It’s unseasonably warm but I am loving October.  It’s nearly Hallow’een!  So exciting.

I love October

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had some men in, replacing the rotten windowsills (there were a few) and repainting all the outside bits that needed repainting.  They’re just finishing up now and are doing the front door.  I was a bit thrown when the man asked me what colour I wanted the front door – we’ve always had a dark red front door but I wondered whether it was worth getting a totally new colour as the door was being redone.  Plus my Mum said that everyone in the world should have a dark green front door.  In the end, I asked my son who is now six and said that he wanted it to be “completely the same, Mummy”.  Then I dithered a bit over whether to pick Rectory Red, Incarnadine or Eating Room Red (a bit too dark and “tasteful”).  So the door is or will be Rectory Red, which is a slightly lighter red than the colour it was before.  It’s also now in “exterior eggshell”, which seems to be more matte than the gloss.

The other day, one of my neighbours was outside, wearing a his-vis jacket and hanging out with the police.  So I went to have a nose – she was measuring the speed of all the cars and vans with one of those zappers and when anyone went over 25, the police pulled them over and gave them a ticket.  All of Islington is meant to have a 20 limit but a load of people use our road as a cut through and bomb it at nearer 40.  My husband almost never parks his car outside our house because people keep crashing into the cars parked there (a few years ago, one of them was his).  I found the whole Catching People Speeding Along My Road thing completely thrilling and signed up for a stint.  If it happens, I’ll let you know what it is like.  My husband asked why the police don’t just use the speed camera and catch people by themselves – I suspect it is a public relations exercise (which is fine with me).

Children’s books – Time Out list

It’s my daughter’s birthday next week and I’ve bought her some books.  I found these on this list published by Time Out.

Children’s books

I’ve had a quick look through them (they’re now wrapped) and I think they look pretty good.  One interesting one is the We Are All Born Free which is basically the Universal Declaration of Human Rights explained to children with pictures.  This is the sort of thing that an old boyfriend would have described as “right on” (not a compliment).  I’ll have to see whether she likes them.

Biker boots

I’ve been on the lookout for some biker boots – this was partly triggered by my husband who suggested that I needed a pair of ankle length boots.  Obviously, though, it was already triggered by me.  I do already have a pair of black ankle boots but these have a (small) heel and are a bit too smart for some outfits.

It was surprisingly difficult to find a pair that fit me.  I have peculiar feet.  They are short and wide – I once got measured for ski boots and the fitter said that I had feet that are a UK 4.5 length and 8 width (so basically square – I’m such a freak).  Plus I have really high arches.

I ordered this pair in John Lewis but couldn’t even get them on.  So back they went.  I liked the look of this pair in Jones but the sole is even lighter than it looks online (and looks a bit funny on black boots).  I really liked the look of this pair in All Saints but, although they have a zip, the strap around it meant I couldn’t get them on.

I also had a look in Office, Kurt Geiger, L K Bennett (lovely – but much too expensive) and Dune but had no luck.  Then I read this and ordered both of the pairs of boots the author recommended.  Both were too small so I sent both back and ordered the Niels in a UK size 8 – amazingly they fit.  A size 8 should be far too big for me but my old, slouchy UGGs also came up really small so perhaps UGG just make their shoes really small.

New biker boots

By the way, can I recommend The Circle?  It’s a really good film.

Getting things round the house fixed

Last week, we had a carpenter in to sort out our well-worn house.  Loads of our window frames needed a bit of work.  This wouldn’t bother me all that much but my husband likes to get things fixed.

I think it is because the house I grew up in had almost completely rotten window frames (I could put my finger through the wood in my bedroom window).  I remember my Mum telling me that I must never put my head out of a sash window, lest the glass comes through the wood in the manner of a guillotine.  At the time I thought it was a law but other people have told me that they didn’t have the same rule in their houses.

We also got the floorboard that bent replaced

Children’s clothes for Autumn

Now that the children have gone back to school and nursery school, I’ve done a bit of a cull of their clothes.  There’s stuff that was super and worn all the time but is now too short and tight.  So off to Save the Children with those things.

