This is what 52 looks like: Mother-of-three says swimming and cheap skincare keeps her youthful

This is what 52 looks like: Mother-of-three says long-distance swimming and cheap skincare keeps her youthful

  • Debbie Hughes, who lives in Stoke, is a product specialist and runs a business
  • 52-year-old says training for the Great North Swim has given her toned arms
  • Reveals she’s an old-fashioned ‘Nivea does everything’ kind of girl 

Debbie Hughes is a product specialist and also runs her own dress business. She lives in Stoke with her husband, Rob, and has three children, Kris, Brandon and Heidi, and two grandchildren, Theodore, five, and Dennis, two. 


This year I entered Miss GB Classic, a beauty pageant for the over 40s. I hadn’t entered a competition since I was a teenager. Although I came third, being on stage at 52 felt like a win in itself. It was empowering to be surrounded by so many beautiful, confident midlife women.


I did synchronised swimming competitively at school. As my kids are now all grown up, I started training for the Great North Swim. It has given me toned arms and helped reduce my night sweats, too. In June, I completed the 5km swim and have already signed up for next year.

Debbie Hughes, (pictured) who lives in Stoke, revealed how long-distance swimming and cheap skincare contribute to keeping her youthful


I’m an old-fashioned ‘Nivea does everything’ kind of girl. I use their Refreshingly Soft Moisturising Cream (£2.79, every day. My husband buys me products, such as Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum (from £60,, but I don’t think they’re any more effective than my trusty Nivea.


Like so many others, I plucked my eyebrows way too thin in the 80s and now regret it. I’ve been thickening my brows by getting them tinted every six weeks by my friend Laura (@beautybylauraamelia) and I’m starting to notice a real difference.


My partner and I have a ‘Phoenix from the Ashes’ relationship. As children, we lived next door to each other and began dating when I was 14. We got married when I was 27 but split up two years later. We remained friends for our kids, however, and then 17 years ago we got back together. This year we went on holiday to Plymouth and Dartmouth — it was our first break together without the kids and I had the best time. I felt 14 again.

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