Tried and Tested: The autumn edit + a massive giveaway!

Welcome back to our regular feature at 40 Now What where we hunt down and share with you some of the awesome things that have landed in our inboxes lately! In the name of you – our lovely readers – we have been busy chugging, chowing, nurturing and guinea-pigging ourselves to the max. Read on to find out what has made the cut in our recommendations to you in our autumn edition of Tried and Tested. PLUS there is the chance to win over almost £500 in prizes in our bumper giveaway where you can win a massive selection of the items featured in this edition.

So without further ado, come a little closer and let us tell you about this month’s shining stars because this month we have been….

Eating/drinking

Mockingbird Spirit

Have you also fallen into the habitual 6pm wine trap? It’s time for a replacement. We’ve tried and tested non-alcoholic alternatives. And we’ve hit the jackpot. Mockingbird Spirit is an alcohol FREE, tequila INSPIRED, agave-based SPIRIT. Ideal for making all the margaritas with none of the migraines. Embodying the spirit of the Mockingbird, humbly mimicking the taste of Tequila by using authentic 100% Organic Mexican Blue Weber Agave. A functional & adaptogenic, passionately produced Alcoternative, made with all vegan/ gluten free ingredients to support health and happiness. Feat. Pure Ashwagandha, an adaptogen that benefits mental and physical wellbeing.The latest creation from their team of wellness beverage enthusiasts is the brand new Non-Alcoholic Mexican style Cerveza; Esmeralda, made with real Mockingbird Spirit. 

Mockingbird Spirit, £22.99 Esmeralda, £26.99 for 12. Available from mockingbirdspirit.com

Tuscan Tree

We were so excited to try out this new non alcoholic aperitivo and it didn’t disappoint when we used it for mixing up a Negroni. Infused with the fresh, natural juice of real blood orange juice. The bottle looks awesome in any drinks cabinet. Check out the mocktail menu on their website here and unleash your Italian spirit without the hangover!

Tuscan Tree, £11.99 (70ml bottle.) Available from Amazon, Master of Malt

Bella Italia

You had me at prosecco! Bella Italia is a unique 0% alcohol free sparkling wine made & bottled in the heart of prosecco country in Treviso, Italy. Using revolutionary technology keeps the unpasteurised & micro-filtered must fresh, with nothing added except the carbon dioxide which guarantees that special fizz. The result is a fresh Italian sparkling wine with a delicate flavour, low calorie content (just 46 calories per glass)& always, all importantly, 0% alcohol. Having tried and tested it during Mimosa Thursday, we are not joking when we tell you we couldn’t tell the difference and it was nice not to be tipsy on the school run! (jokes!)

Bella Italia, £9.95. Available from Amazon

Good Fibrations snack bars

How thrilled were we when these little bad boys landed on our desk for us to snaffle. We really struggle around 4pm and these bars are perfect. Designed to support your gut health, they are one of the highest fibre content health bars on the market and provide a third of your recommended 30g daily fibre intake! The bars come in yummy Peanut Butter, Raspberry & Coconut, Apple & Cinnamon, Cocoa & Hazelnut and are gluten-free, high in fibre, dairy-free and totally vegan too.

Good fibrations, £1.30 individually or boxes of 12 in Peanut Butter and Raspberry & Coconut for £15 for 12. Available from The Gut Stuff or Ocado

Jack Link’s High Protein Meat Snacks

I’d always been super curious about beef jerky. In 2019, Jack Link’s launched an improved recipe for its delicious Beef Jerky range, delivering a juicier and even more tender bite, responding to consumer demands following rigorous taste tests. I love the texture of it and its salty goodness. The full range is made of 100% lean beef, is high protein and all products are under 80kcals per portion. The Beef Jerky currently comes in three delicious flavours including Original, Sweet & Hot and Teriyaki. Perfect for afternoon snacking, on-the-go refuelling at home or at work.

12 x Bags, £12.99 from jacklinks.online or £3 per bag. Available from Ocado

Looking after our bodies & minds

tried and tested

The Leg Master® 

Pelvic floor issues? Have you got 1 minute a day? That’s 60 seconds ladies! We’ve got you. This fantastic bit of kit uses your own body weight to improve pelvic floor health through classic strength training and deliver a full body workout, and also improves posture.  Pelvic Floor health is essential not only for women who have had babies – but for everyone (men included!), and one beneficial side effect of The Leg Master® Total Body is that the muscles used to control ‘incontinence’ are strengthened, and tightened. Watch me in action here!

