Thursday, 28 April 2016

How to Style Culottes for SS16 | The Archive by Alexa Range

SS16 Smart style: Longline blazer with M&S Archive by Alexa culottes, neck scarf, snakeskin boots, orange tote | Not Dressed As Lamb
You may have seen that I pondered my purchases from the Archive by Alexa range from M&S last week (Do I want to wear something so hyped?) - having bought the Harry blouse in pink and white and the Ada trousers and blazer, I'd already decided to keep the latter. The jury is still out on the blouses...!

So - culottes! M&S describe these as trousers, but although they're strictly wide-leg cropped trousers I'm going with culottes for the purposes of this post (less of a mouthful). I'd had a few requests from readers asking that I try styling culottes, but I'd resisted till now... In the end resistance was effectively futile.

I'M STARTING TO FEEL LESS AND LESS LOVE FOR SKINNIES AND TOTALLY FALLING FOR CULOTTES INSTEAD. PAIRED WITH HIGH ANKLE BOOTS THEY DO SOMETHING TO YOUR PROPORTIONS THAT MAKES YOU LOOK INCREDIBLY LEGGY.

To get to the point: I'm a total convert. Whether it's because I've seen so many fashionistas rocking them in street style photos I don't know, but I'm starting to feel less and less love for skinnies and totally falling for culottes instead. Paired with high ankle boots they do something to your proportions that makes you look incredibly leggy... Perfect for long-waisted ladies like myself.

This only works with a high-waisted pair (these are perfect, especially as they have two sets of buttons to allow for expansion) and a tucked-in top.

SS16 Smart style: Longline blazer with M&S Archive by Alexa culottes, neck scarf, snakeskin boots, orange tote | Not Dressed As Lamb

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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

My Favourite Fun and Fabulous Links - April 2016

Favourite Fun & Fabulous Links  April 2016 | Not Dressed As Lamb
My Favourite Fun and Fabulous Links is a monthly post of things I've seen, watched and liked on the internet that I'm sure you'll love too. This month I'm sharing some different denim looks and masculine chic, thoughts on the danger of comparison, honest views on the realities of weight gain plus a bouncing cat (yes, really).

I hope you get some nice weather where you are (unlike the crazy hailstones and snow in spring weather we've been having in the UK this week) - grab a cuppa and enjoy these reads!

WHAT LINKS DID YOU LIKE - AND HAVE YOU FOUND ANY FABULOUS NEW BLOGS TO FOLLOW? COMMENT BELOW, OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!

Favourite Fun & Fabulous Links  April 2016 | Not Dressed As Lamb
(Photo credits: Top row, left | Top row, right | Middle row, left | Middle row, right | Bottom row, left | Bottom row, right)

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I love how Daniella always wears exactly what she wants and never conforms to what a slim, attractive 20-something blonde "should" wear. She does masculine chic so, so well.

There's something about designer collections recreated as fierce fashion illustrations that fascinate me.

If you didn't already read about Melanie's experience as a 50+ model for the day then you must - despite coming across as a pro she was every bit as nervous as the next woman would be.
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Monday, 25 April 2016

Orange Jumpsuit With a Window Pane Check Jacket + the #iwillwearwhatilike Link Up (Dungarees/Jumpsuits)

SS16: Orange short sleeved jumpsuit, black and white window pane check jacket, black pointed toe heels, Aztec-style eagle necklace, colour block bag | Not Dressed As Lamb
This week's #iwillwearwhatilike theme is dungarees, overalls or jumpsuits - although I'm a big fan of dungarees I thought I'd go with jumpsuits for a change!

My bright orange jumpsuit is by La Redoute and it was one of those items I truly hoped would look as good on me as it did online. Jumpsuits are often hard to get right where fit is concerned - if you're short or long waisted that can definitely cause you problems. Luckily this fitted me perfectly (I'm long waisted), so I was ecstatic that I could now extend my orange obsession into a head-to-toe orange fest.

As I'm also currently favouring brights with black and white, I wore it with my black and white window pane jacket (similar), rolled up the hems a couple of times (I may take them up) and added black pointed heels. It definitely needed a statement necklace so the Aztec-style eagle necklace got rescued from the potential jewellery decluttering pile and gave the t-shirt style top half of this jumpsuit the oomph it needed.

