pure-cashmere-poncho

This 50 lark is making me look at myself in a new light. There are certain looks I don’t want to be associated with and I am constantly exploring the new me, the me that is 50, confident, energetic and still has a passion for fashion and looking good. My search so far has thrown up ponchos, a pure cashmere poncho and I am delighted with it.

I will admit I struggle to leave the comfort of my jeans and t shirt combo as they are so comfortable, plus they are accepted anywhere these days. Dress them up, dress them down, they work for so many different occasions. I find I have even slipped into jeans on work days in the office because most of the other colleagues wear them too.

Now I have found a new way to wear my favourite combo and that is with a cashmere poncho.

pure-cashmere-poncho

The thought of a poncho may make you shudder and think ‘old lady’ but I think you will be pleasantly surprised when you see this one from Woolovers, it’s a beautifully crafted garment that adds an extra layer that is not too heavy and allows you freedom of movement at the same time.

This pure cashmere poncho comes in 6 lovely shades. I went for the Dove Grey and I like to wear it over a white or black top with jeans.

The beauty of cashmere is it has a timeless elegance to it and will never go out of fashion. It can be folded neatly like a scarf and tucked away easily in a handbag. In fact this would be the perfect piece for travelling, on an aeroplane or coach where the air conditioning is a bit too cold for example.

It will be perfect for those summer evenings when there is a slight chill in the air and it is perfect for these winter evenings indoors where you just need that extra light layer to start you off.

pure-cashmere-poncho

The poncho is a long rectangle sewn together with just an opening large enough for your head to pop through, by laying it gently around your shoulders you can gain a layered effect and a pair of earrings or a beautiful necklace will set it off perfectly.

Take a look for yourselves and if you don’t fancy cashmere take a look at the cashmere and merino blend or the lambswool version, all are beautiful

Disclosure: I was sent a beautiful pure cashmere poncho for the purpose of this post, all opinions are my own.

Photo credit: Alice Weekes (apart from the selfie)

JD Williams winter coat

Now there’s a title I never thought I’d write but the time has come and boy is it getting hot in here! The menopause symptoms are here and it’s time to share the knowledge.

This year I turned 50. That’s no secret, I have tried to embrace this number as much as I can but I won’t lie, it still scares me and I still think of it as old. Said that, I am still battling on and trying my best to live life to its fullest. In actual fact my life has never been busier and more fulfilling.

One thing I have kept secret though, is the menopause as the very word seems to have an air of ‘disapproval’ about it. No one talks about it. It’s like a dirty word and something to be swept under the carpet.

I find this a bit weird if I am honest. I have had regular periods every month of my life since I was 11 and I haven’t enjoyed one of them, oh apart from those times I thought I may be pregnant when I seriously didn’t want to be pregnant. I have always looked on this part of being a woman as a pain, something to endure and I’ve been waiting since I had the twins for it all to finish.

I am fully appreciative of the fact that I was ‘lucky’. I had regular cycles, regular ovulation and therefore was able to get pregnant and today, I have four beautiful children as a result. But there were painful months, frightening months, heavy months and months when my period would last way longer than the normal 4/5 days.

However, I am pleased to announce my last period was in August, let’s have a fanfare, balloons and party!

Four months with no cycle, can you imagine how wonderful that is? No more sore boobs, no erratic mood swings (well maybe a few, ahem). No pains in my back or in my tummy, no headaches and of course no blood, that has to be the very best part. I am still prepared and carry around the necessary in my handbag just in case, but I’ve not had to buy any sanitary items for four months now.

However, on the down side of this magnificent milestone comes a lot of brand new symptoms that my body is having to get to grips with.

Menopause symptoms

Hot Flushes

menopause symptoms

Credit: Women over 50/Facebook

These are pure fire. There is no mistaking a hot flush and I have got so good at recognising when one is on its way that I can start to strip and prepare before the onslaught. To have an idea of what a hot flush is like, this is how I experience one. I start to feel hot, I wriggle a bit in my clothing and take off a layer if I can, luckily it’s winter and I am normally wearing a cardigan. I then feel the flush travel, my entire back heats up as if I am resting against an oven door, my neck is hot and starts to sweat, my face starts to sweat, I start to rub the sweat most likely removing any make up I happen to be wearing and I start to pin my hair up so cool air can reach the back of my neck. My chest is hot, my thighs are hot, my feet are hot. Then as quickly as it started, it disappears. I replace my socks and my cardigan, lower my hair and thank my body that it has passed. That is a hot flush and they can be quite frequent on certain days.

