We all make (expensive) mistakes.

Friday 28 September 2012

It's September, big kid is back at school and small kid is a part timer.  This means I have a couple of days next week where I will be kids free for at least 6 hours but this time will be spent with paintbrush in hand.   The family room where the kids and I spend the best part of our lives needs a bit of TLC and it is my job to put it back to rights.  With this in job in mind, this leads me on to this cautionary tale ....... 

A couple of years ago when I decided to give the family room a lick of paint and a "refresh" (loosely translated as lets paint over the handprints on the grubby walls) - I decided to replace our old, broken Wesco Kickmaster bin with another one.  It was a nice looking bin in a nice inoffensive almond (cream) shade.  I used to get compliments about this bin and I know it's a little bit sad and needy to resort to buying a specific bin just to keep the compliments coming but it does kind of go to your head, you know, having a cool bin.

picture : achica.com

Wesco bins are not cheap but I would say they are a modern design classic ... in a retro kind of way. The draw of the kickmaster to me is that you stamp on the foot pedal and the "doors" part in a red sea kind of way.  Hugely entertaining for kids (probably why it broke) but not good for health and hygiene as they then like to peer inside for no good reason and breathe in the germs.

Ours gave up the ghost after several years but I think I must have been premenstrual when I thought a blackberry (ribena purple) Wesco bin was the way to go.  I can look back now - hindsight is wonderful I hear - but where were you when I was purchasing this blackberry coloured bin?  

picture : johnlewis.com

Look how lovely and blackberry shiny this is - you'd buy it too wouldn't you?

What made me choose this colour in the first place?  Somebody pointed out that I had a framed picture with purpley tones in it  - nothing more, nothing less.  But it was enough for me to think that a blackberry coloured bin was the way to go. Doh

The bin arrived.  I set it up in its place.  I stood back to admire.  But no, there was no little smug smile this time and clappy hands to say "yeah, you did good girl!" for my design statement.  The bin just looked glaringly, obviously wrong.    It was shouting "look at me, I'm a big purple bin" whereas the old cream bin blended beautifully in to the cream walls.  The Grumps came home and said "it's 'rude word' awful" and declared it also glaringly, obviously wrong too. Big bog.

The bin had to go.  It went back in its very big box and in to the garage and I muttered something about ebaying it back out.  I went out the next day to Argos and bought a big functional cream bin which did the job it needed to do.  For a fraction of the price.  But no one compliments me on this bin.

Firstly.  Lesson learned.
If it's not broke - don't try to fix it.  Meaning the cream Wesco was brilliant.  I should have just got another.  Do not be swayed by other people's remarks and suggestions.  Do not let them sow the seeds in your mind that you need a purple Wesco bin and not a classic not in your face cream Wesco bin.  Because that would be a big mistake.  And not is it just a big mistake - it's also a very big, expensive, glaringly obviously purple mistake.  

Secondly.  For Sale.
One lovely and highly desirable Blackberry 33L Kickmaster Wesco Bin.  Currently retailing for oodles in John Lewis.  All sensible offers considered but you have to cart it away yourself :o)  Yes - 2 years later - it's still in the garage awaiting it's Ebay turn in the queue.

Small Jack Wills Wish List ....and Being True to Yourself.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

The new Autumn Term Jack Wills look book landed on my doormat a couple of weeks back.  I always enjoy having a flick through and it always starts off,  

"Want that, want that, want that, want that ....ooooh really  really want that!" 

Then I do a second run and it goes a bit like, 

"Want that, want that, want that, not sure about that,  still really want that!" 

Then I do third run and it goes, 

"Want that ...and that.  Don't like that.  Well that's that!"

I used to also do that with the Next Directory over 20 years ago when I was a wee teenager (no Scottish blood in me whatsoever for the record but I did have an uncle who lived in Edinburgh which doesn't really count).  That was a catalogue worth getting excited about in the 80's when you had real fabric swatches on the pages so you could feel and see the colour of what you were ordering ... and Uma Thurman and Christy Turlington used to model.  Those were the days (don rose tinted bifocal glasses).  
So back to the wishlist in hand, not too much, just the odd little thing :o) or three or four ....

I saw the Forton tee in the handbook and on line and it didn't immediately grab me but having seen it in the shop now and tried it on ... I like it.

It nearly got bagged and came home with me.  I thought it might be an easy piece to layer with my grey Uniqlo cashmere cardigan during Autumn through to Winter and I love the fact that the colour is so bang on trend - yes I have been officially sucked in to these red berry shades.  With it being 50% cotton and 50% modal - it is softness personified. The design on the tee is very similar to one seen on the Aubin & Wills site about a year or so ago and which is now being reproduced on their children's range.  

