A year of living colourfully

This week we thought we would share with you the colour diary of our lovely customer Alison – a head teacher of an inner city primary school, who discovered Kettlewell and started her colour journey at the start of Lockdown One. Not only is she an inspiration to her friends and colleagues but we like to think she is nurturing a whole little generation of colour lovers…

April 2020

My 50th birthday resolution in January was to wear less black, so as the weather has suddenly warmed up and I’m quarantining, it’s time to finally embark on a radical and long overdue overhaul of my wardrobe. I’ve been replacing all the contents that I threw on the bed – loads of tired-looking, baggy black clothes – with colourful styles from Kettlewell, a brand I discovered by chance when I Googled ‘colourful clothes’. Such a revelation… surveying the Kettlewell Winter palette of colours for the first time genuinely feels like coming home!


Previously, I had been reluctant to invest in ‘nice’ clothes and kept waiting to lose weight but now I’m genuinely enjoying shopping and the eagerly anticipated arrival of each turquoise parcel of joy. Hurrah for the Lulu Tops in Tango Red, Fuchsia and Chinese Blue that look and feel great.


 Lulu Layered Tops in Chinese Blue and Fuchsia and a Darcey Scoop in True Red

May 2020

A fortuitous combination of discovering Kettlewell and not being able to spend money on travel, socialising and eating out with friends means I’m fortunate enough to have the time and money to spend on experimenting with colour. Psychologically, I’m also beginning to appreciate the power of colour and how uplifting it can be. And I’m not the only one benefiting from the positivity…

June 2020

The staff are loving the impact of seeing the new me in my colours and collectively are making more of an effort themselves to embrace wearing colourful clothes. Certainly our lunchtime distraction from all things Covid-related has been taking the Kettlewell colour quiz and analysing one another’s colours. I can’t wait for Lockdown to lift to have my colours ‘done’ professionally.

July 2020

Across the Summer term at school, the Darcey Tops have been a godsend. Depending on the weather, I’ve been been pairing them with the Chloe Jacket or the Short Cascade Wraps in Tango Red, Ganzi Purple or the Fuchsia and Emerald Turquoise Mid Cascades.


Silver Moon Chloe Jacket | Tango Red Short Cascade | Emerald Turquoise Mid Cascade 

Alison wearing a Charcoal Chloe Jacket and Palm Garden Print Infinity Scarf

Even the children in the playground have begun commenting. Most recently, the Year Five girls, AKA the Fashion Police, gave their unsolicited seal of approval to my Chloe Jacket in Silver Moon, but the Year Two girls would like me to wear fuchsia more often!

August 2020

Finally, I had my colour consultation with the lovely Colour Me Beautiful consultant Nicola Davies, who has diagnosed me as Cool, Clear and Deep – a Winter (phew!). It’s great to have my colours confirmed and an even wider palette of colours to play with. I can’t wait for the new season.

During the holidays, I’ve been pretty much living in a purple tie-dyed sarong, which was a gift from a family I met when I did some volunteer work helping to develop a school in the Gambia 20 years ago, paired with a Lace Camisole and a Short Cascade in Ganzi. On cooler days, I’ve been wearing either a Breton Stripe Top or a Lulu and jeans.

September 2020

This month I joined the Facebook Colour Club. What an inspiration and how I admire those who post and comment regularly. But…Oops! I’ve just added a Charcoal Chloe to the two I bought last month (Silver Moon and Pine). I’m sure they’ll come in very handy in the Autumn term. Nothing like planning ahead!

October 2020

Judging by the comments on the Kettlewell Club Facebook page, I’m not the only colour addict loving the new AW20 collection. I adore my new Rachel Jackets (notice the plural here) and have them in Cranberry and Lapis Blue, which look great with my Print Maxi Skirts, and the Winter Multi Stripe Breton, one of my favourite non-work tops.

I now have a colourful collection of clothes for work and weekends that all ‘play nicely’ with one another. I’ve also found my perfect Winter red (Carmine) and green (Dark Emerald). Thank you, Kettlewell!


Alison in Lapis Blue Rachel Jacket and Winter Multi Stripe Breton and her favourite colours Carmine Red and Dark Emerald

November 2020

Schools are open despite the country going back into Lockdown but there’s lots of anxiety in the air. To lighten the mood and make everyone feel better, I’ve decided to have a rainbow half term, with colour challenges every Friday. The children and staff have been exploring their own responses and associations to different colours and emotions and it has been really fascinating. Red, for example, means such different things to different people – for some it is excitement and energy, for others it’s the colours of our local football team or even danger. On the Friday of anti-bullying week, the children were all challenged to wear pink as a stimulus to challenging gender stereo-typing and I’m pleased to report they did not disappoint!

