Look Fabulous Forever search for LFF Face of 2019

Hello and welcome to this special post where today I'm working in association with the beauty brand Look Fabulous Forever. As you'll see from the title, the brand is looking for an over 50 fabulous, vibrant woman to be their Face of 2019. Are you an inspiration? Do you defy your age, stepping outside the ordinary to define yourself in your very own way? Are you full of the joie de vivre? If so, then follow the link here to apply or maybe even prompt someone who you thinks fits that description. 

Here's what the team at Look Fabulous Forever have to say about this competition - 
Last year we ran a search to seek out a ‘Face of LFF’ - an older woman whose attitude to life would reflect everything that Look Fabulous Forever seeks to encapsulate.She would also be a warm, enthusiastic and vivacious older woman who had taken risks which had pushed her well outside her comfort zone. From hundreds of deserving entries we selected 3 women - one who was named the Face of LFF and 2 runners up. Meet the winners here.

We’d like to hear from women over 50 who believe that age is no barrier to living a fabulous life. Women who have challenged perceptions of how older women should live their life, overcome adversity or found a new hobby or even made a big life change that has led to their happiness.

The overall winners prize includes:

·       Professional makeover and photoshoot

·       £500 cash prize

·       A range of LFF products

·       Personalised colour and style consultation 

·       Ongoing appearance as the Face of LFF 2019

Plus there are 2 runner up prizes also.

Dates: 19th Jan - 24th March 2019

Last year I was lucky enough to work with Annee, the Face of 2018. Annee is blessed with good genes she said, when I complimented her on her youthful skin. Between that and her pretty features I could understand why she was chosen to represent the brand for the year. But not only that, she has such a gentle nature and warm personality it was easy to see how she won the hearts of the judges. This year it could be you - so be brave and fill out the form!

Talking of brave, yes some of you may think I'm either brave or mad to be swimming in the winter in just a swimsuit, but honestly I seem to be part of a growing trend. Yes this habit was maybe once viewed as an extreme sport, but with the latest evidence that cold water bathing has huge health benefits, I'm pleased to say that I am positively mainstream now. If you need further persuading then click on the link here to read about cold water swimming. 

Yes, if you've read the article, you'll see the report shows not only benefits to general health, but also for mental well-being. At last this subject too has become centre stage and is (hopefully) about to shake off the stigma that once surrounded it. Ill health isn't a matter of choice and I've suffered from various health problems over my life, some of which I've discussed and some I've shied away from. My winter depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder, to give it its proper name) has been more or less completely banished by this simple act of sea immersion. There's no need to swim for miles or stay in the water for long either - a quick dip would work wonders. 

During the latest spell of winter weather I've seen photos on Instagram of fellow swimmers ploughing through icy lakes (yes, with actual chunks of ice) and trekking along snow covered boardwalks to reach their chosen patch of endorphin-inducing water. If you don't believe me see Julie P and Ella Chloe here. Forgive me for harping on, but honestly you can't knock it until you've tried it. Then, and only then, once you've experienced the mighty afterglow, will you understand what all the fuss it about!

When you see the ruddy glow to the skin as that rush of blood shows on the surface, then I ask you to consider that same rush of blood reaching the brain, energising the immune system, blasting through your fat cells and boosting your metabolism. I'm part of this growing revolution who chooses sea swimming over medication to keep myself well. 

Care to join me?

Anna x


Mail shot surprise

It's a funny feeling to open the mail and see your own face smiling back at you.This mailshot landed on my doormat yesterday which was a lovely surprise. The product launch was a few weeks ago and I've already run a feature about the products (see here). Anyway, seeing this reminded me that I've not shared the behind the scenes shots from the day I spent working on the campaign. Would you like to see them? 

The photo shoot took place in a house in a London suburb. Don't ask me where exactly, as I haven't a clue. I spent the night with my dear friend Ann who lives near Borough Market and the next day I took a taxi, a train and then walked the last half mile to the house down a quiet avenue in a residential area. This is the entrance hall which was a taster of what was to come. The house is a large family home full of both classical features and quirky objects d'art. I must admit that in between shots I did a fair bit of snooping about, taking lots of photos of this extraordinary home.

