How to be formidable in your 40s

With age comes knowledge and with knowledge comes power. In my 40s I certainly feel the urge to take more control over myself, my actions and essentially respect myself a whole lot more than I ever did. Back in June we did a piece on Imposter Syndrome with breakthrough coach, Sarah Pittendrigh. We loved her insights and asked her to offer her expert top 10 tips on how to be formidable in your 40s. Here’s what she thinks.

1. Are you taking too much on?

Just because you can, does not mean you should – start delegating to make more time for you!

2. Are you forever saying yes?

Learn the art of saying no– you are too old to be doing things you don’t enjoy – if it isn’t going to delight you, why do “it”?

3. Why am I not happy?

Take responsibility for your happiness, if you are not happy work on understanding why? Create a happiness plan!

4. Be inspired

Stop procrastinating, you haven’t got time! If you want to do something, set a new goal, start a business, leave the shitty job, take action. Find people who can help you and inspire you.

5. Are you making excuses?

Drop the get out card. Stop making shitty excuses. You can do whatever you want to do. Stop saying you haven’t got time! You always have time for others, make time for you!

6. What are your priorities?

Where do you sit on your priority list? Are you even on it? Start removing people who don’t give you the time of day and put you right at the top!

7. Are you taking care of your body?

As we get older our bone density weakens – keep fit and strong. Good nutrition and exercise are so important post 40, especially with the menopause to contend with. Overhaul your diet and fitness routine. Walking is so good for you and your mental health.

8. Spring clean

Declutter your life – shitty friends, shitty relationships and shitty clothes! Clear it all out and make way for a new confident and vibrant vibe.

9. Knowledge is power

You’ve probably made shit loads of mistakes in your life by now, so you have learned an awful lot – this is good! You now know so much more than you did, knowledge is power – step into your power and use those lessons to your advantage. Where do you want to go or be in the next 18 months?

10. Put the work in

Make yourself a priority – if you are suffering from self limiting beliefs, imposter syndrome and anxiety, do the work. Seek out support, a mentor or coach who can help you to do the work to understand the root cause. Remove the root and make space for your new growth, the growth that will deliver your goals and ambitions.1

About the Author

Sarah is a multi award winning entrepreneur, franchisor and mentor. In 2008 she was a bankrupt single mum on income support, which left her plagued by anxiety and panic attacks – imposter syndrome and self limiting beliefs

When the world stopped during 2020, which in turn made her slow down and reflect, She looked back at the last 20 years of my life and realised at 48 years old She had worked so hard and been so busy facilitating everyone and everything else that I’d lost the most important piece of the puzzle – her.

She decided to use this forced time at home to work on herself as she would her businesses and used the method and framework She’d drawn upon to build and scale them, to refocus myself and to reframe my own personal goals. 

The result has now become The I CAN Method, her mind set re boot, which she uses across all of her one-to-one coaching programmes, a framework that will give you space and structure to reframe your goals and your purpose.

Her motto – It’s never too late and you are never too old! Contact Sarah here.

Are you formidable enough? Has this lit a fire in your belly? Get in touch, let us know and don’t forget to connect with us on Instagram here.

Hangovers in your 40s

Come round for a home cooked speciality spaghetti bolognese I said. It will be very chilled and lovely I said. We have some gorgeous red wine to accompany our grown up, civilised meal. How this descended into tequila shots at 11pm and toilet bowl hugging for a full 24 hours was entirely my fault and one I regretted as I was left quivering in a hot bath 12 hours later gingerly attempting to nibble a banana in a sad attempt to resurrect my soul. Herewith was my very abrupt and uncomfortable introduction to hangovers in your 40s.

Hanging

I kid you not, it’s been over 10 years since my last stonker of a hangover. I could never really handle alcohol and, to be honest, it’s a blessing in disguise. My body simply rejects it and although unpleasant, it means I’m a cheap date! It can be rather annoying. Once me and my bestie were drinking homemade woo woos on the tube en-route to Road House in Covent Garden circa 1999 when I unceremoniously puked the minute I walked in. We hastily left and that was the end of the night. I’ve since taken to enjoying one glass of something expensive, organic and fabulous.

