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One-of-a-kind gifts


Age — it’s a funny thing. 

Especially when you strive to live in gratitude. And on the whole, I’m pretty good at soaking in the world around me, living in the moment and being grateful for each experience. But every now and again, I catch myself in the mirror, inspecting new lines or lamenting at a grey hair, and wondering how you can be one age on the outside and another on the inside. Yet in the same breath, I’m telling myself it’s a privilege to grow old, that each day is a gift and as we are all too aware right now, worrying about ageing is a freedom denied to so many.

This month it’s my birthday and so I suppose it has brought these feelings even more to the fore. I’m hyper aware of time or more specifically, of time running out, and I suppose seeing it physically manifesting itself is a reminder of that.

Where did this internal monologue about ageing come from? Not my mother, or my friends… Somewhere along the way, society has taught us to be ashamed of getting older. Your 40s are a funny ‘in between’ age, and I’m struggling to see much representation or celebration of people who look like me.

I’m telling myself it’s a privilege to grow old, that each day is a gift and as we are all too aware right now, worrying about ageing is a freedom denied to so many.

But things are changing — gradually.

I mean have you seen the Sex and the City reboot? They’re the same age as the Golden Girls were when they were first on TV (!!) but are also polar opposite in the way they are represented. It’s becoming more common to see pictures of the glorious Dame Helen Mirren, Dame Judi Dench or Oprah Winfrey in the press and we are often reminded of their wit, wisdom and wonder. It would be an honour to be anything like them, wouldn’t it? 

So, I treated myself to this brilliant Magda Archer print, where all proceeds will go to the charity Sarcoma UK, as a constant reminder that wrinkles are cool.

Magda Archer wall print saying 'wrinkles are cool'

‘Wrinkles are cool’ print by Magda Archer

And whilst society is slowly evolving, it sits with us to champion a changing attitude in our young too, teaching them that our value doesn’t lie in our appearance. “Being beautiful is the least interesting thing about you,” as I always tell the little ones in my life. I recently gifted this Boss Babs flag for my co-founder’s twin girls. They have it hanging in their bedroom as a little reminder of all the brilliance they bring to the world.

For the other special mini in my life — my niece Olive — I bought her Kate T. Parker’s ‘Strong is the new pretty’ book from our Holly & Co bookshop, with its beautiful photography. It’s a true celebration of girls being themselves and Olive sits in her bed soaking it all in. She now wants to be the fearless swimmer on the cover and I couldn’t love her any more.

strong is the new pretty book

So as I mentioned, it’s my birthday month and grey hairs aside, every year feels even more glorious. As David Bowie said, “I think ageing is an extraordinary process whereby you become the person you always should have been.”

And why do we stop being proud of our age when we become adults anyway? I love that Sparkle Child’s badges come in single digits, double digits and even triple digits! I will be buying these for all my girlfriends’ next birthdays and it’s my sister’s 40th soon, too…

Sparkle child badge - 98

Birthday badge by Sparkle Child

Or what about genius Twisted Twee’s ‘all ages’ t-shirt, where you can wear your years loud and proud — she is a passionate (and brilliant) campaigner for older women. She says, “As part of my crusade to champion seniority and dismiss the dreary stereotypes that we are supposed to conform to, I would love to see women happily wearing their age on their clothes again, and feel as proud of being 80 as they did of being eight. They’ve a damn sight more to be proud of for starters.” What an inspiration!

And finally… It’s the first time in two years I am able to have a birthday get together. The last two have been in lockdown… and any other March babies will understand it’s been frustrating. So this year I’m going big. I’m hosting a kitchen disco with tequila; a great excuse to dance under my sign painted mirror ball by Third Eye signs. If you’re looking for something special for someone you love, I’ve curated a whole birthday collection which you can see here.

Mirror ball with the word 'disco' on it

Bespoke Painted Mirror Ball by Third Eye Signs

So cheers to the beauty of age, the wisdom we collect along the way and all those experiences that have made us who we are today. May we celebrate them in each other, and perhaps the slightly more tricky bit, in ourselves, too.

If you need more inspiration or want to discover some other wonderful small business finds, try my gift guides for Mother’s Day, strong women and my favourite things. What are your thoughts on getting older? Do let me know in the comments below.


  1. Martina Ingram says

    I totally agree Holly, ageing is a privilege not afforded to all, I will turn 60 in Nov this year and whilst on one hand I think how the hell did that happen? On the other I am so grateful. I had breast cancer in 2006 age 43,and things could have turned out so very differently. 2020 I took VR from my insurance job and in Oct 2021 started my own online business @ heartsnstarsbymarticlare which I hope will flourish, so age is only a number! Have a bloody fantastic birthday.🥳x

    1. Niamh Collins says

      Dearest Martina, thank you SO much for your lovely message. It is so exciting that you have started a business doing what makes your heart sing and we all completely agree here at Holly & Co that age is just a number and that every age is the ideal age for starting your entrepreneurial journey! Wishing you so much love and small business luck, and we hope you have a wonderful celebration for your 60th! Team Holly & Co x

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