There’s definitely a time and place for long, relaxing treatments that encompass beauty and wellbeing, or for those slightly invasive techniques that delve a bit deeper into your skin concerns and may leave you with a day or two of downtime. And that’s all well and good, but with Christmas around the corner and not enough hours in the day, I want no-fuss, get-me-looking-good-right-now kind of help.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a summertime girl – flip flops, cocktails and beaches are up there on my list of favourite things and sunshine is always guaranteed to lift my mood. But when winter comes around, it can be a different story. As much as I enjoy parts of it, such as sparkly fairy lights, mulled wine and comfort foods, I really have to be ready for the bleaker days ahead, so I need to pull out the happy-makers to blast away the dark day doldrums!
Do you ever feel you just need a place to get away and restore the brain batteries? A place where you can grab a bit of peace and quiet, where you won’t being disrupted every 5 minutes by a slobbering labrador wanting food/walks or a teen that’s lost her college pass, homework, purse, mobile….? I do! Being freelance definitely has its advantages but there are a few downsides, so finding a hub of tranquility among busy London life is ideal…Well, I found it and it’s called Gazelli House!
That Indian Summer kept dipping its head in and out of the first days of autumn, didn’t it? Last week I did the dog walk in waterproof boots because it was muddy at the park, changed into flip flops for a meeting (gold, special ones ;-)) because the sun was out and because I’d just painted my toenails a lovely red/orange and then left the meeting a few hours later, squelching through puddles with a scarf wrapped around my head to shield off the wind and rain! Wow, do excuse me for that terribly British weather update but here’s what I’m getting at…
Who else tries to limit themselves to 10 minutes max on the Daily Mail Online? And who else fails miserably, winding up goggly eyed, scrolling through stories about which Z-list celebs have just secured a £10,000,000,000,000 contract to be the Face of Flatulence or whatever new perfume/makeup/clothing line is hoping to be the next Kardashian inspired money making hit? I really hope I’m not alone here! Now, apart from the reality TV tripe, there is often a story or two that catches my eye, like the recent one by extremely talented novelist, Raffaella Barker, where she writes about feeling invisible at times and imparts the ways she has helped overcome that. So, my question to you is: Do you ever feel invisible?
A few months ago, I was walking down Chiswick High Road feeling a bit fed up with myself. My workload was pretty heavy and I hadn’t made time to get to any exercise classes. Lack of workouts tend to send me into a downward spiral when it comes to my mood and what I eat. In fact, my diet has been pure pants…No, no, no…I haven’t been surviving on a strict diet of Y-fronts and boxers but ‘pants’ as in ‘rubbish’ i.e., pizza, crisps, chocolate, bread, and more chocolate. Really, there has been no holds barred when it comes to carbs and sugar.
2017 is not a bad time in which to be almost 50 or, in fact 60, 70 and beyond. Not only do we have amazing role models in the public eye like Susan Sarandon and Dame Helen Mirren who give the youngsters a run for their money on the red carpet – even overshadowing them sometimes – with their sheer sass and chutzpah. But the over 40s blogging scene is exploding with fabulous women celebrating their age and giving a two finger salute to anyone who dares tell them they ‘shouldn’t be doing this’…or ‘wearing that’ at ‘your age’….O.M.G. The very thought…excuse me while I take a moment!
Last October I visited one of my favourite non-surgical clinics, S-Thetics in Beaconsfield, to try out the new fat-zapping, body-sculpting technology, SculpSure by Cynosure. So, before you read on, you can catch up on the excitement and my experience here
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter and a relaxing looooooooong weekend! I know I did. So busy
drinking cocktails relaxing was I that I barely bothered to check my Twitter and Instagram accounts and even Facebook only got a cursory daily scroll through. Putting FOMO (that’s Fear Of Missing Out, mother) aside, I found that I really liked my mini digital detox and have vowed to do it more often.
At the beginning of February I was invited in to see the lovely team at Bodyvie Medi-clinic in Richmond to talk about their latest treatment – the Bios Square Epil Laser which, I’m told, is the fastest permanent hair removal laser in the world and up to 3 times faster than standard hair removal lasers. I’d been in a slight panic about my woolly mammoth legs for some time – but seeing as the weather hasn’t exactly been leg-baring, I’d felt safe enough. However, the odd flash of furry ankles during fitness classes recently had me deciding I can’t hold off anymore – so, I began to think, ‘why not be fuzz-free forever?’