Feeling somewhat embarrassed at the damage I’d done to my body, I called on expert advice so you guys don’t have to suffer the same indignity. At this point I would like to say a huge thank you to my incredibly supportive husband who, by the way woke up fresh as a daisy, went to the shop to buy me a Lucozade Sport which I sipped with such trepidation. My children were given a real life lesson into the after effects of alcohol that day so at least there’s one positive!

hangovers in your 40s

Ask the experts

Claire Snowdon-Darling is an alternative health expert, presenter and educator. As a menopause and hormones expert, Head of The College of Functional Wellness and founder of kinesiology clinic, Balanced Wellness. I asked her to explain what happens to our bodies during a hangover.

‘There are a few things going on when we are detoxing. Firstly we are dehydrated so making sure you drink lots of water. If you can’t stomach water on it’s own add some mint or cucumber or sometimes having sparkling water helps.

Next the liver is busy breaking down toxins into non-toxic substances (this is called Phase 1 detoxing) then trying to eliminate them (Phase 2 detoxing). To effectively do this the liver requires amino acids AKA protein and sulphur AKA green veg! Carbohydrates won’t help you here even though you are probably craving them. This is when it’s best to plan ahead and have some food ready to go in the morning. Eggs is a good place to start, ideally with something green to go with them like spinach. 

When we drink alcohol we flood our body with carbohydrates that quickly turn to sugar which means our blood sugars spike. What goes up must go down and when the blood sugars plummet we can get all sorts of symptoms such as nausea, feeling shaky and headaches. To avoid this avoid having chips or toast at the end of the night but instead plump for some protein. Yep, that kebab is actually quite a good idea if you avoid the pitta bread and chips. “End of the night protein” can really stop a lot of the symptoms the next day!’

Dr Sarah Yelland is a 40-something mum of twins, health and wellness coach and General Practitioner specialising in Women’s health, Menopause and lifestyle medicine.

Dr Yelland agrees that as she gets older, she’s less able to handle her drink. The intensity and duration of the hangover gets worse too.

The hunt for the hangover remedy

‘Sadly the ‘cure’ shall remain an urban myth- it just doesn’t exist- and I hate to be a party pooper if you are already suffering the effects of the night before, but prevention is definitely better than cure.

Most people thinks hangovers are all about the dehydration but that’s not the whole picture, it’s a little more complex.  When the body metabolises alcohol it produces chemicals and enzymes which stress out our cells, make our blood sugar go wonky, cause inflammation, oxidative stress and pump out hangover causing free radicals that need mopping up. Overwhelm the system and you’ve got your classic head pumping, stomach churning, brain fog of fatigue.

So what can you do?

hangovers in your 40s

Here comes the science bit

Before you go out

  • Eat- food especially carbs & fats will slow your absorption of alcohol- giving your body a chance to keep on top of the alcohol processing, and get rid of the hangover inducing toxins, before it is overwhelmed.

Whilst you are out

  • Avoid darker drinks – these contain natural chemicals called Cogeners- these are a cause of inflammation of our blood vessels and for many of us these will make your hangover feel that much worse.
  • Drink soft drinks in between, and preferably not the fizzy variety. Fizz speeds up the absorption of the alcohol- and like I said above, we want to Slow. It. Down..

The morning after

  • Get hydrated- you will definitely be pee’ing a lot more, add that to sickness and even diarrhoea and dehydration will play a part in how rubbish you feel. 
  • Eat breakfast (if you can)- a healthy hearty and balanced breakfast will help not only maintain blood sugar levels- a cause of fatigue and brain drain if they drop low- but also if you can get some colourful fruit and veg, will provide a healthy dose of antioxidants to mop up those nasties.
  • Deal with the inflammation- anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or aspirin will always be one of my go to lifesavers.
  • Settle your stomach- antacids like Rennies, Gaviscon or Nexium (esomeprazole) can help you not only ease symptoms but allow you to eat and drink.
  • Caffeine- okay so this doesn’t really deal with the hangover, you might just feel more alert after a lovely cup.
  • Move- ramping up your metabolism will help to fire up the systems to burn it off (just don’t over do it- remember the systems is already under stress
  • Sleep- sleep is our most restorative state, the body needs time to repair and focus all of its stress blasting systems on the effects of the alcohol metabolites.
hangovers in your 40s

Finally supplements

I know many of us want a “natural” or alternative approach to conventional medicines. Although research on supplements is limited, and the science gets a bit grey,  a few studies suggest the following might help reduce symptoms… and lets be honest after some hangovers every little helps.

  • Zinc
  • B Vitamins
  • Red Ginseng
  • Prickly Pear extract
  • Ginger
  • Borage Oil (from the seeds of starflower)

Let’s be honest the only real way to get away without hangovers is alcohol in moderation, moderation, moderation.’

