PERIMENOPAUSAL MUSINGS: External Nourishment : Haircare 💇🏼‍♀️


Welcome to the continuation of my “Pillars for Feeling Good” during the Perimenopausal phase of my life. First was Sleep, then Internal Nourishment (Nutrition), followed by Nature for movement and mindfulness. These can all be read about here, here and here! My fourth pillar is all about External Nourishment or what you put on your body to feel good. Think skincare and haircare… And i’m going to break it up, starting from the top, with hair and how I have learnt to move from living with to loving mine 🥰

Hair. The crown of our style! Although, truth be told, while it is how I would like to feel about my own, it is certainly not how I have always looked at it. I have done everything in my 55 years to torture it (and myself in the process) trying to achieve anything but what it naturally wants to be. I was born with white hair that grew straight and mousy as a child. Disappointed by this, my first perm was at 13, followed by many many more. Who remembers the mini- vague? My 17yo self and girlfriends from that era still laugh about it and the shocking spiral perm at 24yo that made me look like Pixie Ann Wheatley 😂 I’ve had it long and short. Big and flat. Straight and curly. Colours too… aways blonde, brown or black (I’ve never been orange), spending a fortune on products and treatments always trying to look like someone else. Madonna, Meg Ryan in ”You’ve Got Mail”, Gwyneth Paltrow in “Sliding Doors”… i tried them all… oooh and of course Jennifer as Rachel… who didn’t do that? I even went completely natural at 50 and embraced my grey, only to revert back to blonde at 53 because it didn’t make me feel good. And now i find myself at 55, with a hairstyle I finally love, one I can manage and one that feels like me! And this is how I achieve what I’ve discovered is ”the fluffy hair look” 😂

Now, I know writing about “my hair” may seem a tad self indulgent, so I would like to remind readers that one of the reasons I write this page (and share my style on Instagram) is as a partial memoir for my daughters. Aged 22 and 18, they are way cooler than me 😎and not currently interested in what their Mum has to say on the subject, so I write this in the hope that one day they may find the hard copy I’m collating and smile 😀… now, getting back to what is it I use on my hair…

I have dabbled with supermarket vs. salon brands and at this stage of my hair life the salon wins. My hair is coloured. This gives it body. The blonde has been quite bright, probably too much so as it becomes dominant from afar, so my hairdresser is in the process of toning that down with the colours she adds. Please don’t ask me what they are…although, I do know they are amonia free. My hair is also fine, but I happen to have a lot of it. It borders on frizzy/wavy. And when I leave it to its own devices, its a 👎🏻. So over the last 12 months I’ve tried and tested various brands.

And what I currently use is this: wash twice, condition once, towel dry, add the Oleo Curl to the ends.

Then before I blow dry, I spray this to my hair roots to give it a lift.

I then dry my hair with my head upside down, so it basically resembles a frizzy/ fluffy ball, and then section it into 3 layers around my head. And then about 5 sections in each layer. I brush out each small section, before I use my hair straightener to either curl or wave. This has taken me about 12 months to achieve. I started by filming my hairdresser doing it, so I had a reference and even now it works better some days than others. It takes time and only lasts a day, maybe two. On the second day, this spray and a light scrunch with the hands certainly helps.

And sometimes i’ll straighten it completely, which gives me 3-4 days before I have to repeat the process. Although, I do think as I age the straight look can be a little harsh and flat on me, in which case, the above product helps.

And recently (I’ve only used it twice), I have introduced an oil. It can be used as a overnight treatment, a quick 10 minute one before you wash or on the ends after your hair is dried. I really like it. It smells divine and makes my hair feel so soft, which compliments the fluffy look i’m looking for.

And thats it ladies….that’s how I look after my hair, but as I believe we can all learn from each other, please let me know what you love to use 😊

Sarah xx

SECOND HAND STYLE : MEND AND MAKE DO or does REPAIR AND REWEAR sound more enticing?… it’s really how you look at it 😉

Orsola de Castro ”Loved Clothes Last”

It’s by no means a new concept, but in a world where it’s now cheaper and easier to dispose and reconsume, it may seem like an out of date one. So I’m here today to share my positive spin (as I’m sure is Jane from The Small Fabric of my Life …be sure to read her blog after mine 😉) on why the practice I grew up with is making a comeback in my life and how it can be part of yours (if it isn’t already).. all by changing your mindset on how you look at it and your wardrobe 🙏🏻

You’ve probably noticed on social platforms and in the media there is a strong movement towards sustainable wardrobes, with a particular emphasis on buying “secondhand”. And while I say BRAVO to anyone who takes part even in the smallest of ways, when it comes to clothes, I would personally like to see more of the sustainable act that the title of this blogpost refers and ”wear and repair” what you already have 😊 In fact, over the last couple of months that’s kind of where I’ve been going….. (coincidentally NOT for the purpose of this post, although it’s practice was timed perfectly 😉)… but first, a little background… one day last October, when I walked into my wardrobe to prepare to film another ”look what you can buy” video for Instagram, I found myself shaking my head, falling to the floor and screaming “NO MORE STUFF” !! I felt overwhelmed! And it was in that moment that I knew my days as an “Influencer”, albeit an eeny teeny micro one, needed a break. The fun of sharing new designs, while I accumulated more free clothes than I would ever need had to stop. As mindful as I was on the type of product I promoted, the amount was slightly ridiculous (my own doing) and the ”feel good” style that I had previously lived by felt anything but!