Drat!  I was hoping to fit in this and share it with Ben

I did at one point entertain the idea of getting one of these Aubin & Wills children's tees if I could fit in one but for once the children's ranges err genuinely on the smaller side - there is no way I will ever manage to squeeze into an age 8-9 no matter how hard I try.  Ah well - I prefer the gentle scoop on the women's Jack Wills tee anyway. 

Now this grey Beloteen shirt below is lovely.  I tried this on too.  I can vouch for it being really well made. The shirt is double faced i.e. lined with another fabric and the surface fabric lies well and the stitching is good.  It is a lovely soft brushed cotton and being double faced - so perfect for the cooler months ahead.  And looking a little Margaret Howell - do you not think?  At a more affordable price and probably a much better fit for the smaller framed person.  

Beloteen Shirt £49.50
Something Howell'esque.

The Cheriton silk top.  I like this one a lot lot.  I have tried this one  on and love it even more than the Beloteen shirt  and that's saying something when you think how much I like my relaxed casual dressing. This top reminds me a little of the one that got away at the Jack Wills outlet a few weeks back.  They only had a size 10 in store and I think it was okay but I would have liked to try the 8 as well just to see which was better.

And following on from the Gap cords from the last post - these damson Hollingworth chinos are really floating my berry coloured boat.  

I think ... I like these more than the green Gap cords.  Oh - I've gone and said it.  I like these more. There - I said it again (and now I feel and sound like Dory from Nemo).  If you don't have a big budget, you need to make sure that when you buy, you really want that item unless it's stupidly cheap. These are not stupidly cheap for a pair of chinos but they are a stupidly nice damson shade.  The fact that the website and the lookbook says it's damson and not burgundy is selling it to me too.  Oh and it's a winter weight chino ... so selling it to me even more.  So it's going to be .... 

Bye bye green cords


Hello damson Jack Wills Chinos.

Damson.  Not burgundy.

Errr ... you weren't expecting that were you?

Now I'm feeling sheepish after all that broohaha about the green cords and getting all your opinions in. I could have kept quiet and pretended I'd kept the green cords but I think it's better to be honest and to let you know that I've decided against them and have now gone with these damson chinos which you know nothing about.  These chinos invaded my consciousness faster than you can say "damson chinos" in the last week.  After trying them on, I figured it was better to put the money on the item which felt better for me and on me personally. 

Damson or Tropical Green?

Looking at both pictures - there's not much in it really but the damson pair felt right straight away.  I didn't get quite as good a feeling with the green cords which was really unfortunate .. as they were cheaper and such a lovely shade too and went with just about everything in my wardrobe.  Well I did get a good feeling - when I first tried them on in the changing room and thought "yes!!!" but with every subsequent try on at home - there was just something not quite right.  If it's any consolation for having put you through all that long winded cords post, I had to size up in these chinos and it's not that everyone's comment didn't count, it was that no one knew there was anything to compare them with until now.

Aubin & Wills Annaside Top (old)
Only 1 outfit this time.

And I did have a momentary lapse when Fen left a comment to say she had the same ones but I rallied myself round and am happy with my final choice.  It's easy to be influenced by what you see and hear on so many of the lovely blogs around but sometimes, you have to remain true to yourself and go with what you feel is right.

And on that note, I will now stop looking at brogues.  They don't suit me.  

.... and thank you for taking the time to comment on the Gap cords.  It was much appreciated.

What a Difference a Day Makes.

Monday 24 September 2012

Yesterday it was chilly but the sun shone and I wore this (with my thermals underneath).

Topshop Maternity Jumper
New Look Straight Jeans (turned up)
New Look Nude Pumps

Something simple and easy for a day at home helping with Ben's homework, making Sunday dinner and just chilling.

Nice detailing

Now for the eagle-eyed, you will have spotted the label under the first photo as Topshop Maternity Jumper.  For the record, I am NOT pregnant (Grumps - you can stop worrying now - there is no number three .... breathe).  I am wearing a maternity jumper but I am not pregnant.  People wear non maternity clothes when they are pregnant, I wear maternity clothes when I am not.  That's just the way I roll and it's a perfectly good jumper to be worn with bump, without bump or a big lunch tum.  I especially like the lace neck detailing but this is also it's downfall. What you don't realise is that there didn't always used to be a dark lining underneath the lace and it was just sheer. All well and fine but it dipped a bit too near the old cleavage and showed just a little too much.  I subscribe to the school of put them away.  I don't mind other people looking busty but busty looks funny on me or maybe I've just got used to being small on top.  I really liked the jumper but as it wasn't working for me, I was going to ebay it until I had a brainwave and decided I could make this one work.  So I found an old navy vest top which I didn't wear - I cut it up and used it to back the lace.  Ta dah!!!!

