Exercise – Getting My Just Desserts 

I have written in recent blogs about my quest to find clothing to accommodate my new shape and flatter my new curves.

You may have noticed that I have very tactically avoided the very delicate subject of exercise and diet, other than the odd reference to Prosecco and salad.

I have noticed!

For the record, I have been one of those annoying people that has glided through life eating all of the wrong things in excess and never putting on a pound.

I’ve also glided through life as a bit of a fair weather exerciser.

So really you could call say that I am getting my just desserts.

And that is of course where the problem starts.  With the desserts.

But I’ve had my moment and it’s time to give something back.

To shape up or ship out.

The problem I have, quite simply, is that I do not like exercising and I do love eating.  And generally I love eating all of the wrong things.

So in my cosy little corner, I have continued to do all of the naughty things very well.

I’ve always had an interesting relationship with exercise.  Interesting in so far as I’ve never really found an activity that has interested me.  Don’t get me wrong I’ve loved a lot of the classes that I’ve done over the years but probably not enough to continue ad infinitum.

And it’s the keeping going that has been the sticking point.  I am very easily able to find a million things I would rather be doing and a further million as to why I shouldn’t be exercising.

I have never been a person that has enjoyed exercising.  I have waited my whole life to experiencing the ‘high’ that people speak of from running but it seems to have just run straight by me – literally.

I guess I’ve always assumed that everyone else is enjoying their efforts and that is why they do it.  So I suppose I’ve always been a bit embarrassed to admit that I don’t enjoy it.  A bit uncool even.  Because whenever I see people showing up either by running or going to a class, I assume that are enjoying themselves and experiencing the ‘high’ of which people speak.

If I had a flag with me, I’d wave them on.

My current loves are Yoga and Walking.  Exercise of course but not the toning, fat burning, pulse racing kind of thing that perhaps I now need.

It was somewhat timely that I noticed an advert for bloggers to participate in a free private coaching session in return for an honest review with Samantha Hadfield, Fit & Flourish, Body Transformation Expert.

Wonderful, I thought.  This ties in perfectly with my series around body changes for the 40+ woman.

I had no idea what to expect from this Transformation Session but I guess in my little heart, I probably had high hopes that I was going to return home sylph like having dropped two dresses all toned and lovely.  In an hour!

See what I mean about my ideology around exercise.

So off I went to meet the lovely Samantha at her new location in Covent Garden.

Samantha Hadfield

Samantha is a Body Transformation Expert who helps women who are fed up with feeling fed up, tired of feeling tired, have tried everything and nothing has worked and who just want to do something to transform their bodies once and for all.  The key is to provide women with the tools and knowledge to not only reach out to their body, health and fitness goals but to also maintain their new body for life.

We talked about me, my hopes, my pitfalls and we went through the usual tests and checks to establish my body metrics.

I was weighed on proper scales and not the set that I move around the room until I get my desired weight.  How cruel!

We also did a brief fitness assessment to establish where I was at with my fitness levels.

And then the results.

And I needed to hear the results.  Because actually, deep down in my trainers and in my cosy little eating place, I knew that it was time for some action.

And this is where someone like Samantha comes in.  Because it’s all about accountability.  About knowing that someone is going to hold you to your commitment.  Knowing that when you can’t be bothered, there is someone waiting for you to turn up and help you to achieve your goals.

It was also music to my ears to know that actually most people DON’T enjoy exercise.  This was a revelation to me and it made me feel so normal I wanted to hug this wonderful lady.

Samantha went on to talk about the different exercises she introduces to her clients and how they tend to work in groups.  The main focus being on having fun.  Because actually no one wants to be doing exercise but it is necessary and it does take us to the place we want to be.

We also talked about food.  Again, I love it eat but do I spend time considering what I am eating?  No I don’t.  Again, not unusual.

We then went through a mini training session which I have to say I did thoroughly enjoy.  I also found it difficult which is testament to my current level of fitness. And I ached the next day so I really felt that it had done some good.


There was just time left in my session to set some goals which was a great focus for me.  I talked about what I didn’t want to have to do anymore – keep buying larger clothes and what I did want to do – feel comfortable and get back to wearing the things that I wanted to.  To be able to look in the mirror and say ‘yep, I’m happy with that’.

Unfortunately, I am unable to participate in a regular programme with Samantha because the location doesn’t suit my current commitments but if I was working in London I would have been able to accommodate the schedule.

Samantha has recently moved from her premises in South London to Covent Garden so that she can focus her attention on helping people like me.

People that have a goal, that have struggled to commit to a form of exercise and that need to work with someone that can tailor a programme that suits their individual requirements.  Samantha offers a very flexible programme for working women that allows them to exercise at convenient times (ie before and after work and during the lunch period).  Most importantly, she is there to cheer you on and will be depending on you to turn up.

I have seen some of Samantha’s success stories that she has shared on her page and it is heartening to see the people for whom her programme has really made a difference.  Here is a link to Samantha’s page.

I gained a huge amount from the time I spent with Samantha.  She told me what I needed to hear and in turn I heard what I needed to be told.

