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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!

8.31.2017

Make-up Hygiene: Guest Post


And breathe.

Anyone else feel as if they're on a treadmill at the moment? School doesn't start for us until the 9th but the son has football training x 3, football matches x 2, rugby training + one match, peer mentor training and anything else they can cram in before then. So that's a one and a half hour round trip per session for me. Oh and he's kindly informed me that one of the matches is in Bangor!!! Because that's local isn't it (not). It hasn't helped that up until yesterday, I had done zero uniform shopping. And of course a lot of the sports stuff is out of stock. Standard. It beggars belief really, I mean school suppliers have exclusivity. They know how big the school is, they know they've got a contract with the school. Why oh why can't they get their ordering system right. Last year we were without a sports jacket for 6 months. I received an email advising that they were back in stock 3 weeks before the son went on study leave!! 

Anyway, because  I'm so far behind with everything this month, including planned blogposts, I thought it would be nice to feature a guest post from a lady called Sophia Evans from Tidy Carpet Cleaners London As well as being the queen of clean, she knows that you have to be very efficient when you are balancing work and a family (I could do with a few tips at the moment). Sophia loves to share tips and tricks about different aspects of cleaning and organising. Today, she's going to tell us how and why we should keep our make-up tools and products clean. 


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Make-up Hygiene by Sophia Evans


Ladies all around the globe spend an average of two years of their life putting on makeup and fixing their hair. Of course, most of us use our beauty gadgets every day, but only 1/10 of all women clean their them on a regular basis.

You may think, for example, that you have some kind of skin condition which causes pimples and acne but chances are it’s your makeup brush, filled with germs and bacteria that irritates the skin. As anything used on a regular basis, our beauty products must be cleaned often to keep all germs and bacteria away. Luckily, the ways to disinfect your beauty stash are inexpensive and easy to do.

You’d be surprised how many germs and bacteria are contained in your beauty products. Your hairbrush, for example, has as much bacteria as the seat of your toilet, and don’t even get us started on your makeup brushes. Using dirty beauty products practically renders all the efforts to keep your face and hair clean useless – so, ladies, clean your beauty stuff.


Brushes





When you begin to disinfect your beauty stash, you should first clean your makeup brushes. You can make a DIY cleaning solution using olive oil and dish soap and daub you brushes for 1 minute. Don’t forget to rinse gently and air dry them. Ideally, you should do this once a week.


Lipstick



A couple of things that you can do to disinfect your lipstick - you can either put it in the freezer overnight – this will kill all bacteria – or disinfect with alcohol. Wind up the lipstick so that most of it is outside and put it in a cup of alcohol or spirits for 30 seconds. Do this once a month.

Pressed powdery substances




These are the only things in our beauty stash that don't hold bacteria and germs. That is, your eye-shadows, powders, bronzers, etc., are completely safe for use. However, you should keep them hygienic – just wipe the top layer once a month – it’s enough to keep any microorganisms that live on the surface.


Beauty blenders



That’s the one item in your beauty bag which you must disinfect every few days. Your face houses all kinds of bacteria, dead cells, etc. which your beauty blender absorbs each time you use it. The good news is you need only baby soap and warm water to clean your beauty blender. Always air dry.

Hair products



You can clean the back of your hairdryer using an old toothbrush – do it once every few months because dust may damage the device. Clean your curling iron or hair straightener with steel wool – don’t do it if they are ceramic, though. To clean ceramic curling irons and hair straighteners, use a microfiber cloth and any all-purpose cleaner, or make a cleaning solution yourself – mix one teaspoon of baking soda with 100 ml water. To disinfect your hairbrushes, first remove as much hair off them as you can. Then daub them in warm water and mild cleaning solution and use an old toothbrush to scrub off any remaining dirt.


 Know when to throw away





Disinfecting your beauty gadgets isn’t the only thing you should do – throwing away out of date beauty products is also important. Things like loofahs, face creams and mascara must be thrown away every 3 months, whereas foundations, eye liners and face washes can be used for one year.

Ladies, remember to clean your beauty products, it may be boring, but it has a lot of benefits.



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So there you go, I'm definitely going to give the lipstick in the freezer tip a go. That is genius!  Normal business resumes and I have a couple of posts that I need to get out pronto. I promised a two week botox update (sorry for those of you that have emailed me, I haven't forgotten) and I'm half way through another post about what to do when your lifestyle clashes with your style personality. Right back to the keyboard, I'll catch up with you soon. 







This isn't a sponsored post. Sophia approached me with a suggestion for a blog post and I was happy to oblige. Her main business, Tidy Cleaners is based in London providing a full cleaning service for residential and business premises. Sophia writes in her spare time on the subject of cleaning hacks and organisation. 



