A vintage necklace.

I just love vintage frames, bangles and beads!  All of these were found in and around Byron Bay, Australia.

I just love vintage frames, bangles and beads!  All of these were found in and around Byron Bay, Australia.

I am like a magpie nowadays.  Always on the search for something up-cycled, re-cycled, retro and vintage.  I so enjoy owning something that isn't brand new, hasn't been mass marketed or made in China..... and something that has memories, has been put together with love and, most of all,  unique, eco and often much, much cheaper than something designer or new!

So imagine my delight when I discovered Wendy, of Ghost and Lola,  at the Byron Bay Sunday Market.  A once a month event that has always done me well when it comes to finding locally made clothes, accessories, home crafts and artisan products. I come over with an empty bag so I can bring things back to England.  Everything from bedcovers and cushion covers to vintage dresses, sunglasses & jewellery have found their way back with me on the long flight home! 

Wendy has collected vintage beads, chains and bits and pieces for decades from all over the world. And this necklace is a perfect example of how she has combined her talents as a designer and jeweller to produce this one-off, hand-crafted "Chocolate Box" necklace.  The beads and chains come from the 50s, 60's and 70s, making this a really authentic and individual piece. 

I wish I was a maker and could put together something as beautiful as this.  However, I am a "shopper" with a good eye, so I hope you enjoy posts like this to either inspire you to make wonderful pieces yourself or to look for eclectic, one-offs to buy cheaply in markets or charity shops supporting local trade & artists along the way.

I am seriously thinking of starting an on-line shop for some of my individual, vintage bits and pieces I have found in the past, so do let me know if this is something that could be of interest to you in the future.  

Meanwhile, I will continue to search every market & vintage shop I can find in the Byron Shire, while I'm here, to source more unique treasures to bring home.  I am probably going to end up like my departed mother.....she was an antique dealer but loved everything she found so much she rarely sold anything!  Do you think it could be in the genes?  

Vintage sunglasses, vintage bangle and now a vintage necklace to complete my brown theme!

Vintage sunglasses, vintage bangle and now a vintage necklace to complete my brown theme!

GAZPACHO - AUSSIE STYLE

I know this isn't a brilliant recipe for anyone living in the Northern Hemisphere at the moment, but I just had to share with you the amazing veg available here in Byron Bay.... all grown locally, from the Farmer's Market, all organic and just a joy to use for a cold soup, especially as I am doing a detox at the moment. (Blog on that coming soon.) And just look at the shape of this cucumber - the EU wouldn't allow one of those to be sold in the UK!

Lovely fresh produce for gazpacho, from Byron Bay Farmers Market, Australia.

Lovely fresh produce for gazpacho, from Byron Bay Farmers Market, Australia.

I have featured a gazpacho recipe before, but this is one with an Australian twist, using what's available locally and in season. This is a fabulous, nutritious "soup", especially if you're fasting, detoxing or doing the 5:2 diet as it's only about 100 calories......but only in a hot climate.  If you're doing the 5:2 or fasting  in a cold climate, you might find my ratatouille recipe a good alternative. It's nice and filling, low calorie and very healthy.

INGREDIENTS - ALL FINELY DICED

I large cucumber

A ton of fresh tomatoes - I didn't even weight them

2 sticks of celery

2 green chillies

1 red pepper

2 spring onions

2 cloves of garlic

Seasoning

Just throw the lot into a large blender, add a bit of liquid, a dash of olive oil & cider vinegar and whizz it all up.  That's it. Too easy, as they say here!  I then added some raw, beetroot & cumin crackers to add a little crunch, 'cause I'm enjoying a natural, 'living' diet as much as possible while I'm here, especially after the Christmas excesses. 

My version of gazpacho. Perfect for a fasting day. 

My version of gazpacho. Perfect for a fasting day. 

See you soon, and let me know how you're getting on this month & if you try either recipe.

 

 

Goodbye 2016, you've been a kind year to me. Thank you.

HELLO 2017!

HELLO 2017!