My action started from the moment I walked out of the studio.  Knowing that I would be unable to get into town regularly, Samantha shared lots of ideas of alternative exercise programmes that may be suitable for me.

I have started to look at what I am eating first of all because I know that I can do this.  I’m a big advocate of making the change you want to see and this is no different.

It’s not going to be easy, nor am I about to embark on a life-changing journey but now I know that I’m not the only one that finds it a drudge, I do feel a bit better.

So please do smile sweetly if I should pass you whilst I’m out for a spot of ‘mum’ running!

Exercise eh!

Do you love it or hate it?

Nicky

I was gifted the Transformation Session for the purpose of providing a review of the service offered by Fit & Flourish.   All thoughts and opinions are my own and in line with my expectations as if I were a paying client.

I only review products and services that are in keeping with the content and ethos of this blog.

 

 

 

Hobbs Styling Session

I wrote a post recently about the changing shapes of the forty+ and fifty minus woman and my quest to find things that do actually fit and look stylish at the same time.

A term that I captioned ‘bang on trend but still able to bend’!

I mentioned that some of my lifelong favourite stores were no longer cutting the new shape and that my quest was on for some new places that were a little more to true to the sizing and style of women like me.

Shortly after this, I attended a styling session at the newly opened Hobbs store in Barkers Arcade, High Street Kensington which was hosted by Catherine Semmens who blogs all about fashion at Not Dressed as Lamb (such a fabulous name for a blog isn’t it).

Catherine’s strap line is “Who Wants To Be ‘Age Appropriate’, Anyway?” and she challenges the rules around clothing and the expectations of what we ‘should wear’.

Hobbs High Street Kensington

Many of us (myself included), have probably always associated Hobbs with formal work wear.  I have to say it has been ages since I visited one of their stores but to do so fitted perfectly with my quest to find ‘my kind of sizes’ and ‘wise garments’.

It’s always lovely to walk into a store and be greeted by this.

Champagne & Canapes Hobbs

Credit : Not Dressed as Lamb

There was an opportunity to have a good browse before the session started.  The fact that I had a glass of fizz in my hand made this even more pleasurable.

There is also something very decadent about walking around such a beautiful shop.

Hobbs Barkers Arcade

I was really impressed with the occasion wear.

In the past, my go to shop for weddings, do’s and such like has been Coast and Monsoon where I have always managed to get some great outfits.

I would never have thought of going to Hobbs so this was definitely worth noting for the future.

My go to stores for separates and casual wear are H&M, Dorothy Perkins, Forever 21 and River Island.

Again, it was good to check out the Hobbs range.

Just time for a quick picture with Catherine and then straight on with the session.

Catherine Semmens. Nicky Kentisbeer

Credit : Not Dressed as Lamb

Catherine had carefully chosen a selection of her favourite pieces and throughout the session, we were treated to seeing the lovely  models in some of the great outfits she had selected in line with her theme ‘Going for Bold’.

My personal favourite of the evening was this red top.  Well actually the whole outfit was pretty gorgeous.

Hobbs Model

Credit : Not Dressed as Lamb

 Hobbs separates

Catherine talked about always taking something a bit random or different into the changing room as well as your usual pieces.

This was a good reminder to change things up when it comes to clothing.

We can all play a little safe at times.  I know I am guilty of this and will always tend to go for a different version of the same thing.

I also find that I have more of a critical eye when choosing for myself these days due to the points around age and sizing that I raised in my previous blog.

Feeling comfortable is incredibly important to me now and there is nothing worse than feeling ‘trussed-up’ and just, well – ‘not right’.

Anyway, back to the show and next up was elegant pleats.

The outfit below really interested me as I wouldn’t have thought to tuck this style of top in to a skirt.  It definitely worked though and it looked stunning.

Hobbs model

And of course, not forgetting the accessories because, quite simply – a girl can never have too many!

Hobbs accessories

Hobbs Accessories

After the session, we were encouraged to try on anything we wanted with the help of the marvellous store staff.

This was my green light and one of the things I was particularly keen to establish during my trying session was how true the sizing was.

I have to say I give full marks to Hobbs for this because although I was initially recommended a Size 14, I actually managed to comfortably get into a Size 12 which found me having a little grin to myself in the changing room.

Don’t you just love it when that happens.

No purchases for me on this occasion as I’m still making a few tweaks in the form of sensible eating and exercise but Hobbs is a definite revisit for me the future.

My thanks to Catherine for her very ‘stylish’ styling session.  You can read more about it in Catherine’s own words here.

And thanks to Hobbs for hosting the evening in their lovely new store.

 

Review : Dermalogica Ion Active Power Facial

Beauty couch. Pebbles. Snaresbrook

I have to confess to having been a bit negligent in the beauty treatment department of late which is not very good practice for my poor skin, so when I got chatting to Javairya of Pebbles Hair & Beauty at a recent meeting, I was delighted to be invited to sample a complimentary facial treatment at her salon in Snaresbrook.

I have always been a Dermalogica girl.  The products have served me well and although I  have tried other products over the years, I do always come home to Dermalogica in the end.

