Did Your Grandmother Declutter?

I do not remember my Grandmother ever decluttering. In fact, her home was a house of treasures. As children, my sister and I loved to explore every nook and cranny in the beautiful Victorian terrace in London. Anything that was off limits, was usually placed high up on some shelf that was frustratingly just out of our reach. This served to ignite our curiosity all the more and these unattainable prizes became our sacred chalices, teasing us in our dreams and dancing in and out of our thoughts.


Whatever item I would present to my grandmother from a shelf or cupboard, would become the protagonist of a story she had to relate. Every object had a history, people attached to it, places, and a sentiment or two. The stories were like labyrinths that could take you on a myriad of journeys depending on the questions I asked; further tales of the related places people and events would emerge until I had constructed a somewhat lifelike picture of my younger grandmother and her life in the past.


What’s this? I would frequently ask as my foraging fingers would find yet another curiosity within the tardis that was my grandmother’s handbag. This handbag was the subject of many conversations and its ability to defy physics would have had Einstein himself scratching his head. It was bottomless, and heavy. However, it contained everything that one could possibly need at any point in any emergency. Allow me to provide some examples: bottle openers, a knife (to peel an apple with, on a journey), mini screwdriver, magnifying glass, handkerchief, lipstick, comb, battery powered fan, sewing kit, spare button, plasters, germoline, pen, little notebook, a good luck champagne cork with a coin stuck in it (don’t ask?) and the list goes on.


A day at the seaside looked as far from a minimalist’s dream of slow travel as you could possibly imagine. Out came the blankets, the picnic hamper, the potato peeler, the camping stove - yes, my grandmother would sit and peel vegetables on the beach, (what chance did I have of being ‘normal’?), the sunhats, the stripey sun bleached wind breaker and of course, those painfully stylish rubber slip on shoes. (Think turquoise flippers without the ‘flipper bits’). Whilst my grandparents unpacked, set up, prepared and cooked food, we would construct castles in the sand, strategically placing shells and mother of pearl to represent ornate doorways, decorative windows and general adornment of our architectural masterpieces. After splashing around in the sea, was it cold? I don’t remember, unhindered by grown-ups slapping sun-cream on our quickly bronzing bodies, we ate.

I have much to thank my grandmother for. Even before my feet could touch the ground while sitting on a chair, one ankle hooked around the other, I recall the heartwarming moments when she would patiently lay out embroidery threads and teach me how to embroider flowers onto a tablecloth. I remember how grown up I felt when I was allowed to use her needles and an embroidery ring. I felt like a professional. I also learned to crotchet and my fumbling fingers soon got the hang of the meditative practice of weaving yarn and hook to produce a length of …. well, it was always a mat or a hairband…. in the same way that a piece of knitting was always a scarf. There was very little you couldn’t craft from the collections in my grandmother’s cupboards.

In the corner of her living room, was a curved bar, well-stocked with miniatures. These we found most exciting because they came in every shape and form. Mini bottles of blue bols topped with (rather scary) dolls heads enticed us to play with them and make up stories and tales. These games we played only occasionally and under strict supervision of course.

Pretty much everything was used or treasured and displayed. The well equipped kitchen was stocked with every nut, herb and spice you could possibly think of and my grandmother had the tools, the mills, the grinders, graters, beaters to achieve whatever gastronomical delights befitted the occasion. The typical seventies dinner parties, with their cheese and pineapple on sticks, and caviar chessboards, were a breeze to prepare in my grandmother’s kitchen. Every single thing was used … at some point.

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There was no sign of decluttering or minimising or sustainability measures taking place …. or was there? Things were reused. Old vests became polishing cloths, coffee grounds used for plants, cloth bags and baskets used for shopping, vegetables bought loose and meals made from fresh ingredients; clothes were mended, shoes polished, reheeled and cared for, bottles returned to the shop for a few pennies, and spare time used for fun-filled picnics on sunny days, rather than shopping. My grandmother showed me how to forage for wild mushrooms, rosehips for syrup, and herbs for teas. She made her own candied peel, stock and cider vinegar. No part of a vegetable was ever wasted.

In her kitchen, perching on a stool on the retro patterned lino, I learnt how to make marzipan from scratch. Little apple shapes topped with candied angelica for stalk, oranges that had been rolled over a grater and topped with a clove for that finishing touch and bananas, given shape by carefully dotted lines of cocoa powder, sat enticingly on the worktop - you were desperate to eat them but … you couldn’t; you simply could not destroy these mini works of art.


Once a year, she would take out the old Polish lamb shaped cake mould from the back of a well filled baking tin cupboard, and bake the Easter lamb cake. This tradition from Poland was one that embodied a warm homecoming in my mind and to this day, evokes feelings of nostalgia every time the Easter lamb cake takes up its rightful place, in the centre of the Easter table. It embodied my Polish background; it embraced the warm blanket effect of family, togetherness and safety.

Those carefree days of dancing around the bedroom enveloped in a feather boa and draped in pearls, whilst spraying myself in perfume from a crystal atomiser was not a nostalgic cliché, but my reality. After a bath in Badedas bubbles, where I would construct bubble wings and a bubble fairy skirt, I was allowed the ultimate treat. A large teardrop shaped glass bottle filled with a thick, pink cream, scented with heaven, was lifted from the shelf above the bathtub, then measured contents poured onto my outstretched hands. This magic elixir would, I truly believed, turn me into a fairy princess. I later recognised this as Oil of Ulay cream, as it was then called. A liberal sprinkling of purely magical powder was dispensed from a pink fluffy powder puff, the handle of which was the colour of a pearl, etched with gilded edges. I spent my entire childhood harbouring and delighting in this enchanting secret that I was a fairy foundling from a mystical land, lost in this world. No-one ever found out!

Every item in grandmother’s house had a purpose, whether that was to be practically useful, adorn a side-table, or bring to life a distant treasured memory. Everything sparked an element of joy, even if that joy was the delight in her grandchild’s eyes. This was surely not an aesthetically minimalistic house, but it certainly ticked all the boxes related to minimalism where it relates to usefulness, everything having a place (my grandmother was very clean and tidy - she never lost anything) and items being mended and reused. Unnecessary items were not purchased and there was little waste.

There are many ways to minimise and create both mental and physical space, and imagining your perfect setting is an important and useful first step. There is however, no prescription and this exercise is purely subjective. It shouldn’t matter how much you like to have around you, if all that you have is being enjoyed or used. Clutter and excess can exist in the most aesthetically minimalistic home, whilst an eclectic home can easily represent a minimalist lifestyle. I am grateful that my Grandmother’s house contained so much that sparked joy and in turn, provided me with knowledge, history and a sense of placement, an anchor to which I return to if I feel lost, and a comforting mental diary of where I came from and who I am.

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365 Days of Happiness

‘Beautify your new day!’

‘Beautify your new day!’

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‘Think of water and how it moves around the rocks

It always finds a way to flow around, above, and even underneath them. Water flows wherever it wants to flow, and does not stop or get held up by the rocks. It keeps its focus on its purpose … To stay true to your flow, don't make the rocks in your life the most important happenings. Instead, keep your focus on your purpose to flow, and with that, find other ways around them to be and live your truth.'

This is how Jacqueline Pirtle encourages us to keep focus, in her book, 365 Days of Happiness,*  publisher Freaky Healer (2018)

‘Your NOW is where all your power lays’

‘Your NOW is where all your power lays’

Reflect on some of your Monday mornings.  It may look something like this:  alarm - groan - snooze - alarm - expletive - get up and comment on unfairness of the world - Monday mornings should be banned - look in mirror - groan - expletive - mental list of every flaw/imperfection/excess flesh - shower - open wardrobe - groan nothing to wear - clothes are all meh! .... you get the picture?  Sounds great, doesn't it?  Er NO?  How are we to maintain healthy bodies and minds with such a negative start to the day?


Jacqueline, an energy healer and mindfulness teacher, offers an alternative start to the day.  374 pages cover 365 days of inspirational approaches, insights and mindfulness exercises to achieving happiness every single day.  In 2017, she decided to document her method for choosing happiness every day.  As adults and children take to social media for their next fix from 'likes', Jacqueline gently redirects this attention to being and living in a "high for life frequency of happiness".


