Thursday, 27 March 2014

Lent 2014 - Day 23

Well, this is odd.  I can't seem to start a new paragraph.  Oh well, looks like today will be written all in one big long line.  Maybe I'll be able to edit the paragraphs in later.

Ah ha!  Adding a photograph seems to have fixed it.  I have no explanation.

Khaki skirt (item 29):  This skirt feels like it's been with me forever.  It's fairly casual, with its unfinished hem and jeans styling, but still I find myself sneaking it into work outfits like this one.  It flares more than it looks like too, so there's plenty of movement, which I like.
Peasant T-shirt (item 9):  Another casual item masquerading as work-appropriate.  Works for me.
Pinkstripe Blazer (item 24):  And the final item, which tops the whole thing off and leaves me looking so professional that my boss comments on how smart I'm looking.  I should get a picture of it that doesn't make me dizzy though.

This outfit makes me feel happy.  It feels like spring has sprung and I'm enjoying the fact that it has.  I suspect that this is because the pink and green echoes some of the trees that are coming into blossom.  It's also a nice and practical outfit - I have climbed trees in something similar.

Footwear:  Flat boots again, because they're comfortable and I wasn't sure how chilly it was going to be, walking out of my door this morning.
Accessories:  Garnet necklace - I think this was given to me by a friend for a birthday back in secondary school, or near the beginning of uni or something.  It's very 'me'; I do like garnets.
Pink heart earrings - now THIS is an outfit which these earrings make sense with.  They're almost exactly the same shade as the piping on my jacket.

So I'm comfortable.  And I won't have to get changed before my dance class tonight.  This is good, because Thursdays can be quick turn-arounds.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Lent 2014 - Day 22

Flat discipline

Stir-fry as planned last night, with the left-over sausages from Monday on the side.

Tonight everyone's in different places, so we're fending for ourselves.  I am contemplating a jacket potato with tuna mayonnaise once I get home from a lecture at work this evening.

Lone discipline

Bit of a repeat today, I'm afraid.  Hopefully that won't be the norm now that my list is basically set.
Normal-ish phone-holding achieved!


Plum pocket skirt (item 2):  It's still doing fairly well, but some pilling is starting to become evident where my bag hangs against my hip.  And I forgot to put a slip on this morning, so it's sticking to my tights like nobody's business.
Cream jumper (item 1):  After several sunny but chilly days I have learnt my lesson and am feeling really rather cosy today.  But I so want it to be spring and just don't have the right clothes on my list for that.  Well, we shall see.  Perhaps it will be possible to tweak my colours using only accessories.  It's a challenge for the rest of Lent, certainly.

Footwear:  Tan Mary Janes.  I've climbed 8 storeys-worth of stairs in these so far today and no misadventures so far.  I'm not certain that the fit is exactly right but my feet aren't complaining today.
Accessories: purple scarf - this has been borrowed from my girlfriend (her mother gave us one each for christmas but mine is pink and wasn't anywhere to be seen this morning) and is so soft and thin, but large enough (and made from I-know-not-what) that it's cosy too.  In the winter I'm known for wearing scarves draped around like this, but perhaps more so in my student days when I spent many days studying in large draughty spaces.
Purple earrings - stolen from my mother who kept getting them caught in her clothing.  Not really the right kind of purple, but never mind.
Ring stack - cheap as the proverbial chips, this ring stack used to have different surface textures but the shiny ones have dulled and the textured one has buffed so now they all look the same.  And the plating is wearing through so the coppery metal beneath shows through.

Today I'm wearing different glasses.  And I've just noticed that one of the lenses is starting to make a break for freedom.  I prefer my usual pair for comfort but these are a bit more subtle (I think the impression they give in the photograph of slipping off my nose is because my head is tilted down looking at the phone screen to line up the shot).  Perhaps a wee post about my glasses-wearing is in order.  They might even be interesting enough to warrant such a thing!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014


I don't remember how old I was.  It must have been sometime while I was in primary school (because I think I thought I was too grown up to be put to bed way before I reached secondary school, aged 11) and it is likely to have been pretty early on, given the Bible passage in question is in Exodus.  So perhaps we are talking about 8 or 9 years old.

