Friday 27 September 2019


I loved this place.  It exceeded my expectations. .
And what sealed it for me?  
The toilets!  Fresh, modern ... Simple to gain entry.  You pay 80c, end of.
Which for Italy is certainly saying something!  The country's toilets seems to bogged down (see what I did there?!) in bureaurocratic red tape: a minimum of two “guards of the portal” and an extremely convoluted and sometimes v. imaginative riddle to crack to understand how each individual convenience operates - all this just to spend a penny! 
Unemployment? Sorted!

But of course Pisa is so much more than toilets.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the big attraction, not its toilets!
The leaning bell tower emits a feel good vibe.  It's pretty.  It's exactly what it says on the tin.  It's a pretty old tower, well maintained over the centuries, and it leans.  
It leans by 4 degrees in fact, and sits behind the city’s beautiful cathedral.

It's quite amazing that the tower is still standing.

Well, perhaps it's had a bit of support from The Photographer!

There was also a beautiful baptistry in the grounds.

So Pisa.

Well worth visiting.

So as you can see,  there's more to Pisa than just the leaning tower, as there are other beautiful and historical sights to discover in its grounds.
Like those now quite famous toilets!

A la perchoine,
Mary x.

Monday 23 September 2019

In Praise of Granny Trousers

Today I'm going to talk about Granny Trousers - at length, it turns out, better grab yourself a cuppa!

So, Granny Trousers.   You know, the ones with the pull on waistband.  Comfortable.  Shapeless.  Unflattering.
Usually just thinking about them makes me feel I've aged a whole generation.
So I don't wear them.  
Plus I'm reminded of the ONE pair of maternity trousers I owned - navy jersey pull ons - which I wore throughout my pregnancy and ceremoniously binned soon after.  Traumatic!

So pull-ons for me aa huge turn off.  

That's the back story.

I realised that my recent uncharacteristically colourful travel capsule needed grounding with a pair of black trousers for dinner nights wear aboard the ship.  They go with everything.  They underpin every smart girl's capsule.
No travel case should be without them, right?

A couple of days before Some weeks before my trip I tried on my five+ pairs of plain black trousers.  They were all way too big and I quickly worked it out that although I could take them in in some areas, fancy seams and pockets would prevent a good hack job.  
So they went in the charity bin and I went shopping.  It's ok, I feel safe to talk about this here because TP doesn't read my fashion posts, they're way too boring (his words).  So this shopping post is out little secret eh?! 😉.

I headed to M&S and saw a fine selection of plain black trousers.  I was drawn to a wide leg jersey pair (hmnn, wide leg AND pull-on?) and some well tailored ankle grazers.  The former didn't come home with me (pull-ons, need I say more?!!) and whilst the ankle grazers are a lovely cut and definitely keepers, they felt too hot for Mediterranean climes.  So I returned to the store, tried on the wide leg jersey trousers and BOOM!, I was in love.
A flattering cut, beautiful drape, yadda yadda, all the things I didn't associate with pull-on granny pants.  And uber comfy, of course.

So they were the trousers that made it into my suitcase.

And I am soooo pleased they did.  They were so easy (and forgiving 😉) for quick-change dinners aboard.


Here with a ruffle top and glitzy sandals.  Comfort in spade loads.

There were times when our day long excursions ran late (stories in themselves!) and we arrived back on board just minutes before we were due to meet BIL and SIL for dinner.   Oh the ease of no-brainer dressing - slipping on an easy pair of black trousers, adding a black or ivory top, wedges or glitzy sandals, a bit of jewellery, a brush though the hair and a smear of perky lipstick, a squirt of Chanel #5 ...
And out the door to meet up with the guys for dinner.  On time.
But usually with no time for even a quick OOTD shot.

So today, wearing them with a classic black.jumper,

 I'm reminded of what a pull on convert I now am.
So I thought I'd remedy my paucity of granny pants cruise shots by recreating some of my looks.

First up,

My old Next ivory faithful.  It invariably finds its way into most of my suitcase packs.  Do YOU have a must-pack too?

I didn't do a front tuck on the night and looking at this, I'm rather glad I didn't.

And these rushed dressing times were when I thanked myself for being sensible enough to search out a pair of plain pull-on black jersey trousers.  And the elasticated waistband became into its own after a few days of gluttony, overeating,  fine dining.

