Before I hit my late forties, I hadn’t really given the menopause a second thought. Well, why should I have? Like most of us, I’d been dealing with fluctuating hormones throughout my life – mostly making their mark during adolescence and pregnancy – spots, weight-gain, crazy PMT and haywire hair. That was just a few of the symptoms – annoying – yes – but dealable? I’d say so. Hormonal hiccups in my health – physical and mental. But not major problems, so I wasn’t expecting anything untoward from the menopause. Haha – cue bellowing laugh from Mother Nature who cruelly raised an eyebrow and said, “Hormonal hiccup? Ok, Little Miss Sunshine, let’s see how you fare with a hormonal hurricane!”
And that’s when I realised that the menopause was something bigger than I’d ever had to deal with when it came to how I felt – and to some extent – how I looked. I had to stop sticking my fingers in my ears, shaking my head shouting blah blah blah at symptoms that were coming thick and fast and finally own up to it. Things were about to change and I was going to have to face it. Seeing that I’m a lover not a fighter, I didn’t want to get involved in any violence with Mother Nature (or Mother F**k*r as I felt she really should be termed) even though she was behaving quite deplorable. Instead, I set about calming things down. Here’s what I discovered…
We are all in the is together. So, don’t be fooled – nobody is immune to the ravages of the menopause – even if you’re lucky enough to have mild symptoms, there WILL be some symptoms. So, when you’re among a group of friends who are discussing their experiences with the big M, please don’t be the kind of woman who smiles and says, “I hardly noticed it. It was just how I found giving birth really – quite simple if you took a few deep breaths every now and then and chanted OMM NOMM MAAAA a few times.” NO! Have a little sympathy for those beetroot faced women around you who are dripping buckets and stripping off mid-winter and panting ‘ooh, mild for this time of year isn’t it’ . Discuss, offer suggestions, sympathise and share. We can help each other more than you know!
You are not going mad – even though it feels like it. Have you ever looked up the symptoms of menopause. It’s long. And I didn’t realise until I started becoming embarrassingly forgetful and anxious, that menopause affects your mental and emotional wellbeing as well as your physical wellbeing. Don’t be ashamed or worried about going to your doctor if you feel that things are a bit out of synch – even if you can’t quite put your finger on what it is that feels out of kilter. Just having an understanding ear to listen to you can make you feel better. And if your doctor isn’t very clued up on the menopause, start searching the internet and book shelves at the library or on Amazon – there is a lot of help out there. I will list some great reads at the end of this post that are a great source of advice and menopause knowledge. Also, don’t be fobbed off with a GP that isn’t really interested and insists you’re just ‘a bit depressed’ if you don’t think that’s it. Get some blood tests done and see where you’re at with those levels and push for the help you need – you are not a nuisance you are deserving of help if you need it.
Your body shape may suddenly change. I noticed that even though I have a wide trunk (and tree trunk legs too – I am a tree!) No, seriously, even though my legs could hardly be called thin – my shape seems to have changed and my legs are actually looking slimmer than they did (it’s a bit of a lucky illusion) as most of my fat has collected around the middle. Even though I’ve never had much of a waist, a decline in oestrogen has just helped to add more bulges to my barrel as it causes cells in the stomach area to hang on to fat. Cruelly, it also reduces the body’s ability to burn fat and it is said that most women can expect to gain between 5 to 10 pounds during menopause. Fun. So, prepare for those body changes!