Javairya specialises in facial treatments – in particular targeted treatments where a particular concern is present (ie anti-ageing, acne, pigmentation).  She works with a range of skincare brands and treatments – Non-Surgical facials, Chemical Peels, Dermalogica and Derma Roller to name but a few.

We talked about my wish to try something a little more targeted to my age group.

Pebble Hair & Beauty. Javeria.

As a Beauty Therapist in a previous life, I am always impressed by a Therapist that really knows their products and treatments.  Javairya is a Dermalogica Expert and really knows the product inside out.  She also offers many other facial treatments and is committed to providing skincare treatments for clients looking for results.  I found her to be very knowledgeable in all areas of skincare.

My current medical history precludes me from having any electrical treatments so I was very interested to hear about the brand new Dermalogica facial the Ion Active Power Treatment.

Dermalogica Ion Active Power Treatment

The Ion Active Power Treatment is ideal for people that are contra-indicated to electrical treatments and Javeria mentioned how excited she is that there is now a treatment available to address the concerns of fine lines, pigmentation and acne for those unable to take advantage of electrical treatments.

Ion Active Power Treatment formula contains powerful active ingredients including microencapsulated Retinol which has been shown to improve skin texture and wrinkles.

It was time for me to hop up on the couch for my 45 minute treatment.  This involved the usual cleanse and exfoliation.

Cleanse. Exfoliation. Beauty Therapy.

It is then straight to work with the targeted ‘treatment masque’ containing the active ingredients.

This is not a fluffy relaxation treatment – more of a functional facial that is focussing on particular areas.  You can feel the masque cooling, tightening and tingling while it is working.

Ion Active Power Treatment Dermalogica

I’m not a big fan of before and after pictures purely because if they show a huge difference, I don’t tend to believe them and for something like this, the result is not going to be hugely discernible to anyone other than me – especially after one treatment.

What I did notice was an immediate plumping in the cheek area and as they day wore on and the following morning, my skin looked much healthier and there was a difference to the fine lines which  made my skin look much smoother and alive with an overall glow.

I would most certainly have this treatment again.

For the reasons I have mentioned above, I would certainly visit Javairya at Pebbles again for skincare treatments purely because she is so passionate about skin care and products and her knowledge is testament to this.   I like to know that my Therapist is interested in my skin and is able to provide recommendations accordingly.

Dermalogica.

I am also very particular about comfort, hygiene, client care and certification to carry out treatments in a Salon and all of these factors exceeded my expectations.

Further, Javairya carries skin care retail items and I was able to purchase the Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel which I was almost out of.

Dermalogica Products.

It can be very easy to overlook the parade of shops in Snaresbrook.  Javairya’s treatment room is above the tanning shop at 9 Station Parade (opposite Snaresbrook Station).

Here is a link to the Pebbles Hair & Beauty website.  Give Javairya a try for yourself.

Nicky

I was gifted the Ion Active Power Treatment facial (value £55) for the purpose of providing a review of the treatment and the services offered by Pebbles Hair & Beauty.  All thoughts and opinions are my own and are in line with my expectations as if were a paying client.

I only review products and services in keeping with the content and ethos of my blog.

Chelsea Girl Doesn’t Have My Size

Chelsea Girl

Or style!

And then I find out that BHS is closing down.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I jest of course as I think Chelsea Girl closed down before I was big enough to shop there.  I just latched on to my sister and followed her round while she spent her hard earned fiver from her Saturday job.

As for BHS, may it rest in peace with it’s good friend Woolworths in pic ‘n’ mix heaven.

Not somewhere I’d shop for clothes but the home section was fab.

Anyway,  I’m digressing so let’s get to the point.

Fashion through the age ranges.

For the purpose of this blog, I’m not sure whether I should describe myself as 40+ or fifty minus but what I want to talk about is accommodating body changes and style preferences.

Champagne. Prosecco

Too much salad and Prosecco together with a slowing metabolism and a whip me whop through the 40s is scientifically proven to have an effect on body shape.  I have this information from a good source.  The mirror.

There is a randomness to these changes – like suddenly acquiring someone else’s boobs, shoulders, arms, back and middle.  The whole top section in fact.  You don’t see it coming gradually.  You just wake up one day and it’s like, well – there.  On your body.

I’ve spent my whole life wanting bigger boobs and having been gifted a few cup sizes around mid 40 (yes it shocked me too!), I realise why everyone bemoans them.  They make clothes look different. They are uncomfortable and bras itch like mad.

Boobs. Bra.

I have walked around my favourite stores only to berate them in the changing room for changing their sizes (and styles).  This is a combination of some retailers being a bit stingy with the material and my delusion in not noticing my new top half sooner.

I’m nothing if not persistent but after trying to get something past my shoulders in the tenth shop, hoping the material will give so I can at least move my arms, one can become despondent.  The fact that it leaves me sweating buckets (yes that as well, the little bugger) – well what can I say.

Anyone nodding along?

Unlike Alice in Wonderland, when something says “Eat Me” and “Drink Me” – I do not shrink and fall down a rabbit hole.  Fall down yes – rabbit hole – definitely not.

