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Wednesday, 21 March 2018

A Pop of Spring - Blue

Hi my darlings!  I really do hope those of you in the northern hemisphere are getting the weather that makes you start to make serious plans for spring.  You know, truly serious plans like how to revamp what's in the wardrobe so that it does justice to some warmer weather (hopefully soon, please!)

I'm at that stage in life when a lifetime of office wear and hoarding careful curation have left me in a position where I have a good solid wardrobe several wardrobes filled to bursting with tried and tested, good quality basics in neutral colours, which I'm on a mission to integrate into my current lifestyle.  Retirement dressing is smart casual and a careful mix of businesswear and casual pieces creates that classic smart casual style.

However, each time I look to my wardrobe and think of the coming season,  I realise a perk up is called for
And I do that with same-colour mini capsule injection.  Sorry, that's the best name tag I could muster.

As an example, I picked berry to inject into the colder months. That worked well with five pieces bought gradually, including luscious boots at a knockdown price!

And so to SS18, to use fashionistaspeke.
Where am I headed for my colour injection? I've been doing my research and I've come up with a strategy which I'd like to share with you.

Guidelines for Shopping the 5 piece Statement Colour Capsule
  • colour - create a beauty parade of a few colours that I like, that suit me. and can slot into my existing wardrobe
  • availability - identify pieces that are readily available in shops and in my price bracket
  • lifestyle - choose pieces that fit into my lifestyle, i.e. casual, and hopefully some of the time a bit smart!
  • create a retirement suit - buy a cardi and a top which creates a twinset, what I call my retirement suit, that being an duo that creates a smarter look when worn together
  • add some print - buy a scarf which includes the new colour but also has other colours from my core wardrobe (I rarely find clothing in a print that I like and would wear, so I opt for scarves)
  • consider footwear - maybe a pair of shoes/sandals in the same statement colour will work wonders as this pop can sometimes make the outfit on its own
  • save the planet - the purchases need not be new, think of the blessings of charity shop buys
  • less is more - maximum five pieces, otherwise I start to feel a bit confused, consumerist and ungreen!

My first port of call is a bright blue, because there's a lot of it around so it ticks my availability box, plus I like it and it looks OK on me. I give you a selection of items found at Next and M&S, which keep to the right hue within the range and are pieces that fit in with my life - so lifestyle gets a tick too.

I consider a long sleeve t shirt to be an essential in the new colour, I wear them so much, spring especially.

I couldn't get this photo any better but is a gorgeous slouchy cardi so it's here as an aide memoire.

Then of course as the weather warms, the arms will come out !

When elbow length becomes too warm (oh I can't wait!), sleeveless tops will fit the bill.

hey, this is a print that I actually LIKE!!!

The print and the plain tops will create some fabulous twinset options.

A slightly softer blue is worth considering too.

And see what I mean about a statement pop with shoes.  These Next heels would look so bloomin' gorgeous worn simply with a one-colour outfit in black, grey, taupe or white.

And when using the shoes only for the pop of blue, a scarf will link the colour nicely, top and tailing the outfit.

So my dear readers, that's where I've got to on blue.  I have a few other colours to share with you and the clock is ticking.
But I don't want to charge in head-first with my choices, preferring these days that slower light-touch approach.  And that means perhaps one piece at a time, see how it fits into the wardrobe, see what it needs with it and what the wardrobe still needs to complete the new statement colour injection, then go a-searchin' again.
No rush brings good results, just like my pop of berry achieved.

Please pop back again and join me on this wardrobe spring perk up - I hope it will help you achieve maximum benefit from a minimum spend.  And the same process can be applied by my lovely southern hemisphere readers who are now moving towards winter.

So, tell me. are you considering any additions for SS18?
How are you approaching these additions?
Is this bright royal blue luring you to M&S and Next?
I'd love to hear in the comments box below.  Go on, make my day!

A la perchoine.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Introducing Janna

Allow me to introduce you to Janna, my new model.

Isn't she stunning?!

