Festivals & gigs at my age!

You probably know me well enough by now to accept that I refuse to act my age, love festivals, and can't stop dancing if the music's right!  However, many my age (well over 50) don't like camping, even glamping or boutique, and are put off by the whole thing: the queues, the loos, and the youngsters.....despite the fact that many of the bands playing are well over 40, 50, & well beyond! To camp or not camp, that is the question.  

Sadly, I haven't been to a camping festival since Latitude 3 years ago.  But I have continue my usual summer round of concerts, live gigs & day long festivals.  So far, having kicked off my summer doing a Robbie Williams concert and a day long festival in the same week, I personally think camping is much less exhausting as you can always go back to your tent for a snooze in between your favourite acts and there are no traffic jams or walking miles at the end of the night. I am still exhausted as I write this, and it was more than three days ago!  

But for some, a festival that only lasts a day, may be just what you fancy so here's a glimpse of my first week of fizz, fun and festivals.

A jug of prosecco always helps you survive a festival!

A jug of prosecco always helps you survive a festival!

My oldest school friend, Dalia, and I went to see Robbie Williams in Southampton on the Tuesday.  He put on an amazing show at St. Mary's Stadium, as usual, although he also seemed to be suffering from getting older as he complained about his slipped disc!  We had a great meal, (carbs & protein both needed if you're dancing the night away) beforehand at Quay15, which kept us on our feet throughout the show, despite having seats, followed by walking, walking, walking,,,,,,,which seems to follow any gig nowadays.

But it was a great evening and despite the increased security following the Manchester & London terrorist attacks the 35 thousand strong crowd were relaxed, happy and very friendly as we all made the most of our start of a summer of music.

Just 3 days later and I was joining another friend Mary Lambert , who had also been at the Robbie Williams gig, for our second year running at the Wildlife Festival in Shoreham near Brighton.  It was a much younger crowd than at Robbies but still very friendly, fun and happy. And I bumped into friends of all ages, including 16 year old Sam who edited my last video of the detox retreat!

We were disappointed this year with the VIP area that we paid an extra £35 for (another top tip if you're heading to a day festival). It was the same size as last years, with at least 10 times the number of guests.  The drinks bar was ten people deep, it took 20 minutes to get served, hence the big jug of Prosecco, and the lines for the loos were endless.  No better than in the main area.  One or two places that sold food, with huge lines, and absolutely no sign of the "angels who will give you massages" that they advertised. Not good. We won't be doing that again.  Oh and no increased security from what we could see. No one searched our bags and we saw one cop with a sniffer dogs - sniffing for drugs not bombs!  Really?

Stock up on your protein & carbs before a festival! Seabass, asparagus & sweet potato.

Stock up on your protein & carbs before a festival! Seabass, asparagus & sweet potato.

Again, a really good meal before getting into Wildlife kept us going for the first 6 hours but we finally weakened and went for the quickest line (OUTSIDE the VIP area) we could find, which just happened to be selling freshly made doughnuts! Not our usual fodder but carbs & sugar are always needed when you're walking miles. Just loved the girls from Donut Dollies.

We saw some excellent bands & DJs including Pete Tong, Rudimental, George Ezra, Chaka Khan and Jess Glynne, and finally left there for the long walk home at 11.15 - not bad for two elders who started the day at 3.00 pm! We did nearly 20k steps that day, that's 8 miles! No need for the gym this summer.

On a final note, what to wear?  The weather has been typical for the UK in early June, cold wind on the coast, lovely in the sunshine and mostly dry but chilly at night.  So, layers are usually the answer in England......I took my favourite winter Parka from Seasalt , which did me proud for both gigs, as well as my vintage shirt, bra vest underneath in case it got real hot, head scarf and torn, boyfriend jeans (the holes have got a little too big for a woman my age to get away with, but do I care? Hell no!) plus my extremely comfortable & warm Skechers trainers. I wasn't cold or uncomfortable for a moment, and that's all that matters at our age!

Comfy shirt, jeans and shoes.  The only way to dress for a festival or gig.

Comfy shirt, jeans and shoes.  The only way to dress for a festival or gig.

