Difficult Conversations

The ChatIt’s never easy.

Most of the time we just don’t have them.

The bottom line, though, is that we do ourselves absolutely no favours by not facing up to the issues we have in the relationships around us and in most cases either end up losing a friend/family member/spouse regardless of whether we had the guts to explain ourselves in the first place.

For whatever reason we are pretty awful at just being truthful because we think that by doing so, we are sparing the other persons feelings. What about ours?

I’ve got a difficult conversation to have today. It’s a slightly different one because I have to have it with a work colleague at work. The twist in the tale is that we’ve been close friends for 10 years and I only became his boss recently. I’m dreading it.

The main crux of the issue is that we both have begun working in a new department, with new challenges and a smaller team. The focus is very much on our project delivery and unfortunately our work methodologies up to this point could have been a bit slapdash, but it’s not cutting the mustard any longer. I’ve been through my difficult adjustment last year. I was lucky enough to have a demanding but attentive boss who know what he wanted. As a result, despite the fact I disliked it at the time, I have now bought all my work up to scratch. My colleague on the other hand has had a terrible boss before me who shied away from flagging issues and barely met with him. So now people know I’m in charge, the complaints have flooded in. Lucky me.

How am I going to handle it? Hmmm, I’m not sure right now. I know I need to be honest. I know I have to give him some clear goals to achieve and I know I need to start seeing some fast results. I know I’m going to need to pull on the memory of the course I did called “Having Difficult Conversations”.

So I’m going to start with:

What I like about what you do
What I don’t like about what you do

What I want you to do

If you do this we can…
If you don’t do this then……….

That way I get my point across, without any need of complicating it with emotion. I can be clear about the point I’m trying to make and clearly demonstrate the consequences of it.

I can do this, because it’s work, but you can adapt it for personal relationships too. How often do we get caught up in the emotion of an argument and the argument ends up being about the way we are arguing rather than about the point of the argument in the first place. The easiest time to do this (easier said than done) is after you’ve calmed down and without the distractions around you (kids, TV). I can tell you it really does work as I’ve done it a few times. Not as often as I’d like because I get very emotional, especially if I feel I’ve been hard done by. Taking a moment to imagine yourself as the other person though helps you to realise that they feel exactly the same. They feel you are being unreasonable. So it makes sense to take some time to think about the core reason for the argument and where necessary, break it down and have a calm reasoned discussion about it.

Check me out being all relationships guru. *shouts at husband for interrupting her whilst on laptop*

Anyway, that is what I’m doing today. Wish me luck.

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Posted in Relationships, Socialising, Work | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Coloured Jeans, Baukjen Dresses and Cropped Trousers

It’s been a little while since I shared some of my latest purchases so I thought now was as good as any.  Of course the day after I admit defeat clothing wise and buy 2 pairs of skinny jeans it supposed to be 21 degrees, but I’m still waiting for the temperature to rise. I’m wearing one of them right now.

So, first on the list was this Baukjen dress.  I had some issue with the delivery of the belt, but they resent a new one with no questions asked so I was pretty impressed.  In the end the dress got delivered sooner than planned and beat the belt delivery.  The downside to the ensemble was that the belt nearly cost as much as the dress (£89 for the dress and £69 for the belt) which was very steep. I’ve never spent more than £10 on a belt before and when it arrived in it’s flimsy form I was pretty unimpressed.  However, it suits the dress very well and I’ll have to find a few other outfits for it to work with to get my moneys worth.  Buying on the internet can be so dangerous.  Here it is.

Baukjen Rosamund Dress

Baukjen Rosamund Dress

You may recognise it from the cover of the Baukjen catalogue.  Not very original I know, but it really grabbed me. Unfortunately on my first day of wearing it to work I had the worst day ever (those on Twitter will have heard the story of me “losing it” in a meeting) so I’m hoping I won’t think that every time I wear it.

