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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Monday, 5 June 2017

My Favourite Summer Outfits (With SS17 Shopping Links) #iwillwearwhatilike

My Favourite Summer Outfits (With SS17 Shopping Links) | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

It's SUMMER! It may be raining as I write this (just typical, British weather!), but I live in hope that we could get a scorcher this year. And to all you Brits reading this - stop laughing, will you...?!  

My summer wardrobe is definitely in full swing now, so I'm doing my usual rediscovery of all things floral, cropped and floaty. I love getting the stored-away-for-winter boxes out and finding the new purchases I made the previous year that I didn't wear many times... It's like having the new purchases all over again.

So in celebration of June - and in my regular quarterly round up of my seasonal looks, here are last year's best summer outfits (or should I say my favourites) but with the added extra of SS17 shopping links for you to recreate the looks.

Hopefully you'll find something that you like and can work into your wardrobe - I've gone for equal skirt/dresses and trouser options, with a mixture of smart and casual.

And as it's full-on wedding season, why not check out last week's posts: A gorgeous garden party/wedding guest dress and Friday's wedding guest hats and fascinators to shop. There are 34 modern, funky designs to choose from in that post, so you shouldn't have to resort to the tired, old fascinator you've had since 2003 😉

A little retrospective of summer outfits is always, always a joy for me. Let's hope I get to wear some of my dresses this year (if I can just stop eating biscuits I may just be able to get into some of them, =ahem=)!


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One last thing to note: Today I will be in London for a photo shoot, details to follow soon on what it's for - if you check my Instagram Stories today you may get to see what's going on, it'll be fun I hope! I have an 8am start at the studio, let's hope I don't look too bleary-eyed (or fall asleep in the corner)...

Scroll down to add your outfits to this week's link up and have a great week!

WHICH OF THESE CURRENT PIECES HAVE CAUGHT YOUR EYE? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!

Classic summer dressing: Bardot-style gingham dress, bronze heels, pearl embellished collar | Not Dressed As Lamb

1. Gingham midi dress with embellished collar and metallic heels

Original post: Gingham Bardot-Style Dress With Pearl Collar

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Simple summer styling: Blue floral jumpsuit with tan accessories | Not Dressed As Lamb

2. A comfy floral jumpsuit and tan heels


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Wedding guest outfit - Jaeger SS16 50s style peony print floral top and skirt dress | Not Dressed As Lamb

3. A versatile wedding guest outfit (top and skirt)

Original post: 1950s Grace Kelly-Inspired Wedding Guest Outfit | Jaeger Floral Top and Skirt

SHOP THE LOOK (THESE ARE ALL SEPARATE TOPS AND SKIRTS):







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Summer style: Off the shoulder ruffle top, floral cropped trousers, orange tote | Not Dressed As Lamb

4. OTS ruffled top and floral cropped trousers

Original post: Off the Shoulder Frilled Top and Floral Culottes

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

The link up goes live every Monday at 3pm UK time and will stay open for a week. Whilst the original article was of course aimed at the 30+, you can be ANY age to link up. The only criteria is that you're wearing whatever you damn well like!

Linking up etiquette...

CLICK HERE to read the rules of linking up (and to grab the #iwillwearwhatilike button). Basically it's just good manners to link back to here - to leave a comment is even nicer!

Featured favourites

Fashion bloggers who believe in #iwillwearwhatilike
My favourite outfits from last week's link up:

To get yourself featured next week, make sure you've included a link back to Not Dressed As Lamb or my button in your post/sidebar!

DO SHARE THE LOVE AND VISIT AS MANY LINKS AS YOU CAN (YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT OTHER LOVELY LIKE-MINDED LADIES YOU MIGHT MEET) - THE ORIGINAL INSTAGRAM CAMPAIGN FORGED SOME WONDERFUL NEW FRIENDSHIPS SO DON'T MISS OUT!


Catherine

P.S. DO CHECK OUT MY PINTEREST BOARD WITH ALL THE BEST OF THE #IWILLWEARWHATILIKE LINK UPS - HAVE YOU BEEN PINNED...?

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Friday, 2 June 2017

34 Modern Wedding Guest Hats and Fascinators #SaturdayShareLinkUp

34 Modern Wedding Guest Hats and Fascinators

Where did May go... How can it possibly be June already?! Well as I think of June as the month that weddings really get going, I thought I'd share with you some modern, alternative wedding guest hats and fascinators for you to shop. Have a wedding to go to? Then look no further!