For those wondering why I used a cream thread instead of a navy - it's because the stitching doesn't show on the cream bits on the outside of the jumper (clever moi? oh well, if you insist).

For once it's what's on the outside that counts!

Anyway lacy jumpers aside, today is Monday and what a difference a day makes - the rainy dreariness is a sight to behold.  It's boot weather and it's cold.  Rain, rain and more rain and the lighting is bad in the house which makes for poor picture quality (well it does if you know nothing about taking photos).  So today I wore this.

Topshop Maternity Jumper (again)
Next Dark Skinny Jeans (old)
Next Black Waxed Biker Boots (old)

I'm basically being kind to myself and reducing my washload and being environmentally friendly by wearing a garment more than once before it hits the wash basket.  But what you will notice is a gradual move over to the dark side.  And because it was cold, I added a fleece - yes people - a fleece before I left the house.  I have no credibility left.  But cold is cold and I'm not a nice person when I'm cold so better warm and unfashionable than cold and narky.

 Grey Tesco F&F Fleece 
(best £10 I ever spent)

And to top it all off, the piece de resistance .......... a rain jacket.  A walking rain jacket of the most unfashionable kind complete with hood.

Sprayway Walking Jacket (old)

I'm sorry - this is real life and it's bucketing down outside.  I would like to say I have a lovely, most becoming waterproof trench which is of a most high fashion calibre but to be honest, this is it.  It works, it keeps me dry and I have two kids to hang on to get them across a busy road to school - I need to be hands free!  Hands are not for holding on to a brollys but to hang on to small people before they try to break the biggest puddle jump record ever!  So am I alone in my mundaneness or is there anybody working a more fashionable and waterproof look out there?

Anyway, this is just a small post - well compared to the last epic, it is.  I have a few projects in mind over the next few weeks - the first of which I am about to embark i.e. I am now going to paint the woodwork in the family room.  If I start wittering away kind of funny over the next few days ... that will be the paint fumes working their way in to my befuddled brain!

Gap 1969 Sexy Boyfriend Cords

Thursday 20 September 2012

Susceptible is my middle name.  With a very big capital S.  

And Impressionable.  With an equally big capital I.

Where have I been led this time?  What fashion trend have I bought in to this time round? 


Oh and Back Peddlar with a capital B and a capital P.  

Because I left a comment for Louise on my blog saying "cords are not for me because you get flat patches where you sit" when she mentioned she had purchased some new cords.  What I also forgot to say at the time was they also attract fluff and cat hairs.  And then she did a post where she looked damned good in them .... and so it was that I found myself armed with a 30% discount code from Gap making my way to town to look for some cords I suddenly absolutely had to have.  

I didn't get the reddish ones seen above.........

....... and I didn't get the yellow ones seen below.

Nicki Bluhm.  Look her up.  Funky ex school teacher or what?

Instead I went for some green ones.  The ones which Nicki Bluhm didn't model.  And the only ones which are not the actual Gap website.  I could have sworn I'd seen a picture of her in a green pair or maybe it's my imagination playing with my headspace again.  

 Tropical green - their description - not mine.

When I went in Gap, the green cords were yelping "Me, me, me!" like excitable puppies and kittens in a pet shop.  How could I say no? And so I took them home safe in the knowledge of the 28 day return policy. And I thought they looked fun ... and comfy (age creepeth upon me yet again). 

So here I am having fun and seeing how some of my existing wardrobe goes with this one pair of cords.  This is a kind of test to see whether these are keepers, returners or should I just stick with the boyfriend jeans I already have and save myself some pennies.  After all, everything I'm wearing below, works just as well with a normal pair of blue jeans.  

So here we go...... ding ding.

Round 1. Whistles Top


Or unbuttoned?

Going for girly and pretty here.  I know there's the saying that blue and green should never be seen but I've always liked the mix and besides rules can be rewritten to suit.  The blouse is an old Whistles shirt dress picked up for about £15 in one of their sales about 6 years ago.  I got it chopped so it's now a useful blouse instead of a useless dress.  As a dress, this was an item which made you think "escapee from hospital".  As a blouse, this has enough going on with it to make it a standalone item and makes you feel instantly "dressed".  Quick question - buttoned up or unbuttoned?

