Last weekend I had a flying visit to Dartmouth with my daughter. We left after lunch on Friday in the hope of avoiding the worst of the traffic but that wasn't to be and it took us 6 hours to get there! Not good at all, I had wanted to get the train but as it was a fairly late decision to go, the tickets were too expensive (top tip - book 12 weeks in advance).
We stayed at Just B who provide the bed without the breakfast! Good name! The room was so central that we were literally just off the main shopping street and two minutes from the harbour and River Dart. We were lucky to get a last minute reservation with it being summer and such fabulous weather, the room was quite small but we literally needed a bed and shower room so it didn't really matter.
Friday evening we had a very enjoyable dinner at Bayards Cove Inn and this is another good place to stay - they didn't have any rooms for our dates but my husband and his sister stayed there a few weeks ago and really liked it.
We started with breakfast on Saturday morning at Cafe Alf Resco because we could sit outside and watch the world go by! And they are dog friendly and provide a little portion of sausage for their furry customers!
With it only be a flying visit we then decided to visit our favourite place nearby, Coleton Fishacre, a beautiful National Trust house and stunning gardens on the Kingswear side going towards Brixham. We have been before when the children were younger and loved it so much, it was a treat to go back. The gardens are full of colour and flowers, lots of interesting paths and secret corners to explore, and they lead down to the sea and the views are spectacular - a word of warning though, it is quite steep coming back up! But it is worth it and do try and get to the second viewing point as well, you will be rewarded with the best view of the Devon coastline.
It is fairly easy to get to from Dartmouth, you can take the lower ferry over and drive but it will get busier in the summer holidays (expect queues for the ferry), you can get a bus but then it is a 30 minute walk down the lane to get to the house (not so good with children or in the heat) or we decided to get a taxi to take us door to door. Parking spaces are a premium in Dartmouth during the high season and we didn't want to risk losing ours!
Seriously how wonderful is this weather! I wore shorts or a dress all weekend and din't need a jumper at all. These are the Richmond shorts from Boden and I picked up this pair in the sale recently. My blouse is from Hobbs last year, my bag is Accessorize and my trainers are from Vionic - take a look at my review here.
We then headed back into Dartmouth for a wander around the shops, there are many of the big chains like Jack Wills, Joules, White Stuff etc but also lots of individual shops which are worth a wander around, I loved Escape to the Coast and enjoyed chatting to the owner who had relocated from near us to Dartmouth and was loving it.
Dinner Saturday night was at Bushell's Upper Deck - my only requirement was that we eat somewhere with a view and wow what a view! And the food and service didn't disappoint either, we asked for a window table and look what we got!
Sunday was extremely hot and we thought a river trip would mean a cool breeze, it didn't! But anyway, we took the ferry to Greenway to visit Agatha Christie's house. As time was limited due to our drive home we didn't go into the house this time, we just walked through the gardens, we then got the little ferry across to Dittisham - very quaint, you ring the bell when you want to summon the ferry and it arrives to take you on the quick trip across the river. There is a cafe at Dittisham, The Anchorstone Cafe, which has wonderful views but best to book if you can, it was too busy and we were unable to get a table, we will save that for another visit. They do run their own water taxi though so worth considering as an alternative to the busy ferries in Dartmouth (call to book).
On Sunday I wore a previous season beach maxi dress from Accessorize, with my silver bag from Accessorize (similar here) and my men's trilby from Marks & Spencer.
Then sadly it was time to go home, we had a late lunch at Beth's Bistro - another absolute gem to recommend!
I am in love with Dartmouth, we have been visiting for many years as we have family that live nearby but this is the first time I have actually stayed in the town which was extra special. There are so many gorgeous walks and places to visit - a walk to Dartmouth Castle is a must! And the views along the coastline near Dartmouth are breathtaking.
Dartmouth is ideal for families and children, romantic weekend getaways, girls weekends, as well as a longer holiday to explore the whole area. I want to stay at the Dart Marina Hotel if I get a chance another time!
