On ageing…

I can’t stand it when people say, “She looks so amazing… for her age.” After all, what does age even look like? These days, 50 is young. So is 60 – even 70. All you need is a love of life: a sense of wonder and adventure; a little dash of style; a wicked sense of humour.

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Tutti, 64 and The Guru, 66

Once, 60 might have worn a faded pink dressing gown, and ‘tsked’ at the television while hunched over the ironing, before dinner at 5 and bed at 7 (maybe some still do – it’s no crime after all). But perceptions have changed. People have changed. Sixty can be as vibrant as any 30. Sometimes more so. I know people my age who might as well have been 100. But even saying that seems insulting to 100-year-olds who still live life with vigour.

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Tutti at 62

I feel sad when I hear women talk about turning 40, or 50 and feeling invisible. Just because you might have a few more lines, or because your mid-section doesn’t snap back into shape after a doughnut binge like it used to, or because your your backside is exponentially more wobbly, or your hair’s going grey, it’s no excuse for allowing yourself to fade into obscurity. There’s no need to wave goodbye to your identity amidst the bland sea of perky pouters, fresh out of school, in their uniform, bum-skimming bodycons and tragic stilettos that have them clip-clopping down the street with all the elegance of drunken giraffes.

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Tutti, 64

I once wrote a ‘manifesto’ of sorts for Prevention (the health magazine for women 40+, where I’m the features editor) and it pretty much sums up my sentiments (edited for context, below):

No one really wants to get ‘old’, but if we can, quite simply, live our best lives, then we have rendered age irrelevant. It’s not about stopping the clock, or turning it back – it’s about moving forward, buoyed by life’s many possibilities and the inevitable wisdom we pick up along the way. 

Ageing is inevitable: there will always be that day when you find another grey hair, or your knees start to creak or you realise your eyes are suddenly more prone to crow’s feet than sparrows’. But if people can be inspired to embrace every aspect of their lives with vibrancy, humour – and youth (no matter how many candles on their birthday cakes), that in itself is setting a brilliant example for future generations to aspire to. After all, ageing ‘youthfully’, isn’t just an ideal – it can be a reality.
 
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Tutti and The Guru frolicking in the garden

Of course, I’m lucky to have parents like Tutti and the Guru as role models, doing their darnedest to age disgracefully, with more colour and layers of eccentricity year-on-year, but if you need a dash more inspiration, check out photographer Ari Seth Cohen’s blog Advanced Style.

There’s something about those fearless, fashionable, savvy New Yorkers that makes you want to leap out of your easy-chair, fist pump the air triumphantly, and live every day that passes with even more fabulousness than the last.

 

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I’m back after two weeks away. And I’m grumpy.

Hello loyal, lovely (and HIGHLY ATTRACTIVE) readers who I have callously neglected for the last two weeks. “Where have you been?” I hear you ask. “What have you been doing?” You plead. “PLEASE fill us in with all the minute details of your illustrious life!” I hear you cry (er… in my head… as I watch the tumbleweeds roll softly by).

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It might as well be a tumbleweed. AKA The innards of one of Tiggy’s toys. There is fluff EVERYWHERE. I am going to have to teach her to use the vacuum cleaner.

In truth, I’ve had ten glorious days off work. I’ve been the very personification of the Spanish proverb that goes, “Isn’t it beautiful to do nothing and then rest afterwards.” And it is, I tell you. It really, truly is.

For the first five days of my holiday, Matty, Tutti, the Guru, Tiggy and I went to Sky Cottage in Jervis Bay, a gorgeous, simple, two-bedroom cottage, just a five minute drive from Hyams Beach, which according to the Guinness Book of Records has the whitest sand in the world. It was glorious. We lazed by the sea, watched movies, had barbecues at night by the bonfire and played an epic game of Monopoly that spanned three days and ended predictably with The Guru making appalling deals, and Matty monopolising the board until he owned everything and had mercilessly bankrupted everyone with his exorbitant rents.

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Tiggy, contemplating some of life’s big questions at Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay

I just realised I didn’t take any photos of anyone except Tiggy, so you will have to look to her to see how much we enjoyed ourselves.

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“Nothing to see here,” says Tiggy. “Move along please.”

Then we drove back to Sydney, and I spent another couple of days mooching about, and yet another couple, having succumbed to a boring cold that saw me lying in bed listlessly and coughing pathetically.

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Just imagine this is my face, I’m coughing persistently, and being incredibly self-pitying.

Then Sunday night (when I’m writing this post) rolled around, and I had all these grand plans about the fun I would have, and yet somehow, the hours ticked past, I ate a couple of sandwiches, tidied the bedroom, ate some cheese toast and fell down an appalling internet rabbit hole while trying to help Matty change his Apple ID region from UK to Australia. I went round and round in frustrating circles, unable to solve the problem and yet I persisted in vain for over an hour until I started weeping pitifully and declared my Sunday RUINED. And then I made plenty of these faces, a few of which I have captured for you here.

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So there you have it. I may be whinging and whining like a dog in the rain, but I’m back, good people of the internet, and I look forward to seeing all your lovely faces back here again. Now THAT will cheer me up.

Love ya!

Ceci xx

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Someone else’s embarrassing flashback

It was the early ’90s. I was at a friend’s Batmitzvah and I was sat at a table full of very pleasant girls, one of whom could not get over the outfit another of the guests was wearing.