Round 2.  Jack Wills Spurrell Breton

Yellow and Green?  It's certainly colourful.

It's a Breton.  I don't really need to say much more apart from it's not your usual Breton colour and I love it.  It's a bit of a little workhorse is this top because it washes really well and still looks good after a days hard slog with the three C's.  Cooking, cleaning and err .. cids (sic). It was last seen on this blog when it braved The Deep with me in Hull and as you can see, it survived the ordeal.    

Round 3.  Jigsaw Jumper

Ivory cotton - the safe but possibly boring option.

I have a real love hate relationship with this jumper.  I love that it's plain and ivory and technically a really nice basic jumper and it's cotton so it doesn't pill.  I hate the fact that the sleeves are too long and being a jumper makes it virtually impossible to alter to the right length.  Also the neck is a kind of funny cut across the neck boat shape.  It's the kind of jumper that Jigsaw does so well but I like the slight hint of Margaret Howell which comes from it being so basic and plain.  But I don't wear it very much for the reasons I mention but I can't put it in the charity bag or bring myself to ebay it. Basically - it does my head in!!!

Round 4.  Mango Jumper

Grey and Green - Needs to be Seen!

However, this jumper I love!  We get on really well.  Best buds.  I saw it in Mango, scooped it up and took it to the changing room and came marching out declaring to all and sundry "I'm having it".  It's basically a box shape, it's grey with some flecky bits to take it out of total boring territory and it hides a multitude of sins.  You can eat and eat and have a huge belly and no one would know.  You could smuggle bags of shopping in here and no one would know.  It's great.  I did have some reservations about whether it would pill and be a one season wonder but to it's credit, it's holding up well and is dutifully earning its keep.  And I love the cords with it.

Round 5.  Muji Jumper

Miss Prissy Pants

Going from baggy to fitted - the little black Muji fine knit jumper which has been going since like forever.  It's nothing special - it just fits.  It has 3/4 length sleeves which I always see as a bonus of not having to deal with too long sleeves and serves as an excellent way to show off arm candy if I could be bothered to wear any.  Completing the outfit with a little paisley scarf and some very old work shoes from M&S which are getting a new lease of life this year since being rediscovered at the back of the wardrobe.  Wearing this combo makes the cords look smarter and less casual somehow despite their boyfriend fit.  Actually, I feel a bit prim and proper in this - I'm not sure that's good.

Round 6.  Zara Sweatshirt

Dressed down happiness

This is probably me at my comfiest.  I like this pairing with the cords and the tan boots.   Some people might say it needs black boots but I find the tan is softer than black boots which I have a real bugbear about them acting like full stops on the end of my short legs.  The Zara sweat is a perfect (light) weight and sits just right on me for fit without making me look too sloppy.  I do like an oversized fit but find on the whole for someone my size, my sweats and hoodies can't be too "big" or I just look like a delinquent teen.

Round 7.  Hobbs NW3 tee and Uniqlo Cardigan

Spot the difference!

Student.  This is what this look says.  I'm finding I'm wearing my Hobbs NW3 tee quite a lot so that is a good thing.  When I bought it, I knew I loved the little Hedwig owl but would I actually get much wear out of it, seeing as how my penchant is for plain as plain can be tees?   You know how it is, one day you love one thing and next thing you go "pah.... I do not like you.... one little bit".  But for the time being ... I still love Hedwig.  Grey goes excellent with the cords.  I figured black pump shoes for a more girly take and boots for when the mornings demand some socks to warm the tootsies.

Actually all that was really hard work.  It might have looked like a piece of cake but during this exercise, I've found I tended to look a bit rubbish with anything tucked in the cords or maybe I just don't like being tucked in and feeling a little restricted.  The other thing is they are terrible piece of clothing to photograph - there were many outtakes, believe me.  Credit to the Gap photographer where it's due.  

Anyway, remember at the start of this post where I said I couldn't find any Gap promo photos for the green cords.  I thought I'd help them out a bit and fill the "Gap" (much intended pun). With a bit of help from my friend N who popped past for a coffee and who ended up being a willing accomplice to my moment of madness, we tried to recreate a Nicki Bluhm inspired shot.  I donned my blue Gap Perfect Oxford shirt, tucked my shirt in, added a belt,  did a bit of hair flicking, head moshing and star jumping in the spare bedroom and she papped away.  The funniest thing was she didn't question why I needed her to take a picture of me doing this.  She just did it.  I know some weird people and yeah it takes one to know one.

