Thursday, 23 November 2017

How to Improve Your Heart Health Via Your Omega-3 Index

How to Improve Your Heart Health Via Your Omega-3 Index - ways to improve your diet, how to get more omega-3, oily fish | Not Dressed As Lamb
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Earlier this year I had a wake-up call where my health was concerned. Not a diagnosis or any sort of illness thankfully - it was one of those things you get yourself tested for that you think "I can't be deficient in that, surely...?"

In the same way that people get their cholesterol levels tested, I had my omega-3 index tested as part of the Seven Seas #TrueAge campaign. I wrote a "before" post back in June just after I'd started a trial to see if I could improve my omega-3 index. And oh BOY did it need improving.

Just to recap:

Omega-3, the much-discussed essential fatty acid found in oily fish, helps you to maintain good health as you get older. Its main benefits are to the heart, vision and the brain. The university professor who tested my blood sample explains the reasons for testing your omega-3 index:

"The omega-3 fatty acid content of red blood cells (the fatty acids are in the membrane of the cells) is considered to be a good indicator of how much omega-3s are being eaten. The omega-3s of greatest interest are EPA and DHA.

"A higher intake of EPA and DHA, and so a greater content in red blood cells, is linked with better health, including heart health. This is because the amount of EPA and DHA in red blood cells mirrors the amount in tissues like the heart. Researchers have defined the omega-3 index as the combined amounts of EPA plus DHA in red blood cells and suggest that this index be used as an indicator of heart health, just like blood cholesterol or blood pressure might be used."

So you can understand my desire to improve my index if it turned out to be a bit low. Which it did...
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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

13 Unmissable Reads, The Best of the Blogosphere (November 2017)

13 Unmissable Reads, The Best of the Blogosphere (November 2017)

In my Best of the Blogosphere this month I have two hilarious, tears-inducing beauty reviews, thoughts on being an older blogger, menopause underwear, gifts for teens and more!

(In case you've not seen these posts before my Unmissable Reads are a monthly round-up of things I've seen, watched and liked in the blogosphere that I'm sure you'll love too.)

It seems a particular, very successful YouTuber (rhymes with Floella...) has come under fire this month for producing (and I'm being polite here) a not-very-good-value-for-money advent calendar. There have been SO many reviews of said item on the internet, but don't miss the one that had me in stitches - sarcastic British humour at its absolute best.

I love how YouTubers are now reviewing other YouTubers' products... would you call that life imitating art? Something like that.

Anyway do have a read of these great links - you never know who or what you might discover that makes your day/week/month!

WHAT LINKS DID YOU LIKE - AND HAVE YOU FOUND ANY FABULOUS NEW BLOGS TO FOLLOW? COMMENT BELOW, OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!
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Monday, 20 November 2017

The Prince of Wales Check (Glen Plaid) Blazer Trend #iwillwearwhatilike

The Prince of Wales check blazer trend, AW17: A Glen plaid blazer jacket styled with wide leg jeans, black ankle boots and a stripe Mango shopper bag | Not Dressed As Lamb, fashion for over 40 women

Of all the new trends this AW17, this has to be the one I've been hankering after the most: the Prince of Wales (or Glen plaid) blazer.

It may well be all over Instagram at the moment, but you know what? It's not in real life. I haven't seen ONE person wearing one where I live.

Actually that's not entirely true - I did see a rather eccentrically-dressed lady in my town's high street wearing one a few weeks ago. She was probably in her 60s or 70s and the rest of her outfit was... interesting (let's be polite and call her style "bag lady chic"), so I don't think she was the type to be wearing her PoW check blazer in order to keep up with AW17 trends to be honest. But her blazer was spot-on - I almost wanted Keith to stop the car so I could run out and ask to buy it from her. I'd tried so many by that point and not found The One...  what can I say, I was desperate!

Luckily I did find The One after three failed attempts to order a check blazer online. Each one was either too long, too short, not the right colour and/or not the right fit. The one you see here, my friends, was the Goldilocks of Prince of Wales check blazers from Zara. It had just a little brown in it to make it a warm colour (as opposed to cold grey) - much more my preference.

WHILE I WAS ON THE ZARA WEBSITE I HAPPENED TO SEE OTHER THINGS (DAMN THESE SITES THAT HAVE BEAUTIFUL LARGE IMAGERY!) - I ALSO GOT THE WORLD'S SOFTEST SWEATSHIRT EVER EVER WHILE I WAS THERE. 

And of course while I was on the Zara website I happened to see other things (damn these sites that have beautiful large imagery!) - I also got The World's Softest Sweatshirt Ever Ever while I was there. It's not easy to see but this blush pink sweatshirt has grey fur cuffs.

That's GREY FUR CUFFS, people. =le sigh=

I was wearing them pulled out from my blazer sleeves but they'd slipped back inside for the first few photos: scroll down to see them peeking (pulled) out. It's a simple detail but also one that gives you great styling options (and think of all those three-quarter sleeve coats that leave your wrists cold... problem solved).
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Friday, 17 November 2017

Man Repellers Vs Repelling Menswear: Shouldn't Men Wear What They Like Too? #SaturdayShareLinkUp

Man repellers vs repelling menswear: Why do women dictate what men should wear but wear whatever they like?

Hands up if you're guilty of this: Wearing whatever you damn well like no matter what the man in your life thinks, but then insisting that you wouldn't be seen dead with him wearing that football shirt/those shoes/that shirt and tie combination?

I have to sheepishly put my hand up and say that I have thought those things before, and I'm not proud of it!

However, I AM proud to be part of the #iwillwearwhatilike revolution. I love the fact that my little corner of the internet encourages women to be free of style rules and to stop worrying about what others think about what they wear and thinking they should dress "age appropriately".

