Sunday, 31 January 2016

Complete My Reader Survey & Win £30 to Spend on Yosa Jewellery/Accessories [CLOSED]

Not Dressed As Lamb | Complete My Reader Survey & Win £30 to Spend on Yosa Jewellery/Accessories
This is something I've been meaning to do for quite a while now: A reader survey to find out exactly what YOU want out of the blog, what you're enjoying and - dare I say it - what you're not enjoying!

The survey is only 10 short questions long (mostly multiple choice) and should take you no more than five minutes. I'd love to find out in depth what you think of the blog in order to continue doing the things you like, do more of the things I'm not doing enough of and get an all-round idea of you as a valued reader.

The answers will, of course help me to improve what I produce here for you and hopefully make the blog even better - and more relevant to your interests.

The survey is open for one month, so you have until February 29th to complete it. And as a thank you for completing the survey, one lucky reader picked at random will win £30 to spend at online statement jewellery company Yosa, run by the lovely Rachel the Hat!


The survey is anonymous apart from the email address you need to provide in order to enter the prize draw - so you are free to be honest and open and opt out of leaving your email; however, you can't then enter the prize draw of course if no email is provided. But all constructive criticism is warmly welcomed.

So thank you in advance for taking the time to fill out the survey - as I said it shouldn't take you more than five minutes, and you may well be getting to choose some lovely earrings, necklaces or handbags in a month's time...!

Yosa Jewellery/Accessories

Catherine

P.S. You might also want to read about the Best Fashion Blog Award I won last week - and my shortlisting in another round of awards!

Yosa prize draw winner (reader survey)

Terms & Conditions:
1. Entries for the prize draw can only be accepted through the survey.
2. It is open internationally.
3. The questionnaire will close on 29th February 2016 at 11:59pm (London time).
4. One winner will be chosen at random via random.org, contacted by email and announced on this post and via Twitter.
5. The winner may choose goods to the value of £30 from Yosa. All goods are subject to availability.
6. A cash or alternative prize cannot be chosen.
7. The winner must reply to the email informing them within 48 hours to claim the prize, otherwise another winner will be chosen.
8. No responsibility will be taken for: Incorrect email addresses provided, delayed receipt of emails to the winner, delayed receipt of any reply emails or similar.

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Friday, 29 January 2016

A Huge Thank You: I'm an Award-Winning (and UK Blog Awards-Shortlisted) Blogger!

Not Dressed As Lamb | Bloggers' Lounge Best Fashion Blogger 2015
To say this week has been a good week would be a massive understatement: I have won one award and been shortlisted for another - and it's all thanks to you lovely lot for voting for me!

On Wednesday this week I won the Bloggers' Lounge award for Best Fashion Blogger at their awards party in London... HOW excited and pleased was I?! Many of you have seen my win on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook this week and have sent the loveliest congratulatory wishes - I'm working my way through them all to say thank you so please bear with me if I haven't yet said thank you directly! It was a lovely surprise and I couldn't have been happier to have won something that means I can finally call myself an "award winning" blogger. This award was purely down to your votes (the one-time vote before Christmas), so thank you thank you THANK YOU - from the bottom of my heart!

Thank you for all your support
Top: Me with my award! French Connection dress (nearly 70% off!) | Nails Inc black polish UK site / US site

Which brings me to the second announcement: I have the equally exciting news that I have been shortlisted for the second year in a row for the UK Blog Awards (fashion and beauty category)! This is the one where I had to pester everyone for daily votes up to Monday of this week, and I just want to apologise profusely for it being a daily vote thing (I wasn't very happy about them deciding to do that). Anyway fingers crossed I come away with a second win this year: Hopefully the judging panel will be swayed by my new blog design, my endless charm and the monetary bribes I am of course going to send them ;)

FINGERS CROSSED I COME AWAY WITH A SECOND WIN THIS YEAR: HOPEFULLY THE JUDGING PANEL WILL BE SWAYED BY MY NEW BLOG DESIGN, MY ENDLESS CHARM AND THE MONETARY BRIBES I AM OF COURSE GOING TO SEND THEM ;)

Whether or not I win at the UK Blog Awards this year remains to be seen (the awards ceremony is the end of April), but the fact of the matter remains: Neither the win this week nor the shortlisting this morning wouldn't have happened without the massive support that YOU have shown me. I can't tell you how much it means to me to have you voting in your droves with the clicks of your mouses (mice? mices?) and the wonderful words of support and encouragement you constantly give me. What I always want above all else is for this blog (and my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts) to be a positive place where we can discuss topics, get a little style inspiration and generally feel good about ourselves.

It's not something I can do on my own so your feedback and comments are always greatly appreciated and, of course, enjoyed and read by everyone else as well.

Here's to many more older (fashion) bloggers winning awards! We all love a bit of diversity and it's amazing to represent the 40+ community in this way. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again.


Catherine

P.S. Like this post? You might also want to see what I wore to UK Blog Awards 2015 awards ceremony last year (a vintage 1970s evening dress)!

