NEW YEAR'S & 3 MONTH |WEIGHT | & | INCH LOSS | UPDATE
With the sudden death of the matriarch of our family, Evelyn Smith, on 17.12.18 I didn’t think I would have the strength to get this blog out let alone look forward to the festive season. But her legacy is not to sit around and grieve but to get on with life. So here goes!
XMAS WORK DO 2017 -V- XMAS WORK DO 2018
All glammed up with a glass of prosecco in one hand at the office Christmas bash and scrolling through my mobile phone with the other I stumbled across my 2017 Christmas Work party photo. Although I have posted comparison gym photos throughout my 3-month journey nothing was starker than the difference between last year’s Christmas work do photo V the one taken at this year’s Christmas bash on Thursday 13.12.18 (above).
SPOT TRAINING: The picture above forced me to research why this time, in my mature years, without any backbreaking crunches or sit-ups, my inch loss was in the area I found the hardest to tone in my youth. Yes, my stomach! I am doing so well in that area that I couldn’t justify the £78 price tag of this BLACK SPANX THINSTINCTS OPEN BUST BODY, Size 1X(24/26) from FashionWorld. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to post the above comparison photo on my BFF Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/939735089383669/posts/2207485649275267/).
10.09.18 compared with 10.10.18
MY EXCLUSIVE BUBBLE - Since hitting the 50-year-old threshold things have been happening to my body, some of which I have had no control over. Lumbered with a decelerating metabolism, immobile medical conditions i.e. DVT and strokes, I embarked on a no diet, get mobile, weight/inch loss experiment in an attempt to claw my way back to good health. Fortunately, I have discovered that immersing myself in a walking on the treadmill, with soft over-ear cushioned Bluetooth headsets in place (yes I have learnt how to sync my iPhone to my headsets) listening to a 32 hour Jilly Cooper audiobook while simultaneously toning, strengthening and shedding weight BUBBLE, was something that I enjoy and would have no problem sticking to! My medical history dictated the pace and that meant starting out slowly and burnt a respectable 696 calories my first day back on the treadmill 10.09.18, building up over a 3 month period to burning 1962 calories on 10.12.18. My aim at each session was to increase the number of calories burnt, even if by only 1 calorie!!
SAUNA - OK OK, who am I kidding there is no denying the lure of the heat of the Sauna! The moment the heat of the pine slabs come into contact with my body and begin seeping deep into my bones, I can do no more than exhale and sink into an oblivion of relaxation. Added benefits of the sauna are that it increases circulation, reduces muscle soreness and improves joint movement. The increased circulation is akin to undertaking low moderate exercise and I can think of no better way to unwind while effectively burning calories, can you?
10.09.18 compared with 05.11.18
The upside of being a mature woman is that I have a renewed appreciation of the phrase “Me Time” and my exclusive bubble enables me to attain that regularly. I make time to do all the things I love, like fine dining, nights out with the ladies, holidays, Valentines, attending black tie events, planning my outfit, makeup, hair accessories and last but not least sourcing fashionable, low heeled shoes while maintaining the right balance between exercising, family and work.
10.09.18 compared with 10.12.18
3 months after my return to the gym I have had to return everything I have bought online and repurchase, not 1, not 2 but as I type this blog 3 TIMES SMALLER than I did when I began in September. I am excited about the festive season and while my mind plays catch up with my body I dream about the timeless evening dresses I have in my wardrobe worn once, covered in plastic and banished to the bag of the wardrobe when either illness or weight gain took hold. For the first time in nearly 4 years, I won’t be mindful or care if others see my rear as I cross the dance floor to go to the ladies.
RETURNED ON-LINE PURCHASES
While my mind plays catch up with my ever decreasing plus size body fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it I have had no alternative but to return all items purchased even a pair of wide calf boots that I have been trying to source for years.
Curve Stretch Mesh Print Maxi Dress – Very £55.00 (£70.00 at Littlewoods.com) I had high hopes for this partially lined maxi flowing printed dress that promised so much and produced so little. I ordered it in my usual size 24. I was hoping to pair it with my still waiting to be worn Pink Suedette Bow Front Pointed Kitten Heels – New Look Size 9 – £22.99 and purchased this Pink Faux Suede Envelope Clutch Bag (Ebay £16.96 and £0.85 postage) to complete the look. While comfortable, the dress simply hung off me, with no shape to it whatsoever.
Quiz Curve Floral Print Fit & Flare Dress - FashionWorld £35 (95% Polyester, 5% Elastane). Even with the reasonable price tag, I ordered my usual size 24 relying on the elastane to provide a comfortable fit and once again it was hanging off me and I was not totally happy with the print.
Everyday Kate Ochre Slim Fit Trousers FashionWorld £35 (62% Polyester, 33% Viscose, 5% Elastane. Inner Panel: 87% Polyamide, 17% Elastane) also available in Teal, Navy, Black, and Khaki. Because of the tailored narrow fit of these trousers even allowing for the elastane I did what I usually did and ordered size 28. I was determined to add this really classic basic piece in other colours to my corporate lookbook hence the reason it was imperative I get the sizing/fit right. The waistband, thigh and calf were so baggy this was one occasion when I was delighted to send them back and downsize to a 24.
