A Downton Abbey-Inspired Afternoon Tea

When I started my Couture Portrait business I knew that I wanted to photograph women of all ages, and especially those aged 50+. It’s become more and more apparent that the media have now cottoned on to the fact that this is a very powerful group of women and that we are definitely coming into our own in terms of the way we dress, how we choose to define ourselves and how we choose to be defined by others.

Whatever you think of the recent advertising campaigns that have been fronted by older women such as Helen Mirren, Charlotte Rampling and Joan Didion (cynical marketing ploy or a genuine desire to reach out to us?) there’s no getting away from the fact that we are no longer content to be “invisible”, dress like our mothers or disappear into obscurity once we reach a certain age. I know that I feel far more confident in my fifties than I ever did in my twenties or thirties.

Not long ago I came across the website of a lady called Tricia Cusden who, in her mid-60’s, decided that she would launch a range of cosmetics aimed at women of 55 and upwards, called Look Fabulous Forever. Having started with just a few video tutorials, her YouTube channel has now had in excess of three quarters of a million views (in fact it’s definitely more since these figures are from May of this year) and last month she received a Digital Achiever of the Year award from the beauty industry: you can read about her award on her blog.

I was therefore delighted to attend an afternoon tea hosted by Tricia at the Athenaeum Hotel in Piccadilly last weekend. The theme was Downton Abbey and Tricia had invited Jessica Fellowes, the niece of series’ creator, Julian Fellowes, along to give us a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the Downton world. I sat with some lovely, lively and very entertaining ladies who were a delight to chat to and needless to say, they all looked amazing.

After a sumptuous tea, there was also a raffle in aid of children’s charity, Honeypot, which offers respite breaks and support to young carers and vulnerable children. As I never win anything at raffles, I was very chuffed when my winning number was called out, and I received a fabulous REN beauty product duo! Below are some shots before and after our tea – as you can see, we made the best of it!

Look Fabulous Forever Downton Abbey inspired afternoon tea with Tricia Cusden and Jessica Fellowes at the Athenaeum Hotel, Piccadilly


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