frugal fashion shopper

Is age just another number?

Five anti-ageing things to do

I don’t seem to have got the immediate response to things I see in the media quite right yet!  Anyway, Sali Hughes wrote an article a couple of weeks ago about being almost 40, which to her is a landmark birthday.  To keep the years at bay she set out 25 non-surgical fixes to keep you looking young.  Apart from thinking, oh lordy, Sally, 40 is soooo young, it was great to read her take on plastic surgery – which was against.  But oh, my, some of her suggestions were expensive: you’d be paying between £100 to £800 for seven of her 25 recommendations.  So here are five anti-ageing suggestions costing not much at all.

1.   A good hair cut  The first thing Sali advises is get a fringe.  Yes, a fringe can hide a multitude of sins such as lines and wrinkles but, I would add a word of caution here.  I had a fringe for years and most of the time was very happy with it.  But there’s kind of a ubiquitous, mature woman’s hairstyle which is the short bob with a fringe the thicker the better to hide all the wrinkles etc., etc.  Just recently I have decided that I am no longer going to hide my face behind my fringe. My attitude is now, here is my face and here is my forehead.  This is how I am.  I. Am. Ageing, and, you know, that’s OK.   Of course, wear your hair whichever way suits you but the no fringe thing is just more of the message – don’t hide yourself away.

2.    Join a choir  Singing improves your breathing, keeps you on your toes learning the words and brings you new experiences like getting over stage fright!  I joined a choir over 4 years ago and, gosh my knees quaked when we started singing in front of an audience.  You also make new friends and that’s an added bonus.  Whatever music you like there’ll be a choir for you.  In a neighbouring town there are over 15 choirs of varying types but in my small town just the one.  We sing songs by the Beatles, Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel and slightly more contemporary pieces by Cold Play and Snow Patrol.  Our pièce de résistance is  (I kid you not) ‘I’m a Teenage Dirtbag, Baby’.  For two hours every Monday we sing our hearts out and for that we pay £5 a session.

3.    Avoid the sun You know my views on summer and the sun from a previous blog, but if you must sun-bathe always wear a good sun block on your face – as Sali advised go to Boots and find one for not much at all.

 4.    Eyebrows I don’t know about you but as I’ve aged my eyebrows have gone whiter and thinner, the thinness due, mainly, to me plucking all the white hairs until I realised this had to stop or I would not possess a pair of eyebrows at all!  A kindly beautician advised me to i) stop plucking and ii) to have them dyed.  Reader, I did both and my face is now topped by a pair of quite realistic dark eyebrows.  Cost – £15 for both dyeing and tidying and worth every penny.

 5.    Exercise, exercise, exercise  No need to state the obvious, but you’ve got to keep moving.  And you can do it in so many ways: gardening, walking, dancing around while doing the dusting.  We don’t have our newspaper delivered and as I must read a newspaper every day, whatever the weather I walk half a mile to the shops and back to get my daily fix.  All the above are free, but once a week I go to the Seniors’ Class at my local gym.  What a bargain!   We do an hour’s circuit training topped and tailed by warm-up exercises, followed by a swim, all for the princely sum of £4.45.  And they don’t treat you with kid gloves, oh, no.  Our class, of which I am definitely one of the youngest, is pushed hard and I can tell you I am less fit than some of the class members who have to be at least 10 to 15 years older than me!  What role models they are.

That’s all for now.  I’ve been away so there are no bargains of the week as there were no charity shops where I was staying.  I’ll see what I can find for the next blog!

With love


The frugal fashion shopper

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Fifty shades of – purple (we’re talking about my legs)

Lucy Mangan’s recent diatribe on summer (Why I hate summer. 03.07.13) struck a chord, oh how I agree with her.  I too hate summer – well, the heat, actually.  The UK is in the midst of a heatwave with temperatures reaching 30C, and for those of you living in the States, that’s around 85F, which I’m sure is really no big deal at all.  But it is not only unusual for the UK it’s ghastly for pale-skinned Brits who burn easily and flop around longing for a cool breeze.