Anyway, my Dad and I used to read a chapter of the Bible every night before I went to sleep (and a chapter of what ever my storybook was at the time, but that's not really on topic).  We started at the beginning and before we gave it up I'm pretty sure we made it to Psalms or Proverbs or something.  At the relevant time we read Exodus, specifically the part with the plagues, in particular chapters 11 and 12 with the plague of death on all the firstborn.

And that's when I realised.  I was the eldest of my parents' 3 children.  Which meant I was their firstborn.  If God had decided to 'go through the land of South-East England' without warning, I would be the one to expire.  I really identified with the victims of this plague, who by virtue of being big brothers and big sisters met their doom.

And that's when I realised or, more likely given my age, was told - I would have been safe.  I wasn't a son, so I didn't count.  I remember feeling a peculiar mixture of relief, survivor's guilt and anger at being discounted by my gender.

I think that has remained with me.  I think that there's still an undercurrent within churches that discounts women purely because of their gender.  So many times I have seen women with incredible gifts and skills being shunted into children's work or other 'soft' ministries, regardless of their suitability for them.  So many times I have heard women report that opportunities to serve and lead only really opened up to them in church once they were married.  So many times I have heard a woman being introduced when preaching (thank God that they were allowed to preach) with a note of whose wife they were.  So many times I have heard casual and unthinking sexism from the front of church.  So many times my concerns about that have been dismissed.

So I'm trying to get past that.  I know that I am a tall, strong, independent woman.  I know God made me that way and I'm trying to believe that his church can figure out what to do with me.  I'm trying not to be defensive, or jump to concluding that everything is a slight.  Perhaps I'll get there.

Lent 2014 - Days 20 & 21

Flat discipline

There were salad leaves in last week's veg delivery.  We have eaten most of them now and they were peppery and delicious.

Last night's tea was yellow-sticker sausages and yet more roasted vegetable cubes.  I could live quite happily on roasted vegetable cubes, apart from the oil levels.

Tonight the plan is a stir-fry.  I may allow yesterday's final two sausages to creep their way into the mix.

Lone discipline

Work is busy, so no photographic proof, but right now it's all about comfort and temperature regulation.  Also, seem to have left phone somewhere.  No idea where.

Day 20


Smocked jersey dress (item 12):  Oh yes, all about the comfies.
Striped jersey blazer (item 13):  Still a favourite.  Just has that edge of structure that you need when you basically propose to wear nightwear to work.

Accessories:  knitted rose-patterned tights for the warmies, no jewellery for the easies.
Footwear:  Red Mary Janes.  Smart shoes to make me feel grown up while wearing jammies to work.

Day 21


Brown spotty dress (item 14):  Still comfortable, just a little more work.
Aubergine long cardigan (item 28):  Big and warm.  I can't remember how long I have had this beast, but it gets trotted out throughout the cooler seasons, or when I want to feel like I'm wearing a bathrobe but look like I made an effort and picked something dramatic.  The brown/aubergine combination is interesting and rather autumnal, but there you go.

Accessories:  Garnet celtic cross necklace, pink enamel heart studs.  These items do not go together.  I am wearing them regardless.
Footwear:  Knee-ish high brown boots.  'Nuff said.

And I've reached 29 items used.  Only one more to add and I feel like I ought to keep the spot in reserve in case of emergency or laundry failure.  It's an interesting list that I've put together, because I haven't really thought about it as a list, just listed the things I have happened to choose.  One or two items may end up biting me.  It seem sot be a fairly balanced list so far, comprising 5 dresses, 7 bottoms (skirts/trousers), 9 tops and 5 over-layers (7 if you count the 2 tops that do double duty), but I'm not sure how many outfits that means I have to choose from.  I suppose I could wear the owl tunic with the patterned leggings and the red cardigan, but I don't think  I would choose to do so.  There might be some benefit in considering all the possible combinations this list could give me though, I do get so easily bored with a limited clothing repertoire.

Lent 2014 - Days 18 & 19

Lone Discipline

Wearing Day 19

Red cords (item26):  Such bright trousers!  I worry that the bright colour shortens my legs, but it doesn't look like it in these photographs.  I like building outfits full of colour.
White shirt (item 25):  This is a fairly simple shirt that I inherited from a flatmate who moved away.  It's a bit sheer but great for layering or warmer weather.
Waistcoat (item 27):  I used to love wearing waistcoats and should totally get back into that.

Footwear:  Not the possum-fur slippers I am pictured wearing (which are now about 4 years old, mostly bald inside and really should have been replaced long ago).  Actually the nigh-on ubiquitous ankle boots.
Accessories:  Nothing much at all, apart from arm warmers and the flowery scarf.