Then on an “orange pop colour” roll I bought this vest top from H&M.  Looks lovely with my navy skinny jeansH&M orange vest

and will probably look good with the beige purchases further down the post.  I’m not sure of the correct term for it, but it’s gathered and goes up underneath of the bottom of the vest like the old bubble skirts used to.  It’s very flattering on, although not a great photo.

Then there were the 3 purchases from UNIQLO.

I had a girly day out with Pickle yesterday (who’s 5) and we spent a good few hours trying to find something for her to spend her accumulated pocket money on.  In the end we traipsed the entire length of Kingston when she finally admitted that a barbie doll was what she needed (she has at least 15 already).  So, once bought, along with a Barbie Car (I always wanted one!!) she had to endure me doing the same as I tried to find some beige/camel/cream skinny jeans to go with all my Mint Velvet tops or some new flat shoes.  Bless her, she moaned a bit but managed to cope and we happened upon the UNIQLO shop.  I’ve got one in Wimbledon but as all the measurements are in inches rather than sizes I’ve never had time to pfaff about working out what I’m supposed to be wearing.  So we grabbed a couple of different sizes and went for it.

I was *this close* to buying a pair of £70 grey skinny trousers from Mint Velvet last week but decided to hang on until pay day. I’d had to try a size up due to the waist band (always heartbreaking, but better to be comfortable – no one can see the label). Really glad I waited as I purchased 3 trousers for around the same price in UNIQLO.

First up are these UNIQLO ultra stretch colour jeans.  These are called Grey, but they are a bit a beige.  I’ve struggled to find the right beige coloured jeans for ages because most are skin coloured and nobody needs to have an image of what you would look like without trousers on.  Although not obvious in the pictures, these are the right shade and a little darker than most, so I though they were perfect.  They are a little baggy at the bottom but all of their jeans are done in a 33inch length, so even on a long legged me there needs to be some turning up.  I may well take these and the other pair in to my nearest shop for an alteration. I presume they charge for it, I didn’t ask.  Here they are.

Uni Qlo Ultra stretch skinny jeans - Grey

Uni Qlo Ultra stretch skinny jeans – Grey

So I’ve shown them here with a white (crumpled, sorry) t-shirt and one of my Mint Velvet tops.  With my white Clarks casual shoe and a pair of navy strappy heels.  They are very comfortable.

I then pushed the boat out and grabbed a coloured pair in blue.  I’ve now convinced myself that they are lovely (you can be the judge of that) and will keep them.  At £29.90 they are pretty good value I think.

UniQlo coloured ultra stretch skinny jeans - Blue

UniQlo coloured ultra stretch skinny jeans – Blue

My mint velvet top and two different shoes here. Not entirely sure the leopard print works, but I quite liked it. Definitely looks summery with the Clarks and I could easily wear some plimsolls too.

My last purchase was also from UNIQLO and I didn’t try them on.  I’ve resisted crop trousers for a really long time because I don’t really think they are flattering.  They do cut your legs in half and as I have plenty of leg to cut in half I’m not sure why it has taken me so long.  I quite like these.  However I had to do an impersonation of a contortionist to get into them so I’m going to take them back for one with a bigger waist band.  The stretch jeans are clearly stretching nicely for my mummy tummy and despite the same size, these didn’t have as much give. They were £12.90.

UNIQLO cropped trousers - grey

UNIQLO cropped trousers – grey

So that’s it.  What do you think?  Thumbs up, thumbs down?  Finally I will stop wearing my denim jeans and the blue skinnies for a bit.

Posted in Age, body, Fashion | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

The Tooth Fairy Visit – Fraught with danger

Bit of an exciting day yesterday in our house.  Pickle (5.5) lost her first tooth.  It HAD been wobbly for about 4 weeks, so it wasn’t a big surprise.  I’m sure my teeth weren’t wobbly for that long, but I do remember how delicious it was to wiggle it about with my tongue.  Needless to say, I was pretty excited about it myself.

 The tooth fell out and Pickle made an emergency FaceTime call to me at work to tell me the news.  As it was 8am there wasn’t that much embarrassment taking a speaker call in an open plan office, but I still snuck out into the kitchen.  She was beyond excited.