The Mind Body Spirit or New Age genre is as much in vogue today as it was in the seventies and eighties.  While the subject of happiness – what it is, how to find it, and how to keep it, has been studied extensively as far back as Plato, new additions to the library of work on this topic are still being produced.  However, as culture, language, and external pressures change over time, so does the approach that writers take to address the issue of happiness.

One of the author's core beliefs is that happiness manifests itself through a healthy mind, body and experience.  She further believes that although happiness is how we are meant to BE,  this state is not necessarily passive but something that we can learn.  Furthermore, we all have a responsibility to seek to BE happy.  Based on the premise that everything is connected, everything is ONE,  an investment in our happiness is an investment in the universe.  We are a part of that universe.

Books on stool in fireplace with rug

 365 Days of Happiness invites you to take an affirmative and mindful action each day to BE your best happy self.  Jacqueline invites us to either reflect on a routine activity, imagine a specific scenario or remember a past event.  This is then developed into a mindfulness task, visualisation or decisive action for the day.

Dogs playing on the beach

Playful prodding and encouragement steer us towards an energetic shift towards happiness, and we are reminded of our…

' full power to change the state you are in … your thoughts, feelings and perceptions'.

Jacqueline’s whimsical approach to life and happiness is infectious; it will have you smiling at your willingness to 'do the twist' or imagine you have 'inherited a pair of pants'.  While these may sound simple and fun, her analogies are pertinent reminders of actions we can take or thought processes we could change.  She turns these into 'what if?' scenarios, list-making exercises, visualisations, questions, affirmations or 'Aha' moments.  The messages are timeless, and I imagine that when you reach the end of the book, you simply go back to the beginning again? 

Spilled coffee on journal

‘Imagine someone spills a drink!

Usually they are in distress about this happening. Now imagine that you say to them ‘‘it is OK, it is all OK. Are you OK?’’ Hearing these words lets them relax … to smile or laugh about their mishap. The word ‘‘OK’’ carries an energy of resistance-free, peaceful, acceptance, respect for what is…’

Self-acceptance, openness and happiness are examples of what you will be asked to embrace within 365 Days of Happiness.  It is slightly meatier than a simple quote of the day and some days the message may resonate with you more than others.  However, if you are forgetful, like me, it is only far too easy to ‘forget’ to start happy.  This is probably why I called my little dog ‘Happy’, it means that one of the first words that escapes from my barely functioning mouth in the morning is ‘Happy!’ 

One of my favourite analogies from 365 Days of Happiness is Day 154 where Jacqueline invites you to imagine creating your garden of ‘thoughts, intentions, wishes, dreams…’ You are welcome to visit other beautiful gardens that inspire you and bring happiness, but always return to your own. ‘Overstaying creates a disconnect with yourself’. Conversely you are advised to avoid gardens that do not feel good. We can sense negativity or destabilisation if we have strayed into the wrong garden throughout the day. Being mindful of this enables us to act swiftly and implement an escape strategy. In such a situation, Jacqueline advises us to ‘race back home’. Although the advantages of remaining true to ourselves is hardly breaking news, this captivating image of tending, improving and adding to your own garden is an enchanting one.

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If you read the book as intended, one day at a time, you will not only reap the benefits of a positive and uplifting start to the day but additionally, a thought-provoking message to ponder on.  This is not a book to digest in large chunks, as I did for review purposes.  I would recommend placing 365 Days of Happiness by your bed so that it may greet you with its happy cupcake on the cover.  Upon opening it, allow its gentle guidance to inspire and embrace you every morning with its happiness for the day. As Jacqueline states at the end of each day’s guidance,

‘That IS happiness!’

  Alternatively, you may feel guided by intuition, or a slightly rebellious streak, and open the book at a random page.  If so, go ahead and absorb whatever message speaks to you on that particular day?  Ideally, in the spirit of giving and sharing, position it strategically on the breakfast table. Other family members may ingest its daily dose of positivity with their morning coffee, smoothie or maybe …  a cupcake?

*Gifted for review purposes


Positive Midlife Transition is not a Midlife Crisis?


A Brief Look at Midlife as One of Life’s Transitions

All transitions can be scary. There, that's the truth. Midlife is yet another transition in life with physical and mental effects; however, remember puberty? Learning to walk? (probably not), your first broken heart? It is a challenging time when, as teenagers, we discover changes to our body and moods … yikes! The moment you find out that your body could potentially reproduce is the same moment a layer of your security blanket is lifted. This security blanket is 'childhood'.

The dynamics that had formed the unspoken consensus of what it meant to be a child have changed. You have embarked on a new road leading to a new version of mutual respect. You may have felt the that the level of security afforded by parental rules, expectations, and control was diminishing. At around thirteen years of age, this was totally irrational and slightly premature, but there was a definite shift in the balance of independence and control.

Parental fears of you falling and grazing your knee became memories saturated with nostalgia because now, greater concerns emerged. Now that you were a teenager. These greater concerns lead to parental attempts at greater control. (And often house arrest or was that just me?). More often than not, heated arguments and door slamming rituals ensued. My point is, those times were not all Tinkerbell and unicorns

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like
— Lau Tzu

Midlife and Menopause are not a Crisis

The point I wish to make is this: when we speak about the menopause, yes it can be difficult for some women, yes it hits us all in different ways, and yes, the weight is harder to keep off. On the other hand, there are many positives too.

Beauty is subjective and takes many forms, enter the increasing number of women choosing to embrace their grey and redefine beauty. Consider also, that the wealth of experience we have to offer, not only to others but also to ourselves, is priceless.

No one has experienced ‘you’ as much as you. It may be time to practice mindfulness about the present and the past to indeed reveal our true unedited selves to ourselves. It is time to do anything at all that enables that awareness to rise within us because ladies, knowledge is power; knowledge about ourselves is a superpower.

With great power comes great responsibility
— Spriderman

Embracing Midlife Transitions

We could bemoan every transition in life if we wanted to wallow in misery, or alternatively, once acknowledged, we can do something about our current challenges. As with any transition, there are obstacles to negotiate (spots, hormones kicking in …) but once addressed sensibly and positively, we can move on to enjoying the new phase. Let's face it, new things are fun! Perennial women everywhere are challenging midlife stereotypes, breaking out of their society-imposed comfort zones and redefining ageing by living their best lives.

Positive Ageing, Self-Care in Midlife and Taking Action

Consider what you need to do personally to optimise your midlife; that could be HRT, yoga, sweet potatoes or Soya Isoflavithingymajigs. Use an organisation app on your phone if you need to, (Trello is a good option); take Gingko Biloba if you are prone to forgetfulness; take skin boosting supplements; find your comfort zone regarding exercise and, ultimately, be positive. Some things may take more time, depending on what life throws at you, but seek support and reach out. Others will not automatically know what you need, or that you even need anything. They may have their own menopause issues to contend with. Once those areas have been addressed, put them on autopilot – this is the brand new YOU, and proceed with living what could be the best part of your life.

Life does not begin at forty, or fifty or even zero; life begins whenever you decide. Life begins ‘now'. The older you are, the more experience you have had, the more mistakes you have made and the more connections you have established. Therefore, the better position you are in to get the hell on with it and make a damn good job of it. This is unless, of course, you are anything like me where you never learn. You just muddle through the complexities of life with your skirt tucked in your knickers and loo roll stuck to your heel… in blissful oblivion.

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
— Rumi

New Perspectives at Fifty and Beyond

I am grateful that I am an adult, that I no longer have to do homework and be ridiculed by red biro all over my work. I no longer have to be told when I can and cannot speak to the person sitting next to me or put my hand up when needing the loo. I can choose when I am allowed to eat treats and if that is chocolate before a meal, then so be it. If you disagree with an assumption someone has made about you, you can protest without fear of being given a detention or having your Xbox confiscated.

‘Ageing is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.
— David Bowie

You may have a new independence if your children have left home. Alternatively, you may still be honoured with having younger children who help to keep you on your toes and youthful. Perhaps you wish to learn new things or take up a new interest? Perhaps you have realised that you never really wanted half of the stuff around you and you declutter? Perhaps you have been keeping company with people who are not the best fit for you … and for whom you are not the best fit either?

You have my permission (should you need it) to go back to when you were a toddler and re-learn the word ‘NO'! Others may find you difficult but then … do you really care? Gift yourself the privilege of discernment and choose YOU.