More like eat a muffin top and you get one.  Smug cow in her blue and white dress. Those jam tarts do come back to haunt you though Alice.  Especially the yellow ones that are always left in the box.

Don’t say I haven’t warned you.

Alice in Wonderland

I have realised that I have to take some responsibility for my new ‘grown-up’ shape.

There really is not much to be done about it other than the usual but it does mean a different way of looking at clothes. A new way to address the extras.

I shall certainly mourn the old figure.

But moan I will not – nor is this a quest to be on the front page of Vogue, I have always been one of those lucky people that never had to worry about my weight or my plate.  It’s more of a nod towards feeling comfortable and changing things up a little bit.

On the body front, I don’t want to have to keep hoiking things up or pulling them down.  I want my clothes to stay where I put them.  I also want them to shake hands and meet in the middle.  Just get along really – not that hard is it!

Shaking hands.

So it’s about comfy staples – those beautiful Mars Bar gems that you really can work, rest and play in.  Simples.  So time to find said little numbers.

This I think will be the bit that takes a bit longer.  No longer the quick dash round picking up the stinky small sizes and being through the till in five minutes. More I see shopping as being more of a one item thing, it will probably require detail and said item will have a history of helping people like me.

A wise garment.

It will probably have a top end price tag too.

Outwardly I will still be the same me as before but inwardly I will know that it’s OK to have that extra glass of Prosecco and piece of cake because I have space in my wise garments for these eventualities.

Bang on trend but still able to bend.

This shall be my new style guide going forward.

I have a few places in mind but any suggestions would be most welcome if you have been on a similar journey.

Wish me swell.

Nicky

 

 

 

 

 

3040 Blogger Meet

Bloggers

How many lovelies can you get in one venue at one time?

Quite a lot as it turned out at the recent blogger meet hosted by Catherine from Not Dressed as Lamb at The Imperial.

A lovely opportunity to meet other like minded souls of a similar age, also blogging and, in many cases, also parents but without this being our focus.

Most refreshing.

We all love the kids dearly but our blogs happen to be about things other than parenting and that’s OK.

A glass of Prosecco or two chased down with a delicious Canape always goes down a treat when walking into these events.

I had only briefly met one other blogger before, – Amanda at Ginger Mum and it was lovely to have a proper chat this time.

Many women came alone but within a few minutes everyone was busily chatting about anything and everything.

I managed to break the ‘Golden’ blogging rule of taking pictures and confess that I have very few of this fine event.

I also have to confess that face to face meeting and chatting wins hands down for me and this occasion was no exception.

Hopefully my rhetoric will make up for my lack in the picture department!

 

It was lovely to meet Catherine for the first time.  I really appreciated that she was willing to share information that was really helpful but also quite personal to her.

Catherine Summers

There are many questions that are asked that don’t always get answered in the blogging world and Catherine answered a couple for me and I really value that honesty and support.

Sometimes the smallest things can become a ‘brick wall’ but they can often be easily answered when others are willing to share.

There was lots of lovely examples of this sharing on the day.

Bloggers

I’m so glad I was a part of it.

And then there was the lovely Nayna and her team from Hope giving a really interesting and insightful glimpse into the Hope journey against a backdrop of their beautiful garments.

I think we were all totally overwhelmed to have received the beautiful and generous gift from Hope and I cannot wait to start wearing mine.  Most unexpected – thank you so much for this.

Hope Poncho

We were also showered with lovely gifts in our goody bags.

Delicious Macaroons from The Imperial …

Macaroons

And a stunning bracelet from Lizzy O …….

Bracelet

How to make a girl feel special!

So may wonderful things and such a great day for so many reasons.

Thank you to each and every one of you wonderful ladies.  It was a fabulous day and I really enjoyed meeting you all.

I didn’t get a chance to speak to everyone but I look forward to many more of these lovely events.

Until the next one …..

Nicky

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going With The Flow

“The first rule of menstruation etiquette is you don’t talk about menstruation, particularly to men. If you must discuss your period you do so quietly and euphemistically.”

1950s woman

You may be forgiven for thinking that this is a charming little extract from a 1950s Ladies Housekeeping Guide.

I did.

It’s actually from The Guardian website on 17 May 2016.

Today.

A friend brought it to my attention after a broadly similar discussion we had this morning.

Not very ‘right on’ if you ask me.

“The biggest breach of menstrual etiquette, however, is leaking in public.”

It then goes on to review a device which “saves women from their unpredictable uteri”.

“a girl’s worst nightmare of having blood leak through her new white pants”.

The Bluetooth wearable device that lets you know, via a mobile app, when to change.

The language used in this review has left me questioning which century we are living in.

Regular readers will remember that I have acknowledged in a previous blog that ‘women’s matters’ were very much private during my own upbringing.

That my father living in a house with four menstruating women in the 1970’s was probably torture for a man of his generation.

That was 40 years ago though.

1950s housewife

Today things are very different

Equally, I’m all for embracing technology and entrepreneurship and as a woman, any solution or improvement to current available ‘arrangements’ are always welcome.

