10 July 2019

One from the heart

This post contains some affiliate links - marked with a *.
Before I get into the heavy stuff I'd better just share my outfit of the day as fashion was the very reason I started the blog in the first place........and I may lose a few of you thereafter.
& Other Stories dress*
Espadrille.co.uk sandals, gifted 2017
Bag via eBay *
Accessorize Panama hat, past season - alternative here*
Rayban Wayfarer sunglasses*
Tiffany & Co necklace
If you are in for the long read you may want to get yourself a cuppa!
As I mentioned above, the main reason I started the blog was my love of all things clothes, shoes and accessories related. My love of fashion had been reignited after a post-baby fug and the blog was a great creative outlet for me and it is my hope that I may have helped few ladies who found themselves in the same situation as me. I know I wasn't alone in that feeling that you've totally lost yourself after having children as (rightly so!) we are totally absorbed by the most precious new additions to our lives. At some point though we are ready to start being ourselves again and as our outfits are our daily armour it felt quite natural for me to turn to fashion to get back to being 'me' again.
Fast forward a few years. It was a little over a year ago that I realised I was not feeling myself once again. I would always describe myself as being an optimistic, confident person but I realised I was feeling really overwhelmed, stressed and anxious for no particular reason. After a wobbly few weeks it dawned on me that I was starting to go through the change. I just didn't recognise myself anymore. It was pretty scary. So, I put it out there. On the blog and Instagram. And I had an amazing response. There is so much help out there.......it's no longer a taboo subject. I had so many helpful recommendations and suggestions. Just the act of sharing and realising that I wasn't alone helped me immensely. But I didn't really act on any of the advice I was given. I didn't go to the Doctors (still haven't been) and I didn't put into practice any of the tips I'd been offered. Perhaps I was in denial. Though honestly, I think you have to arrive at these things in your own time. 
A couple of months back those original feelings I experienced returned.......and had intensified. My confidence was in shreds. I had no motivation or energy. Simply put, I felt awful. Hands up......I became aware that I was more of a drain that a radiator. 

I'm writing this post in hope that I can help someone and also to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who reached out to me when I put this out there again 4 weeks ago on Instagram Stories. This time I felt ready to take this challenge on and put in some work to get myself out of my menopausal rut. These tips aren't going to be for everyone. I will categorically state I'm not an expert. I'm stubborn as I'm still not going to the Doctors with this. But I've implemented a few changes to my lifestyle and I am really beginning to reap the benefits. So in the spirit of sharing here goes........

First thing I did was give up alcohol. For as long as I can remember I have used wine to numb my feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness and these last few years, grief. I knew I had a really unhealthy relationship with alcohol and have tried and failed in trying to finding ways in which to stop. There was no lightbulb moment, it really was just down to the fact that I had been recommended some herbal supplements to take to ease some of the menopause symptoms (I'll come onto those in a minute) and after parting with 70 quid in Holland & Barrett I realised it would be pointless to carry on drinking as it would, in effect just cancel out the good stuff I was putting into my body. Obviously this is the best health decision I've ever made. After a couple of weeks I started to feel so much better. I'm no longer sedated going to sleep so I'm waking up feeling refreshed and I can honestly say that feeling is way better than the taste of wine! I'm an all or nothing kind of person and I've managed a wedding and a couple of parties without needing a drink so it is my intention to give up alcohol for good. I'm a nicer person without it. I'm not suggesting you should give up, I just knew it was something I had to do. That was a huge step to take and even harder to write down and admit I had a problem but as I'm learning it's all part of the process.

Going back to those supplements I was recommended. I have been grappling with my emotions so much lately that I decided I'd give these a go. I'm not one for taking medication......trips to the Doctors are a rarity for me and I was keen to tread a more holistic route rather than medicate my symptoms with HRT. I know nothing about HRT but my gut feeling is saying no and that's what I'm going with. So I took myself off with a list of stuff to Holland and Barrett. The list was thanks to a lovely lady who shared (as a result of my Instagram Stories) what she was taking and had found had helped. I was lucky enough to enlist the services of a superb assistant, Grace who helped me find the items and we tweaked the recommendations in line with my symptoms. Grace's knowledge blew me away - I am so grateful to her as I walked in rather blindly seeking help but she was so confident in product knowledge and the service I received totally exceeded my expectations. I've completely digressed but I guess my point of the whole blog post is don't be afraid to ask for help.

Here's what I'm currently taking......in no particular order.

Omega 3-6-9 for skin and to combat rising cholesterol levels.

I have a history of Osteoporosis in my family so I'm taking Calcium Magnesium with Vitamin D3.

Evening Primrose which is helping with the night sweats (or 5am sweats in my case!).

Pukka Womankind - contains turmeric for aches and pains

Lactobacillus for helping with menopause weight gain around the middle.

I won't be afraid to ask for advice should my symptoms change but what I'm taking seems to be helping.

