Summer's on the way!

Summer's on the way!

I was lucky enough to be sent some gorgeous accessories by East Clothing, whilst I was in Byron Bay in March. Just as the weather turned to Autumn, literally overnight, my amazing photographer Charlotte Coker, of A Beautiful Weirdo, and I hit the beach in wind lashing weather to do our best. I am thrilled with the results and I hope you like them too.

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How to enjoy quinoa!

How to enjoy quinoa!

I have always found quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) a bit of a dull grain albeit a highly nutritious and healthy one. But, thanks to the Seasalt Cafe in Clovelly, (my favourite beach) in Sydney recently, I discovered black quinoa which is way more tasty and crunchy than its slightly slimy white cousin! Thank you for the recipe Chef.

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Vintage ladies, vintage style!

Vintage ladies, vintage style!

My hashtag is taking off!  A big thank you to anyone using #vintageladyvintagestyle on social media, we're slowly spreading the word that we may be over a certain age but we are certainly not over the hill, or invisible.  Please keep the message going around the world, we have much work to do!

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Accessories maketh an outfit!

Accessories maketh an outfit!

You know how much I love doing a fashion shoot in Byron Bay because it's so beautiful and usually reliably sunny, hot and dry, with a big blue sky. So when East sent me some of my favourite accessories from their new Spring/Summer range, all the way from England, I got really excited about photography with a really beachy summery look for my blog. And guess what, the weather changed from Summer to Autumn overnight, blowing such a gale on the beach that we thought we were in Cornwall!

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Another of my mad makeup videos!

Another of my mad makeup videos!

Just before leaving Byron Bay, I found a new to me, cruelty & parabens free eye & brow cosmetics. The new Brow Essential pack, by Eye of Horos, is all of those things and also contains the latest fave: organic, anti-ageing moringa oil.

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Melbourne: Fashion, Food & Friends.

Melbourne: Fashion, Food & Friends.

I had a short break in Melbourne last week, to attend part of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival and catch up with friends. This was my fourth visit to this wonderful city, which I seem to love more and more each time I go.  It reminds me of New York, Europe and Bristol all in one, and is just the best for fashion & food and of course it's amazing architecture & easy transport.

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I meet a local fashion designer.

I meet a local fashion designer.

Meeting a talented Byron Bay designer all started with these trousers!  I needed something for cooler weather, but not necessarily cold weather, when I arrived in Sydney three months ago. And, lucky for me, I found these in a 50% off sale by the trendy Aussie Tiger Lily brand. Then it was the big hunt for a top to go with them. Nothing I brought from the UK really worked and I wanted something as crazily patterned as these bad boys.  Enter a little beach market in Byron........... 

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Wellington, NZ.

Another travel blog for you and, as the last one on Napier seems to have gone down so well, I hope you enjoy my quick visit around this windy & cool (in both senses of the word!) city as much!

Wellington is New Zealand's capital city and what I wasn't expecting was how gorgeous the buildings and scenery were and how easy it was to walk everywhere. There was an interesting old street, building or architectural delight around every corner.  And I love the way the houses are built up hills, much like a tiny San Francisco, overlooking the pretty bay. 

Every visitor's favourite area to visit in Wellington is Cuba Street.  Known as one of the more trendy, edgy areas of the city, it's full of eclectic cafes, pre-loved & vintage shops, independent boutiques, art galleries & bars - galore.  I just loved it, but amazingly didn't buy a thing.  It was the most expensive vintage clothing I have ever come across!  But a very enjoyable few hours was spent wandering up and down this interesting street and the surrounding area.

There was only one dry, sunny day while I visited Wellington, so I spent a lot of time at the gorgeous Embassy Theatre dodging the rain and catching up with movies.  Art Deco and stunning inside, it's the only custom-built 1920s cinema still in use in New Zealand.  Apparently millions of dollars was spent on it for the Premiere of the Lord of the Rings, money well spent I'd say!

Oh, and New Zealand & Aussie audiences are much better behaved than UK & US ones.....little chatting, mobile use, crunching noisy food & fidgeting!  (Hello to Jason Isaacs). If you have no idea what on earth I am wittering about you are obviously not a member of The Church.  If you love movies, you need to join up immediately! Please let me know if you're a fellow wittertainment follower.

How's this for a cinema and just look at those loos!  

And culture.....there's culture galore in Wellington.  Te Papa Museum is really interesting and well worth a visit, especially on a wet day, and I was lucky enough to be in town for Waitangi Day to see some of the local kids singing Kapa Haka ( Maori dancing & singing to express their Polynesian identity)  in the blistering wind. It was magical. Sorry, too noisy to share a video with you, here's a photo of a bad Wellington day instead!. Reminds me of home.

Wellington. The weather's often inclement! But it's still a beautiful city.

Wellington. The weather's often inclement! But it's still a beautiful city.

But the best cultural highlight for me has to be the hotel I stayed at. The QT Museum Wellington is central, just across the road from the Te Papa museum, walking distance to Cuba Street & everywhere you're likely to want to go, and is like the wackiest museum itself, with amazing art and eccentric objects in every corner of the huge downstairs area.  I spent hours there! 