Sienna Boots Extra Curvy Plus Extra Wide EEE Fit £40 (Size 9) FashionWorld - Imagine my
delight when saw these day or night, over-the-knee, winter wardrobe a must-have pair of boots. Available in a variety of calf widths offering the perfect fit for my plus size body I placed my order. The size of the boot was on point but again I had overcompensated for my plus-size body and ordered a calf-width that far too wide resulting in a wrinkled pool around my post-DVT ankle. Once again I had no option but to return them.
Besides the obvious in the photos above let me list a few life-changing differences 3 months on.
Shoe Strap Extensions - No more elastic extension’s on the strap of my shoes as inch loss means that the elastic stretches comfortably around my DVT ankle.
Comfort Factor - The comfort in the waistband of my trousers and skirts is the first noticeable difference. Zipping them up with ease and no cutting waistband when sitting.
Tighter Stomach/Stronger Back - Imagine my surprise when having washed, conditioned and rinsed my hair I am not out of breath, my back is not hurting, I am not in a hurry to straighten up and I am comfortably bent over the bath! I straighten up slowly, anticipating the familiar momentary dizzy spell, but it doesn't happen. Tying my shoelaces are a breeze, even after a workout my strides are no longer laboured as I climb the steps of the gym with handbag and pulley in hand. My torso, essentially the abdominal muscles and back muscles that work together to support the spine and power all of our movements when we sit, stand, bend over, pick things up, exercise and more has definitely got stronger. Having a solid core increases spine stability and protect against back injury or strain during movement or normal posture. Loose or weak abdominal muscles can cause lower back pain by encouraging a forward-leaning posture which I used to whenever washing up. The excess weight around my stomach meant I felt too far away from the sink encouraging me to over-compensate by leaning forward resulting in back ache particularly on festive occasions like Easter, Christmas or New Year when resolute in my quest to ensure my worktops mirror those of a Michelin Star Restaurant I have been known to feel as if I am literally "chained to the kitchen sink".
Health - With abated breath, I can report, touch wood, that I have all but rid myself of that tingling, numbing sensation that would shoot up my right leg whenever I stood for any length of time or shopped along the freeze aisles of the supermarket. Initially, it took longer and longer when exercising before I would feel that uncomfortable sensation but it has now been nearly three weeks since I have felt it last. Fingers crossed it has gone for good.
LOCK DOWN YOUR FESTIVE MAKEUP FOR £6 OR LESS
E.L.F. Matte Magic Mist & Setting Spray £3.44 Superdrug (part of 3 for 2 offer - RRP £5) – This product is aptly named and does what it says on the tin. The fine mist of this product packs a mattifying punch to your makeup. With a £5 RRP price tag, it compares very favourably with more high-end brands costing 6 times the price. This is also perfect for anyone who like me suffers from an oily T-zone. No more ducking and diving when the lights come on in a rave. My only issue is the amount of product you get for your buck compared to the Revolution Fixing Sprays below.
I Heart Revolution Fixing Spray Vanilla Bean & Coconut £4.11 (part of 3 for 2 offer - RRP £6) – This product produces on my oily skin a more natural/dewy look and the smell takes you to dizzying new heights. This fixing spray has proved particularly useful for those days when I pack on the setting powder resulting in the under eye area looking cakey. This is my 9-5 go to makeup fixing spray.
I Heart Revolution Fixing Spray (£3.44) (part of 3 for 2 offer - RRP £6) – This product gives me a matte/natural look and when I have finished the Vanilla Bean & Coconut look forward to using this one.
MAKEUP ON MATURE SKIN
I was having real difficulty applying highlighter to my cheekbone and attain that glow from within, even at this age my skin is perfect - look. “Good Luck with that” I hear you say and that was my mindset when no matter what technique I used it looked awful. I couldn't understand it as when I swatched powder highlighters in the store, I would be in awe at the glow on my hand and rush to the counter to pay. Fed up, yet tenacious and unwilling to give up I carried out some research into texture issues with mature skin.
HOURGLASS AMBIENT LIGHTING BRONZER
After watching a few of my YouTube makeup guru videos I thought my only option would be cream highlighters. Further research brought the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer to my attention as the “Game Changing - Glow from Within - blends in and becomes one with your skin” highlighter. I reverted to my most reliable, trustworthy, highly respected and most favourite YouTube makeup guru, Wayne Goss. Wayne gave a glowing review (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qNAA8sAE54) “they reflect the light absolutely gloriously and give the most amazing finish to the skin” This review left me in no doubt that I had to try it. Now as the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer has a £40 price tag you can understand why I spent the time researching this product. The cost makes this my idea of a “high end” makeup product. My only other purchase of this calibre was my Kevyn Aucoin concealer which if my memory serves me right I also bought around Christmas time and I have never regretted it. But if when I try it on in the store it delivers a dewy, aluminising, natural wet look to my cheekbone without accentuating fine lines, pores or texture to my skin, then to me it would be priceless. NB: Steer clear of the Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder as this new formula has little lumps in it that does NOT sit well on mature skin.
