Books and Gifts

Sixtyplusurfers Book Review

Pilates for Living

Review by Simon Fine

Pilates for Living is primarily aimed at those of us in the forty plus age bracket who want to keep our bodies healthy as we age. Pilates is a very popular and long established form of exercise, often done in a class under the guidance of a qualified instructor, or can be done at home, requiring only minimum equipment such as a mat and a band for stretching.

Pilates aims to improve your strength, co-ordination, mobility, flexibility, breathing, balance, concentration and general wellbeing. It can also improve your posture. Regular Pilates practice can enable a fulfilling and active later life, helping to lower blood pressure and remove the causes of aches and pains.

Harri Angell is a superb advocate for the health benefits of Pilates, particularly for the over forties. Her new book, Pilates for Living, shows us how to practice a wide range of Pilates exercises in order to gain maximum benefit. The book is extremely well structured, beginning with an explanation of how Pilates can help improve our core strength, posture and body alignment.

The main sections include a series of gentle warm-up exercises, suitable for all levels of experience and an equivalent set of stretches that are useful as a warm-down at the end of your Pilates session. In between are over a hundred pages of mat Pilates exercises.

A very impressive feature is how each exercise can be modified so that they are suitable for beginners, intermediate and advanced levels, depending on your levels of experience and comfort. This means that the whole book is suitable for everyone.

Every exercise includes step-by-step instructions plus several photographs which show every move. It really could not be any clearer. For those who want to practise their Pilates at home, these exercises are combined into 10 or 20 minute routines which again are divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

Harri is clearly passionate about the benefits of Pilates both for body and mind. To emphasise these benefits, there are many case studies throughout the book, written by a diverse group of people of various ages, levels of experience and with varying motivations for practicing Pilates. The health gains become obvious as you read these accounts.

I have attended Pilates classes for five years and I would recommend Pilates for Living for anyone considering taking up Pilates or for those who are already committed. I have promised myself to start Harri’s daily 10 minute routines and I feel confident that I will feel the better for keeping that commitment.

Harri Angell is an experienced REPs Level 3 qualified mat Pilates instructor, personal trainer and England Athletics Leader in Running Fitness. She is the author of Pilates for Runners.

Pilates for Living is published by Bloomsbury. Price is £16.99 for the paperback.

For more information about the book visit the website at

Sixtyplusurfers Book Review

The Century Girls

Review by Simon Fine

In 2018 Britain is celebrating the centenary of women over the age of thirty getting the vote. During the intervening ten decades, the lives of women in Britain have been transformed.

Told in their own voices, The Century Girls celebrates six centenarians who have lived through that century of political and social change: what they saw, how they were treated, who they loved, what they did and where they are now. With stories that are intimately knitted into the history of Britain, The Century Girls is a time-travel adventure featuring the lives of six of our society’s oldest and most remarkable women.

In 1918 the Suffragettes famously blazed the trail for women. The Century Girls reveals what came next for girls growing up in twentieth century Britain. Tessa Dunlop has selected six women from very different backgrounds who have lived through the staggering changes of the past hundred years for Britons in general and women in particular.

Joyce a Cambridge classicist who is still at work; Ann a London bohemian; Edna, a domestic servant born in Lincolnshire; Olive who was raised in British Guiana and was one of the first women to migrate to London after the war; Phyllis, a daughter of the British Raj who has spent most of her life in Scotland; and Helena, the eldest of eight born into a Welsh farming family.

By sharing their own experiences and memories, The Century Girls tell the human story of how women gradually began to build independent lives for themselves in the modern world of post-Great War Britain, by recounting their personal histories through the decades.

The six life-stories are told decade by decade, so their individual experiences of childhood, World War Two, the post war year years, the sixties, the Thatcher years and beyond can be contrasted and compared. Each of their memories of growing up, marriage and family, their working lives and their latter years are fascinating and full of emotion.

Tessa Dunlop spent many months researching the lives of these six delightful women, interviewing them, their families, friends and colleagues. In her own words “Spending time and developing firm friendships with the six women in this book has been one of the great privileges of my life”.

Reading their stories is also a privilege. This is a thoroughly enjoyable book of the life experiences of woman of great substance and a fascinating insight into social history.

