Over the last few weeks I have been thinking and reflecting. And to help me do this I looked back over some of my blog posts, the ones that I wrote as I planned my 50th birthday celebrations, as I thought about gifts and what I shared after the event.
As I have said before my blog is mostly my hobby, it is a place for me to write, share, think and reflect. I hope that along the way I can give inspiration and encouragement to others, whether that is what I am wearing or what I am doing. One day I might make a little bit of money out of my blog but that is not my aim, I am not a professional blogger. But I hope that it makes me more real - I share outfits I am wearing not what a brand has sent me for free. When I show you what I am wearing, it really is what I am wearing and not a modelling shot - then taken off in favour of PJ's!
Some of the blog posts that I looked back on are:
Plans for my 50th Birthday
Countdown to my 50th Birthday - being fifty and fab
My Birthday Wish List
Less is More - Quality over Quantity
Reading through them got me thinking, how did I do? Did I have a good year, did I do what I wanted to do, did I achieve my goals?
Last weekend I got to wear the dress I wore for my 50th birthday again, I attended a charity gala dinner in Milton Keynes, it was organised by my friend who has set up the Facebook support group for all those wanting to get lean, A Big Girls Journey to Lean. We had a lovely evening and I really enjoyed wearing my dress. It was from Karen Millen but was last year and nothing similar available but I do recommend Karen Millen for party dresses - and they fit so well too.
First of all I had a goal to treat myself to a Louis Vuitton handbag and a new car - my longed for mini! Both I achieved - the LV I decided to save for and the mini well now that my daughter is about to learn to drive I no longer needed to be practical so I was able to choose a car just for me!
So I feel very fortunate and very spoilt and I am very lucky.
But one of the biggest changes this year has been to my health and fitness - and the journey I have been on to get back to a size 8-10 after allowing myself to nudge into 12's. I finally realised I needed to make some changes when we went skiing in April 2016 and I was unfit and couldn't fit into my beloved ski trousers. I came home and started The Body Coach SSS Plan and yes I did lose the weight and the inches and was back to a size 8. But then I needed to embark on a plan to maintain and at the time I thought to lose a bit more.
I was at the smallest I have been in a long time when I celebrated my 50th birthday and it felt good but I still wasn't satisfied - I wanted a 'flatter' tummy and so I carried on trying various plans etc but in the end I realised that I was trying to achieve the unachievable. Yes if I gave up all alcohol, if I exercised a lot and consistently, if I watched everything I ate then I could probably do it BUT I didn't want to give up 95% of my life to weigh 5% less.
It has taken a lot of soul searching, coaching and giving myself lots of common sense talking to's for me to appreciate that I am perfect just the way I am.
Yes I did need to lose that stone and the inches. But my body is happy with that,, I have maintained through this whole year despite trying to lose a bit more. I am happy with where I am.
Stress became a big problem for me this summer and I have written a bit about it in previous posts so I won't go into detail again but one thing I did learn is that sleep and stress play a huge role in the body's ability to lose fat. I was too stressed and I wasn't sleeping well. Once I took time off to sort these two factors out then I started to feel better and in fact have lost an inch or so more (without really trying).
So coming to terms with who I am and my body and the fact that actually at 50 I look pretty damn good has been a big goal achieved for me this year.
I'm allowing myself a bit of time off formal exercise because it was causing me too much stress - seeing everyone else managing to fit it in and me not being able to - was really driving me mad. In the end I said enough is enough - I am me and you are you - I am doing what I want with my life and I will not beat myself up any longer.
So here I am a year later, more positive, more accepting, happier and determined not to compare but to be happy in my own skin.
My health and fitness is important to me and I am looking forward to starting exercise again in the new year - I have a 12 week goal - I go skiing in February and I can fit back into my ski trousers but they are still a little snug so if I can make them just a little more comfortable and if I can keep up with my family on the slopes then I will be very happy!
