Saturday, 5 August 2017

Adding to my 30 piece capsule

These are the final 12 items in my capsule wardrobe. If you look at my previous post, you will see that there are two separate colour groups: navy with a touch of lemon and red; orange, green and brown. If necessary these can be mixed up, however there are enough permutations without doing so. For the final twelve, I've included colours that will work with the original eighteen items.

First of all, another four tops that are suitable for the daytime. This will give me a total of sixteen tops, so many of them will be worn twice over the 30 days, however by mixing them with different bottoms I can create different looks. Including the trousers in the second picture, I have five pairs of trousers, plus the red skirt for dressier occasions.

I decided to select a dressy top and skirt rather than a second dress. The top below them is winging its way to me, as I've just ordered it. Hopefully it will fit me and can be part of my capsule! Finally, a pair of navy and white cotton trousers.

I will be in Paris and then London on the last two days of August. Most of the items shown in the first pictures and in the previous post are suitable for summer days in Spain, however Paris and London may be totally different! The jumper and jacket in the next photo will be packed for my holiday, whereas the kimono jacket and dress shown below them are definitely more suitable for Spanish days and evenings.

Over the first four days of the challenge I have worn the following outfits:

Day 1: navy patterned trousers with orange top.
Day 2: striped dress, as we were out with friends for a birthday lunch.
Day 3. Next patterned top with green cotton trousers.
Day 4: green top with ochre linen trousers as shown below.

Day 4 outfit
My go-to outfit or "uniform" is a top and trousers, with a colourful or patterned top worn with straight leg or slim trousers as my preference. However I live in Spain and it's very hot here at the moment, so the four pieces below are being worn a lot, as they're very lightweight and loose-fitting - plus they dry quickly! My plan is to wear them when we travel from Alicante to Barcelona and then Barcelona to Paris by train, on the basis that the weather will be hot then. We will be returning to Paris after four days in London and will be renting an apartment in Paris for three nights, so I can then wash them for wearing at the end of the holiday. How's that for forward planning?! 

Did I mention that we're going by train from Paris to Zurich, then to Milan and finally Venice? I'm expecting it to be a lot warmer in Italy than it will be in London and Paris. We decided to fly back to Spain from Venice and will be putting our cases in the hold, so no worries about weight and liquid restrictions. After all we're going to be away for nearly three weeks, and I'll be celebrating a very special birthday, so this time we'll be travelling in style!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

30 pieces, 30 days challenge

Regular readers will know how much I enjoy challenges, and the latest one that I'm taking part in is Wendy Mak's "30 pieces, 30 days challenge" during August. Yes, I know it's already 3rd August, but it's never too late to join in a good challenge. Trust me!

The idea behind this challenge is to choose 30 items of clothing, which will form a capsule wardrobe over the next 30 days. The good news is that you can use accessories to ring the changes. Why don't you give it a go? I'll let you continue into September if you wish - I'm generous like that!

In the past I've taken part in Project 333, where I've selected 33 items of clothing to last me for 3 months, so 30 items of clothing for only 30 days should be a doddle, shouldn't it?

I plan to post a few outfits on my blog, but to start with here is a selection of the tops and bottoms that will be part of my 30 day capsule.

Eighteen pieces of clothing so far, including a yellow jacket that is unlikely to be worn until the end of the month as it's so hot in Spain at the moment, even in the evenings. I plan to take it with me though when we travel to Paris and then London at the end of the month. More of that later!

