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A fashion and style blog for the over 40s covering body shapes, colour palettes, how to wear neutrals, style personality and capsule wardrobes. Come on in!

5.31.2016

We Still Need Shirt Sleeves

Well Cheshire has had a fabulous weekend. Short sleeves and barbecues were on the agenda, more of the same please. Alas, the sun seems to have disappeared and won't surface again for a couple of days. Back in long sleeves and jackets tomorrow then. Sigh.

In fact, over the last couple of years, I've come to realise that there's little point in filling my wardrobes with full-on summer clothes. What's the point when we probably get about 30 days (if we're lucky) of 20+ degrees temperature. Anything less than 20 and I do a sleeve. Bit 'nesh' you see. This is where the good old shirt comes in to play. Comfy, smart and sleeves that can be rolled up. Afraid I'm not very adventurous with colours and pattern; white, blue, grey and a few stripes.

For me, this is a perfect outfit. Ok, Ok it's nothing ground breaking but from a lifestyle point of view, it works. Comfy enough for a day doing jobs or running errands but works too for meeting friends for coffee (or Prosecco). The sleeves go up if it get's too warm (as here) or I can pop a blazer on if it gets a bit chilly. But the main point is, I don't have to change clothes. Always a win-win.



And another. A few choice accessories can turn a plain old outfit into something more interesting don't you think?




I'm thinking that maybe I should fill my wardrobe with even more shirts as they're so versatile; on their own, with blazers, under sweaters, even on the beach with shorts. 

Here are a few that have caught my eye.

I think this dragonfly shirt could actually be quite versatile, the pattern is almost stripe-like and as we know, stripes go with everything!!! 




Totally in love with this next one. Navy and grey feathers on a white background. A really unusual print that you could do so much with. It's crying out for a pair of black coated jeans and a heel (not to mention a pop of colour by way of a bag - the choice is yours!).





I don't have a khaki shirt and I think I need one. White jeans, red shoes, this shirt. Yes please! I much prefer khaki in the summer than winter. It seems so much less army-fied teamed with white!




Every girl should have a chambray shirt in her wardrobe. This is less fitted than I'd normally wear but imagine how many vanilla slices you could eat and no muffin top in sight. What I'm saying is it's probably not a tucky-in shirt but it would work so well with a pair of white jeans (again), leopard print sandals and a killer bag. 




A cheaper version of Boden's boyfriend shirt next (which I'd totally forgotten that I had). Another non tucky-in version but easy to style. Personally, I'm not loving it with the trousers and sandals, a bit too sloppy for me. 




A more drapey version for women with curvy figures (I'm thinking this one will tuck in as well).





Pink from Top Shop (I don't have a pink shirt either). Love the look of the fabric. I hate linen with a passion. Cut on the bias and it's sloppy, cut the other way and it's too stiff. This looks a bit like linen without linen problems. 




A much more versatile shirt than it first appears is this lovely little print. Gorgeous with denim in the summer months or black in winter. 




And the perfect shade of sand. Probably not so great on cool skin tones but anyone who has a warmth about them will look great in this. Jeans and a deep tan belt and shoes for an effortless city chic look. 




And for the ultimate white shirt, check this one out from Me&Em. I have a previous season version and I can tell you from experience, it is a joy to iron (did I really say that?). It looks as good as new after every single wash. Dress down with distressed jeans and blazer for a casual daytime look. 




Right, I'm off to find my Boden Boyfriend Shirt. Might even wear it tomorrow.

By the way, Mango Outlet have a flash sale with 60% off everything. There's still a few nice bits to be had so go grab yourselves a bargain.


5.23.2016

An Outfit Idea For A Busy Day In The South Of France

Anyone else feeling a bit of a fashion low mojo? It's that time in the season when I'm worn out with what's on offer and we haven't even reached the summer months yet. Spring wear is in sale, we've had the summer drops in the main, so we've seen everything that S/S16 is prepared to give us. And quite frankly I'm bored. Happens every year! I'm sure if brands pushed back their releases by a few weeks, we wouldn't feel so frazzled come mid-season.