By choosing you, the real, messy you, you are genuinely gifting yourself to those around you too. You will no longer waste the time of others when you appear as you are, with your unique set of gifts, flaws, and personality. This is preferable to a nodding, resentfully complying, and artificial self who will inevitably disappoint when you cannot or will not deliver.

A Mindful Midlife

Take care of yourself through healthy eating, time spent outdoors, some form of exercise, yoga, meditation, good skincare and decluttering your life. This will not only help you, but will also enable you to be a better version of you, for those with whom you choose to surround yourself. An astute sense of self can prevent preoccupation with yourself and afford increased engagement with others.

Quality time with no distractions

Show up for people who matter and if you are going to show up, be present! That means having a drink with a friend without having your phone on the table next to the coffee. You have set aside time for the person with you, not the person texting you or posting on social media. Show the person you are with, the respect they deserve by being there for them. You will not have that same moment again and each moment lost, is a thread of connection lost. Eventually, the rope will snap under too great a pressure.

So, embrace your age whatever that may be – five to fifty and beyond! Reflect on what makes you truly happy because then, you can visibly shine, and a shining star is a guiding light for all, no matter how long it has been in the sky.

Do not let there be a glass ceiling on your potential

Do not let there be a glass ceiling on your potential

I will leave you with these words of wisdom which, through their simplicity, embody positivity, hope, and joy:

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.
— Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay

What Thoughts Does International Women's Day Ignite?

Chic Over Fifty at Fuerta Ventura

Feminism Is Not A Tickbox

There are many good men in this world who claim to be feminists, who claim to respect women and strive, in their own way, to fight for women’s rights alongside them.  However, I have yet to meet a man who actually ‘gets’ it.  It is not in the big gestures, promotions, and declarations of respect.  Most of these areas are like moving particles gravitating towards the magnet of equal status and pay in the professional domain or a conversation touching on domestic duties.

For I conclude that the enemy is not lipstick, but guilt itself; we deserve lipstick, if we want it, AND free speech; we deserve to be sexual AND serious – or whatever we please. We are entitled to wear cowboy boots to our own revolution
— Naomi Wolf
Over fifty Close up with sunglasses Fuerta Ventura

Women, Choices and Comparisons

There is, unfortunately, a deep core of attitude that permeates society and is the institutionalised patriarchy that underlies every expectation, conversation or action.  All too often equality is measured against male standards.  Pay women the same as men; give women positions of power like the men; give women a day off from chores by doing the dishes once a week. 

How about an alternative version, where women do not want what men have?  Where they make their own individual choices that may differ from male expectations?  Then, on choosing an alternative path, they are valued and respected for what they are and what they bring, rather than having to face comparison for not ‘achieving’ in the same way.  Let women define their own version of success.

I think the best role models for women are people who are fruitfully and confidently themselves, who bring light into the world
— Meryl Streep

You Don’t Have To Step Into My Shoes

Worse still, is when a man attempts to put himself in a woman’s shoes in any given situation and assume that he can make a judgement based on what he would feel.  Undeniably, that is impossible because he has never been a woman, in a woman’s role, with women’s history and the deep-rooted emotional triggers that exist because of that very history, experience and conditioning.  This conditioning is like DNA that has passed down through generations of women, but we now know that DNA can be changed. According to epigenetic theory ‘DNA can be altered through magnetic fields, heart coherence, positive mental states and intention. Top scientists around the world agree: genetic determinism is a flawed theory.’* (I just had to put that out there). 

This does, sadly, confuse our male friends however, my point is: occasionally, we should not attempt to put ourselves in another’s shoes, to understand.  There are times when a person simply needs to be believed and trusted, not understood.  It is OK to say ‘I don’t get it … but I trust that what you say is real.  I won’t judge you.  I won’t try to fix you.  I have your back’

Half face with scarf.png Reflective over fifty woman

‘‘I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I'm beautiful. I say if I'm strong. You will not determine my story–I will’’

Amy Schumer

Still Learning at Fifty

There has been much written on diversity and inclusion lately on Instagram and on blog posts.  I look to see what I am asked to do to help, but refrain from commenting or preaching for fear of trying to appear that I totally understand.  Coming from a place of privilege where the worst I encountered was being teased in the playground for being Polish, I couldn’t possibly be so presumptuous as to claim an understanding by proxy. 

It has taken much thought and soul searching to get my ass off its organic cotton cushion and accept that there are some situations that I don’t have a right to understand, just as there are people who will not have the right to understand me – not only as a woman, but as an individual. 

All that we can do, as decent human beings, is to question assumptions and have each other’s backs.  It is not always about saying ‘I hear you’ but ‘I am listening…’



Oh my wordicles! Everyone appears to be decluttering, minimalising, scandivising and just generally chucking their lifetime’s accumulation of stuff into the metaphorical and often actual bin - yikes! Surely I will need that incomplete set of twelve cocktail glass stem rings that aunty whoever bought me for my twenty first? (Why is it always aunties that are picked on?). Anyway, what if I hate minimalism and all these boring old white walls and drawers with no nobs on (how impractical)?

Minimalst interior styling - bathroom

Minimalizing as Streamlining

Well let me clarify two frequent misconceptions here; firstly, some people like and need a lot of things around them; we all differ in what brings us comfort; secondly, minimalising is NOT necessarily about adopting a totally minimalist lifestyle nor is it about minimal décor. Whilst those things are, well … things, they are not for the majority and are a separate subject.

Beauty in simplicity

Beauty in simplicity

One could be living in a minimally decorated house with one of fifty shades of white on the walls and monochrome cats, yet still have an impeccably ordered dressing room, with cupboards accommodating the largest collection of clothes, toiletries, beauty gadgets, cosmetics etc, many of which are simply gathering dust. That is not a minimalist lifestyle, it is minimalist décor. They often go hand in hand and although my aesthetic preferences lean towards an uncluttered, but still cosy look, that doesn't have to be your bag.

Whenever I have moved house, the best part has been sorting and discarding stuff I no longer need, never really needed or that has outlived its use - fleecy lama pants? Be gone! Contraception no longer required here! (Sniggers unapologetically). The process has been cathartic and strangely liberating. Aren’t we bizarre creatures? We feel great when we get rid of stuff, then feel even better when we go out and buy more stuff!

Marie Kondo, Appreciation and Sparking Joy

Minimal interiors small window

Personally, I like to settle for a kind of compromising ‘cosy minimalism’. This means that I do not like to be surrounded by unaccounted for stuff; I have to know what is in every drawer and do not want things that are neither beautiful nor useful. For clarity, if something is neither aesthetically beautiful nor practically useful yet makes you happy, it may well, on reflection, deserve both labels. Beauty is not limited to aesthetics and anything that adds personal value should be considered useful. As Marie Kondo herself advocates, the things we own, the things in our homes should ‘spark joy’. Therefore, if your ‘back end of a donkey’ costume from the only pantomime you ever starred in sparks joy, and you need to have it in your life, then keep it! However, put it somewhere where you are able to see it, sometimes, and enjoy it. I will leave that one with you my friends, so no elaborations in the comments please?

If you have no idea where or how to start, then you could do a lot worse than read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo. Even if you choose not to follow her method, just reading it fills you with positivity and good intentions. You can then go and do your thing, your way.

What are the Benefits to Decluttering?

Easier to find things - less stress, less timewasting, less duplicate purchases;

More chance of noticing things you love and enjoying them - the idea is not to get rid of as much stuff as possible, but to get rid of stuff that no longer serves or delights you; you are then left to enjoy what is meaningful and/or useful;

Less decisions to be made when there is less choice - who needs five spare pillows and three potato peelers in different colours anyway?

More physical space - things that should not be out, should have a home, eliminating the need to navigate an obstacle course just to retrieve aforementioned potato peeler (the blue one matches today’s outfit please?);

More head space - excess clutter can cause actual stress, whereas a calm uncluttered physical space is mirrored in the mind. To allow the mind to breathe, is to allow it to either rest, play or create according to its needs;

Calmer life - stress causes all manner of undesirable things to happen to our bodies, from frown wrinkles and hot flushes to hormonal mayhem, all of which are ageing; my tip for ageing positively? Streamline, declutter and enjoy your chosen possessions;

Easier to manage anxiety and brain fog - clutterfree spaces equal a clutterfree mind; that must surely help to lift some of the fog and facilitate..

