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Best Foot Forward

January. It’s such a cliché. Everywhere I look, there’s diet food on discount, gym membership leaflets being handed out, blog posts on resolutions and people vowing to take up this, and give up that. It’s nothing more than a recipe for failure, for the solution is probably just as cliché – you have to change your whole attitude and approach, but only little by little; because nothing is more doomed to disaster than going cold turkey on the things you enjoy or committing yourself to a huge amount of something you don’t.

 Nothing wrong with a bit of pie & mash… all in moderation of course!

I’m not immune to the hype, of course. I have made some promises to myself for this year – a combination of personal challenges to push myself further, stand for less nonsense and, most of all, to believe in myself a bit more, and stop putting up with situations, people and things that are in turn stopping me from achieving my dreams. Though really, in my life, the biggest thing that’s stopping me from achieving said dreams is myself.

As you all know, I have become something of an evangelist for all things sporty in the last ten months or so. It seems hard to believe that this time last year, I hadn’t put foot to tarmac for any reason other than getting from A to B, and not run for any reason apart from catching public transport in well over a decade. It’s now one of the most important things in my life, and one of the main things that keeps me sane. Furthermore, it’s caused me to meet lots of amazing new people and the most fantastic thing of all, it’s even build a better, stronger relationship with my sporty brother. While we’ve always got on fine, we’ve never been hugely close, but now we’re WhatsApping each other several times a week, planning training sessions, signing up to half-marathons together and we even went on holiday back in November. It’s wonderful!


But I am a firm believer in doing things that scare you. Last night, I did something that made me super nervous – I put on my running shoes and long-sleeved lycra and headed into London to meet up for the first time with the Run Dem Crew – a 150-strong collective of creative minds that get together once a week to run London under cover of darkness. I’m so glad I did, as I got to meet Bangs and a Bun, who is a HUGE inspiration to me, both as a blogger and as a woman; as well as lots of other awesome people. I won’t bore you all with an account of the run itself (though hot-footing with a group of 30 people it around the areas I know so well through driving and socialising was rather smashing), but the whole experience has filled me with inspiration and motivation – something I would like to pass on to you. I did promise motivational posts for this January, and I will try to make it relevant to all you vintage-minded souls; but the sentiment is universal. The message put out during the rousing speech before last night’s session by Run Dem Crew’s founder and leader Charlie Dark can be summed up quite simply: ‘Be the best you can be’.

This struck a chord with me, because I have always strived to make the best of myself… albeit not in any way that benefits society. I have never been career-minded in the way many others are. I have now made a career out of doing things I love and will hopefully continue to do so for many years to come, but my clients tend to find me, not the other way round. I am not all that good at pushing myself to get work, which is why I’ve quietly launched my ‘Hire Me’ section above… I will be plugging it more in the future, of course!

The things I want most for myself have nothing to do with careers or material possessions: a loving, fulfilling relationship, marriage, children… these things are kind of beyond my control, so I can’t push for those either. But something that occupies me constantly is the desire I have always had to look my absolute best. That’s why I’ve dedicated my whole adult life to my various looks (vintage being the longest lasting and deepest passion), and the result is that I have become known for how I style myself. It’s vain, it doesn’t change anyone else’s life except mine. But it makes me happy. And, actually, it HAS improved some other people’s lives – the emails I receive every day would seem to illustrate that!

 The What Katie Did girls gamely pretend to be fascinated… like THEY need any tips! 😉

You could quite rightly say that me taking up running doesn’t really benefit others, either. But my enthusiasm HAS infected others – both friends and readers. And the difference being fit and healthy has made to all areas of my life can’t be denied. I know I’ll never be an Olympic athlete, nor the next Chrissie Wellington, but I have the drive to constantly improve and be the best I can be at that given time. Improving by small increments is better than standing still or sliding backwards. Just getting out there is the key, whether you walk round the block or run a marathon. Charlie Dark put it best last night when he said that he’s not impressed by someone who can run a marathon in two and a half hours. Someone who runs one in six however… to be out on the road, striving to succeed for that long… that takes some serious guts. But the rewards of achieving your goals are phenomenal: when you do, no matter how modest said goals are, it makes other aspirations seem well within your reach. You’ll be surprised at how this attitude inspires others around you into making their own inroads!

So, set some achievable goals this year, and really start to better yourself. Do things that scare you! Take up a new hobby and meet some new friends (even if there’s nothing wrong with your old friends), find an activity that fits in with your life – be it running, cycling, yoga, zumba or swing dancing. Wear that dress you’ve never felt brave enough to sport in public. Try bright lipstick, a new hair-colour. Start looking for a new job. Ask out that boy or girl; or ditch the one that’s making you miserable. Cut down on smoking, eat more vegetables, drink more water! Don’t try to change everything in one go, because it’s way too hard.

