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


SECONDHAND STYLE : Clothes That Tell a Story

“This shirt is old and faded, All the colours have washed away, I’ve had it now for more damn years, That i can count anyway, I wear it beneath my jacket, With the colour turned up high, So old I should replace it, But im not about to try…”

These are the lyrics to the first verse of Mary Chaplin Carpenter’s beautiful song “The Shirt” and the inspiration for this month’s ”Secondhand Style” blog post with Jane from The Small Fabric of My Life. It’s a meaningful tale and if you listen in full, its all about how the most ordinary object (a shirt) can hold meaning, memory and emotion (Chapin’s words). Which has me thinking about my own and the garments that have been with me on my journey so far. Are you like that? Sentimental about what you have worn at certain times in your life or garments that have a story of their own? Perhaps you have a shirt? or a pair of shoes? I most certainly attach feelings and memories to the clothes in my wardrobe.. which may explain why i rarely rid myself of any 🤔 but what i thought i’d talk about is a piece i featured on IGTV last year, but have never written about. And since I print each of my blogs out and place them in a file marked: For Annabel and Penelope, “So you thought you knew your mother”, I thought this the perfect opportunity 😂

The Maker

This coat is not mine, I am just it’s custodian, and have been for a year of so. This coat belongs to my eldest daughter. Last year, after the passing of her Grandmother, my mother-in-law, the emptying of her wardrobe was the emotional task beautifully and meaningfully undertaken by her daughter. At the end of which she thought it would be nice if family and close friends perhaps look at her clothing and choose a piece or two. I took my daughters with me and we each chose a piece. My youngest and I have a bag. Annabel chose this coat, of which i will now tell you what I know….

My husband’s Aunt actually inherited the coat from her Mother-in-law, who, to keep it simple is my daughter’s Great Grandma. (And then gifted it to my Mother-in-law) Her name was Dulcie and this is the story of Dulcies’s coat. Dulcie was a great lady, who loved the best of everything. Tall, beautiful and vivacious, no one enjoyed a party like she did (my late father-in-law’s words about his Mother), she always had a ciggie in one hand and a G & T in the other. She was a Melbourne socialite who married into a successful and very hard working large Irish-Australian Family. The same family I married into. Actually, they are more than a family, they are a CLAN!!

And as a member of Melbourne’s high society, Dulcie had her clothes made by dressmakers. I’ve tried to find out about the maker Diedre Anita Reynolds, but to no avail. Although the address is quite exclusive, so i’m imagining the process involved pattern sketches, fabric selection and perhaps a few other garments ordered at the same time. The coat itself is exquisitely made. The fabric is a heavy weave, lined in the most stunning red, and there is a hand stitched hem. The pattern matching is impeccable! Oh those were the days! Pure couture!


While Dulcie loved to party, play tennis and golf, she was also married to a man who was keen on horse racing. He owned many horses and raced them in Grand Nationals, Steeples and even The Melbourne Cup. The reason i tell you this , is that I can imagine Dulcie wearing this coat trackside. Perhaps a scarf covering her ears to keep out the cold and large sunnnies to disguise the hungover eyes from the fun had the night before….Looking quite the lady I imagine, with her stature and elegant coat as she watched the trainers run their horses. No one in the family can verify this, but its a nice image in my mind. And its how i think of her when i put it on. When I am “wearing clothes that tell a story…”


And for a little more style inspiration, here’s the beginning of the IGTV i featured last year…

I’ll put the full episode up in stories on Instagram.

So, while this post isn’t about my own clothes memories, it has now become so. I’ve attached meaning, memory and emotion to ” Dulcie’s Coat”. A garment that spoke to my daughter and now its story will continue….

I wonder how Jane will interpret Mary Chapin Carpenter’s words. Why not pop on over to her blog now by clicking on the link below..

THE SMALL FABRIC OF MY LIFE

There’s a Spring in my step..


We are halfway through the first month of Spring! Yay! Warmer weather is on the way 😊 and i just realised that i haven’t written much about what’s been going on behind the scenes of my little Insta page…

The biggest change social media wise is that I’ve taken myself off all platforms except this blog and Instagram. I felt like i was spreading myself too thin and I wanted to claim some “real life” back. I even took the month of August off from shopping and ”sharing” new product. This gave me time to step away, go within, think and reevaluate why i spend so much of my time on here and what i want to achieve from it. I needed the break to do this. I felt like i was on a hamster wheel…does that make sense? Share, style, promote, share, style, promote … you get my drift. And while I know that is how I’ve grown this page, and i do love doing this, sometimes it becomes about too much “stuff” and ladies, that’s not all I want this to be about….

