We aren’t going to sugar coat this shit show for you people. This is real life. I bought a coffee today from 2 young lads who could easily have been my teenage sons. For the first time, I thought to myself, I wonder what they think when they see me. Do they acknowledge me as a frumpy old ma, an older woman? What category am I now? It makes no difference to me whatsoever what they thought of me as I know I do my best to live my best life and I take as much care as I can of my body. But here are some brutal truths about the realities we are experiencing in our 4th decade. This is being 40.
You start becoming as blind as a bat. Reading the ingredients on food labels makes your eyes strain like a bear on the toilet.
A moment on the lips = a lifetime on the hips! Those days of wallowing in a bucket of Hagen Daaz are long gone. Your metabolism has just slowed down another 5% so trying to maintain your current weight just got 50% harder!
You’re closer to the M word than ever before. You constantly wonder whether this might be the year your body stops producing eggs and shrivels up.
You start losing the fight against wrinkles. But hey these are not wrinkles – they are survival lines right?
Hot Flashes! From head to toe and even in the roots of your hair ffs!
If your parents are still around you become acutely aware of how much longer they might have in them leaving you with an unhealthy obsession with mortality.
The epiphany that the buck stops with you always – and nobody can sort out your shit for you.
You can not hold in a fart even if your life – or the planet – depended on it.
Your brain is starting to feel like the biggest tangle, plagued with misremembering, forgetting words, names and being replaced with a load of mumbo jumbo.
Running home to the toilet becomes a regular occurrence as you fear the reality of wetting your knickers as your pelvic floor muscles aren’t what they used to be.
The younger generation might consider you a m.i.l.f (if you’re lucky). You may even have been lucky enough to be wolf whistled by a teenager (cringe!).
You’re no longer in the 18-35 category so jog on and tick the next box down please.
Being called ‘ Aunty’ by people in their thirties. Yup, you’re now the crazy aunt everyone!
When you consider work colleagues to be of a similar age but discover they were actually born in 2001 which WASN’T 10 years ago btw…..
Realising that you’re making groaning noise that only old people make when you get up from a chair or the floor.
When you’re explaining to teenagers about the Spice Girls and they ask ‘are they still alive?’
Not ever being asked to show your I.D when purchasing your daily gin.
Being so out of date with the lingo of the youth and having to ask what the abbreviation means!
You can no longer jump on a trampoline for the fear a bit of wee coming out. So happiness is…erm…NOT jumping on a trampoline!
Staying in, not going to the party, not leaving your house – your childhood punishments have now become your adult goals!
9pm is pretty much equivalent to midnight. But hey you are still a rockstar, you whisper to yourself as you hunker down under the covers with your book of choice.
You remember the time before mobile phones, the internet and having to go to the library to look something up.
Your kids don’t know who Britney Spears is. Ugh! So toxic having to explain to them.
Anything to add to the list? What else do you expect you’ll encounter in your 40s? Get in touch by leaving a comment below or connect with us on Instagram here.
So apparently there’s a prequel to the end game that is the Menopause. And no, it mustn’t be mistaken for a Nando’s spice. Welcome ladies to, The Perimenopause. Now I’ve know for a long time that I’m not in Kansas anymore. Things are changing. Subtle things like I can’t eat an entire pack of Haribo like I used to unless I complete a half marathon to work the calories off (disclaimer here, I’ve never actually done a half marathon nor do I ever want to but it sounded apt and dramatic).
As I learn more about what’s to come, I realise the perimenopause is a transition phase and I want to use this time wisely to prepare my body for the next chapter. I’ll switch up those Haribo for Medjool dates licked with peanut butter and sprinkled with flax seeds right? I definitely need advice so I asked Francesca Liparoti, Registered Nutritional Therapist, to provide some insight into what the perimenopause is and some advice on how to prepare.
‘The first step to feeling great in your 40s is to understand what’s actually happening with your body so let’s take a closer look at what’s actually happening with your hormones during perimenopause.
Coming soon to a body like yours
For most women perimenopause starts in their late 30s where they may start to notice a change in their menstrual cycles and periods and perhaps new PMS symptoms and shifts particularly around sleep and mood. Then, as you progress into your 40s the shifts and changes can start to become more pronounced with the biggies being sleep and mood issues and hot flashes. Migraines and headaches are also more common now along with brain fog, and a lot less energy than you had in your 20s!
Perimenopause is a phase of hormonal changes that occurs in the 2 to 12 years before menopause. So, for some women this means they enter into perimenopause around age 38 (and even 35 for some women), but for most women it starts some time in their 40s and it’s definitely begun once they reach their mid-late 40s.
In a nutshell, it’s a time when your hormones are starting to change, as the communication between your brain and ovaries starts to change as your body starts its journey towards menopause. Oestrogen goes on a crazy roller coaster ride while progesterone gradually starts to decline. Some hormone experts call it the second puberty (!!) because oestrogen was erratic when your menstrual cycle first began, then it settled down during your 20s and 30s, and in perimenopause it becomes erratic again.
A happy hormonal picture for prevention or good management of the symptoms mentioned here is oestrogen that gently ebbs and flows throughout the month as per the natural menstrual cycle rhythm, ovulation occurring each month and subsequent progesterone production over the following couple of weeks (as a result of having ovulated). However, the hormonal picture during perimenopause is oestrogen rising to almost 3 times higher than ever before at some points in the month then crashing down to a really low level, like a rollercoaster ride, occurring month after month for the duration of perimenopause, while progesterone gradually starts to decline.
Symptoms of the high oestrogen points in this new oestrogen rollercoaster include breast pain, heavy periods, water retention (‘puffiness’), changes in mood and irritability whilst symptoms of DROPPING oestrogen include depression, weight gain (particularly around the middle), migraines, hot flashes, and night sweats.
During perimenopause cycles can still be regular and you are still fertile – although not as fertile as you were in your 20s and 30s – but your menstrual cycle is starting to change. For example, your cycles might be getting longer or shorter, longer or shorter periods, heavier or painful periods, spotting between periods and more and more non-ovulatory cycles.
The Importance of Progesterone
Why does progesterone production decline in perimenopause and what’s the significance of that?
