Anti Social Media

Cutting down on social media time was much more difficult than I thought it would be. A few months ago I suspended my FaceBook account, tired of all the notifications beeping on my phone or flashing up on my screen. I have a UK phone and a Portuguese phone. That’s two lots of messages/Whatsapp/Telegram notifications to contend with. I had Facebook and 3 Instagram accounts; my own personal account, FiftySister and an account for my art. I have several email addresses which I monitor – receiving hundreds of messages per day. It was just too much noise all day every day and my brain was slowly frying, from the effort involved in constantly managing contact via so many apps on my phone.

My first post on Instagram 2019 after deciding to ditch the dye and embrace my silvers.

I didn’t start my Instagram account to make money or to promote anything, I made it to hopefully inspire other women to enjoy ageing as much as I do and to embrace their silver hair sparkles. What started as a bit of fun, became a full time unpaid job. I was offered lots of promo and sponsored posts from a huge variety of companies, but I never accepted any paid content as it didn’t fit with the lifestyle I was promoting. For example, how can I promote products that aren’t vegan or cruelty free? Or products which can stop incontinence if I don’t have it? Or menopause creams and potions which are irrelevant for me as I take HRT. I got very frustrated watching women my age promoting products for wrinkles etc when it was clear they had botox or fillers. Nothing wrong with any cosmetic procedure of course, we are free to do with our bodies what we choose, but it’s unrealistic to expect the same results as someone who clearly has regular botox injections.

My photos are always unfiltered using natural light to show my wrinkles in all their glory.

I also saw a lot of women jumping on the cruelty free beauty bandwagon, and then 2 minutes later sharing a photo of their roast leg of lamb or their ‘ethical’ leather jacket….how can a leather jacket be ethical? I doubt the cow willingly gave up their skin for that biker jacket. I am not a militant vegan. You are free to choose your own path in life and take what you want and need from the planet.  I choose not to take a life to improve my own. I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, once I became vegan, and I felt a physical difference in my body within a week or so. To be completely honest I was shocked how quickly a plant based diet changed everything about my body. But more on that another day…

Creating delicious plant based food is another one of my many passions.

Time spent on social media was time away from real people – ironic eh? It really should be renamed antisocial media. It also took time away from my creativity, which had been a great source of stress relief for me. Looking back, I’d stopped seeing people, let go of all my recreational activities and replaced it all with screen time and arguing with strangers. Social media is a drug that you just can’t wean yourself off easily.

Doing something I really enjoy – creating art. A waterside cafe in Tavira.

Reels is the worst thief of time, or so I thought until I discovered TikTok. My plan with TikTok was to upload content already created for Reels and to just throw it on the TikTok feed and ignore comments and messages. But… of course that wasn’t the case. I uploaded about 8 videos and left them unattended. I checked again to find I have a few hundred followers. Weird given that I had zero interaction with the app. I decided (I have no idea why!) to upload another couple of videos specifically for TikTok and boom! Within 24 hours I have thousands of new followers. At this point I panicked and decided to suspend my account. If I can’t cope with Instagram followers, why the heck would I try to make my situation worse? I also temporarily suspended my Instagram account to give myself some breathing space. Within 1 day of not posting on Insta I have emails asking where I have gone. What to do…? I reinstated my Instagram account but at the moment I am not posting anything new. I don’t really want to delete all the content yet….but maybe that time will come. I think it’s impossible to wean myself completley off it as I enjoy the creativity of it. I really like editing videos!

Now available as a download on my Etsy Store. Click image to view

Since stepping away from all social media and taking an extended break, I have picked up lots of my creative hobbies again. I made Bird a new collar using Para-chord which was really therapeutic and completely distracted me from all that is going on in the world. I started creating art using photos I have taken whilst out on my bike. You can see this on my new Instagram account @ginandbird (I’m just posting and not monitoring that account at all) and I’ve collected lots of shells and driftwood to make wall art. I design T shirts for my FiftySister store and I’ve also started designing digital art like screen savers/wallpaper (like the one above) based on my own need for something fun and colourful. So I’ve been very busy – oh and I’ve been building my house here, which is going very smoothly. Busy, busy, busy, just the way I like it.

My house loulehills.com is progressing nicely. A detailed update coming soon by popular request.

I shall continue writing and sharing my thoughts here, with potentially YouTube videos in the future, but I still don’t know whether I will do this so please bear with me. I have to find a balance that gives me a platform to connect with like-minded women, which doesn’t steal so much of my time. If anyone has any suggestions about how I can achieve this, please get in touch. I am a very private person who loves taking photos, writing and making videos – I’m a complete contradiction.

Social media is great for finding ideas and seeking out like-minded people. But you will stir up a hornet’s nest if you voice an opinion. I lost 7k followers overnight when I posted a reel regarding my feelings about informed consent. The reel was taken down by Instagram and that’s when I decided that I couldn’t continue to invest time on a platform which is so biased and fragile. One mistake and you are shadow banned or worse still deleted for ever.

Thank you for continuing to follow along on my life journey here. I love writing about anything and everything, so be prepared for varied content. I hope you have a beautiful day.

Gail xxx

New sweetie heart design published this week. Click image to view.

Starting over

I suddenly arrived at a difficult crossroads on my blogging journey. I didn’t like where all roads were taking me, so I’ve decided to leave Instagram and start over in a new direction with my blog. Crazy I know, considering I had 75k followers late 2021 (which was slowly decreasing and melting away as I’d stopped posting so regularly). Instagram is changing, rebranded ‘Meta’ and now rapidly going in a new direction which I don’t think will be good for my soul. It started as a photo sharing platform, a way to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Someone who could take better photos from interesting angles and add a few words to share their journey. I really do miss that about Instagram.