So what I thought this week was... Should #iwillwearwhatilike not apply to men as well? Should they not be allowed to go out wearing things that make the lady in their life cringe or think that it's an outfit that's just not working (or "not doing them any favours", for want of a better expression) even if THEY like what they're wearing?
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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

9 Minimalist Style Fashion Bloggers You Should Know

9 Minimalist Style Fashion Bloggers

Minimalist style is definitely not a way that anyone would describe MY personal style, but it doesn't mean I don't admire minimalist dressing in others.

In fact you might be surprised to learn that I'm actually a massive fan of sleek, clean style with neutral colours and a ton of black and white.

I just can't do it myself.

Seeing as I am so drawn to minimalist style I thought I'd bring you a selection of some of my favourite minimalist style fashion bloggers. These are the girls who live for black and white (and just occasionally a bit of grey or camel!) - they've got that Scandi-style art of dressing down to a tee (which, by the way, is always basic white or black).

There's no over-the-top accessorising. There are no garish patterns or (god forbid!) print clashes. No bold colour combinations or rainbow brights. There's just tailoring, all the neutrals, black ankle boots and lots of white sneakers.

It's a style I really yearn for - however I just can't get my head around wearing black and white when I feel the need to WEAR ALL THE COLOURS AND PATTERNS. But these girls do black and white with aplomb, and I can only imagine how easy picking outfits from their wardrobes must be. I wish I could clone myself or have an alter ego who dresses so sleekly and has the easiest time coordinating outfits. I'd love to know what's like to be the girl who's not forever wondering where her candy pink belt is because it would go perfectly with the lilac boots and burgundy trousers.

So this style may not be something I'll ever embrace myself, but it doesn't mean I can't take elements and incorporate it into my style every now and then.
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Monday, 13 November 2017

How to Style a Baker Boy Hat, Over 40 Style #iwillwearwhatilike

Autumn winter fall style - casual fall dressing - Mustard M&S cable knit oversized roll neck sweater \ white cropped wide leg jeans \ tan boots \ camel baker boy hat \ pink suede backpack | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

I've finally succumbed and bought myself a baker boy hat for winter. It took me ages to choose one, and even longer to decide whether or not to keep it...!

The baker boy hat is the trend that I accidentally left off my 3 must-have autumn/winter pieces post last month (velvet, Prince of Wales check blazers and white boots all appeared) but I forgot baker boy hats for some reason. I couldn't work out whether I really, really liked - or really disliked - this corduroy baker boy hat from Asos. The other choices were mostly black or dark colours, and you know me and my dislike of black... So shades of brown and camel it was!

Trust me to choose the priciest one on the Asos website. Not only that but the day I first wore it we went for a long walk along the seafront and then on for a pub lunch with friends: I was told I looked like a particular Muppet and do you know what, she was absolutely right!

The name of the Muppet shall be revealed, meantime...
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Friday, 10 November 2017

Unicorns Are Dangerous: Eco-Unfriendly Glitter is Killing Our Oceans #SaturdayShareLinkUp

Unicorns are evil: Why eco-unfriendly glitter is killing our oceans

Unicorns are dangerous.

Now I know that they may be the "animal" of the decade, and that they're cute and "so fluffy I'm gonna die!", but I was thinking about unicorns as I put my recycling out this morning (Friday is recycling collection day).

Bear with me on this.

I don't know what it's like in your area, and depending on where you live I don't know if you get a recycling collection truck come round - but we do. So every other Friday morning everyone puts out their rubbish and recycling. And this is what breaks my heart and makes me mad in equal measures:

The amount of rubbish that's left out in my street equals about five times the amount of recycling that's left out. Our household's is the other way round... our rubbish bag is very small and we recycle everything that can possibly be recycled.
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Thursday, 9 November 2017

The Best AW17 Brogues, Oxfords and Lace-Ups to Buy Online

The Best AW17 Brogues, Oxfords and Lace-Ups to Buy Online

After featuring a pair of orange and beige two-tone lace-ups from my vast brogues collection recently, I mentioned that I might dedicate a whole post to the best styles out there this season... Here is that post!

There are lots of styles of brogues available for AW17 - and I mean a LOT. They've been around forever for men (do they really ever go out of style for them?) and to be honest they never really go out of style for women. The details may change a little, but the classic brogue never dates.

What can date them is the basic shape, the heel and the sole. What's more important, however, is to go for a style that you like, that suits your personal style and that flatters you (i.e. your ankles and calves). For example, I personally like a chunkier sole because I don't have super slim ankles - the very thin soles can exaggerate chunkier legs.

I've been wearing them for what seems like forever (maybe because I have about 14 pairs?)

My favourite pair is the unusual coral-coloured classic brogues and my comfiest pair is the silver and white brogues with the foam sole. The red patent brogues never fail to brighten up an outfit.
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Monday, 6 November 2017

Mixing Metallics and Styling a Bardot-Style Christmas Party Dress #iwillwearwhatilike

Christmas party dress: Grey off the shoulder ruffled midi dress with silver polka dots | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
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What screams "Christmas party" more than metallics? Gold, silver and all things shiny are fabulous all year round, but none more so than during the festive season.

I'll always love a pretty dress at Christmas time, whether it's for a full-on party, a gathering with friends or the big day itself. And as I'm also a fan of midi dresses, this grey ruffled dress with silver polka dots had me swooning the second I saw it - it ticks so many trend boxes! The ruffles, the off-the-shoulder Bardot-style top and the spots come together to make a dress that may not be super bright or over the top colourful, but I fell in love with its elegance and feminine frills.

