Thursday, 20 July 2017

What It's Like to Be a Guest Editor for a Fashion Brand's Magazine | The JD Williams Magalogue

City break outfit: JD Williams SS17 | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style blog
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In the past month I've been up and down to London and Manchester on a couple of special assignments, and I'm excited to share with you what it was all in aid of!

I'm sure many of you may know fashion brand JD Williams - I'm really honoured to be the first blogger to be asked to be guest editor of their monthly "magalogue", LIFE.Style. Well, if you've ever looked in the front of magazines where you get that little intro from a guest editor and wondered who they are and what went into the whole process, then you're about to find out!

You can see the magazine below - I couldn't be more pleased with how it all turned out. Every part of the process has been so much fun and I won't lie, it's been very hard work, but it's definitely all been worth it and I couldn't be more happy with the finished product.

JD Williams LIFE.Style monthly magalogue | Guest editor Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb
JD Williams LIFE.Style monthly magalogue | Guest editor Catherine Summers, Not Dressed As Lamb

Just a little bit of background...

JD Williams are going into a bit of new direction, and I was asked to collaborate with them to be part of that new direction and bring them to a new audience. I will be honest and admit that I wasn't really familiar with their actual collection - I know the brand itself well enough (their campaigns are often headed by the gorgeous Lorraine Kelly) - but I've never really shopped there before.

However... I absolutely LOVED what they had to offer. That totally surprised me, and in a really good way. I know I harp on about good matches between bloggers and brands being so important and being a fan of the brand first is important, but I don't think there's a problem when you're introduced to a brand you're not familiar with (or don't shop at) but you take a shine to straight away.

Part 1 - Choosing three outfits

Before the photoshoot took place, I had to choose three outfits to wear to accompany the three sections of LIFE.Style I'd be appearing in. And this is where it got really crazy - we had an early start in the studio on a Monday morning so I stayed in a hotel in London the night before. There had been no time to get me the clothes to choose from to my house (or send them back), so a suitcase and one huge bag full of clothes were couriered to my hotel room where they were ready waiting for me.
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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

A Blogger's Guide to Nofollow Links and When You Should Use Them

A Blogger's Guide to Nofollow Links and When You Should Use Them

Last week I talked about things bloggers must do when accepting freebies, and it touched on the subject of using nofollow links. However I know it remains a very confusing subject for many of us, so I thought I'd dedicate a whole blog post to the, er, joys(!) of nofollow links in a handy blogger's guide.

I'll try and write it all in layman's terms wherever possible as some bloggers may be completely unfamiliar with the term "nofollow" links - and likewise with "dofollow" links - if you're thinking "Huh?! What on EARTH is she talking about?" then this post is for you... ALL BLOGGERS need to know about this, so keep reading!

The use of nofollow links is something that many bloggers are completely unaware of. After all, no one hands you a guidebook when setting up a blog to tell you what you should and shouldn't be doing (but they should! I believe blogging platforms should send you Terms & Conditions that you read and sign when you start a blog, and all these sorts of rules should be included in there. Anyway, I digress).

Nofollow links can be a huge bone of contention between brands/PRs and bloggers, and if you are offered payment for "a dofollow link" then my advice is simple:

DO NOT WORK WITH THEM. They are asking you to break the rules and put your blog at risk for their own benefit.

And here's why...

What are nofollow and dofollow links?

First of all, all links are theoretically dofollow by default. So this is what all [dofollow] links do:

Adding a link that sends people to another site results in Google actively following the link. This will then increase the other site's trustworthiness and PageRank (what Google uses to determine the importance of a web page). It boosts the site's SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), in other words.

The bigger and more reputable the site that featured the link, the more it'll boost the SEO of the site it points to. Remember, all links you create on your blog are dofollow unless you purposely make them otherwise. Make sense so far?
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Monday, 17 July 2017

A Rainbow Graphic Print Maxi Dress Styled the 90s Way #iwillwearwhatilike

A rainbow-bright summer maxi dress styled in 90s style: Multi-coloured strappy maxi dress \ plain white t-shirt tee \ black wedge espadrilles \ Beara Beara brown leather backpack with antique brass plaque | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

Okay, so this is a trend which has come back that - like chokers and roll necks - I swore I wouldn't wear again. Wearing a strappy maxi dress over a t-shirt just SCREAMS nineties to me, but look what I wore over the weekend when we went to see the Parathletics at the Olympic stadium... classic 90s!

I think what's made the difference, however, and brought it somewhat up to date is the pattern of the maxi dress. This rainbow graphic print makes it nothing like the small-floral-on-a-black-background prints I wore so much circa 1993 (with those folded brim denim hats, remember them?! If those come back with a flower pinning up the brim I'll probably kill myself).

Anyway I got this Warehouse maxi dress in the sale at Asos after a recommendation by Lisa AKA The Sequinist - she was right when she said it was a great hot weather dress (she featured lots of maxi dress picks in that post so do check them out). I'd ordered it just at the end of last week and barely had time to try it on before I was due to pack an overnight bag to stay in London, but it fitted perfectly and I loved the pattern so into my weekend bag it went.

I took my fave white t-shirt from Yunion T (sellers of the best plain white t-shirts ever) and a few other white tops with me as I knew I didn't want to wear it with nothing underneath. When we go away and we're driving - as opposed to me working away and having to go on the train carrying a case - I tend to go nuts and pack three or four of everything. So three white t-shirts it was. I had the 90s in my head when I pictured the t-shirt and maxi dress together but somehow - SOMEHOW(?!) it worked.

What made the difference was the addition of the belt. I know it's much more "now" to leave 'em loose, but I know on me it just looks a little better with some waist definition. It's one of my best features, I might as well make the most of it, eh?

The other standout item of this outfit is the striking backpack which I was gifted by Beara Beara, a luxury leather bags brand - I chose the Koey backpack and it's made from 100% real leather. This bag is absolutely rock hard SOLID and the quality is out of this world. But what really sold it to me was the antique brass plaque and the fact that they offered me embossing - I forgot to take a photo of it (*rolls eyes*) but I had my initials put on the bag just under the flap.
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Friday, 14 July 2017

12 Weird Things That Fashion Bloggers Do (That Only Bloggers Understand) #SaturdayShareLinkUp

12 Weird Things That Fashion Bloggers Do (That Only Bloggers Understand)

I firstly wanted to say that last week I had the highest number of link ups ever on either a #SaturdayShareLinkUp or an #iwillwearwhatilike link up - thank you! And if you're one of the new linkees then welcome, it's great to have you :)

Last week I talked about how the mere act of just DOING can inspire others, and I loved the knock-on effect that the post had (which was the actual subject matter itself - is that life imitating art?). You inspire others to do things, they do things, they inspire others to do things, and so on. However this week I decided to talk about things I do that others may consider as weird, though I'm pretty sure bloggers - especially fashion bloggers - won't find them strange at all...

