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This is what 56 looks like

Abigail Bryans lives in London and runs a hand-made gifts business, while working as a model part-time. She has three children, 23, 21 and 19.


When I hit 50, I started setting myself annual challenges — and I’ve realised that these usually involve water! Three years ago I learned to sail, then I mastered front crawl and diving. Now, my goal is to go outdoor swimming at a lido every week. I saw my daughter doing it and thought, ‘Why not me, too?’ It feels amazing to push yourself out of your comfort zone and swimming is good for beating stress.


I’ve always taken care of my face, with a strict cleansing and moisturising regime. However, over the last few years, my skin’s needed an extra boost. Now I get a facial every two months. They’re relaxing and my face looks more alive after. I find my treatments on discount websites such as Groupon, so I never spend more than £20.

Abigail Bryans (pictured), 56, attributes gentle stretching exercises as a key aspect of her ageless appearance


I’m a size 10, but each spring I do a one-month detox diet, where I eat only fruit, vegetables and pulses. I drink lots of water and give up sugary drinks, coffee and alcohol. My sister recommended it, as you feel great by the end — energised and more alert. At first I get bad cravings, but these go after two weeks. To make sure I don’t lose too much weight — as this can be quite ageing — I eat bigger portions.


As you get older, it’s easy to feel invisible. So I avoid wearing too much black and make an effort to add colour to my wardrobe. It helps me stand out and feel confident. Zara is a good place to pick up statement pieces, as are vintage shops. If you don’t like shopping, take a friend who does — they’ll help you try something new.


A few years ago, I put my back out running. Now I stick to gentle stretching exercises. They’re amazing for improving posture and flexibility, especially if you do office work. I’m often pushed for time, so I went to a class to learn some easy stretches that I can then do at home — or even if I get stuck in a queue at the supermarket! 

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