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.

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

You know you were born in the 80s because….

If you’re just turning 40 then you were born in the 80s. I loved seeing my mum in shoulder pads and being a teenager in the 90s was totally awesome wasn’t it?

We’ve put together our ‘kids in the 80s’ top 10 memories. If you were born in the 80s, we hope you enjoy this little trip down memory lane.

When I was a kid….

We’re reached THAT age where we can say, well it wasn’t like that in my day. Because let’s face it, when we were kids, there was NO internet. Imagine the audacity of having to go to a (children block your ears….) library!

1. The Worldwide Web, dial-up, fax machines and rotary phones

If you wanted to make a phone call it had to either from your house or a reverse charge phone call. The rotary phones took FOREVER and if you got a number wrong, well it was anxiety inducing!

Who can forget the unmistakable sound of the dial-up Internet. You just never knew if it would work. Apparently, this sound is known to technicians as a ‘handshake.’ If you were born in the 80s, it’s a sound you’ll never forget.

I discovered Google for the first time when I was personal assistant to the Executive Producer on EastEnders. He had a hard back paper diary. I wrote all the meetings in pencil so I could rub out the changes. One day I realised I’d booked in a meeting, that was happening in an hour’s time, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember who this person was or why they were coming in. While I was panicking, sweating and trying to breathe, in walked one of the story producers who could see me twitching. ‘Google him,’ she said. I had NO idea was wizardry she spoke of and you can only imagine my utter delight when in under 2 minutes, my problem was solved.

2. Terry Towelling Fluorescent socks and Shell Suits

Incredibly dubious fashion statements. Not for the faint hearted. The neon pink, yellow, green or orange terry towelling sock. Colour clashes galore. I think sometimes I even wore odd socks just to really freak myself out! Shell suits, well, let’s face it, if you were born in the 80s, you’re lucky to be alive. One false move near a cigarette and you’d be charred remains. Talking of which – did anyone else have to go to the shop with a handwritten note from their mum asking the shop keeper for 20 B&H?

3. You recorded the chart show on a cassette tapes and saved your files onto floppy disks

The weekend was always about recording the chart show. You rarely listened to it again but it was super important to record it. And to have an HB pencil on stand by for an untangling emergency when your tape got stuck. Heart stopping stuff really.

Our parents’ important work was stored on floppy disks which always really confused me on the account of them not being at all floppy.

4. Questionable Desserts

Ice-cream came in blocks. We’d get Neapolitan slabs of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. We’d all just eat the flavour that we liked so often they’d be huge chunks of one colour missing! My Dad told me a horrific story about the ice cream vans and how they mix the whippy so to this day I will only get a pre wrapped but my go-to then was a Screwball with the bubble gum at the bottom. Every time I risked chocking as I poured the last drip of melted ice cream to get the gumball. Saturday dessert was always a Viennetta and we felt well posh. If we had ice cream on its own, we’d smother it in Bird’s Ice Magic. How that stuff set so hard and fast, I’ll never know and it’s probably best I never do!

5. Timmy Mallet woke you up on a Saturday

The Wide Wide Awake Club was on our screens every Saturday morning between 1984 and 1989. Saturday mornings were all about TV in our house. We’d watch Going Live and I still remember the number to call, which I did every week was 081 811 8181! Who didn’t love Trevor and Simon and go to school on a Monday ‘swinging your pants!’ To this day, every time I change the sheets I hear myself saying…’I don’t dooooooo duvets!’

6. Hooch, Mad Dog 20/20, Ford Fiestas and Smoking

Retching at the thought. These days I have a very considered and refined alcoholic palette. Back then, I’d neck any old rubbish and would give myself explosive diarrhoea from cider straight from the litre bottle that was shared among 10 other kids, while driving to the park in a battered Ford Fiesta with a packet of Silk Cut that cost £1.11.

7. Charity Telethons and Childline

Who remembers being insanely excited about getting their fund raising packs and staying up all night long with Michael Aspel??

The fantastic Childline was founded by Esther Rantzen in 1986. 0800 11 11 was a number we would frequently threaten our parents with if we didn’t get ice magic on our ice-cream, much to my horror today.

8. Classic TV Shows

Favourites in our house were Bread, The Two of Us, Don’t Wait Up, Darling Buds of May, ‘Allo ‘Allo, Brush Strokes, Rentaghost, Rosanne, Watching, Just Good Friends, Some Mother’s do ‘Ave ‘Em and of course, Last of the Summer Wine. As soon as the theme tune came on, it was homework time and Sunday night dread. Can you believe there were after all only FOUR channels! And you had to walk up to the TV and press a button to change it while wiggling the coat hanger that was the temporary arial. If you fell asleep on the sofa, you’d have woken up to Test Card Girl with the scary clown doll. How fabulous!

