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Fashion and beauty for sassy over 40 women

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Monday, 4 November 2013

New Shoes

I'm indebted to Tamera Beardsley who wrote a few weeks ago about her search for the perfect pair of shoes. She found them with a quirky London brand called Poetic Licence.

I was amazed that I've never come across this brand before. They're really perfect for me. I'm always hunting for shoes which are a little different and don't look "grannyish" because I don't like high heels.

These shoes, above, are from Poetic Licence. They're Barnard brogues and come in several different colours. The shoe boxes are very cute too! It's my birthday on Thursday and I've asked for a a slightly different pair of blue ones.
Sharing with the lovely ladies of Visible Monday.


Shoes, Poetic Licence; jumper, Pure Collection; skirt, Boden; necklace and belt, Marks & Spencer

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Monday, 28 October 2013

Mid Calf Boots


Boots, Zara; jumper, Boden; trousers, Marks & Spencer
I adore ankle boots. I think they look really funky with coloured tights and fun skirts (to use a Boden-esque phrase). I recently bought a pair of black shiny mid calf boots (Zara) but I'm a little flummoxed about how to wear them.  Samantha Cameron got no end of stick when she wore the same pair with a dress and no tights.

The challenge is that mid calf boots cut off the leg at the chunkiest part.

The elastic "Chelsea boot" part of these boots unmercifully cuts into your calf flesh, so with tights or bare legs, this is only flattering if you're very young and very thin. It looked amazing on the models in the Red fashion spread on coats, with all the models wearing ankle and mid calf boots.

I have been wearing them with trousers, although I think it's a look that possibly shouts "Captain Kirk" or "Beam me up Scotty."

How do you wear yours, lovely Visible Monday ladies?


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Sunday, 20 October 2013

Cobalt Blue

I've had a hankering for cobalt blue. I found this Havren dress in John Lewis but didn't buy it because I was in a rush. The next day, regretting that decision I bought it from them online. It was the last in my size and had reduced in price overnight! Serendipitous.  Sharing with Not Dead Yet Style and Visible Monday.


Dress: Havren at John Lewis; shoes: Clarks; necklace Topshop







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Monday, 14 October 2013

Monochrome

Black and white continues to be a fashion mainstay. It's always popular with me. I love this dress from Marks & Spencer: it has a slightly retro feel and it's in the very flattering fit and flare style. I bought it about four years ago. The two-tone ankle boots are from River Island. Sharing with Lena B's Passion for Fashion link up.


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Monday, 7 October 2013

Violet

It was a beautiful day in London yesterday and I put on a new outfit to go to a restaurant for my husband's birthday lunch.

Violet was the colour: I have always loved violet and was thrilled to see that Kettlewell Colours have quite a few garments in violet this autumn/winter.

Skirt, camisole and top: Kettlewell Colours. Tights: Tightsplease. Necklace: Marks & Spencer. Boots|: Asos.

Happy Monday to all the lovely ladies at Visible Monday.






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Monday, 8 July 2013

Mother and daughter special

My mum came to stay this weekend - she lives quite a long way away, in Devon, and it's a long journey when you're 81. She is however full of verve and energy.

Saturday was a big day - we went for afternoon tea at Claridge's followed by the Boston Ballet in a triple bill at the Coliseum. Fabulous day.

Mum had gone to a boutique recommended for her in Saltash, Marianne, where the owner selected this floaty floral number. It is perfect for Mum because she likes to wear bright colours and refuses to be a "beige lady" like a lot of women her age. The floaty folds are very slimming too.

I wore my pink circles skirt from Next, white top with tiny 3D flowers from Peter Hahn, metallic shoes from Asos and necklace from M&S.


On Sunday we saw my mum's brother Brian and his wife Ruth in their lovely garden. Brian was dapper as ever in his beige linen suit and hat, and Mum was up-to-date in a loose top and white piazza trousers. I'm wearing a red and white top from Next and trousers from M&S.  Sharing this for Visible Monday #104.
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Monday, 1 July 2013

Hello Sailor

I have rediscovered vintage!
I bought these 80s inspired tops from Asos Marketplace.
I love the sailor look.
The trousers are by Jovonista from Asos.
Linking up with Visible Monday.

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Monday, 24 June 2013

Relaxed Holiday Wear

When you're out sight seeing on holiday, you need something relaxed and comfortable. So I reach for three-quarter length or capri trousers, a t-shirt and my glittery flip flops.  The trusty "bum bag" (or fanny pack, as you call it in the US) was a present more than 10 years ago, and came from Marco Polo. I use it on nearly every trip. Sharing this with the lovely ladies of Visible Monday.