Linking up to: Let It Shine, Brilliant Blog PostsFriday's Fab Favourites
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Thursday, 28 January 2016

Why I Favour Modest Fashion (But Didn't Actually Realise I Did Until Recently)

Why I Favour Modest Fashion (But Didn't Actually Realise I Did Until Recently)

A comment left on this post a few weeks ago by the lovely Samantha made me realise something about myself where my style is concerned.

This comment of hers really struck me in an "OMG, she's absolutely right" kind of way:

I always admire the way that, as a woman with a more "ample" bust, you never have it the focus of attention. In evening wear and at Christmas events, especially, cleavage is often 'out-there'. You, however, always look feminine and elegant, NEVER overtly sexy, always demure. Not "look at my boobies!!", just "Look at my fabulous outfit!". It is a real skill to balance a figure and give the illusion of perfection using clothes. 

It goes without saying that it was, of course, a lovely compliment (lots of lovely compliments!), but the part I'm referring to was the fact that I never have cleavage as the focus of attention. I'm just "not that kind of girl", for want of a better expression.

I could if I wanted. Without wanting to get all over-sharey on you (and this may come as a surprise to some considering some of the outfits I do wear that make me look less so), but I am a large-boobed lady: A 30F bra size, if you will. A tiny back with hefty breasts, and plenty of cleavage when it's not covered up. Maybe a little TMI, but it's information relevant to this post.

Not Dressed As Lamb | Why I Favour Modest Fashion (But Didn't Actually Realise I Did Until Recently)
Samantha's comment reminded me of a couple of things said to me in the past about my style. I never really knew it before, but I actually favour what's known as "modest fashion" - not on purpose, and certainly not for any religious reasons (I'm an atheist). It's a totally subconscious decision.

I NEVER REALLY KNEW IT BEFORE, BUT I ACTUALLY FAVOUR WHAT'S KNOWN AS "MODEST FASHION" - NOT ON PURPOSE, AND CERTAINLY NOT FOR ANY RELIGIOUS REASONS (I'M AN ATHEIST).

This is one blogger who you'll never, ever see in a bodycon or deep cleavage dress - Kim Kardashian style is not the sort of look I go for. If I were a celebrity you would never catch me in an extreme flesh-baring ensemble, even if I had an absolutely banging, toned and tanned body. Nosiree.

To explain:

The moment I realised I should change my style

Many, many years when I was about 25 and working in retail, I had a store manager with whom I really got on with and respected. He was leaving for another company and chatted to each of the managers and supervisors in turn (I was the latter) privately before he left to say how much he'd appreciated our hard work, to wish us luck, etc. (Told you he was a great boss.) During our conversation, he asked about my plans for progression in my career and what I wanted to do.

At the time I really had no other ambitions apart from wanting a job with more responsibility in order to earn more money, but he gave me two great pieces of advice which never left me.

Firstly, he said if you want to become a manager, you need to act like a manager first. Excellent advice.

Secondly - and this was not at all said in an inappropriate way - he said that, with the greatest respect, in terms of my working wardrobe he would advise me to adhere to the rule of "No armpits, belly buttons or cleavage". Whether or not you agree with that totally is up to you, but I looked down at my 90s crop top and realised that showing off my (pierced) belly button and cleavage working in a smart store in the heart of London's Chelsea probably wasn't appropriate. He'd never once mentioned my wardrobe to me up until that point (we didn't have uniforms), but I knew he was absolutely right and it changed my way of thinking about my style right then, at that very moment.

[AGE 25] I LOOKED DOWN AT MY 90s CROP TOP AND REALISED THAT SHOWING OFF MY (PIERCED) BELLY BUTTON AND CLEAVAGE WORKING IN A SMART STORE IN THE HEART OF LONDON'S CHELSEA PROBABLY WASN'T APPROPRIATE.

It was a light bulb moment for me, and the first time that I remember thinking that what you wear should be appropriate for the occasion, and nothing else. If I'd worked in a fashion boutique on the King's Road a crop top might have been perfectly acceptable, but this was a classy furniture and homewares store - and pierced belly buttons on show at my place of work suddenly seemed quite inappropriate.

Why you'll never see my cleavage

The other incident happened a few years ago after I'd been blogging for about a year or so. An old friend - male, someone I'd known for many years - messaged me to say well done on the blog, etc. etc. (It was one of those weird moments you realise that people other than your mum and complete strangers look at your blog - people that actually know you. People you haven't seen for a few years but they get to see what you currently look like on an everyday basis.)

The comment may not seem like a compliment from a boy's point of view, and to me it was neither flattering nor insulting, but he observed that for "someone with an ample chest" (luckily I know him well and knew he wasn't being lewd) that I rarely showed off my cleavage. In fact, I never did.

FOR "SOMEONE WITH AN AMPLE CHEST" I RARELY SHOWED OFF MY CLEAVAGE. IN FACT, I NEVER DID.

I didn't press him for more information (continuing a conversation like that with a male friend who is also straight could become awkward) so said Um thank you, I think? - but it did get me thinking. Or rather, it got me looking back over all my outfits to see if he was right.

And yes, he absolutely was. Discounting the bikini post I did last year (cleavage there is inevitable) the nearest I ever got was this post in 2014 where there was the merest hint of it. In fact it's so subtle probably no one noticed at the time, but I remember thinking "Ewww no one wants to see that!" when I was editing the photos, and it worried me a little. And that was even after I sewed up the v-neck a little so the dress was less booblicious.