This is due to you having more and more non-ovulatory cycles (cycles where you don’t ovulate), in perimenopause, which basically means you don’t ovulate some or many months. Ovulation was hard to achieve in your regular cycling years and becomes even harder in your 40s. You see, ovulation isn’t only important for fertility, it’s an essential part of a healthy menstrual cycle and hormone balance because it’s the ONLY way you make a good amount of progesterone each month and prevent a hormone imbalance where oestrogen is taking over the show.
Here are some of the wonderful things progesterone does which can help to explain in part why perimenopause brings the symptoms it brings:
It’s your anti-anxiety, anti-irritability and calming hormone and it’s vital for your overall sense of wellbeing and good sleep and it increases your capacity to deal with stress.
It shelters you from the effects of oestrogen’s ‘yang’ effects such as heavy or painful periods, painful periods and breast pain.
It’s a natural diuretic so it prevents water-retention and ‘puffiness’ around the body.
It boosts your metabolism & lean muscle mass, which are key for keeping your body fat in check and it supports a healthy thyroid.
The good news is that perimenopause symptoms are temporary and they respond really well to some simple diet and lifestyle interventions.
Rebalance and Thrive
One of the biggest blockers to ovulation is STRESS! So, you CAN support your body to have more ovulatory cycles during perimenopause by incorporating some simple stress management practices into your days and weeks, prioritising self-care, prioritising sleep and cultivating more joy and play!
Nourish your body & hormones now more than ever.
Perimenopause is NOT the time to restrict calories or follow any other restrictive diets. Now it’s more important than ever to support your body by ensuring it’s well-nourished each day with enough calories (energy), optimal amounts of quality protein, fibre & nutrient dense carbohydrates, plenty of different types of good fats especially omega 3 (in the form of DHA & EPA), as well as the smaller but all-important nutrients including but not limited to B12, B6, folate, magnesium, zinc, choline, vitamin A (as retinol), vitamin E and iron.’
Francesca’s Rebalance + Thrive programme starts on Monday 27th September. You can join here.
What have you been doing to prepare for the Menopause? Have you started to have symptoms yet? Talk to us and tell us all about it by commenting below or following us on Instagram here.
Are you dating in your 40s? Have there been any unexpected challenges? Technology has advanced so much since our 20s that it’s not uncommon to have a text message relationship before even meeting each other. Well, imagine being sent a breakup text before you’ve even had your first date….Meet our favourite spinster, Jennifer Walters.
10th June 2021
Have you ever gotten a breakup text from someone you didn’t know you were dating, someone you’ve never even actually met in person?
Well, neither had I, until last week.
CfromTinder texted me to let me know he’s had enough of me not putting forth the proper investment into our budding relationship and he’s not interested in a woman who won’t make him a priority.
I told CfromTinder that I have two kids, two dogs, a job, and as of late I spend a ridiculous amount of time watching videos on the internet about fixing broken toilets because for the past several weeks, at least one of them in my house is out of order at all times.
I also told CfromTinder that he is right. It’s highly unlikely I would make him a priority because I’m not really interested in knowing someone that is hard work to know before I even actually know them, because I’ve never met them, in real life.
Two days later CfromTinder texted me to say that he thinks he jumped the gun and wants to give it another try. I told him we probably wouldn’t be a good match, but his persistence, combined with my sister’s insistence that his pics were really cute, and my having nothing to do that Thursday night, led me to agree to meet him for a glass of wine.
We met, at the wine bar down the street, where they always see me with a different dude. I have a feeling they may be starting to wonder if I’m some sort of lady of the night.
CfromTinder showed up in purse pants and spent maybe fifteen collective minutes, out of the hour and a half we were there, actually sitting down at the table. The rest of the time he was in the bathroom, at the bar, running to his car for something, or taking a call outside. I’m pretty sure that in truth he was either preoccupied with tending to what I suspect might be a nagging cocaine habit, or suffering from a severe case of untreated ADHD. Either way, my notion that we weren’t a good match was confirmed.
Back to the swiping board. And no, CfromTinder, I’m not going to meet up with you to explain why I don’t want to see you again.
9th July 2021
I met B online. B is a Marine, but the true display of his bravery came when he agreed to meet me for the first time while I was out on a girls night. He survived the shenanigans and interrogations from my besties, so when he invited me out on a real date I accepted.
We went to my local wine bar (yes, that same one I go to on all my dates) and had a nice time. During our evening, we realized this was not the first time we’d met. Not only was it not the first time we’d met, he had been to my house before, been swimming in my pool, sampled my world famous guacamole, and maybe even pooped in my toilet. I don’t know if he actually pooped in my toilet, but I assume since he was there for several hours eating snacks, it’s very possible.
We also discovered we have a mutual nemesis. The same evil twat that wreaked havoc in my life wreaked havoc in his, during the same time period. Apparently she was so masterful at being an evil twat the it was no problem for her to fill this role for multiple people in parallel. We bonded over this hatred for TwatyMcHoebag and decided to go on another date.
As the week progressed, we discussed possible next date activities. I suggested maybe bowling, axe throwing, or painting. He said he didn’t want to do those things. I said, “okay,” because I’m a reasonable human being who doesn’t try to convince people they like to do things they don’t like to do. He suggested we go shoot guns. I told him I don’t like shooting guns, and rather than him simply saying, “okay,” B, who shall henceforth be referred to as Pushy McPusherton, spent several minutes too long explaining to me how he could change my mind about shooting guns, and that I should ignore the likelihood that I would have a trauma induced emotional breakdown if we shot guns on our second date.
I told him I’d think of some other ideas and call him back. I did not think of any other ideas, nor did I call him back.
Jennifer’s Top Tips for avoiding text messages
For those of you who love to complain that you get too many text messages that you’re too busy and too important to be bothered with, but can’t seem to figure out what to do about it:
1. Turn your alert off. You may not know, but you can turn both your audible and vibration alert off, unless you have a phone from 1994. 2. Turn your phone off. Although this may interfere with your ability to interact with others, you’re clearly in pursuit of less interaction, so, win! 3. Get a bag phone. They can’t receive text messages. 4. Give your phone to a toddler. Let them answer your texts. If you don’t have access to a toddler, give your phone to a dog. If neither of these options are at your fingertips, put it in the toilet. 5. Stop giving people your phone number. 6. Get a pager. 7. Activate the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone. You likely have this feature on your device, unless you have a bag phone, in which case, problem solved. 8. Build really thick walls in your house so the signal can’t get to your phone when you’re inside. 9. Fashion yourself track suit with signal blocking technology that you can wear around town. It is critical that your suit has a pocket to securely transport your device. I suggest a zipper closure as Velcro often losses it’s locking power with wear and tear. 10. Remove the battery. 11. Never, ever charge your battery. 12. Switch to walkie talkie technology. 13. Every time someone texts you, text them back a picture of you making a mean face.