You know what I'm talking about, all you fashion bloggers reading this!

So here's a fun list of stuff I do that's just a bit weird. They may apply to some bloggers, not necessarily all, but I'm sure most will at least relate to some of them at least.

And if you're thinking of starting a blog: Take advice from last week's post about "just doing", and then heed the behaviour that you may find yourself doing eventually (Instagram tends to rule our lives)... You have been warned!!

(Please note: This is merely a fun post, please do not take any of these things too seriously... my life isn't really ruled by my blog as much as it appears. Much.)

Weird things I do as a fashion blogger

1. I'm a whizz at getting changed in the car to shoot more than one outfit post when "on location" - you have to shoot outfits at the most convenient times and sometimes that means all in one afternoon.

2. I recreate outfits I've already worn a day or two or even weeks later, or sometimes a day or two early for an outfit I'm planning to wear, because "on the day" wasn't convenient to shoot (or I didn't have a photographer).

3. We often incorporate walking the dog with outfit shoots, so I wear the outfit with sneakers and take heels to change into. I'm often on country paths and lanes and changing in and out of heels while holding onto gates into fields or similar.

4. With every single thing I do I think, Can I put this on Instagram Stories? Can I quickly get it on Stories and is the WiFi strong enough here to do it?

5. I'm always worrying about whether that chipped nail polish will be visible in my Instagram Stories... Do I repaint them? Will anyone care?

6. I can get a little disappointed when a brand sends me a gifted item that doesn't come in packaging that's pretty enough for an "unboxing on Stories" story.

I HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO CHOOSE WHICH RESTAURANT OR CAFÉ WE GO TO BASED ON HOW INSTAGRAMMABLE IT IS. 

7. I have been known to choose which restaurant or café we go to based on how Instagrammable it is. And then choose a TABLE based on its Instagrammableness. I don't obsess over it [=ahem= much], but I do get excited when it's just right (i.e. a marble table by the window).

8. I DO obsess over the weather report and whether it will be a good day to shoot an outfit.

9. I do tend to carry the DSLR everywhere, just in case a photo opportunity arises. I'm always jumping out the car just before driving off to somewhere realising I've left the camera indoors.

10. I obsess over whether we have a spare battery and memory card for the DSLR. I ask the husband 10 times whether he has the camera and whether the spare battery is charged and in the case. 

11. I have become very good at walking slowly [towards the camera] to get that perfect shot. My technique of walking "naturally" is spot-on.

12. Everywhere we go, and everything I see on TV, I check for locations in the background in terms of their suitability for a photo shoot. I'm constantly thinking, could we go there? What will the light be like? Is there somewhere we can shoot with not a lot of foot traffic...?


WHAT ARE THE WEIRD THINGS YOU DO - EITHER AS A BLOGGER OR IN YOUR DAILY LIFE/WORK/HOBBY - THAT YOU WANT TO SHARE? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!

12 Weird Things That Fashion Bloggers Do (That Only Bloggers Understand)  | Not Dressed As Lamb


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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 about 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


Linking up to: Brilliant Blog Posts
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Thursday, 13 July 2017

Why We Should Be Aware of Where Our Clothes Come From | Seasalt Ambassadorship

Slow Fashion: Why We Should Be More Aware of Where Our Clothes Come From
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Slow fashion, ethical sourcing, responsible brands - you've probably heard all these terms before but do you know what they actually mean? And how aware are you of where your clothes come from?

I'm been thinking a lot about all these factors and the question of where my clothes come from for a while now, especially since more and more bloggers are talking about slow fashion. I'm reading more and more about the carbon footprint left by big brands and their labour practices and it really concerns me.

Ethics is one of the reasons I decided to accept an ambassadorship at Seasalt this year (you may have read my posts with the pretty green summer dress or the maxi layered over jeans), not just because I've been a lover of their clothes for some years. As a fashion blogger who is often offered free clothing, shoes and jewellery I've become very aware over the years not to accept everything and anything, instead choosing what I do accept very carefully.

The ethics of a brand has a lot to do with it for me. I have a very, VERY strict "no fur" policy, for example. And I'm becoming increasingly choosy about working with those brands who produce sustainable garments, have ethical working practices and care about the environment. I will admit I've succumbed to a lot of fast fashion in the past and while it's hard to avoid all of those brands all of the time, I will say I'm becoming more aware and more responsible as a consumer.

Preppy summer style from Seasalt Cornwall \ multicoloured stripe t-shirt \ wide leg red trousers \ navy knotted neck scarf \ straw fedora hat | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

What is slow fashion?

"Slow fashion" is the idea that garments are designed, produced and bought for their quality and longevity rather than those pieces that are copied off the catwalks then produced quickly and cheaply via dubious working practices (hence "fast fashion"). Those producing slow fashion are responsible brands, not just where the materials used and resources are concerned but also with regards to workers in all areas of the business.
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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

7 Things You Must Do When Accepting Freebies As a Blogger

Blogging tips: 7 Things You Must Do When Accepting Freebies As a Blogger (pictured: Charlotte Tilbury make up)

This week I was contacted by a blogging friend who asked for some advice where a gifted item was concerned. She had been offered some freebies in exchange for this, and this, and this, and this, and this...

In fact the list was so long, I couldn't quite believe what I was reading. The PR had made it clear it was an unpaid project, yet the list of deliverables was as long as my arm. My friend (whose name I won't disclose in this instance) sent their email to me and asked:

"NO MONEY, 5 free XXXX that I probably don't want, and an unbelievable amount of "do this, and do that" as well as sending my blog post into them for approval! My gut reaction is that I haven’t been made to jump through hoops like this for paid posts let alone freebies. I just wonder what your thoughts are."

It made me cross because this is a classic example of a PR* asking for something for pretty much nothing. No, make that EVERYTHING for almost nothing.

What many non-bloggers (including PRs and brands) don't realise is just how much time and effort goes into writing a blog post. It doesn't take an hour or so. Good bloggers that take pride in their subject matter, photography and writing will take hours and hours to produce a blog post, and that doesn't include the time spent promoting it on social media. Depending on the subject matter, a blog post can be up to a day's work - I don't mean an average 9-5 kind of day, I mean the WHOLE day, all through the evening until bedtime. It might be double if a photo shoot takes you out and about for the day.

My blogger friend was asked (told) to do the following:

  • Write a blog post that includes everything outlined in the blogger brief
  • Include the requested hashtags and handles, as well as ensuring that XXXX is spelt a specific way for branding purposes
  • Not obligatory but they'd be "grateful" if she could include an Instagram post
  • Do not mention it being a collaborated or sponsored post as it was unpaid and do not use #ad or #spon
  • Ensure the content goes live between Monday 24th - Friday 28th July
  • Send a copy of the content for pre-approval 48 hours ahead of going live
  • Sign a contract agreeing to do all this

Apart from the time that I was contacted by a Chinese jewellery company who wanted me to produce two videos, a blog post with minimum six quality photos plus posts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter in exchange for a $20 bracelet (I kid you not), this is probably the most ludicrous list of demands I have ever seen in exchange for NO MONEY.