You can still feel good about yourself! I know the above may make if seem as if it’s all doom and gloom once you hit hormone hell but it really isn’t – well, it doesn’t have to be. You see, once you make a concerted effort to try and deal with how you are looking and feeling, you will start to feel better just by making inroads into looking after yourself. There are a lot of women out there of 40, 50 and beyond who are regulars at the gym and will pooh pooh the idea that menopause means weight gain – and I bow down to their determination, I really do. If hitting the gym a zillion times a week works for you and your body and wellbeing then go for it! It’s great and a real inspiration (I’m looking at you, fabulous Tracey at FaceUpBeauty) If you’re on Instagram, please head over to @FaceUpFitness and check out Tracey’s amazing workouts. I don’t choose to go mad at the gym but I really do know that keeping on top of my wellbeing, is more essential than ever. So do what I try to do and incorporate exercise into your life – whether walking, running, swimming, joining the gym or dancing. Do whatever activity you love as often as you can and it will help boost your mood, clear your mind and it’ll also go a long way to preventing brittle bones and osteoporosis – which menopause makes us more prone to. And if you find you love working out, who knows, you could get into better shape than you’ve ever been – it isn’t impossible. Have you seen the amount of strong, flexible over 50 bodies there are over on Instagram. Wow. Don’t let those images make you feel bad about yourself – you don’t have to look like that or want to look like that, but getting older is never an excuse to let yourself go. Just go for moderation in all things as much as you can 🙂
Talking of an expanding waist line, we’ve all heard the term ‘wine belt’ – that roll of fat around the middle that might just be caused by what you’ve been drinking as well as eating, If you’re a pint of Pinot girl (and I can’t lie, I’m with you on that one) then you might want to listen to some great advice from fellow ‘menopause and mid-life doesn’t have to suck’ supporter, Dr Louise Wiseman. Louise and I often banter back and forth on social media, offering our thoughts and advice about what can make us feel and look great as we age and I have been watching her progress as she vociferously researches some amazing health, beauty and wellbeing information for her upcoming book – so excited to read it! Louise believes if we really want to see improvements in the size of our stomachs, then we really need to think about cutting out – or drastically cutting down – on our alcohol intake (stop crying and grow up!). She says,
“Although alcohol speeds up metabolism of some enzymes in the liver, it can generally downgrade the metabolism in the days that follow a drinking session, so it is no good for weight loss and your general feeling of wellbeing.”
Louise also believes that apart from greatly contributing to weight gain, alcohol can increase many menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and anxiety as a result of vitamin and mineral deficiency that can arise indirectly from excess alcohol intake, and from its detrimental effect on sleep patterns and temperature regulation, recommending we cut out alcohol for 3-4 days a week to start seeing overall body and wellbeing improvements. Follow Louise on Instagram at @drlouisewrites and Twitter @drlouisewriting for amazing tips and informative health/beauty advice.
It’s a natural beginning in your life. Just as one part of your life might be coming to end with menopause – the childbirth years are over – now can be liberating and it is a brilliant time to start thinking of the future and what you want to do with all the vital years still ahead of you! Foggy brain, wobbly belly and hot flushes, mood swings etc…can be really scary when you’re not sure what exactly is happening with your body. But once you get informed, start researching ways you can help yourself – and there really are loads – then it can be exciting. I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to be middle aged and even though I wouldn’t say no to wrinkle free skin and a firm, taut bum and thighs, I’m looking forward to the next 50 years!
As promised, click on the links below for information on menopause health, beauty and emotional and physical wellbeing. And let me know if there’s any brilliant tips you’ve come across too!
- Julie Dennis – The Menopause Coach
- Hot Flush – Love this fab blog!
- The Good Menopause Guide by Liz Earle – great insightful guide to keeping us naturally healthy
- My Menopause Doctor
- Meg’s Menopause – Meg Matthew’s fabulously frank account of her own menopause experience and lots of interesting features and research.
Just after my 50th birthday when I wondered what on earth was going on with me – my body seemed to be falling apart quicker than a Primark bikini and my brain forecast was foggy with more than a sprinkling of high level anxiety and forgetfulness – I decided to look at a menopause symptom checker. It didn’t make for particularly jolly reading, but it did set my mind at rest that what I was feeling was perfectly normal for a woman at my ‘time of life.’