Hope you enjoyed my first week of summer fun. But if you do fancy camping at a Festival this year, (and I would thoroughly recommend it and be quite envious) you may find this post I wrote on what to take and what not to take really helpful. 

In the meantime, I have Goodwood Racing with a DJ night looming so expect a new outfit & more fun in the sun very soon.  And please let me know what festivals & gigs & fun in the sun you're planning this year!






How to tie a headscarf.

I am sure you saw a couple of "summer" blogs I posted in April, while we all waited for summer to actually arrive in the UK.  Still waiting!  I enjoyed a lovely collaboration with East Clothing, who sent me all sorts of goodies out to Australia to photograph whilst I was there.

One post was all about beach wear & the other all about the accessories.  So I thought it would be useful, as so many of you have asked, to post a video showing me grappling with the gorgeous, but enormous, Blue Silk Shibori striped scarf £45, from East to turn it into a vintage style headscarf.  I love the 40s/50s turban style so hope it helps if you're into them too!

At worst it will make you giggle.

See you soon!

How hard is a juice fast?



We think nothing of taking our cars in to have an annual service so why don't we do this for our bodies?  I am such a fan of Intermittent Fasting and, in particular, Doctor Valter Longo's latest research into ageing & longevity, (and how important a 5 day fast is at least once a year), that I decided to take myself off to a detox retreat to do a 5 day juice fast, something I find impossible to do at home for that long, despite being able to carry out the 5:2 very easily. My car had an annual service, now it was my turn!

After a bit of research, I booked into the Simply Healing Centre, in the UK, for five days of rest and recuperation, a proper fast and, most importantly, a technical detox -  a real break from the laptop, blogging & Instagram etc. This was the first time me and my lap top had been separated for any length of time in over two years! So badly needed. 

(But I did take my camera to quietly record my journey and daily musings if you want a laugh at the end of the blog!)


I arrived the evening before the start of the juice fast to be health checked, weighed and briefed!  I was thrilled that my cholesterol had dropped another whole point since my last test a year ago (I put that down to the 5:2 diet) but my weight was a shock as I never weigh myself. Despite being there for health and not weight loss, 9 stone 10 lbs (61 kilos) was a bit more than I expected, so I hoped it was all water retention from bingeing before my 5 day sentence!  Blood pressure and everything else was perfect. 

DAY 1-5

Every day started with freshly squeezed lemon in hot water.  I initially missed my now banned morning coffee but for waking up the digestion, bowels and skin it was good to be reminded that nothing's better first thing.  And I still do it every morning, using a quarter of a lemon. This I can thoroughly recommend as a daily habit.

For clear skin, bright eyes & a bushy tail, drink hot water & lemon when you first wake up.

For clear skin, bright eyes & a bushy tail, drink hot water & lemon when you first wake up.

The rest of the day's time table was thus:

8.00 a.m juice, 11.00 a.m juice, 13.00 pm juice, 14.30 juice, 16.30 herbal tea, 17.30 juice, 19.00 Meditation & 19.30 Detox soup!

That was it, no food just juice, juice, juice!  Green juices, all colours of the rainbow juices, and a detox soup in the evening (oh how I missed my "healthy" Himalayan salt, won't leave home without that again!). One green juice in particular took my fancy: asparagus, watercress, celery, cucumber and spinach was a lovely green juice. However, my body sometimes wanted to gag if it saw one more green juice (I had opted for green juices only) so I swopped to what everyone else was having (a little fruit in some of the juices) and felt better within hours. They obviously know what they're doing and I do not know best!

There were also great detox helpers in the form of psyllium husk, bentonite clay and cleansing herbs.  I'm not going to get into how much of each as this isn't a How To Detox piece (there are plenty of safer detox blogs around) and because I really don't think a 5 day juice detox should be done without the support of trained experts to help you cope with the inevitable detox side effects such as headaches, irritability, fatigue, constipation & vomiting to name but a few!

