Style and Fashion, over 40.

Pared-down dressing | Cashmere, leather and distressed denim.

A pared-down look for autumn.

Luxe fabrics, and textures, create a simple mix.
I do love a splash (and often, a clash) of colour but we all need a simple and pared-down look now and again, don't you think?
So, I thought I would share with you a muted palette and a simpler outfit.

Sometimes, I need something a little calmer and (dare I say it) more sophisticated?
Although, to be honest, all sophistication goes out of the window as soon as these distressed jeans come out to play!
They have been up-cycled (they were my son's).
I had fun distressing them with a bread knife. See them here, with some colour.

I know I could have reached for my more 'grown-up' dark wash jeans but, I didn't want to feel like I was dressing up, or trying to be someone I am not.
I always need a little bit of fun in my look, otherwise I don't feel like me.

When an outfit is so simple and stripped back to the bones, quality fabrics are a must.
We can easily get away with 'cheap and cheerful' when an outfit has lots going on, and plenty to keep the eye moving around but, when it is so plain (and exposed) this is the time to get the 'big guns' out.

I am certainly not saying that you need to spend a fortune to look good in simple clothes (far from it) but now is not the time for that cheap, bobbly jumper that has seen better days.

Cashmere, leather and distressed Levis | Fake Fabulous

I recently enjoyed reading one of my favourite blogger's posts about her shopping trip (I'm sure she needed a removal lorry to get it all home). She is a bargain hunter, like myself, and I was inspired by the fabulous Anna's Electric blue biker jacket (see it styled here) so I decided to dig out a biker bargain of my own.

This beautiful leather biker, by Superdry.

Superdry is normally a brand that has too many big and brash logos for my liking.
However, this jacket has no obvious branding AND (the best bit for me)...has freakishly long arms!
Notice the cuffs covering my wrist bones?
Yay! {beams} This is such a simple, and rare, pleasure.

I am constantly searching for gorilla sleeves, and I am sure this oddity is the reason that this jacket was in TKMaxx for the bargain price of £59.99.
Yes, £59.99 for a butter-soft leather jacket.
Perhaps it was a freakish one that nobody else wanted BUT who cares?
It is perfect for me.
Result!

I decided to go all-out neutral and tone-on-tone...resisting the temptation to add a chunky necklace, bangle or brightly coloured tights.
I just reached for this simple, cashmere jumper.
I really wish you could feel how incredibly soft it is. Such a fine knit (paper thin) but, somehow still warm. It was selling at 75% off in a clearance sale...but was still well over £100 (shhh, don't tell!) Very expensive by my standards but honestly, worth every penny.

Cashmere, leather and distressed Levis | Fake Fabulous

I wanted to wear these lazered booties (last spotted here with Culottes) and decided that the jeans needed a extra detail of some nude, lace tights underneath (also adding a valuable layer of warmth for me).

Of course, I had to include my latest Charity shop find.
This gorgeous, burgundy, leather bag.
Real leather, and just a little nod to Mulberry styling, for the same price as a coffee and a cake!
What is not to love about that?
I finished things off with some bronze, metallic nail polish (on my fingers), almond on my toes and my gold-tone feather earrings.
Simple.

Cashmere, leather bag and distressed Levis | Fake Fabulous

I thought I would leave you with this silly shot of me resigning myself to a muddy heel after I started to sink into the grass!
Scottish rain... I love the way it keeps everything lush and green, so a little comedic sinking is a small price to pay.

Cashmere, leather and distressed Levis | Fake Fabulous

Do you own any wonderfully luxurious items that were out of your normal budget range and a little bit naughty?

Please let me know in the comments, I love to read them.....and I won't tell a soul!





Jacket: Superdry (Still on sale in black)
Jumper: John Smedley (I like this wool one..in grey)
Jeans: Levis (stolen from my son when he outgrew them)
Shoes/Booties: XTI (Old...I like these)
Bag: Martha Ponti (Charity shop)
Nails: Mavala (Amber) BarryM (Almond)

How I style a pinafore dress, over 40 | Wearing trends that are 'Too young'.

Pattern mixing, using a subtle palette of colours.

Wearing a pinafore (bib) dress without looking like you are trying too hard to be 'young'.

I am not somebody that wants to look 'younger'.

I have been young (haha, obviously) and although it has it's major benefits..such as the ability to party all night and still get up for work looking fresh, looking great in obscenely-short denim cutoffs and not needing any makeup in order to have perfect skin.
I am happier, and more confident, now that I am older and (allegedly) wiser.

I know a lot of older women have said this, and a lot of younger women might be thinking;
"Yeah right! You're just saying that to make yourself feel better about being well and truly past-it." 
"What can be so good about being older?" 
"Looking like death-warmed-up on a morning and slowly falling to bits as the years go by!?"
Well, the irony of ageing is... that as we slowly disintegrate, we actually get more comfortable and confident about who we are!
And the best bit is...We care a lot less about what others might be thinking of us, either as a person (we can't really change who we are inside, take us or leave us) OR in what we wear, how we portray ourselves and our fashion choices.

I am very happy being 41, it is a privilege to have had 41 years of a healthy life.
Many people don't.
And, believe it or not, I am more than happy looking 41 too.

I think that many women avoid certain trends because they feel that the look could be 'too young' for them.
I don't think that anyone should be avoiding anything that they love just because they are a certain age.
It really makes me mad.