What are your tried and tested hangover cures? Let us know by commenting below. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!

Brutal truths about being 40

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.

What is Perimenopause and how do I prepare for it?

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.

Happy Hormones

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.

40 things to do now that you’re 40

So now that you’re 40, what exactly does that change? Some might say nothing, but there is a feeling that perhaps we have less time to do what we wanted before – that time is becoming more precious. While it’s all too easy to have an existential or mid-life crisis at this point, instead of having a freak out, we say it’s to do what you’ve always wanted to do but have never done!

With that in mind- for your inspiration – we’ve put together this list of 40 things to do now that’s your 40. Because now is the time to live it baby!

40 things to do now that you are 40

1. Do something jaw-dropping

….that will have everyone in your family talking about you.

2. Embark on a really bizarre hobby

…along the lines of soap carving, making snow globes, beetle fighting or mooing (yes really it’s a thing!). More idea on weird hobbies here.

3. Drive your dream car

Can’t afford one? No shame, go and hire one for the day instead.

4. Try a watersport

…if you haven’t already – think windsurfing, kite surfing, wakeboarding or jet skiing for the ultimate in adrenaline rushes.

5. Take flight

Book a helicopter or hot air balloon trip.

now that you're 40

6. Woman-up

…and go on the scariest ride possible at a theme park

7. Unleash your inner dare devil

Do a sky-dive, bunjee jump or abseil if you’ve always wanted to but still not ticked it off your bucket list.

8. Sleep under the stars

Go camping/glamping, roast marshmellows over a fire, sing camp songs, make breakfast on a camping stove…I am always amazed at how many people say they have still never done so.

9. Rediscover where you live

Make like a tourist for the day where you live and see it with a pair of fresh eyes.

10. Sort your s*** out

Have therapy and sort out any unresolved issues you’ve dragged with you through life – or take them to the grave with you.

11. Feel the fear and do it anyway

Knock your biggest fears on the head – whether it’s a fear of heights, spiders, snakes with either exposure therapy or hypnotherapy.

12. Release your inner child

Do something ridiculous like sliding down the bannister, dressing up in fancy dress for no particular reason, play Twister, have a go on your child’s skateboard…..

13. Bring out the entertainer in you

Learn some good jokes and a party trick or two if you don’t have some up your sleeve already.

14. Love yourself

Have a date with yourself whether it be to an art gallery, bar or restaurant. Learn to love yourself. You need to live with her for the rest of your life.

15. Find joy in movement

Learn how to dance – I mean really dance! – whether it be ballroom, salsa, tango or belly! Even a bear can learn to dance, and so can you!

now that you're 40

16. Make history

Create a time capsule and bury it somewhere in your garden. Make a note to dig it up in five years time.

17. Reconnect with your younger self

Write a letter to your younger self telling her everything you would ever want to.

18. Discover your inner mixologist

Learn how to make a decent cocktail if you don’t know how to already.

19. Stop dreaming, start doing!

Push the button on whatever you’ve been dreaming about doing….and do it!

20. Be a hero

Let go of your ego, be heroic and initiate the change you want to see rather than just waxing lyrical about it.

21. Do what the f*** you want

Have a blank canvas day – leave the house with no plans in mind and see where the day takes you

22. Open your ears (and mind)

Listen to all the weird radio stations available on digital radio – you will be amazed at some of the things you’ll find on there!

23. Remember every good friend was once a stranger

Start talking to strangers – in the supermarket, on the train, on your next flight. Opening up is a beautiful thing. And who knows, maybe – just maybe – they could end up being a new friend.

24. Protest!

Stand up for something you believe in. Go on a protest march, start a petition, appeal to your local councillor.

25. Be naughty

Make sure you’ve gotten up to enough mischief in life. If not, don’t worry…there’s still time.

26. Look up to the skies

Go stargazing, visit an observatory, look for UFOS, planets, shooting stars and satellites.

27. Experiment!

Experiment with hair colour. Going grey is your chance to have fun and relive your teen years when you hair was every colour of the rainbow

28. Experience true decadence

Bath in a tub full of rose petals, dried citrus and oat bath milk – for the ultimate in luxurious experiences

29. Be your own doctor

Quit relying on your GP to solve your health problems. Try alternative medicines and therapies.

30. Meditate

Start a meditation practice. It’s the most amazing way of connecting with your inner self.

31. Do your Kegels

Do your pelvic floor exercises. Your bladder will be thanking you for it as you continue to age.