Wearing Day 18

I dressed for a dance class so wore my knee-length khaki skirt (item 29), orange vest (item 18) and my stripey pink top as an overlayer.  It was all cool and practical stuff.  Then I went home, sat down to read a book after my tea and fell asleep for three hours, which led to a very peculiar interaction with one of the staff at my local Sainsbury's at 9pm when I explained that I was off to do some late night baking.  The cake was good though.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Lent 2014 - Day 17

Flat discipline

Mmm, more roast veggies!  This time with this week's meat in the form of pork loin steaks grilled with homemade applesauce and cheese.  This week's vegbox contained another neep and a white turnip.  I have no idea what to do with a white turnip, after a friend got confused and tried to mash it like a neep, ending up with a strange gloopy mush.  Ho hum, there's bound to be an answer, and it might well be roasting.

Tonight there will be a birthday-celebrating trip to Pizza Express.

Lone discipline


Brown linen skirt (item 23):  This was a gift from a much skinnier friend so it sits rather high.  But that means that the stitched down pleats fill out at about the right point on my hips and the length isn't awkward.  It's a comfortable casual skirt and although it's faded has given years of use to me and its previous owner.
Peasant T-shirt (item 9):  It's simple and less fitted than much of my usual fayre, but the neckline gathering and button detailing (when it's not sitting annoyingly squint) do add a certain something.
Pinkstripe blazer (item 24):  Wow!  This blazer is nothing like as eye-watering in real life.  This one makes me happy and is a great springtime outer layer.  It does have the inevitable sleeve-length issue, but I don't think I'll ever be brave enough to unpick the cuffs and see if it's possible.  The lapel piping means that the outer could be finished with piping too, allowing the sleeves to gain an inch each, which I think would be about right in this case.

Footwear:  Due to a combination of not having any thin tights clean and it being a lovely sunny day, I needed footwear that would hide socks and turned yet again to these trusty boots.  If I'm cycling for errands later, I may switch to tights and then decide whether to change or not change to different shoes.
Accessories:  Stone cross necklace - picked up at a clothes swap.  Mirrors the tone of the boots.
Tribal mask earrings - brought back from South Africa for me by family.  Don't get out much.

It's only the second day of Spring, but I'm barelegged!  I don't know if this will last the day.  It's fine in the office, but the walk in was a bit brisk.  I should have worn earmuffs because it really  only was my ears that were uncomfortable, having my feet covered meant that although it was chilly around my knees it wasn't too cold.

Lent 2014 - Day 16

Back to your scheduled viewing...

Lone discipline

I'm getting more practiced at one-handed photo-operation, but the need to hold myself up halfway through the work day is rather worrying!


Brown spotty dress (item 14):  It's a great staple, this one.  Still straining a bit at the top but soft and comfortable so I will give it a lot of a chance.
Red Cardigan (Item 4):  The photograph doesn't show it well, but this is a strangely shaped cardigan, being slim through the waist and over the hips but really wide in the shoulders so it sometimes slips off.

Footwear:  It's the slightly-short knee-high boots again.  Worn today because they are waterproof and it was raining when I walked to work.  I had been going to wear red shoes, but opted for protection rather than colour.  I feel I might be the sort of person to get enough wear out of a pair of red knee-high boots, though, so maybe I should keep my eye out.
Accessories:  Pearl and diamond drop necklace - this was given to me by a friend one birthday.  It's small and simple, but it fits nicely with the neckline of this dress and I like the way that the tone of the pearl echoes the soft cream of the polka dots on this dress.
Mother-of-pearl earrings - I bought these with a voucher given to me by a couple of friends for helping out with their wedding.

Interesting thought about the way I remember how I came by items.  This is particularly true of jewellery even though I don't own very many valuable pieces.  I have misplaced items over the years and that makes me sad - there was a lovely silver ring that my sister gave me one Christmas that disappeared a few years later that I remember in particular.  In fact, rings seem to be particularly prone to this, perhaps because I fiddle with them a lot.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Lent 2014 - Days 11-15

Summary time!