Fast forward a couple of months and this is where I am…..I am at peace 🙏🏻 I’ve flipped my “let’s share new” mentality for a practical “make do” one….but in a really ”feel good” way 😊I’ve changed from always “wanting more” to loving “what I own”, which has lead to more time doing what I love in what I love to wear. I have also paid particular attention to what that is and why I love it. Some garments have been mended, some altered to fit me a little better, some made to look more modern and some that just aren’t me anymore, I’ve given away. And what I discovered is that there is definitely a common thread and it is IF I LOVE IT, I am more likely to wear and repair it 🥰 And if you retake a look at the title of the book in the first pic above you’ll see it says “LOVED CLOTHES LAST” 😉

For those long time readers and followers on Instagram, I feel like I’ve reached a full circle moment… I’m back to my first love which is STYLE and NOT shopping 🙏🏻 and I’m back on track refocusing on how I wear what I love and making it mine. And there is so much to gain from looking at what you already have in your wardrobes and doing this. And since I’ve been doing this for a while, here are my tips to get you falling in love with your own style, your own clothes, your own wardrobe, so that you will wear it, repair it and make yours last:

▪️Firstly, consider what you have. Can you revamp a few garments? Alter your garments to fit you well, so that you love how they look and feel on your body. Can u change the length, add a dart or two, loosen the elastic, remove a collar, try a different sleeve stye, make it single breasted, change the buttons? …whatever it is, spending time achieving a great fit and look will not only remove the need to buy something new again and again, it will allow you to naturally fall in love with what is altered, as it feels like it was made just for you! Which in turn, will make you hold onto and mend should you need. Here are three dresses I fell in love with because they were my style and colour, but all needed some alteration to fit well, which is why I now consider them bespoke 😂


▪️Pay attention to the fabrics you like the feel and look of and those that last. I am a lover of natural fibres. Wool, cotton, linen, silk.. they like me and I love them back. Learn to read labels. When you seek quality in your garments, they become less disposable and you are more likely to take care of them and lean to mending down the track. For example, this relatively inexpensive pant suit is 100% linen, it feels fabulous! I did have to have the body of it brought up 2cm to fit and a press stud sewn on so it didn’t gape, but I absolutely love it! Its an example of one garment I have refallen in love with from my own wardrobe.


▪️Care for your clothes. Follow the laundering instructions. Although, not too often if you want to make them last. Then, press, steam and hang on your favourite hangers spaced nicely, not squashed in like sardines (because you own too much)… this makes you more likely to see what you have and wear it! And when you wear clothes repeatedly, you are more likely to love them, hold onto, mend, and alter should you need (Also, hold onto those spare buttons and threads… you may just need them 😉)

▪️Invest in scented sachets and drawer liners to protect your treasured items. Choose pretty fabric bags or paper… distribute them evenly throughout your wardrobe space…this will not only make them smell so nice you’ll want to wear them, it will also reduce your need to mend any pesky moth made holes. And if those holes do appear, don’t discard, quality wool and cashmere is always worth darning!


▪️Pay attention to your accessories. Polish shoes. Reheel and resole when needed. After 18 years, I had a zip replaced in the boots below. And I’m so happy I could. They were my first Ebay purchase ever and I’ve worn them consistently. I even have the perfect colour polish! By the way, keeping knee length boots upright (rolled newspaper does the trick) will extend their life. And does using Suede spray on those of this material !! Rotate your handbags, infact rotating shoes and bags will reduce their need for repairs! Sort your jewellery. Accessible items will get worn! And have a mending kit on hand for any unhooking. It is so simple when you know how…google it 😉


▪️ And from now on, take your time selecting what you bring into your wardrobe. Second hand and new! Choose well. Choose for your shape, style and colouring. If you haven’t already, spend time on yourself discovering what that is instead of shopping. Have your colours done. Know your shape. Have your style personality analysed. Look at your lifestyle! Just do it! In the long term, this will save you time, money and effort in getting ready as you will always have clothes you feel great in it, wear more, are likely to love, hold onto, mend, and alter should you need.

▪️Don’t be afraid to get creative. Repair. Repurpose. Reinvent. Here is a simple example of my own handy work 😉


▪️And lastly, but by no means less important…. connect. Connect with your clothes. Connect with that feeling you have when you wear them. Attach memories to them. Where were you when you bought them ? Where have you been in them? Did you wear the perfect dress for an event? Perhaps a wedding? If it felt and looked fantastic, why not make it your ”event dress”? make that connection … why does everything always have to be new? Elevate the way you feel about what you have, give them purpose and meaning. It will only make you love, wear and be more likely to repair 😉


And that’s my spin on how I have reminded myself to “Mend and Make Do” with my own wardrobe. An idea that may initially have connotations of lack, but one I have proven to myself feels abundant…and if you think this was short but sweet, there will be more as it’s the concept that i’ll be starting 2022 off with on my #savvystyle Instagram program 😉

Because …. it’s all how you look at it..

Sarah xx

THE SMALL FABRIC OF MY LIFE

SIGNATURE STYLE: MY HOLIDAY STYLE

Welcome to my Signature Style “Holiday” post with Cindy and Kim 😊 This holiday season I will celebrate occasions such as Christmas, my Birthday and New Year’s Eve, as well as some get togethers prior to these. I’ve chosen not to overcommit myself this year, so probably only have 6 or 7 celebrations to attend. Regardless of how busy or quiet your holiday schedule is and what you choose to celebrate, what unites us is that we will all be asking ourselves ”what shall I wear?” You may have formal events that require something that resembles a ball gown, or perhaps all your get togethers embrace the “Holiday Theme” and you wear anything red and green (or even a Holiday Jumper), or maybe you are more like me, and lean towards comfortable but casual chic like in the pics above. Whatever your style, this little post will bring you a range of garments that have caught my eye and are currently available worldwide 😊…. ooh, and they are all dresses, because that’s my holiday signature style 😉

Mixing it up… old snakeskin dress, older sequin jacket, chain belt as a necklace!

But before I venture into the world of retail, I do suggest you take a good look at what you do already have. That’s what I’ll be doing this year. The holiday season is the perfect time to dive into your wardrobe like it’s a dress up box and find anything with tule, sparkle or shimmer. You may have sequin garments at the back somewhere that you usually save for good. Get them out and try them on … no one will question you wearing them now, in fact, quite the opposite, wearing them will only spark joy! And if you do feel remotely uncomfortable wearing something you consider “saved for special occasions” don’t be afraid to dress it down. I find so much to love on mixing garments up on Pinterest. There is such a wonderful world of inspiration on there…like these very cool looks I found !