Janna is wearing a teal dress from H&M and her daughter sent me this photo.  The cut and clever seaming makes this the perfect classic dress and her trim figure showcases the dress beautifully.  
 Janna has  accessorised it perfectly with bead layering.

She bought the dress in her local store in Holland recently.  It comes in other colours as well as this so flattering teal.  Her daughter took one look at her stylish mum and advised her to go back and buy up every colour!  And this is the first time Janna's worn as dress in 25-30 years - she's a natural eh!  
So never say never - give a thought today to what you may be missing out on from your wardrobe selection and if you fancy revisiting a style or a way of dressing you've turned your back on for years, then  ... go on, give it a try!

Now, I searched for the dress online as soon as I received the photo but sadly I can't find it on the site.  But I'm not giving up that easily as I reckon this is a "3 seasons" classic, making it a brilliant buy.   
So if you're looking for a stylishly classic dress which can take you from autumn through to the end of spring for many years to come, head over to the store for a rummage through the racks!

I hope you enjoyed meeting my new model today.  Janna is a truly lovely lady, filled with warmth and fun.  She's active and has a vibrant, get up and go, zesty attitude to life.  
She puts me to shame.  Oh and she's 80!

A la perchoine.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Finding my Sleeves

Well, even the sprinkling of snow forecast for the weekend has been downgraded by the BBC to a spasmodic flake or two.  So looks like there's no more snow play for me this year.

This coat comes out when it's really cold (shown here with wind-blown scarfage).  
It's my Big Coat.  So warm.

This was taken the day after the last snow fell a couple of weeks ago.  We went to see a film (movie).
It was still extremely cold.  This wasn't a good shot (again, messy scarf) but there was no chance of a second pic as The Photographer was muttering between chattering teeth "Can we PLEASE go inside and see the flippin' film!".  So we did.

Still wearing the coat as it was bloomin' cold a few days later,  I got another shot out of him during school pick-up.

This was not a good shot either (scarf overload) and again, TP was less than enthusiastic to make this a photoshoot.
At this point I gave up.

I took shots without me in it.  Is this a "hangie"?  Whatever, this seems to work.  My Reluctant Photographer Workaround!

I'm showing you the coat as an example of how to fix something when it isn't quite working for you.
(Does anyone know how to fix a photographer who isn't quite working for me?)

I liked this coat in the M&S sale, about 5 years ago.  Wool, stand-up collar.  All good stuff.
So, a really warm coat and what does M&S do?  It gives it 3/4 length sleeves.  We're talking chocolate teapot, folks.
. But I liked the colour, the cosy design ... and the heavily discounted price and thought I could grow to like the sleeves too.

I couldn't.  Those silly sleeves required me to wear a long sleeved top that matched my bottoms, otherwise it just looked, err, silly.  Or to wear elbow length gloves, which I have.  Black.  Somewhere.

After one silly wear too many, it dawned on me that perhaps this silly sleeve thing was the reason the coat was in the sale?  No one in their right minds wanted wind whistling up their armpits.

But, caveat emptor, our silly Pout had bought it and a workaround was needed.  Eureka!   I hunted down some wool (yippee, soft cashmere).  I knitted myself some deep cuffs, which can be folded back up under the coat if a 3/4 sleeve is wanted ... like I would!

I'd bought enough wool to knit a scarf and used the spare button to create a button fastening.

The scarf can be worn without the button too.

A little tie mechanism holds the scarf in place inside when not worn - remember BITD when children's gloves were sewn on to elastic and threaded through the coat sleeves?  Genius!

Another genius innovation is that I have a little loop mechanism in the cuffs so that in a flash they become mitts.  Cool, huh?

The flashy silky lining had drawn me to the coat.

So, the lesson is that if you truly like something, new or old, but it's not quite right then think about what it would take to make it "right".  Sometimes all it takes is a simple tweaking.  Why didn't the silly M&S bods work this out?

Now, random question time. 

How many times did I use "silly"  in this post? Dunno, but it's a PB.

Can you think of something in your wardrobe that could do with a bit of tweak?

