Colour: Personal Style Board (Collage)

A few years back when I realised I seemed to be wearing a lot of black, I created the following simple collage using cuttings from my magazine stash, to help inspire me to inject more colour into my wardrobe.

If the same seems to have happened for you, why not create your own board too?

If you have a selection of magazines, go through them and cut out images of outfits, garments and/or accessories in colours that appeal to you and pin or glue to a board or in a scrapbook.

OR if cutting out and glueing to boards is not your thing, use Pinterest and create boards to help you curate, define or refine your colour style.

Check out my board: Personal Styling for Baby Boomer and Generation X Women, for ideas on putting your board together or just for colour and style inspiration.

I Am Still Her Mother (In a Baby Castle)

When my daughter died in the early 1980’s, aged 7, one of my sister’s wrote out the words of a poem ‘In a Baby Castle’ taken from a book  by the Medium Doris Stokes.  Some say there is no known author for this poem, others say Doris channelled and wrote this poem soon after she lost her baby son John Michael (See poem below). 

The words comforted me tremendously through the years (I carried it around with me in my purse along with one of her baby bracelets and a photo of her).  I know those same words have comforted many other bereaved parents too.

The words of this poem have preyed on my mind recently along with a very strong almost hurting urge in my heart to collage with a photo I had of myself and daugher as the centrepiece and to include in it one of the pictures she had drawn of me when she was about 4 or 5 of me with the words ‘this is me mother’ and the floral collage image from the last mothers day card she made for me, aged 7.  I created the collage last weekend and then struggled with whether to photo it and place it here on my blog.  But I’m doing it… it is  A poignant but so proudly felt memento of the fact that although my daughter is in spirit – I am still her mother.

“At night when all is silent and sleep forsakes my eyes, I’ll hear his tiny footsteps come running to my side.  His little hands caress me, so tenderly and sweet, I’ll breathe a prayer and close my eyes and embrace him in my sleep. Now I have a treasure that I rate above all other,  I have known true glory – I am still his mother”.
  Author: Doris Stokes (1920-1987)

This post was originally posted in 2011 on my old website/blog – Discerning Chi Chi

Going Gray – My Hair

I truly love my hair as it is now salt n peppered (not so obvious in the selfie below), short and natural with a mohican style cut.

Valerie Lewis 2016

Interesting then, to read over what I wrote in 2010 whilst coming to terms with going grey, reaching 50 and menopausal symptoms  (pictures and wording from my old site – Discerning Chi Chi)……..

July 2010 (me and nephew)

Had my hair cut short 2 weeks ago (see above pic), after trying  to grow it  for the past 2 years (see last photo).  Have finally ‘grieved’ and come to terms with the fact that it will never grow as thickly as it used to and that the grey hairs at my temples have a mind of their own and are unruly (unlike their grey counterparts which streak rather nicely through the rest of my hair).

Circa 1986 (me and my ‘baby’ brother)

Circa 1992 (mum and I)

Am still coming to terms with passing a mirror and being startled as I realise, yes,  it is me looking back at me, and wondering with some awe and yes, bewilderment, for the millionth time how I suddenly got to be 50?  I feel liberated  (I had a full hysterectomy) from the horrors of fibroids and painful, oh so very painful and heavy periods…but am stunned as to how in the space of a couple of years ones shape can change so much; oh, and the  aches and niggles one feels in various parts of the body that disappear almost as quickly as they appear making you wonder if you imagined them…………wearing variofocals…..and hot flushes – don’t even go there!Me (2009)

My Makeover with Look Fabulous Forever (Makeup for Older Women)

Look Fabulous Forever is a select range of pro-age beauty products. I was lucky to cross the path of Founder Tricia Cusden and invited to be a model for one of her online makeup tutorials. In a future post I will be telling you more about Tricia and Look Fabulous Forever.

Spring Green

“Is the spring coming?” he said.  “What is it like?”…”It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”  

~ Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Lately I’ve been drawn to the colour green and am now the proud owner of a beautiful boiled wool coat designed and handmade by the lovely and extremely talented Lois, owner of 13threads.

boiled wool coat

Green is the colour of nature, fertility, life and growth.  It is the colour of spring.

I always feel quite energised, optimistic and full of ideas for new projects, at this time of the year.  One of the projects I will be starting work on shortly is a ‘Your Fabulous 50’s and Beyond’ e-workbook, which I would love to complete by early Autumn.

How about you, how does spring make you feel?  Do share!

Second time around

In 2009, I decided to do a freelance personal stylist/image consultant course,  in part, to add to my life coaching credentials and mainly because I felt I had lost my way with my own personal sense of styling.  2009 was also the year that I had 2 major surgical procedures.  Total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of my womb, cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries), and then, approximately 8 months later, repair of a vesicovaginal fistula.

Following hysterectomy the menopause took full effect.  And I mean full on effect!  As I acclimatised myself to coping with the myriad of hormonal changes (hot flushes, migraine, thinning weak brittle hair, aching joints, weight gain/body change, ‘foggy’ brain, slight dizzy spells, lethargy, etc, etc).   I also reached what seemed at the time, a very surreal milestone, which my brain was not ready for.  I reached the age of 50.

The next few years I mourned my past.  I had lots of moments of not feeling happy or comfortable with how I looked or how I perceived I looked to the outside world (I who before had had my own sense of style and intuitively knew what did or didn’t suit me).  I struggled with trying to identify what clothes, shoes and accessories suited me and what someone my age, now bigger bellied, larger bobbed and with much fuller upper arms etc, should be wearing or not wearing.  I wore a lot of the same things over and over again  (mainly black).

I tried to lose weight, lost a little and gained it back.  I would have periodic stints of exercising (even joined a gym, did pilates, yoga and aqua aerobics) and had even lengthier periods with no exercising, tried to grow my hair and then cried inside because it was not how it used to be, so eventually had it cut short.  I even got quite a bit slack about my grooming (I, who from my late teens upto mid/late forties would not have been seen dead with chipped nail varnish).  And oh, I felt uncomfortable having my photo taken.

As I navigated myself through this sometimes confusing and very, very foggy period of my life, my studying for the above mentioned course fell by the wayside.  Being creative (e.g. my jewellery making)  helped (as it always has done), in keeping me grounded and harmonious within.jewellery-makingBut, as I turned 53, something happened…it was as if the fog started to lift and I started to fall in love with my short gray streaked hair.  I started painting my nails more regularly and even began to like clothes shopping again.  

I’d found myself….and now, I’m living life and very much enjoying life….second time around…