Four years of blogging!
I just had to share Alternative Ageing’s 4th anniversary (September 2014) with you and to say a big, huge thank you for your loyal, warm and enthusiastic following! As any blogger or photographer knows, looking back four years is quite a shock when I see how poor some of my early efforts were. In fact, I would say that the first year was a real learning curve and I didn’t really know what I was doing then. So come on my journey with me and see just a few of my personal highlights. Just excuse the photography from those early days!
I started the blog because I had spent most of my working life in TV, nutrition, & writing so took to blogging like a duck to water as it allowed me to employ all my passions: photography, broadcasting, writing & health. My inspiration to start Alternative Ageing (named after my 3rd book) was sparked by Ari Seth Cohen of Advanced Style, seeing how he captured stylish women & men, from 60 to 100. If I had half his talent as a photographer I would be a very happy woman!
This is one of the first photos I took for a section called I Like Your Style. I then changed it to #vintageladyvintagestyle for you to use the hashtag on Instagram so I can feature all you stylish peeps out there, as long as you are vintage or dressed in vintage!
My highlight of 2014, apart from starting the blog, has to be taking my god son to the Bahamas to go swimming with pigs! A wonderful week in November that neither of us will forget for the rest of our lives. I am spending his inheritance doing things we both enjoy so next year the Glastonbury Festival is being planned as I write!
Between 2015 and 2017 I went from bright orange/red dyed hair to naturally grey. It was pretty painless (I had regular highlights to get through the worst) and I love it as it suits my older skin tone so much more. Whether you’re going grey or not, there’s a blog with top tips on how to have healthier hair here
I started escaping the UK winter in 2015 by going to Byron Bay in Australia for as long as possible! It’s become my second home and this is where I really got into dressing up, vintage fairs and releasing my inner child!
Here are just a few of the many vintage & retro pieces I found in Byron. My favourite store there is Trash Vintage and I literally couldn’t pass it without popping in to say hello and treating it like a giant dressing up box! I still have half of these outfits and actually got to wear them this summer in the UK.
Another highlight was having swimming lessons in Byron to learn how to do the crawl properly (what a climate to learn!) and I did my first modelling assignment ever there which lead to many more. The first one was with Trash and then a couple more with A Beautiful Weirdo who became my favourite photographer in Byron. You’ll see more of Charlotte’s photography in a bit. I realised then that us oldies are in high demand and these wonderful folks were the first I worked with to champion positive ageing (or aging depending on where you are reading this)! You can see the first shoot I ever did, for Trash, here.
Another highlight just has to be my first visit to Tokyo. What a city. What lovely, friendly, helpful people. You must go when you get the chance. It’s not as expensive as it used to be because everywhere else in the world is so expensive now! You can see all the wonderful fashionistas I photographed here. I had the very best time and even got to meet an Instagram friend for the first time, something I now try and do wherever I go.
A couple of work highlights in 2016……. being interviewed by Instagram, you can see it on the side bar, and working with my first brand, East, who have sadly gone the way of so many other brands by the death of the high street. But I got to do the shoot on the blissful beaches of Byron Bay with Charlotte, my go to photographer that end of the planet. You can see it here. It was just the start of many great collaborations with brands and I feel very blessed to be this age and still being sought after for so many big campaigns representing Women Over 50.
I also got to visit Napier in New Zealand early in 2017 as it’s so famous for its amazing art deco buildings. Of course I got to dress up a fair bit! You can see more on the blog. This was also the year that I went to a gig on my own for the first time ever. Sometimes, you just can’t find friends or family to go to a gig that you don’t want to miss, or tickets are running out so fast you have to buy immediately. So I took the bull by the horns and went to see Noel Gallagher on my own. It was amazing and everyone was so friendly that I now never miss an artist I really want to see knowing it’s not at all scary doing it on your own! I wrote about it here.
I didn’t start the blog to just share how I style my outfits to get more wear out of them but also, with my nutritionist’s hat on, to share healthy lifestyle top tips and lots of recipes. The trouble was that I was hopeless at taking photographs of food, packaging and flat lays so a real highlight was doing several Makelight courses on how to improve my photography. That was a real game changer for me in 2016 and, hopefully, all this learning has helped keep my brain younger. I’m certainly less forgetful than I was four years ago!
2018 kicked off with the trip of a lifetime! Although I have visited India many times, I had never been to Rajasthan before. So I did what so many older folk do and went by train, on the Maharajas Express no less. Thank you Kuoni for the great organisation. The older I get the less I like sitting in a car and I’ve always preferred train travel anyway: from the U.S. to Australia, I’ve seen more of a country by train than any other mode of transport. I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t done a blog on this trip yet but I have shared what I wore each day here, with the most amazing backdrops and some tips on what to wear if you haven’t been to India before.
Work-wise, I’ve also spoken at a couple of Age of Happiness Conferences in Montenegro where I got to meet a few of my Instagram buddies, including Tzoprah Salamon and Ari Seth Cohen, who inspired me to start my blogging journey. I also met up with him again in L.A. when I was there in May. He introduced me to the coolest area where I now always stay: Los Feliz.
On a personal note: I went to California this year to celebrate my brother’s 60th birthday, with our other brother by a different mother! And I got to spend time with my other wonderful god child, Emma, who now lives there. She is also very special so feel really lucky to have an awesome surrogate son and daughter!
Two more highlights of 2018 have to be a couple of jaunts with my oldest school friend, Dalia. The first was an amazing, fun-filled break in Amsterdam, to see Ed Sheeran! It was her first trip and about my fourth, but I hadn’t been there for twenty years. We had an absolute ball. It was also our fourth year running going to Goodwood’s spectacular DJ nights. How my oldest school friend and I love to dance and, double whammy for me, she’s a naturally brilliant photographer! More here.
I can’t do a look back over the last four years without mentioning Jack, my wonderful jackapoo who seems to love posing almost as much as his owner! We’re inseparable and I hate the fact that he is 12 in December and, if I’m lucky, only have four more years or so with him. But people think he’s still a puppy so no sign of him slowing down just yet!
And, finally, a brand highlight just in time for Alternative Ageing’s 4th anniversary. I have had a huge amount of media attention this year but being asked to take part in Revolution’s new Conceal & Define make-up launch has to be the icing on the cake. Their whole campaign is all about diversity so the shoot was probably my proudest moment of the year. To be standing side by side with all creeds, colours, sizes, bodies and ages was just awesome.
Things they are a changing and the media and brands’ attitude to aging is helping make the Baby Boomer generation more fashionable and better represented than ever. We still have a way to go but well done Revolution on leading the way in the beauty market. The world is not filled with 20 year old, skinny, blond white women and that message is finally getting through!
I do hope you have enjoyed this look at some of my highlights of the last four years and, as ever, I would love to hear from you. Do tell me what you would like to see more of as well. I want this blog to spread the positive ageing message far and wide!