Which film did I see?  Oh I know this one!  Finding Your Feet!!
Was the film good?  Yes.
Did it have lots of gorgeous house décor like in Something's Gotta Give or It's Complicated*?  No.
Did I enjoy it despite the paucity of stylish interiors?  Yes.

* Oh the times I have watched these films just to get a fix of the lovely house décor alone!!!
Is that something you do? 
And did you know that there are whole websites and forums devoted to these film sets?!

A la perchoine.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Flowers and Fluff on MotherIng Sunday

Well, my dearies, I hope you all had a nice day on Sunday, Mum's and non-Mums alike.  Sunday's are for everyone after all!

I was pampered royally with flowers, cards, gorgeous food, a super family time, and a shellac manicure! More on all of that later but first, the OOTD!!

The Outfit

I had been longing to try out this floral skirt in winter mode (and yes, Terri, it IS 2nd Loved!).
It's a flared skirt so in order to temper down the bulk around the hips it needs something snug over the area, or a longer heavier draping to weigh down the bulk.  Have you found that with gathered skirts?
 I first tried the snug approach.

This M&S charity shop find luckily has many shades of red and in there is one that is pretty close to my winter wardrobe's berry fave.  I teamed it with a berry long sleeved t-top from Next, and the Peacocks belt in an attempt to define at least a hint of waist!

Then I moved to heavy draping with a berry "twinset" - Peacocks cardi and a berry cami from the same range.

I was over-the-moon happy with this outfit.  It brought a summer skirt into a valid winter context, creating a Spring look.  A pop of floral feminity peeping out from an otherwise monochrome berry wintry landscape.  I felt sassy in this and hopefully you see it as a successful outfit too?

Not one to waste a photo shoot on just the one outfit, I then tried my 20 year old H&M paisley skirt.  It has shades of berry in it too.

This is another variation with the berry twinset that I've had hovering in my head since I bought the cardi.  It looks a little more serious, thought I, less frivolous than the first skirt.  A bit too serious maybe?
The Photographer must do serious.  I gave him the choice - he chose the paisley.  

But I must bring that floral skirt out to play at least one more time before spring ends.  It's a challenge with opaques - bare-legs opens up the colour options. Maybe something neutral like black or grey polo neck, opaques and boots? 

The Food

Mothering Sunday lunch.

Wowzers, it was a tasty meal.  DIL makes the most amazing yorkies!  She is the Queen of The Yorkshire in our family.  And Son is The Meat Chef, The King of Steaks.  He loves cooking steaks and roasts.  Well!!!!  I'm not a huge meat eater, mainly because it has to be melt in the mouth for me to truly enjoy it.  For many years the best ever beef I'd had was in my firm's directors' dining room abroad, back in the day.  That "best" has held it's place firmly for twenty years.  Until Sunday.  Son, your roast beef was the best beef I have EVER tasted!  Thank you. 


The Other Granny is the Queen of Puds, just look at her yummy chocolate cheesecake that she brought to the party, together with a cherry coulis.  Black Forest Cheesecake! So yummy.

We finished off this perfect day with a family walk with His Royal Fluffiness.

Thank you, lovely people, for a wonderful day.

The Totally Random Bonus Feature

So what am I the Queen of, apart from being self-proclaimed Queen of Pouts?

Well, all I can come up with right now is Queen of the Retro Photo.  I came across this a few days ago.  1967.  Much slimmer.  I had KNEES back then.  I had LEGS!  
The dress had a matching double breasted coat.  The fabric was heavy navy/white pinstripe linen which hung beautifully and it was lined.  I loved the cut of this dress, a waist seam joined a sculptured bodice and an a-line skirt. It was my fave for years.   
I was barefoot as I was on the beach.
Ahhh, memories, eh?

Now readers, over to you!

 Tell me. do you have a favourite outfit from BITD that springs to your mind, an outfit or piece that you will NEVER forget?

