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Tuesday, 11 December 2018

What I've Been Wearing Lately


Hello, my lovelies. 
Are you busy decking your halls with boughs of holly?
Is December busy enough for you?
It's a little too busy for me, that's for sure.  I'm pretty much there with pressies and cards, the tree's a work in progress and the busyness is down to me decking the Pout halls, reorganizing stuff and painting bits and bobs around the house.  
How are your Christmas plans going?  I hope you're not as silly as me, taking on painting jobs in December, who needs that on top of everything else?!

Amazingly (for me) I've still managed to get out of those dreaded leggings and scruffy T in recent weeks, so here's a round-up of what I've been wearing lately.

But before I start up today, a question.  Do you get notification of my replies to your comments or am I just replying to big void that is the ether?!  I'd love to hear from you in this, cos I spend a lot of time chatting away to you when you comment!!!




Cashmere cardi (Madeleine), long sleeved modal T (The White Company), skinnies (M&S), heeled boots (Gabor).


Coatigan (Zara).



Denim jacket (Gap), plaid shirt (Primark), coated jeans (Next), heeled boots (Jones).



Top and shawl (Next), jeans (Primark), flat boots (Pikolinos).


Cashmere merino cardi (Woolovers), silk scarf (The Rack), long sleeved T (The White Company), skinnies (M&S), suede boots (Debenhams).


Cashmere mix jumper (Next), silk scarf (charitied), coated jeans (Next), knee boots (Gabor).
Larger size (that looked like a potato sack) returned.  Size down a couple of sizing if going for this jumper.



Cardi (Peacocks), floral dress (East), knee boots (M&S).
Nice to wear a dress for once.


Zara chunky cardi, v. old.
I'm looking for ideas on how to wear this, any suggestions?


Ruffles jumper (Kaliko), velvet loose trousers (East).
The jumper has been sleeping in my wardrobe for 15+ years yet this was the first time I've worn it.  Suddenly the ruffles and the sparkly trim seemed "now".  I'm calling this approach SLEEPER FASHION, (find out more about it HERE).


Raincoat, hat, skinnie, twinset (M&S), scarf (Zara), heeled boots (Gabor).
🎵 I beg your pardon ... there's got to be a little rain sometimes 🎶


Cashmere mix jumper and hat (Next), scarf (shop in Lyndhurst), skinnies (M&S), heeled boots(Gabor).
I wore this to bring the potted tree in from the garden and drape it with a few fairy lights.  Then I took a break from tree decoration to go out for a turkey dinner.



Then returned to drape tree with a strand of pearls. They're just real, of course *!


Clearer pic of funnel neckline of jumper.
And clearer pic of work in progress potted tree, now on its third Christmas.  Thinking this may be it's last indoors as it seems to bleach with the sun, guess it really belongs in a dark forest.


V-back version of Next cashmere mix (size down just one size with this style).   
Oatmeal seems to be THE must-wear colour for decorating the tree this year.

Tree, still a work in progress as discovered I'm short of a box of glass baubles which we must have missed on our recent loft trip.
So, I stopped work and went out for a turkey dinner.  


Are you spotting a trend here?  Who knew that decorating a Christmas tree could be so fattening?!



So that's what I've been wearing (and eating!) lately.   
I expect you've been rigged up in smarter attire as you enjoy the round of December parties, dinners and all things Christmassy.  Am I right?

From what I see here today, this pensioner's life isn't the mad social whirl that you're probably experiencing right now.
Perhaps I just need to put on a few cocktail dresses and tell you I'm looking tired because of my wall to wall Xmas partying, when the truth is this month I'm just painting walls!
  



* String of Pearls, they're just real, of course.

A la perchoine, 
Mary.



Thursday, 6 December 2018

Sleeper Fashion - A Happy Ending


Hello my lovelies!  
Happy first Thursday in December.   The month is a time of celebration so why not celebrate a random day of the week eh?!  Have you kicked off December celebrating with a lunch or a party, or maybe mince pies with a friend?


