Friday 21st January 2022

Six Months On. #OOTD*. 2018.38.

Six Months On. #OOTD*. 2018.38.

#OOTD* = Outfit of the Day. Used widely as a hashtag on Instagram.

The story starts:

Last year, on 30 October, I began (most unconfidently) to accept a self-made challenge to post of Photo-A-Day of me in a daily outfit for 32 days leading to my 68th Birthday.

Here is the first post:

There were some very encouraging comments. I continued as I am someone who when she starts a challenge, she finishes it! Or so I thought.

Early in 2018 I wrote a post explaining where my reticence had come from the ‘show off myself and clothing’. It has/had been a LONG time since I had actually been proud of my appearance but it did make me take a leap of faith to carry out this so-called 32 post challenge.

I was inspired by some blogging friends too: Jan Wild here, Em Hawker here, Carly Findlay here and Kimba Likes Here

The story continues until my 68th Birthday.

I noticed that by choosing and wearing an outfit of the day, and going somewhere for a coffee (solo is fine for me!) and a browse was improving my mental health. I had a reason to get up and get going each day. I have to admit, I enjoyed the browsing…and the canny-purchasing too. I had to admit to buying properly fitted bras. That took some courage and then once I did that, I felt even better.

I was joining in outfit challenges here with Nikki Parkinson from Styling You. I liked the comments. I know I am no spring chicken but it did my gum cancer emotional self-care a lot of good as I continued doing what I did.

The story goes past the 32 posts on Instagram! 

I admit this was (and still is on 90% of days) fun and I loved the challenge. When I put it to friends on Instagram whether I should continue to answer was a mixture of YES and DO what you want to do.

I wanted to continue. My shopping habits continued. Yet I needed new clothes. It had taken me a LONG time to admit to myself that I could spend money on clothing and accessories because I had been very used to rejecting that I could self-care.

Having cancer actually helped me.


I was determined to get out every day. No.Matter.What. It was always something I was glad I did even if it might have been a short drive to have a coffee and come home. I also take an art kit with me and spend sometime reflecting on what’s been happening.

Special times in the story.

In the months before deciding to become part of #ootd I thought about my eldest granddaughter’s 21st birthday. I used to be concerned I could never travel to Sydney because of my fears. In a post here for anyone who has not read this. And this is the follow-up post about me conquering fears and anxieties.

Healing times as part of the story.

The outfits of the day are helping me manage my recovery from cancer. I recall the photos and can notice my mouth – 3 surgeries to date and one coming up! The daily publication of an instagram photo allows me to see myself which may sound odd. But until I do view the photos – of course, I preview them but they are never photo-shopped, just cropped – I often do not realise the improvement seen  by others mostly my husband.

When I travel to Sydney to visit Dad or see my specialist dental team or my surgical team, it is another good reason to choose an outfit of the day to aid both my confidence and demeanour. It actually does help me to lookgood to feelgood.

What else about the story?

From time to time, I give myself even  more of a challenge! To post a photo where my arms are seen for what they are. To post one of me in shorts and even one day, in the water at the surf. I do these to remind myself that to be true to me, I cannot continue what I used to do which was censor what was published in a photo. The result has been that others may be inspired to give up some of their old thoughts about sleeveless items and how they appear in photos.

Today, 1 May, is the day I am visiting Sydney to see my professor about surgery #4. This was not expected back in February as it should have been the last one. However, my mouth and the way it has healed had other ideas. There is not any room for my implants to go in so I will be hearing today, what the surgery will entail. I am guessing: cutting, stitches, stent back in, and possibly another skin graft. Sigh.

Will I be choosing an outift to wear that day to help me feel confident and in charge…even if inside I am a bit worried and fearful. You bet I will.

It will have RED in it somewhere….my go-to colour for adding to my inner confidence.

Watch for me on Instagram. I have a private account (I was hacked in May 2017) so ask for a follow. @denysewhelan

I hope to see YOU try the #ootd too.

I know Leanne has decided to do this more. Here is her link.

And yes, the story will go on after this 6 months mark.

I am needing and wanting to do this actually. In fact, in the recent article published here: telling my story, there is something said at the end.

Oh, and when I appear for my next surgery, early a.m. on Wed 16 May, I will ensure I wear a better bra for my photo unlike in February for #3!!

And how could I not make a tribute to this man…..the instagram photographer. He knows to tell me when a bra-strap is showing…he has, of late, been quite cheeky and he makes me smile broadly. But then, I have no top teeth so it’s a pretty grim look, then he simply looks at me with love in his eyes and I smile. That’s the secret.

I use these hashtags for my daily outfit posts: blue: relate to blogging, red: to outfit of the day, green relate to cancer, mine in particular.



















Do you dress each day with intention?

How do you find yourself feeling when you dress to meet each day in an outfit chosen by you?

Tell me more in the comments!