As you can probably imagine I told her to politely tell them to get stuffed.

*When I say "the PR" I mean brands/PR companies/blogger outreach programmes, etc. as a whole, not necessarily the actual person who contacts bloggers. The actual contact is often not the person who decides what they want to offer bloggers - the contact is either working with a non-existent blogger outreach budget, simply following instructions or are sometimes interns and very inexperienced.

IF A PR OR BRAND APPROACHES YOU AND OFFERS A FREE GIFT, THEY SHOULD NOT MAKE ANY DEMANDS UNLESS THEY ARE PREPARED TO PAY A FEE. AS SOON AS DEMANDS ARE MADE IT BECOMES SPONSORED CONTENT, AND SPONSORED CONTENT SHOULD BE PAID FOR. 

My simple formula for gifted items

After six years of blogging and much trial and error and questions posed to other professional bloggers and key industry influencers about this, I have come up with a very simple formula when it comes to dealing with freebies:

If a PR or brand approaches you and offers a free gift, they should not make any demands unless they are prepared to pay a fee. As soon as demands are made it becomes sponsored content, and sponsored content should be paid for. Otherwise what you do with the gift is entirely up to you.

After all, it was their choice to offer it to you - you're under no obligation to do anything at all.

I'm not saying that every blogger should be charging fees. I know that many are happy to stay as hobby bloggers, and I totally get that. But making a list of demands when you're not prepared to pay a blogger for the amount of free promotion you are going to get out of that blogger, as well as the work they will have to put into it, is totally unreasonable.

Therefore I've written this post to show all bloggers - both professional and hobby alike - that there is an easy way to know how to deal with offers of gifted items, and I've listed 7 things you should do when accepting them.

These are guidelines, not rules

Remember these are NOT rules, they are guidelines, and this is what I do because over the last six years of blogging I have found this works best. It's all through trial and error - I simply don't want you to make the same mistakes I made... I learnt the hard way!
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Monday, 10 July 2017

A Gorgeous Colour Combo of White, Mint and Tangerine #iwillwearwhatilike

Soft whites and pastels summer outfit: Rose print sheer layered top \ mint trousers chinos pants \ nude crossover mules \ orange tinted aviators \ coral clutch | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

I'm still loving summer and all the floaty, sheer and pretty clothes that come with it. This weekend I wore one of my favourite "summer only" tops that really only comes out when it's lovely weather... it provides no warmth and you can't wear anything over the top of it like a sweater or coat - strictly for summer days, this one.

Today's link up is finally here, which is a MIRACLE considering our WiFi has been seeeeeriously slow for several days now. Every page I open takes an eon to load - it's reminding me of the days of dial up with all those pinging and beeping noises (remember them?!) you used to get while it was loading.

So apologies for my tardiness, but I had to take several breaks throughout the day to avoid throwing the monitor out the window (of course taking breaks slowed me up even more)...!

REMEMBER WHEN MINT WAS THE COLOUR TO WEAR? 

Anyway, the outfit!

The top is really kind of fabulous as the rose design is printed in the same place on both layers so you get this lovely 3-D effect. I've looked for alternative sheer white tops for you (with and without embroidery/designs) and featured them at the end of my outfit images. There are actually a lot of super pretty tops out there right now so do check them out.

I still love my mint trousers/chinos from Marks & Spencer that are also a few years old - remember when mint was THE colour to wear? I've tried to find similar trousers online as an alternative but I tell you, no one makes mint anything anymore... It's a shame as it's such a nice colour for spring and summer. Sea green and pale green was the nearest I could find.
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Friday, 7 July 2017

How the Mere Act of Just DOING Can Inspire Others #SaturdayShareLinkUp

How the mere act of just doing can inspire others | Not Dressed As Lamb

A couple of weeks ago I read a rather wonderful blog post by a new blogger who has recently taken the plunge and started to post outfit photos of herself. It's a recurring theme that I often see on the internet - women (especially midlife women) taking a deep breath and finally putting themselves out there. What they often don't realise is that they're not only doing something cathartic for themselves, but they're potentially doing a LOT to help and inspire others.

The blogger was Sharon of Best Before End Date (great blog name!) and her blog post The Positive Side of Social Media & How It's Helped My Confidence was poignant for many reasons. It echoed the voice of so many women who have lost confidence in themselves and in their appearance, women who have been afraid of social media and the negativity that so often precedes it. Sharon gave me and several other bloggers a lovely shout out as women who have inspired her to simply give it a go - she mentioned the post I wrote after being trolled on Facebook had disheartened her but wanted to do it anyway.

And the wonderful thing was this: Sharon not only received positive comments about herself and her outfit, but she started to receive comments about how she, in turn, had inspired others (she'd posted the outfit on her Instagram as well).

What she said was so touching: "At this point I’d like to say don’t expect daily #whatimwearingtoday posts. Little steps! I don’t have enough clothes for one but for me it’s not really about that. For now it's about the fact that you know what? I should love myself more and never be frightened to take the plunge in anything."

FOR NOW IT'S ABOUT THE FACT THAT YOU KNOW WHAT? I SHOULD LOVE MYSELF MORE AND NEVER BE FRIGHTENED TO TAKE THE PLUNGE IN ANYTHING. 

And therein lies the little secret that myself and so many other women who blog and vlog and post to social media are privy to: The little steps add up to so much more. Blogging is SO much greater than the sum of its parts.

Some of the comments left for Sharon on her post explain exactly what I'm referring to:

"After reading your blog and that I had even the smallest influence to make you feel more confident, makes me much more confident to continue to do what I do"

"I love supporting and encouraging other women to feel and be confident"

"I believe in faking it… Confidence that is!… and no one can tell the difference anyway"

"I felt like that when I started my little style account on Insta, I thought I was too old to do style then I said to myself, *** it! And just did it! I've had so much fun since then and I'm sure you will too"

"I’m a size 16-18 and have recently started sharing my daily outfits and have been really inspired by the lovely comments from people who don’t know me"

"Posting my #everydaystyle photo on Instagram most, but not every, day has made a huge difference to my confidence. It is such a self-affirming thing to do"

And this one, which is my absolute favourite and what inspired ME to write this blog post:

"Keep it up, Sharon. Do post outfits and know you are providing ideas and inspiration to others"

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Thursday, 6 July 2017

Red and White: A Bold, Breezy Summer Outfit

Red and white: A bold summer combination \ loose white lace top \ red wide leg linen pants \ straw hat \ white Adidas Stan Smiths \ orange tint aviator sunglasses | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

Although it might be a mini one, the heatwave is back (who KNOWS for how long?)... this red and white outfit is bright and bold for summer and perfectly breezy for hot days!

