7 Of The Best Autumn Jumpers

It’s officially Autumn. It should be my favourite season of the year because my birthday MONTH is September, but I’ve always been a sunshine lover so summer wins every time for me. Having said that, I do have a penchant (ha, me and my fancy words) for autumnal clothing. It’s cosy, it’s warm, it covers up my bingo wings and it means I can wear one of my 47 pairs of boots. Winning!

 

Now, I would love to have been able to model some new clothes I’ve recently bought, but I’m skint. So we’re both going to have to make do with the fact that I’ve just put some time and effort into scouring the internet for clothes I think both you and I will like, so until I win the lottery (if I actually remember to buy a ticket) I thought I’d do a little series of blog posts about autumn clothing I’m loving at the moment.

 

Today’s blog post – jumpers! I’ve looked at four different websites: Simply Be, JD Williams, Hush and New Look. Just click on the links to find out more and just to say, these aren’t affiliate links so (unfortunately), I don’t earn anything if you buy them, I just thought it was nice to share!

 

Oasis Esther Embroidered Knit – £45

 

best autumn jumpers

 

I’m not a particularly flowery person but I thought this jumper was really pretty. I think the flowers being just on the shoulders would be flattering to us larger-boobed ladies, it goes up to a size XXXL, has a cute (but not too cutesy) bow at the back and a small frill at the end of the sleeves. Would really dress up a plain pair of jeans I think.

 

Oasis Funnel Colourblock Jumper – £38

 

best autumn jumpers

 

Coincidentally, this jumper from Simply Be is also an Oasis jumper, and this too goes up to a size XXXL. I’m not sure what that equates to – a size 18/20 maybe? I’m a sucker for a grey jumper (I already have three), but the addition of the mint colour at the top makes this a little different. Looks lovely and cosy doesn’t it?

 

Ruffle Yoke Jumper – From £21-£26

 

best autumn jumpers

 

This jumper from JD Williams actually goes up to a size 34 (good on you JDW!) and I chose it because it’s a dressy, going out OUT jumper, that I think would look lovely with a skirt, as shown in the picture. I think the sheer V-neck is very flattering to all boobs and it’s a pretty good price too.

 

Metallic Cold Shoulder – £22

 

best autumn jumpers

 

Another going out jumper from JD Williams and this one is perfect to carry through until Christmas – metallic AND cold shoulder, a lovely combination that would work equally as well going out for dinner or chilling at home on Christmas Day. I also like the ruffle details on the sleeves … a nice touch.

 

Pink Wrap Jumper – £28

 

best autumn jumpers

 

I don’t wear baby pink like ever, but I LOVE this jumper! I’ve never seen a wrap jumper like this before but it’s gorgeous. It’s loose, so doesn’t cling, but the V-neck (again) is just so flattering. I think out of all the jumpers, this is probably the one I’ll save up to buy.

 

Love Jumper – £85

 

best autumn jumpers

 

Hush is a little on the pricey side but they do have unique clothes that you probably wouldn’t find anywhere else, like this Love jumper. I’m an old romantic at heart, and I quite like the idea of walking around embossed in love! (Even if I can’t find a boyfriend.) So whilst my search for love continues, I’ll just wrap myself up in love … literally. Currently only have a Large size available.

 

Mustard Ribbed Choker Neck – £19.99

 

best autumn jumpers

 

And finally, this mustard jumper from New Look. I don’t really like things around my neck, feels a little claustrophobic, but I think I could wear this jumper. I don’t own anything in mustard, but as you may remember from the summer, I love the colour yellow so this is a good transition for me. It’s cheap, so even if it only lasted one season, it’s not so bad. Also comes in baby pink and black.

 

I hope you liked what I chose – do you like this type of blog post? I think I’ll follow up with a party dress post and maybe a boots one. Let me know what you’d like to see.

 

kate sutton

How To Save Money On Household Essentials

I was talking to the lady who came to clean my oven today, a luxury in itself yes, but nobody’s got time for oven cleaning. Anyway, the poor lady got my life story in less than thirty minutes and the one subject we kept coming back to was money. Oh, and the fact she thought I was twelve years younger than I am, but I won’t go on about that too much. But twelves years … not bad eh!