You can catch up on Jennifer’s debacles here. Do you find dating in your 40s challenging? What are the most random messages you’ve been sent?
Leave a comment below and follow us on Instagram here where we’ll be keeping the conversation going.
We’ve all the the feeling, at some point, in our lives where we’ve thought ‘what the f*ck am I actually doing?’ My fu*k it moment was when I got on a plane to Costa Rica where I met my Prince Charming. We are currently living happily ever after. It’s neither the time, or place, to tell my story but if you want to read all about it you can buy my book here!
If you’re not smug as shit like me, then perhaps an alternative lifestyle is something you could look into. Life’s unforgiving carousel relentlessly goes round and round and round until, eventually, we pop our clogs. Hum Drum-ness, Groundhog Day, monotonous tasks can become all consuming. Take the laundry basket for example, how accomplished do you feel when the basket is empty. I feel triumphant. It’s so short lived because before bedtime the basket is half full (or half empty) again. But I’m not talking about the natural boredoms, some people have stopped the carousel. Not only did stop it, they jumped off it straight into the river…
Why I ditched city life for boat life
Okay so it wasn’t quite so dramatic – she moved onto a barge but when I saw Charis’ story, I had to share it.
‘In January 2021, during UK lockdown no. 3, I moved out of my rented two-bedroom flat in affluent North Oxford onto a knackered 68ft narrowboat. Currently, the boat & I are moored up on the river on the outskirts of the city and the other morning I watched an egret fishing from my living room.
Living off grid
What prompted a 40 something woman who had spent almost 20 years in the city to move onto a tiny floating space amidst nature? Many things. The alternative lifestyle seed being planted when my partner of almost a decade and I split up and I could no longer afford the flat. I sublet a room to a lovely Spanish couple, he was an incredibly tall, laid-back chef who moves very quietly, she was a tiny dynamo who made so much noise it was like listening to a tornado approach and was obsessed with cleaning (I am not). It was an amusing couple of years living with them. They made sure I was well fed and happily helped look after my cat, Babushka, so it worked. Until it didn’t.
Burying my head in the sand
I had taken a wage drop after stepping back from hospitality management and to be completely honest, I was drinking a lot which costs money and it wasn’t long before my situation quickly became financially unviable. I did what all sensible people do, buried my head in the sand, and drank some more because I couldn’t see a way out. And even though I knew what I was spending on booze would make quite a difference to my financial difficulties I simply didn’t acknowledge it. Not drinking was completely off the table.
I continued to struggle until push came to shove and the landlord let me know he needed to have building work done. I knew I couldn’t afford to rent a flat on my own anymore so I felt that I had two options (a) find a room to rent which would probably mean having to give up Babushka or (b) leave Oxford, which at the time I didn’t want to do.
Fortunately for me, a friend offered me his boat to live on for a few months… it’s been six months so far and I am loving it. Waking up surrounded by nature daily is pretty magical. I moved on to the boat because I could no longer afford the rising costs of city living and in turn, I have been given an experience that is invaluable.
Boat life has grown my confidence, boosted my resilience, made me more aware of my own resourcefulness, and is teaching me to look after myself, all unexpected bonuses. I have stopped drinking (136 days and counting at the time of writing), I’m gradually dealing with my finances and mentally I am in a much better place. Would that have been the case if I had continued with a fast-paced city way of life? I’ll never know, but what I do know is that I have fallen in love with this way of life, it’s given me so much!’
You can follow Charis’ boating adventures on Instagram here
After struggling for years with her identity, battling low self-worth and unable to find where she was meant to ‘fit’ in the world, Carolyn Hobdey embarked on a process of deep self-discovery; it led her to leave the corporate world behind and focus instead on helping others to bring about an alternative lifestyle.
Today Carolyn is the Founder and CEO of MayDey Limited. She works to share and guide others through the ‘How To’ process that she’s discovered along the way. Living in North Yorkshire, in her spare time, she trains in boxing & weight-lifting, sings in a choir, learns Latin & Ballroom dancing and is a car enthusiast.
Carolyn’s alternative lifestyle story
‘I used to have a definite idea of what ‘success’ looked like. The big job, the house, cars, clothes, holidays, perfect relationship/family… When I abruptly lost all of that mid-2018, I was forced to reassess who I was and what I wanted from life. As I began to put back all those totems of success, I had a creeping unease. It eventually made me realise that none of those things had made me happy.
I knew that I wanted – needed – something different. I was a classic people pleaser; I’d spent decades dimming my light, but all it’d done was make me feel trapped. Not just in my life, but inside my own body.
It took a year to determine the alternative. To see the world beyond the corporate bubble that I’d occupied for 25 years.
I’d worked in Human Resources for the world’s largest employers and recognisable brands. Don’t misunderstand me, it wasn’t all bad – I had amazing experiences, met brilliant people, grown, developed and travelled. I’ll forever be grateful for what that time gave me and I’m not saying I’d never go back. But I’d grown weary. I’d worked relentlessly and, despite its ‘tea and tissues’ image, HR is tough. You see every aspect of the human condition – the good and the bad. I was tired. Tired of trying to persuade grown-ups to behave properly.
Writing our own script
Instead, I wanted to use my story to help others. For many years my friends had been encouraging me to write a book. After my life implosion I took the plunge. I shone a light into the dark corners of life and talked honestly about what it meant to be human – the failures, self-doubt, mistakes – all the stuff you might rather no-one knew.
It became the platform for a conversation about the conversations we have with ourselves. Talk about self-talk. Speak about mental, physical and emotional health. To talk about how we have it within us to change the things we don’t like about ourselves and our lives. That we can all achieve a well-lived life – if we just take some simple steps to understand what that means to each of us. To write our own script.
What I feared most about leaving corporate life was feeling isolated. What I have found is how much less isolated I feel. The only person I ‘compete’ with is me. There’s no politics. I spend time with other small-business owners who understand my journey and give selflessly of their time and support.
Now ‘success’ is using my life change to help others change theirs.’
Carolyn’s book, Redefining Selfish, is out to buy now.