32. Reconnect with your wardrobe

Have a massive wardrobe detox. Book a personal stylist or shopper for the day create a little reinvention.

33. Get in the picture

Commission someone to paint a portrait of take some professional photos of you

34. Stay out of the sun

We all love the sun but who wants to look like a dried up pair of leather trousers?

35. Embrace the power of compliments

Start giving compliments to others more often and learn to receive compliments more graciously.

now that you're 40

36. Witness a miracle

Watch a sunrise from a mountain top and a sunset over the sea somewhere breathtaking.

37. Become a wordsmith

Try free writing or painting – grab a pen or paintbrush and just start writing or painting and see what comes out.

38. Hold the vision

Make a vision board of what you want your 40s to look like.

39. Silence your inner critic

It’s not nice to you and the only thing it’s good for is reaffirming untruths about yourself.

40. Organise a reunion

Whether it be old friends, colleagues, or families, resist the cringe and enjoy the chance to reminisce about your former glory days.

What else would you add to this list of 40 things to do now that you’re 40? Let us know in a comment below and connect with us on Instagram here where we love to chat all things about life in your 40s!

Photos by Julia AvamotiveSkitterphoto,  Tara Winstead,  Los Muertos Crew,  ThirdmanNataliya Vaitkevich, RF._.studio,  Eva Elijas,  Askar Abayev from Pexels

I tried naked yoga and here’s what happened

It seems that being naked is having a bit of a moment. From naked yoga, to the rebirth of the nudist beach as well as influencers baring all on Instagram, slowly being naked is starting to not only be something you do whilst in the bath.

I actually grew up in a household where being naked wasn’t a big deal. As weird as it was being confronted with my mum’s drooping boobs and catching sight of my dad’s penis aged 8 on a daily basis, I actually have a lot to thank my parents for. Being naked in front of me was probably one of the best things they ever did for me in terms of my body image and self-acceptance. Thanks to them I never felt that weird about being naked, even in front of other people. I continued this trend in our house, even to this day.

But even still, when The Naked Yoga Effect by Doria Gani landed in my hands, my daughter part-balked and part-sniggered at me with disbelief that I was entertaining the idea of doing yoga…..naked.

What’s the big deal – I thought – doing naked yoga in my own home? I wondered whether doing yoga naked could really feel that different. After all, a sun salutation is a sun salutation, naked or not…..or is it?

The Naked Yoga Effect

Doria Gani wrote The Naked Yoga effect having overcome a critical illness (cancer), having experienced first hand the liberating effects of practising yoga naked. It was the day after my dad had told me that he had a mutation in his BRCA1 gene widely known to be a cause of various cancers including breast cancer. I had a fifty percent chance of having inherited the gene and would also need to be tested. I was feeling ill at ease in myself having already had to have my entire thyroid removed due to the existence of pre-cancerous cells over a decade ago. I needed to feel free from the mental prison I was currently trapped in.

My experience of naked yoga

And so I grabbed my copy of The Naked Yoga effect, and flipped over to The Beginner’s Yoga Guide. I stripped off all my clothes there and then with purpose – relishing in the moment. That act alone felt so unbelievably freeing.

I instantly felt the difference as I moved through the sun salutation sequences. It felt amazing to not have a single piece of material on my body – feeling the gentle air against my skin. I felt more in tune with my body – and indeed myself – during a yoga practice than I had ever been.

I didn’t mind seeing my breasts swinging down underneath me, or seeing the folds of my tummy from my vantage point. For I was doing something mighty and I could see every single bit of it – every single movement and muscle working away without anything blocking my view.

I think part of the reason naked yoga feels so empowering is that you are doing something you might ordinarily do, in a way you wouldn’t ordinarily do it. So it’s not something completely new and hairy scary, but the fact that you are doing it completely bare makes you incredibly aware and mindful of everything. It also puts you gently out of your comfort zone. It’s a beautiful feeling! Just you, and yoga without any barriers, annoying bits of material or limitations. I honestly never realised that being naked could be such an inspiring and positive act.

Is naked yoga for you?

If you want to feel more comfortable in your skin, practice self-kindness, reconnect with yourself after some form of personal struggle, feel stronger and more confident, more positive or be more mindful that take off your clothes, and get on your yoga matt….because you’ve got nothing to lose apart from the clothes you are wearing.

What’s next?

I loved the feeling of having this special, private practice all to myself. Would I do it in a group class? Well, never say never, but for now, I’m happy to practice naked yoga just by myself. Just me, my body, and I.