Do you wear summer skirts in winter?  Do you have any tips on how to adapt them out of season?  
And if you don't mix seasons, why not test-drive the look today -  introducing a bit of summer to winter = spring outfit!

I'd love to hear from you in the comments box below.

A la perchoine.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

You know I'm tight when ... The Tube Cutter .

Hi my darlings, hope today is bringing you joy and fulfilment.

Today's been a gob-smackingly gorgeous Spring day so it's brought me joy and fulfilment in bucket loads.  Last week, not so much.  Whilst I wasn't quite confined to barracks, I did spend more time indoors than I would have liked due to rain and winds.  

On one such stir-crazy day, I found myself walking around the bathroom noting signs that a pensioner lives in this house!  You know, random little things,  money-saving, some quirky, some a tad old-lady.  And I started taking photos because, well, because I just like sharing with you guys !

When I took stock of the photos, I realised that these aren't funny ways I'd taken up now that I'm living on a reduced income.  I realised that some are things I've been doing since my early teens, like the one I share with you here today.  
Creams came out of pocket money back then in my teens, or from holiday job earnings, and I often found myself with a seemingly empty tube of moisturiser or foundation, and no money for a replacement.  So I eked every last drop of everything. 
And so this frugal habit has continued, apparently.

 So without further waffle, here's my first stop during my pictorial walkabout.  You know I'm tight when you see ...

this.  The cut tube.

 Tubes eventually appear to be empty.  But they are so not!  I dissect the tube, then I "live" off the cream that would otherwise have been thrown away with the tube.  Often there is an amazing amount still in the tube.  Often I live off the dregs for days.  (I use this Clarins product on an irregular basis so it lasts for simply ages anyway) 

The Clarins plastic is quite hard to snip but this is a better example of my work ...


This is usually the end result, a much neater sealed container.  Aethestically pleasing and far more hygienic as the tube is properly sealed.

BTW, I have quickly become infatuated with this moisturiser.  If you haven't already developed your own little love affair with it I really do recommend you try it.  And Boots is selling this Simple Water Boost Hydrating Gel Cream at half price right now, £3.49, so it would be rude not to try it eh?

So let's talk about gels.  
I just love the feel of gels on my skin.  And I swear gel does something quite magical to older skin.  Gel seems to tighten the skin as it moisturises and my skin feels fresher, cleaner too.

So with this big gelmance going on,  I grab an eye gel whenever I can.  Same thing, gel's divine on the eyes too. OK, brace yourselves.  Waitrose Pure Eye Gel is sold at £1.33.  And frequently Waitrose does one of those BOGOFs on it.  I pounce and scoop up multiple buys!

With these two buys my whole face is fully moisturised for under a fiver!

Now, a warning.  If you've read about my approach to about eye hygiene (SEE HERE) , it will not surprise you that I definitely do not advocate using the thrifty cutting open technique with eye products.  Nuff said.

I keep my face clear of any creams or products at night.  My face likes this break and shows its thanks by feeling moist when I wake up. Each to her own, this may not work for your skin type but that's the way my skin rolls.

So with no night cream,  that really IS my full 24/7 skin care for under £5!

And now, this is probably quite "duh", but I've only just realised that the amount that's squeezed out of tube with one squeeze before it runs out of puff is probably the right amount per application.

Yeah, it's really DUH and I am a tad embarrassed about only realising this recently but it really stands to reason that the clever designers would design tubes so that the prescribed amount  comes out in one splosh on your hand.
So, I've got that off my chest, but if you haven't worked that one out yet, well, you're welcome!

And finally, here's the funny thing.   I thought it was just old me who cuts her tubes, so to speak!  But I think Anna of Mutton Style has been tube cutting and Lisa of Coast to Coast showed a pic of her tube work yesterday.  Great minds eh?

So, dear readers, today I've shared with you two great moisturizing products.  And I've shared tube-cutting to get the most from your buys, but maybe you've been doing this for years too?   Maybe you've got money saving tips you'd like to share today?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments box below ..

