Meeting up with the fashionistas

I am the type of person who will approach something full on. I become almost obsessed with it, the trouble is I’m a bit like a child; I lose interest easily and move on to something else. I get over this by having more than one ‘project’ on at any one time. I call these ‘projects’ my pet projects.

One of my pet projects has been planning for a couple of nights away in London with a super stylish fashionista friend and some of her very stylish friends to see a Dior exhibition at the V&A. Couture is something slightly alien to me as I’m a bit tomboyish, however, that said I do still appreciate fine gowns and admire women who take pride in themselves and how they look. I deep down would love to be like that. And, let’s face it who wouldn’t love a bit of Dior couture in their life?! I have a rose tinted view of how women were in the 50’s and 60’s perfectly made up, matching accessories, and overcoats that matched the dress underneath. All very perfect and largely unattainable on a daily basis I should imagine.

My fashionista friend is an all-round lovely person. We met years ago when we lectured at Pershore College in what was the Business School at the time, and have remained friends ever since. We have both had very different lives since we left the college but we have kept in touch. I hadn’t seen my friend for almost 8 years, the last time I saw her was at my wedding so you can imagine I was very much looking forward to seeing her again. As my friend is a stylist and has recently written a book on style, of which I’m very much looking forward to receiving a copy. She has helped me in my painful quest to find my own style. It is a work in progress but I’m learning. She is never rude, or critical. She will offer advice but will never push, just encourage and this is just one of the reasons why she is such a great friend and such a good stylist.

My trip to London meant I finally had some ‘me’ time but it also meant I would need to at least attempt to be somewhat stylish and put together – not bedraggled like normal. We decided on doing coffee and cake at the V&A, seeing the exhibition and then out for dinner at The Ivy in Kensington where wine was guarenteed to be consumed. Day 2 was planned for a little bit of shopping in the morning, in very posh shops where a dress costs the GDP of a small country but it’s nice to look, and then we planned on making our various trips home or to hotels. On this basis alone I was thinking it was going to be an interesting couple of days!

Now this ‘event’ wasn’t until May but as I mentioned I was meeting with VERY stylish people most of which run their own style blogs and have their own style businesses and I couldn’t just ‘wing’ this one, I had to be planned. I’m not naturally stylish and I am very much a work in progress project. I also don’t have a great deal of confidence when it comes to putting an outfit together. I often have great ideas but when I come to try them out I feel it just ends up making me look silly. I need to have inner confidence in myself.

I have an eclectic taste in books, music and style but I seem to feel I should dress more conservatively, I also think this stems from being overweight as despite being bubbly and seemingly confident on the outside, inside I’m thinking I just want to hide away from the world. When I was younger and slimmer I would wear really ‘different’ clothes, I didn’t want to be like the others but as I’ve got older and plumper I haven’t that ‘devil may care ‘ attitude to clothes (I have in my vocal attributes though!). I digress…

So what was I to take? It find helps to look at pins on Pinterest and get ideas for outfits, I usually make up a new board and then amend to suit my own evolving style and fit in with what I already have in my wardrobe. It’s nice to run outfit ideas past the ladies on the 40+ communities I’m part of as they all have great things to say about style, and of course we all have our own interpretation of what style is.

I have a mixture of brands in my wardrobe already, some expensive and some high street or supermarket brands so I like to mix and match a lot. I believe in spending money on good quality investment pieces that will last but adding in cheaper fashion items or accessories that brighten up an outfit.  Many of my clothes and some accessories are years old because I’ve spent money on making good choices. I love my Armani watch which is at least 10 years old but just goes with everything and looks sophisticated and understated but you know its quality just by looking at it. I suppose you could say it’s timeless – excuse the pun!

I love a bit of vintage too. I do however struggle to find plus size vintage so choose instead to buy modern vintage from the likes of Polka Dots and Petticoats or Collectif London which have the cut and style of vintage but allow for larger sizes.

Putting together some ideas in a table helps me as I can visualise what I already have and what I may need to buy. There’s never any harm in buying additional clothes to go with something I already have, although I know those who love a capsule wardrobe will say otherwise!

Along the way I have lots of ideas of what I can put together as outfits of which are constantly evolving as I asked for input from my friend and the 40+ communities. So when it came to packing on the day it all makes it so much easier – well thats what I kept telling myself in the run up to the ‘event’.

