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Thursday, 30 November 2017

Mini Seasons of Opportunity

Hi there, m'hearties!
It's getting a bit brrr over here, though remarkably our temps are about 4-6 degrees higher than mainland UK, which is hovering around 0c today.  So we haven't had the UK's snow but we've had a few hail showers.

It's dawned on me lately that our seasons have mini seasons within them.  Each on its own has an array of weather suiting different types of outfits.
We're around 6-11c in the next week, then I expect the temperatures to drop in December.
A couple of months ago I made a mental note to get out my khaki utility jacket for autumn.  Then before I managed to kick that mental note into action, lightweight jacket season had been and gone.  Dressing opportunities are like Black Friday bargains, I've discovered.  Blink and you miss out.

My khaki jacket experience made me realise that I have to strike when the mini season presents itself.  No blinking.

Right now, sweater dresses are ideal.  But they won't be in a few weeks.  So I am striking out at these beauts during the sweater dress mini season.
Are you feeling the love for sweater dresses right now? 

For an early morning airport run I slipped on this old Monsoon winter white sweater dress.
And that's exactly what happens with sweater dresses.   Slip them over your head and you are done.

It's a dream of a still-loved dress.  So comfortable to wear and just look at that colour!  You don't get much more neutral than winter white.  So just about any accessorising goes.  Here, chocolate knee boots and opaques.

A cashmere paisley scarf with furry pompoms creates a snug outfit.

And whilst the temps are relatively high, I did more slipping on, firstly with this long East merino cardi, also in chocolate brown.

Then it got messy. 

I wanted to try the dress with an old suede jacket, also chocolate brown.

There's a limited mini window to wear little jackets like these.  They're really too warm for indoors but in a few weeks time I will freeze if I go out the door in this little shortie.  So, as with sweater dresses, I seized my mini season window for this jacket too.

Then it got really messy.  Bearing in mind I was doing an airport run and one has just one window of opportunity for making it aboard planes, in true Pout form I wanted another wardrobe tweak.
"I wonder what the jacket looks like with some furry neckage?" I said, curiously.
"No" said The Photographer, "No more pictures, we're outta here".

Now I am a stubborn Pout.  So I wound the furrage around my neck ...

... and started taking selfies.
The Photographers next comment is unpublishable.

The Photographer works to mini window rules too, it would seem. 
My mini window of opportunity had just slammed shut.

A la perchoine.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

The Great Make Up Cull of 2017 - Part Deux

Warning: Readers of a squeamish disposition should look away now.

28 lipsticks
9 lip liners
7 lip gloss sticks
9 lip gloss tubes
17 lip balms, various ...

Yes, dear reader, I have confronted one of my demons.
One of the many skeletons in my cupboard.

Here's what a demon looks like.  EEEEKKKK.

I recently moved up into my "new" bedroom.  It's a bedroom I closed the door on a few years ago.  I knew when I closed the door, there were skeletons lurking in the cupboards that I did need to confront.  But by closing that door, confrontation was automatically deferred.  In my mind anyway, for I have many tools used in my striving towards Procrastination Excellence and the Closing The Door approach has been tried and tested.
But now that I am spending time in this room, I am opening cupboard doors and confronting my demons, finally.

When I wrote my upbeat and positive piece The Great Make Up Cull of 2017 back in February, I knew deep down that I was just scratching the surface of the problem,  Then,  I dealt with the make up and toiletries in the en suite of the bedroom I was calling mine at the time.

I knew that there lurked a greater demon upstairs.  But what the eyes don't see, the conscience don't fret over.

What is the journey that has led me to having 60 odd lip products sitting in a box stuffed in cupboard?  Well, when I worked I was forever popping into town for a sarnie and returning to the office with a lipstick, a foundation or an eyeshadow. You see, the best sarnies in town were in a department store.  Buying beauty products in department stores spawns more beauty products.  It creates a multiplier effect when for each product bought, samples and "buy 2, select five more from the range" end up in your shopping bag and there's a limit to what even this needy lady can use!  So I went into retirement with a lot of cosmetics and these days I use even less make up and the stockpile has remained untouched.

And now that I'm back in this bedroom, I realise that the already aging make-up I turned my back on has in the meantime aged another 5-6 years!
So the question I pose to you today is "Is 10+ year old make up still usable?"

I'm hoping some beauty experts amongst you can help me out here.  In the meantime, the fundamental question I ask myself is "Does the product touch the eyes or not?  For as you may have picked up in this blog, I am uber cautious about what goes on around my eye area.  So my keep-or-dump test essentially is whether the product gets anywhere near the windows to my soul.


What's the worst that could happen? These are applied well away from the eye area.  Keep?  Anyway, with the benefit of this photo I see  it's the middle rows that are truly ancient, the rest are more recent and have merely strayed, so they're keepers, defo.