As I went down ticking off almost every one of the symptoms on the menopause symptoms list, I vowed to take myself in hand and deal with the most debilitating of them. Hitting the HRT was the first step and within a couple of months the fog cleared, the energy soared and I began to feel a lot more like Lisa pre 45 years old – and it was great. With HRT I felt like I’d dealt with the major menopause symptoms that were bothering me in one fell swoop, but there were still the niggling aches and pains that hindered my workout attempts, making my walk-runs and zumba classes a little less joyful than they had been a few years back. So, I was delighted when I was contacted by one of the UK’s leading health and wellbeing brands, Neo-G, who asked whether I’d be interested in trialling their newly launched liquid vitamin supplement, Daily Defence. ‘Yes, yes I am’, I replied…
I went for the Daily Defence Joint Health with Extra Calcium which is specifically designed for 50 plus and was the ideal choice for me, but before embarking on my three month trial, I wanted to find out a bit more about the company. I was impressed with the calibre of their products – Neo-G designs and develops medical grade orthopaedic and sports supports which are supplied to medical professionals, therapists and various sport markets across the world, so their move into liquid nutrition to support healthy bodies and bones makes perfect sense. I was sold!So, how did it taste? Not gonna lie (as the young ‘uns say) it took some getting used to. A daily 20ml serving was recommended and on first swig it was just about palatable – it tasted a bit like thick toffee with a lemony/metal after taste. However, bear with me…once I took in the suggestion of drinking it ice-cold and diluted with fruit in a smoothie kind of way, things were a lot better – enjoyable even! I would spoon my serving into a glass with crushed ice and mixed berries and it was lovely and refreshing. Not only was I getting in a couple of my 5 a day, I was also boosting my joint and bone health with a whole heap of vitamin and mineral goodness.
Glucosamine Sulphate, Chondroitin Sulphate and Hyaluronic Acid.
So, how has it worked for me? Well, 2 months in and I’m getting less aches and pains than normal – this could be a combination of the supplement and the HRT plus the fact that I’m doing daily stretching exercises that I think are so important – especially when, like me, you’re as flexible as a plank of wood! But I am definitely going to carry on taking my special ‘joint and bone cocktail’ every morning as I’ve always believed in the power of a good nutritional supplement to complement a healthy diet and I feel that Neo G is a particularly well developed addition to my daily health and wellbeing. Plus if it can keep me on the dance floor for the next 50 years – which is what I’m intending – then that’s a definite bonus!
You can find Neo G Daily Defence Joint Health at Boots HERE and it’s £18.49 for 24 servings. Find out more about Neo-G and their health and wellbeing products, HERE.
*all products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used.
My boys (Stressed Husband and son) have flown off to watch England v Belgium in the World Cup in Russia and to partake in some beer-swilling, footie-watching, dad and lad bonding time. Lovely! And I am overly excited now because I’m off to Barcelona with some friends tomorrow for our annual few days of R&R by the pool!
We’re often asked by friends what we do when we’re there – clubbing? Sightseeing? Busy shopping expeditions? Nope. None of that. We are definitely not mums-go-mad on tour – we’re more women-that-won’t. And by that I mean, we won’t move from lounging around the pool unless it involves copious amounts of alcohol and carbs in the hotel restaurant! This is all we do. We eat, drink, laugh, chat, swim (bob up and down doing mummy breaststroke so as not to ruin the fresh highlights) – have a little break to read some trashy mags – then repeat. AND WE LOVE IT!
There is something quite hedonistic about doing exactly what you want to do, isn’t there? Yet, I wonder why. Why is it that women often feel they should be doing something for somebody else otherwise it doesn’t count – or it makes us feel guilty? Maybe that’s just me. For me, I think that is how it goes once you become a mum – even when you’re an almost-empty-nester mum – you’re still a mum and therefore, still always thinking about what the ‘kidults’ are up to and whether there’s anything you can do to help! This annual long weekend with the ladies, though – is ALL ABOUT ME! Yes, there will be WhatsApp messages, tweets and insta stories flying around the family groups but, in general, the kidults and Stressed Husband know that this is strictly my time and they leave me to it. Apart from raising an eyebrow and muttering the odd ‘lame…boring’ under their breath when I come home and tell them what I did (or didn’t do) on my few days away, they are pleased that my low-key weekend away rocks my boat (well, sways it very gently) and makes me happy.