This is actually what I'm wearing today (meaning, TODAY today): We shot these photos early this morning and I've edited them and got the post up quicker than you can say Jack Robinson*. I think I may only have ever done that about three times in the entire history of the blog (if that). Keith has taken a week off work so I have my photographer on call any time of day or night... Shame he's not around all the time, really!

I knew it was going to be a hot one today, so it called for linen trousers and a very loose lace cotton top. Loads of little holes to let the air through is niiiiiiiiice. However I have since swapped my Stan Smiths (worn for walking the dog, which we combined with a photo shoot #multitasking) for sandals. The fields can often be wet early in the morning before the sun dries them out, hence the Adidas. I think this time it was too warm overnight for the fields to even retain a drop of moisture this time. Not like England at all...!

AS I WORK FREELANCE I CAN ENJOY THE SUN AND THE GARDEN DURING THE DAY AND WORK AT NIGHT. THOUGH THAT SUGGESTS THAT I DON'T NORMALLY WORK AT NIGHT... I DO. I JUST CHOOSE TO WORK LESS DURING THE DAY IN THE SUMMER. 

We got back and my feet were starting to get HOT. And I tell you - I'm not complaining in the slightest. I love, love, LOVE hot weather, and as I work freelance I can enjoy the sun and the garden during the day and work at night. (Though that suggests that I don't normally work at night... I do. I just choose to work less during the day in the summer, except when I'm writing a same-day-as-a-photo-shoot outfit post.)

Anyway - sunglasses! Must mention them. I'd had my eye on two pairs in the Asos sale, and it was the ones I liked less of the two that turned out to be the most fabulous ones.

Red and white: A bold summer combination \ loose white lace top \ red wide leg linen pants \ straw hat \ white Adidas Stan Smiths \ orange tint aviator sunglasses | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
SHOP THE LOOK:



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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

21 Things I Wore on the Blog, Now Reduced in the Summer Sales

21 Items I Wore on the Blog, Now Reduced in the Summer Sales | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

The summer sales are in full swing and once again I'm bringing you the best of my SS17 (and a few AW16) picks! 

As always I'm mostly featuring things I wore on the blog so you can shop the outfits I've posted at a reduced price (up to 70% off in some cases). Each January and June I research all the items I wore that are still available online and now reduced in the sales. I've included a few AW16 items in the sales that are still left over, and at these prices it makes sense to get them now and save them for the colder days - buying out of season is really sensible and something I do quite often.
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Monday, 3 July 2017

What to Wear to a Windy Beach in Cornwall in Summer #iwillwearwhatilike

Mixing Breton stripes and florals: Orange Breton stripe top \ cropped floral trousers pants \ red lace-up espadrilles \ pearl-effect square sunglasses \ large tassel earrings | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

I thought it was about time I went back to my warm colours as I've been wearing a lot of neutrals and cool colours lately. Time for red, orange and pinks again (it is summer, after all)!

We went to Perranporth beach in Cornwall on Saturday: There was beautiful sunshine in the morning, but by lunchtime it clouded over and got rather windy. Nothing unusual about that for a British beach in July, but considering it was 30°C+ the other week we'd kinda hoped for maybe a little bit of sun...?!

Anyway luckily it wasn't too hot for Riley, he rather enjoyed splashing about in the water to keep cool and we didn't have to desperately search for shade to stop him collapsing from exhaustion, so in that sense the cloud was a welcome break. However it made dressing for the weather difficult: What DO you wear to a windy beach in Cornwall?

IT WAS MOST DEFINITELY NOT WARM ENOUGH FOR ANYTHING SLEEVELESS, AND THE CROPPED TROUSERS WERE HANDY FOR SPLASHING ABOUT IN THE SHALLOW POOLS AND STREAMS ON THE BEACH. 

Thankfully I think I got it just about right with my orange Breton-stripe top and floral trousers. It was most definitely NOT warm enough for anything sleeveless, and the cropped trousers were handy for splashing about in the shallow pools and streams on the beach. I'm surprised I hadn't paired these two together before: I think I'd always thought of the trousers as having a pink floral print. Although I'm someone who'd normally pair orange and pink without a second thought, I guess I was thinking Shall I wear orange with pink today... Oh look, the roses on the trousers are actually orange now they're with those orange stripes. Who knew?!

Maybe I'm better at this colour thing than I actually thought (or maybe I'm worse)...

I love the accessories I chose for this outfit, namely the tassel earrings (US link). Mine are from Mango, who have an amazing selection of statement earrings (including their own version of the much-coveted red tassel earrings which have been so popular this summer).
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Friday, 30 June 2017

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: The Power of Blogging #SaturdayShareLinkUp

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: The Power of Blogging

You know that quote from Uncle Ben in Spider-Man, "With great power comes great responsibility"? Well, I found myself quoting it this week with reference to the whole idea of blogging and the role that trust has to play within it.

On Tuesday I was invited to speak on a panel at the Judge Institute (Cambridge University's Business School) - not a typical thing for someone in my profession to do as it wasn't a room full of bloggers I was talking to (or with), but something very different.

Somehow I found myself in a room full of about 20 academics, entrepreneurs and influencers - plus the audience - and wondered what on earth I was doing there. I wondered what would have possessed someone to ask ME to be a part of it. (The confidence thing is a whole other blog post which I'll talk about another time.)

To cut a very long story short, we weren't asked to prepare anything beforehand so that our discussions would be spontaneous. So what we ended up discussing was actually very interesting and I was fascinated by so many different points of views from such a wide variety of people.

We all discussed the notion of "disruption" in modern marketing - all the panellists were chosen on account of being disruptors to the status quo in their fields - and the theme in my panel was trust. I was asked to talk about how trust has shaped (and continues to shape) the way I interact with my readers.

How trust affects what I write

It was, at the same time, both an easy and incredibly difficult topic to discuss.

I could probably write a really long post here, but I'm going to try and keep it short because do you know what? It's Friday, and that pretty much means the weekend. I want to start enjoying my weekend as soon as I can, especially after I've been away for three days working. And you probably want to do the same and get out and enjoy your weekend, too.

And THAT'S what I mean about trust. I've just been honest about the fact that I want to get this post finished and start my weekend. With every post I write, I always try to bring that honesty every single time.
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Thursday, 29 June 2017

Do You Get Enough Omega 3? Increasing My (Very Low) Omega-3 Index With Seven Seas

Do You Get Enough Omega 3? Increasing a Low Omega-3 Index With Seven Seas
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Getting enough omega-3 is one of those dietary requirements that's discussed a lot these days, but how do you know if you're actually getting enough of it? And what do you do if you find out your omega-3 index is horribly low, as I found out recently...?