PS Quick outfit post below - this top is from Hush and is so soft, cool, flattering, and floaty, it is cotton and I love it! I wore it with jeans (below) but also denim shorts. It isn't the cheapest at £65 but I think it will be a wardrobe staple for years to come - Hush Finsbury top.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, Some of my links are affiliate links which means that the brand knows you have come to their website from here and I may get a small commission if you buy something and keep it. This small income goes towards the running costs of my blog so I am very thankful for every click.
The bikini came into being on 5th July 1946 and today is #NationalBikiniDay and in this post I am sharing more preparation for our trip to Sri Lanka.
Our trip isn't really a lazing by the pool holiday as there is so much to see and do in Sri Lanka but I will be spending some time on a beach or relaxing by a pool, if I don't I will be exhausted! I will need lots of loose, cotton dresses, shorts and easy tops. I will wear bikini's under dresses for days when we are sightseeing in the morning and relaxing on a beach in the afternoon.
Here is a selection of what I have chosen.
This beautiful crinkle cotton beach cover-up is from Sister Design, it is called Passos and costs £85, I love the pom pom detail and relaxed shape. My hat is old from John Lewis and my bracelet and earrings are from Two for Joy in Marlow.
This new bikini is from Boux Avenue, a brand that I have not tried before. I love the blue tassels and I will style it with a sarong from Sweet-Bea, my round rafia bag is from Pull & Bear and I searched around as I didn't want to spend big money on it, this one is £19.99..
This bikini is from Swimwear365 and the bag and necklace/bracelet/anklet are from Sweet-Bea. My hat I bought last year and it is a man's trilby from Marks & Spencer, I find it is a better fit and a bit more substantial.
The bag and necklace combination again with the pretty tie-bandz which can be worn in your hair or as bracelets and another lovely sarong - all from Sweet-Bea.
The bag is from Sweet-Bea and is lined so ideal if you need to pack away a wet bikini, I will keep it in my beach bag with my daily make-up essentials! And I can use it as a clutch bag in the evenings too.
Change of colour! This is a sunseeker bikini from Swimwear365.
And here it is again styled with my flip flops from Vionic, now in the sale at £21.00.
This cotton sarong is from Sweet-Bea (similar here) and I love the sequins and pom pom detail and it matches my new bikini so well!
I've also bought some lose, light trousers, cotton and linen tops from Uniqlo especially for our trip. Having read up on the climate and the requirements to cover knees and shoulders at religious sites, I felt I needed a few more basics. I have been very impressed with the items from Uniqlo - take these drape trousers - only £12.90 - absolute bargain and perfect for my holiday!
I can't wait to pack and get there now. I will be sharing lots of photos on Instagram but won't be blogging while I am away.
And Sweet-Bea have given me an exclusive discount for my readers, please use code FIFTYANDFAB20 at checkout to get 20% off your order. They have lots of scarves / sarongs, great beach bags and accessories, hair ties and some lovely bits for younger girls.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, however Sweet-Bea did gift me some of the items featured, Some of my links are affiliate links which means that the brand knows you have come to their website from here and I may get a small commission if you buy something and keep it. This small income goes towards the running costs of my blog so I am very thankful for every click.
Not Dressed as Lamb
Francesca Cairns is an Image Consultant and Stylist based in Maidenhead and she recently posted on Facebook this fantastic, and very simple, guide about how to dress when you are struggling with hot flushes and menopause symptoms. I asked her if I could share it on my blog as I loved her common sense approach.
Sometimes it feels as if women are being advised to disappear at menopause.
I am totally fed up with articles claiming that women who reach forty suffer from Fashion Disorder Syndrome!
Think getting older means following strict rules such as covering your arms and avoiding black? I DISAGREE!
Style is an individual thing. You just have to figure out what works for you. Our body shape can change around the menopause so you may need to adapt a bit but there’s no one-size-fits-all just because you’re older.
