Category: Clothes Maketh the (Wo)man

“I can’t believe you’re still wearing a bikini at 40!”

So said my husband as I tried on a multitude of options for our impending holiday and asked his opinion a couple of weeks ago. Not in a rude way (at least I hope it wasn’t!) More in an incredulous way. As though women of 40 don’t wear bikinis.

(Sidenote – the postman could have also chipped in to this conversation, because I was in the lounge modelling my new bikini. And the postman has to walk past both of our lounge windows to get to the front door. The husband told me to hide behind the sofa. Maybe he did mean his comment in a rude way after all.)

Here’s the thing – I don’t like swimsuits. I find them claustrophobic. They cling a lot. They don’t dry quickly enough when you’ve been in the pool or the sea. They make your skin feel clammy while they’re still damp. They’re a pain in the ass to pull up and down to go to the loo. They generally have too many straps and are too high at the front and back leaving tan marks where you don’t want them.

I like a tan on my stomach and my lower back. It freaks me out a little bit if my middle bit is completely white and my arm/face/shoulders/legs are brown (I don’t mind white bum and boobs, that’s the norm, unless you’re a nudist). And I like the feeling of the breeze on my stomach at the beach, or the cold sea as I ease myself in, or the first freezing hit of the pool when I jump in. And yes there’s a bit more of my stomach to experience those feelings than there used to be. And no I’m not as young and lithe as I once was (although nothing seems to be drooping so far!) But I still prefer a bikini.

Why is it that we’re so keen to put women in boxes when they reach a certain age? Shouldn’t wear short skirts, shouldn’t have long hair, should dress in classic neutral colours. I’ve been guilty of it myself in the past. I probably didn’t think I’d be wearing a bikini at 40, because that’s not what 40 year old women do, is it?

Well fucksticks to that. Neither my age or my “less slim” stomach is going to shame me into wearing something just because other people think I should. Whether that be the husband, the postman or the media.

This is not (misplaced) body confidence, by the way. I know I don’t look as good as I’d like to. But I refuse to be uncomfortable just to suit society.

Last time we were in Greece there were two Greek women on the beach. Both large ladies, both probably in their 60s, and both wearing a bikini. Not a skimpy tie sided, triangle top affair, admittedly. There was a decent amount of fabric and underwiring going on. But they were there and they were chilling and they were talking and sunbathing and swimming. I assume they were comfortable. I do notice a lot less body consciousness in non commercial Europe (hence the male budgie smuggler not being extinct!)

I’ve blogged about this subject before, 2 years ago, post holiday. I talked about the difference between my early 20s self in a bikini and my then late 30s one in one. And I stand by what I said then:

“My body looks how it does because of the life I lead. I enjoy life. I enjoy food. I enjoy drinking. I don’t enjoy exercise!”

Anyway, here are my two new bikinis, both from George at Asda. And I will be coming home from our late summer holiday with a tanned tum, so there!

Asda ombre blue bikini

Asda melon bikini with straps

What’s your approach to swimwear? Are you a cover up or stuff it kind of person?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Going green

If you’ve happened upon this post thinking it’s something to do with recycling or living a more sustainable life then…soz! It’s actually just a vacuous post about clothes (“just”, she says, as if clothes aren’t part of her life blood!)

I realised recently that I didn’t really have any green in my wardrobe. Then I realised that I wanted some. So, in true shopaholic style, I bought not one but FIVE things.

Have a lookie, why don’t you?

Teal sliders – George at Asda

Asda teal sliders

Crinkle top with white floral embroidery – George at Asda

Asda George green embroidered top

Frill sleeve pearl trim blouse – Everything 5 Pounds

E5P green pearl trim blouse

Floral frill hem ditsy print tea dress – Peacocks

Peacocks green floral dress

Palm print tie waist shift dress (WITH POCKETS!) – Peacocks

Peacocks palm print dress

Are a green wearer? What colour do you have most of in your wardrobe? Let me know!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

 

September summer buys

Every year, 31st August makes me sad. As much as I try to deny it, I know it signifies the end of summer.

Come 1st September I develop a sense of bullishness that NO, it’s is STILL summer, and I definitely WILL NOT give in to pre-ordained seasons and the associated expectations, and I will damn well WEAR MY SANDALS.

The last couple of years I’ve taken it a step further, not only wearing sandals but actively still buying them, as though this extra step will in some way push back Mother Nature and her creeping leaf changing and temperature drops. And this year is no exception.

Since getting back from holiday I’ve bought not one but 3 new pairs of sandals! Yep, while most women are getting excited about new season clothes and counting down the hours to pumpkin latte o’clock I’m still buying summer sandals, baring my toes and pretending that we’re heading towards high summer, not the depths of winter.

So, here they are!

Silver crackle lace up gladiator sandals – Everything 5 Pounds

Everthing 5 Pounds silver gladiator sandals

Camo cork sole flatforms – Everything 5 Pounds

Everything 5 Pounds camo flatform sandals

Purple pom pom lace up sandals – eBay

Purple pom pom sandals

This year, for good measure, I’ve also bought some summer dresses, because why not!