And it is a cliché, but 2012 should be the year that we all try to better ourselves, in small ways or large. Taking on projects that will help others is brilliant, and I applaud and admire altruism in anyone. I aim to do more myself in that vein this year. But we all need to be happy within ourselves first. And I am on my way to achieving that – let’s do it together! Share your goals with me here, and we’ll revisit this over the course of the year. If we don’t prove the Mayans right and get wiped out by a giant asteroid or alien invasion, or whatever.

My goals:

  • Run faster and stronger.
  • Cycle more and save up for a road bike.
  • Eat more protein, and drink more water.
  • Meet as many new people as possible, from different walks of life.
  • Do some more acting!
  • De-clutter my home and donate all the clothes I haven’t worn in a year or more to charity. NOT the vintage, I hasten to add!
  • Go on more dates. Even just with my girlfriends! 😉
  • And because we need at least one vintage-themed goal: acquire one of those 1940s phone cord handbags in red, yellow, blue, green and white!

That’s it for now, but I’m sure it’ll grow as the year marches on. And other exciting things are happening soon, too. My new Heyday Fleur dress design will be out this spring, you will LOVE it! I have secret projects in the works, of my own and with the Vintage Mafia. I have races, and possible holidays, and potential acting gigs, and a BIG MOVE TO LONDON, where I’ll be living with VM girlies in a massive and awesome VM HQ. Far too much going on to feel glum about the things I *can’t* change.

 This year will be sweeeet. Thanks to Olivier Rogery for these unused Figaro photos!

It’s going to be a good year, I feel it in me bones. Let’s make it happen together!


Fleur xx



This mixture of sports & vintage fashion is very nice, I must say… (I'm an extreme marathon runner myself)…!

Now, I don't know how you run. However, if your goal is to run faster, a bit of running technique might be interesting—but maybe you have already looked into that? If not, take a look at these videos:



Of course there are many things to say about running technique, but the ideas of Mr. Romanov are basically sound…!


I had a similar "oh dear I'm selfish" crisis when I realised that the things which make me happy are clothes, accessories, nail varnish, sewing, cakes and art. I had a period of lamenting that I couldn't enjoy helping orphans or something selfless, but then I realised that if I'm unhappy, I'm not actually any good to anyone else anyway. I think it is very important to do whatever makes you happy and take plentiful time for yourself, especially if you're someone who suffers from depression. Bedsides, by living the life you love, and wearing something out of the ordinary, you are inspiring other people to break out of their ruts and be happy themselves!


It really is the small changes that make the biggest difference in your life. My goals for this year are to regain some lost self-discipline and to Do Stuff. Doing Stuff is rather mysterious and vague, but it certainly beats Not Doing Stuff, which is what I've tended to do in the past.

Good luck with your goals! 🙂


It doesn't matter why or when 'resolutions' are made, as long as they are in a positive spirit and work towards enhancing *your* life … it really doesn't matter if anyone else benefits, does it? We are all responsible for our own lives, not anyone elses!! 🙂


What a lovely way to start this rainy
day, by reading such a positive life affirming blog. This time last year i started going to zumba classes and joined a well known weight loss club.
I am 33lbs lighter and the fittest i have ever been, fit back into all my vintage,am following the"from couch to 5k"running programme and love having a waist again! Looking forward to reading about all your adventures dear Fleur x


Bravo, Fleur!! Very inspiring!! My friends and I have started meeting for walks three to four times a week…this is in place of meeting for lunch. Well, we still meet for an occasional lunch, but we're doing far more walking than eating. I feel better and I've lost a small bit of weight (Hooray!!), and it's only mid-month. What a great start to the new year!

Love your blog!! Cheers!!!


Excellent post, Fleur – I agree wholeheartedly about changing little by little so things feel natural. Evolution, not revolution!

I don't know that I have a firm goal this year – my New Year's Resolution was to buy more buttons. Other than that, I'm aiming to exercise more (although not with any aim of losing weight; I'm going to accept my body as it is, because it's healthy and that's a blessing in itself) and I want to worry less when people don't like me and focus more on the people who do! After all, they're the ones who are most important.

Good luck with your goals 😀


There's nothing wrong with enjoying things just for you. In fact, I think it's more selfish to pretend one is all 'my dream would be world peace and open a donkey sanctuary' when at the end of the day, bar perhaps Mother Teresa, we're all a bit selfish. I'm sure we've all heard people like that (at uni or creative events) – all talk to make themselves look 'serious'. I'd rather chat to someone who has a passion (vintage, sport or whatever) but also enjoys just being happy. I come across as all about the nail varnish and cocktails in my own time, and fully admit it- but work time, I'm different, I have to be focused on others' welfare and academic progress. It's all in the balance and that's healthy.

Lindsay Lane

A very inspiring post Fleur!