Have you had enough? It’s never too late you know. We might be in our 40s but you know what Lenny Kravitz said, It Ain’t over ‘Til It’s Over. Would you consider an alternative lifestyle? Comment below and connect with us on Instagram here to keep the conversation going.
I am the self professed Queen of boundaries. Since turning 40, I’d say I’ve found managing boundaries even easier.
Managing boundaries is all about enforcing your personal terms and conditions. It’s now or never so if you need to set some out, you’ve come to the right place for some advice to manage boundaries.
For me, there are many situations where I can feel uncomfortable. It’s not a confidence issue nor one that I actually want to fix. For example, I simply do not enjoy being in a group of women. SO, I just don’t join in. I literally have the opposite of FOMO. The idea of a girls’ night out makes me shudder. Perhaps it’s all those hormones in one place. Who knows? Who cares! Large groups of people don’t enthral me at the best of times. Perhaps it’s because I like being the focus of the attention. I like to be able to interrupt before I erupt, much like a toddler, so I’ve found my people. They like me for my quirks and understand in no uncertain terms not to invite me to girls’ nights out!
I need my own space. I do not like sharing. If there’s a family event, I insist we have our own accommodation. The noise gets too much. The constant ‘togetherness.’ I can’t cope with it. However, I respect that my husband comes from a big family so he likes it – this is where the respect and compromise comes in. We discuss it and come up with a solution. I like to work with exact timings. Again, not something I want fixing, I thrive on routine and habits. So we set out a plan before we go anywhere. God forbid I might enjoy myself and stay later! It doesn’t happen often but it can and when it does, it’s wonderful. Setting boundaries makes me feel in control in a positive way.
There are no set rules in how YOU should live YOUR life. But what is important is that you live YOUR best life. Communicate with your friends and family. Let them know if when you’re uncomfortable in situations. The last thing you want is to live with resentment.
Firstly let’s take a look at why boundaries are awesome: Katharina Wolf Counsellor (MBACP) & PR Account Manager says, “they create space for people to exist in, rather than shutting others out – obviously, they can do that, too, and therefore tend to get a bad rep. Working from this line of thought, that boundaries are a safe place, boundary setting can become easier (among examining the reasons why other people are more important than you – boundary-pushing/crossing is happening.) Especially the over 40s can be affected as their upbringing might still be very much people-pleasing, own-needs disregarding inspired (especially women)”.
To add to that, accredited coach Emma Jefferys akaAction Woman offers her insights to managing boundaries. Her top 5 tips are:
1. What do you need?
Know where the edges are: if you don’t know your breaking point then it’s hard to stop intentionally before you reach it. So notice what you need, what makes you feel good and on top of things. Consider sleep, nutrition, alone time, family time etc. For example if you know that one late night is enough for you then more than that is your edge. Check in daily with how close to the edge you are personally and what you need right now.
2. Set your limits
For you and for others: the whole point of knowing our edges is to stop before we reach them. Sometimes this is about saying no to ourselves so perhaps we only go out on Friday night and not Saturday too or we build in some extra rest time. And other times it is about setting these limits with others.Perhaps you don’t want to fill the diary every single weekend. Or want to shut your laptop down at 6pm and have no screens til morning. Whatever it is that you need think about how you communicate that to others that need to know it.
3. Just say No
Know you can say no and still be a good person: this should be a daily reminder. Your self-worth does not depend on how much you do for others…..repeat after me……
Your self-worth does not depend on how much you do for others.
4. Get your priorities right
Schedule your priorities: most people are excellent at prioritising their schedule but what if the wrong things are on there. Take time each week to schedule the things that are important to you. Whether that is exercise, meeting a friend, calling your mum or getting an early night, plan to do it and then don’t cancel on yourself.
5. Don’t beat yourself up
Forgive yourself daily: no one is perfect, life isn’t perfect, and we won’t always get things right. Sometimes setting boundaries is having to do lifelong habits (like people pleasing) so have a go, don’t beat yourself when it goes wrong, celebrate when it goes right and know that there will always be another chance to practice.
6. Ask for Help
Don’t do it alone:If you are trying to maintain boundaries that you don’t find easy then find support. Perhaps practice saying no with a friend. Ask your partner to nudge you if you’re mindlessly watching TV past the curfew you’ve set for yourself. Use an app to limit the amount you can spend on social media.
How to set boundaries and be happy in love
Pascale is a Therapeutic Relationship and Life Coach, the founder of the Surviving to Thriving group coaching program and author of How to be Happy in Life and Love: A guide to living the life you Deserve. See more at: www.youfulfilled.co.uk
Dating can be a wonderful thing and yet a complete minefield at the same time… Once we hit a certain age, things are so different for us. What we look for in a man, in terms of fun, commitment and family, are very different to how we looked at it in our 20s and early 30s. Being able to look after ourselves both physically and emotionally is essential. Our resilience levels and boundaries are very different and because of that we need to be cautious in different ways.
Here are 5 ways to protect ourselves in all things love and dating.
Know your expectations
We have different priorities when we’re older and deserve to be a little more fussy. We don’t have to be settling or compromising as we did when we were younger. Being prepared to know what you want, I think at our age, is perfectly fair and realistic. If somebody doesn’t make you feel good or makes you feel like you have to change parts of yourself in order to fit their standard, be comfortable to draw the line and say no. No compromises are necessary.
They get to choose too
If they decide that you don’t meet their requirements, that’s totally cool as well. It isn’t the end of the world and doesn’t mean that there aren’t other, better options for you around the corner. This isn’t meant to be a cheesy ‘there are plenty more fish in the sea’ gag, but more likely that, we all get to choose who is right for us and who is not so right for us. It’s not the end of the world, it just means that this isn’t your happy ever after ending (yet).
Trust can be a challenge
If you have been cheated on in the past, which statistically, a lot of women at our age have, don’t treat every man like a cheat. Cheating is unacceptable in any situation, but there are so many good men out there who wouldn’t dream of cheating on you. Unless you have very good reason to think otherwise, trust your partner to treat you well. If your spidey senses are telling you something different, question them and let your intuition guide you as to what’s going on. If you have been hurt before, you may be hypervigilant. Hypervigilance doesn’t mean they are doing you wrong, it just means that you are super wary of not getting hurt again.
