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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!

2.28.2018

Caring For Your Underwear

I guess I'm a bit middle of the road when it comes to caring for my smalls. I don't throw them in the washing machine on a 60 degree cycle with jeans and towels but I don't hand wash them either. In fact hand washing is my bug bear, give me a toilet to clean any day. It's enough to put me in a bad mood that lasts all day, when I'm forced to wash the accumulation of jumpers (think small mountain). I swear most of them would survive a quick blast in the washing machine. 

Anyway, back to the smalls. 

Sienna  Lace Bra - Fantasie Lingerie
 
I have some really pretty underwear as well as the every day functional stuff and it's about time that I started looking after it. So research I have done (also aided by the very knowledgeable ladies over on TEAM TOMM which is an amazing community group that share household tips - who even knew that sunlight gets rid of curry stains!). 

First up; why does white underwear look grey after a while? This doesn't really apply to me as I don't tend to wear white. I don't get it? You can see a white bra under a white shirt and I certainly wouldn't wear it under black. So when do you wear it? I tend to stick to nude shades. But if white's your thing then you may be interested in this:

Manufacturers of man-made fabrics use 'optical brighteners'. These are chemical beads that stick to fabric and reflect the light, making whites (which are really quite grey) look white. The process of washing removes the brighteners and once they've gone, the true 'grey' of the fabric is what is left. And of course, the more we wash, the worse it gets. So, what can we do? Well quite a lot actually and this goes for any colour of underwear.

Marianna - Fantasie Lingerie

1. Hand wash, hand wash, hand wash. Urgh!!! Rigby & Peller, the font of all bra knowledge are quite adamant that this is what we should be doing. But it doesn't have to be hard work. They suggest filling the sink with cold water, dropping in a small amount of delicate washing powder (ie not biological), adding your smalls and gently swirl. Then leave to soak for 10 minutes. A quick rinse and leave to dry naturally. This means not on a radiator or in the tumble dryer. 

**Gossip** Did you know that Rigby & Peller are no longer the Queen's brassiere supplier. They recently lost their royal warrant after former owner of R&P published her autobiography, Storm In A D-Cup and talked about visiting HRH. OMG, is nothing sacred? I really don't want to think about my beloved Queen having a bra fitting!!

2. Use cold water, certainly nothing higher than 30 degrees celsius.

3. Always use gentle washing detergent that lathers without the need for rubbing (remember those little optical brightening beads that you're damaging!!).  The old fashioned Perla Soap Bar would be ideal if you can get your hands on it. I'm reliably informed that it's being produced again. 

4. Use a towel to absorb the excess water and then lie flat to dry.  Or use a salad spinner!!

5. Don't iron your bra's and pants - do people really do that? 😳 The heat will damage the delicate fibres and rot the elastane.

6. As much as you may be tempted, never use bleach as it breaks the fibres.

7. To revive white underwear, try soaking in Glow White (normally used for net curtains) for 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a couple of teaspoons of distilled white vinegar diluted in water, again leave to soak for 20 minutes before rinsing well (no one wants to smell like a bag of chips). Or if you're right out of Glow White and vinegar, try denture tablets. Apparently, they work! I'll leave that one with you. 

8. Another tip is when washing any colour underwear for the first time, follow up with a 10 minute soak in white vinegar and then wash again which will preserve the colour for longer. 

9. If the straps of the bra are looking grey, try mixing a paste out of baking soda. Rub in to the straps and rinse with cold water. And if they're a little bit bobbly, use a lint remover or defuzzer.

10. So if you still can't be bothered to hand wash your smalls, you could always wash them in the shower (I'm A 'jungle' Celebrity style). It's up to you whether you wear them at the same time. Don't use Radox shower gel though, take an appropriate laundry detergent in with you (this is when Perla Soap Bars come in to their own because they're 50% coconut milk, great for the old bod. 

