You never get a second chance to make a first impression

When you are walking up a hill, you have the impression that it points upwards. But when you are at the top, the feeling is of it all going downwards.

This, my countryside lovers, is the how and why of the Lake District. Rain falls, heads down the upward hills and gathers. It’s a sciencey thing. And also, common sense. So, when Madame Style Stuff and me arranged to meet up in Grasmere, in two weeks, the talk was all about what we were going to wear. Well until the actual day, which turned out to be Writ Down in History Wednesday, when the country basked in temperatures over 20c. In October. The summer of ’76 may have pipped it for duration, but October tee shirt weather? It made the national news.

Watching the forecast and realising this warm day could actually happen (and not be one of those light rain shower days which end with me wrapped, shivering in a damp dog towel because when the BBC weather app said ‘light’ they actually meant ‘deluge’) turned me into a trying-on fiend including skinny jeans that hadn’t seen the light of day since May but still managed to bring me to skinny jeans tears.

And no. It’s not about weight gain. It’s about skinny jeans being uncomfortable and unflattering – they suit no one above the age of 8. I got them on one of my very slim calves and took them straight off. We’re always hearing about the funding crisis in NHS mental health services. Why add to their problems

Patient eg. me: Doctor, it hurts when I do this.

Doctor: Then don’t do that.

Then came the call…. What are you wearing?

Now, Grasmere has it’s hot spots but a sequinned jacket for cake, coffee and pushing the dog in his stroller? So that was a no.

The morning dawned, and I was up to greet it. I went through two maxi skirts, matching thin, long sleeved sweaters, sports luxe – oh yes I did – and then, as sometimes happens at breakfast menus, went off the scrambled eggs with smoked salmon piste and dug out Paige jeans. Oh yes, dear reader, I have Paige jeans. And I bought them myself. A very cute white cotton over the head affair with longish sleeves. Is it called a tunic? And, steady yourselves, rolled up those jeans an extra roll carefully threw on some bright Nike Flyknits & along with extra moisturiser, mascara, blusher and lipstick was ready to roll.

Obviously, when I say ready to roll I mean pack the car with dog stroller, water, waterbowl, poo bags, dog medication, dog food, cool pack to keep dog food cool, tunnel money, map – SatNav? Another thing to not get me started on. Oh and tie a clean bandana on the dog.

A mere three, miserable motorway hours drive, following behind a caravan, and the truth was revealed.

Never knowingly underdressed, Madame arrived coiffed, with full “light” makeup and wearing an on trend leopard print skirt from Rixo, which moved beautifully when we gave the outdoor crosstrainer a go. A statement tee proclaiming “que sera sera” on the front that should have read “not if I have any control over it” on the back and in high heels.

Oddly, it worked for both of us. Not the heels. Those were soon replaced by sensible, shiny, new, black patent Birkenstocks. The self-made comfortable. And let’s be honest, with a cute dog, rocking a lime green phone print bandana and working the crowd from a stroller… there was only ever going to be one star.



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