And talking of S/S16 - what a load of pants that's been. Other than footwear (oh yes, never disappoints), it's all been a bit limp. Boho is clinging on for dear life (go away, you're boring), cold shoulder and off the shoulder thingys have been done to death (I'm returning one of mine on Thursday), Self Portrait dresses are being copied and ruined everywhere and culottes, well, they're ok actually. We'll look back fondly in a few years. Ah yes, 2016, the year of nothingness. I tell you, if someone gave me £1,000 to spend right now on the high street, I'd be hard pushed to part with that money. I know, I know, can't believe I've just said that myself.

My main focus seems to be sorting out the holiday wardrobe which I had made reasonable progress with earlier in the season. And then complacency stepped in. And I stopped looking. I had one of those 3am wake ups the other night where 'boom' I suddenly realised that I'm about 5 dresses short. Let's just say that the laptop has been on permanent charge ever since. I know what shape I want (loose shift), and length (just above the knee) but can't find anything out there. Mr DHL has just texted me to advise that one of his drivers is kindly dropping off a huge Mango delivery. Of course it will all be going back - I reckon they keep their prices down by lopping off 30cm from the bottom of each dress.

Before we go on our main holiday, hubby and I are off to Cannes for a couple of days. Now, now don't go getting all excited. We're not talking romantic candle lit dinners, we're out there to watch England vs Russia in the Euros in Marseille. Want to see my outfit? 

Khaki dress - Glamorous (similar here & here)
Bag - See By Chloe
Sandals - Top Shop (love these)

We will need to get from Cannes to Marseille by some form of transport (car or train) and I'm thinking this might be a good travel come dinner come football match outfit.

I got the dress from my friend's shop - it's since sold out but River Island have similar (see the links above).

Of course there are still a few weeks to go and I might change my mind!!!! But one thing for sure, it's definitely coming with me on both hols. You never know, I might drop lucky on the Mango order too.

Hey, this made me laugh. The daughter informed us earlier that the guys and gals in her student house (there are 8 of them) have decided to give their garden (sorry, yard) a makeover and are building a swimming pool. In fact they've already started the construction process....


Liners have been purchased!! I did try to explain that the walls of the pool might need reinforcing because of the pressure of the water. To deaf ears.

Apparently they're having fairy lights and everything. This could turn very messy. I'm putting it down to exam stress and come the weekend, they'll have forgotten all about their little plan and be back chasing each other around the house with Nerf guns.

Before I go, just a little heads up, I've got a discount code from Goose Collection for you all. Use code spring20 for 20% off all full priced items until 29th April. You can see a couple of their items here and here. And if you haven't yet purchased your Clarisonic, CurrentBody have 20% off everything using code CB20.



5.21.2016

Fending Off Fifty: Let's Start At The Very Beginning & A Cordial Invite To All My Readers

It would seem given the number of emails and comments I received regarding my last blog post that getting older is a hot topic. Please do feel free to join in and more importantly chip in as we explore what it all means in this youth obsessed world that we live in today.

I'm going to kick start my Fending Off Fifty campaign with a product review. Now come on don't all groan at once, stay with me on this one. I'd feel the same way, 'ugh, she's plugging something already'. I promise that I'll give you a 100% honest review on everything that I try. Next time I'm going to tell you about some fairly big changes I've already made to my skin care routine with some very mixed results. Watch out for that one, warts and all.

So, the husband recently introduced me to a chap he knows, Laurence Newman founder of CurrentBody. There's little he doesn't know about the health and beauty technology industry. To say it was fascinating to hear how this market is developing is an understatement. One of the things that struck me about Laurence is his honesty and integrity. And this is indeed a philosophy that CurrentBody adopt with all of their products. Take the vlog that brand manager, Emily filmed about Microdermabrasion: Home Vs Salon. She's very open about that fact that you're paying a professional in a salon to undertake the treatment whereas a home treatment such as the PMD which is sold by CurrentBody is effective but does take time and effort to learn how to use it properly. And, that the strength of a salon dermabrasion is more powerful than the home version. Basically you're given the information and facts up front so that you can make an informed decision.