On Tuesday this posts links with Kylie here

On Wednesday this post links with Sue and Leanne here

On Thursday this post links with Leanne here.







  1. Great post. You look great Denyse. Great and happy! As I watch Chelsea get up and put her make up on and take care with her clothes, I can see that it has had a positive impact on her cancer journey too. It would be easy in these circumstances to stay in PJs or wear trackies and not care about our appearance, but it’s amazing what a difference it has on our mindset. xo

    • That fills me with delight too. What a wonderful example Chelsea is EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. I know after the HUGE surgery in July it was enough to even get up…which I did. However, it was once I was more mobile in September and realising my weight loss required smaller and flattering clothes (that was a huge mindset to overcome!) that I gave myself permission to both shop and wear.

      And now, with a full (ahem) wardrobe, I could probably stop! I no longer set myself the challenge I did for some months of a new outfit each day but I do try not to repeat much!

      Thanks for your care and support always!
      Denyse x

  2. Much love and power to you, you fabulous woman!

    Good luck for your surgery!

    • Thank you dear Kim-Marie, that is most kind. I am inspired by your everyday photo challenge as I know you are not always well when you do these. My surgery is not one I am looking forward to in terms of a long recovery. However, I shall pick myself up and BLOG about it I think!! Denyse x

  3. I love your photographer – that is beautiful. As I work from home I like to dress and not stay in PJ’s. I think it makes me feel like I am working and achieving something.

    • He actually does not mind this job anymore. He is so NOT into having his photo taken but is kind enough to indulge me from time to time. 47+ years together means taking the not so good with the good, right? LOVE wins! Denyse x

  4. I think I need to step up my clothes game, you look amazingly confident! Good luck with your specialist today, I hope the surgery isn’t too hard on you.

    • It is so easy to NOT get dressed well and stay in the same outfit as yesterday…but I “Knew” I had to change something and yes it has changed me. I have a reason to get up…even if it is to dress well, have a photo taken and go out for coffee.

      The surgery is in 2 weeks and will test my resolve.

      I am having the same surgery in part as the last two because my mouth needs to have enough room made for eventual implants.
      I think I will blog a bit about how I feel, which is disappointed but I understand its purpose.
      Thanks for commenting Cate, good to see you here again! Denyse x

  5. You look fabulous, Denyse! And no matter how gummy, toothy or lack thereof, your smile may be, of course, your hubby loves it, because it’s you. I can see in these photos how far you’ve come not just in your outfits (and new bras! yay!) and what a boost that has been for you, but how much your mouth has healed. Hope the upcoming surgery sorts things out once in for all and that you can continue to blossom and thrive! x

    • Thank you so much Sammie. I admit I did dress for confidence today but during the consult the news of what the reality of recovery from next surgery hit once we were on the road home.

      I am disappointed to hear the what and the why of the new surgery but I also understand it.

      I will process it the best way I know: write about it on the blog for next week!!

      Denyse x

  6. Denyse! you are inspiration in so many ways. I love a good challenge but I’m not sure I’d tackle the OOTD challenge! Walking the dog is one of the first orders of the day and after that I’m not sure I want any record of my appearance – it’s been a long wet last 6 months here!
    Good on you! and Good luck with your health journey!!

    • Thank you so very much! Your walks with your dog give you a wonderful reason to get up and go each day! My outfits kind of do the same. It really does break up my day (being fully retired after many years brought its challenges too) and I am enjoying it almost every day! Denyse x

  7. I look forward to your Instagram daily photos Denyse although I realise sometimes it can be a pain getting dressed for a shoot! You have a wonderful and supportive husband to take the photos. I loved the dress you wore to win the competition. I don’t wear dresses much, but when I do I feel a little bit special. Thanks for sharing your journey with us at #MLSTL and have a beautiful day xx

    • Thank you Sue. I am fortunate that my instagram husband has continued. I actually think now it has become part of his morning routine too. I don’t get dressed till about 9.30-10 if we are not having to go anywhere earlier so it’s always past our leisurely breakfast time. I said a while back I could not remember the last time I wore a dress until I decided to buy one last year and you are right, they give a new level of femininity I think.

      For some reason your comment ended up in my spam folder! Lucky I always check. It has never been a problem before but on occasion it happens with other commenters too.
      Denyse x

  8. You continue to be an inspiration Denyse and I absolutely understand the benefits your daily actions have on mental health. Go You! I’m sure you’re not looking forward to it, so good luck with the next surgery. Love in bunches x

    • Thanks so much Jo. I enjoy seeing your outfit pics too. You look wonderful! I really did have to summon up courage for this at first, and then the encouragement others and of course a big shift in my mindset (always the fat lady) helped.

      Denyse x

  9. I really admire how you’ve turned an awful life event into something positive Denyse. You always look lovely in your outfits and I am amazed at how you keep coming up with new combinations to wear – I feel like I wear the same dozen outfits over and over again! Good luck with the next step of the journey and before you know it, you’ll be looking back at all of this with new teeth and a bright smile.

    Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM xx
    Leanne |

    • Leanne, thank you!

      It was one thing to get the cancer diagnosis and then after waiting 7 weeks, to have such major surgery and yet, it brought me back from the anxious and fearful persona of the past years to “someone who could meet a major life challenge head on”.

      It was my realisation that my weight loss was more than likely here to stay and that I literally had nothing much to wear other than beachy leisure wear that made me start to take better care of my physical looks at this late stage in life!

      It has been a great thing to do and I am not stopping anytime soon.

      Why not join in yourself?

      Denyse x

  10. Good for you for getting up getting dressed and going out of the house. I am not sure I would be as bold. Not that I would care what others think just that I get lazy. I need to get over the worry about my arms showing and pictures of me in a swimsuit. I see so many cute dresses and tops that are sleeveless so I won’t try them because I know I would put a cardie on with them.

    • Dear Victoria,
      This is my challenge to you…


      I did.

      Of course I have the flabby arms and bits that aren’t perfect…but I now feel more confident each day because I do get up and get dressed well.

      I look forward to hearing that you have!

      Denyse x

  11. You know I LOVE this Denyse and am so happy to have played a tiny part in encouraging you to get up and get dressed! Watching you blossom, despite the challenges you face, is such a clear and beautiful indication of why it is important to take care or ourselves. Enjoy some quiet time of reflection before the next stage of your journey and remember that disappointing as it is you know you can handle it because you already have. Meanwhile we will all be cheering you on x

    • Thanks so much Jan. It is going to keep on keeping on now I think. I am feeling more accepting now of what is ahead and being the practical me, have started on some cooking and meal planning (just for me in some cases) as I know I won’t be wanting to do much in the early weeks.

      I am also taking more time out – just back inside after literally lying on the beautiful lawn and looking at the clouds! We have a perfect and warm Autumn day here and it is a match for one almost 19 years ago when our second granddaughter was born.

      I love your updates and I can already see that living where you are now is just great for you!

      Denyse x

  12. So good, Denyse! And I love your words about hubby at the end! I am sending you all my love & best wishes for your next surgery, I know it’s not what you expected but from seeing you handle everything else I know you will come through this with flying colours as well xxxxx

    • Thanks so much Kylie.

      Yes, B is being quite cheeky these days and I admit, he does make me smile…as best as I can!!

      I am feeling more accepting now of what is ahead and using the days in advance to get outside and take in nature and do some more art.

      I am also cooking some small meals in advance as eating a main type meal is “one of the problems with my mouth” Cannot say I have not had practice!

      Denyse x

  13. I really enjoyed you sharing the back story to your outfit posts here, Denyse. Outfits are so much more than about ‘looking good’ as you’ve pointed out.

    You are looking fabulous, fit and strong!

    SSG xxx

  14. I’m so happy that #OOTD has helped you in your cancer journey Denyse. I know myself if I make an effort to dress nicely, do my hair and put on a little makeup – it instantly lifts my spirits. xoxo #TeamLovinLife

    • Yes Min, I was on the cusp of needing to do something after those initial months of recovery and there it was.

      I needed to buy more clothes and I needed to feel less frumpy and housebound.

      It sure has been fun and it remains a focus of my morning routine.

      Denyse x

  15. This is so heart warming. Your husband is such a keeper! I also use mine to take some of my photos and he has learnt to take several so that I can choose the best shot! I love your outfits of the day and I also love your fantastic attitude. #TeamLovinLife

    • Snap! We are fortunate women with our spouses. I am surprised at the patience of mine as he is not keen on how much I take photos. Yes, he takes a few as yours does and then I select the one I am happiest with.

      Glad to see you join in too. Thanks for your kind words, the care and support of others is really lovely and helpful.

      Denyse x

  16. You are stunning and so admirable! I wish I could dedicate myself to a challenge like this but there is so much going on! I don’t know how you do it! Other than, dedication and perseverance. Keep up the good work and stay beautiful!

    • Ah that is so kind of you. I keep going because I have to have some routine to my day. I no longer teach nor care for little grandkids and I also needed to get myself better presented. After the years of anxiety and then a cancer diagnosis, I needed to accept I was deserving of new and smaller sized clothes and the sharing of the images and the comments give me a great lift!
      Denyse x

  17. I love your outfit posts Denyse and have noticed a change in confidence as you’ve gone along. I try to do outfit photos sometimes and initially I couldn’t put my head in the pic – just my outfit. I hated seeing the body attached to the head so it was one or the other but I’m getting a lot better at it!


    • You so are too! I love the cheeky look you get. You are very photogenic whether you agree or not. Yes, I too know I do feel a lot less self-conscious now and my hub is actually ready to take the pics too. That is because he sees the change in me too I guess!

      Thanks Deb.

      Denyse x