How to feel sexy in your 40s – yes it’s possible!

Are you wondering if is possible to feel sexy in your 40s?

As I journey more into my 40’s and look at was to feel good I have found that no matter what I try the common denominator is ME. It is up to me to feel good in myself, to feel comfortable in my own skin and to start feeling sexy again. No amount of reading self help books or courses are going to change how I feel unless I change the way I think about myself. As Mel Robbins say “No one is coming to save you, no one “so ultimately it is up to us to feel sexy again not any partner, husband, or wife it is up to us and us alone. Feeling sexy is far more than how we feel in the bedroom it’s about confidence in how we look and feel about ourselves. It is about knowing we are attractive, beautiful and capable through our own eyes; it is self-love at its best.

Accept, like, love are the steps I use when helping women to feel good about their body and start to see themselves as sexy. Acceptance can be the biggest barrier to self-love.

Accepting where you are now, longing for the body we had in our 20’s is pointless as it will never be that way again. Looking to the past will never helps us feel good in the present moment so embrace the body you have now. Accepting your body doesn’t mean giving up it is a starting point to where you want to go and how you want to feel.

Sexy is a feeling

The sexy feeling you once had is pivotal to getting your sexy back.

I want you to think back to a time when you felt absolutely super-hot sexy . Close your eyes and let the image come to the front of your mind. Then go through these questions

  • What are you wearing?
  • Where are you?
  • Who are you with?
  • What are the smells?
  • How does it feel in your body?

Now open your eyes and check in with yourself, how do you feel in this present moment, what’s happening in your body ? How do you feel? Has the feeling stayed in with you?

Our mind works in images and the image creates a feeling so when we recall the memory or image of when you felt sexy it is possible to get the  same feeling back. This technique can be used when you want to feel good about yourself or want to get that sexy feeling back.

feel sexy in your 40s

What you can do to feel sexy in your 40s

To help you start on your sexy back journey here are some scientifically and not so scientific  methods that can help you.

Get fitted for a new bra

Having your breasts all nicely supported helps you stand taller, and your clothes sit better. Buy bras in lace and cool different colours to help with the sexiness factor.

Exercise

To realease the endorphins and to remind you how amazing your body is .

Give someone a complement

What you give out you will receive back doubled. Making others feel good helps you feel good. Also practice receiving a complement don’t brush it of, just say THANK YOU !

Smile

When you smile it is impossible not to feel good – try it. Try smiling at yourself in the mirror for the ultimate feel-good factor.

feel sexy in your 40s

Stop the self-sabotage

Remember you have the power to change your thoughts so when those negative self-sabotaging thoughts or patterns creep in, catch them and change the thought.

Bring back the fun

Try to bring in some laughter and fun into your life, we can sometimes forget that we need fun in our life and take everything so seriously. This can work well if you feel self-conscious around your partner, break the ice with a joke, laughter can help you both relax.

Visualization

As I said thinking back to a time when you felt sexy or creating an image of being sexy and attractive can really help bring about those feelings. Bring in all your senses to create the image in your sun-conscious mind.

Create you own sexy affirmations

I am a big believer in affirmations but sometimes we can think in negative affirmations such as “I am not attractive, no one loves me. Saying this will never get us anywhere so you need to change it to something positive and in the present tense approve of myself I  am willing to accept love I deserve love”

Masturbate

Looking to yourself for pleasure is the ultimate form of self-love and can boost your self-esteem. So, get to it embrace your own body for those sexy feelings of pleasure. If it been a while or you are new to pleasing yourself reading erotic novels and taking a visit to Ann Summers is certainly a way to start.

Not everyone feels sexy all the time, life and being a woman in your 40s in general can see to that but remember you are not on your own. If you are trying to get your sexy back and feel sexy in your 40s believe me there are many other women trying to do the same so go easy on yourself, Don’t forget to let the fun into your life and remember thoughts are just thoughts and a thought can be changed.  

Sarah Lyons is an image consultant, body confidence and wellbeing coach for women, she helps women all over the country look and feel-good inside and out. Find out more at www.sarahlyonscoaching.com and follow her on Instagram @sarahlyonscoaching & @wellstyled_by_sarah.

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi and Matthias Cooper via Pexels

Happiness in your 40s: 4 ways to view happiness differently

Does happiness feel elusive? Is happiness in your 40s possible? The answer for almost all of us is yes – at least sometimes, maybe often. You might feel like you’ve checked all the boxes but aren’t as happy as you’d hoped, you might wonder how anyone can be happy in the face of difficulty or you might feel like happiness is complicated. You might even wonder whether being happy is really all that important.  

Here are four ways from lawyer turned Happiness Coach, Becky Morrison you can look at happiness in your 40s that might be a little bit different than what you were taught.

