Monday, 29 August 2011

Mum on the Run -What (not) to wear on a chilly day out!

For obvious reasons, I wasn't going to post a picture today but then when I saw this pink bench I just had to take advantange of it, even if it did mean revealing a not particularly inspiring outfit to the world! 

We decided to go on a family day out today and, having been out for a run this morning, I knew that it was very autumnal outside. So, having given my outfit all of 30 seconds thought, on went the biker boots, jeans, striped dress and warmer coat.  We packed our picnic of home made soup and home made bread rolls into the Cath Kidston bag and headed off merrily on our way for a famous five trip out.  (More like fighting five, especially in the case of the eldest two, but there we go!)

About 10 minutes after this was taken our youngest had an accident with her soup which left my boots, jeans and dress covered in it.  I won't go into details but it looked as though something other than soup had been thrown down me.  Lovely. 

Unless the weather gets itself in gear I can feel a trip to town coming on to stock up on warm layers.  If that's not a good excuse for a shop then I don't know what is!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Mum on the Run - "One day"

My husband has generously agreed to go and see "One Day" with me tonight, which is very good of him because I don't suppose that it is really his cup of tea. Even more generously, he has offered to buy me a bag of popcorn - aren't I the lucky one?!  He has given himself a bit of a pre-med in the form of a few glasses of wine so hopefully it will act as an anaesthetic and he won't realise how terrible the film is (if it is - which according to the Guardian critic it is.)  However, my friend and I decided that it probably isn't the kind of film that a Guardian critic would like, so we weren't surprised that they said it was pants.

So, having done a bit of my Tracy Anderson dvd (accompanied by our three year old who transformed the standing abs workout into a naked pole-dance) I had a wash and a brush up and decided on my comfortable peg trousers, sparkly T and flat sandals.  My brighter turquoise skinny belt would look better but I think it's somewhere in the car.  However, most importantly, I should be able to slouch and scoff with comfort in the cinema!

Trousers M&S, sequin T Topshop, Sandals Dune

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Mum on the Run - An outfit to make your legs look longer....

For a change I thought that I would talk about the proportions of an outfit.  Our son doesn't approve - he prefers what he calls "the funnier posts" and wonders whether I have run out of things to say today.  Unfortunately for you all there's plenty more - but more about the roast chicken with the lemon up its bum tomorrow!

For those of you who feel in need of a couple of extra inches in the leg department, the proportions of an outfit such as this will help you to achieve that.  There are a few reasons for this:
  • Unlike trousers, when wearing a skirt, it is impossible to see where your legs start - always good if you are trying to disguise the fact that they are shorter than you might like them to be;
  • Being full length, the skirt does a great job of maximising the length between your feet and your waist!
  • The skirt is high waisted, which again creates the illusion of longer legs;
  • The cropped jacket, which just meets the top of the skirt, keeps the top half neat and compact, which again elongates your bottom half.
On another note, skirts such as this are great for hiding all manner of unfinished beauty business and are a god send.  I love wearing this skirt in winter with biker boots and a chunky roll neck and in summer it works well with a lighter top and sandals.  A bit of versatility can never be a bad thing in a wardrobe.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Mum on the Run - A printed tunic dress

I love Tuesdays and it's solely down to the fact that two lovely people come into our house and clean it for us - and for a few hours at least, the house is perfect.  No crumbs, clean bedding, it smells fresh and the stainless steel shines. So why is it that it is on Tuesdays, and Tuesdays only, that our children seem to drop things on our lovely clean floors (or in the case of our three year old have a little mishap and then walk soggy socks all through the downstairs to come and find me to tell me)?  Spotting the wet footprints on the floors and then diving at them with a cloth to wipe them up is not a good look - but I will do whatever to preserve the clean house for as long as I can. I'm not sure why that is really, maybe it's because when the house is clean I can at least pretend that I am a Domestic Goddess!

Today I had a couple of extra little ones for the afternoon as my friend was poorly.  Luckily Mum was here to lend a hand and at one point they were sitting around the dinner table singing "Doe a Deer a Female Deer..."  The windows were open and I thought that from the outside our house would sound like the Sound of Music.  Which is better when I am here on my own and the children are fighting as it then sounds like the Hammer House of Horrors.

So, our daughter has requested that I point out that this dress that I am wearing is one of her favourites.  The print, which is concentrated in the middle of it, is good for drawing the eye inwards. It also skims without hugging the hips, has a slashed neckline and a nipped in waist, all of which are good for pear shaped ladies.

The summer holidays become limiting clotheswise after this many weeks so I decided to put this printed dress over my jeans.  It's just a bit too short for me to get away with on its own.  It was quite nice to feel a bit dressed up but still casual enough to go to a delightful soft play area without feeling OTT.