The Leg Master® , £89.95. Available from legmaster.co.uk

Trade to Aid pads

Feeling conscious of your period waste but haven’t yet made the switch to reusable pads. It’s not as scary as you might think! If you’re thinking of making the switch, we highly recommend taking the plunge with Trade To Aid reusable sanitary pads which come with everything you need to be kinder to the planet when Aunty Flo comes to visit. Think bright colours, a variety of pads to suit your flow during your period and the inclusion of a much needed matching waterproof storage bag and an absorbancy level which was absolutely spot on. Plus for every pack of pads you buy from Trade To Aid, they give a free pack to someone in need in a refugee camp to help the fight against period poverty. We’re almost excited to get our next period so we can use them again!

Trade To Aid Reusable Sanitary pads, £29.95 for a set. Available from tradetoaid.org

Beautifying with

Beauty products from Asia

We all know those beautiful women from Japan and Korea have the most to-die-for skin and now it’s time for us to get a piece of that pie! Korean beauty giant Atomy understands the importance of self-care, which is why they have created an online shopping mall that encapsulates everything to make you feel amazing from the outside in. We are huge fans of their multi award-winning Absolute CellActive Ampoule. Think of it like your favourite serum – only more powerful, much like a boot camp for your skin. Repairing, hydrating, brightening and anti-ageing, this is your secret weapon in times of skin dullness, breakouts, inflammation and irritation. Or whenever your skin is not looking its best.

Time to hop over to Japan. Hada Labo Tokyo™ -Japan’s number one selling skincare brand – is now available in the UK and we are massively crushing on it.  Formulated for dry and dehydrated skin, this super skincare brand is designed to boost hydration by supplementing your skin with hyaluronic acid. We can not live a day without Hada Labo Tokyo™’s Anti-Ageing Super Hydrator Lotion or Wrinkle Corrector Eye and Mouth Cream which together with their Anti Aging Sheet Mask has left us looking about ten years younger!

Absolute CellActive Ampoule, £36. Available from www.atomy.com/uk. Stock up on Japan Hada Labo Tokyo™’s range at Superdrug.

Beeutiful B-Rose Facial Balm

There is something incredibly comforting and soothing about using a facial balm, especially at the end of a long hard day. And that’s why Beeutiful’s B-Rose Facial Balm has become part of our bedtime beauty ritual. Know for creating natural handmade skincare so natural you could eat it, Beeutiful’s B-Rose Facial Balm is a luxurious blend of specially selected Jojoba, Rosehip & Macadamia oils combined within a beeswax base and the addition of delicate Rose Absolute to refresh, regenerate & tone.  It smells amazing, transporting us nightly a gloriously scented rose-filled relaxing place. But the real plus? Waking up to an fabulously nourished looking visage every morning!

Beeutiful B-Rose Facial Balm, £18. Available from from Beeutiful

ThickTails

So many of us are challenged by fine, thin hair and have tried so many different brands over the years. With perimenopause on the horizon, we were keen to try something new to help us battle the trestles. This range does not disappoint. ThickTails works to stimulate new hair growth by:

  • Improving the quality of the keratin structures formed.
  • Stimulating collagen and fibre renewal.
  • Reducing hair inflammation around the hair shaft.
  • Keeping the scalp at the optimal pH balance for healthy hair to grow.
  • Providing essential active ingredients to protect hair from free radicals and oxidants. 

Check us out using it via Instagram here

ThickTails Stimulating Shampoo, £17 Stimulating Conditioner, £17 Thickening Spray, £17. Available from Thicktails.com

Wearing

tried and tested

Cozi Hoodie

Close your eyes and imagine being swarmed by 100s of fluffy puppies… and that friends is that it feels like to be wearing a Cozi Hoodie. Made with sherpa fleece and lannel fleece to keep you warm and cushy so you don’t have to worry about the cold, we are pretty sure that this is the cosiest, comfiest and warmest we’ve ever felt whilst being engulfed in our Cozi Hoodie. Think taking comfort with you anywhere – nana naps on the couch, alfresco drinks with friends, cuddling with your pooch or partner – the options are endless!

Cozi Hoodie, £59. Available from cozihoodie.com

PLAINANDSIMPLE T-Shirts

This is a new ‘circular’ company. The slogan here is Made to be Re-Made. They offer free returns and a lifetime guarantee, that when they’re worn out, you can send them back, get £6.00 store credit, we then break them down and turn them into new ones. How awesome is that? They are perfect for autumn, wearing under leather jackets or styled in many different ways.

T-shirts, from £24. Available from plainandsimple.com

Feather and Bloom headbands

There’s nothing we love more than a strategically placed headband for elevating an every day look or dustract from greasy hair. Our go-to is this gorgeous guinea fowl feather headband from Father and Bloom. Simple, striking, elegant and easy to pair with so many different outfits, plus this is the most comfortable hairband you’ll find. 

Spotty Headband, £30. Available from Feather and Bloom

Tillet’s Clothing Cape

We are big believers in the power of accessorising over at 40 Now What. Our recent crush? This block patterned knitted cape from Tillets Clothing. Perfect for adding a bit of style over your standard jeans and boots look, but also super flattering and incredibly versatile making it the perfect layering piece for the season.

