I adore the plush fabrics that the colder months bring.  Cashmere woollens, velvet, and corduroy, as well as tweedy tactile fabrics – wrapping them around us – feeling comfy and warm.

Over the years, I have developed a love of coats. It might be due to living in the North East of England, where you spend best part of the year in one!   That said, we have had a long, warm summer, this year.  Recently, I have added a few versatile additions to my wardrobe as well as bringing out old trusted garments, which I still love and enjoy wearing (check my Instagram page).

I have the odd items of clothing that are so old they could be “vintage”, but, I still enjoy wearing them.  I’m pleased I didn’t have a mad moment and give them away, as I have done in the past!  Some of my older items were expensive, by my standards – others, I didn’t pay a lot for, but are still in excellent condition.

I’m a fan of casual glamour, a mixture of day and evening wear.  One of my mantras is, if an outfit works, and fits with your style,  keep wearing it,and  mix it up with other items.

I wear trousers a lot more in the winter, so, I have been experimenting with quite a few styles.  A  few haven’t worked, so,  I have had to return them.  But, others I have really liked, and they have made me a little more adventurous with my style – it’s never too late!  I purchased them to spice up my winter wardrobe.  I thought I would share some of these items with you to see what you think?

The three pairs of trousers that I’ve featured are all from H&M, which is purely coincidental.

Velvet wide legged pants

I didn’t think I would like these at all.  They are high on the waist, which can be a little tricky to wear when you get older.   However, when I tried them on, I got a pleasant surprise.   The velvet is very soft.  It is also very comfortable, especially around the tummy.  I found that, worn with the correct clothes, they are surprisingly flattering, and they work.   Plus, I got a few compliments from trusted friends when I wore them.

 Here’s a few ways I wore them.

Wearing my Zara tuxedo with my H&M wide velvet trousers

Worn with Zara cardigan with contrasting trim.

Black tuxedo and cream cami – also photo-bombed slightly by Jarvis!!

Black slim-fit jeans with a slight flared hem.

I wear jeans a lot, in my everyday world.  These jeans caught my eye, because of the slight flare.  I was curious to see if they would suit me.  I tried them on in the shop, and got a pleasant surprise.

They sit quite high on the waist, pulling the tummy in, in a lovely way.  There is 1% “elastane” in the material, plus organic cotton, which I like.  I find them flattering.   They can be worn with high heels, or flats.  This style of jean is a lovely contrast as I usually wear straight legged jeans, so it’s nice to shake it up!  I have worn them a few times, and they are very comfortable.

Here are a few ways I have worn these jeans.

Worn with a Zara sweatshirt that was only £9.99 and a man’s Burberry scarf that I bought a long time ago.

Worn with a Tuxedo, plus a touch of leopard print.

Wide legged checked trousers

Again, these are not my usual style.   I was a little unsure if I would like them.  My legs are not super long, so I was worried they would appear shorter, due to the hem sitting above the ankle.

 However, they are smart, casual and a good fit and work well with most footwear.  I know there have been a lot of issues with H&M sizing, but there was no problem.  They fit me perfectly.  I am a 12 to 14 (depending on the brand), and with these trousers, I felt more comfortable in the size 14.   They are, in my opinion, a quality material, and I really like them – plus, they go with a lot of things.  So versatile!

What I wore with them.

“Next” leather jacket,which I have had for an eternity and still love! Plus, a black cashmere polo neck sweater from Marks and Spencer

Thank you for reading my post.  If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

Alison xx

I am not quite ready to go bare faced.  I love a light, medium touch of foundation to improve the look of my skin and choosing the right one can be a tricky, costly affair if you get it wrong.

The choice on the high street is mind boggling and can be both daunting and confusing if you don’t know what you’re looking for!

During my younger years, bringing up my family, working, and running around at ninety miles an hour meant minimal maintenance regarding my makeup.  It was applied very quickly and if it took away the deathly white glare that I had woken up with, I was content, happy and ready to go with my busy day ahead!

There wasn’t the choice back then, unless I was just too busy to take much notice. Of course, currently, there is so much choice it is hard to keep up!

Back then, if I was looking for a good foundation, I would do a little research, then get a few samples to try, just in case I had some strange horrible reaction to the ingredients.  Always wanting light coverage that would hopefully give me a little radiance, if possible.  The prerequisite was that it was a good, quality product.

The one I settled for and used for years was Clinique’s “Super Balanced Foundation”. This, I found to be very good – it wasn’t too heavy, it was light in coverage and looked quite natural.  I had no knowledge of applying foundation primers in those days. Out of curiosity, I got a sample of the same foundation, the other day, in ivory – which is my colour – and, it is still a great foundation.