Remember to have fun
Dating and love are meant to be fun. It’s meant to be a happy affair that brings you joy. Don’t make it too serious. Don’t make it too heavy too quick and remember that even though it can at times be very scary, it can also be wonderful, so make sure you enjoy the ride.
Go with your gut instinct
Always. If something feels off, don’t push it down and ignore it. A woman instincts are usually spot-on, whatever the situation. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, wary or even scared, please act on those instincts. Just because there are a lot of great men out there, there are also some douches. If the relationship doesn’t feel fun and you don’t feel safe and special, it’s definitely time to move on.
How well do you mange boundaries? Comment below and let us know how you cope.
If you’re just turning 40 then you were born in the 80s. I loved seeing my mum in shoulder pads and being a teenager in the 90s was totally awesome wasn’t it?
We’ve put together our ‘kids in the 80s’ top 10 memories. If you were born in the 80s, we hope you enjoy this little trip down memory lane.
When I was a kid….
We’re reached THAT age where we can say, well it wasn’t like that in my day. Because let’s face it, when we were kids, there was NO internet. Imagine the audacity of having to go to a (children block your ears….) library!
1. The Worldwide Web, dial-up, fax machines and rotary phones
If you wanted to make a phone call it had to either from your house or a reverse charge phone call. The rotary phones took FOREVER and if you got a number wrong, well it was anxiety inducing!
Who can forget the unmistakable sound of the dial-up Internet. You just never knew if it would work. Apparently, this sound is known to technicians as a ‘handshake.’ If you were born in the 80s, it’s a sound you’ll never forget.
I discovered Google for the first time when I was personal assistant to the Executive Producer on EastEnders. He had a hard back paper diary. I wrote all the meetings in pencil so I could rub out the changes. One day I realised I’d booked in a meeting, that was happening in an hour’s time, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember who this person was or why they were coming in. While I was panicking, sweating and trying to breathe, in walked one of the story producers who could see me twitching. ‘Google him,’ she said. I had NO idea was wizardry she spoke of and you can only imagine my utter delight when in under 2 minutes, my problem was solved.
2. Terry Towelling Fluorescent socks and Shell Suits
Incredibly dubious fashion statements. Not for the faint hearted. The neon pink, yellow, green or orange terry towelling sock. Colour clashes galore. I think sometimes I even wore odd socks just to really freak myself out! Shell suits, well, let’s face it, if you were born in the 80s, you’re lucky to be alive. One false move near a cigarette and you’d be charred remains. Talking of which – did anyone else have to go to the shop with a handwritten note from their mum asking the shop keeper for 20 B&H?
3. You recorded the chart show on a cassette tapes and saved your files onto floppy disks
The weekend was always about recording the chart show. You rarely listened to it again but it was super important to record it. And to have an HB pencil on stand by for an untangling emergency when your tape got stuck. Heart stopping stuff really.
Our parents’ important work was stored on floppy disks which always really confused me on the account of them not being at all floppy.
4. Questionable Desserts
Ice-cream came in blocks. We’d get Neapolitan slabs of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. We’d all just eat the flavour that we liked so often they’d be huge chunks of one colour missing! My Dad told me a horrific story about the ice cream vans and how they mix the whippy so to this day I will only get a pre wrapped but my go-to then was a Screwball with the bubble gum at the bottom. Every time I risked chocking as I poured the last drip of melted ice cream to get the gumball. Saturday dessert was always a Viennetta and we felt well posh. If we had ice cream on its own, we’d smother it in Bird’s Ice Magic. How that stuff set so hard and fast, I’ll never know and it’s probably best I never do!
5. Timmy Mallet woke you up on a Saturday
The Wide Wide Awake Club was on our screens every Saturday morning between 1984 and 1989. Saturday mornings were all about TV in our house. We’d watch Going Live and I still remember the number to call, which I did every week was 081 811 8181! Who didn’t love Trevor and Simon and go to school on a Monday ‘swinging your pants!’ To this day, every time I change the sheets I hear myself saying…’I don’t dooooooo duvets!’
6. Hooch, Mad Dog 20/20, Ford Fiestas and Smoking
Retching at the thought. These days I have a very considered and refined alcoholic palette. Back then, I’d neck any old rubbish and would give myself explosive diarrhoea from cider straight from the litre bottle that was shared among 10 other kids, while driving to the park in a battered Ford Fiesta with a packet of Silk Cut that cost £1.11.
7. Charity Telethons and Childline
Who remembers being insanely excited about getting their fund raising packs and staying up all night long with Michael Aspel??
The fantastic Childline was founded by Esther Rantzen in 1986. 0800 11 11 was a number we would frequently threaten our parents with if we didn’t get ice magic on our ice-cream, much to my horror today.
8. Classic TV Shows
Favourites in our house were Bread, The Two of Us, Don’t Wait Up, Darling Buds of May, ‘Allo ‘Allo, Brush Strokes, Rentaghost, Rosanne, Watching, Just Good Friends, Some Mother’s do ‘Ave ‘Em and of course, Last of the Summer Wine. As soon as the theme tune came on, it was homework time and Sunday night dread. Can you believe there were after all only FOUR channels! And you had to walk up to the TV and press a button to change it while wiggling the coat hanger that was the temporary arial. If you fell asleep on the sofa, you’d have woken up to Test Card Girl with the scary clown doll. How fabulous!
We all bossed it on our original Nintendos playing Super Mario brothers and Black and white Tetris on the Game Boy. If you weren’t freaked out from being made to watch Child’s play, you probably had a Cabbage Patch Kid. The rest of us were terrified of it coming to life and finishing us off in the middle of the night.
10. Beauty Products
Hands up if you wore Rimmel Heather Shimmer? Wore Exclamation by Coty and fumigated yourself with Charlie Red. I know I did. I also had ginger hair from spraying wayyyyyy to much Sun-In in my hair before slathering it in L’Oreal Stu, Stu, Studio line hairgel!
If you were born in the 80s, We hope you enjoyed reminiscing. What are your favourite memories? Leave a comment below and follow us on Instagram here.
Possibly the most unhelpful thing one can say to another. How about we respect our thoughts. After all, that’s all they are.
Imagine if you could see everyone’s thoughts. Now there’s a thought. There’s no way of knowing how people think. You might be able to guess what they are thinking but you can’t know how they manage their thoughts.
I wanted to share some of my intrusive thoughts with you. For me, it helps to talk about them. It helps me validate them and it creates a platform in which we can safely say, you know what… this might sound bonkers but… and after this, you might realise you’re not alone and I hope you find some comfort in that.
