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On the other side of forty…I take myself on a date

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‘The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself’

While I love (and absolutely need) time by myself to recharge and practice self care, I am also a classic extrovert in that I gain energy and inspiration from being around other people.

One of the benefits of being on the other side of forty is that I know what works for me and what doesn’t: Exercise? I may have all the best intentions in the world to walk by myself, but it is only when I have a friend to walk and chat with that I actually do it. And while it may be some peoples idea of hell, I love to shake my groove thing with a bunch of other women in a fun Zumba class.

If you are my friend (and I expect you to be reading this if you are!) then you know I am the one who enjoys organising social activities such as book club, movie nights, and drinks with the girls. Basically I like having uplifting people around me, it makes me feel happy, vibrant, and connected (and I certainly like feeling that way).

But one of the downsides of being on the other side of forty, is that sometimes I get a little too stuck in my comfort zone, and can revert to what is easy and doesn’t challenge me. Hence it was that I recently realised I NEVER go out by myself.*

Now of course I go grocery shopping (or we would starve) and I am happy to wander around my local shopping mall for a couple of hours, (or I would have no clothes) BUT I do not and have never taken myself out for lunch, or gone and seen a movie I wanted to but no one else was interested in. Why is this? I think in the past I assumed I would feel judged as a ‘Scott Nomates’ if I engaged in solitary activities, which of course sounds as daft as it is, even as I type those words.

So when the opportunity arose for me to have a solitary weekend in Sydney recently, I took up the challenge to take myself on a date for the day and this is what I discovered (apart from the fact that I am not cheap, lol!)

  • Sitting having breakfast by myself in a cafe in The Rocks after a big night out dancing with some lovely life coaches nearly half my age, meant I could engage in two of my favourite pastimes: 1. making up scenarios in my head for all the people wandering around the markets in front of me; and 2. eating my bodyweight in bacon & eggs to get over my sore head and feet following the reality that I am nearly double the age of the lovely life coaches I was out with last night!
  • Sightseeing by yourself (particularly without kids) is enjoyable and E.A.S.Y. No playgrounds, no whining, no ice cream bribes: I spontaneously decided to wander over to the Sydney Opera House to marvel at its glorious architecture, and contemplated buying myself a ticket to the opera (although the eye watering price made me spontaneously leave). But I liked the fact that if I had wanted to, I could have, there was no one to answer to but me!
  • After a good mosey around the shops, including the magnificent QV Building, it was getting late, and an early dinner was on my horizon. This was my big test, yet I’m happy to say I passed with flying colours (although it certainly helps to have a phone to play with!) Even better, I ordered exactly what I felt like and never normally eat (spaghetti carbonara) and ate it with gusto and without guilt.
  • For the final leg of my date, I retreated back to my room for some quality alone time (a face mask, a chocolate bar, a cup of tea, and a good book). Now if that’s not the ideal way to finish off a perfect date, then you have clearly been married for a lot less years than me!

But in all seriousness, I came away from my weekend away by myself feeling happy, content, confident, and filled with gratitude for the opportunity to have that precious time to spend getting to know myself a little better. Next on my list is a trip to the movies: I’d invite you, but I think I have a date with a choc top instead!

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modernfam*No, I am not talking about getting all dressed up and sitting in a seedy bar waiting for Clive Bixby to come and hit on me…(although I do think that would be hilarious, I love that episode of Modern Family so much!)

 

 

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It’s time to spring into Spring!

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Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’ ~ Robin Williams

Now before anyone feels the need to point it out, I know that we are still somewhat in the grip of Winter in Australia (more so for those of us stuck down at the bottom of this great vast land). BUT…I need something to look forward to, it has been a long cold season (and yes I know I had a holiday to Greece not that long ago, but that was in May, which is technically Autumn, therefore doesn’t count in my longing for Winter to end!)

So yes, I am getting in early, I can’t wait any longer: my body is itching to feel some warmth on my pale dry skin. I must start making some plans to embrace the change of seasons and say good bye once and for all to the dreaded Winter slump.

So, here are five ways that I intend on springing into Spring over the next few weeks:

Time to Declutter like a boss

Spring is a time to breathe in the new and sweep out the old. I am making plans to clear away  piles of papers, magazines, and books that have accumulated over the indoor months. Old toys that the kids have grown out of are getting tossed or given away with no sentiment attached. Bags of clothes that have been sitting patiently waiting to go the to the Op shop are finally on their way.