Jeans Gap, Dress Warehouse, Shoes Dune

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Mum on the Run - Where's Woolworth's when you need it?

Is it just me or do the rest of you with children find that you spend half of the holidays giving them an MOT?  This is our list so far:
  1. opticians;
  2. immunisations;
  3. school shoes (and we still have trainers to get);
  4. school outfitters;
  5. dentist;
  6. haircuts
and there are still school bags and sports bags to buy, labels to sew on, out of stock school trousers to find, trainers for one and then we will nearly be there - other than the wellies for the youngest. 

Since when did wellies get so expensive?  I remember wellies used to be the cheapest of the cheap when it came to shoes - not any more.  Do you want stripes, spots, flowers or hunter lookalikes?  No, I just want some good old red wellies - nothing flash and just like the ones you used to be able to get from Woolies.  Anyway, much to her disgust, our three year old has pirate wellies for school.  Well, I figure that they will only stay in her pump bag and they were a bargain at £5 so as far I was concerned it was a done deal.  Now that her brother has found his new passion for clothes, pirate wellies it is for her.

I would post a photo today except that, because I was painting the front door and putting a new net on the trampoline, I needed something trash proof - so out came the crocs.  I know, I couldn't believe it either.  I haven't worn them since I was pregnant with number 3 but I have to say they were very comfortable - and very chic when put with my towelling shorts and a vest.  I told our eldest that however much she begged me to borrow my chic outfit it wasn't going to happen.  Her wry smile said it all - "Mother, you're not funny but you are an idiot."

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Mum on the Run - breathe out - no one will be able to tell!

Oh crikey me.  At the dinner table tonight no 2 child asked whether Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister to which his clever sister responded "no, it's Gordon - Gordon Ramsey."  I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.  That came after we realised that having made some bread, she had added 1.5 tablespoons of salt, rather than 1.5 teaspoons.  And don't get me started on the fact that she wants to be the countdown person at NASA for the rocket launch. Heaven help them.

So, this has to be the most comfortable top in the Universe and was my sneaky purchase in H&M yesterday when our daugher was Gokking her brother. I would put a close up photo of the top (minus me) on it but I am too tired to sort it all out.  Anyway, it has bat wing sleeves and some gathering right in the centre, just under the bust, so it provides some shape.  It is great for those days when you feel like wearing something loose but not too tent like and it is definitely a top, rather than a T-shirt, so it gets my vote.  At £7.95 it was my bargain of the day!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Mum on the Run - escaping for an evening!

Last night I was working and I have to say, it was quite nice to escape for a while.  Not that things haven't been calm here for once - astonishingly they have. I keep finding the eldest two plotting by the computer, furtively flicking through magazines and generally doing something other than arguing.

Anyway, the fact that I was working meant that I was forced to do some ironing and generally sort myself out, so it wasn't a bad thing.  I opted for simple head to toe navy in modern shapes and accessorised with my new Hobbs necklace.

I then found out what was going on with the rioters.  Our eldest (12) had taken control of her brother's (9) wardrobe and she was giving him a make-over.  This resulted in a shopping trip today but I have to say she has done a great job.  No longer could she stand him looking "like a nerd" - and now that he is going into year 5 she thought that he ought to have something decent to wear on non-uniform day.

So, out have gone the too short cords, Clarks trainers and Ben 10 T-shirts and they have been replaced by straight jeans, converse, long sleeve grandad style tops, checked shirts, a padded gilet and a messenger bag  (For those of you who know him, don't fall over in shock!)  When we returned she showed him how to put the outfits together and photographed him so that he has a reference point for the future.  So funny! I have to say, it's almost worth me giving up my clothing allowance just to buy the peace.  Actually, there's no doubt about it - it is worth it.  I consider it a small price to pay for my sanity.  Looks like my wardrobe might suffer over the next few months!

Outfit - Cos top, navy M&S peg legs, Zara shoes, Mulberry bag, Hobbs necklace.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Mum on the Run - Button it Viv - it can be tartan if you like!

When I read in Grazia today that Vivenne Westwood had criticised Kate Middleton's style it did get me thinking.  Apparently, having criticised her eye-liner, she then went on to refer to her image as being that of an "ordinary woman" as opposed to that of an "extraordinary woman".  Really, I just thought that it made her sound a little pathetic and I felt a bit uneasy about the whole thing but I wasn't sure why.  I don't have particularly strong views on VW, and whilst I think that Kate is pretty I wouldn't say that I am obsessed with her in a kind of crying/screaming/where's my Kate scrapbook kind of way. 

