Summer Holiday: Part 2


Who doesn’t want to look nice on holiday?  However it can be tricky finding the right outfits and taking all the things you ‘need’ in a 20 kg suitcase.


At forty nine I’m also treading a fine line trying to find new pieces to add to my holiday wardrobe while avoiding pieces that only the girls on Love Island can wear (they really need some diversity on that show, not all women, young or older, look like that).   I don’t want to look frumpy either.


There are certain parts of my body I want to keep cool, but don’t want to have on show (chubby top half) and that is causing me a few issues, but ultimately I do just want to look and feel nice.


In last week’s post I wrote that I was finding it really hard to get what I needed, but on Friday, determined that I wouldn’t head off to foreign shores with a face like a slapped ass, I headed back to the shops.


Perseverance paid off and I came home with three new pieces that I’m delighted with.


First off is this Mango dress for £49.99.  I love the fine stripes, pale blue colour, midi length and belt, which I can pull in for added shape.  Also thankful for the sleeves, for a bit of arm ‘armour’.  I think I’ll be wearing this sightseeing and dressed up for dinner.


I bought this top, also from Mango (£29.99), which I originally thought would look great worn with my daisy duke denim jeans in the day.  Then I remembered I had a pair of linen trousers in the wardrobe, which are from Marks & Spencer’s Autograph range.  I bought these over 20 years ago, when M&S was a client of an agency that I worked for.  The office joke was I got paid by them each month and would then spend my hard-earned cash in their stores.  I loved the range though, still do.



Lastly, I’ve gone out of my comfort with this linen button through dress from Warehouse.  I don’t like showing my chest and top half, but the colour of this dress drew me in.  I love yellow and this dress is super cool with large pockets.



I think that’s it on the holiday shopping now.  Just a swimsuit to get and I’m heading straight to M&S.  My friend recently urged me to sign up for a Sparks card and it’s paying off, I’ve got 20% off on my card for swimwear this weekend.  Who doesn’t love a bargain?


Here’s some of the designs that M&S has in store and online.  I have my eye on the first one.


We’re heading off this week, so I’ll see you on the other side, unless you follow me on Instagram.  The next Not Givin In blog post will be on June 30th.  Until then, have a fab few weeks.



Gail xx



Porto & Pumps

Sorry for the pause.  I don’t like surprises, so having a few mechanical problems with my blog this week has been a pain in the ___, but I’m back.


Talking of surprises, I love spoiling my husband with a surprise or two.


The boy’s 50th birthday in September, was not going to be a big affair.  I get it, some people love being centre of attention and others absolutely loathe it.  We both love going to parties, but never want the party to be about us.


So I knew not to get him a surprise party for this special occasion.  That said, I couldn’t bear the idea of being at home with a TV dinner on a day that really should be marked.


So I planned a trip away, only telling SP we were going to Cornwall three weeks before the actual date, so that I could make sure he wasn’t working for the 48 hours that we would actually be in Porto.


You should have seen his face when I pulled into the airport instead of driving straight past it! A picture. With 48 hours of fun ahead, we merrily dropped off the car and headed for the bar.


Porto had been on our to do list since it was spotted in a copy of Lonely Planet a while back and the trip was a perfect fit, with an evening flight time the day before Steve’s birthday and 48 hours to explore before returning home.  This meant we only lost two day’s work – SP is boringly committed to it.


The forecasters said it would be in the early twenties, offering a welcome injection of Vitamin D before Autumn really sets in at home.  What’s not to love.


Hugging the North West coast of Portugal, Porto is the second largest city in the country and actually not that far (by train) from Lisbon.  With more time, you could/should probably try and do both.


No surprise here, but it’s known for its port production – we found that our favourite style is Tawny.  We also found that we could consume quite a bit of it!


We stayed close to the historical centre of Porto, The Ribeira.  Classed as World Heritage by UNESCO, this attractive area was our playground for 48 hours and with the Douro river running through it, offering the city one of its most popular photographic opportunities, it was a beautiful setting fit for a birthday ‘retreat’.


For a change, instead of me going on, I’ve asked the birthday boy to answer a few short questions to help tell you more about our trip.


What three words best describe our trip?

Interesting, fun, sunny


How would you describe Porto to someone who hasn’t been?

It’s a great place for a city break


What did you enjoy most about Porto?

I liked the Six Bridges Boat Cruise (caught on the harbour, takes 50 mins and costs about 15 euros per person).  Oh, and the port-tasting.


Was two days enough?

Yeah, it was a buzzing whistle-stop tour, but you could add on an enjoy an extra day.


What would you do with an extra day?

Gone to the football ground (GP – I made the right choice!)


What are the must-do activities in Porto?

Cable car and river cruise


One lasting memory from your trip?

The fog coming off the Douro.  One morning it was beautiful sunshine, the next pea soup.


What would you give Porto out of five?

Four, it lost a point for the food.  We didn’t really like the food choice that much, apart from the (custard) tarts, which were delicious.


Some snaps


Pretty isn’t it?


As with many mini breaks and holidays you are constantly on your feet, trying to see as much as you can and I was so glad that I  had taken my Adidas Mrs Stan Smiths.  I took a bunch of clothes with me, but I ended up wearing two maxi dresses day into evening.  I felt comfortable, not just on my feet, but in my clothes, and the dresses made sure I was out of jeans for once.


I have on many occasion taken new shoes or heels on holiday (what an idiot) only to be a thorn in SP’s side when we’ve had to stop and search for somewhere to buy pain killers, plasters and flip flops, but I think I’m over it now.


We are packing for our next trip as I finish this post and I have purchased a pair of slip on platforms from Dune, see below. It’s okay, I’ve been wearing them around the house and they’re like slippers. I will, of course, be taking my Adidas, and maybe one pair of boots for the evening.


I bet the boots stay in the suitcase! Here’s some more ideas for great pumps, trainers, kicks, whatever you like to call em. All I know, every grown up woman should have ’em.

Til next time.

Gail xx





In The Trenches

Does anyone have a grasp on the weather?  No, me neither.  One minute it’s lovely outside and the next it’s that hideous white sky that I loathe.  I don’t mind any other colour, than that one. It’s bleak and horrible.


So it’s a mixed bag as we settle into, erm, Autumn, and I don’t feel like I can quite yet change the wardrobe over.  As it is, I’m sat typing this in shorts.  It’s okay, no-one can see me.  Still, when we do have those cooler moments I find myself at a loss of what to wear.


For those of us who need to head outside, picking up the kids (obvs not me), dashing out to pick up wine (me) then you really want a lightweight coat to pop on.  For me it’s even worse heading out to work meetings – a North Face hooded anorak ain’t gonna cut it.


What I would really, really love is a smart, classic cut trench coat.   Each year I keep my eye out for one.  I have had two versions in my time on this planet, both of which are not in my wardrobe any more and I’m quite good at keeping hold of stuff.  I had one from M&S, but the material was too stiff and heavy (same problem as in last week’s post), and then there was the Gap version, which was made with the same weight as tissue paper and didn’t keep its shape, with or without my body in it.  So they both went to charity at some point.  Which leaves me back with the anorak.


So I’m on the look out again, because I feel that if I can just get my basics right, the rest of the wardrobe will be easier.   Won’t it?


I  have started the search.  See this option that I tried on in John Lewis the other week.  It’s from Karen Millen and I really like the cut and weight of it.






It is definitely a contender, but I’m also going to take a look at these option that I’ve found online.  Hopefully I can get one that fits before the really wet weather comes.  When is that exactly?


Have a great weekend.


Gail xxx