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Fashion and beauty for sassy over 40 women

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Chanelling lace designer Isabella Catanea Parasole

Gail Hanlon in black flouncy maxi skirt, hat and polka dot top
This month's SIA Challenge - Style Imitating Art - over at Jen's blog, Librarian for Life and Style, threw down the gauntlet to step out of my comfort zone and wear something a bit different.

We're asked to channel the Italian lace designer and wood carver, Isabella Catanea Parasole (1565-1625). She was the first lace designer to create a lace instruction manual for women,  Her designs include some circular lace, so I was looking for an outfit that included lace / circles / monochrome. I'm not really a "lacy person" in that I don't have any lace. But I found this excellent maxi skirt which I think could be loosely described as lacy. Goodness, I haven't worn a maxi skirt since I was 13 and they suddenly became all the rage!

Doing some pattern mixing, I'm wearing polka dots too in the tie waist top (a great buy for women who need to define their waist). I added more polka dots with my Buff scarf. Remember - a Buff is not just for hiking. See my post here. The chain belt and hat added the finishing touches. I felt quite flamboyant in this outfit, as if I was off to a Mardi Gras.
Click here to see how other bloggers interpreted the challenge. 



Skirt: White Cove at Asos; polka dot tie waist shell top, New Look at Asos; hat: old; belt: Madeleine (old); scarf: Buff, past season.

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Sharing this post with Hat Attack #43 at Style Crone; Turning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish; Style with a Smile at Style Splash; Style Me Wednesday at Shopping My Closet; Fashion Should be Fun, hosted by Dawn Lucy;  Fancy Friday Link Up hosted by Nancy of Nancy’s Fashion Style; Fabulous Friday at A Pocketful of Polka Dots.
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Sunday, 29 January 2017

Is it possible to look stylish when hiking?

Gail and John Hanlon below a rainbow hiking in the Borrowdale Valley
The rainbow was a bonus on a day when the weather was mostly grim 
What? I hear you cry. Stylish when hiking? Surely an oxymoron!
Well, dear reader, before we started our trips to the Lake District back in 2012, I had no idea I would soon be avidly scouring The North Face website for their latest drops, or scurrying into George Fisher as soon as we arrive in Keswick each time to buy more stuff.
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Friday, 27 January 2017

Wearing neon brights to add some colour to winter

 This is a seriously bright jumper - an acid or neon green (my husband would call it yellow). I added a touch more green with the velvet shoes and necklace. And ignored the rule about "red and green should never be seen" by adding red lippy.

Jumper: Sainsburys; jeans: Boden; shoes: Next (out of stock); necklace: Justine at Etsy.

Too cold for photos outdoors today! Keep warm and enjoy your weekend. Sharing with A Pocketful of Polka Dots, Nancy's Fashion Style and Not Dressed Like Lamb, #SaturdayShareLinkUp.

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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

When your hands are 20 years older than your face

I'm in good company with this one: both Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker suffer from the same affliction.
There are four reasons why our hands can age faster than the rest of our face - and it's not just failure to apply hand cream:
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Monday, 23 January 2017

Fashion in my 20s: what was I thinking?

I thought I would give you a laugh by sharing some of the outfits from my 20s. This was in the 1980s, a decade not noted for sartorial style. But even so......
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Friday, 20 January 2017

5 ways to radiant skin

If I was to envy young women for one thing, it would definitely be their skin: firm and peachy with no hint of wrinkles, shadows or pigmentation marks. As you get older, it becomes harder to replicate that gorgeous radiance. I have five key products I use when I'm looking less than radiant.
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Thursday, 19 January 2017

Finally embracing cropped trousers

Finally embracing cropped trousers. Blogger Gail Hanlon pictured
Cropped, or shorter length trousers, have been around for a while but I have been stubbornly resisting them. Two reasons. I didn't like the idea of an expanse of ankle being exposed to the elements in winter, and as far back as 2013, I was lamenting the fact that worn with mid calf boots, they give the "beam me up Scottie" look. And they usually seemed to be worn with high heel court shoes, which I don't wear. 
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Monday, 16 January 2017

In praise of pearls

The Is This Mutton? Definitive Guide to Pearls

Image from Pixabay showing woman in hat and pearls
It was Coco Chanel who decreed "a woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls." Lady Sarah Churchill, meanwhile, revealed: "I feel undressed if I don't have my pearls on. My pearls are my security blanket.”