The hotel very kindly gave me an upgrade to a stunning apartment, which I could have lived in, room service was fantastic, essential for the wet & windy nights, and the renowned, hotel's Hippopotamus Restaurant did not disappoint, at all!  Thank you Chef Laurent Loudeac for preparing that gorgeous sushi and seared yellow fin tuna for me so I could have a taster of your fabulous food. Delicious and beautiful too! 

There's also a lovely pool & small gym at the QT Museum Wellington should the need arise.  But I was as happy as Larry eating beautiful food, admiring the art & resting in my lovely room after walking my socks off all over this beautiful city.  

Finally, I have to share this photo with you, 'cause I love it and it brings home the reminder that even New Zealand isn't entirely safe. It shows the Reading Cinema car park being pulled down because of quake-damage. NZ is such a nice change from Australia because you know nothing's going to kill you in the sea or hinterland, and then you see what the earthquakes can do.

The reading cinema car park. wellington. being demolished because of earthquake damage.

The reading cinema car park. wellington. being demolished because of earthquake damage.

I had an absolutely brilliant time in Wellington, despite the weather, and it is by far my very favourite city in New Zealand,  and I'm pretty sure I've visited them all now.  If you love shopping, quirky shops, interesting architecture, and great food,  (and need to renew your visa for Australia, as I did!) you'll love it - and there's even a beach! Just pack an umbrella & a windproof jacket and have a brilliant time. 

OK, I've been shopping again!

Not a pre-loved bargain but such an unusual dress from Karly Sunshine, in Byron Bay, for $130 (about £80) it would have been rude not to!  The necklace was bought in Byron 3 years ago, & the bangle & sunnies are vintage, cheap as chips, and I've had them an age.

The only new addition is the turban I found very recently for about £5!  So not a ridiculously expensive outfit but one that will work very well for dressing up more formally somewhere extremely hot.  

This is a dress I will have for a very long time, or as long as my body holds up in it!

Hope you like the awesome images taken by photographer Suzi Quii.

Sorry about all these "summer" photos.  I'm only here for another six weeks so for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere,  you won't be tortured for too much longer!  Spring is on it's way for you & there's a tiny bit of Autumn on it's way here in Australia. 

Take care and see you soon,



Vegan, detox smoothie.

Now it's warming up in the Northern Hemisphere, here's a detox smoothie you might like to try, which I've been enjoying whilst living in Byron Bay.  It contains many of the ingredients I have included in other smoothies before but this one has a couple of new additions that help with detoxing, add extra health benefits, and is totally vegan.  Most of all it's quick and easy.  

INGREDIENTS - organic wherever possible

(1 T is 1 Tablespoon & 1 t is 1 teaspoon)

Half a glass of almond milk or coconut water

1T blueberries or one small banana

1T golden flaxseeds - rich in Omega 3 & phytoestrogens for happy hormones

1T psyllium husks - cleans your bowel & moves them, big time!

1T raw protein powder.  I have been using this one in Australia

1T blackstrap molasses - a fantastic source of iron for vegans

1T coconut oil - a really important fat for weight loss & health

1t cinnamon - good for helping cholesterol & blood sugar levels

1t turmeric - the best anti-inflammatory spice I know of

1t kelp - supports the thyroid, big time

1t green powder - include wheat grass, chlorella & spirulina for a detox.

1t matcha tea powder - for a big natural caffeine kick!

That's it, throw them all into your blender, whizz up and drink immediately.

The coconut oil is made up of Medium Chain Fatty Acids which produce energy instead of body fat.  It's also 50% made up of lauric acid, which strengthens the immune system & is good for the gut.  It's an all round good fat and will keep you going for hours.

While I've been here in Australia, I've gone onto the 16:8 way of eating, nearly ever day, instead of the 5:2 plan twice a week.  This is another form of intermittent fasting that is proving very popular, has plenty of scientific research behind it, (check out Professor Longo here) and seems to be very successful for weight loss and, more importantly, the body's health. 

Because it's so hot here all the time and I've never been a big fan of breakfast, I have found it really easy to have my supper at 7.00 pm. and then not eat again till 11 or 12 the next day. (Drinking plenty of liquid, of course.) Most days I am only having two meals a day, with plenty of exercise in between eating whatever I like at those meal times, as long as it's healthy, and does include Prosecco from time to time!

I will report back, with photos, when I return to the UK in April and get my b.p., cholesterol, visceral & body fat measured at the doctors and the gym.  Then you'll be the first to hear whether my intermittent fasting has had the desired effect on my health!

As ever, let me know if you do intermittent fasting and whether it's benefited your health. Would love to hear. 

See you soon,

Napier, New Zealand.

I had to renew my visa for Australia before my three months was up, so thought visiting two places in New Zealand I hadn't been before would be a great excuse to leave and re-enter Oz. After too short a time in Wellington (that's another blog, another time) I hit Napier the Art Deco centre of New Zealand, somewhere I have always wanted to visit. The centre of the town was destroyed by an earthquake in 1931, and later rebuilt in the Art Deco style so popular at that time.  Now, the architecture, along with vintage costumes and cars, is a major tourist attraction that people from all over the world come to visit.

