Saturday, 18 February 2017

My word for 2017: Celebration

Celebration. What do I have to celebrate? What do you have to celebrate? Let's start with me - after all, this is my blog!

I know that I'm a bit late with revealing my word for 2017, but life has been getting in the way of blogging recently. There's another reason, however it's too early to tell you, so that will have to be added to the comments at the right time. (I do love a mystery, don't you?) I will tell you though that it's to do with money, however I have realised that there are so many other things in my life to celebrate that are nothing to do with money - and which are far more important than money - some of which I describe below.

First of all, I have to celebrate my family and my friends. I have three children whom I am immensely proud of and who are all lovely people: a real cause for celebration. I am lucky enough to have many good friends, some of whom I have known for many years, and others who became my friends after we moved to Spain nearly nine years ago. I should also add that I count my extended family amongst my friends. Last, but definitely not least, is my second husband John. I have known him for twenty five years (we met through Serpentine running club) and we married almost eight years ago surrounded by both our families and close friends. Since we met we have been lucky enough to go on some amazing holidays together, visiting Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the USA as well as many countries in Europe. Having said that, it's still good to return to the UK to visit our families and meet up with many of our friends there.

Next I have to celebrate the fact that I am fit and healthy. I know many people aren't as fortunate as I am, so I appreciate the fact that I am able to go to dance exercise classes three mornings a week. I have also started to learn Sevillanos and Flamenco for one hour on Tuesday evenings, which is great fun. As we don't have a car we walk everywhere, plus we go on walks in the countryside of between 9k and 10k with our local Day Centre.  John and I follow a healthy diet, apart from the occasional pizza - after all, both chocolate and red wine have health benefits, don't they? In my case I haven't eaten meat for over 30 years, though I do occasionally eat fish.

I also celebrate the fact that I have a roof over my head and that we have running water and electricity. Many other people in the world don't have these luxuries that most of us take for granted. Having said that, we have experienced the occasional power cut since moving to Spain, usually because there is a fiesta in town with extra lights and musical acts using lots of electric power!

Another cause of celebration is the way we have been accepted by our Spanish neighbours in Jumilla and how patient they are when we try to speak to them in Spanish. Sadly, nowadays, residents in many other countries are not so welcoming towards immigrants. We have been accepted as part of the local community and are referred to as "Jumillanos".

As I said before, I have so many other things to celebrate in my life, however the final one that I would like to mention is my blog and the new friends that I have made through blogging: yes you, my readers.

Now it's your turn: what do you have to celebrate in your life?

Sunday, 15 January 2017

New Year - New You - New Me

I know! It's way past New Year's Day and all the other bloggers out there wished you a Happy New Year at the beginning of the month, not half way through it. Did they inspire you? Were you really enthusiastic as you made your New Year's resolutions, and are you still sticking to them? I have a confession to make: I haven't even thought about New Year's resolutions and I've had fourteen days to do so, which means I'm unlikely to make any now  I hope you're not too shocked!

I'd like to be healthier, happier and more stylish in 2017, and I would like to wish the same for you. I doubt if I'll achieve that by making any traditional resolutions though. I think I'm more likely to succeed if I take small steps; poco a poco, as my Spanish friends would say. Little by little.

This approach worked quite well in 2016. Having been told I had arthritis in my jaw, I decided to follow an anti-inflammatory diet and take supplements such as Co-enzyme Q10 and Omega 3. Interestingly, I was fine until I went on holiday, didn't think so much about what I was eating and didn't take the supplements while I was away. On my return I had neck pain that I put down to arthritis. It could just be coincidence, but since resuming my regime I've had no further pain.

As an Over 60 woman, I believe it is important to keep fit as you get older. I actually met John, my second husband, through a running club in London. We don't run much now that we've retired to Spain (too hot most of the time), but we walk everywhere, partly because we don't own a car, and partly because we enjoy it and have a dog to exercise. In December I joined a local dance school, where I go three times a week for a Bailoterapia class. I suspect that I'm twice the age of some of my classmates, who are mostly young Mums enjoying the class while their children are at school. I will definitely keep on going to my dance exercise classes this year as we have so much fun as well as becoming fitter.