 Author, Tessa Dunlop

Tessa Dunlop is a broadcaster, writer and historian. She has presented history programmes on BBC1 London, BBC2, Discovery Europe, Channel 4, UKTV History and the History Channel. This is her third book.

The Century Girls is published by Simon & Schuster. Price is £20 for the hardback.

For further information about the book visit  

Sixtyplusurfers Book Review

Eat Better, 
Live Longer 

Review by Jenny Itzcovitz

Eat Better, Live Longer is your fad-free food guide for adding extra years to your life. It confirms what medics and nutritionists have known for many years: that the secret elixir to ageing well doesn’t come in a pill, potion, or lotion; instead, it can be found in your very own kitchen.

Ever wondered what’s really going on in your body as you age? Can you really eat to beat cancer or prevent heart disease? These questions and more are answered in Eat Better, Live Longer, a food-led approach to future-proofing your life.

Backed up by the latest scientific research into long-lived populations from across the world, from the centenarians of Okinawa, Japan to communities in the Mediterranean, Eat Better, Live Longer identifies 10 simple but meaningful adaptations you can make to your diet which will help you follow in their footsteps. From downsizing your meals as the day goes on to dosing up on foods packed with vitamin D, discover how incorporating these eating habits and principles can have huge benefits to staying healthy as you age.

Written by Juliette Kellow BSc, RD and consultant Dr Sarah Brewer MD, this fully illustrated, practical guide to eating for longevity includes a balanced 28 day eating plan. Throughout the month-long plan, you’ll find over 110 delicious and easy future-proofing recipe ideas to try at home, using everyday ingredients which will leave you feeling and looking younger week by week.

Each easy to follow recipe is packed full of ingredients which help age-related concerns, from a healthy Plant-Based Cooked Breakfast and Cinnamon Toast with Blueberry Compote to Wild Mushroom Pie and Sumac Fishcakes with Greens. Key nutritional information on the health-boosting benefits of each recipe is clearly shown alongside.

Whether you are worried about heart health or brain function as you grow older, Eat Better, Live Longer also includes a detailed section on how your body changes as you age, alongside practical advice on specific foods to eat to help address the ageing process. You’ll also find illustrated profiles for 20 longevity ‘wonderfoods’ and food groups to include in your diet, from citrus fruits to leafy green vegetables, with guidance on how to prepare, cook and store them to ensure you get the most out of their nutritional potential.

Packed with information on which foods to eat to support your all-round health as you age and a healthy eating plan which will transform the way you feel, Eat Better, Live Longer is your passport to longevity and eating your way to a happier, healthier, and longer life.

I’m always looking to eat healthier foods and those that provide me with more energy, so I was keen to read Eat Better, Live Longer. The book is packed with easy to follow advice about the different food groups and those you should eat to help you maintain different parts of your body and help combat common ailments. 

It includes a selection of easy to make recipes with stunning colour photographs so that you can adopt a healthier lifestyle and try a more nutritious food plan. The book also features lifestyle advice such as how to deal with stress, sleep better and be more happy. This is a great buy for anyone looking to feel better, stay fitter, have more energy and be more content with life as they get older. I would highly recommend it.

Author Juliette Kellow, a registered dietician, was editor of Top Santé magazine for five years. She now appears on TV and radio as well as writing regularly for magazines and newspapers.

Author, Dr Sarah Brewer is a Cambridge-educated medical nutritionist, nutritional therapist, and the author of over 60 books. She has a specialist interest in the link between illness and diet, and is a consultant on this book.

Eat Better Live Longer is published by DK on 3rd May. Price is £16.99 for the hardback.

For more information about the book visit

Sixtyplusurfers Book Review

The Perfectly
Imperfect Woman

Review By Jenny Itzcovitz

Marnie Salt has made so many mistakes in her life that she fears she will never get on the right track. But when she ‘meets’ an old lady on a baking chat room and begins confiding in her, little does she know how her life will change.

Arranging to see each other for lunch, Marnie discovers that Lilian is every bit as mad and delightful as she’d hoped – and that she owns a whole village in the Yorkshire Dales, which has been passed down through the generations. And when Marnie needs a refuge after a crisis, she ups sticks and heads for Wychwell – a temporary measure, or so she thinks.