So, I’ve got some busy busy weeks coming up when I return from my trip and I really need to start raising my blog game a bit more as I’ve been MIA while pondering the future of Glowology (that’s a whole other post to be written soon.) But, while I’m gone, I’d like to think that you, my lovely readers, might have a little think about what time out you take for yourself. Do you carve out special time to sit and think or relax or meditate and just be still? If you do, then fab – keep going because being and doing what really, really makes you feel good and brings you inner joy is so important – essential even! And if you don’t – or you don’t think you do it enough, make this weekend the start of you looking into what you want, where you want to be and what makes you happy.
Chill and smile. I know I will be! Until next time…
Oh I knooooow! It’s Monday. It’s raining. The alarm is buzzing like an angry bumblebee caught in a glass and all I want to do is pull the duvet back over my head and put an OOO (Out Of Office notice people) on my whole life…Or at least I did, until I worked out ways of making waking up and getting proactive, a lot easier. I’m not saying these tips always work, but they sure as hell have helped me 99% of the time. And as I’m a S.A.D sufferer and a flip flops-and-beach-for-life kinda girl, I’m guessing – and hoping – that they will help you too…
Well, the party is finally over for 2017 and it’s time to get into the groove of 2018 – a fresh, new and shiny year! I’ve never been one for setting New Year resolutions as I feel they put too much pressure on yourself to be unrealistically perfect and then make you feel crappy when you (invariably) break them. And all that dry January malarkey – why on earth would anybody do that to themselves in the coldest, gloomiest, most depressing month of the year? Surely a tipple or two is medicinal for us SAD sufferers – in moderation, of course. However, I do like to have a sort of fluid – very fluid – plan of action at the beginning of the year to ease me along the path to health and happiness. Here are my Top 3 Health Goals for 2018…
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a summertime girl – flip flops, cocktails and beaches are up there on my list of favourite things and sunshine is always guaranteed to lift my mood. But when winter comes around, it can be a different story. As much as I enjoy parts of it, such as sparkly fairy lights, mulled wine and comfort foods, I really have to be ready for the bleaker days ahead, so I need to pull out the happy-makers to blast away the dark day doldrums!
Do you ever feel you just need a place to get away and restore the brain batteries? A place where you can grab a bit of peace and quiet, where you won’t being disrupted every 5 minutes by a slobbering labrador wanting food/walks or a teen that’s lost her college pass, homework, purse, mobile….? I do! Being freelance definitely has its advantages but there are a few downsides, so finding a hub of tranquility among busy London life is ideal…Well, I found it and it’s called Gazelli House!
Who else tries to limit themselves to 10 minutes max on the Daily Mail Online? And who else fails miserably, winding up goggly eyed, scrolling through stories about which Z-list celebs have just secured a £10,000,000,000,000 contract to be the Face of Flatulence or whatever new perfume/makeup/clothing line is hoping to be the next Kardashian inspired money making hit? I really hope I’m not alone here! Now, apart from the reality TV tripe, there is often a story or two that catches my eye, like the recent one by extremely talented novelist, Raffaella Barker, where she writes about feeling invisible at times and imparts the ways she has helped overcome that. So, my question to you is: Do you ever feel invisible?
There’s been a restlessness in the air or maybe it’s just a bit of a summer shake-up? Maybe – most likely – it’s the thought of my upcoming 50th. But, whatever it is, I have decided to make some changes…
As I gazed in awe at a photo of Yasmin Le Bon in a recent newspaper article, two questions went through my head: 1. What must it feel like to be able to walk down the street and have people swoon at your supermodel beauty – when you’re over 50?! and 2. Where can I get my hands on those Lumity Life supplements she’s harking on about for giving her back her vitality and bloom since hitting the menopause? Unfortunately, I will never know the answer to question number 1. But – hoorah! – question number 2 was sorted…I found out where to get that Lumity Life stuff!