Now the next routine I've implemented is a bit woo-woo and I fear I may lose you here but please bear with because there are mountains of scientific research about the benefits of practising meditation. In just 4 weeks I'm a complete convert. It is the first thing I do everyday. I'm not going to expand too much on this subject but suffice to say that my emotions now feel much more under control. It's a game-changer. I use the Calm app (I've also tried Headspace) and I do feel it sets me up for the day. It's one of those things that has just slotted in perfectly to my routine. 

More on those emotions though as there is no doubt in my mind that a lot of my insecurities have been exacerbated by social media. I've gotten so very far away from why I started blogging in the first place and I believe it has had an affect on my mental health as I've recently been feeling overwhelmed and just generally exhausted by Instagram in particular. I never expected for one moment that I would accrue such a lovely amount of followers.......it actually astounds me as it's not like I take great pictures or have an aesthetically pleasing, curated feed. I've just simply uploaded what I'm actually wearing everyday. I've become a victim of my own success because social media has become such an enormous marketing tool for brands. It's so very flattering and tempting when you are approached by brands with offers of gifts, gorgeous events to attend and paid partnerships, it's very hard to say no. However, this has not been sitting easily with me for a while. I found the obligation to post just sucked the joy right out of it all for me. I haven't coped well with the amount of stuff I've accumulated and I got to the point where I really didn't understand what my style was anymore because I spent too much time making sure that I was doing justice to the items I'd been gifted instead of wearing what made me feel good about myself. It's no surprise really that this has all come to a head is it? 

So, in light of me offloading all of my thoughts and feelings on Instagram I do have a couple of little tips as I am weaning myself off of it. A good eighteen months ago I stopped charging up my phone in my bedroom. It's no longer the first thing I look at every morning. I also leave it in airplane mode overnight so that there aren't tonnes of notifications when I first pick it up to use the Calm app. Something else I introduced to my morning routine (just last week) is golden hour. I don't look at my phone for the first hour of each day. So my routine goes like this. I wake up, practice a few gratitude mantras before I rise, followed by some guided meditation and stretches after that. I then spend a bit of time in nature by watering my garden before exercising (half an hour bouncing on my trampette everyday whilst repeating some affirmations). I only check my phone once I've had my breakfast and I've set the reminder so that I'm only using Instagram for an hour at most a day. I'm creating these new habits to replace the bad ones. I am seeing the results already as my motivation is returning, I have more energy and I'm a lot more focused than I have been for months. 

All I need to do now is to create some goals. I intend to start a vision board. I'm devouring as many podcasts as I can.....filling every spare minute with those and learning as much as I can! My recommendations are Jay Shetty's On Purpose, Dr Chatterjee's Feel Better, Live More and Lewis Howe's School of Greatness. I'm distracting myself by reading books and have found a Netflix series that both me and the husband enjoy (we are currently immersed in season 5 of Sons of Anarchy). Instagram used to be such a huge source of fashion inspiration to me but as it has become one hard sell I've returned to my Pinterest boards and have found joy in shopping my wardrobe again. 

There's still lots of work to do on myself but I'm ready for the challenge. We are always a work in progress aren't we? 

Anyway, as I stated at the beginning of this post I hope there is just one nugget of information here that may help someone else. I'm not about to become an ambassador for the menopause but if you do have any experiences or tips I would be truly grateful if you could leave me a comment. It would be great to hear your thoughts too!

If nothing else it's been very cathartic getting all this off my chest.......a problem shared is a problem halved as they say. Thank you for reading.......if you got this far ;0)
I hope to resume blogging on a regular basis again soon. Michelle xx


  1. Oh Michelle...thank you so much for sharing! I am on the cusp of 50 (this October) and I feel like I don't know who I am anymore. I've also started taking regular supplements and limit alcohol and sugar as well. I had been putting on weight for years much to my frustration so I finally got serious about it and have lost 30 lbs (over 13 kg) since this time last year. While I am thrilled with the weight loss it has led to frustration in getting dressed because I went down 2 sizes and have to buy new clothes. I'm stuck though because I can't quite figure out my new style and I want to step out of my comfort zone a bit. I can't quite wrap my head around "dressing for 50" because I don't even know what that looks like. Here in the US everyone dresses SO casual and when I level up I feel like I don't fit in for the environment. Keep on posting your outfits because I love your look and I especially love when you shop your closet and wear the same items in different ways. For me it is about being intentional with purchases and feeling proud that I am getting the most cost per wear. Continue posting about our mid-life issues. It's important and part of life and nobody wants to go through it alone! Have a great day and I look forward to your upcoming posts!