Speaking of which, the most delightful bundle of fur came into our lives this month. Meet Billy Ray, a brother for four and a half year old Joseph. What a joy he has been and oh so needed! With lockdown after lockdown, he has been the most welcome distraction 🙏🏻 Although, tbt, ive been thinking and looking for another Spoodle for about a year, in fact he was named in August 2020 and he has been on my ”futureboard” since January…so it was just a matter of time 😉 and that time, thanks to the universe 🙏🏻 was Now. Great time for a new pup, lots of nice weather for outside play, and with lockdown, lots of house training opportunities 😂 10 more days and he’ll be fully vaxed and another walking buddy for me 😊

I do love to walk! So i got myself a new pair of trainers, thanks to the generosity of Cinori Shoes. I know it’s not the most flattering stance, but these Woden Pernille leather sneakers above (in bright white) have been on my feet quite a bit. They seem to go with everything, and the cork innersole makes them shock absorbent. So for everyday casual wear and short walks to run errands, they are perfect! Cinori kindly gifted me the sandals in the top pics too. You will see them on my feet a lot this SS21. I do believe that for the warmer months, all I need are variations of these three neutrals in my shoe shelves.

Taking August off from ”sharing new product” allowed a different kind of sharing 🙏🏻 and I was lucky to be selected by African Fabrics Australia to take part in their creativity search. I chose a lovely batik fabric called Binta, an artisanal hand dyed cotton from Senegal. Being in “Lockdown”, I creatively drafted a simple pattern in newspaper from an old kaftan and managed to make a delightful one myself. It had been a while, but it was definitely satisfying sitting back in my sewing seat. And it was the reason i picked the Asailor in natural sandal from Cinori.


I also performed a couple of creative alterations on bags:


And there has been a little wardrobe rearrangement, in anticipation of warmer weather! And while I wait for that, it’s been so nice to dust the shelves, polish shoes and prepare for the new season. And since we are still in lockdown, i certainly have had the time! These four walls bring me such joy. Especially now we are homebound. I walk through this room from bed to bath several times a day. It’s a thoroughfare. But to me, its more than that, it’s my dressing room, my hobby and my passion. I really do love it and all it brings everyday.



And now Spring is here, and i’m ready for it, thanks to the wardrobe refresh, my break and the fact that I’ve recently embarked on a #feelgoodplan…but more on the latter in another blog post…

There’s certainly a spring in my step 😉

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE: Jeans 👖

My Jeans Collection… interestingly, all dark denim 🤔

This month on SIGNATURE STYLE Cindy, Kim and I are talking Jeans 👖 ….

Did you realise that there are more pairs of jeans on the planet than people? I heard that statistic on a podcast recently 😳 so then I started wondering what the average number women own is 🤔 and I discovered it’s 7 ….and the very same Ms Average apparently buys two new pairs a year! So together, with my current intention to be an under-consumer, this has me feeling pretty good when I admit to you that I own only 5 pairs (although I never wear the black skinny Dr Denim’s anymore) ! Which btw, range from my 10 year old (that’s a guess) thrifted Citizens of Humanity flared hipsters, to my 4 month old 1964 Denim Company high waisted bootlegs, meaning I average out at a new pair every 2 years. While all these facts and numbers mean something to some and nothing to others, it tells me I’m not really a Jeans buyer nor a Jeans wearer. I may use them a bit in my styling, but truth be told, they don’t get many “real” wears, hence I purchase them minimally. And considering denim is far from the most sustainable textile because of the required chemicals it needs, thousands of litres of water used and huge energy consumption to produce the finished product it’s a WIN WIN for me and the planet 😊 however…..

