It took me over a week to pluck up the courage to buy a ticket to the 30-40+ Blogger Meet. I thought it would be full of fashionistas who had thousands of followers and who’d been born blogging about glamorous frocks, expensive bags, false nails and eyelashes. It was taking place in the Kings Road, which is way outside of my East London comfort zone. I assumed I would feel out-of-place with my hair half grown out to grey and my work-in-progress, midlife blog. But with a big push from my other half I did attend and my fears were unfounded, it was just what I needed to get me focused.
I met a lot of kind, creative women, ate a very pretty lunch, learned a bit more about blogging and discovered a new fashion brand for older women. Catherine Summers of Not Dressed as Lamb organised the blogger meet and gave a presentation of her own tips for blogging success. They included being prepared to take risks in revealing your personality online and creating an authentic experience for your readers. This resonated with me – the posts where I’ve written about my dad and finding a care home for my mother have been the most carthartic for me to write.
Hope for us all
The Blogger meet was sponsored by the fifty plus fashion brand Hope Fashion UK, founded by the gorgeous Nayna McIntosh. Two things struck me about Nayna– first was how great her short salt and pepper hair looked (serious growing-out-to-grey envy going on here). Second was her warmth and authenticity which made it very easy to engage with her brand’s ethos. Made here in the UK (and Italy) Hope is challenging the mainstream fashion industry to think again about older women. Despite spending the most on fashion fifty-plus women are woefully neglected by the high street.
There was a lot of talk about confidence and body image which is a real issue for older women. Hope’s clothes have been thoughtfully designed for relaxation and comfort as well as style. They’ve also re-introduced the concept of ‘social shopping’. Pop-up Hope boutiques and party events are held in customer’s homes creating an emotional shopping experience that is shared with friends. Who among us could resist making a purchase when it’s given the thumbs up by the people we love and trust? It’s a great idea and one which nurtures the circle of friendship which is at the heart of the Grown Gals community.
I tried a few items on and the quality is undeniably good. But as a 53-year-old still trying to pretend I’m not – the style is just a bit too old for me – I’ll be there in a few years time. Meanwhile I can think of a few girls in my WI who might appreciate a Hope party night.
In an extremely generous gesture Hope gave us all a fabulous fuchsia pink fine merino and cashmere poncho and so, being shy, I sought the help of my dog Ricci to photograph it for you:
To tell the truth I would have been happy with the bottle of Evian and two macarons I found in the goody bag. In addition, though, I received a pretty diamante wrap bracelet from Lizzy O – run by blogger Elizabeth Yeowart of What Lizzy Loves. Once again I got Ricci to help me with photography. There was a lip pencil from Laura Geller; an eye serum sample from Verso; a delicious lemon scented body spritz from I Love…; a caramel coloured lip balm from Burts Bees; a copy of Blogosphere Magazine and a notebook and pen. Wow.
The 40+ Blogger Meet roll call:
Grown Gals is all about sharing our midlife experience and one thing that the 30-40+ Blogger Meet made me realise was that there are lots of fabulous women doing the 40+ fashion / beauty / travel thing really well. They are all slightly different, so it’s about following the women you connect with. There’s a full list of the 30-40+ Bloggers on the event website for you to discover and explore. The list below are the women I bonded with over the shared lunch table… it was great to meet you all and I am so pleased I wasn’t the only newbie!
Alternative Ageing – fashion and lifestyle by the gloriously individual Suzi
Fabulistic – fashion and skincare for women of colour by Kathleen
Funkyforty – fashion, travel lifestyle by Yvonne in Zurich
Life Begins at... – lifestyle and a bit of everything by Diane and Lucy
MelissaJaneLee – lifestyle by Melissa
Petite Silver Vixen – petite fashion by Jacqueline
StyleSplash – fashion and beauty by Emma
Vanity and Me – fashion and beauty by Laurie