8.29.2017

The Perfect Knee High Boot Discounted by 81%

That grabbed your attention didn't it!

I have a cunning plan to keep warm this winter. Don't get too excited, I'm not reinventing the wheel or anything. It's just that skirts/dresses and ankle boots, I only really have half-a-love for them. They seem to work on me if they're stiletto and/or a sock boot. Anything else and I feel meh. Does anyone else have this problem? So then I'm faced with how to keep the tootsies warm if I don't do ankle boots. My legs must be from hardy stock because they don't get so cold. But oh, the feet.

So my plan is to go back in to long boots. Simple! I've not worn these for a good few years but the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. I mean, boho is here to stay (again), the 70s aren't going anywhere and midis, well, they're the new mini. I have dresses and skirts crying out for long boots. No more justification needed.

There is a bit of a criteria though:

1. Block heel but not overly high

2. A bit of a slouch so suede or a soft leather

3. A light colour, tan, stone or grey

I threw in a Google search not really expecting too much at the moment as it's still early season. But go to the foot of our stairs, look what popped up.


DF By Daniel Kingsbridge Tan Suede Stacked Heel Knee High Boot

knee high block heel boots
Boots £32 - link here


And can you believe it, they are mega discounted. A whole 81% (I did double check my calculation). Let's say that again, EIGHTY ONE PER CENT.

The original price was £169 reduced to £40 with a further 20% off right now if you quote EXTRA20. So that's £32 for a pair of suede boots.

BLOOMIN NORA! They are exactly what I'm looking for. You know when you daren't click on the sizes in case they've only got 3s and 9s left? That. But the shoe gods were on my side that night.

Let's not beat about the bush, I have chicken legs. Fact. And they're not the best when shopping for long boots. I always, always get the wellie flap. Of course the larger the size, the flappier the wellie. Ideally, I could do with a size 2.5, I'm sure they would fit perfectly on the leg but I don't really fancy chopping my toes off. So I ordered my usual size 6 and threw in a pair of 5s just in case I could get away with the latter. Beauty is pain after all.

Anyway, the 5s are okish. I mean, I won't be running a marathon or anything but I think I can break them in gently. They probably come up a tad big as they feel more like a 5 1/2. The tops are less flappy than the 6s so that swung it for me.

But the colour is pretty darn perfect. They say tan, I say stone.

knee high suede boots with a block heel


I'm trying to introduce a few lighter colours in to my winter palette and have a couple of cream skirts that the boots will work really well with. I've also been hanging on to a herringbone check handkerchief hem skirt for about 10 years and if it still fits (it won't), it will look fabulous with the boots.

A quick try on with a midi dresses.

light tan knee high boots with block heel




Yep, they're keepers. I'm going to have a lot of fun styling them.

Bit of wellie flap going on but I can live with that.

Boots £32 - link here


And for those of you who aren't familiar with this website, I've bought my footwear from here for years (claim to fame: I once sat next to the owner at a wedding). Daniel Footwear stock great brands such as Ash, Ugg, Birkenstock along with higher ends such as Alexander Wang and Karl Lagerfeld. I can lose many an evening browsing and, having a local shop in Alderley Edge, it's difficult to walk passed without popping in. They have mega sales too!

Happy shopping xx

8.28.2017

Those Next Pull On Coated Leggings Are Back

Yes it's that time again, the Next coated leggings are back in stock. It took me ages to find them the other day. Sweating I was. But persistence paid off and I located the little buggers. Same thing happened last year - they're virtually invisible on the website.

Bit disappointed that there are no new colours (black, navy and burgundy), I was hoping for any shade of grey and maybe even stone.

Next Coated Leggings £26 - £28



pull on coated leggings from next
Next Coated Leggings (all colours)

But they do now have black snake print. So I ordered a few pairs, different lengths and colours to check out the quality (click here for link)

The black and navy are exactly the same as last year. I'll be keeping these as mine are pretty worn out. I'm not sure which length to go for yet. The regular are great for flashing a little ankle but come winter, I'm always grateful for the extra inch coverage that the longer length offers. I wear a size 10, my usual size. I'll probably give the burgundy a miss this year because they're a tad too shiny for me.

If you haven't tried these, you really must. Comfortable, flattering (my god, even I have an a*se in them) and they don't budge. They are my daily go-tos. Easy to style with t-shirts, over sized shirts, pretty tops, chunky knits and blazers. And, because they have proper back pockets and a faux zip flap, you can even get away with tucking in your shirts because they look like proper jeans.