 

I told her how I lost my house five years ago, she told me how she started her own business, we both agreed letting agents really are the work of the devil and how one once demanded that I earnt £500k per year (slightly exaggeration) in order to prove I could afford to rent a €650 pcm house and so on, and it all reminded me of something Mum once said to me: “You’ll always have to work hard in life for money, it’s never going to come easy to you.” I mean God rest her soul and all that but I’d have much preferred for her to have said, “You’ll be a huge success/win the lottery.” Either or. 

 

But she was right. I’ve always had a tough relationship with money, insofar as it’s always been difficult to come by, and boy, do I work hard for every penny I do get. But one thing I’m proud of is that after my ex left me in a massive financial mess, I got myself out of it through sheer bloody determination and hard work. I was left with debt that I’ve now nearly paid off but I do remember visiting Citizen’s Advice Bureau and checking out Money Advice Service online to see what my rights were and I frequently sought advice as to how I could turn things around.

 

I’ve become adept at saving money wherever I can now, and wanted to some ways in which I save money on household essentials:

 

  • I always use comparison websites whenever it comes to renewing insurance or comparing energy companies – which reminds me, I saw Martin Lewis mention this week that by moving away from British Gas, I could save 30% on my bills.
  • I asked the council for a 25% discount on my council tax as I live alone.
  • I bought a diesel car as they’re so cheap to drive.
  • I reduced the TV package we were using and pay for the bare minimum – I’m debating getting rid of it altogether as I only use catch-up TV.
  • Instead of upgrading my phone, I went SIM-only and now only pay £20 per month.
  • I had a water meter installed.
  • The heating only goes on when it’s freezing – I’d rather put a jumper on (I sound like my Dad), or work from bed. I also keep the thermostat to under 20 degrees if I can. And then Dexter turns it up.
  • I pay everything by Direct Debit.
  • I found out the times my local supermarket reduce their food and try to shop then.

 

I don’t ever want to find myself in a financial mess again and although I don’t have much, I know where all my money goes and keep a tight rein on it. But I also know it’s important to ask for help if you ever do find yourself struggling.

 

I hope my tips help, do let me know if you have any other good ideas on how to save money.

 

kate sutton

 

*  This post is a collaborative post.

Great … More Awful Dating Messages

Do you remember me writing recently about some awful messages I’d received from dating websites? And oh, how we all laughed … and just presumed it couldn’t get any worse? Well I’m back, with another, ‘More moronic dating messages’ blog post. Hurrah for you, because it’s kinda funny. Boo for me because obviously, this means I’m still single.

 

Let’s kick off with this:

 

dating message

 

I’m a little confused. Does he want ME to wear a little black dress? Or does he want to take a photo of me whilst HE’S wearing a little black dress? Either way, it’s a no from me you absolute freak.

 

Next up we have this charming message:

 

dating message

 

 

What a generous gesture right?! To offer to ‘inspect’ my breasts. How utterly delightful. Why bother saying hello these days, when you can just get right down to business and comment on my breast size. Brilliant. Also, note his tagline. I’m going to presume he’s talking about himself.

 

This one is so romantic, I can’t even …

 

dating messages

 

 

Hands up, who doesn’t want to be covered in spubk? What even is spubk? On a serious note, saying I’m a MILF isn’t a compliment, and yet men continue to bandy that phrase about on dating sites like it’s going out of fashion. Well I’ll tell you now ladz, it never WAS in fashion, so stop saying it.

 

And I’m going to end on this one. Wow.

 

dating messages

 

I admire him you know, because that’s clearly his jam (although not mine), and he was at least respectful, but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD … what is it about my face that makes all the weirdos message me? Is it some aura I’m giving out that I don’t realise? I swear to God, my profile photos are all perfectly normal. There’s barely any cleavage on show, let alone anything else (ewww) and yet still, every day, I’m sent such odd messages. Answers on a postcard.

 

Suffice to say, I haven’t dated for a good few weeks now. I think I had a good run (dating ‘successfully’ for more than one week is considered a ‘good run’), and I especially had some wonderful dates with one particular guy, about 5 day/overnight/day type dates, which unfortunately have now stopped because he turned out to be a massive twat. But hey ho, you have to take the rough with the smooth when it comes to dating and my heart is still intact … well, as intact as it ever will be. And so onwards. Again. 

 

kate sutton

How Will I Be Remembered?

I haven’t quite been myself lately. I’ve made some poor decisions. Said things I shouldn’t have said. Eaten things I shouldn’t have eaten … and I’ve let myself be treated quite poorly by someone recently when I’m old enough to know better. It goes to show that even aged 47, I still have a lot to learn.

