I don’t know if this happens elsewhere but here in the Uk whenever the media publishes an article on the older population (as in from 65+) it is usually accompanied by a photo of either a sad old woman looking out of the window or a pair of hands that quite obviously belong to a 90-year-old. That happened quite recently – see here. That’s prompted Joyce Williams of Grandma Williams blog and ITV’s This Morning fame to start a campaign on Twitter (see her twitter handle here) to be proud of older age and rethink its image.  So she’s collecting photos of vibrant, happy older people doing stuff. Her view being that it’s not the wrinkled hands that matter so much as the negativity they portray.

Exactly. We are so diverse as we age. And just as we were different when we were younger so will be as we age. I say be proud of your hands, however wrinkled they are and, actually, show them off.  I have wrinkled hands and masses of age spots yet I love very bright nail varnish and don’t mind drawing attention to them. The nails are having their several months rest from gel nail varnish. Yes, be careful of gel as for some people this type of nail decor can be disastrous. Me, I have gel nail varnish all through the winter (as my nails crumble in the winter and the gell seems to protect them) then 4-6 months rest and then I start again.  This was last year and I have more age spots now but I’m going to have some of this colour put on shortly.

Or maybe this colour? See, they’re old hands, but who cares!

Last month I went to an amazing funeral. Victor was an artist we knew in Newhaven.  We were all sad and shocked at his death as he was far too young, but his funeral was up-lifting and really excellent, starting off with his coffin being painted in his artistic style with vibrant sea-side blues with gulls and clouds and vistas – it was just mind-blowingly beautiful.  Then after a long eulogy we trekked off to Newhaven’s lovely community centre where there was a feast and a montage of his life in photos played on a continuous loop (created by Mr F, btw). There were so many people there celebrating Victor’s life and times it made me think about how I want to leave this planet.  So I sat down and thought it through and this is what I’m going to do.

Everyone is to wear a hat, any hat, for starters. No church or crematorium service please, as I’d like a very light humanist funeral (with a few words said at the beginning and not anything formal as I’ve been to a few humanist funerals and they can be as formal as any conventional funeral) in a community centre with a montage of photos from birth to death running on a continuous loop.  Lots of food and drink. And here’s the thing, it’s to be a ‘swishing event’. So everyone donates £5 to a charity to be decided upon and brings a bag of their own clothes to be swapped – with mine. Yes, all my clothes, my cruise frocks, my other frocks and my many many skirts, coats and jackets, my costume jewellery, my small collection of shoes and  bags and don’t forget my 27 hats!  All to be laid out nicely – like a posh jumble sale. And everyone has fun trying on stuff – and taking it home!!!!  Could be some dancing as well. Please, do enjoy!

This is not expected, btw, but you know you never know what’s round the corner. Nor do I think this morbid as actually you’re being kind to your relatives to give them some instructions so they don’t have to think about things when they’re upset.

Actually a friend has just asked that I wear this at her funeral – which won’t be like tomorrow but is not unexpected – and I will 🙂

Note the yellow hair. Talking to an old friend about our how we dyed our hair blonde for like decades, we both agreed that in some photos we have of ourselves it looks like we’ve poured a bowl of custard onto our heads.  My hair is now a mix of white, and grey with some streaks of red/gold which is not the dreaded brassy tones, as I once was a red-head. Actually, it looks so much better and I can’t believe I spent so much money on my hair on that false blonde colour.  I’ve tried the purple white-hair specific shampoos and my sensitive skin doesn’t like them, so I’ve stuck with White Hot Hair products.  This company has a daily non-purple shampoo Glorious Shampoo which I use every 5-7 days along with the conditioner, which suits me.

It’s going to be hot in the UK over the next few days – sigh. I’ll try not to complain too much, but it’s not a dry heat and that heavy humidity is a bit much for the likes of me.  However, my thoughts turn to cruising! Yay! We’re going to Norway in late August and, you know what, we could experience some snow, especially when we take the train at Flam.  I shall hold on to that thought in the next few days and perhaps make a list of the clothes we’re going to take with us. More about that in another post – soon. Until then, have a great week.

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper




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33 thoughts on “This and that and a swishing party planned – for the future!!!

    • 23rd July 2019 at 8:15 pm

      Yes, I thought about it and it seems a good way to get rid of the clothes! Thank you!

