So it gets to that time of the season when you just feel your wardrobe needs a bit of an update. A bit of an injection of some colour and newness! I didn't love the sales this year, I got a few basics but nothing terribly exciting. I am trying to practice 'less is more and quality over quantity' of course and earlier this week I posted about my new jeans purchases (here).
So I took a look at what Marks & Spencer is offering in the way of reasonably priced knits. I fancied tapping into the new season trends - statement sleeves and a few frills but I din't want to go all out on this trend and spend loads without testing the water first. I am not sure that statement sleeves are really very practical for my lifestyle!
I purchased three new jumpers online. The total spend only came to £77 and I am very pleased with all of them. Watch my Instagram page for outfit posts as I start to wear and style them.
First up is the Peplum Hem Fluted Sleeve Jumper in Pink at £29.50. I wore this with grey jeans and loved it. The good news is that the sleeves fold back and stay back so no mess to deal with! I'm loving the injection of colour!
Next up is this Space Dye Fluted Sleeve Jumper in Red at £22.50, this is a thinner knit so not as warm as the one above and I've not tried rolling the sleeves back yet but I think this would make a nice evening outfit. Really good price too! It also comes in blue, styled below by M&S.
And finally the Crop Frill Textured Jumper in Navy at £25.00, I bought this to go with my new 7 for all Mankind Jeans mainly and to tap into the frilly trend in s subtle way. I like that it is slightly cropped but neat. I do like to get out of the baggy, chunky knits and look forward to Spring!
I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised with all three of these jumpers and there are lots of other options online at Marks & Spencer too. I tend to prefer online browsing rather than their stores. I dug out some scarves that I had put away for a few months and I have some lovely new outfits to take me through the next few months until we start to see some warmer temperatures.
I for one am slightly fed up with the wet and mud or the extreme cold! I need some sun on my body.
Investment Purchase #1 - Jeans
For many years I couldn't afford good quality denim then I discovered 7 for all Mankind and I fell in love with designer denim. I had several pairs and I wore them over and over. Cost per wear!? Absolute bargains!
Only problem was a few years ago I gained some weight and slowly my 7 jeans didn't fit anymore and having tried to lose the extra pounds and failed, I gave them away. Why!? Now I have finally lost the extrra weight and I am on a mission to keep it off, those jeans I gave away to charity or ebay would fit again. Okay it's done, they are gone, and nothing I can do about it. Lesson learnt.
I have been wearing mostly Mint Velvet jeans over the last few years and they are great but I don't honestly think they last more than a season, I have a couple of black pairs this year and the colour is fading fast. I like black jeans to stay black.
So my first investment purchase this year was a pair of 7 for all Mankind jeans from House of Fraser at Westfield. They are currently at the tailors being shortened. I then looked online and I have black pair in the same style (but in the sale) winging their way to me. If they fit that gives me one classic dark pair and one black pair.
If you struggle finding the right jeans for your shape and feel you need some help then there are two denim specialist to check out.
There is Donna Ida where you can book an appointment at their in-store denim clinic (they have boutiques in Chelsea and Belgravia) and there is also the Denim Studio at Selfridges, Oxford Street. They boast of stocking jeans for every budget from Primark to J Brand and from £11 to £11,000. You can make an appointment for 'personal shopping' and if the jeans you choose need to be shortened this is done in the shop and you can go back later to collect. I have never been to Donna Ida but I have been to the Denim Studio at Selfridges and purchased a lovely pair of Paige jeans (now too big for me) but the service was great and it certainly was an easy way to look at lots of different options.
I am hoping that two really good pairs of denim jeans will elevate my wardrobe and become essential capsule pieces. And rather than buying lots of jeans and never being quite happy with them, the plan is that I buy two perfect pairs and spend the same!? I will let you know if that plan works. It did before!!
I see a movie star, a passer-by, a friend, a celebrity photograph. They are wearing the perfect dress, boots, coat and I have to know where they got said item! Is that you? I love to follow blogs especially Instagram as very often the details of the outfit are published. But of course this is costing me a fortune!
I thought I'd tell you a bit more about my latest crushes!
So last Sunday we went to see La La Land. I loved it! Not everyone does but for me on a rainy, cold, miserable afternoon it was the perfect boost. I fell in love with Emma Stone's dresses. I spent Sunday evening and Monday searching the internet to see if I could find similar, my favourite is the blue halterneck. So far I have failed! But I will be keeping my eyes out in the shops.