However, I tried to think of some kind of analogy to see whether my response to VW's comments about Kate was unreasonable.  So I thought about the Grande Dames of the acting world, the equivalent of VW if you like, but in their own field.  Would Judi Dench or Helen Mirren criticise a young actor in the same way? I doubt it.  Surely they would nurture young actors, giving them encouragement and words of wisdom when they set out on their journey.  And anyway, Kate has never held herself out to be a style icon, a trend setter or anything along those lines.  She just married her chap, who happens to be the future King of England, which means that she is very visible. So if the girl wants to wear tan tights and nude shoes just let her.  If she likes her eyeliner and her long hair who is VW to say otherwise. If she likes to do a bit of fashion re-cyling and wear a fascinator good on her.  I am sure that she has her own views on VW's style.

My final conclusion was that men wouldn't behave like that towards other men and that's why I felt uneasy.  So much for sisterhood and all that - which is why, if I criticised VW, I wouldn't really be advancing my own argument very much.  So this is all that I will say about the matter - she should "button it".  It can be tartan if she likes, and she can sew it on herself , but if she can't say anything positive she should spend her time doing something constructive instead like (insert your own thoughts).  Alternatively, as my son says, Kate should just say " Off with her head." Right, I will now get off my soap box.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Mum on the Run - Green jeans

I was so proud of myself today - not because I was up and out with the children early but because of where we went - the local leisure centre, complete with wave machine, water slides, toddler pool, grit on the floor, overflowing nappy bins and general grime. 

As I looked up at the showers shaped as toadstools in the toddler pool I though to myself "blimey, give my Mum a day in here with some hot water, rubber gloves and a scrubbing brush and the place would look so different."  She is the Queen of cleaning.  The children knew that it was their once yearly trip and they made the most of it.  In fairness because we were there early, it wasn't too busy and I managed to wait a whole ten minutes before I even looked at the clock to see if it was time to get out yet.  As I say, I was very proud of myself. 

The outfit consisted of my green River Island jeans, Next white T-shirt, Gap cardi, green converse and a Cath Kidston spotty bag.

I must confess that I haven't been brave enough to wear my green jeans with flats but I saw a friend of mine wear coloured jeans and flats so successfully at the weekend that I decided to give it a go.  OK so she is at least 2 inches taller than me so as long as I don't get too close to a mirror, or if I do squint when looking, I think that I can just about get away with them!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Mum on the Run - Making the most of your maxi!

As my friend said today "Maxis are great if you haven't had time to get your arse in gear" which is not why I was wearing my maxi but I have to agree that she has a point.

So anyway, the weather wasn't that great and that, plus needing another layer to keep me warm by the fridges in Waitrose, meant that the denim shirt went on.  I tucked it under and tied it at the front to make it the right length.  I couldn't make it sit quite right at the top - but I realised when I took it off in the evening that I hadn't done the poppers up properly.  An elementary error I think.

I also accessorised with a new necklace - a birthday present to myself .  I can see myself getting a lot of use out of it - either with a plain white T and jeans or a LBD.  That's my excuse for buying it anyway!
 Maxi - French Connection, Denim shirt Next, Necklace Hobbs

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Would I like to blog for Look? Would I ever!

Generally I'm not really one for competitions.  I suppose it comes from the disappointment of never winning the primary school raffle - and being deprived of that wonderful pair of plastic high heeled shoes.  Such a tragedy. 

So when I saw the competition run by Look Magazine, the prize being to blog from the front row of their Show, I initially dismissed the idea - not because I wouldn't love to but rather because last year's winners looked so young!   So, I flicked idly on through the magazine and then realised that something, or rather someone, had caught my eye.  Erin O'Connor. She was pictured on the runway looking fantastic and I thought to myself "Blimey, if she's there actually participating, maybe my presence won't be so noticeable on the front row (providing that I don't smile too much.)" 

So, having read the terms and conditions, just to verify that there wasn't an upper age limit for entrants (which was lower than my own age) I decided to go ahead and enter the competition.  So here I am, writing a blog post as to why I should be blogging away from the front row at the Look Show - and this what I concluded.

Like all other entrants to the competition, fashion and styling are my passions in life (as well as my husband and three children of course - just in case they read this).  However, I see myself as championing the cause of women over 40 who want to be stylish, fashionable, edgy or whatever and who are not yet ready to be consigned to a twin set and pearls.   Being more mature (well, in some ways at least!) I can offer a slightly different perspective on the clothes being shown than some of the younger women out there - and there are a lot of them (young girls, not clothes that is - but in reality probably both)! 

I see my role as identifying which trends are to be embraced by the 40 plus market, which should just be given a nod to and which should be left alone entirely! Brothel creepers anyone - no, maybe not. 

The High Street doesn't really see fashion for the over 40's as being "sexy".  In some ways I can understand that - shopping for clothes which have enough length to cover knees which are no longer what they once were, or finding tops to disguise a "Mummy tummy" is hardly the thing of which multi-million pound ad campaigns are made.  However, there are lots of us over 40's out there and we hold a large proportion of the nation's wealth - not me personally you understand, unfortunately - but as a whole and I would like to represent us, in our entirety, including the extra bits that we have acquired with age.