Now I'm not saying I wear them lots but....

coated leggings

And what do I think of the snake print? It's pretty subtle so you're not going to look like a sex shop worker. The fabric is thicker - I think that's due to the fact that the print is embossed so a thicker material is required. To be honest come the winter months, it's not a bad thing because they're not the warmest trousers in my wardrobe (a pair of tights normally sorts out the chill factor).


snake print coated leggings


When I tried them on, the rise seemed to be higher than I've been used to so I measured them. And yes, both the regular and longer length are cut slightly higher. More fabric = more sucky in of the belly.

You can see the difference in the rise here. The bottom pair are my old black ones from last year.



So, let's talk about the skinny fit for a moment. We're told it's leaving the cat walk for good.  Pah! While ever Mango and Zara have that many on their website, I'm not going to panic too much. That said, I'll be searching for a new style over the next few weeks to break me in gently. For now, I'll be championing the skinny this season.

Are you in the coated leggings gang (it's my third year - I must be up for a lifetime achievers award or something)? A great way to get the look of leather without selling a child or remortgaging the house. They wash like a dream (30 degrees, 1200 spin) but tumble dry at your peril. I cried when it happened to me 😂😂😂

Oh and it's worth keeping your eyes peeled because Next may release other colours later in the season (please let it be grey).








8.24.2017

I Love A Good Structured, Boxy Bag, I Do

blazer and white jeans and trainers


I had my chance last year. Yep the husband took me into Chanel in New York and said pick a bag. OMG. Seriously? Well, it was my 50th birthday after all. I knew exactly what I wanted, the Boy Chanel Chain Handle Flap Bag. It was the first time I'd touched it in real life. And it was a show stopper.



Chanel Boy Bag



But I simply couldn't get over the fact that it was over $4,000. I mean, it's not precious metal or anything is it? It's a cow for crying out loud. A mighty fine cow I'm sure but all that dosh for a lump of leather! Sensible head won crooning heart and I walked away, straight in to Cartier but that's another story.

I've got a real thing about a structured boxy bag and love my Village England Fulmer which gets more than it's fair share of outings.

Village England Fulmer In Grey £195



Pretty versatile huh? Sign of a good bag that isn't it?

a grey bag styled with different outfits

It's a fab day bag that works on a casual level or with business dress. Having caught the grey bug, I spotted this one in New York over the summer and realised that it would be a great addition to my wardrobe. Yep it's grey and boxy, not dissimilar to the Fulmer but, having a metal chain, it lends itself very well to dressier occasions. You know, those dinner dates with the husband, raucous nights out with the girls.

Rebecca Minkoff Chevron Quilted Love Crossbody £244.03



Like the Fulmer, it's great value. Bags are silly prices these days aren't they? This feels a bit special without the stupid designer price tag.

The beauty about this one, is that you can change the strap length by unhooking the chain. So it works cross body and, as a long or short shoulder bag. Clever.



Rebecca Minkoff isn't a brand that I've really looked at before and oh-ohhh I really shouldn't have clicked on the website because there are bags on there that I didn't even know that I needed.

A statement bag to jazz up any old outfit.

Patchwork Chevron Quilted Love Crossbody £268.84





Oversized cream jumper, white jeans and ankle boots. Autumn sorted. And then throw it in the summer box for next year. Blush pink (they call it berry smoothie).

Stargazing Medium Camera Bag £244.03




One I wouldn't put away over the winter months - putty. A great neutral that works with darker colours; black, charcoal, brown and navy. Gosh, I could build so many outfits around this.

Love Crossbody With Chain £268.84




A whiff of Chloe? I think it's a cross between the Marcie and the Nile (both for much more dosh). Khaki (they call it olive) is another great winter neutral.

Small Vanity Saddle £244.03




Classic black. Can't go wrong.

Large M.A.B. Camera Bag £202.67



One of each please.

Oh for crying out loud, I've just clicked on the watches. Want. Need.

Moment Gold Tone Studded Leather Strap Watch £227.48




I daren't look at the clothes, not tonight because I've already got a list as long as my arm.

By the way, there's free international delivery. Hurrah for that. But don't forget there might be a custom's duty of 2.5% (I think).

Back soon and we'll be exploring what to do when our lifestyle collides with our style personality.








8.20.2017

Are You Considering Botox Or Fillers? This Post May Help You Make The Right Decision...




Botox. Now there’s a word that always provokes a reaction. I’ve dabbled with Botox and Dermal Fillers over the last few years although not on a consistent basis. I like the former, it really does give me a fresher look, not youthful, just fresher which is fine by me. Fillers, I’m not sure about. I had the treatment once. It wasn’t cheap and to be honest, I didn’t really see that much of a difference. Maybe I was expecting miracles! Or maybe the areas that were treated weren't so bad after all. 

Anyway, I thought I’d put something together about my experience and thoughts because it follows on very nicely from the last blog post, How I’ve Changed My Style To Accommodate My Age and, I’ve been asked to review the treatment offered by Harley Academy Clinics which I'll tell you about soon. 

