Sunday, 30 December 2012

How many colours do you have in YOUR wardrobe?

I am a great fan of The Vivienne Files, and reading Janice's blog is helping me build a more coordinated wardrobe, however I was slightly worried by the implications of one of her recent postings: Two sides of the whole colour system question. Why not click on the link and see what you think of her post?

I started off nodding in agreement at her good advice to have three neutrals for the basics in your wardrobe plus three to six accent colours.  That makes sense, doesn't it?  Currently my neutrals are navy, black and brown, though I am looking at phasing out the black, as it's not as flattering now that I am getting older.  I have decided to replace it with either grey or camel as I already have a few clothes in both colours  Three neutrals should be fine for me, so long as I can decide between grey and camel! Grey would go well with navy, however camel would be a better choice with brown.  OK.  Let's leave that one for the moment. I know I can whittle it down to three neutrals if I think about it.  More or less. Did someone mention white? I really don't have much white if you ignore striped tops and polka dots and don't count my grey and white top.

So now, what about the accent colours? I immediately realised that three wouldn't be enough so I will allow myself six accent colours.  I am going to have a beautifully coordinated wardrobe with my three neutrals (once I decide on which of the six will be my three colours) with my six accent colours to liven it up.  Janice is quite right that this is the way forward for those of us who are trying to create a chic wardrobe.

Navy, grey, brown and black basics
I looked at my wardrobe and could immediately spot the following: a lot of red clothes and accessories; loads of green (a cardigan, many tops, a dress and a handbag) however green will be fashionable in the spring, so that's good; I realised that there were plenty of purple tops, shoes and jewellery too; my new deep pink jeans are almost red, so maybe I can add them to my red pile(?): there are two coral cardigans which look good with my coral and white dress; a pretty yellow and white top, and a few blue jumpers - oh dear that makes seven colours already.  My heart was sinking, as I knew there were other colours in my wardrobe.

What about turquoise?  It's another favourite colour of mine, and I have some lovely turquoise tops, necklaces and bracelets, which I enjoy wearing.  Does turquoise count as blue? I certainly hope so! My new orange scarf has to be included - but isn't coral close to orange?  Could orange and coral be merged?

Pink, blue, green and purple
Yellow, red, coral and turquoise
My problem is that I like all five of my possible basic colours (not including the black) and cannot decide on which six accent colours I like best from the nine that are lurking in my wardrobe.  Then I realised that I could have both a summer and a winter wardrobe, which means I can keep all fourteen of my favourite colours. What a result!

My winter wardrobe will have basics of navy, brown and camel.  The accent colours will be red, green, orange, turquoise, purple and blue as this allows me to include my long-sleeved tops.  For my summer wardrobe the basics will be navy, grey and white.  The accent colours will be pink, coral, yellow, turquoise, red and green, as I have several short-sleeved tops in those colours.  Problem solved!

So do you have an incredibly well-organised, colour-coordinated, minimalist chic wardrobe รก la Janice?  Or is it more of a mixed bag of assorted colours and styles that only go together by chance - a rainbow wardrobe like mine?

As it's almost New Year, I have decided that one of my resolutions will be to buy less but shop wisely so that by the end of 2013, hopefully, I will have a small collection of good quality clothes that all go together beautifully.  Watch this space!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Jacqui's success story

Regular readers of my blog will know that I am very wary of the word "diet". I have seen too many people get into the yo-yo syndrome - losing weight then putting it on again - or, even worse, actually endangering their health by going on a restrictive diet.

However I am delighted to share Jacqui's success story. Not because she succeeded in losing nearly two stones, though that was a bonus for her, but because she made real changes to her health through the right food choices. Well done Jacqui! This is the happy ending to her story:

"Back in July Sue kindly included an entry from me about how I had significantly changed my food regime - I don’t like to use the word diet - in order to address a bad cholesterol problem. Read here:

"Up until that point I had never looked at the content of saturated fat in anything I ate and, although I knew my weight had steadily increased over the years, I never gave any thought to what it was doing to my health. I felt fit, I wasn’t breathless or struggling to do things, and so it was a big surprise to be told I had high cholesterol and needed to sort it out or they would put me on statins. Now, I know there is a field of thinking that everyone over the age of 50 should be on them as a norm, but I don’t agree with taking medication long term if not completely avoidable so I discussed other options with my doctor and basically, changing my diet and losing some weight could be enough.