But if you do feel the need to add something new to your own holiday collection, here is some seriously glamourous eye candy 🤩 I have absolutely no where to wear these, but if my lifestyle (and budget) did so call for it, i’d be a repeat customer (like one of my muses Trinny Woodall, who alerted me to the incredible label The Vampires Wife). The dresses are sublime. Made of shimmery delights such as metallic chiffons, iridescent organzas and liquid velvets, they are designed to skim the silhouette and elegantly flatter the figure. It almost makes me want to have a lifestyle that requires them 😳 and gosh, how I would simply love to try one on! Aren’t they truly, truly divine? It’s no wonder the Duchess of Cambridge is also a fan 😉

And if you thought they were indulgent, here are some more truly magical pieces that caught my eye 😍


And of course, all would look incredible with a faux fur draped on your shoulders…

Having tackled the dressing up box with the options above, what i’d really like to share (I’m going to pass on the holiday themed garments as it’s not really my thing 😂) is the style I do like to wear and I’m guessing, what most of us do… the smart but casually comfortable! Gorgeous garments that are just as much at home on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and any other celebrations spent with family and friends. They may appear the simpler option compared with what’s above, but for me, they are more realistic.

Baukjen is a brand to keep your eye on. I love the throw-it-on-and-go simplicity of their dresses and almost all of their collection are ethical and sustainable! Here are three that caught my eye for those in cooler climates. I particularly like the leopard 🐆 (I’m currently looking for a discount code to get this while I can for my AW22). I’d wear it with long camel boots but you could always add killer heels if that’s your thing or an incredible sequin jacket, like my old one in the picture I featured up above to elevate the look!


And for those in warmer places, like me, Flannel have you covered… i’d definitely wear all 3! I’d add flats, gladiator sandals or trainers for a casual soiree, or mega heels and oversized earrings to make a statement (as long as where I was going I could sit down 😂). I have a few dresses by this label and I do know my size. I also know that they have fantastic sales twice a year that start at 20% off and eventually go to 70%, so while i won’t be buying any of these now, I will be keeping my eye on them. (It’s a savvy way to shop and something i’ll be focusing on and addressing on my IG page in 2022 😉)… so who knows, they may be my holiday look for 2022!


And I simply adore this dress, in all colours. It’s called the Cotton Trench Dress by Australian brand Scanlan Theodore and is understatedly elegant 😍 it could take you anywhere… no need for costumery, just tan sandals, high or low, and my signature jewels. Now that is a great look for any occasion. I love it so much, I may have had my hubby splurge on the Moss for my upcoming milestone Birthday. I wasn’t prepared to wait for sale and risk losing it 😉…plus, I’m worth it 😂


Which brings me to what I will actually be wearing. So far this holiday season, the Melbourne weather has been mixed, although I am expecting it to warm up now we are officially in Summer. So depending on the temperature, I have a few ideas in mind. My first priority is to wear something I already own (except on my Birthday…I’ve sorted the perfect new dress for that 😂), the second is that it must comfortable (perhaps an elastic or loose waste… even an empire line) and the third is to wear accessories that mean something. This latter style tip keeps it real for me. It may officially be the festive season, but it isn’t all about celebrating. I spend some of my December remembering loved ones who are no longer with me and one way I do that is to wear something that keeps them close (and long time readers will know I call these my signature jewels). I also like to spend some time reflecting on the past twelve months and in doing so, I’d like to thank Cindy and Kim for the opportunity to be included on SIGNATURE STYLE. I’m not sure where it will take us next year, but wherever it does, I am also grateful to you, the reader, who always takes the time out of your own day to listen to what I (and we) have to say, so thank you 🙏🏻.

While I have shared a few holiday style suggestions, please don’t get too bogged down in what to wear. As long as you feel good in it, I’m sure whatever you choose will be just perfect. Happy Holidays!

Sarah xx

NOW BE SURE TO READ WHAT THESE TWO STYLISTAS HAVE TO SAY:

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

SECONDHAND STYLE: Shoes…do you buy yours preloved?

Apparently Not!

Well, neither did I really, or haven’t actively for many years, so when Jane from The Small Fabric of My Life blog suggested “shoes” as a topic for this month, I jumped at it! Not because I own many preloved pairs (don’t worry I have some to show you 😉), but because it’s not my usual “go to” way of purchasing them. And as an avid yet mindful wearer of style, who strives to improve her sustainable shopping habits, I’m very aware that not all I receive NEW from the shoe department is as sustainable (or as my style) in my wardrobe as I like to think. So it got me wondering, can I improve my own sustainability and add to my style by buying “SECONDHAND” shoes instead ? 🤔

Now, for those of you who know my wardrobe, know that I have more pairs of shoes than i’ll ever wear out. (I even recently announced that I won’t be buying or accepting any gifted product until after Christmas) And tbh, to be truly sustainable I should just forget about any new or secondhand and wear these! But being someone who seeks to improve her style, and enjoys wearing and sharing it, I’m also aware that I will add to it too. Which is what I did last year with these #secondhand boots 🤩 …. aren’t they gorgeous? I bought them from a designer recycle boutique (AS IF DESIGNER RECYCLE). Which is definitely one way to get the sustainable “designer” style factor ! And although designer labels are not usually what I gravitate towards, when I first saw these “Valentinos”, I just loved them! And that’s before I found out the brand or cost…. I just knew they would work well with my wardrobe for many years to come…and that is the exact feeling and type of shoe I am after on my feet!