Trousers and flip flops: M&S; t-shirt: Next; sunglasses Ray-Ban
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Monday, 17 June 2013

Holiday Essentials

I'm on holiday now and sunning myself in Greece.  Here are a few of my holiday essentials, in terms of jewellery:
  • The Greek style earrings, top left, were bought on the island of Hydra a few years ago. They only come out when I'm in Greece!
  • The charm bracelet was purchased in Oludeniz, Turkey. The idea was that I would buy a charm every year. It didn't pan out, except for the pineapple charm which I bought in Hawaii. The charms are larger than usual and it's hard to find any of the same size. And now that Pandora and Trollbead type charm bracelets are all the rage, the bracelet looks a little bit....heritage?  I try to avoid heritage jewellery at all costs. Very ageing! But I do wear it on holiday. I love the way it tinkles.
  • The pink necklace is a new purchase for this year from Etsy.
  • The "bag dangler"  (I don't know what you call them?) was a present from my friend Wendy and will be ideal for dangling my little evenings bags from the table in the bijou restaurants.
I'm also taking a couple of new purchases from Guerlain's Terracotta range, which to me personifies summer. This year, a delicately perfumed body oil with a slight golden sheen, and a new coral cheek tint.

Anyway, these are my favourite things that I will be wearing on Visible Monday in Greece!
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Monday, 3 June 2013

Orange

I've a bit of a thing for orange so far this summer.  This is a great dress for smart occasions at work, or just smart occasions in general. I love the perspex orange daisy necklace.  Sorry the lighting is a bit weird --- I am still trying to learn the functions of the camera!

Sharing this for Visible Monday and Not Dead Yet Style.

Dress: Marks & Spencer Speziale; necklace: Top Shop; wedges: M&S
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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Shop the Look

I'm very excited to see "shop the look" widgets appearing in magazines and on blogs like Not Dressed Like Lamb.

The reason is I am driven to distraction when I see clothes in a magazine and I can't buy them!

The dress on the left, from Coast, is a good example.  It was featured in a magazine; I checked out the website and there it is, prominent on the home page and in their High Summer 13 Look Book. But can you buy it? No.  Entering its name, "Steren" yields a frosty Not Found. Ye Gods, why can't they acknowledge that maybe this dress isn't available yet, and take your email address to let you know when it is?

Another disappointment recently was a cream and green floral/leaf print dress that featured in an article in The Times magazine about girls and their proms. The dress was from Asos, but their site didn't have it and hasn't had it, despite my daily checks.

Meanwhile a floral peplum skirt from M&S was shown in several magazines, and I wanted it.  But now it has finally landed, I've gone off the boil.

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Monday, 27 May 2013

What do you wear to work?

Top: A Wear; city shorts - M&S; shoes - Boden; belt - Madeleine

I work for a big US tech company headquartered in Silicon Valley. In the US and in our UK office, the dress code is casual with people wearing mostly jeans or chinos and t-shirts / sweatshirts. And tro be honest, a lot of them look quite scruffy. I really can't abide the clothes featuring the company logo. Fine for an event, but in the office?!

For customer meetings and presentations, people wear more formal business wear: for women, jackets with dresses or skirts;  for men, jacket and shirt and for those in the City, tie.

Those of us in marketing, perceived to be more creative, are less slavish to the "dress down" code. So I usually wear floral skirts, nice wedges, cropped trousers or dresses. This year I have resurrected my "city shorts" which are about 5 years old. I absolutely LOVE Pete Pan collars so have been wearing lots of tops featuring them, or detachable pearl or sequin Peter Pan collars.

When I'm working at home I wear jeans and tops --- nothing with logos you understand! What do you wear for work?
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Sunday, 12 May 2013

Pink and white

It's hard finding well cut, slightly dressy white t-shirts and tops. Last year I left it to the last minute and couldn't find any for my holiday.

This year I've sourced two dressy white tops, both a bit pricey but great quality. The one below, from Peter Hahn, has white blooms around the neckline which you can't see too well.  The other one, also from Peter Hahn, you can see in my posting here.

I also found a classic fitted white t-shirt at Fig Leaves which is simple but well cut.

The skirt below is by Next. They have really upped the ante on some of their women's wear. I bought two skirts and they're both great quality: the one below is silk. Yet some of their tops are really ghastly: nasty fabrics and colours.  The metallic pink shoes are from Asos.




