High50 http://www.high50.com/us A global community for people over the age of 50. Reach out. Reboot. Read on. Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:45:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Anti-Ageing: How To Prevent Neck Wrinkles http://www.high50.com/us/beauty/anti-ageing-how-to-prevent-neck-wrinkles-2 http://www.high50.com/us/beauty/anti-ageing-how-to-prevent-neck-wrinkles-2#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:45:30 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=70950 Neck_wrinkles_620 Corbis 42-36909404Years ago, when I was in my twenties, a remark made by a famous Hollywood actress made a deep impression on me. She was yakking on about her beauty regime, most of which was going in one ear and out the other because she was ancient and I was young and didn’t have to think about something as irrelevant as wrinkles. But then she said something that made me take notice, because it made complete sense.

She declared that when the time came she would definitely have work on her neck. “A wrinkled neck is terribly ageing,” she said. “Look after your neck and you’ll look much younger.” Or words to that effect.

Now that I’m in my fifties (not so ancient, after all) I understand what she meant. The skin on your neck and décolletage is delicate, and if you’ve exposed it to sun, if you’ve smoked, if you haven’t cleansed, exfoliated and moisturized it the way you have your face, the chances are it’s crêpey and wrinkled. A dead giveaway.

It’s not just women over 50 who suffer from this; men acquire the turkey-neck look too.

As we get older, we produce less collagen and the skin becomes less firm and plump. Its ability to retain water diminishes, all of which encourages the formation of wrinkles. Women also produce less estrogen, which has an impact on cellular activity. Wrinkles happen due to the loss of skin elasticity, not just on the face but also on the neck. Yet the latter is often neglected.

But it’s not too late for us to delay the ageing process. There are several things you can do, and most can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. Just drinking more water, using a night cream on the neck and eating more salmon and blueberries is a start.

Moisturising: don’t neglect your neck

The skin on your neck and chest is as delicate as your face, and the best way to delay the ageing process is to boost its suppleness. The skin here is very thin and has fewer sebaceous glands, fewer lipids (essential to protect the skin from external factors) and fewer melanocytes (cells that produce the pigment that gives colour to your skin and protects it from sunlight).

It needs as much love and attention as your face, so if you have been neglecting your neck and chest, now is the time to remedy that situation.

Cleanse your neck and décolletage both morning and night. After the morning cleanse, apply moisturizer, using an upward, circular motion from under your chin to the top of your cleavage. You might discover that your neck skin requires a richer product than the one you use on your face. Massage it in, to help it penetrate the skin and to boost the circulation in that area.

In the evening, apply anti-ageing cream, either the same one you use on your face or one specifically for the neck, depending on how rich your facial product is. Most night creams now contain vitamins and antioxidants, such as Vitamin A, C and E and beta carotene, which are powerful anti-ageing ingredients. CoQ10 is a powerful nutrient that helps prevent cell damage.

Exfoliate the neck once a week

Exfoliate the neck and chest area at least once a week to keep the skin free of ingrained dirt and dead skin cells. This area is delicate, so avoid products that contain sharp particles, and use a gentle, non-abrasive exfoliant. This encourages cell turnover.

Use sunscreen

A recent study revealed that older skin that hadn’t been exposed to the sun had about 3,800 genetic mutations whereas skin that had been exposed had around 10,000 mutations in the same genes (meaning the ageing process had happened more quickly).

Thanks to all the skin cancer prevention messages, many of us include some form of SPF protection in our skincare, but not enough of us are protecting our necks and chests. Apply sunscreen to your neck and décolletage every day. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, and re-apply it if you are outside for long periods of time, even when it is overcast or cloudy.

Keep your body hydrated

Because our skin loses its ability to retain moisture as we age, it is important to keep hydrated from within, by drinking water throughout the day and getting hydration from fruit and vegetables.

Eat oily fish and take a fish-oil supplement

Keep your nutrition rich in anti-oxidants, especially Omega-3 acids, which are present in fish. These do wonders for skin rejuvenation by boosting collagen production. Eat at least one portion of salmon or mackerel a week, and take a daily fish-oil supplement.

Pomegranates, acai berries, blueberries and green tea also help you stock up on antioxidants.

Stop smoking

If you smoke, here’s another reason to stop: heavy smokers are almost five times more likely to have excessive wrinkling than non-smokers. Smoking damages collagen, and lip pursing and squinting while inhaling creates wrinkles around your mouth and eyes, and more wrinkles in the delicate skin directly under your chin.

Sleep on the right pillow

Consider the size of pillow you sleep on. High pillows result in neck wrinkles over a long period of time, but a small pillow maximizes the angle between the face and neck, thus slowing down the skin’s ageing process. 

Do neck exercises

Lastly, give your neck an exercise workout. Keeping your neck muscles toned will help to prevent sagging skin and wrinkles. Below are six neck exercises to get you started.

Finally, keep your chin up (and I don’t mean metaphorically). If your chin is permanently tucked into your chest you are more likely to develop permanent creases in your neck, as well as putting your neck more at risk of injury.

Six exercises to prevent turkey neck:

1. Jut out your chin and move your lower jaw forward. Repeat ten times.

2. Look straight ahead. Now look up to the ceiling and hold for five seconds. Slowly return to your starting position. Repeat 20 times.

3. Form an ‘O’ with your mouth. Pull down the sides of your mouth until you feel the muscles underneath your neck working. Repeat this three times in quick succession. Build up to 20 sets of threes.

4. With your mouth open, pronounce the vowels A to U without closing your mouth at any time. Repeat ten times, three times in a row.

5. Press the tip of your tongue against your palate for a few seconds and release. Do this throughout the day. Make circles with your tongue when your mouth is closed, first in one direction then the other. Repeat often.

6. Place your lower lip over the top lip and hold for a few seconds. Repeat ten times.

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Outdoor swimming: could Saturday’s cold water championships inspire you to take the plunge?! http://www.high50.com/us/uncategorized/outdoor-swimming-24-january-2015-cold-water-swimming-championships http://www.high50.com/us/uncategorized/outdoor-swimming-24-january-2015-cold-water-swimming-championships#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 23:01:39 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=70874
Wild swimming. Open water swimming in Georgian Bay.

There’s nothing like the rush of open water swimming (or what we used to call mucking around at the river)

When was the last time you felt really alive? Your skin tingling, your breath a little short and your senses heightened. Swimming outdoors in the UK never fails to deliver a rush. Add the soft rhythmic motion of gliding through the water and life’s worries seem to drift away. Sometimes as your head clears it feels as though you’ve stopped the world for a fleeting moment.

It’s 15 years since Roger Deakin celebrated the magic of water in his book Waterlog, documenting his swimmer’s journey through Britain. As kids none of us called it outdoor swimming, wild swimming or cold-water swimming; it was just a chance to muck around at the local river or beach and escape the blazing sun in the height of summer.

