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.
At the beginning of September, once the summer holidays were over and it felt like a 'new year' I did a blog post talking about my goals - here. I had been rather unwell over the summer with stress and I wanted to start taking more care of myself and making sure I found time for me.
So how did I get on - now we are two months into that 'new year', what have I been doing?
Well my first priority was moving our business out of the home office and into a new rented office. This took place late September and it has been absolutely the right decision. We are now settled in the new office and it feels so much better to 'go to work' rather than just nip out the back door in my slippers. I have been working a bit more just recently while we recruit a new office manager and although it has made me much busier I have coped better with the office being away from home. So all positive there!
Then with all that complete I got to take over the log cabin! I have had fun getting it organised how I want it.
I have a large storage room which is shelved out and I have purchased new storage boxes and I now have out of season clothes, handbags, shoes, photo albums, memory boxes, storage for gifts etc. I love it! Finally these things are organised and accessible. We don;t have a big house, we have a character cottage so storage space isn't great, this has really made me feel a lot less overwhelmed and it has enabled me to de-clutter too.
Then the main part of the log cabin has a sofa, comfortable chairs, a corner that is now 'my gym' and another corner with a desk that I can use for one off projects like doing my blog course or selling on eBay. I've also used the space to just sit and chat to friends on the phone or for Skype calls.
The ladders lead up to a sleeping platform that my husband made over the storage room so that our teenagers can use it when they have friends round.
I still have plans to make it cosier, new cushions, a rug, fairy lights but it is a work in progress and time has been a bit limited but I am happy that the main structure is all organised.
I've been back to exercise although I have not yet really started back to a proper routine but doing some weight workouts and lots of stress-busting walks in the autumn sunshine has been really good for me. If you fancy getting some ideas for workouts then take a look at my friends new Facebook page, Bev is going to do a guest post for me soon so she will tell you more, but I really love her content and helpful motivation and she is adding great workout ideas into the files section - Fifty, Fit and Fabulous.
I've not really got on with my blog course yet but once I have trained our new office manager that is something I want to do when I can have some quiet time sat in my log cabin.
I've got lots more to share with you over the coming weeks. More information on weights workouts, more nutrition and recipe ideas and of course lots of outfits and shopping tips.
And I am spending less time mindlessly scrolling social media - it has a role in my life but I am learning to be a bit more balanced about it - see my post on Sleep if you have't already.
Menopause is getting much more attention in the press than it used to, once upon a time it was a subject to be kept quiet and never to be acknowledged in public. But slowly opinion is changing and women are more prepared to speak out. This means that there is now more information available to help us navigate, what can for some women, be quite a challenging phase in their lives.
Last week I attended a fabulous workshop - Wellness in the Menopause. This half day programme was put together by three inspiring women:
Janet Padfield from Apples to Zinc Nutritional Therapy
Chloe Leibowitz - Inspiring Women (Life Coach)
Jen Roach from Fearless in the Kitchen
They came together to provide a unique combination of support and advice during the menopause - based on nutrition and lifestyle.
This half day workshop took place at Jen's pretty cottage in the Berkshire countryside (see my post about her cookery classes here), it included a presentation from Janet and Chloe and a practical cookery demonstration from Jen finishing with a delicious healthy lunch and a chance to chat to everyone.
The focus of the day was very much on natural solutions and how we can help ourselves through nutrition and lifestyle. Janet (Nutrition and the Menopause) very clearly explained the processes, the myths and the symptoms (of which there are many and we are all different). Stress plays a huge part in how our body copes during menopause and a very good place to start with managing our symptoms is to address the stress. Once our ovaries stop producing oestrogen the adrenal glands take over and produce oestrogen (although not as much) so it is important that they are working really well and can take on this job efficiently.
The key areas we need to address are:
Stress and sleep
Environment and toxins
Next Chloe gave a presentation on mindset and lifestyle during the menopause. Unfortunately we are all guilty of focusing on the negatives rather than the positives and Chloe encouraged us to look at it differently and explained how different cultures view menopause. How a woman perceives menopause in her mind and how her culture views aging can have a huge impact on how a woman feels mentally and physically during this time. I was interested to learn that in our Western culture menopause is viewed negatively but in many cultures it is seen as a positive thing and often these women report far less physical symptoms. Certainly something to think about.