Instead of concentrating on the crazy, mad & slightly depressing year it's been for us all, I am kicking off 2017 with my top ten personal, behind the scenes, highlights of 2016.  The positives and accomplishments rather than the bad news, failures & the negatives. Hope you enjoy. There are only a max of 3 photos per highlight!

TRAVELLING TO PLACES I'VE NEVER BEEN: I managed to get to two destinations I have always wanted to visit. With it's French influence, great shopping & awesome food, Pondicherry was a big highlight for me and my travelling companion Jude a year ago. More on Kerala & Pondicherry here

And I finally got to Santorini, a Greek island I have wanted to visit my entire life!  I was lucky enough to visit my brother Karim (by another mother, in case you're sitting there perplexed!) and his gorgeous girlfriend Miriam.  The bright blues and whites will be etched on my brain forever as will the sunsets.

LEARNING NEW SKILLS: As many of you know, I spend as long as possible in Byron Bay, in Australia, during the UK Winter months. ( I know, I know, I am very lucky & blessed but no one's life is completely perfect, including mine, the grass is always greener! )  During my last stay, I finally got to learn to do the crawl properly and can't wait to get back to the pool for more lessons. Having spent all my life swimming breast stroke with my head poking out of the water the crawl is a revelation and helps my neck too. What better place to learn.

Short video of my crawl is here.  

MORE NEW SKILLS: This has been the year that I have finally got to grips with taking much better food photography, flat lays and turning my Instagram gallery into something I am proud of....thanks to the on-line Makelight Courses I have taken with the wonderful Emily Quinton. The last image has been used for my new business cards - couldn't have done that a year ago!

NEW WORKSHOPS: It's also been a good year for running my workshops on 'Looking Good & Feeling Great' continuing to spread my Positive Ageing message far and wide! I was lucky enough to be invited back for the second year running to speak at the Age of Happiness Festival in Montenegro and was thrilled to be invited to The Mutton Club's first conference, 'Magnificence in Midlife & Beyond', in London, talking about nutrition for avoiding the Menopause. I meet so many inspiring women at these events, I can't wait to do more.

NEW NETWORKING EVENTS: I also attended a couple of bloggers' events for the first time this year.  One was a meeting of the minds at the first 30-40+ UK Blogger Meet up organised by Catherine of  Not Dressed As Lamb  and the biggie was the Blogtacular Conference.  I learned so much at both that I can't encourage you enough to attend one if you're a blogger. They change your life, literally!

 

WORK/LIFE BALANCE:  Blogging sort of takes over your life and even weekends are spent doing photography and faffing around, in between seeing friends & family. So I am now making sure to get a proper work life balance by trying to have a day off once a week, on a week day, with no time restraints, gym or appointments.....going with the flow, meeting friends for lunch or movies, pottering around Brighton and visiting lovely towns and villages on the South Coast with my oldest school friend Dalia.

Hastings has got to be one of our highlights for 2016, complete with an impromptu fashion shoot (I never consider photography 'work', it's such a passion of mine and Dalia seems to enjoy it, thank goodness!)

CHANGING MY IMAGE.  This was the year I decided to go fashionably grey and get rid of the bright red and orange I have had for 15 years. ( I obviously no longer feel invisible!) No more pink white towels, no more stained pillows, and no more roots needing covering every 6 weeks! My new look seems to have gone down well with everyone and, despite the bleaching, my hair's still healthy.  I wrote a piece for Gransnet if you are interested in reading about having healthy hair at any age.

Going grey was also a good excuse to get some new publicity photos done - rare shots of me without sunglasses, wrinkles and all! Thank you to Lynda Kelly for the gorgeous shots.

SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS:  And finally, all the hard work I put in has paid off and I ended 2016 on an absolute high.  First, I appeared in the New York Times, in their 'Style, Not Age' feature and then, just before Christmas I was interviewed by Instagram and was thrilled to see that my positive ageing message attracted as many Likes (over 633k last count) from the under 40's as the over 40's! Job done, so proud!