I chose this dress as part of my collaboration with JD Williams - you may have seen in September that I'm part of their exciting Colour Council (with five other influencers) that the brand launched to coincide with their total rebranding the same month? They are now not just a fashion brand but they're "JD Williams - The Lifestore". I have to give them full marks for a truly excellent rebranding campaign: the message, the imagery, the models used and even the colourful new logo are all well worth checking out.
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Friday, 3 November 2017

Shortlisted For Most Addictive Blog (May I Have Your Vote?) #SaturdayShareLinkUp

Thirty Plus Awards 2017 - please vote for Not Dressed As Lamb in the "Most Addictive Blog" category

This week I'm sharing the kindness and generosity of my readers - it seems I was nominated anonymously for an award, and how wonderful is this: I made the shortlist!

Last year I was a judge at the Thirty Plus Awards which was a real honour and loads of fun - and this year it seems someone has put my name forward in the "Most Addictive Blog" category.

If this was you - please accept my humblest thanks from the bottom of my heart. It means SO much that someone took the time to nominate me.

(And if it WAS you please let me know - I still don't know who it was...!)

Anyway to get straight to the point - it wouldn't be right not to try and do as well as I can seeing as someone went to the trouble of nominating me (in fact it would seem quite ungrateful), so if you too think my blog is addictive (or even if you think it's just quite good!) then I really WOULD be very grateful if you could take a few seconds to vote for me please...
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Thursday, 2 November 2017

My Skincare Routine for Looking After My Skin in My 40s

Anti-ageing skincare tips for looking after your skin in your 40s | Not Dressed As Lamb
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Not that it's a "bad" thing at all (in fact it's great!), but at 45 I am well and truly in midlife. And it's amazing how much skincare is as important to you in your 40s as it was in your teens... if not more so.

I often receive compliments about how old I look (or don't look?) which is very flattering, but it doesn't come easy, that's for sure. Getting great skin is a battle I've been fighting for years now - and still battling.

It's inevitable that we'll all get lines and wrinkles as we age, and I'm perfectly okay with that, but looking my best is very important to me and I'm very aware of all the things that affect our skin health. I thought I'd share with you my skincare routine for looking after my skin in my 40s (and how I want to go on looking after it)!
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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

5 Ways to Increase Blog Traffic You Didn't Know You Were Squandering

Blogging Tips | 5 Ways to Increase Blog Traffic That You Didn't Know You Were Squandering

About 18 months ago I made the discovery that I was seriously squandering blog traffic in a way I didn't even know about.

Yet now it's one of the biggest - and most important - ways I generate traffic to my blog.

This realisation came about because a fellow blogger asked me how I'd set up and organised one of the platforms provided for readers to follow us.

Two words - I hadn't. I was basically squandering all the potential blog traffic from this platform.

What was it? Email subscriptions.

How much thought have you ever given to those who subscribe to your posts by email? Have you ever thought about exactly what they receive in their Inbox, the format in which they receive notifications that you've posted on your blog?
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Monday, 30 October 2017

How to Dress Warm and Cosy in Autumn Without a Coat #iwillwearwhatilike

Cozy, comfy autumn fall outfit for walking the dog \ long orange-red roll neck sweater \ skinny jeans \ brown ankle boots \ flat cap | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

I think I've found the secret to dressing in cold weather without several layers of thermals, a scarf and coat...

It's called This Roll Neck Sweater from Marks & Spencer. And OMG is it warm and cosy... I knew it would be warm because of the high neck that doesn't flop down: it completely negates the need for a scarf. I bought it on a whim last weekend because I was helping my mum shop for new sweaters online and I suggested this one to her, but she doesn't like roll necks. I liked it so much I added it to the basket anyway (as well as the mustard yellow one, oops) and of COURSE it turned out to be perfect [for me].
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Friday, 27 October 2017

How the Movies Have Influenced My Wardrobe #SaturdayShareLinkUp

How the Movies Have Influenced My Wardrobe (The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink) | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

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Hands up - who's ever gone out and bought an outfit (or tried to recreate a look) based on something they've seen at the cinema? I may not have done it for a while, but "back in the day" (otherwise known as the 80s) I was all over EVERY look going in the Brat Pack movies.

In fact, not just the Brat Pack movies (that'd be The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire, Pretty in Pink, etc.) but also 80s classics like Desperately Seeking Susan, Working Girl and Dirty Dancing. As a teenager I was constantly trying to emulate what Molly Ringwald, Demi Moore and Ally Sheedy wore.

(At this point of the post I'd just like to say that I make NO apologies for wallowing in nostalgia... Nostalgia is a privilege denied to the young! 😉)

For this week's Saturday Share I was asked by Cineworld to share my favourite cinema moments with you for their #CineworldMoments campaign... this is SO easy! I could talk/write all day about my memorable cinema moments. Keith and I are currently trying desperately to find an evening (or Sunday morning) to go and see Bladerunner 2049 and Thor: Ragnarok. We've always been regular cinema-goers - I can still clearly remember that the first film we went to see together was Moulin Rouge (funny how you remember these details) in the early days of us seeing each other.

The good news for our movie-loving selves is that tickets for Star Wars: The Last Jedi are ALREADY booked for mid-December. That's what happens when you're married to a man who was 7 years old when Episode IV came out in 1977: he always makes sure he's among the first to see anything Star Wars-related.

But what about cinema moments from my early years?

< main image t-shirts available from Redbubble: left, right >

The most impactful movies

The movies that had the most impact on me in the 80s were two absolute classic teen movies, both by the late great John Hughes: The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. I cannot begin to tell you how much I loved (and still love) those two movies.

Both starred Molly Ringwald - it's not like I'd cite her as being a major influence on my 13 or 14-year-old self, but it just so happened she starred in both of them.