 

I remember thinking when I was 25, happily married with a young child, “Life is good, I’ve got this on lock. I’m happy, what can possibly go wrong?” I was divorced by 27. And then when I fell in love again aged 32, I thought, “I never thought I could be this happy again, this is it, I’ve finally got my life sorted.” And then we all know how that relationship turned out. And it continues to haunt me.

 

But it was three years’ later, when Mum died, when my world truly came crashing down. I made a comment in my last blog post about still needing a cuddle from my Mum and I feel like that every day. Seriously … every day. And I know a lot of you feel the same. Today is one of those days.

 

The question is, how do you cope with life when that most fundamental support system is no longer there? And the answer is, I guess (because I’m still trying to work it out), that you become your own support system. You have to. You develop an inner strength that you didn’t think you ever had so that you look inwards instead of outwards for support. That’s not to say that I don’t have great friends and family I could turn to if I needed them, but really, when it boils down to it, you have to support yourself.

 

I struggle with this. People see me as this strong woman on the outside, and I am for the most part, but I constantly have to keep re-evaluating every single decision I make because I’m all there is. I have no mother. No partner. It’s just me. And the constant need to always do the right thing is exhausting.

 

Dexter made me laugh today. He said, as we were watching a cooking programme together, “That reminds me of that time you cocked up the pork crackling by not putting enough salt on it and it was rubbish.” He was right, it was awful, but it was about two years’ ago son and I’m pretty sure I’ve made way more awesome crackling than rubbish! But my worry is that I’m going to be remembered for the few, minor shit decisions I’ve made, instead of the good ones.

 

Does anyone else feel like that? Constantly worried that everything you do is the wrong thing? That you’ll only be remembered for that one time you did something stupid. Got lost. Said something mean in the heat of the moment. Kissed someone not deserving of it. Or cocked up the crackling? I hope to God not.

 

I need to remember that I’m human. Everyone is always telling me to be kinder to myself, but I find that quite difficult. I’m very hard on myself. If I’ve done something wrong, I’ll beat myself up about it for weeks. If I’ve fallen out with someone, I won’t sleep for days. If I’ve got something to say to someone but can’t find the right words, I’ll toss and turn, waking in the early hours, until I find them.

 

Is this what being a woman is? Or a mother? Or just a human being? Does everyone else struggle to always try and do the right thing … all … the … bloody … time? Or should I just care less?

 

I’m waffling … now that’s something I’m actually quite good at! But I guess becoming middle-aged means that I’m start to question the meaning of life a lot. What’s it all about? What will my legacy be? What will people say about me when I’m gone? Will my children be proud of me? What would Mum have thought of me were she still here? It’s a bit morbid, and I have no plans to bugger off for at least another 50 years, but being half-way through my life means I think about this a lot. You start to question every decision you ever made – the right ones, but especially the wrong ones – could you or I have done better? How would life have turned out if I had made different decisions?

 

Would love to hear your thoughts – if you can actually disseminate what my actual point was. Good luck.

 

kate sutton

13 Random Things That Make Me Happy

So hereby officially ends my birthday month. Waaaaaah! It was great, really great. In fact, it was so much fun, I think I might just try and recreate it each month! It’s interesting to see what a difference it made to consciously go out of my way to treat myself kindly. To spoil myself with trips to the seaside. To eat good food. To spend time with loved ones and people that make me smile.

 

So I thought I’d write a list of things that make me happy, in the hope that if I vocalise some of them, I can ensure I do at least one of them a day. The world isn’t a great place to be in right now and I think it’s important we try and focus on making our lives a little happier if we can. I know first-hand it’s not always that easier, but I’m going to try.

 

1.   Facebook memes – either being the tagger or taggee. My best friend and eldest son have a very similar sense of humour to me and by law, I should be tagged at least once a day.

2.   Good coffee – I certainly don’t get good coffee at home, I’m more quantity than quality, but there’s nothing nicer than finding a nice independent coffee shop on my travels that sells a good cup of black, strong coffee.

3.   Halloumi – my halloumi addiction has waned slightly, thank God, it was getting ridiculous, but I found myself buying another pack in M&S today. AND they’ve put up the price! I need to find something cheaper to be addicted to quickly.

4.   Being paid on time – as a freelancer, a lot of my time is spent chasing people for money, for work I’ve produced on time. It comes with the territory unfortunately, so when someone pays me on time, it’s not only a huge relief (yay to being able to pay the rent), but yeah, just yay to being able to pay the rent.