9. Toys

We all bossed it on our original Nintendos playing Super Mario brothers and Black and white Tetris on the Game Boy. If you weren’t freaked out from being made to watch Child’s play, you probably had a Cabbage Patch Kid. The rest of us were terrified of it coming to life and finishing us off in the middle of the night.

10. Beauty Products

Hands up if you wore Rimmel Heather Shimmer? Wore Exclamation by Coty and fumigated yourself with Charlie Red. I know I did. I also had ginger hair from spraying wayyyyyy to much Sun-In in my hair before slathering it in L’Oreal Stu, Stu, Studio line hairgel!

If you were born in the 80s, We hope you enjoyed reminiscing. What are your favourite memories? Leave a comment below and follow us on Instagram here.

How to be body confident in your 40s

Remember in your 20s when you finally got that taste of sweet freedom and you felt invincible? Your body was probably a lithe machine of a vessel! No neither do I because quite frankly, it feels like another lifetime ago, and almost certainly a different person! Fast forward to now – your 4th decade – and urban legend tells us that you should be feeling confident in your 40s because of a whole list of reasons. The greatest reason is because we are allegdly supposed to no longer give a shit about anything (hmm debatable). But what about being body confident?

For many of us, our 40s are a time of great change in our bodies and this is exactly why it’s the perfect time to rewrite the narrative around our bodies and self-worth. But how do we do that?

Today we’re giving the floor over to Body Confidence Coach Sarah Lyons who having recently turned 40 herself shares her reflections and tips for feeling confident in both mind and body in your 40s – whatever the situation!

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The fact that my body is now 40 years old is not something to be ashamed of, not something to hide or fix but it is a wonderful palace that I live in. My body is my home in this lifetime and I plan on enjoying it.

Having been around the block in regards to body confidence and finally made my peace I am truly looking forward to the next 40 year because it will not be filled with shame, self doubt or worry about  what anyone else thinks about me or my body. It is none of their business !

Being body confident means something totally different to me now  than even a few years ago. Body confidence to me was always about looking your best so people would think the best of you. It  was about trying to be a certain weight. Because being a teenager in the 90’s was all about being thin and thin ment being happy!

Body confidence now is about having an amazing connection with myself. I must be who I am regardless of how I look and regardless of what I weigh. Body confidence is about the relationship I have with myself and my body.

It has nothing to do with anyone else and I have stopped looking to outside sources for my validation and happiness. Yes I still love to wear my beautiful clothes but now I wear them for me to make me happy.

I can hear you asking how I got to this place of  body confidence. Well the answer is self acceptance and kindness.

Keys was to start being kind to yourself and accepting yourself are

  • To focus on your positive qualities
  • Say kind and positive words to yourself everyday
  • Avoid negative self talk
  • Set positive healthy goals and respect what your body can do.
  • Admire the beauty of others but do NOT compare yourself to them
  • Remind yourself that the media images we see are often unrealistic and unattainable .

Once I started to do these things they quickly became automatic, becoming body confidence is a change of mindset but it is something you have to work on daily. Putting in the work on yourself will lead to united rewards for you and the people around you. You deserve to live a fabulous life.

So how can we be body confident in different areas of our lives? As I said it starts with self acceptance and kindness. And here are some tips to get you started.

Social occasions

It is totally normal to feel some anxiety around social occasions , it is a new experience of meeting new people and being in a new place but try a few things to make it a little easier.

  1. Posture, you are a little bit older but there is no need to be slouching down. Stand tall with your shoulders back. Keep your head up and make eye contact.

2. Tone of voice -a friendly or gentle tone of voice is helpful in any kind of communication, especially an uncomfortable one. When you are mindful of how you say things, you will feel more confident. You will also make the people around you feel at ease.

3. Listen -becoming a good listener is always a good thing but especially in social situations. Don’t look at your phone all the time and use kind facial expressions to show you are listening.

4. Reality check -when we are in new situations like social ones our mind can run away with itself and we start to overthink or over analyze our existence and why we are there in the first place! Reconnect back to yourself with some deep breaths or box breathing .

5. Smile – my number one tip for loving yourself and feeling confident. Smiling is scientifically proven to make you feel better. Smiling at others will help you feel confident and make them feel great.