Happiness in your 40s is a high value investment

To many people happiness sounds fluffy. Sure they’d like to be happier but they aren’t sure that happiness is – on it’s own – a valuable commodity. What they are missing is that happiness is a cause of success, not a result. There is a significant body of research that supports the notion that experiencing positive emotions – both the momentary experience of happiness and living happy (having on balance more positive emotional experiences than negative ones) – has significant positive impacts on your physical health, your performance and your resilience.

Happier people live longer, have stronger immune systems, are better able to manage pain and generally experience fewer adverse health conditions. In addition, the experience of positive emotions – like happiness – broadens our approach to the world allowing us to think more expansively, solve problems more creatively and build relationships more easily and effectively. It’s not surprising then that the research suggests that happy people earn more, sell more and are more productive. Finally, happiness builds our resilience so that when the tough times comes, we are better able to weather the storm.  In short, investing in living happy is one of the highest value investments you can make.

Happiness in your 40s

Happiness is not a destination, it’s an action

People often fall into the trap of believing that happiness will arrive as they meet their goals and continue to achieve. But the problem is that an unhappy journey rarely, if ever, results in a happy ending. The key to a happier life is finding happiness in the process. That means looking for – or intentionally incorporating – happiness (and other positive emotions) into your daily life.

To do this, however, you need to know where your happiness comes from – because it’s different for everyone. You can start by making a list of things that bring you positive emotions (like happiness, contentment, gratitude or even engagement). These can be big, small or anything in between. Once you’ve got a list, take one or two of your favorite items and ask yourself: what about this thing makes me happy? Keep asking that question until you’ve distilled it down into that is quick and accessible to you. For example, one of the things that makes me happiest is our annual beach vacations. I can’t escape to the beach from my land-locked home any time I want. But one of the things that enjoy most about the beach is the feel of the sun on my face. That is something that I can seek out any time the sun is shining. Having a list of the most basic sources of positive emotions is a powerful tool because you can deploy them – with intention – anytime you need a reset or an injection of positivity.

Happiness coexists

By any measure it’s been a challenging two years – global pandemic, war, social justice, changing job and home demands that came with working from home, and more. You might be wondering how can we even talk about happiness at times like these? The answer is pretty simple – happiness (and other positive emotions) can coexist with the tough stuff. You can experience happiness even during struggle. And you don’t need to bypass the tough stuff and experience only happiness.

The goal with living happier – and reaping it’s benefits – is to intentionally and authentically experience positive emotion whenever you can NOT to ignore the tough emotions that are a natural part of the human condition.

The next time you’re facing a difficult situation or a tough emotion, don’t fight it. You don’t need to force yourself out of it or through it. And while you are in it you can keep an eye out for the little kernels of positive emotion that might coexist with it – the friendly face, the helping hand, even the sunlight. Those positive kernels don’t need to outweigh or overcome the challenges, they just need to be included in the conversation. The key is to notice it all and savor the good where you can find it, even nestled in with the challenges.

Happiness in your 40s

Happiness in your 40s can be simple

Happiness doesn’t require radically changing your circumstances. In fact, the research suggests that more than anything your happiness is dependent on your thoughts and actions – something over which you can exercise at least a modicum of control. While you can take steps to make big changes in your life to yield a greater level of happiness those big steps are best made from a happier place so that you are architecting your happiness, rather than simply trying to escape your unhappiness.  That happier place is built through your daily behaviors.

If you want to be happier starting today try this simple exercise: each day, record what made you smile. How you record this information isn’t particularly important, what made you smile doesn’t matter. What matters is that you had a positive emotional experience AND you noticed it. Because remember just the experience of a positive emotion broadens your perspective and builds your resilience.  This is just one example of how simple it can really be to inject more happiness into your daily life.

Bottom line: Making a high value investment in your happiness can meaningfully benefit your health, success, and resilience. It simply requires intentional action (not radical transformation) which can happen even during challenging times and doesn’t need to be complicated.

Rebecca Morrison is a lawyer turned Happiness Coach and author of the best-selling book The Happiness Recipe: a Powerful Guide to Living What Matters. Becky works with successful but unsatisfied high-achievers to help them find their unique happiness recipe so they can live happier, lead happier and build happy businesses.

Images by rawpixel.com

What happens when you have a mammogram

I won’t lie. The first time I had a mammogram, I really didn’t know what to expect. But being at high risk of developing breast cancer in my lifetime due to the fact I have BRCA1 gene mutation, then well let’s just say I am going to become very familiar with mammograms! But apart from the fact I expected it was some kind of scan, I had little idea about what happens when you have a mammogram.