DESPITE THE USUAL GOING-TO-THE-BATHROOM HASSLES JUMPSUITS CREATE, I WISH I HAD MORE. THEY'RE THE TROUSERS EQUIVALENT OF A DRESS: THROW IT ON, ADD SHOES AND YOU'RE DRESSED.

Despite the usual going-to-the-bathroom hassles jumpsuits create, I wish I had more. I have a grey one from a couple of years ago that's a bit of a snug fit now (though maybe I should hold onto it if my #notlambFIT journey continues to go well) - they're the trousers equivalent of a dress: Throw it on, add shoes and you're dressed.

And really, do we need any more hassle than that... I certainly don't ;)

Do of course add your outfits to this week's link up and you may be featured next week if you've linked up a jumpsuit or dungarees!

DO YOU FAVOUR JUMPSUITS OVER DUNGAREES (OVERALLS)? OR DO YOU DO NEITHER? COMMENT BELOW, OR TAKE IT TO TWITTER @NOTLAMB!

SS16: Orange short sleeved jumpsuit, black and white window pane check jacket, black pointed toe heels, Aztec-style eagle necklace, colour block bag | Not Dressed As Lamb
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Sunday, 24 April 2016

5 Top Tips For Keeping Fit Over 40 #notlambFIT Update No.4

5 Top Tips For Keeping Fit Over 40 | Not Dressed As Lamb
Finally I feel like I'm getting somewhere in my mission to get back to fitness. After coming up with 6 ways to get your fitness motivation back, I finally found my groove again and have done really well in the last two weeks. My energy levels are back up (still some room for improvement), I have almost been able to avoid sugar altogether, and the exercise has been tough but regular.

I'VE BEEN ABLE TO GET BACK INTO AT LEAST ONE PAIR OF TROUSERS I'D PREVIOUSLY ABANDONED WHICH IS ALWAYS ENCOURAGING.

Results: 4lb lost in two weeks, which is twice as much as I'd planned to lose so I'm more than happy with that. I can start to see a little improvement in both what I see in the mirror and how my waistbands are feeling, i.e. no longer uncomfortably tight. I've been able to get back into at least one pair of trousers I'd previously abandoned which is always encouraging.

As I've upped my exercise since the last #notlambFIT update (or rather, as I've stuck to it this time) and I've had results, this week I thought I'd share my 5 top tips for keeping fit over 40. This may well work for any age, but being in my 40s I'm finding that this is what works for me.

5 Top Tips For Keeping Fit Over 40 | Not Dressed As Lamb

1. Walking every day

I honestly, truly believe in this one, and have done it for years. When I worked in an office I tended to go for a walk at lunchtime just to "get out of the office" and found that it refreshed me, cleared my mind and stopped me being stuck in the same position behind a computer all day: This is one of the biggest barriers to staying fit and healthy. The NHS's website explains just how bad sitting too much is for your health, regardless of how much exercise you do:

"Studies have linked excessive sitting with being overweight and obese, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and premature death. 
Prolonged sitting is thought to slow the metabolism, which affects the body's ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat. 
Many adults in the UK spend more than seven hours a day sitting or lying, and this typically increases with age to 10 hours or more. This includes watching TV, using a computer, reading, doing homework, travelling by car, bus or train - behaviours referred to as sedentary."

In other words, scary stuff and a bit of a wake-up call for anyone who sits all day, not least bloggers.

I take a long, brisk walk every morning (about 35-40 minutes). I get some fresh air, say good morning to the regular people and dog walkers I see every morning, give my whole body a good stretch and get some vitamin D from the daylight.

An early morning walk is a great thing to do if you work from home because it gives you a "morning commute" - I time it so that after getting up and getting dressed, etc. I do all the household bits and pieces, then have my walk. When I get home I've basically "arrived at work" - I have breakfast and make myself a cuppa and it's 9am, ready for me to start my day. I know many people who work from home start much, much earlier, but I like to keep normal office hours if I can, and that means a 9am start to stop myself being a slave to my work (and to my computer, see point 1 above).

You'll often read that 10,000 steps a day is the recommended amount you should be taking. I have a FitBit to track sleep as well as steps - it's amazing how few steps you take when you're sitting all day, but equally amazing how many you take when you're being generally active with a walk, the housework, or shopping.


2. Always take the stairs

This is a non-exercise way of getting exercise: Whenever you have the opportunity to take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator, take it. If you only need a few essentials, walk to the supermarket if it only takes two minutes to drive there (plus carrying the bags will give your arms a workout).
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