Marks & Spencer Australia Floral Print Bardot Midi Dress

Life. Spend it well (here are 50 ways to do so)

Nikki ParkinsonFashion, Health, Life 40 Comments

Sponsored by Marks & Spencer (Australia)

My 50th birthday festival officially begins tomorrow. What? You don’t have a festival? EVERYONE deserves a festival – and not just on milestone years.

So when Marks & Spencer Australia asked me to get on board with its “Life. Spend it Well.” initiative, it was very good timing indeed.

See, I think I do a very good job of aiming to live my life well every day, but there is always room for improvement.

I had a little health scare last week. It sent me into a temporary spin, of which I gratefully spun safely out the other side, after tests ruled out any problems.

Those few days were not fun, I tell you, but I’m extremely grateful that the end result was a positive one. I know only too well how life can deal you a blow that was not on The Plan.

Milestone birthdays give you a chance to reflect on that life plan, to take stock of where you’re at now, and dream out a future that looks good for you.

It’s a chance to put yourself first (something women are not very good at doing). It’s a time to drop the guilt around that. And it’s time to enjoy the small things and make the most of the EVERY day.

This list of 50 ways to spend your life well is far from exhaustive. Many you may already do. Some may just be what you need when creating your own list.

Life. Spend it Well. (50 ways)

1. Use the good cutlery, crockery and glassware for every day – don’t save it just special occasions.

2. Treat yourself to a whimsical wardrobe piece because you love it.

Marks & Spencer Australia Floral Print Bardot Midi Dress | Life. Spend it Well.

Marks & Spencer Australia Floral Print Bardot Midi Dress (I’m in size 14)

3. Make a nightly bedtime routine for yourself – sleep should never be under-rated.

4. Be a tourist in your own home town/city. Look at the familiar through a visitor’s eyes.

5. When travelling, be like a local in the town, city or region you’re visiting and head away from the tourist areas.

6. Treat yourself to luxe, soft furnishings. Texture is everything.

Marks and Spencer Faux Fur throw (small)

 Marks and Spencer Faux Fur throw (small)

7. Do not keep anything in your wardrobe that makes you feel anything less than fabulous.

8. Find a style of exercise that you enjoy – and do it often.

9. You know that pile of recipe books sitting on your bookshelf? Use them to make one new dish every week.

10. When travelling, hunt down a local fresh produce market and create a meal in your accommodation (if staying somewhere self-contained).

11. Don’t settle for bad coffee. Ever.

Marks & Spencer Letter N mug | Velvet Oval cushion in duck egg | Oversized Geometric Chenille cushion in duck egg

Marks & Spencer Letter N mug | Velvet Oval cushion in duck egg | Oversized Geometric Chenille cushion in duck egg

12. Each season, build a capsule wardrobe to suit your lifestyle right now. Stick to a neutral colour palette with some key accent colours and pieces and you’ll always have something to wear.

13. Make friends with lime and soda and ditch the mid-week vino. 

14. On the next rainy weekend day, cancel any plans that can be cancelled and make a date with the couch, a good book and/or Netflix. 

15. When planning your next getaway (around the corner or overseas), book somewhere new, somewhere different from where you regularly visit.

16. Cushions and throws are to lounge rooms and beds what jewellery and scarves are to outfits. Change up your lounge room or bed look with new pieces in colours and textures to work back with the season.

Marks & Spencer Letter N mug | Velvet Oval cushion | La Perla cushion in blue | Oversized Geometric cushion | Faux Fur throw (small) Marks & Spencer Letter N mug | Velvet Oval cushion in duck egg | La Perla cushion in blue | Oversized Geometric Chenille cushion in duck egg | Marks and Spencer Faux Fur throw (small)

17. Your wardrobe style will change as you do. Don’t fight it. Find your new groove and shine.

18. Make veggies your best mealtime buddies. Get lots of them on your plate at every meal. 

19. Book yourself into the best day spa in your area for a massage treatment (don’t wait for someone else to do it!)

20. When travelling, research ahead of your trip and book yourself into a day spa. Too much pampering and self care is never, ever enough.