Rebecca Lace - Fantasie Lingerie

11. Ok, you've discounted hand washing and shower washing so the only thing left is the old machine wash. Low temperature, gentle programme and placed in a laundry bag. It's also suggested that you fasten the bras to prevent them from tangling. around each other. Separate colours - obvs! And use a detergent for delicate fabric, preferably alcohol-free (apparently alcohol dries out the elastic). 

12. Or there is a 4th option, one that Rigby and Peller recommends. And that is....to wash your bras less frequently (every 2-3 washes). Ooooh I'm not sure how I feel about that one! They also suggest rotating your bras as the elastic needs time to return to it's shape.  Obviously you're pants will need washing more frequently!! Let's move on.

13. Never tumble dry, I repeat, never tumble dry (unless it's in a salad spinner). The heat is ruthless. It ruins the fabric, fades colours and causes shrinkage. 

14. Storage. Stack your bras (known as spooning) rather than folding each one in on itself. You could also hang them but who has the room for that!


15. And finally when you're travelling, don't fold your bras. Spoon them (as above) and stuff the bottom one with socks in each cup. Alternatively you could invest in special underwear travel bags. 

The Brags & Panty Paks - The Brag Company

These excite me more than they should! I really need to get out more. 

Go on, tell me you knew all of this already and I've wasted my time. Any other tips for caring for your underwear, please feel free to share xx






I am a retailer's dream, I swear. Fantasie Lingerie have gifted me some of the above pieces but since working with them, I've been so impressed with the quality, fit and design that I've bought items for myself. You can order direct from the website (here) or John Lewis has a nice selection (here)














2.13.2018

Getting Spring Ready With A Few Purchases

It's snowing here again. It's not even the good stuff, wet soggy excuse of a snow shower. So why would I even contemplate writing about spring when I'm wearing the same half a dozen jumpers on rotation?

Because the lighter nights are just around the corner. It's not that long until we do that funny thing with the clocks - move them on forward/backwards an hour - I haven't a clue, I just go with the flow (or what my iPhone tells me). And because the weather will creep un on us, we'll wake up one Sunday morning and it will be glorious which will make me very happy. So, it's nice to plan forward and dream a little. 

I've made a few purchases over the last few weeks in anticipation, some you may have already seen. Nothing ground breaking but they will freshen up my staples of trousers, coated leggings and jackets.


2.11.2018

This Has To Be The Easiest Recipe Ever: Thai Noodles With Prawns

So if you're not at all interested in foodie things (seriously??), scoot on by because this will not be for you. 

I popped something up on InstaStories about a recipe that I've been cooking for years and it seems many of you want it too. I've chopped and changed the original over time, I guess this is the best version of itself. 

It's the easiest recipe ever!

We are talking entry level cooking!

Fairly healthy (well it's better than a Big Mac)

One pot cooking (wok)!

Minimal prep!

Hardly any chopping!

Quick - less than 10 minutes from start to finish!

And just 7 ingredients (I forgot the fish stock cube in the photo below). 




INGREDIENTS

3 tbsp Thai red curry paste (careful, this stuff can be hot. The best one I've found is this one from Tesco - it's not as fiery as the others). 

1 x 410g tin of light evaporated milk

Fish stock cube made up to 500ml hot water

1 x small pack fresh coriander chopped (if you can be bothered, separate the stems from the leaves and chop separately (I don't!)

1 x 500g bag Chinese beansprouts

Dried egg noodles (I use 5 blocks of Sharwoods Medium Noodles for 4 people)

250g cooked prawns (I tend to add extra: 2 small packs)

Optional ingredients (sometimes I add, sometimes I don't): 1 lime quartered, packet of potato chip sticks (these), bunch of spring onions finely chopped.





Fry the curry paste for one minute in a large wok.

Add the milk, stock and half of the coriander (or just the stems if you've chopped separately). 

Bring to the boil and add the noodles (I break these up a little) and beansprouts. 

Cook for a few minutes until the noodles have separated and are soft. 

Add the prawns and heat through (don't over do it as they'll be like bullets).