If you're anything like me, you'll be more than a bit sceptical about claims that this product or that product will change your life. I'm fed up of shelling out money on things that don't live up to their name and am still scarred from spending over £500 on NuSkin products that did sod all. And as for everyday products, take Radox shower gel for example, the pink one is uplifting, the green one, refreshing and the orange, reviving. And what do I feel when I step out of the shower? Nothing. I don't feel any different, uplifted, refreshed or revived. Just wet.

And bleach. Pink blossom, citrus, apple spice. But they all smell the bloomin same. Like bleach. I think I should point out that I don't actually use bleach on my face. It's merely to illustrate a point. Glad we got that sorted.

I digress.

Laurence gave me a Clarisonic Mia 2 to play with.

This one.



Clarisonic Mia 2 



Now I'm not new to these face brushes. We got a free Babyliss one with a foot spa years ago (says a lot doesn't it). I can only bear to use it once in a blue moon. Think sandpaper, we're talking extra coarse variety. It draws blood it does.

But open mind and all here's my review.

What do you get?
  • The Clarisonic device
  • Sensitive brush head
  • Charger with a three pin UK plug (if bought in the UK)
  • Travel case
  • 30ml gel cleanser
What does it claim to do?

In a nutshell, 

The 300+ micro movements per second are the optimum sonic frequency to deliver brush movement that massages the dirt, oil and make-up from your pores. When these impurities are removed the skin feels softer and smoother and becomes healthier and more radiant.

So basically it's a battery operated face brush that deep cleans the skin.

Clarisonic also claim that there are anti-agin benefits to using this device on a regular basis. Basically, regular cleansing doesn't remove the build up of make up and grime which settles in the fine lines and as a result, exaggerates them. Apparently 80% of women using a Clarisonic have reported an improvement in skin tone, texture, firmness and elasticity. I really like that number!!!

Their photo, not mine.

How do you use it?

After removing make-up, moisten skin and add a small amount of cleanser (the one provided or your own), switch on the device and off you go. The Clarisonic beeps at intervals so that you know when to move on to the next area. This is what is recommended 

Click here for a demonstration video 

The Mia 2 has two settings; delicate and universal (which I think means normal).

Pat your face dry and continue with your normal beauty routine.

Can be used in the shower as it's waterproof (I haven't tested this yet).

I can't find anywhere in the instructions the recommended daily use but I use mine morning and night. And sometimes for more than a minute (shhhhh don't tell anyone). 


Device Care

Very low maintenance actually. Rinse the device after use. It recommends removing the brush head once a week to rinse the inside. I tend to do this ever day as it's easy to clip off. I leave it out to dry naturally.



The device requires recharging after 24 minutes of use. The charger is magnetically attached to the device - even I can do that, it's simple!


My Experience

Well first of all, the simplicity got me. I thought I was doing it all wrong because it really is dead easy. After using the cheese grater Babyliss version intermittently for years, I was distinctly underwhelmed with the feel of the Clarisonic. It didn't actually feel as if it was doing anything. A slight tickle of the brushes and that was it.



My Results

So after using it for the first time and being somewhat disappointed, I rinsed off the cleanser and dried my face. This is when I got it (a Eureka moment) and immediately understood what the hype is all about. Magically, my skin felt so soft and smooth. It was as if I'd had a full-on microdermabrasion treatment. But how could something so underwhelming have such a fantastic result after using it JUST ONCE? I don't know and I don't care. What I do know is that my make-up glides over my skin and looks so much better. And my skin products seem to soak in much better too. Chuffed to say the least.

I also suffer with little white heads (milia) on the cheeks. They've all gone!