I also like to put outfits on a tailor’s dummy/old mannequin I have so I can see the outfit put together without having to faff with actually getting the whole ensemble on and off if I decide something doesn’t work. This also helps to see what the colours look like in different lighting as it’s portable but also I can keep it together all day therefore seeing it in differing light levels. I can then take photos of the outfit which then also helps with packing as I’m always forgetting something! The final step for me is putting the whole outfit on and then seeing what it’s like fit wise. I have often found that an item may look good on the tailors dummy but might not quite hang so well on me because of a larger tummy or bigger bum – let’s face it a tailors dummy does have perfect perky boobs and a smooth flat tummy! But it all helps as I get a much better idea of what works or doesn’t as may be the case.

This list was looking quite long at the time and I was only going for 2 days! I can’t help myself I always over pack, except when we go to see the in-laws at Christmas with the kids. I only ever pack lightly as there’s never enough space in the car for much luggage and presents, not the ones we take but the ones we bring back with us! My kids are spoilt rotten.

This great fall ensemble can easily be pulled together with pieces you already own! #SkimmiesSecrets Floral Scarf With Blazer and Long Boots Click for more
Text Box: Taken from Pinterest

I just love the relaxed jeggings and slouchy cardigan looks at the moment but not sure if I’m trendy enough to be able to pull off the long socks under long boots look. I would probably replace items like Chambray/Denim shirt with a slightly longer line floral one or striped one, but whole appeal of the style of jeggings and slouchy cardigan outfits is due to its simplicity. It’s comfortable for travelling, looks modern and on trend but also covers the bits you want to cover especially as I’m not anywhere near as slim as some of the models you see on Pinterest where I get a lot of inspiration from. I do have many of these items (or similar) already in my wardrobe but I haven’t thought to put them together. It’s down to having the confidence again.

I see myself as being quite frumpy as I still don’t know what my style actually is; this is quite disheartening at times especially when I see other women of the same age as me who look younger and much more stylish. I saw a woman the other day, I would imaging that she’s slightly older than me, and she was wearing leggings and pumps with a nice long line tee and a duster length cardigan. Honestly she looked great and she was the same size as me! Ok, she was taller I admit, and didn’t have a paunch like mine but she looked good and this is something I can take away with me and try to replicate the look.

The big challenge

My big challenge going on at the moment is the weight loss battle. This may be familiar ground with some I’m sure, for others you are very lucky and clearly focussed on how to eat and look after yourself. I know that I’m not going to lose weight fast; I know it takes time and effort. Yes, I do want to be a size 10 overnight but that’s not realistic and above all not healthy! I realise that it has taken me 20 years to get to the size I am and it’s not going to go overnight. It’ll take months to disappear and I need to keep motivated to continue going on my weight loss journey and not lose heart when I gain. My main aim is to lose enough to not ache as much as I do now, and to eventually lose the mothers apron tummy I have. It would be nice to be able to semi-tuck a shirt into jeans rather than tuck my tummy into my jeans! I know what I need to do and how I need to do it, I just lose focus easily especially when life gets in the way and there are so many demands on me and my time.

I often feel frustrated by the expectations I have of myself and how I would like things to go. Inevitably these expectations are set too high and I end up feeling even more frustrated and miserable because I have put myself in a self-perpetuating cycle. This is something that I think many women have experienced and no matter how much of a talking we get from our closest friends or give to ourselves it will still continue. It’s the way we are programmed and partly how we see ourselves as part of society. Do we have to be superwoman all the time? No, but often we feel we should be.

I appear not to have an off button when it comes to food and I’m always hungry despite eating good healthy food. I have a huge weakness when it comes to crisps, they’re my kryptonite. Cakes and chocolate I can take them or leave them but crisps, wow, I can devour a huge pack in a single sitting! I do feel the urge every so often to eat cake but feel quite sickly afterward but I do still occasionally reach for the sweet stuff.

I joined Slimming World a few months ago after catching a glimpse of myself in a photo, this in itself is a rare occurrence more of which I will talk about another time, and I saw a very large and unattractive me trying to hide in the background under a billowing tent style dress. I just saw a tired, frumpy and fat person in the picture. I’m sure like many women I am very critical of myself. I’m fully aware that perfection doesn’t exist but that photo just made me feel I’d let myself down. I do believe that we shouldn’t do things to please others but should focus on pleasing ourselves first – this is not selfish, it’s sanity saving! However, contradictory to that I often fall into the trap of trying to please everybody even myself, which often leads to the frustration and unrealistic expectations scenario. It’s a catch 22 all over. This is another of those little challenges I will need to work on.