Pink and white skirt, pink metallic shoes
T-shirt, Peter Hahn; jacket, M&S; skirt, Next; shoes, Asos

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Monday, 29 April 2013

Dressing it up


I had my colours done a few years ago and am a Clear Spring. It makes sense to me because I naturally gravitated towards some of those colours. Peach and orange in particular are two of my favourite shades. Last year saw a peach bonanza:  suddenly the colour was everywhere!  This year it's the same with orange.

The silk top above is by Dorothy Perkins and was bought purely because of the colour.  I don't normally bare my arms but I thought "what the heck, who's going to look at my arms anyway?" and went for it.  The skirt is a few years old, from Zara, and the wedges from M&S.

I used a few more accessories than usual.  A cute clutch bag, a big citrine ring and some large pearls.  Maybe this is the outfit for when my Mum and I go to see the Boston Ballet in London in July.
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Saturday, 27 April 2013

Beauty Heroes

I love reading the "best beauty products of the year" listings in the Sunday Times and various magazines. It's become a little indulgence of mine to watch the videos on Youtube where women of all ages discuss their beauty buys and review their "empties."

I don't tend to stick to the same products.  Once I have an empty, I'm usually trying something new.

But below is my cluster of Hero Products, the ones I buy time and time again.


These are my face favourites. I alternate between Decleor and Elemis, and as you can see, I'm having a Decleor moment.

I used to buy all the latest "miracle" products that promised great things. But ladies, we really are wasting our money. Scientifically there's no way that most of the sci-fi sounding ingredients can actually penetrate below the surface of the skin.  All those chemicals used to make my skin itchy.

The best that a good serum and moisturiser can do is provide a glowy base that feels comfortable on your skin, holds make-up well and makes you feel good.

I love Decleor's products because they smell wonderful; have a lovely melting texture, and provide the right degree of rich, creamy coverage. I like to feel moisturised so I don't like creams or lotions which disappear rightaway or feel "scrubby" when you're gently smoothing them on.

Experience de l'age is Decleor's range for mature skins. I love the new cleanser. The exfoliator gives me confidence that it works because you have to gently buff it off after it dries on your skin. The serum and cream together are fantastic.

For eye cream I love Estee Lauder's Advanced Night  Repair. I use this in the morning as a day cream. It minimises wrinkles and hydrates very well.


In terms of hair, I am the laziest person alive.  I have a pair of hair straighteners I have never taken out of the box. Heated rollers ditto. I refuse to use "product" or tools beyond a hair dryer and occasional velcro rollers. Since I had my hair cut short it has become a bit more high maintenance. I have to condition it a lot because it's coloured. Some conditioners make my hair too floppy, but I like Percy & Reed's foaming treatment mask.  It gives me shine but no flop. What more could a girl want?

If I am pushed for time, I skip conditioning and use a tiny pearl of L'Oreal's pro-keratin refill  (from hair salons). This is a miracle product. I have tried all the hair oils that everyone raves about but this is far better for giving you smooth, shiny hair. But don't overdo it. A tiny blob is all you need.



Make-Up
My two essential make-up products are a coloured mascara and Touche Eclat.

I am VERY fussy with mascaras.  I recently bought an Yves St Laurent one which smudged and was hideous. I don't like a mascara that clumps, is full of filaments or makes your eyes itch.  Estee Lauder's Sumptuous Extreme is the one I usually use.  It doesn't give the biggest, fattest lashes ever but it comes in lovely colours and doesn't smudge. I'm currently using Extreme Emerald. Black mascara is incredibly ageing, I think  (and a touch old-fashioned). Colour mascaras are fun and internsify the colour of your eyes.

Touche Eclat is unbeatable for melting away dark shadows under the eyes and lighting up other gloomy areas  (around the nose, corners of the mouth).


Body Products
Cheaper ones tend to do the same job as expensive ones. It's just the fragrance and packaging that add the extra cost.  I find Dove Pro Age excellent as a body cream and shower wash. I don't believe any lotions or potions will remove cellulite, and I've tried them all - scrubbing with the Elancyl massager a few years ago;  Clarins;  Dior; Nip and Fab and many other types of "minceur." The best one I have found is Weleda's cult product, Birch Body Oil. I don't know if it actually works on cellulite but because it's an oil it makes my dry skin feel good for several hours.