Do you think you could give naked yoga a try? Do leave a comment below and connect with us on Instagram here to keep the conversation going.

Spinster Chronicles: The one with the breakup text

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.

How to keep calm and carry on in your 40s

Being in your 40s can be a funny old time. On the one hand you can feel mentally fierce and fabulous, on the other hand your body starts letting you know its age, and you are teetering on the brink of hormonal calamity otherwise known as the menopause. But hey! who are we to let all of that stop us from living our best life in your 40s?

But the thing is, in your 40s, you can no longer take for granted all the things you had done previously – especially when it comes to health (both mental and physical). The fact of the matter is, whether you like it or not, you are on a one way ticket towards perimenopause – a whole can of worms hormonally – as you edge close to the menopause (more on that in our upcoming article!).

Here, Kate Chaytor-Norris author of I Wish My Doctor Had Told Me This shares her top ten tip for keeping calm and carrying on in your 40s:

Be calm

Do anything that makes you feel calm – this helps the adrenal glands to work optimally – if we are running lots of stress, they then cannot take over the job of producing sex hormones to maintain a balance. 

Balance your blood sugar levels

This is so that the adrenals do not have to produce stress hormones when they are swinging up and down.  Try to avoid refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta rice etc) to reduce your sugar intake as much as possible and make sure that you have some source of protein with every meal or snack.

Breathe

This is probably the single most important thing that we can do for our health – breathing deep down into the diaphragm (fill the balloon in your abdomen) and practise exhaling more slowly.  This calms the body and so that everything works better.  If you extend the out breath this also helps to switch the body out of fight/flight.

Meditate

This for me is about stilling the mind so you can do this whilst walking, running or with any activity where you can switch your mind off. When I walk the dogs, I try to really focus on what the dogs are doing to bring me into that moment, instead of pounding along thinking about all the emails I need to send. It really helps.

Embrace nature

Be outside in nature and ideally with your bare feet on the earth/grass or if it is in the midst of winter, hug a tree.  This fills the body with free electrons which act as antioxidants helping to reduce the ageing of our body. Nature sounds help to switch off the fight/flight stress response.

Sleep

Sleep is a hugely undervalued activity – my rule of thumb is if you have to wake up to an alarm you are probably not getting enough sleep.  Try to be strict about bedtime, and as much as you can, go to bed at the same time each night.  If you struggle to get off to sleep watch your bedtime routine, keep it gentle and calm (no heart thumping thrillers or news at 10) with low lighting if possible.

Support your liver

Man-made toxins in our environment, such as pesticides and household detergents can overwork the liver. The liver is responsible for clearing out excess hormones, so to help it work better eat more cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts – as they help support the detox pathways in the liver. An optimally functioning liver can really help you through the menopause.

Drink more water

Try to make sure that you are hydrated every day as our bodies do not function properly if dehydrated. To work out how much water to drink, take your weight in kgs and multiply by 0.033 – this will give you the amount in litres that you should ideally be having daily.

Eat a rainbow

…of different coloured foods every day (think red pepper, broccoli, sweet potatoes, red cabbage, kale). Not only is it a joy to sit in front of a colourful plate but the antioxidants in the different coloured pigments help to reduce ageing and inflammation in the body.

Hug

…as much as you can and if you are on your own or self-isolating hug yourself- wrap your arms around yourself and squeeze tight.  This helps to increase levels of oxytocin, a hormone that lowers stress hormones, balances sex hormones, reduces cravings and helps with sleep.

How do you keep calm and carry on in your 40s? Share your tips with us in a comment below or keep the conversation going on Instagram here.

Reader offer: Get 20% off I Wish My Doctor Had Told Me This with the code KATECN20 at checkout here.

Kate Chaytor-Norris is a Nutritional Therapist who has made it her mission to empower people to heal themselves. She trained at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition and has been practising for the past ten years. Kate is also trained in Health Kinesiology, Nutrigenomics, counselling and PSYCH-K®. She lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children.

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny from Pexels

How to live an alternative lifestyle in your 40s

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.

Looking forward

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.

Corporate Isolation

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.

Finding happiness in your 40s – this summer and beyond

Life starts at 40….or does it? While some people might already living their best life in their 40s, others are feeling miserable as muck wondering what has become of their life. But wait for it…apparently being in our late 40s is the most miserable time in our lives. Now there’s something to look forward to…..NOT! Damn it, I thought I would be swinging by the chandeliers by then. So is finding happiness in your 40s a total pipe dream? Or can we still take life by the balls and throw a big two fingers up in the face of the midlife slump.

