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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!

9.22.2017

How I'm Wearing My Necklaces Right Now

It wasn't that long ago that we were accessorising ourselves with big, bold, (brash?), gawdy necklaces. Zara was up there with the best (worse). You could get a real humdinger for £15. And oh boy, did we work that trend. That's all in the past and my jewellery drawer is thanking me for the clutter that has been weeded out. These days, I'm more about the finer things in life. Except when it comes to wine, I'll drink any old rubbish that's in the fridge. No, I prefer dainty chains and pendants to finish off my outfits. Thing is, you don't even need to spend lots of money to achieve a real luxe look which is ok by me! Being a Yorkshire girl, I have that spend thrift gene running through my veins.

More often than not, I'll wear two, sometimes three chains together for impact. There really are no rules to follow, you can make it up as you go along providing of course, you don't empty the whole jewellery box around your neck. Remember, we're going for a chic, grown-up look in this blog post. But, it's really all down to your own style personality and how you enjoy your jewellery.

These are the necklaces that I'm currently wearing on rotation, there's a mixture of gold, rose gold and silver and I choose them according to my outfit.


If you follow me on Instagram (here), you may have seen this pin board on InstaStories. I picked it up for next to nothing (£19.99) from HomeSense a couple of weeks ago. It's so much easier having everything on display as previously the necklaces were all kept in their boxes. This seems to be a running theme for me at the moment as I've also taken all of my bags out of their dust bags. Why didn't I do this years ago?

Anyway, here are a few tips that I adopt when I'm layering necklaces.

1. There's always a common theme in what I wear. So the same colour metals or similar shapes for example.

Here I've gone for an all gold theme. I love the fact that both necklaces are exactly the same length which is something I don't often do but these work so well together.



And here I've gone for the same colour metal AND a pointy theme!!



2. Generally, I'm more of a two layer than a three layer girl. I prefer in the main, a simple dress style and too much jewellery doesn't work so well. Also, as a rectangle, I carry my weight on my top half so suit an uncluttered look across my torso.

I've layered two necklaces here, three I think would have been too much.



And again here, a simple two layer although I think one would have been fine as well.


3. My pet hate....the three chain necklaces that you can buy from Primark. Why? Because they're so uniform in length. And, the top one is often verging on choker territory! So if I were to do a three layer look (which I don't very much for reasons above), I'd rather have two shorter ones and a longer one. It looks much less contrived.

4. If I'm wearing a print next to my face or, my top is particularly fussy, I'll drop down to one necklace. I mean let's face it, these dainty chains offer little impact so rather than compete, I lay off the jewellery.

So this look was all about the shirt. Therefore I wore just the one necklace.




5. It's very pleasing on the eye if your bottom necklace is the heaviest and/or largest pendant.

6. Watch that longer necklace because it can suddenly transform in to a boob catcher without you even knowing. A good idea is to make sure it has some sort of a pendant on the bottom because the 'v' shape it creates sits better than a chain that tends to be more rounded and is waiting for the first opportunity to play hook-a-boob.

7. And staying with the longer necklace, it has a particular use for me when I'm wearing say a block colour, high neck jumper or top. The expanse of material be it wool or fabric can make me look VERY square and VERY wide. Wearing long necklaces (any number) cuts right into the width and breaks it up, giving you a longer, leaner look. This really is an effective tip and one that I use all of the time.

Can you see how the necklaces break up the volume of the jumper?





8. I'm not a lover of mixing yellow gold and silver but I love rose gold and silver together. It's all about personal preference really isn't it?

Not the clearest of pictures but the top necklace is a mixture of rose gold and silver combined with my beloved Halo necklace.




9. Remember your necklace will draw attention from a plain top. The eye will settle on the most interesting feature so use this to your advantage. Layer low if you want to draw the eye away from a scraggy neck. Layer high if you want to draw the eye from the bust. You get the idea!

Ok, so you'll probably think that there's nothing extra-ordinary going on with my jewellery but that's kind of how I like it. My necklaces are there but not there if you see what I mean. Just simple, clean lines.

A closer look at the necklaces (the only necklaces) that I'm wearing right now. Some are gifted, most I have bought myself.