I don’t want this to turn into a full debate about Botox and Fillers because I know some of you feel very passionately about them (both loved and loathed with the same level of passion). I respect everyone has an opinion, it's a very personal decision isn't it? What I really hope is that this post will serve two purposes:

1)  to tell you about my experience for those who are sitting on the fence and not sure whether this is for them

2)   to provide an alternative for those where the treatment has previously been cost inhibitive (I bet that made you sit up straight!). 

So, let’s go.


Who do I use For Botox & Dermal Fillers?


I’ve used three different aesthetic practitioners over the last six years, all from medical backgrounds (two doctors and a nurse) and all were highly recommended. Because of the lack of legislation in this area, I won't use anyone who isn’t medically qualified. I mean, we’re not talking a pedicure here. They’re actually injecting stuff into your face. 




Because of the lack of legislation, technically speaking anyone can train in injectable treatments in the UK. But, according to the Human Medicines Regulations Act 2012, they can only inject Botox AFTER a doctor, dentist, nurse practitioner or registered pharmacist prescribes it following a face-to-face consultation to establish medical history. Just this week, a beautician was ousted for operating a clinic from his GARDEN SHED! Shocking! I really cannot believe that in this day and age, there is still no legislation in place.  

I may be wrong (I’ll check it out with Harley Academy Clinics) but there’s a huge question mark over whether beauty therapists can obtain indemnity insurance for administering injections. Certainly the big insurers do not cover this. So if anything goes wrong, basically you don’t have a leg to stand on. Notwithstanding that, and more importantly, if you were to have a reaction to say the Dermal Filler, a non-medic is unlikely to have the knowledge and capability to provide immediate medical help. 

I’m not saying that these people aren’t any good. I’m sure some of the best aesthetic practitioners out there are not medically trained, because they do it day in and day out but….as I said above, you need to weigh up the pros and cons. 

So until the industry in the UK is properly legislated, I will only use medically qualified practitioners. 


Why have I had Botox and Dermal Fillers?



Obviously, I jest! That's not the reason. In fact, I've never really had enough Botox that people would notice. Put it this way, I've always been able to lift my eyebrows!! 

I have quite oily skin and back in the day I used to console myself with, ‘hey, at least I won’t get wrinkles’. Think I must have read that in Patches or Jackie magazine back in the 80s because it’s a bloody old wives tale. Fast forward 30 odd years and I do have wrinkles and laughter lines although I don’t mind the latter because they’re 'characterful'. But I do mind the deep wrinkles, very much. 

My face is quite angular and the deep lines seem to emphasise this, giving me a very harsh look which I hate. One day I will have a full face lift, just the one, before I’m 60. For now I’ll dabble with other treatments. A reader hit the nail on the head the other day when she said, ‘I want to be the best version of myself’ (thank you E), I think that sums up exactly how I feel. I truly believe that in most cases, it doesn't make you look younger. But it does make you look fresher and healthier instead of that hag that stares out from the mirror at me every morning. 


My problem areas


As much as this hurts, I feel a picture speaks louder than words. Ok, deep breaths Donna, deep breaths. Please don't judge, I have bare make-up on, just a little powder, mascara, eyeliner and gloss but this is what 50 looks like (and I've never smoked, don't drink that much but I did hammer the sun when I was younger). Oh and in the interest of total honesty, there's zero photoshopping!

And remember, I have no Botox or Fillers at the moment so you're seeing my naked face.





How often have I had the treatments?


Ok, so for me, it’s been a bit ad hoc. I don’t have Botox regularly enough which is silly because generally, I like what it does. The last time was over 18 months ago. What with my mum and everything last year, it really wasn’t on my radar. In fact over the years, I’ve probably left it too long between treatments. I can still see the effects of Botox 4 or 5 months down the line (I think they say 3-4 months but everyone is different) but I'd normally stretch it to 5 or 6 months. 

I’ve only had Fillers once in the creases between my nose and side of the mouth known as the nasolabial folds (oooh errrr that sounds rude). Honestly, I don't feel at all qualified to talk properly about this treatment because I've only had it done once and I didn't see that much of a difference, although the cost would have bought me a very nice pair of Jimmy Choo shoes (anyone else use shoe currency??).



And the result?


Botox sorts out the deep frown between my eyes. The lines of my forehead don’t go completely but they are softer. I’d love to have really smooth skin in this area but it doesn’t seem to happen with Botox. Maybe I left it too late before having the first treatment and my skin was too baggy in which case if you’re thinking about having it done, you may want to bear this in mind. I'm talking to 40+ women here, not 20 year olds - enjoy your youthful skin girls!!).  

Last time I ended up with some creasing above my eyebrows so that's something I would like to chat to the experts about. 