If I want to wear something then, as long as it is not obscene (those denim cut offs need to cover all of my bum now!) or inappropriate for the occasion (said cutoffs at a wedding) then I am going to wear it, thank you very much!

All women, whatever their age, have the right to try a trend they love and have fun with fashion.


I wanted this pinafore dress as soon I saw it.
However, I did swither slightly...

The material is thick enough BUT, it is cheap, and unlined, and quite {read:Very} tight.

I know French Connection do a very chic and much classier version (here).
Mine is short (maybe not for everyone) but I could wear some opaque tights, to keep it on the right side of cheap. Well, it was cheap! £6 instead of the £120 in FC. You know me, I like a bargain.

I paired it with a soft, and feminine, blouse.
It is a sheer fabric in pale pink, with a subtle grey snake print.
The dress itself is black with pale pink pinstripes.
So, this combination gave a really soft, and muted, look.

Black opaque tights could have worked, with different shoes, but I do love my coloured hosiery!
These are a really easy tone to wear (entry level). A dark grey is a great first-time colour to try.

I thought that these tights would go really well with my two-tone booties.
They do not have as chunky a heel as I would normally feel comfortable in, but this was not a 'walking for miles' day. It was a taxi, then a train, kind of day so I can cope with this heel.
However, comfort is my priority so I did have a pair of emergency flats in my bag (these ones) just in case.

I think that a chunky boot or shoe would have made the look too '90's throwback' and therefore making me look like I was caught in some kind of fashion time-warp.

This coat was just the thing for a chilly day.
It is quite warm, fully lined and it added another (subtly coloured) pattern to the mix.

I then added my fourth pattern, with this bag.
I thought it brought a little richness to a potentially overly-muted palette.

My husband's vintage leather tie (from the 70's!) finished things off perfectly!

Pattern mixing using a subtle palette | Fake Fabulous
Grey tights and two tone Booties | Fake Fabulous
Pinafore dress and chiffon blouse | Fake Fabulous
Mixing patterns using subtle colour palette.

How do you feel about getting older?
Are you happy to look your age?
Has age brought confidence? Or made you more self-conscious?

Please let me know in the comments.
I love to hear your thoughts!


Samantha @ Fakefabulous.com


Shoes/booties: Betty Jackson (old)
Tights: Gipsy 100
Dress: New Look (bargain bucket!)
Blouse: French connection (this one would look great)
Bag: Charity shop.
Tie: Vintage (my husbands!)...last spotted HERE as a belt, and HERE.
Coat: Boden (I like this one)

How to wear summer clothes in Autumn | Beginner's guide to coloured tights.

How to wear your summer wardrobe in Autumn.

Wearing colourful tights.
Wearing summer clothes in Autumn | Fake fabulous
Cobalt blue tights | Fake Fabulous

I am sad to say goodbye to the Summer, in Ernest (haha I mean earnest) this time.
The leaves are definitely turning brown and the apples on the tree are bright red and ready for eating.

Despite these obvious hints for me to grab a jumper, I (stubbornly) still want to try and get a few more wears from some of my, hardly worn, summer clothes.

Do you feel the same about some of your pretty dresses or skirts?

I think that this is because Summer clothes don't get a fair crack of the whip here.
I buy them in hopeful anticipation, and they only see the light of day once or twice (if I am lucky).
I decided it was time to be inventive.

I love this bright dress, it has a twirly skirt and POCKETS!
Pockets on a dress (or skirt) are so satisfying....and very handy.
Such a great touch.
More pockets please!

I last wore it HERE to a garden party.... before the grass became a quagmire!

And, I really wanted to wear it again.

It is a substantial fabric, and lined, so it is the perfect candidate for some clever layering.

I decided to go all-out clash-tastic with these cobalt blue tights.

I know that this an extreme version of coloured tight wearing.
I appreciate that such BRIGHT colours are not for everyone, but I felt like I needed a little pick me up.
It is, honestly, impossible to be miserable in bright blue tights!

I layered a matching polo neck under my dress and grabbed my Bright Orange Coat...last seen HERE, clashing with red and blue too!

Which got me thinking about how to make more of my summer clothes work in Autumn...giving them a longer life and me more dressing options.

Try layering something under your dress:

  • Fine or smooth knit polo neck.
  • A collared shirt.
  • A pussy bow blouse (See one layered under a Jumpsuit here)
  • A long or 3/4 sleeved t-shirt....in a contrasting colour or pattern!

Of course, you can layer over your dress too:


Scarves always work well:

  • Long skinny scarves
  • Soft fine Cashmere (or cashmere effect) wraps.
  • Capes
  • fine knit Ponchos

Why not add some Autumnal shoes to contrast with your feminine dress?


Autumn themed touches, with accessories, are always fun...I wore my Oak leaves necklace.

Now on to the tights....


The basic principles are the same whatever colour you choose:

  1. Chose an opaque tight...opaques are more modern and look much fresher, they are also much warmer than sheers. Don't get me started on barely black tights!! 
  2. Always spend as much as you can afford, I am all for a bargain (£3 French Connection playsuit, anyone?) but believe me when I tell you that bargain tights are never a bargain. Cheap and shiny with an uneven stretch that looks odd on the leg. They ruin the rest of your outfit. Invest in some decent hosiery, your legs will thank you for it ...and so will the rest of your outfit.
  3. Try something other than black, it can look surprisingly chic and elegant.