 At lunchtime I nipped out to a nearby art supplier and bought some silver glitter and decided that was the most elaborate I was going to make it for the tooth fairy.  Some people on the tinternet do all sorts of things.  Miniature doors above the skirting door, tiny letters with tiny weeny writing, photos/pictures of the fairy, glitter trails from door to pillow.  I wanted to keep it simple so that if I was hit by a bus, hubby could do it or I could do on holiday with a simple adjustment.

 However, on the night it was a little fraught.

 First off I had planned to put a bit of fairy dust in the gauze pouch (it was an old wedding favour bag that Pickle and I thought would be good to put the tooth in).  However the glitter was so fine, it fell straight through and onto the bed.  Oops.  I then tried to pick up the glitter using a nail file, which was taking far too long and as it was 10.30pm at night, I was desperate to go to bed.  I did as much as I could and then brushed it onto the floor.  Currently we have laminate down on our bedroom floor and I realised the glitter could be seen and my eagle eyed daughter was bound to ask questions so I had to get a damp wad of toilet paper to pick as much up as a could.

 Job done, sigh of relief.  Took the glitter into the bedroom along with the gauze bag and popped it back under the pillow, bit of a sprinkling of fairy dust and walked out, safe in the knowledge I had managed to do my very first Tooth Fairy visit.Fairy dust

 So I then got all my work gear out the wardrobe for the following day, got undressed and stepped into the shower, at which point I audibly gasped as I had no memory of what I had done with her little tooth.  Gah!!  Did I put it on the bed?  Did I then sweep it on the floor?  Did I pick it up with the loo roll and flush it away.  Nooooooooooooooo.

 So I dashed out the shower, wrapped in a towel and looked all around the my bedroom. No tooth.  I went into her bedroom to check the bag.  No tooth.  I dashed out again and looked EVERYWHERE. No tooth!!! 

 At this point I decided to try calming down.  I got dressed and went back into her bedroom, retrieved the bag and went into the light of my bedroom to double check.  There nestled in the corner of the gauze bag was the tooth. Phew.  I had forgotten to take it out in the excitement of the fairy dust.  I then took it out, found a temporary hiding place and put the bag back.

 The tooth fairy visit. Who knew it was fraught with this much danger?

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The Working Mum vs The Working Dad

No, I won’t be embarking on an “us against them” post, although I will be pointing out a few things that should remind us all that the battle for equal rights is not over just yet.

I am a working mum.  I don’t have the choice, unfortunately, so I’m not sure that if we were able to live on a single income I would be working.  I know the 4 days I do at the moment doesn’t feel right for my family, but it does work for my employer, so at least someone is winning.

I am lucky though (and unlucky) as my husband is an actor and he has a sporadic working life.  Generally he works around 2 days a week, but often we will have weeks on end where he is working more than that.  We have a few emergency options open to us and I just have to take leave from work occasionally.  However, he does do childcare 2 days a week most of the time.  I love those 2 days. I can come and go to work like a normal person.

I have blogged before about the stress of doing the nursery, school run and dash to work (and then all in reverse on the way home) on the 2 days I have to do it.  Just 2 days seems like it’s okay really, but I dread those 2 days so much I can’t tell you.  My stomach in knots that I won’t make drop offs or be late for work or the worse one, that I will get stuck in traffic and my two children who are in two different places will be stuck there with no one to pick them up.  I can’t park near work (although I do pay to use a car park that costs me £10 a day if I am feeling particularly pressurised) so I drive so far and then use a Brompton folding bike the rest of the way.  Occasionally, if I’m sneaky, I can work out when a few people who have car parking spaces at my office are off and I can nick their space.  This makes things so much easier and cheaper and lifts a level of stress from me.