For me, my dislike of hot weather is also about the clothes you have to wear or, not wear.  OK, I admit it, I’m a winter person and I love wearing woolly jumpers and tweedy skirts along with thick black tights and leggings.  And my legs can look good, in tights, in the winter.  To uncover and bare those legs to the elements is an ordeal – and some – mainly because my skin is not merely pale it’s kind of a whitish-blue.   And as I age, on my arms and hands there’s a nice spattering of age spots (you could see them in Lorna’s film) and on my legs there’s a lot of those spidery veins delicately traced around the sides of my knees in many shades of purple.

Bargain of the week

However, I do have a large collection of charity shop summer skirts and dresses, which I enjoy wearing.  Here is a cool floaty dress (East, no less) bought this week for just £1.75.

On cooler days I wear these summer clothes with leggings.   But when the heat is on I use an artificial suntan on my legs, which helps a bit (Dove has been the best I’ve tried so far) although I can never quite get rid of that bluey-purple look.  For me, a good pedicure with toe nails painted a cheerful colour is a must to draw attention away from the knees, and will add to the festive feeling that the summer sun brings to most people – but like Lucy Mangan I long for the days when it is cooler when cardigans and tights (the thicker the better) can be worn again!



With love


The frugal fashion shopper


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My second blog

How I shop Love the size you are.

This blog was going to be about ‘how I shop’ but instead I’m picking up on something I say in the great little film accompanying the blog (made by my very good friend, Lorna Easterbrook). Go straight to the film here or see the film at the bottom of the blog.  My message for my second blog is whatever your size, love the size you are and show yourself off.  Now, you might think, easy for someone like me, as I appear to be reasonably slim.  But my message is whatever your size, and particularly as we age, don’t hide yourself away under baggy clothing – fleeces, large blouses and wide, loose trousers – they can make you look bigger.

A key reason for saying wear tighter more form-fitting clothes with pride, whatever your size, is I’ve never forgotten my experience of looking at how French women wear their clothes.  Over 40 years ago, yes, that long ago, I was working as a nurse in Switzerland and living in the nurses’ accommodation.  There I saw the French and Swiss nurses stand in front of the full length mirror (in the communal area) taking in the seams of their newly bought trousers or jeans, sometimes just a fraction of an inch, simply to make them fit better.  And they weren’t all slim.  Furthermore, when they wore them, they didn’t wear a loose blouse covering up their rears, and I’m talking about the ones with the fuller figures, they walked with pride as if they owned the place.  At 20-something, coming from a rather self-effacing, ‘don’t show-yourself-off’ English upbringing I was amazed, awed, even, by their confidence.  But now, people, what is there to lose?

Pink trousersSome time ago I saw a comment (that I didn’t react to as I didn’t have the blog up and running) that no women over 50 should wear skinny jeans: excuse me, at 67 they are the only type of jeans I wear.  Here I am wearing some pink skinny jeans bought from Peacocks at around £10.00 – more than I usually spend on my clothes!

You don’t necessarily have to take any notice of what I say – always wear what you think is best for you.   But my message is that you can experiment with tighter fitting clothes by buying from charity shops.  So, go ahead treat yourself, be daring, show yourself off and wear it now – it might give you a lift for very little cash.

With love


The frugal fashion shopper

PS. Here is the link to a film that looks at my take on shopping in charity shops made by my very good friend Lorna Easterbrook. Incidentally it was made in March when it was freezing cold, hence the hat, scarf and long winter coat!

This is, by the way, an original production as Lorna used a brilliant technique of interview plus photo-montage and put it all together.  If you want to know more about the method she used, or how she uses this kind of film in her work with older people – or if you’d like to commission her to make a film for you! – go to this link ……. and you can ask for more details from Lorna directly.


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