But soon Marnie finds that Wychwell has claimed her as its own and she is duty bound not to leave. Even if what she has to do makes her as unpopular as a force 12 gale in a confetti factory!

But everyone has imperfections, as Marnie comes to realise, and that is not such a bad thing – after all, your flaws are perfect for the heart that is meant to love you.

I really enjoyed this lighthearted story which follows the colourful life of Marnie who is caught up in the power struggles as a marketing manager in a coffee company. She has also been unlucky in love and is constantly falling for the wrong man.

Her recent unfortunate choice of partner results in her making a drastic life change and escaping to the idyllic and picturesque village of Wychwell to stay on the vast estate of Lilian, an eccentric lady she has recently met in a chat room.

Will cheese cake and the ‘quiet’ country life be the answer to her problems?  

Warmly written, with great characters and an entertaining story. This is the perfect feel romance to give you a bit of spring cheer and welcome escapism.

Author, Milly Johnson, photograph
by Charlotte Murphy

Milly Johnson is a Top Five Sunday Times best selling author of thirteen novels so far, and has plans for many more. Her novels are about the universal issues of friendship, family, love, betrayal, good food and a little bit of that magic in life that sometimes visits the unsuspecting.

Milly is a columnist for her local newspaper and is also an experienced broadcaster on radio and TV. She is the patron of several local charities including Yorkshire Cat Rescue and The Well at the Core, as supporting her local community and animal welfare are both things that are very close to her heart. 

Find out more about Milly Johnson at 

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman is published by Simon & Schuster. Price is £14.99 for the hardback.

For further information about the book visit

Sixtyplusurfers Book Review

Secret Houses of The Cotswolds

Review by Simon Fine

Author and architectural historian, Jeremy Musson, and Cotswolds-based photographer Hugo Rittson Thomas, offer privileged access to twenty magnificent houses, including a variety of older manor houses, Elizabethan and Jacobean mansions and a moated castle, revealing their history, architecture and interiors, in the company of their devoted owners.

All the properties are located in Oxfordshire or Gloucestershire in the beautiful English Cotswolds. Each house is constructed of the distinctive honey-coloured stone walls and set amongst rolling hills adjacent to picturesque villages and valleys.

Secret Houses of the Cotswolds comprises a chapter for each house, revealing the history and development, architectural features, interior design, furniture and fittings and the many works of art that look down on some magnificent rooms. There are breathtaking fireplaces, staircases, corridors, great halls, libraries, oak panelling and even several pillars.

In writing the book, the author has spent time with the current owners of each house, understanding the story of each property and the passion of those fortunate to live there.  A common theme is how devoted the owners are to their homes, the love and money they have invested and the sentiment that they are the guardians of their small piece of England, preserving them for the benefit of future generations.

To complement Jeremy Musson’s elegant essays on each house are Hugh Rittson’s accompanying photographs which capture the detail and the elegance of the interiors of each house. There are also beautiful photographs of the exteriors from different aspects to convey the superb design and how the houses nestle in their surroundings. Photographs of nearby churches and chapels are particularly atmospheric.

Most of the houses are privately owned. According to one of the owners “adjusting old houses for modern family life takes imagination and sensitivity”. Several of the houses are open to the public or tours can be arranged. I would encourage anyone to take the opportunity.

For those who cannot visit the Cotswolds, this beautifully produced book, allows the reader to enjoy these properties through the eyes of their owners, as well as an experienced architectural historian, and an award-winning photographer.

Jeremy Musson is an architectural historian, writer and broadcaster who worked for Country Life for twelve years. He has a particular enthusiasm for the late-seventeenth-century and early-eighteenth-century English county houses. He is passionate about engaging a wider audience in the marvels and spectacles of the English country house tradition.

A former assistant curator for the National Trust in East Anglia, he also presented the popular BBC2 series, The Curious House Guest. He is the author of The Country Houses of Sir John Vanbrugh, The English Manor House: from the Archives of Country Life and How to Read a House.

Secret Houses of the Cotswolds is published by Quarto Publishing. Price is £20 for the hardback.