Mammograms save lives

The bottom line is that mammograms save lives with breast screening saving around 1,300 lives each year in the UK. Finding cancer early can make it more likely that treatment will be successful.

Having said that, it doesn’t distract from the fact that having a mammogram is not exactly the most pleasant of experiences in my personal opinion just because it does tend to be pretty uncomfortable as your breast tissues gets pulled and manipulated into certain “flatter” positions before it gets positioned into place ready for the scan.

That said I would rather take a mammogram every day of my life rather than having a malignancy undetected in my breasts. The alternative – not knowing the status of your breast tissue and any potential changes and what they may mean, is unthinkable to me.

Do not put your mammogram off

Whatever the pain and discomfort you feel, I want to lay down now how important it is NOT to let this deter you from having your routine mammogram and attending breast cancer screening. All women are invited for a routine mammogram in the UK from age 50 up. If you have an increased risk of breast cancer due to hereditary factors then you should be having a routine mammogram annually from the age of 30 of 40.

Worries about the procedure, along with COVID disruption saw a 44 per cent fall in the number of women screened for the disease nationally in 2020-21 according to NHS England, but mammograms and early diagnosis of cancer can rapidly improve the long-term prognosis and chances of recovery. 

If you are worried about having a mammogram, not sure what a mammogram is, or yet to have your first mammogram, here Kate Whittaker, Superintendent Mammographer, at King Edward VII’s Hospital explains all.

when you have a mammogram

I’ve been invited to attend a mammogram. Should I go and what should I expect?

When women turn 50, they will be contacted by the NHS Breast Screening Programme  Unit, inviting them for a mammogram. All patients registered as female will be contacted every three years, until they turn 71.

Mammograms are a straightforward, non-invasive short procedure, but increasingly women are missing appointments, or declining to attend their screening. Worries about the procedure, along with COVID disruption, saw a 44 per cent fall in the number of women screened for nationally in 2020-21 according to NHS England. But mammograms and early diagnosis of cancer can greatly improve a patient’s long-term prognosis and chances of recovery – so why should women attend them, and how can they prepare?

Before the appointment

As mentioned above, breast screening can save lives. Identifying and intervening early can dramatically improve the outcomes for breast cancer, but attending a mammogram is obviously a personal choice.

If you do decide to attend and feel nervous about the procedure, try to book an appointment at a time when you’re not going to be rushing around. If you feel comfortable doing so, ask a friend or loved one to take you to the appointment for moral support, and have something nice planned for afterwards that you can look forward to and distract from any worries.

When you have a mammogram, you’ll be asked to undress from the waist up, so try to wear something comfortable that’s easy to take on and off. You’ll always be imaged by a female mammographer, but if you have any queries or concerns, including mobility issues or special requirements, it’s best to contact the screening unit before your appointment. That will allow them to make any necessary changes to your appointment, such as duration or location, as some sites are remote and may not be accessible to disabled service users.

During the mammogram

When you’re ready, you’ll be invited into an x-ray room by the mammographer, who will explain the procedure and answer any questions. Your breast is imaged by gently placing it onto the x-ray machine and applying some compression. This only lasts a few seconds and releases the moment the x-ray has been taken. You’ll have four images taken in total, two on each breast. All you’ll need to do is take a few small steps in front of the machine and raise your arms when asked, to help with the breast positioning in the side images. The whole process is over very quickly, in around five minutes, but keeping still is really important to get an accurate x-ray.

Breast screening can be uncomfortable, or occasionally a little painful for some people, so talking through any concerns with the mammographer can be very useful, you can also tell them to stop at any point if you’re feeling discomfort.

Getting your results

Results will be sent to you by post and they generally take between two and four weeks. A copy will also be sent to your GP for your medical records.

Your results will either say ‘No sign of breast cancer’ or ‘Need further tests’. If you have no sign of breast cancer, you can wait for your next mammogram in three years time, unless you notice any breast changes, including any lumps in your chest or armpit, discharge from your nipple, or an unusual texture on the skin of your breast. Do a check once or twice a month, and contact your GP if you notice any changes or have any concerns about your breasts.

when you have a mammogram

If you need further imaging, don’t panic. Most people who need further tests will not be diagnosed with breast cancer. But if you are worried, you can discuss the appointment with a breast care nurse, who will be able to explain to you the result, and what next steps will be taken.

You’ll be offered an appointment in a screening assessment clinic where you’ll be offered an examination of your breast and sometimes more mammograms, an ultrasound, or sometimes a needle test. Results from these tests normally take around a week. All of this will help the Breast Unit team and your GP to best support you and offer any further investigations and treatment you may require, which, in some cases, can limit the need for invasive treatment, or surgery. So when you receive your next invitation, I’d urge you to come forward and attend your  mammogram, or if you notice any breast changes or symptoms in the meantime, speak to your GP to access support as early as possible, which may save.

