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Thursday, 29 April 2010

Football eh? Not that many of you are likely to have any interest in it whatsoever but as it's the cause of my current bad mood, I am going to beef on about it a little. It's a tiresome time to be a Liverpool fan. Rubbish season, terrible performances, players that really don't seem to care. And for most of this evening it looked as if we might put all that behind us, play well and get through to the Europa League final. It was not to be. I am full of woe.

But I've actually had quite a good day apart from that so I shall attempt to focus on the positives. A rainy day at work is not usually cue for frivolity and fun but we've recently taken delivery of some ponchos and so took the opportunity to break free from the office and scamper round the gardens in the rain, jumping in puddles and taking lots of photos of said ponchos. Take a peek (but don't concentrate too hard on my double chinnage please):

I was generally quite pleased with today's outfit. Does anyone else buy random pieces of clothing when panicking, and then just end up looking at them and thinking "What the hell do I wear this with?" I can pin down exactly why I bought this crochet/knit jumper type thing - it was in the fat days (hence it being a bit oversized now) and I was on the hunt for something, anything to cover my horrible arms up. But it never went with anything else I owned and because it was a desperation purchase, I never really liked it. I rediscovered it last week though and in the spirit of adventure, thought I'd give it a whirl. I'm rather loving it. I don't know that I can think of another way to wear it but at least it's not languishing unloved in the back of my wardrobe any more.

Long sleeved tshirt & jumpery type thing - Dorothy Perkins
Leggings - Marks & Spencer
Pumps - New Look
Bag - giveaway win! (it's originally ASOS)
Shell necklace - ancient, beaded necklace - car boot sale
Earrings - Accessorize

Feeling Floral

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

You, dear readers, are a wonderful bunch of women. Thank you so much for all your lovely comments on my last post (Helga, I've definitely never been told I had nice eyelids before!). And a big thank you to all the new followers as well - it's very pleasing to think that you all like to read my wafflings. Unfortunately I can't delight you all with lots of smiling photos today as the camera was being hugely uncooperative and making everything in full length photos look weirdly the wrong colour. Will a couple of closeups do? I LOVE this vest top, I just love it. Yes, it looks like an 80's Laura Ashley sofa but I think that's part of the charm.

I appear to be turning into a real chintz fan in my old age. I never really quite got the point of florals - too fussy, too girly, often just far too pink. But now? I am smitten. You should have seen me when I spotted that vest top in store. I zoomed straight over and jumped up and down until I knocked the hanger off the rail and could run to the till with it. (I'm not a dwarf by the way, I'm just not tall enough to reach things on high rails!)
Some recent purchases include:

A brand new pretty frock (Purple @ Dorothy Perkins). Very short so I'll be wearing it with leggings but it's just so pretty! I love the pockets and the wrapover skirt.

Probably the pinkest thing I now own! It was an ebay bargain bought in combination with yet another pretty frock (not floral, so not featuring in this post)

And a couple of pretty dishes to stash jewellery and other assorted things in.

Oscar's tiger striped, not floral, but he's on some flowery bedding so I think it's fair to let him make an appearance today.

Feeling good, looking less so

Monday, 26 April 2010

I'm feeling happy with life at the moment. Is it shallow to admit it's mostly weight related? I've been slogging away at the diet for what seems like an awfully long time now and felt as if I'd reached a bit of a plateau but things are improving again. I've just bought a pair of size 16 skinny jeans that aren't even a little bit tight and that's cheered me up so much. I know size 16 is probably still considered quite lardy by some folk but I'm starting to feel curvy and happy rather than just fat and flabby.

Happy Alex:

(also quite drunk Alex. The sunglasses only come out when I'm merry and posing. The shame of it)

It was a very fun Saturday with Lee, one of my very best friends. Alas he lives in Newcastle now so we don't see each other nearly often enough. Would you believe this is the nicest pic of the two of us taken all day? We don't appear to both be able to look decent in the same photo. I wasn't cross, I just look it.

