One of the things that I am trying to achieve with my blog is sharing normal fashion for normal women as well as health and lifestyle tips. What I have noticed whilst researching other blogs though is how many of them are written by women who work or have worked in the fashion industry and whilst they are absolutely gorgeous with some wonderful content and photography, I am not sure we can realistically relate to them.
What got me started with following blogs myself was the ‘School Run Mums’, like me, running about every day whilst also trying to look stylish and enjoy fashion and generally on a budget. My favourites are School Gate Style, Style Guile and What Lizzie Loves but I am also getting to know some 40 and 50+ ladies via Instagram who I can really relate to.
I realised at the beginning of this blogging journey that I don’t have many occasions to dress up for, that most of my days are spent at home doing housework, exercise, lifts for my daughter etc and that actually being able to write about what I am wearing and take some photos gives me a bit of motivation to dress up and experiment with what I have in my wardrobe, rather than it just hanging there for a special occasion.
I am struggling with how on earth this wonderful photography is done though! Everyone seems so good at ‘mirror selfies’, I can’t get them right at all! Or they have a helpful photographer to hand. My photos are often me persuading my daughter to spare me five minutes after school or worse still my husband or son, who tend to rush it all.
This is not a criticism of all the wonderful fashion blogs that are out there, I love following them but I hope that my followers will learn to love my honesty and that I am really just like them!
I am learning ‘on the job’ and enjoying it.
I am about to embark on a new healthy eating and exercise regime.
I've been interested in nutrition and exercise for many years and have worked with two excellent nutritionists so I know what I should do (I just don’t always do it). But as I approach 50 I need to get a bit more serious about it. Although what I am doing now keeps me fairly trim and I am very lucky to have inherited good genes, I do have some fat that needs to go, I want to be leaner. As you know I dipped my toe in back in March with a sugar free month and prior to that I cut down considerably on alcohol.
Here is my plan which I am sharing for accountability and support:
Jawbone UP2 Activity Monitor:
I had been considering some sort of fitbit for a while but wasn't quite sure what it could do for me. I did some more thorough research (take a look at www.warable.com for lots of reviews) and I decided I needed (a) a basic tracker to record my steps and sleep (b) one that wasn't too big or bulky and looked stylish to wear and (c) a sensible price. I concluded that the Jawbone UP2 was the right one for me (best price from Amazon). It covers all my requirements and it is very easy to use – you simply charge it up, download the app, complete some details and the two link up. It records my steps and sleep and I can add in my exercise sessions (it can also record food calories but I have not used that feature).
I've only been wearing it since Sunday but I have already realised what a sedentary life I live! I thought I was quite an active person as I am always busy and rarely sit down to relax (watching TV or reading a book during the day is unheard of for me unless I am on holiday). I set a target of 10,000 steps per day (the recommended number for optimum health) but I have not reached that yet! I am sitting at about 60% of that target even with adding some walks in. Now I am not panicking yet as the advice is to monitor for a couple of weeks and work out your average then gradually increase as required. But it has made me realise that ‘just being on my feet all day’ isn't going to be enough.
I have signed up to The Body Coach SSS (Shift Shape Sustain) Plan. Now this will be a biggie for me and the hardest part to keep up with. I've been following the gorgeous Joe Wicks on Instagram for many months and am very impressed with the transformations and his approach; I've also been doing his HIIT workouts with my PT and followed some of his recipes in his Lean in 15 book. But I need more support than that, I can’t go it alone. My plan arrived on Monday and it is specifically tailored to me, I have had to spend quite a bit of time reading it, analysing it, and working out a meal plan and shopping list. My biggest challenge will be making it fit in with my busy lifestyle and the family. It is possible but it will take quite a commitment of time. I start on Monday 18th January.
HIIT - I am going to do 4 x HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) per week. I already do 2 with my lovely friend and PT but I need to do 2 more at home. I have worked out my routine and I will do Monday and Thursday with Sue and Wednesday and Friday at 8.15 am at home once everyone has departed for school/work etc. Maximum time it will take is 30 minutes so I really don’t have any excuses! Joe Wicks recommends HIIT 4-5 times per week as part of his SSS Plan.
Walking – I have two dogs but generally our routine is that my husband walks them in the mornings after dropping our daughter at school. We walk them together at the weekends. But if I am to get those steps up I am going to need to add some more walks in. Yesterday I grabbed them for a 20 minute walk and they were very good, they were clearly on a mission and happy to stride out with me, they will be delighted to get two walks a few times per week!
The first part of the SSS plan – Shift (called Cycle One) is for 4 weeks (and the two subsequent cycles are also 4 weeks so 12 weeks in total. In 6 weeks’ time I am going on holiday to Turkey with my sisters so I want to be comfortable in my summer dresses and bikinis and of course I will need to have a week ‘off plan’ whilst I am away – I want to be able to do that without gaining too many pounds/inches.
I don’t have any particular weight loss goal – ½ stone would be nice – a stone even better but Joe Wicks calls the scales ‘the sad step’ and doesn't recommend weight as an effective monitor so I have had to take ‘before’ photos and will be submitting measurements to monitor inch loss. My goal is to feel healthy, fit and lean.
I will be posting an update every week on my progress – hopefully on a Friday so please look out for them, I need lots of support – if you would like to get updates directly into your inbox please sign up for my mailing list.
It is a dream of mine, to have a beautiful, streamlined wardrobe, where everything can mix and match and I never have a day where I think ‘I don’t know what to wear’, but I suspect this will continue to be a dream for some time to come.
But I am striving towards it! When I was away in Broadway recently I picked up a book called ‘Style Forever’ by Alyson Walsh (also a blogger at That’s Not My Age). I loved her approach to ‘Generation Fab’ …. fifty and beyond. She says we are FABsters …. we live longer, we stay fit, we look after ourselves and we care about our appearance.
“There is something really attractive about a woman who is confident about her age and style”
In the book she has a list of Style Basics that she recommends as a perfect basis for a capsule wardrobe:
I can see how each one can work with the other and then you can build on the basics as you go along.
I will be using this list as I progress my blogging journey and my own wardrobe into my fifties. I will share with you how I get along and if I need to add any of my own basics to this list.
This was a beautiful spring day and we went for a walk in our local woods with our two westies. I love my Dubarry long walking boots, they were an expensive investment but have been so worth it. I usually have problems with calf sizes but these come in extra-wide.
Boots - Dubarry
Jeggings - M&S
Breton sweatshirt - French Connection
Scarf - Accessorize
Jacket - Monsoon (old)
I bought this knitted biker jacket in the Next sale last year. it is really comfortable to wear and warm too, ideal for transitional dressing. My scarf was from my daughter on Mother's Day this year and is from Not on the High Street - they have a great selection of scarves, worth taking a look.. Jeans are French Connection.
Another outing for the Next knitted biker, this outfit was thrown together very quickly as I had to take my daughter to an emergency orthodontist appointment but I kept it on all day as it worked so well. The grey breton is from Mint Velvet and my Jeans were a recent Mint Velvet sale purchase.
Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog celebrating women. 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.
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!
Use my hashtag and tag me on Instagram #beingfiftyandfab @fifty_andfab
I’d love to see what you are doing and with your permission, share some of your images.
Join my mailing list (below) for regular updates and don’t forget to look at my social media pages too..
Subscribe to receive regular blog updates by email:
I have a Just Giving page to raise funds for Dogstar Foundation and Yawajeewa Community Learning Centre in Sri Lanka - donations can be made here.