So I've been watching and following with interest lots of Instagrammers and Bloggers having 'no spend' periods (a month or longer). I have dabbled in the past and cut down on spending but hey I love fashion and I love a new outfit (or two) so I have never made it 'official' which means if I don't manage it no one will know. This time it's official!
I wasn't keen on trying it in January although it is a popular month for others but what with the January sales and life generally feeling a bit gloomy after Christmas I didn't feel it was the right time for me. But February? Well it is a shorter month (result), the January sales are mostly done, the weather won't be getting any warmer and so I won't 'need' any new season items yet and well it just seemed like a good month to try it. Plus I've spent a bit much recently!!
I did dabble in January with a few new season bits, did you see my post here about Hush and Marks & Spencer. I kept quite a few things I ordered. I love my Aurora cross body bag - see further down.
It would be great if at the end of February I have saved lots of money and can put it towards a bigger investment item. We are also away in February for skiing but I think I am pretty stocked up on ski gear and apres ski outfits so I shouldn't need to give in.
Here are a few recent outfits to share with you:
First up the outfit I wore for dinner when I went to Hoar Cross Hall Hotel and Spa to celebrate a friends 40th birthday. We had a really fun evening, despite me starting a very heavy cold! My silk blouse is old from Whistles, my wide leg jersey trousers were an excellent find from Part Two at My Boudoir in Marlow. They are very comfortable and very flattering. My shoes were in the sale and are by John Lewis (I can't find them online) they are a simple black suede court shoe but the addition of the ankle strap makes them very comfortable to wear. I use my animal print clutch from Boden a lot, it just adds a splash of interest to a simple outfit.
So this is my new Aurora London Gigi cross body bag, I'm in love! Cross body bags can often be too big or too small, this one is perfect and very similar to the Gucci Disco Bag but at just short of £100 an absolute bargain, beautiful leather and available in lots of gorgeous colours. Check out their new customer discount too - I think it is 10%.
Worn with animal print boots from Next, coated jeans from Next and the Audrey merino wool jumper from Winser London.
This was a wet and chilly day! It didn't stop raining all day, we had lunch in the pub then braved the weather for a walk at Waddesdon Manor. I wore my new long black very warm, very cosy down coat from Skogstad, I did quite a lot of research and had been hoping to find one in the sale but to get what I wanted - warm, slightly fitted, black and with some fur I ended up paying full price but it does tick all the boxes, replaces my old North Face one and I think will last for years to come. My lovely big scarf is from Sweet-Bea.
On Saturday night we were invited to a wedding party, a celebration following their wedding in Antigua. I decided to dig out my black jumpsuit from Phase Eight. I've not worn it for ages but it is a classic. It can be a bit of a nuisance as there are two buttons and a zip at the back so going to the toilet in a hurry isn't a good idea. I then threw on my Mint Velvet leather biker, added heels and my trusted Boden animal print clutch and I felt great.
Phase Eight do their jumpsuits on repeat most seasons. This is the Tia Jumpsuit in Black but it also comes in navy and red and is £99.
That's all for now! No Spend February and Shopping my Wardrobe will commence on Thursday - I wonder what I can fit in before then!!??
Today is a quick update ... at the end of October I posted about how bad my insomnia had got and I'd had enough, I contacted a sleep specialist for a chat and then put some actions into place. Read my original post here.
So I wanted to report back to you. Without a doubt cutting out blue light in the evening results in better sleep for me.
Blue light is emitted from our mobile devices, tablets and phones and to a degree from the television. But we are all addicted to them, well I know I am. But it is seriously interrupting the quality of our sleep or in my case causing chronic insomnia.
I started a new habit of switching my mobile phone onto 'night mode' and keeping use to an absolute minimum after 8 pm each evening. Now most experts will tell you to leave them out of the bedroom completely and not use them as an alarm clock. I don't use mine as my alarm but I do keep it in the bedroom as I love to listen to the Calm app and sleep stories, it works for me.
When I do this, when I don't use my phone after 8 pm and I don't watch too much stimulating TV I sleep really well.
If bad habits creep back in then my sleep quality is not as good.
We need quality sleep to repair our brain cells and look after our brain health.
For more information take a look at Dr Chatterjee's excellent book The Four Pillar Plan or join the 80/20 Lifestyle Plan and learn about creating a lifestyle that will mean you lose weight, get healthier, sleep better and stress less.
That's all I wanted to say today!
The only problem with being confined to the house due to feeling so unwell has been that I 'need' to use the time to browse online and with all the retailers bringing out new spring lines it is very very tempting!
So what has caught my eye!?
Hush new season .... this colour block jumper and this navy silk blouse. Both ideal for transitional dressing as spring approaches.
But also still a few good pieces in the Hush sale - how about this dress that I wouldn't be able to wear when it is really cold but it could work as the weather gets milder? Reduced to £40 and this soft white shirt - now I love the layered look but very rarely get it right or feel comfortable but this one might just work for me under a cashmere knit?
I'd been wondering about this very bright green cashmere jumper from Marks & Spencer then I saw another blogger wearing it (layered with a white shirt, see above)! and it did look very stylish so I might have to give it a go. I can't seem to use the photos online today so here are some snaps of my screen! Then this navy stripe cashmere jumper caught my eye as it is navy and not black which will work well for spring.