‘Intrusive thoughts can be associated with mental health conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re experiencing mental illness. Intrusive thoughts can be very common, but if it’s starting to affect your quality of life it’s important to explore what you can do to manage them and seek out professional support which can help you.’
My top 4 intrusive thoughts
Like most of us, I think about a bajillion things at once. What can be rather annoying though is the frequency in which I think about the SAME things and they are often things from the past. However, I have managed to use some of my intrusive thoughts to my benefit and I channel them in a positive way while maintaining a good sense of humour about them as that is my way of coping and it works for me.
If I don’t do this…
…then that will happen. I used to wager a LOT on things like if I don’t see another magpie, something negative would happen to me or someone I loved. It wasn’t until fairly recently I realised that I had got a handle on this. I would have physical symptoms of panic (racing heart rate, tingling) if my thought wasn’t fulfilled.
I won’t need a poo will I?
I imagine this is a common one but when I was a very young girl, I was obsessed with not needing to poo anywhere. I won’t need a poo will I? Will I, Will I? The question would swirl around my head over and over again. Now my Mum, who was a legend by the way…. unhelpfully told me that I wouldn’t. And I believed her. So you can only imagine my horror when I was caught short at school and shat myself in year 7. It was decades later I realised that although there’s no place like home, pooing in other places wasn’t as bad as previously dreaded. It’s taught me that if my boys worry about something, I offer them a scenario whereby we come up with a solution if the unthinkable happens.
If I don’t try a bit of the food….
…it will be poison and that person will die. I’m not over this one so if my husband orders a different meal to me, I have to take a bite just in case. Same with the kids’ food.
The one about the boiler pressure
This is currently the most annoying one and it plagues me daily. Do you know what the pressure is on your boiler? Well I do and I know exactly how it fluctuates and unless it remains stable, it really affects me. I’m yet to fully understand why I seek comfort in my boiler but I do and that’s just the way it is. Every morning when I wake up, the 1st thing I do it check it. When I’m feeling particularly anxious about something, I find myself having to leave the boiler cupboard door open just so I can check it more regularly. I don’t need a new boiler. I realise it’s absurd and I can’t make the connection. When the pressure isn’t where it should be, I can find myself in a manic state. But I have lots of tools to help me. Talking of help…
Managing intrusive thoughts: Help is at hand
If you also have to deal with intrusive thoughts – as so many of us do whether we care to admit it or not – then here, Antonia Harman, multi award winning emotional trauma expert and healer and founder of www.divinempowerment.co.uk offers her top five tips to manage intrusive thoughts.
What to do when intrusive thoughts are getting you down
Intrusive thoughts can be both destructive and distracting; they keep you up at night, they stop you from being present, they could even alter your behaviour, making you play small. You may not take opportunities as the little voice in your head tells you not to, even when you know in your core it’s the right thing for you. Intrusive thoughts can cause anxiety and are generally a blight on your life.
Here are my top 5 tips on how to deal with intrusive thoughts:-
What are the intrusive thoughts actually saying? The thoughts tend to bubble up when you feel a little unsure; they escalate your feelings making a mountain out of a molehill. Are the thoughts constantly murmuring in the background? If they are, which they are for most people, take some alone time to sit and engage with your thoughts. What is that broken record playing on repeat? Is it that you are not good enough? That you will never achieve your goals. Is it abusive about your weight? That you are a terrible parent? Too much of this or too little of that? Whatever it is, listen and work out what the loudest voice is saying.
Once you know that, start asking yourself, is it true? Most intrusive thoughts are unfounded. Let’s take “I’m a bad parent” as an example. Well, are you? No one expects Mary Poppins. Do you stuff up from time to time? That’s cool you are human. Are your kids fed, with a roof over their heads and happy? If so, you can’t be doing that badly now, can you?
To stop intrusive thoughts, you need to find a resolution to them, to get to the point where they no longer resonate; they don’t make sense. For example, if some said you were a ‘tin can’, you would be puzzled. You definitely are not a tin can, so the idea of you being one completely bounces off you.
You need to be that annoying kid who says “But why” repeatedly. Listen to the thoughts dissect them with ‘But why’ you need to be honest with yourself. If some of the points are accurate and there is room for improvement, that’s fine too; make a list and action it. Get proactive and neutralise the blighters. Once the loudest thought is gone, go onto the second and so on.
2. Seek Professional Help
If you are struggling with point one, you could seek professional help? Talk therapy can help probe into the ‘why’ of things to help you burrow in and let things go. Letting it go is the most important thing, seeing it for what it is with a neutral, adult perspective and forgiving all parties. This means you need to forgive them, the situation and yourself. There is a good reason that forgiveness is a central theme in all religions; even AA has ‘make amends’ a major component. Forgiveness stops intrusive thoughts and allows for a happier you. If you are looking for non-attachment to your thoughts, you could give Divine Empowerment a try; we dissolve the energy or emotion associated with trauma. Once it’s gone, you find peace in the situation you don’t feel triggered when you think of it; you don’t feel anything; it’s neutral and just the facts without the loaded emotions.
3. Get into Nature
The more grounded and relaxed you are, the quieter your mind is. Have you noticed that the intrusive thoughts subside when you are on hols? Why is that? Of course, you are less stressed (hopefully), but there is more to it. Being in nature is grounding the negative ions you get from the sea or forest to help to quieten the mind; the body is less stressed and anxious. Make being in nature part of your daily practice if you can do it barefoot or in moccasins, all the better (rubber-soled shoes block grounding); that way, the negative ions can be absorbed through your feet. To really connect to nature, go for a walk alone and if you are feeling brave, leave your phone indoors. The world is unlikely to end whilst you are on your 30-minute stroll. Many people constantly listen to music and have little or no time to self-enquiry whilst on your walk. Allow your thoughts to bubble up and refer to tip one.
Yoga, pilates, chi gong, and tai chi are great way to ground and quieten the mind. They calm down your adrenalin and cortisol levels, causing less stress. The more pressure you have, the busier your mind will be. Meditation is another option; there are countless guided meditations on YouTube; apps like Calm and Mindful are brilliant as they keep you accountable to your daily practice. You can start your day with a guided meditation, use breathing techniques when you get stressed and even listen to bedtime stories and much more.