In January, I was invited along with 9 other bloggers, to try out the reformulated No7 Lift & Luminate Skincare Range for one month and report back with my findings…
As a child, I used to look up to my mum as if she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen – I still do! The waft of her Rive Gauche fragrance as she glammed up at her dressing table, ready to go out on the town with dad, the perfect roast dinners she made on a Sunday and her health and beauty rituals such as massaging in a face-full of cold cream before sleeping and the sharing out of spoonfuls of Cod Liver Oil with the family.
I’m so pleased to introduce you to the delightful and very knowledgable, Tricia Cusden, founder of Look Fabulous Forever which, if you haven’t heard of before and you’re a woman of a certain age, you will thank me forever for alerting you to! ☺ Look Fabulous Forever will help you do just that. Read on for Tricia’s nuggets of wellbeing and beauty wisdom…
I’ve been invited to quite a few 50th birthday parties this year and am thinking about what to do next year when I reach that milestone too. It’s got me thinking…when you were a kid, what did someone of 50 look like to you? To me, someone of 50 years old was ‘almost old’; they weren’t quite my nan – white/grey bubble perm, beige slacks and a dab of Parma Violet Eau de Cologne behind the ears (even though, like most of our nans, mine seemed to look like that from 35 onwards). But 50 definitely wasn’t skinny jeans, converse, leopard print coats, flowing locks, a sprinkling of glitter and a red lip either. Fifty was the lull before the bed-bath. And now?
Skincare is a very personal thing; what works well for some may only make others think ‘meh…it’s ok’ or they might not like it at all. And with so many skincare ranges available, knowing what to buy can be really confusing. So, I like to think that the products or treatments that I mention have something pretty special about them so that, even if they aren’t exactly the holy grail of beauty (because that hasn’t been invented yet and when it has, then believe me, I will be the first to tell you) I believe they will give most of us who are over 40, a happy little ‘ooh, yeah, that’s gooooood‘ kind of feeling.
Way back last year, I had the idea of writing a regular series of inspirational posts about Women Like Us who could give us tips and tricks on anything that makes them look and feel fantastic. I figure if it works for them, it could work for us too! Of course, me being me, I wrote my first post about my gorgeous and glamorous friend Liz Bennett (read it again here) and haven’t done anymore since! I got some great feedback on that post, so I’m picking up the pieces and getting the Women Like Us going again and I’m starting today with the lovely, super stylish and super organised Image Consultant and mum of two from West Sussex, Helen Reynolds.
Glowology: I wish I was naturally stylish! Tell me more about your work and how you got into it.
Helen: I got into the Image Consultancy business because of my own style journey which makes me typical of the women I now help! I’ve always been fascinated by the way different clothes can make you feel and in turn can affect the way you behave. After graduating from Uni I worked at a glossy magazine publishers with some incredibly glamourous and stylish women. I noticed how what I wore on any given day would affect my confidence and behaviour. Some days I would be outgoing and confident and would share my ideas in meetings (and be heard!). Other days when I didn’t feel like ‘me’ in my clothes I would revert to the shy little girl I used to be. After having my babies in my thirties I trained to become an Image Consultant and suddenly it all made sense. We are all different and what suits one person will not necessarily work for the next. I finally understood the importance of wearing clothes that ‘love you back’ rather than pieces I felt I should wear because they were fashionable or looked great on someone else I’d seen. For me it has been life-changing and I feel so lucky to be able to do this for the women that I work with. Some of them are limiting their lives because of the way they feel about the way they look. What I do isn’t really about the clothes to be honest, although that’s my ‘tool’, it’s more about unlocking something deep inside that makes women feel amazing and confident so that they live their lives to the full.
Glowology: I ‘met’ you virtually, through finding your website on Twitter and loving the tips on your blog. How and why did you get into blogging?
Helen: I wanted to be able to share my message with a wider audience so I went on a fabulous blogging course with Carole Bozkurt at The Blueprint Practice and discovered how to do it effectively and enjoy it! These days I have help in the form of an assistant and a marketing consultant to keep me on track and to ensure that I blog consistently. When I’m busy with clients it’s difficult to juggle it all.
Glowology: What’s a typical day like for you?
Helen: If it’s a client day, it’ll look something like this: Breakfast is a really important meal for me especially when I’m spending the day shopping. Once I’ve got the kids up and off to school I take the train to London to meet my client. We start with a coffee to re-visit their shopping list and clarify priorities and then hit the shops, breaking for a light lunch to take some time to recharge and decide on the focus for the afternoon.
Once I’ve finished the day, I whizz home and collect the boys, Sam 11 and George 9, cook dinner (or often two or three dinners to accommodate a fussy eater and my healthy preferences! I’m a soft touch…)Then it’s a tidy up and kids to bed before collapsing in front of rubbish TV with my ipad catching up on blogs and resting my feet.
Glowology: What do you like to do in your spare time?
Helen: I try to make time to visit the gym two to three times a week and I’ve just started having tennis lessons so we will see how that pans out! Apart from that it’s socialising with my friends. There’s nothing I love more than a natter over a glass of chilled white wine or a gin and tonic (or two) and of course shopping is in my blood so if I had a whole day off I would grab my ‘shopping partner in crime’ and head off for a blissful day updating my own wardrobe!
Glowology: What makes you feel happy? – long baths, candles, champagne? That type of thing (I’m dreaming of all of these things right now!)
Helen: So many things! I’m lucky that my default setting is happy and am definitely a glass half full kind of girl. I love time to myself and I love going out for dinner with my husband. We made a pact this year to go out to a swanky restaurant every month but so far we’ve only manage Le Caprice and a lovely Japanese restaurant that is local to us but The Shard is our next stop. I love quality time with my friends and I love being goofy with my kids. They make me laugh every day.
Glowology: Has your love of style always been a big part of your life?
Helen: Totally. Lots of my childhood memories include what we were all wearing. It wasn’t until I did my image training back in 2009 that I really understood what style was all about and started to refine my own in a way that felt authentic and easy.
Glowology: What are the biggest positive changes we could make to our wardrobes as we age?
Helen: Really tuning into the kind of clothes that love you back. Don’t ever wear something because you feel like you ‘ought’ to. Wear clothes that make you happy, that make you feel like you.
Glowology: Bearing in mind that 50 is the new 30…well, it is as far as I’m concerned 🙂 Do you think there is anything style wise that is ‘out of bounds’ over the age of 40?
Helen: I’m 43 and I would never tell anyone that they couldn’t wear anything, if it makes them feel happy that’s good enough for me! I’m cautious of mini-skirts over 40 but not for everyone. I have a friend who is tall and slim with amazing legs and she looks great in her denim mini skirt and a loose vest top and she is over 40. Everyone is different so no, I wouldn’t say anything is out of bound over 40… oh except pigtails!
Glowology: What is your everyday beauty routine like?
Helen: My husband despairs at my collection of potions and oils! I’ve recently got into cleansing oils (after reading Sali Hughes Pretty Honest) which my skin loves (being on the dry side) and have just started using a Vichy serum she raves about which has made a difference after just a few days. Apart from that I use an eye cream and moisturiser by Environ which is a brand made in South Africa by cosmetic surgeons. And I always use primer under my make-up. Twice a week I try to remember to use an exfoliating and moisturising mask as my skin is on the dry side.
.Glowology: What’s your desert island product?
Helen: Ooh good question. Can I have two? If I had to choose one it’d be lip balm. Carmex is my fave lip balm, it feels slightly medical. If I could sneak another one in, it’d be hand cream. I use it constantly. At the moment, I’m loving Aveeno which is supposed to last through handwashing and moisturise for 24 hours (but I use it constantly).
Glowology: You sound like my kind of girl and I gather that skincare is very important to you.
Helen: Hugely important. Yes I spend far too much on products. I daren’t add it up.
Glowology: What skincare/makeup tips could you give us fabulous over 40s that have helped you?
Helen: Treat your skin with what it needs not just anything you find. Just as with clothes, we are all different and we suit different things and I find treating your skin with products that are tailored to your needs makes all the difference.
Glowology: Have you ever been given advice that has been helpful regarding beauty/wellbeing?
Helen: That you get what you focus on! If you have a massive spot, try not to focus on it and stress too much. It will go. Instead focus on the rest of your skin being clear or your lovely bright eyes. It really works!
Glowology: What makes you feel fantastic inside?
Helen: Having great feedback from the women I work with and to feel I’m making a real difference in the way I want to.
Glowology: Do you exercise? If so, what do you do and how much?
Helen: Yes, exercise is an important part of my life although if I miss a week for whatever reason that’s ok. I’m not obsessed but I notice how it makes me feel more energised and mentally calm and I often get my best ideas for business when I am working out rather than glued to my computer screen. I go to the gym twice a week and am now I’m having a weekly tennis lesson too. I used to do a bit of yoga but that has dropped off. I’m sure I will go back to that one day.
Glowology: How important is looking good to you and are you happy with your body?
Helen: Looking my best is very important and affects how I feel and how I behave. As far as my body is concerned, I am happy now but it hasn’t always been that way. Learning to dress properly for your body type makes SUCH a difference!
Glowology: Do you eat a particular diet or is there anything you’ve found works for you and makes you feel good?
Helen: Yes, I worked with nutritionist Rachel McGuiness last year to improve my energy levels and my digestion and have changed my diet pretty radically but it works for me because I can relax the rules at the weekend. It’s the Metabolic Balance Program and one of the rules is to leave a gap of at least 5 hours between meals. I had a tendency to rely on caffeine or sugary snacks to get me through the day but when you keep it to mealtimes it’s amazing how you can avoid energy slumps. Obviously there is more to it than that, what you are eating at meal times matters too.
Glowology: Who do you think gets it spot on for over 40 style?
Helen: Victoria Beckham. She knows what suits her and always gets it right.
Glowology: Do you have any favourite designers or stores?
Helen: Most of my clients shop on the high street and the brands that work well for them vary hugely according to their body shape or look. For me, I love to mix high-end high street with the cheaper brands, although I’m trying to buy less and buy better quality pieces now that I’m running out of room! I always say invest as much as you can in the basics. Wearing cheaper quality trousers when you are over 40 is tricky. Invest in shoes, trousers and jackets and coats and fill in the gaps with cheaper stuff.
I love Anthropologie for its quirkiness, Whistles for its clean lines, Zara for its fast moving fashion and will always enjoy a good browse in John Lewis which has just about everything under one roof. I can easily spend 2-3 hours in John Lewis with a client!
Glowology: What can we do to make a quick difference to our wardrobes that would help us if we are stuck in a rut?
Helen: Wear those things you are saving for best for every day wear. Often we save things and never get around to wearing them enough. We spend more on these pieces than our every-day clothes but if you don’t wear them enough the cost per wear is too high.
Glowology: What is your feel good philosophy?
Helen: My feel good philosophy is when you wear clothes that ‘love you back’, you look and feel fabulous. Pay attention to the colours that suit your skin tone, shapes that flatter your figure and styles that feel right for YOU regardless of what everyone else is wearing. And if you can’t work it out for yourself, go and find someone to help you. When I discovered the styles that work well for me it changed everything.
I’d like to thank Helen so much for her useful and interesting style and feel-good tips! I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m off to declutter my jam-packed wardrobe and make way for some new buys!
If you’d like to see how Helen could help you streamline your style and give you some advice on what clothes and colours could work for you, she’s holding a Style Masterclass at London’s Waldorf Hotel on 21st May. At the moment, there’s a special earlybird discount running until this Friday 29th April and you can find out more details by clicking here
I’m definitely a woman from the no-fuss, wake-up-and-go camp of hair and beauty and this is more out of laziness rather than not having to do much to look presentable. Sometimes I know I should make more effort – especially being in the industry that I’m in – but as my Tall Teen would say ‘C.B.A’. For those of you who don’t understand, that’s Teen Talk for Cant Be Arsed.
Apart from a sprinkling of highlights when I can get around to having them – and I thank the Hair Trend Gods that roots are having a moment – it’s rare that I style my hair in any particular way. Mostly it’s left to dry naturally – loose and wavy – and if it looks particularly crispy at the ends or limp and lifeless, I scrape it up in a messy bun. I’m grateful that I’m freelance and work from home so nobody has to be subjected to my scruff-bag tendencies. Besides, my dog loves me just the way I am 🙂
Since reaching my mid-forties though, my hair has got thinner, which – along with middle age spread, dry, crepey skin and hot flushes – is another effect of the wonderful fluctuating hormones us middle-agers have to deal with. I’m not being negative here by the way – yes, we do have some health and beauty hurdles to handle as we age but, there is a lot we can do nowadays to keep looking and feeling great whatever our age (and I’ve got a lot of wonderful, helpful posts coming this way over the next few weeks – keep your eyes peeled!). So, when I was introduced to Reseed Haircare which has been developed to help thinning and hairloss, I was eager to try it out.
I didn’t have a good look at the ingredients when I first tried the shampoo but I knew as soon as it lathered up that it contained sulfates. Often sulfates are used to give shampoos a good, creamy, frothy lather, which users seem to like, but in reality, although it may feel nice, it’s not an ingredient that’s given applause by many dermatologists. I’ve done some research and sulfates can be a cause of problems such as breakouts, eczema and allergies, so if you’re prone to any of these skin problems, it might not be the right product for you. But, possible negatives aside, the range is dermatologically tested and is a ‘green bio-technology’ system that has been through 15 years of clinical trials with impressive feedback (which you can read on their website linked below). The Ginko and Sabal Fortifying Shampoo which I tried contained a whole host of hair strengthening vitamins and minerals to stimulate follicles and promote hair health and I also really liked the clean and fresh fragrance.
The Conditioner (not pictured because my girls went through it at a rate of knots) surprised me because it didn’t feel half as moisturising as my usual brand and I felt I needed more than my usual 10p amount to get a good coverage. But once I’d washed it off and combed my hair through, it felt absolutely fine. And when dry, it wasn’t in need of any extra sleeking or moisturising products.
The Ultra Volume Conditioner contained wheat bran and pomegranate colour protect which obviously did the job because, as you can see in the main picture above, my limp, coloured locks look much more bouncy and full than they had been before I started using the range. And this result is without any faffing or curling.
Reseed is being stocked in various Boots stores from this month and even though prices are quite hefty, starting from £24.99, I’m going to be stocking up on them because they work for me. It also means I can carry on my laissez faire hair methods and look okay while doing so!
There are a lot more products for men and women in the Reseed range and some of them focus much more on hairloss rather than general thinning. You can check out the whole range and the science behind it here on their website.
Have you heard about Skinade? If you’re in the health and beauty industry, or you’re interested in reading about nutrition and all things body beautiful, you’ve probably seen or heard the buzz about this ‘liquid beauty drink’. When I received a parcel of the ubiquitous white plastic bottles with their stylish and simple black font – enough for a 30 day trial – I was intrigued and couldn’t wait to find out what the fuss was about…
My first thought was that it was probably a bit of a fad – but the brand definitely had an amazing sales team because I began to see Instagram images and blogs about these little white bottles of the ‘elixir of youth’ everywhere! I mean, how can one drink a day improve the skin – could it really improve my skin any more than my usual routine of slapping on an SPF, moisturising and regular facials?
But then I started thinking about it and, actually, nutrition plays a huge part in how our skin looks and ages, and we all know somebody who swears supplements are helping them with their skin, nails, hair or creaky joints, so why shouldn’t a drink help?
As I twisted the lid off my first bottle and took a long glug, I closed my eyes and prayed that 1, it worked and 2, that I would have the stomach to down one of these nasty tasting drinks every day. I really wasn’t taken with the taste from the start, no matter how many eye-catching images I saw on Instagram of pretty girls sipping their Skinade on the beach, dressing it up in a tall glass with lots of ice and a cocktail umbrella. Nope. The only thing that made it a little more palatable for me was to make sure it was icy cold and to hold my nose while drinking it as quickly as I could!
So did I persevere with it? I certainly did! It took about 10 days before I started seeing a difference in my skin and there was definitely a big improvement in hydration and plumpness. When a friend commented that she’d dismissed buying it because of the £90 price tag but, after seeing the effects on my skin, was having second thoughts, I had to fess up. Yes, I think the drink was somewhat responsible for my glowiness of late, but I’d also had a couple of really good facials during my Skinade trial – so I’m sure they also had a positive impact.
So, what’s in Skinade? The bumf describes it as: a peach and mangosteen anti ageing collagen drink containing a patent pending formulation of active ingredients that boosts your body’s natural production of collagen and hyaluronic acid. Hmmm maybe it’s the mangosteen that I found hard to stomach? But I do know that collagen and hyaluronic acid are skin goodies, so that makes sense. By drinking it, rather than using it topically, Skinade says its formulation of low molecular weight collagen and essential micro-nutrients ensures rapid absorption and nourishes skin from the inside.
My verdict: £90 is a lot to pay if you already fork out for high quality skincare and, I admit, I haven’t put my hand in my pocket to buy it since I’ve run out of my press samples. However, my skin’s hydration definitely improved – possibly helped with the combination of facials too and once my bank account is safely back in the black, another supply of Skinade is top on my list of beauty buys.
Have you tried Skinade yet?
I try not to moan too much and like to keep my blog and social media platforms full of upbeat and motivational type content. But, you know, I’m real and sometimes the Pollyanna in me goes AWOL. It was the result of a ‘woe is me’ type tweet, where I mentioned how my skin was playing up due to the adverse effects of living in a building site, that got me a very kind invitation by highly regarded skin clinic Waterhouse Young to pop in for a facial. Don’t mind if I do!
That ‘just stepped out of a salon’ feeling is just the best isn’t it? I popped into my regular, fantastic little salon – The Chiswick Salon – the other day for a cut and highlights that were well overdue – as you can see in the first picture below. I went in feeling a bit under the weather as I’d not been sleeping too well – and came out feeling fresher and fabulous with a definite skip in my step.