With mature skin, you have to put in the groundwork. Think of older faces as having a surface rather like a sponge. It is more porous, thirstier, bumpier/uneven and much less smooth than younger skin. The solution is to underpin the foundation (don’t excuse the pun) of your makeup and use an invisible layer of a face, eye and lip primer. Primers have a sumptuous, silky-smooth feeling because of the silicone in them and therefore effectively fill in the nooks and crannies (like wrinkles) creating a smoother surface onto which you can apply your makeup. Primers prevent lipstick from feathering or bleeding around the edges, eyeshadow from creasing or foundation to interact with the oils on the skin which would normally cause makeup to wear off throughout the day. The good news is since primers are not pigmented or formulated the way a foundation is, it’s a one-size-fits-all-skin-tones product.
THE NED - CITY OF LONDON
THE NED, POULTRY - The Ned is a Grade I listed building and the former Midland Bank global headquarters situate in the heart of the City of London. For me, the Ned ranks right up there with the RAC in Epsom. The outstanding 1920’s architecture is so well preserved you could be you could be forgiven for thinking that you are in an episode of “Poirot”.
CECCONI’S - The grand banking hall is vast enough to house 8 restaurants bring a variety of cuisines to the table!!! British classic roast, American Deli, sushi, authentic Japanese tea, Parisian and my choice Cecconi’s a Venetian brasserie serving northern Italian dishes.
With a live band in the background, surrounded by the hum of other diners celebrating a special event, under candlelight, I tucked into a rib-eye steak the size of my plate dowsed in Barolo sauce followed by Profiteroles.
A WINTER ASOS OUTFIT - On that winter evening I was warm in my Grey Marl Design Curve
Marl Rib Button Through Midi Dress £25 (Size 26), accessorised with ASOS DesignB London Gold Heart & Circle Multirow Pendant Necklace £12.00, Black Yves Saint Laurent (Dupe) Leather Solid Chain Shoulder Bag (E-bay £13.88), Black Design Curve 2 pack 90 denier tights in super stretch fit - £18.00 (Size 28-30) Using my £15 voucher and got my tights for £3.00 and Black Airtime Leather Chelsea Ankle Boots £40 (Size 9) (Purchased 22.01.2015)
HUMBUG - One major gripe I have with ASOS is that they do not notify the shopper when they have vouchers available to spend. It is therefore left to us to check if we have any valid vouchers at before you pay. When I first noticed and clicked on the Voucher tab I found over 7 expired vouchers that unknown to me had been allocated to my account!!!
READY FOR MIDNIGHT AFFAIR ON NEW YEAR'S EVE
I completely forgot about this dress in my wardrobe which I bought 21 years ago from Primark or “Primani” as the youngsters have affectionately re-branded it today at a cost of £16. Just as I was about to post the photo of my dress I noticed another change since going back into the gym so I couldn't resist posting and asking "Is that the hint of a waistline that I see?" Inspired after
watching the “Ultimate New Year’s Eve Glam|Desi Perkins YouTube Video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-WslyoyCQQ&t=936s) I set about creating a look that was simple yet festive and striking.
Without hesitation, I reached for my Perception Shayla X Colourpop palette to create my New Year’s Eve look. The only new purchases/additions to my makeup collection were the Lottie London, Eye Foil, Glitter Eyeshadow Topper, in the colour “Over It” from Superdrug £3.96 (RRP £4.95) which following Desi Perkins' method, particularly with my hooded eyes I used as an eyeliner. The Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara Very Black WTP (waterproof) from Superdrug £8.99 was purchased after the shop assistant advised that the blue strip around Maybelline products was a clear indicator that the item is waterproof and I knew I did not have one in my collection.
CONCLUSION: Just to wrap up then Subscribers (I am sorry I couldn’t resist) it seems like only yesterday that I blogged “New Year’s Eve 2017 Midnight Affair – here we come”. Happily health notwithstanding it’s that time of year again to get all glammed up, when it is all about sparkles, going out with your girlfriends, (my girl Sandra has recovered enough to come out tonight YEAH), record our memories by taking lots of pictures and then at the stroke of midnight join in the magical countdown into a New Year. It is also that time when once again we remember those we have lost and reminded how precious and fleeting life really is; accepting that we cannot influence time and the need to appreciate what is important in our life, family, friends and loved ones. Last but not least, there are the New Year resolutions of how best we can use the priceless gift of TIME to improve the quality of life for ourselves and those around us. I quote from the Poem “The Dash” by Linda Ellis:-
… He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end. He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the DASH between those years.
For that DASH represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our DASH. So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.”
I do hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that next year not only brings you good health, happiness and prosperity. X