At work

Feeling confident at work can be hard if you don’t really love the job you are in – if it’s making you feel miserable and depressed then maybe consider moving on. Our work environment plays such a vital role in our wellbeing and confidence.

Here are my top tips for confidence at work:

  1. Cut out the negative self-talk. Try becoming your own best friend and use kinder, more reassuring words to and about yourself.By developing a positive mindset it will help you feel 100% more confident in yourself.

2. Focus on your own strengths not on your weaknesses, if anything needs some improvement don’t talk badly of yourself just work on it.

3. Ask for feedback, if you don’t ask for feedback you will never know how to improve and when its positive feedback just accept it and say thank you

4. Eliminate negative language – your body is always listening to you and if you are always talking to yourself in negative terms you will never feel confident.

5. Fake it till you make it, people may not agree with this one but it has always helped me out in a lot of situations. Acting like you are confident, speaking like you are confident is a sure way to start helping you feel more confident. The more you do it the easier it gets then you actually start to feel it for real !

Confidence as you get older

Our bodies change every day, none of us have the body we had 10 years ago let alone last year. Aging is part of life and it happens to us all no matter what expensive face cream we use! In order to start being confident at any age we have to accept where we are right now. Looking back and longing for the body we had in our 20’s is no good to us because we’ll never have that back . If we constantly measure ourselves against something in the past we are setting ourselves up for failure. Comparison is the thief of joy as the saying goes so whether you are comparing yourself to others or to your younger self it is not serving you . By doing this you will be chasing happiness that could be yours right now at this moment .

Here are my tips for being confident as we get older:

1. Write down all of your achievements – having done this myself I am blown away by how much I have achieved. You will be surprised when you start to really think how much stuff you have forgotten !

2. Develop and open mindset – when we have an open mindset we can start to learn new things and have new adventures. Life is for learning and you are never too old to learn.”Never stop learning because life never stops teaching”.

3. Update your image. Change up your look , change your hair or update your wardrobe this can give you an instant confidence boost.

4. Move your body. Our bodies love to move and find out how yours likes to move – is it dancing, pilates, yoga, or walking. Whatever it prefers, just keep moving.

5. Keep up the positive self talk, don’t join in when your friends start talking badly about thor bodies you steer the conversation to a more positive area.It very easy to get sucked in when others are talking but don’t let it. Stay with the positive !

6. Self care – looking after your well being inside and out will always help you feel confident and your body will thank you for it. Put yourself on top of the list.

7. Set some boundaries. This is also a form of self care. Get away from people who are draining your energy or making you feel bad. Think about the consequence of saying yes all the time.

Being confident at the beach or pool

For many this type of situation can cause a lot of anxiety. The thoughts of putting on swimwear can send people over the edge.

Again if you start to accept and be kind to your body this will be a lot easier .

  1. Buy a swimsuit that flatters your body shape.

2. Dont add any extra layers or skirts, this only adds bulk and may draw attention.

3. Remember having a beach body was made up by people in the fashion and weight loss industry to make you buy their product and feel bad about your body. Don’t let them win.

4. If you love the beach or love to swim don’t let the opinions of strangers stop you from doing what you love.

5. Remember fake it till you make it!

Having true body confidence comes from being our authentic self. When we are living as our true self everything starts to fall into place. It all starts with love and kindness towards you and your body. We only have one body in this lifetime and it’s our home so lets start loving and respecting it.

How confident are you feeling these days? Do you feel body confident? Share your thoughts in a comment below and keep the conversation going on our Instagram here.

Sarah Lyons is a body confidence and well-being coach for mums. Drawing from her own experience in motherhood she is passionate about helping mums develop a positive body image & reconnect to themselves. Get in touch through www.sarahlyonscoaching.com or www.instagram.com/themammycoach

Photo credits: Sunsetoned, Laura Tancredi,  Lisa from Pexels 

This is 40, so now what?

Life begins at 40.

So if this is 40, why do I feel like I’m at the beginning of the end?

What my mama said

My mum was 39 years old when she had me. These days that’s not considered old to be having children but, as a little girl, I was consumed with thoughts that she was older than all the other mums. Other kids would assume she was my grandma and it upset me so much. To be fair, I was a little whoopsie, a happy mistake my parents made whilst holidaying in Madeira apparently. Not unwanted by any means but definitely not planned. 

I used to obsess with Mum’s age and would constantly ask her if she was going to die. She’d laugh it off and would tell me that she didn’t feel any different to when she was in her 20s. 

