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Monday 29 February 2016

The Week's Challenge - Jacket with Jeans

I've always looked on suit jackets as being inextricably linked to skirts and proper trousers.   Seems that's very old-school as over the years, this type of jacket worn with jeans has become quite the thing.  But it was something I didn't feel comfortable with so I didn't try it. 
I was way behind the game with the ladies' trouser suit thing (I bought my first in the late 90s!) and I see jeans and jackets as being part of the Smart Casual concept which I have never been able to quite "get" (more on that another time!).
Smart jacket goes with a skirt or trousers, anorak/quilted jacket with jeans.  End of.  Slut af.  Fin de.  And that has been where my little head has remained.

Now, I have lots of suit jackets gathering dust since retiring so this past week I have been challenging myself to enter the world of jeans and jackets to see how it feels. 
I pulled a few suit jackets from the archive and this is what I experimented with.  Pretty normal stuff for most but a BIG step for me, I can tell you.
Here's what I came up with (you will have seen some outfits during the week).

M&S navy wool jacket (part of skirt suit), Woolovers navy longline V-neck,  jersey print scarf.

Marina Rinaldi fur cuff jacket (part of skirt suit), Next leopard print tunic, Per Una ("PU") black jeggings.

and worn with Woolovers brown cashmere/merino long-line cardi

M&S grey mix wool jacket (part of skirt & trouser suit), grey jeggings and Next print blouse

and worn with a Woolovers cashmere/merino grey frill cardi.

Artigiano brown virgin wool mix jacket (part of trouser suit),  Next print tunic & PU black jeggings

Peacock fake leather waterfall jacket, Next pink print blouse & PU jeggings, pink pash

and with Woolovers grey cashmere/merino cardi

Of course, the best made plans of mice and men and all that meant that this lady's plans went somewhat awry when at the weekend her cold kicked in and well, it was goodbye to the jackets - all she wanted was to be cocooned in something very warm!

Oh-so-cosy Windsmoor neutral lambswool cardi, with Artigiano satin-trim modal top and PU black jeggings.  Essential accessories not quite in this photo are the box of tissues and the lemsip box!

And now for this week's numbers.  Looks like my compilation was made up of 5 jackets (lots, but jackets were the focus), 4 cardis (1 unplanned as the cocoon was added when the cold kicked in), 5 tops (again 1 unplanned as before), 3 bottoms and 3 scarves.  Rather a lot, peut mieux faire, but it was jacket week and that just eats into the numbers.

How did it feel?  Well, I had thought I would feel quite manly dressed this way but I didn't.  I actually felt comfortable, quite feminine and, well, it felt quite liberating.  The added bonus was that with jacket pockets I didn't have to carry a handbag, an accesory I have mostly ditched over these retirement years. 
The men got it so right when they came up with the jacket as their go-to "uniform" - I just need to start sewing inside pockets into these jackets and Bob er din onkel!
Does this mean I am cracking the Smart Casual code?  I leave that one to you.

You know, I am learning quite a lot from taking these photos, most of it not good, but putting myself pictorially out there means that I can no longer hide from myself! 
Knowing that I will be taking a photographic record makes me think about what I'm going to wear.
And spending 5-10 minutes putting together my capsule for the week saves so much daily brainwork.  The net result has got to mean that I have more time for Sudoku, cross code and crossword puzzles so it's a win-win!

A bientot.

Friday 26 February 2016

Fin de Semaine Dejeuner ... et en suite un apero, peut etre?

AW15/16 may not have been a cold winter over here but I've finally been hit by my first cold of winter.  I have The Sniffles.  Maybe I shouldn't have spent quite so much time gadding about on the beach on that cold and wet Sunday.  Silly me.  But it's nothing that a few Lemsips and a box of Kleenex can't handle.  Have you managed a cold-free winter so far?

I was not feeling so sniffly that I was going to pass up on an impromptu fin de semaine lunch with a golf mate at La Grande Mare.

Next animal print tunic top, Per Una jeggings, Artigiano brown jacket (part of trouser suit), brown pash and of course my old mates, the Gabor black nubuck bootees.

