French Women Don't Get Facelifts - Mireille Guiliano

by Jo Macdonald

Why are we all drawn to French Women so much?  Is it their style?  Confidence? Or is just the beauty of the language and country itself?  Whether it's Audrey Tatou, Juliette Binoche or Catherine Deneuve, French women have an effortless style about them that is, sadly, quite hard for the rest of us to copy with 100% success.  I confess that I love French films, adore the sound of the language (high on my bucket list is to get my French to a seriously good standard), and like so many women I envy the easy elegance that French women just seem to be born with.  I am quite certain that (unlike me) they all manage to wake up with perfect hair and all have a wardrobe screaming to be taken to Paris for some fun...rather than my wardrobe which simply sobs for an iron most of the time!  

So, lucky for those of us who aren't French that author Mireille Guiliano is sharing some of her secrets and trying to help all of us over 40 age with a bit more attitude and savoir faire 

'French Women Don't Get Facelifts: The secret of aging with style and attitude' is the first of Mireille's books I've read and I was delighted to discover that she has an easy, likeable charm and wit and the book is a pleasant, lighthearted read.  An easy read it may be but don't be fooled, this book is packed full of tips and information to help us embrace aging with (as the title says) style and attitude.

I am not thinking so much about about living long, but rather about looking good and feeling healthy in the decades ahead.
— Mireille Guiliano

At the heart of the book are Mireille's four anchors for a good life:

1.     good health

2.     a functional social network of friends and family

3.     a solid employment situation

4.     time, space, rules, and practices for yourself

I think it's fair to say that these are fabulous anchors to have no matter what stage of life you are at, but they are increasingly important as you get older.  As she shares with us just why it is that French Women Don't Get Facelifts, Mireille dicusses style, skin care, exercise, nutrition and more as she shares her tips and tricks for aging with attitude.

Overall I enjoyed this book, although I didn't agree with all her thoughts - personally, I think it's okay to wear a bikini at any age if it makes you happy and you feel confident, and I don't really believe in sticking to age appropriate clothing once you're over 18.  I also think that most women in their forties haven't necessarily given up on themselves but are simply too exhausted with children, work and life to have perfect manicures and makeup 24/7 and are chooisng to prioritise other things.  Yes, it's true that many of us could make a bit more effort (for our own pleasure not anyone else's) but wearing your good clothes when you have a toddler is not always practical. But then again, I'm not French!  

What I really loved most about this book was Mireille's focus on 'attitude' around aging.  We know that how we feel about aging plays a huge part in how well we age, so developing a good attitude and choosing to age in the way we desire is key to a happy second half of life. 

As one looks at the second half of one’s life, it’s good to have a plan, a strategy base on ‘knowing thyself’, common sense, and a zest for life. For me it’s about being biens dans sa peau (comfortable in one’s own skin) through all episodes and stages of life. You and I don’t have the same genetics, we don’t live in the same place, we don’t have the same resources, but we can have the same basic attitude: being comfortable in our skin. Our own skin. We are all unique so no plan fits all sizes. Creating your own plan is vital...and a plan is a mental approach, an attitude.
— Mireille Guiliano

Mireille also talks about the importance of play, and making time for the things that matter to us.  For me that is the number one takeaway - making sure that we are enjoying our life as much as possible.  No matter how busy we are right now there is always a way that we can prioritise pleasure more often.  Want to learn a language? Turn off the TV 2 nights a week.  Want to travel more?  Start by exploring the country you live in - too often we are desperate to jump on a plane and visit exotic locations and we forget that other people have our country on their bucket list.  Take time for pleasure, read more, create more, spend time with loved ones.  Even if we ramp up our pleasure by just 1% we will notice the difference, and that is doable for all of us.