But right now, grab yourself a mulled wine, snuggle under a fur throw and hear my Fairy Tale on Thursday ...  with a happy ending, of course.



I kicked off the week with a Christmas party.  My first.  Possibly my only.
I don't go to many now that I'm retired.  When I was working, the balls, dinners, cocktail parties and lunches started mid November and carried on through to sometime in January.  My wardrobe was well-prepared for these occasions and on reflection I don't remember struggling over what to wear. 
  
Now, with invites thin on the ground, I do struggle.  If I needed to put together a ball gown or cocktail party look today, I'd still have no problem as I have thrown none of that previous-life stuff away and my Posh Wardrobe remains intact.  Too good to divest myself of, too pretty, too expensive ...

Lower key dos present a challenge though.  So what to wear for my party?  The younger me would have rushed out and panic-bought something new.  But not today's Pout, thankfully.  Instead I had a good old Girls' World wardrobe try on session ahead of the party.


And I was pleasantly pleased with what I managed to find in the Posh Wardrobe on Monday.


After much trying on (yes and phototaking, Susan H of Over50under20 !!) I chose this little combo.


Loose brown velvet trousers from a set from East (shown HERE in judi-in-disguise-with-glasses).
 Worn with a brown ruffle jumper with glittery gold edging.  A little brown and gold nugget.  And here's the shocker ... I've had this jumper since about 2003-2004 - and I have never.before.worn.it.OUT!!!
It's from Kaliko and I don't know if they're still making clothes after all these years.  Are they?

I'd bought the jumper to go with a long brown velvet evening skirt bought in the Kaliko sale, but that never got off the ground. Then my formal party wear days ran out and I occasionally tried it with other things and thought "naaaah!".  It seemed a bit frumpy, fuddyduddyfiddly with all the gold and ruffles going on.


But on Monday the stars aligned - it was hanging in the same suit bag as the velvet set and I thought (radically for me!) "Let's just give them a go together"


And I thought "bingo!!" (and so did The Photographer With Fashion Views, phew!). 
Suddenly my old fuddyduddyfiddly frilly jumper looked sorta "now".  

Yes, in 2018, ruffle jumper, brown, velvet, loose trouser line ... well they all started to make sense ... after 15 years.


To say I was a happy brown bunny would be the mother of all understatements.  The outfit felt comfortable.  It felt partyish, but not too much so.  And I was wearing it for the first time!


The outfit suited the Christmassy setting.


And rather than tottering around in ridiculously high stilettos, I was able to sneak a chunkier heel under the loose trousers so I could easily manage this spiral staircase to take an artsy Christmas shot for you, without mishap!



So my message here is hopefully clear.  
Open your eyes to things you've kept, which don't perhaps fit the life you have now but which are pretty, too well made or maybe were just too darned expensive to chuck out!

This is so much more than slow fashion.  This is Sleeper Fashion, for I call this jumper a wardrobe sleeper.
On Monday its handsome prince (aka the brown velvet trousers) kissed it gently and awoke it from its slumbers.  
Aaahhhh, don't you just love a happy ending?!

And I tell myself that in some microscopic and superficial way, my sleeper fashion must surely be helping to produce a slightly happier ending to our wondrous planet's tale of woe.  For instead of rushing out to panic-buy myself some fast fashion, I instead shopped my wardrobe.  The posh one.



Do you have any sleepers in your wardrobe?
Have a play around, try them with things you haven't tried before.  
Take photos.  Think radical.   
Maybe you'll find a prince to awaken your sleeper from its slumbers too ... and give it a happy ending!


A la perchoine,
Mary.


Monday, 3 December 2018

Perseverance Pays



They do say that everything comes to she who waits.


And this she waited two months for this oatmeal jumper.
Classy neutral colour, warm soft knit, sleek long fit - what's not to love?