I saw The Breakfast Club at the cinema in 1985 and Pretty in Pink a year later. Both played a major sartorial influence on me because I was already thinking about my own personal style a lot by that time. But first - a few cinema memories that I'm sure many of you of a certain age can identify with...

1980s cinema memories

Ghostbusters, 1984

(Age 12): I queued around the block (literally) in 1984 for Ghostbusters with my friend Julie in the freezing cold only to have the tickets sell out a couple of people ahead of us. (I can still feel the disappointment even now.) We tried again the next day and this time we got in after my parents went and bought us a couple of hot chocolates to drink while we were queuing. Ah, the days before booking tickets online...

The Breakfast Club, 1985

(Age 13, and yes, we were underage...): Wanting to see both The Breakfast Club and Brewster's Millions (don't ask) on the same day, I remember my BFF Jo and I running out of one film then racing down the road to the other cinema to catch the start of the next one. I can't remember which we saw first, but I know which made the most - and the most lasting - impact on me. (Clue: It wasn't Brewster's Millions.)



Top Gun, 1986

(Age 14): This was THE film that all the girls wanted to see on the last day of term after school. As we were leaving, I can remember the deputy head asking us what we were doing with our half day - we told her we were off to see Top Gun. I can remember her rolling her eyes and muttering something about whether any girls were NOT off to see it. Seems the whole of my school were off to the cinema that afternoon to watch some fast planes and a now-legendary volleyball scene for the first time.

Pretty in Pink, 1986

(Age 14): I was well-versed in the Brat Pack by this point (Rob Lowe dominated most of my waking thoughts, and it's weird to think he's still got it 30 years later). Another John Hughes movie at the cinema? Of course I was going to see it. What I wasn't prepared for was seeing a vintage-clad Molly Ringwald, dressed NOTHING like the other pastel-covered, mid-80s preppy students.


I can remember coming out of the cinema and thinking that this was EXACTLY how I wanted to dress. Up to that point I thought I'd wanted to dress like she did in The Breakfast Club (where the costume designer put her in head-to-toe Ralph Lauren), but after Pretty in Pink? I wanted to wear granny cardigans, embellish everything, make my own clothes, go to vintage stores and charity shops.

What's utterly amazing is that her outfits Have. Not. Dated.

TO BE FAIR, I WOULD STILL HAPPILY WEAR ALL HER OUTFITS, EVEN NOW. IT PROVES JUST HOW MUCH OF AN IMPORTANT PART GOOD COSTUME IS TO A MOVIE.

Pretty in Pink style

If you're not familiar with her style in that movie (I'll only accept you being born in the 80s or later as an excuse), then check out this Pretty in Pink style dissection - it shows you just about every outfit she wore. To be fair, I would still HAPPILY wear all her outfits*, even now. It proves just how much of an important part good costume is to a movie.

So yes, clothes and fashion are my thing, and fashion in movies is up there where Things That Make Me Wallow Happily in Nostalgia are concerned.

I know I'm not alone in loving clothes in movies - but what are some of YOUR favourite memories of going to the cinema? Who remembers when people used to smoke in the cinema?! Ever had a first date at the movies that led to something (or someone) quite serious?

DO SHARE YOUR CINEMA STORIES - TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!

*In case you're wondering - the prom dress is the exception. Yes, I hated it too and remember being HORRIFIED when she walked on screen in it. True fans will know what I mean...

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So all that's left to say is - I've shared my thoughts/stories/tuppence-worth this week, now it's time to share yours... LET'S GET THIS [LINK UP] PARTY STARTED!

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Thank you for joining the #SaturdayShareLinkUp! Designed to allow you to share anything you like on ANY topic, it goes live every Friday at around 8pm UK time and will stay open for a week. You can share blog posts or Instagram posts, old posts or new posts, and link up as many as you like.

PLEASE be kind and leave a link somewhere on your post, and share your post using the hashtag #SaturdayShareLinkUp - if you tweet your link with the hashtag and tag me in @notlamb I'll even retweet it to my followers for you :)

A hot tip for linking up:

Use clear, bright images (crop in close if necessary) and add a relevant, descriptive title (you've got 75 characters to use). These sorts of thumbnails and text always get the most clicks, so don't waste the opportunity to increase traffic and engagement on your best work!




Catherine


Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Cineworld (click here for my full disclosure)It also contains affiliate links which means if you click through and buy I may receive a small commission. All content is original, however, and opinions are my own and 100% honest.
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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

15 Unmissable Reads, The Best of the Blogosphere (October 2017)

Not Dressed As Lamb's The Best of the Blogosphere (October 2017)

In my Best of the Blogosphere this month I have midsize gals in sequinned dresses, a stunning Halloween makeup, positive thoughts on turning 50, tax deductible manicures - and more!

(In case you've not seen these posts before my Unmissable Reads are a monthly round-up of things I've seen, watched and liked in the blogosphere that I'm sure you'll love too.)

SO much great stuff to read (yet again) this month. Everyone is just starting to break out the sequins and party wear and happy festive vibes... summer may be over but that doesn't mean we can't embrace the new season!

Do have a read of these great links - you never know who or what you might discover that makes your day/week/month!
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Monday, 23 October 2017

The Ultimate 70s-Style Patterned Midi Dress #iwillwearwhatilike

Elegant 70s style patterned midi dress in autumnal colours - bell sleeves, tie waist (Hobbs AW17) | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

I'm so glad I've finally got round to showcasing this patterned midi dress on the blog at last - have you EVER seen such a wondrous mix of sludgy 70s-style colours and print?

My obsession with all things 70s inspired hasn't waned in the slightest it seems. The other week I did 70s Ralph Lauren country style with a floral maxi, and today it's a mind-bending swirly print of epic Abigail's Party proportions.