In case you haven't already guessed, I haven't made a final decision on what other items to include in my capsule. There will probably be at least 2 dresses (because I wore a dress yesterday and although I might bend the rules I don't cheat!), and one more jacket, which will leave me with 9 more items that can be added to the capsule. Hopefully, all will be revealed tomorrow!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Holiday capsule using my Earth Element scarf

At this time of the year, many of us are planning our summer holidays and, in particular, wondering what clothes to pack. One of my favourite bloggers is Janice of The Vivienne Files, who often bases her travel capsules around a scarf or a piece of art. I always receive compliments when I'm wearing my Colour Elements scarf, shown below, so I decided to base my holiday capsule around these colours à la Vivienne.
Earth Element colours

The beauty of creating a capsule using your favourite scarf is that all the colours will go together and you know that you will look good in them. We will be away for almost three weeks as this is going to be a special birthday trip, so I will need to take more clothes than usual. It's important that everything will mix and match to create lots of different outfits. However we are staying in an apartment in Paris for three nights after visiting London, so I can do some hand washing there if need be. We will be taking larger cases than normal as most of our travelling will be by train, with just one flight at the end of our holiday, where we are paying for cases in the hold. I did say that this was a special birthday trip!

Autumn in summer by sue-walker on Polyvore featuring Gap, Lacoste, Warehouse, Lucien Pellat-Finet, River Island, Eileen Fisher, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Madewell and M&Co

The capsule above is based on colours that suit me, however you can use the same principle to build your own holiday capsule: if you look better in softer, cooler or brighter colours, then you might use a scarf like one of the three shown below.


Janice often uses Hermès scarves, which I suspect are beyond the budgets of most over 60 women, however you can still use one for inspiration. You may have noticed that there aren't any swimsuits or beach wraps in my travel capsule, as we will be visiting cities rather than beaches. You can include them in your own holiday wardrobe, using the same principles to ensure that everything coordinates and will definitely be worn on your holiday.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

April Challenge: hiding your belly

First of all, to my regular followers, apologies for the lack of posting. I hope to make up for it over the next month or so before I go off on my birthday holiday! More of that later, in another post.

I know it's June, however I wanted to show you some of the outfits I wore during April for the Hide Your Belly challenge, which was one of the 40+ Styleclub challenges.

Outfits 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

The above outfits are the ones that I felt worked the best for me, for several reasons.

Starting from the left,with outfit 1: the colours blend in well, so there's not an obvious line, plus the top is patterned and also slightly ruched. Those two factors combined help to hide my tummy.

Outfit 2 has more contrast, however the dark green cardigan and trousers create a column of colour, which draws the eyes down and makes me look taller and slimmer (yay!). The scarf has a similar effect and draws the attention upwards to my portrait area.

Outfit 3 has a long cardigan, which helps to draw the eyes down and avoids anyone looking at the danger zone! If I'd worn a darker top to match the trousers, the slimming effect would have been even greater.

Outfits 4 and 5 are actually going against the "rules" as they have horizontal stripes (or hoops, according to my OH!). Both tops skim the body, so no obvious belly, however horizontal stripes can make you look broader. I think they work though as I am wearing a scarf in outfit 4, which helps to elongate, plus the long pendant in outfit 2 has a similar effect.

Some of the tips that Sylvia gave us were to choose a flattering top, including asymmetrical tops, ones with vertical stripes (no comment!), printed and draped tops.  Layering - in particular using cardigans and jackets - also helps, especially if you create a column of colour. Sylvia suggested adding shape and structure within an outfit, combining wide with more fitted, and the use of accessories to add structure, as well as using scarves to highlight your portrait area.

As you can see, I've followed Sylvia's guidelines in most of these outfits; even when I bent the rules, I think it worked. I'm sure that I'm not the only over 60 woman with a bit of a tummy, so please feel free to share any other tips that you may have.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Beauty blogger take 2

It's easy to think that if you spend enough money you will have perfect skin. When I tested Avon's Anew Platinum range for over 60s, which is comparatively cheap, I was pleased by the way my skin reacted and felt there were slight improvements over the 25 days. I wasn't expecting much and, to be honest, I wouldn't have expected any more if I had been trying top of the range products (with prices to match!) Good skin isn't created overnight.

