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.
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
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that I am a little bit easy-breezy in my attitude to looking and feeling fab as I age. Yes, I like to try to look and feel my best (as much as life getting in the way allows) but I like it to be e-a-s-y. It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s more that I like things to be achievable and sustainable – not too much faff, you know?
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?
Since I gave up competitive swimming at 16 – I was a National champion and had a TV appearance on Tomorrow’s World and Grandstand (yeah, I know!) – my super speedy athlete’s metabolism, used to the 5am swimming sessions and healthy lifestyle, was abruptly sabotaged by late night partying, mid-day rising, junk food and dry Martini and lemondes. Within a few months of no pool action, my hard earned six pack had deflated and my thighs expanded and I found it hard to deal with. The body that had been a treasured temple was quickly becoming a flabby bedsit and I didn’t know then, but that excess weight that engulfed my body and that I’d never had before, was going to plague me for years and years to come…
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 am a massive advocate of walking. Apart from the fact that scientists have discovered a daily brisk walk can delay the ageing process by 12 years, it’s a great weight-bearing exercise so perfect for keeping bones healthy. And – if you do it fast enough – it helps keep the wobble under control. There are even more fabulous benefits: For me, walking every day means I keep my fitness levels fairly constant, my dog gets his exercise and I can guarantee that if I leave the house feeling under the weather, I’ll return after a walk (rain or shine) feeling much brighter. It’s a natural, free happiness booster and as I mentioned here in my last post, I want to bring more of them our way!
The social aspect of walking is always a bonus – unlike jogging and running, you can hold a conversation with your friends without panting and having to stop mid-goss to get your breath back! That’s why this year, I wanted to take my usual choice of charity walk/run up a notch. So instead of the 5k Race For Life, I’m pleased to be joining a team of great women (including my gorgeous daughter, Aimee, below) to take part in the Cancer Research Shine Night Walk. I’ve opted for the 13 mile walk through London at night rather than the full marathon 26 miles because…well…because I’m a scaredy cat!
I’m really looking forward to the walk, as well as catching up with the team, but I just hope I’ve trained enough and that my niggly hip doesn’t cause me too much trouble.
One thing I can be sure of though, is that my feet should be comfortable because our team have been sponsored by SOLE whose unique orthopaedic footbeds and footwear adapt to the body to offer optimal support. They have sent our team a range of footbeds, the softest, bounciest socks I’ve ever worn (can socks be bouncy?) and some fab flip flops which look great with my tanned toes!
Of course, walking to raise money for the Cancer Research charity is the main point of the Shine Walk and I’m delighted to be part of the hundreds of walkers who are going to do our best to help kick cancer’s butt!
If you’d like to donate, it would be much appreciated and you can click on mine and Aimee’s page here.
Thank you everyone and wish us luck! xx
Seeing as my idea of getting some Glowology into our lives is through feeling good about ourselves and because exercise has been proven to lift the spirits and help beat depression, I thought my lovely readers might like to know about Anti Gravity Yoga – the newest form of yoga in town…
Shaking up my fitness routine is always a good idea – it stops me making excuses not to exercise and keeps things more exciting. So when I had the opportunity to review a new class, I thought it could give me the kick up the butt I need to get my body into shape in time for flaunting my festive finery!
I’m fortunate that as a beauty and wellbeing journalist, I’m often asked by PRs to try a variety of products, treatments or classes that might be suitable for review in one of the publications I write for – or also on my blog. And with Glowology beginning to pick up the pace and get noticed in the industry thanks to my lovely followers and readers – that’s you! 🙂 – I can report back on the things that I’ve enjoyed and that I think you – as 40+ gorgeous, glam women (and men) – would be interested in knowing about. So, last month I was asked to try out a revolutionary new fitness class, Speedflex 30 and here’s my take on it…
Disembarking at Bank Underground Station at lunch time felt a bit like walking onto the set of Wolf of Wall Street. I felt decidedly under dressed in my Sweaty Betty day glo vest and sporty capri pants and hoped the SpeedFlex HQ wouldn’t be too far away. With the smartly dressed throng around me and with my rather ample thighs and tummy not quite under control in all that lycra, I felt as if I was doing the walk of shame! So, sunglasses on, I power walked the 5 minutes to the gym to give myself an air of confidence.
I soon realised that this was a gym like no other I’d visited before – there were no free weights, Stairmasters, rowing machines or bicycles but simply 2 spacious studios each housing seven black, rather stylish machines which looked totally unfamiliar and fairly space-agey. I found myself humming the theme to Star Wars as friendly fitness instructor, Hayley got me set up with a strap on heart monitor which would display my heart rate on a studio screen in order to check my progress during the workout. I was intrigued!
After a comprehensive consultation and a demonstration of the machines, the class began to fill up with such a wide variety of types I felt I could almost have been standing in a supermarket queue rather than a trendy studio in the heart of London. My surprised expression, prompted Hayley to explain that because the machines are hydrolic – meaning they respond to the force of the user as opposed to the addition of weights – the system allows for a professional athlete to train alongside a pensioner and there is no risk of injury. Ahh, that explains it! And the major benefit of these machines means there is no damage to muscles and little to no soreness after workouts. That’s a major plus for me as I’m often known to be limping around moaning about aches and pains for days (weeks) after a hard fitness class.
I enjoyed the atmosphere of the small group class – especially as we were all so different in shape, size and age that there was a feeling of friendliness and encouragement rather than competition. The athletic fitties haven’t been overlooked at Speedflex though as I noticed a beefcake competition in full force in another studio…well, it was hard not to look!
My thirty minute class consisted of circuits using each machine for a duration of 20 seconds with a buzzer indicating when to change. I huffed and puffed my way around, pulling and pressing, squatting and stretching against my own resistance, realising I could work as hard or as little as I wanted depending on the effort I put in – the machine matched my resistance. Moves such as arm lifts with kettle balls and crunches were interspersed between machines to ensure a full body workout. There was a point when I looked up at the class screen only to see my heart rate was blank – I knew I’d been working hard but I didn’t feel like I was a gonner quite yet, so I was relieved when I realised my monitor had simply unhinged itself! Phew…
After the thirty minutes was up, Hayley congratulated us all for working so hard and called out our progress statistics – the monitor showed us how hard we’d worked individually in which particular section of the workout as well as how many calories we’d burnt. I had squatted, lunged and military pressed my way to burning up a whopping 500 calories in 30 minutes with the proof in black and white. I’d heard Speedflex could become addictive – and now I understood why!
This is the ideal exercise for people who have a lot of weight to lose but don’t know where to start, those who have been injured and are trying to get back to health as well as those who just want to work as hard as they can without the risk incurring or aggravating injuries. The fact that the class was only 30 minutes was a bonus as I felt it eliminated the excuse not to give it a go due to time restraints.
For information contact www.speedflex.com. Each class costs £30 or £150 per month. 33-36 Lombard Street, London EC3V (0844 543 363)
Let me know if you give it a try it!