Back in September I tried on this jumper.  Oatmeal was the colour.  Cashmere mix was the fabric.  And marquee was the style!
It was truly huge, both in width and length (it came down to just above my knees!).  It passed on classy colour and soft to the touch knit, but failed disastrously on sizing and did absolutely nothing to enhance my shape.  Bag of potatoes came to mind.
No surprise, I returned it.

But search as I did, I found nothing better.  The Next jumper was the colour I was looking for (though sweet Susan H may argue that oatmeal is NOT a colour!).  The knit was quality and the style fundamentally suited my needs.  I just needed to avoid the bag of potatoes look (so not flattering).  So I braced myself for further disappointment and reordered, but this time two sizes down.



Yup, I got the sizing right this time.


I didn't want the uber baggy look - I have one of those in a chunkier knit.  I wanted sleek that could be dressed up or down.


It's first outing, Saturday's delivery of beauty advent calendars, was a delight.


Berry coated leggings tucked inside old Gabor chocolate leather boots, silk scarf (charitied) in colours toning to the leggings.
This was perfect for the calendar delivery, a coffee ... picking up a radiator valve - yes, this is retirement life lived to the max!


But maybe it needed a slight tweak for supper with The Sibs.


Well, all it needed was a delicate draping of silver jewellery, a tethering of the scarf and a change of boots.  I switched my runaround brown boots for something more up to date.  These berry boots (M&S AW17) are the exact shade as the coated leggings, so they elongate the leg (in illusion, not literally!).  The pointed toe further elongates.  (Stating the obvious, my short legs need all the lengthening trickery fashion can throw at them!).   Swapping my Brown boot chunky heel for a more on-trend cone heel finishes off my light touch evening tweaking.



Add a chunky knit wool  jacket from Zara and my work was done.  Daytime errand outfit to evening restaurant outfit was but a moment's work.


So that's my message, folks.  A long neutral jumper teamed with a rich colour like berry can take you from a smartish daytime look to a smartish evening look with the bare minimum of effort.  And I'm all about minimum effort!

And with a bold sizing choice, this Next jumper certainly ticks all the long neutral boxes.


Sizing is all over the place when it comes to this season's big jumpers.  I've learned from this little exercise that you've really got to play the field with sizing - be bold, be brave and experiment.  Don't give up, persevere and you will get the perfect big jumper you need to compliment your wardrobe and your shape.

With big jumpers, as with life, perseverance pays.



A la perchoine,
Mary.



Thursday, 29 November 2018

What I've Been Wearing Lately



Lists.  They're a moving goal post eh?  
What is there about them that as fast as you complete your tasks, the bigger the list grows, infinitely.

My To Do By Mid-November started with 20 tasks, a nice round number nearly typed up on a crisp white sheet.  
It's now nearly December and I'm still working on it - the number has grown to 26, many have hand-scribbled addendums and the sheet is crumpled and coffee-stained.  And I've only managed 4 of 11 of the To Do By End-November.   
Oh what the heck, I'm off to see Bohemian Rhapsody this evening, to-do list slippage be damned !!

That intro is my way of making you feel a little better if you too are already underperforming in your Christmas Countdown challenges.  And if you are, I suggest you take yourself away to the cinema for a few hours too!


So as I continue to wade through my ever-growing to-do list, I leave you with some day to day outfits worn when the leggings and t shirt uniform is torn off.

What I'm finding is that by posting everyday outfits rather than, err, more thought-through outfits, I'm achieving one of my blog goals, that being to smarten up my everyday appearance.  So whilst I plough through my to-do list and have little time (or inclination) for stand-alone outfit posts, I hope you are happy with this approach.  Um, are you?  I'd love to hear from you.


Anyhoo.  My first outfit is a celebration of #slowfashion.


My old ca. 2002 suede skirt.


My Y2K leather cap - I did warn you you'd be seeing a lot of it!



Blue plaid shirt and black jeans.


Black T and UV cardi, charitied scarf.


Soft orange twinset and leoprint.


Cosy cardi, #woolovers  summer sale.


More plaid.
And two observations from these pics.