Flat discipline

The eating's been good.  Lots of veggies, such that when the new box arrived yesterday we only had a handful of potatoes and half a neep left to go on the last one (although we did give away a neep to keep on top of everything).  There was leftover chicken curry with roast vegetables on Monday night and Tuesday night included a creamy-leeky-cheesy-cabbage thing, more roasted vegetables and some fried mushrooms.  We can't get enough of mushrooms in our house.  Wednesday night there was an AGM to attend with free pizza, so the minimal meat thing went out the window in deference to the real vegetarians present.  And tonight there will be Pork with further roast vegetables.

Lone Discipline

It's strange how difficult I find it to remember to photograph myself when I'm not at work.  And I was dashing up and down the country this weekend so in my tired state since I've also failed to take photographs.  Therefore, hereafter follows a handy list to record what I was wearing, although I do not claim 100% accuracy for Tuesday.

  • Saturday:  Patterned leggings, floral skater dress, cabled hoodie (items 20, 7 and 8)
  • Saturday evening bonus outfit:  Hawaiian sundress (item 22)
  • Sunday:  Green cords, orange vest, longsleeve checked shirt (items 17, 18 and 19)
  • Monday:  Patterned leggings, floral skater dress, cabled hoodie (items 20, 7 and 8)
  • Tuesday:  Brown linen skirt, floral shirt, striped jersey blazer (items 23, 16 and 13)
  • Wednesday:  Plum pocket skirt, orange vest, striped jersey blazer (items 2, 18, and 13)
So there you are.  Some of these might have been odd combinations - not achieving laundry over a weekend will do that for you.  Perhaps they'll see the light again, especially as I get nearer the end of Lent and get bored of my usual outfits.  I am starting to try and mix my outfits around so I don't get restricted by the 30-item limit.  We shall see how this pans out.

Lent 2014 - Day 10

Friday!  It's been a busy week of extra-curricular activities and a new job, so I'm a bit frazzled and looking forward to a day off on Monday.

Flat discipline

Chicken and root vegetable curry last night.  Very tasty, used up a fair amount of vegbox veggies and there are enough leftovers for Sunday tea once we get back from this weekend's jaunt.

Lone discipline

Different work bathroom for variety.  Also !Spiderhands.


Green corduroy trousers (item 17):  A truly wonderful pair of cords.  Nice and long in the rise, just the right length to wear with slight heels (36", in case you were wondering, from Long Tall Sally) and soft and comfortable.  They are that fairly recent slim bootcut and I generally like a bit more flare, but there's no denying they work nicely with today's boots.  These are my go-to trousers for casual but not mucky days.
Orange vest (item 18):  A basic vest that's on the big side of just right.  That's all I can really say about it.  I rediscovered it in my wardrobe last night and thought it was a good springtime option for today's outfit, where otherwise I would have worn white and been very nearly monochrome.  It's not as strong an orange as I usually gravitate towards, but I'm prepared to take on most shades of orange.
Checked longsleeve shirt (item 19):  Another item from that tall-specialist clothing company, bought at the same time as the cords and often paired with them.  Being brushed cotton it is nice and warm as a cold-weather under layer but also serves well as a warm-weather outer layer.

Footwear:  It's those boots again.  Still not polished though.
Accessories:  Ampersand necklace - I do like an ampersand.
I can't remember if I was wearing earrings.  Probably not.

This outfit was on the cusp of being too warm for a lovely sunny day, especially as I was cycling about rather than walking.  The uphill on the way to work was a bit of a struggle and it took me a while to cool down once I arrived, but the remainder of my journeys I took nice and slowly and they were not unpleasant.  I do need to get on my bicycle more, but I am wary of becoming a fair-weather cyclist.  Being a car part-owner has made me much more likely to cram activities into days rather than take the time to get to them on two wheels.  And I walk to work, because it takes about the same length of time, once you factor in the bicycle faffing at either end.  If I lived further I would cycle more often.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Lent 2014 - Day 9

Flat discipline

Veggie pizza last night.  Tasty stuff but no impact on the vegbox front.  There will be new vegetables next week, so hopefully tonight's root vegetable and chicken curry will help a bit.  Tomorrow I plan (if I can fit it in around some Very Important Baking) to parboil some diced veggies so they are ready to go for future roasting purposes.  If there was going to be time we would roast them before putting them in the curry tonight, so hopefully having ready-to-roast veggies to hand will help them creep into more meals.

Lone discipline

Back to work mirror photographs so I can catch up with myself!