Peri-menopause arrived this year and a holistic approach is something I want to find out more about - mindset, eating well and moving more - to beat the symptoms. I found the Wellness in Menopause Workshop I went on to be really helpful and I want to incorporate some of the ideas into my daily life.
So that is me, feeling reflective! Lots of challenges this year but lots of positives too.
I continue to get great feedback on my blog from my lovely followers. Someone at the gala dinner came up to me and said thank you for my ideas - she has been inspired by me to try outfits that she would not normally consider. Recently I attend a Dementia Friends session and someone who I met on Facebook and who follows my blog was there, she recognised me and loved my outfit! I love to hear from you - so keep in touch.
Celebrating my birthday this year will be a quieter affair - my daughter is 17 and so we are much more excited about her getting her first car and having her first driving lesson. I will have family here for a stay at home dinner!
Did you see my post last Friday with the discount codes for Sweet-Bea - if not do take a look here.
But on my various shopping trips and online browsing I have come across a few other ideas that I think you might love.
We are very lucky to have a gorgeous pop-up shop in Marlow called Craft Coop and it is a showroom for lots of local craft businesses. I really enjoyed browsing in there this week and thought I'd share some of the products that caught my eye and would make really special gifts. I love to support small and local businesses if I can and most of these have etsy or facebook shops or a website.
First up, these unique fabric items caught my eye and yes I have ordered something! They are from Crafted by Gina on Etsy.
Then I spotted these gorgeous personalised signs and Christmas decorations, have a look at their facebook shop here - Dandylion Designs UK. Really good prices and made to order - and not just for Christmas.
Indigo and Rose have a website and I have in the past purchased their lavender hearts as small gifts and I quite fancy the lavender eye pillow for when I finally get into a routine of doing daily relaxation/meditation! I love their blankets.
And the last one from Craft Coop... the Cookham Candle Company, we all love to give and receive a candle and these ones are homemade, natural and free from toxins (which is much better for us).
Or how about choosing a pretty gift box and adding a scarf and bracelet. This gift box is from Indigo Artisans on Etsy and the scarf and bracelet are from Sweet-Bea (see my previous post (here) for a discount code valid until Friday 8th December).
I hope this gives you a few ideas that are more individual - and if you do live in or near Marlow then have you found Craft Coop in their new location yet? They are on Institute Road towards the library (and near Mooch - another great independent shop).
I'm not a very creative person when it comes to gift shopping I'm afraid, I envy those that can find just the right gift, I tend to think 'what would I love to receive', gifts should be all about the thought and a little bit of luxury, maybe something you wouldn't buy yourself?
Today I am sharing some ideas from Sweet-Bea, the online accessories shop that I love and who have lots of reasonably priced items perfect for gifts, or to treat ourselves and I have another fabulous discount for you too.
Gosh my inbox was busy last weekend! I have just spent ages going through and deleting all the offers that I was sent for Black Friday then Cyber Monday. It's great if there is a specific item you are looking for but it does all go a bit mad don't you think? Consumerism at it's worst, I'd rather have a few select offers and search out the best deal on things that I am looking for.
Here are my top picks from Sweet-Bea right now and these are things that are perfect as gifts, stocking fillers and the all important finishing touches to your own festive outfits.
First of all, Sweet-Bea offer free first class postage and everything arrives beautifully packaged and ready to add tags to!
I adore these pom pom key rings or charms. I have attached mine to my beach bag - yeah I know I am a bit premature with that but it looks so pretty. This would make such a great stocking filler or extra gift for a girlfriend.
How pretty does this pink one look with one of the bag sets they have? The Bell & Pom Pom Key Chain in Pink is £12.00. Or the one I have is the multi colourway, also £12.00.
Their bags make excellent gifts too, these are the ones I purchased recently and they are perfect for holidays, for small bits and pieces inside my beach bag or to carry jewellery etc.
Danica Ephemera Large £16.00) and Small £10.00) Zipper Pouch. Lots of other patterns available.