  • 22nd July 2019 at 10:55 am

    Re hands: I think of all our soldiers who’ve come back from active service without any. Who gives a flying fig is hands are wrinkled & brown spotted, as mine are, I just count myself lucky to have two of them !

    • 23rd July 2019 at 8:18 pm

      Oh how right you are. Grandma Williams is in her 80s and her stance is we who are over 80 are lucky to be alive, and also some of us are happy and content – so let’s not have those negative photos depicting old age! She’s collecting positive photos of older people and is a great role model for me for when I reach 80.

  • 22nd July 2019 at 12:47 pm

    It was interesting reading about the hands and old people! I have just had a large age spot removed with cryogenic treatment. I wish I could have shrugged it off how it looked, but mentally I feel so much better having it removed. I really want to mentally and physically stay agile and not be judged by age issues. It’s only a small thing, yet it pleases me. We all embrace old age in different ways, and whichever way you choose, it will be the right way for you. You give me inspiration, and admire your zest for life!!!!

    • 23rd July 2019 at 8:22 pm

      Oh thank you Angie! And I so agree, we must embrace our older age in the way that suits us. And how interesting you’ve had an age spot removed – actually they can get quite big. I have many age spots but am just about to paint my nails with some very noticeable nail varnish. So that’s how I deal with my hands. Thank you so much for your feedback which is much appreciated 🙂

  • 22nd July 2019 at 12:48 pm

    I love that campaign of vibrant, happy older people….Did you send some in of you, Penny? You definitely should.
    And this idea for your funeral is fabulous!! I need to start thinking like that. Let’s make it fun and relive memories!!

    • 24th July 2019 at 7:07 am

      Grandma Williams has a blog which she started in her 80s – what a role model! I haven’t yet sent any pix but I do communicate with her soo will get round to doing so soon 🙂

      I’ve been to some interesting and quite unconventional funerals but including a clothes swap would be a good way for my family to get rid of my clothes. I didn’t say that any clothes left over should go to Emmaus, which has a wonderful second-hand/vintage clothes shop.

      Have a great rest of the week xxx.

  • 22nd July 2019 at 1:38 pm

    I had my nails gelled for a while but now have a monthly manicure instead and paint them myself in between times. The worry with gel is if the nail technician used cheap gel that has to be drilled off. Mine used a soak-off which is much kinder.
    With regard to funerals, ours are paid for (NOT a rip-off “Over 50s plan”but a fully pre-paid into a trust funeral plan). We paid less than £2,000 each back in 2011 for the plan that is now almost £4,000. My mother had one of these and I was so thankful as it would have been a big struggle to find the money as I was newly divorced and skint. There was no wondering what she’d have wanted – it was all there set out and chosen by her. The swishing is a fab idea! I have always said (jokingly) that I want no bright colours and lots of weeping and wailing at mine!

    • 24th July 2019 at 7:11 am

      I go to quite a high-end beauticians and actually wouldn’t touch a nail-bar with the proverbial. Gell seems to protect my nails through winter, but 6 months is enough for the nails and they do need to recover which is why gell won’t suit everyone. Unlike you I’m not particularly good at putting on nail varnish myself – from what I’ve seen you’re really ace at it 🙂

      We haven’t thought about a funeral plan – something to ponder. I love that you want the weeping and wailing – of course!!!!

  • 22nd July 2019 at 3:30 pm

    Good news re gel nail polish! “Sensational” do a nail shield which you paint on first, and then just peel it off when you want a change. Available in larger Boots, and probably on line. Those lovely Vietnamese ladies in nail bars do not like this, (does them out of a job) so you save money by painting your own nails at home too! It stops your nails being damaged by acetone as well.
    Love your blogs, Penny – keep up the good work.

    • 24th July 2019 at 7:14 am

      Thank you Nell – can’t wait to get that bright vibrant look to my nails. The nail shield sounds interesting. Will look and maybe try. Thanks 🙂

  • 22nd July 2019 at 4:12 pm

    I keep a print out of a Say No To Ageism poster on my living room wall!
    Thanks highlighting a subject so dear to my heart.
    Being an older person (70 year old) can be the sweetest time.
    The hand photos and end of life ideas are endearing.
    Judy @fancified.ca

    • 24th July 2019 at 7:17 am

      Being older is fine. I have some aches and pains that have crept up on me, but really, ageing itself is great, unless, of course, you get an illness and I do acknowledge that. But it can definitely be the sweetest time. Thank you so much Judy for your sweet and wise words xxxx

  • 22nd July 2019 at 4:29 pm

    I love your funeral plans. It sounds like it would be so much fun and I would like people to enjoy my funeral and celebrate my life when I go! We had a swishing event in Bedford recently organised by the food bank I volunteer for and I couldn’t go – I was furious!