5. Monitor Visual Consumption
Are you hooked on the news? Let’s face it; there hasn’t been much good news of late are you watching the news on repeat and stressing yourself out? It’s great to be well informed but not overly well informed. If you have news bulletins on your phone, switch them off. Stick to watching the news once a day at the most. Whatever you are doing now, halve it; there is a lot of ‘fear porn’ out there which will cause intrusive thoughts.
Are you hooked on true crime documentaries or horror shows that stress you out? Do you watch scary things late at night and go to bed fretting about it? If so, knock it on the head entirely. If the intrusive thoughts are about something you have seen on the telly, turning your box off is a simple fix!
Have you ever suffered with intrusive thoughts? Do leave a comment and connect with us on Instagram here where we love to chat all things being in your 40s.
Are you Bumbling your way through apps and online dating? Do first dates feel just like job interviews? Our favourite spinster Jennifer Walters is back, candidly sharing her dating debacles with us.
First Dates: The Interview Process
‘I don’t like to talk to people on the phone. I barely like to talk to most people in person, but voice to voice with someone who I’ve only known as still images of him and his dog or posed candids of him scaling Mount Everest is extremely painful and accelerates my normal awkwardness toward a full blown display of embarrassment during which I forget simple English and fun facts such as how old I am.
In-person there would be, at least, wine and fake smiles to fill the inevitable conversation lulls. During a recent interview, I mean phone call, I found out that Dude is very enthusiastic about their career but also super excited about his new adventures in snow sports. He told me how much he works out and how he enjoys wine but only sociably because he doesn’t like to “overdo it or anything.” He ended the conversation abruptly because he got a call from his sister in the midst of me sharing with him how often I DON’T work out, how often I DO drink wine with ZERO dependency on whether or not I am in a social setting, and my complete lack of desire to ever do anything that involves snow.
He did not call me back. He did, however, send me a message on the dating app informing me our conversation was “dry” and we probably shouldn’t bother talking again. I can’t say I disagree but for some reason his acknowledgment of the obvious was quite the blow to what’s left of my already defeated ego. A mutual ghosting would have been much more polite. All part of the first dates interview process I guess.
11th February 2021
I was supposed to go on a date last night. He cancelled on me because something came up with his son, he had an appointment to show a house he forgot about, and he couldn’t figure out his password for the Higamahoo website, but hoped I’d give him another chance on another day.
I told him I understood things with kids, empathized with his inability to logon to Higamahoo.com and yes, I’d give him another chance, although he clearly might have time management issues if he booked a showing and date with me for the same time, same day.
I then realised I didn’t know his last name and should probably figure that out so I can search for a criminal record before we make plans again. I googled his phone number and found a last name that looked familiar, familiar as in New Guy has the same last name as Poop Doctor. (See previous Spinster Chronicles article)
I then googled New Guy and Poop Doctor together and found an old blog post from Poop Doctor talking about his life (which he thinks is amazing, if you don’t recall from when I told you about my date with Poop Doctor a few weeks ago), including how excited he was when his baby brother New Guy was born. I texted New Guy and asked if he had a brother that is a poop doctor. He does. I mean, come on, what are the chances?
13th April 2021
It was seven o’clock, on the dot, in my drop top – kidding – I just have that song stuck in my head, which is odd because I usually only get that song stuck in my head around midnight when I can’t sleep and should be counting sheep. Instead, I am fantasizing about meeting Usher in the Harris Teeter parking lot after hitting his expensive car with a shopping cart, our subsequent falling in love, being endlessly harassed by the paparazzi, and me eventually breaking his heart because I’m not cut out for a superstar lifestyle.
It was actually seven forty-five-ish and I was in the midsized SUV that I purchased after years and years of shaming from my sister-in-law for driving a “mum van”. I pulled up a bit nervous because MfromTinder had some questionable fashion choices in some of his profile pics. But as my friend and confidant Stacey says, “it’s a lot easier to get a man to give up a bad chef pants habit than a bad cocaine habit,” something with which we both, unfortunately, have way too much experience. So I proceeded with cautious confidence that he wouldn’t be dressed like a Culinary Arts student from my mid-1990s high school vocational training program.
MfromTinder texted me to let me know he was running late because he went to the wrong restaurant. Midway through my glass of wine, I decided I’d prefer if he didn’t show up at all because I was really enjoying my book, but alas, he arrived. It was okay, and when I say okay, I really mean it was meh.
The few funny moments were completely cancelled out by the inappropriate questions that proved he was probably too much of a jackass for my liking. He was also shorter than he said on his profile, so, yeah, ugh. When he walked me to the car he went in for a kiss. I dodged it masterfully and instead delivered the most majestic high five of my life. The crowd cheered at my agile and victorious performance. I had another date the following night, which was another first dates disappointment. I did, however, confirm that if the dude is wearing sunglasses in all his pictures, there’s a chance he is a pirate.
For the love of Tinder
I have made some new and special friends during the first dates interview process:
1. Aquaman with the dad bod, who promises he will end my streak of no second date by taking me to dinner AND drinks, in the SAME night, before he ghosts me.
2. Captain Sadness, who can’t stop telling me about how much he misses being married and can’t wait to have a new mum for his kids.
3. Mr. Toughguy, who says, “if you’re a feminist, you’re paying the check and I’m getting two appetizers.”
4. Chief Bot, who obviously is a robot using some extremely attractive man’s stolen internet headshots.
5. The Counsellor, who wants to talk way too much about my dead husband. And, of course,
6. The guy who asks if I can come over, right now, at 2am.
Are you dating in your 40s at the moment? How are you finding the first dates? Leave a comment below and follow us on Instagram here where we’ll be keeping the conversation going.
Fast becoming a household name, fabulous and feisty Afua Adom has earned her place as a respected and talented anchorperson, broadcast journalist and radio presenter. Afua is a passionate speaker and one of the leading voices on diversity in Britain, empowering and inspiring others across the country.
Born and bred in Glasgow, encouraged by her parents who instilled in her a hard work ethic, Afua moved down London to study journalism at City University. She pursued a career in music publishing but followed her love of writing and became the Features Editor of Pride Magazine. After a year out having her gorgeous daughter, Naima, she turned to broadcast journalism and launched her own radio show. She now regularly appears on ITV’s This Morning, Good Morning Britain, and the Jeremy Vine show.