Clearer thinking - this deserves its own line; for some, turning fifty and going through the menopause can hinder clear thinking; trouble sleeping, migraines, anxiety, hot flushes and hormone fluctuations to name but a few of the possible reasons behind this;

Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fuelled by procrastination
— Christina Scalise, Organise Your Life and More

Promotes appreciation and gratitude for what we have in our lives - now that our ‘spark joy’ pieces are not stifled by excess;

Better for the environment when you buy less and buy mindfully - using up existing products and only when they run out, replacing with thoughtful sustainable choices is the way forward;

Easier to keep your house clean and tidy - well it is simple really, less stuff equals less to tidy, less to clean and less to find a home for;

Less dust mites - well, ‘things’ are dust traps are they not?


‘‘The best way to decide what we really need, is to get rid of what we don’t

Marie Kondo

I have definitely found that knowing where everything is and not wasting time rifling means that I have more headspace to tackle what I need to. The gratitude that accompanies the mindfulness of living with less, may bring about a deeper satisfaction with life and a decreased reliance on having the next ‘new’ thing. Again, it clarifies what you actually want/need, rather than what you think you should want/need.

Where to Start with Decluttering

Streamlining my wardrobe is a work in progress

Streamlining my wardrobe is a work in progress

Marie Kondo advises to start with your wardrobe, and I would agree. This involves gathering every item you own and making a pile, then the sorting begins. Why clothes first? Well, the reasoning is that clothes are generally the things we attach the least sentimentality to (there are exceptions of course; exibit A: back end of donkey costume). We tend to create the least attachment to clothes so it is probably the easiest category to start with. Believe me, I have not yet regretted any of the items I have sent to charity shops, given away or sold.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
— Leonardo da Vinci

I have some ideas for you about making a start on your wardrobes and I am happy to share them, along with a list of my favourite bloggers in this area. Click ‘comments’, and send me a message or go to ‘contact me’ and send me an email stating that you would be interested in this and I will forward you a list of handy tips that helped me, when I started to streamline my wardrobe. I am very much on a journey with this myself and am following advice from others who are nailing the living with less philosophy. You are invited on my journey and encouraged to offer your tips for simplifying your life and parting with things that you have grown unnecessarily attached to. Send me a message to say ‘Hi’ and introduce yourself. I would love to hear your thoughts.

The Instagram (Fiftygram) Party - How Our Authentic Style Can Be Compromised for the Gram

It often works like this: you sit on a Saturday morning in your fleece pyjamas (OK, your elegant White Company loungewear) and see an image of the perfect outfit on Instagram. ‘This IS ME!’ you declare to no one in particular. ‘This is SOOO me, I now know what I need to buy to make my wardrobe perfect and complete YESSS!’ All that is required is a purchase of 8 of these vests, because I will want to wear them EVERY day and an extra one just in case (of what exactly?); I will of course require those elegant pants in two colours and that long cardi for layering. Then of course there are the accessories - the cheek kissing earrings, the tantalising necklace that sits just so on your décolletage and the statement bangle. Finally, there is THE bag! The bag that will finish off the outfit, serve you every day and indicate to everyone WHO you are.

Are you a ‘keep it simple, play it safe’ kinda lady?

Are you a ‘keep it simple, play it safe’ kinda lady?

Curating Your Perfect Image in Mid-Life

Having acquired the necessary items through various means - shopping spree, eBay, charity shop or even a ‘as good as damn it’ similar item lurking in the deepest crevice of your wardrobe (it ended up there for a reason?), you excitedly attire yourself in said perfect garments to create the look of your dreams …. or not! Oh dear, what is this, at best uninspiring, at worst, f@?>+$%g ridiculous concoction of garments before you?  Where will I where this?  It’s certainly not an evening outfit but would I go shopping in it? Hell no! Would I even meet a friend for coffee in this?  Yes, if I am prepared to sit bolt upright with carefully choreographed arm movements in order to feel remotely comfortable. Then there’s the issue of never removing the long cardi because you forgot to buy the appropriate underwear for these pants which are tighter on your ass than you bargained for. The bangle is a pain as it bangs on the table whenever I pick my coffee cup up, the earrings get caught on my scarf and the back flies off. There is an innocent victim, a man in the corner with a strategically placed earring butterfly on the top of his head. The necklace is giving you a rash because it is made of the devil’s metal. As for the bag, well I can’t put it on my shoulder because there’s no strap, I can’t hang it on the chair for the same reason, and it doesn’t accommodate my phone, my purse and my facial reconstruction kit? 


All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go?

On reflection, if I stand in a certain pose, look in a specific direction, bend my knee, half smile and tilt my bum/head/ shoulder just so, and on no account … walk, this outfit is perfect for what exactly? …..


That’s it, I have the perfect look for an Instagram party! Let’s pour a glass of prosecco (that we are not going to drink at 11am) to complete the look (why open a new bottle, sparkling spring will do - they’ll never know) and let’s party!

Life is a party. Dress for it
— Audrey Hepburn

Style Matters at Any Age

There is an art to curating your perfect wardrobe at fifty or any age, and it takes practice.  I’m still practising, exhibit B: slightly yellowed T-shirt for wearing under things – Really?  If you are looking at decluttering and minimising your stash of clothes, carefully considering what works for you is key.  Otherwise, you will never feel ‘lagom’, not too much, not too little, but just right.  That place is different for everyone.  There is the further complication that your efforts to simplify your wardrobe will become futile as a steady stream of new items enters your life to fulfil the dissatisfaction you experience.  Sometimes we feel comfortable, sometimes we feel we look good; our unicorn moment is when we feel both.  The latter is of course subjective, and it only matters that ‘we feel we look good’. 

Newcastle in cable jumper

“Everyone has his own style. When you have found it, you should stick to it”

Audrey Hepburn

True Elegance is Being Comfortable in Your Own Skin

Ultimately, we only need to please ourselves.  Over fifty style is whatever enables you to walk, talk, drink, chat and stay upright without thinking about it. In my humble opinion, feeling comfortable is more conducive to engaging with our environment and the people around us, feeling at ease and smiling more; that ultimately makes us far more attractive.  We are all different, and if we are meant to wear an elaborate flamboyant unusually cut garment, we will wear it often and with ease.  It will feel right, and it will feel like YOU; if it doesn’t, why build that internal wall between your body and your mind, between your body and your sense of self?

Dress as if you are already famous
— Audrey Hepburn
Who am I kidding? I should have worn a jacket … it was freezing!

Who am I kidding? I should have worn a jacket … it was freezing!

An Outlet for Creativity

Instagram is healthy if it is viewed as art.  A beautifully curated feed with skilful photography and engaging aesthetic can be viewed as a piece of artwork.  It may serve as an inspiration for stylish interiors, yoga practice, a vegan diet and many other things.  Recognising the reality of an Instagram account’s purpose, is a healthy way to enjoy and participate in the community.  There are things I can learn, ideas I can try and beautiful words and pictures for me to enjoy.  When I’ve done that, I’m putting on my favourite jeans, top and earrings (with one butterfly missing …. Oops!) and going for a coffee ….


Skin Brushing for a Beautiful Body after 50

Still Doing It After 50?

Ooh la la!  What could this be I wonder?  Is this too much information?  Of course not my lovely readers.  I am, of course, referring to the practice of ‘Body Brushing’.  This is something I have executed on a regular basis before showering, since my late teens.  Apart from the odd blip, this has been part of my regular routine almost like brushing my teeth.  Whilst there is no one, single way of maintaining a youthful, healthy and cellulite free body, I believe that regular skin brushing is a worthy contributor to a youthful body at any age, alongside other measures.

What is Skin Brushing?

Simple.  It is, basically, brushing your skin.  Using a body brush, carefully but firmly brush your whole dry body before showering.

How to Body Brush for a Youthful Body


Always brush towards your heart and start at the bottom.  I begin by brushing the sole of my foot and working my way up the leg using firm overlapping strokes.  Then I do the other foot and leg. You can include some additional circular movements around your thighs and buttocks to really stimulate those areas.  Use clockwise circular strokes on your stomach then brush up your back.  This is when a brush with a handle is the more desirable option (unless you are a contortionist). Try Neal’s Yard Back Brush which can be used all over your body.   I give my hands a good brush, top and bottom then work up my arms, again towards the heart. I then sweep down my neck.


