Tag Archive | fashion

Reflections of Lockdown

So here I am again, finally putting a blog together, after some eighteen months plus absence.

Next Tuesday 23 March, marks a year since lockdown began in England. We were so sure it would only be for 3-4 weeks and here we are a year later! Although there has been some rule relaxation over that time, life as we know it has not been able to resume.

Now in many ways I know I am one of the lucky ones. Up to this point, I have been lucky enough not to suffer Covid-19 myself and my family are thankfully all safe. The vaccine programme is well underway and we have a roadmap for getting out of this, but still a year locked down has taken its toll, particularly with the additional personal challenges – those close to me know what I am referring to. The hardest part has been this stretch since Christmas where we have been back in full lockdown but without the sunshine of last year’s full lockdown. I think what was once a novelty, has started to become quite tiresome now. A holiday to look forward to or even a meal out would be nice.

Now I vowed a year ago to start blogging again – after all lack of time could no longer be used as an excuse – however somehow or another, weekend after weekend would pass without me getting around to it. Well now as we have a roadmap for hopefully being back to normal by June, I really need to get on with this before time does become an issue again.

So, what am I going to write about you might ask, given that most of the last year has revolved around my four walls and the latest Netflix series? Well there is plenty to catch you up on prior to the pandemic changing our lives beyond recognition, but I’ll start with a reflection on our current situation.

There have amazingly been some positives to come out of this world crisis and I only realised quite how many at New Year, when I went to post my top ten photos of the year from my camera roll on Instagram and struggled to narrow it down.

In January 2020, we got our new rabbit, Benji – a continental giant. I had been keen to get another, since we lost our beloved Rufus the previous October and I’m so glad we did before the pandemic hit, as he has been a great comfort during the lockdown, even if we do now have a lot less carpet than then, thanks to his chewing! Next month we will be adding to our pet family with a girlfriend for him – double trouble here we come!

I had never been a great one for gardening before the pandemic, but last year, my husband and I really got stuck in and grew runner beans, courgettes and peppers successfully. The peppers I was particularly proud of as I grew them from seeds I dried out of peppers from the supermarket. The BBQ was used more than it had been in all the years of having it too!

Having lived in Medway ten years next month, it had never really felt like home, mainly I think as I used it much like a hotel as I worked in London all week and visited friends and family in the London boroughs most weekends. Now while I would still like to move back to a London borough, the pandemic has made me appreciate my local area far more. We have discovered and appreciated some great beauty spots on our doorstep and as well as keeping up our running (despite there being no parkruns) we have also realised the pleasure a good walk can bring. We’ve also got to know our neighbours better and it feels more like a community – particularly on VE Day in May, when we had a street party.

Our wedding anniversaries have always been grand celebrations, usually involving a holiday, but I actually found our 2020 celebration of six years together far more special than any of those, because so much more thought went into it– read more about that in a later blog.

I started volunteering for the Rainbows, part of Girlguiding, it’s for the 5–7-year-olds before Brownies. Volunteering with Girlguiding was something I had wanted to do for a long time but somehow, again never got around to. So far it has all been on Zoom but I am looking forward to finally meeting them all in person after Easter, all being well. Volunteering really is so rewarding and I’d encourage anyone to look for opportunities, even if you only have limited time available.

I got to see one of my closest friends get married and get her well-deserved happy ever after, the weekend before they cut wedding numbers from 30 to 15. The ceremony was beautiful and held at The Old Marylebone Town Hall. I felt so privileged to be included in the intimate ceremony and the smaller numbers made it all the more special. She looked absolutely stunning and they both looked so happy. It was a cold, windy day but we still managed confetti on the steps as they came out, followed by prosecco and the favour was a facemask to remember the occasion. I wore a purple dress from Silk Fred, with my wonderful Sophia Webster sandals which I had bought for her original do, planned for April 2020 but cancelled due to the lockdown.

One of our proudest moments of last year was being selected to be Godparents to my best friend’s son. Again, the ceremony was small given restrictions and we went with my friend and her husband for afternoon tea after the service. It just felt extra special somehow because it was a small affair. I wore a floral maxi dress from Oasis, with a navy waterfall jacket from New Look and my espadrilles by Castaner that I got in Barcelona a few years back.