Recently at work I realised that it was mostly the mothers amongst us that were in charge of pick ups and drop offs from school, breakfast clubs, after school clubs or nurseries.  Most of the men, particularly those in a more senior position, were not.  They  didn’t really “get” our situation at all.  I get blank looks when I mention my parking problems or the stress of my 2 days.  When pressed they say “Oh yeah, I understand, my wife has the same problem”.  Ahhh, no.  You don’t understand, because it’s not you.  You aren’t going through this, you have no bloody idea.parents at work

Before you say it, it really isn’t bloody MY CHOICE. Yes, I wanted children, yes all of those women wanted children, but so did their husbands.  Why is it that the husbands aren’t also being responsible for the childcare?  Well, it’s down to our working culture primarily and until that changes, we haven’t got much hope.

A male colleague of mine has recently started doing the nursery run in the morning before work.  He lives very close to work and the nursery is nearby, so it’s not quite the juggling act others have, but none the less, he has to do this because his wife is a lawyer who has got a new job since maternity leave which is quite a distance away.

He has regularly arrived in to work late in the morning, to be greeted by me cheerily saying “Good afternoon”.  Helpful I know!!   He has sat down at his desk with a massive hurumphh, looking exhausted before he’s even started work.  He looked at me the other day quite forlornly.  “It’s a nightmare”!

“What is?”

“Trying to get two small children out of a house and to nursery before work”.

“Yes, isn’t it”.

“Finally got shoes on both of them and then eldest pushed the youngest one off the front step just as we were going to the car”.

“Yes, they do that.”

“I had to comfort her, get the first aid kit out. She refused to get up.  I got angry. It was horrible”

“It usually is”.

“I’m counting the days until I don’t have to do this anymore,  when we move and get that au-pair.  I can’t stand it. I’ve not even started work and I need a lie down”.  Ahh an Au-pair.  Yes, that would be helpful.

And here in lies the problem.  I need ALL male employees at my work to do this for, say, a period of 6 months.  To step into their helpful wives shoes, whether they are Stay at home mums, part-time employees or full-time employees, I need all my bosses to experience the pain in the arse that is childcare.  And I’m not suggesting this because I want to punish them or I think we deserve a medal or because I want special treatment.  I want this because if they realised what a bloody malarkey it was we may see a bit more equality and help in the work place.  Until more dad’s start doing this (and I know there are lots that do, unfortunately just not where I work!) we are never going to change a thing.

So, what might change if this childcare situation was more evenly distributed?

  • More emphasis on parking facilities for working mums and dads who are in charge of childcare.
  • Senior meetings or away days that don’t start at 8am and finish at 6pm (or at least a bit more notice of them.  Better still, I’d like to see a senior male manager leave at 4.30pm to go and do pickup so the rest of use don’t look like we are uncommitted)
  • An end to working long hours in order to impress people.  Let’s finish off the report at home, hey?
  • More crèche/nurseries in workplaces or nearby
  • Being able to work from home (biggy for me and my employer is very against this).  If you’ve got children and have worked at the business for XX number of years, this should be offered.  I’d happily fill in forms, write a business case and jump through hoops to allow me to have this flexibility. Especially when both my children are at school and then at an after school club. I could drop off and be at my desk by 9am and work until 5pm.
  • Flexible working hours for ALL employees. Why does it only get offered to women after maternity leave?  Surely that’s wrong.

So, there you have it.  It’s not very eloquent or a very well written rant, but it’s a rant none the less.  I am tired of it all.

Let’s get more equality back in the work place for all parents.

Posted in Children, Relationships, School, Work | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

For Sale – 1 Toddler

My mum used to say to me “I’m going to sell you and buy a mangle”.  So you can imagine, I knew what a mangle was from a very young age!

I have had similar feelings about my two and a half year old this week but I have resisted from mentioning Victorian drying implements as a threat and have, instead, opted to spend a lot of time muttering, looking cross and telling his father to deal with him.  Pathetic I know.blue 2 

I blogged about The Monster and my troubles with him before and we appear to have hit another pot hole in the whole Mother-Son bonding malarkey.  In fact a pothole is understating it a bit, it’s a meteor crevice.  I love him to bits, but right now, I don’t like him very much.