Block Patterned Knitted Cape, £30. Available from Tilllets Clothing

Vionic Shoes

These shoes are divine. I’m living in my Cecily ankle boots this autumn. This is an orthotic footwear brand which is loved by 40+ women, both for its style and also the fact that every pair of shoes comes with in-build comfort technology, which cups the sole, provides arch support and cushioning under the ball of the foot. We had a sneak peek at their Spring/Summer 22 collection and have to say ladies, your feet are in for a treat!

Ankle boots, £130 Available from Vionic shoes

Nurturing our homes with

tried and tested

Papershades

Fabulous, unique and, quite frankly, awesome. These are, as the creator herself describes are, ‘a very different lampshade.’ Ros is an artist who specialises in paper collage. Choose from a variety of collections including florals, places, culinary, literary, nostalgia or large. There’s a handy construction guide and easy to follow instructions so you can easily enjoy your beautiful papershades, perfect to bring some snazz to any room.

Papershades, £30. Available from papershades.co.uk

OceanSaver EcoDrops

This is a 100% plastic free, plant-based cleaning brand, on a mission to get everyone to banish single use plastic from home cleaning routines to preserve our oceans for future generations. They’ve taken a stand, by making really effective, plastic-free, plant-based home cleaning solutions, with all the power and none of the pollution. Unlike conventional cleaning brands, they don’t ship water. Simply drop the cleaner into the bottle, add water, shake & clean. Et voila!

The Everyday Essentials Starter Collection £17.50. Available from OceanSaver or find your nearest stockist here.

***GIVEAWAY***

Would you like to get your hands on a bounty of items featured above. We love to share, so that’s why we’ve put together a massive giveaway to win almost £500 worth of prizes! Would you like to win…

12 x Esmeralda Non-Alcoholic Cerveza + 1 x Giftboxed Mockingbird Spirit 70cl 

1 x bottle of Tuscan Tree

1 x bottle of Bella Italia

12 x Good Fibrations snack bars

12 x packs of mixed Jack Link’s jerky

1 x Leg Master

1 x box of Trade to Aid reusable pads

A supply of Hada Labo Tokyo™ Anti Aging Sheet Masks

1 x Beeutiful B-Rose Facial Balm

1 x set of Thicktails Shampoo, Conditioner and thickening spray

1 x plainandsimple T-shirt

1 x Feather and Bloom headband

1 x £20 gift card to spend at Tillets Clothing

1 x Cozi Hoodie

1 x pair of Vionic Shoes

1 x Papershades lampshade

1 x OceanSaver starter pack

PHEW! That is indeed a MASSIVE giveaway! and you can enter it over on our Instagram as soon as it launches.

Follow us on Instagram now to be the first to find out and enter.

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.

Tried and Tested: The summer edit + a massive giveaway!

Welcome to our new regular feature at 40 Now What where we hunt down and share with you some of the awesome things that have landed in our inboxes lately! In the name of you – our lovely readers – we have been busy chugging, chowing, nurturing and guinea-pigging ourselves to the max. Read on to find out what has made the cut in our recommendations to you in our summer edition of Tried and Tested. PLUS there is the chance to win over £1000 in prizes in our bumper giveaway where you can win a massive selection of the items featured in this edition.

So without further ado, come a little closer and let us tell you about this month’s shining stars because this month we have been….

Eating/drinking

Melitta epour

To say we are obsessed with Melitta’s new epour filter coffee machine is an understatement. With this sexy-looking machine on your countertop, great-tasting pour-over filter coffee has never been easier. The beauty is in the brewing process, which you will watch with an ohhhh and an ahhhhh thanks to its open filter allowing you to experience the brewing process at a touch of a button with all your senses. Extra brownie points for the pre-brew function which gives the coffee time for ideal blooming, so its full-bodied aroma can fully develop. Mmmmmmm…..coffee! The Melitta®epour® is available in two colour versions: Matt Back & GoldAND Matt Black & Chrome via melitta.co.uk RRP: £199.00

Wheyhey sugar free ice cream

This summer, we have been living our best life by devouring outrageously yummy and guilt-free tubs of Wheyhey sugar free ice cream. Packed with protein and naturally sugar free, made with the best bit of milk, from grass fed cows is a one way ticket to allowing yourself to live outrageously well without skipping on that well earned ice cream at 80 calories per 100ml serving. Because after all, life is better with ice cream! Wheyhey ice cream is available to buy in M&S, Spar and directly via Wheyhey.com across the UK starting at an RRP of £4.50.