But if you compare my cleavage to what we see on the red carpet or at celebrity events, my style couldn't be more different. Katy Perry, Jennifer Aniston, Christina Hendricks, Scarlett Johansson, Kelly Brook, any D-list reality TV star... It is far easier to find female celebrities that flash flesh than to find ones that don't (in fact I was hard pushed to find a "modestly" dressed celebrity. Even two I thought were - Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman - have, in the past, flashed more cleavage now and then than I'd ever dare).

IF YOU COMPARE MY CLEAVAGE TO WHAT WE SEE ON THE RED CARPET OR AT CELEBRITY EVENTS, MY STYLE COULDN'T BE MORE DIFFERENT. IT IS FAR EASIER TO FIND FEMALE CELEBRITIES THAT FLASH FLESH THAN TO FIND ONES THAT DON'T.

Now don't get me wrong - I am in NO way saying that these women - famous or otherwise - should not wear bodycon dresses or cover up their assets. Those who follow the blog will know I started the #iwillwearwhatilike campaign (and hashtag) because I believe exactly that: Women should be able to wear whatever they damn well please, regardless of age or social expectation. I do believe in dressing appropriately for the occasion, however - for me, at the office is not the time or place to wear a revealing bodycon dress with cleavage spilling out.

Women should wear whatever they want

But for a night out? Go for it, if that's what you want to wear. (Note I also don't believe women should restrict their style because of the sort of "unwanted attention" they might attract. The behaviour that should change in that situation is that of the men, not the women - but that's a discussion for another day.)

Anyway - my point! The point is, I just don't "do" revealing clothes. I'm simply not comfortable in them. I'm happy to show off my arms as they're pretty good for my age, and when I'm more toned (not right now) I'm happy to wear a crop top or show my middle. But you'll never see me sporting a crop top, shorts and high heels on a daily basis.

Why? I guess that's the million-dollar question, isn't it. I just don't know why. Is it a confidence thing? Have I actually been affected by comments in the past? I do remember having comments from boys about my growing chest when I was young (aged 14 I was already pretty busty, and fairly self-conscious about them).

I've just never wanted to show off my boobs. Some women do, and good for them, I say. I just know that personally I'm super happy with clothes that make me look flat-chested (or, at least, less busty). It explains why I love dungarees, loose t-shirts and dresses with just the right fit to make my assets look a little bit... littler.

I also would be very, very self-conscious in a totally figure-hugging dress like the bodycon dresses I mentioned. Many of you left lovely comments for me about my figure in my bikini post (still blushing now about that), but even if I were back to the more toned look I had a couple of years ago I'd still want some part of my outfit to be looser. Back then I wore skinny jeans with looser tops or tanks with a full maxi or midi skirt. I once wore a tight midi dress on the blog, and looking back it just wasn't me (I've never worn that dress since), despite being much, much slimmer than I am now.

It's all about choice

So as always it simply comes down to choice and personal preference. And how great is it that in this day and age we, as women, have that choice. We can cover ourselves head to toe, or we can flaunt what we've got, whether it's legs, boobs or bellies - or all three.

Choice is a wonderful thing, and I choose (slightly more) covered up.

WHAT'S YOUR PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW ABOUT HOW REVEALING YOUR CLOTHING IS? WHAT DO YOU THINK INFLUENCES YOUR CHOICES? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB - I THINK THIS WILL MAKE FOR A REALLY INTERESTING DISCUSSION...!


Catherine

P.S. Like this post? You might also want to read 10 Ways To Keep Fit in Your 40s (Or at Any Age)!

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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

My Favourite Fun and Fabulous Links - January 2016

Not Dressed As Lamb | Favourite Fun & Fabulous Links January 2016
In this month's Favourite Fun and Fabulous Links I'm sharing some excellent post-Christmas non-fitness fitness tips, thoughts on knowing how much you're worth, an incredible story of stolen blog content and a courageous self-esteem issues experiment on the streets of London.

Hope you like the links, and enjoy the rest of January - February will mean we're that much nearer spring so hang on in there!

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

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One of the best 2015 outfit round ups: Ashley's classic/preppy style and her photography are both stunning.

A New Year's resolution worth sticking to: "Know your worth and put it out there. Stop being scared to discuss money." Well said, Vicki of Honest Mum.

What to do when you hate exercise - perfect for January.

White, white, everywhere, wallpaper collecting and tile hoarding - 5 insane (but true) things about bloggers' homes.

I've never read such practical and hilarious tips for how to use your camera remote control thanks to Melanie.

47 things you’ll only know if you've worked in retail over Christmas (I did for many years and these are ALL true).

Comedian Celeste Barber spoofs the picture-perfect lives of the rich and famous with an Instagram project. #hilarious

Want to start a blog and don't know where to begin? This course is run by Alice who won UK Blog Award 2014 for Best Digital & Technology Blog - and is a lovely person IRL.

Why I bought myself a diamond ring by Louise (and why not I say)!

