Sunday, 22 March 2020

We will survive!

I've been planning a new blog post about capsule wardrobes, however in the crazy world that we're living in at the moment it seemed a bit frivolous. I know that I have readers from various parts of the world, so I wanted to send you all a message telling you to be strong and to be safe. I found Gloria Gaynor's song very inspiring when I was going through a difficult time after my husband John died, so that's going to be my theme song. One of the teachers at the Pilates and dance studio I belong to used to play a Spanish version of "I will survive" and I always found it uplifting. Click on this link if you want to listen to Gloria now.

I live in Spain, where John and I retired nearly 12 years ago. When we moved into our own home, after renting for almost a year, John and I decided to adopt a small dog from the local animal refuge, who was called Lisa by the neighbours, presumably after Lisa in the Simpsons! I'm so grateful to have Lisa since Spain's government declared an "estado de alarma", which has meant a lock down for all of us. This means staying at home except for trips to the supermarkets or chemists for essentials.

Having Lisa as my companion means that I'm not alone in the house, so she is helping me survive. She isn't used to having so many people around our building during the daytime so keeps growling and barking to warn me! I am allowed to take Lisa out for short walks, where I usually see fellow dog walkers to say "Hola" to, which stops me feeling too isolated. I learnt today that this situation will continue for another 15 days. If the number of cases continues to rise, I'm expecting the Spanish government to extend this period even further, so I have to be prepared for the long haul.

I was feeling a bit sad that my daughters, who were planning to visit me for the UK Mother's Day, were no longer able to travel here from London. I mentioned this to my Spanish neighbour, who had asked me if they were still coming. A couple of days later my doorbell rang and when I opened it she was standing there with her 5 year old daughter, who handed this bunch of wild flowers to me saying it was a present for Mother's Day. How lovely was that?

My Mother's Day present from my Spanish neighbours
Thanks to modern technology I was able to see and speak to my three children on Skype today, even though we all live in different locations, so that really lifted my spirits. Now that we've created our family group on Skype we plan to have a chat together on a regular basis, though I'm hoping that it won't be too long until we can do it in person.

The next few weeks won't be easy for any of us, but if we stay strong and think of others not just ourselves (as my neighbours have just done) and if we all pull together, I'm sure we will get by.
Tonight at 8pm I went onto my balcony and joined my neighbours in applauding those dedicated key workers who are helping us all survive, an act which we have been doing every night since lock down began. Someone then played this song ResistirĂ© (you can hear it by clicking on the link.) so we continued clapping - as well as a bit of dancing in my case. I believe that this positive attitude will also help us survive.

What have I been doing, apart from the occasional trip to the supermarket and my dog walking? A bit of housework of course (not my favourite pastime!), trying out new recipes, and playing DVDs so I can continue with my Zumba and dance sessions. I am also planning to get back to blogging and no doubt will write about my capsule wardrobe soon, as writing is something that I find therapeutic. It's probably good to be positive and look forward to returning to whatever our normal life is. However I suspect that all our lives will be a bit different once we have survived this world crisis. I'm hoping that we will all appreciate our friends and family more, be grateful for everything that we have and that this community spirit that is so uplifting will continue.

Take care. Stay safe.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Fashion Feng Shui

Water Wood Fire Earth Metal

Over the years that I've been writing this blog, I've tried different colour analysis and style workshops, had my colours "done" (with several different results!) and experimented with various fashion looks. You'd think that by now, as an over-60 year old woman, I'd know what really flatters me, but it's not that straightforward. I'll try colours and styles that other people claim look good on me, but somehow they don't feel right. They're not really me. Step forward Fashion Feng Shui!

Simply put, dressing the Fashion Feng Shui way means dressing not only to reflect the way you look, as colour and style analysis aims to do, but also dressing for your essence (who you are) and your intention (what you desire). Within Fashion Feng Shui there are five elements of water, wood, fire, earth and metal. Most of us have a dominant element as well as supporting ones, but the element that reflects the way we look may not necessarily be the element that expresses who we are deep inside.