I actually had the idea for this blog post after I was contacted by a reader who wanted some suggestions for a hat. Her son's wedding was coming up and she said that she's regarded as being stylish, and to interpret that as added pressure... Oh, I know the feeling! When you're a fashion blogger you feel the pressure to live up to certain expectations and always bang the fashionista drum.

(I usually get introduced as a fashion blogger to someone new when I'm least expecting it and wearing tracky bots and an old jumper... I get a look that says, "Really? A fashion blogger?!" Yep, can't you tell...)

The other point that my reader made was that although she (like me) is a keen hat wearer, she wasn't one for fascinators.

This too I can identify with.

I think there's a fine line between being a stylish mother of the bride (or groom) and looking like a "typical" MOTB. I'm never very impressed with what I see specifically presented in the shops as MOTB outfits or hats. I always feel they are very mumsey: Lots of old-fashioned florals, boxy jackets and pastels... sinamay fascinators/giant hats with bouncy coq feathers.

The same goes for wedding guest hats and fascinators. I know of some people that absolutely detest fascinators, I think the typical sinamay style with coq feathers has been done to death because they've been around for so many years. As you probably know I'm all for the notion of #iwillwearwhatilike - and if someone loves that style of fascinator then I say go for it! - but to look modern and less mumsey I think it's time to move on from that style.
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Thursday, 1 June 2017

A Day-to-Night Summer Outfit for Just £50 | MandM Direct Challenge

A day-to-night summer outfit: Sequin bomber jacket \ sporty lace top \ coral cropped trousers wide leg pants culottes \ rose gold espadrilles \ black crossover mules | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
NDAL banner

I am really excited about this outfit - you know when everything just comes together and feels great the moment you put it on? Well, this is one of those outfits.

Not only that, but what I'm wearing comes to a grand total of £50... Yes, just fifty quid!

This is a perfect day-to-night outfit that works really well in all this (crazy for May/June) hot weather we've been having here in the UK. It's funny how it gets hot all of a sudden here: You need something loose and cool for the day, but come the evening you usually need a jacket. And you'll want to look a little more dressed up because us Brits like a bit of sparkle at night.

Now I love a challenge, and I love a bargain. I was recently contacted by MandM Direct, an online retailer selling over 300 brand names (such as French Connection, Ben Sherman and New Balance) at prices up to 75% off RRP - so they're much cheaper than the high street - about working together. It's their 30th anniversary this year and wanted me to celebrate with them by partnering on an outfit post, so what better time than now to get a new outfit for the summer?

MandM Direct challenged me to create an outfit for just £50... challenge accepted! I decided to get something perfect for the daytime that can easily be transformed for a night out.

And the result was my new favourite floaty (but funky) outfit.

A day-to-night summer outfit: Sequin bomber jacket \ sporty lace top \ coral cropped trousers wide leg pants culottes \ rose gold espadrilles \ black crossover mules | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
A day-to-night summer outfit: Sequin bomber jacket \ sporty lace top \ coral cropped trousers wide leg pants culottes \ rose gold espadrilles \ black crossover mules | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

About my outfit

I will be honest: I didn't think I could easily find a whole outfit for £50, especially when I'd added in the extra problem of making it suitable for evening too (why do I do this to myself?!). I'm notoriously hesitant when it comes to finding a whole outfit - let me choose one piece that works with the rest of my wardrobe and I'm there like a shot - but a complete outfit is tough.

YOU KNOW WHEN YOU SEE ONE ITEM ON A WEBSITE THAT YOU LOVE AND YOU KNOW YOU HAVE TO HAVE IT DUE TO ITS UNQUESTIONABLE PERFECTION? WELL THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED WITH THESE CORAL CROPPED TROUSERS. 
However...

You know when you see one item on a website that you love and you KNOW you have to have it due to its unquestionable perfection? Well that's what happened with these coral cropped trousers: Love at first sight. The rest of the outfit was pretty easy, to be honest:

A day-to-night summer outfit: Sequin bomber jacket \ sporty lace top \ coral cropped trousers wide leg pants culottes \ rose gold espadrilles \ black crossover mules | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
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