Pearls are highly flattering against the skin, with the more expensive pearls casting a gorgeous light against the face.
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Thursday, 12 January 2017

A new look for an old favourite: Lypsyl lip balm

New packaging 2017 of Lpysyl lip balm in seven new flavouursI have been a devotee of Lypsyl since I was at school. This much loved lip balm has been moisturizing the nation's lips since 1891. But it hasn't always been easy to buy. It's had a chequered history, several different owners and a varying presence in the high street. Sometimes it was impossible to find, although nowadays it's much easier to source online.

I'm pleased to see it has now been relaunched with a new range of seven delicately scented SPF balms.

For my US readers I'm not sure what relation UK Lypsyl has to US Lypsyl:  I see that the US product has entirely different packaging and varieties, claiming to date from 1905 and describing itself as "pure Swedish beeswax."

I recently reviewed several lip balms and Lypsyl (in the old original formula) performed just as well or even better as more expensive brands from Rodial and REN - here.
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Saturday, 7 January 2017

15 Health and diet tips from over-40s women like you

Banana and oranges representing healthy eating
It's the time of year when we're bombarded with diet articles, books and slimming DVDs from celebrities. Most of the diet methods contradict each other and there seems to be no agreement between health organisations and experts on what scientifically works best. Some experts are still saying that low fat is good. Others say sugar is the devil.
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Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Fun with faux fur

Brown faux fur scarf worn over shoulder of black jacket

 I was thrilled to receive a faux fur stole for Christmas. It's ideal for draping over a shoulder and securing with a belt. Here I'm wearing it with a black jacket, black polo neck jumper, felted brooch of a Herdy (Herdwick sheep, found in the Lake District) and a grey skirt with asymetrical hem, plus my "mean" pointy black ankle boots. The scarf is the same colour, more or less, as my hair!

Brown faux fur scarf, Marks & Spencer (out of stock), black polo neck, Next (past season); black MaxMara jacket, past season; Herdy brooch, Moor End Felts; boots, unknown (have had them for years). Skirt, Laura Ashley, out of stock but similar here.
Brown Mreks and Spencer faux fur scarf worn with black jacket

I also tried the fur stole with a green jacket, brown trousers and gold boots - but I think it looks better with the black ensemble.

Green jacket, Zara, past season; gold boots, Office (out of stock, similar here); brown trousers, Marks and Spencer, out of stock but similar here.
Green Zara cropped jacket worn with brown faux fur stole
I love faux fur and this hat, bought when I lived in Munich in 2000/20001, is the only leopard print item I've ever owned.  You get a nice close-up of Herdy too. I don't have many hats (why not?!) but I love the way Judith at Style Crone makes hats such a key part of her outfits and I was itching to join her Hat Attack link up, so here we are!
Image showing Gail Hanlon Is This Mutton in leopard print hat

What is your favourite faux fur buy, or your most memorable (good or bad?).

Sharing this post with Style Crone, #HatAttack42 ; Style Me Wednesday at Shopping My Closet and #MyRefinedStyle hosted by NotDeadYetStyle.

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Sunday, 1 January 2017

Wearing Green in 2017



Green is this year's trendy colour  (see my post on 2017 predictions) and the good news is, there's a green shade that suits everyone.

The Pantone shade "greenery" is a ferny sort of green, not the type I would normally wear. I prefer Kelly, emerald green or the yellowy pistachio.  Which greens do you normally veer towards? Those will probably be the shades that suit you most.

Green goes very well with pink on the opposite side of the colour wheel. If that seems a bit too daring as an outfit, choose a couple of pink highlights - a scarf, bag or shoes. In the photo above I've added pink with my lipstick. I like green with navy or black for corporate wear.  The yellowy pistachio shade, below, looks fab with silver. 

Here are some of my green outfits - Boden have traditionally offered some good green choices - plus some new green arrivals available to buy now, below.

Boden green dress on 40 something woman

Dress: Boden, reduced now but sold out for sizes below 16;  shoes, Next, sold out - similar here;  tights, Next; necklace, Justine at Etsy.

Green jumper and skirt from Boden with Next flat green shoes

Jumper and skirt, Boden (past season); shoes Next (sold out)
Green coat from Marks and Spencer with navy trousers and burgundy boots

Coat and  navy trousers Marks and Spencer (past season), boots Zara (past season)

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