Red flounce sundress – H&M

H&M red frill sundress

Snakeskin 2 layer sundress – H&M

H&M snakeskin jersey dress

Blue flounce dress – New Look

New Look blue frill flounce dress

Do you try and cling on to summer? Or are you firmly in the “bring on autumn” camp?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

New stuff from Peacocks

I’m sharing my new purchases with you because in a world full of shit, racism, hatred and crap, we still want to look pretty, am I right?!

Look at these beauts from the underrated High Street hero that is Peacocks!

£35 reduced to £15 (would you look at that back detail)

£12 with a 20% off discount code

Peacocks pink ditsy print teadress

Liked it so much, I bought it in a different colour too!

Peacocks burgundy ditsy print teadress

I saw this maxi short dress one on someone I follow on instagram, can’t recall who, but it’s a thing of beauty (£20, with a discount code)

Peacocks floral maxi shirt dress

Oh, and this rather pretty flower headband, because why not? (£2.50 in the sale)

Peacocks floral headband

Have you bought anything nice lately? Let me know!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

Some Everything 5 Pounds buys

My regular-ish round up of what I’ve been buying from the cheapest clothes website on the internet!

Blue and green fringed kimono

E5P blue & green kimono

I’ve always loved blue and green together. I wore this over a black vest and turned up indigo skinny jeans this week (I also managed to “lose” two of the fringes as I ran over myself with my office chair at work!). Looking at the label, it’s originally from Matalan. It will also work well as a beach cover up when I’m in Greece next month.

Multi maxi skirt

E5P print maxi skirt

I loved the colours and pattern on this, although I do find that drawstring/elasticated waists make me look a bit thick around the middle. OK, so it’s actually my love of food and wine that makes me look thick around the middle.

Floral midi skirt

E5P floral full skirt

This is so pretty! Love the colours and the shape, and the thick scuba-ish fabric mean that it’s pleasingly full and also doesn’t crease (possibly the most important consideration of all in any clothes purchase). Unfortunately it doesn’t have the same effect on my midriff as it does on the model which, for £5, I would have sincerely expected, but hey ho.

Denim tunic dress

E5P zip denim dress

This is looser than I would have usually worn in a dress this style (it’s hard to gauge sizes in a lot of cases on the E5P website because you don’t know the manufacturer – and we ALL know that different manufacturers have different sizing – plus sometimes it’s just an S/M or M/L choice) but I like it. It has a tabard feel, and the husband said it reminds him of Game of Thrones armour (?!) which is apparently a good thing! It will also look good layered over a black polo neck jumper in winter.

Black cold shoulder midi dress

E5P black sundress

This is a Primark one I think, and I need to shorten the length a little I think as it’s too in between on me, but I really like the style and think it will be lovely with some wedge sandals.

Annoyingly, I haven’t really been wearing any of my new purchases recently, because we’re so upside down at home that I can’t get into some of my wardrobes, lots of things are still packed up from the move and we’ve had to empty the bedrooms for the workmen. So at this rate I’ll have a whole heap of new stuff ready for next year!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Packing for a (non) spring city break in France

When I booked our trip to Lyon, I had visions of wandering cobbled streets in maxi dresses and sandals and sitting at riverside cafes sipping cold wine.

The weather has other ideas.

Despite being May on Sunday, Lyon seems to be suffering with same crap weather affliction as the UK. I’ve trawled multiple forecast websites to find something more favourable, but all of them seem to be suggesting cool evenings and showers.

Arse.

In a confusing state of mind though, in the past two days it’s improved slightly, with the temperatures creeping upwards. Not one to miss any opportunity to make the most of the sunshine, this now means I have to pack for two types of weather, just in case. As I don’t have two lots of luggage allowance (damn you Flybe) I’m going to have to get creative.

Love trips hate packing

I’ve come up with a list of jeans, boots, maxi dresses, tops, maxi skirts, leggings, scarves, a hat, sunglasses, hi tops, sandals, a leather jacket and a denim jacket.

That’s pretty much every eventuality covered!

Now all I need to do is persuade the husband he doesn’t need a 50% share of the luggage space…

I’ll probably be sharing some pictures via Instagram whilst I’m away (free wifi dependant, obvs) so if you want to see what I’m seeing then give me a follow.

Thanks, as always, for reading ! x

Getting shirty

I don’t generally buy shirts, and the honest reason is because I hate ironing! Which means that, invariably, I’ll wear them and wash them once and then they sit in my wardrobe looking at me in an accusatory fashion.

But they’re so useful for this in betweeny time of year that I’ve found my eye being turned.

It started with these two from H&M. Great basics, these actually don’t need ironing (rejoice) and are great for layering underneath a jumper when it’s colder, or wearing on their own now the weather is improving. They were half price in the 50% flash sale a few weeks ago (where I also bought my current favourite dress) at just £7 each.

They don’t look anything exciting, but teamed with skinny jeans and some statement boots I’m really happy with them.

Then, in the most recent H&M sale (which of course I ordered loads from because, sale) I spotted these two.