“ 'Well, say goodbye to your old body.  Because it's ALL over after you have a child.' And at that very moment - I was determined to prove her wrong.” Marion shares some inspirational post-baby body pictures and stories.

The incredulous story of how a German blog is hijacking and reposting all of Suzanne's content - then they also replicated her post where she calls them out on it. One Darwin Award please.

Finally, an amazing video - Girl undresses in public for courageous cause:
"I'M STANDING FOR ANYONE WHO HAS STRUGGLED WITH AN EATING DISORDER OR SELF-ESTEEM ISSUE LIKE ME... TO SUPPORT SELF-ACCEPTANCE DRAW A '❤' ON MY BODY"

Which of these were your favourites? Tell me in the comments or tweet me @notlamb!


Catherine

P.S. Like this post? You might also enjoy December's Fave Fun and Fabulous Links!

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Monday, 25 January 2016

How to Wear the Pantone Colour of the Year, Rose Quartz and Serenity #iwillwearwhatilike

Not Dressed As Lamb | Pantone Rose Quartz and Serenity winter outfit

I guess it had to happen eventually: Pantone's Colour of the Year (Rose Quartz and Serenity) is the theme for this week's #iwillwearwhatilike link up

I chose these colours as part of my blog's new design and colour palette just a few days before Pantone announced the Colour of the Year for 2016 (honestly!) and it's no surprise that I've been drawn to them where my wardrobe's concerned as well.

The star of the show is undoubtedly this blue check coat by Ganni at Asos - another believable fact but this coat is now reduced from £320 to just £54(!!), and there's a few sizes left (bargain of the century methinks).

Like the crazy-cheap orange animal print coat I wore on the blog on Saturday, it seems that an incredibly mild December has meant retailers haven't sold much outerwear this season, so coats are all severely reduced. Great news for statement coat-loving gals like me - this one's only gone and bought =ahem= four coats in the sale...!

IT SEEMS THAT AN INCREDIBLY MILD DECEMBER HAS MEANT RETAILERS HAVEN'T SOLD MUCH OUTERWEAR THIS SEASON, SO COATS ARE ALL SEVERELY REDUCED. GREAT NEWS FOR STATEMENT COAT-LOVING GALS LIKE ME

So the blue in the checks of this coat are the perfect match for Serenity, and the boyfriend jeans aren't far off either. The Rose Quartz comes in the shape of my fluffy pink sweater (last worn here and here) and the old-but-trusty pink brogues - I've had them so long I'm wondering if they'll ever go out of style. I have at least 10+ pairs of brogues and I'll be gutted if one day I realise they just look a bit old fashioned!

A quick mention for the cutest earrings I got from Asos: Mixed metal triangle earrings, which I think are going to be my new go-with-everything pair. I was also originally going to wear my bright blue Marc Jacobs sunglasses, but thought better of it and decided they might be too matchy-matchy. Neutral brown sunnies and my taupe leather bag let the pink and blue "sing" a little more - I know some people think this year's Pantone colours are a bit sickly but I happen to love them. Easiest colours to wear (for me) ever...!

Are you a fan of Pantone's Rose Quartz and Serenity - either together or separately? Tell me in the comments or tweet me @notlamb! (And don't forget the theme to link up is optional as always!)

Pantone Color of the Year 2016 | Rose Quartz and SerenityNot Dressed As Lamb | Pantone Rose Quartz and Serenity winter outfit
Not Dressed As Lamb | Pantone Rose Quartz and Serenity winter outfit
Not Dressed As Lamb | Pantone Rose Quartz and Serenity winter outfit
Not Dressed As Lamb | Pantone Rose Quartz and Serenity winter outfit
Not Dressed As Lamb | Pantone Rose Quartz and Serenity winter outfit
Not Dressed As Lamb | Pantone Rose Quartz and Serenity winter outfit
Coat: ASOS (just £54 down from £320!!) | Sweater: Dorothy Perkins (similar) | Jeans: La Redoute (close match) | Shoes: Zalando (I like these) | Bag: Karen Millen (similar) | Earrings: ASOS | Sunglasses: Badgley Mischka (I like these) | Lips: Maybelline Color Sensational 'Sugar Plum'

SHOP THE LOOK:



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#iwillwearwhatilike | Not Dressed As Lamb
Thank you for joining the #iwillwearwhatilike link up! This started as a campaign on Instagram in August 2015 where women over 30 wore everything on a journalist's list of "inappropriate" items for 30+ women (including leopard print, short dresses and oversized sunglasses. Yes, really). It was so popular that I decided to carry it on weekly where women of all ages link up their fabulous style, never mind what anyone tells them not to wear!

So link up all your fabulous outfits (or shoes, accessories, make-up, etc.) every Monday at 3pm UK time - it'll stay open for a week. Whilst the original article was of course aimed at the 30+, you can be ANY age to link up. The only criteria is that you're wearing whatever you damn well like!

Bloggers' tributes to David Bowie #iwillwearwhatilike
My favourite DAVID BOWIE tribute outfits from last week's link up (well done all those ladies who joined in with this, I thought I'd struggle to find anyone to feature)!