On the day, I would have an eye to which brands suited which body shapes and which brands had clothes which were cut well and which looked as though they cost a lot more than they actually did.  Anything which looked as though it had been designed by Phoebe Philo would get my vote, as would anything which looked as though it was from Marni, DVF or Miu Miu.

The UK is known to have one the best High Streets in the world.  Blogging from the front row of a Show which showcased some of those brands would be incredible.  I must confess to knowing all of the brands well - some I would say even intimately - even Forever21, as I spent many hours styling a young girl in there recently.

Watching the Show first hand to see how the brands have evolved to capture new markets, to see how each one goes about meeting the needs of women, what they have done to create their own niche and to see how they  interpret the designer trends would be a fantastic experience. Stars, spots, 1960's, 1940's, colour blocking, the boyish look - the list goes on - I have no doubt, will all be there to be blogged about. 

As a final thought, I am sure that the other skills that I have acquired with age could also be put to good use.  If anyone needed guidance, a shoulder to cry on, a spare tissue or a friendly ear, I could be that person.  I may not be smiling (n.b. see the comment re lines above) but inside I would be over the moon to be present. 

P.S I would also relish the part of the prize which involved going to the cinema (without having to watch an animated film) going bowling (without having to use the special equipment for three year olds) and drinking cocktails with gay abandon!

    Monday, 8 August 2011

    Mum on the Run - A day at home

    Just an easy day at home today, hence the jeans, converse and H&M cotton top - the colour of which isn't great on me but I would usually layer something else underneath.  For once though, it was warm enough not to. The only thing that I added was a leather cuff.  Temperature wise it was great, however the jeans reminded me that there's not too much spare room for more chocolate cake!

    Our two eldest are being home educated at the moment - they have to earn their TV time by reading some of Alan Sugar's autobiography.  I figured that they would learn a lot and as it transpires they have.  I heard them sniggering about the swear words that they had read - which includes "the f-word, two p-words (pi** and pric*) the b-word (b*******)" and more besides, and that was just the first chapter.  Excellent.  I think that they well and truly got one over on me.  

    Saturday, 6 August 2011

    Mum on the Run - A lace skirt styled for a casual feel

    Today we visited family and then spent the rest of the day at home, playing games, cooking, doing general jobs and finishing the chocolate cake that we made yesterday.  I must confess, we didn't find the last task too arduous.

    I don't generally wear lots of skirts but this lace one from Mango is really comfortable.  It has a slight stretch to it and is pretty yet practical, with the lining finishing above the hem of the skirt, showing the lace off.   Given that it is lace, it can be dressed up or down, so I did a bit of both really - dressed it down with the Jigsaw striped top but added sparkly Dune sandals. It was quite nice to wear a skirt for a change.

    I have seen that Mango has a similar skirt this season but in red.  As there's going to be huge amounts of red around for A/W '11 it might prove to be a good investment.

    Friday, 5 August 2011

    Mum on the Run - A bit of a frill

    We have been away for a few days so today was one of those catching up kind of days.  I started by doing a bit of a Tracy Anderson work out, which my son witnessed and which caused utter hysterics - which is good really as it made up for the lack of a smile on her face.

    By the time I got showered I had lost the will a bit so I really just grabbed what was comfortable and would be cool enough if it got warmer later on (failed there though - the jeans were boiling - obviously!)   I have to say that these are good jeans though - they are from Topshop and fit really well. The rise is fairly good, as is the colour and they come in different leg lengths. They are called Jessie.  The pink vest is from Boden - a pain to iron but nice to wear.  I layered another vest underneath for some additional coverage and resorted to the default footwear of converse.

    Later in the day we made THIS -  yum yum!  Naturally I had to test the first piece! 

    Monday, 1 August 2011

    Mum on the Run - An asymetric dress

    I love these photographs - nothing to do with me, just that they were taken by our little three year old munchkin and you can see from the angle how small she is.   In the absence of her older brother and sister, she was in charge of the camera and did really well, chubby finger over part of the lens aside!  She even gave me the 3-2-1 countdown that her brother does.

    Anyway, to the dress - I threw this on hurridly when on the way out to ballet.  If I had had too long to think about it I may have taken it off, fearing that it was a bit too try hard for the day but actually it's really practical - plenty of room in the skirt so easy to walk in, a decent length and once on it stays well and truly put.  The last time I wore it was for a friend's 40th in May where I styled it with high gold shoes, so it was really nice to wear it as a daytime dress.  Ideally I would have had time to put a belt with it but that wasn't an option today.  The dress is from French Connection - and probably massively reduced in the sale now but I'm not going to check!