Throw in the rest of the coriander. I think it's called garnishing but I stir it through 😉

Serve in bowls if you want lots of the slurpy sauce.

Delish served with a big bowl of potato chipsticks (they give a lovely crunch to the dish and provide a bit of salt), a squeeze of lime and finely chopped spring onions scattered over the top. 

Not the prettiest of dishes but ohhhhhhh the flavour is all there.

Bib up, tuck in and enjoy. 




*Disclaimer: do not wear your best white shirt when eating this, it's a bit sloppy (in a yummy kind of way). Think Ramen broth consistency. 

Let me know if you cook it (if you can call it that because it's so simple) and what you think.






2.08.2018

Three Women Who Are Following Their Dreams

Following on from the momentous occasion of Tuesday: 100 years to the day that women over 30 were allowed to vote, it got me thinking about us ladies today. I hope that you share your workplace equally with men, I hope that the BBC sorts it's gender pay gap out soon and I hope that we see more women in Parliament (I think the current ratio is 1 to every 3 men). It's easy to focus on what's wrong in the world but I'm trying to wear my positive pants more this year, so I've been thinking about the good things in life right now.

In my four and a bit years of blogging, I've been very fortunate to come in to contact with some very inspirational women whose paths may have been a tad rockier and many more doors slammed in their faces had they set up their businesses 100 years ago. It's tough in the world of business and even tougher if you're a woman. I state that fact without evidence, just life experience. After having my second child, I really wanted to go back to work on a part time basis but this necessitated child care as we live away from our families. So with our daughter at school, I packed off the little one to a childminder for a few hours each week. But oh the stress. I was relying on 6 people being fit and healthy for me to be able to work; me, my children, my child minder and her children. If any one of us fell ill, the whole chain crumbled. The stress of not being able to fulfil my role at work was enormous. I'm sure you know what I mean. So when I see a woman single handedly set up and run a successful business, well the hat comes off in double time.

Here are three very inspirational souls.

Lucinda from TLM Edit


Lucinda has a knack of finding things that you didn't know you needed. Such as the white ruffle fake collar or the canvas bag strap. Her online shop is packed fully of colourful sometimes boho, always fun clothes and accessories. Lucinda spotted a gap in the market for reasonably priced, bright, fun things that become the talking point at the school gate. She's been going for a couple of years now and I love the freshness of her Instagram and funny Stories. Go give her a follow and I bet you'll find something that you love on the website. Your enthusiasm is infectious Lucinda.

A Selection of Loveliness from TLMEdit.com


2.05.2018

Wearing The Trousers In This House (And A Cute Little Jumper Too)

This outfit is so me. I mean we could end it here but I suppose I ought to give you the deets.

So, I look for three things in an outfit. It has to be:

Easy wear - minimal creasing, easy to get in and out of, preferably machine washable
Comfortable - no digging or pinching
Smart - speaks for itself

This outfit ticks all three boxes and more!



2.04.2018

Do You Trust Blogger Reviews? A Warts & All Review About LQ Liquid Health For Skin, Hair & Nails

How can we trust reviews these days? I don't know is the answer to that. We see bloggers extolling the virtues of their latest 'gifted' items. Me included. I'm one of those that only posts about 'stuff I love' because I want my blog to be a happy place. I don't write about items that I send back to brands because 'it just didn't work for me' or 'I didn't really like the quality'. Is that right or wrong? I'm not sure. I understand the frustration of readers who want good, honest reviews but I don't want to be the one that damages the reputation of quite often, small brands with a negative review so I choose to return the item and say nothing. I've been offered product and money to write reviews on Amazon (on behalf of independent sellers, not Amazon products). And up to that point, I'd always trusted these kind of reviews because they're from verified sellers right? Wrong. If someone is offering you a gift voucher to purchase one of their products, it really is no different to gifting. And of course the reviewer is more than likely going to post a glowing review.

