Back in my early twenties, a friend and I pondered the conundrum of how we would know when we were grown-up. I am not certain I know now some four decades later but it popped into my mind because when you read this I will have recently celebrated my 65th birthday. And that sounds pretty grown–up.

For me now, being grown up is about living more easily and smoothly and contentedly with myself and other people, not getting my knickers in a twist as often, being happy with small things (my husband’s eyes crinkling when he smiles, a good cup of coffee, a sunny day, flowers – and nuzzling my three horses) and also being able to deal with big stuff better.

While I can see the blessings of ageing, I do want to feel and look as good as possible while the years tick by. Over the last 18 years, my co-author (and valued friend) Jo Fairley and I have written up all our best discoveries in our Beauty Bible books, alongside the tried & tested products rigorously trialled by our ten women consumer panels. I love natural beauty and health and our latest book (the eighth!) The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible is stuffed with award-winning products and information. Read More…

Pro Ageing


Now that I’m on the fast track to 50, I find myself head to head with the idea of really getting older. I guess when I was in my 30s, and even up until my mid 40s, I didn’t feel any pressure to ‘stay young’. I’ve always wanted to look good for my age rather than try to cheat it. Having worked as a Health & Beauty Editor on glossy magazines for years, I know the power of a good face cream, have always slathered myself in high SPFs as well as understanding that what we eat and staying fit and healthy is just as important in maintaining youthfulness.

I’m always wary of quick fixes and marketing hype – even though I want to be the first to know which type of yoga the ‘A’ listers are doing, or what new ingredient is going to save our skin. And while loving all the gloss, being an insider meant I was witness to the tricks and secrets: how models are made to look the way they do on the page. At photo shoots, I learned the power of great hair and make-up, and of course, that re-touching can work major miracles (especially in this digital age).

Yet I don’t find any of this negative. Quite the opposite, because I saw the transformations, and knew what the models looked like when they walked into the studio. Beautiful breeds that they are (with longer legs, amazing features, poise), within the model remit, they come in all shapes and sizes. Some have impossibly fine hair, some not so great lips, others (eeek) even have cellulite. The greatest models are a blank canvas, and can, chameleon like morph into the modish looks of the time. I love that. To me, the glamour of high fashion – great photography, make-up, hair, and the clothes – is escapism. It inspires. Read More…

The joys of ageing, and is it all about the free bus pass?


This month I am absolutely thrilled to be sharing the VH community platform with the wonderful Linda Randell, who writes about the joys of ageing. When I first read this I had tears in my eyes and together with Gill, I am overwhelmed with the magnificent support and passion that so many of you have given to us. We continue to grow the community spirit, so do let me know if you would like to participate. I hope you have a wonderful November and do stay in touch over on Facebook. Linda, take it away! Claire x

Well, 60 wasn’t too bad. There was a certain novelty about it, and you get your bus pass! 65 last year did upset me, possibly because it was exactly half way between 60 and another number! (Don’t mention it!) I felt a little glum on approaching 66 a few weeks ago, so it was time for a change of attitude!

I’m very grateful to still be here of course, but that wasn’t the point. I had to think exactly what the problem was, and it seemed that it was apprehension about what happens towards the end of life. I’ve seen first hand with close relatives and elderly friends and neighbours the loss of dignity that can come with ageing and how slow and painful the decline can be. Frightening and depressing.

So, here’s the plan!! Time to change the way of thinking about age and find good role models. Well, I might as well start with my lovely Dad, who as it happens, was born 100 years ago and passed away at the age of 91 from old age. He wasn’t on any tablets at all, and had achieved his ambition of still dancing at the age of 90. He loved his sequence dancing – very good therapy for body and mind. I can remember him grabbing hold of me once and showing me how to dance the latest foxtrot. We were in the local library at the time, which brings me to another joy of ageing – you don’t bother much about what people think! Read More…