Plum skirt (item 2):  Still loving these pockets!  I'm trying not to overuse them so that the skirt will keep its shape and so far it's still doing well.  Hopefully it will wash well too.
Floral shirt (item 16):  A new item for today.  I do like a 'proper' shirt, and while this doesn't quite count, it does at least have a collar and buttons all the way down the front.  There are also elasticated panels at the waist, so the fit's pretty good and it has little sleeves so my great long arms aren't an issue.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a great fan of blue (which this shirt is), but the purple and white flowers along with their greenery break that up to the extent that I'm happy wearing it every now and again.

Striped jersey blazer (item 3):  Oh, this is going to be a great favourite.  Someone actually asked me as I walked down a corridor today whether I was 'doing something professional' because the jacket-shape had fooled them into thinking I was dressed up.  I've photographed it today buttoned up and with the sleeves uncuffed, just for variety.  Having looked at photographs of it a bit I feel like it could carry a brooch and I don't often wear brooches so I'll have to look out something suitable.  Yet another reason to invest in blazer-type items, the brooch-deployment opportunities.

Footwear:  Tan-ish heeled Mary Janes - yet more polishing required.  I really should get on that.  The slightly dusky tone of these shoes is hard to see in the photograph and I think it makes them hard to deploy, but I go on wearing them, so it seems to be working.

Accessories:  Iolite necklace - a gift from my parents after my GCSE exams, I believe.  And I think it was purchased in or near Corfe Castle in Dorset, but don't quote me on that.
Hematite earrings - I nearly went with a pair of purple-stone dangly earrings today but decided that these little hematite drops with their delicate wires and tiny little hearts worked better with the slightly dainty feel of the necklace

It's an interesting choice to add an item of clothing that I don't truly love to the selection for Lent, and we'll see if it comes back to bite me, but hopefully it will offer a chance to think about the value of the items in my wardrobe that aren't favourites.  And this shirt has served a purpose previously - I was wearing a very smart dress to attend an interview but didn't want it widely known that I was sloping off to that, so this shirt reduced it to just a fairly smart pencil skirt and I looked relatively normal all day.  We'll see if I can come up with some interesting ways to wear it before Easter and whether I grant it a stay of execution or send it on its way.

Lent 2014 - Day 8

Flat discipline

Vegetable stir-fry as planned last night.  I wasn't cooking this time, so the vegetable over-catering wasn't in evidence but that left space for noodles, so a win nonetheless.

Lone Discipline

Slightly bleary-eyed after teaching a dance class


Brown spotty dress (item 14):  Yet another charity-shop find.  This dress doesn't have proper pockets, but the breast pockets are just the right size to pop my phone or ID card in to run a short errand.  Size-wise this is pretty good, but it does gape between the top buttons (there's a strategically-placed safety pin deployed to deal with that) and the empire waist seam sits just a little too high at the moment.  But it's soft and fun and a very 'me' item of clothing.  Also the shortest dress I'm comfortable wearing with only a single pair of tights.  Wierdly, I'm prepared to wear a slightly shorter skirt than this, but I think that's because bending forward in a dress causes more hemline movement.
Orange angora cardigan (item 15):  Man this is cozy.  It's probably on the cusp of becoming unseasonal, but one of my offices (don't ask!) has highly temperamental heating, so a bit of extra warmth to throw on once it's getting darker can be a god-send.  There's a tie-belt, but I tend to leave it knotted at the back to give a bit of shape.  Perhaps if I wear it again I will try it belted, but it just makes me feel like I'm wearing a dressing-gown, which isn't even appropriate on a casual Friday.

Footwear:  The brown leather boots are out again.  I'm still struggling with the length but it very nearly works, giving me a reasonable gap between the top of the boots and the hem of the dress.

Accessories:  Amber pendant - another gift from the paternal grandparents, this time one I chose myself.  It hangs on the chain from the celtic cross I wore on day 6, because it didn't come with a chain of its own.
 Amber drop earrings - A more recent gift, from Christmas 2012.
Hosiery:  I'm back to fleshtone tights.  This outfit looks more autumnal when I wear it with dark (or opaque orange) tights, the fleshtone tights lighten it up a bit for spring, so I'm good.

 This is a very 'me' outfit.  It's easy to wear, comfortable and goes well with my proportions.  It feels fun but it's smart enough for work.  It transitions seamlessly to a dance class where people need to be able to see my legs and feet.