Foundations, BB creams and Sun Creams

(bottom row)

These fail the eye test.  Dump.

Eyewear: Eye Shadows, Eye lines, Eye and Brow Pencils, Pencil Sharpeners

(top row, above) 

Yes, some of it may look in pristine conditions ...

... but given its 10 yr age, it's not going anywhere near my eyes!


Cleansers, Exfoliators etc

I've had a wash cleanser for maybe 2 or so years that got lost in the make up stash.  Does this stuff go off?

If it's harmful, I don't want this stash co-mingling with items acquired in recent years which I'm very happy with.
So dear, kind, helpful, knowledgeable reader.  Can I use really old lip products without inflicting damage to my person?  And what about cleansers?
I think the clue might be in the water ratio in the product, but I'm not 100% on that.

On reflection, I tell myself this mountain of makeup I now find myself dumping symbolises a past life which I have now walked away from.  And now the time is right for me to be dealing with the relics of that past life.

Have you had to deal with clearing relics of your past life?  Maybe post-retirement?
How did you handle it?   Closing a cupboard door or confronting it head on?
And do you have any make up cull rules that you can share? Or do you have a more relaxed approach?

And the culling doesn't stop here.  I now need to head into the bathroom next door.  EEEEEKKKK!

A la perchoine.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Testing The Sweater As a Dress

Happy Saturday, my dears, and Happy Boxing Boxing Thanksgiving to all you American ladies reading this today.  If you are reading it tomorrow, please add another Boxing, and so on and so on ... ad infinitum.

Right, today I'm going to attempt quite a challenge ... keep this post light on words, heavy on pics.  You see, I've just spent the past few hours attempting to set up my annual Christmas Card.  And getting nowhere.   Oh, not quite right, my single achievement has been to load two photos on to the card site.  Two photos.  Nothing more.  So I need to walk away from the Christmas Card project and update you on my grey sweater done as a dress.  Then walk away from the laptop.

Recently, I showed you the piece as a cowl-neck sweater here.  So I tested it out as a dress and as I wanted to see how it performed as a dress IRL, I took it out into the real world.

I had various things to do, errands I think you call them.  Getting house keys cut, shopping, that sort of stuff.  Errands.

Whilst waiting for the key cutting, I used the time to wander around the area, enjoying the beautiful day and the pretty views. Castle Cornet can be seen in the distance and the island of Sark can just about be seen on the horizon.  The air was so clear that all nearby islands were visible.  
And I kept my real life real by not editing out the skip!

Here's a bit of visual story telling about Othon's visit to Guernsey.

No, nothing stinking in the State of Denmark, just an unfortunate shot!

And here I am with Othon, a Swiss visitor to the island about 800-900 years ago, BITD anyway.

I spent some time standing outside what used to be my office windows, with views across the pretty bay to the historic castle.  So uplifting.  I also spent time leaning on lampposts.

I spent a lot of time carry around the wrap I totally did not need, so warm was this lovely day.

I tested my dress some more, shopping at Waitrose for fruit.  We're really into Pink Lady apples.

So my grey sweater as a dress was really given a good work out.
What I realised is this.  The bardot neck rolls up, IRL.

And I've worked out why.  I bought the wine sweater/dress in one size down.  Because the grey was rapidly selling out, I bought it in what was available, two sizes down, resulting in the neck being a little tight on the shoulders.

Of course, a scarf would cover. it.  But on my return home, I pinned a silver brooch in the front centre of the neckline, anchoring it to the bottom of the ribbing.  That worked a treat, the collar stayed in place.  Other than that, the fit of the "dress" itself is fine.

And ladies, just look how I started out.  Anyone would think it was November! 
I ended up carrying the poncho round town as it was far too hot for anything but the dress on its own, then when shopping I just draped the tartan scarf over my shoulders, as supermarkets can sometimes be chillier than outside.

Here's how Dotty P sees this being worn.  On a tall, slim lady it really is a long sweater.  It would be rather embarrassing on her as a dress, don't you think?!
I see that they pull the bardot waaaaaay down over the shoulders - that will be my next look in my 3-ways-2-wear with this cosy item.

I'm very happy with with sweater/dress and the versatility it offers for someone of my height.
It's a cosy piece which is going to be a little workhorse this winter.  You will get bored seeing it over the next few months, it's going to be that much of a workhorse.!

Have you been trying out sweater dresses?  Or sweater/dresses?
And bardot necklines? 

Wishing you a lovely lazy Sunday 
And hey, I think I've done what I set out to achieve, a post pretty light on words, eh?  Result!

A la perchoine.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

An Opportunity Missed

Afternoon tea, in November.

Oh how tempted I was to wear a dress, but I chose to wear something more practical for the weather.

A classic "safe" look for when you don't really know what to expect, dress-wise.