Meta (formerly FaceBook and Instagram) makes its money from advertising and selling data from users and creators to provide the product – for free. It’s a great business strategy and worked well until they started censoring the content, based on input and restrictions put on them by their clients. Accounts were shadow banned or disappeared overnight, with no resource or humans available to resolve or even discuss the issue. After all, you are getting the platform for free, so why should they provide you any ‘customer’ service.

Click here to buy my T shirts on my FiftySister store.

Influencers post highly filtered photos which everyone seems to appreciate. Post a photo without one and people will be horrified and share their unfiltered feelings on your timeline in record time. Verbal abuse never bothered me, but the effort deleting, blocking or reporting the accounts was such a waste of precious time.

This place name, without fail, always makes me laugh.

So here I am, back on my blog, all new, starting over from scratch. I am both relieved and excited. There’s no mystical algorithms, trolls or pressure to post daily, but I will post regularly as I miss telling stories, writing and sharing a photo here and there. If you sign up for my mailing list I will send you an update once a month and hopefully will be adding offers, vouchers and promo codes if any companies want to work with a silver haired, unfiltered, cruelty free, midlife woman. Let’s see…

Have a beautiful day.

Gail x

Fresh water swim spot just outside Tavira, Algarve, Portugal.

One way ticket to a galaxy far far away

Thoughts of a galaxy far far away….

When you have been in relationship with someone for a long time, you will be familiar with thoughts of, and the desire to, jettison them to a far away planet, on the fastest one way rocket-ship.

There have been a few times, that I would gladly have done everything in my power to make that happen.

Nobody is perfect (….except…? – I’m joking!) and neither could they ever be. What we want and need changes over time.

We’ve been together for 37 years.

That’s a long time.

This morning, I found Shaun dripping water into Bird’s mouth, because he’d seen me doing it last night, encouraging her to drink. He kissed her head, held her paw and talked gently to her. She gazed into his eyes, wondering what the hell happened yesterday and why her belly hurt so much.

It reminded me of when Seb was a baby in his incubator. Shaun would gently stroke Seb’s tiny hands and feet through the porthole on the side of the incubator for hours, talking to him and gazing lovingly upon his tiny form.

How Seb ever learnt to walk I will never know, as Shaun wanted to carry him everywhere. He was a hands-on dad, and loved every moment of raising our son. He probably would have liked a house full of children, he’s never said that, but of course it wasn’t meant to be.

So today I would happily cancel his one way ticket to galaxy far far away….. (or maybe I’ll just ask for a credit as tomorrow is another day).

iPhone 12 Pro portrait mode. He always looks tanned and great in photos. I like to think I’m pale and interesting ?

Who is FiftySister

Who is a Fifty Sister?

She has sparkling hair, or maybe cherry red… or any colour of the rainbow. It’s whichever colour makes her feel happy and confident.
She cares.
She’s kind.
She wears what she wants. Dr Marten boots with a pretty dress? She likes it, thats all that matters.
She wears her hair long, in a messy bun. Or maybe her head is shaved, an undercut, dreadlocks. Her choice.
She dances, she sings, she loves her life.
She knows she is lucky, she is here.
She’s visible.
She’s bold.
She’s brave.
She’s fearless.
She’s wise.
She loves every stretch mark from weight gained, weight lost, perhaps a baby, or maybe not.
She likes her squidgy belly. It’s warm and soft. A perfect pillow.
She walks.
She talks.
She breathes in the morning air and is thankful each day.
She smiles.
She makes time for herself, to be the best she can be.
She’s caring.
She’s mindful.
She’s compassionate.
She wears sexy undies, big knickers, no knickers, she can wear whatever she damned likes.
She wears pink lipstick, red lipstick, no lipstick. They are her lips to choose.
She has tattoos, no tattoos, dreams of tattoos, get that tattoo!
She’s slim, she’s shapely, she is lean, she is the shape she wants to be.
She is everything she never dared to be.
This is her time to shine.
She is me.

#over50 #midlife #emptynest #silverhair #grayhair #over50influencer #over50style #matureskin #older #over40 #agepositive #she #maturewomen #midlifecrisis #middleaged #empynestor#shadows #fitover50 #over50selfie #thisis50

Chilling in the woods

This is me. No makeup. No light adjustments. Just natural old me chilling in the woods on a bed of ivy, soaking in the energy of the earth.

I didn’t like this face much before with it’s wrinkles, sunspots, scars and blemishes. But I’ve learned to love it’s natural state with almost invisible eyelashes and fire scarred skin (you can see red patches on the left side of the photo). It’s such a pity some of the quality is lost when posting on Insta, as you can clearly see the trees above me reflecting in my eyes in the original pic which is lovely.
I often find a quiet spot in the dappled light to bathe in the magic of the woodland. Safely tucked amongst the ferns, beech and oak trees, watching the boughs move gently in the wind, their leaves tickled by the breeze.
This is my moment of meditation. The birds calling and singing loudly at first light, full of joy, celebrating another shiny new day. The moist dew settled on the fresh leaves and grasses, tips tiny pools of cool tranquillity onto my skin as I join the bugs on the woodland floor.


#devon #relax #nomakeup #over50 #maturewomen #maturewoman #matureskin #positiveaging #vegan #plantbased #meditation #bodypostive #earthing #grounding #earthsenergy #silverhair #grayhair #agepositive