Dietly snack boxes

Let’s face it – we all love to snack but when snacking options can start to become so blah can’t they leading to the road of all temptation. That’s why this summer we’ve been loving the snack boxes from Dietly. Choose from either Vegan or Keto boxes and be introduced to a whole world of healthy and yes – yummy! – snacking options you never knew existed be soon be so grateful to have in your life. From freeze dried fruits, to scrummy protein balls, popped cheese bites and nutritionally balanced energy bars Dietly has got you covered. Subscribe to Dietly’s monthly snack boxes for £40 a month at diet.ly.

SO PERF, Prebiotic + Probiotic Bars and Juice

We are big on gut health at 40 Now What which is why we have been chowing down on delicious superfood cold-pressed prebiotic and probiotic bars and juices from SO PERF designed to support the gut, immune system and microbiome health. Perfect for those who want to improve their gut health and reap the associated benefits but not predisposed to chowing down buckets of kimchi at every meal, the range from SO PERF is packed with superfoods, antioxidants, nutrients, fibre, protein and omega 3. Made with high quality fruits, nuts, seeds pre and probiotics which have been hand-picked to support your gut, immune system, microbiome health, brain function and energy which are both nutritious + delicious! Try a sample pack of their bars for £15.80 and juices for £17.25.

Berczy Hard Seltzers – 100% natural, low calorie low abv drinks

We know we should all be drinking more water right? So let’s make it more bearable with this fizz-tacular range of Berczy alcoholic sparking water. Still counts huh? Perfect for those dusk picnics with your tribe. With real fruit flavours of Passionfruit & Turmeric, Lemon & Lime and Peach & Raspberry. Always remember to drink responsibly. Try their taster pack for £14.95 at berczydrinks.com.

Doughlicious – gluten free ready-to-bake cookie dough

Guilt-free snacking at its best. It truly was ‘love at first bite.’ Every flavour is 100% gluten free. There are dairy-free, organic and vegan flavours too. The smell of freshly baked cookies will fill your home. You can choose to have a crispy or gooey cookie. Our favourite was the Double Chocolate Chip. What will yours be? Order now . Boxes from £3.99 at doughlicious.co.uk.

Happi Free From – Oat Milk Chocolate Bars

Having cut back on dairy to help combat eczema, you can only imagine our sheer joy at discovering these bars and we were not disappointed. Bliss is sharing a family-size choc bar with a loved one right? We can honestly agree there was no compromise on taste and we savoured every morsel. What are you waiting for? At £7 for 4 x 40g bars, check them out at happifreefrom.com.

Great British Porridge Co Instant & 100% natural

We’ve been instant porridge fans for a long time. You can add water or milk and create the perfect consistency for you and your whole family without the faff. High in fibre, no added sugar, dairy-free, gluten-free. It’s perfect hot or cold. The classic chocolate has become a breakfast staple in our house! See the range here thegreatbritishporridgeco.co.uk. Single bags start from £3.99.

The Protein Ball Co – 100% natural, bite-size protein balls 

These tiny balls of joy have got us yelling for more at 40NW HQ. High protein, gluten-free, no palm oil, no added sugar and packed with vitamins, these bad boys will get you through that afternoon slump. So many awesome combinations to choose from. We love the Peanut Butter ones soooooo much. You can pick a bag up from £1.99 direct from theproteinballco.com.

Looking after our bodies & minds

tried and tested

Dr. Vegan Supplements

If there are two things that have taken a pummeling during the pandemic, it has to be our energy levels and eyes. Sitting staring at a screen for all hours of the day and battling pandemic fatigue do not good bedfellows make. Thankfully Dr. Vegan’s Uber Energy Complete B-Complex and Screen Eyes Vision Health have been kicking us back into check on both fronts. Think naturally sourced supplements that are more absorbable, more affordable, made in the UK and not just for vegans! The perfect way to better yourself and the planet in one fell swoop. Shop the range from £6.49 at drvegan.com.

Raw Beauty Lab vegan collegen

Taking a collagen supplement when you hit 40 is a non-negotiable in our book. Why? In our forties, collagen has already been reduced signficantly and it is this that leads to wrinkles and sagging. But what if you aren’t keen on the plethora of bovine-based collagen supplements on the market because quite frankly, they can taste foul! Cue Raw Beauty Lab’s Vegan collagen which is made from skin boosting botanicals and harnesses the power of plants to protect and support beauty and wellness, with a delicious natural berry flavour which is hugely refreshing for a collagen supplement. Without a collagen after taste in site, we are converts! Available at Raw Beauty Lab at £34.95 for a month’s supply.