In amongst all the craziness, my husband and I even managed a short break to Whitby in August, which we last visited to get engaged in 2013. We stayed in a lovely little cottage and of course visited the famous Magpies restaurant for Fish and Chips.

One of the things I am so grateful for is technology. If it hadn’t been for Zoom and FaceTime, I’m not sure how I would have coped. While nowhere near as good as meeting people face to face, it is a good consolation and I have enjoyed video calls with friends and family, including quizzes! I have never researched so many quiz questions in my life! We have regularly had dinner over facetime with my Mum and Dad which actually works really well and you almost forget the camera is there. Christmas lunch was done like this and we told cracker jokes and opened our presents over it too.

I’ve loved spending more time with my husband, even if we have driven each other crazy at times and when I have managed to see friends, it has been more quality time, without distractions and I feel we’ve got to know each other even better.

I certainly haven’t missed the commute, although it will be nice to see work colleagues in the flesh again. It will be lovely to get some routine back and a push to get out of bed in the morning, rather than leaving it to the last possible minute to roll into the spare bedroom and start work. One phrase I definitely won’t miss is ‘you’re on mute.’

I will miss some of the simple pleasures that lockdown has brought though, not least that quality time spent with people. A slower pace of life has been nice and time to notice some of the nature around us – maybe the answer is a blended approach. I won’t be giving up my Sunday evening baths with Lush bath bombs, candles and a book, that’s for sure! I’m sure we will all be glad when the hairdressers open though – there’s a reason I never trained as one – me and clippers are not a match made in heaven, as my husband can testify!

We all hope we are on the home straight now, but why not take some time to look for the positives in this nightmare and like me, you might be surprised at how long your list is!

Une Jolie Boutique

On a beautiful hot, summers day my friend and I arrived with sea legs via the Thames Clipper in leafy, historic Greenwich.  After making our way through the thriving market area with many colourful and interesting stalls, we came out on Nelson Road to discover an intriguing shop owned by someone my friend used to work with. The shop is called Joli Vintage Living (Joli being a clever combination of the owner and her son’s names) with the added bonus of being like the French word ‘Jolie’ meaning pretty. The quirky shop, selling all things vintage, opened around two and a half months ago. The owner, Jo, used to work in charity shops for Save the Children and The Maypole Project. She has always had a love for vintage things and previously had her own shop that she had to give up due to family commitments; now her son has encouraged her to once again follow her heart. She selected Greenwich for its diversity in terms of people from every nationality and a good mix of tourists and locals.


As we entered the store the sweet sound of a baby grand piano welcomed us. You feel like you have been transported back in time as you are surrounded by beautiful furniture and crockery, some of which has been previously sold in high end stores such as Harrods. This then gives way to jewellery, bags and other accessories. As we made our way through to outside there is a back yard, harbouring many more classic items including an old highchair and pram, a stunning dolls house and a London bus stop sign as well as a rail of clothes.







Heading downstairs via a staircase decorated with London scenes on each step; a nod to the tourist clientele as well as vintage posters down the wall such as an advert for Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s there was the distinct sound of a vintage record player, before we reached two further rooms with more furniture and a host of clothes, shoes and bags. Everything is displayed expertly, with clothes ordered by era; it is like an Aladdin’s cave – every time you look, you see something new. Jo sources at auctions mainly as well as doing commission sales; EBay is not for her as she prefers to see items in the flesh so you know exactly what you are getting.





The shop began with furniture and home accessories but fairly swiftly branched into clothing when the demand for it became clear. Currently 80’s and 90’s stock is flying off the rails. I asked Jo what she thought the best era for fashion was and she thought the 50’s were very elegant but the 60’s and 70’s stand out for her due to the new found freedom people had. I couldn’t resist this beautiful dress, which although new, has been made in a 1960’s style. Currently I can’t quite fit into it but there is some motivation for the diet.


The most interesting pieces she had when I visited were the baby grand piano which attracted many a budding musician to tinkle the ivories; and some London traffic lights.