We hope the above helps you overcome any fears you may have about attending a mammogram screening. Focus on the end game in that when you attend a mammogram, you are doing something amazing for your body and yourself, and empowering yourself with the knowledge you need about any risk factors, warning signs and potential treatment down the line. To find out more about assessing your breast cancer risk see this useful guide over at our friends Breast Cancer Now or speak to your GP.

Photos by cottonbro and Tara Winstead via pexels and National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Ways to keep investing in yourself in your 40s

They say life begins at 40 and that the last 39 years have just been a practice, which means that no it’s not too late to start – or keep – investing in yourself or thinking about fulfilling your ambitions. In fact, your 40s are the perfect time to start or keep investing in yourself as you lay the path for a second half of your life which is rich, varied and full of the good stuff.

But what are some ways you can start of keep investing in yourself in your 40s?

We recently heard about emberly, a new online platform which helps people to develop professionally, personally and socially. The site has been designed to help people ignite their inner spark, find their passion in life and to try things they’ve never tried before, including the weird and the wonderful. When we heard about it, we thought it was perfect for our 40 Now What readers and we wanted to know more…

All the courses are split into four categories ‘Energise’, ‘Create’, ‘Grow’ and ‘Relax’ and include everything from ballet and hip-hop dance classes to wild art journaling, yoga and even pasta and focaccia making! It’s all online, so it’s flexible and you can do the courses solo, or, if you want to create some special (or perhaps hilarious) memories, grab a loved one, friend or family member. 

emberly is aimed at anyone who wants to learn and grow so you may want to master the art of public speaking, gain a plethora of interesting topics to talk about at the next dinner party, wow friends with a new skill, or learn the best party trick in town, there is something for everyone.

To celebrate the launch of this incredible new platform, the site’s founder, Hiba Binz, has pulled together for us, her own top tips on how to keep investing in yourself in your 40s. So without further ado here are some ways to keep investing in yourself in your 40s:

40 ways to keep investing in yourself in your 40s

1. Spend time with friends and family – enjoy spending quality time with people you love and never underestimate the importance of that

2. Meet with people who inspire you  – you never know where life can lead, if you are inspired, anything can happen

3. Learn more about a topic of interest– apply yourself to something that you enjoy but haven’t given much time to before

4. Learn more about a topic that’s of interest to someone else 
– to be interesting you have to be interested and one of the best ways to invest in yourself is to never stop learning and growing

5. Try something you’ve never done before – try to avoid thinking ‘I can’t’ or ‘I don’t’, it can be easy to create your own boundaries as you get older but aim to see things with fresh eyes and a fresh approach  

6. Try things that are out of your comfort zone – don’t set your own limitations, it’s like they say, “How do you know if you never try…”

7. Attend community events, talks or networking events – meet likeminded people, meet new people and enjoy a new experience

9. Take a course – there are so many different ways to learn nowadays so take a new course whether it’s to benefit you professionally, personally or socially – there will be a benefit!  

10. Start a new hobby – children growing up go to all sorts of extra-curricular activities; ballet, music lessons, horse-riding, Brownies, why shouldn’t 40-year-olds?!

investing in yourself in your 40s

11. Spend time doing what you enjoy  – it’s definitely easier said than done but see what you can streamline to gain a bit of time back – even 5 minutes saved here and there, can give you a 30 minute chunk of time to spend doing something you love

12. Set time aside for YOU every day/week/month – if you can’t make ‘you time’ every day, then aim for once a week, or even once a month and if you can make it part of your routine – even better

13. Listen to an inspiring podcast and discuss what you learned with someone else – teaching others helps to embed the information into our owns minds, so you’ll get extra benefits from telling a friend


14. Tackle nagging tasks – sometimes the time we spend thinking about these things is far greater than the time spent on the task itself, you’ll feel better once it’s done

15. Take time to recharge and relax – whether that’s 10 mins of meditation, a bath or a spa break, you choose. It could even be listening to your favourite song through your headphones 

16. Create memorable moments with loved ones – put the phones and screens down and create moments you can share together, enjoying each other’s company

17. Create a ‘you’ fund setting aside money to spend purely on your growth
– we spend money every day on all sorts of things, but have you considered spending a certain amount on investing in yourself?