Bill Skinner Bee On Honeycomb Necklace - no longer available but similar here and here and a Rose Gold option here
Bill Skinner Panther Necklace - no longer available

Lily King Gold Initial Disc Necklace - here & silver option here (you can add extra discs)
18 inch chain
DISCOUNT CODE: 15% OFF ALL ORDERS QUOTE HELLO-OK until 30/11/17
Oversized Initial - Top Shop (similar here)
33 inch chain

Monica Vinader Fine Chain in Rose Gold - here 
17inch chain
Letter Pendants in Rose Gold & Silver - here

Claudia Bradby Silver Star Necklace - here

Claudia Bradby Rose Gold Halo -

DISCOUNT CODE: 15% OFF EVERYTHING UNTIL 31/10/17 QUOTE: HALO

Kooky Two Silver Tiny Star Necklace - here
16 inch chain
Kooky Two Silver Triangle Pyramid Necklace - here
24 inch chain
Kooky Two Gold Bee Necklace - here
18 inch chain
DISCOUNT CODE: 10% OFF ORDERS OVER £20 QUOTE SLUDGEBROWN10
I'm sure we'll be going back to the oversized necklaces one day, probably when the ginormous earring trend has wained but for now, I'm very much enjoying wearing my little collection. How about you? Do you change your jewellery every day or do you wear the same things? It's a very personal thing isn't it?

So, let's talk about lack of time. Or more precisely other people pinching hours out of your day. Yes family, I'm talking about you. Take last night for example. Husband decided at 11.30pm that he ought to book a hotel room in London for tonight. Even he is getting fed up of the train journey from Cheshire to Euston every day this week. I can't blame him for that. So there he is trying to sort out a reasonably priced room because the only ones left are £800+ There seemed to be a bit of a language barrier problem with him and the LateRooms rep and I remember thinking last night, it's all going to go t*ts up this. And of course it has. He hasn't got the confirming email, doesn't have a clue where he's going and is in meetings up to his neck all day. So I'm left to sort it out. They won't talk to me because of data protection even though I've explained I don't really want to talk to them, I just want them to resend the email to the correct address. One hour later...give me strength. Another 5 hours in the car yesterday doing school runs and football matches. Man United, you really need to get your car park exit plans reassessed because it took me 40 minutes to get out. I am losing the will to live this month.








9.18.2017

An Easy AW17 Update | A Red Chunky Knit Cardigan

I'm just going to leave this here.

Red Chunky Cable Knit Cardigan £40



It's chunky. It's red. It's amazing with black. It's a bit of a statement piece. It's an instant A/W 17 wardrobe update and when you've finished wearing it outside, you can wear it inside over your pyjamas. We'll skip over the fact that it's acrylic. Well, what do you want for £40?

Chunky Knit Cardigan

Happy shopping!


9.17.2017

A Contemporary Navy Sweater And A Bit Of A Zara Bash

I have to be honest and say that when I received the A/W 17 Next catalogue I was a little disappointed. Normally I dog ear lots of pages to refer back to. This time I book marked none. Fast forward a few weeks and I found myself browsing online. And suddenly, there was so much that I needed from Next. Like Now! The faux fur coat (here) that I blogged about last time for example.  That's on order and if you want it, I recommend that you bag yourself one quickly as these things don't hang around. At the same time, I popped a few more things in my basket and I'm going to show you one of them today as I couldn't wait to wear it.

Ok, Next might not be as fashion forward as the likes of Zara but the quality is by far superior for similar price points (in my humble opinion anyway) . Take the trousers I'm wearing below. They're from Zara. Navy with a white side stripe. Proper trousers (not joggers) with a flat front and ankle grazer length. What's not to love? Except whilst ironing them, I noticed that one leg is a good 1.5cm wider in the leg than the other. Pure shoddiness. I'd already taken off the label and couldn't be bothered to schlep back in to Manchester so they're keepers.

I think if I had to sum up Zara, I'd say, they blow me away with their designs but underwhelm me with the execution. 

Anyway, back to my little find in Next. A simple double layered sweater but with a contemporary twist. 