As you will see in the video, I felt absolutely dreadful on the 3rd day,  but what really helped were the daily detox treatments,  I have never experienced such good therapies and every day there were a couple included in the package which further detoxed & relaxed me.  No way could I do this at home. If I was to recommend any treatment before, during and/or after a detox it would be this one:  


One of the most important therapies for a detox is at least a couple of colonics.  Having a tube stuck up your bottom isn't the most relaxing treatment in the world but it is really important if you're doing any kind of a detox or fast to clear any debris lurking around in your colon that may well have been in there for years and to clear the toxins being released out of your cells.  i was thrilled to be told I didn't have Candida by the colonic hydrotherapist, who can tell you all sorts of things about your health by staring at your poo, so that was great news.

The other great news is that if you want a flatter stomach, instantly,  this is the treatment for you. The therapist will tell you that people have lost pounds and pounds of old stuff after just one!


This is what I do at home to keep my bowel healthy.  If you soak a large dessert spoonful of golden flaxseeds in plenty of water overnight, and drink it the following morning, the soft, gelatinous mixture goes slowly through your colon cleaning it as it passes through and curing constipation better than anything else I know.  It doesn't bloat you and because it's very rich in phytoestrogens (what I call Nature's HRT) and Omega 3, is also great for menopause symptoms and a healthy heart and skin.


I was also given a full body salt scrub, a colon massage, a detox massage, a detox wrap and a Thai foot massage.  Fantastic, relaxing treatments to help things along.  I also added an anti-ageing facial & manual lymphatic drainage to help give me that final shiny eyed, smooth skinned look that you should get at the end of a detox. Judge for yourself when you watch the video!

Most of us spent the entire day in dressing gowns, resting, reading, walking around the lovely grounds and enjoying the beautiful weather.  I couldn't do that for 5 days at home, I don't know about you! It was awesome.

There was a gym, but it was way too hot to use it and I certainly didn't have the energy. But I did have enough energy for walks all around the gorgeous grounds and through fields & woods in the area. It was such a joy to have no deadlines for once and to go with the flow - apart from getting back in time for the next juice!

To break the detox juice fast we had the best surprise at the end of Day 4: a fruit salad with fresh honey from the owners' very own beehives!  It was like the most delicious food I had ever eaten in my life and the very fact that I was chewing was unbelievably satisfying! 


This is something I have known all my nutritionists' life and have been very bad at actually doing myself.  It was good to be re-reminded that inhaling my food is going to make me bloated big time.  Ever since the detox I have been making a real effort to chew each mouthful at least 20 times and, for the first time in my life, I am noticing that anyone I eat with finishes before me AND I no longer get bloated! Result!

The fifth day of the juice fast was also the afternoon we were leaving. There was no rushing to the nearest Costa for me, sadly, as we were encouraged to continue detoxing for the rest of the week, gradually re-introducing a new food group each day.  That made it a whopping 10 day detox. 

DAYS 5-10

It was just salad and vegetables for day 5. With dressing. A few nuts could be added on Day 6 (literally 5!), Day 7 a little protein, Day 8 a little dairy (only goat or sheep products), Day 9 ONE coffee (organic) and Day 10 one glass of wine if you must! 

TOP TOP  I never knew this..........thank you Vivien. (The owner of the retreat)  Champagne is absolutely yeast free. Prosecco is not!  So guess what my favourite tipple is going to be from now on? Only one glass though as it's so expensive. 

I found it really easy for the rest of the week.  We were encouraged to stick to the same routine of giving the body something very little every couple of hours, which I found impossible to stick to back in the real world.  But the actual menu was very do-able as it is so similar to my normal way of eating when I am being uber healthy!

I am still only drinking one coffee a day, matcha tea is my new found love.  I have only eaten wheat once in the last two weeks, am still not eating meat, and I am doing 2 juices a day, as well as drinking lots of filtered water in between. And of course,  kick-starting my digestion every morning with lemon in hot water.  

But summer and all the festivals and gigs I so enjoy are going to be keeping me very busy for the next couple of months so I am sure I will be having lots of re-toxing days!  But at least I know what to do in between to make the most of my 1-2 fast days a week, giving my body the best health boost & rest I can. More on that in another blog.


Something I do at home when I feel run down, cold, have aching muscles or am doing a detox is to have an Epsom Bath Salts soak for three consecutive nights.  It is a wonderful, detoxing and relaxing bath and something I continued when I got back from the retreat.  All the info and how to do it is here and you'll love it!


