THE AGE OF HAPPINESS FESTIVAL - 2016

A room with a view, in beautiful Budva, Montenegro.

A room with a view, in beautiful Budva, Montenegro.

For the 2nd year running, last week, I was invited to speak at The Age of Happiness, Well Over 50, Festival in Budva, Montenegro. It was so good to see so many Russian friends from last year's conference, as well as many new delegates, and to share my top tips on healthy 'old' age with nutrition.

I was lucky enough to be put up in the 5 star Hotel Splendid, with it's own beach. Very lucky as it turned out because I was unwell with some horrid virus and took to my room (great wifi & room service!) for a couple of days, hence photos of only one of the outfits I took with me!

Unlike last year, the torrential rain, common at this time of the year, stayed away most of the time so we were blessed with lovely sunny, warm days. I even managed a swim in the Adriatic on one of my 'good' days! Some of us were also lucky enough to spend the day at the beautiful little town of Perast in the Bay of Kotor, where you can take a boat out to the gorgeous islands of St. George and Our Lady of the Rocks.   So worth a visit if you plan to come to this gorgeous little country. 

I took masses of clothes with me because the weather's so changeable: wet weather, cool evenings, hot beach days, smart clothes for speaking, and party clothes. it all had to come with me! This was one of my favourite outfits on days off. I got the blue shirt in the All Saints Sale at the end of September & the jeans were found in Gap, NYC. So comfortable..... and tarted up with the gorgeous necklace I found last year in Montenegro, and my inevitable vintage bangle, sunglasses and headscarf! 

Am I too old to wear jeans with rips in them? If I am, I don't care! That's what the Well Over 50 Festival is all about......being, wearing and doing whatever you like, with no barriers.

I was staying near the Dukley Beach Lounge, that has the most delicious food. ! was lucky enough to have a discount card as it is not cheap there, but it is, probably, the best restaurant in Montenegro so worth a visit. Each meal I ate there was so pretty it gave me plenty of photo opportunities for Instagram!

The ordinary local restaurants are fantastic too.  You can eat a buffet meal for just 5 Euros, full of healthy vegetables, local fish and salads. And the local red wine is dirt cheap too. Pity I decided to do Sober October this year! 

One of my highlights, when I was off duty & not ill, was meeting up with my friend from NYC, the stylish Tziporah Salomon.  We enjoyed being 'ladies who lunch' that day, had a great catch up, and then had an impromptu photo shoot: not bad for ladies in our mid 60s are we?! 

Tziporah's amazing necklace is by Masha Archer, thank goodness she lives in San Francisco, I want everything I've seen on-line!

Of course, the conference was all about the huge amount of workshops, lectures & exercise on offer. From skate boarding to tango. Massage to Yoga. There was something for everyone. Because I was poorly, I didn't get to as many lectures as I would have liked and, sadly, no exercise at all, apart from walking.

 But I did get to Tziporah's great talk on fashion & style. It was all about the hats, the bags, the layering, and the accessories. Most of them vintage.  I loved it!  She must have changed a dozen times with help from my friend from last year, Elena Lisovskaya.

This year, I managed to hear the impressive Victor Michaelson talking about Slow Food.  A subject very close to my heart. In this case, slow food means not 'fast' food! Not slow cooking! Eating locally, fresh, and and natural was his mission statement. One that I agree with wholeheartedly.

Victor Michaelson, food guru with a particular interest in the Slow Food movement

Victor Michaelson, food guru with a particular interest in the Slow Food movement

Brit Annabel Davis showed us all how to walk on a cat walk and inspired us all with her talk about how she became a model so late in life.  She is a great example to us all of an Over 60 finding a new and highly successful career as a model & actor.....or for that matter, at any age! (she was a police officer for 25 years before modelling). An amazing lady, full of energy and so impressive. 

Amanda Davis, a successful model in her 60s.

Amanda Davis, a successful model in her 60s.

Ken Solin's talk on how to find love Well Over 50 was probably the most useful workshop for me!  He's a dating coach & author, from California, and gave us invaluable advice on on-line dating & how to go about finding your perfect soul mate. Watch this space!

Ken Solin. Dating guru.  He helps people to find their soulmate!

Ken Solin. Dating guru.  He helps people to find their soulmate!

And 75 year old British swimmer Roger Allsopp, a retired surgeon, was a must see with a great talk about latest research into living longer.  He's the oldest person ever to swim the English Channel - twice! That's 21 miles in a sea that took the 'plane home a good 10 minutes to cross! An absolute hero. 

Roger Allsopp.  75 years old and has swam across the English Channel - twice!

Roger Allsopp.  75 years old and has swam across the English Channel - twice!

I didn't get to many of the evening functions but I did get to see world-famous pole dancer Greta Pontarelli strutting her stuff. This woman is 62 and took up pole-dancing in her later life to fight osteoporosis.  She ripped her toe nail off during this performance, but just carried on.  What a trooper!

Having attended just a few of the many workshops & lectures on offer, I am completely humbled by seeing what so many people across the world are doing Over 50, Over 60, Over 70 and beyond! Maybe I will reach that dream of becoming a DJ one day.  If I went away with just one message it would be that it really is never too late! 

And boy do they know how to party! The opening and closing parties were full of happy, dancing Well Over 50s.  It was a pleasure to be there again and I hope this has inspired anyone over 40 to really believe that life does indeed begin, at any age.  If this isn't inspiring then I don't know what is! 

Let me know your thoughts, I always love a comment!