Belfast Telegraph

Life begins at 50, just ask Nigella

By Jane Graham

New research this week revealed that the age when women feel at their most confident is ... 52. A surprising turn of events in a culture which still primarily evaluates women according to their waistline, wrinkle-count and ability to make men want to go to bed with them before any exchange of words. I was sceptical about these results at first, but I've come gradually to think they might be honest. Maybe it really is all uphill from here.

Kelloggs, who conducted the research, have focussed on the importance of women reaching their ideal weight when commenting on the findings. No big surprise from the makers of Special K, but I reckon 50-something women who radiate poise and self-belief - such as Emma Thompson, so deeply sensible and capable I'd make her PM, and the ludicrously gorgeous Nigella Lawson - are in fact the kind of women who no longer give a stuff about what people think of their bellies and hips. Life has given them faith in themselves; experience has given them tenacity.

If they lose weight or treat themselves to a little Botox, it's not because low self-esteem is driving them to desperation (despite what the pass-remarkable brigade will tell you). It's because they like themselves and want to look the way they feel inside - happy, free and young.

So maybe the move beyond the child-bearing years really is to be welcomed rather than feared. As long as you can free yourself from the tyranny of everyone else's opinion - which unfortunately seems to take most of us at least half a century.

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