I am glad to say, the 5 day juice fast went so well, I will probably go every year.  But was it easy? Not at all! I was hungry the entire time, bad tempered, tearful and tired!  Why not do it at home and save a whole heap of money, I hear you say?  Impossible, I'd say!  In a proper detox centre, the juices, supplements & ingredients are planned throughout the day at specific times for optimum results and minimum side effects.

Every day was quiet and peaceful as no mobiles were allowed in the communal areas. Bliss! There was nothing to do but rest, read & recuperate and, most important of all, detox centres offer treatments every day, such as massage, to encourage the body to detox. Much easier than having to drive somewhere for a treatment. And the bonus for me was that I had a real technical detox and didn't do any work, other than a bit of photography, for the entire five days. I even read a whole book - a real book, not on Kindle!

There is no way you can do this at home, I am sure you agree, but I hope the top tips I've suggested help you in your every day life.  And if you want to do a proper, weekend only detox yourself at home, my first book, 48 Hours to a Healthier Life,  is really do-able, safe and you won't go hungry! 

Finally, here's the vlog of my whole experience. Was it hard? You bet it was! But, the best thing of all, apart from the rest, my clear skin, bright eyes, renewed energy and, hopefully, a much healthier future, was losing 10lbs!  I didn't even go for weight loss (and suspect most of it was water retention) but I lost 4.5 kg without even trying. That is indeed a result.

(STOP PRESS: I bought a size 8 and size 10 dress yesterday, haven't done that for decades!)

I will get my cholesterol, blood sugar & weight all checked again after a few weeks of normal living and let you know. But for now, enjoy the video. CLICK BELOW.  I look dreadful in it but feel great as I'm writing this! And please let me know your thoughts on juicing etc. 

See you soon,











How to make baba ganoush/aubergine dip.

Vegan & vegetarian recipe. Baba ganoush. aubergine dip.

Vegan & vegetarian recipe. Baba ganoush. aubergine dip.

I am going to share something you may not know about me!  My mother was Bulgarian and met my Dad in Prague oh so many years ago!  I was born, in London, when she was just 19 and although it was the 50s and olive oil could only be found in pharmacies in those days, she was the most amazing cook and I grew up on the healthiest, Mediterranean-type diet you can imagine.  One of my favourites was what she called "kyopilo", which I assumed was Bulgarian, but I can't find this name anywhere on the net to confirm! (Please let me know if you happen to be Bulgarian).

Anyway, her version of baba ganoush was the most delicious I have ever tasted anywhere in the world but I have never been able to replicate this Greek/Turkish/Middle Eastern aubergine dip as she made it. It never tastes as good as Mum's, whatever it is, does it?  But here's a quick, easy version that should work for you and any vegetarians or vegans who might be visiting.  Thank you Jamie Oliver, as ever! 


3 aubergines

2 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon of light tahini

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Juice of 2 lemons

A pinch of cayenne or chilli powder

Serve pitta bread, olives & raw veg with a plate of home-made baba ganoush.

Serve pitta bread, olives & raw veg with a plate of home-made baba ganoush.


Pre heat oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Cut the aubergines in half, length ways. Score the fleshy side in a criss cross pattern, without going through the skin.  Rub plenty of olive oil all over both sides.  Bake fleshy side up for approximately 45 minutes. Leave to cool.

Pop the flesh of the aubergines into a blender/food processor, add:  2 peeled, chopped garlic cloves, 1 T of tahini, 2 T of olive oil, squeezed lemon juice, seasoning & cayenne or chilli powder, and whizz it all up.

That's it. Pop it all in a bowl and garnish with coriander or flat leaf parsley. Serve with olives, warm pitta bread and raw veggies. What could be better!  A lovely summer dip for all occasions and a great one to take to a bbq or a picnic.

I originally posted this recipe on Instagram, so please follow me here, if you're not already, 'cause I often post top tips & recipes that aren't necessarily published here on the blog. 

My Instagram account. @alternativeageing. Daily fashion, food & lifestyle posts.

My Instagram account. @alternativeageing. Daily fashion, food & lifestyle posts.

Have a wonderful week, and see you soon. Am doing at least one a week, so keep your eyes peeled!