    I love your bright nail polish and lovely rings. My hands are usually very brown and I have lot of age spots. It is an extremely rare occasion I paint my nails ; I’m too lazy! But I also have thick, sausagey fingers!

    A cruise to Norway in August sounds fabulous.

    I’m dreading this week’s heat and humidity, too.

    Have a great week despite the heat!

    • 24th July 2019 at 7:22 am

      The heat yesterday was ghastly and I flopped around feeling awful. I never used to be like this during hot weather so that’s one thing that isn’t sweet about ageing (see above comment and reply). But Friday will be better.

      I went to a swishing event a few months ago and must look out for one or organise one when I’m less busy – you know why 😉

      Have a lovely rest of the week xxxx

  • 22nd July 2019 at 6:04 pm

    I’ve commented before on how I’ve planned my funeral, especially the music! Not in the least morbid, highly practical and makes it so much easier for those who do the arrangement.
    Your nails look fabulous but I’m still a gel nail virgin! It’s on my list of self maintenance. I’ve never had a manicure in France. Now there’s a thought!

    • 24th July 2019 at 7:27 am

      Gel is not for the faint-hearted as it’s strong enough to stay on your nails for a long time – which means that for some people that’s too much for their nails. After the winter when I wear gel nail varnish all the time I need 2-3 months rest for my nails to recover.

      And that’s so good to hear you’e organised your funeral! I forgot the music and will have to think about that. We had an aged aunt’s funeral to deal with and found some instructions which were so helpful – because you want to honour the person by doing what they want. It made it so much simpler.

  • 22nd July 2019 at 7:51 pm

    I do love how my nails look with a gel varnish on but worry about what damage it may be doing so I try to have a break between appointments. So far there doesn’t seem to be damage but I do remove them myself with a tried and tested home procedure which doesn’t involve soaking your fingers in strong remover. Gently file top layer to remove the initial shiny coating, then cotton wool pads cut to size, soaked in remover, laid on top of nails, wrapped in kitchen foil then briefly heated with a hair dryer. Looks weird when you have little foil caps on every finger but it works every time!
    Good idea to leave clear instructions about how you want your final farewell and I love the idea of each of your friends having something of yours to wear and remember you by. I certainly don’t want people to wear black and I don’t want them to spend money on fancy floral tributes, that will be much better spent on a donation to charity.

    • 24th July 2019 at 7:31 am

      Yes, no flowers and donations to probably either Emmaus or Oxfam plus the swishing which I hope would be fun!

      Interesting to read of your experience of taking the gel off yourself. I go to a beauticians for my manicure and gel and they do it very professionally and very much as you describe. I wear my gel through the winter but need several weeks/almost months for them to recover. Sounds a bit alarming but it does work for me!

  • 22nd July 2019 at 7:54 pm

    “If the truth is not in the face, then where is it? In the hands! In the hands.”
    ― Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces

    This quote has stuck with me in the twenty (gasp) years since I first read this haunting and beautiful novel. Afterwards, I began to take note of people’s hands and came to realize how unique they are, and how much they reveal.


    • 24th July 2019 at 7:32 am

      Lovely quote – thank you so much 🙂

  • 23rd July 2019 at 3:45 am

    Hello, Penny
    Re nails: I’ve been doing mine forever (from 15-79!). I always use a base coat and ordinary polish. There are so many gorgeous colours out there, all so easy to use, why bother with gel and all its attendant palaver? I put on up to three thinnish coats plus a top coat if necessary and take it off with a gentle remover. I use hand cream all the time, rub in nail oil when I think of it and wear plastic gloves (sorry!) when I’m painting. (I try and make up for that by being a fanatical recycler) Any rests from polish are usually overnight or over a couple of days now and then if I’m not going out. But once my nails are done it’s on with the finger-bling and b***er the age spots!
    Incidentally, have you tried the little pots of polish remover you can buy now? They’re great, especially on holiday. They’re so easy to use: just pop a finger into the pot, swish it around. and the sponges inside do the work for you. Simples! Ah, maybe no goodfor gel-lies!
    Have a good week. x

    • 24th July 2019 at 7:38 am

      I haven’t used those little pots – will investigate. But tbh, I’m a bit clumsy in my efforts to put on my nail varnish so I do go to a beauticians – it’s a luxury, I know. I take of my hat to you, and others, who manage a professional looking nail paint.