Napier, Ne Zealand.  The Art Deco mecca of the Southern Hemisphere.

Napier, Ne Zealand.  The Art Deco mecca of the Southern Hemisphere.

Every year, Napier throws open its doors to thousands of visitors for the world famous Tremains Art Deco Festival. I couldn't find anywhere to stay for this year's event so went the week before to catch the build up as the town got ready for its biggest annual party. It was a great time to go because I got to see the best Napier has to offer, without the crowds, and I still got to dress up!

Anyone who loves Art Deco will find the architecture just awesome, just make sure your camera battery's fully charged!

It's not just about the amazing Art Deco buildings everywhere, it's also about the vintage cars tootling around town and the fact that the locals love to dress up in vintage 20s & 30s outfits for the visitors.  I was lucky to be running around town with my camera the day a cruise ship came in and the sun came out..... so the costumes and cars were out in force.

I stayed at the Art Deco Masonic Hotel, really central and handy for the museum, beach, cars & shops.....especially Charleston Chic, right next door, where I spent a lot of time!

The Art deco masonic hotel, napier, new zealand.

The Art deco masonic hotel, napier, new zealand.

Charleston Chic, run by Penelope, whose been in the vintage clothes and accessories business for over twenty years, became my new best friend and kindly introduced me to the perfect Hawkes Bay people for me to meet, as well as styling up my 20s dress for a High Tea! Here's a little Video glimpse inside her shop.

So then it was off to High Tea at Port O Call to meet another Brightonian, who now lives in Napier.  Estelle of Brighton makes gorgeous vintage bags to sell and never misses an opportunity to dress up in vintage.  Nor do I!  I dragged this 20's long dress all the way from the UK to Australia and then to New Zealand for just such an event.  And it was perfect!

 I bought the red gloves, sunnies & feather head piece really cheaply in Napier,  and Penelope very kindly lent me the gorgeous necklace and gold shoes from her shop, Charleston Chic.

As you can see, we had a ball and, hopefully, really looked the part. The tea room/shop was a pleasure to wander around and I managed to find the most gorgeous small vintage suitcase to'll have to wait for the photos, but it's going to be perfect for my 'props' box at home and so very pretty!

And that wasn't the only place I shopped. I found The Best retro boutique (very 50s, very me!) called Two Lippy Ladies, in Napier.  It's run by lovely ladies Natalie (on the left) and Karla (on the right), such a pleasure to meet.  As NZ was a bit chilly after Oz, and I hadn't brought any jeans from the UK, I didn't feel in the least bit guilty buying these awesome 50s style denim capris that were designed & made in England by Hell Bunny and were still super reasonable despite how far they'd travelled! 

If the weather's not perfect when you visit Napier, don't worry as there are loads of really interesting shops, restaurants & cafes in town so you won't be bored for a moment..... broke but not bored!  And the food's great too. You'll eat and drink so well in New Zealand that you'll need a bit of a diet, or a fast, like I did when I got home again!

And finally, thanks to Estelle, I was introduced to Matthew Bonnet (the dapper young man below), who kindly arranged for his friend Leigh Patterson to drive us around town in his gorgeous vintage car.  I felt like a very important person sticking my red gloved arm out every time we needed to turn right and waving at anyone who waved at us! Thank you so much to both of you for such a fabulous end to my Napier visit. 

I had a wonderful visit to Napier, despite the two days of rain that the area badly needed, and I was touched by the kindness and hospitality of everyone I met there who more than made up for the fact that I couldn't attend the world-famous Tremains Art Deco Festival. If you fancy going to the Festival one year, just remember that the hotels get booked up at least one year, or even two, in advance.  Or go just before or after the Festival, like I did. Napier won't disappoint, whatever time of the year you go, it's a really gorgeous town especially for lovers of all things vintage.  And the beach isn't bad either!


My very own first hashtag has started to have the desired effect!  Thank you all you lovely ladies who have started to post yourselves on Instagram, or elsewhere, wearing what makes you look & feel great, preferably in vintage or retro.  

I now have enough photos tagged #vintageladyvintagestyle to show you my favourite 6 so please continue to use the hashtag and tell your friends to as well.  The quirkier the better.  Let's give Advanced Style a run for his money!  I need more of you to show the world how wonderful we can all look Well Over 40 and beyond. Here are the best six, photographically and style-wise.  And thank you.

The Instagram links to the sexy six are below the photos.

In photographic order:

 Janice Issitt

Estelle Pemberton

Mrs Maya Plays

Jan Wild

Peg Burke

Ana Babaian

These ladies are so interesting, for all sorts of reasons: talented, stylish and individual while refusing to lie down & become invisible.  I salute you my first gang of six and look forward to more and more of you joining #vintageladyvintagestyle. You don't have to be vintage or wear vintage, but one or other helps!