It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…
Charles Dickens called it over 150 years ago but, in 2017, it is hard to deny that there’s an aura of the surreal which has permeated just about everything in our daily lives. From Brexit to Trump, people are becoming more empowered and, even if we don’t agree with the outcome, it feels somehow right to be paying extra close attention to everything we do and live more purposely and responsibly. That said, it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for frivolity right now, some form of escape.
And, for me, there is no better release than through fashion. While it’s true that fashion can sometimes seem like the height of superficiality, that is in itself, a shallow assessment of a very serious industry. Fashion is inherently political and its business practices - whether involving the hiring of size-zero models or young workers, manufacturing conditions, pollution or environmental concerns – are reflections of larger political issues that exist across the globe.
While some people might dismiss the biannual feast of all things fashion as being nothing more than an example of needless decadence, overt displays of extravagance and wealth, to say nothing of the endless, hedonistic partying, I think that these are some of the exact reasons why London, New York and Belfast FASHIONWEEKS are so important right now, and why I love them more than ever.
From the outfits and celebrity spotting, to the all-important catwalk shows and the not-so-serious sass in between, I can’t get enough of the fashion fun. Each season brings about a new set of street style to fawn over, iconic shows to daydream about and scandalous gossip to scoff at. These days you don’t need a golden ticket to Bae-Watch at the most prestigious fashion events, you have options – join the Frow this month in Belfast from March 23-26 (belfastfashionweek.com) or watch international fashion week activities unfold from the comfort of your own phone via Instagram!
March is definitely the month where I’m springing back to life. According to recent research, 56 per cent of women over the age of 40 don’t just feel wiser and more confident, but also happier than ever and I, for one, couldn’t agree more. I’ve taken up exercise, embraced mindfulness and have stopped taking myself so seriously which is giving me the freedom to laugh more and enjoy life. Who cares about laughter lines at my age? They are wrinkles and I’ve had a blast earning them! But I’ll let you into a little secret – I’ve discovered the benefits of Pure Marine Collagen which I’ve been taking every day and which has improved the elasticity and appearance of my skin, making me look a little younger than my actual age which doubles up the happiness quotient and gives me a strong confidence booster. #Win
The science behind Pure Marine Collagen is that, from the age of 25, we start to lose collagen stores at a rate of up to 1.5 per cent a year so, like me, by the time you reach mid-forties, the collagen loss could be as much as 30 per cent. As you can imagine, this does nothing for slowing down the ageing process. To be honest, I actually started researching collagen as a way to improve the look of my hair after years of perming, colouring and straightening, and six months after starting Eternal Alicsur pure marine collagen tablets, I can honestly say that my hair is now shinier and healthier than it has been for years but that was just the start… my skin looked better and people were even asking me what I was doing as I was looking younger!
Another amazing, if a little sneaky, hack from the makers of Alicsur at The Perfect Cosmetics Company is My Perfect Eyes. I am the first to admit that I am an old cynic when an anti-ageing product claims it can take years off you but this little bottle of pure magic costs only £30 and actually works! My Perfect Eyes helps puffiness, temporarily gets rid of wrinkles and improves dark shadows for up to 10 hours. It has become part of my beauty routine for special occasions, nights out or for when I just need a little pick-me-up.
And when I say nights out let’s be honest, my days of clubbing are long gone and like Chrissy Tiegen and Kim K, the only club I’m getting anywhere near these days is the Book Club the girls have decided to form. It happens to us all in the end. Life: You start off in a pair of hotpants dancing on a table in Thompson’s Garage, you end up sitting in someone’s newly-refurbished shaker-style kitchen dipping water biscuits into red pepper hummus and pretending to have read The Goldfinch.
The first book was obviously Louise Doughty’s gripping psychological thriller Apple Tree Yard and, after discussing feminism and female sexuality, someone mentioned that the recent BBC adaptation of the book had cause a surge in middle-aged women frequenting hair salons, at which point someone complimented me on my hair (see?). A long conversation about root retouching followed which segued seamlessly into planning a “girls only” weekend next June. Next up for discussion was Tom Hardy’s CBeebie’s Bedtime Stories Valentine’s Special and his ripped body in Taboo. Some of those present hadn’t seen it and an iPhone was duly passed around. I never realised book clubs could be so much fun! Roll on next month…
Stephanie - leave in follow on Instagram
Tom Hardy CBeebies Bedtime Stories, sigh…
Eternal Alicsur Pure Marine Collagen