Jumper - Next
Trousers - Zara
Bag - Coach (similar)

Normally a mock layered sweater has a collar sticking out of the top, a pretend hem at the bottom and buttoned cuffs. Nothing wrong with that at all. But I was drawn to this particular one because the cuffs are open and there's a bit of a turtle neck going on. The split hem is a nice touch too. It looks far more luxe than it's £30 price tag. 




I'm all about filling my closet with knitwear this year and this will fit in very nicely thank you very much. Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of cashmere but I tend to only buy classic styles and colours. Jeez-Louise, can you imagine trying to work out how to wash this one if it were cashmere!! Actually, that's one thing that I wish Next would do, a premium range using beautiful fabrics.


Trainers - Mango (similar)


Love this look from head to toe which probably means I should order the trousers and shoes too.


Jumper - Next
Trousers - Next
Shoes - Next

Navy is such a great neutral isn't it? A match made in heaven with all the mustard that's out this year too. 

Oh and check out my lovely new necklace. It's the silver star necklace from Claudia Bradby and was a gift from them to celebrate the release of the new collection. Also available in gold and rose gold. 

Silver Star Necklace - Claudia Bradby




I've got a few other bits on order that aren't available yet so I'll drip feed them to you over the next week or two. And you'll see more of the silver star necklace later this week when we're talking about layering jewellery. But in the meantime, I'll let you have the 15% discount code that CB have kindly let me have. Quote HALO at check out.

Off for a dog walk now and then I'd better start cooking. Husband and son are at Old Trafford watching the football. I think they're expecting a full roast dinner tonight. Well, they'll be disappointed because it's chicken curry in the slow cooker.







9.15.2017

An Easy Wear Coat In A Neutral Colour That You'll Wear Lots

The title kind of sums it up really. A cosy coat (they say jacket) in cream (a great neutral) that you'll wear lots because it goes with so many other wardrobe staples.

Cream Faux Fur Borg Jacket £58

white fur coat



And for those of you who run a mile when anyone mentions light colours, it's machine washable and having a daughter who has had several of these 'teddy bear' coats (think furry boucle ), it will dry pretty pronto. So throw it in the wash when you've done the school drop off, hang in the airing cupboard and it'll be good to go at 3.30pm. We really don't need to complicate our lives any more than we already do.

It's one of those items that you don't need to think too hard about. A grab-coat. Because you know that whatever you're wearing it will work. And make us look semi-normal when we're going about our daily business, when really we're that duck paddling frantically below the surface (anyone else this week?).



cream boucle teddy bear coat



Honestly? No, I haven't seen it in real life. I can't talk to you about the fit, the length or the colour. Only what I can see online. But oh! What I see is a great little piece that I'd like to find out more about. I love the colour, I love the straight cut from the front and the clever belt detail at the back that gives us a bit of shape. I love that it's available in all shapes and sizes including petite and tall, sizes 6-20. And proper deep pockets for my phone and purse when I can't be bothered to take a bag.



faux fur jacket
Cream Faux Fur Borg Jacket £58


But darn it, it's not available for another week or two. So, I'm not taking any chances and have pre-ordered. Anyone else tempted?



9.07.2017

Post Botox & Dermal Filler Treatment Results | The Follow-Up Post!


floral maxi dress for winter 2017


It's been just over two weeks since I visited Harley Academy Clinics for Botox and Dermal Filler treatments and I promised you an update. You may want to have a quick look at the first post in this series (click here) where I talk about my past experience and why I decided to go down this route.

This post is in no way intended to influence anyone who has zero interest in these treatments but if you are considering Botox and/or Dermal Fillers, I hope you will find it useful. And for reasons of disclosure, I was invited to review the service provided by Harley Academy Clinics so my treatment was provided for free in return for an honest account.

Just to recap, the clinic is an aesthetic treatment training academy for qualified medical people such as nurses, doctors and dentists.

The Treatment Day


I visited the Manchester clinic (find your local clinic here) which is based in the Pall Mall Medical Centre, a clean, modern and rather swish facility on Kings Street, right in the city centre. This is no back street operation!! I was introduced to Dr Vikram Swaminathan (we'll call him Dr Vik for short) and his trainee for the day, a lovely nurse with over ten years experience under her belt. 