It all started on Friday when he just kept being naughty.  He seemed to take great joy in being naughty.  Naughty to me, to his sister, throwing things, getting annoyed.  Several trips to the step and he’d be alright again for about 10 minutes and then something else would happen.  It got to the stage where I was just talking in a steady stream of discipline to him and I felt awful.  So just before bed I took him aside to talk to him about why I was upset and he just misbehaved a bit more.  He has no problem making eye contact with me and is very good at understanding emotion, but he decided to look at the ceiling, making silly noises rather than look at me.  Then he wouldn’t listen to me and every so often just laughed in a hysterical way.  Talk about winding me up!

I closed the day on Friday, looked forward to Saturday and the hope we would move on.  He was still troublesome, ending with him screaming by the end of the evening, refusing to brush his teeth, generally ignoring his bedtime routine and flouting all the rules.  Exasperated!

On Sunday we went ice skating (it was Pickle’s Joy Jar entry) and The Monster was doing ok.  He got ice skates on, and initially went on the ice. Unfortunately the ice rink was being halved with barriers and as 3 of the 4 of us were beginners/novices we couldn’t skate quick enough to nip across, so we had to get off the ice and walk around to get back onto the ice rink again.  The Monster didn’t like this.  He screamed getting off the ice, wouldn’t get back on it again. Every time we had convinced him to go on, he’d kick his feet out and you were left holding him up, his bottom inches from the ice. He wouldn’t use the ice penguin to hold on to, wouldn’t hold your hand and hubby got too far around to be able to turn back and had to carry him (which he got into trouble for doing by the staff).  So The Monster had to be supervised in the stands, occasionally walking on his skates, mostly crying, screaming and tantruming – for nearly 90 minutes!!

Thankfully, the day, on the whole was brilliant because my daughter loved every second of it. Had never ice skated before, but loved it.  Her daddy and her are already making plans to come again in half term, whilst The Monster is in nursery.

Meanwhile I took The Monster to have his nappy changed and he was…….well…….horrendous!  Refused to get undressed, then when I’d managed to do that, he wouldn’t let me put another nappy on.  Kicking, hitting, screaming, I needed to wrestle him to get it on. Bearing in mind we were on a changing table, so half my job was ensuring he didn’t fall head first off it.  I was so angry at one stage, I grabbed his face to look at it and talk to him to try to get him to calm down.  I practically (I didn’t) threw him off the changing table when I had finally managed to get him dressed through the kicks, plopped him on the floor and walked out of the baby change room to take some deep breaths.  He stopped crying and stood there unsure of what his next move was.  Eventually wandering out to check I was nearby and then wandering back in the room again.

I really wanted to put him on Ebay.  I wouldn’t have even sold him to the highest bidder!

The rest of the day I left hubby in charge. He’d upset me so much I had gone for a quiet cry in the loos and he had his nap on the car journey back, which gave me some respite.  We then went to an art fair and he was ok throughout until we got the cafe where he started throwing things again and pulling angry faces at us.  Awful.

I know it’s still a language issue for him, but he has a very good understanding of what we say and how we feel.  I’m very conscious that at the moment he’s the “naughty one” whilst Pickle is “The good one” and I don’t want it to be like that.  I praise him when he’s good and try desperately to ignore bad behaviour, but it’s often so bad it would be wrong to ignore.

I have thought about buying books on raising boys, but have been dipping in and out of the book by Cordelia Fine called “Delusions of Gender” and so many studies are shown that we really aren’t that different and by treating genders differently we are setting up stereotypes from the get go, I really don’t want to do that.  However, he IS different to my daughter.  Maybe it is personality though.  Maybe I need to find a book that sits somewhere between my book and the book about raising boys. I really don’t know.

All I really know is that raising The Monster is hard work at the moment and I’m really sad about it.  I don’t want to sell him, really.  I don’t even want to joke about him being faulty or needing new programming.  He’s not faulty, he’s challenging.  The problem is that I need a game plan to cope with it and I’m not sure where to look for it.

Recommendations?