I thoroughly enjoy Jo’s Facebook lives on the Colour Club every Friday afternoon – my Friday night catch-up treat after a long week at school which invariably leads to a spot of ‘wardrobe shopping’ on a Saturday morning and just a little browse of the Kettlewell website… Fatal but oh so fun!

December 2020

I’ve also really enjoyed seeing everyone responding to the 12 Days of Christmas Challenge on the Kettlewell Colour Club – the penultimate day, ‘wear your favourite Kettlewell item’, really got me thinking. I love everything I’ve bought over the past two seasons and were I following the challenge properly myself, every day, I’d genuinely find it impossible to narrow it down to just one piece. 

The Christmas Live with Melissa and Jo was great, too. Melissa’s princess crown and curls have sown the seed for a story I might write for the children one day about a certain Princess Melissa, who rules wisely over her loyal subjects – the Kettlewellies, in the Kingdom of Colour, and who, in the year 2020, leads them to create a rainbow bubble and thus protect and overcome the spectre of darkness cast by the monster Covid-19 that stalks the land. Jo would feature as a wise Colour Wizard, as would Prince John in charge of the Kingdom’s coffers, with Dames Diane and Rebecca all playing key roles in the court of Kettlewell… and perhaps a happy-ever-after ending with a festival of colour!

January 2021

Lockdown Three has begun but the school is still open for our most vulnerable children and those of key workers. Across the school, I’ve noticed how, as a staff, we are all wearing more colour (and layers!). Hurrah for the Pine Wool Coatigan and my growing collection of infinity scarves, as with the doors and windows open at school, I fear hypothermia may strike before Covid. I may just have to invest in some (more) Silky Scoop Necks and Merino Infinity Scarves to survive the winter.

February 2021

The more I delve into it, the more fascinating colour and style analysis becomes. Lately I’ve been contemplating my style personality and seeing which, if any, category I fall into. I do so enjoy the drama of swishing around at school in my Print Maxi Skirts and Aurelia Cardigans but on the weekend I’m more of a natural, adventurer type, hence why I adore the Breton and Monaco tops and Evie Sweater with jeans. Can you have a split style personality, or is it just me?

This month I’ve also been making good use of the rainbow umbrella the staff gave me for my birthday – it makes standing out by the school gates in the rain a much more cheerful experience!

March 2021

I’m still relatively early into my colour journey but what an impact it’s had. Over the past year, I’ve rediscovered old favourites that I haven’t worn in years (Fuchsia, Breton, Cobalt Blue and Ganzi Purple) and fallen in love with new ones too, such as Pine, Cassis, Deep Kingfisher and Chinese Blue. What’s brilliant about it is that I seem to have rediscovered the joy of playing. Playing with exciting new colour combinations has become my lockdown salvation. Now when I get dressed in the morning I increasingly choose what to wear according to how I want to feel. Fuchsia/Sangria is definitely my go-to ‘power colour’, especially for Zoom meetings, and my Supersoft Sweatshirt in Sangria is my favourite non-work top, as it’s somehow such a warm, comforting colour. 


This has been a particularly challenging year as a school leader but discovering Kettlewell and the power of colour to uplift and energise has brought me so much joy. I genuinely feel better about myself than I have in years and as an unexpected side effect, have lost 2st in weight – no idea how as I’ve not consciously dieted so I’m putting it down to the fact that because I’ve felt good, I’ve taken greater care of myself. Ironically, because of the 'Kettlewell Diet' I’ve now shrunk out of my original Lulus. Thank goodness for the timely arrival of Kettlewell’s fabulous Spring/Summer 2021 collection. What a triumph!

I also love the effect that colour has on people around me, especially the children. Recently, one of our six-year-olds made a comment that provided powerful confirmation that ditching the ‘baggy black’ and embracing colour had been the right decision. “Black’s such a sad, empty colour, and it’s really boring when everyone wears dark clothes all the time. Teachers should remember we have to spend all day looking at you and learning should be fun!”

I think that says it all. 