Call it what you like but there is no denying that outdoor swimming is becoming increasingly popular, no doubt aided in recent years by the growth of triathlon.

Triathlons have created debate within the swimming community over whether to wear a wetsuit or not. For purists, the sensation of the skin in direct contact with the water is everything. A wetsuit, however, is an easier introduction to cold-water swimming and for the speed merchants, it’s faster too. The choice, as they say, is yours.

Cold Water Championships at Tooting Bec Lido, 24 January 2015

If you missed out on the traditional Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Days dips (or got a taste for it) the UK Cold Water Swimming Championships take place at Tooting Bec Lido, the largest freshwater pool in London, on 24 January 2015. 

The South London Swimming Club is hosting the sixth bi-annual championships. More than 700 competitors are expected at this festival of cold-water swimming and for £2 you can turn up and watch all the various events. In the 2013 championships, swimmers from Russia, Finland and even Kazakhstan competed. 

Though it’s too late to add yourself to the list of competitors this year, you can join in the Big Splash, a group jump-in to raise money for two charities that provide safe water around the world. You’ll also be entitle to thaw out in the Lido’s hot tubs and Finnish sauna.

If that leaves you wanting to take part in wild swimming events, The Outdoor Swimming Society and H2Open Magazine are good starting points to locate other swims.

And if you want to really, really feel alive, start saving for the 10th Winter Swimmers World Championships, which take place in Tyumen in Siberia in 2016. 

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Online dating: How I used my project management and business skills to fix my love life http://www.high50.com/us/dating/online-dating-i-used-project-management-to-fix-my-love-life http://www.high50.com/us/dating/online-dating-i-used-project-management-to-fix-my-love-life#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 23:01:34 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=70896

Dating is a numbers game: try taking a businesslike approach and enlist a friend to be project manager

In most aspects of my life, I am a smart, successful woman. I have a great job as a writer at a tech company. I’ve lived around the world and had adventures. I’m now settled in San Francisco, a city where I feel at home.

When it comes to dating, however, I am a nervous wreck. I’m the kind of person who tends towards anxiety and overthinking. It’s only finding someone to spend the rest of your life with, after all.

There were times when I’d cry after a bad date, even if I had done the rejecting. I was also prone to giving up easily and listening to the negative, spiteful voice that said, “You’ll never find anyone. You don’t deserve to find love.”

I needed help. So I turned to professional methods. If certain principles and processes worked in software development, then surely they could work for my love life.

Enter DatingOps (a play on DevOps, an IT phrase). I constructed an intricate plan to tackle my love life as if I were solving complicated humanware problems. 

My profile photo: hiring a professional

First impressions are everything on dating profiles; a good photo makes for a more popular profile. If you had to make a major repair to your car, you wouldn’t leave it up to an amateur. You hire a pro. So for my photos, that’s what I did.

My profile photos had been taken by friends on their phones and were unflattering in the way most smartphone photos are. Blurry. Bad lighting. Everything in focus. I needed a photo taken with a proper camera, where the subject is in focus but the background is blurred out.

I found a local photographer, Karina Louise, who specialises in online dating photos. We went to Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach, and to capture me in action she had me frolic on the beach and explore a rock garden.

The shoots were fun and silly but the results were great. I couldn’t believe they were me. I looked fabulous and well-lit.

I hadn’t done anything different with my clothes or make-up, but Karina captured my personality in a way my previous photographs hadn’t. It made me feel more confident about myself and my looks.

Recording feedback on a spreadsheet

I then put out a call on Facebook asking my friends to help select the best ones. I mapped the results on to a spreadsheet to show which were the most popular photos. This turned out to be very helpful, as my friends chose photos that I hadn’t noticed. They picked the one – of me walking along the beach – that I used on my online profile.

My new photos made a big difference, both in the messages I received from potential dates and responses to messages where I made the first move.

While I still received my fair share of pointless, weird and random messages, I also got higher quality messages from men I actually wanted to go out with.

Progress reviews with my project manager

One thing I learned from my job is that you need a strong project manager to make your project a success. Since I already had a therapist, one who specialises in relationship counselling, I made him my project manager.

Each week, we spent 10-15 minutes of our counselling session looking at my week’s progress, and what my blocks are (for instance, time management issues and the unconscious messages I was sending out in my dating profile). Then we thought about what goals were realistic for me to accomplish by the following week.

Having someone else provide an objective opinion, who also validated my own decisions, was immensely helpful, especially during the times I experienced rejection.

He also provided insight into the male perspective in dating, which helped me develop more empathy for my would-be suitors.

Managing weekly tasks with Trello

If dating is a numbers game, I had to go out and meet as many men as possible, despite the sweet temptations of staying in.

I use Trello, an online project management wall, to organise everything. It lays everything out into handy columns: To Do, Doing and Done.

I set up weekly sprints to get through my tasks, such as writing to five men a week, responding to the messages I received, going to at least one singles event a week, and, of course, actually going on dates.

Seeing my progress as I moved tasks to the Done list was encouraging. I felt that I was making progress.

Diversifying my portfolio

Because I’m so anxious about dating, I can overly focus on one person when I click with someone. However, my therapist advised me to go out with several people at once. For instance, when we set my weekly goals, I’d decide to go out with at least two different men during the week.

Dating many men took the pressure off any one person for me, and I was able to focus on having a good time with the person I was out with.

And since I had a pre-determined goal, I wasn’t filtering out men I wouldn’t normally go out with. I just needed to hit my goals.

Previously, I’d come up with any reason to not go out with a man. Maybe he was too tall, or lived too far away, or was too outdoorsy. I often put ‘too’ in the way of getting to a first date.

But by diversifing and going for numbers, I was meeting men I wouldn’t normally consider and having a good time. I never knew it would feel so good to not date my type.

The result of my dating project

So, how’s it all going? Well, after all this – the professional photos, the spreadsheet, the project manager, the data software and the goals – I’m still a nervous dater.

But now I’m nervous because I met someone nice and he’s become my boyfriend. It’s all very early, but I haven’t felt this good about dating in years.

Ironically, taking a systematic, project management approach helped me open up and become confident enough to let someone in. More than anything else, that’s been the biggest difference in how I approach dating

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An adventure activity weekend in Dubai: hell on earth, or middle-aged fun? http://www.high50.com/us/travel/dubai-activity-adventure-weekend-dune-buggys-camel-racing http://www.high50.com/us/travel/dubai-activity-adventure-weekend-dune-buggys-camel-racing#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 23:01:32 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=70899

Ben West was terrified for much of his Dubai adventure trip, but managed to enjoy camel polo

Most of us, especially as we get older, like to remain in our comfort zones. My comfort zone is avoiding anything with more than a modicum of risk.

Your idea of a modicum of risk may be paragliding, bungy jumping or Formula 1 motor racing. Mine are things like walking in muddy conditions without sensible shoes, visiting Harrods Food Hall with a credit card, or mentioning politics at a dinner party.