18. Find a growth buddy – it’s easier in pairs – you can hold each other accountable for your goals but even more importantly you can enjoy it and have fun together

19. Be open minded to new ideas and experiences – the only thing that’s constant is change so if you can be accepting of that, you’re already ahead of the game

20. Travel to new places even if it’s just a part of your city you’ve never seen before – you don’t have to go on a long-haul flight, you’ll be amazed at how many incredible things there are right on our doorstep

investing in yourself in your 40s

21. Do something you used to love doing as a child  – is there a skill, a game or a hobby you used to love but have long forgotten about? Why not give it a try again just for fun? Skip down the road, read a children’s book, wear a sparkly necklace…

22. Meet with likeminded people to discuss a topic, perhaps a book club – it’s a fantastic opportunity to have a voice and an opinion and to express that with others. It’s a great way to build confidence especially if you’re not used to speaking in front of others

23. Express your creativity – even if you don’t think of yourself as ‘creative’. This can be anything from singing along to some of your favourite songs, dancing in your living room, writing in a journal or cooking something with extra flair

24. Do something to improve your professional skills  – 40 is a great time to reflect on the skills you have, the skills you would like to have and the areas you could improve in

25. Save for the future  – this is a practical tip, but it will also give you peace of mind, which is very beneficial for your mental health

26. Find a mentor or business coach – work with a professional when you can afford it. Warning: you may become incredibly motivated and productive…

27. Take care of your physical health  – stay active. Integrate the things that don’t feel like an exercise to you: dance, hike etc. Prioritise mobility

28. Say no, decline when you need to – don’t feel the need to please everyone

29. Unsubscribe and declutter everything!- get rid of what you don’t need, keep only what you love or things that are useful  

30. Take care of your emotional wellbeing – look after yourself like you would look after someone you love. If there is a negative voice in your head, ask yourself, ‘Would I say that to my best friend?’, if the answer is ‘No’, don’t say it to yourself

investing in yourself in your 40s

31. Spend time with people from different generations. It’s amazing what you can learn from them all. Ask questions, listen deeply

32. Prioritise your energy into the right places – to help you, you could list anything that brings negativity into your life and feelings of anger or guilt and then list things that bring you happiness. See what practical changes you can make to reduce your list of negativity

33. Spend time in nature – nature has lots to teach us and it’s definitely good for the soul

34. Set financial goals – save, spend wisely, invest – the best way to do this is to take control of your finances with a finance plan. Find out your disposable income by listing all your outgoings – bills and regular payments, take that from your incoming amount, then you can make a plan with the money you have at your disposal

35 Take on a big challenge- i.e., a run, a performance of some kind or the organisation of an event (even better if it’s for charity)

36. Learn something new – but focus on the journey and detach from the outcome

37. Pick up a mindfulness practice- choose something that works for you such as Qigong, yoga, tai chi, meditation

38. Harness the power of your voice- this could be through a voice coach or through vocal lessons or it could be speaking in public

39. Do the things that make you forget to scroll – keep a book or several handy and on the go

40. Prioritise sleep – the benefits of sleep are endless, and now is the time to reap them


investing in yourself in your 40s

If you give any of these tips for investing in yourself in your 40s or have some of your own wisdom to share do let us know in the comments below!

Explore your passions with emberly’s variety of inspiring online courses. Energise, create, grow and relax with a monthly membership and unlimited access, or purchase a single course on-demand and find what makes you glow. Visit emberly.co.uk and follow emberly on Instagram @emberlylearn, Twitter @emberlylearn and Facebook @emberlylearn.

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90s fashion trends you’ll remember from the first time round

Ughhhhhh…..90s fashion trends! The thing is with the 1990s, they were not exactly our finest fashion decade. Yes somehow those god awful 90s fashion trends that you swore you would never been seen in in your adulthood have made a comeback and are around every damn corner.

Need proof of this ghastly fashion regression? I recently walked into Urban Outfitters in Oxford Street and felt like I had entered a bad trip into the realm of 1990s fashion which my grungy 90s self probably would have been in her element, but my 40-something-year-old-self wanted to vomit all over. Probably showing my age here style wise, but here are 90s fashion trends you’ll remember from the first time round that you will probably be wanting to run away from fast this time round.

Wideleg trousers and trainers

You can thank quintessially 90s girl group All Saints for this one. In fact you can probably attribute quite a few of these 90s fashion trends and style shockers to them! Whether they be fetching combat trousers or wide leg jeans, all you need to finish off this 1990s turned TikTok Y2K look is some similarly bad taste platform trainers. Throw in some streakly highlights and and a choker and you’ve nailed it!

Checked shirts

“I wanted to be a lumberjack! Leaping from tree to tree”. Hopefully you will be old enough to know the reference here which is a Monty Python classic. That is unless you’re feeling the return of the check and plaid shirt ’90s grunge vibe a la Kurt Cobain. Pair with some ripped denim and baggy tee and away you go….