5.   Being cooked for – Ben, my eldest, is training to be a chef and it’s so wonderful to see him so passionate about his career. What’s also wonderful, is that when he visited for the week last week, I got cooked for! As a long-term single woman, this is a rarity and something I’m very appreciative of.

6.   Kissing – who doesn’t like kissing? I could just do with more of it in my lift tbh. Form an orderly queue.

7.   Hot baths – I mean scalding hot. Can’t be good for me, but it’s just something I look forward to every night. Although I did buy Radox’s ‘Man’ bubble range the other day so I could well grow a penis any minute.

8.   Afternoon Tea – my best friend bought me a voucher for Afternoon Tea at my favourite local café for my birthday and I can’t wait! I don’t know what it is about Afternoon Tea that makes me smile so much … hang on, yeah I do, it’s cake. Man, I love the cake. She wrote at the bottom of the voucher that it would be null and void if I didn’t take her, so I have no choice really.

9.   TV Programmes I really shouldn’t be watching – OK, guilty pleasure time, but there are a couple of shows I’m loving at the moment, but they’re not exactly high-brow. Quite the opposite. But I can’t help myself! Such as Teen Mom UK (and if anyone else watches this, I saw Mia outside the London Eye on Saturday!), Bachelor in Paradise (I would legit have Dan’s babies), Masterchef Australia … aah, that’s not so cheesy but it’s on every day so I have 14 episodes to catch up on, and no-one really should spend that much time on a cooking show, and anything to do with buying a property abroad. Not that any of them ever do. There’s also one called Sex Pod on MTV, but I’m not going to mention that.

10.   The seaside – I have a print at home that I bought in Brighton that says: ‘One day we will wake up and find that we live by the sea.’ I long for this to be a reality. For me to own my own home again. To wake up, look out of the window and at least see a glimpse of water … preferably turquoise blue and not in the UK.

11.   Dogs – need I say more? In fact, I was that person the other day that deliberately made conversation with a stranger outside Tescos because she had an Akita puppy with her. Not only that, but I asked if I could take Luna’s photos! Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if there were more dogs and less humans?

 

 

12.   Fruit Pastilles – but not any Fruit Pastilles. Oh no. You can buy a bag that are just red and black sweets. Whatever woman thought that idea up is a genius.

13.   Old photos – Dad found some old photos the other day, and I know he’s got dozens of albums still to go through, but it’s been lovely reminiscing and looking at old photos of us as a family, of me as a child. It’s obviously all the more poignant because Mum is no longer with us, and although part of me is sad looking at these photos, they’re still wonderful.

 

 

What makes you happy? Let me know.

 

kate sutton

3 Ways I Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is very ‘in’ these days isn’t it? Mindfulness is the art of paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them – without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. Totally didn’t Google that. All I knew was that well, it was a bit spiritual.

 

And even though I didn’t know what it was, it does feel like it’s something I’ve naturally been leaning towards lately. Trying to live more intuitively. Learning to listen to what my body, heart, mind and soul need, and doing my best to give them what they need at any given time. Take earlier this week for example. I had a personal training session booked in for the afternoon and a new dance class booked in for the evening. Instead, I had a lovely Nana nap at 2pm and a chocolate orange for tea.

 

Now I’m not saying that was the smartest decision … the chocolate I mean, but some days, you just don’t feel it, and there’s no point making myself exercise and eat healthily if I can’t muster up enough energy to even do the washing up. So, I took it easy. I did some yoga stretches I got from my new yoga book, on my new fancy yoga mat, kindly given to me, along with a box of other mindfulness-related goodies, from Jet2.com and Jet2Holidays.com, and I just took it easy.

 

mindfulness

 

Mindfulness sounds complicated, but in my mind (geddit?), it’s not. Here are 3 ways in which I try to practice (my version) of mindfulness:

 

1.  DEEP STRETCHING – YOGA/PILATES

 

I’ve started to take some time in the morning to do some lovely deep stretches to try and gently wake up my body. Apart from this week because I’m officially 47 and I’ve had a bad back all week. But the principle remains. It forces me to focus on connecting with my body, if that makes sense, namely because there’s no denying I’m approaching 50 and everything generally aches all the time. Like ALL THE TIME. I also go to Pilates once a week because it’s an hour where I can just calm down my body after a lot of weight training and concentrate on my breathing and I find it very good for my soul.

