"Age is a state of mind", "You're only as old as you feel" ... blah blah blah. For the past year, I must have heard every age-related cliché going. From naff sentiments about "not getting any younger" to the blood-curdling habit one relative has of saying "Tick, tick, tick" every time I speak to her. (Represents my biological clock, geddit? Yeah, I know, bloomin' hilarious.) And why? Because this is the year I turn 30 and, as we all know, when a woman turns 30 she is fair game.
Now, contrary to what most cosmetics advertising will have you believe, you don't wake up on the morning of your 30th birthday with your face around your ankles. It is, thankfully, a slower process. And here's another beauty myth debunked: ageing isn't necessarily a bad thing. The thing is - and I realise I'm setting myself up for one almighty bag of hate mail here - I'm kind of looking forward to being 30. Not least because people will stop doing that ridiculous intake of breath that comes when you tell them you're 29 - "Ooooh, nearly 30", etc, etc. And also because, from, shall we say, an aesthetic point of view, I have definitely improved with age; the same goes for pretty much everyone I know.
Sure, I didn't exactly resemble the back of a bus when I was a teenager, but it wasn't what you'd call my peak, either. I was awkwardly skinny, pretty much addicted to wet-look gel (oh, and having a fringe), and my idea of sophisticated make-up was whatever frosted pink was doing the rounds on the top of the number 45 bus. Chic is not a word that springs to mind.
In fact, when I look back at old school photographs, even the girls who were "popular" (read: blond and blue-eyed, with the occasional doe-eyed brunette allowed in, you know, as long as she wasn't too threatening) weren't much to write home about. Sure, there were one or two who had that fresh-faced beauty, but I've seen them since and - you know what? - 14 was their peak. Which is great when you're 14, but a bit of a bum steer for pretty much the rest of your life.