Clare on Feb 13, 2022 10:49 AM

So sorry that I missed this when it first came out, Ali - but SO pleased to have been able to catch up with it now. Such a positive read! And SO interesting to hear about the effect that your colours have had on others - I work for myself & so am on my own all day, so I've never appreciated the effect one's wardrobe has! I trust you've inspired a whole host of happy, confident, colourful dressers for the future

Vanessa on Nov 06, 2021 10:51 AM

Alison, I’ve just read your blog and it’s wonderfully inspiring! Well done you for embracing colour and joy and encouraging others to do the same. As for the quote from one of your pupils at the end....well, “out of the mouth of babes...”! 😊

Helen Clark on Nov 06, 2021 10:02 AM

Inspirational and enjoyable and the difference that colour makes not only to ourselves but to those around us shines through.

Sue Clarke on Nov 05, 2021 7:45 PM

What a fantastic inspirational read - well done for spreading the word. From an autumn soaking up all the lovely autumn combinations around me at the moment.

Alex Kendall on Apr 06, 2021 11:37 PM

What a lovely account of a year in the life of a Kettlewellie. I enjoyed everything about your blog, Alison, and could relate to the joy of finding colours which energise or calm or cheer you through your days. It’s also wonderful to seeing you in the winter colours which I also wear and love. I enjoyed the story of Princess Melissa and her Kingdom of Colour! So creative! And well done for encouraging everyone around you to experiment with colour. Thanks. A good read.

Karen Harrison on Apr 06, 2021 9:10 AM

Such an inspired shared diary - of just how important colour is in our lives. A perfect ambassador too for Kettlewell.

Chris Pole on Apr 05, 2021 12:11 PM

Lovely to hear about your colour journey. Its great how people respond to colour, they certainly do in my place of work and it cheers us all up. Well done on the weight loss!

Maria on Apr 05, 2021 11:09 AM

What an uplifting post and I totally relate😊

Enjoy a well deserved break with a bubble of rainbow 🌈 colours🌈... Loved the fairyland story🧚‍♀️

Gaynor Fisher on Apr 05, 2021 9:05 AM

Fab blog! So inspiring Alison. Brought a little tear to my eye, thinking of all the colourful friends in the Kettlewell kingdom that we’ve made this past year. I’m sure the KCC has got more than a few of us through a difficult year. Thank you to one and all ❤️🌈

Sheila Jackson on Apr 05, 2021 8:24 AM

Your positivity is an inspiration Alison and your weight loss proves it’s also good for your physical health. Such an inspiring read. The end comment by one of your pupils just made me want to cry!! Don’t know why but it was so revealing.

Oh and by the way you look Fabulous. Thank you for inspiring me this morning x

Jacqui on Apr 04, 2021 7:23 PM

What an inspiration. You look fabulous Alison.

Jane on Mar 30, 2021 7:11 PM

Lovely blog - your happiness and positive attitude is there to see in your photographs - the reflective writing underpins the blackness of covid and lockdowns

Ann on Mar 30, 2021 5:53 PM

A great article which I found so interesting. Just by you starting to use colour has had such an inspiration and impact on those around you. Thank you

Alison Maybury on Mar 30, 2021 12:07 AM

Thank You everyone for your lovely comments and to Melissa and Team for all you do to help us create our Rainbow wardrobes and enjoy the benefits of living ‘life in colour’! 🌈

Colin Bullinaire on Mar 29, 2021 11:31 AM

Great post that must resonate with so many. Children are very observant so I loved the last comment about black being a sad colour.

Anne on Mar 28, 2021 10:21 AM

Alison what a fantastic blog and how right you are that colours are great when working with children. The world is full of colour and by dressing in colour we mirror the positive and hopefully help all those around us. I had my colours done about 10 years ago and only discovered Kettlewell when a catalogue fell through my door about 5 years ago. It was amazing to find so much I loved in one place. I just discovered the colour club in the last few months but it’s an amazing group and love the live sessions with Melissa and Jo on a Friday keep smiling everyone 🤗

Helen H on Mar 27, 2021 5:37 PM

I forgot to say that you are so right about the kids, Alison. I taught languages to teenagers many years ago. When I hear from them now, a few remember French, but they all remember and comment on my clothes. Teachers take note!

Helen H on Mar 27, 2021 1:19 PM

What a brilliant account, Alison. I really identify with your colour journey and the uplift it has given you in these strange times. So interesting to see how it affects friends, colleagues and the children (spreading faster than horrible Covid and in a good way). I teach art to adults and many of our coffee breaks are devoted to talk of colour and Kettlewell. I sweep in wearing my maxi skirt and Bright Violet Roxy (to name but one) and set them all off!