Then yesterday I spotted a lady in my local town wearing a very simple outfit. Black jeans or leggings with black boots but they had just a tiny bit of sparkle, like a coated jean, the boots had a similar finish, They were different and they looked so stylish, so 'Parisian', so chic. I've had a quick search online but can't seem to find the right look But I do think 'why do I never find anything like that when I go shopping?'
Then last night on Eastenders, both Sharon and the new Michelle were wearing black PJ's/robes and I thought ooh mine really does need updating! Now on that search I was more successful and Figleaves came up trumps so I will see if it is what I am looking for when my delivery arrives.
Instagram is a great source for finding outfit inspiration though but as I said do be careful to watch your budget! It can get a bit too tempting at times.
It's been a while since I updated you on my lean journey - my quest for a leaner, healthier body. My 50th birthday and Christmas are behind me and the new year brings new goals and plans.
I started my journey back in April 2016 - see my first post here. I had been skiing in Austria and had struggled with skiing, my fitness wasn't good enough and I felt overweight and unhealthy. And my beloved ski trousers no longer fitted and I had to buy a new, bigger size and I hated them! Enough was enough.
I finished The Body Coach Shift Shape and Sustain Plan back in September with fantastic results. But during September and October my journey was halted slightly by having to have a frozen shoulder treated. I continued to eat healthily by following The Body Coach SAS Plan - you can only sign up for this if you have completed SSS but my exercise was a bit limited although I didn't stop. However after two months on SAS I decided it wasn't for me, I loved the exercise but the recipes were a bit limited, they didn't really lend themselves to family meals. It was too restrictive.
I feel that I have had an extended period of not really knowing what to do with my eating. I signed up to a second round of SSS to get a new plan (this meant I got the recipe quantities tailored to my new measurements) and I have been using this since November but something was still bothering me. I hadn't quite found my sustainable way forward. But I have maintained my weight and inch loss and even lost a little more during December so I was quite happy with my progress but I knew I needed a new focus.
Then two things happened. A new gym opened in Marlow near to where I live. Zac;s Fitness is a PAYG gym with 4 different styles of class, all done in 40 minutes. Stability, Speed, Strength and Stamina. I liked this approach and was keen to give it a try. My lovely friend and PT had decided to 'retire' from fitness at Christmas and I lack the motivation to train alone at home (one to two times a week is okay but not four times). I tried Zac's classes and felt reassured that I could create a new fitness routine. But I needed to make sure my eating was sustainable and that I wouldn't be tempted back to old habits (skipping lunch, drinking too much wine, snacking on crisps and chocolate)!!
Zac recommended a Sports Nutritionist and I met Alex Cook last week. So I'm not intending to sign up for any more structured plans. I feel I know enough now to go in alone and this will be easier as I can fit it into family life.
My new routine:
Now I do find it hard to fit all this in! Yes I am at home full-time but I still lead a busy life and I like to get up and choose a nice outfit and do my hair and make-up. I need to change my mindset a bit and concentrate on how good I feel, how much I will love being confident in my bikini at 50 and that I will be up, dressed and ready by 10 am with exercise done for the day!
There is a huge change in the health and fitness industry. Women are finally getting wise to the fact that many of the popular weight loss programmes are not sustainable for the long term. You lose weight, you relax your eating habits, you gain the weight back and more. Your metabolism is wrecked. These plans don't include exercise so you might be losing fat (but you are losing muscle too) so your body is not strong and lean - gaining muscle doesn't mean you will look like a body builder but muscle burns calories and fat much more efficiently. It is the way ahead. It is a permanent lifestyle change but it works. And you feel so much better for it! I have more energy, better skin, stronger nails, thicker hair. I do not intend to ever go back.
All I have to do is exercise 4 times a week for approx 40 minutes a time and choose healthy, wholesome food. I can still have cake and chips if I want to - just not every day. But because my metabolism is now working properly my body can deal with these treats and I don't feel guilty about it. I am not hungry either, I am not depriving myself.
If you are looking for inspiration and would like to look at my journey in more details with photographic evidence then do take a look at my fitness Instagram page michelle_fitatfifty. Also take a look at the post I wrote about the hugely motivational Facebook group A Big Girls Journey to Lean.
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.