 

mindfulness

 

2.  TRAVELLING

 

My budget doesn’t stretch to travelling far at the moment but I think I’ve mentioned before, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY MONTH (as opposed to just having one day) and so I’ve travelled to the beach a couple of times – Brighton and Whitstable, two of my very happy places. The sea air re-energises me and I just find the beach so peaceful, strangely, even when it’s full of tourists. But my top tip is to go mid-week if you can, like I did. (You can read about my trip to Brighton HERE.) I can only imagine how much better ever trip would be with a bit of sunshine thrown in, so fingers crossed I can go abroad next year.

 

3.  FRIENDS

 

My friend Zoe was over in the UK from Australia and she, myself and another friend, Clare, spent a lot of time together this month. I’ve also made an effort to not just talk to my best friend on the phone, but to actually go round and see her. She only lives in the next town but it’s just so easy to Whatsapp each other isn’t it, that I got out of the habit of seeing her, and it just feels important to me to nurture my friendships, all of them. Besides, there’s nothing better than just chatting shit over a cup of tea or, even better, a cold beer in a beer garden. Connecting personally on that level is so much better than over the phone and I always come away with my spirits lifted … knowing that I have these great women in my life is such a wonderful feeling. I feel part of something you know?

 

One bit of advice I can give you, apart from the above, is to try and pay more attention to the mundane tasks in life. When you’re brushing your teeth or taking a shower, even when you’re eating your lunch, take time to appreciate the sights, smells, tastes and feelings of what you’re doing, because at the end of the day, mindfulness is just about connecting with yourself and the world around you. I think I’m feeling this way because I’m halfway through my life and I’m aware of how precious life is, and I just want, and need, to ensure that the second half of my life is as happy as it can be.

 

I’d love to hear about how you relax and connect with yourself, or do you find that life is just way too busy?

 

kate sutton

This Week’s Grim Online Dating Messages

As you all know, I’m dating again, and, for the most part, it has been lots of fun. But one thing that seems to have changed a lot since I first began online dating some four years ago is that most men are really bloody rude. I don’t mean ‘dick pic’ rude (ahem, unfortunately), I just mean that a lot of guys just don’t have manners anymore.

 

It’s something I spoke about with my good friend today after getting this introductory message:

 

online dating

 

And she agreed with me. Whatever happened to, “Hi, it’s nice to meet you.” So I decided that I would be this guy’s dating expert, you know, give him a few tips to help him with the ladeeez. So I suggested that it might not be an appropriate first message, that being told, ‘Hot body great photos’ in a first message wasn’t very gentlemanly.

 

Here’s his reply:

 

online dating

 

OK, so some people reading this may think I should be flattered that he’s being so ‘complimentary’ … well I’m not. I’m really not. I know that online dating is all about first impressions, about looks, and whether you fancy someone or not. I get it. You have to make that snap decision about whether to swipe left or right or take the time to write to someone, but what did he expect me to reply? “Thanks?” “I’m so honoured that you think I’ve got a great body?” I mean he’s right and all that … haha, I’m kidding – I actually cringe when I upload my photos because, like a lot of women, all I see for the most part is flaws, but he’d never go up to me in person and say it, so why say it online?

 

So back to our online friend. I said, “Whatever happened to just saying hello?” Giving him an ‘in’ if you will (I will) in the hope that he could understand where I’m coming from, that it’s better to try and get to know someone based on personality, not what they look like in a few selfies. He replied, “Well hello, how are you, nice to see local lady.” I’m thinking at this point OK, he may not be English, but does that excuse the poor intro message? Nope. It doesn’t.

 

I plough on. So to speak. “Aah, that’s much better!” I say, trying to be positive and encouraging.

 

He replies:

 

online dating

 

Christ sake, there’s really no helping some people, and at that point, I blocked him.

 

But trust me, this message was tame. My friends on Facebook will have seen some of the absolute dross I’ve dealt with lately. Introductory messages asking me to get into weird poses that even the most talented of yoga instructors couldn’t manage, one bloke said he gets off on buying me stuff (actually, I quite liked that one), and one charmer thanked me as he’d just banged one out over my photos. Don’t believe me? Here you go.