A little overindulgence on Saturday meant that I ended up with a fat lip (silly taxi driver for braking so hard, even sillier me for not wearing my seatbelt) so today's mission was to go and buy some lipstick to try and cover up the bruised bit. I have a thing about lippy - I feel like it's a bit too grown up for me and I don't want to look clown-like so I honestly can't tell you the last time I wore it. But you know, never say never, so off I trotted to Boots to find a nice shade. I would have quite liked red but how on earth do you pick the right one? I found something online that advised me I needed one with blue or pink tones but that was no help as I wouldn't know a blue toned red lipstick if it came up and shook me by the hand. I thought I'd stick with something vaguely safe instead so I've bought 17 in Dusky Rose.

The sweet yellow nail varnish was an impulse purchase as I saw a big sign advertising a free gift when you spent over £6. Free gift? Nautical themed free gift?? Hell yes! My camera work isn't the best but it's a gorgeous little tin with Viva Diva eyeshadow, a mini Azure eyeliner and Knockout Red nail varnish. Lovely!!

I give you advance warning that today's outfit is not interesting. I needed to wear trousers that weren't jeans and with the limits of my wardrobe I had the choice of jogging bottoms or my black cords that are too big and not very flattering. Cords it was, then any old top to go with them:

Cords - Monsoon
Tshirt & ring - Dorothy Perkins
Plimsolls & sleeveless cardi - Primark

And off I go to sort out the horrendous mess that is my wardrobe!

Oh to be in England, now that April's there...

Friday, 23 April 2010

Happy St George's Day to all my lovely English readers out there. And for the non English ones, sorry, do indulge me while I waffle on this evening!

I feel that we're slightly hard done by when it comes to national celebration. If April and May weren't already packed with Bank Holidays, surely 23rd April would be one? The Irish do very nicely with St Patrick's Day and although I'm shamefully ignorant of St Andrew's Day and St David's Day, I'm sure that there are some national traditions (wearing leeks comes to mind). A quick Wikipedia search informs me that Scotland celebrate St Andrew's Day as a Bank Holiday and that Wales wants to do the same for St David's Day but Tony Blair turned down their petition, booo!

So I felt the need to do something vaguely approaching an homage to Englishness today. Dinner consisted of sausage, mash and cider (yum!) but the most obvious thing was my outfit. Lying in bed last night, I pondered the options, as you do. Do I go for the classic English rose and waft round in a floaty chiffon frock? Do I take a more modern approach and dress top to toe in high street? Dress up like a flag? Or embrace the very English trait of eccentricity?

It turned out to be a bit of everything really. I went for a colour palette of red and white, pulled the trusty cricket sweater into action, popped a rose headband on top and went about my day, despite being deeply unsure about the white/cream tights.

Vest, cricket sweater & ring - Primark
Skirt - Tesco
Tights & pumps - DP

I think I grew a little happier with the tights as the day went on but they're a pain to keep clean! Ah well, I doubt they'll get worn often so it was nice to give them a run out today.

And just because I want to, here's a quick peep at how I spent a leisurely hour or two this evening. A fun mixture of high(ish)-brow and low-brow reading material and a comedy yet freaky picture (Gordon's plastic grimace makes me feel ill)

Oh and check out these! A little treat from my lovely Mum - cherry and orange flavoured and deeply delicious.

And just to finish off my Friday evening thoughts, let's pay tribute to William Shakespeare as it's his deathday (and possible birthday) today:

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

Simple pleasures

Namely, some sunshine, a first outing for some new (and slightly mad) shoes, a good book, taking myself outside for a picnic lunch, a pretty frock and an ott cocktail ring.

I find sunshine immensely cheering. My office gets barely any natural daylight and a 150W lightbulb is a must all year round, so I like to take any chance I can get to escape outside the building and enjoy the beautiful gardens. An ancient work fleece gets pressed into service as a picnic blanket, the shoes come off and I sit and bask in the sunshine, scoff my lunch and enjoy some quality time reading and listening to birdsong.