I’ve also had injections in my chin to sort out the dimpling. I think I probably needed more in there than was administered. Again, it was softer but I feel sure a little bit more would have helped!!! Says me with zero medical knowledge.

I can’t lie, I was petrified about having the outer area of my eyes done to sort out the crows feet. It's so important that you choose carefully who does the treatment, I mean how thin is the skin around the outer eye socket? It wasn’t as painful as I expected (say on a scale of 0-10 where 10 is really painful, I’d give it a 6.5. The results were pretty good although as I said previously, I don't mind the laughter lines too much. Mind you looking at the above photo, I think it may have gone to the top of my list!

And the Dermal Fillers? They felt lumpy and didn’t really do much. I was shown how to massage the lumps for maximum effect. Let's just say I found the whole experience disheartening. When the doctor initially suggested the treatment, I was a little sceptical as at the time, the lines between my nose and mouth were not that bad. They are now so this area needs to be explored and I'll chat about it at my appointment.



The procedure


I’ll talk more in-depth about the procedure and pain in a follow up post after I’ve had the treatment at the Harley Academy Clinic just in case things have changed in the last year or so. For now I will say that for me, Botox was very straight forward, quick and not that painful although the fillers hurt. Watch this space. 


What do my family think?


Well more Mr B. He is against any kind of anti-ageing intervention. Lord knows what he'll say when I tell him that one day I'm having a face lift. Maybe, I won't tell him and just go ahead anyway. He thinks that we should grow old gracefully. Easy for him to say. He tolerates my little visits and merely raised an eyebrow when I told him I had an appointment. At least he can raise his eyebrow!!!! As I've said, it's a very personal choice isn't it?



And a little bit about Harley Academy Clinics


I'll talk you through my personal experience with this brand after I've had the treatment. When I was initially approached by the company, I was intrigued and spent a long time researching them. Armed with a list of questions, I wrote back to them and within 24 hours I had a professional response that more than covered any concerns that I had.

The Clinics are training facilities for future aesthetic practitioners located in Bristol, Birmingham, London, Liverpool, Hull, Manchester and Nottingham. It's important to point out that they only train people who have medical backgrounds so doctors, nurses and dentists for example. Every student is checked with the official body of their profession. 

Students are required to spend a significant period observing treatments at the clinics and only when the doctor in charge of their training is confident in their ability, are they allowed to carry out procedures which are closely supervised on a 1:1 basis. Their teachers are doctors at the top of their game so patients can be confident that they're in the best hands. I guess you could liken it to having an operation and a junior doctor is supervised by an experienced surgeon (except we're asleep so we don't know that our appendix was removed by someone who has never done this before!!!). 

Anyway the point of this is firstly, I feel extremely confident that I will be receiving a first class service and secondly, because it's a training facility, the cost is much more competitive than if you were to visit a reputable practioner. All Botox treatments are £100, their aim is education, not profit. So, if the cost has in the past been prohibitive, this may well be a way in for you. 

And the clinics aren't too shabby either. This is the one I'll be attending in Manchester which is within the Pall Mall Medical Clinic. We are not talking back street operations here! 





So, don't make any decisions right now. Let me experience the treatment and I'll write up a post with before and after photos. You never know, I might even get to meet the dashing Dr Swaminathan himself. 


8.17.2017

How I've Changed My Style To Accommodate My Age


Well, that was an extended break from blogging wasn't it! I never blog on holiday because...

(tick your answer, you may choose more than one) 😉

a) I'm having too much fun to get the laptop out (and  anyway it ends up covered in suncream)
b) It's good to rest and recharge one's batteries
c) I can't be bothered (!)
d) You need a break from my trivial waffling

It's a funny old time of year right now. You're on holiday, I'm on holiday (well, was). Retailers don't know what to sell - strappy tops or fluffy jumpers. And they're still chucking sale dreg emails into our inbox at the rate of knots. I for one haven't even thought about buying anything new for a few weeks. And whilst my kids emptied the clothing rails of New York, I exercised restraint and bought just one bag. Quite frankly I'm not in the zone, give me a week or two and I'll be on it like a rocket.

I did a lot of thinking on my sun lounger. Well, I spent 7+ hours a day sat on my bum so it wasn't difficult. I thought about being 50 and what it means to me. But more specifically, how I've changed my style and beauty routine over the last few years to reflect my age. So, I thought I'd share my thoughts with you and I'd love to hear from you too.

Makeup 


I've changed the colour of my eyeliner

A change I made several years ago and, one that I've never regretted is switching from black eyeliner to something less intense. When I trained with Colour Me Beautiful, I realised that a lighter colour still does the job but looks far less heavy on my eyes. So, I switched initially to grey and then later to teal. I still wear teal to this day. It looks 1000% better. Far more flattering. The devil inside me has tried black (a quick delve in the daughter's make-up bag) and you know what? Not only did it make my eyes look smaller, it hi-lighted all the fine lines. Hmmmmm. It's worth trying a lighter shade if you're still using black but feel that it doesn't look as good as it used to. 