Being more stylish is my final aim. Note that I haven't said that I want to become more fashionable, which in some respects would be the easier option. I could just buy a few fashion magazines every month and purchase the clothes that I see inside their pages. Stylish isn't as straightforward. Take a look at Elle's Best Dressed List: apart from the fact that I didn't spot any over 60s, I could only see myself wearing a handful of the outfits shown. However what becomes clear is that each woman shown there has developed her own style, and that is the key. Not to copy what stylish women wear, although maybe you can be inspired by some of them whose style is similar to your own, but to dress to express your own individuality.

Over the last two weeks I carried out an interesting experiment. I took a photo of my outfit each day, then looked at them all to see which ones were my favourites and which ones I think flattered me the most. These were my top three (in no particular order!)


Apart from the fact that my outfit was very colourful in the first photo (regular readers will know how much I love colour), I can see a common theme. I'm wearing a long pendant or scarf with each outfit, which helps to draw the eyes down and give the illusion that I'm slimmer and taller than in real life! In the second two photos I'm wearing neutral outfits, but there is some contrast to lighten the look.

You of course may be thinking that you don't find these outfits particularly stylish, which obviously is your prerogative, but the secret is that I felt stylish wearing them so they made me feel good. Isn't that the most important thing? Wearing clothes that we love and that we enjoy wearing should be our main aim. If we also look stylish, that's a bonus.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Winter capsule wardrobe

It's time to start thinking about my winter capsule wardrobe as part of Project 333. For those who don't know, the idea behind Project 333 is to limit yourself to 33 items of clothing each season to cover the 3 months. I've already packed away many of the short-sleeved tops from my Autumn 33 and I've added some long-sleeved tops, including a few new purchases. New additions to my wardrobe are shown in the first picture below. Yes I know that this includes a short-sleeved top, however it's a lace top for winter events when I want to look a bit more dressed up
and when I think that it's going to be warm enough to wear it.

The following tops featured in my autumn 33 and will mix and match well with my bottoms. Living in Spain, we do have some sunny days during the winter months where we don't need to layer up, however they will also go well with my cardigans and jackets on colder days where I need an extra layer.

I've included my new red ruched skirt - although I probably won't wear it very often over the next few months - as I think it's going to prove a versatile purchase. I wore it with the beige sparkly jumper when we received our Hypnos award in the theatre before Christmas. I will be wearing it with the new red top shown in the first photo when we go to a dinner dance on 6th January. It will be packed in my case when we go on holiday at the beginning of March, with a selection of tops, for going out in the evening. I'm sure it will score well on the cost per wear ratio!

As well as the three pairs of trousers shown above, I have a grey wool pair as seen in the following photo. These four pairs and the skirt will be rotated throughout the next three months and, with nineteen different tops, plus three cardigans and two jackets, I can create dozens of outfits. Obviously outer layers are very important during the winter months and my capsule includes the burgundy coat, copper trench-coat and beige puffer jacket shown above and the burgundy puffer jacket shown below.

I've mentioned before how it is sensible to build your capsule wardrobe around neutrals, in either warm or cool tones depending on your individual colouring. My neutrals here are mainly brown, camel and beige as well as dark navy jeans and grey trousers. The tops are mostly warm colours, including gold, orange, red and lime green. Accessories have a very important role to play in capsule wardrobes. They can provide contrast if your outfit is too dark and they can provide colour if your outfit is a bit dull. Above all, they will add personality to your outfits. 