A la perchoine.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

The Retirement Suit

Happy Mothering Sunday to all the wonderful mums on our precious planet.
You work tirelessly, you give unselfishly and you love unconditionally 
-  you deserve a good pampering, today and any day!

And I feel I've already had a good pampering with my new cardi.  It was love at first wear.  I am #overthemoonhappy with this new piece.
I am the picture of Happy Bunniness when I wear it!

Yesterday I introduced it to you, styled in top to toe berriness and my Happy Bunny face.

I continued excitedly,  trying various tops with the berry coated jeggings, knee boots and new cardi combo.

It looks fresh when layered with an ivory top from Next.

Feminine with a touch of lace from Dotty P.

And I happen to love leoprint with berry so this Next top was right up my strasse.

Returning to a more casual look, this time a grey longline cami and a low-slung belt, also from Peacocks (remember, esoteric colours = buy within the brand).

I thought this deserved a change of boot so I switched to grey suede anklies.

Can you see how much Happy Bunny is exuding from just one face?

Perhaps an air of cockiness?

You'd be right, I AM feeling cocky.  Smug.  For I started the day with one outfit and ended up with half a dozen!

I added just one piece to my wardrobe, the berry cardi.  I created five new outfits for my berry jeggings at the blink of the eye.  A small addition to your wardrobe can bring big changes to how you wear a certain piece.  And of course here I'm just tackling the berry jeans.  There are so many other outfits this cardi can spawn.  With biker jeans, with blue jeans.  With a black skirt, with a denim skirt.  Oh the permutations are perhaps not endless but there are certainly shedloads of 'em.

Yes, third piece trickery was at play today.  I'd realised that my berry jeggings didn't have their own third piece to create a "suit".   For as Janice of  The Vivienne Files (HERE) espouses, a same-coloured cardi creates a suit.  And a cardi-suit is perfect for the more casual retirement wardrobe as it creates a smarter cohesive look without the formality of a jacket.

So my suggestion to you is to look at a fave piece of clothing and think how many more outfits you can create with the addition of just one new piece, that vital third piece.  It truly is mindblowing! 

Have you discovered the usefulness of the cardi-suit? 
The retirement suit?
 I'd love to hear.

Thanks for popping in today.
Now, I'd be filled with happy bunniness if you subscribed to my blog.  I  love numbers and your subscription would make my little number that little bit bigger.  It'll cost you nothing!

And I love hearing from readers, it gets really matey when the comments pop up and I feel I'm not talking to the ether.
If you're a frequent reader but haven't commented, well, why not now?  It would bring joy to my day to hear from you!

A la perchoine.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Introducing The Third Piece

 OK, so it's that time of the season when panic sets in.  That time at the end of a season when I realise that the weather is morphing into the coming season and I haven't worn nearly enough of my favourite pieces from the closing season.

 Today was that day.

After we endured our Siberian winter then enjoyed a few gorgeously sunny days, all in the space of 7 days, it dawned on me that in a few weeks it will be far too warm to wear one of my fave pieces from AW18, the berry coated jeggings from Next. Nor my gorgeous berry boots from M&S.   Nor my grey woolly bardot jumper from Dotty P for that matter.  Cripes!!!

So I remedied that without delay and in one big wollop.  I wore them all together in one outfit with a berry cami underneath, and met up for coffee with TP and our mate.  The mate glanced at my garb and told me I looked like one of The Avengers*.  I told our mate I'd dressed for him.  I hadn't, of course, that was just me in flirty mode.
TP guffawed, perhaps because I don't do flirty so well these days 😕.  Darn it!

When dressing I'd realised that much as I loved the berry jeggings and boots, I could have got a lot more wear out of them if one vital piece was added to the mix. A third piece.  The piece that brings an outfit other.  In this case, a berry cardi.  
With a cardi of similar colour, I could introduce a whole load more pieces to this combo.  That would create a mind-blowing extra number of outfits from those two basics.