Here's the link to the Colour Me Beautiful teal pencil. And still less than a tenner? It's probably gone up 20p in the last 10 years. There are so many other colours that you can use depending on your personal preference and colouring; moss, brown, amethyst, marine...even switching to grey can do the job. 

I've stopped wearing eye shadow

I've had my make-up done professionally several times over the last 4 years. But after a few hours, my eyes look less smoky and more punched-by-Tyson. Not a good look. And no matter what products I use at home, it always ends in tears (mine). So much easier to not bother. My theory being that the more you slap on, the more it hilights wrinkles and eye bags. I don't miss it at all. 

I've toned my makeup down

Not that I ever wore loads. Toyah Wilcox circa 1980 seemed to pass me by. I tend to wear powder rather than foundation these days. It looks less heavy and certainly less dewy. God, I hate dewy make-up on my old skin. I've tried different mineral foundations but Bare Minerals is my go-to. I use medium beige and switch to medium tan in the summer. TK Maxx had a brilliant set of 3 pots of colour, a primer, two brushes and concealer for £19 last weekend. It's sold out online but you might strike lucky in store. The pots are smaller than normal but the set was still bloody good value. I've found this one that's still available and again is great value (it's medium tan which is the one I use in summer). 


Bare Minerals Make up set
Click here for link

Blusher is a light stroke across my cheek bone and lipsticks are less intense. My current favourite lipsticks are from Clarins' Joli Rouge Range. The best I've had for years. The colour is there but it's sheer, creamy and very moisturising. As a warm skin tone, I've been buying the warm shades such as watermelon and coral tulip but my ultimate favourite is a more neutral shade, Guava. 



Clarins lipstick
Click here for link


I like clean (not clumpy) lashes

It looks so ageing. I've tried the fibre lash stuff but I prefer a cleaner thinner but longer lash. Wiggling the brush seems to clump my eyelashes so I avoid this. **Tip if this is you, run the mascara tube under hot water for a few seconds, it seems to make the liquid more 'liquidy' and it's easier to work with. My daughter introduced me to an amazing mascara by Douglas I think. Apparently only available in Sephora but has been spotted in Spain. Do let me know if you come across this product because I can't find it anywhere!! 


I always, always remove my makeup before bed

No matter how tired I am, it comes off. Wish I could tell my younger self this. A quick swipe across the face with loo roll at 2.30am does not take off your makeup, 20 year old Donna. And let's not even talk about the dirty pillowcases. Sorry Mum. She was forever washing them and never complained  😳

I haven't yet found the perfect under eye concealer

I am bereft, having tried so many different ones. The skin around my eye sockets is quite dark and I swear that The Ordinary products are bleaching my skin which exacerbates the problem because I avoid using them around the eye area so this skin remains dark. Daughter suggested that I should use more product below my eye and blend it downwards. More product???? That goes against the grain, I mean, surely it will show up all the fine lines. Well, it did kind of work somewhat but you can still see a 'smudge' for want of a better word underneath my eye. Any suggestions? 

Beauty


I'm still using the Clarisonic Mia 2 Facial Cleanser

It's part of my morning routine, a quick whoosh around my face and I'm left with lovely soft skin. And my make-up certainly goes on much more evenly which is an added bonus. 

The good news is that they've come down in price. 


clarisonic mia 2
Click here for link


I have a skin care routine using The Ordinary products

You may remember this post that I wrote about The Ordinary. Well, I'm sticking with the little regime that I wrote about. I didn't take all of the products on holiday with me but Buffet, Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide came along and were used religiously. Normally I come home from hot climates and end up breaking out in spots due to clogged pores. I've had just the one (whoop whoop) and I put that totally down to the Niacinamide. Pop over to the blog post if you want to know more. 

I've dabbled in Botox and Fillers

And I kind of like them, well one more than the other. I'll tell you why in a dedicated blog post soon so I won't say too much now. Watch this space. 

I've tried teeth whitening

My Dad has always had great teeth. He's 78 and has had the minimum of intervention (I'm talking one filling in his 78 years). They're all present and correct. Long live Dad's teeth 😬  I guess I'm lucky in that I seem to have inherited his gnasher gene. It must frustrate my dentist to death because I have an annual check up and a visit to the hygienist. And that is it. (Sorry H if you're reading this, one day I might need a very expensive root canal filling or something). Under the supervision of my dentist, I embarked on teeth whitening a few years ago (the palette system, not laser). Thing is, my teeth are already pretty white and although I could see a difference, it wasn't enough to encourage me to do it regularly. Far too lazy to faff. I think if you're unhappy with the shade of your own teeth, it's a treatment that you'll love. From memory mine cost about £200. 