So why on earth had I agreed to go on a long weekend to Dubai, cramming in as much adventure as possible with a bunch of strangers? Not only that, but a couple of them, aged 22 and 24, were nearly three decades my juniors.

No doubt they would be humiliatingly energetic, slick and agile when participating in said adventures, against my cumbersome, clumsy efforts.

The excitements lined up included careering up and down sand dunes in dune buggies, nudging Dubai’s famous skyscrapers in a seaplane, sleeping in the open under the desert stars and trying our hand at camel polo.

All these things inspired anxiety in me. What if I lose control while careering atop a mountain-high sand dune? What if a scorpion crawls on me when I’m fast asleep in the desert? What if I fall off my camel during the polo match and get crushed by the other camels?

There was also the location of the holiday to consider. There’s no getting around it, the United Arab Emirate of Dubai is vile. It’s everything I hate in a destination.

Ostentatious, over-expensive and outrageously materialistic, it’s completely culture-free and little more than a supremely pedestrian-unfriendly series of super-highways lined with endless bland identikit office blocks and towers.

However, when you first set eyes on Dubai, it’s an unforgettable, stupendous sight. Much smaller than most people imagine, I should think; simply a group of glistening towers huddled together around endless expanse of desert. 

A seaplane across the Persian Gulf and into Dubai

The seaplane experience was an exhilarating introduction to the city. We clambered into the little ten-seater Cessna, and for a few minutes it glided slowly across the Persian Gulf waterfront before our pilot slammed the levers into thrust and we shot into the deep blue sky.


The Burj Al Arab, Dubai’s ’7-star’ hotel. Photo by Ben West

We soared past Dubai’s key sights in the dazzling Arabian sun, such as the Buj Khalifa, the world’s highest building, the Burj Al Arab ‘7-star’ hotel, The World (an artificial archipelago of islands roughly corresponding to a world map), and The Palm Jumeirah, another huge, striking artificial archipelago. All ludicrous creations but stunning to come up close to anyway.

Whizzing around the skyscrapers of downtown I almost felt like I was in a Star Wars or James Bond chase. Central Dubai is so chock-a-block with high buildings, you find yourself walking in shade a surprisingly large amount of the time.

The huge concentration of glistening new shops, restaurants, hotels and apartments means it’s easy to forget  that the desert is just minutes away. 

A night in the Arabian desert

A trip to the desert, ideally an overnight stay, is an absolute must. It’s such a huge contrast to the city. Escorted in a 1950s Land Rover through the pristine Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, we watched a trained falcon soar and swoop around us with amazing precision before entering our camp.

It was decked out in a traditional Bedouin style and we enjoyed traditional dances, and a feast that included camel curry.

Sitting by the bonfire watching shooting stars in the vast Arabian sky was truly magical, although panic mode set in for me before long. Not with the fear that robbers may descend on the camp in the early hours and slit my throat or exotic snakes wrap around me in the night, but, horror of horrors: what if I snore?

I opted to sleep out in the open rather than in one of the makeshift tents, and there were about 15 people sleeping in close proximity, so a fear of snoring was entirely reasonable. 

However, I found myself unable to sleep, as a deafening a capella-style snoring performance took shape before long, as more and more of my neighbours succumbed to slumber.

Racing dune buggies across the sand

Adrenaline was soon pumping again, as the next morning as we took to our dune buggies, basic two-seater jeeps capable of haring up and down the huge banks of sand.


Ben West in his Dunbai dune buggy, enjoying the ‘dangerously deceptive’ desert. Photo by Ben West

I was, I think, justified in feeling a little trepidation here: a few years ago I became involved in a 4×4 desert race with a handful of other novices and we got so carried away we ended up racing at nearly 100mph across the sands. We hadn’t been given enough instruction and didn’t realise how foolhardy we had been.

When our furious instructors finally caught up with us when we lay stranded on a gigantic sand dune, they shouted that we’d narrowly missed crashing into a homestead and countless boulders that could have sent us flying – to an early grave. 

Although I drove with a bit more caution this time, traversing the dunes and tackling the endless trails was absolutely exhilarating.

The desert is dangerously deceptive, though: all you see is a huge expanse in front of you and no other vehicles. Wide thoroughfares vanish in seconds and you find yourself at the top of a huge thin dune with alarming regularity.

A couple of times I was stranded on a monster sand dune at what seemed an impossible angle, fearing that any sudden move or an attempt to get out of the vehicle would cause it to topple and overturn.

Considering the cursing the instructor dished out when he came to fix a rope to drag my vehicle back down the dune, he didn’t relish the experience either.

Polo at the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club

Later, as we practised guiding polo balls on the immaculately manicured pitch of the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club, home of camel polo, it all seemed so simple. Despite zero experience, I seemed to be able to easily guide the ball accurately, while on the ground.

However, once on the camel, things were very different. Fortunately, each player was provided with a rider who sat up front navigating the huge humped beast around the pitch. My job was to guide the ball into the goal, which turned out to be a pretty unwieldy affair.

It was quite a job simply hanging on as the riders were incredibly competitive and would urge the animals to race at top speeds, when all I wanted was a quiet moment to catch my breath. The game lasted less than 20 minutes, yet we were all pretty exhausted at the end of it.

To my great surprise, the whirlwind of experiences were terrific fun. Probably because I was doing the things I’d least likely choose myself, and therefore they were unpredictable. When you’re set in your ways it’s good now and then to experience a completely different side to life.

Would I do it again? Sure!

Useful websites

Return economy flights from Heathrow with Emirates start from £361

Seawings Dubai has 40-minute seaplane flights around Dubai from £265

Platinum Heritage runs overnight desert safaris from £160

Camel polo available through Gulf Ventures, £120 

Dubai Tourism

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Conquering the Post-Divorce Blues: How A Singles Vacation in Mexico Helped Me Believe in Love Again http://www.high50.com/us/love/how-a-singles-vacation-in-mexico-cured-my-love-life http://www.high50.com/us/love/how-a-singles-vacation-in-mexico-cured-my-love-life#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 17:06:16 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=70850

Gain some perspective: head towards sea and sunshine and fellow singles

There’s two ways you can go after a divorce – up or down.

Tumbling into a downward spiral of regret and feeling like a failure in the months after my Decree Nisi, my good friend and fellow new-singleton friend, Bethany, saved me with her ability to listen… and a link to a travel website specializing in spirit-lifting singles holiday to Mexico.

A week in the sun was guaranteed to cheer us both up and help me, in particular, to see that this time in my life should actually be a celebration: I’d escaped a claustrophobic future with a man who wasn’t right for me.

‘We’re not going on a manhunt,’ Bethany said as she laid down the rules. ‘This adventure is about friendship and getting a fresh perspective on what we want the future to look like.’ I was in.