It took me ages to realise that as well as cleaning the surface of the skin, the vibrations agitate the pores, drawing out the impurities (that's my description by the way).  Hence the reason why some people report breakouts after using the device. 

And as for anti-ageing. Well, surprisingly I have noticed a few less finer lines (even I didn't expect the gadget to get rid of the craters). It's a difficult one to gauge as I'm also using a different skin care regime but I think a combination of both has had an effect. 

I've had the Clarisonic for just over a month now and actually look forward to using it, I can't see this being chucked to the back of the cupboard anytime soon.

Why A Clarisonic

There are many other devices on the market. I have no idea how good they are. But one figure stood out to me, and that is 10 million Clarisonics have been sold since the product came to market. Let's just say that again, 10 million!!!!! 

I've also been visiting a highly acclaimed and commended aesthetic nurse who swears by the Clarisonic. That's good enough for me. She's God.

Negatives

I wish the charger cord had the option to plug in to a bathroom razor plug (probably some sort of health and safety issue).

This is more of a personal preference but I use an oil cleanser and I'm not sure if the oil will clog up the brush head so don't use them together. Which means that I'm cleansing my face twice: once with my regular cleanser and once with the Clarisonic.



So do I feel younger? I guess the answer to that is no, I feel 49. But I love what I see in the mirror, my skin has a glow and as I stated previously, those fine lines, well they look finer. We're on the way to fending off fifty folks.

By the way, I have to mention this product, something I've never come across before. the iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Pillowcase, a Polyester Copper Oxide material that claims to give you younger, smoother looking skin. Wonder if they do duvet covers and flat sheets too?



There's 20% off everything at CurrentBody using code CB20

And finally, an invite for you lovely ladies. I've had so many comments and emails from lots of women about this series of posts and it struck me that you can't speak with each other. Doesn't seem fair that I get all this lovely information. So, I've set up a closed Facebook group for anyone interested in staying young. It's called Holding Back The Years (why can't I type this without singing like Mick Hucknall?). I'd love for you to join. It doesn't matter if there are 3 of us or 300 - it will be a lovely way to chat about a common interest. Obviously I need to have one friend join otherwise I'll be chatting to myself!?!

Here's the link, please feel free to invite your friends too and lets explore this age thing together xx


Do drop by and say hello.


5.16.2016

Project Fending Off Fifty

I've been planning this post for ages. Today I am 49 1/2 years old, that means exactly 6 months to my 50th Birthday (ouch, that hurts). I've probably thought about the 5 and the 0 every day since turning 45. To say I'm not looking forward to it is an understatement. I mean 50? That's positively ancient isn't it. I can remember my Nan being that age. White hair, wrinkles, crimplene trousers - is this what my life is coming to?

Please tell me no.



So instead of dwelling on the ageing process, I'm planning on doing something about it and I hope you will stick around as I explore what it all means and what I can do about it (if anything).

I've made a list. I love lists. And this is what I'm going to tackle over the next 6 months. A few things I've already changed, some things, I may not need to change

1. Beauty routines - day and evening (and everything in-between)
2. Fitness - what do I do now, what am I aiming to do
3. Diet - an honest look at my diet and changes I need to make
3. Make-up - I've kept to the same routine for 10 years now, an update is needed
4. Clothes - do I need to exchange my skinnies for crimplenes (and other questions)
5. Wellbeing - working towards a positive state of mind (mumbo jumbo yes?)
6. Anything else that crops up out of the woodwork

Don't worry there won't be an extreme makeover reveal or anything in November. It's more about the journey.

So I'm keeping an open mind and I'm prepared to try anything. Call me gullible but if someone told me that injecting pigs blood in to the eye balls would prevent boob sag, I'd give it a go.

I'll update you on my progress a couple of times a month and please feel free to chip in if you're feeling as age-sensitive as me (however old you are)!!!!

The first post in this series is an addition to my beauty routine - something so easy to use and has made a real difference.