Somehow this dress reminds me of the many charity shop items that have made their way into my wardrobe.  They make up 6 of my 16 items so far.  In the main they are dresses, skirts and tops, but that's par for the course when you're this tall.  I feel that with charity shops or clothes swaps you win twice (or maybe three times) - once for supporting charity, once for avoiding first-hand exploitative practices and once for the eco-points of reusing and recycling.  Of course, the downside is that there's a lot of work involved in finding items and if the fit is off you can't just try the next size up or down.  I get the feeling I compromise more on fit with these kind of items.

And I've still got 14 items to allocate.  We'll see how that goes.  I'm going to be adding two party dresses this weekend because Friday's dress will be in no fit state to wear on Saturday, so one of those might find itself in the casual Friday mix if I'm running low on inspiration.  Actually, 40 days on 30 items might not really be a challenge.  I'll have a think about reducing my selection further in order to improve the exercise.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Lent 2014 - Days 6 & 7

Started a new job yesterday, so I cheated a bit by (mostly) repeating my outfit for today.

Flat discipline

We had folks round for tea before a committee meeting yesterday and ate baked potatoes with various toppings.  I had tuna, so there goes my fish for this week (exercising an interesting definition of week to my own sneaky ends, but was healthier than the alternative cheese/baked beans options).  we served this up with the remaining diced vegetables roasted up for the occasion, so it was a win on the vegbox front to the tune of 5 potatoes (including the one I wound up with for lunch today) and several other vegetables.  There's a little bit of time this evening, so perhaps dicing and parboiling further veggies is in order.

Lone discipline

Complete with concentrating face and last weekend's festival wristband.


Smocked jersey dress (item 12):  Soft and comfortable with an empire-line cut that I find really flattering (comes of being short-waisted and long in the rise).  This dress totally points out one of my proportional quirks though - it's two sizes smaller than I usually wear from this retailer, because I have a relatively narrow ribcage, especially when you consider the width of my shoulders and my hips.
Striped jersey blazer (item 3):  Yet more gentle jersey comfort.  And another under-a-tenner bargain.  From a cheap retailer so the shoulder pads (which I could probably take out due to the afore-mentioned broad shoulders) and facings require a bit of care to lay properly.  In the photograph above I've cuffed the sleeves as the manufacturer intended and that exposes a bit more wrist than I like all day.  These sleeves usually end up folded down and nearly long-enough or cuffed and then pushed up nearer my elbows so I look like I meant to show off my wrists/forearms rather than having great long gorilla arms.  The tricks height encourages us to...

Footwear:  Red heeled Mary Janes - another pair of shoes in need of a polish, I'm afraid.  I've written about my love of red shoes already and they really are a very close match for the colour of this dress
Accessories:  Giant pearls - yet another bargain.  Added to an online order to make it cross the free delivery threshold.  Really handy when I need a neutral statement piece, but strangely, they prevent airflow round my neck so I can't wear them to dance in for any length of time.
Celtic cross with garnet - the necklace I wore yesterday, a bit less flashy than today's and given to me by my paternal grandparents when I was baptised (aged 13 or so).  A surprisingly perfect choice when I consider that my grandmother usually had tastes so different from mine at that age.
Hosiery:  Sainsbury's Medium Support tights.  I love these tights.  They're comfortable, tend to hold up to repeated washings and wearings and really do give me a nice silhouette.  Yesterday's tights were more opaque and grayer.  Today's are better, but I was really after the slightly pale fleshtone that the Sainsbury's tights come in.  It feels like spring is arriving and it's time to return to lighter tights.  But I put my thumb through a pair yesterday, so I'm stuck until I shop.

This is all about the holy grail of being comfortable while looking put-together.  In those stakes dresses are absolutely the way forward.  I'm also nearly halfway through my allotted number of clothing items for the season, so more care may be required with my picks for the next week or so, I need to ensure I have suitable items for a couple of dances at the end of this week as well as enough dancing clothes and things to get me through my work-weeks.

Lent 2014 - Days 4 & 5

Quick round-up for the weekend, because for some reason it's harder to take full-length pictures of oneself while out and about.

Flat discipline

Friday's tea was a big bowl of stir-fried vegetables as planned.  In fact, I made so much that I didn't even bother adding noodles.

Saturday wound up being dinner out before a cinema date, so I had a prawn salad to constitute my weekly seafood but remain fairly simple.