I packed a suitcase full of Eckhart Tolle books and bikinis; determined that our go-girl getaway was going to be full of suntanning, sundowners and self-help.

A week under a curaçao blue sky would give us both the space we needed to put the past behind us, and get excited for whatever our next stages were.

We met our group of fellow singles at the welcome meeting on the first day: there were about thirty women, aged between 33 and 68, and one lone man – a 40 year old computer programmer from the UK who had just had his heart broken. He immediately became everyone’s funny brother, who would offer a male perspective on the various love dramas the females needed advice on.

I didn’t need advice – I needed to live again, so he joined me and Bethany on long bike rides to Mayan ruins and for slap-up meals in the hotel’s beachside restaurant.

Feet in the sand, margarita in my hand, I felt truly happy for the first time since my status had gone from married to divorced. My life was now different and I celebrated it by doing things I never thought I’d do: canoeing on the open ocean and leaping with an echoing whoop into crystal clear grottos.

A special resort package just for the newly divorced at Grand Maya Hotel

Some resorts offer packages for the newly divorced like the Grand Velas Maya Resort (details below)

Bethany and I contentedly shared a four poster bed under a mosquito net in a brightly colored room that sat right on the shoreline. We quickly got into an old married couple routine. She’d blow out the candles each night after we’d read for a while, before drifting off to dream, listening to the waves crashing just beyond our feet.

In the mornings, I’d run over to the hotel’s cafe for fresh coffee and brown sugar to get us perky for our three mile, pre-breakfast silent walk along the sun-soaked shore.

This was an invaluable way to start the day: fresh from a good night’s rest, soaking in the morning light, I’d feel the comfort of having my good friend next to me while feeling free to let my mind wander wherever it needed to go. If any doubts sprung up, for either of us, we’d analyze them then shoo them away over breakfast.

As a new singleton, having precious time on my own, with a good friend, and with other women from a variety of walks of life – and of course our token heartbroken man – was invaluable.

My mind and body felt rejuvenated. We ended each night sat on plump cushions around a fire pit, looking up at the twinkling stars in the solid black sky, discussing everything from whether pre-nups work to if we thought we’d ever have sensational sex again. We all decided we would, including the 68 year old.

On our last full day, Bethany returned from a piña colada run with some news. ‘I’ve heard rumors there’s an amazing old lady in the village who reads tarot cards. She’s been doing it for years and years, and lots of the women book to come to this resort just to see her. You up for it?’

I didn’t know if I really believed in tarot cards. I mean, how could one pack of picture cards sum up the fortunes and futures of every person in the world? But Bethany was intrigued and I had nothing to lose, so we arranged to see her that afternoon.

Sitting cross-legged across from the old Mexican grandma, I blindly picked an assortment of kick-ass cards. I uncovered queens, warriors and goddesses. ‘You are always in battle,’ the psychic octogenarian informed me. ‘You have built a massive fortress to protect yourself. You are pleased to be alive, but you are scared at what will come next.’

‘I don’t want to be locked up, scared, on my own forever,’ I said quietly.

‘Yes,’ she smiled. ‘The goddess in you wants to be loved, and the queen in you deserves it. And the warrior in the cards is laughing now, the warrior is telling me “sister, the party has only just begun. Wallow for a bit if you like, then celebrate this new stage – because it is all good!”‘

I thanked her, then made my way back to the beach to find my old friend – and my new friends – to spend our last night together in Mexico, celebrating how far we’d come… And just how far we now felt capable of go.

Are you newly divorced and craving a holiday to to regroup in Mexico, too? Luxury all-inclusive resorts like Grand Velas Riviera and Grand Velas Maya offer the ultimate getaways to recharge and celebrate a new phase of life.

Their Divorce Packages include a luxury accommodations in a two-floor Ambassador Penthouse Suite with ocean-view terrace and Jacuzzi (Grand Velas Riviera) and a Trash the Memory ceremony with a pinata smashing, a cocktail-making lesson and a night out in Playa del Carmen (Grand Velas Maya).

Bring four or five of your best friends. For more info, visit http://www.velasresorts.com.

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Five new ways to do yoga in 2015, from lying down (restorative yoga) to flying (aerial and AcroYoga) http://www.high50.com/us/health/new-yoga-trends-in-2015-for-over-50s-with-restorative-yoga-yin-yoga-aerial-and-acroyoga http://www.high50.com/us/health/new-yoga-trends-in-2015-for-over-50s-with-restorative-yoga-yin-yoga-aerial-and-acroyoga#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 23:01:35 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=70827
Yoga trends 2015 for over-50s. Restorative yoga. Balasana.

And… relax. Now, that’s something we can all get into


Restorative Yoga

What is it? A therapeutic form of yoga asana (postures) that is simple, calm, slow and quiet. Most of the postures are lying down, and held for five to 15 minutes each, often with props such as bolsters and blankets to support your body so that muscular and nervous tension can be completely released. This calms and restores the physical body, the overactive mind, and the nervous system. It is derived from Iyengar yoga.

Who should do it? If you’re acutely or chronically stressed, overworked, overwhelmed, under pressure, digitally overstimulated, have any sort of nervous condition, insomnia, anxiety or negativity, are recovering from illness or injury, are unable to do more active yoga, or feel like your nerves need soothing.

So it’s all about de-stressing. How? When we’re stressed, the Sympathetic Nervous System kicks in and the stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline are released as the body physiologically powers up for either fight or flight, to deal with the perceived threat. It is only designed to cope with being in this state for a brief time – until you’ve killed the wild animal or fled from it. Today, many of us are regularly or constantly in this stress response state; there may be no real physical threat, but our anxious, overanalytical and overthinking minds are enough to keep us there. Eventually, this exhausts and depletes us.

To get us out of this state and restore us to a calm and balance, the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) has to be activated, and that is what restorative yoga does. You stay in postures for up to 12 or 15 minutes, as it can take this long to slow down the body and mind and activate the PNS. Everything about the class and the quiet, calm environment, such as no music or chanting, is designed to put you into a relaxed, grounded and centred state of being. 

Where can you do it? The two main teachers are Judith Lasater and Anna Ashby, so look in your area for teachers  who have been trained by them. If you’re in London, you can do classes with Anna, at Triyoga


What is it? Yoga postures combined with an acrobatic element, using and developing awareness, balance, breathing, strength and flexibility. It’s done in pairs with one in the base posture, supporting the other and lifting them into the posture. It pushes your perceived limitations, and develops trust and communication.

The first part of the class is a normal hatha yoga vinyasa (series of flowing postures) to warm up the body, then you divide into pairs, threes or groups, with the teacher usually matching you with someone of similar height and build. It was first developed in San Francisco around 12 years ago, and there are now classes all over the world.