My husband wears a lot of checked shirts, and when I showed him these he thought I’d bought them for him!

He was pretty disappointed that they’re for me. So far I’ve worn them with indigo straight leg jeans, but they’ll be good with denim cut offs in summer as well as battered pale blue jeans and sandals. Unfortunately these will need ironing (ick) but I really like them so will try and make an exception!

They’re lovely and soft and cost just £7 (top) and £5 (bottom).

Four new very versatile tops for just £26; how great is that?!

How do you dress for inbetweeny weather?

Thanks, as always, for reading!

I’m a sucker for a H&M sale email

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a sucker for a sale email, which basically means I’m always tempted by something (sales are just all the time these days! What happened to twice a year?)

I’ve also mentioned that the H&M sale makes my little heart palpitate with joy and excitement, for there is many a bargain to be found.

A few weeks ago was no exception. They reeled me in with a 50% “flash sale” email. Not even any pictures. Just a red block and 50% in white text.

Well, who am I to resist?

It just so happens that, in succumbing to their not very imaginative at all marketing, I discovered my new favourite dress. This isn’t a term I use lightly, as I have a lot of favourite things, but this is just wonderful. Better still, it was reduced from £24.99 to £12.99.H&M floral dress

The dress has one of my much loved features – shirring. The cuffs are shirred, the shoulders are shirred and the waistline is shirred so you can create that poufy blouson style that is so very flattering.

H&M floral dress detail

The colours are delicate but the print is bold, and the fabric is soft and flowing. I wore it immediately out to lunch with black opaques, black suede Jeffrey Campbell-a-like lace up shoe boots and a leather jacket. I loved it so much that I fell asleep in it after lunch (ok, this may have been wine rather than love related) and I already can’t wait to wear it again.

It’s only failing is that it will need ironing. I don’t really do ironing. But I will make an exception on this occasion.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

My weekend in pictures

Hey, how was everyone’s weekend? I had quite a busy one, with two Mother’s Day celebrations, and a night out for a friend’s birthday. As a result I’m rather jaded and tired today – roll on hometime!

On Saturday afternoon we went to a pub about half an hour drive from us, called the Warwickshire Lad, with my Mother in Law for lunch. She’s not big on Mother’s Day, and doesn’t like doing anything on the day itself, so Saturday afternoon was ideal. It seemed a few people had the same idea.

The pub is both traditional and contemporary inside; lots of wooden beams and a big original fireplace mix well with sunny windows and big mirrors for a really spacious and bright feel. The menu is a mix of good solid pub grub and gastropub specials.

I went for honey glazed duck breast with rum and blackcherry sauce and new potatoes. The duck was cooked perfectly, not too pink, a bit of crispiness to the skin and succulent and juicy meat. The sauce was subtle; no over riding flavour of either rum or cherry, but it was sweet and not too thick.

Duck with rum and blackcherry sauce

The husband went for Fillet Steak Boston,. which he was incredibly excited about (steak, scallops and whisky sauce; all box tickers for him) but unfortunately it didn’t quite deliver – the steak was medium to well done, rather than medium as requested, and the sauce lacked flavour. A bit disappointing for a £20 main course.

What wasn’t disappointing was my new most bargainous dress – just £6 from the New Look sale! It has bell sleeves, which I love, and a pleasingly swishy skirt. I matched it with tan suede boots and a tan fringed bag.

Looking forward to the weather being warmer and being able to bust this out with bare legs and sandals.

On Saturday night we went to a rock bar in town. I debuted my new Collection Lasting Colour lipstick, which actually isn’t new at all – I bought it months and months ago after seeing it on Holly’s blog (Closing Winter) but haven’t got round to wearing it.

Collection Aubergine Kiss lipstick

Aubergine Kiss lipstick

It’s called Aubergine Kiss and is much darker in real life – a deep black cherry which is very vampy and gothic.

I also wore my new tassel jacket, which is frickin’ awesome, and received many compliments (as well as a description of a gothic Big Bird from Sesame Street!). It was, believe it or not, from Tesco, and reduced to just £20.

F&F tassel jacket

There’s no way I couldn’t keep it. It’s actually the same fabric as my feathery skirt from H&M, but don’t worry, I won’t be wearing them together!

Sunday morning loomed too quickly and I was feeling somewhat delicate, but had to pull myself together to celebrate Mothers Day with my own Mom. She and my sister came over, I cooked baked lamb and potatoes (so much yum) and we drank lots of wine, took lots of selfies and laughed a lot.

A most enjoyable Sunday afternoon and evening.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Orange is the new…yellow?

Dear Dorothy Perkins,

Back to design school with you!

This is not orange.

Dorothy Perkins ruffle front yellow top

Neither is this!

Dorothy Perkins yellow waffle top

Or this!

Dorothy Perkins yellow v-neck blouse

Even allowing for differences in colour representations on computer monitors, there’s no way this can be described as orange! I should know, I’ve seen it in real life.

Dorothy Perkins shirred 70s blouse

Most definitely mustard. Or ochre. And most definitely on my list of spring buys.

Are you building a spring wishlist?

Thanks, as always, for reading!