 

online dating

 

So that was nice. I ignore most of these messages, don’t feed the troll/perv, but all the while I, and other women, are having to soak up these messages even if we don’t interact with them. I don’t interact but I’m still subjected to it. Such is the nature of online dating and of course, it’s not like I’m ever going to meet any of these goons, but isn’t it a strange world when men think it’s OK to talk to women they don’t know like that? Back in my day etc. you’d just buy a girl a drink and talk to her. OK, I’m of a different generation, but I still expect to be treated with respect – on and offline. It’s what I’ve taught my boys, and I won’t lower my standards just because the medium of meeting people is online.

 

Like I say, I’ve been really lucky with dates lately, they’ve all treated me well and we’ve had lots of fun but man alive, online dating does remain complex.

 

kate sutton

Weight Loss Diary – Weeks 85-88 (WHY I STOPPED)

Well hello you. I haven’t written my usual weight loss journey post on a Sunday for a month now and I thought I’d sit down and explain why. If you’re still around that is.

 

It boils down to a few things but predominantly, I got bored writing the same thing every week. And I think you may have got bored too … and I don’t blame you. I wasn’t losing a great deal of weight, I was yo-yo’ing a lot and as much as I was making great strides at the gym, which perhaps is one reason why I wasn’t losing much weight, I just couldn’t/can’t seem to shift these last few stones.

 

I’m stuck, and it’s frustrating as hell. I’ve fallen back into some bad habits, mainly eat shitty food at night in bed. It’s always been a comfort thing but I’m unsure why I’m turning to food again. I’ve worked through some issues with my therapist and, as I mentioned in another post, I’ve decided to stop therapy for the time being because life is good. My head feels quite clear and I’m happy for the most part, but there are a couple of things in life that are making me feel a little unsettled, and I tend to turn to food to ‘calm down’ those feelings.

 

Are you with me so far? So firstly, my love life. I don’t really have one per se, although I’ve had some really lovely dates in the last few weeks, but I’m still hoping that one of them will turn into something more, but they haven’t so far. And you know what? That’s actually OK because being single is no bad thing, as much as society/the media would have us believe. I think that as long as you are happy within yourself, you don’t need to be in a relationship. It’s an occasional ‘want’ for me, never a ‘need.’ But when I’m feeling low, I do tend to wonder why no-one wants to be in a relationship with me. I doubt myself sometimes, I’m only human, and I have to give myself a metaphorical slap round the face when I feel like that because I know I’m a good person that has a lot to offer … I just clearly haven’t met the right person.

 

And secondly, money. Or rather lack thereof. I love being self-employed, I really do. I can’t begin to tell you how liberating it is working in your knickers every day (poor postman) but scrabbling around for pennies at the end of every month (literally) is exhausting. Like really draining … that constant worry, and so again, I turn to food. The one constant in my life.

 

I thought I’d kicked these bad habits and so I’m a little disappointed in myself if I’m honest. The one good thing is that I’ve only put a couple of pounds on – I weighed myself at the doctors this week, the first time in four weeks. So my weight loss is 3 stones and 12lbs. But I definitely haven’t missed the weekly weigh-in. I haven’t been to the gym for two weeks because I picked up a shoulder injury that was really debilitating … and buggering off to the seaside with a new friend probably didn’t do it any favours (but it was oh-so-much fun!) So thinking about it, I’m missing those endorphins I usually get from weight training. Christ, I really need to go back ASAP.

 

I’m waffling. I think I just thought that you wouldn’t want to hear me moan about my problems, and the reasons why I’m not losing weight right now. But it’s important for me to document my thoughts about this because we all know how easy it is to completely fall off the wagon. But one thing I AM doing well, that I’m hoping will just stand me in good stead when it comes to life in general, is focusing on doing things that make me happy. Like having my hair cut.

 

OK OK … just slightly trimmed, but still …

 

red hair

 

Going to the seaside …

 

whitstable beach

 

And blouse shopping. Don’t you just love blouse shopping …

 

 

My weight is going to be a lifelong issue for me. I’d love to be that person who never has to worry or even think about food, but I’m not. I can look at a piece of lettuce and put a stone on … but equally, I’ve been very honest about the times when I’ve not done what I needed to do to shift this weight. And I really do need to lose these last few stones. So tomorrow is a new day (obviously) and I’m hoping that I can sort of … ‘re-set’. Yes, Re-set Monday. Fingers crossed I can kickstart this weight loss again but in the meantime, I do hope you’ll stick around.