"Entry level" colours include:

  • Charcoal
  • Deep Ink Blue
  • Midnight Purple
  • Dark chocolate Brown
  • French Navy

Intermediate colours (go on, be brave):

  • Burgundy
  • Plum
  • Bottle Green
  • Petrol Blue
  • Camel
  • Dark Rust


Advanced (not for the faint hearted) take a deep breath:

  • Cobalt
  • Bright Purple
  • Fuchsia
  • Violet
  • Orange
  • Dark red
  • Teal


Think about complementing your summer dress instead of being too matchy, matchy.
I went for a clash here (picking out the blue birds on the dress)
But you could be much more subtle...for example:

  • Olive coloured dress? Try petrol blue or midnight purple tights
  • Cream dress? Try dark green or plum tights.
  • Red dress? Try camel, charcoal or dark brown tights
  • Navy dress? Try dark grey or fuchsia (looks amazing!)
  • Grey dress? Try orange or rust tights (or vice versa)

Experiment, have fun...don't take any of it too seriously.

You won't please everyone with your style choices..but who cares, just please yourself!
One persons hideous-faux-pax is the next persons stylishly-individual and fabulous.



I thought I would leave you with some silly shots of me...after rushing out to catch some decent light and almost falling on my bum in the process!
Notice my bag that I just can't seem to put down these days. I have other bags, honestly.

Do you have any favourite colour combinations?
Do you want to be more adventurous with your choices this Autumn/Winter?
Or do you prefer the safety of black?

Please let me know...I love reading your comments.
Dress: Fever London
Coat: Hearts & Hands 
Tights: Fogal 30 Denier (c/o UkTights)
Belt: Topshop
Polo Neck: Redoute (I like this one)
Necklace: Tatty Devine
Nails: Barry M

Autumn layers: Spots and Denim with a Plaid Cape.

How to layer with a tartan Cape.

I love Autumnal hues, and when I found this Tartan (plaid) Cape I could not resist popping it in my basket!
I knew it would be perfect with denim.
But, I have to admit to being totally uninspired by the "Skinny jeans, Shirt and a Cape" look that is everywhere...it's almost like you cant wear one of these capes without popping on a pair of skinnies.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE skinny jeans (and trousers) but sometimes it is nice to break the mould a little.

I thought that my denim shirt would be all the denim I needed, so I paired it with this mini skirt..shiny and spotty, the perfect contrast to denim!

My burgundy jumper seemed the obvious choice as it picked out the colour in the cape... in fact this cape is capable of pulling a multitude of autumn shades together!
I recently wore it with green, petrol and cream, see a peek here on Instagram.
I definitely think it will be in my bag on many occasions as an emergency cover-up.

I don't mind admitting to being a little bit in love with these boots.
I just know they are going to be my go-to shoe this Autumn.

See my go-to summer shoe Here, here and here.

They seem to go with everything and are super comfortable.
I have already worn them a lot, in daily life, and featured them on my blog with a floral dress.

A shoulder bag (or cross body bag) does not sit well with a cape or poncho so my grab bag was a perfect finishing touch.
Is nothing safe from the addition of a Pompom??

I last wore it for work with a mini.
And HERE with multiple layers....minus the pom poms!

Early Autumn style, wearing a plaid cape with denim.

Wearing a mini skirt in Autumn

Burgundy and denim.


Now, can we please go back to this dotty skirt for a moment?

It is a lovely skirt, however, I had a small mishap (wardrobe malfunction) at work involving the skirt twirling round, bunching up and flashing most of my rear!

Luckily it was during my break so I was wearing my cape, which covered my embarrassment (and saved my blushes) until I repositioned myself.
The repositioning process was no mean feat and involved a lot of wriggling and yanking of fabric.

I really can't be bothered with an outfit that requires constant checking and readjustment, or worse, emergency treatment!
So, I am thinking that a stitch at each side is in order...to make it fit a little neater on the waist?
I hope this stops it's need to travel around my body.

Do you ever have problems with a twirling, twisting or bunching skirt?
Do you regularly alter and adjust your clothes to fit?

Please share any tips you have, I would love to hear them!


XXX

Samantha


furry pompoms and a plaid cape.

Skirt: Boden (from ebay)
Jumper: French connection (I like this one)
Shirt: Boden (I like this one)
Bag: Hidesign (last seen HERE)
Cape: ASOS (I love this one!)
Boots: Redoute (they are selling at 70% off now...Booo for me, Yay for you!)
Tights: Gipsy 100



How to wear coloured tights | Vintage pencil skirt & Cropped top.

Styling a Vintage pencil skirt with coloured tights and a cropped top.

Vintage style, over 40.
Coloured tights are perfect for transitioning your wardrobe from Summer into Autumn (and on to Winter...groan) and anyone who has read my previous posts will know about my love of hosiery:
So, I am not ashamed to admit to being genuinely delighted when UKtights gifted me these fabulous tights by Fogal.
UKtights just happen to be the company I would normally use to buy my tights (see my previous posts) so I was thrilled to bits.
And these colourful, purple ones are Right up my street!

Vintage houndstooth pencil skirt and purple tights.

They are a superb quality knit, feel great on the leg, and went perfectly {little jump for joy} with this gorgeous vintage pencil skirt I had recently found on one of my charity shop trawls.
It is a beautiful wool fabric and a cute houndstooth pattern (in black, pink and purple) how could I resist?