Who should do it? If you want to develop strength, particularly in the core and legs, balance, flexibility, trust (in yourself and in others), have fun with yoga postures, connect with other yoga lovers, shake up a stale yoga practice, or have tried yoga previously but found it boring. If you like inversions and balances, this adds a new dimension. If you don’t like them, try this, as the support can help you.

Inversions, balances? Sounds pretty advanced… It can be, but everyone started somewhere. And it’s a supportive environment as everyone is trying new things. Be inspired by this beautiful video (don’t be put off by it as flowing from one posture to another like that is very advanced.)

If you did cartwheels and handstands as a kid, you’ll take to it quite easily. If you didn’t and have a fear of inversions or anything else, try it: you’ll be lifted out of your comfort zone, you might stumble, and you get a new perspective (and as all yogis know, what you get in class carries through into your life off the mat). And if you think you don’t need any of that, it usually means you do.

Where can you do AcroYoga? At Triyoga LondonIndaba in Marylebone, Brighton, Birmingham or search your local area.

Aerial Yoga 

What is it? Aerial yoga (also called Anti-Gravity Yoga) is yoga postures done in a fabric hammock (a yoga swing), so the weight of the body is supported and you can relax into the positions, as well as going deeper than usual. It allows you to do inversions and backbends that you usually cannot, or to go deeper/hold longer than normal, without strain and without compressing the spine.

Who should do it? If you want to develop not just your flexibility but your general agility, build strength, particularly in your core, develop balance, and tackle inversions and backbends without strain or compression  of the spine and shoulders. To have fun doing somethingout of the ordinary.  

Where can you do Aerial Yoga? Several Virgin Active branches including Kensington, Mayfair and Bank, Third Space Soho, Brighton, and other UK locations including Glasgow, Leeds and Oxford. 

Yin Yoga

What is it? Under the traditional Chinese understanding of yin (more passive) and yang (more active) energy, most yoga classes are ‘yang’. Postures focus on moving the body, contracting and strengthening the muscles. This challenges the muscles and connective tissue in our joints, and this mild stress means they respond by becoming stronger.

Yin yoga, however, uses slower postures, held for much longer, to gently develop the flexibility and length of the joints’ connective tissues. This makes it easier to move (bending the knees and hips or being more flexible in the spine, for example) in day-to-day life. Leading yin yoga teacher and anatomy expert Paul Grilley describes yin yoga in more detail

Who should do it? If you want to move more easily in your body; to counterbalance an active yoga practice, such as vinyasa flow or ashtanga; to be able to sit more comfortably in mediation; or to develop (or maintain) flexibility in the body, especially if you’re over 50. You may not have stiff or clicking joints yet, but prevention is better than cure, people! 

Where can you do Yin Yoga? At several London locations, The Life Centre London, in Liverpool, Bristol, or search your local area. The leading teacher is Paul Grilley in the US, who runs teacher trainings and workshops around the world. Another renowned gobal teacher is Sarah Powers.


What is it? Yoga combined with vogueing (duh), to an 80s soundtrack. They say: Combine the breath-synchronised moves of yoga with the expressive moves of the dance class. We say: it’s the latest yoga fusion, and a gimmick, but it seems to be one that’s catching on (Vogue covered it and the Made in Chelsea girls tried it – which may tell you all you need to know).

Who should do it? Those who like a bit of a pose, found traditional yoga boring, aren’t put off by a hipster on the next mat, and have some slinky new yoga kit to show off. Clearly not yoga traditionalists; this is not exactly the route to spiritual enlightenment. (Or maybe it is?)

Where to do it? At the moment Voga classes are mainly in London at weekends, with occasional events elsewhere (this month: Oxford, Amsterdam and Paris). But it’s growing, and you heard it here first.

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Unusual ways to invest your money, including steam engines, numismatic coins and woodland http://www.high50.com/us/money/unusual-ways-to-invest-including-rare-coins-steam-engines-and-woodland http://www.high50.com/us/money/unusual-ways-to-invest-including-rare-coins-steam-engines-and-woodland#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 23:01:33 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=70815
Investment. Hermes 1936 steamroller. Tinkers Park Rally 2010 620 Wikimedia Commons

Hermes, a 1936 steamroller that cost £6,000 30 years ago and is now worth around £60,000

Steam vehicles

Jonathan Vartan bought a 1936 steamroller 30 years ago with the compensation he received following a bad motorcycle accident.

His initial investment of £6,000 is now worth about £60,000 after a lifetime of caring for the vehicle, which he named Hermes after the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes that served in the Falklands War.

“I wanted a new hobby and it has become a labour of love requiring ongoing maintenance. I show Hermes at many steam events around the country,” says Jonathan.

He adds: “If you do decide to sell, there are dealers out there and a market for these vehicles. Some, such as a Showman’s steam-powered road locomotive, which provided transport for a travelling fair or circus, can be worth up to £750,000.”

So would he ever sell Hermes? “I am 58 now and as I get older and it becomes harder to keep the vehicle operating then maybe. It is my pension but I still enjoy it.”

Investing in coins. 1933_Pattern_Penny 620x308 Wikimedia Commons

One of the rarest coins is the 1933 Pattern Penny. It never went into production and only four exist

Coin collecting

Coin collecting may not set the heart racing but discover some rare currency tucked down the back of your sofa and you could be quids in.

Numismatic coins – those worth more than the face value – are in demand because of their historical worth. Buying and selling rare coins that date back to Roman times can generate a financial return of up to eight per cent a year.

Clem Chambers, CEO of global stocks and shares information website ADVFN, has been a numismatic coin collector for 15 years. He is also an advisor to the London-based, listed coin investment fund Avarae.

“This is a niche market but there can be some very attractive returns,” he says. “You can invest independently using catalogues that outline prices or, if you feel you lack knowledge, a fund like Avarea is ideal.”

He says the key to successful coin collecting is to buy a series of coins and regularly attend auctions. One of the rarest coins is the 1933 British Penny, which is worth about £40,000. Only seven were minted because there was a surplus of pennies in circulation at the time. 

Four prototypes were also made and Clem has one of these. “Collectors tend to hold on to coins for about seven years before selling them,” he says. “A rare coin will never lose its value, but don’t buy any coin that is not in perfect condition.”

Investment in woodland. Skipton Wood. 620 Wikimedia Commons

Managed woodland is not only an investment for the future but a place to be enjoyed now

Investing in woodland

Brothers Simon and Nicholas Page are considering purchasing an area of woodland in Sussex as a medium- to long-term alternative investment.

In the short-term it will be somewhere for the two families’ children to play and build forest camps. But it will be managed efficiently to ensure there is a commercial return while they own it.

“I work in a bank in London and can see the business side of investing in woodland. My brother is from Brighton and has a more environmental reason for wanting to spend our money in this area,” says Simon.

He says one of the main investment benefits of buying woodland is the tax relief available if the land is run as a managed business. Woodland that is run commercially qualifies for 100 per cent Business Property Relief once it has been held for two years.