But this?

Whilst I agree that this does happen to women all the time, there is generally a reprieve of some kind in what we are wearing and our ability to find a quick short term solution.

Of course it happens.

But there is generally some kind of indication.

Surely as women, this is something that we can pretty much judge.

And I do talk from experience in saying this.

Do we really need an App to tell us what we already know.

Having said that, in all my 40+ years, I have never seen anyone with a ‘blob’ accident that has not been aware of it.

And I think it’s also safe to say that most of us probably don’t wear our new white pants at these times.

This is probably about as welcome as being told we could ‘roller-skate’ safely with our period back in the 1970s by a certain sanitary wear brand.

All this while I’m still waiting for my hair to bounce when I carry a surf board.

Surfing

It’s not going to happen.

But you know what ladies  – I think we’ve got this.

We’ve managed, we’ve coped, we’ve got on with it.

Yes we’ve had to shove our tampons up our sleeves to go to the bathroom or take the bag but I don’t see that changing any time soon.

So where next?

A ‘Poop Snoop’ that tells us when to expect the next bowel movement?

Watch this space.

Do you agree that we have got this one covered?

Nicky

 

 

Under ‘My’ Umbrella

Umbrella. Queen's UmbrellaSo I see on the news today that poor Liz has come a cropper when muttering under her brolly.

It would seem that said brolly amplifies sound and HRH was overhead saying something she shouldn’t have and it’s all over the Press.

Don’t you just hate it when that happens.

I have to say I’m a bit miffed that Her Maj has copied my choice of brolly.

I clearly had mine first.

And, I know this for a fact.  Simply because it didn’t come in pink.

Not of course that I’m bitter about that as I would only ever have chosen a neutral colour.

None of this matching umbrellas to outfits and all that.  Or to one outfit – bit frivolous – eh Liz!

But hey, a little frivolity keeps the economy moving so who am I to judge.

Spot on with the pink outfit though.  You’ve certainly still got it.

It’s always lovely to see you in bright colours

More importantly thought, Queenie – I want to say thank you to you for taking it for the team!

Amplifier

Because who knew the sound amplified under our brollies while we were trying to keep our little hair-do’s from going frizzy.

Many an innocent carrier could have been gossiping to their heart’s content, blissfully unaware that they could be clearly heard by bystanders.

You’ve given us all a heads up on that one and probably saved a few friendships and embarrassing conversations along the way.

And so you see Liz, when I think about it,  we’ve actually got more in common than I first thought.

I sat and watched your family on your birthday sharing your cine tape memories – along with many others, I’m guessing.

It was a little bit like a posh gogglebox.

Us watching you, watching you.

Gogglebox

The thing was though Liz, what we saw was a family just like ours..

I’m not talking about the house or anything and obviously not the money  but I sat on my sofa with tears rolling down my cheeks.

And I’m sure I wasn’t alone.

You see every family across the world would have done that self same thing at some point or another.

Sat down with their elders or youngers and watched cine or video memories.

And cried.

To see your grandsons, William & Harry, give an Ant & Dec style commentary on what they were seeing reminded of my two nephews doing the same thing with their nan.

And of my own daughter and niece with their nana

Blue Giraffe

Then came the toys.

The blue giraffe that William and Harry remember from their own childhood.

The same blue giraffe that is also a part of their children’s lives too.

We all have that toy.  Not your giraffe of course, but the toy that has passed through the generations that every child has played with.

Again, I’m guessing you are a bit like me and you don’t like to throw things away.

A bit sentimental.

We all are.

And I have to say that you have nailed it this time.

Crown Jewels. Queen.

There were many years where we couldn’t relate to you and your way of life and we were very critical of you being out of touch.

I guess the turning point really came when the boys lost their mother.

The public backlash was unforgiving.

Nobody wanted a remote Sovereign anymore, we wanted you to be more like us.

Enough was enough.  Such difficult times.

Yet over recent years you have shown us a different side.

And then you opened your home and allowed the world to share your very private moments.

You have shown us that all along you were doing the same things that we did.

The men played on the beach and rolled their trousers up just like our fathers did.

The Uncles chased the children until they shrieked.  Just like ours did.

And of course there was always the joker that tormented everyone.

Every family has one.

You have done something quite wonderful and shown that it doesn’t matter who we are or where we come from.

Everyone has a blue giraffe.

Happy Birthday Your Majesty!

Nicky

 

Post Comment Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hairy, Hairy Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

 lawnmower-384589_640

So the sun is out, the sky is a beautiful blue and we are promised two weeks of delicious sunshine.

We are going to be hotter than Ibiza they say.

Hallebloodylujah.

We are soooooo ready for you.

Well, almost.

You see some of us have grown an entire extra layer of skin and hair to get us through the cold climate that we fondly know as the spring.

Our poor little bods having alternated between our entire winter wardrobe twice, are vowing never to come out again.

The sight of the blue skies spur us into over drive as we realise that Yeti is not the one we need this week.

yeti-575808_640

So for some of us that means a quick trim of the lawn and borders.