More on that next time.




That Boden Beach Bag But Not As You Know It

Gorgeous isn't it.

Pom Pom Beach Bag Currently £71.55


But seventy quid for a beach bag??? Ouch.

So let's make our own.

1. Click on this link and make a purchase.

F&F Striped Tote Bag £12


2. Hop on over to Ebay and choose 3 faux fur pompoms, the colours are up to you!

Faux Fur Pom Pom Keyring £0.99 each




Personally I'd snip off the little pearl!

Don't leave it too late to order as this is an overseas seller and they'll take ages to come. Alternatively you could order these from Misguided

3. Attach pompoms to bag and voila you have created your very own pom pom beach bag for less than £15. EVEN I CAN DO THAT!

And that my friends is a saving of £56.

Beach bag with pompoms



Ok so not quite as nice as the Boden one but if your budget doesn't stretch to £70, it's a great alternative. 




5.15.2016

What To Wear To An English Barbecue

If we lived in Spain this wouldn't even be up for discussion. It must be so much easier to dress when you live in a country that has more predictable temperatures. I was faced with this dilemma last night. What do you wear to an indoor/outdoor party in May in the UK? Let's not kid ourselves, the sun was shining but boy was there a nip in the air. Sorry, too long in the tooth to stand there all night in a flimsy dress pretending I'm having a marvellous time when secretly I'm chuffin freezing.

We were invited to our neighbours' annual Euro Vision Party, still going strong after 20 years. A very laid back affair, fabulous food, great company and dreadful songs particularly Germany. It didn't require dressing up, these people are very chilled and anything goes. The prospect of spending part of the time outside meant that I opted for total comfort. 

You might remember this fab cardi that I blogged about recently. It was sent to me by Goose Collection. They also sent me their brand new Pip Knit Sweater


Now at the time of receiving it, temperatures were touching 23 degrees. Oh heck I thought, how can I show you a jumper when everyone's wearing dresses, you'll think I'm barking mad. But of course temperatures drop and suddenly it's the perfect summer piece. 100% cotton, an almost fleecy look which means it feels luxurious against the bare skin. And it's a double knit so twice as warm without being sticky and itchy.

It was an easy decision! I teamed it with white skinnies and nude pink moccasins and felt very Home Counties. 

Pip Knit Sweater - Goose Collection
Molly Jeans - River Island
Pink Moccasin - Kurt Geiger 

Of course we all love a good stripe don't we (although I did a personal shop with a client on Saturday and shock horror she didn't have a single stripe in her life! Couldn't fathom that one out).



It was the perfect outfit for the occasion and see that coat dangling in the background? Didn't wear it once.




I hadn't realised that there was a gaping big hole in my wardrobe for a summer knit. All mine are much, much heavier and no doubt don't breathe as well as this one anyway.




Can't recommend the Pip Knit highly enough. And now I have the urge to team it with denim cut offs and flip flops and sit around a camp fire on a Cornish beach singing Kumbaya. 

Say hello to my new shoes from Kurt Geiger. Total comfort and I love them. I've had my eye on them for a couple of months and have been playing cat and mouse waiting for them to drop into the sale. They sold out on the KG website  and I have to confess to a mini meltdown. Thankfully John Lewis still had stock. 


And I'm currently trying to convince myself that I need the silver too. 



By the way, I got Ukraine in the sweep stake. Pretty awful song but hey I won the bucks. A good evening all round.

Friends and I participated in a Race For Life event in the glorious Delamere Forest today. Our team is called The Real Real Housewives Of Cheshire (so true).  Essential race pack included lip gloss and sunglasses. 

Such fun.




Hope you've had a good weekend.


5.13.2016

The Holiday Season Is Nearly Upon Us (PANIC)

It's hurtling towards us at a rate of knots, the holiday season that is. Look, we're virtually in to the middle of May already so it's just a matter of weeks before we'll be packing our bags. I had a quick look at swimwear earlier today and OMG so much of it has already sold out. Why that surprises me I don't know. M&S are advertising a selection of their Autumn collection and some of it has already been picked over. Arghhhhhhhh why do we do it? 