To put this into context: On the whole, I'm pretty good with what I put into my body. I'm certainly no saint - there's no chocolate biscuit that'll escape my clutches if it passes within 10 feet of my nimble fingers - but I've always been pretty good at consuming lots of the right things and less of the wrong things. So when Seven Seas asked me to take part in their #TrueAge campaign and test my omega-3 index to see if it could be improved over the course of three months, I have to admit I was a little concerned that there wasn't much to improve.

Oh, how utterly wrong I was.

My diet: The good and the bad

To give you an idea of how "healthy"(!) I am, my diet can be summed up as below.

The good:

  • I'm not a vegetarian but eat meat in moderation, eating mostly chicken, eggs, fish and just occasionally red meat
  • I mostly cook from scratch and rarely eat packet foods or ready meals
  • We have takeaways about once or twice a year, if that
  • I don't drink coffee, tea or fizzy drinks, and consume very little alcohol - mostly water and green tea
  • I try to eat as many vegetables as possible with a little fruit on the side and avoid eating the high-sugar (tropical) fruits too often
  • I have very little dairy and instead have almond milk, coconut yoghurt and goat's butter
  • I avoid everyday foods that have a lot of sugar and salt in them (cereals, breads, processed foods, etc.)
  • I always, always have a good breakfast
  • I don't keep sweet treats in our cupboards or fridge as a general rule, instead keeping nuts, apples and berries as snacks

The bad:

  • I have a sweet tooth and find it hard to resist puddings, biscuits and cakes that are offered to me
  • I eat sporadically and sometimes realise most of the day has gone by and I've forgotten to eat lunch (I blame being self-employed)
  • I eat just about everything so find portion control difficult when faced with endless amounts of food (I've been known to have thirds as well as seconds at my parents' house)

Therefore you would think that overall my diet was reasonably good, no? I eat plenty of the healthy stuff, I just find it hard to resist the naughty stuff on top. But overall I'm not eating tons of processed food and little of the healthy stuff... it's the opposite.

The test and my omega-3 index results

Seven Seas have launched a True Age campaign where they're encouraging you to join the #TrueAge movement and live the way you feel on the inside: "Doing what you love and what makes you happy, regardless of your age, is what will help keep you feeling young and living your true age."

As part of this campaign they asked me to send them a blood sample which was sent to Southampton University for my omega-3 index to be tested. The sample kit had a little plastic device that pricks the end of your finger (if you've ever given blood they use the same type of thing to get a sample) for you to put a few droplets of blood onto a card that gets sealed and sent off in the post.

Thank goodness you can't see the needle. (Needles and I do not get on.) The easiest way to describe it is that it works like a retractable pen: You put it firmly on the pad of your finger and click. It was a bit of a sharp "prick" to the end of my finger that left it a bit sore for a couple of hours, but that's just me being a baby.
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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

14 Unmissable Reads - The Best of the Blogosphere (June 2017)

Not Dressed As Lamb's Best of the Blogosphere June 2017

In the Best of the Blogosphere this month I have midlife women in swimwear 👌, the happiest skirt in the world, eliminating menopausal symptoms, a solution for breaking bad habits - 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.)

Summer really is in full swing and I'm only too happy to share some of the amazing things I've seen in the blogosphere lately: I know we don't necessarily want to spend all our time indoors on tablets, phones and laptops but hopefully this little list will keep you interested in the amazing posts that bloggers are still producing all year round.

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!

(Photo credits: Top left | Top middle | Top right | Middle left | Middle | Middle right | Bottom left | Bottom middle | Bottom right)

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Proving just how wonderful all white with a few blasts* of colour can look, Kimberly looks especially summer fresh in white with turquoise and red.

Like me, Amber got sick of being told who to vote for in the General Election and wrote why she nearly left Twitter because of it.

We need to see MORE midlife women wearing swimwear and underwear on the internet to show it's perfectly normal to do so (and that we come in many different shapes and sizes) - Lisa is rocking this two piece beautifully.
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Monday, 26 June 2017

An Easy Way to Wear Bold, Patterned Trousers #iwillwearwhatilike

Easy, comfy summer style: Cutout scuba fabric jacket \ multi coloured patterned peg trousers \ black wedge espadrilles | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

Okay so the heatwave is over: We're back to grey skies and only bursts of warm sunshine. And some rain. What we'd normally expect in June, in other words...!

The abstract-pattern trousers I'm wearing today are a pair I've had my eye on for absolutely AGES (of course it being June it means summer sales, so hellooooo fantastic bargains). They're from French Connection so were originally quite pricey at £80, but I saw they were reduced to just £24 and had my size... I'll take one pair, thank you very much indeed (French Connection sales are always good). I think I'd held off because I have a lot of bold, patterned trousers - I didn't exactly need a pair. But they're cotton and have a tapered leg so are nice and voluminous round the bum and hip area... perfect for my large waist-to-hip ratio, and nice and cool for summer.

And they're just fun - what better reason is there?!

Annoyingly I needed a jacket as the vest top just wasn't enough to keep me warm, so I went with my white cutout jacket that I don't wear all that often because the weather has to be just right for it. It's scuba fabric so tends to keep you quite warm, but if there's a chilly breeze you get cold because of all the holes in it (never satisfied, me). I got the jacket a couple of years ago from Asos, but if you're looking for something similar French Connection has this one in the sale - a lot less than half price, too.

So this weekend was perfect scuba-fabric-jacket-with-holes-in-it-wearing weather. That's how they actually announced it on the TV weather forecast, I promise ya ;)
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Friday, 23 June 2017

Why You Should Never Let the Inner Child in You Die #SaturdayShareLinkUp

Why You Should Never Let the Inner Child in You Die

This Saturday is a day I've been looking forward to for months: I'm having my birthday party a month early (I'll explain why) and we're doing the same as we did last year, which is to hire an adult size bouncy castle. To say I'm a little excited is probably the understatement of the year century.

It got me thinking about the fact that I'll never grow out of things that children love doing. I'm always a bit disappointed when ball pits and play parks are for children only, because all I want to do is get in there and play. And play HARD.

I LIKE the fact that I'm not childish (meaning immature) - I'm a reasonably grown up almost-45-year-old woman - but I haven't let the inner child in me die.

And I have no intention of letting her die, either... she's coming with me to the grave, sister.

[My birthday party is a month early because we're now doing joint birthday parties in the family instead of having one each because there are so many of us... Each month we celebrate all the birthdays that month at one party (we had about six or seven birthdays in March). My brother, one of my sisters and myself are all July, but my sister lives in Australia and as she's over for a few weeks this was the only weekend we could all be together for it. Hence, a month early for me but only a week or so early for them.]

