I don't love exercise! No secret about that although I do still do it. I do enjoy walking though. But I tend to be a fair weather walker - well rain makes my hair go frizzy and the dogs get so wet and muddy.
But I was recently invited to join a Nordic Walking Class with Claire Winter which also happened to coincide with National Walking Month.
I used to get involved with the Walk to School initiative - many moons ago when my children were at primary school, I was the School Travel Co-Ordinator. It was fun and as we lived a distance away from school, necessitating a car journey, we would 'park and walk' the last bit which was good for us and reduced congestion around the school gates. I was also delighted to help with fundraising and secured the purchase of a wet weather shelter and I loved doing 'scooter training' with the younger years!!
So on Friday I joined Claire and ten other lovely ladies near Pinkney's Green at Maidenhead. The area is stunning - it's National Trust owned and very pretty, there were lots of wild flowers and bluebells. It was easy to get to and easy to park.
What is Nordic Walking - well it is just like normal walking except you use two poles to help propel you along. It is a full body exercise and was originally devised by cross country skiers who used it for their summer training. It can be as gentle or as challenging as you wish.
We started off by doing a quick stretch to warm up. Claire then showed the new ladies how to use the poles, how to hold them and how to walk with them so you get the maximum calorie burn. All very important! Apparently Nordic Walking burns more calories per hour than running and it's low impact. That sold it to me. I really don't 'get' running. I have done it in the past but it just doesn't interest me.
I had to find out more about the benefits of Nordic Walking then. I looked it up on the British Nordic Walking website. Here is what they say about the benefits:
Nordic Walking combines the simplicity and accessibility of walking with simultaneous core and upper body conditioning similar to Nordic skiing. The result is a full body workout, which means that you:
After our warm up and initial instruction we set off properly. It was a beautiful morning and I especially enjoyed meeting the other ladies in the group and chatting as we walked. It makes it seem less like exercise and more like just a nice social thing to do.
And that brings me back to my new interview series - Embracing Life (in Midlife) - there are so many successful, inspirational and amazing women out there. I met two that morning, juggling family life, studying, running businesses etc but doing a fantastic job.
We passed through the bluebell woods, stopped for the all important blog photos and a drink of water. The whole walk took an hour and I did about 7,000 steps!
At the end there is a cool down stretch and that's it. Claire provides the poles but you can buy your own of course. Once you learn how to do Nordic Walking you can practice yourself whenever suits you. I liked joining the class though as it makes you go. It is easy to find an excuse without the accountability of booking in and meeting others.
Claire charges £8 for the one hour class/walk and you can find out more details on her website - Stealth Health, she offers two walks a week, Monday or Friday morning. Or if you do not live near Maidenhead then go to the British Nordic Walking website and you will find a directory of qualified instructors and classes near you.
Let me know if you have ever tried Nordic Walking or if you fancy giving it a go now? I'd love to hear from you.
Disclaimer: Claire did not charge me to attend this trial class but I was under no obligation to write a review, the opinions are entirely my own.
This week I had a really wonderful day out in Oxford. My sister is an Oxford City Tour Guide (qualified blue badge accreditation - I have written about her before and the fabulous tours she offers). And her oldest son is in his first year at Worcester College, Oxford University. It was his 19th birthday so I joined my parents and my sister for a tour of his college and lunch. I'll be sharing more photos later on as the gardens are so stunning.
But on the way to meet him we did a quick detour into the new shopping centre in Oxford - Westgate. There are lots of the big names situated in there and it is light and bright and clean and very pleasant. This was only a very quick visit and not enough time to do any real shopping. But I spotted & Other Stories and the only other branch close to me is Oxford Street and although I have been in, it is exceptionally busy (queue for fitting rooms and tills) and it put me off.
This branch however was quiet and I had the opportunity to have a quick browse. And I liked what I saw - very much. It is a bright, clean store - all white and everything laid out in beautifully co-ordinated tidy rails. My idea of heaven (you may have seen my comment on Instagram recently about my dislike of Primark and H&M because they are so untidy).
I didn't really have time to do a proper try on so it was a quick whisk round, I quickly slipped on a pink pleated skirt but it wasn't lined so I didn't think that would work for me. The sizing is a bit confusing so I had to ask - at a 10 I am a 36 apparently. That information will be useful for online shopping.
If you have seen a previous post about cotton dresses you will know I am on a search for natural fabrics and cool dresses for my holiday in Sri Lanka (but I don't like linen). I saw this dress in & Other Stories, it's cotton, it's pretty, its summery, it is a shape I love ...
I grabbed it in a 36, no time to try it on, paid for it, had a lovely chat to the young man serving me and ran off to meet my family.
Tried it on when I got home and it fitted, it worked and I love it. The shoulders need to be lifted a bit for me - this isn't unusual though, it is hard for me to find a dress that is short enough in the body so I look for ones that can be altered easily. This Peony Print dress is £49 also available in a blue Pineapple Print.
Once the shoulders are lifted I will share an outfit post with you but in the meantime do take a closer look at & Other Stories!
For more information or to join a tour of Oxford run by my sister, please take a look at her website - Walking Tours of Oxford. She offers many public and bespoke tours including Morse, Endeavour etc. Mention Fifty & Fab if you book!
Not Dressed as Lamb
Today I am telling you about my new interview series. I am really excited to start sharing with you the stories of so many inspirational women that I have met along the way - through my life - some are friends, some I have met through motivational support groups on social media, some through networking - but what they all have in common - is that they want to MAKE IT HAPPEN and EMBRACE LIFE (IN MIDLIFE).