We've got a family holiday planned in July (another mixture of City sightseeing and beach bumming) and hubby and I are going to the South of France for a couple of nights in 4 weeks. I think I've got most of my wardrobe sorted, there are a few holes but it's in reasonably good shape. One of the things I'm always on the hunt for is a good day dress particularly for the sightseeing part of the hol. 

I picked this one up before we went to Dubai in February from my friend's boutique. 




It's from Manchester based brand, Glamorous. If you click on the link above, you'll see that it's aimed at the younger end of the market (the very young) but this dress is perfectly acceptable for my end of the age spectrum too.

The bad news is that it's full on nylon. I certainly wouldn't recommend sitting next to the camp fire in this one. But the style is so flattering, hiding belly, bum and thighs all at once. Now that's clever!





I could quite happily fill my summer wardrobe with this shape of dress, the shift. 

This one from TK Maxx looks a similar shape.


The little cap sleeve arms are great for balancing out anyone with narrow shoulders as they give the illusion of width. Sadly I fear being broad, the dress will do nothing for me. 

Don't you think stripes are the epitome of summer holidays? And this would be super versatile. Wedge sandals and a handbag for a laid back evening look, comfy shoes and a tote for shopping and flip flops and beach bag for a seaside day. 



Ditto this one too.



Slightly on the shorter side from Zara now but how fresh is the blue pattern and would look gorgeous with flat tan sandals. 




Back to Mango Outlet for this bright orange one (they say red). I thought we'd exhausted the outlet the other week but over looked this one.



At first glance, I loved this next one from New Look but busty ladies might struggle with the high neck. That Broiderie design though (I think I'm in love). 



Sticking with New Look (who knew they had such fab stuff), this next one gives a little arm coverage. It's also a cool cotton/linen mix. 



Similar to mine and now megally reduced.




And from ASOS, a lovely, lovely navy dress from the tall range. Thing is, the model is 2 1/2 inches taller than me and I want it to hit the thigh at exactly the same point. Not going to work is it? 




I tend to shy away from belts but this one caught my eye. There are too many negatives for me though: the length (although it's available in the tall range) and the sleeves are too long)




I always forget about & Other Stories, love this all cotton dress which looks so comfortable. 




A slightly looser fit, oh ok then bordering on billowing from Next.



And in black


Notes about shift dresses

*The straight cut is perfect for women without waists or those with a straight up an down body shape

* Remember, curvy ladies will lose their waist definition and may look bigger than they really are, hence the reason why I included the white one with the belt above

* Make sure that the dress finishes at the most flattering part of your leg, often the knee

* Sleeves can be used to correct the body shape - cap sleeves balance out wider hips and bottoms whilst cut away arms are great for narrowing broad shoulders

* With careful planning, a shift dress can be a key holiday wardrobe piece working for both day and night. Or rather night and day. Beach to bar doesn't cut it for me. Eweeeeeeeee, think about it, sun cream, sand, ice cream and I'm then expected to wear it that evening too. No thanks. I'd much rather wear it one evening and relegate it to day wear further down the holiday.

I'd love to take a whole suitcase full of easy wear shift dresses on my hols. How about you? 

Phew Friday you're so welcome. It's been a busy one. I mentioned on Instagram a couple of weeks ago that I have a pile of decorating clothes though I never get a paint brush out. Well those words came back to bite me on my bum didn't they. Let down by our decorator, I've spent the whole week prepping and painting the office. One last push tomorrow and I reckon we'll be done. Although we still have to source a double workstation desk thingy. Off to a Euro Vision party tomorrow night (please don't let me get the UK in the sweep). And then friends and I have got our 5k Race For Life on Sunday. Going to start training in earnest tomorrow.

Have a good weekend.