Acknowledging that this WOW provoking purchase was from secondhand vs. new retail got me researching. I downloaded a few popular secondhand shopping Apps (eBay, Vestiare Collective and Depop) and typed in some familiar designer shoe brands that I happen to know my size in. And voila, instantly, the most divine preloved Spanish espadrille wedges by Castaner, iconic heeled Clergeries and fur lined Guccis were available at the click of a button in my size and my price range! Albeit, the higher end… I was actually quite shocked 😳 Talk about improving my sustainability and style! … and btw, when I last looked on VC, my Polka Dot Valentino’s were available in another size 😉

This doesn’t mean that every pair of shoes I look at buying secondhand have to be designer. I just want the wow 🤩 And so with a non-designer price tag, the range is endless. So, to further my research, I focussed on a shoe in my style and colour palette that I wore almost everyday last Winter, but lacked variety in ….the flatter heeled knee high boot. But this time in the brown/tan tones of “suede”… and look what came up 😍 an all leather over the knee mottled, chocolate brown wedge heeled pair of Filippo Raphaels 🤎 clearly worn, but stunning in my eyes just the same! Oh so my colour! Oh so my style! I’m already putting together outfits in my head 😂 and as these are a brand I am most familiar with, having both boots and shoes in them already I may have slipped up and made a “no more shopping” faux pas 😳 … all in the name of research of course 😉! This brand is specific to Australian Boutique Edward Meller, who source them from Spain and Turkey and stamp their in-house label Filippo Raphael brand onto them. They are very well made, and designed to remain stylish for years. The Boutique would have originally retailed them in the $300 plus price bracket. Yet, here they were, albeit aged (but doesn’t suede look better that way?) on Ebayau for $25 plus $15 postage 😳… how could I say no?


And of course, there is always MarketPlace on Facebook. This is where sellers in your area allow you to pick up preloved items, which allows you to see before you buy and avoid postage costs. So, again in the interest of this blogpost, I searched long suede boot 36 (my size) and came up with another amazing pair! This time, from a brand I wasn’t familiar with shoe wise, but had their clothing . Elk is a highly considered slow fashion brand based here in Melbourne, who promote shopping for quality investment pieces that build on your existing wardrobe. So you know, when you buy this brand, you will get quality! Which is what I got with this pair…..


So thank you Jane 🙏🏻, this entire exercise has been quite an eye opener for me. Two stunning pairs of boots have sustainably and stylishly made their way onto my shelves, for the total cost of $100! It’s actually proved to be a really great money saving exercise shopping like this, let alone, a planet friendly one 😊 and if you don’t mind placing your feet in someone else’s shoes, it’s easier than you think. (Fyi… I always wipe (or brush in the case of suede) down the outside and use anti-bac wipes on the inside before wearing 😂). The secret for me, I found, is to stick with my own style (knowing what yours is and following it instead of fashion will always serve you well 😉), stick to my colour palette, seek brands I am familiar with in quality and size, then save and filter these in my online searches. And if I am after something a little high end, from an unfamiliar label that I may want to try (wear socks) before I buy, building a connection with designer recycle boutiques will certainly help. And that’s before I even visit the charity shops! Have I got you thinking? Jane certainly got me…

Which is why I wonder what Jane’s experience holds, be sure to read her blogpost on THE SMALL FABRIC OF MY LIFE …that’s where I’m heading now 😊

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE : THE TOTE BAG : a large bag used for carrying a number of items 👜

Time to talk “Signature Style” with my buddies Cindy and Kim, and this month we are sharing out thoughts and style tips on bags and my focus is on what I believe, is fast becoming THE new “IT BAG”, the Sustainable Tote ! Whether you like the stylish woven kind, the fabric kind, or even structured leather, there is certainly no shortage of choice out there. And you no longer have to opt for high priced designer versions to find the perfect one. As long as a bag is durable enough to carry the said “number of items” it’s a tote! And we all need a bag like that…

Even Carrie Bradshaw! Rumour has it, her tote of choice relates to the Podcast she now hosts. Time will tell, with HBO SATC remake AJLT airing shortly 😉 And you don’t even have to buy this type, as many companies simply give away canvas (or recycled plastic) bags with their logo on (like Carrie’s) when you purchase. And while reusing these as a “carry all” does have the added eco friendly benefit of being seen as a conscious consumer (ironically perhaps that is a theme the writers of AJLT are promoting 🤔)…. I personally steer away from any free form of advertising and seek a more stylish alternative in which the design is the focus…

AND JUST LIKE THAT..

I have a large collection of DEED BAGS . These bags are handmade with love by a dear friend. They were designed originally because they are the perfect size to replace that of an average plastic bag. So perfect for a simple trip to the store! But since they have internal pockets for keys, wallet, phone and lippy, they can be so much more! They also happen to fold down to nothing, so easy to slip in a suitcase for travel (if you don’t use one as your carry on 😉) In fact, how you do is up to you…but trust me when I say, they can so easily become a part of your lifestyle, in fact, their motto is SHOP| TRAVEL| LIVE ! which is what they do with me 😊 And since they come in so many lovely patterns, colours and designs there is something for everyone. I think Carrie Bradshaw should have one 😉

MORE DEED BAGS

Since “tote style” now makes a huge dent in the fashion bag market, I thought i’d share some more that I love that are currently available Worldwide!

The FRENCH FARMERS BASKET is a classic straw tote. I’m sure you all have one! Originally used to carry the produce one would pick up on a provincial market day, they are now so much more than that! And there are so many variations. Usually made in Morocco from palm leaves, they can be bought at relatively inexpensive stores like Etsy with traditional handles, others long. Some are king sized, and some mini. They can also be found at designer stores like Oroton with to Chloe and pretty much everything in between! My preference is the simpler style…but personalised! I’ve recently seen Kim use hers by adding a simple tassel, which I currently covet and love 😍 and Cindy hers, with a sweet scarf. Aren’t these ideas great?