I decided that it was the perfect partner for my cropped jumper...the pink and black plus the houndstooth was a match made in heaven, in my book!

I popped a slim-fit polo neck underneath, to protect my modestly and to stop the wool tickling me.
But, to be honest, the skirt is so well fitted at the waist (and a high enough cut) that only the most toned part of my midriff would be exposed, all stretch marks were well hidden.
I do get cold though and a draft up my jumper is not what I want!

My sleeveless duster / waistcoat seemed the perfect transitional cover up...not too chunky, just enough coverage for a cool and breezy day.

Cropped jumper, vintage pencil skirt, trilby and coloured tights.

Woman wearing a trilby.

Cropped jumper, vintage pencil skirt and coloured tights by Fogal.

Calf length boots are going to be big this Autumn/Winter, and I had almost forgotten I owned these beautiful leather ones.
I bought them over 10 years ago, from ebay because they were almost identical to a pair Chanel were doing at the time, except with a bargainista's £20 price tag!
They are a half size too big, but this means they are perfect for adding a contrasting sock to my outfit.
This is a favourite look of mine.
I love to layer from head to toe.
I think it stems from having such narrow legs and never being able to find boots that fit.
I usually resort to 'padding out' the space between the boot and my leg with either chunky socks or leg-warmers!

I could not resist adding another pattern into the mix with my baby cord floral bag.
Are three different patterns in one outfit too much? I really don't think so!

My wool trilby finished things off nicely.
I am a gent's XL so this was from a 'proper' hat shop and is such a pleasure to wear.

This fun outfit made me feel very feminine and a little bit sexy.
Was it the wiggle of the pencil skirt, the jaunty angle of my hat or my fabulous new tights?
Who knows? I just felt good!

Do you have any vintage items that could do with a POP of colour?
Would you wear coloured tights?
How bright would YOU go??

Please let me know, I love to read your comments.

XXX
Samantha

Tights: c/o Fogal 30 denier (from the lovely people at Uk Tights)
Wool Skirt: Vintage (I like this one)
Boots: Ebay (I like these)
Jumper: Illustrated people (I like this cropped one from topshop)
Hat: Christys (I love this one!)
Sleeveless jacket: French Connection (Similar)
Bag: Tk Maxx

How to wear a Red Coat with clashing colours | LINK-UP PARTY!

Autumn colours make me smile.

Wearing a red coat with blue.

And I love this Red coat.
It is the perfect weight for Autumn / Fall.
Not hot and heavy, not cool and flimsy.

The only problem is; It can look a little 'mumsy', so I need to be careful how I wear it.

Boden called it a Coatigan, and it is a fair description.
Part coat, part cardigan, perfect for Autumn.

Wearing camel with blue and red.

This Camel jumpsuit was on a bargain rail at a charity shop. 
"All items £1.00".
Yes, you read that correctly, one pound!
It was a crumpled and distorted mess. A very sorry sight indeed, but I could see it's potential.
It just needed a couple of stitches (the belt loops had burst) a good wash and an iron.
Then, "Hey presto" a great new item!

It has a good weight of fabric and a satisfying drape, although careful underwear is needed (it is viscose, which can be unforgiving).

I am not a shape-wear fan. I would always advocate the "less is more" philosophy when it comes to underwear.
Pain and discomfort are not an option for me.
If it is digging in and flesh is oozing then take it off!
I am not saying that you should go without, but a small amount of gently fitting silk or lace fabric is much more flattering than acres of restricting elastane....all that flesh has to go somewhere!

My wide leather belt helped to give the jumpsuit some more structure around the middle, which is important in a cheaper (and unlined) item. See how I used it HERE.

I wanted to wear this pussy bow blouse again (See how I styled it HERE and HERE) it was such a cheap and cheerful item but I have had a lot of use out of it and it washes surprisingly well.

This fabulous bag is new, and I love it's quirkiness.
It is silly and fun and very tongue-in-cheek...I think it helps de-mumsyfy (a new word!) my red coat a little more.
It really does make me smile.

These Clarks brogues are the perfect shoe for this outfit...a little masculine, a little feminine and VERY comfortable (see how I wore them HERE).

Have you ever "rescued" anything from a bargain bucket and given it a new lease of life?
Please share in the comments!

COAT: Boden Coatigan  (not similar, but I love this one!)
BLOUSE: Primark (I like this one)
JUMPSUIT: H&M (found in a charity shop for £1.00!) similar one.
BELT: My old faithful from Topshop.
BAG: Marina Galanti I can't find anything else like it.
POM POM's: Newlook
SHOES: Clarks (similar ones from Ted and Muffy)

Marini Galanti bag with furry pom poms.


XXX
Samantha

Cute and simple outfit for work | How to wear a mini skirt, over 40.

Mini skirts? For WORK... Over 40?!

What a horrible thought!
Shouldn't the over 40's be wearing a nice beige two-piece or a twinset and pearls?

Are we even allowed to wear mini skirts at such an advanced age?

Well, yes actually.
We can (in case you hadn't heard) wear what we like at any age!
#iwillwearwhatilike

There is nothing inappropriate or tacky about this cute little outfit.
In fact,  I think this is an ageless look.
Perfect for a smart-casual work environment.