Growing up, I couldn’t ever imagine being the age my mum was when she had me yet here I was. And I know exactly what she means. I don’t feel 40. But I look in the mirror and the person looking back at me isn’t the fresh faced vibrant me in my 20s. It’s a rather tired looking human whose eyebrows need some serious attention. One whose skin is suffering from irreparable sunbed damage from the 1990s. I used to slather myself in baby oil the minute the sun came out and douse my hair in Sun-in. I wish I’d taken skin care more seriously back then. Don’t we all? 

The Game of Life!

There are moments where I genuinely don’t really feel like an adult. Seriously, I just feel like I’m playing the game of life. Almost like I’m going to get called out at any moment, ‘the game’s up kid, you don’t really have to concern yourself with a personal tax return.’ 

I’ve got an accountant so I must be an adult. Right?

My kids think I’m a grown up. Fools! I have cheese more mature in my fridge.

What now?

Where do I go from here? I had a successful career before I met and married the man of my life. I had 2 healthy children and don’t plan on having any more of those. So what now? I’ll be honest, I’m just a bit bloody tired from it all now. 

In fact, I’m sooooooo tired and drained. I rarely make it past 9.30pm these days. I spend the day full of excitement about whatever Netflix series we are binging and I get all snuggled in ready to enjoy. Next minute, I’m snoring away like a little pig and I never see the end of anything. I’m almost excited to retire just so I don’t have to move so much. Sometimes I fantasise about the care home. I quite like jelly and imagine being wheeled to a window as I take my final breaths gazing out to the sea. Which walking corpses will become by end of life buddies? What sort of mischief I could cause with my zimmer frame. 

A life less ordinary

I realise the life we are living at the moment is far from the ordinary. 

My god I’ve had to dig deep this past year. I imagine we all have. Luckily I never really loved being out too late. Or being out at all sometimes. There was always an ongoing joke with my work mates that you could go out with me on an evening and arrange to meet another friend later as I was always set on getting home before 10pm.

I miss carefree browsing in the shops on a Saturday morning. That was my self care time. It’s not at all fun with a face muzzle terrified of being sneezed upon by anyone who dare enter your 2 metre restricted zone. It’s not all bad. We get to spend more time with our family. SO much time with our family. You can almost have too much of a good thing. Am I being sarcastic? You’d have to ask my husband to know for sure. 

It makes sense now this is 40

Life for me at the moment is focused predominantly on the children and despite being tired, I’m content. And that, my friends, was my lightbulb moment. This. Is. 40. I am content. I’ve sailed the seas of my 20s, gained more wisdom in my 30s and now I’m here. It’s time to stop thinking about care home jelly and focus on being fearless, fierce, focused and free! This is 40!

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Charlie Brooks on Turning 40

Charlie Brooks has just turned 40. I worked with her on Britain’s much loved soap opera, EastEnders. 

Back then I was a very cheeky 20 year old and assistant to the Executive Producer.

At the time, EastEnders had around 20 million viewers. 

I was one of the few people privileged with knowing who shot Phil Mitchell and it was such a buzz. Top of the Pops filmed at the studios on a Thursday night. We’d all go backstage and get pissed in the bar after. One time I got really drunk on Arthur Fowler’s bench in the square and flashed my tits at the webcam. But I digress. 

Charlie is best known for playing Janine Butcher, receiving numerous awards for her work as an actor. As well as starring on other roles, she’s released a fitness DVD and went on to be crowned queen of the jungle on the 12th series of I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here in 2012. More recently she portrayed the character of a mother to a severely autistic child in the stage play All in a Row. 

These days she works alongside the industry’s greatest and hosts an open mic night at IamPro, a project she’s launched with her brother. It’s a platform to help all creatives access and afford workshops and coaching from people they might never have had the chance to work with due to location or finances. 

Find out more about IamPro here

Charlie Brooks’ advice for turning 40: ‘Don’t stay in the box’

Charlie Brooks describes herself as an actress, an entrepreneur, a mother, a lover, a reader, and listener. She will be who she wants to be. Sometimes she will do it well. Sometimes she won’t. But she will always do it with kindness and joy. 

Her advice is…. ‘Be curious ladies, don’t stay in the box.’

Charlie and I remained friends on Facebook and over the last year, from her posts,  I got a real sense there had been a turning point in her life so I got in touch to find out why and interestingly… it turns out she’s turning 40 in May so I wanted to know if there was a connection between that and her new found contentment.

