It just so happens that Jane and Beryl are both travelling with their daughters this week. Esme is off to an interview at The Queen's University, Belfast with Beryl in tow, while Jane is visiting the lovely Kate who is taking an MA in Paris. Jane and Beryl are totally different creatures. Jane will have checked the forecast and packed accordingly with every comfort in mind. While the feckless Beryl will be tottering around in high heels, in either too many clothes or too little. Who will be comfy and who will be grumpy?

Tippet Laura Ashley £35, coat Top Shop £120, Boots Mode Pelle £119

Flying to Belfast, the sky is unexpectedly blue. For her visit to The Ulster Museum she decides to wear her Top Shop unlined loose trench, a modern version of the 40's classic, which is a minky colour rather than camel (an important distinction as Jane and Beryl don't care for any shade of dromedary). This coat is a bit borderline normal for our Beryl, so she jazzes it up with some over-exciting on trend accessories, an orange faux-fur tippet, purple boots, and a silver handbag. Despite the melange, she is feeling pretty good, and so far, so comfortable.  

DL 1960 jeans £180, navy blue loose buttonless cardi £120,  polka-dot top by Superdry £49
Next stop the amazing curvilinear iron Palm House in the Botanical Gardens built in 1830. Beryl is sporting her latest accessory, a bamboo cup, which goes everywhere with her. She is trying to avoid single use plastic, and as a heavy consumer of take-away tea, she feels that this is the very least she can do. 

By this point Esme and Beryl have done culture, seen The Lanyon Building, the library and the Student's Union. Beryl is petulantly beginning to want to shop, but quelle dommage her feet are hurting really badly. She has not worn the kitten heeled boots for such a protracted period before and her arthritic metatarsals are playing merry hell. (Told you so, says Jane). Coupled with this she has too many clothes on for the over-heated shops, where Esme is intent on gathering an elaborate trousseau for university at her mother's expense. Beryl demands food, tea and flat shoes, but not necessarily in that order.   

Shoes £19.50 Stradivarius 
Silver bag £25

Beaded jacket Frank Lyman £135 (sale)
Wallis jumpsuit £45, gold pumps  £8

Later. Esme and Beryl hit one of Beryl's favourite watering holes, the bar of The Merchant Hotel for a well-earned cocktail. Esme, who is only just become old enough to drink, is posing on a bar stool, with a Finn McCool (named after the local giant) and can't quite believe her luck. Beryl, who never poses, is wearing a sparkly jacket covered in bugle beads, a black jumpsuit, and a nifty pair of gold flat pumps which were eight pounds from George at Asda, and much kinder to her ancient feet. 

Mango Mac £79, charity shop M&S Tee £5, trousers House of Foxy £69, plimmies £39 Mistral 

While shopping Beryl stumbles across this mackintosh in Mango, and her style senses go off. A sure sign of a worthy purchase, unlike her M&S mac, in which she feels a positive frump. No tingle, no splurge ought to be her motto. It is now raining, if extra justification were needed.  

Jane, meanwhile, is swanning around Paris...ahh, Paris, the light, the museums, the blossoms, the boulevards, the FASHION, she's loving it all...

Shirt Cream £65

First stop, a hot chocolate in a trendy cafe in the Marais, a district full of such places, as well as boutique designer shops and charming museums. Jane is dressed for comfort, it is true, as the weather is inclement and the walking hard going as they have a list of 'must-dos' as long as their arms. She is feeling right at home among the blossoms, and the boulevards. They visit Picasso and Victor Hugo, who welcome them with open arms...

Jumper 32 Euros, necklace 20 Euros, both Nina
Good shirt... but not on Jane

Lovely colour...but too short

Jane finds a small shop called Nina Kendosa which isn't too outrageously expensive and in fact is very affordable (it's one of those places stocking Italian clothes of which there are a few in Britain), and heads in for a trying-on session with her ever-patient daughter. She buys a fine-knit navy blue jumper, perfect for spring days, (all the way to Paris for that!) and breezes on to the delights of the fairytale that is...

...Christian Laboutin. What a feast for the eyes! There really is nowhere else that can turn a girl's head quite like the shop windows of Paris. Jane won't be buying, but she sure can dream.

But what of Les Parisiennes, of whom we hear so much? Impossibly chic and always dressed top to toe in black, apparently. It is relief to find that the Parisian WOACA is much the same as her British sister, but maybe not quite so afraid to throw in a bit of colour here and there. Jane is rather hoping she fits in...

Mac Ilse Jacobsen £60 (sale), jeans Gap £49.50, shoes M&S £49.50

Next week: Frumpy Versus Mutton, 
The Art of Getting It Right 


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