Sunday, while officially a rest-day was an absolute win!  We had Thai fishcakes (which had been intended for Saturday tea, so I feel they still ought to count for something) and I cubed some of the vegetables from the vegbox - turnip, carrot, parsnip and potato - parboiled them and then roasted about a third (because I'd managed to over-estimate vegetable volume again).  I also flung together some stir-fried baby sweetcorn (supplementary vegetable) with a head of kale in sweet chilli sauce.  Mmm-mm!  I think I may have solved the distressing issue of receiving a whole turnip every fortnight - roast it!  We still gave away last week's turnip as I've only just broken into the one from three weeks ago, but I feel like we might have a chance of getting through this one under the right circumstances.  Those circumstances probably don't include being away for the weekend this weekend, but never mind.

Lone discipline

Saturday:  I wore Flared Jeans (item 6) again, with a Floral Skater dress (item 7) and a Cabled hoodie (Item 8) and hiking trainers for pootling about in town

Sunday:  I wore my Flared denim skirt (item 10) with a white Peasant T-shirt (item 9, also exchanged for the lambswool jumper on Thursday to allow me to go dancing on Thursday night) and a pink striped sweatshirt (item 11) for church followed by a jaunt to a castle and a tower.  I also had on cream tights and my brown leather boots.  I accessorised with a stone cross necklace but nowt else.

I may add thoughts on these items when they get out again, now they're in the magic 30 they doubtless will.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Lent 2014 - Day 3

Flat discipline

Well, last night we ate tortelloni as expected, but I was late home from work due to being a bit dopey and so the additional vegetables went out the window.  I'm fending for myself tonight so I'll have to make up for that.  Probably with some sort of leek-and-root-vegetable stir fry.

Lone discipline

Tried doing this with one hand.  Neither of my hands is steady enough.


Owl tunic (item 5):  Again with the POCKETS.  I love this sale find from a few years ago.  It's comfortable and fits nicely and anyone I know will tell you the colours are so very 'me'
Flare jeans (item 6):  While all the denim on the planet right now seems to be skinny-skinny-skinny I shall hold onto these magnificently flared jeans.  But they are definitely tight at the moment.  I may or may not be using a hairband in this picture to reduce the amount they dig in by.  Not uncomfortably so, but the tunic's not so forgiving when it comes to muffin top and it isn't a look I like.

Footwear:  Tan leather ankle boots - I bought these the day I handed in my PhD.  They were a bit of a bargain too, if my memory hasn't failed me after 3ish years.  They could now do with new insoles and today are desperately in need of a polish.  It's only a matter of time before the wear on the heels becomes too much to work with (and I think they're past saving by a regular shoe repairer as it is)
Accessories:  Arm warmers - I chopped these down from a pair of tights that sprung a hole.  They're a great boon at this time of year because I can wear short sleeves and not freeze.  I'm on of those people who needs their wrists to be warm (and my neck, but today's tunic is just enough protection there) to feel comfortable.  Also, as previously mentioned, I have broad shoulders and long arms so arm warmers bridge the wrist gap sometimes.
Owl watch - you squeeze his ears and his wings spread to tell you the time from his belly.  How good is that!?! Or rather, how good would that be if I'd remembered that he needs a new battery.  Still a pretty pendant in any case.
Shell earrings - made these myself too!  Found some tiny little shells on a beach on Gigha late last summer and turned them into stud earrings.  Made a set of drop earrings and a necklace for my girlfriend's mum for Christmas from the same trip.

This is an outfit I enjoy. It's comfortable while standing and feels tall and strong walking.  There's also a slight '70s vibe which I think means that it will outlive the owl trend, or at least reflects my style rather than just the trend.

One of the interesting thins that I think will come out of this exercise is the identification of the care needs of my clothing and accessories.  Today I'm wearing boots that need two pieces of attention and a watch that doesn't work.  I can fix these.  I guess the fact that I haven't is symptomatic of an attitude of disposability which I have grown up into.  Or perhaps I care less for my clothes when I care less for my body.  Hopefully this lent I will gain a habit of maintaining and caring for my belongings more responsibly.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Lent 2014 - Day 2

Flat discipline

So, day 1's tea was leftover veggie risotto with roasted beetroot (the only vegbox item, unfortunately) and it was very tasty.  Tonight the plan is to eat proscuttio tortelloni with vegbox veg and red pesto.  New veggies arrived last night, including a HUGE turnip.  We might be blessing a neep-loving friend with that one this week!