For more information about the book visit

Sixtyplusurfers Book Review

Not Fade Away

Review by Simon Fine

When you reach your sixties and seventies, it is a good time to take stock of your life and choose what you want from the years ahead. With full time work behind you and your children having moved away from the family home, this is an ideal window of time to consider your future and make the most of the opportunities and plan for potential threats to your wellbeing that lie ahead.

Alan Heeks’ practical book, Not Fade Away, offers you the skills, information and resources to help you to be happy in your vintage years. Not Fade Away is arranged in three main sections.

‘Finding the Gifts’ helps you appreciate the good things in your life, such as your family, friends, community, your values and beliefs, your ambitions and the possibilities available to you. Alan guides us to make the most of our resources and shares advice on finding more meaning and purpose in our lives, providing ideas for building better relationships and creating fresh adventures.

‘Digging the Challenges’  contains guidance and resources for dealing with the difficulties associated with later life, such as ailing health, fear of growing older and grieving lost loved ones, and shares positive ways to meet your financial challenges. 

And finally, ‘Fresh Maps’, complete with  pearls of wisdom and inspiration from Alan’s circle of friends and contacts and other sages, provides insights for changing any unhelpful patterns of behaviour and for becoming a ‘wise elder’, and shares useful ideas, predictions and opportunities for the years ahead.

The impact of Not Fade Away is maximised by its short but plentiful chapters which are written in a lively and entertaining style with a “Resources” section at the end of each chapter comprising websites and books for more in depth information and contacts.

There are also several self-help exercises to encourage the reader to think about their lives and replace unhelpful old habits with new, more beneficial, ways of living your life.

Author, Alan Heeks admits to
being an ageing hippie

Alan admits to being an ageing hippie which comes across in the creative and thoughtful style of his book. The title of each chapter is a song from our youth which adds to the jollity of this lively volume.

To learn more about Alan’s lifestyle, philosophy and perhaps join him in one of his various projects, I would recommend you visit his website

 Author, Alan Heeks

Alan Heeks is a successful writer, social entrepreneur and consultant with a passion for sustainability and resilience in the full sense: human, social, economic and environmental.  He is also a well-established writer and presenter.  

He has previously published The Natural Advantage, about the principles and practices of organic farming, cultivated natural systems and sustainable development, and Out of the Woods: a guide to life for men beyond 50.

Not Fade Away is published by Create Space. Price is £10 for the paperback. All proceeds from the book will be donated to Action for Happiness.

The book is available to buy from

You can also find out more at

Sixtyplusurfers Competition

Win an Alcatel
Easy-to-Use U5
HD Smartphone

Sixtyplusurfers has teamed up with Alcatel to offer one lucky reader the chance to win an Alcatel U5 HD smartphone in White. 

The Alcatel U5 HD in White is an easy-to-use smartphone, which is also affordable, priced at £79.00. 

Ideal for those who like to chat, the Android smartphone provides up to 300 minutes talk time and 200 hours standby time, meaning you won’t have to regularly plug it in to charge up the battery.

A wide, clear 5-inch touch-screen display makes it easy to answer and make calls as well as view incoming phone numbers, see photographs and more.

An 8-megapixel rear camera is built in to take photos of all the family, whilst a 5-megapixel front facing camera is perfect for taking ‘selfies’ with the grandchildren.

With 1GB RAM,  the phone has good memory for storing music, pictures or videos.

Ideal for busy people on the go who like to keep in touch with family and friends, the Alcatel U5 HD Android smartphone is available now at Tesco Mobile pay-as-you-go, SIM-free for £79.00.

For more information about the Alcatel Smartphone visit

For Your Chance to Win

 Tell us how many minutes of talk time you can get on the Alcatel U5 HD smartphone? 

       a) 150 minutes
       b) 200 minutes
       c) 250 minutes
       d) 300 minutes

To Enter the Competition

Tell us how many minutes of talk time you can get on the Alcatel U5 HD smartphone? Then send in your answer with your name, address and telephone number by clicking on the Sixtyplusurfers link below: 

* Please label your entry Alcatel Smartphone Competition

* This competition is open to
   our UK readers only

Historic Gifts and Trinkets

Gifts from Historic Royal Palaces

If you’re looking for a gift for someone special or something to give your home character and style, then check out the range of gifts from Historic Royal Palaces.