The good news is there are loads of Jean producing company’s addressing these supply chain issues to produce incredible sustainable and ethical denim garments and I’m going to share some of my current favourites with you 😊 and in doing so, will focus on what I would buy (or at least try) if I needed a new pair. And that is the wide leg. I covet comfort above all things, and being an A Shape Body Type (thighs being my largest area), I need the leg width to fall from the top of my thigh rather than cling to it, otherwise every time I stand up, I feel like I need to pull my jeans down from this part of my body. I’m sure there are readers out there that get this 😉 and it also explains, why all my denims are dark. I do look better when I dress my bottom half in a darker colour and my top half lighter! So, if I was to be looking for a new pair, I would be interested in trying these…

In addition to being A shaped, I have shorter legs and a longer torso. So ideally, a full length jean with a heel is a great casual leg lengthening look on me (if I don’t have to walk far or stand for too long…. I’m seriously loosing my interest in heels!) I do however, still wear a wide cropped jean, it doesn’t look too bad if I wear a flat form style shoe or trainer, although it’s certainly not leg lengthening! And thanks to COVID lockdowns, a little thigh hugging 😫 Here are a few looks of me in my jeans.


The 1964 Jeans Company bootlegs are a pair I ended up buying new this year. While current, they no longer seem to be available. The higher waist is flattering, the stretch fabric comfortable and I can almost talk myself into them being sustainable if you read the label and the blurb on Big W’s website (but at $24 I have serious doubts). I do think they look quite good. Press here for the new design for SS21. When I wear a boot leg jean, it usually involves a longer cardigan or coat worn over the top. So I’m not one for fancy back pockets, because no one usually sees them. With fitted jeans, I go for “illusion” dressing. Wearing a long length top disguises where my bottom ends and my shorter legs start. It’s a style habit I picked up from Trinny Woodall years ago. Wearing a dress over them looks great too, but I haven’t done this for ages…. although it’s now got me thinking 🤔 And if you head over to Pinterest, there are lots of inspiring pics like the ones below. It looks to me, like the secret is not to wear a dress too voluminous or structured, and the length of the dress long, although on me, I think calf length (midi) is probably best. The jean also appears to be straight, which is a style i don’t own, and slightly cropped or with the hem rolled above the ankle. It’s certainly a look and idea that i would enjoy to play with. It may even make me wear jeans more and look at them differently. Plus I really like the idea of this with sneakers!


Here are two straight leg jeans in a shade that i quite like. Both would work with the dress over jeans idea. Although, when it comes to jeans I definitely have to try before i buy and being in lockdown i don’t think that will be anytime soon.

So until I up my style game, I’ll keep wearing my bootlegs like I do. But I also have a wider leg jean. These “pant like” denim jeans are about 4 years old. I love the depth of their blue. They feel and look quite smart. When I wear these, I’m more likely to expose the back, like in the pics below. In the first, I’m full tucking a linen shirt, the next is with a turtle neck with cashmere wrap. As it’s no secret I love a loose pant, these are probably my current favourites. And the bonus is they also look great with a flat shoe!


So that’s my Jeans style 😉 I wonder how Kim and Cindy wear theirs? And what they have to say about their Signature Style on Jeans? Best pop on over and see… that’s what I’m doing next 😉

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CAL STYLE

Sarah xx

SECOND HAND STYLE: Why I shop this way 😊


Welcome to a new blog and a new monthly instalment called “SECOND HAND STYLE”, this time with blogger and charity shopper extraordinaire Jane from The Small Fabric of my Life. Each month we will be talking about a “second hand” topic from our own perspective… and today it’s a little introduction of how we started shopping this way 😊

I can’t really remember a time I haven’t owned something second hand. Whether it be handed down, salvaged or intentionally purchased. My home is full of curated treasures! So it’s no surprise that my wardrobe is too 😉 Since I started this blog and the Instagram page that accompanies it, I like to think my “second hand style” has slowly made its way from the back to the front of Sarah London Style. And all quite naturally, firstly I introduced you to the clothes in my wardrobe and now I share with you the way they get there.

I love old! I was brought up to love old! (Its no accident i’m a History Major 😉) Although if you asked me when I was ten, if I’d rather wear the old hand me downs from Di and Sue (family friends daughters who were a couple of years older than me) or be taken to the local shopping centre, I would have chosen the latter. You see, my parents were (and still are) thrifters! I grew up with them frequenting antique auctions, markets, garage sales and the advertised section of the newspaper, all in search of what they needed, and when they found what they were after, they always managed to make it work! They rarely threw things out, always chose to repair and often repainted, reupholstered and repurposed. Talk about sustainable! But this was the late 70s and it wasn’t uncommon then, and because my family happened to be good at it, it was fun!