Take it easy and be kind to your body. The pressure you use depends on which part of the body you are working on.  Some areas such as breasts will only need a light whisper of a stroke or to be missed altogether, but go harder on legs, bum and arms if you can.  Your tolerance will increase with regular use.


Once you have finished, step into the shower as usual, perhaps using Neal’s Yard rejuvenating and toning Frankincense & Mandarin Shower Cream, then dry and apply a lovely body cream.  Find a natural product, preferably organic without harmful toxins and chemicals.  The body brushing procedure assists with the elimination of toxins from your body, so it doesn’t make any sense to apply more.  Neal’s Yard Remedies do some lovely ones including a Detox Toning Oil and a cellulite busting Firming Body Cream to refine and smooth the silhouette.  A richer, creamier option to stimulate collagen and combat aging would be the Toning Body Cream which is just divine with its toning frankincense essential oil.


Nourish your body inside and out with the best organic ingredients


Body brushing is not a cure all and works best with plenty of hydration, fresh produce and some kind of movement (something bordering on exercise whatever form fits best with you). My body is far from perfect, don’t get me started, however cellulite has never been a major problem for me and now, at over fifty, it is still minimal and does not cause me any great concern.   Additionally, my skin always feels soft and smooth.  For this reason alone, my dry body brush totally deserves its place in my small, space limited bathroom cabinet.

I would like to refer you to an article which you may find informative as it looks honestly at the pros and cons of dry body brushing. https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/dry-brush-guide

If you would like to order any Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic products, they are available from me on https://uk.nyrorganic.com/shop/teresarenton 

we-believe-2 (1).jpg


Rag Mill Window

For me, this is the month of exciting anticipation.  Summer is over, we have rested and warmed our bodies - some fried, baked or toasted even, and the freshness of Autumn is lifting our spirits.  Often there is still sun, using up the remains of its warmth before settling down for the colder months of the year in the UK.  I will always miss the sunshine, but for me, and perhaps many us, September is a fresh start.  Children go back to school or university and routines are re-established.  New books, new uniforms, new weekday suppers and maybe a few new items of clothing for the new season (if we need to replace anything).  For me, September really feels like a New Year, much more so than January when we are still full of baubles and John Lewis adverts, and New Year feels like an anti-climax, an end to all the fun.  

Whilst in summer, I have more motivation to rest and play, in autumn and winter, I want to keep moving and be productive.  This is the time when I am more inclined to make new year's resolutions.  This is the time when I feel motivated to make fresh starts or realise ideas that have been rattling around in my head.  The new term at school has started today and I feel ready to tackle unfinished projects, start new ones, get back into yoga and generally kick ass.  

Fire and Scones

It has been a busy and trying year for me.  Despite my advice to everyone else, I have not been taking as much care of myself as I should have been; basically, I have been the pot to your kettle.  With the onset of menopause, I have noticed that not all of my previous behaviours work for me anymore.  Changes in my body have been noticeable and I have been at war with the 'why bother?' attitude.  Why not wait for winter with its cosy chill, and sit by the fire with a mug of the mulled stuff and read a good book?  You are all with me aren't you?  I can hear you scuttling away to log on to 'Just Eat' and fiddling with the Netflix controls.  Why not have it all?  We have the gift of experience, the capacity to grow and the wisdom that comes from making many mistakes.  I want to eat well, have fun, exercise, travel and look after myself ….. then, sit down with a good book and glass of wine, by a crackling fire. 

With Happy in White

"You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be"

Marianne Williamson



With the onset of this new year, I am ready to thank my body and thank it for going through the processes it needs to go through.  It has progressed from childhood, navigated its way around adolescence (albeit the long way around ha ha) and blundered through the maze of young adulthood with all of its expectations and disappointments.  I can make this stage easier by gratefully acknowledging the changes that turning fifty brings, making appropriate adjustments and adopting new strategies.  Who knows what exciting new things I will learn along the way and what amazing people I have yet to meet?

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope September is an awesome month for you and that it is choc full of promise and excitement! 

Send me your comments by clicking on 'comments' and then writing in the box.  I would love to hear your experiences and when you feel the year starts.

Being Yourself at Fifty

Are you in your 40’s or 50’s and feeling just a little lost?  What is expected of you now?  Maybe you have had a successful career so far or maybe you are finally ready to launch one but feel guilty investing time in yourself?  Do you look at photos of a younger you and think ‘this is it, I’ll never look or feel that good again, just have to stumble on as best as I can’?  Or are you optimistic about your future but wonder what is acceptable to pursue?  Can I have fun, start a new career or venture, invest time in my health, body, looks?  Do I have to start eating chia seeds?  These are questions that I would like to explore with you.  

Walking near Jagiellonian Uni

"Be what you are.

This is the first step toward becoming better than you are."

Julius Charles Hare

Just to be clear, my Lady Chic Pea blog is not concerned with dishing out unwanted advice; it is not designed to control how you go about your life.  The honest truth is, Lady Chic Pea is unashamedly about ‘me’.  The content is purely to share how I go about ‘doing me’ and what works for me (and what does not).  It has taken a long time to learn to be me, so I am going to celebrate the fudge out of this!  If anyone likes anything they see, then please go ahead and copy or adapt what I do to suit you and I am honoured to have been of service.  Thank you (takes a bow).  Ignore what you do not like.  Please feel free to share what YOU do and what works for you; I would love for this to be a conversation and supportive platform.  There are however, certain considerations I wish to draw your attention to before you go ahead and blindly follow where I am stumbling along.  These include:

1.  I fully accept that my way may not be everyone’s way

Just because I feel that metallic platform thigh boots are not a stylish accessory for a fifty year old young lady (or maybe for anyone??), that does not constitute a scientific fact, nor even part of our general social contract for what is or is not acceptable.  There is much we can learn from each other. 

2.  We are all different so go at your own pace


Yes I know, this is not a profound statement, however, how often have you had to listen to advice from someone regarding what is ‘good’ for you?  If you have great legs, then your ideal skirt length will differ from mine.  Training for a marathon* when you have a heart condition or eating walnuts for their good oils when you have a nut allergy could easily put you in the nearest A&E.  Tread with caution when following advice and of course, consult your health care professional as necessary.


3.  I don’t always follow my own rules

Well I never professed to be a saint did I?  I do stuff that I am fully aware goes against what I would advocate; this could be due to lack of willpower or resources, laziness or sheer defiance.  We all have our ‘couldn’t give a f***’ moments; hello chocolate mousse cake (well it’s vegan so it’s fine right?).

These will do for now.  I think you get the point?  Having said that, I do think it is important for every woman, whatever her age, to feel confident, beautiful (in every sense of the word) and good about herself.  We are awesome human beings who have accomplished the extraordinary in our journey as friends, sisters, wives, mothers, teachers, counsellors, carers, engineers, doctors the list goes on….  All this whilst fighting for our right to be seen, heard and respected as equals in our society.

Tattoo and Bikini shot

"She wore her sexuality with an older woman's ease, and not like an awkward purse, never knowing how to hold it, where to hang it, or when to just put it down."

Zadie Smith

Who Am I at Fifty?

Be you!  There, that should be easy should it not?  If only….  If, like me, you have come to realise that trying to please everyone else never works (Mary Poppins cracked it, but don’t set yourself up for failure), you may have come to the conclusion that adopting a degree of selfishness may make you a better person to be around.  That, in itself, may well do more for others, than foolishly second guessing what you think is the right thing and consequently upsetting everyone.  If you are comfortable in your own shoes (or metallic platforms), then people around you will not only be comfortable around you, but also may well gain much from your calm and level headed presence.  Being kind to yourself facilitates kindness to others.  I believe that kindness is more than just an act; it is a state of being and thinking.  Acts can be carried out for point scoring, popularity, promotions, climbing social ladders or simply to quell guilt.  Harbouring kindness towards others from within involves humility, acceptance, forgiveness and positive energy towards others.  Wishing others well removes hate, jealousy and insecurity from the equation.  This is not an end state of course, and we can all be judgmental (you take your child to McDonalds??) however, it is the awareness and the intention to be better that resonates with our higher selves and improves us.  As I have said before, I reiterate – I am not trying to be Mother Theresa, but a better version of myself.  Looking after myself and my needs enables this process, and it is very much still a work in progress.