‘The juicy stuff lays in vulnerability’  

I was inspired by Charlie who said the 3 words that sprang to mind when she thought about turning 40 were ‘Play, Curiosity and Adventure.’ On what advice she would give her 20 year old self, she said ‘enjoy partying but don’t let it take over but have a good time. Trust yourself, listen to your gut, be unafraid and ask for help.’ 

On her tribe, Charlie’s ethos is to ‘Surround yourself with people that know more than you do about everything. You don’t have to know everything because the juicy stuff lies in vulnerability.’ 

Charlie’s tips for turning 40 and self preservation were reading, hot baths and Bulletproof Coffee. Her morning routine includes meditation and journaling where she jots down any of her worries and fears. Having been a thrill seeker her whole life, with 40 on the horizon, these days finding balance and consistency ultimately brings her peace. 

‘Having a bit of fear is quite healthy.’ says Charlie Brooks

As well as naturally worrying about health, Charlie’s greatest fear is not being good enough. But she is understanding that fear can be healthy to drive you to do something new, even when you don’t feel like you can. We are told we can do it, our dreams will all come true, if you believe it will happen. There’s so much on offer constantly and all this instant gratification that our brains are overloaded and we can feel like we are letting ourselves down. 

So let’s be kind to ourselves. Let go of expectation and accept ourselves. 

Just as we are, even if we’re turning 40.

Charlie Brooks is wearing Neo jumper from The Bias Cut.

Turning 40: 40 things we’ve learned in 40 years

Having finally turned 40, I was met with lots of the usual “so tell me, how does it feel to be 40”? I’ve turned 40, not grown an elephant trunk, I thought! So if you ask me how it feels – well….I’d say no different really! So long as my boobs don’t suddenly sag any further overnight, then I’ve decided I’m not going to be dragged kicking and screaming into my 40s but instead will embrace the confidence and not giving a crap what others think that turning 40 brings…and run with it!

This is blazingly obvious, but I’d be lying if I didn’t concede to the fact that turning 40 brings with it a fair amount of reflection. With that said, I wanted to share 40 (gulp!) yes 40 things I’ve learned in 40 years. So here goes!

40 things we’ve learnt before turning 40

1. You will never please some people

…and definitely not all people. So best to quit being a people pleaser and instead use your energy for the greater good of other pursuits in life. Can’t please them? Who cares anyway!

2. Comparison really is the thief of joy

Best not to look over there at what so and so is doing, because the grass most definitely isn’t greener on the other side, so stay in your lane and own it!

3. Gratitude is everything

Once you start feeling grateful for things – even better start a gratitude practice – then life really does start feeling all the more better for it.

4. Some people will never learn

Don’t waste any energy trying to show them the error of their ways. Simply have their back if they need it when they fall down again.

5. Most things can be sorted out with a good night’s sleep

If you’re having a crapola day, best get thee to bed early and let sleep do its magic by resetting your brain ready with a clean slate the next day.

6. Self-care isn’t selfish

In fact, if you want to have a happy mind, body and soul, and happy home life then it’s quite the opposite. Read: mandatory.

7. The majority of people come from a place of good intention

But every so often, you’ll come across someone’s actions that you just won’t be able to fathom. Remember, it takes all sorts!

8. Self-esteem is the foundation of everything

When someone seems like they are being an utter toerag, it’s usually because they have self-esteem issues. Sometimes it’s better to feel sorry for someone than to feel angry with them.

9. Most people’s problems and issues stem from childhood

Including your own! If you have a broken inner child, best to fix it with some therapy than keeping running away from it. And by the way, therapy is definitely nowhere near as scary as a lot of people like to think – it was the making of me! Your parents f*** you up, they do. Sort it out, or take it to the grave with you.

10. Daily exercise is something to be embraced

….not avoided. It is so good for you both on a mental and physical level so don’t let your monkey brain talk you out of it.

11. Life is incomplete without hugs

So hug someone today. The healing power of hugs never ceases to amaze me. One thing’s for sure when this Covid nightmare is over I’m going to be hugging the hell out of everybody.

12. Mistakes are there to learn from

Failure is progress. But if you keep making the same mistakes without learning from them, then it’s time to figure out why that is and step out of the box.

13. Nature fixes pretty much everything

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve felt demented/frazzled/burning with rage only to go out for a walk in nature and see all of those negative feelings dissolve.