I'd been stalking a berry cardi at Peacocks for some time, perfect for my berry bits, but I didn't want to pay full whack.  I'm a pensioner, don't ya know?
My take on dressing these days is that it's worth spending money on core items of clothing in neutral colours that will endure through the years, through fashion and hair colour changes!  But for an injection of colour, it's not worth spending shedloads because chances are, I'll tire of them quicker than neutrals.

And as luck would have it, I'd spotted that "my" cardi had been reduced so after coffee I sneaked off to the shop and with discount and a voucher I bagged my berry beauty for £6!

I tried it on a home and it was love at first wear. I was excited to put it through its paces so  I tugged out a few tops from an overstuffed wardrobe   I judiciously selected a few suitable pieces.

Readers, I give you my third piece, styled in top to toe berriness.  Taadaaahhh!

Here, I teamed it with the longline cami that I'd bought from the same shop some weeks ago.  Remember my top tip, if you're dealing with esoteric colours, buy from the same range for a perfect colour match.  Otherwise, it just gets messy. 

I have to tell you that I am over the moon with this cardi.  It's the perfect colour for all my wardrobe's berriness, it hangs beautifully, it's a perfect length and the sleeves are nicely tight for the elbow roll up thing, which is my preferred way to wear knitwear.

If a pictorial dictionary needs a photo to depict "happy bunny" then use this one above, for that is me, an extremely happy bunny.

And that's where I have to press the pause button on this epic story as I had to break it down into two posts.  Yes peeps, I hear your sobs but it was really THAT big!  So why don't you pop back tomorrow and see for yourself what I achieved with the introduction of this third piece.
 It's worth the wait! 

So, dear readers, I'm wondering whether you're in panic mode too as you rush to wear your winter faves before the weather changes?

*Emma Peel, The Avengers
Yes, our friend has a vivid imagination!

A la perchoine.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Last Chance Salon Success

Hellooo.  Hope all goes well with you, my ether friends.

I've been out enjoying our sunny start to Spring.  Just a couple of days after our Siberian freeze, I was out on the beach enjoying temps that had moved from -5c to 7c.   Who would have thought? But it was still chilly at 7c.

So I wrapped up warmly and headed for the beach.

Look who's got old lady eyes!

This was a good opportunity to show you a success from my Last Chance Salon (See HERE)

I was considering dumping this jumper, then gave it the Last Chance Salon treatment (See HERE).

Well, the good news is that I've worn this jumper at least once every week throughout the whole winter.  Turns out it's a go-to for jumper and jeans days (and there are many!), so it's not a dumper jumper after all.  Success!

It was a bit blowy on the headland but this infinity scarf kept snuggly in place.

The scarf was thoughtfully knitted for me by a dear friend.

The grey jeans are from the M&S sale, £8.  I didn't like them because they felt thick and clumpy on the back of my thighs.  Claustrophic.  I think they are what Anna of Mutton Style describes as Farmers' Jeans.  You know, thick work-wear rigid denim that you struggle to move in.   
I washed them but that didn't affect the thickness and that feeling of being hemmed in.  
Too thick for our winters thought I (not knowing what was lurking in the east ...).

But hey, only £8 and too much faff to return to M&S so I kept them even though I suspected they'd end up as dumpers.  
Then last week, when it was really cold and warmth around the legs was suddenly a pleasing thought, I gave them their LCS opportunity.

Well, I've worn them 3 times in the last week and I don't know if it's the wear the fabric is getting or it's me not bothering about them so much, but you know, I'm starting to like them.

So I really do recommend taking a LCS approach to items of clothing you are feeling iffy about.  Give them that last chance.

So tell me, has your snow disappeared?  From the Northern Hemisphere's readers' comments I think this transitional period is all over the place, with temperatures swinging 10-15 degrees within a few days.  It's still snowing heavily in parts of northern Britain, yet here we're about to hit 12c. 

Oh, enough of this weather talk, Pout!  
I'll let you lovely readers go about your busy days/evenings.

I'm working on some outfit posts
 so please pop back and check out what I'm wearing now that Spring is popping in on Chez Pout, and hear about some of my plans for this exciting season.

A la perchoine.