These are my Top Tips for wearing mini-skirts and keeping the look 'Cute and Fun' instead of 'Overtly Sexy' or {worse, in my opinion} Frumpy:
  • Keep your upper body covered. Now is not the time for OTT cleavage (unless, of course you are aiming for that kind of look, in which case...don't let me stop you! Fashion is supposed to be fun after all).
  • Opaque hosiery looks great with flats or heels. Brogues or booties work especially well.
  • Beware of wrinkly ankles in opaques (and sheer tights too) especially with ballerinas...make sure your tights FIT properly, the Nora Batty look is NOT chic.
  • If you want to go for bare legs (or well-fitting, sheer, nude tights) then stick to flats, like ballet shoes. Otherwise your funky look can go a step too far towards Mumsy or Hoochy (depending on the shoe).
I could have gone for a nude (or nude-look) leg here, as my top half is covered and I am wearing flat shoes BUT it was pretty chilly and the wind whipping around my legs was not pleasant...brrrr.

Blue and mottled flesh on the legs {or, as I call them, corned beef legs} are definitely not attractive!

Cute outfit for work.

This Satin skirt is so well made, a nice shape and fully lined. A good lining makes such a difference.
It has unusual, structured pockets which give it more shape and add interest. 

I teamed it with brown opaque tights (black looked too stark) and I would have been tempted with lighter coloured, opaque, hosiery, such as a light camel or tobacco colour (note to self: buy more tights!), if I had chosen a darker top.
My white shirt has a pretty pleated collar and is so comfortable to wear. 
It is the softest almost-sheer cotton (easy to iron) and is great for layering.

Speaking of which, I decided to layer some necklaces: My fish bone (last seen with a Bodycon dress) to bring some contrast to the blouse and my daughter's faux pearl choker, purely for the light is casts on my skin. 
Little pearl stud earrings (real this time) were just subtle enough and a perfect!

My Grab-bag is a great size, it holds just enough 'stuff' without weighing me down (my little umbrella fits nicely). 
And, of course, I had to add a couple of PomPoms...also seen here.
You are going to see a lot of them this Autumn and Winter and I'm not going to apologise.
I love them!

So what do YOU think?
Is this a look you would go for or is this hemline a little too far North for your liking?
Please let me know, I love to read your comments.

XXX
Samantha

Wearing a white shirt with a short skirt.

BLOUSE: Asos (similar)
SKIRT: Luxzuz
SHOES: Topshop (similar) I will put a close-up of mine on my Instagram feed.
TIGHTS: Levante airskin (at UK tights)
NECKLACES: Tatty Devine & Newlook
BAG: Hidesign (I like this one)
Pom Pom's : Newlook
JACKET: All Saints (similar HERE)

Layering necklaces, Tatty Devine and Newlook.

Easy Dhal Recipe | Vegetarian Family meal, on a Budget.

Quick and Easy Dhal Recipe.

A nutritious vegetarian family meal on a budget.


Feeding a large family can be expensive and time consuming.
I need home-cooked healthy and cheap meals and I need them quickly {most of the time, anyway}.

I have no time or patience for fussy eaters and multiple meal making.

At dinner time The Menu at my house always has two choices on it:
  1. Take it
  2. Leave it
In my experience, they only take the 2nd option once...a hungry belly at bedtime is not pleasant.

Children soon learn that dinner time means it's time to eat good food.

This is a well balanced meal that is easy and quick to make, perfect for busy mums and dads....or anyone who hates faffing around!


Dhal and Greens.

(Please note: You can add crushed garlic and/or sliced Chilli to this recipe and it adds a little extra grown-up kick...just fry with the onions)

Ingredients (to serve 6):


500g of Red lentils, OR 300g Red lentils & 200g Yellow spilt peas 

2 chopped Onions 
Oil, for frying
Salt and Black Pepper
2 heaped tsp Cumin seeds
2 heaped tsp ground Turmeric
1 tsp Fennel seeds (optional)
Approximately 1L of Water (start with about 700ml in the pan then top up with boiling water, for the kettle, if you need it)
Any Green Vegetables but a Cabbage is perfect.

Approx. 500g Rice (depending on how hungry your family are!) 
The recommendation is 60g dry weight per person but I always make 100g per person because there are some big eaters here....and it allows for "seconds".

Fresh Coriander to Garnish (optional but it looks nice!)

Ingredients for dhal

Frying onions and cumin.
Fry the onions, cumin and fennel (and garlic/chilli, if you are using them) for at least 10 minutes {20 is better} over a medium to low heat.
Be careful not to burn them. 
They need to be soft, golden, fragrant and a little caramelised.
Cooking lentils
While the onions are cooking: Rinse your lentils (and split peas) in plenty of running cold water.
This stops a 'scum' developing on the top of the dhal.
Place the lentils (and peas) in a pan and add approximately 700ml of cold water.
Bring it to the boil then stir in the ground tumeric and the salt.
Turn the heat down to a simmer and keep stirring (and checking the consistency) to stop it sticking and burning.
Add more water if you need it.
Cook for about 20 minutes until the lentils are mushy and the peas are soft.

Meanwhile get a pan of salted water on and cook your rice (as per instructions on the packet).

Wash and slice your cabbage (or greens) and add it to the pan with the onions.
Turn up the heat and add about 2 tablespoons of boiling water (from the kettle or your rice pan)
Pop a lid over it and steam the cabbage for 5 minutes.
Mix well to get the delicious spices, oil and caramelised onions coating everywhere.

