When you're chubby and in your 40s, you can feel like there's no place for you in the fashion industry. There are all these gorgeous, skinny women in magazines and on Instagram. And sometimes you can't help but feel inferior. But recently, I have started following more women over 40. More women of different shapes. And it has re-ignited my love of fashion.
Did I ever mention that I was an introvert? It's probably partly genetic, but I think it's mostly to do with the way I grew up. I was the youngest but was raised as an only child. I never lived with any of my siblings. And while part of me was lonely, part of me enjoyed the solitude. Or maybe I just grew accustomed to spending a lot of time on my own. Regardless, it has shaped me into an adult who needs a certain amount of alone time.
Over Christmas, I spent a wonderful two weeks in Florida with my family. And though we had a lovely time, I was excited at the end of the trip for some time to myself. While I love spending time with Husband, Moozles and Dubz, my sense of well-being requires alone time. I need to have quiet so I can think and read and write. And even when watching television, I don't like people talking to me or walking near me.
I can't believe that four years ago I threw caution to the wind and started a blog. I actually spent a few days deciding upon a name, but on the 20th October 2013, I published my first post. I wasn't sure how to introduce myself or my blog, so I just rambled on as per usual. Not much has changed.
I remember being equally scared that no one would read the blog and that people would actually read it. It's a funny thing, putting your heart and mind out into the world. In one way, you want to share your thoughts. Perhaps someone, somewhere, feels alone. Perhaps someone needs a laugh. Maybe you want to share your adventures. Perhaps someone wants ideas for a fun outing or a family-friendly restaurant.
Recently, I have had a few people make really kind comments about my skin. I have always had problem skin - breakouts, oiliness and large pores. But at 42, my skin is actually better than it has ever been. So I thought I would share the items that I use everyday. Some are from the drug store, and some are higher-end. And no, I don't use night or eye cream, and I understand that's terrible. I will one day, I promise.
First of all, I wash my face with Simple Oil Balancing Exfoliating Wash. I have combination skin and this is the best thing I've ever used for washing my face. It has witch hazel, which is a natural anibacterial. My skin is sensitive, and this has never irritated my face. And it costs less than £5. Such a bargain.
Last week was my 42nd birthday. And while it is not traditionally thought of as a significant birthday - I think all birthdays are special. So we packed the kids off to their grandparents for a few days, and Husband and I enjoyed the sites and restaurants of London. Regular readers may remember that we spent my birthday in York last year. We had so much fun, but this year we thought we'd enjoy the capital city.
On Friday, my actual birthday, Husband booked us a table at Bob Bob Ricard. It is a Russian restaurant, elegantly decorated. Rather than normal tables, they have booths, and each booth comes with a 'Press for Champagne' button. As you can imagine, it is a popular place for Champagne-lovers. As the restaurant is quite over-the-top, I wanted some dramatic make-up. One of my nieces works at Laura Mercier at the Bentall Centre in Kingston and she booked me in for a makeover.
Four months ago, one of my mummy friends emailed me to ask if I'd like to join her on the Moonwalk London. She suggested that we walk 26 miles in the middle of the night, in our bras. I don't know if I was more horrified at the prospect of wearing a bra in public, or walking 26 consecutive miles. Before I could reply back (telling her that she had probably emailed the wrong friend), she emailed to say that perhaps we could do the half marathon instead. Upon reflection, and after looking at the Moonwalk website, I hesitantly agreed.
If you're not familiar with Moonwalk London, it is a nightime walk to raise money for breast cancer. Wearing the bras is a way to show solidarity as well as to raise awareness and to just have some fun. Walk the Walk organise the Moonwalk challenges (in the UK and abroad) and this year was the 20th anniversary of Moonwalk London.
After I got married, I had this vision of family life - a little girl and then a little boy. But then I had my daughter, and could not envisage having another child. I had endured horrible all-day sickness during my pregnancy, and then had a c-section. I didn't want to go through that again. And we were happy. Our family of three was perfect. I loved my daughter so much, and I couldn't imagine loving another child as much. 'But your vision', Husband said. 'What about that boy?'
There were many reasons, but really, I was scared of having a son. Now, I didn't actually know I would have a boy. But I felt fairly confident. I had been certain I would have a girl first, and I did. And for some reason, I felt quite sure I would have a boy next. And I was terrified. I was afraid of cleaning little boy genitals. I was frightened of having one of those crazy out-of-control boys that one sees terrorising playgrounds. And I was worried that I could not love a naughty son as much as my angelic daughter.
Hooray, it's May! That means that summer is at our fingertips. I can't wait to go out without a jacket and enjoy some warm weather. We're off to France in a couple of weeks and I have high hopes for lovely weather. So I've gotten myself a few new things to make my wardrobe feel summery.
As a curvy lady in my 40s, I want to look stylish but definitely not frumpy. SimplyBe recently offered me some holiday outfits, and I was keen to choose some items that would make be feel chic. And I went straight to the dresses. I love how easily dresses can be dressed up or down, depending on accessories. I chose this indigo t-shirt dress as it is looked so comfy. And I wasn't let down when it arrived. It's nice and loose, so would be perfect attire for pizza, wine and ice cream (our favourite holiday meal). It looks nice with capris and a scarf for a bit of sightseeing, but it can also be thrown over your swimsuit for a more casual look. I'm debating getting the striped version as I love this dress so much.
You know how I love a good tree. All sorts, all shapes. But in the spring my heart belongs to blossom trees. They lift my spirits. I stop to take photos of them as I walk around. I coo over them on Instagram. A bright blossom tree fills my heart with joy. We only have another couple of weeks, and then the blossoms will be all over the ground. But for now, rejoice in the blossoms. Spring is here!
I have a love-hate relationship with hair salons. I love having someone else wash (and massage) my hair. I love a good cut and blow-dry. But I hate the worry of a bad or unflattering hair cut. I hate it when my fringe is not cut perfectly straight. So when I was invited to try out the brand-new Rush Hair & Beauty in Wimbledon Village, I felt a bit nervous. But I was also excited as I had been wanting a new hairdo for a few months.
First impressions were good. Wimbledon Village is quite a nice area, so I would never expect to see a shabby shop or a bargain hair salon there. Rush Wimbledon Village looks quite luxurious. And besides the normal tea and coffee, I was excited to see that they also offer Prosecco (shame I was driving). My hair stylist, Zoe, turned out to understand my hair (fine, but wavy and there's A LOT of it). I showed her a couple of photos of hairstyles that I liked, and we talked about ways to make my hair look nice whether I straighten it or wear it naturally wavy.