REDjuvenate red light therapy

If you have been battling fatigue, insomnia, pain or an injury recently then let us introduce you to the wonder that is Red Light Therapy. Harnesses the healing power of red and near infrared light, through photobiomodulation (PBM) and proven benefits for aforementioned applications, a 15 minute session at REDjuvenate Medical gave us the best night’s sleep ever (a major win for us insomniacs!) and boundless energy which felt like turning back the clock by twenty years. So how does it work? RLT targets mitochondria which are responsible for the energy generating spark plugs found in every cell. Many chronic illnesses are associated with some element of mitochondrial dysfunction, therefore, RLT is a targeted and effective treatment for many conditions. One session costs £85 (and is worth its weight in gold!). For more information on RLT and to book see redjuvenatemedical.com.

Efamol® Efalex Brain Formula Liquid

We all know the best way to get the nutrients we need is by eating a balanced and healthy diet, but if you are struggling to make sure you eat the recommended amount of oily fish, it may be worth considering taking a supplement. At a very reasonable RRP £9.99 for 150ml it’s available from efamol.com, Amazon, Boots the Chemists, health food stores and independent pharmacies. Always remember that food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a balanced diet or healthy lifestyle.

Wassen Magnesium-OK supplements

Wassen Magnesium-OK is a one-a-day nutritional supplement especially for women to help support general health and vitality throughout the monthly cycle and beyond. It contains a balanced combination of six important minerals including Magnesium which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and normal psychological function, plus chromium which helps keep blood glucose levels normal. Magnesium OK also contains eight vitamins including Vitamin B6, which contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity. Wassen Magnesium-OK (£11.99) is available to buy from wassen.com, Amazon, Boots the Chemists, health food stores and independent pharmacies. Food supplements should not replace a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Adbra Happiness Jars

With so many of us spending more time at our screens than ever before, sometimes we need a little prompt to encourage us to step away from the daily craziness of life and be in the moment. The latest addition to our desk comes in the from of an Adbra Mindfulness Jar. Think 30 micro mindfulness challenges to inspire and relax you and help you be more at peace if only for a moment. We absolutely love dipping into our jar when we’ve hit a wall during our working day and need to hit the reset button. The jars are also available in motivation, sustainability, friendship, self-kindness themes and more. Available at adbra.co.uk for £12.50.

The Positive Day Planner

Did you know it takes 21 days to form a new habit? We have been working on our positivity muscle at 40 Now What with the help of The Positive Day Planner. The Positive Day Planner is a 21-day gratitude practicing, affirmation affirming and self-commitment measuring mind dumping essential- that allows you to create your own happiness one day at a time. It’s the perfect tool for reflecting on the good things in your life, holding yourself accountable and feeling more positive about life – no matter what curveballs it may be throwing at you. The Positive Day Planner is available in 5 different styles at £10 each from thepositivedayplanner.com.

Dragonfly and Canamis CBD oils

If you’ve previously wanted to reap the numerous health benefits of CBD oils (anxiety, pain and insomnia relief but to name a few) but have been put off by the taste in on past attempts then you will love the CBD oils from both Dragonfly and Canamis. Think flavours in peppermint, anise, orange and cinnamon which really take the otherwise usual ashray taste away that can often be offputting for people. Needless to say, we are converts! Dragonfly CBD oil is available in a range of strengths available at Boots, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and online at dragonflycbd.com from £19.95. Canamis CBD oil comes in a whole range of favours with prices from £26. You can buy direct from their website canamis.com

Royce Lingerie

You know what we have really started hating over the last year? Underwired bras! So when we discovered Royce Lingerie – purveyors of beautiful wire-free bras, we could have cried with joy. Think incredible support and comfort rolled into one, we are absolutely in love with their super sexy Zahra matching set. The rounded cups are non-padded with a removable panel at the centre front offering the option of more or less coverage and the cups are lined with cotton making them super soft. The Zahra bra is £38 at royce-lingerie.co.uk.

Beautifying with

tried and tested

Eye Amour – Bella Vida Santa Barbara

Be gone eye wrinkles and fine lines! The latest addition to our beauty routine comes Stateside in the form of Bella Vida’s Eye Amour Serum. Creamy, rich and unscented – making it also perfect for those with sensitive skin – its lush blend of organic evening primrose, soothing organic aloe, vitamin E and rich organic oils do a stella job of deeply hydrating, soothing, repair ingand renewing cells of your fragile under-eye skin while you sleep. Eye Amour is $59.99 at bellavidasb.com.

Footner Exfoliating Socks

Feeling repulsed by the dry skin accumulating on your feet? So were we, until we discovered Footner Exfoliating Socks. Good god, the amount of dry skin that comes off your skin when using these babies is nothing short of INSANE. An intensive foot mask that peels away hard and dry skin in one 60-minute application then banishes all dead skin within  7-10 days. Super easy to use with no cutting, scrubbing or pain and not a foot file in sight, our feet still feel like a baby’s bottom 4 weeks on and counting. This is the future of feet people! Footner Exfoliating Socks are available to buy at Superdrug, Boots and Amazon for £9.99.