Lone discipline

Oh yes, by Easter I shall be a master of the work-bathroom-mirror selfie.


Lambswool jumper (item 1):  I can't remember whether this was a charity shop or clothing swap find, but either way it's a cool-weather staple.  The fit is good, the length is good, I like the interaction between the neckline and my collarbones.  Only slight downside is that the sleeves don't quite come to my wrists, but that's what I get for being broad-shouldered and long-armed.  It doesn't bother me in this jumper because the sleeves are fairly close-fitting.
Plum skirt (item 2):  This is fairly new but it went straight into rotation for work because POCKETS!  Also it's drapey and soft and being a midi-length does a nice 'just below the knee' on my great long legs.  It is mostly polyester, has a weird faux-leather waistband and was very cheap (reduced to £5 IIRC) so we shall see how it stands up to regular use.

Footwear:  Brown leather boots.  These cost me £40, which is bonkers for leather, so I suspect they may turn out to be poorly made.  They're very comfortable with enough room in the foot for my sizeable feet and snug in the calf (ah, the calves of a Scottish dancer) due to elastic inserts.  They are, unfortunately, really too short.  Having a 34"-35" inseam I have long legs.  Visually (I've never measured) I think proportionally more of this extra length is in my lower legs.  So my legs are still going out when boot shafts start to come in.  The shafts on these boots measure about 14" and I feel like the proportions would be better on me with a 15" or 16" shaft.  It's still not enough to make me buy custom boots though.
Accessories:  Just a necklace today.  A silver enamel powder compact that I inherited from my great aunt, strung on a leather cord.  As it ties in a bow behind my neck I've been trying and failing all morning to make it sit just below the neckline of the jumper and sure enough, post photo-taking I have finally managed that!

I feel good about this outfit.  I am comfortable and the right temperature for the office.  Nothing needs messing with or tweaking when I stand up.  I will need to change out of at least the jumper in order to go dancing this evening, but that's par for the course.

Lent 2014

So, last thing on Tuesday night, as I was leaving work to head for pancakes after tea, someone asked me what, if anything, I was doing for Lent this year.  Now, I grew up in an independent church environment where having liturgical seasons or a church calendar was somewhat frowned upon as being legalistic, so I didn't observe Lent as a child.  I was also a bit wary of the way people would give up chocolate or tea as it seemed rather tokenistic and about their achievement rather than discipline and contemplation (of course, this view might have been coloured by my love of chocolate).

But my colleague was talking about giving up plastic.  About being more aware of her footprint on the earth.  And we got into a discussion about how ubiquitous plastic is and how a Lenten discipline shouldn't inconvenience others if at all possible.  I like the idea of giving up disposables but wasn't in time to get my head around it for Lent this year, so I had to keep thinking.  And now I think I have a couple of Lenten disciplines that I will be engaging in.

In concert with my flatmate

We will eat more simply.  This will involve endeavouring to make use of all the produce in our fortnightly organic vegetable delivery (without too much moaning about the sheer quantity of cabbage and turnip/swede this involves) and try to eat meat only once a week, likewise fish.

Sundays are traditionally feast days when you get a day off your discipline and in the spirit of not inconveniencing others, we won't make a fuss when we are visiting our friends as is our habit of a Sunday.  Midweek dinners are usually made and eaten at home, so there's no issue there and we can have our meat/fish nights on the days when we expect company.

Lone discipline

I want to think about my consumption and have decided to do this specifically in regard to my wardrobe.  So I won't be buying any new clothes/shoes/accessories until Easter.  And I am going to keep a log of what I wear, attempting to keep myself to 30 items of clothing but trying not to just cycle the same outfits round and around.


Underwear and hosiery - nuff said
Costumes/uniforms - if someone else decides what I am wearing (or I decide for a group what we will be wearing) those items don't count
Activity-specific items - swimwear, dance shoes

Undecided categories

Footwear - I don't think there are that many pairs of footwear in my regular rotation, but there's something about not being strict enough with my guidelines that worries me, like this should be a real challenge or sacrifice.  However, for the sake of my feet (which, after all, didn't sign up for this) I think I will observe but not restrict my footwear choices.
Outerwear - I think this is mostly determined by the weather so shouldn't be counted.  I'll observe but not restrict as above.