Night Sweats

menopause symptoms

Credit: Women over 50/Facebook

As autumn approached this year and the temperatures dropped I changed our lovely light 4.5 tog duvet for the winter one envisioning long winter nights snuggled up underneath, nice and cosy. Last month I gave up and reverted back to the summer duvet! A night sweat is like a hot flush but happens when you are sleeping and blissfully unaware so you are woken in a pool of your own sweat, throwing back the covers, opening the windows and stripping out of your pyjamas. It’s like someone turned the thermostat up to 100C.

Shivering

Another symptom of the menopause is shivering and usually alternates with hot flushes. Picture a woman sitting down for a nice evening on the sofa, she starts to shiver and drags a throw over her to warm up, she grabs a nice hot cup of tea and settles only to be disturbed by an oncoming hot flush. Put down the tea, take off the throw, strip socks, cardigans and anything else that can be easily removed. The shivering is just as irritating as a hot flush as it seems you are cold through to the core.

Loss of libido

Hot Flash

Credit: women over 50/Facebook

I was hoping they were lying when I first read this symptom but they are not. However, do not despair, it’s not like it’s over for good, it’s just not top of your priority list any more. I find a hard week at work, challenging children, extra homework and the normal run to run of the family home is sometimes enough to make me just want to fall into the deepest sleep once I hit the mattress so it’s very hard to pinpoint a loss of libido amongst all of that.

Mood Swings

Another one difficult to pinpoint and blame on the menopause, after all I have been having mood swings since my periods started. Having said that, I did have enormous rage yesterday for the most trivial of reasons (we argued about putting the rubbish out and I sent a text in capital letters later on to state my case – unnecessary but hey ho). My problem with rage is I don’t recognise it until it has passed and then I nod and say, ‘Ah, rage again!’ I just wish I could spot this before and therefore eliminate it.

menopause

Credit: women after 50/Facebook

 

I think the most important thing to keep in mind whilst journeying through the menopause is to be aware and embrace the moment; it’s going to come so learn how to manage it to the best of your abilities.

Products to help

promensil

I was sent a couple of products by Promensil about a month ago, a spray that is used during a hot flush as it pulls the heat to the surface of the skin which I have found to be very helpful indeed. It smells nice too. The second product is a box of tablets with isoflavones from red clover, one of the world’s richest sources of isoflavoes. These tablets, taken once a day help maintain a good general health as well as bone and cholesterol health. I love the spray and have been taking the tablets although I am very forgetful. I think it’s something I shall continue with for the health benefits.

promensil

Disclosure: Promensil sent me the products mentioned, all opinions are my own.

Christmas day 2012

It’s that time of year when I start getting prepared for Christmas. I am buying in Christmas cards to write to family and friends, advent calendars to be ready for the 1st of the month. I have cupboards with bags stashed in them hiding away the gifts I have found so far and lists of others I still need to get hold of.

I baked my Christmas cake last week, it’s sitting in a tupperware box soaking up some delicious Vecchia Romagna brandy from Italy courtesy of Ciao Gusto and I am looking forward to ‘feeding’ it again this Sunday.

With about 4 weeks to go, my life is going to go from hectic to chaotic until I reach Christmas Eve and finally, finally I’ll be able to sit down on my sofa with something alcoholic in my hand and enjoy the moment.

It’s at times like this when I remember past Christmases and our family sofa stories. My brothers regularly fall asleep on it after lunch whilst chaos reigns around them, kids playing, new toys being unwrapped, television on and they sleep soundly through the noise until tea time.

preparing cooking and carving the perfect christmas dinner

I can picture my lovely nan sitting there and saying, ‘I’ve never seen so many toys in my life!’ She has because she says it every year but in all due respect, I can see how Christmas of today is very different from her family Christmas as a young girl when they were most likely to receive one gift. There weren’t lists of products from the Argos catalogue handed around back then!