Face Yoga

Yes you read that right – face yoga! Did you know that just a few simple face yoga exercises each day can help to combat wrinkles, sagginess and puffiness we all battle against in our 40s. Whether you pick a few facial exercises to do in the shower daily or decide to have a massive self care session and dedicated face yoga sesh, you need a copy of Danielle Collins’ Face Yoga: Firming Facial Exercises & Inspiring Tips to Glow, Inside and Out which is packed with exactly that. If you’ve never tried face yoga before then okay…you may be silly….but let’s talk again in ten years time when you will be looking younger and more radiant than everyone else and therefore definitely not silly in the slightest! Danielle Collins’ Face Yoga is available from Amazon for £9.79.

***GIVEAWAY***

Would you like to get your hands on a bounty of items featured above. We love to share, so that’s why we’ve put together a massive giveaway to win a whopping £1000 worth of prizes! Would you like to win 10 sessions of REDjuvenate light therapy, a vegan and keto Dietly box, the whole range of SO PERF Prebiotic + Probiotic Bars and Juices, a selection of Berczy low calorie, low abv seltzers, a box of Doughlicious cookies, some Happi Free From – Oat Milk Chocolate Bars, a selection of Great British Porridge Co Instants, a range of no added sugar bite-size protein balls from The Protein Ball Co, a ADBRA Happiness Jar, a Royce lingerie matching bra and knicker Zahra set, a Positive Day Planner, a stash of Dr Vegan Screen Eyes and Uber Energy, two month’s supply of Raw Beauty Lab vegan collegen, some Canamis Peppermint CBD oil, Efamol Efalex Brain Formula, a year’s supply of Wassen Magnesium-OK supplements, some Footner Exfoliating socks plus some Eye Amour eye serum and a copy of Danielle Collins’ Face Yoga?

PHEW! That is indeed a MASSIVE giveaway! and you can enter it over on our Instagram as soon as it launches.

Follow us on Instagram now to be the first to find out and enter.

Are you lonesome tonight? Making friends after 40

When did you last feel lonely? Maybe it was yesterday, earlier in the week, one evening when you partner was working late and the kids were tucked up in bed. Perhaps since the pandemic, your social life feels like it has been reduced down to the size of a pea, and you’re wondering whether if you disappeared off the face of the earth with a little *poof* of smoke, if anybody would even notice. Maybe you’ve recently left your partner or husband and wondering whether there is any hope for making friends after 40 or if you’ll just be left on the friend shelf like a defective raggy doll. Or could it be that you have an absolutely raging social life still….in which case, I salute you!

Whatever the above, loneliness has reared its head in all corners of world, as we got robbed of our normal way of living with 79% of us now feeling lonelier than we did before Covid came and smacked us and our social lives full-on in the face. That’s felt even more keenly among single people, where the figure rises to a whopping 87%. And if you already struggled with social anxiety before? The bets are on that you are now feeling lonelier than ever before as the struggle to maintain friendships becomes even harder.

Is the forties the lonely decade?

So you’ve hit your 40s, and they say that life begins at 40, expect a study has found that people in their 40s feel the most lonely of all, god help us. But why is this? This Loneliness Awareness Week, I asked best-selling author, Gill Hasson of Lonely Less: How to Connect with Others, Make Friends and Feel Less Lonely why exactly this might be and here’s what she said:

Typically, you can become lonely either because of a gradual change in your circumstances or a because of a sudden change in your circumstances. You then either gradually become aware that you’re lonely – you feel disconnected, separate and maybe even isolated from others – or you are aware of a sudden loneliness.

The following circumstances can leave you feeling lonely:

  • A deteriorating, unhappy relationship or divorce.
  • If you have teenage children they need you less and less or they may have left home for university or work.
  • Becoming a parent for the first time – when all your friends’ children are much older
  • An unfulfilling job, having to now work from home, redundancy and unemployment.
  • A change in family and friends’ circumstances – maybe they move away, have a new relationship, start a family.
making friends after 40

Well that all makes sense. But without a tribe around us, shrinking social circles and confidence resulting in that feeling of withdrawal from life what is the remedy here? Is it making friends after 40, which in itself probably makes your insides cringe, but is probably the loneliness remedy here? The answer is categorically, yes.

Making friends after 40

So once we have chewed the cud and swallowed the horror that we need to put ourselves back out there on the friend market in our 40s, the question is – how the hell do we go about making friends after 40 anyway?

Firstly, fret not! Gill quite rightly points out, “There are people who are open to meeting others and making friends too. You’ve just got to find them. It takes effort on your part; you need to be willing to meet others, to be yourself and give something of yourself. A good way forward is to start with your interests. When you have interests and activities you enjoy, you can meet and join in with people with similar interests. Whether it’s playing or watching a sport, a creative activity or an enjoyment of arts and culture, getting together with people who like and enjoy the same things as you makes it easier for you to talk to them and make friends because you’ve already got something in common; you share similar interests and values.”

