Anyway, it felt necessary to set aside short periods during every day for pleasure and a different mental stimulation than the demands of my LFF working life. So I instituted a proper lunch break from 1 - 2pm when I would listen to a podcast whilst doing a jigsaw puzzle. I had done neither of these activities before, which added greatly to the enjoyment and the mental refreshment they provided. And I loved both activities so much that they are now an essential part of my day, lockdown or no lockdown.  I listen to a variety of podcasts, many of them about politics, but one of my favourites is called ‘How to Fail’ with Elizabeth Day. There’s a huge back catalogue of listening as she’s made these podcasts for ages, and the fascination is in hearing from people like Graham Norton or Baroness Brenda Hale (former head of the Supreme Court) or Ed Milliband about the lessons they learned from their many failures.

We tend to see people in the public eye as successful, but all of Elizabeth Day’s guests, without exception, have experienced failure. Each shows the truth of Winston Churchill’s aphorism: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”

I have experienced success with Look Fabulous Forever at a relatively late stage of my life. It’s not my first success or even my first successful business venture but perhaps it is the one that I am able to enjoy the most. Why? Because my long life has given me a much better perspective on both success and failure. You win some and you lose some and you realise that the epic fails contain many opportunities for learning and growth.

1. I Failed at Every Sport I Tried

Yes, all sport, without exception, but especially tennis and hockey which we played at school. In addition I can’t run and am a very poor swimmer. I see this failure as a problem with labelling kids. My education happened mostly during the 1950s and there was a perception that children were either ‘sporty’ or ‘arty’, or ‘bright’ or ‘dim’. As soon as the label was attached, you tended to live up to the expectation set by that label. It didn’t take long for my ‘hopeless at sport’ label to become very firmly attached. Always last to be picked for any team, I learnt not to mind because everyone knew that I was physically feeble and definitely not ‘sporty’. It took 69 years for me to discover that I have a strong and fully functioning body from the neck down. As Churchill said ‘Failure is not final’ so I have surprised and delighted myself with the progress I’ve made in five years working with Lindsay, my personal trainer. I’ll never know if, given the right encouragement, I might have enjoyed sport throughout my life.  However my biggest lesson has been that it really is never too late to revise, challenge and overcome a long-held and deeply entrenched belief about yourself.


I now enjoy exercise with thanks to my personal trainer Lindsay Burrows

2. I Failed Maths 'O-Level'

My second experience of failure was my GCE ‘O’ Level Maths exam. This came as no real surprise as I was hopeless at Maths, disliked the teacher we had in our girls’ convent school in Newmarket for a subject I found impenetrable. I (used to) have an almost photographic memory, so exams in which you regurgitate what you’ve learnt hold few fears for me. Maths was different because you had to understand basic principles in order to work out the right answer. Without my Maths ‘O’ level I’d not be able to go to college, so I was given some tutoring and managed to scrape a pass at re-sit. This failure had little impact on my self confidence as I’d passed  every other exam and it was a relief at A level to concentrate on French, English and History, all of which I enjoyed. So ultimately I got all the exams I needed to go to university. Failing at Maths taught me that sometimes you have to work hard at something you find irksome and difficult but it’s always worth it to achieve your goal.

3. I Failed at Teaching

I was a primary school teacher from 1969 to 1973. Can I apologise now to anyone reading this who was in Miss Spencer’s class at Great Heath Primary school in Mildenhall, or in Mrs. Cusden’s classes at Buckskin School in Basingstoke. I am so sorry that I was hopelessly inadequate and utterly overwhelmed by the 40 of you in each of my classes who had the misfortune to encounter me at 7 years of age. Looking back it was a clear case of a round peg in a square hole. I’d just spent three years of my life qualifying to do this job and realised quite quickly that I had neither the patience, energy or enthusiasm required to control, let alone teach, 40 children with vastly differing needs and abilities. At college an inspirational tutor had memorably said “do the profession a favour and leave it the moment that you find yourself becoming a grey and boring teacher”, so I took his advice and left teaching to start my first business. Since then I have never been employed but have always earned a living. I’ve learnt that no experience is ever wasted and that we build skills over a lifetime. I was hopeless as a primary school teacher but was a very successful management trainer as I actually loved teaching adults.

4. I Failed at Dieting


From the age of 18, I spent twenty five years of my life trying to get to my ‘perfect’ weight of 9 stone 7 pounds, which according to various charts is the ‘ideal weight’ for my 5’ 7” height. For most of that time and as I write, I never achieved this goal. Not only did every diet I tried fail miserably, it also sparked a truly dreadful cycle of starving and bingeing. Food became a battleground in which I was either severely restricting my calorie intake by ‘being good’ or I was eating obscene quantities of sickeningly sweet and starchy ‘bad food.’ My ‘good’ days were pretty much balanced by my ‘bad’ days so that my weight stayed reasonably stable, but I felt overweight and therefore dissatisfied for most of the time. Then at 42 I got divorced and was no longer responsible for daily family meals. It was also a time of considerable emotional turmoil and I became uninterested in food and all aspects of dieting. It broke the vicious binge/starve cycle and I have never gone back to it. I gradually learnt that food wasn’t ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but, eaten mindfully, it could be a source of pleasure, sustenance and ultimately of health. I also threw out my bathroom scales and learnt that happiness was having no idea what I weigh!

My last epic fail would be ‘marriage’. I see Super Troopers celebrating fifty or more years of married life with their partner and I am filled with awe and admiration. I salute you all for making a success of the long partnerships you have formed with your other half. I married at 22 and divorced when I was 42. There was much that was good during those twenty years including the births of my two beautiful daughters, but, almost from the first day of married life, I chafed against the constraints imposed by my married state. In the aftermath of divorce I would have struggled to find lessons, but thirty years on, I realise that I am probably unmarriageable. So here I am at very nearly 74 working joyfully at LFF, finally able to love and celebrate the only body I will ever have, and loving my independence, autonomy and single state. And without those epic fails along the way, I would not appreciate just how much I am enjoying this, my most authentic life. 

Tricia x 

Upcoming Event Information:


Teatime with Tricia - Karen Haase, Owner of Yorkshire Eyeware

Karen is an eyeware expert, dispensing optician and owner of 3 'Yorkshire Eyeware' practices with her husband. She has a passion for eyeware and can advise customers on colour, shape and style. Tricia and Karen met at a 'Silver & Sassy' Event, where Tricia was drawn in by the exciting glasses frames that Karen had on display

Day: Tuesday 30th November

Time: 4pm


Meeting ID (if needed): 864 7753 8421

Password (if needed): LOOKFAB


Film Club - Nomadland

available on Amazon Prime 

Day: Friday 3rd December 

Time: 4pm


Meeting ID (if needed): 827 4113 6763

Password (if needed): LOOKFAB


Makeup Magic Monday - All About Party Makeup

Makeup Magic with Tricia Cusden and Sally Deung: we are going to be hosting a LIVE Zoom session in which Sally and I will talk all things party makeup ahead of the holiday season!

We will be running you through our favourite products and techniques for achieving a dazzling night time look fit for any formal do!

Day: Monday 6th December

Time: 11am


Meeting ID (if needed): 812 8036 6656

Password (if needed): LOOKFAB