Towards my late forties, I tried other foundations as my skin was becoming a lot drier, partly due to hormonal changes. So, I started to do my research, looking for a foundation that would help the dryness, facial redness, skin sensitivity and….. oh, the list goes on……  Hence, over the last seven years, I have used and sampled quite a few foundations.  I now wish that I had kept a detailed diary of my experiences – some good and some bad.  Because, back then, I never thought for one minute I would find the time to start this blog

My wish list, foundation-wise, is to have a product that will smooth out imperfections, whilst not settling into pores or wrinkles; give me a bit of a glow; and not disappear after a few hours’ wear!

I have listed my current four favourite foundations below.  And, I will continue to try new ones, as there are so many coming out, all, of the time.

CHANEL – “Perfection Lumiere Velvet Smooth Effect Makeup” SPF15 30ml (£37.00)

When I was doing my research, this foundation kept coming up time and time again with fantastic reviews for mature skin.  So, I gave it a try and immediately loved it.  I have been using it for around three years.  I find the foundation easy to apply, it gives a very sheer look, evens out skin tone, whilst still looking natural.  It may need a slight touch up if worn all day and can look a little luminous around the four to five-hour mark, but a fine dusting of finishing powder does the trick to sort this, I find.

Estee Lauder – “Double Wear Light” 30ml (£33.50)

This was my other “go to” foundation, though I haven’t used it for a little while.  I did find it to be very lightweight whilst giving a natural appearance.  It is long lasting and didn’t settle into pores or wrinkles.  However, since I finished my tube, Estee Lauder have now changed the formula.  My shade was “Number 2” with the old formula and I have noticed there are a lot more shades with the new one.  I will try the new one and let you know what I think

L’Oréal – “Paris True Match Liquid Foundation” 30ml (£9.99)

I bought this foundation from Sainsburys – it was on offer for £4 – can you believe!?

I had seen quite a few adverts for this foundation, so, decided to give it a go.  And, for that price, I couldn’t refuse.  Though I had to guess with the colour match, which worked out fine.  I went for beige and it’s a good match!!

This foundation is lasting for ages.  I’m still not even a quarter of the way through, as a little goes a long way.  It really holds its own against the more expensive foundations.   It’s easy to apply, very lightweight and hydrating,  There are also a lot of shades to choose from.

Clinique – “Super Balanced Silk Makeup” SPF15 30ml £25.50

I haven’t used this foundation for a while but included it, as I wore it for such a long time.  Out of curiosity, I decided to ask for a tester to see if it was still as good.  My colour is silk ivory.  After wearing it for a few weeks, I still find it to be a good foundation.  It has a lovely texture and sits well on the skin.  It also provides great coverage without being too heavy.

Thank you for reading my post.  If you have any questions please leave a comment.

Alison xx

 

 

 

I learnt a few weeks ago that House of Fraser (HOF) are not honouring gift cards in store or online.  My gift card for HOF is worth £80.00.   I have followed the process for getting my money refunded but I’m not holding my breath.  So my question is “are gift cards a safe bet”??

Since this discovery, I have been told it’s probably best to spend gift cards quickly in this present climate.   More importantly, I feel concerned for the staff of House of Fraser. It must be the worst feeling in the world for these employees to not  know what the future holds, and it makes the slight problem of a gift card seem trivial. But, nevertheless, £80 is no small amount!!!

Recently, I went to Newcastle to make sure my youngest son was settled into university for his final year.   We all met up in the city centre for coffee, then and I went into Fenwicks Dept Store.  This was a conscious decision as I had another gift card that I had received from Christmas 2017.  The whole House of Fraser gift card situation made me think that maybe I had to spend it quickly!

Wandering around Fenwicks, I couldn’t resist this pretty blue Daria Print Ruffled Skirt from Mint Velvet (£89.00).  It is chiffon material in a layered silhouette. This midi skirt sits high on the waist and I have already worn it quite a few times – pairing it with a Zara dark blue fitted jumper, or a cream fitted cardigan.

I particularly love the movement of the skirt and thought it looked good with this old leather biker jacket that I have owned for ages, along with some blue suede ankle boots.

This skirt could easily be dressed up in heels and a silky blouse or even a stylish t-shirt and sneakers with a little denim jacket – that would look cool!!

I know I will get a lot of wear out of it as it is so versatile and flattering – and I also love the midi length, which is my favourite.

Alison x

We must face facts that Winter is just around the corner. This year, we have had a real summer, so, we can’t complain.

One of this season’s favourites is the Animal print, which is a huge trend and the “go to” look. It has been a fashion favourite and seems to go from strength to strength.  This is news, if you really like it.

There is no escaping the multitude of animal-inspired patterns.   Animal print has never really disappeared – because, it never goes out of fashion.  And, I am happy about that, because I’ve always enjoyed wearing this design, in some shape or form.  But, this year, it is here in abundance.

