I FEEL shattered when I look at photos of me 30 years ago, I think I look very old now. You feel there isn't a lot left - you're in a kind of no man's land, you're not 60 with white hair, false teeth, glasses and a string shopping bag, but there's no way you can compete with thirty-fives.

Ten years makes a lot of difference to your skin and your body. I don't have the time, energy or cash to go and work out - and if you're not encouraged to look after yourself, you let yourself go, you think to yourself 'What's the point?'

When you live in a provincial town and you still have to do shopping and gardening and take the dog for a walk, your appearance becomes secondary. Glamorous media personalities are groomed for it, facials, make-up, good dress shops. It's not hard for them, it's a part of their life.

Of course, that kind of woman wakes up and thinks 'Oh, I'm 49' or 'Oh, I'm 59', and it makes no difference because they've been working on their appearance all their lives. I mean, Jackie Onassis didn't catch a millionaire in a Marks & Spencer skirt and pounds 19.99 shoes. I feel extremely envious of them. It's depressing. But there's no way I could do it - no time, no money, no backup.

When I was in my twenties with no responsibilities I'd spend my money on myself, go to a good hairdresser, spend a Saturday picking out a mini skirt or whatever. You can eat what you want and go on a diet when you're just cooking for one, no family. Now there doesn't seem to be any point, my skin is past it. I've let go for too long to be able to pick it up again.

The other thing is that you can't try to look too glam if you want to fit in with other people - if you're slappy-looking with dyed hair, make-up, smart clothes, the middle-class attitude is 'not one of us'. If you go to work looking too smart, you can't get into that 'Did you see the special offer on joints in Sainsbury's this week' huddle in the office. You have to tone yourself down, according to your lifestyle.

At the end of the day, you're thought past it a lot quicker than you were even 15 or 20 years ago. Younger people write you off at 35. You start to tell people your age, hoping they'll say 'Gosh, you don't look it.'

(Photographs omitted)