I was barely over the threshold when this message carved into the mantelpiece struck joy in my heart. Had I just entered my dream home?

Directly opposite the front door this central area joining all of the downstairs rooms leads through to the garden with lawn and sitting areas. A couple of models are being prepped here ready for their shoot as I continued to nosey around.

Flamingos are a fabulous passion that crop up again and again. 

Yup, the obligatory selfie.

The kitchen island is build around a real olive tree. I gawped and tried not to gasp out loud at each quirky aspect of the house and its decor.

And the other end of the kitchen ...

... leads into the garden.

On the veranda is Annee being lined up for her shot.

She's worked for the brand for a while now and looks very much at home in front of the camera.

Yet more flamingos in the undergrowth.

And perched just around the corner was fellow blogger Laurie of Vanity and Me Style. It was lovely to meet up with her again and have a catch up on each others news. We had lunch together and sat out in the sun as we waited for our shoot.

What a great way to protect your outdoor furniture from the weather - cover it in AstroTurf!

We were both in agreement that this was a most unusual and stunning house. We enjoyed the privilege of spending the day in these luxurious surroundings, as the stylists worked their magic and pampered us with the products.

Annee and Amanda, one of the make-up and hair stylists, are loitering outside a bedroom - there was a lot of loitering to be done.

I joined in as I'm not averse to a bit of loitering myself.

The natural light in this bathroom was perfect for the photo shoots.

At every turn and from every angle there was something artistic to see. Someones imagination had run wild in the creation of this home.

The editing suite was located in the playroom which doubled as the changing room, meaning I got the chance to snoop at the proceedings. This is Ruth, the oldest model on the day at 83 - doesn't she look amazing? The brand, Look Fabulous Forever, has truly encompassed all mature women in this campaign.

Next day I was on the train back on my way to the West Country, enjoying the view across the Tamar bridge as we passed from Devon to Cornwall. I spent the night in Truro, although, shock, horror, I had little time to shop in my favourite city.

These motor bikes parked up on Lemon Quay were too colourful to walk past - I'll have one of each please!

Early morning light over St Michael's Mount as captured from the train at the end of my journey.

And there she is, The Scillonian loading up with freight and passengers as she makes ready to leave for the day trip to the islands. My adventure may be over, but the memories remain. It's been a funny old year. If someone had told me in January on my 60th birthday that I'd be featured in three advertising campaigns this year, two of which would show me on TV - well, I'd have laughed in their face. I'm still slightly bemused at how I've pulled this off, but I suppose it just goes to show that anything is possible.

Anna x


Look Fabulous Forever

Hello my dear readers! Today I want to share some news with you about a lovely range of products that I've been chosen to represent along with a few other ladies - it's the Look Fabulous Forever Skin Care range. Brand new and just released onto the market, the range is the latest baby from Tricia Cusden, the founder of Look Fabulous Forever. For those of you who haven't come across this brand before, it's a range made specifically for mature skin. If you click here you can read Tricia's blog which introduces the range and explains the story behind it.

My goody bag arrived a couple of days ago and I'm very keen to share these products with you because, quite honestly, they're great. I was invited to take part in this photo shoot during the summer and jumped on board for two reasons. One, the fact is I'd recently come across this brand at a time when I'd realised that my ageing skin deserved more than the mindless supermarket snatch-and-go that I have been guilty of for years. The skin care market is huge and is a puzzle for me when I'm faced with rows and rows of face creams to remedy every kind of skin type. Yes, I've got mature skin, but also dry skin, and I would like an anti-wrinkle element, and maybe a soothing balm too or even a brightening aspect so how do I choose between all of these? In my case I've been known to buy them all, use them in a random way, chopping and changing, never sure what's working and what's not. 

The second reason was that the brand were (just like JD Williams) wanting to use real/ordinary women to promote their product which is something I applaud and want to support. I think we as consumers are finally biting back at the marketing machine which has for years fed us trash. The trash being the empty promises along with images of young women advertising anti-wrinkle creams when they have not a wrinkle in sight which is clearly a result of youth, not the magical powers of the product. The stampede to buy the latest rejuvenating cream is testament to the brainwashing that's gone on for years. A change of tack is needed - cue The Look Fabulous Forever team who are promoting the #ageisbeauty which sends out a more honest message, that being: we're all beautiful no matter what age. Beauty truly is in the eyes of the beholder. As Tricia says, "It's not only youth that equals beauty, age is beauty too." Let's see how I got on with the skin care range shall we?

The first step of the recommended regime for the morning is the Hydration Hold Face Serum. The liquid is delivered in a dropper, one to two drops on the back of the hand is what Tricia suggests and two gave me total coverage. The serum glides easily across the skin delivering a moisture boost thanks to the addition of glycerine and propanedoil. The clear liquid dries quickly and leaves the skin with a smooth, even finish. Next step is Smooth The Day Face Cream. At the photo shoot I could feel that this fragrance free cream was going to suit my sensitive skin. It feels light and soft in texture rather than a heavy, dense weight that some mature face creams tend to be. This cream is easily absorbed, but still left, dare I say it, a dewy finish to my mature (aka wrinkled) skin. I tested the cream at home without any make-up for half the day to see if this freshness was long lasting, and it was. Tricia has clearly done her homework here as there's a fine line between a dewy, fresh finish and an oily shine. 

The Deeply Dreamy Night Cream has less of a souffle weight to it and feels like a slightly thicker texture which glides on smoothly, again leaving a healthy glow to the skin. This seems to make sense for a night cream - bit more oomph is what I'd expect. I must admit, I've been a bit haphazard with my beauty regime in the past and certainly have used all kinds of creams and potions in no particular order. The arrival of this set of products has encouraged me to clear the decks and use only these for the next while to give them a long term test. It seems only right to follow through and see how they perform over the weeks and months ahead. 

Tricia is totally honest in her appraisal of what creams can and can't deliver. Nothing will hold back the ravages of time, stop the clock or be anti-ageing, but what we can do is support and nourish the outer layer, the epidermis, which is what we see on the surface of our skin. The ingredients have been researched by her and by using these the chemists have created a range to bring together all the goodies (vitamins, retinol, peptides and hyaluronic acid) that will benefit mature skin and keep it in tip top condition. Tricia is a walking example of good genes, healthy eating and great skin care. (Ahem, I'm pretty flattered to have been picked to showcase the range too.)

The final part of the equation when it comes to healthy looking skin, is to eat well and take regular exercise, but hey, we all know that. My sport of preference is sea swimming which boosts the immune system thanks to the cold water shock. Daily exercise is what starts my day off on the right foot, giving me a sense of joie de vivre that has become addictive. For others it may be a brisk walk with the dog or a heart thumping cycle to work. Whatever works for you personally I urge you to keep it up now that the S.A.D. season is upon us. Exercise is proven to work against Season Affective Disorder so try to factor some into your daily routine, even if it's just a 15 minute walk at lunchtime to capture some quality sunlight.

I think as we age, there's an every increasing awareness of what we eat and how it reacts with our body. I'm a big believer in the adage of "You are what you eat". I know that there are many foods that I'm intolerant to and am now aware that those around me are also tuning in to their bodies, beginning to notice symptoms such as bloating and heartburn which are the signs that all is not well, something they're eating just doesn't agree with them. A healthy gut ought to be quietly working away in the background, not rumbling and popping to make itself known. A balanced diet goes a long way to creating a healthy gut with a broad range of good intestinal flora which in turn is reflected in a healthy complexion. Add to this a great skin care range and yes, I'd like to think we can all look fabulous forever! 

Please note, I've not been paid to write this post, but was gifted the products. All opinions are my own honest review.
Anna x

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