I can only imagine what exciting highlights & adventures are in store for 2017, but rest assured that I will be coming up with new detoxes, recipes, live Q & As on Facebook and sharing my posts & videos on how to dress on a budget, as often as possible! I might be in Byron Bay for a few months, but my holiday is over and the work starts now and......thank you Universe......it's raining for a few days!

Finally, a big thank you to all of you who have supported me, enjoyed & commented on my blog and social media and made this whole process so worth while. And do, please, let me know what your 2016 highlights have been. I'm not good at keeping to New Year's Resolutions but I am good at staying positive no matter what the world throws at us in 2017.

PS Don't forget to hashtag #vintageladyvintagestyle on Instagram if you're over 45 & all dressed up. I would love to feature you on my I Like Your Style blog.

A very Happy, Healthy & Positive New Year to you,

Much love,

A shepherds pie recipe to warm you right up!

a WARMING VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN SHEPHERDS PIE.  YOU COULD USE LEFT OVER TURKEY IF YOU ARE A MEAT EATER. 

a WARMING VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN SHEPHERDS PIE.  YOU COULD USE LEFT OVER TURKEY IF YOU ARE A MEAT EATER. 

I am sharing  yet another yummy and nutritious Jamie Oliver recipe, with my own vegan & vegetarian version for non-meat eaters. I have tried both options and they're delicious, easy and can be prepared well ahead of time.  

I actually used cricket flour instead of wheat flour 'cause that's all I had in the house!  It was a great taste and is a good option for people who can't eat wheat or gluten and don't mind eating flour made from insects! If you want to know more about the benefits of cricket flour there's a video of Brighton folk trying the edible insect health bars here!)

INGREDIENTS
500 g lean minced lamb or 500 g soya mince
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary - finely sliced
1 x 400 g tin of cannelloni beans or any other pulses
2 onions - finely chopped
2 carrots - finely chopped
2 sticks of celery - finely chopped
250 g  mushrooms - finely chopped
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour or wheat-free, high protein cricket flour
800 ml chicken or veg stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon mint sauce
350 g frozen peas

For the topping, mashed potato & swede is called for but I found a really delicious, ready-made one from Ocado that saves time and also includes carrot! Whose got the time to do it any other way!

ALL THE VEG & BEANS THAT GO INTO THE VEGETARIAN OPTION OF THIS SHEPHERDS PIE RECIPE.

ALL THE VEG & BEANS THAT GO INTO THE VEGETARIAN OPTION OF THIS SHEPHERDS PIE RECIPE.

HOW TO

Pop either lamb or soya mince in a hob-to-oven casserole, or a large saucepan, on high heat adding black pepper and cook for about 10-15 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Then add the chopped rosemary and the drained beans,  Cook and stir for another 8 minutes or so.  Add all the veg and sweat for a further 10 mins on medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the flour and then the stock.  Bring to the boil, then simmer on a low heat with the lid on, for 20-30 minutes.  

Meanwhile, either: boil the swede, chopped into chunks, for 10 minutes.  Then add the diced potatoes and cook for another 10 minutes. Drain, mash and add milk, cheese or butter & seasoning. Or do the topping my lazy way by buying a ready made swede & potato mash and put your feet up for 20 minutes!  

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 if you're eating soon.

After thirty minutes, add the Worcester and mint sauce (still lovely added to soya mince) and season.  Then all you have to do is pop it all into an oven casserole, if it's not in one already, sprinkle a layer of peas over the mince & veg, then top it all with the mash, and it's good to go. Either keep it for later (I have even kept it overnight in the fridge, once it's cooled off) or pop straight into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until it's looking golden and cooked and the liquid has thickened. 

Serve with spinach or any greens you like and there you have it - a filling, healthy meal for 4 or at least a couple of meals for 2.  

Let me know if you try it and have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year, if I don't talk to you before.  I am off to Australia so expect some very colourful blogs to come! 

Thank you for your wonderful support this year, it's been awesome.