21. Treat yourself to fresh flowers on a regular basis – they never fail to lift or brighten a space and a mood.

22. Splash out on a new outfit for a special occasion (hot tip: make sure it’s a garment or outfit that you will be able to wear again for another purpose or different occasion).

23. Water: Drink it. Lots of it.

24. Don’t let a birthday or anniversary go un-celebrated. Take charge and organise a special meal, night out or trip away.

25. Start an annual girls’ getaway tradition (if you don’t already have one). Have everyone pay a small amount each week into a shared account to pay for the trip in 12 months’ time.

26. Want to go big to celebrate a big milestone with friends? Tell them five years out that you’d love to spend the milestone with them overseas and start regularly putting away money then. Two of my cousins are doing just that next month after a friend asked them to Italy five years ago. Everything is paid for. How good is that?

27. Make your bed. Every day. 

28. Try new fashion trends but only if you feel comfortable and confident doing so.

Marks & Spencer Pure Cotton Cold Shoulder midi dress

Marks & Spencer Pure Cotton Cold Shoulder midi dress (I’m in size 14) | Velvet Oval cushion in duck egg | La Perla cushion in blue | Marks and Spencer Faux Fur throw (small) | Modal Blend scarf with wool in light grey

29. Don’t ignore – or put up with – any niggling things that don’t seem right in your body. Seek out answers and don’t stop until you get them.

30. When was the last time you went on a picnic? Pack up some food, chill down some drinks and head to the hills … or the beach.

31. Plan non-scheduled days when you travel. Yes, it’s good to have things booked in advance but it’s great to wander when you hit your destination.

32. Create at least one chaos-free zone in your home – a space that’s easy to keep free from clutter and where other members of your family know they are not allowed to clutter. 

33. Sequins are always a good idea.

34. Work out your best time of the day for fitting in regular exercise and stick to a routine. 

35. Dine out at a restaurant that’s new in your area – it could become your new favourite.

36. On an overseas holiday, try not to cram too much into your time. Thirty cities in as many days will have you seeing more of the inside of a bus or train than experiencing the cities and countries themselves.

37. Cook up a big vat of soup each Sunday through winter – lunches are sorted for the week ahead.

38. On Sundays, plan out your outfits for the week ahead based on what you’ve got on the calendar and what the forecast weather is. This removes the morning wardrobe blank stares.

39. Get away from your desk and move around throughout the day

40. Have regular pyjama days – or late pyjama mornings where the whole household doesn’t get up to an alarm.

41. See the big cities in your lifetime – Paris, London and New York are my faves.

42. Master the art of creating a drinks’ platter. Get creative with fruits, nuts, dips, cheeses, cold meats and anti-pasto. Fill the board and enjoy with friends.

43. Wear the swimsuit. Life’s too short not to go swimming.

44. Find a skincare routine that works for you now and stick to it. Every morning. Every night.

45. Don’t schedule entire days from waking to going to bed. Take time out to breathe and enjoy a tea for one.

Per Una Longline Open Front 2 Pockets Cardigan | M&S Collection Relaxed Short Sleeve t-shirt in white | Modal blend scarf with wool | M&S Collection 5 Pocket Mid Rise Super Skinny Jeggings | Letter N mug | Faux Fur throw (small) | La Perla cushion in blue
Per Una Longline Open Front 2 Pockets Cardigan (I’m in size 16) | M&S Collection Relaxed Short Sleeve t-shirt in white (I’m in size 16)| Modal blend scarf with wool in light grey | M&S Collection 5 Pocket Mid Rise Super Skinny Jeggings (I’m in size 14) | Letter N mug | Faux Fur throw (small) | La Perla cushion in blue

46. Take a solo trip – or book a trip on your own in a group tour where you know you’ll meet like-minded women.

47.  Never forget the power of a coat of paint to freshen things up in your home – inside and out.

48. Get comfortable in your body. It’s served you well to date. Love it back.

49. Take a class in something you’ve always wanted to learn – a language, a cuisine, a craft, wine appreciation.

50. Travel the world but be grateful for returning home.

So tell me, what would be the top 5 things on your “Life. Spend it Well.” list? Have you shopped with Marks & Spencer (Australia) online?