If it is held at death there is no inheritance tax payable on the total land value of the land and trees. Any Capital Gains Tax liability on the asset is removed.

The brothers are being quoted between £8,000 and £10,000 per acre of woodland and they will buy about five acres. In the short-term the cost of managing and harvesting the timber could be higher than sales of the wood from activities such as coppicing.

Another option for investors is to put money into a woodland fund. You won’t be able to build camps with the kids but the value of the land will go up. Specialist woodland funds generated a strong return during the recession.

More about investing in woodland.

Crowdfunding small businesses

One of the fastest-growing areas of business funding is crowdfunding, where companies raise finance by asking a large number of people to each invest a small amount of money.

For entrepreneurs or small business that cannot get a bank loan, this option is attractive. It also gives investors an opportunity to support companies in sectors they have a particular interest in, such as food or alternative energy.

There are many specialist companies helping investors, including Crowdcube, Crowd for Angels and Funding Tree. The latter is the UK’s first fully-regulated loan and equity crowdfunding platform.

Siobhan Stewart from east London, who is in her sixties, is an investor and has put “a few thousand pounds” into two businesses. She provided a loan to Select Uniforms, which needed money to manufacture its own shirt ranges, and she bought shares in Oak & Iron Furniture, which makes contemporary rustic furniture.

“I have only recently got involved after reading a lot about crowdfunding in the press,” she says. “I had some money to invest, and the investments provide a return of around 14 per cent annually with payments made every month. At the end of five years I should get my initial investment back.”

Of course, investing in start-ups and early-stage businesses does involve risks, including illiquidity, lack of dividends, loss of investment and dilution, and it should be done only as part of a diversified portfolio.

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The Inflammation Epidemic: Your Number One Health Concern of 2015 (And Sugar’s Role In It) http://www.high50.com/us/health/the-inflammation-epidemic-your-number-one-health-concern-2015-and-what-sugars-got-to-do-with-it http://www.high50.com/us/health/the-inflammation-epidemic-your-number-one-health-concern-2015-and-what-sugars-got-to-do-with-it#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:54:58 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=70781
Health. Inflammation epidemic. Diet and sugar

Sugar is the number one cause of inflammation (no surprise there)

Inflammation is an essential part of a healthy immune system that helps your body heal after an injury or infection. But when it becomes chronic – that is, when your immune system produces immune cells constantly – it can cause a wide range of health problems.

Such is its effect on health that some US experts describe chronic inflammation as an epidemic. Dr. Sohere Roked, a London general practitioner with a specialist interest in integrative medicine, says chronic inflammation is common in the UK too but the problem is, most people aren’t aware of it.  

“Chronic inflammation can be common at any age, but the body can be less resilient when you’re in your 50s,” she says.

“Diseases that are obviously inflammatory in nature include asthma, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, laryngitis, gingivitis, gastritis, otitis, coeliac disease, diverticulitis and inflammatory bowel disease,” says Dr. Carolyn Dean

Also linked with chronic inflammation are heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and depression. So is premature ageing and some of the visible signs of getting older, including not-so-youthful skin.

Chronic inflammation can affect most parts of the body, but because it tends to be hidden you may not realise you have it. Even if you haven’t spotted obvious signs, such as joint pain and stiffness, or general symptoms such as lack of energy or headaches, you may still be affected.

“Of course, how well you look after your health in general has an impact,” says Dr. Roked, “so if you’re a fit and healthy over-50 who eats well and exercises, you’ll have fewer signs of inflammation than an unfit and unhealthy 20-year-old.”

According to dietitian Desiree Nielson, tackling chronic inflammation in your 50s is not a moment too soon. “If your lifestyle has included a poor diet, being overweight, inactivity and stress, it may well have been contributing to chronic inflammation for the past three decades. Now the effects of that may be becoming evident,” she says.

Besides diet, weight, lack of exercise and stress, other lifestyle factors thought to contribute to chronic inflammation include poor sleep, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, nutritional deficiencies and an imbalance of digestive bacteria, says Dr Roked.

How to treat inflammation with foods

The good news is there’s an effective way to help prevent or manage inflammation. Just eat more of certain types of foods and avoid others.

Dr. Nathan Wei, a rheumatologist at the Arthritis Treatment Centre in Maryland, US, says there’s a compelling reason to use diet rather than drugs. “While inflammation can be reduced with medication, these drugs may have significant side effects,” he says. 

“For example, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug group increases the incidence of gastric or peptic ulcers as well as cardiovascular events. As a result, there has been a burgeoning interest in the use of foods that help reduce inflammation.”

Food To Avoid For Inflammation

Many nutrition experts agree that where inflammation is concerned, the number one food enemy is sugar.

“Processed sugar is a major source of inflammation in the diet, and it is wreaking havoc,” says Renae Norton, a specialist in the treatment of eating disorders and obesity. “When you eat sugar, you deplete the enzymes that help you to digest protein. So the protein gets into the bloodstream as a partially digested protein, and is attacked by the immune system.”

Similarly, Nielson suggests the first thing you should do when tackling inflammation is to avoid ‘white’ foods (foods with white flour and added sugars). “These foods send your blood sugar off kilter, and frequent spikes of blood sugar promote inflammatory damage,” she explains.

“In addition, you should avoid too many animal fats; omega 6 fatty acids from soya bean, sunflower and corn oil; and trans fats (hydrogenated fats) from fast food and packaged goods. These fats drive inflammatory pathways.”

Nutritionist Kim Pearson has seen the problems inflammation can cause in her clients, from skin conditions to general aches and pains to stubborn weight that’s hard to shift. She believes food intolerances – such as gluten or dairy products – may also be to blame.

“If someone has food intolerances as a result of increased permeability of the gut lining, the body recognizes these foods as a foreign invader and mounts an immune response, causing elevated inflammation,” she says.

Foods To Eat For Inflammation

To reduce inflammation, eat a diet rich in natural, fresh and unprocessed foods, says Pearson. Eat fresh vegetables, low-sugar fruits, nuts, seeds and oily fish.

Nutritionist Sarah West also recommends replacing the omega-6 fats in your diet with omega-3 oils. “To do this, include plenty of fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, flaxseeds and walnuts in your diet,” she says.

Turmeric, Magnesium, Vitamin D3 And Other Remedies For Inflammation

Some herbs and spices can have a strong anti-inflammatory effect. The one that is most well-known is turmeric, and there has been much research into turmeric’s effects, identifying curcumin as the anti-inflammatory ingredient in it. Buy it in capsules to take at a medicinal dose, rather than simply adding it to food.

Two other natural remedies that may be useful in counteracting inflammation are ashwaghanda (like turmeric, it’s another traditional Indian plant, and been the subject of modern research) and barley grass powder.

