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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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The F-word on the mind of my almost teen

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The other day I added a new parenting first to my repertoire. I dropped my nearly 13 year old son to the airport for his first unaccompanied flight to go and visit his grandparents in Brisbane. As he walked down the tunnel to the plane by himself and turned back and waved and grinned at me, all I could see was the cute curly haired little toddler that he was, I don’t know… about 5 minutes ago. All he could see, stretched out before him was what he wants more than anything at the moment: FREEDOM.

Honestly, I know it is a cliche and you hear it all the time, but man those years have gone super fast. In so many ways, life is easier now than those early days eternally filled with stinky nappies, wrangling into car seats, and temper tantrums, yet in many ways it is still pretty much the same (filled with stinky sports bags, taxi driving, and the odd temper tantrum!)

Certainly for me the biggest challenge of having an almost teenager is balancing the amount of freedom that is wanted with an amount that I am comfortable with, whilst maintaining consistent and safe boundaries.

I am by no means a helicopter parent, yet I am aware that we live in very different times than when I was the same age, and I took off with my friends for most of the day with no one caring two hoots what we were up to (except maybe the guy at the local milk bar who had to put up with the agonising over which mixed lollies you were going to buy with your 50 cents…ahhh, good times!)

The thing is, I really like the idea of my son having some freedom, we live in a relatively safe area and I would far rather he took off for a bike ride around our suburb, than sit and play a violent video game. Yet letting him out the front gate is a risk, especially given that his still developing brain does not comprehend that racing your friend down the road on your bike is an incredibly unsafe thing to do. So what do you do as a parent who understands that freedom and risk are essential to development, yet you want to keep your child as safe as possible?

I know I can’t be the only one going through these sort of parenting struggles, so I thought I would provide 5 tips for how I balance freedom and responsibility for my almost teenager (most of the time- I don’t pretend to be perfect!)

 

  • Know where they are, who they are with, and when they are expected home. Being super clear on these 3 points, means that any deviation from the expectations you have set can be dealt with.

 

  •  Most kids have a phone these days, and my rule is if I call it, you answer it. If I text you to ask you a question, you reply within a reasonable time. If not, then guess what my answer is next time you want to go to Subway with your mates?

 

  • Get to know your kid’s friends, so that you know who they are hanging out with. Make your home a place that your kids are happy to bring friends back to (e.g. setting up a chill out zone for them to hang out in).

 

  • Is your kid on Instagram?  Ask.fm? Snapchat? Kik? No idea? Social media is a massive part of our kid’s lives now (just as it is for many of us, myself included). But to bury your head in the sand about all this stuff, serves no one well. Keep the lines of communication open, and know what they are on and using. In our house the rules are I pay for your phone, I know the passcode to your phone. I know what social media apps my son uses, and we are Instagram friends (as long as I don’t post any comments he is fine with this).

 

  • The 3 C’s that are my main parenting go to’s are: Communication, Consistency, and Consequences. If I clearly communicate my expectations, and you don’t abide by them, then I am consistent (I mean what I say and I follow through) and there will be a consequence. Obviously consequences depend on the age of your kid and the rule that they broke (the naughty step may no longer cut it, but taking away the devices sure does!)

 

Kids will always want freedom as they grow older, and parents will always want to them to be responsible and keep them safe from harm. When you reframe it as a compromise rather than a battle (You might not be as responsible as I would like, but you will be ok with less freedom than you might like) then hopefully life gets a whole lot less painful (well at least until puberty hits, that’s a whole other F-word story!)

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What are your thoughts on this? Do have any tips on balancing responsibility and freedom with kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep Calm and Practice Self Care

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“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” Audre Lorde

In the past week, I have experienced self care in two very different ways, and it made me realise that what you need to do in order to look after yourself really depends on what else is going on in your life.

Last weekend I attended a full day workshop devoted to self care and expression. This was the first time I have invested in something like this, and it did not disappoint. It was a wonderful day filled with like minded women experiencing beautiful organic food, yoga, meditation, journalling, not to mention some some hilarious and liberating free form dancing. I even enjoyed getting the pencils out and making some patterns, which is saying something for a self avowed colouring in unenthusiast like me! I walked away from the day feeling I had truly filled up my cup, which was just as well because by the next day…

Two out of three kids were home sick from school and I was struck down by a nasty virus

Suddenly, self care turned from an indulgence into survival, and the reality looked a whole lot less pretty than a restorative yoga pose and a neatly coloured in mandala. It made me realise a few home truths about self care, that I thought I would share with you.

 

  • Self care does not have to be Instagram worthy. If I had taken a selfie of what I looked like last week, holed up in bed with a blocked head and hacking cough: well, let’s just say that no amount of exotically named filters would have made me look good, but then neither did I have to. Rest was what I needed, and rest was what I gave myself (as much as was humanly possible when I had sick kids as well).
  • Recognising what was essential and what could be put off, helped take the stress off me. Were you devastated that I didn’t post a blog post last week? No? Good, I didn’t think so, yet we can put so much pressure on ourselves when we work for ourselves that if we ‘disappear’ people will be disappointed. My clients understood that I needed to reschedule, and making a conscious decision not to worry about my blog, took a load off my mind, and put my focus where it needed to be: with my unwell family.
  • Self care is sometimes as simple as lying on the couch with your daughter and watching Anne of Green Gables on DVD. Bliss.
  • Self care can be a beautiful teapot filled with an exotic herbal infusion or it can be a mug with an English Breakfast teabag in it, either works well for me.
  • A beautifully cooked nutritious meal can be a form of self care, but for me if I have to cook it, then it is a self chore in my book. When I am sick, my form of self care comes in the form of toasted cheese sandwiches (with added gluten, dairy, and comfort a plenty).
  • An epsom salt bath with candles and mood music is touted by most as next level self care, however in my experience this is often next level nightmare. If my daughters get a whiff of me near a bathtub, they immediately want to join me, making bath time a game of slippery sardines. So yes, sometimes a hot solo shower suffices as self care in my book.
  • Self care can often mean surrender. Accepting things as they are in the here and now, and getting through the day as best as you possiblly can.  If that means cooking scrambled eggs for dinner, and not caring about the 30 loads of laundry randomly piled around your bedroom* then so be it!

So there you have it, self care two ways, or as I like to think of it: the ideal vs reality. While we should all aim to give ourselves a special day full of self love and expression every now and then, sometimes a DVD, a toastie, and a nana nap are all I need to look after myself! #nohastagorfilterrequired

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*Well I do care actually, but no one else in my house seems to get the elusive concept of laundry. In fact for Mother’s day this year I received a Super Hero poster from my 6 year old daughter. My superhero power? Washing Power! Yes my darling daughter actually wrote “My mum is a superhero because she cleans the washing really fast”, and drew a picture of me with a cape and ‘Washing Power’ on my chest. I am strongly thinking of swapping this superhero cape for one of invisibility instead!

What are your thoughts on self care? Do you regularly take time out for yourself, or is this one  of those things you mean to get around to, but simply never do? I’d love to hear from you below.