I chose a necklace which was totally chameleonic and was lost in the animal print.  That was either a very clever choice or a complete waste of effort - you decide!

I'd like to take just a moment of your time to mention again that most of what I wear is old, some of it heaps old.  If anything I wear in these posts is still available, I will provide a link and celebrate with a glass of bubbly, as wearing something vaguely new will truly be a landmark event.  So, no links today ... again!  And no bubbly  :-(
Rider: Now, dear reader, my frequently-worn Woolovers knitwear can't (and must not) be included in my link test as they tend to hold classic items in stock for years (and I view that as a good thing).  If I did include Woolovers I would be knocking back fizz and posting photos of me in a sozzled state on a pretty much daily basis.   So No Woolovers in the "still available" test.  Got it?  :-)

 Oh how I digress!  End of.  Fin. de.  Slut af.  Getting back to the matter in hand:

The Lunch
 (well, I don't think I've posted food shots for some days so these are long-overdue) 

What you've got here is, to start, some duck spring rolls which were coated with an ever-so-light honey and chilli dressing, my main was toad-in-the-hole (local Perelle Butchery sausages, I do believe) with roasted veg and a caramellised onion gravy, and pud was pear poached in red wine with a Le Hechet Farm (local) Madagascan vanilla icecream.  All so yummy.  And most of it so local.

The Bean14 coffee is roasted and blended locally.  The owner has a passion for coffee which certainly comes through in each caffeine hit; maybe my coffee making skills stirred him in some small way when we worked together many years ago ... maybe thinking "coffee can be so much better than this!" as he sipped on one of my brews  :-)

Anyway, it's Friday and it's soon time to kick the weekend off with an apero (a long and refreshing  G&T maybe?) so I'm off to take a place on the sofa with my G&T arm expectantly outstretched ...
I hope you too are having a good start to the weekend. 

A la perchoine.

Thursday 25 February 2016

The Lazy Girl's Approach to Cleansing

I am pretty lazy, especially when it comes to cleansing off make-up at the end of a long day.  It's then that I wish that my beauty routine entailed nothing more than a quick brush of my teeth, or a meticulous brushing and flossing if my hygienist happens to read this :-). 
I have never been a fan of the 4-step palaver of eye make up cleanser, facial cleanser, tonic - gosh, what is it called, it's so many years since I used it, that astringent stuff anyway, you know what I mean - the Night-time Removal Team!   Follow that with night cream and you're talking a 10-15 minute routine surely.  I wouldn't know because I never really subscribed to all that malarkey, for I am a lazy person.

When I was in my early 20s I discovered a wonderful all-in-one cleanser/tonic called Cosmedin - anyone remember it?  It was a magic little bottle and I continued to use the product until it was discontinued.
There then ensued the wilderness years, and really when I look back I can't think of what I used for make-up removal ... if any product at all :-).  Most certainly the full complement of the Night-time Removal Team never came a-knockin' at my door!     It's all a bit of a blur now and certainly no product stands out as being memorable.

Then about 10-15 years ago I discovered .... ta dah ...

It is just what it says on the bottle.  And it is wonderful.  No matter how tired I am, cleansing is but a cotton wool pad wipe away - I actually enjoy the process and my skin is left soft. 
I don't use night cream as I think my skin needs some time to breathe and rest and what better time for that  than during all those glorious heating-free sleep hours.
My skin feels beautifully soft when I wake up and I just splash my face 3-4 times with super-cold water, smooth on some light moisturiser and I am good to go.
Clarins One-step Facial Cleanser with Orange Extract - surely the Clever Granddaughter of Cosmedin?

But, hold on, what's this?  Queue more ta dahs ...