1.  I've hardly been out of my old Pikolinos boots.  They're 15yrs+ old but I've fallen back in love with them this winter, so comfy for my daily constitutions and for generally mooching about in.

2.  I've also be mainly wearing black jeans.  And mostly M&S skinnies.  I bought M&S super skinnies in a smaller size when I lost a bit of weight and they are my go-to-most-days jeans because, well, they're pretty much the only jeans that truly fit me.  Plus they are just what I want from jeans - no leg wrinkling and thin fabric, so no feeling of claustrophobia.  And for that very reason they wash a dream and in a trice are dry and ready to report back for duty.  What is there not to like about #mandsjeans eh?!


And I'm seeing my clear favourite pieces this season are a suede skirt, a leather cap, black skinnies and Pikolinos boots.

What are your current go-tos?


A la perchoine,
Mary.



Monday, 26 November 2018

Beaulieu















Palace House, once the gatehouse of the medieval Beaulieu Abbey, has been the Montagu family home since 1538.
In an idyllic New Forest setting, overlooking the picturesque Beaulieu River millpond, Palace House was remodeled and extended during the 1800s and is now a fine example of a Victorian country house. Inside, its ecclesiastical heritage sets the grand gothic tone for a home bristling with character and adorned with family trees.
Palace House was used as one of the primary locations in The Honourable Rebel, a feature film based on Elizabeth Montagu's life. The Dining Hall and Drawing Room are just two of the rooms you may
recognise in this fascinating true story of Edward 3rd Baron Montagu.









I copied the above from the website of 

Beaulieu.


It is rather clumsily copied, I'll give you that, but it's the intro you need for this post and there you go, that's me, clumsily techno.


The Accidental Phone-ist

And whilst we're talking clumsy, the reason I didn't post these shots earlier is because on my return, I dropped my phone down the toilet.  As one does.  There ensued a long period whilst my phone rested in a bag of rice before eventually I had to leave it to close for business with dignity, get a new superduper replacement and retrieve the pics from iCloud.   It's never a quick story with me eh?!

It was the second of my phone's to meet this accidental fate this year.  
I'm rather like this with tyre flatties too!




So, during my recent trip to Southampton I visited Beaulieu.  And what a pleasant surprise it was.  We decided to focus on the main house, the abbey, the monorail and a couple of the smaller museums, leaving the very large motor museum for another day.


Palace House


The arbor is tranquil.


This house and I are clearly MFEO!





I've said it before but as a tourist I make a good bag lady!




Bag lady status confirmed.  I call this look relaxed-messy!





Guest-ready.



The kitchen wouldn't look out of place in today's home.


Bag Lady to Lady Mary!  Here with the butler and housekeeper. 😊



When asking permission to post their photo on the blog, I mentioned how some American readers are bowled over by Downton.  The housekeeper immediately whisked me away upstairs, telling me that the house had a strong connection to the U.S.  She showed me this portrait of the Earl of Southampton, a previous owner of the house.  He  travelled to America in the Elizabethan era and "discovered" The Hamptons, which are named after him!


And this is "his" study, obviously furnished a little differently today.



The dining table was laid out with an autumn setting.


The cook is planning what feast to put in m'lord's dining table.



Whilst the maid busies herself pressing m'lady's pantaloons!




The entertainment centre.



The  cute inner courtyard dressed for autumn.


Yes, this was one stately home that I could imagine Lady Mary actually living in!


The Monorail


I really enjoyed this little trip, travelling through the tree canopies of the estate.  I oohed and ahhed like a little child, but sadly after fact this shot leaving the station my phone battery closed for business!


The Abbey








Traditional harvest decoration.


And a sign of the times.


This was a great day out, with plenty to do, see and learn about and there was a happy, friendly vibe to the place right from the chirpy chappie on the ticket desk.   If you find yourself in the Southampton area, then Beaulieu is well worth a visit.

Find out more about the house, museums and attractions by following this link  https://www.beaulieu.co.uk.



A la perchoine, 
Lady Mary.