Posted in Children, Relationships | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

The Best Things about being in my 40’s

No, I’m not scrapping around for the positivities of getting older (ok, maybe I am), but there are definitely positives to age and I think it’s important to remember them when you are bemoaning your saggy tummy and bum, staring horified at your crows feet and complaining (yet again) that you have no idea what it feels like to NOT be tired all the time.

So here are my top best things about being in my 40’s.

I’m smarter!

I definitely am. It’s not just because I did my Open University degree from age 34-40, although that no doubt helped, but the bottom line is that after spending 41 years on this planet I’ve picked up a thing or two. Mostly about understanding people, but also a better understanding of the world, politics, environment and Life generally. I can hold my own in a debate about Feminism. NO way on this earth I could have done that 15 years ago.
Mistakes. I’ve made alot of my big mistakes already and I’ve (hopefully) learnt from them. No doubt I’ll make a few more before my time is up, but having made so many I know anything can be fixed, no matter how hopeless they look at the time.

I like my body and know my Clothes

It’s taken a bloody long time, but I think I’ve figured out what clothes suit me and what don’t. It’s a sad fact of life that once we appreciate the shape of our bodies, learn to love them to some degree, they are already on their way out. For me, being pregnant helped me appreciate my body the most. I know look at my wrinkled belly and it reminds of my children, not of an ageing body. I know a cinched in waist, no matter of the size will always make you look fabulous and wearing voluminous dresses or tops with no shape will do the complete opposite.

I’m waaaaaay more Interesting

I’d like to think I’ve always been a fairly interesting person. People always seemed to remember me from a distance meeting whilst I was scrapping around in the recesses of my mind just trying to remember their face. I think this was mostly borne from the fact I was over 18 before I realised I was capable of being thought of as pretty. My family had convinced me I was Frankenstein’s monster so I worked on my personality, established a sense of humour and focussed on watching and figuring things out. I think what makes me more interesting now is my life experience. I have a “colourful” past (or so I’m told) and I have no issue talking about it. I find other people’s past just as interesting and could wile away a whole evening talking about loads of topics. I think I have depth, whereas in my 20’s I was a bit empty, I now realise.

More Money

Oh yes, I’ve got more money than I had in my 20’s and 30’s. It didn’t magically appear but I made good decisions in work, improved on my knowledge and worked my way up. I have a mortgage, a big house, but can afford to buy myself an item or two of clothing each month and buy that Clarins product. In my 20’s I was earning less than £700 a month and living in a bedsit. I know which I prefer.

I know who I am and what I like

This is a biggy for me. I know what freaks me out, what brings up my anxiety and what calms me down and THIS alone is worth being in my 40’s. In my 20’s and 30’s I got all of those emotions and had no idea what the hell was going on. I would argue with those around me and spend hours feeling sorry for myself with no real idea on how to go about fixing it. Whilst I still struggle occasionally, on the whole I know “why” and know “how” to make myself feel better. A brisk walk, a spot of gardening, 20 minutes by myself. I’m quicker to apologise for my actions and to move on.

I know how I form Friendships

I’m a slow burner. There is just no two ways about it. I recently went to a tweet up (which I had to psych myself up for weeks in advance) to go and say “hi” to a bunch of people I didn’t know. They were lovely, welcoming, friendly and just delightful, but I was a fish out of water. I felt uncomfortable, I had no reference to talk to them and I just wanted to be at home. I know this seems contrary to my point above, but there was an agenda to meeting these people, rather than it being a spontaneous, accidental chat with people I knew around me in case things went pear shaped. Firstly, I’m very picky about who I’m friends with, but once I know we’ve hit it off, I could well be the most loyal friend you have. I’m happy to live with this. It’s just the way I am. Please don’t mistake my aloofness for anything other than mild terror.

I’m prepared for Child rearing

I think I would have been a terrible mother in my 20’s and early 30’s. I would say that wouldn’t I? I do think it’s true though. Of course I don’t care remotely whether you are 16 or 46 when you have your children, provided you raise children to be considerate, kind, polite and with a suitable moral code. I know the advantages to raising children in your 20’s, but for me, this was definitely the right age for it. Now with a 5 year old and a 2 year old and me in my 40’s I have the strength of character to ignore short term gains in order to ensure long term achievement. I have had the time to reflect on my own upbringing, stop finger pointing, accept both sides of the story and adapt my teachings to try and not make the same mistakes. Of course I will create a whole bunch of new ones, that is inevitable, but as one of my goals is to be as honest with my children as I can (within context and reason), I’m hoping they’ll accept some of those mistakes and build on top of them for their children. Of course I also have the skill (and the psychology degree) to create new ways to get a toddler to eat vegetables. THAT is my biggest achievement.

Laughing

I enjoy laughing so much more now than I ever did. I laughed alot years ago too, but I think I took it for granted. Now if I spend an evening with friends and we laugh alot, I appreciate how fantastic it is. I live for the joy and laughter now and know that in a world of responsibility, pain and emotion, how the laughter and joy should be celebrated all the more.

I appreciate A cup of tea

How wonderful can this be? cup I used to stare at my parents in disbelief as they made their third cup of tea of the day in 40 degree heat (“it helps you cool down”), but I really do get it. Tea, cake, a meal out at a good restaurant, a spontaneous walk in the woods. It is the little things in life that bring the greatest joy and it’s just a shame it took getting to 40 to discover that. I intend to appreciate it.

So yeah, lots of rubbish things about getting older, but I think FAR more good things come with age. What are your best things about getting older?

Posted in Age, body, Children, Mental Health, Relationships, Work | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

My Changing Wardrobe

One of the nice things about starting blogging, especially a blog about my age, is that I feel a small pressure to get my act together on the clothing front.  I’ve also got into the habit of reading other bloggers, specifically fashion blogs for my age range, and seeing what things might suit me.

I’ve noted that if you have the legs, but don’t want to “get them out” then skinny jeans, jeggings or leggings will do wonders.  Teaming that with a fitted but flowing top and you have a pretty impressive silhouette.

With this is mind I tottered (actually I clomped, I don’t tend to wear stilettos) over the road to where there is a concession in a department store near my work to see what things I could buy from my new favourite clothing shop, Mint Velvet.

I found this beautiful, transparent top and bought it and wore it last week with my River Island, pleather panelled skinny trousers and high ankle boots. What do you think?

Mint Velvet topWhilst trying on the outfit above (which, by the way, needed a black vest underneath as the white one contrasted with the trousers) I took note of how much my wardrobe has changed.

Firstly, I have an awful lot of work tops that don’t embarrass me. They aren’t perfect, but they are pretty nice and I’ve got a lot of choice, so I can go 2 or 3 weeks without wearing the same one.  I’m still wearing dank, dark and uninspiring work trousers.  I’m not sure how to get out of that rut.  I have ditched the matching jackets though. They are upstairs in storage and I wear cardigans.  It’s taken me a while to realise that my very wide shoulders were really enough without a massive jacket on them.

My going out clothes are more numerous.  Not dresses, that is still in need of improvement, but I have jeggings, the tight trousers, some dark blue bootcut jeans and just generally have more choice.  I have some really lovely tops, almost all are from Mint Velvet.   I don’t go out very often, which is the dilemma I have about my casual clothes as well.

My casual clothes for doing the school run, going to ballet, day time visiting and just mooching around are a bit dire.  Some of the going out clothes mentioned above could definitely be worn but then they aren’t special going out clothes anymore are they?  How do you find a balance between mooching and evening drinks?  At the moment I wear either my dark blue skinnies with a stretchy striped long sleeved t-shirt or one of my jeans, either skinny or bootcut and as we’ve had such dire weather any choice of top is covered up under a summer coat.  I can’t keep doing that though can I?  I’m going to have to give this some serious thought.

For the coming season I’m still on the look out for a proper hippy maxi dress for daytime. Not a v neck neckline or a drawstring at the waist. Basically the ones that were about 2 years ago and I forgot to get on the band wagon for.  This will be perfect for my trip to Spain and allow me to cover up my veiny legs.  I’m also looking for some more flats, but in Continue reading

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