This is such a satisfying thing to do that it even makes me feel inclined to…

Clean that house baby

Yes, once the clutter is cleared, there is incentive to scrub and clean and make things shiny and new (this urge to clean doesn’t happen often in my world, so I have to make the most of it when it does!) I am cleaning out the fridge, sucking dust bunnies from under the bed, and making my windows sparkle (ok, I may have outsourced that last one, but hey it still counts!) I know I feel better once these jobs are ticked off the to do list and I can forget about them for another few months and concentrate on the important things in life, like watching The Bachelor and…

 Sprucing my Winter bod

Now this may be too much information for some of you, but I tend to let myself go in Winter. My motto is if I can cover it, then I don’t need to tend to it (this may also subconsciously be why I bought a fedora this Winter: my grey hair is getting a little out of control!). I quite enjoy this phase of the year (and my husband doesn’t seem to mind either way) however, I also really enjoy amping up the self care and making the appointments to ready my skin for some sunshine once again. So visits to the hairdresser, beautician, and toenail polish lady (sorry, I’m not sure if you have a technical name) are all in order in the next couple of weeks.

Which then leaves me feeling good and ready to…

Make some fun plans

I love to entertain, and pride myself about having one of those houses that people can drop in for a drink and a casual dinner with very little notice. But not in Winter!  Like a bear in hibernation, it takes some serious cajoling to get me to leave my couch in front of the fire on a cold Winter’s night and I don’t tend to invite people over either. But my thoughts are turning to a desire for more connection with my friends and family, and I know that the approaching start of Spring has a lot to do with that.

So I am making some fun plans, which also includes…

Stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new

Life is for living, and let’s face it you never feel more alive than when you do something fun and exciting for the first time. This weekend I am leaving my family behind and heading off to Sydney for an event. I haven’t been to Sydney for 10 years, and I have one whole day by myself with absolutely nothing planned and I am really looking forward to seeing what this day brings. Maybe I will climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and attempt to break a Guinness world record (that suggestion is for my fellow Bachelor watchers!) Whatever I decide, I will get out of my comfort zone and enjoy my own company, because I am ready to spring into Spring and love my life!

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To help you feel your best and be ready to embrace the change of seasons feeling fabulous, I am offering a special deal on my 90 minute clarity coaching session for the Springtastic price of $150 (usually $175). This great offer will be available until the end of AUGUST (when all my prices will be going up), so check out my Work With Me page HERE or shoot me an email at melissa@melissajeffcott.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

How do ready yourself for the change of seasons? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

On the Other Side of Forty… I rediscover my style

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“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn”
― Orson Welles

If you are anything like me, you totally love the idea of having a distinct sense of your own style, but somewhere along the line you have lost sight of it…

I used to love quirky fashion when I was younger, and really enjoyed putting some interesting and individual looks together.  After those heady days of wearing pork pie hats, giant crucifix earrings, gold velvet hot pants and silver bomber jackets (reason 456 that I am thankful social media didn’t exist back then!) I sensibly retreated to a fairly safe corporate wardrobe for most of my 20’s, before switching to mum attire for my 30’s (i.e. what ever still fitted and didn’t have food stains all over it!)

On the other side of forty, I have longed to rediscover my style (although definitely not the hot pants!) but seem to have gotten stuck as to what suits me, looks stylish and fashionable, but not too young or too old on me, and hides the bits that I don’t love (all within a budget of course!)

I clearly needed help, so I turned to the lovely Anne from Style Joy to steer me in the right direction..

What are the key pieces you would recommend that every woman has in her wardrobe?

Classic pieces that can be worn in many different ways such as perfectly fitting jeans, killer black pants, shirts (white / black / denim), a tailored black jacket or cardi depending on your everyday needs, basic (underneath tops / tshirts), a stylish pair of ankle boots….then accessories to change up the look with different earrings, necklaces , scarves, hats, etc.

What are the benefits of having a personal shopping experience?

My clients love the idea of all the looking and hard work done for them. For me its not hard work to research and have great knowledge of what is available in each shop, so when a client comes to me with a brief and budget, I know before the shop where to go and what pieces will be suitable for them. This saves them time and gives them more confidence to try things they wouldn’t usually try on their own – no more wandering around aimlessly in a shopping centre all day getting frustrated and coming home with nothing OR the wrong thing.

A personal shopping experience gives women a new found appreciation for their style and how looking good makes them feel good. I always notice this sparkle in my client’s eyes once we are about 45 minutes into the shop and have started finding pieces that look great on them – I see a new found confidence and excitement in how they see themselves.

Where should you start if you have no clue what your style is anymore?

Start with Pinterest, Instagram or magazines, and look at which fashion pics you admire…there is absolutely no reason you cannot recreate the looks and style you like to suit your body shape, budget and lifestyle.

Are there any fashion trends you should avoid as you get older?

Anything that doesn’t feel comfortable should not be worn….and that goes for all ages.