Oversized blazers

Probably one of the few 90s fashions trends us 80s babies can actually get on board with without wanting to spew, the oversized dad blazer is just the kind of roomy thread which is suprisingly easy to style and can even be worn with sweats or a loungesuit…a much better rendition than the pant suit of my 90s but just don’t expect me to wear it over a boob tube!

90s fashion trends

Tie dye anything

You can blame the Friends come back from this one (unless Bez from the The Happy Mondays has inadvertedly become a style icon???!). But somewhere along the way rainbow tie dye became cool again. Just don’t try making your own at home. Because I did and it wasn’t pretty!

Bucket hats

God knows why anyone would like to look like Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men a second time round but there you have it. Especially ridiculous when furry. Pass us the sick bucket (hat).

Bum bags

Strangely alluring due to their practicality, and also very useful for storing dog treats while out walking with your mid-life crisis puppy. Can we also talk about the fact that some people actually call them a fanny pack? Wayyyyy too literal for our liking. And as for wearing them over your shoulder FFS?

90s fashion trends

Claw clips and scrunchies

Anything to save a bad hair day. Really anything? I am still yet to be convincced that a scrunchy or claw clip might save a bad hair day….more perhaps add to it. Just ask Paula Abdul.

Cropped anything

If you can name it, you can crop it – cropped cardigans, jeans, tops, hoodies, jackets. Just a shame our middrifts are not the same as those of our 90s too!

Sheer…oh dear!

Remember when you used to save up your money to buy yet another sheer top from Morgan or Kookai? Well, let’s face it, these days we are no Madonna and for me it’s definitely more oh dear than sheer!

Which of these 90s fashion trends that have made a come back would you most definitely not be seen dead in? For some proper style over 40 inspiration why not check out our latest Instagram reel here?

Music photo created by lookstudio, Party photo created by wayhomestudio, Mockup psd created by rawpixel.com

How to cope with rising cost of living

The first time I really felt the rising cost of living was back in January where we went out for Sunday roast and ended up paying £80 for four people! I kid you not. My face probably looked like a slapped arse, and I immediately vowed that I would begin a mini campaign to skip on eating out. Then there has been the price creep on the groceries every week. The last time I needed to just “pick up a few bits” from our local supermarket, I almost had a heart attack when I left with just a few items and £50 poorer. We luckily have an electric car, but I have in recent weeks become the central heating police (thank goodness for the warmer weather!), and have been going around lecturing people on leaving the lights on sounding very much like my own father.

I pretty much try to avoid leaving the house altogether these days as I know everytime I do my wallet will just get an almighty spanking. But of course, there are plenty of ways to feel the rising cost of living without even leaving the four walls of your home especially with rising energy prices and the necessary evil that has become online shopping.

This sentiment is no doubt being repeated in households up and down the land as we all start feeling the rising cost of living in pretty much everything we do. After all, inflation is surpassing 6% for the first time since 1992, and Rishi Sunak is facing pressure to respond to increasing levels of inflation in his Spring Statement.

So how do we cope with this new cause of concern layered upon those which we have already had to shoulder over the past two years? We spoke to some experts to get some tips on how to cope with the rising cost of living.

rising cost of living

Know your finances

If you don’t know where your money is coming and going, now is the time to get on top of it all. Melina Abbott, author of Sacred Selling and all round money ninja advises, “Create a cashflow forecast in something like Excel and each day keep track of all money coming in, and money going out plus the balance of your account.  Do this at the end of each day for money you’ve received and money you’ve spent.  On the same spreadsheet, track money due to come in and go out in the next 30 days.  This gets you very present to money and what you focus on expands.  It also shows you where any danger zones are – so you’ll know in advance if you’re going to struggle to pay a particular bill and you can therefore take action before it happens by cutting unnecessary expenses. 

Get conscious of where your money is going and be very discerning where you choose to spend your money.  Much of what we spend money on is a habit – we do it without thinking.  For the next 3 months, for every transactions ask yourself “do I really need this?  Could I leave buying it for another few weeks?”  If the answers is yes, don’t buy it.

Look at your cash-flow forecast and if it looks like you’ll have some money left over before payday, put it in a savings account that’s not linked to your main current account.  You want to have access to it, but not be able to see it each day.  Put it aside as soon as you receive the income, not at the end of the month.  If you try to do this there won’t be any left as our outgoings always expand to fit our income.  By putting it aside first it protects our money from ourselves.  Make a pact that you’ll only spend it in an emergency.  Having savings to fall back on gives you peace of mind.” 