      Have a good rest of the week, Zepherine 🙂

  • 23rd July 2019 at 9:01 am

    I’ll be thinking on you and all my UK blogger friends today…..

    • 24th July 2019 at 7:36 am

      OMG Nancy – we live in such a dystopian world 🙁

      Friendships like ours across the nations and seas make it a better world. Will say more soon(ish) on My Other Blog

  • 23rd July 2019 at 10:20 am

    The same things happen here any article regarding ageing always seem to have images of often frail quite elderly folk. I loved the shots of your hands with their colourful polish. Our hands like our face tell a story.
    I agree there is nothing morbid about discussing funeral plans and it does make it so much easier for our families. I rather like the sound of your idea and the clothing swap and charity donation is so reflective of you.
    Hope you cope with the heatwave that I believe is heading your way.

    • 24th July 2019 at 7:45 am

      What’s your hot weather like? Our hot weather is heavy and humid – yesterday it was like walking in hot soup!!! However, I did notice that a lot of people didn’t seem all that bothered and I think it is a reduction in my cooling mechanisms as I’ve aged that causes me to flop around – and boo to that!!!! However, if that’s all I have to worry about… It’s going back to normal on Friday.

      I think some practical instructions for one’s passing could be very informative – we found some instructions written up by an aged aunt, which was so helpful to us.

      Have a great rest of the week.

  • 24th July 2019 at 6:21 am

    You are amazing Penny. Just adore your blog. I’ve got loads of age spots on my hands but they blend in with my freckles so really don’t bother me. I too wear the brightest nail varnish I can find. I absolutely love colour and wear as much as possible. I want Whole lotta love (Led Zepplin) and other rock music at my funeral and I’d like everyone to wear their most colourful clothes. We’re in the middle of a heatwave too, here in Italy. Our second this month. Expecting 40°c today.

    • 24th July 2019 at 7:48 am

      I forgot the music which I will attend to immediately and I also forgot to say that any clothes left over should go to our local Emmaus.

      Going to get both a manicure and pedicure very shortly – next week!

      We’ve got that same hot air coming up from Africa – it’s going back to normal on Friday which can’t come soon enough.

      Thank you so much for your comment and feedback – it’s much appreciated 🙂

  • 24th July 2019 at 7:40 am

    Having read your post and the story about a different kind of swishing party, I’m wishing I never tweeted the other day about wanting to come along! But actually it sounds a perfect funeral idea and I’m sure people would find it very cathartic. I am in the David Bowie camp regarding funerals (ie, not having one) and will ask that I be cremated immediately with nobody present. It’s being pragmatic because if I hopefully live a long life, I may not have any immediate family left, coming from a small family far away, and my friends are all widely dispersed. I think it makes sense to start planning for this eventuality rather than leaving it to relations, or leaving unclear instructions. BTW, you suit black Penny, and the necklace really stands out!

    • 24th July 2019 at 7:53 am

      Yes, I did chuckle at your tweet!!

      Note that I too don’t want anything with a coffin in sight, and just like you want to be cremated immediately with no one present. Then, if there are people around who remember me, then, have a party with, if poss, some clothes swapping.

      Yes, I don’t like instructions to not wear black – I like black – wear what you want is my maxim for life and my passing!

      Have a great rest of the week!!!!

  • 24th July 2019 at 5:36 pm

    My sister died last October. She had MS and had made a folder of what she wanted, including a board coffin in pink with deeper pink lilies on it. The most unusual thing was a glass sided ‘Victorian’ carriage with two plumed horsse which held up the traffic! There was pink champagne and canapes as well as tea/coffee and cake.The non-religious service was held in a lovely burial park, although she was cremated. I want a woodland burial, where my parents are interred if possible. No markings on the grave are allowed as the land will be returning to a natural woodland once the plots are filled.(I understand that cremation causes pollution). Funerals are for the living so it’s up to them what they do, providing religion is not involved!

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