    1. Hi Deb, thank you for your lovely comment! I'll be 50 in October too! Sounds like we are on the same page.......I will be tackling sugar and my diet next! You have done brilliantly with your weight loss, what an achievement! You will get there with your style, it' quite an adjustment trying to adapt to your new size. Going forward I will be shopping more intentionally, I really enjoy getting the most of my wardrobe. There is no better feeling than finding a gorgeous preloved piece or scoring a classic designer piece vastly reduced in the sales. This is what I hope to be focusing on from now on :0)

  2. I love how you have taken the bull by the horns!! Menopause is tougher than i expected. I had terrible night sweats a few months ago but they disappeared after I started to eat better and reduce my sugar intake. I'm toying with the idea of giving up alcohol. I only drink once a week but the recovery is horrible. And I only have 1 or 2 drinks. Its starting to feel like its not worth it. I also take lots of supplements too. I have also had achy joints and lower back issues that make exercise harder. I have to take a gentler approach with my workouts. Good for you Michelle - you are not alone ;)

    1. Aww thank you Marianne! Sugar seems to be one of the culprits! You’ve cinched the deal so I appreciate you sharing that! I need to reduce my intake and tackle my diet as I’ve fallen into bad habits there! With a few little tweaks I reckon we can rise above this menopause business! ;0) xx

  3. Thank you so much for this, I really appreciate it.

    Much as I love blogs and Instagram I have been moving away from the feeds that are constantly telling is about their gifted items and the less authentic feeling posts. I've never felt like I'm missing out but it's great to be free of it.

    I also thank everyone for their input about the menopause, especially those mentioning sugar - it's something I'm going to work on. I gave up drinking just before Christmas, starting exercising daily, an working on my sleep and am addressing my diet, thanks for your tips about supplements I'll look into that more.

    1. I am so with you on giving up sugar....it totally resonates with me too! It’s amazing how making a few changes to our routines can restore some of our haphazard menopausal emotions isn’t it!
      Instagram is a tough one. I’m not really sure where I stand with it....my feelings change daily! The less time I spend on it the more I am penalised by the app as they have the power to suppress which posts are getting seen. As as long as I’m ok with that I’ll continue to post as these days I’m am posting so that I can look back at how I’ve styled things. I’m doing it just for me and that’s the healthiest attitude I’ve had about it for a long time xx

  4. Anonymous11/7/19 09:18

    Michelle....so good to read this. I've reached the point of 'peak stuff' where the amount of clothes etc I have is pretty overwhelming. I've managed nearly 2 months of no clothes buying, and feel so much better as a result.
    And meditation definitely isn't woo-woo! I sincerely believe it's the only thing that keeps me sane - the problem comes when the day is just so busy that somehow I don't find time. I need to make time. I came to meditation 7 years ago when my sister passed away, and it really helped me release some of the heavy weight of grief.
    BTW you are definitely not a drain. You may feel that way sometimes - but, trust me, to your readers you a warm ray of sunshine.
    Look after yourself! x

  5. Love your comment.... on d describe myself at peak with clothing too! I could definitely do with taking a leaf out of your book and have a couple of months of no purchasing! Although I’ve had a gigantic clear out I still feel stuffocated! But I’m moving in the right direction.....I am determined to buy less but buy better.
    Ahh.....meditation! What a game changer! I feel the benefits right away - hence it’s the first thing I do when I get out of bed. It’s helped me immensely, especially with the negative emotions I’ve been experiencing. I’m starting to feel like my old positive self again.
    My next challenge is to create a vision board for my goals..... I’ll keep you posted!
    Thanks you for the gorgeous compliment, I’m still a work in progress but I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere. You take care too xx

  6. Hi Michelle, I am fairly new to reading your posts and seeing your lovely instagram pictures. Its refreshing to see someone featuring affordable clothes that are stylish & on trend. However, I am at a bit of a clothes 'Peak' too, partly because I have put on weight in the last two years and have bought many new things and also my reluctance to part with my 'slim' clothes. I need to loose weight for health reasons and being 7 years older than you I can safely say the menopause has contributed to my current shape ! Thank you for being so honest and helpful about the menopause and I am sure many of us reading this have benefited from your thoughts and ideas. I dallied with HRT about 2 years ago - tried the pill form and then the gel form, both triggered off IBS and did nothing to help the symptoms so it was interesting to read about the alternative medicines you are trying. Please keep us informed of how you get on and I might just go and have a look at the HB website ! Thanks again Michelle x

  7. Dear Michelle I have been enjoying your blog for about a year now I googled 40s and fashion because I felt like I had lost my mojo after kids and being a stay at home mum I was in jeans everyday whereas before I lived dresses and skirts I began to think I was too old to do this and it didn't matter anyway because my dsyscrevolved around soft play but I underestimated the effect on my emotions I began with dress up Friday whilst my kids were at school and nursery and gradually bought a few dresses and skirts and really felt better now I'm back at work and dress I g up 3 days a week feeling more me again I love see I g how you put your outfits together and then shop my wardrobe for similar things I love your style! I haven't got to menopause yet but reading your honest account will help me when I do thank you for being so open and brave the more we talk about these things the better for everyone ! Keep up the good work
    Sarah xx

  8. Hi Michelle, felt compelled to post as I really enjoy reading your blog and in particular your honest and straightforward approach to fashion. Thank you for sharing what's going on with you. I'll be heading into menopause v soon I'm sure, and the more we talk about it the better as far as I am concerned. Hats off to you with regards to stopping alcohol as well. Do keep posting. xx