A moment of madness.
Picture Credit : N

So that's it.  And let's not forget the purpose of this post. Gap 1969 Sexy Boyfriend Cords. What's the verdict?  Keep or return?


Last Note :
  • Gap - if you're reading - you can use my pic if you like as long as you credit me with some Gap vouchers - I could do with a new pair of your current sexy Boyfriend jeans.  Or just send a pair my way.  Size 10 please.

  • Also - I seem to have adopted a new standard pose with hand in pocket.   Bonkers.


Sunday 16 September 2012

We decided to take the guest to Whitby on Saturday for fish and chips at the Magpie Cafe.  So just to make sure I was really starving and able to quaff a big portion of fish and chips - I started the day with a bacon and egg muffin - yum!  The plan was for a small bowl of cereal but somehow this transformed itself into a bacon and egg muffin.  Amazing!  I have no idea how that happened!

What to wear on a day to Whitby.  After much deliberation, I kept it simple and comfortable - it's a day with kids after all.  Not a day for pretty dresses which get blown up in the wind and for suede boots to get salt stains from the water on the beach.

CDG Play Tee
New Look Straight Jeans Rolled Up
White Converse (still clean)

I have learnt from previous excursions to Whitby - it is usually chilly on the seafront.  So best to layer up and I added a Gap cotton trench which I was grateful for when I arrived.  The white Converse got another outing in the hope that they would once again be "aged" possibly by the sand and small people stepping on my toes.  Somehow they remain white - still.  And though the sun was shining, the wind was blowing enough to warrant keeping the trench on first thing.

Whitby first thing in the morning was lovely and "quietish".

Whitby in the morning.  Before the hoards of tourists (oh! I forgot, I'm one).

Last year was the first time we managed to get in the Magpie Cafe, (previous times, we'd been put off by the long queues) and the fish and chips were so yum scrum, even Ben scoffed every last chip and declared it "the best fish and chips ever".  It has had many excellent write ups and Rick Stein has certainly served to put the place on the map through his Food Heroes series which I have endured many times due to Foodie Grumps.  I'm afraid I am one of those persons where food is a fuel rather than an out and out indulgence - sorry Grumps!

I don't know who they are either.  Just showing you the Magpie.

Cheap cups (hee hee).

I thought you had to be left handed to use these cups as they are only printed on one side and if you are right handed, you only get the blank side.  But then the Grumps put me right by saying the print was "facing" out so people opposite you could read the print.  I personally thought it was a bit cheap that they couldn't print all the way round .... what if the drinker had been a left hander?  I think it's good to cover all eventualities.  Strange what thoughts goes through a small mind.

Getting stuck in!

Yes - it was fab.

The fish and chips were to die for.  Look at the golden crispy batter on that fish!  Look at how white and fabulous the flesh is!  Look at those divine chips -  just the right amount of crunch on the outside and fluffy on the inside!  And when the plate was cleared ... no pools of grease left behind which is usually the case with most fish and chips.  Okay, enough is enough ... let's move on.

Out of the Magpie and on to the road and there were lots of strange pirates around raising money today for Whitby's Lifeboat Day.

I think the one on the right is the best.

And on to the Amusements.  We'd emptied the change box from the kitchen drawer before we set off - how clever were we?  But we hadn't reckoned with the speed with which 2p's could disappear courtesy of Ben and George.

This badge cost about £5 in 2p's.  Hmm.
And Ben lost his first tooth this week.

It must be hard to be this small.  Aww.

And then down to the beach where George decided to take his first donkey ride.  Ben declined.  I remember when I was small and I was taken to Blackpool and was asked if I wanted a donkey ride. No.  Because all I could think of was getting fleas in my knickers.  I thought the same when faced with a camel ride in Egypt many years ago. More strange thoughts for a small mind.

"Err ... might be having second thoughts, Dad!"

Yes - George does look like he's trying to get away.

White Converse - still white!

Sandy Converse.  He's getting there at least!

And then it all got a bit much for the guest. Children, noise, too much food, too many tourists, too many pirates and we headed home.  We didn't do the Abbey today and we didn't go across the bridge to browse the shops but I did sneak some cinder toffee on the way back.

Mine all mine!

A lovely day ... and surprise surprise ... lovely weather!  And an added bonus! Quiet child on the way home! Must be a reward for all the cleaning I've done this week!

Zzzzz Zzzzz

Susie So So