A few months ago I told you about a Facebook group I had joined, A Big Girls Journey to Lean. Well yesterday I was lucky enough to attend the first motivational seminar.
This group has been monumental in keeping me motivated and on track with my lean journey. Getting fit and healthy at fifty!
Angela Cox set up a BGJTL as a way to record her own fitness journey. And it grew and grew beyond all expectations and in less than 6 months it has nearly 20,000 members. All supporting each other, offering encouragement and ideas, suggestions and motivation.
Angela has a wonderful 'admin crew' helping her run the Facebook page. All volunteers who give hours of their time to keep this group a safe and supportive environment. It is a credit to Angela and her team that the group is so friendly and safe. And it was one of these lovely admins that first suggested the idea of having a seminar. So many people in the group wanted to meet Angela and so the idea of having a motivational seminar began.
Yesterday it became a reality. The seminar made no profit., The ticket sales paid for the venue. Everyone gave their time for free. And there were many wonderful companies that donated raffle prizes. Angela was inspired by a member of the group currently being treated for cancer to fund raise for Macmillan and the seminar raised an astonishing £5262 (and counting) for this worthwhile cause.
And it was certainly motivational and inspirational. To meet the woman who set up this group and who has posted daily messages of encouragement, vlogs and whose journey we have all followed from being 'a big girl' to a very much 'smaller girl' was fantastic. And we hit it off and I hope I have made a lifelong friend.
Angela shared her story. It was personal and moving but it was so well presented. She clearly has an amazing ability to communicate and inspire. There were quite a few tears shed as she spoke and her story resonated with so many. A lifetime spent on diets, binging, diet pills, bullying and low self-esteem. She was always an attractive lady but she has now blossomed into someone that is clearly and finally confident in her own skin. She exudes health and vitality and she motivated everyone in that room to want the same.
From a personal perspective it was the first time I have ever joined some sort of 'diet or fitness group'. Having been small all my life and even when I wanted to 'lose a few pounds' I was still too small to ever be eligible to walk into a Weight Watchers meeting! Lucky me - probably a narrow escape. But as I have grown older and wanted to get fitter and leaner and lose a bit of fat, it is a revelation to me to have found such a supportive group to help me. There were many stories to inspire and not everyone is 'big' some like me just had a small amount of weight to lose but mainly wanted to get fit and lean.
I decided to make a weekend of it. The seminar was being held at Kents Hill Park Conference Centre in Milton Keynes on Sunday morning so I left Saturday lunchtime and took myself shopping into Milton Keynes for the afternoon. I checked into the Conference Centre late afternoon and immediately bumped into the lovely Angela - it does seem quite surreal to finally meet someone in person! There were a few others that had done like me and were staying overnight so we had a relaxing evening chatting in the bar (but not drinking)!!
There were 200 people from the BGJTL Facebook page in the room., There were many faces I recognised and I was thankful to see a friend who lives nearby so I didn't feel too lost.
A huge well done to Angela and her admin team. It was just brilliant and good luck to everyone starting your lean journeys. If you need support and advice do please go to Facebook and join A Big Girls Journey to Lean but a word of warning only positive supportive people allowed!
When I wrote on my blog recently about investment vs disposable clothing, a reader messaged me to ask if I had ever looked at ethical brands. No I hadn't and it got me thinking. If we are talking about buying investment pieces, things we love and are good quality that we wear longer then we are of course not adding to the mountain of items ending up in landfill or needing to be recycled. There were some great TV documentaries on this problem last year (look up Hugh's Ware on Waste on iplayer) and it is something I have been conscious of for some time. We buy too much 'stuff', we throw out too much 'stuff'. We accumulate things we don't need.
So I thought I would take up the challenge and look into what ethical brands are out there for ladies clothing. But I wanted something stylish as well as practical and ethical.
Below are a selection of some brands I found:
BAM Bamboo Clothing
The first brand I thought of is BAM. I have had their catalogues arrive in the post but as yet have not purchased anything. BAM sells bamboo clothing. Clothing made from bamboo is not only good for the environment it is also biodegradable. The fabric also has fantastic thermal and moisture wicking properties so is ideal for workout wear and loungewear. But there are many other benefits - see below. Take a look at the BAM website. I will definitely be looking into placing an order, maybe a workout top or leggings!
The next brand that rang a bell with me was People Tree. They are recognised in the industry for being a pioneer for ethical and environmentally sustainable fashion. But again when I am searching online for an item I never look at them. I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at their website. Lots of dresses and tops, great knitwear. Quite casual in style but I'd love to take a closer look and try a few items on.
Obviously a brand I know quite well, they have shops all over and one close to me but I was only very vaguely aware of their ethical approach. Fat Face has a company wide 'code of conduct' that all factories that produce their clothing must abide by as well as working with suppliers and other organisations to make sure their workers are treated fairly. When I went to their website to take a closer look I didn't feel this approach was clear at all which I think is a shame. I had to go to 'The Story' to find out more - and even that is quite hidden.