Black trousers, ivory layered blouse, stripey cardigan, a pearl pendant and earrings, black courts (pumps) in a reptile-effect leather (I really am your friend, Jules!)
There isn't much safer than this.  If the event is informal, the cardi stays on.  If I discover it's a posher affair, off comes the cardi.

On the way to tea in a black trenchcoat and ooh-la-la beret.  My pops of colour were restrained and subtle - the embroidery on the Primani scarf, my wine coloured bag ... oh how am loving this bag 2nd time round, now that I have discovered my love for wine!

And I'll set the scene for you, dear reader.

I arrived at the Duke of Richmond hotel and entered the uber-glam foyer. 


This stylish black and white area was awash with ladies dressed in the prettiest afternoon tea dresses I ever did see! 
Oh how I wanted to about-turn and go back home for a quick dress-on.  But The Photographer made me see sense.  Actually, I think I'd arrived just as a huge influx of Hash House Harriets were congregating; they'd obviously all got the club memo and were beautifully dressed up to the nines.  Otherwise, anything went dress (or not!) wise, there was no prescriptive dress code.

But opportunities to wear pretty dresses in winter don't come along too often and on this rare occasion when the opportunity offered itself, I missed out.  Well, there was much internal boo-hoo'ing going on, I can tell you.  The good thing that came out of this disappointment is that I've signed up to go again next year to this fund raiser for a most worthy charity, Help The Heroes.  No not just to wear a dress, I'm not that shallow! It's a charity I want to support.  But I will wear a dress.  And what are the chances that next year's HHH memo will say "black trousers and a smart top"!
On a positive note, at least I matched the foyer's flooring!

The well-supported event was held here, The Duke of Richmond.  Follow the link and tap on Take A Tour on the home page to share my Afternoon Tea experience.  It will be like you're sipping tea with me there, but virtually!
I, of course, was too busy enjoying all these scrummy delicacies to take many photos, so I really do suggest you take the tour for the full experience.  However. I give you here the sum total of the Afternoon Tea photos that I could muster. 

Afternoon tea us usually made up of finger sandwiches, scones and cakes.  We had all of those.  This tea had some interesting and yummy additions.

The first surprise was little shot glasses filled with prawn cocktail.  No photos, totally devoured.

The yummsville sandwiches plate was nigh-on demolished by the time I took the first shot.  The second twist was that the cake selection included cute little milk bottles of a panna cotta topped with fruit compote.  I hear they were yummy but I didn't quite have room for one.

The reason I didn't have room was probably down to this twist on the classic afternoon tea - these tasty morsels.
A little slice of beautifully spiced up sausage roll and a slice of the most heavenly chicken mousse tossed in an oaty nutty breadcrumb mix.  Exquisite!

On reflection, this must have been a modern foodie take on High Tea.

Despite the missed flowery tea dress opportunity, I came home pretty happy in my black and ivory.  I'd supported a worthy charity and had eaten my bestest afternoon tea ... ever!

Duke of Richmond ... I will be back!

A la perchoine.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Pout Hits The Wine!

OK peeps, I've got something new to show you today! 
I've been thinking of wine recently.  No, not the fall-down-water, but the colour. 
Wine is so warm and rich and perfect for this time of year.  I'm seeing it with grey and with black, of course, but also brown which is not a colour that I would automatically pair it with.  Well, at least not since my school days. I'm thinking gym slips and knickers, peeps!

My colour inspo was a scarf I accidentally bought off Amazon.  I'd been a-searchin' round for pressie ideas and in the blink of an eye I discovered that I'd pressed the 1-click-buy.  Has that happened to you?!
 It was incredibly cheap and the picture confirming the purchase was of a grey, wine and ivory combo.  So in the days before it arrived my thoughts strayed to that colour combo.  On reflection, I think that was the default scarf on the site as when it arrived, it wasn't the scarf pictured all the way through the confirmation and shipping process emails I'd been getting.  But hey-ho.
The scarf's got a lot of brown in it.  Well, there's an idea, thought I.  And as I'm applying the 3-ways-2-wear principle (catchy, huh?)  to this new item in my wardrobe, I began experimenting.

First with grey, my original plan.

For starters, let me introduce you to my new "dress".  It's a snuggy-winter knit.

It's a bit (a lot!) shorter than I would normally wear.  My knees have nowhere to hide.

It's sleeves are long, so the dress has in-built mittens!

I've discovered from these pics that these grey boots don't lend themselves to anything but jeans and trousers, which they do extremely well, BTW. 
Top tip, consider the diameter of the ankle boot top when getting your legs out, ladies.
 I tried with a different shade of grey opaques a few days later, toning in more with the colour of the boots but still the tight ankle of the boot brought down the look.  Oh dear, is Gabor calling?  In a half size larger?

Silver goes beautifully with the wine and grey combo.  I wore a silver leaf pendant, layered with my lovely new silver necklace from my special little people.  How I do love it; it's rapidly becoming a go-to.

