Friday, 29 May 2015

Inspirational Women: My Interview with Pam Ayres.

As part of my role for Aspire magazine, I was privileged to conduct a telephone interview with poet, writer, broadcaster and National Treasure, Pam Ayres MBE. Each issue features an interview with a celebrity and because Pam is playing at The Grassington Arts Festival, near Skipton in June, I was invited to talk to her about this and other aspects of her life.

Pam, you won television’s Opportunity Knocks in 1975. Will you be celebrating this 40th anniversary?

No! I don’t feel the need to, although I’m incredibly grateful for it all. It’s difficult to know when my career started really. I won Opportunity Knocks in 1975, but I’d worked for Radio Oxford before that. My latest book was a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller. That felt like a celebration.

You’re making a welcome return to the Grassington Festival after 10 years. What can we expect from your show?

Yes, I was last in Grassington in June 2005. It’ll be a mixture of old and new. Mostly funny, a little bit sad with some extracts from my autobiography. The show is two hours long and I do my best to learn it all so I don’t need to refer to books or use a lecturn or my reading glasses. I feel more connected with the audience that way and I can chat to them.

You’re a renowned writer, broadcaster and performer and have toured the world with your one-woman shows. You paint, knit, keep bees and cattle and have rescue hedgehogs in your garden! Which aspect of your life brings you the greatest satisfaction?

I love every aspect and just adore living in the countryside. I’m not a city person so I feel like a childhood dream has come true. We have 20 acres and I do what I can to improve the lives of other creatures. I have an arrangement with the local hedgehog hospital whereby they get released into my garden once they’re well enough.

Your latest book “You Made Me Late Again” contains a mixture of poems, anecdotes and sketches. What inspires you?

I find humour in all sorts of situations and try to take an idea that nobody else has had. I suppose I see it as a challenge to make something seem funny or entertaining. I like using words to make people smile. It’s exciting, pleasurable and doesn’t feel like work.

Your poem “The Make-up Lady,” is about being made to feel invisible by a glacial, flawless, young sales assistant. You’ve been very much visible for forty years. What’s the secret to your longevity?

One of my rules is never to repeat the same stuff. I keep a record of what I say from every performance and write new material for when I play at that venue next time. My shows are pleasant. There’s nothing offensive and I see no need to shock or use four letter words. I write about things that people can identify with and I say what people think. For example, my poem “They Should Have Asked My Husband”, is about a know-all who has an opinion on everything. I’m sure we all know somebody like that!

You became a grandmother to Arthur last year, and there are two more grandchildren on the way. Has becoming a grandparent changed you?

I’m astounded by the overwhelming love I have for him. He’s adorable. That’s the wonderful thing about love, it keeps extending. I’ve observed that grandparents like to attribute the good qualities of their grandchildren to themselves and to their side of the family!

What’s next for Pam Ayres?

I’d like to do more drawing and painting. My pictures are daft and reflect my sense of humour. I did one recently, a man in a canoe, drinking from a flask with his mum who’s asleep.  Behind the canoe, unknown to them, is a great white shark. Life’s full of surprises.

This is how the interview appeared in the June issue.

And here is the poem to which I refer...

The Make-Up Lady by Pam Ayres

In went to buy a lipstick and I hoped for some advice,
On choosing an attractive shade to make my face look nice.
I stepped up to the counter in my trainers and my mack,
But the sales assistant saw me and she vanished out the back.

She was absolutely flawless and an advertiser's dream,
She was icy as a glacier and chic in the extreme,
I was clearly not the customer that she desired to meet,
I could have been a reptile that had crawled in off the street.

And I thought I'd find the manager and have a little word,
In favour of an altogether craggier bird.
Some game old gal who's been round the block a time or three,
Who is fending of the years and has a waist as thick as me.

An understanding confidante with whom you could relax,
Who knows the way that lipstick settles in the cracks,
A saviour for those of us who know our youth is past,
To show us all the tricks and keep us fighting to the last.

Love Liz x


Thursday, 28 May 2015

Days Out: New Brighton, Merseyside

I had another lovely day out yesterday during my mini-break to Liverpool. This time we went to New Brighton, on the Wirral Peninsula, which overlooks the Irish Sea and the bay of Liverpool. It's a mixture of quaint seaside charm with modern buildings and restaurants including the Floral Pavillion, a theatre which has a coffee lounge and restaurant with a stunning panoramic view.

Liverpool's stunning skyline can be seen from the promenade.
I love this city.

 Love Liz x

See this post for different ways of styling brogues

Outfit Details
Top, Floral Harbour Top, Joules, £29.95, SS15
Skinny Jeans, Boden, £49  SS15
*Dawson Revel Brogues, £40 Clarks SS15
Yellow Bowling Bag, Boden SS14
Bracelets, right hand, Bella Jane Jewellery

This post links up with:

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Days Out: Crosby Beach, Merseyside

It's half-term here in the UK and my parents have taken my children away for a day or two. As much as I miss them, I know with certainty that they will be having a fantastic time and I don't have a moment's worry about them. They adore spending time with their grandparents and I'm very fortunate to have active, healthy parents who are so willing and so able to give my children wonderful times and happy memories. Something I will never take for granted.

It gave me the opportunity to whizz over to Liverpool to see Adam. 
We went to Crosby beach today and it was absolutely beautiful (if a little windy).

Latterly, Crosby Beach has been famous for Antony Gormley's installation, Another Place, consisting of one hundred life-sized figures spread out along three kilometers of the foreshore.