And a few others that stood out:
H&M Concious Exclusive
ASOS Eco Edit
H&M and ASOS were not easy to find on their websites so I have included a direct link.
I also came across a bridal wear brand too - and I know someone who I think would love their designs! Take a look at Minna. Shh you know who you are x
So that's my little summary of ethical brands, I am sure it is only the tip of the iceberg but I will be looking a little closer from now on.
Check out my Instagram page for daily outfit inspiration.
I've been blogging for one year today!
Thank you to everyone who has followed me on Facebook and Instagram and signed up to follow my blog with regular email updates. Thank you to everyone who comments or likes my posts. Thank you for all the encouragement and helpful tips.
During this year I turned 50! Which is why my blog started. I wanted my blog to evolve, I didn't really have a particular goal in mind. I love blogging about my style and what I am wearing. But equally I love talking about my lean journey and how my exercise and nutrition have improved. It keeps my accountable.
I also wanted my blog to be real. This is me, this is what I wear, I am just a normal 50'ish housewife and mum of 2 teenagers. I don't have a background in fashion. I just happen to love shopping and enjoy dressing up and good clothes. There is nothing staged about my blog, my photographs are of real outfits that I am wearing, snapped by my daughter when we have time. I hope that means that others can relate to me and be inspired by me.
My new mantra for my blog ...
Inspiring you to feel fabulous at fifty
And that means what you wear and what you do, how you exercise and what you eat. If a tiny part of what I do can help and inspire someone else then I am happy.
So again a BIG thank you to you all. I will still be here, plodding away, I am currently doing an online blogging course with and Mum's the Boss and I am learning a lot more about how to improve my blog and reach out to new followers. I hope you like it!
Take a look at my very first post here.
I remember many many years ago when money was quite tight visiting the Boden shop at Park Royal, London with a good friend. I fell in love with one of their patterned cardigans, it was a Spring/Summer style and had multi-colours on it. I decided to buy it and as I was paying I was worrying about the cost (I think it was about £50). I wore and wore and wore that cardigan, it came out early summer every year for many many years. I got so many compliments.
A quick search online and I found one for sale on a selling site. Not the best photo but it gives you an idea - it went with everything, looked great with jeans and a simple t-shirt under it and had 3/4 length sleeves.
Anyway, my point is Cost per Wear! Spend vs Save. If I choose well and get it right then I find it is so worthwhile spending. Of course I can't always guarantee I will get it right. There have been items in my wardrobe that I have invested in only to find that they quality is not great after all or I simply don't feel good in them.
I find it impossible to embrace Primark or TKMaxx. I'm not even that keen on Next. I need a clean and tidy shop, I prefer to browse simple, minimalism and hate being overwhelmed by too much choice. I like to see outfits displayed together. Suggestions of what works well together. Think Jigsaw or Hobbs on the High Street. I like a bit of personal service. I don't want to be crowded but if I need help, or suggestions, then I like to know there is a helpful assistant available. I think Next is good for basics (and if you purchase online) but I hate that I see their items everywhere - I was out on Friday night and saw someone in a jumper that I have, I had been unsure about it anyway but seeing it on someone else confirmed it. Onto eBay it went! But I do love their Coated Jeggings however!
Two recent shopping experiences stand out.
Karen Millen at Westfield Shepherds Bush were so helpful when I was choosing my dress for my 50th birthday party. And in fact I went back in January and purchased a few more items in the sale and a full price jumper using the discount card I had been given before Christmas (Karen Millen Geo Print Jumper). I have one Karen Millen dress that I paid £150 for probably at least 8 years ago, again it was one of those purchases that I was a bit worried about the cost but it is a classic that I keep coming back to time and time again.
And last week I went over to Wendover to visit my good friend, she works at a high end boutique called Brookes. The shop was fairly quiet and I had an opportunity to try some lovely clothes on and get one to one help from my friend. Fortunately there was still lots of choice in the sale section and I purchased two blouses at a great price. I also purchased a full price jumper. I am deliberating over a pair of grey Citizens of Humanity jeans and a belt! I may go back! These items are classic wardrobe staples that I hope will serve me well on the long term.
I do however have some 'disposable' items in my wardrobe. Things that are purchased for one season and then I replace the following year but they tend to be basics, t-shirts from Gap maybe or higher fashion 'trends' like the 'statement sleeve' jumpers I have recently purchased from Marks & Spencer.
But for me it is 'spend; rather than 'save'. Not that I am averse to a good discount. If I can spend in the sale or with a promotional discount then even better. I have long since accepted that Primark and TKMaxx are not for me.
What do you think?
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.