You've got to be quick with this next idea - I love the belts! But they are selling fast, I have the silver but sadly no more stock of that one, but I do love the rose gold too, they are £35.00 but don't forget to use your discount code, they are one size but can easily have extra holes added - I popped into the shoe repair shop and they did two new holes for me and I put some change in the charity box.
The Wool Star Scarf is a new addition for me and I love it's monochrome simplicity. It isn't an over large scarf which I like and it is a soft, light wool so I have been wearing mine around the house when I need something a bit extra to feel cosy. It is £22.50 and as well as the black and ivory there are similar designs with larger stars in denim blue and grey and ivory. At 100% wool this feels really luxurious and I would be delighted to receive one as a gift. How about putting one in a gift box with a bracelet or leather cuff?
Carrying on with the silver theme, Sweet-Bea have an excellent selection of leather cuffs, I have the smaller one but there are larger ones too and lots of different colour options. One size fits all.
So simple, what's not to love!? Take a look at the full leather cuff range here, they start at £12.00 - the animal print ones are just gorgeous and make a real statement with a simple outfit and again such a lovely gift to receive.
When I was choosing my favourites online, Kate at Sweet-Bea suggested I might like the Metallic Silver Foil Speckles Scarf and I do! Perfect all year round but also adds a bit of seasonal sparkle to a simple outfit. I love how the grey speckles brighten up this jumper and jeans combo. The jumper is new from The White Company and the different grey accessories really add some interest and pull it all together.
I hope this post gives you a few ideas but do go and take a closer look at the website there are so many lovely products that I can't do them justice here. Keep an eye on my Instagram this week where I will be wearing the different scarves and offering some ideas of how to style them over the Christmas season.
And this is the discount code you need - FIFTYANDFAB20 - use if you spend over £30 and you will get 20% off or FIFTYANDFAB15 - will give you 15% off any orders under £30.
I will leave you with a few other combinations I love!
I'm not! You won't find me in a gaudy Christmas themed jumper I'm sorry to say. But I do like a bit of sparkle or some sequins may be?
So I'm sharing with you today a few tasteful ideas for the Christmas social season.
I've just bought this one from Boden - it's black and gold and has a metallic yarn giving it just that nice bit of sparkle, I shall wear it with my coated jeans or my pleather trousers. Boden have 30% off this week - Renata Jumper.
Boden also have these novelty knits which I think are quite tasteful and discrete, I do rather like the one with pom poms on! Boden Christmas Jumper.
The second one I have purchased for myself is this 'Let it Snow' knit from Crew Clothing Company. I don't buy a lot from Crew, but their knitwear is good quality and this one is good value with the current discount, I also thought that it wasn't limited to Christmas and would make a nice outfit for when I go skiing in February. Let it Snow Jumper.
And still from Crew, they also have some Christmassy knitwear too that isn't too over the top, take a look here.
I spotted a few subtle choices at Oasis - these are all very good value for money as it is not something that gets worn much - Oasis knitwear.
It's very unusual to see Mint Velvet offering a discount prior to their sale but for Black Friday they have 20% off everthing this week! There wern't any jumpers that I fell in love with but I did really like this blouse which if you are like me and suffer from overheating on Christmas Day then you might be tempted with something like this with some coated jeans. Take a look at the Mint Velvet Partywear edit - here.
I spotted this Sparkle Back Split Jumper in The White Company today, I didn't buy it but I am very tempted especially as they currently have 20% off as well!
I'll be back soon with some lovely gift and stocking filler ideas - I have a few Christmassy scarves to show you from Sweet-Bea the online accessories shop I love and I will have an exclusive discount code for you too.
Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties, I share fashion, beauty, lifestyle and exercise/nutrition tips to inspire others to be fifty and fab too … join my mailing list below for regular updates and offers. And don’t forget to take a look at my social media pages Facebook and Instagram.