About Marks & Spencer (Australia)

I was first introduced to the wonder that is Marks & Spencer as a 12-year-old visiting the UK for the first time. So, I was super excited to hear last year that Marks & Spencer had launched an Australian online store. Delivery is free for orders over $100 and returns can be sent to an Australian address. Most will arrive within 4-5 business days.

This sponsored post was coordinated by Shopping Links. The products featured were gifted to me for review and inclusion in this post.

Comments 40

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  1. Happy 50th Nikki. I love your list, and I don’t think there is anything I would add to it. Except for me, it will be to actually celebrate my birthday this year. I’ve never had a party (or a festival) for any of my milestone birthdays, and I think it’s about time that changed. I’ll be turning 50 too, by the way. Have a wonderful Festival of Fifty!

  2. You are so living your life well Frances. I need to start the girls’ weekend shared bank account situation. Makes so much sense and no pressure on anyone. Your swimming is amazing. I can’t wait for Croatia either!

  3. Thanks a lot for your post! I just turned 50 on May 25….and it’s a number….But tthat what are you saying it’s 100% real…We’re fine and beautiful so we must to love us and celebrate us!
    Kisses from Madrid and Happy Birthday!
    An argentinian living in Spain…

  4. Happiest of Birthdays Nikki,wishing you much love,health and happiness!
    I love your list Nikki.Enjoy your festival you deserve every moment you’re one of the kindest most thoughtful women I have ever “met”Thank you for being you Xx

  5. Happy Birthday Nikki. Thank you for the 50 plus way you have made the internet a kinder and more empowering place for women. We need more of you and your peoples in this world (and thank you to Mrs Woog and Baby mac for being your village).

  6. Happy 50th Nikki, I’m sure your 50th Festival will be fantastic! Party like it’s 1999! Love your list, I’d add:
    1). See a live musical at least once in your life!
    2). Snorkel…In Hawaii if possible.
    3). Have sex somewhere ‘naughty’ at least once in your life!
    4). Look at the moon through a high powered telescope.
    5). Change your hair colour at least once – not shade, but colour.
    Have a great birthday! Welcome to the 50’s Club!

  7. Happy 50th Nikki, you youngster you. This is a wonderful lift and I’d like to salute you on this auspicious occasion for doing so much to encourage women to up their self care. It’s vital.

    Am seriously impressed with these photos, by the way, they are fab and a wonderful testament to and record of you at 50.

    Great to have M + S in Oz. But can I admit I’m even more thrilled to be heading off to spend July in Bonnie Scotland helping my old mum. There’s a big M+S store 30 mins from where she lives and I’m so excited at the prospect of spending lots of time there.

    Here’s my Top 5 for “Life. Spend it Well.”

    1. Just move
    2. Swim, you never regret a swim
    3. Love many, trust few and always paddle your own canoe
    4. When in doubt, do nowt
    5. Live life in daytight compartments

  8. Happy Festival of Fifty! I’m loving the list and this photo shoot. You look ah-mazing! Haven’t shopped online with M and S but recently had their pleasure of shopping in store while I was in the UK. Their lingerie is top notch! I’m with you on celebrating birthdays and turning them into a festival (aka stretching the celebrating out for as long as possible.) Getting older is a privilege denied to many! Don’t forget the (GF) cake because as Julia Childs says, a birthday festival without cake is just a meeting! xx

  9. Have a wonderful birthday festival nikki!
    You deserve it!
    A great list and you are glowing hun!
    Especially love that last frock on you!
    Enjoy!
    Much love m )x

  10. Happy Birthday Festival! Sounds like you are doing it right! Very inspiring! Think I might wear some sequins today!

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