NEXT WEEK:
THE OPTIONAL THEME FOR 01 FEBRUARY IS SHORT SKIRTS/DRESSES


All I ask of you linking up is that you:

1. Please follow your host Not Dressed As Lamb (via Bloglovin or Instagram)
2. Link up your outfits (blog or Instagram posts) that show how you choose to wear what you like - as many as you like!
3. Please remember this is only for posts of what you've been wearing, not links to giveaways or anything else
4. Include a link back to this post if you're linking from a blog post, or add my button (below)
5. Post your outfit on Instagram (if you use it) with the hashtag #iwillwearwhatilike - Monday's the day to join in the IG fun
6. Visit some of the other links and share the love!

#iwillwearwhatilike | Not Dressed As Lamb
Copy and paste this HTML code into your blog post or side bar:





Do share the love and visit as many links as you can (you never know what other lovely like-minded ladies you might meet) - the original Instagram campaign forged some wonderful new relationships so don't miss out!


Catherine

P.S. Last chance to vote for me in the UK Blog Awards - closes today at 9pm UK time (4pm EST), thank you!!

Linking up to: Style Storiesiwillwearwhatilike, Shoe and TellVisible MondayLet It ShineMonday MingleStyle SessionsTurning Heads TuesdayTrend Spin Link-UpWhat I Wore WednesdayBrilliant Blog PostsThrowback ThursdayPassion for Fashion FridayFriday's Fab Favourites, Fun Fashion Friday
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Saturday, 23 January 2016

Feeding My New Orange Obsession | Animal Print Coat and Lace Ups

Orange animal print coat, grey roll neck | Not Dressed As Lamb

Getting hold of this coat was like a game of patience and self restraint: I first saw it in July when I worked on a campaign for Marks & Spencer at their London head office. Myself and the other girls all went a little gaga over the orange animal print - it's an absolute thing of beauty...! 

Following that little preview in the summer I kept my eye on the M&S website for it, then we had a super-mild run up to Christmas and I sort of forgot about it. That was, until I started delving into my winter coat collection when the cold weather kicked in. I checked their website again (fully expecting them to all be sold out) and found out that not only was it still available, but it was reduced by nearly 70% to just £38.

=OMG LESS THAN 40 QUID!!!!=

If you ever shop at M&S, you probably know that you can't hang around because stuff goes out of stock very quickly (I think it may have sold out already), so how I managed to pull my finger out and get one I have no idea. When it arrived I soon realised that it was the perfect colour to go with my new(ish) orange lace-ups from Asos, and then it hit me.

Since when do I like orange?! It's the one colour I've always avoided. The last time I bought anything orange was the 90s when I bought a tangerine-coloured cardigan and thought it'd be a good idea to wear it with lime green. Nice...!

SINCE WHEN DO I LIKE ORANGE?! IT'S THE ONE COLOUR I'VE ALWAYS AVOIDED. THE LAST TIME I BOUGHT ANYTHING ORANGE WAS THE 90S WHEN I BOUGHT A TANGERINE-COLOURED CARDIGAN AND THOUGHT IT'D BE A GOOD IDEA TO WEAR IT WITH LIME GREEN.

Maybe it's because I've got into peach lately (which came about because I love coral), and that obsession has just progressed to orange. Who knows. I do know that when I wore this outfit to London last week, we noticed that amongst a sea of black, brown and navy I was one of only two people wearing colour in the whole of Paddington station. (Top marks to the lady in the bright red coat.)

So to go with the orange lace-ups, I thought I'd ditch the lime green in favour of a couple of neutrals by way of a grey roll neck and classic navy trousers, plus my "Catherine" bag from Yosa proved once again it goes with anything. Orange and navy - now you're talking.

Are there any colours that you actively avoid? Or have you surprised yourself by buying something that you wouldn't have dreamed of wearing a short while ago? Tell me in the comments or tweet me @notlamb!

Orange animal print coat, grey roll neck | Not Dressed As Lamb
Orange animal print coat with navy | Not Dressed As Lamb
Orange animal print coat | Not Dressed As Lamb
Orange animal print coat with navy | Not Dressed As Lamb
Orange animal print coat, navy trousers, orange lace-up flats| Not Dressed As Lamb
Coat: Marks & Spencer | Roll neck: ASOS | Trousers: ASOS | Shoes: ASOS | Bag: c/o Yosa (similar)

SHOP THE LOOK:



Catherine

P.S. Like this post? You might also want to read How to Make Casual Pieces (Distressed Jeans, Backpack, Beanie) Look Smart!

Linking up to: Style StoriesiwillwearwhatilikeVisible MondayLet It ShineMonday MingleStyle Sessions, Turning Heads TuesdayTrend Spin Link-UpWhat I Wore WednesdayBrilliant Blog PostsThrowback Thursday, My Refined StylePassion for Fashion FridayFriday's Fab Favourites, Fun Fashion Friday, Shoe and Tell
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Thursday, 21 January 2016

How to Optimise Your Skincare Routine to Fight Ageing

How to Optimise Your Skincare Routine to Fight Ageing
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Despite all the anti-ageing messages that the media constantly bombards us with every day, I'm sure that most women, myself included, would like to do their best to keep wrinkles at bay for as long as possible. Whilst the ageing is process is inevitable and there is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with getting older (in fact there are many benefits!), anything that unnecessarily accelerates the ageing process is something we all want to avoid.