This eyecatching Globe Drinks Trolley is the perfect gift for anyone who enjoys entertaining. This beautifully decorated drinks trolley features an 18th century map. Surprise your guests when you open the vintage style globe and serve them with their favourite drinks.

With plenty of space for storing bottles and glasses, and handy wheels so that you can bring it to the table. Price is £250.00.

Brighten up your patio or garden with this cute Dachshund dog.

This adorable dog is the perfect way to give interest to your back garden, or use it to personalise your front path. Measuring 36m in length. Price is £45.00.

Celebrate the royal wedding of HRH Prince Harry to Meghan Markle with this limited edition fine bone china. Hand decorated in platinum and 22 carat gold on delicate eau de nil mica, this commemorative tankard is traditionally made in Staffordshire, England.

The design features the royal couples’ initials intertwined with a wedding bow, a border of royal coronets and swirling details incorporating the national emblems of the United Kingdom: the English Rose, the Scottish Thistle, the Irish Shamrock and the Welsh Daffodil.

The inscription on base stamp reads, ‘To Celebrate the Marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle 2018’. Presented in a matching luxury gift box. Price is £25.00.

Historic Royal Palaces also offers this delightful Royal Wedding China Cup and Matching Saucer. 

Hand decorated in platinum and 22 carat gold on delicate eau de nil mica, this commemorative cup and saucer features the royal couples’ initials intertwined with a wedding bow, a border of royal coronets and swirling details incorporating the national emblems of the United Kingdom. Presented in a matching luxury gift box. Price is £45.00.

This traditional Royal Wedding Tea Tin is the perfect accompaniment to your afternoon tea. It’s a remarkable blend of Chinese Mutan White tea buds with almond, coconut and vanilla – and an abundance of pink rosebuds and petals. It is indeed a regal tea to celebrate many glorious occasions.

This delightful tea tin would make a great gift or wedding favour. This beautiful tin contains 30 tea sachets. Each sachet brews a 12 oz cup of tea. This blend contains almond and coconut extracts. Price is £9.99.

This adorable Royal Guardsman 1 metre Giant Teddy Bear is every child’s dream. This soft and cuddly guardsman toy wears a royal guards uniform including the famous bearskin hat. Embroidered with “Tower of London” on the bear’s foot. Price is £90.

Historic Royal Palaces also offers a smaller 25cm Royal Guardsman. Price is £14.99.

For details about Historic Royal Palaces visit

Old Coin Valuation Service

Royal Mint Service
for Coin Collectors

For anyone who has ever wondered if their pre-decimal coin is genuine and how much it might be worth, The Royal Mint has launched a brand new service that will now reveal all. The 1,100 year-old organisation’s long-awaited UK pre-decimal (before 1971) coin authentication and valuation service is now available via its website at

The Royal Mint Collector Services team has unparalleled knowledge on British pre-decimal coin history, and is well placed to help coin collectors gain a deeper understanding of their coins. Customers can choose from three levels of service – online, standard or premium – to identify, authenticate and value their coins. Customers of the Premium service will even benefit from Royal Mint certificate signed by the Deputy Master of the Mint to authenticate their coin.

Anne Jessopp, CEO of The Royal Mint says, “As a trusted organisation with an unbroken history of minting British coinage dating back over 1,000 years, customers have been asking us to value and authenticate their pre-decimal coins for some time.

“Following the announcement this year that we will be growing our presence in the collector services market, I am delighted that we are launching a service that makes the respected opinion of our experts more easily accessible for our customers.”

The Royal Mint itself holds one of the finest collections of coins, medals, artwork and minting equipment in the world. Coins can offer important insights into the history of the United Kingdom, highlighting the economics, technology, art, politics and ceremonies of the nation.

For more information on The Royal Mint’s authentication and valuation service visit 

Other facilities currently offered under The Royal Mint’s Collector Services include secure storage for valuable possessions from documents and artwork to collectables and heirlooms.

Back to Top