Afua turns 40 later this year so I wanted to find out how she was feeling about it and what challenges she thinks might lie ahead.
The word Afua used to describe turning 40 was……’Yikes!’
‘When I think of when my mum was 40, 40 back in 1980 feels a lot older than 40 now.’
But I bet my Mum would say the same thing about when my Nana was 40. I feel like I’m so much less mature than my Mum was when she was 40. When my mum was 40, she seemed like she was very together and she was this formidable woman and I feel like a giggly school girl. 40 is not old by any stretch of the imagination. That much we know but I feel like it’s younger than it was back then.
In one sense of the word it feels old and in another sense, I spend a lot of time scrolling on the ASOS app looking for new things to wear that are wildly inappropriate. I’m “Yikes” because it feels older than I am and I feel like maybe I should start investing in stocks and shares!’
Enjoy the space you’re in
I asked Afua what advice she would give to her 20 year old self? She said,
‘Enjoy your youth but know that it lasts longer than perhaps you think it does. Don’t worry about things like how you look or what job you’re going to do. I spent so much time worrying, am I thin enough? Am I pretty enough? Just wasted energy on that. I wish I’d always known that I was always enough. I wish I hadn’t worried so much about where I would end up. About making my mum and dad proud of me. Because they were always proud, you know. I wish I hadn’t worried so much about where the next job was coming from and enjoy the present one. That even applies to now to be honest. Just chill out and enjoy the space that you’re in. Don’t rush to grow up and pay bills.
I asked Afua for her top tips for self preservation?
‘Sometimes you have to believe your own hype.’
‘Remember the dance routines you used to make up in your bedroom when you were 10, remember how much you believed you could be the 2nd coming of Paula Abdul. Remember how that feels, bottle it and sometimes just sprinkle it over yourself. Believe your own hype. Sometimes that’s the only way you can get up in the morning and keep going. Be the best version you can be.’
Dealing with racism
Afua recently shared a beautiful picture of her daughter on social media. She made a screenshot of a comment made by a troll using the N-word.
I immediately got in touch to offer my support and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. She said it was supremely hurtful and unnecessary. ‘If you’re going to attack me, that’s one thing. If you’re going to attack my daughter, that’s another level of hate.’
Afua never really experienced racism until she moved to London. There’s now a large Ghanaian community in Scotland but when her parents first moved from Ghana in the 70s, they were subjected to sick racial abuse. Her parents have always reminded her who she is and where she’s from. It’s not hard to see where the fire in Afua’s belly came from and it’s promising to watch her presence grow.
Having been on the receiving end of racial abuse, I asked Afua if her coping mechanisms had changed over the years?
‘You become more resilient as you get older certainly. But things still do cut deep. What helps is support from friends. The support always helps there’s so many lovely voices out there to drown out the horrible voices. All you have to remember is that person has a massive problem which has nothing to do with me, nothing to do with my skin colour. It’s to do with the way S/he thinks. S/he isn’t wired correctly and you just keep on going.’
Racism. It’s a conversation that needs to happen over and over again until all humans are accepted in the same way. By highlighting it, talking about it, sharing our stories and creating awareness we, as the human race, will continue to seek a united respect for one another.
We wait all year for summer here in the UK. We spend 10 months complaining about the rain, the drizzle, the wind and the freezing cold. We talk incessantly about summer plans, hopes and dreams of picnicking by the riverside . Then, from depths of hell itself, an unspeakable heat descends upon us so unexpectedly. Taken by complete surprise, our un-pedicured tootsies shudder as they are thrust into the trusty Havaianas once more and we fret about how to keep cool.
What’s happened to the spring season I remember so fondly in the 80s? One day we are wrapped up in our down and duck parkas, the next, frantically searching for the denim cut offs we panic made last summer.
It’s too hot!
The general moaning begins within 24 hours of summer’s unexpected arrival. And I admit to it myself because there are times when it’s just too damn hot. I used to LOVE the heat. I would slather myself in tanning oil and roast from dawn to dusk in a bid to achieve the ultimate tan. These days I’m more concerned with melanoma and happily shade when I can and cover the rest of me in factor 40. I’m dreading the thought of hot flashes in the summer. During lockdown we invested in Dyson cool tower fan. Although it was insanely expensive, it’s worth every single penny even if we only use it for 3 days a year!
What’s a girl to do?
How to keep cool
I keep the ice packs from the Gousto box. They are fantastic for when you need a quick cool me down. I put them on my head, back and tummy, quick wipe down with an antibac and back into the freezer. I keep mini ice packs to hand for the wrists and back of knees. If I’m desperate I simply run my wrists under cold water for a moment to regain my composure.
As I’ve gotten older, I really struggle with what to wear in the summer. Varicose veins now plague my once perfect pins so short shorts are simply not an option. I prefer to cover my arms a little due to the 18 year old me that wanted that tattoo that time. I still like it because it’s a part of my history but there are times I wonder what the f*ck I was thinking. If there’s a secret to keeping the bingo wings at bay in the humidity without risking a faint stench of b/o do let me know.
What to wear
Meet style consultant, Penny Bennett. The first time I met Penny, my jaw dropped. She was not only beautiful but she was wearing the most fabulous ensemble. She was destined for the fashion world and it comes as no surprise to see her thriving in her empire.
Penny has trained Personal Shoppers from the High Street’s top clothing brands and regularly teaches Personal Styling at the London College of Fashion.She has also been reviewed by Grazia magazine, and been interviewed by the Telegraph, FT and featured on Talk Radio.
I talked to Penny about summer recommendations. Here’s what she had to offer:
‘As an Aussie in London, I take to high-summer dressing like a duck to water but I know so many of my clients struggle when temperatures sky rocket. Here are 5 things you can do to look and stay cool.’
3. The right shoe can do all the hard work in levelling up your dressing so you feel pulled together when wearing your relaxed summer basics.
4. Swot up on your fabrics. Some textures may feel like cotton but are actually synthetics like polyester that don’t allow your body to breathe (read: make you sweat… a lot). Massimo Dutti has a great range of linen shirts. Just remember to go oversized and roll up the sleeves.
5. Add a sleeveless jacket to your favourite cotton maxi dress and suddenly you feel work appropriate without working up a sweat. I just bought this one from H&M.
We hope these tips help you get through the next few months. As if we ever need an excuse to online shop!
Do leave a comment and connect with us on Instagram here where we love to chat all things being in your 40s.