We have lived in our Victorian 'cottage in the woods' for over 25 years now. We bought it as a renovation project with the intention of moving on before we had a family. But as we progressed with the project, extended the house, bought a bit of extra land and basically fell in love with our little oasis of calm on the edge of a busy town, we decided to stay!
A few weeks ago we did some decorating. Nothing major. We spent so many years renovating an extending that I don't ever want to go back to that kind of work. But the house did need a lick of paint. Some of my lovely blog followers asked me to share the results.
We are so lucky, as our little cottage stands by itself on the edge of the woods in a little hamlet in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at the bottom of a bridlepath. It does get a bit bumpy and muddy in the winter but every time I drive home down our lane I feel happy. It is a good place to come home to!
We have a painted kitchen from Cotteswood of Oxfordshire, it is a shaker style and has been in over 20 years and has really stood the test of time. It hasn't dated. We upgraded from wood worktops to granite a few years ago and changed the floor from traditional terracotta to cream porcelain but the kitchen units themselves are still as good as new. They are handpainted and we had a very talented lady - Nicola from Picked Onion Furniture come and re-paint them for us. We used Farrow & Ball paint on the units and for the walls we chose from the Dulux Heritage range.
Next up was the lounge. It is only small and we have always struggled to fit the right furniture in, we have a conservatory too which really adds space and opens up the downstairs but for watching TV we like to cosy up in our lounge! I am not a confident 'interior decorator' so I kept it simple and chose Caliko from Dulux for the walls throughout downstairs and the hall, stairs and landing.
I discovered a new home accessories company recently online, via Instagram, and purchased a few new bits from them - take a look at Kirsten & Belle. I purchased my new cushions from John Lewis and Laura Ashley.
And here are a few shots of our pretty garden. It is surrounded by woodland and trees and we have really developed it over the years we have been here to a place where we love to spend time but that is easy to maintain.
Our 'treat' this year was a Lay-Z-Spa' which my son went and bought and set up for us. It is proving to be a very relaxing addition to our garden.
And no post about our home would be complete without sharing our beloved pets - we have Pebbles a 13 year old Siamese cat and then two West Highland White Terriers. Katy is 5 years old and her half-sister Bonnie is 2 years old. My sister in law also has two westies and Bonnie's full sister so it is busy when we help each other out and they all come to stay.
I still need to finish decorating upstairs, in particular our bedroom, but that will have to wait until post GCSE's now.
There is a lot of history in our house which I researched many years ago when we were trying to identify the ownership of some land we wanted to buy. I will share a few snippets in another post, it is quite interesting.
I hope you like it! I love living here, I never feel nervous about being in a cottage with no neighbours and although it is by itself, civilisation is very close by.
I blog as a hobby. I blog because I enjoy sharing with others, hopefully inspiring others. I chat about what I have seen in the shops and online, what I have bought, what other bloggers are raving about and about my health and fitness journey.
I love doing regular outfit posts on Instagram but these last few weeks I have been feeling a bit fed up with my style. And it comes down to one thing - I'm cold!! So I sorted out my wardrobe and put away all my heavy winter knits and dark colours. This was absolutely the right thing to do as although it has't warmed up much there is a feeling of spring in the air, the skies are brighter and the days are longer.
But I struggle with in-between seasons dressing. I see every day other bloggers posting outfits made up of lightweight blouses and blazers, short sleeves, sandals, dresses. But are they really wearing this stuff outside the house? Or are they just posing for a photo and then putting their vest back on? On Saturday night we were outside at a Jaguar Festival at Windsor Racecourse and I wore TWO coats and my long Dubarry winter boots. There were some women there in wedge sandals and dresses! Really?! Were they not absolutely freezing? And no I didn't take an outfit photo!
I hope one of the reasons women like to follow my blog is that I am real. I am not posting unrealistic outfits that you couldn't possibly wear yet - or possibly at any time in the UK summer. On Saturday night I was a real woman, enjoying an evening out but wrapped up warm and pleased to do so, No it wasn't an insta-worthy outfit but it was realistic. And yes I did have a good time, because I wasn't cold! There is a danger of seeing all these wonderful outfit posts, buying the stuff and then never wearing it. I guess that is what the brands that work with these bloggers want but it is not something I am comfortable with.