Hobbs have knocked it out the park yet again with another stunning AW17 dress - I didn't think I could love a dress more than the yellow velvet dress I featured last month: please don't make me choose between the two...!

I wore this dress to the eRetail Europe conference in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago where I gave a presentation (I wrote a blog post about my fears before the conference and a follow up post explaining how it all went) - if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my InstaStories in the hotel room before I left, showing off this beauty.

It was everything I wanted in an outfit where I was the only "influencer" - meaning, everyone else was there representing their business or their employer (a question I was asked all day - delegate: "Who do you work for?" Me: I work for myself...!" 💪). And being a fashion blogger you have a certain reputation to uphold. So as I knew back in May I was going to this conference I'd been thinking for a while about what to wear.
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Friday, 20 October 2017

Never Underestimate How Much You're Worth #SaturdayShareLinkUp

Never underestimate how much you're worth: How to work out how much you should be charging for sponsored blog posts and in other areas of life.

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a unique position: Someone who wanted to work with me asked me to justify my worth.

This was the first time this had ever happened to me - I'd never been asked to justify the fees that I charge. And the thing is, I was perfectly confident about doing so. Had I been asked three or four years ago, I wouldn't have known what on earth to say or how to respond.

The confidence I have in my ability to produce great content - and to do it professionally - is something that every now and then surprises me (in a really good way).

I've learnt through bitter experience that for a long time I totally underestimated my worth. Yet this doesn't apply to just my blogging career, but to many of the jobs I had that led up to me going full time as a professional blogger.

And it's something that I think too many of us do. It's even worse when we consider than women are still being paid less than men for doing the same jobs in many industries.

Being asked to justify my worth

So what happened?

I was contacted by a PR person who wanted me to get on board with a particular campaign she was running for a brand. (It doesn't matter what the campaign or the brand were, it's not relevant.) She outlined the project and asked for fees, which I gave her.

I listed the fees that I'm currently being paid by other brands for equivalent work, so I knew for a fact that those fees were what I'm worth (to a brand).

Here's the rub: She replied asking me to explain why I'm charging so much more than my contemporaries. I explained things that she should really have known already (if she'd done her research) about my stats, successes with other campaigns, my UK Blog Awards win, etc.

I was curtly told "I think you've misunderstood my request, I understand how and why you might decide on pricing. I need to demonstrate to the client why you'd be worth the additional spend, what do you bring to a campaign that no one else can?"

My answer?

(I'm so glad I thought of saying this, because it's true...)

I said perhaps it's not that I'm overcharging, maybe it's that the other influencers are not charging enough. This is something that all too often is not the first thing that PRs think of. Blogging is a very, very new profession, after all, and bloggers are generally in the dark about what to charge companies (usually not enough).

I very politely declined to go any further with the campaign and stopped short of telling her what I thought of her asking me to do her job for her (it's HER job to pitch me to the client and justify why I'm worth what I charge... She found and approached me, after all).

How I calculate what fees to charge

I'm lucky compared to a lot of bloggers: I've had an agent who helped me see what I was worth by quoting on my behalf. It's a lot easier to have the confidence in yourself when someone else is doing the negotiating.

What do I charge? I charge what brands are willing to pay me.

In IFB's recent article 5 reasons to walk away from a blog sponsorship, they explained it this way:

"If your rate is X, and you've never sold a service for that price, then maybe your rates are too high. Experiment to find a rate you are comfortable with that brands feel comfortable investing in as well. If your rate is X, and you are selling it more than you have time to do a great job on it, then your rate is too low, and you should raise it. There are no “set” rates for anything."

In other words, the way to know whether what you charge for your services - and this applies to ANYONE who charges fees for a service or products - is by putting up your prices. If everyone happily pays you those fees, then you're still charging too little. If no one pays you those fees, you're charging too much.

WHAT YOU WANT ARE GOLDILOCKS RATES: RATES THAT SOME PEOPLE CAN AFFORD AND HAPPILY PAY BUT THAT ARE TOO HIGH FOR OTHERS. 

Goldilocks rates

What you want are Goldilocks rates: Rates that some people can afford and happily pay but that are too high for others. This is the way you stay in high demand - those that can't afford you but are desperate to work with you or hire you for your services will look for some way to be able to pay you what you're worth.

I strongly believe that too many of us are afraid of charging what we're worth. I did, many times: when I look back on what I was charging brands in the early days I could kick myself for charging too little - I know because they accepted my rates far too readily. I was afraid of putting them off, afraid of them thinking I was too big for my boots.

I know better now and have no qualms about quoting my fees and knowing they may (or may not!) be able to afford me.

Find out your worth

So whatever you do in life - whether you are self-employed, an employee, a freelancer, someone who bakes cakes for friends and family or walk dogs now and then for some extra cash - make sure you don't underestimate your worth. If you find that people are all too happy to pay you what you charge them, put your prices up at the end of the year. Those that can't afford you won't be able to pay. But you'll be making more money by having put up your prices, but your workload is less.

(Obviously I'm talking from a purely business point of view... I'm not suggesting you go ripping off old ladies whose dogs you walk to help them out!)

If you're an employee ask yourself if you're being paid what you're truly worth. Have you found out if there is equal pay amongst the male and female colleagues in your company? This is a hot topic right now, so be brave and just ASK.

If you're a blogger, ask others what they charge. If they won't help you, find someone who will.

If you're told you're too expensive...

I think it surprises a lot of people that there ARE bloggers out there who turn down paid projects. Yes, it can be hard to keep saying no to a brand that offers you 25% of what you quoted or what you'd originally agreed upon (as has happened to me - and more than once or twice) if you really need the money. I regularly say no to paid projects because they either don't fit my brand or they can't afford me.

But, like brands who don't "do" sales or give discount codes, you could be harming your brand or your long-term earning power if you constantly accept less than what you're worth. (Don't forget, if just one brand is willing to pay you what you've quoted, that's your worth.)

IT'S NOT ABOUT RACING TO THE BOTTOM ALONG WITH EVERYONE ELSE. IT'S ABOUT KNOWING YOUR VALUE. 
- @allinbillgreen

Can you imagine the harm discount codes would do to a brand like Chanel? You never see big sale signs in designer stores because it would do their brand more harm than good to suddenly drop their prices. Consumers would no longer see them as a luxury brand - they'd become a discount brand.

Going back to the Goldilocks rates... think how many women save up for a Chanel handbag. I said "those that can't afford you but are desperate to work with you or hire you for your services will look for some way to be able to pay you what you're worth". Chanel handbags ARE worth it to some women. So they (hypothetically) beg, borrow and steal to be able to afford to buy one.

Chanel don't drop their prices - those who want a Chanel handbag find a way to afford one.

As this excellent article about how to reply if a customer says your product or service is too expensive explains: "It's not about racing to the bottom along with everyone else. It's about knowing your value, understanding what you're really selling, and being able to effectively communicate that value in a way that puts your cost into perspective."

I gladly gave up that campaign offered to me by that jobsworth PR even though she may have accepted my fees in the end. But if she couldn't already see that I was worth what I was charging, then that wasn't the campaign for me.

If you think about it, that thought process can be applied to an awful lot more in life than just monetary worth. Know your worth in every aspect of your lives, ladies. You deserve every bit of it.

DO YOU KNOW YOUR WORTH - OR ARE YOU STILL FIGURING IT OUT? DO PLEASE SHARE WITH EVERYONE IN THE COMMENTS... WE NEED TO HEAR EACH OTHER'S STORIES :)

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So all that's left to say is - I've shared my thoughts/stories/tuppence-worth this week, now it's time to share yours... LET'S GET THIS [LINK UP] PARTY STARTED!

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PLEASE be kind and leave a link somewhere on your post, and share your post using the hashtag #SaturdayShareLinkUp - if you tweet your link with the hashtag and tag me in @notlamb I'll even retweet it to my followers for you :)

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Use clear, bright images (crop in close if necessary) and add a relevant, descriptive title (you've got 75 characters to use). These sorts of thumbnails and text always get the most clicks, so don't waste the opportunity to increase traffic and engagement on your best work!




Catherine


Linking up to: Brilliant Blog Posts, Fake It Until You Make It
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Thursday, 19 October 2017

The 3 Must-Have Pieces to Shop This Autumn/Winter

3 must-have pieces to shop this autumn/fall/winter: White boots \ Prince of Wales check plaid blazers \ velvet - AW17 trends | Not Dressed As Lamb
Is it just me or has anyone else noticed three key pieces that have been popping up everywhere in the last couple of months?

Now I know that the current season's on-trend pieces aren't always to everyone's tastes, and of course as the creator of the hashtag #iwillwearwhatilike I'm certainly not saying that these are the pieces you HAVE to be buying this season (unlike the fashion sites and magazines tell you). But if I really like a trend then I will wear it, once I've found the right piece that suits me (#iwillwearwhatilike works both ways)!

The pieces that I've fallen in love with (or is that been hypnotised into wanting?) this autumn are white boots, velvet anything and Prince of Wales check blazers. I've seen all three a lot on London Fashion Week street style stars... and I have to say I'm hooked.

I'VE SEEN ALL THREE A LOT ON LONDON FASHION WEEK STREET STYLE STARS... AND I HAVE TO SAY I'M HOOKED.

Prince of Wales (or heritage check, or Glenn plaid) blazers

A Prince of Wales check - sometimes referred to as heritage check or Glenn plaid - is a pattern I've loved for AGES. Some of you may be familiar with my wide leg check trousers that I bought last year, and I think even since the 80s I've been a fan of an oversized blazer (thanks, Bananarama).

White boots

Those street style stars have proved white boots look AMAZING with a maxi dress - I'm thinking I need a pair to go with the floral maxi dress I wore recently: it'll take the dress from 70s Ralph Lauren to AW17 in an instant.

Velvet

And finally, velvet. It's taken me a while to come around to liking velvet again after the bad memories I have of cheap crushed velvet in the 90s, but after wearing the stunning yellow ochre Hobbs dress I'm not turning my back on velvet again anytime soon:

Desk to dinner outfit: One dress styled two ways | A Hobbs yellow ochre velvet midi dress with ruffles styled as office workwear and a date night outfit
I'm also crushing (see what I did there 😉!) on this orange velvet backpack - if I could just ensure I keep it out of the rain I'd be a happy girl.

I hope you'll find something you love in my picks... don't forget that YOU choose what trends to follow, and what to leave behind. Only wear what you love and what works for you. I can imagine that white boots will be a bit of a Marmite piece - let me know!

ARE YOU LUSTING AFTER ANY OF THESE THREE KEY PIECES THIS SEASON... IF SO WHICH ONE(S)? COMMENT BELOW, OR TAKE IT TO TWITTER @NOTLAMB!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means if you click through and buy I may receive a small commission.

White boots

3 must-have pieces to shop this autumn/fall/winter: White boots \ Prince of Wales check plaid blazers \ velvet - AW17 trends | Not Dressed As Lamb
Bottom right: Rebecca Minkoff white boots £132.76

Love them or hate them, they certainly make any outfit look very, very modern. I love that bright contrast that white gives - sure beats boring black boots.

More white boots to shop...




Prince of Wales check blazer

3 must-have pieces to shop this autumn/fall/winter: White boots \ Prince of Wales check plaid blazers \ velvet - AW17 trends | Not Dressed As Lamb
Top right: Miss Selfridge check blazer £45.00
Bottom right: H&M belted check jacket £39.99

In my hunt I found that Mango has one of the best selections of check blazers. Look how many gorgeous ways Carelia of My Small Wardrobe styled her plaid blazer - it's all the inspo you need for ways to wear yours.

More check blazers to shop...




Velvet anything

3 must-have pieces to shop this autumn/fall/winter: White boots \ Prince of Wales check plaid blazers \ velvet - AW17 trends | Not Dressed As Lamb
I am DYING over so many of these pieces! I can't believe I've gone full circle and am now loving velvet everything.

More plush velvet pieces to shop...



Pin for later:

3 must-have pieces to shop this autumn/fall/winter: White boots \ Prince of Wales check plaid blazers \ velvet - AW17 trends | Not Dressed As Lamb

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Catherine

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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

How to Do Smart Preppy Style in the Autumn, Over 40

Preppy Style in the Autumn: Double breasted camel blazer \ striped Seasalt sweater \ white button down shirt \ aubergine peg trousers pants \ two tone brogues \ orange vintage sunglasses | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style
NDAL banner

There are few things that make you feel more like the lady of the manor than an English country estate - especially on a beautiful autumn day.

And what's better to wear than something a little preppy? It's a style I generally associate with summer because of all the sailor stripes and gingham, but if you switch up the cotton for lambswool and the gingham for stripes in earthy tones you've got yourself preppy style in autumn.

The house and estate you see in the background here is Escot House and park in Devon - it's not a stately home like Blenheim Palace that you can tour but it can be hired out for conferences and weddings. To be honest it's quite a small house as far as country estates go(!), so as we're considering a house move next year I'm thinking this sort of size house would do me very nicely, thank you. There'd be less to dust when it's this small, though if I were the lady of this manor I'm pretty sure I'd have a housekeeper or two... #lol

Joking aside - the real reason we were there was to watch my brother in a cycle race that went around the grounds, so it was the perfect spot for a photo shoot. It was also strangely warm for mid-October - I layered a white shirt under my new sweater and I really didn't need the blazer, but I liked the way the colours all went together so the blazer stayed on.

This outfit is a mixture of old and new - the new blending seamlessly with other items in my wardrobe.

Preppy Style in the Autumn: Double breasted camel blazer \ striped Seasalt sweater \ white button down shirt \ aubergine peg trousers pants \ two tone brogues \ orange vintage sunglasses | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style
SHOP THE LOOK:

Seasalt Trumpet jumper sweater, striped   Oasis double-breasted camel longline blazer   Topshop berry red paperbag waist belted trousers   Zalando two-tone brogues   Marks & Spencer white button down shirt   Asos pearl and gold hoop earrings
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Monday, 16 October 2017

A Sequinned Rock n Roll Outfit at the Spectacle Wearer of the Year Awards #iwillwearwhatilike

Specsavers SWOTY 2017: Evening/cocktail date night outfit - David Bowie rock t-shirt tee \ black sequin trousers \ bright orange pointed heels | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

It may not be Christmas yet but I've already broken out the sequins. When you're invited to an event that says cocktail dress code you just HAVE to get the sparkle on, don't you?!

Last week I went to the Specsavers Spectacle Wearer of the Year Awards (what a mouthful - it's often called SWOTY which is easier) as an influencer to raise awareness of the event and the money it raises for charity. You may have seen on my Instagram feed last week that I was there in my Bowie t-shirt and sequinned trousers, feeling more than a little rock and roll...!

I attended last year as well and went for a vintage dress that time - this year I thought I'd go for (almost) head-to-toe black which isn't like me at all! As I often say when asked about not wearing black I say that I often go for black for a nighttime event... maybe it's something to do with me wanting to reflect the happy, positive vibes you get from daylight rather than sucking the life out it with black? Who knows.

Aaaanyway the sequinned trousers are so fabulous (JD Williams again, and like last week's floral midi dress act fast if you want a pair) and they went so well with my newest heels purchases: orange Aldo pointed heels. They're sold out now but these Asos heels are almost the same (I thought it was about time I had some orange in my shoe arsenal). Another punch of bright colour with the turquoise clutch (old - similar), some gold asymmetric earrings and a side-swept, braided-at-the-back messy hairdo and I felt suitably rock n roll enough for a celeb-filled bash.

I've featured a few shots that were taken on the night - a bit of a mish-mash of selfies, photos taken by the event photographer and casual outfit shots taken by my O40Co pal Nikki (who was also invited... we had so much fun). It was quite nice not to have to worry about getting perfect outfit shots for a change, I thought I'd just go with whatever I could scramble together for today's #iwillwearwhatilike - turns out the photos aren't that bad at all!
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Friday, 13 October 2017

How to Dress Big Boobs to Make Them Look Smaller #SaturdayShareLinkUp

How to Dress Big Boobs to Make Them Look Smaller | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

This week it seemed I "outranked" a friend in the cup size department, much to her surprise. As it's Breast Cancer Awareness month this was a timely topic...!

This friend - a fellow blogger - and I chatted for over an hour on the phone this week. The conversation swung round to our outfit posts and the way we look online, and we bemoaned the fact that being on (film) camera really does add ten pounds. She was being really complimentary about the way I dress (bless her!) - then she mentioned something about how her big boobs are so hard to dress.

This was what shocked her: Me saying that I too am a very busty girl (I got a bemused "really?!" in response). When we shared our bra sizes it seems I actually outranked her in the cup size department.