I find many beauty bloggers difficult to relate to. They chop and change from one product to the next, reviewing things that they've only tried once or twice. How can you talk about something so enthusiastically when you've not given it a proper trial? The best reviews for me are the month end empties because they've tried the products for several weeks and the fact that they've stuck with them has got to count for something.

Which brings me on to the purpose of this post.

I was contacted a few months ago by a P.R. agency asking if I would like to try LQ Liquid Health for skin, hair and nails. Now I'd tried a similar but different brand a couple of years ago and didn't give it a fair shot. Impatience is me. I want results yesterday. So after spending *cough* £300 and having not seen any improvement whatsoever after a couple weeks, I gave up. That's really bad isn't it! So my first inclination was to say no thank you, I'll pass on this one but there was this little nagging doubt in my head "go on, try it, you didn't give it a fair chance last time".  In the end, I caved in and said yes, but vowed that I'd give an honest review of the results.

So here it is warts and all.


What Are LQ Liquid Health Supplements?


Well without being too scientific, they are daily supplements that contain active ingredients to support healthy living. The range consists of 5 different products targeting digestion to joint care. They are taken orally in shot form every day. 

I was sent three months supply of LQ Skin Hair & Nails and was not asked for anything in return, so it was up to me whether I blogged, social media-d (made up word) or whatever. 


2.01.2018

Sexing Up The Anorak. Is That Even Possible?

What I mean is how to make the anorak a stylish piece in your wardrobe rather than one that you wear to pole dance! Just needed to clear that point up.

Not quite ready to hang up the long coats yet but we moved at the rate of knots through January (as if it's February today - how did that happen?) so it's probably a good time to think about outerwear for spring.

I was sat people watching the other day, as you do when you're perched on a stool in the window of Costa nursing a fruit tea but really wanting a full fat frothy cappuccino (how many calories?) and it struck me how many women were wearing anoraks. Black anoraks. Grey day, concrete streets, black anoraks. Jeez, I thought I was looking at a Lowry painting. It really is that grim up north!

So the black anorak. It's a bit of a cop out really isn't it? Just because the weather forces us to wear a sensible coat, doesn't mean we have to wear the drabbest colour of all. And let's face it, for some of us, we wear our sensibles for much of the year.

I therefore proclaim that we think out of the black box, widen our horizons and all that. I mean if we're wearing anoraks for much of the year (well us in the UK anyway), let's at least make it the best version of itself. I'm talking colour here. Why shouldn't we look good in an anorak???

And I need to point out that I'm talking 'anorak' in the loosest sense. Providing it's padded, warm-ish, not necessarily waterproof (get yourself a brolly) and with or without a hood (get yourself a brolly).

Let's Talk Colour


If you need a reminder of your own colour palette, click here.

A quick reminder:

LIGHT: naturally blonde hair, pale eyes and eyelashes, delicate skin that burns in the sun

DEEP: dark brown/black hair, dark eyes (eg. brown), any skin tone from black through to porcelain

WARM: red toned hair (strawberry through to auburn), green, brown or blue eyes, porcelain or warm skin tone

COOL: ash tones in hair (be it dark, blonde, white or grey), any colour eyes, pink undertone to white skin or blue undertone to black skin

CLEAR: dark hair, bright, vivid eyes, any skin colour

SOFT: mousey or light brown hair, soft muted eyes, little contrast between hair and skin colour


LIGHT


Black and very deep colours can overwhelm your delicate features if worn close to your face. Check it out for yourself. Take a mirror to the window (not full sun, clouds are good!), pop something black under your chin and look what it does to your face. Oh those shadows that hilight the jowls. You may find that you look tired and a little bit poorly too. There's something really lovely about seeing a woman in colours that flatter her features. So, let's look for other shades for you that are still as versatile.

This in fact. Not only will it be kinder to your skin, it's a pretty versatile shade too. Wear with denim, navy, white, grey for example and it's great for rescuing that black roll neck that you can't part with.


Pink Quilted Jacket currently £35.40