I have had varying degrees of success so far having taken it slowly with the aim of losing 1lb or so a week. This in reality has been very different. There have been many ups and downs and I managed to lose a stone and a half only to put on the half a stone back on in the new year. Christmas wasn’t my problem, I managed to do really well and stick to a healthy eating regime – I love veggies, and I didn’t over indulge on sweets or chocolate either. But, New Year came and I managed to get Norovirus. It wouldn’t go away and consequently despite a huge weight loss due to the sickness I have fallen off the healthy eating wagon. It’s time to get back on track. I’ll keep you updated on progress or lack of.

The first post

Hi, and welcome to my first post on my life and style over 40.

For years I’ve been thinking about writing an honest dairy type of blog about my life and style (or lack of as is mostly the case!), but not quite managing to get around to putting fingers to the keyboard. I am a member of various lifestyle blog communities and have an avid interest in a wide variety of things but just never had the confidence to put any of my thoughts and ideas into… well, just something.

Finally after a very busy and quite stressful year – moving house, taking on some supply work to pay for the umpteen jobs that need doing on the house (more on that later!), kids clubs and childcare to fund and realising I need to evaluate what to do now that I’m in my early 40’s, I find myself actually having that “just do it” moment to start planning and writing a blog. Could it be I’m having a female mid-life crisis? Probably not, I just like to talk and what better way than writing something in a way that others may find interesting and sometimes useful?!

Why a blog? Blogs can be fun, informative and a great way of getting things off your chest and out there, and whilst it seems  everyman and his dog is setting up a blog these days there’s always room for another. I say why not?! And, can this even be classed as a blog? It might turn out to be more diary style as it’s about me and my life with some snippets of wisdom along the way. We humans are a nosy and inquisitive bunch which is why reality shows and blogs are successful.

Why did I call it Hearing aids and heels? All the other catchy blog names were taken! I found myself pondering blog names when I looked down and noticed the heel on my boot was wearing down and needed a trip to the cobblers and then just as this was occurring my hearing aid started beeping kindly reminding me that I needed a new battery and so I put the two together – it made sense at the time! I think it also signifies that aging is different amongst us all, I began losing my hearing at an early age, but don’t have any grey hair yet. For others it’s the other way round.

Why a lifestyle blog? What am I planning to write about when it comes to lifestyle? Valid questions I asked myself before committing to anything. Lifestyle sums up so many things and I can delve into so many areas, so if I have an epiphany one day and I suddenly feel the urge to write about stain removal (Really, I might just do this, watch this space) then I will. This is about my life, both the boring bits and the fun bits. I’ll look at work, fashion and style, being overweight (which I am) and how I deal with it, décor, family life and a whole host of topics. Whilst I won’t give away all my personal information I will be honest in my approach. At some point I’m sure there will be a Facebook page, and Instagram with the possibility of Twitter too but I’m easing in gently starting with a website.

Who am I? I’m Becks, a 40+ mum of two delightfully crazy, loud and adorable kids and married to a man who loves me for all my faults (well, most of them!). I’m sure I have an inner domestic goddess somewhere waiting to burst out but I’m still waiting. Not sure after 40 odd years it will happen but I can hope. I’m a secondary school teacher and college lecturer by profession and I currently do supply teaching which allows me to add a little extra to the household income and allowing us to live comfortably. It also means the list of jobs needed on the house modernisation needed to bring it into the 21st Century is less of a financial challenge, of which I will post about at some point – the before and after pictures should make for light entertainment. The old 90’s Ikea ‘chuck out the chintz’ advert keeps playing in my head my house was just so 80’s when we moved in! I am brutally honest about life and ‘stuff’ and I often say I’m like Marmite – you either like me or not! I can’t please everyone and life is too short to try. Did I mention I like to talk?

Whilst I envy those who have style and have dreams of one day being a fashionista, I am somewhat of a tomboy and find the concept of style something I am always working on. I am happy when I’m in a boiler suit tinkering with my classic Mini in the garage but I’m also happy pottering around shops or going for a walk with the kids and jumping in muddy puddles. I do, however, make sure I’m properly kitted out for any weather. Here in the UK we can have four seasons in one day!

I am planning to set myself a series of challenges over the coming months, be it a style challenge or a financial challenge or something else. I am also going to challenge some of my personal worries and confidence issues. This could be interesting – emotionally and also physically.