Another tote I adore, but this time from afar is the TURKISH VELVET IKAT Bag. I first saw this in Istanbul in 2019. The style and shape was everywhere, you’ll recognise it from the Dior Shopper…btw, copies of this were going for a song compared to the real deal 🙄 But it was the vibrancy of the silk velvet in this style that I fell in love with 😍 plus the fact, that I’m not really into wearing labels or logos that scream at you 😫 so it was the silk velvet pattern I fell for. Foolishly, I only bought the mules, but not the bag! But again, it’s online shopping to the rescue, if I decide to go ahead. What do you think? Should I? Is a matching bag and shoes in this pattern just too much ?And is it really me? I’m thinking it could be my go to for Melbourne AW22, but am unsure 🤔


Which brings me to another type of tote, those made in Madagascan RAFFIA STRAW 😍 It’s grown on the island, and is a heavier straw which is very durable and flexible. Naturally its a gorgeous wheat colour, but it may be dyed and then braided coarsely or fine and even crocheted. Which is what one of my favourite artists does. I only discovered Sophie Digard last year, but I pretty much adore everything she makes, including these totes. Every item is handmade, take hours to produce, making it bespoke and a piece of art. Her bags are available from small stores worldwide like Eva’s Sunday here in Melbourne. I’m thinking of treating myself to one for my upcoming 55th birthday 😊

And my final tote of choice would be the ALI LAMU bag. Handmade on the island of Lamu out of recycled sail cloth and rope handles. They are just so cool. I’m not usually one for a logo, but theirs speak volumes to me. LOVE. SURF. SWIM. WILD. What’s not to love about these words on a bag? (I am a CHOOSE LIFE Wham loving 80s gal after all😉) I adore the raw details of the hand stitching and painting. More works of art! And again, sold through smaller businesses like Esplora, here in Australia. I have one, in natural, although they actually come in all kinds of different colours, shapes and sizes.

I really do enjoy searching for something a bit different, so I hope you like this selection. I’m guessing what Tote you need really depends on your lifestyle. Mine is casual and relaxed, but I still like to look and feel stylish and chic….so I currently have little need for the leather structured kind, which is why I haven’t actually featured them. And this last sentence has gotten me thinking, I probably wont use the Ikat silk velvet as many times as I should. So while I love it, it won’t make it to my “IT BAG” collection 😂

I wonder what will make it to Cindy and Kim’s, be sure to press on the links below to read about what they love

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Sarah xx


PERIMENOPAUSAL MUSINGS: Nature for movement and mindfulness 🙏🏻

BIKE TRACK VIEWS 😊

If my first pillar on ways to feel great on my perimenopausal journey is SLEEP and my second INTERNAL NOURISHMENT (you can read about these on previous blog posts 😉) then my third has to be NATURE. The word itself has different connotations for each of us and I’m sure you’re thinking of what it means to you now. For me, its simple…. Nature is my daily go to! For exercise, relaxation and reflection. And along with a great night’s sleep and quality nutrition, getting out into it is a brilliant tool for reducing stress levels and staying calm as my hormones dip and dive 🙏🏻

We also know it’s really important to keep moving as we age and I’ve found the secret to maintaining a movement regime is to find activities you enjoy and just keep doing them. Keep it constant! (Although I must admit during the last 18 months, while constant, my enthusiasm waned) So now we are out of lockdowns, and I have had time to reflect and refocus, what I’ve realised is that, for me, anything that has a water view is what works ! So walks with my dogs along the sand, cycling by the water, strength training on the foreshore and beach yoga are my current loves. I find I can’t wait to get out of the house and see and hear the waves. Embracing the sounds and view gives me instant peace and the appreciation that I’m awake, I’m alive, and that my body can move. In fact, I’ve read that the ocean has actually been proven to reduce stress, aid relaxation and promote compassionate thinking, the experts calling this the “Om” factor 🙏🏻

So my day usually starts with this 😊 a deliberate incorporation of my body moving at the beach. Occasionally I’ll listen to a podcast, rarely music, and more often than not just my own thoughts. I find the thinking time on my solo sojourns a fabulous form of meditation. It’s the best “me time” ever! And on the occasion I’m in a group session or with family and friends, I find the company truly uplifting. There is so much power in MOVING!!

Having said that, I am by no means a natural athlete and I have never been on an “A Team”. I don’t move for Linda Hamilton arms 💪🏻 (or a dress size) and I don’t meditate to “have a practice” …. I am simply investing my “me time” doing both to remain calm, nimble and mindful. I’m also no lifestyle guru, but I do listen to many 🙏🏻 and while they will list the benefits of movement and meditation (especially during perimenopause), to me, respecting the body that you have, being kind to it and about it is really just common sense. After all, the more you look after anything, the longer it lasts 😉 So why not take a deep dive into your own relationship with your own sleep, nutrition, exercise and stress. No matter what stage of life you are at, there’s never a better time than now to begin, continue or tweak it…your body will only thank you ☺️

Sarah xx

SECONDHAND STYLE: One garment, four seasons 😊

SS2015 Raffa Jacket


I’m always up for extending the life of a garment and nothing does it better than being able to wear it all year round. So please join Jane from The Small Fabric of my Life and I as we choose one garment from our wardrobes and style it four ways, one for each season 😊

I coveted this denim jacket for at least three years before I manifested it into my collection. I saw it at a trunk show back in 2015 and instantly fell in love 💙, but with two kids at home and the cost of everyday life I just couldn’t stretch myself to afford its $489 price tag. But I never forgot about it. I loved the washed faded denim look, its high low hemline, asymmetrical double-zip front and edgy collar details. It was also cut to perfection, skimming the body to add shape in the right places and hide others. So every time I reached for one of my denim jackets, I thought of it and wondered if it would always elude me. So I decided to add Sally Phillips Denim Jacket to my EBay saved searches and I waited. Then in the Summer of 2018, it came up for resale, and while I can’t quite remember the exact amount I paid for it, I do remember going for the “Buy It Now” option! I think it was a quarter of its original price 😊. And since then, I’ve been wearing it in all four seasons.