Anyway, the bouncy castle:

I thought I'd share a couple of pictures of me on the bouncy castle from last year with my great nephew. (Believe me, I think I was on it for more than he was: Those things are TIRING as you-know-what.) We have pictures of everyone in the family on it, even my 87-year-old dad who could only manage to sit on it while we jumped to make him bounce. He was laughing so much he just couldn't stand up, not that the bouncy castle would have been stable enough for him to stand anyway.

Never let the inner child in you die

The bouncy castle was, without doubt, the MOST fun. I thoroughly recommend them for a party where you have children and adults of all ages. I defy any teenager to be too cool to go on one... The utter joy you experience is something you just can't sit back and watch from the sidelines. You simply HAVE to get on it and bounce.

A CERTAIN MEMBER OF MY FAMILY (THEY KNOW WHO THEY ARE) ALWAYS THINKS THE SAME AS ME WHEN THE SEE A REALLY BIG BOX: OOH I WONDER IF I CAN FIT INSIDE...?! 

So think to yourself this weekend: When was the last time I let my inner child out? When was the last time you went on a slide, or jumped on bubble wrap to pop it, or let your husband pull you round by the arms as fast as he can on a shiny kitchen floor while you laugh uncontrollably?

(=ahem= maybe that last one's just me)

I'm glad that I come from a family where no one has lost their inner child. A certain member of my family (they know who they are) always thinks the same as me when the see a really big box: Ooh I wonder if I can fit inside...?! That same family member did exactly that at their place of work and even managed to close the lid, giggling the whole time, when their boss walked in. They had to stay inside as silent as they could until he walked out again, because what do you do? Burst out like a birthday present?! I would have done exactly the same if presented with said box, the urge is just too strong.

This year THE Christmas present that just about everyone in the family got was a nerf gun (a big plastic "gun" that fires polystyrene darts). My memories of Christmas 2016 will be of getting blasted every time I went round a corner and the darts being all over the house. Remember, all of my nieces and nephews and their other halves are in their late teens or 20s, the small children are their children.

And what did I have to get Keith for his 47th birthday in April...? Yes, a nerf gun. 😆

My phone is full of face swaps and videos we've filmed on our phones with apps that make your voices go like chipmunks. Fancy dress will always be a riot because we like to see just how utterly ridiculous we can make ourselves look. I'll always accept a challenge of "Race ya?!" in a wide open space.

I'll never grow tired of things that make me laugh and make me happy.

Some people think it's childish. I just think it's called living life.
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Thursday, 22 June 2017

How to Successfully Clash Preppy and Boho Style in Summer

Hot weather style: Printed green summer dress \ pompom and tassel embellished sandals | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
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So this is my third summer dress outfit post this year. I can't quite believe it, and yet I certainly hope it's not the last. What IS different about this one, however, is that I'm wearing a colour I very, very rarely wear… green!

As I mentioned in Monday's post, we're getting a glorious summer right now in the UK, and it's set to last at least a few days - maybe even a week or two (that's good going for Blighty). I'm wearing a couple of new pieces, one of which is a green dress - I have a short emerald green dress that's more of a winter or party dress, but this I think is my first green summer dress, and it's a full-skirted cotton beauty.

The pattern is an original print by Seasalt - I'm an ambassador for the brand till the end of the year (read this post which explains all about our collaboration) - and I love the 1950s day dress look it has. When I was at my parents' over the weekend the family was in much debate as to what the print was exactly: it's actually garlic bulbs. The print was inspired by strings of them that one of Seasalt's designers spotted in France. The dress is 100% cotton, fully lined and my regular size fits me like a dream.

Plus: THE DRESS HAS POCKETS. Need I say more...?!

RATHER THAN GOING FOR ALL-OUT PREPPY WITH BALLET SHOES OR LACE-UP ESPADRILLES, I DECIDED TO WEAR MY FABULOUS NEW BOHO-STYLE POMPOM AND TASSEL HEELS INSTEAD

Although I love Seasalt for their nautical, preppy styles, I decided to style the dress in a slightly different way. Rather than going for all-out preppy with ballet shoes or lace-up espadrilles, I decided to go for boho and wore my fabulous new pompom and tassel heels from Dorothy Perkins instead. I absolutely adore them… The embellishment and warm colours are a perfect contrast to the green day dress.

Sometimes you have to take a few risks and with things that are not "expected" of you or your style – it can be very liberating to free yourself that way and simply experiment! The dress and shoes don't necessarily go together - preppy and boho together is a bit of a style clash, but that's what I love about this outfit. I've taken a bit of a risk, and as far as I'm concerned, it's paid off.

Why? Because I love it and felt good wearing it. And that's what matters...!

Hot weather style: Printed green summer dress \ pompom and tassel embellished sandals | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
SHOP THE LOOK:

Seasalt green Shallots printed summer dress  Dorothy Perkins pink, orange & red pom pom tassel heeled sandals  Warehouse pearl-effect yellow square sunglasses  Asos gold pendant necklace  Essie Peach Side Babe nail polish  Milwood leather strap watch, tan

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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Why Are So Many Fashion Brands Going Out of Business?

Why Are So Many Fashion Brands Going Out of Business? Jaeger, Karen Millen, Ted & Muffy, Ben Sherman

Just this week I discovered that fashion retailer Karen Millen was going out of business... What the?! I was shocked that this happened three months ago and I hadn't heard about it before now. I immediately had a thought: why are SO many fashion brands going out of business at the moment?

This news (to me, anyway) has come hot on the heels of the news that Jacques Vert, part of the Style Group Brands, was facing a potential decline into administration (although they've since been bought out). I worked with Jacques Vert last year so it was quite a shock to see a brand I'd collaborated with face a demise. Also, menswear brand Ben Sherman was declared bankrupt last year - another shock from the high street, and one of my husband's favourites.

The biggest surprise, however, was Jaeger.
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Monday, 19 June 2017

How to Wear Black and White in Summer #iwillwearwhatilike

Black and white monochrome, summer style: Striped maxi skirt \ loose white sleeveless blouse, red lace-up espadrilles \ statement sunglasses and earrings | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

We seem to be having a summer in the UK. Not just sunshine, but actual heat... It's pretty much unheard of in June. But as someone who adores summer, you'll get no complaining from me: I break out the summer wardrobe and rejoice!

This outfit was worn just before it got hot hot (it's about 29°C today*), so I actually think I'd be too hot in my striped maxi skirt and tucked-in top this week. However I wore it out in the evening, and although here it usually gets colder at night and you need a light jacket or a cardigan, we're now getting the balmy evenings too which is a godsend.

I bought the skirt a couple of years ago at Marks & Spencer and although I've expanded a little(!) since then, it still fits fine because of the jersey material. Being black and white would mean it's easy to style, but I get confused by black, or black and white.... Give me bold colour any day!

I decided to play it simple and went for black and white with a pop of colour.

 I WISH SOMEONE WOULD COME UP WITH A BETTER PHRASE THAN "POP OF COLOUR"... IT'S BEEN AROUND FOR AGES AND JUST SOUNDS A BIT NAFF TO ME, LIKE THE WORD "TRENDY". 