**Tip: do not use out of date whitening gel as I did which I found in the back of the fridge. Burnt my bloody gums. I would have thought that the bleach would have lost it's intensity. It hadn't and I had blisters for days. 


I have to constantly fake tan my lower legs

What the hell is that all about? My legs between the knees and ankles do not tan. At all. That's only happened in the last few years. So my thighs tan, my feet tan but not the middle bit. It ain't a good look. So I have to fake tan. Even on holiday. I got in to the whole Cocoa Brown thing last year but although the colour is lovely, it's very patchy when it wears off so I've switched back to an old favourite, St Tropez. I find a mousse is so much easier and less messy to apply. 


fake tan mousse st tropez
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And then my Aunty S told me to get this from Home Bargains. I think it cost me around £2.50 (I know, cheap right???). I opted for the dark and here are the results. Not bad at all. Dead easy to apply with a mitt (I use a velour one rather than the cheap foam ones - it really makes a difference). There's zero smell, it didn't streak and the tan developed over a couple of hours. And Brucie bonus, it didn't come off all over the bed clothes (husband goes mad!!). Let's see how it fades over the next few days**. I'll stick to St Tropez for the rest of my body but for a quick fix on pasty white legs, first impressions are good.

**update - seriously impressed, I'm on Day 3 today and it's still very even. 

Here are the results after a very sparing application as I was rather worried how dark, dark would be. 

how good is cheap fake tan
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I'm loath to pop up a link to this product as I don't recognise any of the sellers but here's the supplier's website although you can't buy from them. If you don't have a Home Bargains nearby, just google Fake Me Tanning Mousse, there are several sellers (you can choose because I'm not recommending sellers that I don't know lol). Hey, I didn't even know that Home Bargains sells brands. Piz Buin for £4.99, thank you very much. That's Dad sorted for his holidays. And you can buy from their website too (sadly not Fake Me though).  Things you learn in your quest for the perfect fake tan. 


I won't do lip fillers but there are other ways...

Do you remember this post about the PMD Kiss Lip Plumper? You know, the one where the workman thought it was a vibrator on my bedside cabinet (cringing in a corner here). Well, I didn't take it away with me because I had a luggage nightmare. Think 4 suitcases open on the airport check-in floor trying to distribute weight so they all weigh 23kg. We had a lot of luggage! You get the picture. But I've started using it again since we got back from holiday. And I still love it. It will definitely make the next trip as it's fast become a valuable part of my daily routine. 

And if you're wondering why I won't do lip fillers? Well firstly, I suffer terribly with cold sores - anything sets them off and secondly, I'm very nervous about the treatment going wrong and ending up with wonky lips. Each to their own though. I envy the slightly fuller pout!


pmd kiss lip plumper
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Personal Grooming


I have my hair cut and coloured every 6 weeks

At 50, my mum was well on her way to going grey, well silvery ash. It suited her. I have very few grey hairs, there's the odd one here and there but nothing to worry about too much at the moment. Actually here's a fact for you, did you know that there's no such thing as grey hair? It's merely hair that has lost pigmentation. There you go!

My naturally mousey hair needs lifting otherwise it looks terribly boring and flat. So, I have it hi-lighted every 6 weeks. It's taken ages for me to be totally happy with the colour. Bleach that was once perfectly fine, looks brassy. Adding ash helps but that soon fades. Anyway my hairdresser used a different tone, a kind of beige, so very much more of a neutral lift. And it works! It's shade 111 by Ye Colours if you're interested. 

I've found a miracle product for thin, flat, limp hair

I guess it's not so much the product as the brand. Argan Oil has been around for years hasn't it? But it wasn't until I started using The Ordinary's offering that I realised how bloody good it is. I promise you, I'm not sponsored by these people. They don't even know I exist, I just really rate their products. 


The Ordinary Moroccan Argan Oil


I add 4 or 5 drops to wet hair, comb through and roughly dry with a hairdryer. It seems to give it a bit of structure and feels thicker and heavier. Is that what it's supposed to do? I haven't a clue but I love the result. Well chuffed! 

I've started having HD Brows

Being blessed with *cough* strong brows, I've always had them 'tamed' and over the years I've gone from the dreaded tweezers to waxing to threading and more recently HD. If you haven't tried threading, you really should. The shape that can be achieved is fabulous, far superior to waxing. And a very cheap treatment too. I would have probably carried on with this method but the girl that I used to go to, packed up and left town. Distraught I was.