If you find all this terribly boring, then fret not. Another great tip from Abbott is to treat saving money as a game. Yes really! But how? “Make it fun and get the whole family involved.  Give it a name, for example Austerity Measures, Money Magic, Money Matters.  Make it short-term – for example, the next 3 months.  If we think we’re going to have to scrimp and save forever it can get very depressing.  But looking at it over the short term, say 3 months – then it’s much easier to make changes.  See it as an adventure rather than a hardship – you might not enjoy camping but it’s fun to experience once in your life.”

rising cost of living

Know where to get help

Greg Wilson, founder of energy comparison website Quotezone.co.uk, advises that households should double check they’ve made use of all the help available such as:

  • Government schemes: research government schemes like the Winter Fuel Payment which provides £100 to £300 to help pay heating bills. Customers are eligible for the scheme if they were born on or before 26 September 1955.* Be aware that the government is also exploring options such as making payments to energy suppliers to soften the blow to consumers.
  • Switch providers: according to Ofgem, households can save around £360 every year. Switching provider doesn’t just help save money, it can also allow consumers to seek out more environmentally friendly suppliers and those with better customer service. 
  • Tax relief: check out the tax relief option, which allows anyone working at home on a regular basis to claim relief on gas and electricity bills – as well as metered water and business phone calls. HMRC are offering relief worth £312 per year with no need to provide receipts or factor in any complicated calculations. 
  • Discounts and efficiency checks:  use energy efficient lightbulbs – a relatively inexpensive solution which helps to reduce costs over a long period of time.  Also, look out for schemes such as the Warm Home Discount that provide a one off discount of £140 off the winter electricity bill between September and March.

He comments: “Given the upcoming rise in energy price caps in April, it’s important that people get on the front foot and look for ways to save.

If you’re eligible, making use of the government’s schemes to help with the cost of energy bills is a good start. There are many schemes out there, including the Warm Home Discount and Winter Fuel Payments scheme, that should make bills a little easier to pay. These schemes are targeted to both the elderly and those on a low-income, providing support to the most vulnerable demographics.

But there are also many other ways to tackle increasing energy cost – one of the most effective ways is to switch provider, a process which has never been easier. By choosing an Ofgem-accredited comparison site, consumers can get an understanding of what’s on offer across a range of energy suppliers – instantly providing an overview of more competitive prices.”

Be savvy and cut back on non-essentials

Rest Less Money Expert, Mel Wright, adds: “If you’re operating on a reduced income, your focus should be on covering essentials and you should think about cutting back on non-essential spending.  Cutting out or down on subscriptions is a good place to start whether it’s magazines, gym or TV streaming.  Check your bank statement for your spending over the past few months to remind yourself of your regular payments so you can review other spend you can cut back.

When food shopping, consider buying supermarket own brand items rather than sticking with well known brands.  This can save you hundreds of pounds each year.  Also shop in the evening so you can benefit from yellow sticker items – products that are close to their sell-by date.  You can usually freeze what you aren’t going to use immediately.

Use tech to help you reduce your food waste and can help you find food at a reduced cost, sometimes even for free.  Olio and Too Good to Go are two great options.

Energy bills are soaring but there are ways you can cut back: as well as replacing light bulbs with energy efficiently LEDs, draft proof windows and doors, block cracks in the floor and skirting boards – these are just some of the ways you can shave some money off your energy bills each month.”

Find ways to supplement your income

We’ve talked a lot about saving but what about the flip side – earning? Aside from landing a new job, making money outside of work is one of the best ways to supplement your income. Abbott suggests we think about ways we can supplement income aka get a side hustle, “Do you have a skillset that others would pay for?  A spare room you can let out?   Brainstorm all the ways you could generate income – some will be nonsense but there might just be a golden gem you can test out.”

Need some inspiration of side hustle ideas? Check out this extensive list of side hustle ideas for more inspiration.

Are you feeling the effect of the rising cost of living? How have you changed your attitude towards money recently to reflect the current economic situation? Let us know in a comment below or over on our Instagram community here. Keep up to date with all the latest articles by subscribing for FREE in the box below

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Spring dresses 101: How to style a dress for Spring

It’s time to transition your Winter wardrobe for Spring, and at this time of year it’s all about Spring dresses. But when you’ve been living in jumpers for what seems an eternity, how on earth are you suddenly supposed to just magically step out in Spring dresses when the concept couldn’t be any more alien? Here, our resident stylist Katie Moore of stylepathldn shares her top tips for rocking those spring dresses.

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Firstly congratulations we made it through the long dark days of winter and now the smell of freshly cut grass and daffodils are upon us! Dust of those sunnies and commence……spring style is NOW. 

When it comes to styling a dress for spring, the possibilities are endless!