And then I turned 14! December 1980 and I got my first job at the local delicatessen… and an instant cash influx and my parents love of thrift turned into mine. Trash and Treasure Markets at car parks were my favourite! These were the days when I could find a pair of 1960’s winkle picker stilettos for 99cents (I did), vintage was everywhere and it was cheap because with the emergence of Fast Fashion, no one really wanted it. Except me and my 80s gal pals! We were music crazy and always wanted to look like some star on the cover of UK mag Smash Hits! I was a “Mod” 😂, and my friends were “Punks” and “New Romantics” and where did we find our clothes? We bought and repurposed from secondhand….

That’s me in the middle in my secondhand stiletto winkle pickers and trilby 😂


Fast Forward forty years, and while my style no longer replicates a “mod” or those on the magazine covers 😂, second hand clothes are still an important part of who I am. Yes, I have dabbled with Fast Fashion, I’ve even worked in it! (thank you Myer Miss Shop). And I’ll even admit that I got on the Zara bandwagon for more than a few years 😩. All because I loved clothes and it was easy and cheap. But at the same time, I’d never forgotton my roots and the “upcycling” style habits of my upbringing. So markets on the weekend, op shopping, designer recycle for the “it” bag (albeit a couple of years late) and eBay have remained constant. But now I have more time (thank you mid life and COVID), I find myself reflecting and “deliberately” going back to what I was brought up to know….

Recent secondhand and forever acquisitions 😊

And that is, you create your own style! You wear what feels like you and you wear it your way! Which to me, means pulling together an outfit from various sources. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to love it! And most often than not, one item I decide to put on will be second hand! And while I could attribute it to sustainability, going green, saving from landfill, the environment and all that, I won’t… I simply shop like this because it’s what I’ve always known. And it’s freeing. No ties to having the latest trend, just adapting which ones you like from what you have, and dare I say, even creating your own! The aim is to feel good! And shopping this way does that! Take for example the photo below.. all secondhand! The coat I picked at a consignment store. The scarf a local op shop, the jeans and boots from designer recycle. All aged from 12 months to 14 years old. All my style, in my wardrobe and still being worn by me 🙏🏻.

Oooh… Valentino on my feet 😉 thank you as.if.designer.recycle 🙏🏻

Now please pop on over to Jane’s blog and read about why she shops this way.

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE: Skirts 🖤

It’s that time again… SIGNATURE STYLE with Cindy, Kim and me! And this month each of us dive into the style of skirts…

If you asked me if I wear skirts, I’d say “sometimes”. If you asked me if I like them, I’d say “sort of”. If you asked me if I owned any, I’d say a couple. So when I actually went into my wardrobe to take a deeper dive, it was a surprise to me that I actually own nine!!! What is no surprise is that they are all in natural fabrics: Linen, Cotton and Leather 🤍. (Although I did own, until recently, a couple in polyester, but in a deliberate move to try and create the perfect sustainable wardrobe, I cleared them out by selling them and donating the funds to charity).

SS2018 Shanty Corporation Linen gathered waist skirt with a high low hem in Natural

I am the biggest fan of linen, so much so, I featured “linen skirts” as my first episode on my 2020 IGTV Series “Collections” I love the way linen feels against the skin, the fact it breaths beautifully in hot weather, softens when worn and washed, and that it always looks so Euro-chic! Above is a favourite linen skirt of mine. A Shanty Corporation linen gathered skirt. I picked it up on sale a few years ago and took it on an overseas trip. I find the creases in linen perfect for a summer holiday. It relaxes me 😂 I let go of trying to feel so “perfectly ironed and pulled together” and I just take it easy and go with the flow…. I think it looks wonderful with white, whether it be a singlet, tshirt or shirt (and a little fake tan). Press here for a similar updated alternative. There is something about linen that looks understated and elegant. Perhaps it’s the timeless, ageless sustainability of the fabric! So it’s no surprise my linen skirt collection now totals four…


And then we come to my leather skirt. A buy once, buy well purchase. I can’t imagine there will ever be a time without it in my wardrobe. I adore it. The colour is incredible. The craftsmanship and attention to detail is superb. I feel good about the fact that it’s 100% ethically sourced leather, and from a socially responsible Scandinavian label Gestuz. I found it at a wonderful samples store that I frequent called The Wooden Hangar. They are primarily a fashion agency who distribute amazing European labels to high end boutiques. But the benefit to we the consumer, is that they sell off their samples to the public at a fraction of the price! If you live in Melbourne, there are two stores under their name and an online samples store called Faith which also has an outlet. A great store to keep popping into for European style inspiration. I think there is a size 12 still available here. Press here for a black ethical alternative.