Meditating on bench at saltburn

Confidence first, then comes beauty

The unintended consequence of this is that the confidence that comes with pleasing yourself** enhances your beauty and allure.  It gives you youth, vitality and a confident beguiling sense of style and self-assurance.  Only when I look after myself properly, internally and externally, can I be of better service to others.  That may be simply having the emotional energy to support them or the physical energy to assist them with some practical difficulty.  We all deserve to grow and flourish, and this, lovely people, includes those of us going through our middle years.  Many of us are in a position to unfold untold talents that have been lying dormant during the years of partying, working and raising families, among other things.  When wishing others well, please do not forget yourselves;  if you do, you may become invisible and the whole world misses  out on what you truly are, even if it’s an elderly neighbour who looks forward to seeing your smile and exchanging some cheerful banter every so often.  Me?  I am still raising a family and trying to develop my writing and photography, but it is very early days.

What Am I Currently Focussing On?


Decluttering and minimising

Getting back into exercise and finding what is right for me – this is changing as my body changes

Using good quality, organic and vegan skincare

Taking the supplements for my body’s needs and for optimum skincare

Eating a plant based diet – wholefood at least 80% of the time, with around 20% at most, allocated to treats such as vegan ice cream and wine

Developing myself and skill building


I would really love to hear what you are working on, how you are developing yourself or how you are handling the middle years.  I would welcome any tips and advice, as I would like this to be a sharing platform where we can hang out together and share our experiences.


*you will NEVER EVER see me training for a marathon! 

**without being an asshole – (thanks and acknowledgement to Sarah Knight ‘You Do You’)

The 'M' Word and 7 Top Tips for Coping

Glass half full at fifty

Who wants to age?  When we were children, we could not wait until our next birthday to be a year older, a year nearer to being ‘all growed up’.  At what point do we say ‘actually, next year I would like to start counting backwards’?  What makes us say that?  Is it anything to do with how we feel, physically or mentally?  Is it how we look?  Is it how society makes us feel?  Perhaps it’s when we realise we need glasses to see the ingredients list on a packet of rocket tortellini?  … or, more specifically, when we begin to start even beginning to show an interest in the ingredients list!  Oh … gone are those carefree days when the last thing on our minds was a list of ambiguous E numbers or trans fatty acids. 

Your 40s are good. Your 50s are great. Your 60s are fab. And 70 is f*@king awesome!
— Helen Mirren

This is all good my lovely ladies!  This is a glass half full or half empty scenario.  Yes indeed; we could catch a glimpse of ourselves in the mirror and squirm in horror at the imposter we see trying to impersonate us.  We could say ‘This is terrible, I have to fix this!’  Reactive damage limitation, glass half empty scenario sets in, yikes!  What if, just IF…. we could see this lovely lady in the mirror for who she really is?  Wow!  The younger woman I was has really grown into herself and developed wonderful features that are hers and hers alone?  What if we could adopt an attitude of ‘This is perfect, I want to stay like this for as long as possible’, feeling, looking and being healthy, visible and vibrant? Enter the glass half full scenario.


The Good, The Bad and The Ugly at Fifty

OK, it is time for honesty now.  This is a safe place and we can get some issues out of the way.  Just as we would never dream of putting make up on blindfolded, without assessing what we are working with, neither should we invalidate what we feel about some of the booby prizes we were given at a certain age, be it 40, 50, 60 or beyond.  For instance, the ‘M’ word is hovering above us like a flying cow, ready to drop a ton of …… 

champagne in krakow

''Well behaved women rarely make history!''

- Katherine Hepburn

Our experiences of this phase of our lives will differ from person to person, however, from my experience, sometimes it really is rubbish.  Again, it could be that our society does not explicitly nor readily accept the menopause as a ‘thing’ very much and it is given little, if any, consideration by those around us.  These could be made up of employers, friends, family, younger people, pets…?  As oestrogen levels decline, our bodies react like spoilt brats that have had their Xbox taken away from them for half an hour!  We potentially become grumpy, hot and bothered, incapable of rational thought and plagued by inexplicable anxiety.  A simple request such as ‘would you post this for me today?’ becomes the most unreasonable request on the planet … after ‘could I have a piece of your chocolate?’  A myriad of subtasks flashes up and you wonder whether you need to hire the services of a personal PA to organise this?  Just think …. I might have run out of stamps so I have to buy some; if I’m going out anyway, I should get the shopping in; but I usually do the shopping later in the week so I need to prepare a list earlier; I have appointments and other things to do though, so cannot start to plan the following week’s menu …. you get the picture?  Then none of it matters because you missed the reminder flashing up on your phone and you’ve forgotten the whole exercise anyway.  This is clearly a ridiculous scenario and I confess, slightly exaggerated, but totally acceptable for illustrative purposes. 


What is on the Horizon at Fifty?

Anxiety and brain fog aside, all of a sudden, your waist looks slightly expanded!  WHAT is going on?  I haven’t changed a single thing!  I eat the same types and amounts of food, I still go to pilates/gym/knitting club?  Yes, this is all a reality for many and of course it will be the precursor for feeling less than wonderful.  However, again, what if we could see all this for what it really is?  Just because puberty was basically rubbish at the time, it was merely a transition to moving on; it was a positive period leading up to further development into a young adult.  Once the spots and hormones settled down, oh what fun we had!


7 Top Tips for Maintaining Sanity During the Menopause

Perspective and Middle Age

"The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before."

- Albert Einstein

I believe this is an exiting time, albeit challenging.  It is all about perspective.  Look after yourselves in every way that you can, given your individual responsibilities and commitments. If you do, your body will thank you for it.  Here are my top tips for navigating through these fascinating, yet unpredictable waters:

1.   Speak to people or find someone to confide in.  The menopause is grossly ignored and therefore not on peoples’ radar, no matter how well meaning they may usually be.  I cannot stress enough how much difference doing my research and speaking to those closest to me made. Not only is it a relief to speak with friends who are going through the same process, but it enables other family members, significant other or even your children to understand you.  This makes a difference to how you will ultimately feel.

2.   Eat healthily.  Avoid too much refined sugar, alcohol, refined grain products such as bleached white flour, over-processed anything and denying yourself treats.  Do include plenty of vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, food made from scratch, matcha green tea, healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocadoes, and limited amounts of oils such as coconut, avocado, hemp, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and of course, treats.  Eat organic as much as you can.  Some pesticides have been linked to endocrine hormone disruption.  This is something we wish to avoid because it means that potentially, the thyroid, pituitary, adrenal, pancreas, thymus, and ovaries could be adversely affected.  A nice website to look at is Alisa Vitti’s https://www.floliving.com/pesticides-hormone-health/  She is a bit of an expert in women’s health and hormones and writes in a way that is accessible to non-scientists.  In addition to containing more anti-aging antioxidants, organic produce is required to comply with strict regulations on pesticide use and is therefore a safer option.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away
— Maya Angelou
Beautiful sunset

3.   Consider HRT or alternatives.  It may not be for everyone and is safer for some than for others.  However, that said, I would strongly advise conducting your own research around this subject in addition to speaking with your healthcare practitioner; it may be the relief that you need and can protect against some forms of cancer. A good place to start would be Menopause & HRT: Q & A With Dr Louise Newson on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwjLP9O1inw

4.   Exercise.  Now I am known to be averse to overexerting myself, but even I concede to the benefits of appropriate and regular exercise.  It releases feel good hormones, it keeps your body supple and toned and your heart healthy.  Although I sometimes vary what I do, (I get bored easily) I am consistent in my devotion and belief in pilates, yoga and brisk walking.  I have a couple of hand weights which I use sporadically as and when I feel like it. Bingo wings are never pretty, so prevention is key.