When Clarins came up with its magic facial cleanser it gave it a best friend. This again is what it says on the bottle - just leave soaked cotton wool pads on the lids and lashes for a few seconds then gently wipe away.  It removes even the most challenging of mascaras.
I take good care of my eyes and I am very cautious about what goes on them.  I trust this little bottle with my precious eyes.
It's funny but in retirement I have cut many corners to fit in with my reduced income. Yet not once have  I considered switching these cleansers for something cheaper and anyway, they  last for ages.
Ordering these products from is such a simple process, their site is so Granny-friendly and deliveries are received within a day, maybe two tops.
That's my cleansing routine in a nutshell.  A one minute nutshell, for that is all it takes to thoroughly cleanse my face of makeup. Follow that with a few minutes for teeth brushing and  Bob's votre oncle!
So, what about you?  How do you feel at the end of the day, ready for some meticulous cleansing?
Are you a night cream person?  Have you mourned a discontinued product but found an equally excellent replacement?  I'd love to hear - you can comment below. 

A la perchoine.

Tuesday 23 February 2016

A Day on the Beach

The forecast was spot on for today.  I woke up to a glorious day, a day for beach walking.  Yippppeeee!
I've been feeling a bit cooped up of late, like I've been housebound and the bad weather has limited me to just short walks through the ruettes each time a dry-ish window has allowed. 
So I wasted no time in getting out on to the beach today!

Togged up for my beach walk - Woolovers blue cashmere/merino tunic, worn with M&S jeggings, old, and Ecco walking books, old, similar here.  The scarf came from The Cashmere Shop about 10 years ago.  But it's been a winter fave ever since, such pretty colours.

Then, down to the west coast and to the Port Soif area for a long walk.

The recent storms have brought up a huge amount of vraic (that's seaweed to you)
- where's my lovely creamy yellow the sand?!!

And with the storms came the small rocks too, which still litter the beaches.

The sea looks so calm now.  You can imagine how the storms whip up the seas around here.
The US and Canadian winter hurricanes and snowstorms fly over the Atlantic and during the trip over the ocean they weaken in force and the snow turns to rain.  We get the diluted version, winter gales and storms and rain.

The storms picked up some of the vraic and left it high and dry on the pathway.  It's dried up, of course, and it now looks like writhing snakes!

Finally, on some vraic-free sand!

A closer look at the vraic.  Back in the day, it was harvested and taken home by horse and cart to use for fuel on the cooking range. 

So pleased to have had an envigorating walk.  And so pleased that the holidaying school children could enjoy such a lovely spring day.

A bientot.

Monday 22 February 2016

Maybe Tomorrow ...

The forecast is looking good for a stroll along the beach ...

A La perchoine.

Digging Deep and Getting Messy.

Woolovers navy cashmere/merino V-neck and Clarks bootees, but this time with a couple of blasts from the past: M&S jeggings, v. old; under the V-neck is a Monsoon ecru silk shirt, 20+ years old.

This is a good time to mention that my blog clearly isn't intended to get you out there shopping!
I have been posting everyday clothes, none new.  One of my missions via this blog is to encourage me to dig deep into the archives to identify old, sometimes prehistoric, items of clothing that I couldn't bear to part with when I retired, and then integrate them with more recent buys to make outfits that fit my new life.
Maybe through my posts I can in some small way inspire you to do the same, should you wish to.

And for my morning constitutional, I topped that little lot with a quite old navy quilted jacket from Cotton Traders similar here.

Back home to a BIG warming soup, pretty much the same as last's weeks but with a few additions.
It's a huge chunk of my 5-a-day; I can relax now, any other veg consumed today will be a bonus!

Later, windswept, after coffee with a friend. 

So, I dug deep for that Monsoon shirt.  I dug deeper for this M&S navy pure new wool jacket (from a skirt suit), vintage ca. 1997-8! 
I kept it as it's good quality, still looks like new, and, get this, the tag says "Made in England" so it's definitely a keeper! Possibly a museum piece?!

And finally, just wanted to show you me trying out how I think "girls seem to wear shirts these days", showing a bit of shirt down the bottom ... fit of naughty-girl-giggles as my "photographer" told me I looked very untidy.
Did I get the look right?  Or am I just a bit messy?

A la perchoine.