If you like Indian food, you’ll be glad to hear that several spices have a range of health benefits, and some, including ginger, cinnamon, garlic, chilli, cayenne pepper and black pepper, may help to manage inflammation.

Dr. Dean recommends magnesium, the body’s natural anti-inflammatory, as a nutritional supplement and an effective treatment for inflammation. She believes a low level of magnesium, which is common as we get older, can increase your risk of developing inflammation-related diseases. Take it in magnesium citrate powder form mixed in water and sip it throughout the day.  

Other nutritional supplements include high-strength omega-3 fatty acids, high-strength probiotics, rosehip extract, boswellia, bromelian and quercetin.

“You could take a vitamin D3 supplement (of at least 2000IU),” says Nielsen. “Vitamin D supports immune function and influences inflammatory pathways in the body.

“But remember, your body is a connected system that works best when everything is optimised. You have to move your body daily to optimise metabolism and reduce inflammatory pressure.

“And if you aren’t sleeping properly, your body will break down on you, it’s as simple as that. You also have to manage stress, which itself can be a strong promoter of inflammation.”

A test that measures your blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) may help to measure levels of inflammation in your body (but not where it is or what’s causing it). Ask your doctor for details. 

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RIP Anne Kirkbride, and goodbye Deirdre Barlow, the Corrie character she played for 44 years http://www.high50.com/us/rip/anne-kirkbride-actress-obituary-19-january-2015-deirdre-in-coronation-street http://www.high50.com/us/rip/anne-kirkbride-actress-obituary-19-january-2015-deirdre-in-coronation-street#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:41:32 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=70758
Anne Kirkbride obituary 20.01.2015. Dierdre Barlow in Coronation Street.

Actress Anne Kirkbride, who played Dierdre in Coronation Street for 44 years, died last night aged 60

I am an unashamedly huge fan of Coronation Street, having been brought up on it by my Mancunian mother and watched it religiously since the late 60s. I can almost remember Dierdre’s very first episode, on 20 November 1972. There she was, all tall and blonde and sexy; a 17-year-old dolly bird with an eye for the fellas, and that unmistakable voice and trademark specs.

In the glorious tradition of Corrie, we knew we were being introduced to another fabulous female character to add to the annals of Minnie Caldwell and Ena Sharples and Elsie Tanner. We instantly loved her.

Over the years, of course, we’ve loved her more and more. Who wasn’t utterly gripped by the love triangle between her, Ken and Mike Baldwin in the 80s? It was a national event, and the first Corrie storyline to be written about in the nations’ newspapers.

Or her wrongful imprisonment in the 90s for fraud, triggering the extraordinary Free the Weatherfield One press campaign – and even Tony Blair’s joke intervention?

Anne Kirkbride obituary. Coronation Street Deirdre screengrab YouTube

The young Dierdre: “A 17-year-old dolly bird with an eye for the fellas, and those trademark specs”

Who hasn’t also revelled in her drunken girlie sessions with Liz McDonald down the Rovers? Drunk Dierdre was always a joy to behold.

And then there was her blind, unquestioning mother love towards Terrible Tracy – Tracy the murderer, who biffed her boyfriend over the head with the statue; Tracy the nasty bully who always picked on transgender Hayley and social misfit Roy, Tracy the dodgy shop-owner who trades in stolen goods, and – judging by last night’s episode – who hesitates before rescuing (or not?) Carla from a crashed minibus. Other mothers’ love might have caved in, under all this pressure, but not Deirdre’s.

Deirdre’s many love affairs

It has really been Dierdre’s extraordinary love affairs that have had us all gorgeously entertained, however. There was Billy Walker, son of the indomitable Annie, and Ray Langton (father of the redoubtable Tracy), Cockney businessman Mike Baldwin and the ‘airline pilot’ Jon Lindsay (who, in a typically comic Corrie twist, really worked in a tie shop at Manchester airport, his cover blown by a jealous Ken who went to check him out).

Not forgetting Samir Rachid, who she met Shirley Valentine-style on a holiday to Morocco and who briefly became her third, or was it fourth, husband.

Then, of course, there was the mighty Ken. Can it really be true that more than 24 million people watched Ken and Dierdre’s first wedding, back in 1981 – beating the number who tuned in to ITV for Charles and Di’s wedding? They did, of course, get hitched once more, in 2005.

Video: Ken and Deirdre’s wedding in 1981 

The shock of Anne Kirkbride’s death from cancer

Anne Kirkbride’s death has come as a shock. We knew that she hadn’t been on our screens for a few months, having negotiated time off. We also knew that she was a genuine chain-smoker, something that the writers traded on. Deirdre was often seen, fag in hand, as one of the last, glorious, on-screen smokers. But we didn’t know she was seriously ill.

The news broke late last night that she had died, at the unfairly young age of just 60, following a short illness. She had been in Corrie for 43 years. With her talent for comedy as well as for gritty northern drama, she could easily have succeeded outside of Corrie, but she chose to remain.

And we were the beneficiaries of that. She injected great drama and authenticity into every line she delivered. OK, so her eyes bulged a little too much, and the veins stood out on her neck even if she was just ordering a pound of bacon at the corner shop. But she was real and believable, and she had been a part of our lives for so long.

Now, yet another hugely memorable and genuinely loved female character has left the cobbles. It will be interesting to see how she will be written out, but it will be done sensitively and with great respect. For everyone feels her loss – not just the viewers, but the wider Corrie family of cast and crew.

So RIP Deirdre. RIP Anne. The Street won’t be the same without you. 

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No more Page 3 of The Sun: what it says about sex, titillation and our nudge-nudge wink-wink society http://www.high50.com/us/culture/end-of-page-three-topless-girls-in-the-sun-what-it-says-about-britain-sex-and-titillation-society http://www.high50.com/us/culture/end-of-page-three-topless-girls-in-the-sun-what-it-says-about-britain-sex-and-titillation-society#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:41:05 +0000 http://www.high50.com/?p=70743

Demonstrators from No More Page Three. Founder Lucy-Anne Holmes today retweeted ‘Page 3 tits are so 2014′

We Brits have always been a bit funny about sex, or at least since those prudish, hypocritical Victorians started covering up in the way we today associate with extremist believers of non-Christian faiths.

There has been a long tradition of nudge-nudge wink-wink humour that you can trace back from Chaucer and Shakespeare through the music halls, saucy seaside photographs, the Confessions of… and Carry On films, Benny Hill and The Sun Page 3 girls, which it appears has now been consigned to history.

My, how old-fashioned Benny Hill and the Carry On series feel today. And that really is the point about the change. The 70s really were another century when Stephanie Rahn became Britain’s first topless Page 3 Girl in November 1970.

That there is so much hoo-ha about Lissy Cunnigham becoming the final “girl” to be featured, last Friday, speaks as much to The Sun’s former cultural influence as it does to today’s paper.