I asked her to share her top tips for making friends after 40 and this is what she said:

Go to a Meetup event

Have a look at www.meetup.com which enables people to find and join groups of others in their local area who share each other’s interests. There are Meetup groups to fit a wide range of interests and hobbies, plus others you’ll never have thought of: Book groups, art groups, film and theatre groups and sic-fi groups. Hiking and running groups, football groups, netball groups and cycling groups. There are groups centred around particular age groups, cultures and identities; ’40’s – 60’s’ groups for example, Japanese appreciation groups, conservation groups, singles groups, LGBT groups and so on.

People who go to ‘Meetups’ do so knowing they’ll be meeting people who are also open to meeting other people with a shared interest or identity and making new friends.

Take a class

Meet people who want to learn the same things as you. You can search for courses by going to your local council’s website and searching ‘adult education’ or ‘adult learning’ in the search bar. You can also find courses in your area by searching on FindCourses  findcourses.co.uk/search/fun-hobby-and-exercise-classes And the WEA www.wea.org.uk have classes in almost every area of England and Scotland.

Volunteer

Volunteering for a cause or local community initiative that interests you is another way to connect with other people. As well as helping and meeting others, you’ll meet other volunteers who could become friends.

Volunteers can do almost anything; there’s a huge range of volunteer opportunities available to you. Whether it’s serving tea at a local hospice, helping at a local community food project or an animal rescue centre, working with refugees, advocating for someone with a learning disability or mental health problem, not only can you do something of worth and value, but you can be involved in something that’s relevant to your values and interests. Go to www.ncvo.org.uk.

Look out for organisations that connect people

As well as the Meetup groups, courses and classes in your area, there are national organisations with local groups and clubs whose specific aim is to bring people together so that they can connect and make friends.

Mens Sheds menssheds.org.uk

The Women’s Institute thewi.org.uk

The Townswomen’s Guild www.the-tg.com

Apps that connect people with others:

Friender  frienderapp.com

TogetherFriends www.togetherfriends.com

Meet My Dog meetmydogapp.com

Nextdoor nextdoor.co.uk

Remember; you can make new friends, but you have to get out there!

Have you been feeling more lonely in your forties? How do you feel about making friends after 40? Do leave a comment and connect with us on Instagram here where we love to chat all things being in your 40s.

About Gill Hasson

Gill Hasson is the author of Lonely Less: How to Connect with Others, Make Friends and Feel Less Lonely (published by Capstone, June 2021). She has 20 years’ experience teaching and writing on a range of issues to do with personal and professional development, mental health and wellbeing. She is the author of more than 22 books; the bestselling Mindfulness, Mindfulness Pocketbook, Emotional Intelligence, Positive Thinking, the Sunday Times bestseller How To Deal With Difficult People, plus other books on the subjects of resilience, communication skills, assertiveness, and Careers. Follow: @gillhasson

Photo by Designecologist,  Polina Sirotina, Felipe Cespedes, RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Will meditation help me? Here’s why you need meditation in your life

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Have you often wondered “will meditation help me?”.

Well, let me break it down for you like this. Life before meditation, and quite frankly, I was completely crazy. From struggling with insomnia to unleashing seismic fits of rage on my partner, I felt like a terrible parent and human being wound like a tight coil ready to spring at any time. You name the inner demon, I was struggling with it.

I was on the road to 40 and beginning not to like myself very much. I had become so grossly reactionary to pretty much everything and especially when life wasn’t going according to plan – which let’s face it can feel like 99% of the time. I wondered “will meditation help me?”. I desperately hoped the answer would be yes.

I needed to mentally unplug and get away from it all, and six years ago booked myself onto a half day meditation workshop with Simon Hoten for beginners where I learnt the basics of meditation, how to meditate using a candle, moving meditation and more. I had always been nervous about the idea of meditation. Could I actually sit still and meditate when I couldn’t even handle a Savasana at the end of a yoga class without wanting to have a massive twitching fit? And even if I managed to do that, when on earth would I ever fit meditation into my daily life?

I left the workshop feeling deeply and sublimely relaxed. The best takeaway? The revelation that even just three minutes of meditation could help me. And armed with that knowledge that meditation didn’t require a large chunk of my time, I tentatively started my meditation practice, just before light’s out every evening.

Six years later, it’s still going strong. Sometimes it’s three minutes – sometimes it’s 15 minutes. Hey I’m not counting! But either way I am no longer asking “will meditation help me” because I know the answer is a resounding yes.

