We love to profile women on Fab after Fifty who epitomise what life and living over 50 can be at this time in our lives. I caught up with Debi Ireland , who at 51 certainly knows how to inspire and live fabulously.
Why did you decide to climb Ben Nevis?
Every year I set myself a physical challenge and try to combine it with raising money for a children’s charity (I work as a children’s entertainer). I normally decide on the challenge in October/November, start training in January and complete the challenge in August. By setting myself an annual challenge I find it keeps me motivated. Previous challenges have included cycle rides, triathlons and climbing Scafell. I have arthritis in both knees and suffer from altitude sickness but don’t let these stop me. I would love to climb Mt Kilimanjaro and am thinking about setting this as next year’s challenge.
How did you become a children’s entertainer?
I had never envisaged myself dressing up as a rabbit for a living ! I had a career as a sales manager in book publishing, but started to design children’s interiors in my spare time. I sold some of the things I made on a market stall and people kept asking me if I ever entertained at children’s parties – so I thought ‘why not’. Next thing I knew I was dressed up as the MajikBunnie . I run parties and events which are educational at schools and nurseries. I love working with children – I have 3 children of my own – the eldest is 31 and the youngest 13. Having my 13 year old certainly gave me a new lease of life.
Your life now
I recently moved to Surrey after living in Scotland for decades. I am rebuilding my life as a single mum. My early life was very disjointed – my mother left the family when I was very young and my brother and I were left with my father- we were often placed in care so I had no stability as a child -I went to 16 different schools!
Being in your 50s
I have found being in my 50s liberating. I was dreading the big 5-0 brithday- in fact I went off to Thailand with my daughter – but I woke up on the day feeling great. I can honestly say that so far this has been my best decade. I am physically fitter than ever. I feel I have a license to be me. I’ve done all the things expected of me, now I feel I am back to the ‘core’ of me as a person.
I ended what had become an abusive relationship. Dating in my 50s is proving to be quite an experience. I have more confidence in myself now and will not settle for anyone who doesn’t accept the real me. Most of the men I meet in their 50s would prefer to be with someone in their 40s – I think they are missing out on a whole group of interesting women. I read recently that Dustin Hoffman realised when he played the part of Tootsie just how many interesting women he had overlooked in his life when he based his judgement on aesthetics. Age is just a number, and if men in their 50s dont want to be with interesting, vibrant women, it’s their loss!
I feel that now I have become the girl within the woman again. Many women I meet say they find me inspiring. They ask how I keep myself fit but say that they cannot afford expensive gym memberships. I don’t belong to a gym. But I just ask ‘Do have a pair of trainers? Do you have a front door key?’ Then get outside and start walking. Start with 20 minutes day.
I love to have fun. Recently I had a couple of professional portraits taken. In one I am wearing a tutu. If you pop into my house for a coffee you may well find me wearing it around the house. Why not wear something that makes you smile and feel good!
Life is too valuable and too short not to live it!
Many thanks to Debi for being a ‘Fabwoman’. And look out for some of Debi’s inspiring posts on Fab after Fifty as she looks to share her philosophy and experience with us 🙂
Oh, and if you would like to see Debbie in her MajikBunnie outfit, here’s a link to her website. www.majikbunnie.co.uk