Drain your rice and serve.
You can garnish with fresh Coriander if you like.
It does make the dish look very nice but I did not bother here, children were calling out for food!

I love the way this meal causes a family silence....No bickering, moaning, fussing or poking food. Just 6 pairs of eyes focused on eating, and maybe getting "seconds".
That is a true sign of a successful meal.

I hope you enjoy making (and eating) this meal.
Please let me know, if you do.

XXX
Samantha
Dhal, rice and greens


AW trend: Winter white | Wearing an all white outfit in Fall.

All-white outfits are so impractical, aren't they?
Especially in the Autumn, and worse, Winter. 
With all of that (Scottish) rain, and mud, and dirty slush at the sides of the road. Yuck! 
Sleek and chic to grubby mess, in the blink of an eye.


Winter whites: The whole idea seems ridiculous, thought up by people living in a fantasy world of red carpets and taxi rides. 
Absolutely no good for for real life.


Common sense and my pragmatic side makes me want to back away from the Winter Whites trend, BUT... I just love the look of it  and I really want to make it work for me.

The Challenge is
Can I make it work in my very real, and very messy, life?

I have to admit to being the ultimate dirt magnet.
If there is a cup of tea to spill, I will spill it.
Over-vigorous stirring of the dinner ALWAYS misses my apron and slitters (a good Scottish word!) on my clothes.
The Scottish weather, being a non-driver (I walk, cycle, bus or train, a lot), a house full of children and a muddy dog....are all conspiring against my sleek all-white image and an immaculate outfit!
{BTW, I'm case you were wondering...I am never sleek or immaculate...the very idea makes me laugh}

What I am trying to say here is, that if I can wear white and stay looking clean, then anyone can!

This all-white challenge did get me thinking
Is it really that much worse to have a coffee spill down the front of an all white outfit than it is down the front of a beige and brown or grey and black one?
I don't think so!

So with that thought I decided to give it a go.

(I must tell you, at this point, that I took these photographs at the end of July...hence my copper hair. However, I have worn this dress successfully {without slitters} on two further occasions. One of which is on my Instagram... HERE.... AND involved a 'saucy' lunch and coffee)

Winter white, all white and cream outfit.

Floral tights and geek shoes.

Wearing an all white / cream outfit.

I started with my cream and blue floral geek shoes, last seen with a chambray playsuit
They are very comfortable and so pretty. 
I look down at my feet and they make me smile.

These beautiful tights, by Falke, are so feminine and ridiculously girly!
I know that cream tights are a bit of a fashion no-no but these are just too nice to obey any hosiery rules.
They have little flower buds all over them and are perfect on a skinny leg like mine. 
Patterns tend to make the leg look more shapely and pale colours thicken it up a bit too... great news for me.

My knitted dress is going to be getting worn a lot this winter (over various coloured tights).
I wore it with green tights, very recently. 
You can see a peep on Instagram (HERE)
The chunky cardigan (last seen at the museum) was a must, it was windy and pretty cold (more of an Autumnal feel to the weather, even then).

I decided to cut out the accessories (apart from earrings) and let the pattern on the front of the dress do the talking.
However, I did think that it needed a little extra 'something'... my silver satin obi sprang to mind. Perfect!
My white bag was a quick grab, dashing out of the door.
It was last seen with  orange tights.

Are you brave enough to wear all-white (or cream) in real life?
What about coloured and patterned tights?
Please let me know in the comments...I love to hear your thoughts.

XXX
Samantha


DRESS: Asos (similar one with a lace up front)
EARRINGS: New look (similar here)
TIGHTS: Falke (similar, bridal ones)
CARDIGAN: Asos (similar chunky one)
BAG: TKMaxx
OBI: Ebay (Handmade, similar here)

Starting a blog in your 40's | 40 Things I have learned, blogging.

Thinking of starting a blog in your 40's?


Surely know one cares what an old fogey has to say about anything, right?
Is now not the time to disappear, quietly, into an all-beige {or all-grey} ensemble and keep your opinions to yourself?

Clue: The answer is NO!



Canon camera in action.

Starting a blog has been a liberating, and extremely enjoyable experience for me.
One which I would recommend to anyone who feels passionate about ANY subject, and loves to write.

I know my blog is just a baby, but I thought I would share some of the things I have learned in my first 3 months of blogging...


Things I have learned about STYLE and fashion:


  1. There are some AMAZING and incredibly stylish older women in the world.
  2. Not everyone is desperate to look younger or slimmer, they are happy just being the best version of themselves.
  3. There are some AMAZING younger women out there too, equally stylish and inspiring.
  4. You can be happy being older, or shorter, or curvier, or greyer or just generally anything-er!
  5. Being Young and Skinny does not automatically make you stylish. Some not-so-young and not-so-skinny people are THE most stylish and fabulous people I have met.
  6. Older women are NOT automatically boring and frumpy.
  7. Don't bother trying to please others with the way you dress, you will never succeed. 
  8. Do what you want and wear what you like. People can love it or loath it BUT, in the grand scheme of things, it does not matter a jot!
  9. Fashion is supposed to be FUN...always try to remember that.
  10. Don't worry about making fashion "mistakes", have fun and laugh about it. Who really cares, anyway?
Grey Beddlington whippet lurcher, by the sea.


