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Lucinda Hayton

Life Begins at 40 for Jackie

By Lucinda Hayton

THEY say we are all getting younger, that being in your 30s is no longer any different to being in your 20s. That more and more women are waiting until well into their 30s to marry and have a family.

If this is true, then what is it to be 40 these days? With the family sorted - and hopefully the mortgage well on its way - what better time is there in life? Still young enough to dream of a better future, and old enough to know what it'll take to get there.

As more couples choose to marry in their 30s, so, it seems, more are getting divorced in their 40s. Maybe it's this new lease of life, new start, a new chance to find you' again, that has helped to coin the phrase life begins at 40'.

One woman who knows all too well what the phrase means is Jackie Raven. Jackie lives in the beautiful valley of Kentmere with her twin boys aged 12. She had, up until last September, been married for 16 years. She is due to turn 40 this September.

Jackie's daily routine, up until last year, consisted of: Up for 5.30am, work on the farm, (lambing feeding whatever had to be done).

Get the boys up for breakfast, drive them to school.

9am til 5pm, work in her role as personal tax advisor at Bowman's Chartered Accountants, in Kendal. Home to collect the boys, dinner, farming and bed for around 10.30pm.

Jackie weighed more than 13 stone and wore a dress size 18.

"I guess I never really looked at myself, I don't even have a mirror upstairs to look in! I hadn't really noticed my weight, I suppose it was just creeping up gradually. I was comfortable with my routine, wearing my everyday clothes.

"I very rarely bought anything new and never wore make-up I wouldn't know how to apply it and would be afraid of looking too made up, so I never bought any. I've always kept my hair short, it's easier with my lifestyle and I had never ever thought of putting any colour on it, highlights or anything, I always thought that the colour I was born with was how it should be."

For Jackie, the break up of her marriage was a wake-up call. Stress took its toll and the weight began to drop off. "I lost a stone almost immediately."

While friends and family rallied round and were sympathetic, they couldn't help noticing the positive side to Jackie's weight loss; "Folk would say how upset they were for me, then in another breath add how much better I was looking."

When her friend Christine Booth told Jackie that she had enrolled in a charity run for cancer, "a light came on" in Jackie.

"It clicked a switch on in me and reminded me of a dream I'd had, to take part in the Great North Run. I'd mentioned it a few times to my husband, saying that it'd be good to achieve something like that for our 40th birthdays, a sort of goal, but of course we'd never started training for it. I don't think it would've ever happened."

Jackie made the decision to go for it. She started training with her friend a couple of times a week. "I felt fantastic. It took a bit of organising at first, to get the kids sorted and to make the time to do it, but once we were out there on the lanes it was amazing. All the stress gradually lifted and I'd realise that I wasn't thinking about the daily grind anymore. We would laugh so much, the time flew by and, as a bonus, the weight continued to drop off not through stress, through fun!"

Jackie began to think more carefully about her diet: "What you eat makes a real difference to your energy levels. If I was tired and stressed I would find it so much harder to run. Christine gave me a high carbohydrate fruit and nut bar on one occasion and I felt better almost immediately, it made me realise I had to start sorting out my food.

"I began having porridge for breakfast and, instead of following my lunchtime sandwich with a chocolate bar, I'd have a health bar, there are some really tasty ones out there that give you far better energy with half the calories. I always carry a healthy bar and some fruit now so there's less temptation to buy crisps or sweets when I'm hungry at work".

With the change in diet and the weekly runs, Jackie's clothes began to hang off her. "I was rapidly running out of clothes, everything was so loose."

Feeling better than ever, Jackie went along with a friend to cheer herself up' by having her hair done. "I went to New Look Salon, in Staveley, and it was suggested to me that I would look good with a bit of colour added to my natural brown hair. I decided to go for it."

The stylist added soft warm tones to Jackie's hair, bringing out the best in her complexion. "I felt so much brighter and remember my skin looking fresher, more alive when I looked in the mirror. I'm determined to keep up the highlights now."

Soon Jackie and Christine were joined by two other friends - Sue Allen and Mandy Robinson - for their weekly runs, and this routine became the training towards Jackie's goal.

"To help me towards my ultimate goal, The Great North Run, we are taking part in the CancerCare Race for Life women's run at Crooklands on June 13. It's a three mile run aimed at raising money for CancerCare and research."

