I'm Michelle, a working, married mum with a 11 year old daughter. MyFashionable40s is an account of my everyday style that I started in 2013. My aim is to provide outfit inspiration for the modern-day mum.
This post contains gifted items and affiliate links.
Yes, it's that time again! Hands up this is no frills guide to my holiday packing - I say no frills as a lot of what I'm taking you will have all seen before. I tend to drag the usual suspects out holiday after holiday thus a lot of the pieces I'm sharing are no longer available. However I have had some fun finding alternatives for you!
I'll kick off with a little montage of my holiday favourites.....these are all coming with me again!
As you can see a lot of my holiday wardrobe comes from the same stores! Mango and Zara feature heavily and my go-to's for swimwear are all Next or M&S! For this holiday I have invested in 3 new swimming costumes (2 of which were purchased in the sale) as on my last holiday I took one bathing suit that I've had for years (from M&S - the blue and purple patterned one to the far left) and dare I say I just felt sexier in it! I'm taking a couple of bikinis too but I no longer need to get a tanned tummy as no one gets to see it! Excuse the photo....flatlay is not my forte!
M&S blue & purple print costume - past season alternative here
M&S Rosie swimming costume - bought in store in the sale £14 same style here in black
Next brown spot costume - still available in Next Clearance for £19 - I can't link
We are staying in a hotel this trip so I've popped in a few pieces to wear down to breakfast. I'm in two minds about denim shorts? Will the temperatures in Greece in August be too hot? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Gap white dress - nine years old and still going strong - alternative here
Whistles navy sundress - ancient - alternative here
As you can already see there is a bit of a pattern emerging with regards to my colour palette. It's all pretty monochrome.....with a couple of neutral print additions. I'm only taking 2 pairs of flat sandals for the evening, 2 pairs of pool shoes (only 3 pairs be packed as I'll be wearing one pair to travel in) just the 2 bags pictured too, the beach tote and straw bag for the evening. Here's a few extra accessories I'll be taking poolside with me.
I'm still to decide what to travel in as our flight is at 5pm and we arrive at 10pm so it'll very much depend on how the weather is faring in Blighty when we leave! We shall see!
So there we have it. No doubt there will be a last minute panic and an addition or two. I'm all ears if you have any suggestions.....we've never been to Greece in August and I have to say I was a little unprepared for the heat in when we went to Croatia last summer so any tips will be gratefully received!
I hope this proves to be useful.....this type of post it definitely my most requested so I hope you've enjoyed it!
I'll leave you with todays outfit of the day.....super simple look!
Just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who got in touch with me after yesterday's post - I'll be getting back to each and every one of you! I see that giving sugar has been raised a few times and this is one of my goals but it seemed a bit cruel to give up alcohol.......and chocolate all in one go!
I will do a follow-up post with some of the things that have been recommended......that will be coming soon!
This post contains some affiliate links - marked with a *. Before I get into the heavy stuff I'd better just share my outfit of the day as fashion was the very reason I started the blog in the first place........and I may lose a few of you thereafter.
& Other Stories dress*Espadrille.co.uk sandals, gifted 2017Bag via eBay *Accessorize Panama hat, past season - alternative here*Rayban Wayfarer sunglasses*Tiffany & Co necklace If you are in for the long read you may want to get yourself a cuppa! As I mentioned above, the main reason I started the blog was my love of all things clothes, shoes and accessories related. My love of fashion had been reignited after a post-baby fug and the blog was a great creative outlet for me and it is my hope that I may have helped few ladies who found themselves in the same situation as me. I know I wasn't alone in that feeling that you've totally lost yourself after having children as (rightly so!) we are totally absorbed by the most precious new additions to our lives. At some point though we are ready to start being ourselves again and as our outfits are our daily armour it felt quite natural for me to turn to fashion to get back to being 'me' again. Fast forward a few years. It was a little over a year ago that I realised I was not feeling myself once again. I would always describe myself as being an optimistic, confident person but I realised I was feeling really overwhelmed, stressed and anxious for no particular reason. After a wobbly few weeks it dawned on me that I was starting to go through the change. I just didn't recognise myself anymore. It was pretty scary. So, I put it out there. On the blog and Instagram. And I had an amazing response. There is so much help out there.......it's no longer a taboo subject. I had so many helpful recommendations and suggestions. Just the act of sharing and realising that I wasn't alone helped me immensely. But I didn't really act on any of the advice I was given. I didn't go to the Doctors (still haven't been) and I didn't put into practice any of the tips I'd been offered. Perhaps I was in denial. Though honestly, I think you have to arrive at these things in your own time. A couple of months back those original feelings I experienced returned.......and had intensified. My confidence was in shreds. I had no motivation or energy. Simply put, I felt awful. Hands up......I became aware that I was more of a drain that a radiator.
I'm writing this post in hope that I can help someone and also to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who reached out to me when I put this out there again 4 weeks ago on Instagram Stories. This time I felt ready to take this challenge on and put in some work to get myself out of my menopausal rut. These tips aren't going to be for everyone. I will categorically state I'm not an expert. I'm stubborn as I'm still not going to the Doctors with this. But I've implemented a few changes to my lifestyle and I am really beginning to reap the benefits. So in the spirit of sharing here goes........
First thing I did was give up alcohol. For as long as I can remember I have used wine to numb my feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness and these last few years, grief. I knew I had a really unhealthy relationship with alcohol and have tried and failed in trying to finding ways in which to stop. There was no lightbulb moment, it really was just down to the fact that I had been recommended some herbal supplements to take to ease some of the menopause symptoms (I'll come onto those in a minute) and after parting with 70 quid in Holland & Barrett I realised it would be pointless to carry on drinking as it would, in effect just cancel out the good stuff I was putting into my body. Obviously this is the best health decision I've ever made. After a couple of weeks I started to feel so much better. I'm no longer sedated going to sleep so I'm waking up feeling refreshed and I can honestly say that feeling is way better than the taste of wine! I'm an all or nothing kind of person and I've managed a wedding and a couple of parties without needing a drink so it is my intention to give up alcohol for good. I'm a nicer person without it. I'm not suggesting you should give up, I just knew it was something I had to do. That was a huge step to take and even harder to write down and admit I had a problem but as I'm learning it's all part of the process.
Going back to those supplements I was recommended. I have been grappling with my emotions so much lately that I decided I'd give these a go. I'm not one for taking medication......trips to the Doctors are a rarity for me and I was keen to tread a more holistic route rather than medicate my symptoms with HRT. I know nothing about HRT but my gut feeling is saying no and that's what I'm going with. So I took myself off with a list of stuff to Holland and Barrett. The list was thanks to a lovely lady who shared (as a result of my Instagram Stories) what she was taking and had found had helped. I was lucky enough to enlist the services of a superb assistant, Grace who helped me find the items and we tweaked the recommendations in line with my symptoms. Grace's knowledge blew me away - I am so grateful to her as I walked in rather blindly seeking help but she was so confident in product knowledge and the service I received totally exceeded my expectations. I've completely digressed but I guess my point of the whole blog post is don't be afraid to ask for help.
Here's what I'm currently taking......in no particular order.
Omega 3-6-9 for skin and to combat rising cholesterol levels.
I won't be afraid to ask for advice should my symptoms change but what I'm taking seems to be helping.
Now the next routine I've implemented is a bit woo-woo and I fear I may lose you here but please bear with because there are mountains of scientific research about the benefits of practising meditation. In just 4 weeks I'm a complete convert. It is the first thing I do everyday. I'm not going to expand too much on this subject but suffice to say that my emotions now feel much more under control. It's a game-changer. I use the Calm app (I've also tried Headspace) and I do feel it sets me up for the day. It's one of those things that has just slotted in perfectly to my routine.
More on those emotions though as there is no doubt in my mind that a lot of my insecurities have been exacerbated by social media. I've gotten so very far away from why I started blogging in the first place and I believe it has had an affect on my mental health as I've recently been feeling overwhelmed and just generally exhausted by Instagram in particular. I never expected for one moment that I would accrue such a lovely amount of followers.......it actually astounds me as it's not like I take great pictures or have an aesthetically pleasing, curated feed. I've just simply uploaded what I'm actually wearing everyday. I've become a victim of my own success because social media has become such an enormous marketing tool for brands. It's so very flattering and tempting when you are approached by brands with offers of gifts, gorgeous events to attend and paid partnerships, it's very hard to say no. However, this has not been sitting easily with me for a while. I found the obligation to post just sucked the joy right out of it all for me. I haven't coped well with the amount of stuff I've accumulated and I got to the point where I really didn't understand what my style was anymore because I spent too much time making sure that I was doing justice to the items I'd been gifted instead of wearing what made me feel good about myself. It's no surprise really that this has all come to a head is it?
So, in light of me offloading all of my thoughts and feelings on Instagram I do have a couple of little tips as I am weaning myself off of it. A good eighteen months ago I stopped charging up my phone in my bedroom. It's no longer the first thing I look at every morning. I also leave it in airplane mode overnight so that there aren't tonnes of notifications when I first pick it up to use the Calm app. Something else I introduced to my morning routine (just last week) is golden hour. I don't look at my phone for the first hour of each day. So my routine goes like this. I wake up, practice a few gratitude mantras before I rise, followed by some guided meditation and stretches after that. I then spend a bit of time in nature by watering my garden before exercising (half an hour bouncing on my trampette everyday whilst repeating some affirmations). I only check my phone once I've had my breakfast and I've set the reminder so that I'm only using Instagram for an hour at most a day. I'm creating these new habits to replace the bad ones. I am seeing the results already as my motivation is returning, I have more energy and I'm a lot more focused than I have been for months.
All I need to do now is to create some goals. I intend to start a vision board. I'm devouring as many podcasts as I can.....filling every spare minute with those and learning as much as I can! My recommendations are Jay Shetty's On Purpose, Dr Chatterjee's Feel Better, Live More and Lewis Howe's School of Greatness. I'm distracting myself by reading books and have found a Netflix series that both me and the husband enjoy (we are currently immersed in season 5 of Sons of Anarchy). Instagram used to be such a huge source of fashion inspiration to me but as it has become one hard sell I've returned to my Pinterest boards and have found joy in shopping my wardrobe again.
There's still lots of work to do on myself but I'm ready for the challenge. We are always a work in progress aren't we?
Anyway, as I stated at the beginning of this post I hope there is just one nugget of information here that may help someone else. I'm not about to become an ambassador for the menopause but if you do have any experiences or tips I would be truly grateful if you could leave me a comment. It would be great to hear your thoughts too!
If nothing else it's been very cathartic getting all this off my chest.......a problem shared is a problem halved as they say. Thank you for reading.......if you got this far ;0)
I hope to resume blogging on a regular basis again soon. Michelle xx
Contains affiliate links. This post has been written in collaboration with TopTips4Fashion who asked me to send them my top 5 picks of clothing and accessories at the moment. Now some of these pieces have already made it into my wardrobe......and there are a couple currently residing on my wish list! You know how I love my greens......they look so fresh with the whites.
Then there's my other favourite colour. Black. Love the minimal style of this Kin dress. As you can see this is a look I elevate with a statement accessory. I have an older version of this bag but it comes out every summer and has been a good investment.
Last weekend I grabbed a bit of me-time (with both hands!!) and had a little girls day out. We set off early to visit a boutique in Oxted called hi*hi - it's roughly a two and half hour drive from me. I was introduced to hi*hi about eight years ago by a friend and have visited at every opportunity.....I have blogged about a few of the trips before, see here, here and here. It was a real treat to take some time out to shop properly and it was just the tonic I needed! I have lost the art of browsing around the shops and had forgotten just how lovely it is to walk into a beautifully merchandised store where everything is displayed so that you can see it properly. It was good to get touchy feely with different fabrics and textures and to benefit from the buyers expert knowledge which was like having a personal stylist on hand. Another bonus is the fantastic customer service that you get shopping in this lovely boutique.......it exceeds all expectations. It was a great reminder of how shopping in this kind of environment can be such a pleasure. So without further ado let me show you what I tried on. I was cajoled out of my comfort zone and into things that really surprised me which is the best place to start I think!
Fabienne Chapot dress - not online but available to mail order
Now, you know be me by now. I do normally shirk from colour, this much pink especially is out of my comfort zone. However, I have to say I loved this colour combo. I wouldn't occur to me to put these two colours together but the colours and print just work so well together. I really adored the dress and the bag.......wish I'd taken a close-up of the bag because it had a gorgeous pearl and shell detail which seemed to be a bit of a signature for this collection.
Onto the next piece, still Fabienne Chapot and another super print......it's peachy!
I tried on a couple more Culture dresses that I thought would be great for my holiday.
Now here is were Lisa, the buyer/owner intervened. She suggested I try on this beautiful Samsoe & Samsoe shirt. Doesn't this outfit really pop in the picture?! Wow! What a difference colours can make! That's where your independent boutique owner really comes in to their own.....they certainly know their stuff! This outfit made the black dresses fall a bit flat!
hi*hi also stock a great range of basics. Look no further for a perfect white tee.....it comes in black too! The sleeve has a raw edge, great for rolling up as I do and it's just the right amount of boxy.....I'm not one for anything too clingy around my belly!
Tee - there is also a crew neck style in black and white too!
Now this outfit would make the most superb travelling outfit. The trousers are so comfy. All you need to complete the outfit is a denim jacket and some slides and you'd be good to go!
Denim Hunter t-shirt
In the spirit of the holiday vibe still some gorgeous piece from Nooki. Excuse the picture quality (they don't do the colours justice!) I screen shot them off of some Instagram Stories.
So I guess you are wondering what I actually purchased. To a certain extent I stayed within my comfort zone. I invested in a couple of wardrobe staples. When I tried on the buttery soft Denim Hunter biker I knew I'd found the holy grail of leather jackets. I have worn it every day since I got it. The white v-neck t-shirt also by Denim Hunter was also a no-brainer. I am so taken with green at the moment that the minute I clapped eyes on this Fabienne Chapot skirt I knew I'd have to have it! This is the lovely Lisa standing beside me.
I learnt a couple of valuable lessons during my visit to hi*hi. I think you can tell that I'm pretty bowled over by the difference that colour makes. Another tip is to ignore the sizing.......or should I say don't be sizest! The jacket and tee are both my usual size but with the skirt I went for the large. The smaller sizes fitted me fine but I just wanted mine to sit a little lower and not right on my waist. Oh and put your trust in the hands of the sales assistant.....they are there to help you!
I've been converted by this experience. Shopping is not a pleasure if you have to grapple to get an item off a rammed rail. I think that on the whole High Street store staff usually lack the product knowledge that you would find in a boutique and of course you often don't get the same level of service in the retail giants that you do in an independent. Lisa, the owner is so very passionate about the brands she stocks and she is in the shop most days should you wish to take advantage of her expertise!
Just a little note before I sign off! I've linked what I could but not everything stocked in the store is on the website. Some of the pieces Lisa may only have ordered a limited amount. If you see anything in this blog post that's not online it can be mail ordered.
Lastly, thanks to Lisa for having me....I look forward to my next trip!
N.B This is not a sponsored post or a paid partnership - just simply somewhere I love to shop though I was given a discount on my purchases.
This post contains affiliate links and gifted items. I thought I'd try something a little different today. I'm a bit low on motivation and inspiration at the moment and in a bid to get my creative juices flowing again I am appreciating the things that have bought me happiness this week! Fresh flowers are such a mood-enhancer for me. Especially when it's peony season. I really wanted peonies for my wedding bouquet and I was pretty gutted when my florist told me they'd most likely be finished before my big day (as it was the end of July). But bless her, she found me some - so now more than every they do hold a special place in my heart! They seem a bit thin on the ground this year so when I saw this dark pink bunch in Aldi I snapped them up! They have lasted 10 days and were worth every penny of the 6 quid I paid for them! They do literally make me swoon whenever I see them.
Peonies from Aldi
Whilst doing the food shop on Saturday I picked up these Ryvita rye cakes (this isn't an #ad I've just become addicted to these so I thought I would share!) They are like rice cakes - only not. I'm not really a fan of rice cakes - these are much better. These are the lightly salted variety and are delicious with peanut butter on them. I can't get enough of them at the moment.....they are making me extremely happy as there only 23 calories in each one and they are scrummy!
Ryvita rye cakes On to a product I'm obsessed with at the moment. It's a shower cream/gel (gifted by Cult Beauty) with a rather saucy name Brazilian 4 Play ;0) What I think is so special about it is the fragrance - it transports me to my dream holiday destination, it's literally like beach in a bottle! Divine! I wish I had smell-a-vision so you could get a whiff of it! It's a little bit of luxury that starts my day off with a smile!
So very grateful for this lovely mid-week treat. What a lovely surprise - I had no idea it was coming! Hermosa London sent me this gorgeous little pouch which is just what I need for my holidays. It's linen which a detachable strap - ideal for holding passports and tickets etc whilst you are travelling and handy for keeping phones, keys and all your other little bits and bobs safe in your beach bag.......also makes a perfect little clutch to take to the pool bar! Genius!
Hermosa London pouch, gifted I'm sure you will understand why these elicited the biggest smile on my face all week. These were a special treat to myself. I've been trying to work out what's really missing from my wardrobe for Summer. I love all things clothes, shoes and accessories but I feel overcome with stuff. I regularly go through my wardrobe in a bid to keep it under control and I'm trying to just work out what gaps need filling. I have a Pinterest board of things that I've bought and acquired for S/S19 which I find really useful for helping me see the wood for the trees. I've actually returned a lot of stuff that I've purchased recently as I've realised I tend to buy the same kind of things over and over again, just a slightly different version. Seeing everything pinned on a board has really may me pay attention to the way I shop. The penny has also dropped that brands tend to do the same thing season after season so the chances are I do already own something similar! Anyway, I've totally digressed - trying to justify this purchase I guess. Another thing that I've realised is that it is always shoes and accessories that elevate a look for me. So I put all my eggs in one basket and invested in these. They will go with so much in my wardrobe - they are a trend item and likely to only be a one-season wonder but I don't care because I love them! They 100% spark joy!
So therein lies a very important lesson for me - I should only be reaching for those things that bring me joy - cue another wardrobe cull and Sunday spent listing stuff on eBay! A few little....or large luxuries can make all the difference and to lift my mood. They have certainly helped shake off my funk this week!
Please share things that are bringing you joy at the moment........I could do with some new inspiration!
This post contains affiliate links and gifted items. Just to warn you - this is a bit of an epic outfit round-up as I was a bit lazy during half term. I'll kick off with what I'm wearing today. Mr Fashionable40s complimented me on this today....that is a rarity so happy days!
This post contains affiliate links and gifted items. I haven't done one of these for a while. I always feel a little in limbo at this time of year which is most definitely because of the iffy weather....one minute it's nice.....the next minute not so much. I've completed my Spring/Summer wardrobe changeover and that always leaves me feeling a little overwhelmed as I've accrued such a lot of stuff! However I have been clearing my wardrobe regularly and only holding onto the piece that really spark joy. I've been updating my Pinterest boards.....what an eye-opener! Makes it so much easier to see where there are gaps though. Those gaps are a whole 'nother post now that I've identified them! But in the meantime this is what I've been buying.Subconsciously I've been avoiding jeans lately. I'm just not that into them at the moment. But trousers ....now there's a different story! I've bought a couple of pairs of Mensy style pants in neutral colours (from Zara and Topshop) and early last week my mission was to track down some wide leg trousers from Gap that I'd seen on a couple of influencers early in Spring. I had actually tracked them down in my size but imagine my glee when I found these in Bershka at a fraction of the price of the Gap ones. They really are sparking joy!
H&M shirt, past season - similar hereBershka Trousers Zara sandalsThe Jacksons London bag, past season -similar hereThey look better on but just so you get a better idea of what they are like. And just £13.99! They come in khaki, black and white as well.
Bershka TrousersThe next item is something that I've cogitated over for ages. I first saw this jacket behind the scenes at Bristol Fashion Festival and everyone was admiring it. I am still umm-ing and ahh-ing if I'm honest but I have just bagged it with 25% off (code TREAT25 online - you can use on anything!) so the itch has been scratched.....if you don't see me in it before the weeks out it'll be going back!
I'll share those missing wardrobe items tomorrow.....just a few basics I've overlooked. Oh! And isn't it good to uncover an old gem when doing that wardrobe changeover?! I am now coveting The Jackson's London latest version of my "smile" bag.
This post contains gifted items and affiliate links. Some days you just cannot beat a slogan tee and jeans! The weekend has started early for me. Yay! I usually work on Friday's but I swapped my days this week meaning I get to take advantage of an extra long weekend!