Monday, 17 April 2017

Becoming a beauty blogger

I was very excited when I was asked to write a beauty blog for Avon - after all, I'm hardly Twiggy, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren or any other glamorous star who is over 60. However I could understand the reasoning, as I'm sure many of you react like me when you see famous faces promoting beauty products: "she's obviously had work done"; "bet she's been photo-shopped" or "it's alright for her, she's always been beautiful!" tend to be my usual reactions. You too? Would you be more convinced by an ordinary woman praising a particular face cream?

I was sent four products from the Anew Platinum range, which is aimed at over 60s. I was asked to keep a skin diary and also to take some photos over the next 25 days.

I took this photo after I had opened the parcel with great excitement. The packaging was good, as you can see above, and didn't scream "cheap product", so there was no need to hide the jars from any visitors. I was given an Instant Definition Treatment, Eye and Lip Cream, Day Cream and Night Cream. I was pleased to see that the Day Cream had SPF25 as I live in Spain so need that as a minimum. Having said that, I tend to avoid direct sunlight as I have fair, freckled skin.

Day one photo
This is the photo of me on day 1 - no make-up and not smiling, so pretty scary, yes? It was soooo tempting to photo-shop this photo in an attempt to look ten years younger, but I managed to resist. This is what a real make-up-free woman over 60 looks like, folks!

I won't show you the photos that I took over the following three weeks, as they were no better than the one above. I usually smile in my photos, as I believe that a smile is better than a face-lift (as well as being cheaper!) and so in my view all the photos were highly unflattering. The reason I decided not to smile was that I thought it would be easier to spot any changes if the photos appeared similar.

To be honest, I couldn't see any miraculous changes to my skin. I think the wrinkles might have lessened a bit, my jaw might have tightened a fraction and my skin definitely had a healthy glow. After only 25 days I hadn't expected much,so this was very promising. I think it's definitely worth continuing to use this range of beauty creams. However I'll post the final photo and let you be the judges!

Final day photo
Would I recommend using these products? I certainly felt that they compared well to much more expensive brands. I was slightly concerned by tiny flakes on my skin when I first started using the products, but put that down to dead cells (I have to confess to not exfoliating my skin!). Also, I wasn't using an Avon cleanser, so I then made sure to wait a while after cleansing in case the products were reacting to each other, and this seemed to do the trick. I thought the day and night creams might be too rich, however they absorbed easily and my skin certainly felt lovely and soft after using them. I flew to London and back during the twenty five days and was pleased that my skin didn't dry out.  I was particularly pleased when a consultant at one of the beauty counters in John Lewis commented that I had very good skin!

So, what is your verdict? Can you see the difference? If you're over 60, would you be persuaded to use these beauty products too?

NB. I was gifted the four products, which is why I have decided to let you be the final judges. They do say that pictures speak louder than words anyway!

Monday, 10 April 2017

My Spring 33 capsule wardrobe

These are the 33 items of clothing that form my Spring capsule wardrobe and that I will be wearing over the next three months. I first discovered Project 333 a couple of years ago. The idea is, as you may have guessed, to have a wardrobe of 33 items of clothing that will last you for the following three months. If you choose wisely, you should be able to mix and match these items to create plenty of outfits and you won't find this capsule limiting. If you follow the above link you will realise that I cheat a bit by not including accessories and shoes in my capsule!

There are a dozen tops here, most of which are warm shades, as I am gradually building up a wardrobe in my most flattering colours. Obviously I need to ensure that my trousers will go well with these tops.

I haven't included any skirts in my capsule, though I might replace one of the pairs of trousers in the first photo with a skirt when it becomes warmer, as there are two pairs of jeans and two pairs of wool trousers. With eight pairs of trousers and twelve tops, it's mathematically possible to create enough outfits to cover three months without repeating any of them, though some combinations will look better than others. That's not the end of the story though, as during the next three months there will be days when I need an outer layer.

I have included three cardigans and one merino jumper as shown above, which will go well with the warmer colours in my capsule. I also need to choose some outer layers to go with the navy, grey and blue items in my wardrobe.

Finally, I have added a few dressier tops for when we go out in the evening or for a special occasion, plus a dress -  in the hope that we might have some warm weather towards the end of the three months!

There are six new pieces in this capsule of thirty three items of clothing, all of which have been chosen because they will go well with existing pieces and will prove versatile. I'm aiming to gradually replace older clothes that aren't in my best colours. Of course I also have a collection of accessories that will add individuality to my outfits and ensure that I don't become bored with them. If I was going on holiday before the end of June, I would just select tops and bottoms in the warmer colours and avoid the navy, grey and blue items. I realise that I should build up my wardrobe around neutrals, however regular readers will know how much I love a dash of colour! That's where accessories are so useful in creating outfits that reflect your personality.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Style and Colour Event

Last week I attended a Style and Colour Event, organised by Maria of Looking Stylish. It was a fun-filled and very informative day, with lots of activities to help us become more stylish, great company and yummy food: what more could you want?

Maria covered so many topics that I'd need to write a book to tell you about them all! She identified six characteristics of colouring; light, deep, warm, cool, bright and soft. I'm warm with a secondary of soft. She showed us some universal colours that everyone can wear - taupe, navy (rather than black), pewter, camel and brown. Having said that, as a warm/soft, I need to look for warmer shades of taupe, navy, etc. When wearing neutrals, we should try adding two or three pieces in one of our accent colours  Maria also suggested adding three finishing touches to our outfits to make them more stylish, such as jewellery, scarves, handbags, shoes, sunglasses and make-up. Other topics covered included how to dress to suit our body shape, make-up and dressing to suit our personalities.

One session that I particularly enjoyed was when Maria showed us her travel capsule, which she had packed into the following carry-on bag.

Nearly everything came in threes or multiples of three: three pairs of trousers, three pairs of leggings, three dresses, six tops, three cover-ups, three scarves and three necklaces. The clothes were rolled up in sets of three, and didn't have any creases, as Maria demonstrated when she pulled them out of the bag and then hung them up.

I loved the two pairs of shoes plus one pair of sandals that she had packed. Perfect holiday footwear!

Finally Maria had tucked two smaller bags inside a stylish tote.

Maria has warm colouring so used neutrals of brown and cream, with salmon, teal and turquoise accents. She had included a few patterned pieces to add interest and also to pull different colours together. Her scarves and necklaces were also used to make the outfits look coordinated and stylish.

For many of us, the most revealing moment was when Maria selected a scarf for several participants in their most flattering colours. Our reaction was a collective "Wow!"