Optimising your skincare routine is one of the first things you can do to fight ageing - or rather, slow down the ageing process. To say it's a fight suggests it's a negative thing, but in this post I want to concentrate on the positives - things that will make you feel as well as look better.

And if you look better, you'll feel better. See where this is going...?!

I've teamed up with Seven Seas, the vitamins, minerals and supplements supplier, to bring you two posts about the Simple Things, their campaign encouraging us to embrace the simple things in life that make you feel young.

I'm not claiming to be a skincare or nutrition expert by any means, but between this post and another in early February I'll be discussing what I do to maintain a healthy lifestyle that, in turn, naturally slows down the ageing process.

Cod Liver Oil Benefits
Keep reading for the four steps of my skincare routine (more than just what goes on my face) and for my top tips for how to achieve youthful, beautiful skin!


How to Optimise Your Skincare Routine to Fight Ageing

My general health - the facts

Generally speaking where my health is concerned, I'm very aware of keeping my immune system in tip-top condition as I don't "do" illness. I'm not a very good poorly person, and I get terribly frustrated when I'm unable to get on with my daily routine and feel 100% whilst doing it.

I rarely get colds or the flu, and I want to stay active for as long as possible as I get older.

I'm pretty good with my diet and fitness, and despite a recent back/leg injury (which has left me itching to get back to peak fitness, especially post-Christmas!) I think I'm much healthier now than I was in my 20s.

I also look after my skin so much better than I used to. I don't remember thinking 20 years ago how what I put on my face or what I put in my body would affect my skin, but age and wisdom (and a lot more available information) has taught me that it's never too late to start looking after yourself - inside and out.

I'm going to share with you some tips for getting healthy skin that will also age beautifully - here are my top four Simple Things...!


My top 4 anti-ageing skincare tips

How to Optimise Your Skincare Routine to Fight Ageing | A Healthy Diet

1. Put good food into your body

Although I think all four points I have made here are as important as each other, there is one thing that will jeopardise healthy skin at any age: A bad diet. (They don't say "Beauty starts within" for nothing!) Consistently eating junk food, and not giving your body the nutrients it needs, will show up on the outside, and your skin cannot repair itself each day without the goodness a healthy diet gives you.

Of course the occasional indulgence won't age you 10 years overnight, but a continuously poor diet will speed up the signs of ageing over time. Too much sugar and processed food can damage the collagen in your skin, which leads to excess wrinkling and premature ageing.

I truly believe in everything in moderation, and I try not to let a day go by without eating plenty of veg, a little fruit, protein with every meal and healthy fats. Preparing and cooking food yourself from scratch (which really can be quite simple) will ensure you know what's going into your meals and you're not eating all the excess, unnecessary salt and sugar that goes into processed foods.


How to Optimise Your Skincare Routine to Fight Ageing | Drink Plenty of Water

2. Drink plenty of water (and cut out fizzy drinks)

If you're drinking fizzy drinks (soda) and no water, be warned: Not only is it terrible for your overall health and not only will the massive doses of sugar lead to (potentially massive) weight gain, but your skin will be severely lacking hydration. Flushing out your system by drinking water every day is one of the best things you can do for your skin. Dehydrated skin can become tight and flaky (especially in the winter), and dry skin ages much faster than oily skin.

So ditch the fizzy drinks (including the zero calorie/diet versions as they just keep you addicted to sugar) and up your intake of water. If you're not a fan of plain water, a good tip is to down your first pint of water first thing in the morning - it will wake you up and you'll be too tired to notice how tasteless it is.

Get yourself a BPA-free water bottle or Instagram-worthy Mason jar with lid and straw and sip it throughout the day, refilling as necessary. I aim for three pints (1.5 litres) each day - get yourself in a routine of having water at certain times of the day and you'll be drinking that much without even noticing.


How to Optimise Your Skincare Routine to Fight Ageing | Cod Liver Oil Benefits

3. Ensure you are getting the right vitamins and minerals

A diet mostly made up of sugar and processed foods will damage your overall health because of all the nutrients you are lacking. And as mentioned in point 1, what you put in your body will reflect on the outside! However, it's not always easy to get all the vitamins and minerals you need every day, and I do take some supplements for both my skin and my health.

Having recently slipped a disc, I now appreciate a healthy body more than ever (I'm glad to say I'm on the road to recovery and finally mobile again). There are all sorts of reasons (aside from a poor diet) why some people are deficient in some vitamins and minerals, and I thoroughly believe in prevention rather than cure where my health - especially as I get older - is concerned.

Cod liver oil is one supplement I have always taken; it provides you with vitamins A, D and E and is a rich natural source of Omega-3 (unsaturated fatty acids) essential to health. Not only that but it is so good for the holy trinity of beauty: Skin, hair and nails.


