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As Carole Middleton tops a poll for stylish grandmothers, we meet the Northern Irish 'glam-mas'


Carole Middleton arrives at The Lindo Wing to visit Catherine, Duchess Of Cambridge and her newborn son at on July 23, 2013 in London, England.

Carole Middleton arrives at The Lindo Wing to visit Catherine, Duchess Of Cambridge and her newborn son at on July 23, 2013 in London, England.

Gloria Hunniford

Gloria Hunniford

Getty Images

Lizzie Carville

Lizzie Carville

Eileen Curran

Eileen Curran

Deirdre Reid

Deirdre Reid


Carole Middleton arrives at The Lindo Wing to visit Catherine, Duchess Of Cambridge and her newborn son at on July 23, 2013 in London, England.

Had she lived, there's no doubt that Diana, Princess of Wales would now be rewriting the rule book for grannies everywhere. But young Prince George has, of course, just one grandma - Carole Middleton.

Still, according to a new poll, the Duchess of Cambridge's mother is doing a very good job when it comes to the glam gran stakes.

Apparently, 40% of grannies have voted Carole (58) , who lives in Bucklebury, Berkshire, as their poster girl.

In comparison, a mere 2% opted for young George's step-granny, Camilla (68).

Of course, there was a time when being a grandma conjured up images of a grey-haired old lady who spent most of her time in an armchair, knitting or snoozing.

Not any more -- today it seems 88% of grandmothers consider themselves to be a Glam-Ma, just like Carole.

They follow fashion, spending up to £100 a month on their wardrobes. And as well as Mrs Middleton, their style icons include Goldie Hawn, Mary Berry and Sharon Osbourne.

Here, we meet some of those cheerleading the new trend.

Gloria Hunniford

TV presenter Gloria Hunniford (73) is a granny to 10, two by her late daughter Caron and two by son Paul, plus six by her second husband Stephen Way's children. She says:

I think in general women have changed. They are living longer, working harder and looking after themselves better. When I was young my mum seemed old when she was in her 40s.

Times have changed and I think grandmothers are keeping busy and are more hands-on now because of the recession. You are probably more likely to see granny at the school gates picking up the children.

Women are living longer and enjoying life. I think grandparents always enjoyed their grandchildren.

When I was young my grandparents were a terribly important part of our family and a vital part of our everyday lives.

Years ago yes, you probably did find granny sitting in an armchair but she would always have been there whereas now she is more likely to be out workin or on the golf course."

Lizzie Carville

Lizzie Carville (60) lives in Bangor and is a nurse and aromatherapist. She has three children and three grandchildren. She says:

I try my best but I don't think I'm that glamorous. I don't follow trends, I like to look classic and casual during the day but I'll make an effort when going out in the evening.

I remember both my grandmothers. My father's mother was great -- she'd get down on the floor to play with me when she was 80. She was very independent and walked everywhere.

My other grandmother was less so. She didn't work and never went out without her husband. She spent her time looking after him and their five daughters.

I'm very involved with my grandchildren and love playing with them. I'm very close to my daughters too.

And I do look after myself. I used to own a beauty therapy shop and still use products we stocked. I always obey the rules -- I take my make-up off properly and have never let a baby-wipe near my face.

The most important thing to appearing young is to have a sense of humour -- which is why Goldie Hawn is my favourite Glam-ma."

Eileen Curran

Eileen Curran (58) is an administrator for the Belfast Metropolitan College and has done some modelling work. She lives in Belfast with husband Paddy and they have five grown-up children and three grandchildren. She says:

People tell me I'm a glamorous granny but then, I didn't start modelling until I was in my 50s. I've certainly never considered myself glamorous.

I remember my grandmother and she was an old lady by the time she was my age, although she did have a number of health issues. She wasn't able to be very hands-on with me the way I am with my grandsons. I run around with them all the time and I'm still able to look after them -- I just looked after them for a full week while their parents were on holiday, which my grandmother wouldn't have been able to do.

I think people always seemed to be older than their age 40 years ago. These days you're still young when you're in your 50s, 60s or even 70s. I dreaded my 50th birthday but then I learned to embrace it -- after all, 50 is the new 40.

I like to follow fashion and keep up with the latest trends but I'm aware that you can make mistakes if you do that.

You need to bear in mind that you are a certain age and certain trends won't necessarily suit you. Your body changes as you grow older -- after five children, mine certainly has. I like to say that I've earned the way I look. Someone like Helen Mirren always looks fantastic and she doesn't follow all the fashions out there. She dresses to suit herself.

As far as skincare goes, I buy whatever is on offer in the supermarket. I'll use more expensive products if someone buys them for me as a present but I won't buy them for myself.

I like the term Glam-Ma though. It's better than glamorous granny -- that sounds like a competition at Butlins."

Deirdre Reid

Deirdre Reid (53) is a civil servant. She lives in Belfast and has four children and an 11-month grandaughter, Anna. She says:

I'm a new granny and I've recently made the decision to go part-time at work so I could look after Anna. I want to spend time with her but also I wanted to help out my daughter and her husband.

I do get called glamorous by some people -- I follow trends and love dressing up, I always have my nose in Hello! Magazine to see what people are wearing.

I mix things up so I'll shop in Dunnes and Primark as well as Hobbs and Coast. I find myself going for more expensive clothes these days as they're classic and will last longer.

Getting the right look isn't always easy -- two of my daughters are married and finding the right mother of the bride outfit was difficult. There were a lot of frumpy, ageing outfits out there.

Both my grannies died before I turned 13, though I do remember they always struck me as being old.

They were around 55-60 and didn't work or colour their hair. It's like their life was over at that age.

I don't feel that way at all. I like to travel and socialise and I'm very independent.

My children are all through university now so I feel I can kick back a bit more.

My role models? Well, I've always thought Lulu very glamorous. She always looks good and seems great fun.

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