A merry and marvellous March

Not only is it now definitely Spring-like here which is in itself decidedly uplifting and joyful, but it’s also Day One of my new wardrobe ūüėÄ ¬†I confess was a bit fed with clothes during the last week of my Season Four. ¬†I was bored and fed up with pretty much everything and completely lost interest in making any effort whatsoever.

Shame on me ?


Not really, I think most people will become a tad bored after 92 days of ¬†trying to make up outfits from the same items when for over two thirds of those days, it’s essential to dress for one location and situation (work) and with the main purpose of keeping warm. ¬†Meaning that whatever I may have been wearing underneath, I was often having to wear the same top layers so I felt like I didn’t have so many options for different outfits ūüė¶

Never mind, it’s over now and I don’t like to dwell on the past; I prefer to revel and luxuriate in the present whilst keep one eye on the future. And the future is looking not only sunny and bright, but crucially, warmer too – hurray ! ¬†I’ve had the most lovely three days sorting out my wardrobe, drawers, trunks and also completely re-arranging the furniture in my bedroom to maximise space for mediations and yoga practice, the flow of energy and also to ensure I get as much light and brightness as possible. ¬†It feels wonderful in there now and a completely unexpected bonus was that when my delightful (yet unbelievably messy) Teen saw my room, she decided to follow suit and ¬†cleared out and rearranged the furniture in her own room. ¬†Lesson learned by me : leading by example had almost instant results whereas nagging and sniping has got me almost NOWHERE, for YEARS.

Throughout February I’ve been taking part in a mini challenge with a couple of friends, the object of it being to get rid of as many times as possible from our homes. ¬†I managed 50 by myself and Teen has probably doubled that so we DO have a lot more space and calm in our home. ¬†One of the items on its way to the charity shop is that pink skirt I mentioned previously. It just isn’t ‘right’ for me and bedsides, the Teen declared that she would be unable to talk to me if I ever wore it.


My workwear is casual so I wear trousers/jeans a lot. These are the ones I’ve selected for my capsule for the next three months, and the angle I’ve photographed from makes some of them look a bit of a strange shape, however, I’m showing for colour rather than cut! ¬†I dithered over the white ones until I remembered that my season includes May and that can be deliciously warm; the same reason for including those mad print palazzos which I’ve had for years and often think of getting rid of until I remember they’re pretty much the only reason I have for using the word ‘voluminous’ and on reflection I believe that is reason enough.

A varied selection of colours, prints and plains for tops and blouses (tank tops for warmth and laying aren’t included in the numbers for my season) ¬†and I’m full of wild optimism that I’ll be able to make up many different outfits for both work and play days

IMG_5818          IMG_5823using a cunning combination of imagination and large dollop of incautious concern as to what others may think of my dress sense!

IMG_5820¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†IMG_5825I’m keeping some woolly jumpers and scarves in the collection for a few weeks as I really feel the cold and I’m not convinced that the calendar and the temperature are in agreement just yet.

IMG_5822 Just look at all those hangers, waiting for their turn to be removed and then switched round the other way!

I havent photographed everything, because frankly, I got bored and hungry so went off to make some toast and then snuggled down with a book for while… I certainly won’t win any style awards and it’s probably not a very cohesive collection but I’ve done my best with what I had to work with. I think I counted 35 items, not including footwear, scarves or jewellery.

IMG_5826¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†IMG_5817It’s the majority of the items I have to choose from ( haven’t included coat, blazer, biker or warm jackets – too dull) and these are the remnants from my first year of practising my version of P333. I shed so much during that first year and ¬†I’ve pledged not to buy any new items of clothing this year although if necessary I can replace a much loved and worn item which is either worn out or no longer fits. ¬† And when I say no longer fits, I mean too big.¬†I have a bundle of clothes in a bag marked “too small” and the date: 25th May. ¬†On that day last year, I declared that if I could still not fit into those clothes on the same date in a year’s time, then I HAD to get rid of them.

I admit I’m scared, but I shed 4 lbs during February so I can easily shed another 5 lbs in March.¬†She says, somewhat boldly.

I think this whole movement towards minimalizing and simplifying my wardrobe is going to end up being a three year process. ¬†The first year was about starting to sift through everything¬†I had, buying more of what I felt I needed and then working through each season and getting rid of everything I didn’t like or which didn’t suit me at the end of it. ¬†That has brought me to where I am now at the start of Year Two, whereby I’ve got rid of most of the dross and now I have to see what stills works, and really nail the styles, shapes, colours and cuts which are perfect for me and my life.

I won’t promise to post pics of every single outfit, every single day, but rest assured I’m making a note of it in my book and also keeping a tally of how often each item gets worn.

And for the record, today I’ve been wearing distressed jeans and a grey top – prefect for doing furniture shifting and trips to the shed !





The winter wardrobe is waning – come on spring!

When we first moved abroad, ¬†I remember that each morning my parents would look out the window, grin at each other and say ” it’s sunny again today”! ¬†It became a bit of a thing and we all used to dread coming back to the UK each summer; having to pack for every possible weather condition known to man. ¬†I say ‘we’, but I expect it was actually my Mother who used to do all the dreading as she was probably in charge of the packing.

Some years later when I came back to school in the UK I took charge of my own packing and at the end of each terms I would fold all my school uniform and mufti clothes away in my school trunk at the end of each term and it would be stored in the basement until the next term. It didn’t phase me at all and I was quite used to ¬†living by this regular three month ritual. ¬†Thinking about it now, I did have have four separate wardrobes back then; a very British school uniform ( pinnies, boaters, white and brown gloves and an actual cloak) mufti to wear after school, summery clothes to wear when at home abroad and another set for the summer holidays, mainly spent on the Dorset coast in the UK. That probably sounds far more glamorous than it actually was; it’s not like I had fancy ‘collections’ or anything; I just had climate and occasion appropriate clothes to suit the various aspects of my life. On reflection, it’s no wonder that for so many years since, I’ve had such a bizarre, eclectic collection of mismatched clothes and have struggled so to find my own style ūüėÄ

Somehow, over the the years and with most of my time being spent in just one location and with a far less interesting and varied lifestyle,I slipped in to the habit of just having two season’s worth of clothes and swapping over twice a year. It didn’t really work that well and what with all the different styles and personalities I was trying to wear, it all became a bit manic and out of control. ¬†I kept on buying stuff in the vain hope that I’d manage to find myself somewhere in amongst all the bizarre collections of clothes. ¬†I had so many outfits which I’d co ordinated prettily from pieces I’d found from various places but they frequently disappointed me. Either ¬†the style of the outfit was wrong for my height and shape or the colours were wrong for my colouring. The more I failed to achieve what I sought, the more pieces I bought…

Well, I’m so happy to have finally stepped off that wheel of continual want and waste. Of all the separate pieces I had in my winter collection, there is only one item I haven’t worn at all and that’s the red jeans, because they are ( still) too tight. ¬†Although, I’ve only worn my navy dress ¬†the pink tweed skirt ¬†and my pink wool coat just one time as well. ¬†I like the idea of the tweed skirt, the colour and the style are fine but I’m just not sure ¬†how it looks on…

Perhaps I’m not dressing it with the right things so I’ll keep it a while and try to find some new ways to wear it. ¬†I LOVE my pink coat but I’ve decided that it’s more suited to spring. ¬†I don’t need two knee length wool coats for winter and I’d rather not wear a black one in Spring so I’ll have it¬†cleaned and then store it away until Autumn or Winter and keep the pink one for use in early spring.

There are quite a few items I’ve let go. For the first time, I think, I shall be ending a season with less than I started and would you believe that it’s now nearly two months since I bought any clothing … the pair of tights I bought to replace a worn pair doesn’t count.

I’ve donated three scarves, ¬†a cardigan, a jumper and two tops and swiftly returned a pair of shoes which I loved and wore about the house for two days until I finally conceded that I just cannot comfortably wear heels over two inches. However fabulous they may look and no matter how much they may elongate my legs, I SIMPLY WILL NOT SUFFER for appearance’s sake. Had I not injured my foot as a child then I may well be able to wear heels now and for a long time I did wear them; ignoring the pain, but I value my health and body so much these days and as my (imaginary) modelling career is probably also on the wane, I shan’t worry too much!

I’ve already had a peek in the trunk (the very same one I’ve had since school) at my Spring ¬†and Summer selection and I’ve already donated a pair of jeans, a tunic jumper, top, skirt, leggings and dress from it so I’m expecting to start off with a collection of items in which I like every single pieces.

I’ll admit that I am ready for a change now, I’m starting to feel just a bit bored with seeing the same items each time I open the wardrobe and as I honestly haven’t worn a pair of shoes in months, I’m quite looking forward to seeing something other than boots on my feet.

I’ve kept my diary free for next weekend, and thank goodness I don’t work Fridays, this seasonal ¬†wardrobe swapping is definitely a Three Day Event!

Emerging from the depths of Winter


I’ve been absent a while; and time has been a factor. Not so much time in the physical sense, like having the minutes or hours available to post; but more in the sense that I’ve found it difficult to gather my thoughts. ¬†I’ve been in that ‘space’ where there are lots of things going on which needed thinking about or organising and when not doing that or catching up with chores and errands, ¬†I’ve just laid along the sofa, gazing at the picture box in the corner!

There’s been quite a bit of social activity (by my standards, anyway). I discovered I quite like a pub quiz if in the company of fun people and a glass of cider. I accepted that I’m quietly competitive too, we came 4th out of 20 teams and I admit that the next time I want us to win. ¬†Just the once will do, I’m not needing to be in the spotlight for ever, I just like to know that I can do it!

Another pub trip was a bit further afield, following a drive to Sussex to Nymans Gardens. The gardens weren’t at their best it being mid winter, and the entrance fee felt a bit steep, taking that in to consideration, but the ruins of the house was certainly fascinating to look at from various angles.

IMG_5661 IMG_5646 IMG_5649

We enjoyed a wander around the gardens but didn’t explore the woods this time due to extreme muddiness on the steep path and potential injury to those not wearing wellies. Not me of course – I seize any opportunity to get my fabulous purple ones on!

I managed to go for a walk after work every day for a whole week, and then it got really, really cold so I slunk back in to the habit of scurrying home and spending as little time as possible outside. I need to rouse myself from the lethargy and get my act together. Soon I’ll have to reacquaint myself with the land behind the shed … but not just yet.

I’ve been enjoying my wardrobe a lot; not once have I struggled to find something to wear, although some pieces have become rather too snug for comfort and appearance. ¬†With just 3 weeks left of this ‘season’ I’ll soon need to start thinking about the next one, and in truth, right now that excites me far more than thinking about gardening, but I’ll address that in another post, nearer the time.

There was a touch of disappointment when I learned that the Black Keys gig we had tickets for was cancelled, but I put the refund to good use fairly quickly …

Last weekend was the most fun of all, a group of friends gathered in London to eat, drink, chat, wander and be very merry. ¬†We had a lovely couple of hours exploring the Grayson Perry ‘Identity’ exhibits at the National Portrait Gallery, had a gorgeous lunch with wine, coffee and cake, a filling Chinese supper, and spent some time at the fabulous Ronnie Scotts bar where we indulged ourselves with some delicious cocktails


I’ve decided that cocktails are the way forward and having discovered a little gem of a book for sale in the library when on my voluntary shift yesterday, I am now on the hunt for a full cocktail making set and then plan to spend the rest of my days draped about sun-warmed stone terraces complete with balustrades on country estates whilst dressed in silken splendour, sipping cocktails in the company of warm and witty women and dashing and debonair types of men …

I’ll be back to reality shortly, talk amongst yourselves for now please




A very Happy New Year

And may it bring opportunities for all that you desire.

I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t sail in to the new year quite as I’d intended and I was quite cross with myself at the time. ¬†Some hours later when I awoke, I was in a decidedly more pitiful state and feeling very sorry for myself. Thankfully, I am blessed with the most wonderful daughters and as one arrived bearing all the right things to lift me from my gloom and misery, the other one was busy dispensing birthday gifts and then clearing and tidying away the debris.

As I lay pitifully on my bed I suddenly caught a whiff of bacon and was then summoned to the table and was overwhelmed at what lay before me;



A vase of flowers, glasses of orange juice, bacon rolls, fruit, waffles, cakes and cups of blissful tea.

I was literally speechless and moved to tears ( the typical heartfelt gratitude of those suffering from self-inflicted pain!) and then set upon righting myself with what was on offer.

IMG_5567 I had plenty of these to go with the juice.



I’ll be honest, I couldn’t face anything sweet at the time so my share of the red velvet cupcakes and the giant waffles were saved for later and I concentrated on the tea and bacon rolls and within an hour was feeling almost human again. What a relief!

I was spoilt with gifts; bath and beauty products, jewellery, candles, cheques, gift cards and chocolate as well as the lovely brunch. I won’t need to be buying and bathing products for quite some time, which is fab as I plan to spend as little as possible during the next year.

I bought myself a great little diary – shown above – and I’m so excited as it has a page for each day of the week, so I can use it as a journal – I’m writing in it each day just before I go to bed.



I took the photo before the end of the year, which is why there’s nothing written in it yet! The day after New Year we travelled down to Dorset to visit lovely relatives; have a sumptuous lunch, go for a walk around the plantation, all bare and boggy, then to come back to sink into the sofas in front of the log burner and reflect on the year just passed and discuss our plans for the year ahead.


My plans are simple and may seem somewhat selfish at first glance. I have decided that 2015 is going to be about ME! ¬†Before you judge, remember that I’ll not be buying myself any clothes, shoes or accessories other than that which can be purchased on my gift cards. For the last 2 or 3 years I’ve concentrated on updating, decorating and refurnishing our home; bringing it to a condition which suits our needs and ¬†tastes. During that time the garden underwent huge changes too, I spent so much time and effort on digging and planting an entire veg patch only to see if fail miserably, I had trees removed, ¬†and planted a hedge by myself as well as the ongoing grass cutting, hedge and bush trimming and pruning, the weeding and raking. ¬†I plan to get on with that herb garden, but only when it suits me, not as a challenge on a self-imposed daunting task list.

So, when I say that 2015 will be all about ‘me’… I mean that I’ll be focusing on my health; body, mind, spirit, soul and my wealth rather than just treating myself all year. Although, that’s not a completely flawed concept ūüôā

Today was spent removing the last traces of festivities from the home; taking down decorations, the tree and packing away all the bits and pieces in boxes, then storing them back in the cupboard for another 11 months. I love how clean and tidy our home looks now, so much less cluttered and it feels calmer, more serene. I moved a couple of pieces of furniture about to ring in the changes and hopefully encourage healthy new habits.

I’m not doing any of this booze-free stuff in January but I am going to avoid all cakes, biscuits, sweets, chocolates or dessert products, opting for plain yoghurt or fruit if I really need the sugary fix. I’ll be walking a lot more than I have in the last few weeks and reading a lot more, as opposed to feasting on complete series on a certain streaming service… and of course I’ll be writing a lot more too, in my fab new diary / journal.





The beginning of the end

IMG_5504 After 4 days of hosting, feasting and festivities we have just had 2 days of lazing about and self indulgence. ¬†I can chill for days, I am very good at relaxing, but the self indulgence bit quickly wears thin. We’re bored of the festive food now, we’re finishing up everything food that is remotely festive and what we don’t fancy goes out for the birds. I can’t face the stilton so that may well end up in a soup with some broccoli as I can’t bear waste. Even these fab gingerbread guys which Teen made may end up outside… we’re just done with it all now – I’m currently feeling like the one at the bottom – slightly crushed with al the extra weight ! A simple chicken salad was had for dinner last night and it was lovely! Before I do my final post of the year and make declarations for next year, I just wanted to share a couple of other wonderful things which happened in December. ¬†Firstly – and this was just amazing – we saw Kasabian at the Brixton Academy. ¬†I’ve been a fan since first track I heard (LSF) about 10 years ago, so to see them at Hard Rock Calling back in the summer of 2013 was wonderful. ¬†To get tickets to see just them at a much more intimate venue was fantastic. ¬†Due to Teen’s phone contract, w e and several other people got inside early, meaning a fab place at the front – although we later moved back a bit as it was just a bit hectic for not very tall people! ¬†The Maccabees were on first and they were great then the build up to Kasabian coming on really got the tension building. ¬†A screen with the half hour counting down¬†IMG_5409 It was a great gig, fab performance, brilliant atmosphere and where you start at the beginning of such an event is often a long way from where you end up – the tide of people swishes you about and everyone is so hyped up and yet friendly. ¬†There’s no aggro or judgement at a gig. No one cares what you do or how you dress, you’re just all there for the same reason and I LOVE that. IMG_5411¬† The humour was in evidence too as always ! The things that stood out for me were that everyone in the audience ended up sitting at one point, the sheer joy and energy of dancing and jumping in unions ¬†and as we all slowly flooded out on to the roads after, the singing continued all along Brixton High Street, down on to the tube and even little pockets could be heard back at mainline stations – FAB! Really looking forward to the 2 gigs I’ve already booked for next year ūüėÄ The other great thing was that I received my poppy from the Bloodswept Lands installation at the Tower of London. ¬†It arrived in a beautiful box, with a commemorative booklet and (which excited me the most) the actual stem it was on, complete with instructions as to how to fix it to stand up again.


I feel very privileged to have this little piece of history to remember what happened, to keep for now and one day pass on, at some point we’ll choose a name and dedicate it to that fallen hero.

I’d love to have install it in the garden, or by the front door so we can see it each time we pass in or out, but I confess that I’m too scared that someone may damage or steal it so for now it lives safely in its box in the living room. ¬†So safely in fact, that I completely forgot to show it when we had people over at Christmas!

A far less emotive and yet equally important event has been the discovery of a new way to live, financially speaking that is. ¬†I know I’ve frittered so much over the years and whilst I have spent the last 2 or 3 years gathering essential goods and replacing those which are worn out, with a view to not having to spend for a while, I’ve not really kept track of all my spending. What I now realise is that for every time I’ve overspent from my normal income budget, I’ve simply transferred money from my savings to cover this.

The salient point in that paragraph is “…every time I’ve overspent…” ¬†Yep, overspending. That thing which means spending more than is necessary, or ¬†more worryingly, available. ¬†Just because I can cover the credit card payments, and not pay any interest doesn’t make it ok that I do so. ¬†Yes, I bought gig tickets on the card, and yes I do get rewards when I use it – ¬£28 of vouchers to spend in the local co op which I plan to get us through the lean times of January – but sometimes, knowing that I have that credit facility means I’m not quite as thrifty ( still refuse to use the ugly ‘f’ word) as I could be.

Case in point being the ¬£12 salad spinner I bought just before Christmas. ¬†I had a ¬£10 off voucher for when I spent ¬£50 in my favourite supermarket. And not content with having bought yet more bottles of Bucks Fizz to make sure ¬†I became very anxious about getting to the till and not having spent the requisite ¬£50. ¬†Of course I had. I didn’t need the salad spinner to either reach the target or …( here comes the shameful bit)… at home. ¬†I already had a salad spinner!

Anyway, eldest was very pleased to get a free salad spinner and youngest got to waggle her eyebrows at me in that superior way and I was chastened. I dont intend to spend much at all next year. I begged for socks and gloves as christmas gifts and was blessed with them, I dont need any other clothing items.

And, for the last few weeks I’ve been logging every single penny I spend in my spending tracker. ¬†This brilliant little app has revealed things that previously just floated right past my consciousness and there is nowhere to hide.

My November total spends looked a bit like this :


Now that is a very telling little picture. ¬†It shows that I spent almost as much on my daughters riding lessons as I did on rent. ¬†Of course, it doesn’t show that I’d actually been saving up towards these lessons and that for the next 2 months there will be no spend on the lessons at all. Nor do I usually spend more on gig tickets than I do on food, but the one category which really struck me ? ¬†The one which shows that I spent more on clothes than I did on Council Tax ! ¬†Again, this isn’t normal as I’ve been gathering a wardrobe to last a year, but still. You can view it as a bar chart too, which means each category is clearly visible. ¬†I’m as yet undecided as to whether this is a good thing or not!


Every single imaginable category is there, I now know exactly how much money went on fuel, on sweets (£14.73 in November, £9.87 in December) and how much Рto my great annoyance Рwas spent on parking in December Р£11.40.  I know that I had a budget of £300 for Christmas gifts and that what I spent was £293.70. Which is good, right?  Although, I confess that I did decide that getting my car cleaned for £10 was actually a gift Рboth to the car and me ahem Рand I also counted the £12.72 I spent on stamps and the £6.40 on postage, in the gift category so actual gift spending was probably closer to £250, still within budget and still ok !

I decided that first 2 months of using this app would be mainly for experimentation purposes, just to actually see where the money goes. ¬†Now I know ( and no, you really don’t need to know what the figure in the takeaway column was …) I am going to be super thrifty in 2015.

I admit that my overspending means I’ve obliterated my ’emergency everyday living expenses fund’ from a comfortable ¬£1,000 to a ridiculous – won’t even cover the rent- ¬£300.

That’s my first target, right there. ¬£700¬†back in the savings pot as quickly as possible.

The clock starts on January 2nd. Tick tock!

I’m away to do a bit more tidying – those gingerbread men won’t eat themselves you know.

x Lula x

As the festivities fade…

I can’t help but feel just a tiny bit relieved. ¬†I really love preparing the house; the tidying, the cleaning, the rearranging of furniture, the decorating and embellishing, the twinkly lights and all the sparkles.

IMG_5518¬†I love how everything looks warm and cosy, ¬†I revel in the glow of scented candles and the signs of a well-used home; piles of gift ribbons in a corner, waiting to be stored away for re-use next year. Ornaments askew and out of place, ¬†the sticky fingerprints belonging to an inquisitive 2 and half year old, recently discovered on the tv, bookcase and mirrors ūüėÄ

However… once the last guest has gone and we’ve had some time to relax and reflect ¬†(or ahem… return to watching The Killing…) ¬†my thought wheels start to turn again, my eyes scan the rooms and I begin to assess what changes can be made to make our home tidier, simpler, less ‘busy’ or just freshen it up a bit. ¬†I’m categorically NOT doing any decorating or buying anything new for it. ¬†I mean those little changes which can make all the difference. Things like repositioning a picture a few inches up or to the left, moving a lamp or piece of furniture from one room to another or getting rid of it altogether.

I’m keen to get started on decluttering and charitizing unwanted things, but I’m not allowed. Yet!

So, yesterday the Teen went riding as per usual and while it was lovely to be out in the fresh air for an hour or so, it was bitterly cold and I was only watching so I had to think very carefully about what to wear. ¬†I ended up in many layers; a vest top and merino jumper under a wool dress with leggings , fur lined thick soled boots and a wool coat on top. Wrapped up with a lovely cashmere scarf, a wool cap and my gorgeous new red leather fur lined gloves, which were a gift from my eldest. ¬†I was a bit unsure as to how they would look and she questioned whether I really wanted red gloves… but I think they look fab and am so glad I insisted.


The best thing is that with all those layers, its not possible to detect exactly where those 4 lbs that I’ve apparently gained, have settled. ¬†I know! I’m disgusted with myself and I don’t really think I even ate that much. Admittedly I don’t usually have pain au chocolate for breakfast, especially not washed down with glasses of bucks fizz, nor do I quaff jugs of mulled wine or absent mindedly eat from the generously scattered bowls of chocolates, nuts and mince pies, so that might have something to do with it.

Roll (literally in my case) on January and some much-needed mindful abstinence!




A Merry Christmas to you


Finally we’ve arrived at Christmas Eve and it is time to take a look around and count my blessings. ¬†I have 2 healthy daughters, one studying for her GCSE’s and the other who has just – today – passed her final exams to become an ambulance technician – very, very proud of her, and now that I know just what is involved in order to get this far ( not everyone does) ¬†I have an even greater respect for those who work in the emergency services.

I am blessed with many other loving family members, my Dad is visiting tomorrow and my older sister is currently driving her way here and due to arrive shortly. I’m so excited about this as it’s been some years since we spent a Christmas together and I’ve cleaned, scrubbed, polished and sparkled everywhere !

I have a clean, warm home and cupboards with plenty of food for us all to share. When I recently took a survey to see how my income fared in comparison with other people in this country, I ranked in the lowest 18% in the country … and yet I feel that I am abundant with wealth. ¬†I guess it’s a matter of perspective, I have enough for my needs, a little bit to save and why should I want more than that ?


We have the delightful Tiny Harris living with us, she’s, fluffy, adorable and her help with gift wrapping and card writing has been immeasurable ūüėÄ

Our home is looking all festive and sparkly, warm and cosy and knowing that for the next 2 or 3 days my cherished family and I will be safe, fed and warm within is a great comfort. My thoughts are with those who are not so blessed.


We’ve had warm sunny weather today and a beautiful sunset, it seems my Teen’s desire for snow at Christmas will not be fulfilled this year – can’t say that I’m too upset!

So, having delivered cards to some neighbours, shopped for those last few bits such as fresh veg¬†and stuffing for the chicken ( no turkey in this house…) I went out to the garden to cut a few stems for the table. ¬†The birds have had all the holly berries and that’s fine – they need them more than me – but each year I cut some of the beautiful viburnum which is not only simple and pretty, but scented as well which fills the home and that is our table centre piece. Nothing fancy or dramatic, just a simple decoration comprising a left over log piece from a project at work, some stems from the garden – popped in an old mustard jar and tied around with ribbon – ¬†and some tea lights for warmth and light.


Merry Christmas everyone, I hope yours is equally filled with love, peace and joy.

x Lula x

Winter Solstice already!

Blessings to all this cheery day. I love Yule; it’s peak darkness, the heigh of the festive frenzy for me and the day on which I always aim to have everything sorted for the impending christmas and new year feasting and fun. ¬†I shall be shopping for groceries later today and then we can just rela-a-a-a-ax ūüôā It’s actually ridiculous quite how many attempts I’ve made to write a post; only to have the time slip by, then think of something else to write about, ¬†plan to add that in to the original post, only for the time to slip by again… ¬†and so on! ¬†So many things to chat about and they get lost in time so to get some routine in place for next year, I plan to set aside two specific time slots each week to write blog posts… ¬†We’ll see how that works out ! So, the first post was to be about my end of season 3 wardrobe round up and starting the next season on December 1st… yeh, I’m very aware it’s now the 21st ¬† I mentioned that I was so happy with the autumn one that I probably wouldn’t change much… and I didn’t. ¬†When I opened up my clothes trunk I discovered that I didn’t much like some of the clothes I had in there. ¬†I had ( what I previously thought was ) a lovely warm wool dress which I admit I held on to as it was partially made from yak wool ! ¬†I never even knew such a thing was in clothes. ¬†Anyway, the colour was a bit like porridge and not great on me – understatement ¬†– but the Teen’s calm and considered reaction to it went along the lines of ” Burn it, burn it now”. ¬†Ohhhh it was so soft soft, warm and snuggly and I briefly considered dyeing it… but I tend not to do that unless I’m guaranteed a good result. So it went on ebay, and now has new home and I had some money to buy something more suitable – yay! IMG_5307 ¬† And on that subject of dyeing; see that ticket ^ there, that’s from a fab (and too expensive to simply get rid of) pair of suede boots which I loved when I bought them… until I realised that their brown tone really didn’t go well with my new wardrobe odour schemes. ¬†A fine and fancy cobblers has opened up in the next village from me so I took them in to enquire if it was possible to dye them. ¬†They had them for about 2 weeks and I started to lose hope but eventually, after many coats and drying out in-between they were ready. The cheery man gave me a can of suede colour refresher and the price of the actually dyeing process and the can of spray was just ¬£20. ¬†Which, if you knew the original cost of the boots ( mumble mumble mumble pounds) is well worth the money. They’re now my favourite pair of throw-on boots and have been worn more in the last 3 weeks than in the previous 2 years of ownership. ¬†I very much agree with the little mantra on the ticket and it’s something I have always lived by. ¬†I am perfectly happy to buy cheap and/or pre-loved clothes, but I don’t buy cheap shoes. ¬†Feet often carry the weight of your entire body and if you use them to move about all day they deserve to be supported by a good sole and covered in quality material as well as a pretty design. Anyway, back to the wardrobe; ¬†I think I said the only pieces I hadn’t worn during the last season were 3 frocks. ¬†I decided that one was just wrong for the season – removed to another season – one was too clingy – ahem, still is – and I was wearing the other that week. ¬†The occasion I was wearing it for was a funeral. Not a formal drab funeral, but a memorial and farewell type funeral at which I was reading a eulogy so I chose this navy dress with small beige dots on. ¬†The bodice fit beautifully, the neckline was perfect and I’d previously altered the sleeves to a more flattering length, but when I out it on I still wasn’t overly happy with it. ¬†It just didn’t seem to hang right at the back but it was too late to come up with another outfit so I wore it and was perfectly comfortable. ¬†But after I’d washed it I decided that it seemed ‘right’ to let it go. I’m certainly not suggesting that it’s necessary to get rid of an item that’s been worn to a funeral, purely for that reason. Although I admit I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable with wearing clothes after… However, on this occasion it was the thing to do and I feel no shame in letting go a piece that I wasn’t completely happy with anyway. IMG_5438¬†^ That’s an outfit from the previous seasons which I’ve continued to wear as the temperatures have stayed fairly warm for the time of year. The shade of the cardi isn’t ideal for my colouring but with the scarf and wearing it open I can get away with it and the good fit along with the softness of cashmere is enough to make me stick with it for now, looks great with the boots too. Had either of my girls liked it I would have let it go to them, but neither of them were taken with the colour either hmmm… IMG_5439 This is another set I like wearing; black skinny jeans, black slightly fitted cardi with a bright pink top underneath to cheer it up. The scarf is black and white check rather than the grey it appears to be and ¬†does a great job of distracting the eye from my somewhat generous generous curves as well as elevating ¬†a few items of clothing to an ‘outfit’. ¬†I’m a great believer in the power of scarves, they add interest and tend to either lie flat against clothes or create some texture around the neckline. I used to try long statement type necklaces to pull an outfit together but found they’d just bounce against my boobs when I walked which just emphasises rather than detracts from their abundance! IMG_5462 I used the same scarf in a more casual way when wearing bf jeans and a loose jumper. Quite a lot of different colours going on here and I was a bit unsure when I first wore it. ¬†I’d originally tried it with a plain black scarf which hangs down but then it felt a bit too heavy and didn’t sit right as the jumper neckline is wide so needs a lighter scarf that sort of sits more like a collar and the colours felt a bit ‘two by two’ / ‘matchy matchy.’ ¬†I LOVE those shoes and really dont wear them too often. ¬†The reason being that in spite of sturdy construction – solid platform wedge sole with absolute no flexibility and a bugger to drive in – they are suede all over ¬†and those flowers are embroidered and I am so scared of damaging them so they can’t be worn again. ¬†I almost tip toe about in them. ¬†I’m not precious about most things but if I really love an item I will wear it carefully in order to prolong its life with me! IMG_5443 Above is another regularly worn work outfit. It’s a casual work place which is great as suits and buttoned up shirt collars really don’t look good on me. ¬†So, a plain black top, the ubiquitous black skinny jeans and new favourite boots topped off with a cheery red cardi and lightweight black / white owl print scarf. ¬†I suppose I could have worn this scarf with that jeans and jumper… not sure, I’ll have to try it out another time, see if I like it. So, I have 35 main items in Season 4. ¬†This includes my 5 coats: long smart black wool coat, long smart pink wool coat, short black wool jacket, short brown tweedish jacket and black leather biker jacket. I’ve not yet worn either of the long coats, it hasn’t felt cold enough yet. My 35 doesn’t include foot wear – 2 pairs of wellies, ¬†2 long black boots; 1 smart leather, 1 more casual fur lined wedge sole suede ( NOT ugg-ly boots ) 1 long brown riding style boots and the newly dyed black ankle boots, the pretty black ankle strap shoes & red patent heels. Nor does my 35 incorporate scarves : 3 wonderfully warm pashmina style in black, winter white and red, ¬†the 2 black/white ones pictured above, 2 pink ones, navy spotty one, or the thick snuggly yet rarely worn wool ones in pink or sage green – gifts that may not last be one this season… I dont include underwear, hosiery, pyjamas or leggings either, or vest tops worn under other things for added warmth/ layering, I have 5 of these. Nor do I include sloppy T or yoga pants worn for exercising. My 2 pairs of leather gloves and my 2 wool hats aren’t included either, nor are my 2 pairs of comfy/ warm/slouchy sweatpants which don’t leave the house – ever! Party/occasion frocks still don’t count either. So, what exactly does my 35 include then ? IMG_5032¬†Err no! My 35 is made up : 5 x coats¬†: as mentioned above 6 trousers/ jeans:¬†2 pairs of black skinny jeans, 1 x indigo smart ¬†jeans, 1 x faded, slightly distressed boyfriend jeans, 1 x red jeans. 1 x dark undistinguishable brownish, reddish colour which I’m dyeing black. Cant have too many pairs of black skinny jeans! 10 tops : 2 x black tops, 2 x red tops, 2 x grey tops, 2 x stripe tops, 1 x pink top, 1 x white top 2 dresses : 1 x black wool dress, 1 x navy jersey dress – still too clingy… 1 skirt : pink -purple tweed style – carried over from last year. Teen detests it, I’m undecided…. 5 cardigans : 3 x cashmere – black, red, mouseish brown, 1 x long cream aran, 1 x long navy 6 jumpers : 2 x pink jumpers ¬†(1 smart, 1 slouch) 2 x black jumpers (1 cute bow neck, 1 v neck) ¬†1 x navy slouch, 1 x red So, I still have far more items overall than I truly need. I estimate I’ll be shedding between 3 and 5 items by the end of the season and I already got rid of 5 before narrowing it down to the ones above. Interestingly, I’ve found ¬†that now that I’m dressing for my real life – work, riding, shopping, family and occasional social forays, as opposed to my fantasy life – wild nights dancing, weekends in country hotels, Paris in springtime, weekend city breaks, tea at The Ritz, tropical holidays, torrid steamy afternoons, Breakfast At Tiffany’s ¬†etc… I need a lot less!

Nobody notices, truly they dont !


So, this is the last week of my¬† Season 3 – Autumn wardrobe and I’m in two¬† minds about the swapping process which I’ll start this weekend.¬† I know I have spent quite a bit on updating and creating my new style and colours, but I can honestly say that I’ve never enjoyed wearing my clothes so much, nor found it so damn simple.

Not once have I stood before the clothes rail and failed to find two or 3 pieces to put together to create an outfit.¬† I may have decided that my first choice didn’t quite work for me, and consequently tweaked either top, scarf or shoes, but there has ALWAYS been something I can find.

On the other hand… I admit there is some excitement and anticipation around the prospect of opening up the trunk to see what’s inside the winter pile, although, I’m so happy with my current stuff that I could happily just swap in some warmer items.

I have purchased a few more pieces where I noticed gaps and just last week I bought 4 new tank tops to wear next Spring and Summer.¬† Huh ‘next’ ?¬†I hear you say. Yes indeed you read that right, I’m buying stuff for next spring and summer.¬† I already knew what would need replacing at the end of last summer – white and navy tank tops – and I came by a 20% off card for H&M so it seemed like an ideal opportunity to stock up. I really like their organic cotton tops; so soft, smooth, perfect width straps and a long length too.¬†But still, that’s very forward thinking, to buy pieces some 6 months ahead, I hear you murmur with some disbelief.¬† True indeed,¬† but I have a good reason for being so organized :

Season 4 – Winter is the final one in this series of my version of projects333 and having spent almost a year assessing what suits and fits me best; in terms of cut and style as well as colour, ¬†I wonder if I’m now in a position to go a whole year without buying any new clothes ?

Yes, I said “go a whole year without buying any new clothes”. And I’m not even a tiny bit drunk – I’m stone cold sober and very serious. ¬†You see, the thing is I’ve realised just how many clothes I have, even though I’ve halved my wardrobe and also – this is amazing – that I still don’t really need all them. ¬†There are only 3 items from my original selection that I haven’t worn and they’re all dresses. The black tunic dress feels too good for work and yet I’ve chosen to wear other things when not at work. ¬†The lovely blue jersey wrap dress is a bit too curve-hugging at the moment and as for my navy tea dress with camel polka dots … I’ll be wearing that this Friday.

During a conversation with a lovely cheery friend, she said how funny she found it when people wear an outfit one day, then a new outfit the next day and then the, following one they put the first day’s outfit on again, as if to make out the first outfit had been washed in between wearings ! ¬†Now, I admit I have done this myself, not so much to pretend it’s been washed and pressed, but more to give the fabric a chance to air and rest and also for a bit of variety, as if it’s somehow wrong to wear the same thing twice. ¬†I used to be very obsessive about washing all my clothes after just one wear, I think it’s a hangover from the days when I used to smoke and would be so conscious of the smell – even though I would only ever smoke at the bottom of the garden.

So, the next week at work I observed what people wore and it seemed to me that the women would have a different outfit each day, but more often than not, the men would wear at least one item 2 days running, and some of the guys who work on site every day and don’t meet with clients tended to wear the same pair of jeans or hoodie every day, although they would wear a fresh shirt or T shirt each day.

Having created a seasonal wardrobe that I like, feel comfortable and confident in wearing, the last thing I want is to have to replace those items each year as I’ve worn them out by constant washing and ironing so I thought I’d have a go at wearing one item very day at work. ¬†For my experiment I chose a pair of black skinny jeans as my staple and I wore them to work every single day for a week. ¬†I alternated black and tan boots and various tops and cardi’s with scarves or jewellery to add a bit of variety and colour.

I would hang them up when I got home from work, but put them on again the next day. ¬†I swear not a single person commented or probably even realised I was wearing the same jeans every day. Not my colleagues and not even my Teen who sees me stand in front of the mirror every morning ! I work Monday to Thursday so didn’t have to wear them for 5 days in a row, but still, I’d proved the point; nobody notices.


On the Friday, I went in to London to meet with the same friend who’d originally put the idea in my head. ¬†It was a lovely trip back to my youth as we met in Camden, where I spent much of my youth. The Great Gear Market has been renamed, the Carnaevaron Castle was nowhere to be seen and it’s probably a bit more glamorous and far less scruffy than when I used to go to buy studded belts and buckled boots, bootleg Clash tapes and just hang out, but it still has that same vibe, the orange juice man is still there and I still love it.


We had tea and cake, wine and then pizza and wine, we walked a lot Рover 15,000 steps that day and we managed to fit in lots of lovely chat and laughter.  I noticed my cheery friend was wearing a lovely dress, one with some serious credentials Рhaving been spotted in a style book we perused when she visited me. We talked of how much happier she is with a smaller amount of clothes, how getting dressed is easier and how fewer options means more freedom to spend time doing what we want, rather than in front of a wardrobe. Me,  I just wore my stripe top, beloved jacket and those black skinny jeans again.




And the great 100 year anniversary

However many documentaries, exhibitions or films I see, the horrors of the first World War never fail to chill and appall me. I’m bewildered and uncomprehending as to how so many brave men, women and animals gave their lives, in such dreadful conditions.

When I was a child that War seemed so long ago … and although now it is of course some 30 odd years further back in time, it seems not quite so long ago. ¬†That I suppose, is what ageing does to a person, the realisation that human years are so very short when compared to the history of the world itself. History and time itself appear quite fluid depending on where you are on your own timeline.

My Teen is quite a sensitive and imaginative soul and I’m keen for her to experience moments in history when I can, so on Remembrance Sunday we, along with about a million other people, headed to The Tower of London to pay our respects to the fallen, to gaze upon all those poppies and feel so very lucky to be alive and free in the glorious sunshine.

And it was a truly glorious autumn day; bright sunshine, clear blue sky and a bracing walk along the South bank towards the Tower on the other side of the river.


I love Tower Bridge, it’s such an imposing and elegant structure, instantly recognisable however it’s depicted.

IMG_5262¬† I’d love to live in one of those towers ¬†IMG_5264

As we slowly inched across the bridge it became apparent just how many people were also visiting, we moved forwards one shuffling step at a time. Finally as we approached  the end of the bridge we were able to pause to view the scene from above the moat, at that height it was like a river of blood.

We were able to stop for a while, to pause in our own lives and to think of all those who gave theirs. ¬†To see all those poppies, knowing that each one of them represented a lost life was overwhelming and the most humbling experience. It was impossible to even begin to count them; I simply tried to think of all the people and those they’d left behind, ¬†fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, brothers, sisters… just too many people.


People who can never be replaced, never be repaid, and who never returned to their loved ones.


Some months ago I bought one of those poppies and when it arrives I shall admire it, cherish it and one day pass it on so that each year someone in my family can touch it gently and think of those who fell; for our freedom.

We shall remember them

eta :

I started this post within an hour of returning home from our day in London but was interrupted by a phone call where I learned the sad news of the death of a relative. In spite of the significance of Remembrance Day I felt it inappropriate to post this at that time, out of respect for her and the rest of the family.