Chloe shared some really practical ideas on how to manage our lifestyles and create a positive mindset with suggestions for how to embrace the changes that our bodies are going through.
Finally, Jen from Fearless in the Kitchen gave us a cookery demonstration, sharing how to make some nutritious recipes that will really help our health during menopause.
Gut health is really important and Jen showed us how to make Sauerkraut - fermented food is really good for our guts and we should be including it in our daily diets. Jen runs a workshop that is dedicated just to fermented foods and gut health. This recipe was so easy! I will definitely be trying it at home. And no the stuff you can buy in jars at the supermarket is not the same!
Jen also demonstrated a pancake recipe using yellow pea flour which is really high in protein (and we should eat lots of good quality protein). I've made these at home and they are excellent. And a sunflower seed ricotta served with high protein seed crackers - this was absolutely delicious!
We enjoyed a few snacks too - we tried the sunflower seed ricotta, some apple and almond cake and tasted the pancakes.
Jen gave us healthy hints and tips throughout the demonstration and shared lots of ideas to make life easy!
Then we enjoyed a delicious lunch all made by Jen.
I honestly can't recommend this workshop enough. It really was enjoyable and enlightening. Janet, Chloe and Jen did a fantastic job at sharing their knowledge and offering non-HRT solutions! The menopause is a natural process that our bodies go through, it isn't a medical condition and it is possible to treat the symptoms without resorting to medical intervention. Of course that isn't always the case and everyone is different but nutrition and lifestyle is absolutely worth looking at first.
I have had a few messages from women who follow my blog saying they feel they have nowhere to go for support, unfortunately most GP's are not trained to help with the menopause and getting a referral to a specialist isn't always easy. If you do live near Berkshire then do get in contact with Janet, Chloe or Jen and sign up for their next workshop - they are hoping to run it again on a Saturday in March.
I would also point you in the direction of this excellent blog post from Dr Chatterjee - have you seen his programme Doctor in the House on TV? Dr Chatterjee is championing lifestyle changes to common medical problems and has written a very good summary about how to help yourself during menopause - take a read here.
The day was made even more fun by the fact that I met a lovely lady who has been following me on Instagram for a while now and when she read about my cookery day with Jen she decided to come along to this workshop - Jackie it was really great to meet you!
I left full of inspiration to cook a bit more and work on more ways to help myself.
And we got some lovely goody bags! Samples from Elemis courtesy of Sunrise in Marlow, a jar of Balsamic Fig Conserve made by Jen, primal pantry bars to try, herbal tea and lots of vouchers and special offers for follow-up consultations. We also got a copy of the slides from the presentations and lots of recipes from Jen so we can try them out at home.
For more details please visit:
Janet Padfield - Apples to Zinc Nutritional Therapy
Chloe Leibowitz - Inspiring Women
Jen Roach - Fearless in the Kitchen
I'll leave you with my top tips, my 'take-homes' from the day ...
Manage your stress - for every stressful moment in your day make sure you balance it with some me time, some time for recovery, like a hot bath, time to sit with a book, have a massage once a month maybe.
Work some sort of exercise into your routine - it has been proven that weight lifting is one of the best forms of exercise for menopausal symptoms but even just getting out for a 15 minute walk every day is a good place to start and will pay dividends for your health.
Eat well - start small, sprinkle flaxseed on your morning porridge or add it to yoghurt, include fruit or vegetables with every meal, eat more protein, minimise caffeine, sugar and alcohol. Don't overthink it just start incorporating a more nutritious appraoch into your life.
Supplements - there are many supplements that are promoted as good for menopause symptoms but it is best not to self-prescribe, I would suggest asking for advice from a qualified practitioner as there are lots of interactions with other drugs and it is best not to buy cheap - you get what you pay for.
Don't beat yourself up if you are not perfect! Start slowly, introduce a few simple changes and work on changing your habits but we all lead busy stressful lives and it is important to realise that we can't do it all at once. Be kind to yourself.
If you do decide to book onto their next Wellness in Menopause Workshop do let me know and mention where you read about it when you contact one of the ladies!
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.