Twinkle twinkle little star

Posted on: 1st December, 2014

Category: Image

Contributor: Louise O'Dwyer

I made myself two promises during the summer that I was determined to keep. It was a long summer of sickness for me and at times there didn’t seem to be an end to it, so I am now, finally, ready to tick these two things off of my bucket list. Top of my list was a trip to New York for a dose of rejuvenation. You could not possibly have recommended a better tonic for me — it was exhilarating and to top it off, I experienced the magic of it all over again through the eyes of my twin boys

It’s so important to turn your ‘Someday I will definitely…’ into ‘I did it’. Life is too short. I must admit that I did a tremendous amount of style watching and I really do love the New York bare leg look, even if it does get a tad chilly. There was a lot of fur around, fake or real (who really takes the time to notice or care) full fur or just a trim and it looks so amazingly glamorous. Time and time again, I was reminded at how much make up we wear here compared to New Yorkers. It was lovely to see stunning women with minimal make up, but yes, the hair was big and bouncy and so very attractive. Of course I shopped but not obsessively so, you can get almost everything here anyway (except cinnamon sugar and peanut butter topping) and so chose paying for experiences over ‘stuff’ every single time. There was lots of ice skating, American football in Central Park, a trip to the Intrepid, some American style trick-r-treating and the magic of breakfast at the Plaza — very definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience — I saved the bill and the menu cos it won’t be repeated!

The second promise I made to myself was to get somewhat fit. No, I would never dream of getting into running or obsessive gym visits, all I wanted was to not feel like I was ‘hauling my ass’ around the place all of the time! I have no interest in losing weight; I like how my clothes fit now — so all I wanted was to get a little energy flowing through my body. So, I decided to look for a personal trainer and ‘Jesus, I’m so terribly picky’ — I didn’t want some ‘young guy or girl’ who didn’t quite get what it is to be over 40. What I was looking for was someone about my own age or just a tad older that had an energy buzz that was infectious. I did a lot of networking and when I read the motto of one particular trainer ‘If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you’ I was already hooked. Of course I booked a few sessions and ticked off my bucket list with a wonderful sense of achievement. Ann Kelly is exactly what I need; she looks amazing, is just a little older than me — so I know that is it possible to be that fit at my age — and she totally ‘got it’ when I explained that ‘I choose my face over my ass’ when it comes to exercise, it’s a choice you have to make when you are over 40, you just can’t have both! She also took it in that I did not want to lose weight. So I’m on a new journey, I’m sure it will be just as challenging for Ann, as it will be for me because I am the ‘Queen of Laziness’. If you, like me, made yourself a promise, then act on it. Find the right fit for you but I do suggest that you contact Ann first at annkellypersonaltrainer@ Don’t wait for someone to get you a gift of a few sessions, do the right thing, book them yourself because you ‘deserve’ it.

And so it is Christmas time. I absolutely love it, I adore everything that glitters, sparkles and twinkles. The other day my daughter asked my husband for some gift ideas for our family and he said “everybody has everything already, it’s a tough one”. I definitely agree. Do we all really need ‘more stuff’? It’s Christmas time, of course we do. There never was or is no need for extravagance. There is no need for stress or anxiety, cut your cloth according to your measure (no matter what that is) and allow yourself to really enjoy the build-up to the holidays. I say this every year but feel compelled to say it again, time is the most precious gift of all, so if you are stuck for cash for presents, offer a wonderful and much appreciated night of babysitting to a friend or find out when there is a carol service and take a friend out to that — do Christmassy things, most of them are free!

Experiences are what make a fulfilled life, not gathering an accumulation of stuff. Write a good long letter to a friend that you haven’t seen for a while, or even surprise a friend that you do see all of the time with a letter. Give someone the charming gift of reading a letter — it’s such a rare treat these days because Hallmark has a card for everything, so all we ever need to do is to sign our name to it. Writing a letter means that you will also be leaving something so precious for future generations to find and read.

This Christmas pull out all of your glamorous clothes because, after all, it is the season to be fabulous. Fur, sparkles, glitter, leather, bling bling — get it all on and if you don’t have any then get shopping now, get budgeting for what you want (most shops have layaway). All of those make-up tips that promise to transform you that you cut out of magazines — read them now and remember practice makes perfect.

Christmas party wear does not need to get you into a state of panic! That little black or red dress will always work and this year you can add one of the amazing assortment of belts that are everywhere. Always stock up on plenty of thick dark tights because sometimes they will last forever and unfortunately, other times, it’s just one wear! Pull out your little fur cape or coat and it really is that simple — you are ready to go. I love what I call the ‘Meg Ryan’ skirt, it’s a full flare skirt to the knee or just a little below. It’s a very ‘flirty’ yet sophisticated look and really flatters your legs. I know we are all very used to everything being so streamlined for some time now but, trust me, a fitted v-neck top and a full skirt is as dressy and party-ready as you can get. Don’t ever be afraid to slip away from that LBD. Remember comfort too, don’t wear something to a party that you are ‘peeled’ into, after all you most likely will be nibbling at something and you certainly don’t want to spend the night uncomfortable in your own skin! I have found time and time again that some women cannot tell the difference between well-fitting and too tight, the answer is that you should be able to swing your arms about and get two fingers comfortably into the waistline of your skirt or trouser and if it’s a dress then you should be able to sit without any pressure on the seams!! Wear some amazing heels, high ankle boots or shoe boots are this seasons style number one and break  them in at home so you can move smoothly in them on many nights out!

Christmas day attire will always start off in your pj’s, ‘especially’ if you have little ones stampeding down the stairs to see what Santa has brought. So always treat yourself to a really nice new pair, so what if they are in some of the photos, you can’t beat a cute new pair of pj’s. Wear something very comfortable and easy to move around in. Wrap around dresses are everywhere and are a godsend for days like that. Good fitting leggings and a funky chiffon blouse can look very tasty and smart. Book your hair appointment ‘yesterday’ for Christmas so that you look amazing from top to toe. You simply must pick up one of those statement pieces of jewellery to finish off an already great outfit and you will be spolied for choice, the bigger and more sparkly the better.

There are some really good quality skincare hampers about, I quite like Nuxe, after all it is made by Clarins, but much cheaper, and I even got a free umbrella with two purchases —now that’s a company that knows a woman likes to keep her hair looking as perfect as her skin (especially in this weather). A manicure is such a lovely treat to give someone a voucher for and it is very definitely one of the vouchers that are always used, — the bonus is that it’s a reasonably priced luxury gift too.

I’m going to leave you with this, read it a few times, it’s probably the best thing that I have read all year.

Make The Ordinary Come Alive. Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is a way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears. Show them how to cry when people or pets die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.

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