In my case, Wood is my dominant element for many reasons. My body is rectangular, I like comfortable, sporty clothes and I enjoy being active. The colours that flatter me include green and blue, which are Wood colours. However my hair and eyes are dark, which is more typical of a Water element and I love creative writing, which is also Water, so that is another key element for me.  What about my pale skin? That is typical of Metal, although I am far from being perfect, which is one of Metal's key traits!

What is the one colour that I particularly love wearing and that gives me confidence? It's red, which is (not surprisingly)  Fire. I am wearing a red top and also a red lipstick in the photo below. As an Autumn (according to my latest colour analysis) earth tones of brown and yellow should also suit me. They do, and my wardrobe contains several pieces of clothing and a few accessories in earth tones, however Earth isn't an element that resonates with me. I'm not practical or traditional and I'm not exactly a homebody either. As I enjoy red so much, I guess that Fire is one of my influencing elements and therefore I must be a bit of a drama queen underneath!

Fire element - red
As an over-60 woman who has retired, I don't have to worry about having appropriate work wear and I can wear what I want. My lifestyle is casual so I'm able to wear the blues and greens that suit me as a Wood and my everyday attire is mainly casual, if not sporty clothing. To express my creative side I will wear abstract and ethnic patterns, sometimes in a scarf, or an unusual piece of jewellery. If I want to be noticed, or fancy some drama - you've guessed it! - I will wear something red

The following summary will give you some idea of which element you belong to in a physical sense, but if you want to become more creative, show off your fun side or are a bit of a perfectionist you will see how to express that side of you too.

The first element, Water, is also known as the Philosopher. Philosophers tend to have very dark hair, eyes or skin and their body is a soft triangle shape. Philosophers are free spirits, valuing freedom and personal expression. They are deep thinkers, introspective, sensitive and will think before they answer you. They need solitude and quiet time on their own to recharge. They enjoy wearing clothes that are dark, abstract, with flowing lines. One word to describe Philosophers: creative.

Wood is known as the Pioneer. Pioneers tend to be competitive, they move at speed, have several projects on the go and are always moving onto new things. They like nature, enjoy books and get involved in humanitarian causes. They avoid fussy, overly constructed clothes and usually look fresh, natural and casual. Physically, Pioneers are rectangles, they have blue/green based hair and eyes or olive skin. As a Wood I do wear blues and greens a lot, my outfits are often casual, comfortable and made of natural fabrics. Patterns, especially stripes, feature in my wardrobe. One word to describe Pioneers: sporty.

Fire is also known as the Pleasure seeker. Pleasure seekers are fun-loving and attract attention. They are charismatic, charming and enthusiastic. Pleasure seekers are social butterflies, talk quickly and smile a lot. They will have reddish hair, skin or eyes and their bodies are inverted triangles. They wear bright, bold and body-conscious outfits. They love reds and purples, and clothes in shiny, clingy fabrics. They are definitely not shrinking violets! One word to describe Pleasure seekers: dramatic.

Earth is known as the Peacemaker. They are homebodies, don't like change and love routine. They will put others' needs before their own.  Peacemakers like classic and comfortable clothes. They have golden or brown hair, eyes and skin. Their body is either square or rounded. Their clothes will be basic, in neutral colours and textured fabrics, often in plaids or checks. The word to describe Peacemakers is traditional.

Finally we have Metal, also known as Perfectionists. They like quality, refinement, and aspire to perfection. They love beautiful things and always look expensive. They have tidy homes - they definitely can't live in a messy house - so it's clear that I'm not a Metal! Perfectionists have very light hair, eyes and skin and hourglass figures. Their favourite colours are pastels, white and metallics. They like polished textures, round patterns and luxurious fabrics. Perfectionists, not surprisingly, can be described as elegant.

So there you have it. Do you recognise yourself in any of the descriptions above? Do you aspire to be more like one of the elements in particular? If you would like to find out more about Fashion Feng Shui, click on this link to buy the Kindle version of Fashion Feng Shui Shopping Wisdoms. (In case you're wondering, I don't get any commission if you decide to buy it!)