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Monday 26 March 2018

You know I'm tight when ... The Soap Saver

You know I'm tight when ...

... you see this hanging in the shower!

Soap.  In an onion bag!  But there's a reason for this macabre pairing.  Read on !

As we all know, soap eventually wears down to a small stub which slips out of your hand when you try to use it.  Well, I try to use them, maybe you don't!  Maybe I'm the only tight person in the room!
But I cannot bear to see these little stubs of soap being thrown away so  our household collects  I collect them. 

The Photographer's method is to place the little piece on top the new bar of soap.  It's a good idea but when wet and in action, this little soap pile tor can fall apart.

Now, do you remember back in the 50s/60s, when we used to collect the small pieces remaining from a bar of soap and pop them into a little bag made of sponge and sealed with blanket stitch?
I certainly do.

I googled to see if I could find a shot to describe this better.   I found nothing but did discover that there are quite a few like-minded bods out in the blogosphere, because I found lots of pics such as



even this pretty complicated piece of kit!

Research done, let's return to my money and planet saving efforts.

Tired of the soap avalanches, I started collecting them in a cut-down onion bag.  I thought this was a good idea as this rough little netted bundle creates an exfoliant treatment, which I started giving myself  on a regular basis when I remember.  But it is a tad harsh on the skin!

So I then came up with a better solution.  I started collecting the soap-stubs in a little exfoliant mitt to give myself a gentler exfoliation.  This is all a work in progress.  I think my next step is to knit a little draw-string bag to collect and use my stubs.

More and more of us move to hand and shower washes, leaving the humble bar of soap as but a memory, but it is still alive and relic-like in the less modern household.  Like Chez Pout!

The Photographer still likes soap in the shower and I have to say that I use it a few times a week too, like on exfoliation days!

What do you do with your soap stubs?
Or is it not an issue because you are a soapbar-free household? 

A la perchoine.


Saturday 24 March 2018

A Pop of Spring - Yellow

Good morning, Saturday people, it's a great day!

Let's head straight on into our colour-finding mission.


Yellow has been one of my on-off relationships.
Loved it in my younger years but then the attraction faded.
A few years ago my love for it was re-kindled.

Turns out me and yellow were on a break.  A long one.

Now, yellow and white makes me scream with delight at its freshness!

It's rare for me to find a print I can tolerate let alone love, yet this print gets my heart a-pittapatting.

So as you can see, I've already started building up a little suite of yellow to inject zing into my core wardrobe for the warmer months, should they happen to stop buy.

And now, I'm on my quest to add some fresh spring colour while keeping to a maximum of five pieces and to a small budget  (SEE HERE).  Well yellow just has to be included in the beauty parade.

I went virtual shopping and  trawled Next and M&S again.  So what more do I need to make this colour truly work for me in the coming months?  What pieces are missing?

Well, a yellow cardi is missing.  Quite literally!  Last year I became estranged from my yellow cardi and I  think a replacement purchase is on the cards.  I cannot be without my fix of yellow freshness in cardi form, it just ain't natral [sic].

This is the closest to the existing colours I have that I could find.

Adding this to the cardi creates the "twinset" I need to make the colour truly work in my SS17 wardrobe.

 An elbow-length top is another essential.

I'm seeing these yellows with white jeans, pale grey jeans,

and chinos (like Jane is sporting here) ...

Have I missed out anything?

A scarf to add pattern and link additional colours, of course!

Finding the right shoes could present an challenge - yellow is a colour that's got to be spot-on, otherwise it's best to walk away from yellow footwear.

This  tunic top is a custard yellow and is a lone wolf colour rather than a team player in this daffodil yellow suite

 but this scarf brings it together and introduces pink to the game.  Peacocks has  fab pink jeans ... can I go that far away from my comfort zone?  Would I dare to wear a yellow top with pink bottoms?  I suggest you don't hold breath, dear reader.

Yeah it sounds a crazy combination and my gut instinct was to scream "NO!!"
Then I remembered that my fave print of all time happens to HAVE these very colours

(Laura Ashley Emma Bloomsbury)

AND I have a few yards of it queued up with plans to maybe make a cute little summer skirt.  So much more fun than using it to make a tablecloth, my original intention.

Again, footwear matching is sort of doing my head in!
Has anyone out there come across some gorgeous shoes in yellow?

This cardi was kinda cute but the black spots does reduce the outfit possibilities, so would be an indulgent purchase.

And finally, I like the idea of a chunky jumper for spring.

Think outside the box, it's more than just a jeans team-mat.  I'm seeing chunky jumpers paired with floaty print skirts on the interweb, and they are skirts without even a dot of yellow in them, but it works.   Way crazy, but sassy!

A jumper in a less acidic yellow would fit into this colour suite just dandily.

So those are the yellows up for grabs, readers.  If I am to expand my mellow yellow collection AND keep within my max five pieces/£80 investment (a benchmark set by my recent winter berry success) then boy, I've got a challenge on my hands!
I'm off to do the maths.

Meanwhile, here's what Donovan has to say about yellow.

A la perchoine.

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.