Will meditation help me? Here are the ways it has done good in my life

Meditation has so far improved my life by:

  • Easing my anxiety
  • Improving my overall mental health
  • Helping me sleep
  • Making me less reactionary
  • Increasing my self-awareness and self-control
  • Making me feel overall happier and more confident
  • Enhancing my productivity, creativity and efficiency

But don’t just take my word for it. Just google “How meditation changed my life” and you will find reams of pages dedicated to people saying the same. This – my friends – is no coincidence. Because meditation works.

Will meditation help you find your right mind?

Recently I discovered Finding my Right Mind: One Woman’s Experiment to put Meditation To The Test. The book follows Vanessa Potter’s journey – where one day she woke up to find herself blind and paralyzed. How absolutely petrifying! She was stunned to discover that it was meditating, not drugs, that saved her mind.

Convinced she had more to learn, she embarked on her own consciousness road trip, exploring the major schools of meditation, along with hypnotherapy and psychedelics. In order to objectively record her journey, Cambridge neuroscientists measured her brain activity, with their observations and results featured within the book. It’s a fantastic whistle-stop your of the different types of meditation out there, and it provides an unusually voyeuristic glimpse into how powerful meditating can be. So if you’re not yet convinced that meditation can help you find your right mind – or even how on earth it can – then I would suggest you read this book!

I loved how perfectly she summed up the impact meditation can have on your life in her conclusion:

“It’s taken effort and time, but meditating doesn’t have to be a straight jacket; ironically, it’s been freeing. I’ve learned to be responsible for myself – what I think, feel and do is up to me….I had to acknowledge the different versions of myself. The nice, patient self along with the grumpy, worried-about-my-kids self. Neither is better or worse.”

She continues, “Meditation doesn’t have an on-off switch. It’s not as simple as doing it or not doing it. Sitting still is only part of it. What happens after that then, twenty or thirty minutes is just as important.” It’s that last part that rings so true for me – it’s about how meditation eventually informs everything that you do in your life, and makes it better.

Help! I can’t sit still and quieten my thoughts for love nor money

I hear you! I also have a brain that behaves like it has been soaked in amphetamines for a week straight plus a back that screams “I hate you!” most of the time. But yet still, I am living proof that it is possible. If you are in the same camp, then you will want to know about Sitting Comfortably by Swami Saradananda – an internationally renowned yoga and meditation teacher who has inspired thousands of people to practise.

It is full of tips for those who are prone to getting distracted, finding sitting painful, lack of time and self-discipline. Read: everybody. Once you have read this there will be no more excuses. You will stop wondering hmmmm will meditation help me and dive in and finally find out for yourselves.

Swami notes, “The mind likes constant stimulation, so when you try to sit quietly during meditation, without giving your mind external entertainment, it may come up with resistance and excuses not to continue. Rather than viewing these as setbacks, it is useful to view them positively, as obstacles to be overcome and lessons to learn from. Below are some common mental and physical challenges of meditation and how to overcome them.”

Be in the moment

Memories of the past and daydreams of possible futures can often distract the mind. If these come up while you are trying to meditate, just bring your mind back to your point of focus – whether it is your breath, a mantra, a visualization, or whatever other technique you have chosen to use.

Avoid fault-finding and replaying thoughts

Try not to review the shortcomings of other people when you are sitting for meditation and also be careful not to get caught up in self-criticism. If you find your mind re-processing the events of the day during meditation, remind yourself to come back to your point of focus, whatever that may be.

Be fearless

You may uncover hidden fears during meditation that have been lurking within your subconscious mind. These can manifest in many forms: fear of death, disease, solitude, criticism, or even just facing yourself. All fear stands in the way of meditative progress, so develop the habit of observing them with detachment. You will find that many will dissipate of their own accord if, instead of allowing yourself to get caught up with them, you simply return your attention to your chosen point of meditation focus.

Avoid muscle cramps

You could take a walk before sitting to prevent cramps. Make sure that you are getting enough potassium in your diet – and maintaining a healthy potassium-magnesium-calcium balance. Consider eating more bananas, dried apricots, prunes and other fruits.

Feeling disorientated?

Sometimes you may feel that your body is whirling or moving in a spiral motion as you sit in meditation. This tends to be more common if you meditate with your eyes closed. If this happens, open your eyes for a moment to reorient yourself and then close them and restart your meditation practice.

Exercise for optimal energy

Doing some form of exercise prior to meditating – whether stretches, yoga poses, breathing exercises or even just going for a brisk walk – can help to energize you for it.

So if you still think that meditation is just sitting around and doing nothing then think again! Still wondering “will meditation help me”? Let’s put it this way – I would be willing to put my house on the line and answer your question with “yes it will!”. Well, go on then and give it a try. After all, you’ve got nothing to lose, apart from all those bad habits that meditation can help you get rid of :).

Photo by Shashi Ch on Unsplash