There are runs taking place all over the country - any women wanting to take part can find out more details by ringing 08705-134-314 or going on-line at www.raceforlife.org. CancerCare says: "Walk, jog or run, just be there." Entry fee for those over 18 is £8.50, under 18, £5.

The Great North run takes place in Gateshead, Newcastle, on September 26, almost a year to the day that Jackie's husband left and only four days after she turns 40. For information on the Great North Run call www.greatrun.org Jackie now weighs 9st 10lb, a weight loss of 3st 6lb, in just eight months. She is fitter and stronger than ever with a fabulous, positive outlook on life. "I am actually looking forward to turning 40. I don't think I've ever felt younger, or probably looked it. Running for charity isn't just giving me a goal, it's highlighted the struggle that others have, the thousands of women fighting cancer every day, it's really put my stress into perspective. I wake up most days feeling more positive and hopeful, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to my friends and family for all their support and a big happy 40th to Christine Booth this Saturday, I will be wearing my new look' for the party!"

Anyone wishing to sponsor Jackie and the girls for next week's run or for The Great North Run in September can do so now by phoning 01539-821865 to pledge their donation, no matter how small.

'Great fun'

Jackie says: "It was great fun having my make-over', hearing what colours suit me, the shapes I should go for and what not to wear. I loved having my hair and make-up done, I've never had so much attention. I would never have gone for pinks in my make-up but it looked really pretty, I couldn't believe how long my eyelashes looked. Lucinda has given me a new make-up bag to start me off, I can't wait to have a go myself, it doesn't seem so daunting now she has given me a few easy steps to go by.

"I have never owned an up-to-date pair of jeans. I love the boot cut shape, it's so much more flattering and Lucinda showed me that they look just as good with heels as they do with ankle boots. I found heels really hard to work in at first - I've always worn flats with living on the farm. It's great to feel more feminine, heels really make you walk taller, you have to think about your posture.

"I really like the flip-flop shoes from Oasis, they're so colourful and I never thought they'd be so comfortable as they are, I can't wait to wear them with a summer dress.

"When Lucinda pulled out the bright pink cardigan and green top I couldn't imagine them together. She didn't let me see myself until I was done' ready for Steve, the photographer. It looked really good, bright and sunny and so much younger. I guess I've always shied away from colour, been a bit conservative, a bit dowdy. No wonder I looked older than I do now.

" This look is really young and comfortable without being too dressed up or over the top. I'll be able to work these pieces into my existing wardrobe too, although now I've got my new clothes and make-up I think I'll be having a clear out! Thanks to the team - Lucinda, Claire-Louise and Vicky at Oasis."

Since the shoot last week Jackie has been out and bought herself a mirror that says it all!

Make-up

Lucinda used:

Clinique: Super balanced foundation light 28'.
MAC: cream colour base blush Fuchsia Perfect Frost'
Corn Silk: loose powder Original'
Estee Lauder: Animated eyes duo Venus' shimmer pink and plum shadow duo)
Body Shop: blue/green eyeliner pencil
Maybelline: Great lash' black mascara
Estee Lauder: Lipstick (vibrant pink) Dahlia 59'

Hairstyling

CLAIRE-Louise, for Daniel Gray, point cut' Jackie's hair to create softer length around the ears with kick' at the neckline.
She added volume to the top, for height. Using the latest Redken products, she worked Headstrong' into Jackie's wet hair for extra protein, body and moisture. She dried her hair with Redken Rough Paste' for texture and hold.

Claire-Louise said: "Jackie is bang up-to-date with low lights. We are seeing a big return to more natural reflective colour." Less blonde more bronze, with the return of the brunette. Those of us with warmer skin tones should stay away from the colder blondes and go for golden highlights with warmer pieces of soft red and chocolate.

For a colour consultation pop into Daniel Gray and find out what colours bring out the best in your skin tone, tel 01539-729933. Don't forget to protect your colour from the summer sun - I found a good one in the Wella Sun Care range.

Clothes & accessories

Oasis, Finkle Street, Kendal:
New crew neck cardi £35
Piped crystal cotton top £15
Roots wash jean £38
Poppy print mini hobo bag £15
Pretty diamante choker £12
Pretty diamante drop ear-ring £6
(Shoes by Red or Dead' stylists own).

taken from Lucinda's column 'Looking Good'

www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk