This wasn't my original plan for my final pre-Christmas post. But sometimes I don't want to plan or schedule, I just want to write and talk about how I feel and I want to ask you how you are feeling. So today I am just chatting and taking a look back at 2020 for me, my life and my blog. Do comment or email me if you too want to chat!
I am bitterly disappointed with the ongoing approach to Covid. I am bitterly disappointed in our governments muddled and inconsistent approach. No I don't think I could have done any better and yes I do appreciate they have a really really difficult job and a huge challenge in totally unprecedented circumstances.
Onto the positives!! Below is one of my favourite photos from 2020 - I did feel like I was having an extended holiday in my garden! Frida swimsuit from Figleaves now has 25% off .
Healthy Eating and Online PT
The blog post I had planned was a look at healthy eating and mindset as well as maintaining a calorie deficit if weight loss is your goal. But I decided Christmas week wasn't the best time to share that, so watch this space, I will be back soon on that subject.
I have been keeping up with my workouts though! I really am loving doing my Online PT with Drew Gatherer and I am so pleased I got started before Christmas as mad as that felt at the time. I have written two posts about it - you can find them here - exercise at home with an online personal trainer and online personal training, my first week exercising at home. And considering gyms are closed (again) in a lot of the country, working out at home seems to be a good and consistent option especially with the support and accountability from an excellent Online PT!
My review of 2020
To start writing this I went back to my first post of 2020 and was fascinated to read what I had wirtten ... "I was unwell with a bad cold when we travelled to La Gomera but the sun and rest did me good! Then when we got back it was full on festive prep but I was unwell again over Christmas with some sort of virus and it totally knocked me out! Plus we seemed to get bad news after bad news! And who else struggles to cope when everyone is at home for two plus weeks? Or it is just me?"
Knowing what I know now, did I have Covid, certainly I wasn't impressed with that virus whatever it was! And I was struggling with everyone at home for just two weeks, little did I know it would end up being for months on end, most of 2020 really.
Personally it has been a really tough year, sending me so many challenges. Now when I look back I realise that Lockdown 1 was easy compared with what was to come. It was warm and sunny and it was possible to see my parents in their garden. I have missed my friends so much though, no girls weekend away or nights out, no long lunches in London or shopping or just wandering and enjoying the atmosphere.
I set myself a goal, a word for 2020 - MINIMALIST - but I didn't appreciate how ironic that would turn out to be! I shopped less, I sorted cupboards, I spring cleaned and organised my wardrobe. I have hardly dressed up! In summer it was easy to still feel like I was making an effort, I love summer dresses but as winter has set in I feel like I am living in jeans or workout gear and would love an opportunity to put some sparkle and heels on. Not just for the 'gram but in real life!
Be Kind was a big buzzword in early 2020 with the sad passing of Caroline Flack but seemed to become even more significant as communities came together to help each other through lockdowns.
I had my own demons return early in 2020 with a recurrence of low mood/depression, I had to work quite hard to get myself better, it was a low point. I got out for regular 'self-care' walks and decided I had to go back onto medication despite my hope that I would only need the HRT. It put me in good stead for the uncertainties of Covid though and I have felt strong enough to cope with what it threw at me. I finally talked about my battles with depression and a phobia on my blog - you can read about it here. By the end of March I must have been feeling better as I wrote a blog post about finding the positives of staying at home during a pandemic!
The end of February was my last trip into London until we went to see the Christmas lights for a very brief trip a couple of weeks ago. I was lucky enough to be invited by Maidenform to a press event at the ME Hotel in the Strand. Oh how I would love to be there now! See photo above, it was a beautiful clear day with stunning views over the Thames.
By April the weather was already amazing and I was planning on getting summer ready with self-tan and and trying out a home pedicure with B-Line Beauty.