How to Optimise Your Skincare Routine to Fight Ageing | Use a Daily Moisturiser with SPF

4. Wear a daily moisturiser with SPF

I'm sure you're already aware of how damaging the sun is to your skin, but it absolutely has to be included here. I'd like to think the days of people going out and baking themselves in the sun are long gone, but the sore, lobster-coloured fools you see in every British seaside resort at the end of a sunny summer's day ("the sun didn't seem that hot!") prove otherwise.

The fact is, sun damage can occur all year round - even in the miserable depths of a British winter, and especially in the summer sun anywhere. I wish I had done this much sooner, but I only started wearing a daily moisturiser with SPF in my early 30s. I could have had 15 extra years of protecting my skin if I'd known about everyday sun damage, but luckily for younger girls, with the number of moisturisers on the market now there is so much more choice than there was 30 years ago.

There are two daily moisturisers with sun protection that I currently use: Olay Total Effects Anti-Ageing Day Moisturiser SPF15 (it has a really luxurious texture and the lower SPF is suitable for the weaker winter sun) and Nivea Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Age Spot Day Cream SPF30 (great under make-up and the higher protection is perfect for the summer months).


How to Optimise Your Skincare Routine to Fight Ageing | Use a Daily Moisturiser with SPF
For those of you wondering, I am not totally bare-faced in these photos. I am wearing a little make-up just to brighten my face, add colour and stop shine. The products I used were:

A very light BB cream to even out my skin tone
Cream blush
Waterproof mascara (my eyes water a lot and I cry at anything remotely sad)
Eyelashes curled with my fave eyelash curler
The Best Eyebrow Product Ever to Have Been Invented (I'm going to trademark that phrase)
Lip balm
My favourite face powder (a very light dusting)

So no heavy foundation, under eye concealers or contouring. My skin is not perfect by any means (where we shot the photos the light is very flattering), but I'm pretty happy with my skin for nearly 44.


Cod Liver Oil and Its Health Benefits
As mentioned earlier, I have always taken cod liver oil as a supplement to my diet. My mother suffers from arthritis and swears by it, and I think it's the first supplement that comes to mind when you're thinking about getting older and how to look after yourself better.

Its best-known benefit is the fact that it contains Omega-3. It can be tricky to get enough Omega-3 in your diet, and even though I love oily fish like mackerel and salmon I know many people don't... It is rather stinky and unsociable, after all! Seven Seas say cod liver oil is one of nature's best ways of protecting our health as we age:

"Even after decades of research, the evidence continues to grow for the many health benefits of Omega-3 oils. Today, many experts recommend fish-oil supplementation for those of us who don't manage to eat the recommended two portions of oily fish a week. Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil is a rich natural source of the most effective type of Omega-3 fatty acids."

It's available as both the traditional liquid and the more convenient capsules. I've always taken the capsules but am intrigued to try the liquid - I've read it can be hard to take, but some of the simple tips I've seen (thanks, Pinterest!) suggest adding it to to smoothies, fruit juice or homemade salad dressings.

The health benefits of cod liver oil include*:

  • Building resistance to infections such as coughs and colds (vitamin D supports a healthy immune system)
  • The relief of muscular pains, joint pain and stiffness
  • Good vision
  • Healthy hair, skin and nails
  • Strong bones and teeth
  • Maintained brain function
  • Support for a healthy heart (Omega-3 which contains EPA and DHA)

*Disclaimer: Food supplements are intended to supplement the diet and should not be regarded as a substitute for a varied diet and a healthy lifestyle. See the Seven Seas cod liver oil product details for more information.


How to Optimise Your Skincare Routine to Fight Ageing | The Benefits of Cod Liver Oil
Cod Liver Oil Benefits
So that's it for the first post, part two of the Simple Things will be up on the blog at the beginning of February - make sure you subscribe via Bloglovin so you don't miss it!

And don't forget - this list is not exhaustive. There are many more things that contribute to healthy, youthful skin.

It should go without saying, but for goodness sake PLEASE DON'T SMOKE. Stop smoking right now if you want to avoid skin that looks years older than it actually is. Also, excessive alcohol is also terribly dehydrating for the skin as well as being bad for your liver. Aside from all the health risks associated with smoking and drinking, who wants to excessively age their face...?

Finally, I want to mention the phrase "anti-ageing" itself. I personally see it as a way of saying we have to fight (there's that word again) nature taking its natural course in a very negative way, as mentioned at the beginning of the post.

How about we say "optimum ageing" instead of anti-ageing? Who's with me...?!

HOW ABOUT WE SAY "OPTIMUM AGEING" INSTEAD OF ANTI-AGEING? WHO'S WITH ME...?!

What are your top optimum ageing skincare tips? And do you take any supplements - if you do what do you take and what for? Tell me in the comments or tweet me @notlamb!


Catherine

P.S. Like this post? You might also want to read my Nivea Q10 review!

Linking up to: Let It Shine, Brilliant Blog PostsFriday's Fab Favourites

Disclosure: I have written this post in collaboration with Seven Seas (click here for my full disclosure). All content is original, however, and opinions are my own and 100% honest.
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Monday, 18 January 2016

A David Bowie Tribute - My Bowie Tee, 5 Ways #iwillwearwhatilike

4 Ways to Wear a David Bowie t-shirt | With a polka dot blazer

A week ago today the death of David Bowie left many of us reeling. I'm sure most of you will agree he was an inspiration in terms of his music, his style and his creativity - and his reputation for being an all-round decent bloke. 