5 Quick Questions for Anne from Style Joy

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1. My favourite go to outfit is…Jeans, a statement top, amazing shoes and my hair up in a bun.

2. My favourite place to shop is…David Jones, as it has so much great variety, but Zimmerman is my favourite brand.

3. My favourite accessory is…my mum’s vintage snake skin clutch, and my antique diamond ring my husband bought me after we had our second child!

4. My most embarrassing fashion moment…overdoing an outfit with too many accessories….I certainly learnt that less is always more!

5. The best part of my job is…seeing the satisfaction and joy my clients get when they have found those perfect pieces that make them look and feel amazing! After every shop with a client I can’t wipe the smile off my face because I love that I have helped make them feel so good about themselves. 🙂

If you live in Melbourne, and like the sound of Anne helping you rediscover your style (it’s totally worth it!) simply mention ‘The Other Side of Forty’ to receive 15% off any personal shopping service until October 2015.  See http://www.stylejoy.com.au for more info and to contact Anne, I know she’d love to hear from you! You can also follow her on Instagram @STYLE_JOY

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What are thoughts on style as you get older, do you have a good sense of your own style or is this an area you need a little help in? Let me know in the comments below..

Fabulous Women on the Other Side of Forty: Kerri Sackville

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Kerri Sackville is a columnist, blogger, speaker and the author of ‘When My Husband Does The Dishes…’ and ‘The Little Book Of Anxiety – Confessions From A Worried Life’.

In her spare time she enjoys eating Nutella, fantasizing about Simon Baker, drinking caffeine and alcohol with friends, and lying very, very still on the couch.

Oh, and she is also a fabulous woman on the other side of forty of course!

HOW HAS LIFE CHANGED FOR YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE OF FORTY?

Gosh. My life looks very different from the way it did in my thirties. My writing career only took off in my forties. Both my books and all my high profile work (the columns, TV spots) came in my forties. And I separated from my husband at 44. I am living as the sole adult in a household for the first time in my life. It’s a massive change. I’d never before lived alone, or even decorated my own home. It’s been a huge step for me.

YOU ARE A SUCCESSFUL AUTHOR, WRITER & COMMENTATOR, AND YET YOU RECENTLY WROTE A BLOG POST ABOUT OFTEN FEELING LIKE AN IMPOSTER. WHY DO YOU THINK SO MANY SUCCESSFUL WOMEN FEEL THIS WAY?

You know, even when you ask me that I think, ‘I’m the wrong person to ask! I’m not successful!’ It’s weird because I know that I write well. It was always my strength. So it’s not about doubting my abilities, per se…. it’s more about not seeing myself as others may see me. I see myself as still struggling to establish myself in the industry. I guess women of my generation weren’t taught confidence; certainly I never felt confident in myself. And I think women are frequently far more introspective than men – we question ourselves whilst they just get up and do it. Perhaps that’s the reason?

SOME OF YOUR FUNNIEST (AND HEARTFELT) WRITING IS ABOUT BEING A SINGLE MUM OVER 40 IN THE WORLD OF ONLINE DATING. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER WOMEN IN A SIMILAR SITUATION?

Oh lord. You really do need to be quite resilient. You cannot take rejection personally. You have no idea why a man may not be interested in you – perhaps he wants someone younger, or without kids, or who doesn’t remind him of his Aunt Mary. Also don’t rush into it. Take some time to work out who you are and what you need before jumping into the dating world, otherwise you’ll just repeat the mistakes of the past. And be choosy. You’re ALLOWED. Wait for someone you’re mad about, rather than the first guy who has two legs and a pulse.

WHAT ARE SOME SIMPLE THINGS THAT YOU DO FOR SELF CARE?

I nap, a lot. I love taking naps. I get exhausted with looking after the kids and working, and I sleep as much as possible. I also take baths, read a lot of books, meet friends for lunch, browse through shops, talk endlessly to my bestie…. all the things that bring me joy. And I laugh. A lot. My kids and I laugh all the time.

I AM BIG BELIEVER IN FINDING THE FUN AND JOY IN EVERYDAY LIFE. HOW DO YOU LIKE TO HAVE FUN?

My kids and I have a very joyous household. We have all sorts of private jokes and games that we play. We spend a lot of time singing and dancing and being silly. My parents are also frequently hilarious – dinners at their place can be fall-about-laughing funny. I am very careful about the people I surround myself with. I have a small group of very close friends rather than a large group of meh friends. All my closest friends share my sense of humour and we will text and message and make each other laugh during the day.

Web_140619_0320_BWThanks so much Kerri, it is great to meet someone who loves napping as much as I do!

You can read Kerri’s fantastic blog ‘Life and other crises’ here, or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter

 

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