What the eye doesn’t see and all that.

And unless you are a seasoned all year round maintenance type, it is likely that the sight of the blue skies will have you running for the nearest razor, wax pot, lawnmower and shears from your archives.

In short, it’s time to run for your lady garden.

sugar-paste-936814_640

And this is the great thing about living in the UK, you never quite know when it’s time.

Surge too early and you get your summer timings mucked up, surge too late and you are so going to be the one in the onesie at the BBQ on the hottest day of the year.

Don’t think we don’t know.

Let’s face it, we have all been that person haven’t we?

Trying to work out the timing of a wax over the summer months is a bit like scheduling a board meeting with participants from 12 different countries.

Because as we well know, once embarking on the rigid schedule of hair removal, we then have to think about when it’s going to grow back.

Wouldn’t do for it to clash with the Queen’s Garden Party after all would it!

pool-690034_640

So we may just have to factor in a quiet weekend of languishing in private where we pray for our leg lawns to grow just a quarter of an inch so that we can once more be relieved of it.

I have to say there can be advantages to hanging out with anyone 40+ at regrowth times.

I include myself in this category.

This is quite a strategic social move.

On the basis that they can’t read a menu without their own (or someone else’s) glasses, they are unlikely to see your delicate leg lawn cutely peeping out from your pedal pushers.

That is one of my top tips from my Beauty Bible and will ensure you never need miss an event again.

dance-294150_640

So I’m guessing we are going to fall into two halves here.

Some of us will be ripping off our skater skirts and winter sleeves to reveal our ever-ready bodies whilst others are flicking through the wardrobe for the lightweight trousers and sleeved tops.

Yes we do all have THAT outfit.

Oh how I hope that someone opens a hair removal salon called The Lady Gardener.  Maybe they already have.  It’s certainly there for the taking.  A franchise even or a chain of ‘garden’ centres.

And then there are the borders.  Otherwise known as hands and feet.

pool-1085282_640

And like all good borders, they need a hint of colour.

Now, if we can just flick back to the Beauty Bible, I’m suspecting that if you are anything like me, there is definitely some ‘behind the scenes’ preparation needed.

No point planting flowers among last years foliage eh!

So having shaken off the winter socks and boots, you are highly likely going to have a little extra padding on your little tootsies.

feet-42939_640

To put it more delicately, if you could exfoliate your entire body with the heel of one foot, then you probably need to brace your little tootsies for the knife and a good grating.

And that is completely bloody normal in my Beauty Bible. 

So what are we waiting for – best foot forward.

feet-931921_640

IBIZA we are coming for you.

Have fun in the sun.

Nicky x

 

  

 

 

 

 

.

Being A Make-Up Artist

 

10262155_10156598114755556_910807236022384390_nContinuing with my theme around Celebrating Success and Cheerleading, I am going to be talking to the Make-Up Artist, Alanna Flanders-Doughty.

I first met Alanna a few years ago when I participated in a styling makeover which was a collaboration between my hairdresser, a stylist, a photographer and a make-up artist (Alanna).

Alanna was just embarking on her journey as a Make-Up Artist (just over 3 years ago) having left behind the security of a full time job.

I remember really enjoying hearing about all her plans for work and the various training she had done and would continue to do.  I also remember that one of the big challenges she also faced was to learn to drive.

That was 3 years ago now and through Social Media, her website and sheer hard graft, I have seen Alanna turn her business into a roaring success.  She has worked in magazine and television and has the most amazing portfolio.  She is also travelling all around the country in her own wheels!

Of course, this success doesn’t come handed on a plate and Alanna has been tireless in her efforts to build a reputation in the industry and this is one of the things I have admired most about her.Painted09.jpg

Photograph : David Bradford

Alanna, you chose a path into an extremely competitive industry, tell us about how you managed to get a breakthrough?

A lot of hard work. When I first started I knew no one in the industry at all. I had to start from scratch. I began by building my portfolio which involves meeting up with a new photographer, model and stylist to get pictures. You are all working together to create some nice images for your portfolio. You have to do this quite a few times to start with to build up enough sets to make a nice portfolio website for yourself. Whist doing this you need to get yourself out there by assisting other established make-up artists to learn how to work in different environments. All these things help you build your profile. It takes time but soon all these people you meet will start offering or putting you forward for jobs. As you can imagine it does take a long time and lot of people aren’t able to make it work. I’ve been very fortune to make it pay off a lot quicker than some, I guess I just really wanted it and knew I could do it.

I often see you make references to Make-Up Artist’s being expected to work for nothing in exchange for the prestige of working for a ‘brand’.  This is of course a common problem for small businesses.  How did you deal with that when you were starting out? 

I simply said no!  The unfortunate thing about these make-up schools is that they aren’t teaching the students the rights and wrongs of this job. So when you leave it’s pretty much up to you. A collaboration is the only thing you should do unpaid, everyone is doing it for pictures and no one is making money from you all working together. When a brand approaches you this is a different story. No matter how new you are you do deserve to be paid. The promises of exposure simply aren’t true. Be true to the industry as accepting these kind of jobs doesn’t help us to move forward.  You are worth it.