Yesterday was a lovely warm day here in Buckinghamshire. I sat in my garden in the afternoon, I wore my new Holster UK sandals and a top from Mint Velvet that I bought months ago and have not worn as every time I have put it on, I have taken it off an hour later as it has been too cold. I even put my swimsuit on for a while, enjoyed the hot tub and dried off in the sun. But today it is cold again, absolutely freezing.
So yes I am struggling and I don't have the answer I'm afraid. But at least when you read my blog you know that my wardrobe struggles are genuine and what I am wearing I put on that morning, and wore all day, and got my daughter to snap a photo if it was still light enough and we had time (or didn't forget).
I'm off down to the Kent town where I grew up on Friday night, I am celebrating my oldest friends 50th birthday. We are having dinner in a restaurant and my husband and I are staying about a ten minute walk away. I am planning my outfit around comfortable shoes I can walk in and something I can wear a jacket with and still look stylish.
This morning I have my workout gear on as I am off to see my PT, I may just leave it on all day - at least I will be warm.
I went shopping on Bank Holiday Monday, I just popped into our local shopping centre for a little wander about. I had some vouchers that I needed to use up in House of Fraser and I have been a bit fed up with feeling cold so I wanted to buy a couple of lighter weight spring jumpers. I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the stock available but may be that was as much to do with the weather as anything else. I have been keen to sort my summer wardrobe out but it is too cold to wear it yet. But my winter layers have had to go! Too dark, not the right colours so as you know I am struggling again, something I complain about every time the seasons change.
I bought two jumpers in House of Fraser, one was virtually free due to said vouchers, not complaining about that!
First up just a very basic cashmere jumper from Hallhuber in a pale pink / blush and at £79 a very good price.
And then this Navy Stripe Knit from Mint Velvet at £59, now I know I said no more stripes but I failed! This top is lightweight, lose and will see me through spring (now) and into summer. I can wear it with denim jeans and white jeans and I can wear it around my shoulders 'just in case'.
I then headed into Gap, which hasn't impressed me much just recently but I was given a discount card for 40% off the new collection so I had to at least have a look ... I decided to give their new Sculpt Denim Jeans a go, they are £69.95 but with 40% off definitely worth a try. A white blouse also caught my eye (Long Sleeve Peplum Top £44.95), now I am not really supposed to wear pure weight and mostly I am buying ivory but I really loved the shape of this one.
And then looking back at my past summer wardrobe. The thing with summer in the UK is that well it so rarely actually gets warm, so we buy all this lovely stuff (and I do LOVE summer clothes) but it never wears out as it hardly ever gets worn. Even two weeks in the sun means very light dresses and lots of bikinis!
I love my denim shorts from Mint Velvet, they are a good few years old now but they seem to have just the right amount of stretch and they are not too tight. This top is also from Mint Velvet and will make it into this years wardrobe again too.
I love this 'pom pom' trim top again from Mint Velvet. The trousers had to go as they go too big for me but this top looks great with denim jeans and shorts.
This was another simple top I picked up from Zara last year - love the shape and it is similar to the new Gap one I have. It is a M though so not sure if it might look a bit big this year but I am hanging onto it for now! Can you spot a theme!?
These two dresses come out every year! Boden Jersey Halter Necks, they are so comfortable, ideal on holiday, don't crease and are flattering. I've not seen anything similar in this years range yet.
I always buy a pair of Gap Leather Flip Flops, I wear them at home mostly but they are comfortable and easy and look stylish! Lots of different colours available.
So that is how my wardrobe is continuing to shape up right now. It's freezing here today and I am in jeans and a jumper. I am off to see my parents and was hoping to sit in their lovely garden but that is not looking likely.
I will share with you a few new items from Hush and Boden when I next get time and do follow me on Instagram where I will post me wearing some of these outfits, see how I style them!
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!
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