WINTER

For Winter, I’ve added items from my wardrobe that I purchased new, but over time. The black biker boots I’ve had for many years and cost per wear must be down to a cent. The snakeskin harem pants are three years old and have been worn non stop since I bought them. I particularly like their elastic waist! The beige merino knit was an investment made this year and works back wonderfully with the same colour being in the pant print. But being fine merino wool, it benefits from layering. Add this jacket 🙏🏻, throw a scarf around my neck to balance the darker colours on my lower half and deliberately is colours from the pants and Voila! Winter Styling 😉 I quite like the mix of snake and leopard prints…what do you think?

SPRING

Knowing this jacket works so well with my harems, I actually wear it with all three pairs I have. For Spring, its my leopard pair. I’ve swapped the boots for white trainers, a knit for a white tee, pulled the pants up and rolled the sleeves to expose some skin. Wearing the pants up above my waist, and opening the zip quite high gives the illusion of a longer leg. If you compare Spring with Winter you should be able to see the difference. It’s a common style tip 😉 I’m just glad these pants have an elastic waistband. Truth be told, the older I get, the more comfortable I need to feel. Which is why my style is often loose and flowing…are you like that?

SUMMER

Yup! Loose and flowing 😉 I’m wearing a simple 100% organic cotton sleeveless dress, cut well to skim the curves and give me shape. But it benefits from the added layering of this faded denim jacket to add warmth and detail on a cooler Summer morning. But when removed, the simple accessories I have on are enough. A necklace from a friend and collected brass bangles and earrings. In fact, i’m thinking this jacket could look equally cool tied around the waist of this dress. I could have worn open toe sandals but what I’m discovering is a pointed neutral mule elongates my leg, even as a flat! And because its Summer, shades are always needed…

AUTUMN

Which brings me to Autumn. And for this season, i’m wearing one of my favourite go-to dresses (another trans seasonal garment). Its 100% merino wool and perfect as it breathes beautifully when warm and keeps you cosy when its cool. It’s quite traditional in style. But by adding my denim jacket, a scarf in complimentary colours but in a leopard print and an ankle boot gives it an edge.

I adore this denim jacket, and I’m so thrilled I’ve explored a few new ways to wear it with my wardrobe. I also love that I had the patience and luck to find it secondhand. Why anyone would ant to get rid of it is beyond me 😂 now I wonder what Jane is planning on styling over four seasons? Let’s press the link below and see 😊

THE SMALL FABRIC OF MY LIFE

Sarah xx

PERIMENOPAUSAL MUSINGS: Internal Nourishment

If the most important “lifestyle pillar” to feel good each day is the amount and type of sleep you get the night before, the second most important must be what you eat, drink, and choose to partake in nutritionally. For lack of a better term I’m calling it INTERNAL NOURISHMENT. I didn’t come up with it, I read a chapter about this in Radical Beauty (the same book my GGS – Glowing Green Smoothie comes from, which is old, so look for it secondhand 😉) and I liked the sound of it. And so, I’m making it the number 2 pillar of my own #feelgoodplan. A plan that has me notating the touchpoints in my lifestyle that keep me feeling light, energised and on an even keel while I navigate these mid life years and beyond.

But first, my DISCLAIMER: I am by no means medically trained. And I would always recommend you visit your GP or specialist before embarking on any nutritional or supplemental changes. I visit mine regularly, and did back in July. I had a physical including my full bloodwork done. I actually do this every year as a preventative. (Although I’m going back early November to follow up on my Calcium and Iron – both of which I was instructed to take as supplements 😉). That said, this makes my #feelgoodplan purely personal, and I’m simply writing down what I have done and am doing to feel better, during perimenopause.

We all know that what we eat effects us physically. It shows in our ability of sleep, our energy levels, how our skin and hair looks and how our clothes fit. But what I’m really interested in is how it affects my mood. The Gut-Mind Connection. And what I have discovered is that when I pay particular attention to that connection, it tells me when what I eat makes me feel good and when I feel blah ! So thanks to this plan of mine, I’m finally writing down what I find works for me. Let’s call it (thanks to Sheri Salata from the no longer podcast The Sheri and Nancy Show – which I sorely miss!) creating a ”feel good recipe” for my own life. And as I run through mine, please think about your own….

I am a vegetarian. Eating animals isn’t my thing. I am not a Vegan but eating plants makes me feel great! Especially the home grown organic type (thanks Dad 🙏🏻). I get the connection between man and the earth, the care and time involved in the planting and growing, and looking at it this way, instantly makes me feel good! (Bring on my move to a small cottage by the sea with kitchen garden 😉) So it’s what I go with! But in perimenopause, I’m aware that increasing my phytoestrogens (plant oestrogen) intake can only benefit my own hormonal loss during this stage, so I try to include these as often as I can. My faves being tofu, soy milk, quinoa, LSA, and chickpeas. Which means for brunch, which I usually eat mid to late morning, (after my walk) in addition to my usual three veggies and eggs, I’ll add seeds and nuts in some form. This is by far my favourite meal of the day….probably because its when I’m most hungry. While TRE (time restricted eating) or IF (intermittent fasting) is something I try to do, I’m not extreme and find an 8am to 7pm eating window works for me naturally.


I then usually have a smoothie (the GGS – with an added nutritional benefit of a GLOW supplement) and a protein ball or slice mid afternoon ( please see Emma Bardwell’s recipes below). As I am a recovering sugar addict, the choc on top was my idea 😂, but it is 70% dark – I find the Lindt Smooth Blend the best. Eating these curb my desire for the over processed alternatives that I occasionally when tired or stressed.


In fact, I’ve let go of a lot of processed foods over the last 5 years and my mind and body thank me for it everyday. I love this quote from Amelia Freer’s “Cook. Nourish. Glow.” It’s an older book, so again you could probably find it secondhand.

And then dinner is usually early, focusing again on plants and oestrogen rich foods. My kids laugh at me saying eating at 5 or 6pm is for oldies 😂 little do they realise its a perimenopausal superpower! In fact WHEN you eat is just as important, perhaps even more so, than WHAT you eat. Its all about circadian rhythm and I can’t recommend Dr Satchin Panda’s book on this subject enough! My main aim in navigating this second half of my life is to eat less and lighter as it’s my belief it will age me well 😊

Another perimenopausal superpower is to cut down on alcohol and caffeine. Which, fortunately doesn’t affect me, as I haven’t had either for years. No alcohol for nearly 19 years or coffee for almost 11 or is it 12… 🦸🏼‍♀️ But what I really need to focus on is my water intake. It’s so easy for me to forget this simple feel good tip. So I’ve reintroduced an old habit and am now starting my day with hot water and lemon. It hydrates me first thing, aids my digestion (I don’t have any reflux issues) and extends my IF until my first cup of tea (low caffeine with soy milk). Water and tea, thats pretty much me 😉

Which brings me to supplements. Something that should be taken with expert advice. And often hours apart from each other and sometimes with or without food to increase their absorption. There is a mine field of info out there, and there are side effects to all, so I’m not going to go into everything I take or in what dose. However, I did mention in my last blog that I found Evening Primrose Oil beneficial to relieving my night sweats. And since they have gone away for the moment, I’ve stopped taking them. (EPO, I’ve read, can thin the blood, should not be taken two weeks before a general anaesthetic and should not be taken by people with seizure disorders – which reinforces the importance of taking it under supervision). The other supplement I mentioned taking was a powder that I add to my GGS. It’s called GLOW. It was recommended to me by a friend who had noticed an improvement in her hair (among other things) while on it. And since my hair is definitely thinning thanks to perimenopause, I bought some. I’m currently taking it every second day until I see my Doctor next month. So watch this space…

And that ladies, pretty much sums up my own “internal nourishment” plan . Do I follow this perfectly? No 😬and everyday? No 😬 but I try, I’m only human and often fall off, however, it’s just so great knowing what I can do to get back to feeling fab again. If the only thing you get from this is to look at your own lifestyle and think of ways you can improve it to ”feel good” that’s fantastic! Because that’s what I’m all about.

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE: LEATHER

My Leather Coats and Jackets

I’m so glad I managed to coax my “Signature Style” Pals Cindy and Kim into talking leather this month 😊 as it’s a material I have worn since I was 18. My first ever leather garment (other than shoes 😉) was a pair of leather pants I bought on The Queensway in Bayswater, London back in 1984. How I wish I had them now.. they were stunning! High waist, front pleats, rollable cuff and oh so soft…my daughters would love them ! But they were sold to a recycle boutique a few years later so I could purchase a secondhand electric blue pair (another pair I wish I still owned) 😳 I don’t have a pic of those, but here’s a younger me in my black ones (below left) … proving I’ve never been shy of the camera 😂 btw, I’m happy to say I still have 3 of those bangles and the watch on my arm…and I still wear them! I can still remember where and when I got them all. Brass and Gold from the Camden Market, Ivory bangle from Hong Kong and the watch was left to me by my Grandma (who, btw, I believe is the Orb you see in so many of my IGTV’s 😉). I just love that connection to clothes and jewellery that I have. But I digress, back to leather…


Between the ages of 18-38 I owned several leather jackets and skirts. All resold 😬 But over the last 17 years, I have been more mindful and kept all the leather pieces I have purchased. Even the 2004 black leather skirt that no longer fits! My youngest daughter is keen to have this too-small for me leather skirt altered for herself, which I love since I wore it to her Christening (see above right)! In the pic below I’m wearing a coat I bought in, i think, 2004. A bit tight, but still looking good! I have, however, also owned faux leather… many pairs of shoes in my youth but only two garments … one was a pair of navy Zara pants. They looked great for a short time, but I found the colour wore away in the creases, so they made it to landfill after a season 😬 and the second, a snakeskin trench which is still with me.

Leather Coat circa 2004

So which do I feel better about owning and purchasing? Faux or Real? There is definitely a tug of war in my head when it comes to this as I don’t think the choice is simple…

Faux leather, or pleather doesn’t harm animals directly and its strong and durable. However, the production of it creates the same nasty chemicals produced in plastic 😬 it can also shed harmful micro-plastics into the environment, which we ingest and when discarded, it never breaks down! Plant based leather on the other hand, is made from agricultural waste. No animals are harmed in its production, it is made from a renewable source and it breaks down back into organic matter. Unfortunately it’s not readily available (I haven’t seen any 😳), can sometimes smell and no one yet knows about its long term durability. Real leather on the other hand is made from skins of animals. Cows, calf, lamb, and goat ☹️ Technically, they are a co-product of the meat and dairy industries, not a by-product. Traditional tanning produces toxic waste that makes it into our waterways and vegetable tanning while less toxic, still is! However, it is a natural material that degenerates into organic matter and its durable.

You decide where all that leaves you. The best thing for me to do, is wear what I have and wear it sustainably, meaning “for a very long time”. And if I do chose a new piece, perhaps i’ll look at secondhand first. And if not, at least look for ethically made and sourced real leather.


Which makes my recent sharing of the small Melbourne based leather business Raw by Raw a leather company for me. They are small, they are family based, they are true artisans, they source ethically from a company they have dealt with for years (who have ISO accreditation) and they make right here in Melbourne. No mass production. No fast fashion. Just timeless styles that are wardrobe builders. I already had a pair of their pants, an amazing casual style, that I purchased earlier this year. These are called the Frankie Jogger, they are leather at the front (lined) and a ponty fabric at the back, so they are stretchy, but mould to your shape perfectly and are very comfortable. I bought the Sapphire (a navy- the ones on the left) to replace the faux Zara pair but they are also available in black and olive. Definitely a “buy once, buy well” item, and I must say, I feel incredible in them ! So far, I have worn them in Autumn, Winter and Spring. I’m really liking the idea of trying to wear them casually, like a cotton, linen or denim pant so the outfit on the right with trainers and a tee is quite timeless!


And I was lucky enough to be able to share these gorgeous items from them on IGTV, which I worked as suits in three colour ways. The leather suit.. I actually love that idea!


And if you take another look at my jackets in the first photo, you will see I own the Adeline Jacket in Autumn Leaves (which is an olive) and the same colour in the York Culotte.


Now why not pop on over to see what Cindy and Kim have to say on leather in their SIGNATURE STYLE blog post…

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Sarah xx

PERIMENOPAUSAL MUSINGS: SLEEP

When I turned 50 I deliberately made changes to my lifestyle to feel good. I’d hit midlife and knew that if I didn’t become more informed, adjust my mindset and switch up a few habits, the side effects of ageing and the inevitable hormonal symptoms of Menopause may prove a challenge. Which, coincidentally, I have read in Liz Earle’s Book “The Good Menopause Guide”, is key prior to peri- menopause, as making certain changes will help to balance your hormones when going through it. So this is the first of a few blog posts on what I’ve done and continue to do. I’ll call it “Menopausal Musings”, because I find the topic thought provoking and one I often reflect on. Plus, i love a bit of preventative medicine! Disclaimer here, I am by no means an expert on this subject. At least not for others, but I do like to think I am becoming one on it for myself. To pinch a phrase from Sheri Salata (of the now defunct podcast The Sheri and Nancy Show – still available, and I do recommend you give it a listen 😉), over the last 5 years I’ve become the “CEO of my own life”, aka ”getting my s*#t together”, and its actually been as powerful as the role sounds.

But before I start, a little background on my menopausal journey to date. I’m now 54 years and 9 months and still officially peri-menopausal. (My Mum hit menopause at 56 – i mention this as while not always an indicator, it’s good to know, as is the fact that the average peri-menopause is 4 years) And until now, I have had very few signs that my body is changing. At 50, I still had a regular monthly cycle. Everything was as it should be 😂 At 51, I noticed that my reading vision started to go (apparently a sign of peri- menopause), but my sleep was still fine. At 52 and 53, i missed one of twelve cycles each year (another sign) and my “readers vision” increased from a plus one to a plus one point five, otherwise all good, with occasional sleepless nights. So I had very few sleep issues to speak of, but at the end of August, at the age of 54 and 8 months I started to experience first hand what they call ”night sweats” (my “oh no 😫” moment). I started waking up several times a night feeling incredibly hot and then, when I fell back to sleep, a hot sweat would wake me again. It was something I had read about, but fortunately, until now, had never experienced. Sleep has been one of my lifestyle focuses for the last 5 years, and after trial and error, I am a strict 9.30pm to 6.30am gal. It’s what I thrive on! So to have this happen, literally exhausted me…I stopped exercising, reached for sugar (the worst kind- Cadburys Turkish Delight 😩) and I just felt incredibly flat and out of control. After about a week of this, I decided to experiment with everything I had read, listened to, seen and heard from girlfriends and family members over the last 5 years or so and actually write down and create my own menopausal #feelgoodplan ! Touch points I can follow everyday to keep me from feeling like i did a month ago…

This post is all about Sleep, the first and most important Pillar for me in feeling good. For years I have said that if i don’t get a good nights sleep the following day is never my best, so I was thrilled to hear Matthew Walker, the worlds leading expert on Sleep state that “Sleep is the single most effective thing you can do to reset your brain and body health”. I discovered him on my all time favourite podcast ” Feel Better, Live More” with Dr Rangan Chaterjee. Another amazing recommended listen! I have Matthew’s bestselling book “Why We Sleep” on order. You could alternatively, get it from your own book supplier…

What I do know is that if I don’t get my 9 hours in bed and at least 8 hours sleep, preferably at the same time each night (great for your circadian rhythms including body temp regulation 😉 – please read Dr Satchin’s Book for further details), I am a mess the day after 😫 and no matter my best intentions, it’s so much easier to slip and fall off my #feelgoodplan leaving me feeling far from how I want to. I’ve actually got into some pretty good habits to encourage a good nights sleep. My bedroom is cool, I have a fan circulating the air all night, my bedding and sleepwear is 100% cotton (even the doona insert), I don’t drink alcohol or do caffeine, I generally eat early, usually finishing by 7pm, wear blue blocking glassses if on a screen before bed, stop everything at 9pm and begin a bedtime ritual. This includes some bathroom self care (i’ll go into what i use on another post) a mist of Deep Sleep Pillow Spray on my pillow and a book… all which worked perfectly well until the menopausal night sweats! So what I’ve introduced recently is taking 2 Evening Primrose Capsules at 7 o’clock. It was recommended to me by a naturopath at my local chemist. The brand I’m taking is Medi Herb and it looks like it’s a practioner only brand. Plant based, it can help with the hormonal imbalance that causes hot flashes in menopause. After googling the side effects and ensuring that they wouldn’t interact with the other supplements I take (I always take my supplements separately and at least 2 hours apart), I decided to start a low dose. Currently that dose is 2 x 100mg tabs. Very low, given the recommendation on the packet is 3 tabs and the RDD is 500mg. Of course, please consult your own specialist if you consider taking this. But so far, its been remarkable. I haven’t had a night sweat since 😳

But its not really all that simple… there is so much science involved, which to be honest, I’m not trained to comment on as it loses me 😬 But what i do know is that to manage my sleep and the hormonal imbalance that causes temperature chaos during menopause, among other things, there are other lifestyle changes i’ve made and follow that help. A big one is what I call my “Internal Nourishment”, aka Diet, which is Pillar 2 of my #feelgoodplan. And this has so many positives for a woman of a certain age. But that will be lengthy, so I’ll save it for another post 😉

Sarah xx