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This is what 81 looks like

Susan Stanley-Carroll is a retired teacher from London. She has two sons, Chris, 37, and Richard, 42, and three grandchildren, Lachlan, nine, Alex, seven, and Leonardo, one. 

Last month, I left my school after being a drama and English teacher for 56 years. But I don’t like the word ‘retire’! I’m planning to continue one-to-one online coaching because the children inspire me. I was a volunteer guide at Chiswick House in West London for ten years before it shut in lockdown.

For my 80th birthday, I got a small tattoo on my wrist, a geometric design made up of the initials of my children. My friends were shocked but I’ve always wanted one. A milestone birthday can be a great opportunity to try new things. It didn’t hurt and only took about 45 minutes, (£100, cavalleros.co.uk).

I invest in a simple skincare regime using Boots No 7 Restore & Renew Multi-action Day and Night Creams (£27 each) as light daily moisturisers. Then, I alternate between No 7 Laboratories Firming Booster Serum (£38), and GOW 100% Pure Prickly Pear Seed Oil (£20, victoriahealth.com). If I want a glow, I mix Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Antipollution Sunshine Drops (£30, spacenk.com) in the cream.

Before lockdown, I went swimming three times a week. I started walking for one hour a day, with a Fitbit to record my steps. I aim for 7,000 (three miles or 5km) because I have arthritis in one foot. I wear Fitflop’s rally trainers (£80, fitflop.com) with insoles for support. I also do one-on-one sessions on Zoom with personal trainer Anna Duda to work on my core and straighten my back.

I try to practise mindfulness every day for 20 minutes. This was helpful in lockdown as my anxiety increased, living on my own. I learned meditation in the 1960s, to overcome stage fright at drama school. It changed my life. I have run workshops with the children at school, too.

Do you look good for your age? Reveal your secrets to [email protected] 

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