(And oh how I WISH someone would come up with a better phrase than "pop of colour"... It's been around for ages and just sounds a bit naff to me, like the word "trendy". If you have a better expression for it then pleeeease do tell me in the comments!)

I pretty much kept everything black or white except for those fab Asos SS16 espadrilles (similar) - I'm sooo excited It's the right weather to wear them again. They were last seen in September last year, when I used them as part of a bright accessories story: I guess that's what I'm doing with them here too.
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Friday, 16 June 2017

When Women Are Wonderful: 21 Empowering Quotes From My Readers #SaturdayShareLinkUp

When Women Are Wonderful: 21 Empowering Quotes From the Readers of a Midlife Fashion Blog

I'm going to share a much, much happier and more positive post this week for my #SaturdayShareLinkUp - an antidote to last week's trolling, if you will!

So if you need to catch up on what I'm referring to you can either read last Friday's post When Will Women Stop Tearing Each Other Down Online or here it is in a nutshell: I got trolled, I'm absolutely fine, but I'm standing up to them in my most polite-but-insistently-British way. That's all you need to know really for the purposes of reading this post.

Anyway THIS week I'm sharing the best of the internet. The way that wonderful women come together to empower each other. The comments I've had have been nothing short of amazing... I've been brought to tears by some of them. When women show kindness towards each other it really can be a powerful thing.

Wonder Woman (wonderful women)

We're going to see Wonder Woman at the cinema this weekend (a bit late for us, we usually like to see movies on the opening weekend!) so it was rather apt timing. There are truly wonderful, generous, kind women out there who will stop at nothing to hold others up and support you. The trolls who like to bring us down are the tiny minority, and what we must do is not give them a voice or allow them to get us down.
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Thursday, 15 June 2017

60 Pairs of Cooler-Than-Average SS17 Statement Sunglasses

60 Pairs of Cooler-Than-Average Statement Sunglasses to Shop (Warehouse pearl-frame yellow sunglasses)

If you're like me and like to buy a new pair (or two) of sunglasses every summer, then you may also be the type who likes a crazy statement pair now and then. Bold colours, unusual shapes or embellishment? Bring it on!

If you're after something classic and black, however, then this probably isn't the post for you. I've found 60 pairs of cooler-than-average statement sunglasses for you to shop if you want something bolder... Nothing plain and classic here!

I'm the sort of person that likes to match my sunglasses to my outfit - or sometimes clash them. Either way, I rarely grab the nearest pair and go: I like to choose exactly what sunglasses will work with my outfit. Sometimes they need to blend in and let the outfit do the talking, other times I let the sunglasses be the star attraction.

So if you like your glasses to be the centre of attention, then hopefully you'll love some (or many!) of the styles I've picked out here. Although sunglasses often go through trends the same as clothes, this year I'm sure there's more choice than ever before. There are loads of different colours, patterns and shapes in the shops for SS17, and here are just some of my favourites.

I've purposely chosen very few expensive sunglasses - they're a fun item that aren't the classics like silver aviators or black Wayfarers, so there's no need to go all-out with the designer sunnies as so many high street retailers have their own affordable versions.

(However there is one exception right at the end that is a joy to behold... Be still, my crazy sunglasses-loving heart!)
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Monday, 12 June 2017

Self Confidence is the Best Outfit: Barefaced and Dressed Down #iwillwearwhatilike

Super casual walking the dog outfit: Self-confidence is the best outfit t-shirt, khaki joggers, silver slip on shoes | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

Pared back, barefaced, dressed down... I wanted to do something a little different for today's #iwillwearwhatilike outfit post after the shenanigans on social media this weekend.

You may have seen Friday's post where I talked about how women are still tearing each other down online after I had the joy of a sad little troll (or two, or three) on Friday. I followed it up with a mini blog on Instagram yesterday after receiving an email earlier in the morning about the whole affair, which, I should add, was NOT in agreement with my sentiments about how women should stop treating each other.

I'll let you catch up on those posts without going into it further here (or dwelling, which I definitely don't do!) - suffice to say, it prompted me to go barefaced and dressed down today.

Or rather: I thought I'd show you what I look like 80-90% of the time. Me, and how I roughly look most days (rough quite often being the operative word). Why?

Because #iwillwearwhatilike, and I will post what I like on my blog too.

THE MESSAGE ON THIS T-SHIRT COULDN'T BE ANY LOUDER OR CLEARER: IT REALLY DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU'RE WEARING, IF YOU'RE WEARING IT WITH CONFIDENCE THEN IT'S THE BEST OUTFIT EVER.

Because seeing as so many of my slightly more "unusual" outfits (and by that I mean wide leg trousers or dungarees, both of which unbelievably were the subject of vitriol last week, and yes I know what you're thinking... Those two items are hardly the stuff of sartorial nightmares, are they?) seem to bring out the hatred and negativity in some people, I thought I'd tempt them with a mundane, everyday outfit with a slice of "up yours" thrown in for good measure.

Self-confidence is the best outfit

I present you with my "Self-confidence is the best outfit" slogan t-shirt, a gift sent to me from the lovely (and very-opposite-of-a-troll) Ann of Kremb de la Kremb a couple of years ago (I helped Ann out, she sent me a gift and a handwritten card. How lovely is that?). The message on this t-shirt couldn't be any louder or clearer: It really doesn't matter WHAT you're wearing, if you're wearing it with confidence then it's the best outfit ever.

And that's something that NO ONE can argue with.

(Or they can try, and then they'll be sorry they did if they argue with me over it #IWillShoutForTheVulnerableOnes)
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Friday, 9 June 2017

When Will Women Stop Tearing Each Other Down Online? #SaturdayShareLinkUp

When Will Women Stop Tearing Each Other Down? A look at online trolls and women openly inviting criticism

Oh, what a fun day I've had on Facebook. Trolls are like the number 19 bus: You wait forever for one, then three come along at once. Oh, the joys of social media...!

Once again the ugly side of social media has reared its ugly head in my part of the blogosphere. On a day when everyone is already being vile enough following yesterday's election results (my goodness I got sick of people telling me who to vote for - tell me to vote, yes, just don't tell me who to vote for, thank you very much), you'd think people would perhaps wind their necks in a bit. Or maybe it got them worked up enough to go out and do a spot of trolling. Who knows.

So what happened? On my Facebook page I posted a picture of an outfit. Nothing too strange about that - I even gushed about how much I "ADORED" the outfit (because, well, I did). I even wrote it in caps, so I was effectively shouting it.