All good practitioners will ask you to complete a medical questionnaire, checking past treatments and any allergies. This is also your record for future visits. We had a chat about my expectations which were pretty simple, I wanted to look fresher and less hagged. Dr Vik explained what could be achieved and suggested that I consider fillers as well as Botox. Now, I'd had a less than satisfactory experience with fillers a good few years ago. The area treated felt lumpy for a long time afterwards and yet it didn't look any different. And wow, it was painful! He explained that this treatment has come along way since then and felt that I would really benefit from it. So that sold it to me. I had a few 'before' photos taken, again this seems to be standard practice as I've always had this done. 

And then the training bit kicked in. Totally fascinating it was. Dr Vik explained to the nurse in medical terms what he had agreed with me. They lost me at the first sentence 🙈  But what it did reaffirm, is the importance of using a medically trained practitioner. They discussed various muscles, tear ducts, bones, cartilage. Nurses, doctors and dentists study anatomy at University so know exactly what is under the skin and which areas to avoid when injecting, how deep to inject etc. If I give you just one piece of advice, it would be to always, always always use a medically trained person.

I had Botox to the forehead to sort out the wrinkles. Dr Vik confirmed my own thoughts that although it would look smoother, I wasn't going to achieve the forehead of a 25 year old. Basically, it's a needle and syringe not a magic wand 😉  I do often wonder, if had I started treatment a little earlier, before the wrinkles had got so bad, whether I could achieve a perfectly smooth forehead! I also had it in between my eyebrows to sort out the ghastly frown and a smidgen to the outer corners of my eyes. I'm happy with the lines under my tear ducts so no treatment was required here.

Dermal filler was injected in to my cheekbones, the lines between my nose and outer mouth (Marionettes) and a small amount in my chin. He correctly identified that I sleep on my right hand side so had less plumpness than the other side so differing amounts of filler would be required. 

As the procedure was taking place, he explained to the nurse what he was doing. It was a great distraction actually! I've never experienced anyone work so fast, it was pretty obvious that this guy knows his stuff. The nurse administered two Dermal Filler injections and other than her working at a slower pace, there really was no difference. She was very closely monitored at all times. 

From a pain point of view, I'd say it was a 3 out of 10. The filler solution I assume is thicker than Botox and is slightly more painful but compared to the first time I had it done, it was a breeze. In fact, it was more painful having my make-up removed by a man! 

A quick photo afterwards and a post-treatment chat (there may be bruising, don't wear make-up for the rest of the day etc) and I was on my way.


And The Results


I'll talk about the after effects first of all. I've always suffered with a moderate headache for a few hours after treatment. This time I didn't get one at all. I don't know if this was due to the expertise of Dr Vik or the type of Botox he used. There was no discomfort other than a slight tenderness on the inside of my cheek that I could feel with my tongue for the rest of the day. And absolutely no bruising whatsoever although this is a common side effect which clears in a couple of days. 

The filler has an immediate effect and I was able to see the return of my cheekbones straight away (god I've missed them). There is also a marked improvement between my nose and mouth. I haven't really noticed any difference in my chin which Dr Vik said had lost plumpness but then I don't really see myself in a sideway profile. 

Botox takes a little longer to work. Certainly within a couple of days, the dreadful lines between my eyebrows looked more relaxed. And then about a week or so later, I woke up one morning and wowza, it had kicked in. Obviously it doesn't happen overnight, there's a gradual softening but this is when I really noticed. I think since then, there's been further softening and it's probably now reached it's optimum.

I won't insult your intelligence by labelling the before and after! And I need to point out that I hadn't had any treatment for 18 months so I was botox and filler free before we started. As you can see, my forehead is so much better and, face fuller (particularly the cheek bones).  Our goal has been achieved...fresher and less hagged looking.

before and after botox and dermal filler treatments


I am absolutely thrilled. It's the best treatment that I've ever had. It's subtle but noticeable (well to me) and this is exactly what I wanted to achieve. You know...people think you look better, but don't know why.

Not the most flattering of pictures are they but needs must? I look as if I have a peanut head in that turban. So, promise me that once you've read this post, you won't go back for another laugh!!!