Things I have learned about Bloggers:


  1. There are some lovely bloggers and blog-loving people out there.
  2. Not everyone on the World Wide Web is a coward (or a fake) hiding behind a computer, making nasty comments and trolling.
  3. Other bloggers have lots to say and are very inspirational and supportive.
  4. People with successful blogs SHARE their tips for success and help you make YOUR blog better and more successful. Check them out, take note and soak it all up!
  5. Listening to the more experienced bloggers is a great idea,  they know what they are talking about....they've done the legwork.
  6. You will make cyber-friends all over the world and take a peek into interesting lives across the globe.
  7. Looking at editorial-style photography on blogs is great fun... swooning over fantasy outfits and AMAZING shoes, hours can be lost this way!
  8. BUT,  I prefer seeing real outfits on real women. I know high shoes look great, lengthen legs and generally make outfits look 'better'...BUT don't pretend you can spend all day running errands, walking dogs and chasing after children in them.
  9. I prefer it when women look like a 'real' person on their blog.  Airbrushing is not necessary (in my opinion), let those crow's feet, veiny hands or baby-belly shine through. We all have our flaws and it is reassuring to see a blog with a real woman in it. It makes me think... if she can wear that and look beautiful, then I can too!
  10. People blog about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING....and thank goodness they do! 
  11. You can find out more about whatever your passion is, on a blog, somewhere....and have lots of fun searching and getting lost down various interesting rabbit-holes!

Bloggers that inspired me and helped me improve my blog:


  • Catherine @notdressedaslamb was brilliant. Her blog is my go-to site. She is very encouraging and supportive. Her posts are laid out clearly and she give many useful hints and tips.
  • Amber @ForeverAmber a sleek and inspirational blog.
  • Sacramento @MisPapelicos  A beautiful blog full of artistic photography, almost dream-like... I can spend an age looking at her posts.
  • Also, check out my sidebar for some other great blogs that I love to follow!

You can also search any blogging question or problem, and some knowledgeable person will have blogged about a solution. The internet is a fantastic place!

Nikon camera in action.

Things I have learned about MY personal blogging style:


  1. If I over analyse an outfit it never works. An impulse outfit always looks better.
  2. Being 40+ does not mean I am old, boring, frumpy and decrepit. 
  3. No one is expecting me to be High-Fashion (phew!)... I can genuinely wear what I like.
  4. I can (as an older women) confidently try he "new" trends because,  lets face it,  anyone over 40 has seen most of them before {sometimes a couple of times} so we know which trends to jump on board, and which ones we should let sail by.
  5. I NEED to put on some colour on my face for photographs. My face looked dead in my early blog shots.
  6. However, I should go easy on the make up, and not take it too far... I looked a little bit like Coco the clown in some pictures, I need to find a balance.
  7. My skinny legs (or "sparrow-shanks", as my Dad used to call them) are not so bad after all....in fact, they are made for coloured and patterned tights {which I love}.
  8. Who cares that my body has been battered and bruised over my 41 years? It still looks pretty decent, and I marvel at the amazing things it has achieved.
  9. I am not ashamed to be over 40 and in a mini skirt. And, to be honest, nobody really cares that much anyway.
  10. Life is too short to worry about what other people are thinking, I dress for myself.
  11. Happiness is beautiful and attractive, and has nothing to do with the size of your bum!

Things I am looking forward to:

  1. Discovering more brilliant blogs and interesting bloggers.
  2. Keeping up with the blogs that I read regularly, and continuing to be inspired.
  3. Putting together more outfits and experimenting with the contents of my wardrobe.
  4. Filling my wardrobe with new things!
  5. Shopping and "collecting" in the name of my blog.....it is the BEST excuse for a rummage in the charity shops, high street stores and online.
  6. Expanding my hair and beauty posts....more awkward issues, maybe?
  7. Having fun, and experimenting, with make-up.
  8. Cooking up more recipe blog posts. I do love to cook and eat!

If you are thinking of starting a blog...What are you waiting for? 

Don't procrastinate.....just do it!! 

It doesn't matter what you want to blog about, anything and everything goes.....someone, somewhere will want to read your blog.


Please share your blog link in the comments so I can check it out.

Happy blogging!
XXX
Samantha


What to wear to a Wedding evening reception? | Autumn / Fall wedding outfit.

Dots and spots with a splash of hound!

Wearing Black and White for a wedding reception.

Today, my new blog reached a significant milestone... 50 posts!
I know it is small fry compared to some of the fabulous blogs out there BUT we all have to start somewhere, don't we?
Even the Epic and Iconic Bloggers had 50 posts at one point.
To all you new bloggers out there, keep going and keep having fun!

Anyway, to the point of this post...
As I was scrolling through my old {ha!} posts, I realised that I had never actually shown you the other outfit I was intending to wear to the wedding we went to in August.
See the outfit I wore to dance all night HERE.
So here it is!

How to wear black and white for a wedding.

Vintage black kimono, black and white satin dress.

Spotty dress and spotty tights.

I know that some people disapprove of black at a wedding, but this was an evening reception and also a young couple, so I felt appropriately dressed for their celebration.

This dress is a real delight to wear, I feel so feminine and sexy in it. It also gives me some curves, which I love.
It is a satin fabric, really substantial and well made, with a slight stretch for ease and comfort.
It also has nice little details, such as built-in fixers for bra straps.
And {the best part} it cost me.....wait for it....£4.00. Perfect!