So while my skirt styles vary, I do wear them mostly in Summer. And while I’m not actively looking for another, there is one type of skirt that currently eludes me: the denim skirt! This is one that I will keep my eye out for, and until I find it, here is a little luxe inspo:


My fave is actually the tiered Chloe! It’s divine and looks like a much lighter denim than the others. I also think it would look the best with flats! Out of my reach for the moment 😂, it has inspired me to wait until I find the perfect design ! Although, this one has caught my eye on eBay.au :

But is it just right? The style is, but the shaded denim isn’t. The old Sarah would have said, but it’s only $30 and placed a bid…but now I don’t! In fact, how I look at anything I purchase now, is that it must be absolutely stunning in my eyes, not just okay 😑, looking at adding new garments like this means I actually buy less and wear more of what I have! Not to mention when I do find it, all the money I will have saved on “okay” purchases will have piled up so I can say yes! Mindfully purchasing ☺️ (and mindfully styling) That’s part of my SIGNATURE STYLE…. Now, go read what style of skirts interest:

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE


And then watch my introduction (full video on Insta later today 😉) to my skirts collection here:

Sarah x

When you know better, do better 🙏🏻

What a delight to have shared two wonderful new brands from my studio with everyone in the last month! Both sustainable and ethical Smitten Merino and Cara Cashmere are the most wonderful companies to be an ambassador for. They believe in everything I believe in, and they have done so way before I decided to become more “consciously aware” in the world of style. So what is that? Both are small Aussie brands that ship globally, both design here in Australia, one supports our manufacturing industry here, the other supports a small free range goat herding family and a family based manufacturer in Inner Mongolia. Both ensure that all the workers (and the animals) involved are respected, treated well and paid fairly. And both companies send their item in recyclable packaging and of course, they both also sell the most incredible stylish natural product garments! Slow fashion 🙏🏻

I was so lucky to be sent a few items by Smitten, to share with you all. A Mary dress (which I love), two styles of cardigans- the Boyfriend and the Drape and scarves! I was blessed enough to be able to keep the dress and have already worn it four times. The Mary Dress was named after the Hobart girl who became the Crown Princess of Denmark 😉 classic, and understatedly elegant it sums up the dress and HRH perfectly! I chose the French Navy because it’s one of my colours (hope you read my blog on colour) and it looks and feels incredible on. Loose, but shapely, the wool falls beautifully into a flare skirt with fabulous deep pockets. I feel utterly chic in it. The cardigans speak for themselves in the pics below, timeless in quality and style!


Cara Cashmere sent me two lovely pieces that will also be with me forever! A wonderful scarf and a wrap. Annie was so lovely, she let me choose colours in both! I chose the True Red scarf, because this is a colour that brings life to my face, and it’s also a colour that I don’t have a lot of. The wrap I selected in a neutral cream, because I know it will just go with absolutely everything in any season. Both of course are available in many colour options. Aren’t they divine?


Talk about both brands being the change you want to see in the world of fashion! Both ethical and sustainable, it’s no coincidence I shared them with you! I’m very deliberate about who and what I promote. One of my favourite quotes of all time is Maya Angelou’s “when you know better, do better” 🙏🏻 I like to think I’m doing this with my blog, my styling page and everyday! So, on visiting the Mary Quant exhibition, I very much wanted to make my “mindful and slow fashion” point by wearing sustainable and ethical clothing. I wore boots I’ve had for over 12 years, my Smitten Merino wool Mary Dress, an old coatigan that is a cashmere/wool blend, aged leather belt, my new ethical Cara Cashmere scarf, a 100% merino wool beret and an old (perhaps 10 years) MUI MUI bag I splurged on ( secondhand) years ago. I mixed it up. Old with new! All “buy well” pieces styled my way. SLOW STYLE. It felt good. In fact it felt fabulous. And I think it looked alright too!

Sarah x

SIGNATURE STYLE: A Winter sombrero and berets!

It’s all in the handcrafted details of this Alberta Gomez Sombrero

Today on the blog I’ll be discussing Winter Hats, the ones I wear and a few I wouldn’t mind trying on my head now the weather definitely calls for them here in Melbourne! Cindy and Kim on the other hand, are in the throws of a heatwave, so will be putting their personal spin on Hats to wear in Summer… be sure to press the links at the end for their inspiring style!