Here's the scarf.  Yes, The Photographer could have told me that the scarf was trailing on the ground!  But at least it's showcasing well.

So that was my day of wine and grey, accessorised with a plethora of strewn autumn leafage.

Then today I've moved on to brown.

I pushed the boat out and  bought some M&S chocolate opaques and they are a perfect match for my old brown Gabor knee boots (which I love, so supple a leather and they are lined in a softer and lighter suede, so scrummy!).

I chose a chunky wooden necklace, a pressie from one my lovely readers, La Duchesse.
As the look I'd chosen was informal, I paired it with a brown leather wrist band.  You can't see it in any of the pics, though, but it's there, you will just have to trust me on this one - and you know you can!

And then I played around with my new blanket scarf.

The Photographer With Fashion Views declared this look "messy".

And it got rapidly messier.  I tried the casual draping over the shoulder again. This time it didn't touch the floor, purely by luck rather than Photographer vigilance.
I have a friend who rocks the pashmina-over-the-shoulder look.  You know, that Judi Dench look, so casually elegant.  I just can't hit it, though, it always looks a bit strange on me.  Are you someone who does this casual draping thing?  Any tricks you can share?

I think the scarf goes so well with this outfit.  It picks out both the wine and the brown.  I just need to get my head around the blanket scarf thing.  It seems too big, cumbersome.  Like I'm draping myself with, errr, a blanket.  And as that is not normally my wont, I struggle.  Seems a bit period drama to me.  Perhaps I should check out how Cathy wears it in her Wuthering Heights look.  I wonder if she Instagrams it? Or Pins it?

Turns out Cathy wasn't into blanket scarves after all.

On to another of my challenges.  What I am discovering is that it's quite difficult to keep a bardot doing what it says on the tin.  Keeping off the shoulder.
The bardot neckline shifts around, up and down.  Now generally I see this as a good thing, as it presents me with the gift of so many neckline options, changes.  I like change.  The Photographer doesn't like that I like change.  It usually means us shifting around furniture.  And occasionally shifting it back again, if I find my improvement isn't actually an improvement.

Apropos that, I told him this morning that I like that he has a good attitude.  He tells me what I see as good attitude is actually pragmatic subservience.  What are your thoughts on that bombshell, ladies?!!

And whilst we're in Photographer Corner, as he was taking the abundance of wine and brown shots he muttered "I can see this being one of your posts that I won't be reading". 
 OK, scrub what I said about "good" attitude earlier, this is downright bad/recalcitrant attitude!!

But how I have digressed.  I was talking about the Bardot neckline.  I have discovered that a pin slipped into the back of the dress sort of disciplines this cheeky strumpet of a collar.
My bardot seems to be holding fast with this tweak.  It's still sitting smartly as I type.  If this good pin work continues, I'm going to make it a permanent feature with a few deft stitches.
Once again, the Dotty P design team will thank me for this little innovation.

So, grey done; brown done.  Black to come.

But I also want to see how this baby performs with jeans.  You see, it is actually sold as a sweater, but on my 5' 3" and-a-bit frame, it can become a dress as well as a sweater.  One of the few benefits of being vertically challenged.  Ooops, digressing again, Pout!
Yes, back to those jeans.  The dress/jumper (drummers?!) would go beautifully with blue or grey jeans, of course. 
But I see it with some tight faux leather or waxed black jeans.  I haven't clicked the Nordstrom buy button on the former (sorry Mrs R, I still think they will bring too much attention to my trotters).  I haven't clicked the M&S buy button on the latter either.  Perhaps it's not so much that I am a wimp when it comes to the more risqué of legwear, but that I'm a bit dubious about sizing (more on that in another post ... hopefully).

Right my dear friends, I've rambled enough and The Photographer wants his trunch.
 Before I sign off, here's what the dress looks like on the optimum body, a tall slim model.

You see, they style it as a jumper, albeit a very long one.

It's under £20 and can be found here.  Such a rich colour and so snug.  The grey is selling out fast.

I've found a similar here also available in grey.

I leave you with more wine and grey.  Just when I was strutting my stuff in my wine and grey ensemble above, the clever Janice of The Vivienne Files only went and posted on grey and wine here.  What do they say about great minds?!

A couple of pieces sprang out at me from her post.

This beauty is from Dotty P so is close to home.  Most versatile and something that would fit
nicely into our wardroes, eh?  Certainly it's manna to my wine themed wardrobe.

This gorgeous wine cashmere number from L L Bean is divine. Pricey, but if you're reading this, TP, and in your view I've been nice rather than naughty ... or perhaps it works the other way round with blokes?!!

Whoa, stop your friskiness, Pout.  Let these lovely people close this post and get on with their busy lives.  And you go downstairs and get The Photographer his trunch!!!!

A la perchoine.