I thought it only fitting that I dedicated this week's #iwillwearwhatilike link up to Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Halloween Jack, the Thin White Duke and the Goblin King. The man that I thought was the most beautiful man I'd ever seen, aged 10, when he bleached his hair and wore head to toe cream in the Let's Dance video. I'm absolutely gutted he's gone.

If you have any outfit posts, new or old, that are in any way inspired by David Bowie (see my #iwillwearwhatilike Pinterest board for inspiration) then please link them up and make sure you add "Bowie" somewhere in the text under the thumbnail so I know which are Bowie-inspired to feature next week! Otherwise PLEASE continue to link up all your outfits and accessories from your blogs or Instagram, everything's welcome as always :)

I've featured some of the outfits I've worn over the years on the blog with my David Bowie as Aladdin Sane t-shirt. It's now treasured even more than it was before, and I'm wearing it today with pride too.

You may have seen this tweeted last week, supposedly (but not actually) from Simon Pegg:

"IF YOU'RE EVER SAD, JUST REMEMBER THE WORLD IS 4.543 BILLION YEARS OLD AND YOU SOMEHOW MANAGED TO EXIST AT THE SAME TIME AS DAVID BOWIE." - @JeSuisDean

It wasn't Simon Pegg at all it seems, it was tweeted by Dean Podestá the day before Bowie died. Podestá had no knowledge at all that he was ill - it goes to prove just how much of an effect Bowie had on people even before all the tributes started pouring in. (To be fair it was subsequently quoted by another Simon Pegg on Twitter, just not the actor.)

The man was probably one of the coolest people ever to have walked the earth, and no matter who wrote the quote I couldn't agree with it more ❤

Are you a big Bowie fan? What was your favourite look of his? Tell me in the comments or tweet me @notlamb!

4 Ways to Wear a David Bowie t-shirt | With a polka dot blazer and skinnies
4 Ways to Wear a David Bowie t-shirt | With a polka dot blazer
1. My Go-To Uniform Part 3 | Rock Tee & Polka Dot Blazer

4 Ways to Wear a David Bowie t-shirt | With boyfriend jeans and a polka dot scarf
2. The Polka Dot Scarf Scene-Stealer

4 Ways to Wear a David Bowie t-shirt | With a chevron midi
3. Black, Brown, Bowie and Braids

4 Ways to Wear a David Bowie t-shirt | With neon yellow and khaki
4. Transitioning Into Spring | Neon Scarf, Jeans & A Rock Tee

Wearing a David Bowie t-shirt in New York
5. New York, 2009 (pre-blog!)

SHOP DAVID BOWIE T-SHIRTS:



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#iwillwearwhatilike | Not Dressed As Lamb
Thank you for joining the #iwillwearwhatilike link up! This started as a campaign on Instagram in August 2015 where women over 30 wore everything on a journalist's list of "inappropriate" items for 30+ women (including leopard print, short dresses and oversized sunglasses. Yes, really). It was so popular that I decided to carry it on weekly where women of all ages link up their fabulous style, never mind what anyone tells them not to wear!

So link up all your fabulous outfits (or shoes, accessories, make-up, etc.) every Monday at 3pm UK time - it'll stay open for a week. Whilst the original article was of course aimed at the 30+, you can be ANY age to link up. The only criteria is that you're wearing whatever you damn well like!

Fashion bloggers in animal print #iwillwearwhatilike
My favourite ANIMAL PRINT outfits from last week's link up (there were so many amazing ones I had to feature eight this week)!


NEXT WEEK:
THE OPTIONAL THEME FOR 25 JANUARY IS PANTONE'S COLOUR OF THE YEAR - ROSE QUARTZ AND/OR SERENITY (BLUE)


All I ask of you linking up is that you:

1. Please follow your host Not Dressed As Lamb (via Bloglovin or Instagram)
2. Link up your outfits (blog or Instagram posts) that show how you choose to wear what you like - as many as you like!
3. Please remember this is only for posts of what you've been wearing, not links to giveaways or anything else
4. Include a link back to this post if you're linking from a blog post, or add my button (below)
5. Post your outfit on Instagram (if you use it) with the hashtag #iwillwearwhatilike - Monday's the day to join in the IG fun
6. Visit some of the other links and share the love!

#iwillwearwhatilike | Not Dressed As Lamb
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Do share the love and visit as many links as you can (you never know what other lovely like-minded ladies you might meet) - the original Instagram campaign forged some wonderful new relationships so don't miss out!


Catherine

P.S. Don't forget to cast your daily vote for me in the UK Blog Awards! Please keep voting every day until 25th January - thank you so much for all the support!!

(you can vote every day!)

UKBA16 - Vote for Not Dressed As Lamb

Linking up to: Style StoriesiwillwearwhatilikeVisible MondayLet It ShineMonday MingleStyle SessionsTurning Heads TuesdayTrend Spin Link-UpWhat I Wore WednesdayBrilliant Blog PostsThrowback ThursdayPassion for Fashion FridayFriday's Fab Favourites
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