14. Meditation is a gift

And one that is truly easy to make yours. One of the best things I ever started in life was a daily meditation habit. No looking back! Seriously, 5 minutes a day is nothing short of life-changing.

15. Expectations can really make reality suck

So be sure to manage your expectations so that reality doesn’t come and punch you in the face.

16. Life is about memories and experiences

….not objects and assets. The more you build up of the former, the richer your life will feel.

17. Lift others up

Because lifting others up feels so good, whilst putting others down makes you just feel like an utter bitch.

18. We are all humans who want to be accepted

…so be humble, have empathy, and remember that what comes around goes around.

19. Feel the fear and do it anyway

One of my favourite sayings which also can be very smug and annoying is “The only thing to fear is fear itself”. Nothing is ever as bad as our minds make it seem, so if it makes you feel uncomfortable, rather than shirking away, it’s probably time to dive right in!

20. Communication is everything

With your partner. With your family. With your children. With your friends. Life is about listening, talking, truly being present and connecting.

21. Remember your inner child

They are still there. They still want to have fun, play and muck about. So forget what you look like and be silly, prat around and do something totally ridiculous. The giggles are priceless and it feels totally liberating.

22. Perseverance really is the key

If you can create a disciplined mind and focus on what it is that you want, there really is no reason you can’t have it in whatever sphere of your life that may be.

23. Negativity is a life-sucking force

If there’s one thing you realise when turning 40 it’s that life is too short for thinking about all the bad things in life, so wherever you can, surround yourself with positive thoughts, positive people, and positive experiences.

24. We are not saving lives

I thank my sister for this one! But truly, while what we are doing may be deeply important to us – whether it be in work, parenting, or other remits in life, we should always keep things in perspective. That is unless you are a paramedic.

25. There is only now

The past is gone, and the future may never happen. Don’t make excuses about when you will do this or that, because that time may never come.

26. Ask for help

Wherever you can. Be honest and authentic about the challenges you feel. Being vulnerable doesn’t make you weak, it actually makes you stronger.

27. Love yourself

Because if you don’t love yourself, how can anyone else? Embrace all those fantastic imperfections of yours, all those quirks and know that there is no such thing as perfect.

28. Respect and be respected

You know how it goes – if you want others to respect you, you better respect yourself and also respect others! You get back what you put out my friends.

29. Apologise more

It doesn’t take much to swallow our pride and apologise when we have messed up or got things wrong, but it means so much to other people and instantly diffuses a situation.

30. Make time for the things you love

Find the things that spark joy within your soul and carve out moments to make them happen, and don’t feel guilty for doing so.

31. You deserve respect

So if someone or something is not making you feel good, speak up or do something about it. That said, if you want to earn respect, then you need to behave in a way that commands it.

32. It’s never too late to change

One of the best things in the run up to turning 40 was going for therapy and change the script that was running in my subconscious. If you want things to change in your life, then you’re going to need to do something different.

33. The world is full of illusions

The person who became an overnight success when in reality it took them 10 years to get there. The sista that looks all shiny and happy on social media when in reality she is deeply unhappy inside. A large proportion of what you see is just a smokescreen.

34. Focus on what’s important in life

You can’t be everything to everyone, be everything and do everything without experiencing some kind of vicious burnout. Focus on what matters to you, and don’t be afraid to speak up and say no.

35. Positivity attracts positivity

Meanwhile, negativity attracts negativity. Everything in this world is energy, so be careful what energy you are putting out there because that is what you’ll most certainly be getting back.

36. There is no magic bullet in life

You really do reap what you sow. If you want to get somewhere in life it’s about working hard, being a good person and doing the next right thing.

37. Life is short

If there’s only one thing this pandemic has taught us it’s that life is short and fragile. I have friends who died even before they hit their 40s. It’s unfathomable. So live your life to the fullest!

38. Keeping a relationship healthy takes hard work

It’s all too easy to take our other halves for granted. If you want to be appreciated, you need to appreciate them too! Find ways to stay connected and stay on the same page – however small they might be.

39. Your body really is your temple

So treat it right. I have had some pretty bad health incidents and scares in the last decade which has highlighted profoundly to me that maintaining good health should be a priority for everybody – not an afterthought.

40 Age is only a number

I lost count of the number of times people have asked me how it feels to be turning 40 and the answer is…once you are there it is truly not much different. A total cliché I know, but the upshot is, you are only as old as you feel!

I have loved that turning 40 has brought with it so much wisdom. What else have you learned in your life so far that would you add to this list?

Picture credit: Photo by NIPYATA! on Unsplash