The January sales can be very tempting, especially if your capsule consists mainly of neutrals and you love colour as much as I do. Did I mention that red is a neutral in my wardrobe? Just saying! If you're finding it hard to resist the sales, why not look for a colourful scarf, a statement necklace or sparkly earrings instead of yet another "bargain" dress or top that hardly gets worn? Something that will give both you and your wardrobe a lift. As for me, I'm going to try and resist temptation until it's time to start thinking about my Spring wardrobe. After all, with the above 33 items of clothing, I've got more than enough clothes to see me through the winter months.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

A very special award

This blog is called "Over 60 and Over Here" for two very good reasons: I'm over 60 (rapidly heading towards over 70!) and I now live in Spain, having moved here after we both retired from our jobs in London. Most of my posts are about fashion and beauty for over 60 women, however this particular one is about living in Jumilla as an immigrant and being accepted by the local people.

Last month I received a message on facebook from a Spanish friend asking for my mobile number. I thought it was a bit strange, as we usually message each other on facebook and can reply from our mobile phones. Later that day I discovered why Andrés had asked for it, when our Mayoress rang me to say that John and I were being given a very special award: a Hypnos Premio, as Embajadores de Jumilla (Ambassadors of Jumilla). What a wonderful surprise!

Each year our town makes several awards to recognise what groups and individuals have done for Jumilla. We were being given our award because I blog and write about what is happening locally, plus we show groups of English-speaking tourists around the old town and castle, as well as arranging visits to Jumilla's wineries and booking meals in local restaurants. We were delighted that we had been nominated for a Hypnos Premio and that they wanted to recognise our work by giving us one of these prestigious awards. It also struck us how welcoming and inclusive Spanish people are and how they now consider us to be Jumillanos, part of their community, rather than just immigrants. I would like to think that Spanish people living in the UK are treated as well as we are here and are also made to feel at home over there.

The above photo shows us on stage at our local theatre, with my daughter and son-in-law to the right of the picture, as well as a few of our British and Spanish friends. I must confess to feeling slightly nervous beforehand, as we had said we would like to say a few words in Spanish when we were given our award. Our good friend Juana María had corrected our speech and listened to us reading it, with a few comments on our accents!

I'm pleased to say that our speech was well received and Juana María told us that people found it funny - deliberate humour, I should add! Afterwards we all went to the Museo del Vino for a three course lunch accompanied by Jumilla wines. Needless to say, it was the perfect finish to our celebrations.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Black Friday anyone?

It started early this year: my Inbox is already full of amazing offers for Black Friday and I'm writing this the day before.

It's even spread to Spain!

So am I going to take advantage of any of these amazing offers? It's so tempting, especially with the incredible discounts - but wait! Do I really need any of the items that are being sold at such low prices? Are these offers genuine, or were the prices hiked up a week ago?  What do you think?

As regular readers know, I've been trying to restrain myself over the last couple of years as I build my capsule wardrobe of clothes that flatter me and work for my lifestyle. I may buy new clothes, but I'm working on the "one in - one out" basis. I've had my eyes on a couple of items though that will work well with my existing wardrobe, with the idea being that I would wait for Black Friday to see if any of them would be offered at reduced rates.

If I make any purchases tomorrow, I will update this post with photos of them. Do let me know whether you are tempted on Black Friday or able to resist all these fantastic offers.

PS Just to let you know that, if you click on any links here, I won't be getting a penny!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

My Journey to Chic Style

I should start this post with a disclaimer: I'm not claiming that I do have chic style and I admit that I'm still on the journey, however I think I've made a fair bit of progress over the last four years. I was prone to impulse buying, especially if I spotted something in a colour that I loved - regardless of whether the colour loved me back. I have always admired the effortless style of Frenchwoman and, judging by the number of Francophile blogs, I'm not the only one. Reading the many style blogs - one of my favourites being The Vivienne Files - I'm now more aware of what colours and styles suit me, also helped by taking part in 7 Steps to Style and having had various colour and style consultations over this period.

Me in Paris - trying to look Parisian!

An example of a dress that I loved the look of when I saw it in the sales, but on reflection it didn't really flatter me.