The question is to either go “full on” animal print or just a touch.  It’s all down to how you feel and what your own personable style is.  I have seen some fantastic dresses and coats. But, for the person who just wants a splash, it may be too much to have a full-on “head to toe” ensemble going on.

 

I think the beauty of animal print is it goes with anything, and can lift your outfit to the next level with either the right piece of clothing or an added accessory. I personally love seeing a colour block outfit with just a few touches of animal print – it is just so subtle and stylish and can give the outfit the edge. But, the overall look is such a personal thing.

 

I read an article a long time ago that said finding your perfect animal print can be a tricky one, saying it can depend on the colour and density of the print that will or won’t work with your shape or facial features. For example, if you have dainty features, a smaller more dense print will suit.  I’m not sure if I agree with this view.  The article cited an awful lot of suggestions but, to be honest, I lost the will to live reading the whole piece!!! There were just too many rules to abide by. I think we all look for a little guidance. But, overall, I hope we are generally confident enough to know when we try clothes on whether they suit us or not.

I like this dress. However, I am quite a conservative dresser – so, this outfit, for me, is quite bold.

But, I find, as I’m steadily getting older, I’m getting a little more adventurous. This animal print dress may be a bit too much for some, but it brought the “daredevil” out in me. Plus, I love the midi length – so, it’s a “win-win” situation!

Thank you for reading this article.

Alison x

I would like to share with you my journey through the last couple of years regarding skincare. In my younger years, l would lie in the sun all day with very little protection. I had no idea about SPF or protecting my skin, we just went for the burn – thinking how cool we looked with a bit of colour.  Mind you, I never had that easy tanning skin.  I went bright pink, then it all just all peeled off (not cool).  It’s little wonder that I don’t now look like a prune. With our UK climate, we are generally lucky if we get a few days of sunshine in any one year, which has probably saved me. That said, this summer has been exceptionally hot!!!

Over the years I have used many creams and serums that I thought would improve my skin, not really researching the ingredients and relying instead on the information or hype that came with that product.

I would say it was around my late forties, early fifties when my skin started to change.  I noticed the skin on my face was dried out, dull and well, awful really.  My skin also felt irritated and tight, my immediate reaction to this was to buy moisturisers that made me glow like a bleacher beacon! I thought if I slapped on a rich cream that would do the trick, not so!

This spurred me on to start to do my research to improve my skin, reading articles by experts, watching vloggers and gathering as much information as I could.  I looked for bloggers and vloggers in my age group – I loved watching the young women as well, but they weren’t on the same journey as me, so I couldn’t really relate, women in my age group were hard to find back then, maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough.

Thankfully this is now improving and women in midlife are certainly becoming more visible.   I really enjoyed listening to the ones who I thought knew their stuff and I gained a lot of knowledge from them and still read their blogs or watch them on you tube today.

I must also mention that around my late forties, early fifties it seemed to be a time that is quite frantic and stressful – you will all relate.  Around this time when I felt the beginnings of the menopause everything else seemed to be also reaching a crescendo, such as children going through their own teenage hormonal stage, elderly parents or family starting to have health problems or  issues – oh the list is endless and there we are trying to look after everyone as well as working and juggling other life balls as well! – so, no wonder things can become a little dramatic with the way we look and feel at this time, I know this was the case with me!

Apologies for going off the subject but it’s all related to how we feel and look.

Of course, nutrition along with drinking plenty water (I always forget) along with sleep (what’s that) and of course a high SPF cream is always recommended.  Also, I know it really shows on my face when I have had a few days of overindulgence, you can certainly get away with that in your early days, but not now.

I have no experience of fillers, Botox or any laser treatments – I am certainly not against any of these – it’s just it’s never been on my radar.

For me I wanted to see which skincare or active ingredients were proven to work. Skincare that I could try at my own leisure, to see if it was effective for me and beneficial to my own skin to make me feel better.

Following my research, I learned there is a huge list of ingredients that are effective for better skin – the ingredients that were mentioned time and time again are Retinols, Tretinoin (Retin A), Vitamin C,  a whole host of peptides,  AHA’s and other ingredients (it’s mind boggling)!

I thought I would keep it simple and try Retin A (Tretinoin) and Vitamin C, including it in my skincare routine.

I did my homework regarding Retin A  and to play it safe I started to use it gradually using the lowest strength first, using it once a week and very slowly building it up.  It takes a long time for your skin to adapt, hence I’m still not onto the higher strength of 0.1% daily after using it for three years.   So, the trick I have found is to go slow.  This is certainly not for everyone.  Tretonion is not available to buy over the counter in the UK, though it is in Europe and other countries – But I feel it has improved my skin and has worked for me – but may not suit everyone – so do your homework if you are tempted.

As I am mildly obsessed with moisturisers and serums I will be doing some tried and tested products I have used along with my journey using Retin A in the future.

Thank you for reading.  Please subscribe to my blog if you enjoyed it!

Alison x