If you’ve got a bit of middle-aged spread you might find that looser shapes look better. A slightly loose cotton shirt is fantastic in the summer and I think most women can wear that.
You want to feel comfortable and relaxed so fit is really important!
Master the art of layering
Anything you can waft – or remove – is good for a hot flush!
A scarf in the winter can be pulled off fast or wearing a skirt in the summer can help you feel cool and not so hot!
Fabric is also important – go for natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, silk and cashmere, as they absorb moisture from the skin and help air to circulate around the body better. They’ll help you keep your cool during a flush and tend to hold their shape better,
Put your best foot forward! I don’t think anyone looks glamorous when their feet hurt. Nearly every designer brand now has a range of trainers. Not only are they comfortable but buying a new pair of fashionable trainers is another good way to look current. I also really like sliders, loafers and flats, which are great if you need to look a bit smarter.”
ADD FINAL TOUCHES
Don’t forget to accessorise to complete your outfit, but I wouldn’t necessarily wear a big statement necklace if you’re experiencing hot flushes.
You want to feel free and uncluttered and a heavy necklace can make you feel clammy and sweaty. Go for a pair of statement earrings instead.
Don’t stop at jewellery – why not wear a belt to add colour to your look and pull in looser tops. They are also easy to remove so if you do start to feel uncomfortable you can just whip it off!
Ultimately, wear what makes you look and feel good through the menopause (and cope with the hot flushes it brings).
The thing to remember is that you’re not dressing for your age, you’re dressing for your body shape!
If you’re not sure what suits you anymore and need a little help, you can always visit me for a Colour and Style Consultation and I will help you feel magical again!
Style doesn’t rely on age and the menopause is a great time to experiment and get creative to figure out what works best for you.
Book an appointment today-
Francesca is currently offering her style and colour consultation at the reduced price of £70 (usually £180).
Simple yes but not always obvious. I embrace most of these ideas now. I want something simple and comfortable. I don't want to faff about with items that are too complicated or restricting. And I certainly don't want to wear heels and then find I can't walk and my feet are killing me. Thank goodness for being able to wear trainers with anything now!
Outfit details - my red dress (top) is from & Other Stories, the middle picture is all previous season items, the cardigan is from Pure Collection and then in the bottom photo, my outfit is from Hush and the skirt is now in the sale, although very limited sizes left. My round bag is just £19.99 from Pull & Bear.
Other posts about menopause you might be interested in:
Menopause and hot flushes (including a discount on wool duvets)
Menopause and alcohol tolerance
Wellness in Menopause Workshop and Tips
Disclaimer: Some of my links are affiliate links which means that the brand knows you have come to their website from here and I may get a small commission if you buy something and keep it. This small income goes towards the running costs of my blog so I am very thankful for every click.
Every year before our holiday I ask myself if I should still wear a bikini, and every year I come to the same conclusion, yes why the hell not? But why do I doubt myself in the first place?
Okay so I am petite, small, slim, I am not skinny, I am gently curvy and only 5 ft 2 inches tall.
Here's my worry though - I don't have a flat tummy any more, but I have had two fantastic amazing children and I am quite happy to have compromised a little to have these two in my life.
To be fair I have never really had those elusive abs - maybe as a teenager but that was just my natural figure, certainly in my twenties I was always a little bit curvy around the middle..
And even though I lost a bit of weight two years ago and got back to a more comfortable size for me the abs still didn't appear. I am just not prepared to put the extra work in to get them. I am happy to exercise two or three times a week. I am happy to eat a sensible, balanced diet, most of the time. But I refuse to go to the extremes needed to get a lower body fat percentage that would be needed for me to get a flatter tummy.
And so I choose my clothes to flatter my figure. I like a top that 'skim's, I love a peplum style jacket, I wear a higher waisted jean, I choose dresses that are loser and not too tight - I favour defining my waist rather than the tighter shift dress.