Last winter, my daughter got a lot of wear out of a couple dungaree dresses that my friend M kindly passed on.  Because she wore a long sleeved top and tights or leggings underneath, they were warm enough but also fulfilled my daughter’s constant want to wear a dress, regardless of how utterly freezing it is outside.  Plus, unless it is really soiled, denim doesn’t have to washed every time it is worn.

On the left is a dungaree dress from Boden, on the right is a pinafore dress from a place in Brighton called Toby Tiger.  I’d never heard of them but my friend N mentioned them and they look like the sort of thing I really like.

Dungaree and pinafore dress

I ordered a bunch of pointelle tops from Boden, along with a (reduced) top from Toby Tiger.

The cream top is from Next, the one with the apple is from Toby Tiger, the rest are from Boden

I don’t usually look at JoJo Maman Bebe but the other day I noticed a little girl wearing one of their dresses so I bought one for my daughter.

Mulberry cord pinafore dress and stripy dress

I love this cardigan.


My daughter’s leggings are getting a bit short so I’ve also got a few more in the next size up.  These were about £4 each from Next.


My son actually had a quite a lot for Autumn already (plus he wears school uniform for most of the time).  I did get him these tops from Frugi.


Last month a company I used to buy a few things from, LoveItLoveItLoveIt, closed down.  The lady who ran it said she hadn’t been enjoying it for a while and now is quite unwell so isn’t trading any more.


Getting ready for the summer holidays

I know that I haven’t been on here very much.  My son breaks up for the summer holidays on Friday and we’ve had Sports Day, end of term performances, the summer fair (which I helped out at), my husband’s birthday etc.  It does feel a bit like the End of Days where I’m taking stock of what we have, what we need and what I need to do.  I’m having a haircut this afternoon and cancelling an appointment for tomorrow.  I’ll have to book in to see the hygienist in September as there isn’t time to do that before the end of school.  That sort of thing.

The Spike is doing a series on capsule wardrobes, which is interesting.  I think I, more or less, already have a capsule wardrobe.  Although the other day I moaned to my Mum that I only had one white T shirt and am in dread of the day when it is no longer wearable (it was made by Boden but YEARS ago and they haven’t brought out anything half so good since) and she bought me one of these in white:


I was so pleased with it, I ordered another white one and two grey ones (which have arrived).  They’re only £6.50 each so this was not as profligate as it seems written down.

I’ve done a cull of my son’s too-small trousers and shorts.  Now all I need to do is start packing.

We’re nearly at the start of the summer holidays

Name tapes

It is that time of year again – the time to order new uniform for the next school year and sew name tapes into it all when it arrives.  Logo’d stuff comes from the school supplier.

The sewing kit comes out once a year

In the past I’ve bought shorts and trousers from them as well but, although they look good, the hems come down really quickly (infuriating) and they’re relatively expensive.  So this year I bought a load of shorts and trousers from M&S – because they were on sale – and then found that it was all stiff and shiny.  So back it went.

I then tried John Lewis, which was a bit more expensive but at least the stuff looked okay.

So far, I’ve sewed name tapes onto:

  • two pairs of swimming shorts;
  • two pairs of school shorts;
  • two pairs of school trousers (one age 6, the other age 7);
  • one school jumper; and
  • three school polo shirts.

My son will also have to wear a swimming hat but as this is silicon, there’s no way I can sew a label onto it.  My husband’s mum suggested I paint his initials onto it with nail varnish which is a terrific idea.  I’ll have to see whether I have any nail varnish that is not extremely expensive (waste) and is not pink (he’ll moan if his initials are pink).  Or I may have to resign myself to having to get a new one whenever he loses it.

Looking through his uniform, he still needs two more pairs of age 6 trousers, another school jumper (he has two from this year but one is getting really short and the other is covered in a weird red stain that won’t fade – think it must have been washed with a bleach cloth) and a swimming towel.  All of which have been ordered.

One (not very serious) problem I have is that there are now three pairs of faded, too-small trousers, one pair of too-small shorts and a couple of school jumpers that are no longer needed.  What do I do with them?  There is a second hand uniform sale on at the school every so often so perhaps one of the jumpers and the pair of shorts could go to that.  However, I can’t send in faded, hem-drooping trousers and a jumper with a stain.  It feels shameful to put them in the bin but I can’t see that any charity shop will want them either.  Plus, do I have to cut the name tapes off?  I have no idea.