By the time we reach our 60s we can expect our skin to be a bit set in its ways and we should know how to look after it. My skin is mixed, with some areas that can become dry if I'm haphazard in my beauty routine. I always cleanse my skin at night, however late I go to bed and however tired I am. I always use products with a minimum of SPF25 on my face, even in winter. I also keep my face well moisturised to avoid it becoming dry. Those are the positives to my skincare routine. I've already confessed to not exfoliating so I have decided to buy a gentle refiner to use twice a week to see if this makes a difference to my skin. I will also try using a moisturising face mask on a regular basis. Only then can I dare to call myself a beauty blogger!

Let's go back to my first sentence. In my view, good skin doesn't necessarily come from spending money. Of course expensive face creams are likely to have some effect, but I believe that other factors are just as important and that fundamentally beauty comes from inside as well as outside.

A healthy balanced diet is very important: too much sugar and too many greasy meals are likely to show in our faces. How many of us, when suffering with spots as teenagers, were told by our mothers to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables and to stop wasting our pocket money on sweets and chips? Now that we're a lot older - and hopefully a bit wiser too! - we can see that their words made sense. We should also make sure that we drink enough water by quenching our thirst with water rather than sweet fizzy drinks. I've noticed when eating out in France that carafes of water are put out on the tables, even when you've ordered a bottle of wine. It's a good idea to drink a glass of water for every glass of wine that you drink - though I don't necessarily recommend having eight glasses of wine as well as the requisite eight glasses of water a day!

I'm a great believer in daily exercise too, whether you run, cycle, go to the gym or just walk on a regular basis. Something to raise your heart rate a bit, get the blood flowing through your veins and maybe even break into a sweat! If you can exercise outdoors in the fresh air even better, though city dwellers might want to avoid breathing in too much polluted city air. A dog is the perfect accessory, though our dog Lisa tends to amble along so no chance of breaking into a sweat when we walk her!

I've mentioned the importance of using SPF25+ whenever you're outdoors, even in winter and on cloudy days. I have pale, freckled skin so I am extra careful. I've never been one for sitting in the sun, which may be one reason why I'm fortunate enough to have good skin. When walking outdoors, I'll walk in the shade rather than on the sunny side of the street. Obviously I've already applied plenty of sun cream before leaving the house and will apply more if I'm out for a while. Of course looks aren't everything, but I'm amazed by how many women of a similar age that I see, especially living on the coast, who have a deep tan matched by deep wrinkles. It's not just the fact that it's ageing them that concerns me, but the increased risk of skin cancer.

One of my earliest blog posts, written over four years ago, was about the importance of smiling. In fact I said that it was my best anti-ageing tip ever. If we're going to get lines on our face, I'd rather they were laughter lines than frown lines. I also am a strong believer that the way we are feeling inside is reflected on our faces. How often are we drawn to people who are lovely, caring people, even when they're not conventionally beautiful? On the other hand, I tend to be put off people who are superficially good-looking but who are also self-centred and selfish.

What about you? Have you tried any expensive beauty creams that you can recommend? Do you have any beauty tips to share with us?

La Prairie Platinum cream isn't cheap!
Disclaimer: I have never tried La Prairie Platinum cream as I can't imagine spending hundreds of pounds on my face. It's possible that it will make me look at least 10 years younger, so if I am sent a free sample I'd be happy to give it a go!

Monday, 17 April 2017

Becoming a beauty blogger

I was very excited when I was asked to write a beauty blog for Avon - after all, I'm hardly Twiggy, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren or any other glamorous star who is over 60. However I could understand the reasoning, as I'm sure many of you react like me when you see famous faces promoting beauty products: "she's obviously had work done"; "bet she's been photo-shopped" or "it's alright for her, she's always been beautiful!" tend to be my usual reactions. You too? Would you be more convinced by an ordinary woman praising a particular face cream?

I was sent four products from the Anew Platinum range, which is aimed at over 60s. I was asked to keep a skin diary and also to take some photos over the next 25 days.

