5 powerful life lessons from the women who refuse to blend in

“In a world of Kardashians… be a Janis”

Is confidence is something you are  born with? Perhaps.  I do think it is definitely something; you can develop as you get older and find your way in life.  Whether old, young, fat, thin, classically attractive or a little bit on the unconventional side, fashionable or doing your own thing; if you can exude confidence you bloody gorgeous, regardless of anything else. It is the one thing that people report as being sexy, time and time again.

In a world of preened,  reality stars, whose apparent confidence hides the fact, they are actually less than secure, the following 5 ladies have genuine confidence by the bucket – load and to me, each embody the different aspects of confidence people are drawn to.  So from self belief at work, to age defying attitude to style, here are my top 5 fiercely fashionable females who can give us a lesson not only in style, but in life.

  1. Iris Apfel

One of the most stylish seniors I have ever seen, and the inspiration behind Ari Seth Cohen’s hugely popular Advanced Style blog. The former interior designer and fashion muse and currently starring in numerous high profile adverts including car ads at 95!

Known for her vibrant and colourful dress sense, Iris is a perfect peacock who mixes couture with an ‘anything goes’ attitude; even flea markets and thrift stores are fair game. Things that don’t go together simply work, and as for those larger than life ionic round glasses, they highlight a love for accessorising that’s less than delicate.

Iris’ her pithy attitude, and fashion icon status well into her twilight years make her a formidable force. Never one to care about being pretty (because after all looks fade) she cares more about being interesting and enjoying life – and it shows!

“Humour is important in everything. Dress with a little humour and you can go a long way”

Lesson: know yourself, stay curious, and maintain a sense of humour.

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4  New Year’s Resolutions worth keeping


January  is upon us. Some of us will have been thinking of some resolutions which we believe will somehow drastically change the course of our lives during the next year and we will emerge at the end of 2017 with a body like Gigi Hadid, and the diet of Joe Wicks.

Yet, if like me, each year you vow to exercise more and eat healthier  and then crumble as soon as January reaches its second week, perhaps  keep the pizza in the fridge, and try something different this year. Here’s a few ideas which may help.

  1. Fail More

Being unafraid of failure and to take more risks is one of the things I am going to do more of in 2017. Sadly women (not all!) can sometimes be risk adverse, but it is important for us all to face our fears and take more chances.  While some risks don’t pay off, some do and regardless of the outcome, a lesson will be learnt that can pave the way to a fresh opportunity or build confidence in a new area.

For bloggers this could be going to a blogger event, stepping out of your comfort zone or even trying a new avenue. At work, taking a risk can help you demonstrate you aren’t happy how things are and willing to challenge them, which can help you stand out.

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Things to do: Visit Castle Howard’s secret garden


“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden. – Frances Hodgson Burnett. The Secret Garden.

Did you know, Yorkshire has its very own secret garden?  Originally an 18th century kitchen garden, the walled garden at Castle Howard is the most stunning, wild, rose garden. Ok, ok, it’s not that secret. It’s only yards away from the castle, but just like the garden in the beloved children’s book, it’s got walled corners and secret doors overgrown with ivy just waiting to be explored.

Discover Castle Howard’s Rose Garden this winter

Even in winter it’s the dreamiest of places. Its quiet, almost eerie, trees creak and winter flowers bravely face the cold, like pieces lace blowing in the wind.   I cannot put it any better that the website itself:

“Romantic Italianate trellises, hornbeam hedges and backdrop of brick walls, these gardens are a sheltered paradise of colour and intoxicating perfume, where visitors will enjoy a spectacle of massed roses. In total there are 2000 modern roses of all types making this one of England’s most comprehensive collections”.  ‘Nuff said really.

As we strolled round the garden, I imagined it was just like the secret garden in the book. Here, Burnett explores the healing power inherent in living things, with her protagonist Mary ”finding herself” as both she and the garden come back to life ( DEEP)..

Not quite as dramatic and definitely not worthy of a best seller; I too have been discovering Yorkshire’s green pastures.  Since living here, I have been inspired to photograph some of its wild, untamed beauty and Castle Howard provided some peachy shots.

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