My vintage kimono is beautiful. I just wish I could hand it to you, so you could feel the texture of the fabric and weight of it.
It is a class act.
It was a bargain too, but a £50 bargain. Still quite expensive, but a snip for the quality.
It really makes me feel special (Read the story of the day I found it, and how I styled it for a date HERE). Of course, I simply HAD to wear this butter soft Obi belt with it, again.

Oh, and I know they are meant to be a little 'naff' but I love these spotty tights with this spotty dress...a veritable spot-fest! Fashion is supposed to be fun, and these certainly are.

My chunky necklace came out again (see it HERE) and this cute clutch made a satisfying pattern clash. I do love a little houndstooth.
Unfortunately, the bag is useless for carrying anything.
I could squeeze in my phone and a lipstick {just} BUT nothing else.
Even a tissue popped it open.
However, it does look very cute...and husbands make excellent 'handbags', don't they?!

This is a very comfortable outfit and the only reason it was 'binned'...no that's cruel, 'shelved' is a better word...is that I can not dance in these shoes.

Walk? Yes (slowly, for short distances). Stand? Yes (for a decent spell). Dance all night? Unfortunately, No!

I honestly feel that it is our duty, as a wedding guest, to get up on the dance floor and make the night go with a bang.
We owe it to the newlyweds.
There is nothing worse than a room full of miserable faces with no one dancing.
Guests sitting on the sidelines, self consciously fidgeting or making excuses not to dance (sore feet) is not an option.
So make sure you are comfortable, ladies!
Black and white for a wedding.

So, which outfit did you prefer?
The one I wore to the wedding itself (HERE) or this one?
I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

XXX
Samantha

DRESS: Maggy London
KIMONO: Genuine Vintage (similar {but not as fabulous!} HERE)
NECKLACE: Topshop
BAG: River Island, Charity shop find...similar HERE.
SHOES: Kurt Geiger (These are fab HERE)
TIGHTS: Primark (similar HERE)
EARRINGS: Newlook (similar HERE)
OBI BELT: Esprit (found at TkMaxx) similar HERE

One last summer fling! | Boho style for late summer.

Late summer style.

Silk chiffon dress and a Denim Vest.
There have been many days recently, here in Scotland, that have been perfect (weather-wise) for trying out the new autumn trends and I am very keen to get stuck into them. Autumn is my favourite season.
However, for some strange reason, I felt very nostalgic today.
A yearning for endless summer days, like the selective and romantic memories of childhood.
A slight melancholy.

I needed a little boost, something to save me from that feeling of time slipping away and the days rolling by just a little too fast!

I was determined to have one, last, Summer Fling....with a feminine summer dress.

I decided, as the sun was shining, to go all girly and try for a Boho-babe, meets 1940's-housewife look. It was a fun outfit that made me smile. But, oh dear, I had goose pimples on my arms...and I have to admit to grabbing an sulphur-coloured cardigan later in the day, and layering it under my waistcoat.

My optimistic outlook on the weather had a chilly reality check when I was out walking Jake... {teeth chattering}...Brrrrrrrr!

One last summer fling, silk and denim.
I started this outfit from the feet up, it's my favourite way to dress.
I do love my shoes.
Happy feet = Happy day!

These shoes have been my 'Hero' this summer (see how I wore them with my pirate trousers HERE {when they were new} and HERE for a family day out). They are a modern cut and have, a very Summer 2015, white sole.
They stopped my outfit looking too much like fancy dress...it is a fine line.
I am all for the full-on vintage look, if that is what you are going for.....but you need to know your stuff (check THIS fabulous blog out).
However, it can look really frumpy if you get it wrong, which is not so good.

have worn them a lot, they seem to go with just about anything and are so comfortable.
What more could you ask for from your footwear?
I could, happily, walk around all day.  In fact, that is just what I did.

Clarks nude peep toe booties.

Vintage bangle and a yellow bag.

This silk dress is a charity shop find and such a lovely, petrol blue, colour. It even makes my pale skin seen a little creamier. I like the drape of the fabric and the square neckline, so feminine.

I really wanted to wear this shrunken, distressed, denim waistcoat (vest) as soon as I bought it.
I am looking forward to layering it up for the autumn but, today it was acting as a lightweight jacket. And, my portable pockets.
I think that I need more dresses with pockets in my life.

I know it is a little contrived; the whole 'denim vest over floaty dress' look, but it just felt right.

My yellow bag was perfect, as I did not have to carry a lot things around. See how I styled it HERE, with the dreaded culottes.

Boho style, silk and denim...over 40.

My silk headscarf came out to play partially because it is such a pretty design and beautiful fabric, but mostly because I am getting close to needing a hair cut (it's that time again) and my hair starts to have a mind of it's own.
It can be great one day and a disaster the next.
So, this was perfect to keep it tidy and add some extra interest and fun. See how I styled it, in summer HERE.
My muti-layered necklaces and this adorable junk-shop bangle finished things off perfectly.

I was comfortable all day and felt suitably feminine.
A headscarf is a fun touch for helping with a bad hair day...or if you are growning out a pixie crop...Hmmm, maybe?? LOL

Do you ever start an outfit from the feet up?
How do you cope with a bad hair day?
Please share in the comments.

XXX
Samantha

Dress: Monsoon (Charity shop)
Bag: Matties (TkMaxx....Similar)
Shoes: Clarks (similar)
Silk scarf: Market stall
Vest/Waistcoat: Newlook (I like this one)

© Fake Fabulous

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