What advice would you give to other small business owners starting out alone? 

Never give up. Nothing happens over night. It really does take a lot of hard work. You will have knock backs and in the beginning you might feel like you have made the wrong choice but keep going. If you love and enjoy what you are doing, the money will follow.  Fortune favours the brave.

alanna

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Oh gosh their have been so many I just enjoy getting up everyday and doing what I love. I’m very lucky. I’ve worked with some celebrities, commercials and at The BAFTAs. It has all been amazing.

Who/What keeps you accountable and motivated? 

I have to get the work myself. No one is going to do that for me. Even when I’m not out on set I am still working from home promoting myself and doing admin. I will still get up and get dressed for work every day.

What stopped you from giving up?

I just knew I could do it. Everything I’ve done in life I have done to the best of my ability.  No matter how hard it was in the beginning I knew I could make it work. Going back to my 9-5 desk job just wasn’t an option for me. I was enjoying what I was doing and I wasn’t prepared to give it up. I’m very stubborn and headstrong! 

You will have seen my recent post about Cheerleaders.  Were you lucky enough to have the support of others? 

If I’m honest, I was surprised about the support I’ve received from some people but this has only made me even more determined to keep going. I think things like this do show you who matters. I am so grateful to those who have shown me support, ‘ve received some lovely messages and compliments from those least expected. My fiancé, mum and dad always tell me how proud of me they are and are amazed of how far I’ve come in this time.

Any further goals you want to share?

I’ve got a very long list of goals for this year. It’s the first year I’ve actually written them down. They are on my fridge and I look at them everyday. They are really ambitious so I’m hoping I will have a few ticked off soon.  As for what they are well I would like to keep that to myself for now!

Painted04

Photograph : David Bradford

Alanna, thank you so much for taking part this series.  It sounds as though you have some exciting plans on your list of goals.

It must be a wonderful feeling to be able to look back and reflect on how much you have achieved.

I have to say, I’d book you out every day to do my make-up if I could!

You can find out more about Alanna’s work on her website.

Alanna is the last of my three lovely local ladies who have participated in this series.  You can read more about the others here :

Heather Waring – Walk to the Rhythm of Your Heart

Laura Piercy-Farley – Sharing the Success of E18 Yoga

Thank you so much for reading.  All comments are welcomed and will be responded to.

Nicky

Walk to the Rhythm of Your Heart

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Continuing with my theme around Celebrating Success and Cheerleading, I am going to be talking to Heather Waring today who has recently launched her new business around walking and transformational walking experiences.  The walking experiences focus on providing you wonderful women with space and time to reflect on the life you want to be living – hence ‘Walk to the Rhythm of Your Heart’.

I first met Heather at a networking event several years ago when she was working as a Business Coach.    She is a woman with many strings to her bow and I find her incredibly warm and engaging.

As well as being a brilliant Business Coach, Heather has always had a great passion for walking.  One of her pursuits has been walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostella from Le Puy en Velay in Central France.  Heather has walked a section every year since 2008 with a fellow walker.

   P9291315.JPG

What I really love about your story Heather is that you are bringing together your skills and passions and turning this into your work.  A perfect combination for success.  You must be feeling really excited about sharing this?

It’s a really exciting time and so heartening to see it all come together at last.  I’ve had many parts of this plan for a long time but a number of issues have stopped it coming together before.  One of the biggest issues was myself standing in my way and not allowing my passion for walking and the difference it could make shine through.  I believe this is true of many of us women.  Our self belief is not always as apparent to ourselves as it is to others.  I ran myself into the ground a few years ago through helping everyone else but not myself.  Through that recovery, I found out so much about myself.   It also enabled me to see very clearly how many other women are the same and how I can help them become the best version of themselves. Walking is my sanity, it allows me time and space and the health benefits are enormous.  By knowing my values and then using walking as the vehicle, everything has fallen into place, it’s all aligned with my top values and I get to do what I love with people I love, every day and I get to make a difference too.

Your story perfectly encapsulates the message in my recent blog about celebrating success, I talked about how it can be difficult going it alone, getting an idea off the ground and keeping it going.   You have done this very well – any cheerleaders?

Working for yourself isn’t for everyone as it can be lonely and that’s not something you should ignore.  If you need a team, then perhaps working from your kitchen table is not for you. I actually like the space and peace that I get from working on my own but that’s because I have built a number of support systems. For example I am in my 10th year as a member a women’s networking organisation which meets monthly and the women I have got to know there are like a family. These friends are the people I can pick up the phone to which is really important when I’ve had a bad day and need to sound off or get advice.   Equally useful when you have something to celebrate and want to share good news.   We support each other reciprocally.

I have other communities too which provide support and opportunities such as my speaker colleagues and most importantly my Mastermind group.  My current Mastermind group consists of 5 women (myself included) and we know each other inside out.  We have no need for pretence or  anything other than openness and honesty.  They are probably my top cheerleaders and I love them to bits.