 

weight loss before after

 

kate sutton

 

A Story About Dad

I was meant to see my Dad yesterday, just to briefly pop in for a coffee, but I was heading off to Whitstable for the day and I just didn’t have time. He was also going to play golf so y’know, we’re all busy busy. But I wanted to take the time to talk about my Dad, for several reasons. I love him and don’t talk about him enough. Actually, I think that’s reason enough don’t you?

 

For those of you that have elderly parents, you’ll understand that our relationships change somewhat with them as we both get older. The balance of ‘power’ (not the right word, but you know what I mean) changes and I find I’m feeling and becoming much more nurturing and caring towards Dad as he moves into his twilight years. Our relationship was always one of Dad being the adventurous parent, Mum being the matriarchal carer, and I had the happiest of childhoods.

 

I talk about Dad a lot to other people. Dad would probably be quite surprised if he knew. In fact, I did it yesterday when I was walking along Whitstable beach with my new friend. I don’t know how we got onto the subject. Perhaps it was because we saw a lot of retired couples walking their dogs, or maybe I was just feeling guilty because I’d run out of time to see Dad yesterday. I explained to my friend that Dad used to be a builder for many years, and a great one at that. That he loves betting on the horses (and if the horses are your cup of tea, why not click and download here for the William Hill android & iOS apps), but greyhound racing was a big passion of his when we were growing up. He loves golf and I’m so happy that he’s now able to play again after becoming ill last year, and I even spoke about his beloved Corned Beef Hash that Mum would make every single Saturday without fail. It was a very long and random conversation!

 

Last year was tough, on all the family, but particularly on him. He was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and it took a good nine months to get the balance of medication right before we saw any improvement, and it was really hard seeing him so poorly. But *touch wood* he’s now a hundred times better than he was and my brother even managed to take him on holiday to Rhodes earlier this year, something he hasn’t done for the longest time. To see Dad swimming in the pool, enjoying a beer whilst reading the paper and just deservedly enjoying this holiday really made me smile.

 

This post is a great opportunity to share one of my all time favourite family photos! 

 

family

 

Dad was married to Mum for over forty years. I remember the surprise 40th anniversary party we threw for them in my back garden, just like it was yesterday. We filmed Mum’s reaction as she walked through the side gate to the garden to see a marquee full of all her favourite people, and I still hold onto that memory as if it’s the most precious jewel I could own. Because when you lose a parent, that’s all you have left … memories.

 

Which brings me onto this. Time. And guilt. I just always feel like I don’t have enough time. To do the things I want, the things that bring me happiness, and to spread myself (ouch) amongst the people I love the most, and I often feel like time is running out. That there is only a finite amount of time I have left on this earth and I need to cram in as much as possible. I wouldn’t say it’s a mid-life crisis, and my 47th birthday is impending, so it could be that, but it’s also a definite recognition that I’m halfway through my life.

 

And I feel guilty that I’m never quite doing enough for the people I love. Am I a good enough daughter, mother, auntie, sister, friend? Could I … should I be doing more for other people? I guess some days I find it hard enough to look after myself, like it requires a conscious effort to look after myself, but as yesterday showed, these special people are always on my mind, even if I don’t physically see them, and I guess I have to hope that, for the most part, that is enough.

 

I would love to hear from you if you’ve managed to find a great balance between having the life you want, and doing the things you like … and spending time with your family, because right now, I feel like I’m failing.

 

kate sutton

 

*  This is a collaborative post.

A Story About The Universe

I wanted to share something with you today that I think is a little freaky, especially as it’s a subject I’ve been meaning to cover for a while. Anyway, shut up Kate and get on with it. It’s about the universe, but it’s also a bit bigger than that.

 

I have this amazing friend. I don’t know whether to share her name, so I won’t for now, but she’s fab. A real gentle soul, and she’s relatively new in my life and I’m extremely grateful for her. She attended a talk yesterday run by a lady called Gabrielle Bernstein – Gabby is a writer and motivational speaker and from what I can gather (I’ve never heard of her before), her purpose in life (I’m quoting Oprah right now, as one should at least once a day), is to ‘help people tune into their own inner voice.’ Interesting so far, right?