I have some goals myself aswell.
There where I neglected myself in 2011 a bit too muchg, I want to take the best out of myself in 2012, and I am really fééling it.

I have cliché goals, but here they are:

* Quit drinking (already started)
* Do more sports, do some hiking
* Eat healthier food
* Get out with friends more
* Do some more modelling and acting
* And ofcourse: find me many more fancy vintage clothing.

As for you: thumbs up! I am sure this post will inspire many people!
You are doing really well!

Missy Vintage

You're right about doing things that scare you. Stepping out of your comfort zone is, let's face it – it's terrifying and I for one am my hardest critic. However I'm going to continue trying new things and pushing myself. You made me want to get my trainers back on actually – but apart from that I'm also thinking about things like, going new places. Learning new things.

I don't know about you, but I've found that having a big piece of my life online is good at making you step out of the comfort zone as you you naturally end up going places and events that you might not have otherwise, meeting new people etc. Good luck with 2012. Despite the doom and gloom in the world around us, I also think it's going to be a good one! Actually this last new years eve was probably one of the first one for a long time that I've felt positive about a new year ahead!


Fleur- I LOVE the mix of vintage and running. This post was fantastic- thanks! I look forward to following your adventures as well as the VM's this year. xx

Frank Sheridan

fab article and very inspirational.one of your goals i would like to discuss with you is drinking more water—i would suggest it is not a must have goal and have evidence to back it


This post was the perfect pep up I needed. I especially loved your thoughts on balance w/r/t eating and your point about your vintage look making you happy (people calling it vain be darned).


Such an inspiring post! I especially like the bit about doing something that scares you, I really should do more of that and plan to push myself more this year. I am a long time reader of your blog but I think this is the first time I've commented. Sarah x


Quite, that chap who runs the RDC seems to heave a sensible and positive outlook on life. I don't wish to be critical, but now you have two lines of advertising to the right of the blog flashing away, I found reading the top part of your blog that I was distracted – not in a good way. This may just be me, but was anyone else put off reading by the reviesd layout?


Right on! Inspitation is the key :)I am feeling the positivity abound at the moment – and that is because I have decided to set in motion my own secret vintage project. HURRAHS!!!

Mrs. Williams

Awesome post! I've been feeling the same this month, and more than anything, my goal is to have a better attitude about myself. If I don't appreciate myself, I won't be able to appreciate others, either. So part of that is doing the things I love, even if they seem silly; accepting compliments instead of shrugging them off; and not caring about the extra 10 lbs I've gained. :-}
Also, I plan on keeping active and continuing to do crossfit with my husband through this year. I never thought I was tough enough to keep going with it; but apparently, I am. 🙂

Laura McLaws Helms

I'm already halfway through one goal (30 bikram classes in 30 days), and while I feel amazing, I haven't lost any weight.

My goals:

Completely quit sugar (my nemesis)
Lose 15-20 lbs.
Start running again.
Continue with bikram all year long (at least 3x week)
Enjoy my life more and stop worrying so much!


Im so happy to follow your blog, because I try to combine a vintage look with going to the gym and working out. Trying to combine those two! It is really inspiring to see other people doing it as well without loosing their vintage-feel! Thank you!
My goals for this year are:
1 Get more vintage clothing and get rid of old clothes that doesn't fit
2. learn to sew properly
3. Get a job (just got my master degree – in archaeology – not really lots of jobs in that buisness at the momement..)
4. eat more great food and enjoy it!(both healthy and a bit unhealty food – you need to have fun)
5. Meet new people
6. Travel more!

I think that was it. I really enjoy your blog!

/ Thit (thitbirk@gmail.com)


I'm a vintage loving new runner myself and I LOVE all your sporty posts. I keep thinking shyly about going to one of the local running meet-ups, sponsored by the running shop I love. Maybe I'll go finally, inspired by your success! 😉

My goals: run my first race, run harder/faster/longer/stronger, become a p90x graduate ;), do more of what I love and less of what I don't.

Also, I like the new layout just fine (:


Lovely lovely lovely blog. Bravo. I too have similar cliche goals but i think be the best you can be is a good motto. Best of British for all of your goals. xxx ps love the new format 🙂


Good for you! And i must say i am one of those readers who has been inspired – your running was one of the factors that helped inspire me to start the c25K programme recently.


I went few days to London during holidays and discovered your blog just after coming back to Paris.
I really like it!
The most strange is that I stayed near St James's Park the day before you were pictured in St. James's Street…
Now, I discover you're "addicted" to running as I am!
Thanks and happy New Year!

ps : what about coming to Paris to enjoy a run?

Fabulous Miss K

Thanks for a great post – it rang so true with me especially about doing something that scares you, I lost a very special lady at the end of last year – my mum who was always such an inspiration to me so I will strive to make her proud this year and do all those things that I want to do – I hope that your year holds lots of fabulous things.



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