What followed was a stream of somewhat vile, vitriolic and downright rude comments from one particular commenter - a woman, no less. (Men often think it's funny to be vile, they just get blocked immediately.) Before I'd even got to the post and reply to anything, her comments went forth one after the other like this:

"Trousers are shockingly bad"
"I'm a rude girl haha"
"If u want to look like a twat"
"Clothes are shit anyway"

Another commenter thought she'd chip in with a put down: "Meh...doesn't do much for me." No, not that bad, but she'd picked the wrong blogger on the wrong day to write something so unnecessarily pointless and negative.

On another page (yes, this was all today), someone shared a Facebook (outfit) post of mine with the caption:

"I usually like her outfits, but here is what I think about this one... no. It's right up with the torn/shredded jean thing. no. [sic] What are your thoughts? Please share!"

... I was wearing dungarees. Big deal. SO controversial. I've worn dungarees countless times, in real life and on the blog.

The point they're missing

What all of these trolls don't realise is that I SIMPLY DO NOT CARE WHAT OTHER WOMEN THINK OF WHAT I WEAR. I'm not 25, I'm 45. I'm old enough to know what I do like wearing and don't like wearing. And I've long since passed the point of worrying what others think of me, or what I wear. (Dressing without the fear of "What will others think...?" is incredibly liberating.)

In fact I'm not sure I ever really did care, to be honest.

GUESS WHAT? I GO OUT INTO PUBLIC WEARING CLOTHES. THAT'S A PUBLIC SPACE. BUT I SHOULDN'T EXPECT TOTAL STRANGERS TO COME UP TO ME AND TELL ME THAT I "LOOK LIKE A TWAT" THERE EITHER.

On my blog and social platforms I never invite comments along the lines of "What do you think of my outfit?" - I may ask people if they love dungarees yes or no, for example, but I never invite critiques of what I'm wearing, because guess what?

I don't care what people think.

But when will some people realise that I'm not putting my outfits up for scrutiny? They seem to think that the point of all style blogs is to get other women to tell them what they think of their outfits because, you know, You should expect it if you're posting pictures of yourself on the internet.

Guess what else? I go out into public wearing clothes. That's a public space. But I shouldn't expect total strangers to come up to me and tell me that I "look like a twat" there either.

And as for "here is what I think about this one... no" - what exactly is the point of asking women to critique each other this way? All that does is give women permission to tear each other down. EVEN IF I read a post where someone asked if she looks good or should be wearing X or anything else I still wouldn't go on there and say ANYTHING unless I had something positive to say. But as for the page that shared my picture and asked the question, then shame on that person for giving women the green light to behave towards each other this way.

It needs to stop.

I POST MY OUTFITS ONLINE TO ENCOURAGE WOMEN TO BE FEARLESS. TO OWN WHAT THEY WEAR. TO WEAR WHAT THEY WANT. TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT PLEASING OTHERS. TO EXPERIMENT. TO TALK POSITIVELY TO ONE ANOTHER.

I'm not after compliments

Another thing that these trolls seem to think is that I'm upset because they didn't like my outfit. (Yeah, boo flippin hoo.) I'm a little more grown up and tough than that. I've had FAR worse said to me, and those things didn't upset me that much. The mere fact that I started the hashtag #iwillwearwhatilike says volumes about what I think about others' opinions of what I wear.

No, I post my outfits online to encourage women to be fearless. To OWN what they wear. To wear what they want. To stop worrying about pleasing others. To experiment. To talk positively to one another because you know what? Not everyone will like what I wear. That's fine. But someone else might, and by being fearless and wearing what I want it shows other women that it's okay to do that, too. If I get compliments and people actually like the outfits, then that's just a bonus for me personally, of course it's nice to get compliments - but that's not the point of my blog.

But to rip into someone and say their clothes are sh*t and that they look like a twat? TOTALLY unacceptable.

Not to me. Not to another blogger. Not to your best friend. Not to your sister. Not to a stranger in the street. Not to a stranger online.
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Thursday, 8 June 2017

What to Wear in London in the Summer Heat: Pyjama Co-ords at The Chelsea Flower Show

Patterned pyjama-style co-ords suit with bead and pearl cuff detail, wide leg trousers by MADELEINE | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
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London in the heat: I know many, many people who can't stand city heat, but I personally love hot weather in a city. When I lived in London I used to relish the hot days because you then get warm nights as well. What can I say, I'm a summer girl...!

I know that working out what to wear in the heat in the city can be problematic, but when you factor in a smart event then it gets even trickier.

I had the opportunity to put this dilemma to the test (can you put a dilemma to the test? is that possible?) two weeks ago when I attended the Chelsea Flower Show with my blogging buddies the Over40Collective as guests of German fashion brand MADELEINE. If you're not familiar with them, their target market is the 35-40+ woman who wants great quality and timeless classics (with a few trends thrown in here and there).

There's so much to talk about following our day together: It was a day about clothes, flowers, gardens, friendships, food and champagne. Firstly, clothes.

MADELEINE Fashion 

MADELEINE is a brand I talked about last year when I discussed simple SS16 basics for your wardrobe. I remember then that the quality of the clothes and shoes was second to none, so it was great to look through their website and choose something to wear for the flower show.

And here began the dilemma... what do you wear in London to a smart event in the summer heat? It may have been raining for the best part of this week, but in the run up to the flower show we'd heard talk that a mini heatwave was on its way. MADELEINE were our hosts for the day and they very kindly gifted an outfit to each of us... To me they're the perfect brand for occasionwear so I thought them taking seven 40 and 50 plus women [bloggers] to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show was a perfect match.

My "brief" was (this is purely a self-imposed brief, simply me giving myself guidelines so that I didn't end up choosing everything on the website!): An outfit of comfort (for food and walking), staying cool (because of the heat) and style (we had VIP tickets to the flower show so of COURSE we had to be stylish).

MADELEINE CLOTHES ARE BEAUTIFUL. YES, THEY'RE MORE ON THE PRICEY SIDE, BUT YOU ABSOLUTELY GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. 

I hedged my bets and went for an outfit with a loose fit and made of natural fibres: I chose black and cream silk patterned pyjama co-ords and black block heeled mules, and I'm so glad I did.

Patterned pyjama-style co-ords suit with bead and pearl cuff detail, wide leg trousers by MADELEINE | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Firstly: The quality. MADELEINE clothes are beautiful. (All the girls in the collective agreed that their clothes are beautifully made.) Yes, they're more on the pricey side, but you absolutely get what you pay for. My top and trousers were 100% silk, the exquisite beading on the cuffs makes the sleeves hang really elegantly and they're both machine washable. Bonus.

Secondly, trousers with a wide leg and an elasticated waistband = Comfort City. Is it just me who's not "afraid" of elasticated waistbands? Why do they get such a bad rap? If you're not tucking a top in then elasticated waistbands are the waistbands of choice, surely? Often trousers don't fit me on the hips as well as the waist - it's always one or the other - so expanding waistbands are a plus point for me. Plus it means you don't get uncomfortable whilst eating.
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