 

So Gabby is speaking and my friend is doodling in her notebook/making notes, and she wrote down my name. For no other reason I’d imagine, other than I was on her mind at that precise moment. Which is lovely. Anyway, as she wrote down my name, literally as she wrote it, a lady in the crowd stood up and shared her personal story with Gabby. And it was the mirror image of my story. This lady asked how she could lean in towards love (instead of fear) as she had just heard that the man that physically abused her was coming out of prison. Now that’s not something I’ve told you guys before but it’s very similar to my story. Gabby said this is understandably a very fearful situation but it’s important to take back control – that that’s their shit, and we need to focus on our own. Concentrate on ourselves, our love and our happiness, and it’s not about forgiving the person that hurt us, but it’s about letting go of the situation.

 

My friend told me this and I burst into tears. It was an immediate physiological reaction and I think it was for several reasons. Firstly, I physically felt this other lady’s pain. To know that she, and others, have gone through something similar to me hurts my heart so much that I feel what I can only imagine they feel, as if it’s my own pain. If I wasn’t an empathetic person before, I know I definitely am now. And secondly, it felt like my friend put my name out to the universe at that point and the universe gave back to her what I needed to hear. 

 

A quick word about this. Yes, I’m a bit of a hippy at heart, always have been, but only insofar as I’m very laid-back, a lover not a fighter, and I like flowers and shit. I do not like incense, dancing round trees or not washing my hair. Note: No offence to actual hippies intended. So when I talk about ‘the universe’, it’s coming from a pretty sane(ish) place, it’s just something I’m feeling more and more the older I get and the more in tune with myself I become. So, please have an open mind when I talk about stuff like this … I’m not completely crackers. I guess it’s just about being more spiritual.

 

Anyway. This whole ‘leaning towards love not fear’ thing is something I’d actually spoken to my friend about before she told me this story. I told her that I’ve lived in fear for a long time and, particularly since I’ve had therapy (which I’ve decided to finish by the way), I’ve made a conscious effort to lean in towards love and happiness instead. So what do I mean by that? Take September as an example. My birthday is on the 29th, and so I have decided that September would be a month where I would purposefully do things that make me happy. It was my present to myself, so I put that out into the universe, and here’s what I’ve got back so far … with a little assistance from me:

 

  • I went to Brighton last week and ate good food and kissed a lot – two of my favourite things.
  • I’ve just booked my first Air BnB to Whitstable next week whereby I intend to do the same things I did in Brighton, except this time, my new man-friend is going to cook for me. (I’ve also asked for Tiramisu for dessert fyi.)
  • I bought new jeans with red piping down the side, even though my best friend didn’t like them, but they reminded me of my youth so I bought them anyway. I might look like a knob when I wear them, but I’ll let you know.
  • I ate Dirty Fries for dinner last night, even though I didn’t really know what they were, I just lolled at the name.
  • My eldest is coming to stay this month and I’m so, so excited.
  • I’ve arranged a family dinner later in the month to celebrate my birthday.
  • I ate three Viennese Whirls to help cure my bad back (surprisingly that didn’t work but they sure were tasty.)
  • I’ve been headhunted twice for new jobs in the past week.
  • I’ve contemplated going back to London for work because I want to be challenged … erm, and earn more money.
  • My neighbours hoovered for what seems like hours today, but I decided to watch Sexpod and Place in the Winter Sun on TV instead, because life is too short to spend hours hoovering.
  • I’ve had three midday baths this week, which feels like the height of luxury.

 

Bearing in mind it’s only the 10th September, I reckon I’m doing alright so far.

 

I’m not a life coach like Gabrielle Bernstein, and my musings are just my way of making sense of my life. It’s another form of therapy. I write stuff down and in some way, it means I can make sense of the things I’m feeling and doing because I’ll be honest, most of the time, probably much like you, I’m just winging it. Even at 46, very nearly 47. I used to think I’d have my shit together at 40, and look how that turned out, so maybe I will at 50. Or 60. Who knows? But I do know one thing. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I bloody well enjoy the journey.

 

kate sutton lifestyle blogger

 

There is no reason behind this post other than to share that weird story with you. I don’t meditate. I don’t have a zen den. I don’t bowl about wearing wind chimes on my head. But I am becoming more in tune with myself the older I get. What I need to make me happy. How to surround myself with positivity, and equally, how to remove negativity. How to turn to love and not fear, whether that’s through therapy or support from friends. You know some of my good friends are approaching 40, or have just turned 40, and I’ve told them all (as well as the poor 20-year-old girl that did my nails yesterday): “Turning 40 changed my life. It was the beginning of saying no to the things I don’t want in my life, and yes to the things I do.”

 

The universe approves.

 

kate sutton