"Originally I gave myself 3 months to make a significant improvement but events rather changed that timescale as further tests showed I had already got a heart condition that needed urgent attention and the month of September saw me in surgery having a heart pacemaker fitted to correct the condition. As you can probably guess, my focus wasn’t so much on my cholesterol for a few weeks while I recovered, but my lovely husband continued to prepare healthy meals for me and despite my lack of exercise for a few weeks I managed not to put any of the lost weight back on.

"I did have a blood test done before my operation but the results had been disappointing, as the bad cholesterol had only come down from +3 to +2.8 and I needed to get it below +2.3. What was more surprising was that my good cholesterol was too low and this wasn’t helping, as the good cholesterol binds with the bad to carry the bad cholesterol away. I needed to find a way to increase the good cholesterol while continuing to reduce the bad.

"Back on the internet (how did we ever research things before this wonderful invention?) and I found that food is not a good way for increasing levels of good cholesterol, that is done predominantly through weight loss and increased exercise, both of which would be difficult in the immediate weeks after my operation, but as soon as I was adequately recovered I would deal with it.

"And so at the end of October I booked my blood test for 4th December, I needed a focus to work towards. I started walking more and began using the Wii again. I continued with the foods I had become used to. Actually, during my weeks of recuperation, my husband treated me to a pizza. Previously, I loved pizza, I could eat it 2 or 3 times a week. It was to be a treat for going through my operation, which had not been as simple as expected. I was so looking forward to my treat. And I was so disappointed, I cannot tell you how uncomfortable that level of fat made me feel after I’d eaten it. It seems my stomach has become intolerant of high fat content foods and I have not had a pizza since, the very thought of it makes me feel ill. Wow, what a change.

"So, that brings us to today. I sit here the day after getting my latest cholesterol results, almost 2 stone lighter and 2 dress sizes smaller, never hungry and not bored with my food choice. And the results?

"All my cholesterol levels are normal. Overall is now 5.5, my triglycerides are 1.7, down from 2.8 and my good cholesterol has returned to normal levels. I am off the threat of statins and feel very pleased to have turned this around in 6 months.

"I only added one item to my changed food regime – the new magic food/drink.
I read an article on beetroot juice and now daily have a shot glass of the juice which is sweetened with Apple juice. Whether it really is as magic as it reads I’ll never know, but it will be on my shopping list for years to come.

"I can now relax a little and enjoy Christmas.  And although I think my eating habits are now changed permanently, I have booked a further blood test for March, just to make sure I keep it on track."

What an inspiring story! Enjoy your Christmas, Jacqui, and a happy, healthy New Year to you all!

Friday, 14 December 2012

An even more colourful life

Some more examples of clothes and accessories that I wear on my Personal Days as described in my previous post. I have tops in lots of different colours, so I will usually wear a top in the colour for a particular day, but as I said in my last post you could use underwear (it doesn't have to be on display!) or accessories. My favourite colours out of the selection below are blue, purple and coral.

Number 5 is blue and the key word is change.
Number 6 is indigo (navy blue) and the key word is responsibility.
Number 7 is purple/violet and the key word is faith.
Number 8 is beige/brown/pink and the key word is achievement.
Number 9 is all pastels and the key word is completion.
Number 11/2 is black/white or pearl grey and the key word is intuition.
Number 22/4 is coral/russet and the key word is greatness.

You can also wear gems and precious metals if your wardrobe is less colourful than mine!

On day 1 you should wear rubies,  moonstones on day 2, topaz on day 3, emerald or jade on day 4 and turquoise or aquamarine on day 5.  You have a wide choice on day 6: pearls, sapphire or lapis. Wear amethyst for day 7, diamonds on day 8, opal or gold on day 9, silver on day 11/2 and finally coral or copper on day 22/4.  Maybe I should start asking my husband for precious metals for my birthday and Christmas presents, to increase my options!