One of the funniest Christmas memories I have is when my lovely dad was still with us. I had moved in with Paul but had only been back in the UK a year or so. It was the year dad came to us to spend Christmas and my brother joined us too.

We had the turkey and all of the trimmings, the cupboards were over stocked with festive food and booze and we were ready to spend some quality time together as a family. My brother was in charge of the entertainment and he told us he had a really good DVD for us to watch, he’d been saving it to watch it together on Christmas Day.

Baxter with dog toys

How lovely of him.

We tucked in to our Christmas meal, pulled our crackers, read the jokes and lifted our glasses, happy to be together again. It was lovely having dad with us and such a pleasure to see him enjoying himself too.

Once the table was cleared and cups of teas made, we settled on the sofa ready to watch the DVD. That was the moment we discovered it was called 28 days. Brother gaily announced it was a film about the world being destroyed by an incurable virus and only a handful of survivors left who would try to find sanctuary.

Fun!

He was excited as it was a Danny Boyle film and had received a lot of attention by the press and film critics.

We sat down to watch and, well let’s say it wasn’t really Christmas Day viewing. Brother loved it. Dad, Paul and I looked at each other bemused and poured another drink, after all it was Christmas and the day of indulgence.

It goes without saying that brother still hears about that film choice year after year and we’ll most likely bring it up again this Christmas Day much to his delight.

Disclosure: This post is in conjunction with DFS but all thoughts are my own Visit their website to find out more about their great range of DFS Sofas

 

It’s been a long standing wish to do my Christmas shopping in New York one day, it’s up there with my wish to go on a cruise ship holiday, to visit the Bahamas and all manner of other luxury indulgences that I’m sitting around waiting for.

Out of all of my dreams, maybe New York is the most achievable and judging by the information on the infographic below I might be able to tick this one off sooner than I originally thought. With just a little planning and a some saving – after all I’m going to be spending loads of cash whilst there – I could be going within the next 12 months.

Just take a look at some of the savings that can be made across the pond. Take a look at your 2016 New York Christmas shopping guide here.

your-2016-new-york-christmas-shopping-guide-03

Disclosure: this post is a collaborative post

christmas jumper family shot

We are well on the run up to Christmas in our house, I baked my Christmas cake at the weekend and I’m pleased to say, for the first year – I didn’t singe the top. It is now relaxing in an airtight box having been fed it’s first dose of Vecchia Romagna, a delicious brandy from Italy that was in my Ciao Gusto hamper.

At the office we are already talking about the Christmas party, who is wearing what and of course getting plans in place for Christmas Jumper day on the 16th December.

The children will also be allowed to wear their Christmas jumpers into school and take along a donation for the Save the Children fund too.

christmas jumper collage

Matalan have a fabulous selection of Christmas jumpers this year and we were invited to browse them and kit out the whole family for a Christmas Card photo, oh what fun!

Oana and I chose some lovely jumpers with fun images on them, hers a Christmas tree and mine a sequinned dog with a crown. For the children they have some great jumpers with flashing lights on, like the penguin one Bessie is wearing and the Santa stuck in the chimney jumper that Evan has on.

christmas jumper

Sophie has a very cute red jumper with a couple of owls having fun and Alice has a lovely reindeer upside down shot which has ‘Oh deer!’ written on the back.

We decided to have a family shot taken together, putting the camera on countdown so Oana could run into the shot on time. We had a lot of fun but the lighting in the room was very poor – storm Angus is to blame this time.

However, Oana is going to play around with photoshop and brighten it up so we can make a family Christmas Card to send our love ones this year. Here’s a lovely family photo of the four of them celebrating their first ever Christmas Jumper event.

christmas jumpers family shot

For dad we decided on a retro number with ‘Let it snow’ running through it.

Look even Baxter joined in, mind you he wanted to play with his ‘jumper’ rather than wear it. In case you are worrying, it attaches very easily with velcro around the neck and waist, only someone’s waist was a bit too thick and we had to let it dangle. A diet on the cards for Baxter this year.

christmas jumpers for dogs

Disclosure: Matalan kindly invited us to choose some Christmas jumpers from their extensive range and have some fun with them in return for this post, all opinions are our own.