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.
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!
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!
Some girls are so certain of their style from the beginning. I remember, in my young days, these girls stood out from the rest and were an inspiration to me. I have been friendly with a lot of women throughout my life whose style has inspired me. Whatever age and size, their confidence and their flair shone through. There is nothing more fabulous than someone who is comfortable in their own skin. Style wise, they are such an inspiration and have no fear of looking a certain way or wearing something they really love and are not afraid of what people think, or say.
photographer – Viktor Hanacek
I loved nights out, in my younger years – the girls would turn up in their ‘get-ups’, which had been so meticulously put together. Of course, these were the late seventies, early eighties – the time of big shoulder pads and “New Romantics”. I also had a few mates who were “Punks” and “Goths” (now, that took time, effort and style). I wonder what they are doing, and where they are with their “style”, now. I don’t think you ever quite leave your young style behind as you get older – it’s part of who you are. As we get older, we have had time to rehearse and practise.
Photo by Sabina Ciesielska on Unsplash
I like to think I have a little bit of an idea when I’m trying on things that don’t suit me – they just feel so “wrong”. For example, in my younger years, I had some “not good” moments with woollen dresses which made me look like a giant snowball – think the whole colour block thing doesn’t agree with me, and the odd (very eighties) rah-rah skirt. This was the first successful attempt to revive the mini skirt and, hands up, I was a fan at the time! It wasn’t very forgiving if you know what I mean.
Photo by Lauren Fleischmann on Unsplash
Oh, and there was the odd bad hair-do just to add to the overall mix. I once came back from the hairdressers looking like Tina Turner which, as much as I love Tina Turner, this was not my intention or what I had asked for. I think the hairdresser got a little bit carried away.
Me out for a saunter, in the direction of the pub! I do love “easy to wear” chilled out fashion that makes me feel good, though I’m not averse to a lovely little bit of dressing up!
I believe style in midlife years is continually a “work in progress”. For example, I will see a great outfit on someone, or in a shop and love it. Sometimes, I’ve been brave enough to ask the person where they had purchased it. But, on me, it will either look equally good or really terrible. I once read somewhere that style takes time and maybe that’s true. I believe, at this age, I am still trying to look good and that, for me, it’s on-going. Some women make wearing clothes look effortless. Whereas, for me, alas, that’s not always the case!!!
Photo by Pete Bellis on Unsplash
I also believe it is very important to be comfortable, and know what suits me. I’ve done this through trial and error, and taking good advice along the way from expert fashion stylists. There is a lot of great “style gurus” out there. I believe some of them are brilliant and give out great, constructive advice. But, I also believe that, whatever advice you read, you still must feel happy and relaxed in what you are wearing. Because style is such a personal thing! We all know people who wear something because of the label or because they think, if it’s one of the most expensive, exclusive garments in the shop, then it will have to look great on them. Unfortunately, as we know, that’s not always the case.
Thank you for reading, let me know if you have any comments and please subscribe to my blog.