Well good news people because yes, happiness in your 40s feels as the scarlett pimpernell, here  Andy Cope and Paul McGee – authors of The Happiness Revolution – share their top tips for finding happiness in your 40s – this summer and beyond. Taken from the science of wellbeing, here’s how to have the best summer of your entire life that will help you feel fiendishly fantastic rather than flat as a pancake.

Going viral

Human beings are wired for emotional contagion. Your feelings and attitudes will spread. In holiday terms, if you have small children, they will be as happy in Margate as they are in Miami. So long as you are!

Similarly, one negative family member will lower the tone of the entire holiday party. Top tip: make sure it’s not you!

The $64,000 question

According to an esteemed researcher at the University of London’s Institute of Education, here are some monetary values of happiness:

  • Seeing friends and relatives is equivalent to a pay rise of £64k a year
  • Chatting to nice neighbours is worth £37k a year
  • Getting married is worth £50k a year
  • And the biggy? Excellent health is estimated to be worth £300k a year to you

Hopefully you can tick some of those boxes, in which case, you are enjoying ‘mental wealth’. Whatever the summer brings you, be grateful.

Happiness is Maximized at 57°F

Weird I know, but the American Meteorological Society found current temperature has a bigger effect on our happiness than variables like wind speed and humidity. It also found that happiness is maximized at 57 degrees (13.9°C), so, technically, point number 1 is bang on – you’re more likely to find happiness in Margate than Miami!

Stop musterbating

Musterbating’ is when you turn things you’d like to have into things you absolutely MUST have. Every advert on the TV is designed to make you unhappy with what you currently own, luring you to Amazon to spend money on products that will make you happy. Mr Postie’s next day delivery does indeed create a spike of happiness, for an hour or two, before you’re back online seeking another hit.

So here’s an interesting list to write… the top 10 happiest moments of your life. I’ll wager that most of your top 10 happiest moments are ‘experiences’ rather than ‘products’. So, to squeeze maximum happiness from your summer, throw yourself into experiences (picnics, BBQs, walks, swims, bike rides, pub lunches, sandcastles, hugs…)

‘Forest bathing’

The Japanese call it ‘shinrin-yoku’. We call it ‘going for a walk’. A study from the University of Sussex found that being outdoors made people happier: “Being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for most. In fact, participants were found to be substantially happier outdoors in all natural environments than they were in urban environments.”

To be fair, no University degree is required. The point is obvious; fresh air – lots of it – makes us feel fab. Top tip, while you’re out and about, walk with your sense open. Bathe yourself in mother nature.

Be the Pied Piper of Happiness

Your emotions are contagious – they leak out of you and ‘infect’ those around you. So, when you make the conscious choice to be positive and upbeat, other people will catch your good vibes. So, top tip, be enthusiastic for 4 minutes and everyone else will feel great too!

This is especially important if you’re camping in the rain. It only takes one idiot (you!) to be enthusiastically jumping in puddles and, before you know it, the entire campsite is doing the same. When you are old and prune-like, you will look back on your life and realise that these ‘little moments’ were, in fact, the best bits of your life.

So here’s to happiness in your 40s and saying no to being miserable and middle aged this summer and beyond!

***

Dr Andy Cope and Professor Paul McGee have combined forces to pen THE HAPPINESS REVOLUTION: A Manifesto For Living Your Best Life (published by Capstone, June 2021). It’s the perfect summer read. It won’t change the world, but it’ll certainly change yours.

About the Authors

DR ANDY COPE is the UK’s first ever Dr of Happiness. He has a passion for motivation and positive psychology and strives to influence people to think differently. He founded Art of Brilliance in 2004 to blaze a new trail – one that was non-academic, totally rooted in the real world and that would make a massive and immediate impact on individuals and organisations. Andy is a sought-after keynote speaker, bestselling author, and authority on happiness, motivation, and human flourishing

PROF PAUL MCGEE is a visiting professor at the University of Chester and is one of Europe’s leading speakers on the subject of change, resilience, wellbeing, and communication. His book SUMO became a Sunday Times best seller and his book on Self Confidence reached number one in the WHSmith’s business chart and remained there for a further 24 weeks. His books have sold over a quarter of a million copies worldwide. He has appeared on BBC Breakfast television and is a regular contributor on BBC Radio.

Photo by Julia Avamotive from Pexels