I always thought HD was for those who desired that heavy brow look (to put it politely) or at the other extreme, for those wanting to 'encourage' their brows to regrow. But this treatment is for anyone who wants a neat, defined shape. It's a combination of dying, waxing, plucking and threading to achieve the perfect shape for your face. The cost is £30 upwards so not at all expensive.


Style


I've stopped being a slave to fashion

This was a conscious decision about 18 months ago purely driven by the fact that I wanted to create a wardrobe of clothes that had longevity and cohesiveness. Gone are the days when at the beginning of the season, I find myself turfing out all last years stuff, no longer deemed to be acceptably fashionable. Instead, I have a good supply of basic shirts, trousers, dresses and jackets that I can reach for over and over again. Of course, I still dabble here and there to keep my look fairly current but I don't feel the need to run out and buy the very latest 'must have' thing anymore. 

As the girl said herself, 





I've stopped wearing jeans

Shock, horror. What I really mean is that I've kind of almost given up on light and medium wash denim. I have drawers full of them; skinnies, boyfriends, straight leg, distressed, you name it, I've got it. But I feel a scruff, no matter how I wear them. I just don't enjoy them anymore. I still wear jean style trousers and these ones are absolute genius. They're the first pair of lift and shapes that actually seem to do anything. Because of the fabric, they're smarter than denim which is a better fit with my own style personality (find out yours here). I'm a City Chic by the way. So, I'll wear black and grey jeans and I'd love to find a pair of very dark indigo but I won't be donning traditional denim anytime soon. 

The hemlines are gradually dropping

This is an easy one mainly due to the return of the midi. Long let it reign.

This one was picked up from M&S a couple of months ago and is no longer available but the fab Village England bag is (click here for link)

Now if I could get my hands on this dress in navy and charcoal and camel and red, I'd be one very delighted bunny. 


Print shirt dress midi



I'm finding it increasingly uncomfortable to wear shorter skirts and dresses. I'm not talking mini-mini either, those days were over many years ago. My legs are less fleshy and more boney these days, they don't tan (see above) and if I bruise, it takes ages to go. I fell over the open dishwasher door on 15th July. I'm still sporting two shin shiners over a month later. That said, I will make exceptions to this rule if there's something that I utterly adore. This one for example (which I also bought in blush). An absolute bargain now at £49. 


white shift dress and grey biker jacket
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I always wear at least one smart thing

Because it kind of works for me. I'm not a casual dresser, totally not cool enough to pull off a laid back look of jeans, t-shirt and trainers. It looks all wrong and sloppy on me. So if I'm doing say a pair of black coated jeggings and a t-shirt, I'll top it off with a blazer rather than a cardigan. Or maybe I'll wear a block heel sandal rather than trainers. One smart thing is all that is needed to pull a simple outfit together. 

Here I'm wearing a simple Breton jumper and navy lift and shape jeans from M&Co (that I mentioned up there ^^^). Adding a smart blazer gives me that City Chic look that I crave. 


navy blazer with breton top


I only wear one tight thing at once

So if I'm wearing skinny trousers, I won't wear a close fitting top at the same time. It all feels a little too....Bet Lynch bodycon. Rules I've imposed on myself (I never judge others). So, a loose shirt or thin knit boyfriend jumper balances out the runner bean look. 


I know and accept my body shape

I'm not happy but I accept it. I'd love to be a curvy hourglass but that ain't gonna happen, I'll always be a rectangle. But with a bit of careful dressing, hopefully I disguise the bad bits. Find your body shape here (I have yet to finish this series of posts, don't worry they're coming).

Dressing for your body shape means that sometimes you have to leave certain styles alone or look to try and emulate them. Peg leg trousers are a no but I can kind of imitate this look with tailored crop cigarette pants. A full skirt is definitely out but flat fronted culottes are similar. It's all about adapting a style to suit your own figure. 

I know which shops cater for my style

Of course you know I love Winser London for their tailoring, fit and comfort. Marks & Spencer and Next are great for cheap wardrobe staples. I love Me&Em and the majority of Baukjen but avoid Hush. That's not to say that I don't like Hush's collections, I do. The clothes just don't like me back. Too casual and shapeless for the look I feel comfortable in.

I always think carefully about bags and shoes 

And never just grab whatever is at hand. These are the cup cake topping and pull everything together and can take an outfit to the next level. 

Shoes and bag don't have to match either! 

boho dress and studded bag
Dress - old, Bag - Village England, Sandals - old


pink and white outfit
Jumper - Winser London, Jacket - Winser London (in sale)
Trousers - old, Bag - old, Shoes - old
Well that's a me, me me post. Sorry! I'd love to hear if you've changed your style to accommodate your age whether that was a conscious decision or otherwise. Or have you thought sod it, I'm staying just as I am (you go girl). 

Back soon, I have lots of juicy posts coming up.