Too long, too dark and an unflattering shape

I've realised that I was wearing red accessories in both these photos, which I think helped to improve the overall look of the outfits, especially as it is a colour that suits me. Four years ago I was wearing mostly cooler colours, having been told that I was a "winter" or even a "jewel winter" in seasonal colour analysis. I went for a style analysis too and was told that I am a "Natural Gamine", which I definitely think describes my style. My current style recipe, developed whilst doing the 7 Steps to Style, is "Colourful Casual Chic with  a little bit quirky and a Parisian influence." Note that I said "current", as I reserve the right to change it over the next few years as my style develops.

Apart from creating my style recipe, which takes into account my lifestyle as well as my personal style, I have learnt about value and colour contrast, which helps explain why some combinations are more flattering on me than others. I am high value contrast (dark hair and eyes with pale skin), but low colour contrast. I also know that softer, warmer colours suit me more than brighter, cooler colours now that I am becoming older. While doing the 7 Steps to Style, I was told by Imogen that my colouring is warm, deep and smoky: in her system I'm an Enigmatic. This was reinforced by Maria of Looking Stylish, who said that my dominant colour family is warm, with a secondary of soft, and Karen of Colour Elements who told me that I am Earth:air.

Once I discovered the best colours and styles for me, I had to look at my existing wardrobe to see which (if any!) of my clothes met these criteria. Obviously I couldn't afford to throw everything out and replace them with more flattering choices, so how could I make the most of my wardrobe? I gradually realised that the key was to build a capsule wardrobe of clothes that suited me and went well together, plus accessories in my most flattering colours, especially when it came to necklaces and scarves worn close to my face.

I mentioned The Vivienne Files earlier and most of my inspiration came from Janice's helpful posts. The one that I linked to above is the first of a series showing how to build a capsule wardrobe from scratch. This particular capsule is perfect for someone like me, as the colours are ones that I like and that suit me, plus it's very casual whilst still looking chic. There aren't any dresses in it, however having shown a dress above that didn't suit me I thought it would be interesting to post a photo of one that is far more flattering. I may very well wear it tomorrow as we're going out for lunch and dancing: one of the few occasions when I don't necessarily wear my "uniform" of trousers and tops!

I hope this post explains how my wardrobe has evolved since I first started blogging in 2012. My journey to chic style is far from complete, and I plan to continue sharing it with you all. As always, I look forward to reading your comments.

Monday, 31 October 2016

What are your Colour Elements?

No, I didn't know mine either - until I went to Stylist Live in London recently! I discovered the Colour Elements stand when I went to the Lead the Walk stand to buy our dog Lisa a stylish collar, although I had already made a note to look for it, as I was intrigued by the name.

I had a very enjoyable and enlightening chat with Karen from Colour Elements as she increased my knowledge of how colour works, as well as identifying my element of Earth:Air. I particularly like her aim of helping us to create a Lean Colour Wardrobe where clothes work together, which is what I hope to achieve in my own wardrobe.

The clothes that I was wearing were definitely right for my Earth element however Karen showed me how adding a touch of Air would look even more flattering. I loved the silk scarves that she had on display: the one in Earth colours is now on my Christmas present list (Santa, please note!)




Aren't these scarves lovely? Do you feel drawn to one in particular? The chances are that it is in the colours of your individual element.

Colour Elements have a free app that you can use if you have an iphone or ipad (sadly my smartphone uses android, though I have an ipad at the top of my birthday present list. Family, please note!) 

Don't despair though as there are still lots of ways for the rest of us to enjoy Colour Elements. I already have my colour script and have recently downloaded my colour profile, which is packed with helpful information. Every two weeks I will receive Instant Outfits for my element, which will provide me with inspiration for creating outfits in the colours that flatter me, plus the opportunity to click and buy. I will need to resist temptation most of the time though if I aim to keep my wardrobe "lean"!