Chic at fifty

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 even feel 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? 

20180730_081751455_iOS.jpg

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? …..

… INSTAGRAM! YESSS! …

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 authentic 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

Drybrushing

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.

MINDFULNESS

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.

F6137D78-91A4-4DFE-A20F-788E4C378F45.JPG

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.

avocado-oil-provenance.jpg

Nourish your body inside and out with the best organic ingredients

THE BOTTOM LINE

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




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

IMG_1061.JPG

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?

331AE817-BCA5-43B2-9A4E-A645093E2673.JPG

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’)