Saturday 20 February 2016

My Staycation Postcard

I'm kicking off this post with my homage to Bridget Jones and her exceptional diary, for that is what it is - quite possibly The Greatest Book of Our Time.

Meals out 3, though weight has remained surprisingly stable
(note to self: cal. expenditure when stressing over dressing dressing for meal out evidently negates cals consumed; can incr. to 4 p.w.)
Days spent with grandchildren, 1.  Most enjoyable. (OK, that's not really where Bridget was in life!)
Quizzes in which sister and I have beaten brother, 1, v. Good. (note to self: be kinder to younger male sibling).
Fires lit - 1. (Guess Bridget didn't do cosy fires either due to constraints of tiny attic flat).
Alcohol - well, errrhhmm, some.  Could have done this one better.
Fags - 0.  OK, I'm not a smoker, can I count that?
Outfits made from core items, at least 7.

My Bridget Jones summary above is clearly in the "spirit-of" as some of it is definitely not Young Singleton, but it actually makes sense to have started in that way as I can see that it was, in fact,
 a pretty good week, all round. 

The Outfits
Clothes-wise it was v. good. 
One of the things I enjoy about being away from home is working with what clothes I have in the suitcase.  An enforced Capsule Wardrobe.  OK, finalising that holiday suitcase can get a bit messy (read frustrating and running over MANY days) but the end result is usually good.
So I decided to try dressing for a week here at home with a selected capsule wardrobe. 
Rather like a staycation.   
With pre-holiday excitement I selected my items last weekend and hung them on display on pegs in the bedroom, creating a budget hotel mood for my week's staycation!

1. Dressing each day was a doddle as no desperate rooting round in wardrobe was required. 
2. Displaying in that way meant I could see at a glance the mix n match potential. 
3. I enjoyed at least one different outfit each day, depending on what I was up to. 
4.  And this is the big one - hubs didn't endure any of my Dressing Dilemmas, for a week at least!

Did I feel limited on choice?  Definitely not and I could have worked happily with far less. 
Will I do this again?  Most definitely.  It made for such an easy week as I pitched the choice just right with my week's plans and as you can see from the few outfit samples below, I would have been able to work quite a few more variations with the core items selected. 
They weren't uber-stylish outfits but they worked for my lifestyle (and my age!)
Should I have thought to do this before now? Duh, yuh!

The smallprint. 
My 10 basic items were 2 jeans, 2 cardis, 1 jumper, 2 tops, 2 vest tops, 1 jacket; accessories were 2 prs boots, 3 scarves.  That little lot would easily fit in a carry-on.

Cardi similar here, black/white jersey print top SS15, black Per Una Roma jeggings, all M&S; black Gabor boots. 
It was chilly but that was good as we lit a fire!
Same cardi, jeans and boots worn with a black version  of M&S Limited Collection Modal vest; print scarf

Wearing charcoal long-line cardi (now on sale) with vest top, both Woolovers cashmere/merino. jeggings and boots as before, "hairy" print scarf.

Ready for Quiz Action.
Woolovers black cashmere/merino V-neck here, with same boots and  Next sculpt jeans, old but they're still doing them here; the East embellished wool scarf (so versatile, so warm) was a birthday pressi 18months ago but similar here

Forgive the windswept look - just returned from windy walk!
Next black safari-style jacket, years old, ivory Artigiano long sleeve modal top, about 10 years old but similar on sale at rock-bottom price!! Goodness Me! Same jeans and scarf as before, Clarks heeled booties, old.

The Meals

 Lunch with Son at Red Grill Bar
I'm not a big steak person but I shared a Chateaubriand with Son and Red's top quality meat selected made it a super meal.

The other meals were a Quiz supper at The Vault (result as above :-)) and La Perla; I've been going there since it opened and Tony pitches it consistently right on food quality, menu choice, price, ambiance and friendly staff.  Well done, Tony, keep doing what you do so well!!

The Aftermath Guilt-Trip

It's back to the salads for me!  Prawns in a tangy homemade Marie Rose dressing today.

Must dash now.  I'm off to pack for next week's Staycation!

A la perchoine.