Here I am wearing blue on day 5
Navy: day 6
Purple: day 7
Brown/beige/pink: day 8
Pastels/gold: day 9
Black/white or grey: day 11/2
Coral: day 22/4

Saturday, 8 December 2012

A colourful life

Do the colours that we wear influence the way that we think and behave?  My favourite colour at work, when I knew I had a challenging day ahead of me or a difficult meeting, used to be red.  My colleagues would even comment on the fact: "Watch it!  Sue is wearing red today....!"

I recently read an interesting book by Louise Hay: "Colors & Numbers".  Louise uses numerology to calculate the Universal Year and your Personal Year number:. 2012 is #5 Universal Year (2+0+1+2=5) and 2013 will be #6 Universal Year.

My Personal Year number is 7, which I calculated by adding my birth month 9 (for September) and birth day 2 to the Universal Year: 9+2+5 = 16, 1+6=7. You add up all numbers until you reduce them to a single digit.  The next step is to add your personal year to the current month.  In my case, I added 7 to 12 for December = 19, then 1+9 = 10, 1+0 = 1.  That means my Personal Month number for December is 1.  Finally, you add the day of the month to your Personal Month number to arrive at your Personal Day number.  Today is 8th December, so my Personal Day number is 8+1=9.  Confused?  I hope not!

You may want to work out your own Personal Day numbers as described above, or just wear the colours you need to inspire you on a particular day.

Number 1 is red and the key word is beginnings.
Number 2 is orange and the key word is cooperate.
Number 3 is yellow and the key word is enjoyment.
Number 4 is green and the key word is practical.
Number 5 is blue and the key word is change.
Number 6 is indigo (navy blue) and the key word is responsibility.
Number 7 is purple/violet and the key word is faith.
Number 8 is beige/brown/pink and the key word is achievement.
Number 9 is all pastels and the key word is completion.

Having said that you reduce numbers to a single digit, there are two numbers where you have a choice: 11 can be 11 or 2, and 22 can be 22 or 4.

Number 11/2 is black/white or pearl grey and the key word is intuition.
Number 22/4 is coral/russet and the key word is greatness.

Most of us will have many if not all of these colours in our existing wardrobes.  It doesn't have to be a complete outfit: just a scarf, brooch or necklace in the colour will do.  Or even a pair of socks - I have a lovely red and white pair for Personal Day 1!

Here are some items from my wardrobe that I can wear on the first four days.

Red: day 1
Orange: day 2

Yellow: day 3
Green: day 4
I have a lot more red and green in my wardrobe than orange and yellow, but your favourite colours may be different.  Life would be boring if we all looked alike!  In my next post I will show you my choices for the other colours.

What about black, some of you may ask?  It can be worn on your Personal Day 11 with white, but Louise recommends wearing pearl grey or silver instead.  I must admit that I haven't totally banned black from my wardrobe as I have a very smart pencil skirt and pair of trousers that I still wear, plus a cosy black winter jacket that is ideal for the wintry weather we are experiencing right now. However I make sure that I wear them with bright tops and accessories.  If you always play safe and wear black, why not try adding a bit of colour into your life?

Monday, 3 December 2012

My new outfit cost me virtually £4195!

No, I haven't suddenly developed an extravagant streak and spent over £4,000 on clothes, tempting though it might be!  I received an email from Motilo recently, advertising a competition to win a £1000 shopping spree at, so I decided to have a go.  It would make a lovely Christmas present for myself!

I had a great time looking at all the clothes on line and pinning my choices onto Pinterest.  I decided to create a stylish outfit for going out for a walk on Christmas Day after lunch, which has been the tradition in our family for many years.  After making my choices I realised that I had spent a staggering £4195 - so even if I win the first prize it won't cover my chosen outfit!  Oh well, I can but dream.

This is my holiday season outfit for the contest.  Click on the link to see it:  Holiday Season Wish List.  Do you think it is worth that amount of money?

I then decided to see if I could create a similar outfit, but spending a lot less money.  I used Polyvore for this, then saved it on Pinterest as well.  This is my second outfit, which I have saved under Winter Outfits, and which would cost me the far more reasonable sum of £781.

"Winter holiday walking outfit" by sue-walker on Polyvore

The closing date for the Motilo/Matches competition is 17 December if you would like to have a go yourself.  Here is the link.  Leave a comment below with your link if you enter, as I would love to see your outfit and discover if you spent as much money as I did!