But when I choose a bikini over a swimsuit I am leaving myself a bit exposed.
So why don't I choose a swimsuit instead? - because I'd be too hot, because I like to get a tanned tummy (which looks so much better than a white one), because I hate pulling a wet swimsuit down to go to the toilet. I like to sunbathe and I want to do that in a bikini, I do have swimsuits that I use for swimming and hot tubs in the UK though - the one above is a favourite from Swimwear365.
And when we arrive poolside everyone else is wearing a bikini - whatever shape or size, and mostly we are more worried about ourselves than thinking about what anyone else looks like. In the hot Mediterranean countries, the women wholeheartedly embrace the bikini - young or old, big or small. They ooze confidence!
And there lies the answer - it is confidence that is sexy and appealing. Not what shape or size you are. Just have confidence! Ok I know it's not as simple as that but you get my point!?
But how can I make peace with my body and embrace confidence?
In the most recent issue of the Boots Magazine (free to advantage card holders in-store) Health & Beauty, there is an article all about this (Page 71) and it is all finding a happier middle ground. According to a new body movement called 'body neutrality' instead of forcing ourselves to love something, we need to accept what we have and stop obsessing, So for me, make peace with my tummy and appreciate instead, what it has done/does do for me - and that's it - in short, the middle ground between body bashing and body positivity. Read the whole article if you get a chance, it's good - I tried to find it online, I found the magazine online, but not the article!
So a bikini it is then!
I always treat myself to a new bikini (or two) before my holiday now. For years we holidayed in the UK or with family in France and as the children were younger I didn't get much opportunity to sunbathe. But now they are older we enjoy a lazy two weeks in the sun and that includes lots of sunbathing.
For my peitite shape, the style that works is a tie side bikini bottom and a triangle halter neck. I'm only a 34B so I don't need the support and I find a halter neck flatters my toned shoulders. I used to choose something more padded - so I looked bigger but these days I don;t bother, I am me and I am small!
I asked a few friends for some feedback on bikini wearing and what they think ...
"I'm never really comfortable in a bikini, I feel a bit exposed" but she did go on to say "in reality most people are totally absorbed by themselves (it's true when did you last look at a group photo and notice anyone else but you?) so worrying about what other people, usually strangers who will never meet you again, think is a complete waste of energy" - sound advice!
"I always wear one, who cares" - absolutely brilliant attitude!
"I spend the winter in the sun and every year I think it is time to change to a one piece and every year I give it 'just one more year'" - long may that continue.
"Bizarrely I have become more confident to wear a bikini the older I get ..." - I love this, that is because as we get older we care less what others think and find a new confidence.
I have tried the higher waist bottoms but being so petite I actually feel they drown me and make me look bigger. So that style is not for me. I do struggle to find a big choice of tie-sides but I think that bikini bottoms without the tie are less forgiving and if they are even slightly too tight then they dig in and emphasise any fat that might be lurking. With a tie-side I can tie them a bit loser and they are more flattering, but if you think that style is too skimpy then make sure you size-up in any swimwear! Really don't worry about what the label says - I always buy a 12 in a swimsuit and a 10 in a bikini.
I prefer to order bikini's online and then try them on at home (with a self-tan) and where the lighting is more forgiving than the scary changing rooms.
I have been going back and forth for a few weeks to choose a couple of new ones this year but I think I have finally settled and made a decision.
Next week I will share my bikini finds with you as well as some fabulous holiday accessories and a few suggestions of the best places to buy swimwear all year round.
But first, note to self: be confident / be body neutral!!!
I'd love to know what you think, comment below.
Above I am wearing a navy polka dot swimsuit from Lascana at Swimwear365 with a pom pom scarf as a sarong from Sweet-Bea and flip flops from Vionic.
Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, I am linking to the products because I love them, my sarong was gifted to me from Sweet-Bea but I was under no obligation to include it in this post. May contain affiliate links.
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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