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Everyone, meet Fluffy

Happy Friday one and all!

Today, I’d like to introduce my sister Fluffy. I’ve explained before why my 28 year old adult sister is named after a dog (a cute, frivolous, fluffy dog) but what you probably don’t know about her is that she has a lot of other names as well:
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Tutti and The Guru get it wrong. Again.

I asked my parents for a ‘baby book’. That in itself is an ambiguous request and one that I clearly didn’t articulate well.

I can still vividly remember what I was hoping for. I must have been about 12, and Tutti’s friends were having babies. One of them had this amazing book about birth. Graphic pictures of foetuses in utero, at different stages of incubation. I was fascinated by these pale pink, beady eyed aliens. Fascinated.

I asked for a baby book.

I wanted this:

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From ‘The Facts Of Life’ pop up book by Jonathan Miller and David Pelham

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From ‘The Facts Of Life’ pop up book by Jonathan Miller and David Pelham

Instead, I got this:

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Yes, it’s ‘Where Did I Come From’ by Peter Mayle, illustrated by Arthur Robins

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Not quite what I had in mind. But very educational.

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I have a confession to make…

I haven’t always been grateful for what I have.

It pains me to say that, because appreciating the little things, is one of the things I do best. (Which is saying something, since there’s plenty I’m bad at, like geography, maths and not being judgemental).

When people ask me what I want for my birthday, I always say ‘anything’ (which is annoying for those who actually want me to say, “Oh, I’d really love this exact specific thing which you can buy here) – but I mean it. Anything.

Example: If someone gave me, say, a bit of shit on a stick (literally or figuratively, whatever), then so long as it was procured with love and thoughtfulness, I would cherish it forever. Matty has been buying me presents – often jewellery, my favourite thing – for the 12 years we’ve been together, and I can honestly say he’s never got it wrong. Not once. Besides the fact that he has incredibly good taste, I love everything he buys me, because I love Matty, and I know he puts a lot of thought into his gift-buying.

(The Guru, however, has shown room for improvement. Two of Tutti’s particularly grim birthdays involved the unwrapping of a dustbuster and a set of windchimes. Bad, Guru. Very bad.)

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Do you know what this is? It’s my engagement ring. One of my favourite things in the world, chosen by Matty, from a stunning boutique called Kabiri in Marylebone, London.

The first time in my life I remember feeling ungrateful, was around my 10th birthday. I had decided that what I really, really wanted from my parents was a porcelain doll. God knows why. They’re fragile for starters, and I’m a klutz on legs. But I had already imagined her; all flouncy hair and frilly dress, perfect porcelain face (utterly lacking in personality. Porcelain dolls are kind of snooty when you think about it. They’re like designer-store sales-assistants of the doll world).

Anyway, this is the sort of gift I was anticipating.

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Hello, my name is Breakable And Boring

So imagine what I thought when I opened my birthday present and I was greeted by THIS:

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An expression that says, “Hmmm, sorry to break it to you, but I live here now.”

Not only is she very, very small, she doesn’t exactly have flouncy hair. Nope. Not even one fucking ringlet. In fact, take off her bonnet, and, she has nothing but a fringe! The ABJECT HORROR!

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An expression that says, “Your parents are too broke to buy you a doll with hair. Suck it!”

From the back, she looks like Matty!

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Bald is beautiful. But in this case, not so much.

Of course, what I didn’t realise at the time was that Tutti and The Guru were flat broke (ignorance and innocence is bliss, when you’re 10) and yet they wanted to give me what I’d asked for so badly, because are such gorgeous and lovely parents (and because I am so spoilt) that they did their utmost very best.

The funny thing is, that if they’d given me the porcelain doll I’d imagined, I would have probably lost interest quickly, or accidentally smashed her smug porcelain face in. Instead, this strange little baldy has stuck around for good, and has become one of my most treasured possessions. Not only because she reminds me of how lucky I am to have such thoughtful, lovely, loving parents, but think about it: They bought that for me before the internet was really a thing. And even now, with all the search engines, and shopping sites and buy-anything-at-the-click-of-a-button, you’d have to look pretty long and hard to find something that weird.

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What Tutti Wore…

… To buy a litre of milk.

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Tutti’s version of chucking on a tracksuit. Except that she chucks on a rainbow and radiates joy.

This is a woman who has the ability to run into her wardrobe, pull out the first three items she sees, chuck them on and come out looking like this. And yet, she isn’t deliberately fabulous, she can’t help it, in the same way that a magpie can’t help collecting shiny objects – or The Guru can’t help eating things he shouldn’t (Hello lolly mix!) – and never hiding the evidence properly.

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You can’t deny the fact that age is no barrier to fabulousness. It’s a choice. Or in Tutti’s case, completely involuntary. She wouldn’t even know how to buy a pair of beige slacks.

This is a woman whose clothes are essentially an extension of her personality. She exudes warmth and fun and fabulousness. She is smile-inducing; the antidote to drearyness. And having survived a Grade-3 breast cancer diagnosis with all the fabulousness she could muster, she is incredibly inspiring to boot.

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This is a woman who does a wonderful impression of a joyous teapot.

I’ll finish today’s post today with this quote by the poet Allen Ginsberg.

“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.”

I think it’s very good advice to live by. Do you agree?

 

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