One blog post that so many of you really appreciated this year was my thoughts on night sweats during menopause and my recommendation for swapping to a wool duvet. My duvet was a personal purchase from Baavet and I love it, I also have a wool mattress topper and wool pillows. Baavet kindly offered my readers a 20% discount and this is valid until the end of March 2021. You can read the post and pick up the discount code here - best duvet for menopause and night sweats.
In June we seemed to be getting a respite from all the Covid restrictions and normal life looked like a possibility. It was short-lived and I now wonder if we are in a worse situation than the beginning. Certainly the numbers testing positive are up (but is that because we are testing more people) but deaths are still much lower (and they are about average for this time of the year so I, like many, find the figures really confusing).
In August I took a blogging break and we had a mini holiday in Cornwall and North Devon, I also managed to escape for a few days by myself and booked an Airbnb in Lymington. Many of you commented on how brave I was to go alone but I loved it! I was self-sufficient in my little annexe, I took my own food so I didn't have to eat out alone and as the weather was so fabulous I mostly sat on the beach and read a book! I can recommend it!
The weather was still amazing in September (we have been so lucky this year with the sun), August was a bit of an emotional month, my son left home and we had to make a decision on care for a loved one. But an empty nest means more space so I soon got over it and loved organising my wardrobe and creating a dressing room.
In October I wrote about how much I love days out in Oxford and recommended a walking tour from my sister who is an Oxford City Tour Guide - I know that we can't go anywhere for now but if you do fancy organising a day out for when we get our freedom back, you can find out more about Walking Tours of Oxford here and get 25% off a bespoke tour.
Christmas 2020 in Tier 4
Then along came Lockdown 2 ... and now Tier 4 ... which is actually Lockdown 3 in my opinion! And Christmas got, well, changed rather. No going out partying, no new dresses, no agonising walks from taxi to bar in heels, no hangovers, no trips to London. But we can have a family Christmas at home, we can binge watch Christmas films and TV, we can slow down a bit and just enjoy long winter walks and early nights in, I am not too fussed but it has had a knock-on effect (remember I mentioned a loved one and care) so this Christmas will be particularly emotional. We had tentatively made a few plans. Boxing Day with my sisters, their families and my dad. A trip to Bleinham Palace to enjoy the lights. And a couple of nights at Gara Rock in Devon with an opportunity to see family and a new baby! None of which can go ahead. now.
But instead I will be at home for two plus weeks! So I am going to really focus on my health and fitness, the first Christmas ever where I will be exercising still and not looking for excuses. Hold me to that! Drew has been helping me so much, I have a list of healthy snacks and lunches to remind me, I have three workouts planned each week and they are all easy to follow within the trainerize app, I have an accountability call with Drew on Wednesday and I plan to try and relax and take some time out for me!
I'm sharing some of my favourite photos of 2020. Below top - left to right, summer in the garden and walking in the woods. Below bottom - left to right - award for lots of giggling, me and my daughter moving a chest of drawers from one student house to the next, a day out in Bath with my dad, and an afternoon on the beach with my daughter.
And so to Christmas 2020 ... wearing a sparkly Hobbs knit (now in sale) and a cross-body bag from Amelia Rose Accessories, celebrating my 54th birthday in Marlow and trying out the Parlan backpack from Gaston Luga (gifted/PR) (for 15% off the full range at Gaston Luga use code Fiftyandfab15) and bottom my Palmer Ecovera dress from Baukjen (now in the sale) which I wore when we went to Prime in Beaconsfield for a last outing before Tier 4 closed everything! So glad we went! This is such a flattering LBD, a fabulous eco-fabric and so easy to wear.
And now to focus on family time and relaxation time, wishing you all a very Happy Christmas, I truly hope you have been able to make alternative plans and that no one will be too lonely or have elderly relatives who will be isolated.
Here's hoping 2021 brings good news, good cheer, reunions with. friends, holidays, outings and a return to normality!
Disclaimer: this post contains some items that were previously gifted.
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Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog to inspire you. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about style, beauty, health and fitness with a focus on the over 50's. I am based in Marlow but work across London and the South East.
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Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
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