5.   Use a broad spectrum SPF.  I cannot emphasise this enough.  There is no shortcut to youthful glowing skin but protecting it from the sun is the single, cost effective and most effective anti-aging strategy you can adopt.  Start now! I know that we require our vitamin D however, rest assured you will still benefit, as this vitamin will get through. This is largely due to the fact that sun protection is generally applied neither thickly nor frequently enough to block it; see more on this in the vitamin D consensus statement from British Association of Dermatologists, Cancer Research UK, Diabetes UK, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the National Heart Forum, the National Osteoporosis Society and the Primary Care Dermatology Society: https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Summerhealth/Documents/Concensus_statement%20_vitd_Dec_2010.pdf.  A huge amount of time in the sun is unnecessary to generate sufficient levels of this vitamin; casual short bursts of exposure during the summer months is adequate.  Furthermore, the PHE (Public Health England) advises that everyone should ‘consider’ taking a vitamin D supplement as sunlight and food alone may not be sufficient. See https://www.nhs.uk/news/food-and-diet/the-new-guidelines-on-vitamin-d-what-you-need-to-know/

6.   Nourish your emotional wellbeing. 


'Lagom' - a Swedish word loosely meaning 'just the right amount, not too little, not too much, just right'

This doesn’t have to be an exotic spa weekend on some island of Paradise (but if anyone is offering?).  Think of the simple things that energise your body and mind, such as spending time outdoors in nature or meeting a friend for a coffee and chat.  Chocolate cake is a non-negotiable essential in this matter.  There are so many healthier options for treats nowadays too; I personally love the raw chocolate OM bars, and I find that the better quality the treat, the less I actually need.  Conversely, if you need that slice of white toast with chocolate spread (there is a bit of theme there methinks), go for it.  Ultimately, doing a little of what you fancy (ahem) is free medicine for the soul and will put a spring in your step.

7.   Think yourself young!  Avoid negative resignation talk – ‘I don’t do dressing up any more’, ‘The days of doing xyz are in the past’ or ‘I just wear comfy cotton M&S knickers, no more lace for me’.  You are NOT past your sell by date and the world is still as much yours as it is anyone else’s.  Respect yourself, embrace your changes with grace and make your contribution to society.  You deserve to have fun, share your knowledge, put on a chic outfit and wear black lace whenever you like! Take care of your manners, your health and your appearance but most of all, take care of your attitude; put on some lipstick, grab yourself some sass and sashay your chic into the world, or at least … the local cocktail bar.

I know I said 7 tips, but there is a sneaky bonus one for free!  Follow, as much as you can, a whole food plant-based diet; it doesn’t need to be all or nothing to be beneficial.

This not an exhaustive list by any means and I am more than happy to share more tips, strategies and advice that I have incorporated into my life.  Please feel free to comment below and ask any questions.  I would love to hear from you. xx

Turning Fifty and Embracing Vulnerability

Well that's three posts under my belt and the world hasn't stopped turning! See?  What have I lost?  What is the worst that could have happened?  Sounds easy doesn't it?  But wait …. was it really easy?  Whilst the end result of the three posts seems pleasing enough, what about the journey?  What about the moment you press 'publish'?

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about Creating Yourself.
— George Bernard Shaw

For a tech muppet, it was a huge step to attempt to build a website.  I just about knew what a domain name was but 'clickthrough url'?  What I discovered was that although this is still a work in progress, I have really REALLY enjoyed it so far.  The satisfaction gained from creating something is unsurmountable.  Although overwhelming at times, there is so much out there in terms of help and advice from youtubers, online workshops and other bloggers that you cannot fail to put something out there.

Eating Frogs at Fifty

Reassessing Life after Fifty and Beyond

Reassessing Life after Fifty and Beyond

Having navigated through the technicalities, I had not predicted the impact of the raw realisation that I was about to expose myself online.  Never before have I had to be so brave and so vulnerable at the same time, and at fifty, I have had plenty of time to experience all sorts of emotions.  Finally, I was not making excuses about why I cannot or should not do something.  With the support, encouragement and even requests from friends and family, I treated any misgivings with the contempt they deserved, and put metaphorical pen to paper.  I attempted to research where they were selling bags of confidence 'two for the price of one' but finding none, I dug deep into my own reserves and wrote as me;  just a little person who wishes to connect and share my experiences with others.  Furthermore, I was aware that although there are areas of my life that I was introspectively confident and happy to discuss with myself, translating these private musings into speaking out loud was another matter.  Will people judge me?  Eventually, I decided that my blog would not be for all people and that I simply needed to grow a thick skin.  After all, if I couldn't write with confidence, then why bother at all?

Reflective moments

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

-Eleanor Roosevelt

Gratitude and purpose at Fifty

So here I am ready to share with you everything that makes me feel, look and be better.  If anything resonates with you, then I am happy we have found each other.  Everyone has their way and my way is not a Roman road.  It is very much the twisty, hilly unpredictable Yorkshire road; it is the road that is working for me at the moment yet I feel there are further surprises still to emerge.  I hope that you can all find your inner strength and confidence to follow your road of choice, rather than letting others drag you up theirs.  There is so much I am grateful for and especially to everyone who has acknowledged, liked and given positive feedback so far.  I feel I am really putting myself out there and the scaffolding of everyone's encouragement gives me strength and happiness. I thank you all.

How I Dress at Fifty?

Style for fifty plus

What then, does a fifty-year-old lady wear?  Ooh, that already sounds hideous and has caused me to grimace so much that I will need some serious face stretching to iron out the cracks … Aaaah!  My answer to pretty much everything is to eat green things … spinach, kale, broccoli, chlorella, kiwi fruit, savoy cabbage …. I digress. What to wear?  Me?  I shop anywhere.  Really.  It could be Reiss, Phase Eight, White company or New Look, River Island or the local Charity shop. I burst into song (it’s OK, no one is listening) ‘It’s not what you wear it’s the way that you wear it’ la la la.  It’s about finding your personal style, and it doesn’t need to be fixed.  For me, I like simple understated but with a quirk or twist; think interior decorating’s minimalist room with a slightly intrusive accent colour or weird sculpture in the corner.  However, the accent colour may not actually be a colour; it could well be slightly ridiculous shoes, oversized cuffs on a shirt or a clashing colour somewhere.  It depends on my mood.  Never say ‘I’m too old to be fashionable’ but DO say ‘I’m not young enough to carry off this particular frock/look/piercing’.  Mutton dressed as lamb never looks good and you need to be confident that you can carry off that rah rah skirt with docs before venturing out to Sainsbury’s and giving the prepubescent boy stacking the cereal shelf a premature heart seizure! That said, you have the right to wear whatever the f*** you want so you go girl!  I would suggest that you are mindful regarding what it is you are aiming to achieve.  

Adapt, Enhance but don't copy

In my humble opinion, looking youthful is not about replicating what the younger generation are wearing, doing or listening to; it is about being aware, embracing it and adapting it to suit yourself; it is about working it lady!  It is about recreating the allure and zest of youth but not necessarily youth itself,  and believe me, we do still want to be alluring at fifty don't we?  In short, it is about shining as brightly as the young without trying to pretend you are twenty something.  With our self knowledge and self awareness, we are in a prime position to combine everything to make one fab and sassy human being who is visible and vibrant, (just don’t forget your greens!).


At fifty, it is sometimes refreshing to declutter your mind by decluttering your life.  If your are starting with your wardrobe, however, there is a misconception that keeping hold of all your patterns, wacky items and over the top colour will keep your look youthful.  Surely if I ditched those I relinquish all that is cool and interesting about me?  Well, I beg to differ;  unless of course, the aging, whimsical cat lady image is what you are aiming for, it is time to streamline.  An elegant and up to date collection with a limited, carefully chosen and co-ordinated selection of your very favourite colourful and quirky items will not only up your fashion kudos but also take years off you. 

Celebrating Fifty in Montenegro

Celebrating Fifty in Montenegro

Just like our make-up palette needs to tone down in order to keep us looking fresh and youthful, so does our wardrobe.  The skill is in curating your look without forgetting your personality.  If you like vintage … great!  Think Grace Kelly, Coco Chanel and Jackie O, not Madonna, Claire Grogan or Olivia Newton John in Grease;  the time for that has passed and will do you no favours.

How I dress at fifty in a nutshell

My personal aesthetic is a largely neutral or nude colour scheme.  However I also think that a carefully selected colourful item can magically elevate your look to sublime and enhance your beauty if skilfully matched to your skin tone and colouring.  This is a simple trick to refine your style at fifty. 