Now as you know I treated myself recently to an amazing Louis Vuitton handbag but there are times when a cross body bag is necessary - I have a few but I fancied a statement bag and one that was large enough to be useful but not too large (yeah I know I am a bit fussy) anyway Aurora London came to my attention via Instagram and their Gigi bag could just fit the bill for me and at £95 it won't break the bank (10% introductory discount if you sign up for newsletters too) so I have ordered it in red - there are lots of amazing colours and you can have it personalised with your initials monogrammed onto it - I chose not to as I often sell my bags on.
Now I think my husband will be glad that I am recovering as the credit card has taken a bit of a bashing this last week!
Some of my haul has arrived so look out for Instagram photos and a blog update on what I liked and what went back!
I've talked at length on my blog about how I did The Body Coach SSS Plan back in April 2016, it was excellent and I lost 1 stone and 17" but the most important thing that I found from doing it was a desire to learn and understand about nutrition and exercise and how to be healthy as well as maintaining a healthy body composition. It led me onto other things.
I learnt that 'diets' don't work.
I learnt that you don't need to be 'on a plan' you just need to 'plan' properly.
I learnt that sleep and controlling stress are just as important for fat loss as what you eat.
I learnt that you don't need to be afraid of carbs or demonise a particular food, you just need to find balance and be sensible. Yep it's that 80/20 rule of which more later.
I learnt that exercise can help you feel amazing but that losing fat is mostly about what you eat - if you consume too many calories it doesn't matter how much exercise you do, you will still be overweight..
I learnt that finding the right mindset is essential - you have to want to do it, you have to believe in yourself, you have to let go of limiting beliefs, you need to surround yourself with positive people.
I learnt that scale weight is not the be all and end all of it! Yes we say we want to 'lose weight' but what we actually mean is that we want to be smaller, slimmer, feel better in our clothes, wear a size (or few) smaller - they all mean the same thing, we want to feel confident and happy in our bodies. It is perfectly possible to weigh more but be smaller and leaner - yep really! What we really want is to lose fat and look leaner.
I learnt that exercise and step count does not need to dominate your life. Just move more, get out in the fresh air, go for a walk, do some exercise you enjoy but don't feel like it needs to take hours or take over - it's all about balance again.
I have learnt that confidence and acceptance is key. I am learning to love my body and my figure. I am learning that I am good enough.
I learnt you don't need to go hungry.
There is so much more that I could say!!
I learnt that fundamentally we need to plan ahead, create healthy habits that we can stick to and have a happy, balanced approach to life.
Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach has updated and re-launched the SSS Plan - it is now called just the 90 Day Plan, it is cheaper (£97), it is simpler to follow and the exercise element is quicker. He's listened to advice and acted on it. And in January it was free to those that have already 'graduated' from his plan - so me! So I got it. For me it is basically 90+ recipes and pick n mix food in quantities specifically tailored to me. It is also gives me links to workouts that I can complete at home without having to search You Tube or make my own up - it removes some of the thinking.
But being 'on a plan' has a start and a finish and we don't need a start and a finish if we are going to create a healthy lifestyle. So I will be using the recipes and the workouts and I will be planning ... putting exercise sessions into my diary to make sure they happen, I will create a weekly meal plan rather than just winging it, I will create long term habit changes.
Now calories in (what we eat) and calories out (what we burn) is a priority if you are going to 'lose weight' (I wish I knew what other term to use - it is really 'fat loss' that we want) - and that means logging what you eat - mostly on My Fitness Pal BUT I hate doing that - I am a rebel and I personally think life is too short but if you are really serious about losing fat then you really do have to do that (at least to start with) - or you follow recipes where quantities are worked out for you or you have to find some other way to 'measure' your quantities - there are other ways!
So I have said goodbye to the MFP app. I am not a detail person and it annoys me - it is more time relying on my phone and I want to spend less time on my phone. That is why having the recipes with quantities from the The Body Coach plan is going to be very useful for me - but as I get better at creating a lifestyle I will I hopefully know what quantities I can eat to maintain - simply by looking at what is on my plate. Or I can use this rather clever portion size guide ...
This one is from Bev at Floresco Fitness and Fat Loss Coaching or join her group at Fifty, Fit and Fabulous for lots more information.
Last year I spent quite a few months using the 80/20 Lifestyle Plan to learn all about nutrition, mindset and movement (and I still do - there is always something new to learn). It is enlightening! Dan and his fantastic team have now launched their business to the general public - I was part of the test phase. It is now really easy to follow and you get a lesson every week sent directly to your inbox for you to watch on video at your leisure. It will change how you think about diets forever - you will finally understand how to do it without joining yet another diet club or plan. And even better at the moment they have a Refer a Friend scheme running so if you fancy 25% off then use the code FRIEND25 at checkout.
Bev also has an excellent new programme running - called Floresco Diamond Coaching and it is a habit change approach - change our habits, change our lives. Do take a look! And read more on my blog here.
And don't forget to read Dr Chatterjee's book, The Four Pillar Plan.
Seriously don't sign up to Weight Watchers or Slimming World (or any of the other mainstream diets) again, they don't work on the long term. There are much better alternatives now. Educate yourself, learn about nutrition, learn about movement and learn how to get the right mindset. You will never look back.
I know I can be a bit repetitive with my message - but honestly I hope that if I can inspire just one person to ditch the diets and change their lifestyle then it will have been worth it.
I have - come and join me!
Love Michelle xx
This is not me, it is from pinterest but it is proof that (a) fat takes up more space that muscle so you can weigh more but be smaller and (b) scale weight is irrelevant.
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 Instagram and Twitter.