The one bad point about the sunny weather? My camera doesn't cope with it very well. Today's pics were taken in the early evening (next to the shed, how glamorous) and funny things happened. Most didn't turn out at all so the ones below are the best of a bad bunch, plus one taken in the loo at work (again with the glamorous location!)

Dress & cardi - Primark
Leggings - M&S
Shoes - Irregular Choice, via ebay
Ring - DP
Owl necklace - ancient, raided from the bottom of my jewellery box

A rather lovely holiday - in numbers and pictures

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Days I basked in the sunshine with a book - 6 out of 7, not bad for that part of the world!

Castles visited - 5

Ruined abbeys visited - 5


Battlefields visited - 1

Flodden Field

Monument to ancestor visited - 1 (get me, I'm related to Braveheart!)

Pairs of Irregular Choice shoes received as birthday presents - 2 (3 if you count the pair I bought myself). Photos to follow at a later date.

Ancient bridges frolicked on - 1

Books purchased - 36. Nothing from this delightfully named shelf though.

Books read - 20

Time spent climbing up and down an Iron Age hill fort - 4 hours (it was very high!)

Yeavering Bell

Times moaned about achy calves the day after climbing it - about a thousand

Times nearly blown down hills by the wind - too numerous to count

Boat trips - 1, to the Farne Islands. It was wonderful - we saw seals!

Spiral stone staircases climbed - 3

Spiral stone staircases got stuck at the top of - 1 (in my defence, it did have ridiculously narrow steps at the top)

Amusing signposts posed in front of - sadly only 1. The Borders are not good for comedy village names. I cherish the photo taken last year of my mum in front of a road sign for the village of Seething.

New functions discovered on camera - 2! Who knew it took black & white and sepia photos? Not me, that's for sure.


Times sang "Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside" - at least 6

Photos taken - 515. A mini selection below:

The coast at Seahouses, with Bamburgh Castle in the distance

Alas, looking like a chubby gorm here. Do you like the use of a spare pair of odd socks as makeshift gloves? It was chuffing freezing on that boat!

Scott's View

A rather endearing pig gargoyle at Melrose Abbey

A beautiful bank of daffodils at Dryburgh Abbey

And some wild mountain goats! Awwww.

A Day At The Races (Part Two)

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Here's hoping the post scheduler works!

Going to the races is an excellent chance to people watch. It wasn't even Ladies Day, which is when people really pull out all the stops, but the colour and the hustle and bustle was wonderful. Aintree isn't like the big other race meetings. Ascot is classy summer frocks and tail coats and top hats; Cheltenham is tweed and winter coats and trilbys. Aintree is loud and proud and all about having fun. There was a definite tweed presence though:

I do really hanker after posh girl styling - I love the straight, swishy hair and the innate air of confidence, and the stripy shirts and tweed and the lovely (and extremely expensive) horsey boots.

Scouse girls have a very definite style which can probably be best summarised as more is more. It's not always entirely ott during the daytime (there is for example the curious fashion of going to the shops in pj's) but for nights out and big events you'll find big hair, lots of fake tan, lots of makeup, very on trend and expensive clothes and killer heels. It might not always look entirely classy but by god, they put the effort in!

And what were the girls wearing this year? I didn't manage to take photographs of all of the styles - surprisingly hard to photograph other people in a crowded place without looking like a weirdo - but a selection is below. Lots of patterned maxi dresses, tons of colour - the brighter the better - and some interesting satin type dresses with sculptural features. Also quite a few outfits that flashed entirely too much flesh for the daytime! It happened to be a glorious day but you can bet your life that had it been chucking it down or freezing, the outfits would have stayed exactly the same. No concessions are made to the weather.

Yup, even when dressing down with jeans, the heels are still ridiculously high.

The woman on the right is perhaps a little My Fair Lady but it looked beautiful.

I loved this heart print 50s style dress so much.

She would have looked amazing had she not been so fake tanned she looked Tangoed!