Becoming Invisible

Sky Tower, Wroclaw

Sky Tower, Wroclaw

What about women?  Why are we invisible beyond the age of say, 50 if not before? This is where I put my foot down and explore my interests in, fashion, style, health, beauty, inner wisdom and vegan food to empower women who are fab at fifty and beyond. My mission?  To destroy the archetype of the invisible woman … in other words, the woman who is neither young nor old in society’s eyes, often unavailable and as such, uninteresting, unattractive and undesirable.  These are the women who are too old to be considered by employers as prospective assets or to have admirers leap through hoops for them, whilst at the same time, too young to be offered either a seat on public transport or indeed the reverent respect bestowed upon the elderly. 

Ageless style over fifty

Am I too old for graffiti?

Should I be standing next to a Cathedral?

My words are not only for women over fifty, but everyone who, for whatever reason, feels invisible and wishes to be visible and vibrant! 


What makes us feel past it? 

Is it the fact that we have a few wrinkles? Or that we don’t know what to do on an Xbox game without reading an instruction booklet? Maybe we simply can’t get over cringing at the misuse of the word ‘sick’ as something desirable and positive? I have one phrase to accompany you on your journey towards being visible and vibrant …… 'Embrace with Grace and Compassion'.  Sorry, this is maybe not quite the exciting and mysterious word that was anticipated, however it is the first word and believe me, it is an apt and very worthy springboard for greater things – insert smiley grinning face!  Complaining about, rejecting or denying anything is the road to hell, or a lifetime of rocket salad with no dressing – insert grumpy face! 

I have an eleven year old son who is in that no mans’ land of Mum is wonderful, knows everything and the fixer of all things whilst also being annoying, old fashioned and in short, totally clueless …. about EVERYTHING!  This is the same son who can accuse me of total fashion blindness when I dare to suggest a certain hoodie looks great on him, but will call me after I’ve left the house in the morning to declare that he is having a total hair catastrophe and what is he to do about it? In fact, if I could fix it ‘remotely’ from my car using my Bluetooth connection, that would be deemed to be appropriate parenting.  Show an interest and embrace, rather than criticize the changes. That is my note to self.  Like all imperfect human beings, I do sometimes leave my notes lying around, I lose them or even forget to look at them; however, persistence is key.  I listen to my son explaining how he won on Fortnight with the intense curiosity I could never have engineered had he been explaining a series of tactics and ball manoeuvres involved in scoring a goal in football.  Thankfully for me, he is not interested in football. Phew!

The more I learn about his world, the more I can relate to him and introduce positive values in a way that he can, in turn relate to.  He has recently been introduced to ‘Stranger Things’ which he watches with his older sister.  He is engrossed in a world where geeks are OK, there is a positive feminist message and physics is fun.  Would he have listened to me if I had told him these things?  Hell no. He is off his Xbox and bonding with his sister to boot … everyone’s a winner.


The First Step to Freedom at Fifty!

New potential at fifty

''Four things do not come back: the spoken word, the sped arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity.''

-Ted Chiang

Embrace does not mean accept.  Acceptance is optional.  Embracing is smiling at your emerging grey hairs and saying ‘hello you little fuckers, be ready to die … or be DYED … mwah ha ha’.  Do you see the difference my friends?  No time for pathetic ‘Oh no, I’ve got grey hairs, I’m getting old, woe is me blah blah blah’ Get over yourself.  Eat healthily, eat treats, exercise, but not too much, have some wine, spend time with friends, and cover or disguise what you don’t like.  If all else fails, then just lie. ‘No I don’t have a trace of cellulite on my butt’.  Who is going to check?  Get your spandex on, drink your herbal tea – rose petals picked by vestal virgins, job done.  We’ve been distorting reality for years, we are experts.  When did you start shaving your legs or stop farting in public?  Our lives are a constant stream of deceit and carefully controlled self-promotion.  Even the dreadlocked crusty in the corner is a walking promotion of not only her or his cause, but also of her or his identity.

Do whatever it takes to make YOU, whoever YOU want to be.  At fifty, I am not ready to be invisible.  I am not prepared to join any ranks of people who need to take it easy and wear their glasses on a chain around their necks (although the latter is sometimes very tempting).  At fifty plus we are a growing cohort of potential; our wisdom, experience, spending power and vitality can provide the refreshing elements of a more enriched society.  Our beauty can shine through be it through laughter or Botox  (if that’s your thing).

A Fresh Start

Vegan at fifty

So, I’m supposed to write.  Having acquired a laptop, finally, I am sitting in a trendy café that is bustling with life. Easy chatter permeates the atmosphere with infectious good humour and limitless optimism.  My attempts at invisibility are thwarted by the incessant yapping of my dog, who’s agenda is somewhat in conflict with my own. Why a small Maltese shitzu believes it can take on a huge black Labrador is a question only it can answer … or not.  Nevertheless, on my part, I am attracting more attention to my quiet corner than I had bargained for and here is where my story begins…..

I believe that life, or essentially my life, begins now … at fifty!  That is not to render insignificant any of the major and minor happy events of my life so far, or indeed any achievements to date.  I have a wonderful family, a first-class degree, a driving licence, ace friends, decent figure, a stunning town to live in and POTENTIAL.  These things I cherish as gifts, gifts to be enjoyed, reflected upon in challenging times and the elixir to nourish my future ventures.  Being a reflective person, however, I am painfully aware of what I have missed along my journey to fifty; painfully irritated by the missed opportunities, absence of confidence in myself and procrastination. This latter probably emerging as a result of the former, but that is another tale…..

Realisation, not Reinvention at Fifty

Why then, is this a beginning?  I have a theory which is underpinned by optimism.  This optimism is a newly acquired garment which I am wearing as one would wear a brand new coat from Reiss, or whatever your version of Reiss is. I wear this for the feel-good factor and in the knowledge that when I wear it, I can change the world …. Or at least my world.  Many people have achieved a great deal by the age of fifty. Some have not.  If the best case scenario is that I will live to one hundred, then I have another fifty years to start again and fill in the gaps, to achieve as much as, or more, than I did in the first fifty years, minus the learning to walk, talk and potty etiquette stuff.  Remember this is against the backdrop of optimism, so no talk of age related immobility, incontinence or brain fog.  

Positivity is Anti-Aging

My greatest achievement, having my children, I will never be able to match but that's as it should be, for me.  I am in the position of having many responsibilities yet being master of my time … to a certain degree.  If anyone notices and complains that there are crumbs on the floor, well, I’ve had something better or more important to attend to and what’s done (or not done) is done (or not done).  

Look younger at fifty





''You live but once; you might as well be amusing''

-Coco Chanel

Procrastination has been the thorn in my side of my personal growth.  In phase one of my life, I have been blighted by a lack of confidence – I can’t do that; others will do it better; too much effort or money required for something that could fail and blah blah blah.  Boring with a capital ‘B’.  Consequently, I have this laptop and the promise of a fresh start.

Knowing what you want at fifty 

Many motivational speakers discuss finding your passion, your spark, the thing you would engage in even if you were never paid to do it.  Interestingly enough, I already do that.  I eat, and no one pays me to do it ha ha.  I am interested in veganism and healthy but yummy food.  This includes plenty of devilish chocolate cakes, in fact, anything related to chocolate is bordering on acceptable…. Ok, is absolutely so much more than acceptable.  However, I do not wish to cook for a living, having to weigh out ingredients, assess in minute detail the nutritious value and mineral content of a recipe and achieve the precision of consistency in a final dish?  Not for me.  So what else am I interested in?  There are many areas that grab my attention, but will I be taken seriously?  Whilst I prefer to be aware of, what is happening in the world around me and am happy to venture an opinion on Brexit in a bar with friends, I do not find the exploration of a world of economics, number crunching and trade laws in any way appealing beyond that.  These things are important and significant and I would not advocate an existence in an oblivion of vacuous inconsequential indulgences of reality TV or false eyelashes. When the question of how I wish to spend my time arises, it has to be related to … language; language and the power it has to reach beyond the facts and figures. Language has the potential to shape thoughts, change habits and develop understanding of the world around us, as much through lies and deceit as through truth and integrity.  It is a creative medium afforded to human beings alone, that allows enables accountability.  How else could we explain ourselves? Defend ourselves? Attack? Express ourselves?