain chocolate. I used plain.

Set the oven to 180 C/350 F/ Gas Mark 4.
If you're using a normal tin (either loaf or round), grease and line the tin. If you've got some wonderful silicone bakeware (mine is Le Crueset, courtesy of some online surveys) use that instead, no greasing needed!
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and then add the eggs and beat well.
Add the orange rind, flour and milk and mix together with a wooden spoon.
Turn into the tin, smooth the top down and bake for 30-40 mins until a skewer comes out clean.
Take it out of the oven and leave to cool.

Once it's cool, score the top, like so:

Then for the topping!

Put the sugar and orange juice together in a pan and heat gently until all the sugar has dissolved. Boil for 1-2 mins, then remove from the heat and pour over the cake.

Leave this to soak in and melt your chocolate. The recipe calls at this stage for removing the cake from the tin before you put the chocolate on but as I don't have a suitable container, mine is staying in the tin for now. I go for a drizzle effect with the choc but you can make any pattern you so wish. Et voila, the completed cake:

And as I had half a bar of choc left over and some time on my hands whilst I was waiting for the cake to be ready for the drizzling stage, I whizzed up some dark choc and stem ginger cookies to take into tea break at work tomorrow:

Reasons to be cheerful

Friday, 12 February 2010

1) It's Friday, therefore yay! Ok, so I am in work tomorrow and therefore only get half a weekend, but tonight I have a bottle of Prosecco in the fridge, risotto cooking for dinner and a thoroughly chilled out evening planned.

2) I lost 3lbs this week so that makes a stone lost since 1st Jan. Woop!

3) The Irregular Choice shoes arrived yesterday and oh my, I am smitten. The camera (as per usual) isn't showing them to their best advantage - they're such a wonderful rich shade of red. And pink velvet lining, just too brilliant. I think they're going to be sort of shoes that you put on and instantly find your mood lifted.

4) Post! I love getting things in the post (well, not boring stuff obviously). Today's fun stuff consisted of Horse & Hound magazine, a book that I'd totally forgotten I was being sent and a parcel chockfull of loveliness from the wonderful Char (

5) The evenings are getting so much lighter recently. It seems as if things have dramatically improved over just the past couple of days. It's sooooo nice not to have to walk from work to the car in the dark anymore.

6) I had a great time at my favourite cinema ( last night as Dad and I went to see the mighty Mark Kermode give a talk. Front row seats too! Dad, being the generous and wonderful soul that he is, treated me to this:

As you can see, tis now a signed copy! I was a bit too bashful to ask for any kind of witty dedication but he shook my hand and we had a lovely conversation about the genius of Mary Poppins and some random French horror film. Such a friendly, warm man - we were right towards the end of a long queue and he was still so charming to us.

7) I felt quite nice today. Outfit consisted of:

Leggings - Evans
Top - Dorothy Perkins
Heeled brogues - New Look
Hairband - a piece of ribbon formerly used to tie up a Lush gift box.

I do seriously adore this top. So comfy, a beautiful print and in my favourite colour. It is perhaps a teensy bit short but what the heck. And as I managed to chop my feet off in the photo, here's a closeup of the wonderousness of the shoes (and not-so wonderous baggy tights!)

What's cheering you up tonight?

The problem with jeans...

Thursday, 11 February 2010

is that I'm starting to wonder whether they really suit me. I've lived in them for years but recent photos are making me wonder. You probably can't even tell in this photo (I really am sorry for dodgy camerawork but I'm seriously considering getting a new one as this current beast is driving me demented). I think it all just blurs into one, too much black.

Black velvet blazer
Sepia spooky print tshirt - Dorothy Perkins
Jeans - ditto
Black boots - Evans
Grey cableknit scarf - Next clearance store
Grey Fairisle mittens - Matalan

Wore my hair up today which I haven't done for a while - sort of scruffy and loopy but I quite like it.

Perhaps I'm just wearing them with the wrong things? Today's outfit looks ok in the mirror (I would like the jacket to be a slightly better fit as it's a tad too big now) but I feel all out of proportionally pear-shaped and huge in the photos. All my jeans are bootcut which I always thought was meant to balance things out but it doesn't seem to be doing the trick here. And weirdly I think my legs look alright in leggings or tights so why so awful here? Perhaps I should ban tops and jackets that finish at my waistline.

Any thoughts girls? All constructive comments welcome! Wish I wasn't so hopeless at knowing how to dress.

ps - tomorrow's entry will feature the beautiful new shoes, hurrah!

Roll on March...

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

I loathe February. I know January is meant to be the gloomiest month of the year but honestly, there's never anything to look forward to in Feb. Shelling out for car insurance and breakdown cover and paying off the credit card has left me skint, I don't feel like the diet is going particularly well and work is AWFUL. My to-do list is currently running at 5 pages long and it all needs doing by 27th February when we open to the public. I have been on the verge of tears all day. I find it so hard to cope with all the stress and working till stupid o clock every night and the constant demands and lack of support from some of my colleagues. So please hurry up March, you can't come too soon!

