I think we women in our fifties are one of the most important groups of consumers on the planet!! We have had our children, they should be off our hands and not costing us as much! are at the top of our careers so our earning power is at its biggest and we have a confidence about ourselves…or is that just me?…

It’s probably easier for me to say it because a year ago I was given the accolade of being one of the 50 Greatest Women in Gloucestershire and to prove it my name is on a shiny plaque at Cheltenham Race Course…mainly because it was supported by Trinity mirror and the Jockey Club….I think they should have had a drinks party for all 50 of us not just the really famous ones such as Jilly Cooper and Dame Janet Trotter but I have sneaked up there to try and take a photo of it but it is so shiny that you get a reflection of yourself as you take it which doesn’t really work and I am concerned that in 50 years time if it is still there people will think we were all race horses!! Anyway, not long after that I was named as One of the Top 100 Hundred Women in the West…now that really took my breath away and shocked me…in fact I kept reading the email over and over to make sure I understood it correctly! This was followed by an invitation to a big awards ceremony where six women would gain awards in categories such as Business, Charity, etc That proved to be a very emotional night as I was awarded the Most Outstanding Woman in the Charitable Sector in the West…. yes my Head got bigger!! I was brought up in a terraced house in Gloucester and was a normal person doing what I did and was totally, totally shocked…..

I was meeting women who were strong and fearless…or they appeared to be strong & fearless and I wanted to be strong & fearless too…I listened to women speak about shouting about your achievements and not hiding them under a bushel!…but what were my achievements?…I had lost my first daughter to a brain tumour…the worst thing that could happen to a mother…and father…I mustn’t forget Bern…and we started a charity after we lost her and raised money for children in Gloucestershire with cancer…our life was empty…I used to go and smell her clothes, especially her dressing gown which still hung in her bedroom until a friend offered to sort her clothes out for me…We needed to make a positive out of such an awful awful negative and this started my fundraising, charity work which has continued until now but I certainly did not think that all of this recognition would come from it…sometimes I feel quite sad….when I think of what Emily would have been like, talked like, looked like…but instead of too much thinking I plough all that energy into raising money to make other peoples lives better…I hope…not just children that are ill but homeless people in Cheltenham, families that are struggling to function as a family locally and our link school in Uganda….I couldn’t sponsor a child there…I decided to put money into the Pot…otherwise I would probably have gone over and just brought the child back with me!!!


Recently I was chatting to a group of women at a fashion show and when I told them about losing Emily at 3 they said “How do you ever get over something like that?”…well you don’t get over it…you learn to live with it…and I just plough all my energy into raising money or doing something to help others…It drives me…Sometimes I wish that we didn’t have to sleep because I want to do so much more….there are not enough hours in the day….I wish everyone would also do more for others as we all have enough!…although it is well documented that I love shopping and have about 170 dresses…but I do have a sort out every so often and give them to our Pied Piper Charity Shop!! Am I getting these awards because people think that I am strong and am over it?…because I really am not….

Anyway…where was I going with this?…Ah yes..fashion!!! Retail Therapy…The power of women in their fifties…

We want to look good..

We want to feel great

We don’t really want to let our hair go grey?…until it has gone completely then we can look quite classy! But the in between stage is not a good look….in my opinion!that shouts of OLD to me!! Please correct me if anyone thinks I am wrong… I honestly think no one wants to look patchy grey and dowdy!

My friends want to look sassy, colourful, classy, attractive…

I’m getting there…and who helps us do that?…Don’t get me wrong I buy clothes from Primark, Top Shop, River Island, Next, online…but if you want to feel a million dollars…step into Bodega Womenswear on Suffolk Road…I had walked past this shop for years thinking ooh…that looks small… someone will want to help me, talk to me, talk me into buying things,…..now I go there so that Carol or Daphne or Sarah Jane the owner will talk to me, advise me, help me and get me to buy something and it makes me feel good and hopefully look good and it doesn’t always break the bank!!! The jeans are about £40, the separates are slightly more than the high street but the feel good factor is empowering…that is Carols word!!! Young people do shop there with their Yummy Mummy’s but it is aimed at whatever middle aged women are …Sarah Jane will probably argue with that but I would call middle aged women anything from 25 to 75!!!

Last week these Bodega women talked me into modelling swim wear…at 57 years old…I was nervous…what about my cellulite, wobbly skin on my knees, wrinkly boobs if I pulled them up!! But the Tepe of women applauded us and made us feel fantastic…hopefully they looked just like me under their beautiful blouses and trim jeans…lumpy and bumpy!!! But thank you ladies for spurring us on as we modelled the lovely bodega fashion and swimwear.

Lastly, I would like to thank Sarah Jane for being an amazing supporter of Pied Piper over the years…she always says yes to everything! And follows my mantra totally of Always Giving not just for Pied Piper but for many other local charities too…THANK YOU Sarah Jane….you and your Team are stars…. xx

Until the next time!!!


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