Pull up a chair…I’ve got exciting findings to divulge ☺
I’m normally pretty rubbish at remembering to take any supplements but these little capsules came in such pretty packing (oh, I know! I’m such a soft touch) that I was quite happy to leave them out by the kitchen sink so that I remember to take them…well, I’m forever filling up the kettle for my copious amount of
coffee green tea. But who needs green tea when you have antioxidant boosting ingredients like this?..
Lumity creator, research scientist and Cambridge University graduate, Sara Palmer Hussey, PhD, is the woman behind these little capsules of hope. She says:
“My aim was to create a product that offers real, tangible benefits. I thought if we could offer women something that noticeably improves the way they feel on a daily basis and gives them an effortlessly healthy, glowing appearance, they would have the energy and freedom to focus more on the things they love.”
And how was I feeling? Well, I’ve known for some time that my dizzy spells, raging PMT, forgetfulness, middle-age spread, lethargy (I could go on and on) must have something to do with my age. I’ve felt that my hormones have been wreaking havoc and making physical and emotional changes that I don’t like very much, so I was definitely more than ready to give these a go.
Obviously, Lumity is not designed specifically for women who are experiencing menopausal symptoms, they’re ideal for all of us busy women, but the specially blended cocktail of nature’s goodies, are certainly designed to address them.
I took the capsules religiously every day, twice a day for a month before I started feeling that something was happening. The first thing I noticed was lack of crabiness around my period! The time of the month came and went with hardly a flicker of the highly charged emotions I’d began to experience over the last year or so. I was impressed and put it down to ‘beginners luck’ but again, the second month and the third and onto my fourth – a much calmer, more balanced and even tempered me has re-emerged. And I like it. And my poor suffering family LOVE it! 😉
My sleep has improved, in that I fall asleep quicker and if I wake up in the early hours, I can thankfully go straight back to a deep slumber without annoying Stressed Husband by huffing and puffing until the alarm goes off! But although I’m sleeping better, I am sadly no more inclined to jump out of bed with renewed energy – the snooze button is still getting more action than it should do. Well, Lumity gets some great feedback but it has never claimed to dish out miracles!
The biggest change in my appearance is my hair. In fact, on my the last visit to the salon, my hairdresser asked me what I had been doing to it as it had got so much thicker! I’d thought so myself but when she mentioned it without me even telling her that I’d been taking Lumity, I knew it wasn’t just a figment of my imagination. Before taking Lumity, I had been a bit downhearted about my hair getting thinner and had put it down to ageing and a fact of life, but it has really improved and so I’m delighted.
Overall, I am impressed. There’s no doubt I’ve seen and felt some positive changes that can’t possibly be just a placebo effect and I’m quite happy to fork out for a monthly supply of these as, when you think about it, at £79 a month (which is the automatically replenish price) it’s not much more than I spend on buying a large coffee each day. And it’s a small price to pay for getting rid of that monthly monster that had tendencies to terrorise the family!
Apart from loving the supplement, I’m regularly checking out Lumity’s website – it’s full of interesting features and science backed ways to make you look and feel fantastic. You can find out more about Lumity here.
I’ve got a couple of friends who are excitedly on their first month of taking Lumity, I hope it works as well for them. Let me know if you decided to try it and how you get on.
*Contains affiliate link.