It's always been standard practice in my experience to be offered a follow-up appointment, just in case you have a lopsided eyebrow(!) or need a bit of a top up. It's no different at Harley Academy Clinics, I was invited back for a review. I've chosen not to bother this time as I'm really pleased with the results. In an ideal world, I probably need a tiny bit more Botox in-between the eyebrows and possibly a little more filler in my chin. In fact, Dr Vik did mention that I might need the top up as he didn't want to 'overfill' on my first visit.

Now for the downside. This wasn't wholly unexpected by the way. At the appointment, I mentioned that previously I had developed creases above my eyebrows. This is due to the Botox lifting the brow. I was really conscious about them and also the fact that my eyebrows looked a little Mr Spock-like. So we decided not to inject above the eyebrow. However, the fact that I didn't want to go down this road again, has meant that the Botox that has smoothed out my forehead has pushed my eyebrows down a little, resulting in slightly hooded eyes. It's a Catch 22 situation and one that cannot be resolved with Botox alone. Given the fact that I have a reasonably good shape to my eyebrow, I think I can just about get away with it. And now you're going to scroll back to have a look aren't you????

The Final Word


So given that I was invited by the clinic to review their service, the question is, how can I assure you that my words are honest? Well, I think the only way that I can, is by telling you that I will be going back to them as a paying customer next time which will probably be December/January. I've joined their register of model patients (here) - they email clinic dates which you can book on to.

Yes I'd recommend Harley Academy Clinics. Don't be put off by the fact that it's a training facility. The practitioners such as Dr Vik are very experienced and specialists in the aesthetic industry. As I said in my last post, when you're fast asleep in an operating theatre, you have no idea who is cutting out your appendix. It could well be a student doctor because hey, they've all got to start somewhere.

Hope you found this useful and do give me a shout if you have any more questions at all.

Now I need to concentrate on getting my patchy skin back to normal - suntans are great but they don't half play havoc when they start to fade unevenly. Wonder if there's a needle for this too....? Probably best to get back on the lactic acid.

It's hard work being a woman.





9.05.2017

It's All About The Statement Skirt At Marks & Spencer

I really shouldn't have been in Marks & Spencer today but I can't seem to pass that shop without popping in for a 'quick look'. And it was immediately apparent that they're going all out for the statement midi skirt this season. Which is fine by me. As I've got older, my legs have become far more chicken-like, plucked chicken at that. Bruises linger forever and fake tan seeps into my wrinkly knees no matter how much buffing and prep I do beforehand. So less leg on show has got to be a good thing.

All hail the midi skirt (and dress) and long may it reign.

Two shapes that caught my eye today were the fish tail and the (updated) pleat.


The Fishtail Skirt & How To Make It Work For You


For me, this is the queen of all skirts. If she were a person, she'd be Marilyn Monroe. Elegant, sassy, and a little bit fun. You don't really need to do much to create a really fantastic dressed up outfit and let's not even talk about power dressing at the office.

But that kind of doesn't work for me. Most of my going out evenings don't call for super dressy outfits and I'd look a bit daft power dressing at the kitchen sink. Personally, I'd add a slightly over sized jumper and boots, there'll be plenty of room underneath for top to toe thermals so they'd work in baltic conditions too. Layering in this way keeps me much warmer than say a pair of jeans. A thinner knit or even a slight crop style works equally as well as a thicker, over-sized one. If you're a little conscious about your tummy (because let's face it, these skirts aren't particularly forgiving), wear a looser knit with a non-elastic hem. And the sock boot lends itself very well to the midi so you don't even have to go full length if you don't want to.

This is the one that made me do a double-take today.

Fluted Bodycon Midi Skirt £29.50


red fishtail midi skirt


It's an absolute stunner in real life and would work right up to Christmas and beyond. It's not quite as orangey-red as it looks here. Black cashmere jumper. Boots. Done.

Classic black. I hate how it's been styled here. Fishtail overload. A lovely loose cream polo neck and again boots, or trainers if you dare is so much more modern.