And of course, a day out isn't complete without coffee.

Love Liz x

Outfit Details
Waxed Jacket, Laura Ashley
Skinny Ankle Skimmers, Boden SS13
Yellow Bowling Bag, Boden SS14
Wedge Trainers, Clarks
Blue Floral Scarf, What Lizzy Loves Boutique, £10

This post links up with:
Brilliant Blog Posts

Monday, 25 May 2015

Days Out: Whalley Abbey, Lancashire

Yesterday, Bank Holiday Sunday, brought great news for my home town of Preston. Our football team, Preston North End won promotion into the Championship Division of the football league with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Swindon Town.  My father, brother and son went down to Wembley Stadium to watch and I think it will truly be a day they'll remember for the rest of their lives. 

My mother, daughter and I looked after my baby niece and we took her on a lovely walk around the Lancashire village of Whalley, where both of my brothers live with their families. We walked through the village and around the ruins of Whalley Abbey.

I'll let the pictures, (taken with my iphone), speak for themselves.

Love Liz x


Sunday, 24 May 2015

Styling a Nautical Bikini Three Ways

By no stretch of the imagination is it bikini weather. Nor is it likely to be any time soon. 
So why am I standing outside on wet ground in temperatures barely in double figures?
It's because this post will ultimately be part of a style challenge. I was invited to choose a piece of beachwear from Bonprix  and style it two ways.

This nautical bikini caught my eye. I love the shape of the top and the red tie accents just add a little something.

over 40 blogger What Lizzy Loves wearing navy and white nautical striped bikini. Bikini for the over 40s. Can you wear a bikini if you are over 40. How to wear a bikini if over the age of 40.

over 40 blogger What Lizzy Loves wearing navy and white striped nautical bikini. Bikini for over 40s. Can you wear a bikini over the age of 40

I guess this is a variation of one of my daytime staple looks- breton stripes with a floral scarf. Only in this case I'm using my scarf as a sarong for a look suitable for going from beach to bar.

Over 40 blogger What Lizzy Loves wearing navy and white striped nautical bikini with blue daisy sarong. Over 40 bikini. Can you wear a bikini over 40

This second look is one I hope to wear on my laid back summer holiday in Devon. For idly perusing the shops and walking along the shore.

Over 40 fashion blogger What Lizzy Loves wearing navy and white bikini top with denim shorts and lemon yellow cardigan. How to wear a bikini over 40. Bikini for over 40s. Can you wear a bikini over the age of 40. How to wear a bikini when over 40

Love Liz x

Added on 4th June 2015:
I have written a subsequent post with tips and ideas for choosing the right bikini along with advice about beach cover-ups.

Denim Shorts, Fat Face, SS14
Lemon Cardigan, Next SS15
Rose Gold Sandals, Boden, SS14


Friday, 22 May 2015

Jewellery: The Most Fabulous Chandelier Earrings

I love jewellery. Really love jewellery. Always have done. I wear a variety every day and have an extensive collection. But earrings are something I don't think about quite as much as bracelets, necklaces or rings. I wear little silver studs every day, (with my birthstone in- a 40th birthday present from my friend Charlotte), and occasionally some drop earrings but I don't have many.

So, when I was offered the chance to try some clip-on earrings from Eternal Collection I was intrigued. My ears are pierced so clip-on earrings are not even on my radar. 

It took me back about 30 years, to when I used to watch Dynasty and was totally in awe of Alexis Colby's fabulousness, not least her removing a clip-on earring to answer the phone. 
I'm sure I'm not alone in this. Please tell me I'm not. 
My paternal grandmother, from whom I inherited my love of jewellery, gave me a pair of her clip-on earrings and I was beyond thrilled. They were oval shaped "rubies" surrounded by "diamonds" and I loved them more than anything. 
But they were agony to wear! The pinched my earlobes and if I moved my head suddenly they slid off. On my 8 year old self they must have looked ridiculous, but in my head, I was as awesome and glamorous as Joan Collins. 

Eternal Collection have over 1700 hundred pairs to choose from so it took me quite some time to choose. I decided to go for a statement pair, so opted for these beautiful Bluebell Crystal Chandeliers.
They're silver plated with cubic zirconia and Swarovski clear crystals in an art deco style and are absolutely stunning.

What I didn't realise is that there are different fitment options which can be adjusted for optimum comfort.
In fact there is an excellent YouTube Video demonstrating how to adjust the fitting. 

I put them on this morning to see if they stayed put and if they were comfortable. I wanted to try them properly. They didn't need any adjustment, although I did reposition the right one as it wasn't initially as comfortable as the left, after which it was totally comfortable. I wore them for four hours and actually forgot about them. In fact I went to the beautician wearing them (sans make-up and sporting very casual jeans and jumper, so not really the right look for these beauties) and it was only when I caught sight of them in the mirror that I remembered so took them off. 

The fitting is very discrete and an observer would have to look very closely to see that they were clip-on.

My verdict?

They're brilliant and I love them.. 
I'm going to a formal Midsummer Ball next month at my son's school, and these will be my earrings of choice. 

I love Eternal Jewellery and have a beautiful vintage inspired cocktail ring which I wore to my grandfather's 90th birthday celebrations and a honey bee necklace which I wore last autumn.

Love Liz x

My earrings were a gift from Eternal Collections. All opinions are 100% honest and all content is my own.
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