PS You look fab.

Catherine Holland on Mar 27, 2021 1:06 PM

What a fabulous blog, well done Alison! Such an uplifting thing to do on so may levels. And that fairytale story is brill. Colour is so important to us all.

Nicola Davis on Mar 27, 2021 9:47 AM

What a wonderful blog, Alison. It's been an absolute pleasure to be part of your colour journey and to see you absolutely blossom. I love the fact that you are having such a positive impact on your pupils too.

Jacqueline on Mar 27, 2021 9:41 AM

Thank you, really enjoyed reading your blog. Being a winter too, I loved seeing all your colour choices and combos.

Ellyn Fox on Mar 27, 2021 8:17 AM

What a fabulous blog Alison, thank you. As a retired teacher and starting the colour journey (from a different perspective as I've always loved colour) it is so exciting. Enjoy your well-deserved Easter holidays.

Lynne on Mar 27, 2021 2:13 AM

What a brilliant blog. A month by month account of the wonders of a colour journey. I do love the last comment by the six year old, as people of all ages do love to see us looking colourful, whatever our season. A great read. Thank you.

Luce Craig on Mar 27, 2021 12:24 AM

Alison thank you for sharing your exciting colour adventure of this past year. Wearing my Spring wardrobe fills me with joy. I have been isolating for the past year and have minimal contact with others yet each day I dress in wonderful colour combinations which I share on FaceTime with family and friends. The first response I receive from whomever is in my life at any moment is always a broad smile. My colours bring happiness to others and it’s a privilege for me to see this. All possible because a pretty spring woman and her man decided to build a business selling brightly coloured basic pieces. I am very thankful Melissa and John stuck with it, pushed the Boulder up the hill and have very successfully built a thriving business that brings joy to a fast expanding KW client base. Thank you Melissa and John. My grandson is a KW fan as at three months old he snuggled up with my True Red Cashmere Stole which subsequently became his cuddly security blanket. He is eleven months old now and still no sign of it coming back my way! Alison wishing you many years of the joy of Kettlewell dressing. Luce 😄

Helen on Mar 26, 2021 7:15 PM

What a wonderful uplifting blog, written at a very challenging time. Teaching is an extremely rewarding but draining profession ( I did it for 35 years) and I so enjoyed reading the children and staff reaction to your colourful journey.

Helen Williamson on Mar 26, 2021 6:42 PM

Fantastic blog, just wonderful to hear the impact colour having on you, staff & children. Well done on weight loss. Looking fabulous, Truly inspirational blog. 🌈❤️

Sue on Mar 26, 2021 4:53 PM

A great article, so inspiring and it just goes to show that out of the darkest times come uplifting and colourful experiences which put out ripples to encompass and bring joy to many.

Jayne McClelland on Mar 26, 2021 4:32 PM

Alison this is such a delightful post. How you capture in words and pictures the way colour and the KCC group affect us and has helped us in the last year is wonderful. Thank you. I especially love the story of the Kettlewellies and their Princess Melissa.

Angela Parry on Mar 26, 2021 4:23 PM

Fantastic blog. You look amazing. Thank you

Gail on Mar 26, 2021 3:54 PM

What a wonderfully uplifting and fun post. I've rediscovered Kettlewell in the last few months and have been buying quite a few pieces, and enjoying the colour club. It's a wonderful community

Jenny Worstall on Mar 26, 2021 3:36 PM

What a great post! Love the children's comments. Can just imagine the Year 5 'Fashion Police' giving their opinions!

Linda on Mar 26, 2021 3:15 PM

Alison, I really enjoyed reading about your colourful Covid year. When you had the idea to ditch the black little did you know what was round the corner. I love the way you describe the effect your injection of colour has affected everyone in the school in some way or other. Your photos are great - I have too many favourite outfits to mention.

Lynne Parker on Mar 26, 2021 2:38 PM

Alison I just loved reading your KW journey. How I wish years ago my teachers had embraced colour, nuns in black and elderly teachers in grey. I never enjoyed school. You’re so inspirational.

Michele Turner on Mar 26, 2021 2:11 PM

What a wonderful article - it has made an interesting and uplifting read and so great to see what a difference colour has made to so many lives just by one person embracing it.

Laura on Mar 26, 2021 1:35 PM

I really find carmine red lifts my mood especially when I have a navy coat on! This lady looks absolutely gorgeous.

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