A new direction in midlife?
What I have learnt since reaching the grand old age of 50 myself is that there are many women that are 40 and 50+ that are making huge changes to their lives by changing career, or setting up their own business, starting a blog, losing weight and getting fit or doing something else inspirational and challenging. Something different. They want to help others, to inspire others. They want to be happy, to learn new things and to be a better or the best version of themselves they can possibly be.
I never fail to be inspired and in total awe of these women, how do they fit it all in, where do they find the time and energy? And yet repeatedly I hear they do and they really are FABULOUS. Sometimes their stories are life-changing, they might have faced a cancer diagnosis or simply retrained for a completely new career. They might have spent many years suffering from anxiety or depression but finally found a way to face up to it and get better - inspiring so many others in the process.
In this day and age there seems to be no barriers to what we women can achieve. And I think us older ladies are a force to be reckoned with. We have life experience and a determination that we didn't have when we were younger. We might have children who are grown up and flying the nest and more time and money and opportunity available to us. And we are grabbing those opportunities.
Do something different?
I don't think of myself as one of these women and yet here I am learning a new skill, working out how on earth the technical side of blogging works, daring myself to approach brands and do something different. I am putting myself out there, out of my comfort zone at 50+. I describe myself as a housewife or a stay at home mum but I am missing so much of what I really am in that sentence. I am proud to be a full time mum of course! But I set up my husbands business, I taught myself bookkeeping and so much more, I am a director of a successful building services company and I support that business every day so that it continues to be successful. I am a blogger and I love learning this new skill. Yes my family will always be my priority and yes I am lucky to be able to 'work' at home but I am very busy and very determined.
And wow there is a huge army of women out there just like me doing some amazing things and I keep meeting them and I keep thinking I have to share what they are doing.
We are an underestimated force. As Hillary Clinton quoted 'Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world'.
This will be a monthly feature, running alongside my Being Fifty & Fab feature and my hashtag #beingfiftyandfab.
If you don;t want to miss a post then do subscribe for my email updates here. And if you are a woman who is 40-50+ and have an inspirational story you'd like to share or you are a brand that would like to work with me then please get in touch, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look out for my first interview coming later this month!
A big shout out to Natalie at PR School for helping me come up with the right title for my interview series - if you haven't found PR School on Facebook yet and you are a small brand or blogger, then you are missing out - go take a look!
Welcome back to my monthly series where I tell you what I have been doing to BE fifty and fab and where I hope you will share on Instagram what you have been doing using the hashtag #beingfiftyandfab! I'd love to share some of your photos.
Well what happened to our weather?! We get a heatwave and then we are dumped right back into winter again. Now I know the English weather is unpredictable but it's playing havoc with my wardrobe organisation! I'm hopeful for the bank holiday weekend though!
Here's what I've been up to this month ...
Exercising - I've attended two great events this month to inspire me to keep healthy and to keep exercising! First of all a wonderful seminar all about the mind / body connection run by Bev from Floresco Fitness and Fat Loss Coaching - read more about it on my blog here. Then this weekend I was away at a Fitness Weekend in Surrey with an awesome group of ladies. I went to my first one last September and I was lucky enough to be invited again. The weather wasn't quite so kind this time but despite some initial reservations that it would pour down all weekend we were rather pleased and lucky that it mostly stayed dry (but cold). Generally I am not a fan of games but I did have a lot of fun and a lot of laughs joining in some traditional 'sports day' type activities! Three legged race anyone?
Reading - This month I started and finished Together by Julie Cohen. So good! It had only just been released and I had forgotten that I had pre-ordered it so it was a nice surprise when it turned up. There were a lot of Instagram posts about it and it has been very well received and enjoyed. My daughter is now going to read it. Emotional, compelling and a page turner based on a love story with a twist to the ending. Worth a read! Which meant I didn't then get around to joining in with the book club book this month!
Wearing - We had a mini heatwave! Then it got freezing cold again. I am totally confused and my wardrobe is all over the place. I spent quite a few days getting my summer clothes out and putting heavy winter jumpers away. But I didn't put my coats away thank goodness and I have kept a selection of spring knitwear in my wardrobe, just as well as I have needed it all again. I even started with my self-tan - I love St Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mousse it's a bargain price and it is easy to apply (with a mitt, try St. Moriz Self Tanning Applicator Mitt) and never goes blotchy.
Above - French Connection Rebound White Jeans with Jack Wills blouse from last year , French Connection Rebound Vintage Blue Jeans with navy jumper from Gap and scarf from Sweet Bea and far right wearing my Uniqlo packable jacket with Vionic sneakers, jeans and star scarf from Mint Velvet
Doing - We had a super weekend away in Chatham which I wrote about in this post and then my daughter passed her driving test - first time, which was really exciting and will mean another change in routine for me - after 15+ years, no more school run. I'm looking forward to the long bank holiday weekend, nothing in particular planned, wouldn't it be fab if we could get outside in the garden?
I met with a lovely lady for a bespoke training session to talk all things blogging and I am really inspired and keen to share my new ideas with you. Jodie Humphries is a blogger at Maidenhead Mum and a photographer and a digital marketing specialist - wow - I am going to move my blog onto WordPress now things are moving along a bit so do bear with me when the swap over happens, I am a bit worried about all the techy stuff but I have a lovely lady helping me.
Which leads me onto a new interview series I am going to start - I have met so many inspiring and capable 40-50+ women especially recently so I want to share their stories with you. Coming soon I hope.
Enjoy May! Let's hope spring gets going properly this month!
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.
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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.