I try to apply a foot cream every day so that I don't have to deal with rough heels. Boots Moisturising peppermint foot cream is very rich and does the job for a fraction of the cost of others I have tried.


Perfume
I rarely wear my old favourites from years ago because there is nothing more ageing than an old fashioned perfume. I don't like many new  perfumes though because they're often too sweet and cloying.  I was thrilled to discover Narciso Rodriguez L'Eau for Her, which is a light, delicate floral and very modern. Annick Goutal's Un Matin d'Orange is another favourite, not least because it's not ubiquitous. Who wants to smell like everyone else?

So those are my top picks: what are yours?
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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Red and white

There's a touch of "senorita" about this outfit, thanks to the gorgeous handmade felt flower necklace which I purchased from Anna Wegrowska's shop on Etsy.

Shoes and skirt by Next; white top by Peter Hahn. 



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Monday, 8 April 2013

My Secret Collection of Evening Bags

Peach coloured evening bag with sequins
I'm going to let you into a secret. There's something I collect which I've never shared with anyone before.

Girly little evening bags.

Goodness knows why, because I hardly ever go to the type of formal event where you would take such a bag. But I cannot resist them. They are sooo pretty!

One or two of the larger ones usually go on holiday with me but I have to make sure I can squeeze my husband's glasses in.

Anyway, without further ado, let me introduce you to the girls.

selection of sequinned evening bags in different colours

The collection started with the black beaded "Dorothy" bag at the back. I've taken this one on holiday many times because it comfortably passes the glasses test, as does the large gold sequinned bag  (New Look) which I took to a friend's 40th birthday party.

The little grey bag (Marks and Spencer) holds special memories. It was originally bought for an occasion I have forgotten, but then came into its own for our wedding in 2010 when I paired it with a silver dress and grey shoes. I found the receipt for the wedding reception  (a restaurant meal for 20) inside it.

The green bag (Warehouse) matches a sequinned green dress I wore this Christmas for our office Christmas party. I love green and I bought the bag a few years ago hoping I would eventually partner it with a dress.

The cream bow bag is another one that goes on holiday. In the top right you can just about see a heavily encrusted pink bag which is very pretty but has a dodgy clasp.

Finally at the front there is a purple bag (Per Una), which when I opened it has some "40" confetti inside, reminding me that I bought it to wear with a purple dress that I wore to a friend's birthday party.

Front left is a gorgeous peach bag still wearing its tag  (Plymouth Garden Centre). This was a real impulse buy - I just had to have it! Maybe one day it will make its debut.






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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

New Shoes!

It was great to get a delivery of bright pink shoes on such a cold dull day!
I have no idea what I will wear them with, but when I saw them I loved them.
These block heels are a great trend ---- much more wearable than the vertiginous heels we have seen for the last couple of years.

Pink metallic shoes from Asos
Mary Jane shoes from Asos
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Thursday, 21 March 2013

Getting Ready for Summer

So here it is - my inaugural post!

My first post has to be about the summer clothes that I start buying in January, as soon as new season fashions start appearing and as soon as I've booked the June holiday.

This year it's been slightly different because I've lost 2 stone  (28 pounds) and it's more fun to experiment and try things on. I was hoping that a lot of the clothes I haven't worn for a couple of years would now look great, but my shape seems to have changed too and the size 12's  (US size 8) that suited me two years ago now seem a bit shapeless. I need to cinch in the waist.

I saw this jacket by Phase Eight in a magazine and instantly wanted it. It wasn't on their website at the time so I had to keep going back to check.

Sometimes I spot something in Grazia and it's either not yet on the website (with no opportunity to pre-order) or they've already sold out. I wish retailers would make it easier for us. I like it when they say "As seen in...." and have the items in stock. If they are out of stock, please email me when they're in. Not that difficult!

I love a loose, floaty white top for summer. I found this one at the new online store Madeleine.  The jeans are also new, from Boden, and the block heels by Clarks. Clarks are really worth checking out - they have a lot of on trend shoes at half the cost of some stores.

Their model was wearing it with a gold link belt and it caught my eye. The "ball" is very heavy and the belt looks luxe.

I always find a few easy pieces at Kettlewell Colours. It's a terrific site if you've had your colours done and know what suits you, but find it hard to find those colours.  I'm a bright clear Spring and my best colours are orange/peach and green including lime, kelly and pistachio. I love that they now sell dresses and skirts.  This skirt is bias cut and very flattering.


This is another Kettlewell combo. The skirt is jersey the top, in Salmon, is a great colour that I don't often find.



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