As regards celebrating success,  this is one of my big things.  In my family it’s any excuse for a celebration and that’s something I encourage, and often insist, my clients do. It doesn’t have to be expensive or take a long time but it does have to be a celebration (however large or small).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Of course the theme that runs throughout this series is not just about being a business owner.  It’s about allowing ourselves to have a go at doing the things we have always wanted to do.    That can be tough for women with so many conflicting priorities.  How did you make time for ‘your thing’

The first thing I did was to ensure I married a man who knew that freedom was important to me and that I needed my space. I was older when I got married so maybe this helped but it’s really important to know your values and what makes you who you are and then to build from there. You need to honour your values so creating an environment for this to happen is crucial and communication is important. 

Although I’d always walked, my passion for it started to build at a very difficult time in my life when I was being bullied in the workplace and my daughter was a toddler. I took on many personal walking challenges and when I was training, that walking gave me a break from all that was stressing me. On top of a mountain, life does show you perspective!

It’s really important to make time for you and what you love and to find a way to make that happen. 

I had to be a little selfish, which is a word with so many negative connotations, and something we women find so hard but when your needs are met you are so much more able to help others. I would just encourage you to really strive to do what you want to do, what you need to do and find that balance in the family that allows you to see that through.  Everyone will benefit. Don’t be put off, stay strong, you deserve to forge your path.

And the inevitable ‘shoulds’ that often stand in the way?

‘Shoulds’ are someone else’s agenda not your own. Just think about it and when you say ‘I should’, see it for what it is.

I should go to the gym” for instance – who says? 

You don’t want to otherwise you would go so it’s probably you feeling guilty or wondering what others will say if you don’t show.

“I should get it touch with…….”

Do you want to?  Sometimes we need to cull people in our lives and I would suggest that if there are people we don’t enjoy seeing then it’s time for a cull. By getting rid of some people, we make room for new people who bring us joy.  Please don’t think I am absent of ‘should’s’.  They crop up in my life but over the years there are a lot less and now, in most cases, I recognise them for what they are. There is a lot of guilt in our lives, this fuels the ‘shoulds’.  Changing this isn’t necessarily easy but it can be changed, remember that and next time you find a ‘should’ creeping in, analyse it a little and take appropriate action.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Many people reading this will be parents.  You’ve been able to do all of this while raising your daughter.  That’s not without its challenges is it?

Being a mum is one of the hardest jobs and you don’t always get the recognition or the rewards you deserve so living the life you want while being a parent is indeed challenging.

I go back to something I said earlier about the kind of man I married, as well as knowing that freedom was important to me, I also needed someone who could be a true partner. From the time our daughter was born, he stepped up to the role being a father.  We found our balance which is never a flat surface but always in flux. He travels a great deal so on many occasions it was Ellie and I at home and I felt a little like a single parent (and have great admiration for parents bringing up children on their own).  I need my space.  It’s finding the way forward that suits you and your situation. It’s give and take. It’s important though to have your voice and make sure it’s heard. This isn’t always easy and at times I had to battle that.

You also need wider family or friends that you can depend on to pick up, do a school run, have your child for a sleepover and share the work load with…and also to sit down and open a bottle of wine with. Now our daughter is at University and we have so much freedom but we still plan the times together and the space to do our own things in parallel. The journey never ends, it just changes. 

Walking is a really popular fitness pursuit.  Walking and talking is a wonderful combination.   I imagine you have already had a lot of interest.  When are you hoping to get started with the sessions? 

Walking has been called the ‘near perfect’ exercise because of the benefits it brings; because you need little gear to get going and you can do it from your own front door. You can also do it anywhere so it’s an easy form of exercise to fit in when you travel, great for me.

Many people find talking about personal issues difficult and this is where walking and talking is so great because when you are walking you don’t have to keep eye contact with the person you walk with and this helps so many people open up. There’s also something about walking in the fresh air that expands your creativity and thinking and I find it so much easier to develop solutions and come up with ideas when walking both for myself and for clients. It also takes you away from the people and the environment that may be causing the stress, overwhelm or trauma in people’s lives and again that makes it easier to get clarity and see the way forward.

My transformational walking experiences take women away so that they have time for themselves. Through the walking experiences we exercise every day in a natural environment and learn how to appreciate being in the moment.  There will be the support of others as well as time just for you so that you come away feeling clearer, with a plan to make the changes they want and with new friends and support.  The first of these weeks away will be happening in May and another in late September/early October.

I have also just launched an initiative called Women Walking: Women Talking which is a monthly networking event where women give themselves the gift of a day to walk with others, explore, build relationships and recharge. 

IMG_3004

Heather, thank you so much for sharing.  I am so excited for you, I can see this really being a great success.

Your story perfectly illustrates many of the points I have raised around success in this series.  You have also touched on some very important topics here that helped to shape your direction that I am sure many readers will identify with.

I recommend taking a look at Heather’s website where you can read more of her story and find out more details about the walking experiences.

Please feel free to comment below if you wish to.  All comments are gratefully received and responded to.

Next week I shall be talking to another local entrepreneur about her story.

Thank you for reading.

Nicky

Click here for Recent posts in this series