Lately, I’ve been feeling a change in the air and I’m not sure I like it. Summer has always been my favourite time of year – the hotter the better. I’ve always especially loved August as it’s my birthday month so you’ll often find me gearing up for the big day by running through the cocktail list in every pub along the river. But somehow, this year feels different…
You’ve probably read about facial massage being good for your skin, but if you’re anything like me, you probably feel a little bit confused and not sure where to start. So, good news! on my quest for finding out how to keep skin looking youthful and healthy without spending fortune and while also giving yourself a big wellbeing boost at the same time, I came across this wonderful video by fabulous, International makeup artist Lisa Eldridge, who’s worked on the most famous faces in the world (oh, how I’d love to dive into her makeup cupboard…pure bliss!).
I planned this post for a Monday, as we all know that Monday is the day we are most likely to feel a bit under the weather. In my case, with the house refurb from hell, living away from the family home with the kids while Stressed Husband is still there and trying to lead a ‘normal’ life, keeping the house, kids, husband – and dog! – happy, I sometimes feel I let myself and my feelings take a backseat. Bet you do too sometimes? Here are a few tricks I use when I need to lift my mood and feel a bit more ‘together’…
This post has been inspired by my life at the moment as I’m in one of those places – emotionally and mentally – that doesn’t make me feel great, but at the same time, I know I have to face it in order to move on and get out the other side and shut the door…with a bang! So, what’s the best way to feel those feelings – frustration, worry, insecurity, sadness – without allowing them to colour all the good things in life with a big black splash? Here are my strategies for turning the negative around – or at least facing it head on with a semi smile!
* Know it will pass: There are quite a few factors that are making me feel a bit down in the dumps at the moment, from everyday moans about the crappy weather and not having a car, to more serious worries about the health of my lovely parents. The fact that I’m living in a building site surrounded by rubble, excess noise and builders doesn’t help either. Sometimes it all comes at once and there’s nothing you can do but understand you won’t be feeling like this forever – it’s a passing phase and we all know time goes by so quickly that it won’t be long before there are other life’s niggles replacing these ones. It helps if we keep in mind that experiencing bad times are a part of life and if they help us appreciate the good times then that’s not so bad!
* Tackle the problems: Hiding your head under the duvet might be what you want to do – and that’s fine if it’s for a day – I’m all for the odd duvet day for allowing us to live in our slump for a bit and ‘owning it’ (as seems to be the expression of the day). But, when you resurface – and sooner rather than later – it’s a good idea to write down what’s making you feel low and take steps to work out how to move forward and solve any dilemmas. Ask friends, family or outside experts for help if you need to. It’s so important that you don’t ignore anything that makes you feel bad as it could fester and grow, taking small steps to dealing with your doldrums will make you feel more positive and instantly give you a feeling that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
* Embrace the good things: Getting caught up in your feelings of gloom and doom can make you miss out on those little things that beam those little chinks of sunlight through the clouds. I’m talking about that silly picture your friend emailed, the smile on your child’s face when she tells you about something funny that happened at school, that beautiful pair of shoes in your wardrobe that make you purr everytime you try them on. In my case, it’s celebrating the fact that my mum and dad are still able to make me laugh at their relationship which has stood the test of 53 years despite them not having had a quarrel free day (or even hour) and yet they still end the day snuggling up on the sofa holding hands, watching ‘their programmes’. So no matter how rubbish you might be feeling, grab those little chinks of sunlight and tuck them safely into your memory so you can call on them in the future.
* Faking it to make it: That ubiquitous Keep Calm and Carry On slogan has bred a multitude of clever copycats from Keep Calm and Drink Champagne to Keep Calm and Eat Cupcakes – all good ideas as far as I’m concerned! But the sense of ‘just carrying on’ is probably the one that helps me the most. My thinking is: Life won’t stop – whether it’s good or bad, whether you’re happy or sad – so you do just have to carry on and you might as well do it the best you can. If you have to fake a smile, slap on your lipstick and those purr inducing heels, to make you feel a bit better, then do it! I find the act of simply getting on with things is enough to make me realise that – you know what? Things could be a lot, lot worse.
What tips have you got to help lift a dark mood – I’d love to know!