Only a short boat or train ride from Central London, a summer trip to Greenwich is a must on any tourists bucket list and this shop is not to be missed. The shop opening times are below:

Monday closed

Tue-Sat 11-6

Sun 10-6

Please visit the shops Facebook page for the latest arrivals. Happy rummaging!

You Shall go to the Ball

The end of March/beginning of April saw Cinderella fever as a new Disney movie, based on the classic fairytale and starring Lily James was released. The first written version of the story was published in Naples in 1634. 1904 saw it debut in London as a pantomime and the first Disney animation was released in 1950. Over the years, Cinderella has become the most loved of the Disney princesses so it is no surprise that Disney decided to issue a remake. This version despite being Disney was filmed in the UK.

A completely free – (yes you read that correctly) exhibition of the costumes/props from the new Disney movie was held in Leicester Square for a few weeks. Tickets were hard to come by but I managed to book some for the Saturday over Easter. Unfortunately I was unable to go due to my eye problem reoccurring and was gutted. My own prince attempted to make up for it though by making me an afternoon tea at home and bringing home a Costa latte for me. It seemed like I was destined not to go to the ball but as a last ditch attempt I queued one night after work to try and see it. I queued for two hours but it was well worth it – seems I was allowed to the ball after all.


Swarovski an Austrian firm founded in 1895, collaborated with Sandy Powell – the costume designer for the film to add sparkle to the production. In all 1.7 million finely cut crystals are used in the film. The Step Mother’s dress is encrusted with black crystals and Cinderella’s ball gown looks magical with the crystal adornment. The fairy Godmothers dress and wand also feature crystals. Cinderella’s ball gown is made of 24 layers of tulle with a circumference of 11.6m.

step mum

Cinderella’s Step Mother

The prince and cinderella at the ball

The prince and cinderella at the ball

the ball

The star of the exhibition and indeed the film was of course the glass slipper also made by Swarovski. The shoe has a 6 inch heel and has 221 facets in a light reflecting crystal blue Aurora Borealis coating and weighs just less than 1kg. It took 6 versions and 150 hours to create the final shoe. 4 pairs were made with each individual shoe costing £20,000. At the exhibition they took a photo and superimposed the glass slipper on your foot so that everyone could feel like a princess.

The famous slipper

The famous slipper

A princess for the day

A princess for the day

me slipper

Mac released a special limited edition Cinderella make up range of which I adored the stroke of midnight eye shadow palette and the Royal Ball lipstick – sadly though supplies of them were limited and I was unable to purchase either. I did however get the Morgan Taylor Cinderella collection nail varnishes set which includes an iconic blue named ‘if the slipper fits’.


Being the shoe fiend that I am, I also couldn’t resist this cup from the Disney store.


I finally saw the film last weekend and I wasn’t disappointed. The remake has been very loyal to the original but with deeper characters. The butterfly is used throughout to symbolise Cinderella’s transformation as well as her freedom. In the beginning of the film her father brings her a butterfly toy and her dress for the ball is also adorned with them as is the glass slipper.  I almost love butterflies as much as shoes so the glass slipper would be a dream come true. For the trip to the cinema I wore the outfit that I had planned to wear to the exhibition had I not ended up going straight from work. I thought given the saying that ‘Cinderella is proof that a shoe can change your life’ my t-shirt from New Look was very fitting. I paired this with a light pink waffle textured balloon midi skater skirt from New Look and then styled it up with these gorgeous polka dot 50’s style heels which my Mum treated me to some time back in Marks and Spencer and go so well with many different outfits.

cinema outfit

polka dot shoes

Little girls everywhere have grown up hoping that their prince will come and they will live happily ever after as in the story; however as Carrie says in the Sex and the City film ‘in real life things don’t always work out like that.’ Happy ever after is different for every person and for some women that doesn’t include marriage. Are all women always looking for something else to complete their fairy tale ending? We are told now that women can have it all but do they always want it all? I know I am unusual nowadays but I for one will be quite satisfied becoming a stay at home Mum; surely women’s liberation is about giving us a choice of which path we want to take? Hopefully we all live happily ever after.