I have to start by saying I have a love hate relationship with hats 😂 I do absolutely love them, especially when they are crafted to perfection, by means of design, material and detail! But on my head, this artistry can be a bit hit and miss! While there are many style guides out there on the best hat shapes for face shapes, I have found them contradictory and that trial and error is perhaps my best guide. I have a round face, so strictly speaking I should be trying to elongate my head and not flatten it. So a sombrero with a crown (mine below is 12cm) higher than the brim (mine below is 9cm) is perfect! And this handcrafted Mexican beauty of mine that is available in various colours and styles from Esplora Australia is perfection! This is a forever hat, one that deserves the best of care and a box of its own. Hand blocked in wool, it is one of only 600 hats that leaves its workroom in a little corner of Ocotlan de Morelos each month to be shipped to suppliers globally. I consider it a piece of art.

If I do intend to elongate my face in a hat, strictly speaking I should steer away from the snug head hugging type, but I find there is so much to love about this type of hat! The beret has been worn for centuries, from the floppy felt peasant, to stiffened military, to chic Parisian and everything in between, (including the tam’o shanter – which I wore as part of my Winter school uniform 😂). A beret is definitely my go to for Winter. Because it is just so easy to pop on and style in so many ways. It can be worn over the forehead, back on the crown, over the ears, behind them, straight or on a slant. And that’s before you come to the different types! Regardless of the material or style, I always tend to wear my hair down. In my personal collection I have a khaki cotton one that I have been wearing for about 10 years and a recent rabbit fur beret from House of Nicholetta. The latter is available in 4 colours!

A rare glimpse of me with my girls circa 2012!

This Winter I invested in a wool pom-pom beret in one of my favourite colours, Navy! It’s a stunning slouchy knitted beret made from certified pure merino wool. Knitted in a geometric cable stitch with a cute pom-pom at the top, it’s finished with a rib band. It is the loveliest of textures and although sold out in Navy it is also available in burgundy and cream. It’s called The Clover and is from Australian hat and bag label Helen Kaminski. It has started to get very cold here in Melbourne, so it’s time to add a warm layer to our heads.

My HK Clover Beret

Helen Kaminski is an Australian hat and bag designer, who started by making raffia hats to protect her children from the harsh Aussie sun in 1983. Her love of natural fibre lead to her selling the raffia hats and then bags. While the company has grown, and Helen has stepped back, the quality remains and its now renowned worldwide! The brand is synonymous with natural fibres, craftsmanship and sustainability. It’s a definite go to… and here is what else has caught my eye (Winter Hat Wise) on the website 😉


Bisque Traders also have a great range of rabbit skin hats that are made in Australia. They have an aged and well worn appearance, very “Buffalo Girls”! I adore the stitch details, the imperfections, and that “I just got off a horse” look ! Very cool indeed 😎


When it comes to buying Winter hats, I am no expert, but what I have learnt is that if you stick to what you love and in colours that suit you around your face, chances are you can make them work! So if you aren’t a hat wearer, I do encourage you to give it a try 😉 They certainly ooze style!

Summer hats are a different story for me, and while I’ll save that for another season, you don’t have to wait as my Northern Hemisphere gal pals are onto it 😊 Please click on the links below to see what has caught their eye…

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE

Colour as a FEEL GOOD….


Isn’t it funny how things we often write about affect us more than what we talk or think about ? That was the case a couple of blogs ago when it came to talking Black and White with Cindy and Jennifer. And boy am I grateful for that 🙏🏻 because it really got me thinking about how these colour choices in my wardrobe make me feel. (And yes, I know black and white aren’t technically colours 😉)

I’ve always loved colour, and the way it makes us feel when we look at it and cover ourselves in it. I personally love green! It’s been my favourite colour since I was a teen (before that it was chocolate brown 😳… which explains my 1970s Burnham Beeches wall mural). Most people have a favourite and (I think) favour it in what they surround themselves with and even wear. Back in my 40’s and early 50’s with young children, I wore a lot of black (because it was easy) and often punctuated it with green (I’ll never forget wearing my emerald green Juicy Couture tracksuit and matching Nikes when meeting my kids at the school gates 😂). I refer to this stage in my style life as my “rock chic” phase, because any excuse to get out of the house “ dressed loud and proud” was my idea of fun fun fun! I wore a lot of black and I thought I was very chic and cool 😎 But now my youngest child is about to leave school and I’m nearing another milestone (55), I find myself reflecting on this colour and style choice. I still have many of these well worn pieces in my wardrobe and am now asking, do they serve me like they use to? Because if they don’t, why am I holding onto and wearing them just because I have them? ….especially when they no longer make me feel good.

