Amazing over 50’s – Sandra Danby

Once again I am excited to introduce another guest to my series:

Amazing over 50’s

I’m inviting and featuring ‘Mid-lifers’ who are enjoying life over 50 and who are happy to shout out about great health, fitness, lifestyles, work or their achievements etc, but more importantly who are embracing this time of their lives with pride.

This month I introduce Sandra Danby as my eighth guest to this series.

Sandra is the author of ‘The Identity Detective Series’ the first novel being; Ignoring Gravity and the second being; Connectedness. 


A Guest Post – The Amazing over 50’s

Welcome to Loving The Fifty Something, Sandra.  Can I start by asking you to tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a farmer’s daughter from the East Yorkshire coast. After university in London I trained as a journalist and wrote news and features for +35 years about business, furnishings and interior design. I started out as a feature writer then editor, finally managing a portfolio of magazines and online content. It was a good life; I travelled the world and worked hard. I’ve always loved reading books and writing stories, and being a journalist was what I wanted to do. I’ve been very lucky.

Do you remember what turning 50 meant to you and how you feel now in relation?

I have no strong memory of turning 50 except that by then I had changed direction. I don’t remember being hung-up about my birthday being the big Five-Oh, I’m a pragmatic person and tend to get on with life rather than dwell on things. After being made redundant I worked as a freelance journalist, writing about different subjects. Most importantly, I had windows of free time so I signed up for creative writing courses with the aim of finally writing fiction. Around this time my husband retired and we bought a house in Spain and this occupied our energy for quite a time, renovating the house, establishing a garden, learning Spanish, adapting to life in a new country. I blog about our life at Notes on a Spanish Valley. In the UK I signed up for Spanish conversation classes and met a group of new friends; we still meet for Spanish film evenings where we lazily watch with the English subtitles, eat, drink and chat. 

Pablo + me2

How do you stay fit and healthy?

I’ve been sporty all my life but a lower back injury in my forties put an end to jogging. It was around this time that my occasional headaches got worse and I found myself out of action for two to three days at a time. At the time I was teaching journalism and had to give it up. Disillusioned with the help available from doctors, I relied on self-help. Now I stay mobile by doing a short series of exercises every morning before my shower, specific exercises given to me by my physiotherapist for my neck and shoulders combined with a few yoga and pilates stretches that I’ve learned over the years. I used to swim a lot but find that aggravates my arthritic neck. I work at home and sit at my computer every day, so it’s important to move around even if that means hanging out the washing or emptying the bins. I do two aerobic sessions at the gym and two yoga classes a week and, weather willing, I walk in the woods near our home in Surrey. In the summer my husband and I play tennis once a week; he’s stronger and taller than me, I’m faster and more accurate, so we are well matched. If we’re in Spain, we walk in the hills where we live, mostly along isolated tracks in the mountains with just the birds for company.

What are the things you are most proud of achieving after turning 50?

Speaking Spanish. I am not fluent but I can communicate on a daily basis and can get things done. Can I hold a political or philosophical conversation? No way.  But we have a wonderful relationship with our non-English speaking Spanish neighbours and we are now eagerly awaiting the engagement of our neighbour’s son so we can go to a traditional Spanish wedding. I’m also proud of writing my two novels, a long held dream and extremely hard work but so rewarding. 

Congratulations on your achievements Sandra, to learn Spanish and especially in fulfilling a lifelong dream of writing two novels with another, Sweet Joy soon to be published.  

Are there any messages or advice you’d like to give to people who are about to turn 50?

Make changes to your lifestyle so you stay healthier for longer. We’ve changed our diet considerably, we’ve reduced our portion sizes, eat 95% vegetarian, no processed foods, and we breakfast like kings, lunch like lords and eat dinner like paupers. We also exercise more than we have done before. I’m loving my fifties, I’m 58 now, and have done so many things. I would say take the opportunity now to go to places a little off the beaten track where you haven’t been before, while you still feel happy hiring cars and navigating abroad. When I was sorting through photos to send with this article, I chose three. A dude ranch in Arizona where we learned to ride Western style, very different from the English style I learned as a child on the farm. A beach in the Maldives, a special holiday during which I experimented with my Canon G11 camera; when we returned I enrolled on a photography course. Photography is a new hobby, combined with my interest in art which really grew through research for my new novel. The third photo is of the gates at Sachsenhausen concentration camp outside Berlin. It is like nowhere else I’ve ever been; overwhelming, humbling, I could feel tears bubbling beneath the surface. The thing that finally made me cry was a tiny blue wildflower in the grass on this site where such horrific things happened.


Thank you for sharing these photographs, they obviously mean such a lot to you.  Thank you also for being another great guest on my series – ‘Amazing Over 50’s’

 About the ‘Identity Detective’ series

Rose Haldane reunites the people lost through adoption. The stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever. Each book in the ‘Identity Detective’ series considers the viewpoint of one person trapped in this horrible dilemma. In the first book of the series, Ignoring Gravity, it is Rose’s experience we follow as an adult discovering she was adopted as a baby. Connectedness is the story of a birth mother and her longing to see her baby again. Sweet Joy, the third novel, will tell the story of a baby abandoned during The Blitz.

If you’d like to connect with Sandra, then here are her links below:

Author website:

Notes on a Spanish Valley blog:

Follow Sandra Danby on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Goodreads

Author of ‘Ignoring Gravity’ and ‘Connectedness’ Available as paperback & ebook at Amazon


I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about yet another

Amazing over 50′.  

If you’re loving your ‘Mid Life’ and would like to be a guest in my ‘Amazing over 50’s’ series please contact me Here and help me ‘Shout Out for the over 50’s’ 🙂


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