self portrait

Over on Tara’s blog it’s week 140 of The Gallery and the theme is ‘Self Portrait’.

I’m mostly behind the camera, partly because I like taking photographs and also because as soon as anyone points a camera at me I tend to pull a ridiculous face, like a five year old.

I took this one myself. I turned 40 this January and decided this was the year I was going to do things – to publish the book, to take up roller derby. It’s the first of May today, five months into my year of being brave. I suppose some people would consider putting an untouched photograph of myself with no make up to be brave, but I happen to like being 40. My mum went on a gap year at 46 and maintains her 40s were her favourite decade. I’m inclined to agree with her. This article about turning 60 says it all for me. I like getting older. I actually like myself more now than I ever have. I don’t take any crap, I’m brave enough to do things that scare me, and I know when to walk away (even if that does mean disappearing to bed halfway through a night out because I’m exhausted by midnight).


This week I’m madly decluttering the house. This is an annual thing for me and always seems to be quite therapeutic, because it reminds me that we don’t need all the mountains of stuff we carry around. With four children living here, and another two some of the time, there’s a lot of stuff which accumulates in corners. I’m recycling, giving things to charity, and clearing my head at the same time.

My tips for getting organised: read these. My friend Alison’s gorgeous blog Brocante Home, and Flylady and Space Clearing. And try and avoid shaving the yak!

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  1. you look amazing and so young too. i like your cheeky smile and you have so many freckles. you look nothing like your avatar would suggest .
    i dont like the thought of almost turning 40 but i have to agree that i dont take as much crap as i once did and I am braver now i am a mum.
    fab post x

  2. Lovely self portrait x

  3. I turn 40 next year and was starting to worry – I love your take on it and I shall do my best to embrace it like you!
    Beautiful picture xx

  4. Fab photo and glad to read you are feeling so good!

  5. You definitely don’t look 40!! :) So many people say that is the best decade – I have about 6 years to go!

  6. I like getting old, I like to think I’m getting wiser as I age.
    Beauty on the inside usually shows on the outside, it does in your case.
    Oh and I loved that Guardian piece too.

  7. That is just lovely Rachel. Loving the sentiment totally. I think your 40s are a fabulous time in your life because you feel so confident in yourself and totally have that people will have to accept me as I look attitude.
    High five to you

  8. You are beautiful untouched. I love your positivity. I feel like taking more photographs of myself as I near 40 (one year off) as finally I am liking what I see looking back in the mirror (after years of spots, braces etc.) and want to capture it all now before the wrinkles really take hold… but then, hopefully, by that time – I will have learned to love my face as my children see it – deeper than the surface – to my heart and soul inside.

    And on the decluttering – I so need to do that!!

  9. You look beautiful and you don’t need make up, your skin is wonderful and your eyes are so bright and alive


  10. this is a beautiful picture, you have lovely smilie eyes :-)

    I declutter too i find it therapeutic too!

  11. Goodness you look amazing for 40! Xx

  12. Everybody is looking so good without make up and you do too.I’m 40 next year but I don’t think I’ll be taking up roller derby though.

  13. Swit swoo Missus – hear marvellous things about 40s from friends, the 2nd half of my thirties has been much better than the first half – age improves things

  14. Gorgeous picture, what a beautiful smile!

  15. Ooh, this is a bit gorgeous! Much loveliness :-) x

  16. Blimey your skin is good for 40. I agree I’m so happy with myself now more than ever before.

  17. This is a beautiful picture and you look young and fresh faced. I totally agree with you that as I am getting older I like myself more than ever before and that is a great feeling x

  18. Beautiful! I turn 40 later this year too and I hope enjoy it as much as you are

  19. I love your hidden grin.

  20. 40 sounds cool, doesn’t seem like anything to dread. You’ve made me want to have a go at roller skating. My dad used to run roller discos and I dabbled a bit back then, ahem.

  21. Wish I looked like this without make up! I keep not getting round to putting it on as I’m so keen to get planting crimson flowered broad beans or something, then I catch sight of myself in a mirror and it’s a tad scary. But totally agree re 40s being a good time – one of the fab things about this age is that I think we’ve worked out what we like doing/what makes us happy and hopefully concentrate on this.

  22. It’s been an incredible year for you and you are gorgeous x

  23. You look great, Rachael! A little wiser but no older than you were in our Coleraine days. Nice to stumble across your lovely blog.