As I’ve aged, I’ve changed. My idea of fun, fun, fun is no longer as loud, I shy away from making wardrobe statements and head to toe bright colour. I feel like I’ve done that and it’s no longer who I am or what I seek. I’m far more relaxed, and a more natural, organic way of dressing, where being deliberate in what (and from whom) I choose to buy and hence “wear” makes me feel good! With age comes this wisdom if you let it in 🙏🏻 And with my years, my skin has also changed. It’s no longer as olive and plump as it use to be, the bags under my eyes have darkened (these I inherited 😐) and the wrinkles continue to emerge. While I happily accept this external badge of ageing (I am just so truly grateful to be here), I do look after myself on the inside. I exercise regularly, eat well (I’m plant based), I don’t do caffeine or alcohol and I sleep well ( the positive side effect being I have few peri-menopausal signs). So while I see others fighting what naturally occurs by attempting to reverse the external ageing process, that’s just not me. I don’t want that pressure and I certainly don’t want to send that message to my daughters! So I’m wondering if there are colours I can wear that will give my face a natural lift and glow? Colours that will soften the lines and accentuate the positive just like style can. If so, I’m sure wearing them will not only make me look great, they will make me feel great too! And knowing that black definitely is not my friend, its time to take stock, reassess and begin what I’m calling my:

MIDLIFE WARDROBE OVERHAUL!

(Which has me thinking this whole blog/ Instagram page could be my crisis 😂)

To simplify things, I’ve removed the “rock chic” black (the juicy couture is long gone) from my wardrobe and popped them in a spare room (there was a time when the house wasn’t big enough… now with only 1 child at home, it seems too big). This spare room is now my home studio, complete with lights, cameras, sewing machine, over locker and it’s very own WIR 😉, which stores garments in several categories:

  1. Vintage pieces that rarely get worn but will never be given away (think Grandma’s fur coats, Grandpa’s suede jacket 😉),
  2. Garments that I’m keeping for my daughters 💕,
  3. Pieces that suit me but may need to be altered or repurposed; and
  4. those I’d like to sell !

This overhaul has even worked its way into a short five part Colour Series on IGTV, where I looked at the remaining colours in my wardrobe that I wear during the Winter months and asked, do they suit me? And how do they make me feel? Indulgent I know! But it’s aim, and this blogs is to get you thinking about your own wardrobes and how the colour choices you wear make you feel. Navy, Teal, Olive and Tan are definitely my go to colours. The latter being more of an accessory than a garment (and something I’m going to stick to). I secretly love the idea of a boot and matching bag in every shade of brown😉 I also looked at Gold (knowing it suits me, I removed the silver). But what has been the biggest revelation are the colours red and coral. Never in a million years would I ever consider these as colours I should wear more of. I like them but have never really looked at them with favour. The red I suit is a warmer red, and I own very few pieces in it. I’m not sure if I’ll deliberately seek the shade out, but I am open to it if there is a style that suits. But coral… this colour I only have one Winter item in! and it was bought on a whim on sale last year 🥰 and now I find myself obsessing over it. It’s soft, feminine, romantic, and the absolute opposite of rock chic black 😂 ….so watch this space!

LOVING THE MIX OF TEAL WITH CHOCOLATE ACCESSORIES

While I have always focused on finding my own seasonal colour palette (by trial and error), using IGTV as a medium allowed for an influx of comments and opinions from you all. Thank you! But what I have discovered thanks to yourselves and the kindest follower Vicky @stylepixie_consulting is that I actually fall over 3 seasons. Vicky is a qualified colour analyst, makeup artist, personal stylist and hair dresser! If you are on Instagram, give her a follow. Her colour stories are sublime! And I am beyond grateful for her generosity for gifting this to me. And without giving away too many details of what she does (she fully explained why I can wear 1, 2, and 3), I am primarily a “Warm Autumn” and since these are the colours I have, love and feel good in, it will be what I will focus on from now on.
Here they are:

WARM AUTUMN PALETTE

And I’m beyond thrilled to now have this palette on my phone whenever I go! (Vicky actually sent me a more detailed one, but I won’t divulge her trade secrets 🤐). From my wardrobe, to my studio, to out and about, I now have an accurate updated version of “go to” look good colours! (BTW… this was done virtually from photos without makeup, so feel free to contact her if you are interested in having it done!) It really is incredibly satisfying to have my questions answered! I know which seasonal colour palette I am and why! This is such a FEEL GOOD! So there you have it, my colour journey so far (the abridged version anyway… I could ramble but won’t), truth be told, I feel like it’s really only the beginning of my wardrobe overhaul anyway 😉

Sarah xx

SIGNATURE STYLE: Resort Wear 101 🦀🐬☀️


How exciting is this months “Signature Style” ? Resort Wear! The very sound of it conjures up walks along the beach, reading by the pool, sleep ins, dinners out, and if you are like me… a little holiday shopping ☺️ I wonder what it means to Cindy from Cindy Hattersley Design and Kim from Northern California Style? Be sure to press the links at the end of my post for further inspiration 😉

And what it conjures up, and what you plan to do, is really how you should pack! That way, you can pack light when you travel. All I need is a small carry on suitcase and a multipurpose tote for 2 weeks away in the Sun ☀️. That way I always return with everything worn 😊 … And my little secret to having the perfect resort wear is colour coordination (or mix and match as some call it). I’ve even been known to pack by a colour palette (I’ve packed Whites, Blues and Brights in the past – see “Brights” pics above).

For walks along the beach I will pack one activewear outfit (something I can easily hand wash and dry in my room each day) and a casual trainer (make sure you wear them in beforehand). Choosing a simple white pair can double up as a day shoe with dresses, as well as be your travelling shoe, so as to reduce the bulk in your suitcase. And chances are I’ll be barefoot on the sand anyway 😊

Reading by the pool will require a fab swimsuit, hat, sunglasses and sarong. I currently own two one piece and usually alternate each holiday. I have one in black/white and another in red. With these I have opted for a high neck but I love the idea of an off the shoulder with tummy control, like the one below. I have a great neutral packable wide brim hat that I wear whenever in the sun. It has a bendable rim, allowing it to be worn wide or curled like a cowboy hat. Very cool 😎 Glasses are also a must to shade the glare and again a neutral can work with anything. I particularly like these sunglasses from Vilo Australia, it is a small sustainable Australian Wooden Frame Sunglass Company who ditch the plastic, have a sunglass recycling and a give back program … OMG! I want all these 😆


And a simple carry on scarf can double up as a sarong (or is that the other way around).. not to mention, the Bec from Get Robed could also be worn out to the beach bar in the evening as it comes with robe ring and tie. And as it’s easy dry, could even be used as a towel. I do believe investing in such a piece that can be used as all of the above is definitely a worthwhile investment! Something else for my wish list!

Sleep ins, dinner’s out and holiday shopping are what fill the rest of my case except for sunscreen and minimal toiletries – I don’t wear much makeup when away, just mascara and a lip to cheek 💋. (It’s actually a great opportunity to give your skin a chance to breathe and even indulge it with some spa treatments!). I must say I do love to spend time lounging around on a beach facing balcony, reading, writing and sipping tea…so I always include a cotton dressing gown in my sleepwear. Just like this one on Etsy… and as it is a Kimono, it can be styled as a duster over loose pants and singlet too ☺️

And then we come to dresses, my favourite item to pack! But I always keep some space for a new one (or two) that I may pick up while I’m away. Nothing too formal, just breathable, airy and cool 😎. And I always include one WOW dress when I pack, for that extra special evening out! And I adore my pink kaftan below! It’s old season and a one size fits all (AU 8-14), but the brand is Miss June Paris and they are available worldwide💕. Here are a couple of inspirational ones available from some Ethical Australian Brands that ship worldwide:


In addition, I always take a pair of havianas (mine are a rose gold), a pair of open toe slides (in tan – keeping them neutral, they will work with everything) and a low espadrille heel sandal. And one clutch. And that’s all I really need for a week or two at a resort 😉 now I have my packing sorted, I just need somewhere to go 😂 but perhaps Cindy and Kim will be travelling soon? Why not find out, by pressing the links below…

CINDY HATTERSLEY DESIGN

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STYLE