(I probably should have put a disclaimer at the beginning to say Warning: Much boobage talk will ensue in this post. If you're not a fan this may not be the post for you. Though I may also have attracted the wrong sort with the post title - they will be disappointed...!)

Anyway just for the purposes of this post, I will reveal my bra size. It's usually a huge surprise to those that I choose to tell, because I think I am able to dress my big boobs to look smaller... a LOT smaller. I'm often confronted with shocked reactions when I find myself in a situation where bra sizes are discussed.

IF YOU WANT TO SHOW OFF YOUR BOOBS, NO MATTER HOW SMALL OR LARGE THEY ARE, THEN GO FOR IT. SAME GOES FOR COVERING THEM UP. THERE ARE NO RULES, NO RIGHT OR WRONG. 

I do not dress to show off my boobs or my cleavage, and that's just my choice. As you probably know if you've ever read my blog before, I believe in #iwillwearwhatilike - so that means if you want to show off your boobs, no matter how small or large they are, then go for it. Same goes for covering them up. There are no rules, no right or wrong.

So how is it that I am extremely blessed in the chest department but no one seems to know about it?
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Thursday, 12 October 2017

Why There's No Such Thing As a Break in Full-Time Blogging

Why There's No Such Thing As a Break in Full-Time Blogging | Not Dressed As Lamb

Over the four years that I've been blogging full-time I've been contacted by quite a few bloggers to ask how I managed to give up the day job and go full-time with my blog.

There's no secret formula - I'm as surprised as anyone that I'm managing to make a living out of this strange profession. 

The first thing to realise? There's no conventional way to do it. I'm sure all the pro bloggers/influencers out there will have a different story to tell.

Secondly - there's absolutely no such thing as a break in full-time blogging. Anyone who does this for a living will tell you that there's always more Instagramming, Facebooking, Tweeting, commenting, writing, emailing or editing you could be doing. Always, always.

So how did I do it?

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Monday, 9 October 2017

The Perfect Autumnal Outfit for Air Travel and Sightseeing #iwillwearwhatilike

Romantic, Ralph Lauren-inspired 70s style autumn/fall outfit: Floral maxi dress \ tan belt and boots \ camel fedora \ orange leather tote bag | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

Last week I spent two days in Amsterdam - it was half business, half leisure, and I had the most fabulous time. Friday's post explains why I was there for business... today I'm talking about the outfit I wore on the second day for the sightseeing part of the trip (and on the plane home)! 

I've created a little collage of the lovely day I spent with Greetje - scroll down to see the snaps I took. She showed me all the interesting small shops and boutiques (it was nice to avoid all the chain stores) and we ate delicious food in equal measures of healthy and naughty and took several tea and coffee breaks. The weather was predicted to be just about the worst you could possibly imagine: 50mph winds and pouring rain (not a good start). Although it was pretty bad in the morning, by the time met and had had our first cafe stop it actually brightened up and we enjoyed lots of sunshine with just a few short showers in between.

Sunshine on a day you're not expecting any at all is just the best type, isn't it...?

So this is the outfit I wore for that second day and then to catch my plane home - it was a 10pm flight so it had to be really, really comfortable to last me the day and not cheese me off (see what I did there - Amsterdam, cheese?! That was a cheesy joke, I'm sorry...)

I photographed the outfit properly at home over the weekend because I just wanted to enjoy my day with Greetje and not worry about having to get outfit photos done. However, those of you that follow her will know that a blog post about our day is bound to pop up on her blog before long - it's only a matter of time, I can feel it!
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Friday, 6 October 2017

Why It's Always Good to Admit You Were Wrong #SaturdayShareLinkUp

Not Dressed As Lamb talking at eRetail Europe 2017

A very short post this week as I've just arrived back from my 48 hours in Amsterdam - what a fantastic couple of days I've had!

Last week I wrote about having to attend a big European conference in Amsterdam (all to do with the retail sector) and give a presentation on Wednesday this week... to say I was bricking it because I hadn't had time to prepare sufficiently was the understatement of the century. The post was all about how it's important to do things that scare you - I mentioned hoping that I wouldn't eventually regret saying that.

The bottom line? I don't regret saying that.

The conference went really well.

I don't know why I was so worried.

The thing that really scared me the most?

Going on a plane by myself for the first time. I hate, hate, HATE landings and usually I have Keith with me to offer a hand to squeeze or a knee to clutch while I grit my teeth and wait till the plane has stopped screeching (as if it's never going to stop). Thankfully I got through the two landings without clawing at the men whose misfortune it was to sit next to me.
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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

8 All New, All Stylish Over 40 Fashion Bloggers

8 All New Over 40 Fashion Bloggers You Should Know

So it's a whole year since I last featured any over 40 fashion bloggers - I've been compiling a list of new (or new to me) bloggers that I think you'll absolutely love.

As always I'm keen to constantly find new inspiration and give a little shout out to some of the older bloggers who are either just starting out or maybe don't get seen in all parts of world (as much as they do in their home country). I'm so pleased to have also found several European fashion bloggers this time around: When I last featured over 40 bloggers, 9 out of the 11 I featured were US-based... it's just who had come to my attention in the months leading up to that post.

Europeans don't often get publicised outside of their own country very much so I was really pleased to find bloggers from Sweden, Poland, Spain and good old Blighty. I think styles differ quite a bit between continents, and even then from country to country, so it's great to have this mix.

This is actually my fourth list of over 40 bloggers that I've compiled over the last three years (here are links to the first, second and third ones, or see my full list of featured bloggers that includes everything from romantic style to preppy style and petites to mid-size bloggers) - I'm so happy and proud of my fellow midlifers to know that they're creating an endless supply of inspirational content and style.
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