As Roy Greenslade, media commentator and former Sun journalist, says today: “To put the matter in perspective, an outdated newspaper feature that treated women as sex objects has been ditched way after its sell-by date. Let it rest in peace.”

Was Rupert Murdoch swayed by the No More Page 3 campaign?

But, there is little objective perspective when it comes to the ever-polarising Sun. Whether the No More Page 3 campaign led by Lucy-Anne Holmes, or individual campaigners such as MPs Clare Short and Harriet Harman, eventually won the argument is debatable, however admirable their work in the face of so much ridicule and opprobrium.

In some ways the campaign made The Sun dig in. News International (now News UK) always liked to feel there was an anti-Sun agenda out there, and it was never going to give in publicly because of them.

More likely is that Page 3 was doomed because of a change of heart from The Sun’s proprietor Rupert Murdoch, never a massive fan of the feature. His tweets out of the blue last year that it was increasingly “old-fashioned”, it would be fair to say, blindsided those who defended the boobs.


Rupert Murdoch, The Sun’s proprietor, tweeted last year that Page 3 was ‘old fashioned’. Photo from Corbis

Greenslade is correct in his interpretation of The Times’ report on the matter: “The News Corp executive chairman is understood to have signed off on the change of policy.” That’s euphemistic corporate-speak for ‘Rupert dunnit’. Writing as someone who spent five years at News International, that’s how it rolls.

Why The Sun misunderstood today’s working class reader

Even back when I was there, however, The Sun was wrestling with the matter. Less because it had a female editor, Rebekah Brooks, who went on to be chief executive, but more that in the face of industry-wide falling newspaper sales it was trying to redefine who the modern working class reader was.

The new generation of eastern European immigrant did not grow up with Carry On. More to the point, he or she is likely to be devoutly Catholic. Working class British Asians and British Caribbeans are equally likely to be conservative in their outlook. Page 3 started to feel as anachronistic as football pools or Jim Davidson. 

So, in the end it’s no surprise that it has gone, nor that it went quietly (it’s still to exist online, behind the paywall). The Daily Star still has a topless girl, of course. And it is worth noting that we are having this debate when the raging ubiquity of much more hardcore pornography across the internet gets scarcely a mention.

As the father of two daughters, I’ve always found the page awkward whenever we have seen it together. Not because of any fear of the breast or nudity, but because of what it says about journalism, my chosen profession, and its objectification of women – in a Britain that still finds public breast-feeding offensive.

So, I for one, am glad it’s gone. Not everyone is though. Below, there’s a selection of views of people of all ages in the High50 office. What do you think?

High50 staff on the demise of Page 3

Julie Hamlet: On the one hand Page 3 absolutely sets a bad example for children to see their parents (dad) staring at semi-naked women and can encourage a lack of respect for women. The world won’t be a worse place if it’s not there. However, if people stop buying the paper because of a lack of boobs on Page 3 then go buy some soft porn… It’s not the sight of boobs but the fact that they are there 100per cent to titillate.

Jenna Lazaric: It’s degrading and unnecessary. Instead of showing women as purely sexual objects, why not celebrate women and their achievements? This is a proud day not just for feminists, but for men and women striving for equality. To quote Lucy-Anne Homes: “Women are made to feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, and yet we’re showing teenage boobs on Page 3. People are raped and sexually assaulted, so why are we showing women as being there primarily for men’s sexual pleasure?”

Andrew Walker: The physical paper costs 30p and the online version is £9.99 for three months. In short, you need to pay for it and in return you get a product. In the same way you pay for Diet Coke, perfume, toothpaste, trainers… Should we stop a half-naked guy in a Diet Coke break? Should we stop celebs getting nippy all in the name of perfume, or should we stop provocative teeth brushing? Sex sells when kept clean. I do, however, think we should spend more time stopping free child porn, executions on YouTube, Snapchat abuse and so on.

Sophie Morrison: Strangely, as a girl I never really minded Page 3. In fact, I’ve always found it incredible that a national publication has managed to regularly run a feature that would relegate any other publication to the top shelf. The Sun has had a 45-year run at it, but it’s now time to use credibility rather than nudity to sell papers. Welcome to the modern age.

Jess Pan: As an American, I was aghast to find that Page 3 still existed. I thought it was some gross relic from years gone by, until I moved to London, sat next to a guy on the Tube, glanced over his shoulder and it was staring me in the face. It made me uncomfortable. How did a newspaper justify flagrant sexism in this day and age? Replacing Page 3 with scantily-clad women is just a small improvement, but now we can finally say Page 3 as we knew it is obsolete. 

Jacqui Gibbons: Finally The Sun’s misogynist editors have moved on from the 70s. I was young then, and seeing soft porn over someone’s shoulder in public when I was a pre-teen wasn’t OK then and it’s not OK now as a 52-year-old woman. I’ve heard an argument that for some of the women who got their tits out for the lads it was an empowered choice. Let’s find other ways to empower and lift up our young women to be more than this.

Lucy Handley: The Sun getting rid of Page 3 girls is a tiny but significant step in the right direction in terms of the way we – and the media – obsess over women’s bodies. I remember occasionally seeing it as a child (not in my house!) and thinking that’s what I, and all my friends, would look like when we grew up. We’d all have flat stomachs, big boobs, and perfectly-proportioned hips. It took a long time to realise that we come in all shapes and sizes, and that all of them are attractive.

But covering up Page 3 girls (they will still be ‘scantily clad’) is really only a tiny step towards representing women in a truer way. Young girls and women are much more exposed to naked women’s bodies now than I was, growing up in the 1980s.

Pop videos feature twerking, lads’ mags look like soft porn and girls are put under pressure by boys to send naked selfies or risk being labelled frigid. Page 3 is outdated so it’s great that it’s gone. But I fear it will drive ever more people online, which is perhaps News UK’s intention. How many men will Google ‘Page 3’ today, go to The Sun’s website and be teased with a few nipples, then be prompted to sign up to become a paying Sun ‘member’?

Paul Gardener: I like a good breast (or pair of them) as much as the next man, but there is no rational justification for Page 3 continuing to exist. The original intent behind it is now a mystery, but even in terms of what I imagine it must have been – modest daily titillation for the red-blooded 1970s working man – there are now far more effective resources available. Page 3 now represents nothing more than an embarrassing reminder of our inability to understand how to balance the interests of the sexes with any sensitivity.

Rosanna Dickinson: Thank God it’s gone. Having small boobs I have always felt inadequate and misrepresented by Page 3. If there is anything that is going to make girls invest in silicon tits it’s those pictures. I’ve always felt slightly embarrassed for them, smiling away with their breasts out opposite real news stories; men lusting over them, without actually buying porn. Mind you, I don’t buy The Sun. I don’t have to look at them and are pictures of scantily-clad celebrities any better? At least it gave non-celebrities who didn’t care if they took their tops off a chance to make some money. If sales drop will they put them back? 

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