I didn't belt up my white shirt.  But looking at how this variation came out, I wish I had.  This is something I will repeat, defo.
(I once saw Sade perform in something similar - a look forever stored  in my memory banks)

But worn loosely it works in tandem with the pull ons to create a smart maternity outfit, because, yes, I succumbed to an on board romance and have returned with a food baby!

Black lace camisole and wide leather studded belt (jumble sale find 25 years ago).

With cami under.

And without the cami.

With or without cami, I think it makes no difference.

So there you have a few ideas for easy holiday dining styling.

The pieces fold down to nothing in a suitcase.

And the BIG plus - They require no ironing!!

You can ring simple changes with the belt, tied in the front ...

... or worn as a cumberbund.

Oh and I forgot to recreate it but my little spiders-web poncho was just perfect worn over the cami look in the AC restaurant.

So there you have it.   Me, in praise of pull-on trousers.  I didn't see that one coming!!!

With apologies for untidy bedroom and hair - can you do me a favour and see past the messiness and just be in awe of the epiphany I've had - I'm praising granny trousers!

You can find

And here.


 And here's some white shirt inspo because ...

... well, just because.

A la perchoine,
Mary x.

Saturday 21 September 2019


Gibraltar.  The first stop on our cruise after leaving Barcelona. 

So what comes to mind?  Well, The Rock itself for starters.

And its cheeky monkey population.

Gibraltar is similar to Guernsey, a crown dependency with its own currency linked to the British Pound.  
It's basically a rock at the end of the Spanish mainland and Morocco is a few miles away on the other side of the Straits of Gibraltar.  On a clear day Morocco can be seen - this was not such a day.
Because of its close proximity to Spain its sovereignty has been disputed over the centuries.  A referendum was held some years ago to vote on whether this little country's population wished to remain British or become part of Spain.  The populace voted to remain.

We took a taxi (mini bus) trip up The Rock, as the queue for the cable car up there was over an hour's wait.  And life and cruising are both too short for that kind of queue eh?

The view from the bottom of The Rock, looking out to Spain.

We visited a beautiful cave set in the mountainside.

You can get a better look at the cave's majesty in the little video clip at the end of this post.   It's really quite beautiful.

Then we carried on further up to the mountain.

We stopped at the monkeys' canteen.  The idea is that feeding them daily will stop them harassing visitors for food.
That's the theory.

So when you're standing on a mountain precipice,  looking down on a sheer drop to the sea.

And there's nothing but a shallow edge of rock between you and the beautiful sea hundreds of feet below.

You do NOT want one of these muscly things leaping on your back and forcing you to stumble whilst standing on said precipice.

Which is what happened to TP!

The monkey must have thought he had food in his rucksack.   
So much for the clever monkey canteen idea.

Fortunately, the monkey pushed TP so that he stumbled in my direction and not over the edge of the mountain.  And all was well.  But you can imagine the bollocking  the stiff reprimand I gave my mountain goat for standing on that precipice!

Today's Tip:
Conduct a swift risk assessment before positioning yourself at the top of The Rock of Gibraltar!

And here's another view from that near-accident spot.  
You can just about see the string of mini-buses weaving their way along the only road, just one vehicle wide and with a sheer drop to the side.  I'm glad I only became aware of how sheer that drop was when I looked at my pics in the safety of my cabin some hours later! 

But the views were worth the hairy trip.

Here's the airport runway.

To the north of the runway is Spain.  That's how close.

It was an exhilarating excursion, that's for sure!
We also visited a huge cave complex housing cannon used a few centuries ago to protect this little piece of Britain, but the photos came out too dark to include here. 

As we sailed away, we saw that The Rock had been shrouded in cloud all day, which clearly explained why we had been unable to see Morocco from up top.

It looked surreal, like a spaceship had landed on top.  Or The Rock had been clumsily redacted from the view.

And here's my little two minute video summary of my visit.

I'll try to put together little clips with each travel post. 
I hope my posts will give you a flavour for the places I visited, and things to avoid - like a precipice in a monkey playground!

I hope you enjoyed your visit to Gibraltar;  join me soon for my next port of interest.

A la perchoine,
Mary x