I took this photo after I had opened the parcel with great excitement. The packaging was good, as you can see above, and didn't scream "cheap product", so there was no need to hide the jars from any visitors. I was given an Instant Definition Treatment, Eye and Lip Cream, Day Cream and Night Cream. I was pleased to see that the Day Cream had SPF25 as I live in Spain so need that as a minimum. Having said that, I tend to avoid direct sunlight as I have fair, freckled skin.

Day one photo
This is the photo of me on day 1 - no make-up and not smiling, so pretty scary, yes? It was soooo tempting to photo-shop this photo in an attempt to look ten years younger, but I managed to resist. This is what a real make-up-free woman over 60 looks like, folks!

I won't show you the photos that I took over the following three weeks, as they were no better than the one above. I usually smile in my photos, as I believe that a smile is better than a face-lift (as well as being cheaper!) and so in my view all the photos were highly unflattering. The reason I decided not to smile was that I thought it would be easier to spot any changes if the photos appeared similar.

To be honest, I couldn't see any miraculous changes to my skin. I think the wrinkles might have lessened a bit, my jaw might have tightened a fraction and my skin definitely had a healthy glow. After only 25 days I hadn't expected much,so this was very promising. I think it's definitely worth continuing to use this range of beauty creams. However I'll post the final photo and let you be the judges!

Final day photo
Would I recommend using these products? I certainly felt that they compared well to much more expensive brands. I was slightly concerned by tiny flakes on my skin when I first started using the products, but put that down to dead cells (I have to confess to not exfoliating my skin!). Also, I wasn't using an Avon cleanser, so I then made sure to wait a while after cleansing in case the products were reacting to each other, and this seemed to do the trick. I thought the day and night creams might be too rich, however they absorbed easily and my skin certainly felt lovely and soft after using them. I flew to London and back during the twenty five days and was pleased that my skin didn't dry out.  I was particularly pleased when a consultant at one of the beauty counters in John Lewis commented that I had very good skin!

So, what is your verdict? Can you see the difference? If you're over 60, would you be persuaded to use these beauty products too?

NB. I was gifted the four products, which is why I have decided to let you be the final judges. They do say that pictures speak louder than words anyway!

Monday, 10 April 2017

My Spring 33 capsule wardrobe

These are the 33 items of clothing that form my Spring capsule wardrobe and that I will be wearing over the next three months. I first discovered Project 333 a couple of years ago. The idea is, as you may have guessed, to have a wardrobe of 33 items of clothing that will last you for the following three months. If you choose wisely, you should be able to mix and match these items to create plenty of outfits and you won't find this capsule limiting. If you follow the above link you will realise that I cheat a bit by not including accessories and shoes in my capsule!

There are a dozen tops here, most of which are warm shades, as I am gradually building up a wardrobe in my most flattering colours. Obviously I need to ensure that my trousers will go well with these tops.

I haven't included any skirts in my capsule, though I might replace one of the pairs of trousers in the first photo with a skirt when it becomes warmer, as there are two pairs of jeans and two pairs of wool trousers. With eight pairs of trousers and twelve tops, it's mathematically possible to create enough outfits to cover three months without repeating any of them, though some combinations will look better than others. That's not the end of the story though, as during the next three months there will be days when I need an outer layer.

I have included three cardigans and one merino jumper as shown above, which will go well with the warmer colours in my capsule. I also need to choose some outer layers to go with the navy, grey and blue items in my wardrobe.

Finally, I have added a few dressier tops for when we go out in the evening or for a special occasion, plus a dress -  in the hope that we might have some warm weather towards the end of the three months!

There are six new pieces in this capsule of thirty three items of clothing, all of which have been chosen because they will go well with existing pieces and will prove versatile. I'm aiming to gradually replace older clothes that aren't in my best colours. Of course I also have a collection of accessories that will add individuality to my outfits and ensure that I don't become bored with them. If I was going on holiday before the end of June, I would just select tops and bottoms in the warmer colours and avoid the navy, grey and blue items. I realise that I should build up my wardrobe around neutrals, however regular readers will know how much I love a dash of colour! That's where accessories are so useful in creating outfits that reflect your personality.