When I feel this miserable I need comfort and cosiness in my clothes. I need a big cosy cardi or my familiar old jeans - I don't have the energy to try on outfits and try in vain to find something that looks good and then worry all day about whether it's too revealing or unflattering for a fattie to wear. But looking on the positive side, this tshirt hasn't fitted for about 4 years and the jeans are now ridiculously large (they look a wee bit baggy in this pic but I've had to keep hoicking them up all day)

Jeans - Dorothy Perkins
Tshirt -
Cardi - Tesco
Bangle - whipped from the charity shop pile - can't believe Mum was going to get rid of it!

And a close up of the tshirt logo:

Rummaging and ribbons

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Today's rather 80's inspired ensemble can be seen (if you squint hard enough) below:

Spearmint coloured v neck top is from Dorothy Perkins, grey sleeveless jumper (I'm tempted to think of it as an elongated tank top but that's probably a fashion faux pas of the highest order) from Primark, black leggings from Evans and black suede pixie boots also from Evans. And the belt, ah the belt. This was bought on an utter whim so long ago that I really can't remember where it's from but I've never managed to find anything to wear it with. I found it on a rummage through my chest of drawers this morning and it's brightened my day right up. I love it so. Here, have a close up so you can admire the beauty of it:

And today's earrings which I'm also rather fond of:

ps - I bought the shoes. I was battling the urge to get them (I seriously have no money till 25th) but then appeared £56 interest on my ISA. Would have been rude not to spend it on shoes, surely?

Monday Blues

Monday, 8 February 2010

Well I'll start this one off with apologies for the quality of my camerawork. I seriously need to learn how to take some better photos of myself (and ones that don't involve me looking like a double chinned weirdo!). However with that said, get a load of me being brave enough to post an actual photo of myself!

Today's outfit consists of black tights, black leggings (not warm enough at work to just wear tights), a tunic/smock type thing (very old - I used to wear it as a top in my larger days) and a bargaintastic cosy black cardi from the Next clearance store near where I work. The blue of the top doesn't really show up too well in the pic but it's quite vivid so I kept the rest of the outfit simple. All paired up with these rather sweet black suede heels that I rediscovered in the bottom of my wardrobe

I'm now off to catchup on some Project Runway and ponder purchasing these beauties:

Duvet Day

Sunday, 7 February 2010

I spent most of my youth (aged 9-18) working in a riding stables on Sundays. 8am-6pm, fair or foul weather, I was always there. And despite it being 8 years since I left there to go to uni, I have this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that Sundays should be productive days. I always feel vaguely naughty when I spend the day doing nothing. You know what though, I need some peace at the moment. February is hell on wheels at work and I'll be working 6 or 7 days a week for the rest of the month. Today is my day and I'm going to be as lazy as I please.

For starters I'm not getting dressed. What's the point? I love pj's and as I'm spending the day mostly in bed there seems very little point getting dressed. I've put some socks on - does that count?

As you can tell from the blog title, I don't approve of matching socks. I like pattern and quirk when it comes to my socks and I can get twice as much in by wearing them odd.

So, what could be nicer than this? A big cosy bed, a cinnamon & sugar Yankee candle burning and making the room smell delicious, a vase of cheerful daffodils on my chest of drawers and a rather handsome ginger cat keeping me company.

And to occupy my lazy Sunday afternoon:

This weekend's books are (L-R): the truly fluffy Partners in Crime by Alicia Scott, Home to Roost by Deborah Devonshire, England's Best Loved Poems by George Courtauld and The Foundling by Georgette Heyer.

Before I get relentlessly mocked for reading Mills & Boon, Alicia Scott is otherwise known as Lisa Gardner and she writes brilliant crime fiction. After a spot of Wikipedia-ing I discovered the start to her writing career, tracked this down and you know what, it's not that bad. Obviously not that good either but for a short lighthearted read it's quite fun. Home to Roost is a collection of writing by Deborah Devonshire (aka the Duchess of Devonshire and before her marriage, Debo Mitford). I am a huge fan of all things Mitford related and she's got such a lovely practical, down to earth style of writing. There's a fab article on tiaras in this book! I'm dipping in and out of the poetry book - I've made the decision to try and read more poetry this year as it's a genre that I've totally passed by and this seemed like a nice entry into it. And The Foundling. Ahhhh, Georgette Heyer puts up a strong fight to be considered my favourite author. This isn't my favourite of her books but I'm reading it as I'm a member of a Heyer discussion list and this is January's book. Tut tut, I should have finished it in January rather than getting sidetracked by the bajillions of other books on my shelves. I think I appreciate more about this book each time I read it.

Oh and let's not forget the knitting. I decided to learn to knit last Easter hols and, well, progress has not been swift since then. I made what I thought was a logical decision to create a blanket out of many squares in many shades of green. Gives me a chance to learn a few new stitches and squares must be the easiest thing in the world to knit, no? I don't think I quite realised that a blanket will have to be made up of a lot of squares and at my current rate of progress it will probably be finished sometime around my 40th birthday. But let's not be despondent. This square is stocking stitch and the pattern is jolly pleasing. And once I'd got past the casting on stage (which for some reason I find extraordinarily difficult) I'm making quite good progress.

And if you've read all this rambling then you deserve a medal. Well done you!