Black Fishtail Skirt £35



black midi fishtail skirt


I'm sorry but there is no way that I would have looked twice at this next skirt online. I think you'd be hard pressed to date this picture. Circa 1997 Kays Catalogue??? Which is a shame because it's a great way to wear the check trend.

Checked Fishtail Skirt £39.50


check midi skirt


And yet this combination is on the same page which is a million times better. So very tempted with this one.

check midi skirt, mustard jumper


Red (check), midi (check), checked (check). Bang on point. And there's a bit of substance to this one so it's going to keep us toasty warm. Oh I really want this one as well!!

Red Checked Fishtail A-Line Midi Skirt £39.50


check fishtail midi skirt

Love this inspiration, you're redeeming yourself Marks & Spencer 💛  although personally, I'd go for a less skinny jumper.

check midi fishtail skirt, black blazer, red jumper


Another heavy weight piece is the grey marl which is a brilliant neutral and would look fantastic with all the berry tones that are coming through. I'm sorry, I can't post the styled photo of the skirt. Yes, it's that bad. So here's the flat lay instead.


Fishtail Hem Pencil Midi Skirt £35


grey fishtail midi skirt



The Pleated Skirt & How To Make It Work For You


Hmmmm. I've struggled with this style. Love pleats but if you don't have a flat tummy, they're not going to love you back. And it looks as if we've got at least one more season of them. I make this style work for me by sizing up so that the skirt sits on your hips rather than the waist. The pleats lie neater. An elasticated waist also helps. If you're tummy conscious, avoid tucking in with this style. As above, try a looser jumper such as the one I wore last year. 


Skirt, jumper, boots and bag - all past season


It's from the John Lewis cashmere range, they have similar in each season but I think it may be a tad early for the full collection. This one from ASOS would be a great shape to wear with pleated skirts.

Anyway, say hello to the new velvet pleated skirt. Divine.

Just why? Why would you put this outfit together and expect to sell it? I'm sorry M&S, I really love you but your styling online is pants. 


mustard velvet pleated skirt


Here's the real life version that sold it to me. Ignore that mannequin in the background. A cosy knit in navy or black would be an instant improvement to the above wouldn't it? 


mustard velvet pleated skirt from marks and spencer


Equally lush is the navy. Super useful for dressing up and down. You could easily add a white t-shirt, biker jacket and trainers for a dressed down look. Switch the trainers for heels and voila, you're ready for dinner out. It's the kind of skirt that you probably won't need to buy a whole new wardrobe around because you already own pieces that will work with it. 


navy midi pleated skirt


Not as heavy but equally plush are these A-line pleated skirts with a hint of metallic. The drape of the fabric lends itself really well to an hourglass/pear shape or curvy figure. Very easy to create a Christmas-ready outfit. Silk cami, tuxedo or blazer and strappy shoes. 




I didn't have time to try any of the skirts on today so I don't know which I'll opt for: I'm torn between the 'out there' red check fishtail, the heavy weight grey one or one of the velvets. Decisions, decisions. 

And a few jumpers that caught my eye and would all work really well with the skirts.


(available in blush, navy, cream and dark grape)


blush cable knit jumper



(available in cream and orange)
Slightly cropped and will sit on the waist band. This would work really well because it's loose at the bottom.


cream and metallic jumper



This is much, much nicer in real life. I'm not normally attracted to embroidered florals but the red band across the bottom really adds something and prevents it from looking too Norwegian National dress. 


embroidered jumper



(available in soft blue, silver grey, soft coral and dark grape)

burgundy balloon sleeve jumper


I'm feeling a big order coming on and we're only just in to September! 

It's been 22 degrees here today (Monday), warmer outside than in but I've already left summer behind and am well on my way to autumnal dressing. Is it just me?

Back to school for us on Thursday which is a mixed blessing. The upside is that the son will have to get out of his pit before midday but the downside means that I have to go back to my 6.30am alarm calls which is very, very sad. He's going back without any sports kit (yes, well done again Player Layer), a fact that he'll bring up over and over and over again for the next three years. Because of course he's the only child in Lower Sixth that doesn't have kit. I don't believe that for one minute by the way.

Later this week, I'll bring you up to date with the Botox/Filler results.