Layer to beat the chill

You can never go wrong with a piece of knit layered over the top, a sweatshirt for that more casual look or a lightweight jacket/blazer to smarten things up.  When the weather is warmer I recommend you invest in a short sleeve cardigan or a Broderie Jacket to keep the chill off. 

spring dresses
Pink floral address, H&M

If the shoe fits

As for shoes….. if it’s too cold for sandals or mules, a box-fresh pair of trainers will create an effortlessly casual feel. Ankle boots will give you a comfortable day to evening look or killer platform sandals are great for both comfort and style.

spring dresses
Hot pink maxi dress, The Style Attic

Accessories make everything better

Try and accessorise as much as you can to create different looks. A bright waist belt can really emphasis a colour statement or a more toned down option can pitch in that waistline to turn spring dress into a sexy evening look.

Whatever the look get the dress first, make sure it fits in with all your wardrobe staples, it hugs you perfectly and has multiple end uses. A spring dress isn’t just for spring. Buy right and you’ll be wearing it come rain or shine.

spring dresses
Black and cream dress, Zara

Are you ready to start wearing Spring dresses? Let us know what your favourite look above is and stay tuned to our Instagram community here for more fashion over 40 style tips.

Cover picture: Red floral dress, Hush sample sale

10 reasons why women over 40 should adopt a Mediterranean diet

I’m always sure to have a bottle of extra virgin olive oil in my cupboard. I’m such a generous drizzler. I have an unnatural obsession with olives and I pretty much eat them every day. The Mediterranean diet always fascinated me so when I was given the chance to speak to Dr Simon Poole and share our passion for this incredible way of life, I jumped at it.

Dr Simon Poole MBBS DRCOG is a Cambridge-based medical doctor, author, broadcaster, commentator and is an internationally renowned authority on the science and application of the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. So I’d say he’s pretty much the best human to give us his top 10 reasons why us old broads should look at adopting this way of eating.

1. Managing the Menopause

Mediterranean diet

As a practicing doctor, I see many women in their late forties and early fifties with very troublesome perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. Hot flushes and night sweats, so-called vasomotor symptoms, can be especially intrusive. It has been known for some time that diet can be effective in significantly lessening some of these symptoms which can have a dramatic benefit to quality of life during the hormonal changes of the menopause.

Whilst individual foods or supplements have been promoted for these effects, the most convincing evidence is that the Mediterranean diet is the best nutritional prescription for the challenges of the menopause. One particular prospective study of 6000 women in Australia showed that those consuming a Mediterranean diet of vegetables, pasta, fruit and red wine were twenty percent less likely to have significant vasomotor symptoms, whilst those with a high sugar, “western” style diet were 23% more likely to be affected.

2. Preventing Heart Disease and Stroke

As we reach our forties and beyond, it is even more important to embrace a lifestyle which is enjoyable as well as healthy. Maintaining good physical health can be a challenge, but it is possible to significantly reduce the odds of heart disease and stroke by making some relatively simple changes to our diet.

The prestigious annual US News Report expert scientific committee convened to assess the merits of different diets has, for the fifth year running, awarded that accolade to the Mediterranean diet. This is because of the body of evidence which supports its ability to protect us from the commonest of medical conditions. For example, the Predimed Study – a large randomised controlled trial based in Spain showed that participants on the Mediterranean diet were thirty percent less likely to develop heart disease, even showing by ultrasound that potentially dangerous cholesterol plaques in the carotid arteries of many people in the trial regressed, thereby reducing the risk of stroke.

A separate study conducted by the University Bordeaux showed an extraordinary seventy eight percent reduced relative risk of stroke in people regularly consuming extra virgin olive oil, perhaps the single most important ingredient in the diet. 

3. Achieving Weight Goals and Avoiding Diabetes

Mediterranean diet

There are numerous diets promoted for weight loss, many of them difficult to sustain for a long period of time, some restrictive and frankly unpleasant. Research has shown that calorie counting is less effective than choosing the right types of healthy fats and low GI carbohydrates and that is important that a diet results in consistent travel towards a healthy weight and is enjoyable and therefore more able to be sustained in the long term.

The Mediterranean diet performs as well as most other diets for weight loss and also reduces the risk of developing diabetes by as much as forty to sixty percent. This is based on a number of beneficial effects of the diet – from the wholegrain carbohydrates and low levels of processed foods with added sugars, to the effects of extra virgin olive oil directly increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing sugar spikes by slowing the absorption of carbohydrate meals. In the Mediterranean, bread and pasta is almost always combined with extra virgin oil, adding great flavour, increasing satiety and a feeling of fullness at the same time as ensuring a slow and low glycaemic rise. 

4. Reducing the Risk of Dementia

Our generation has seen a dramatic increase in dementia affecting the over sixties and a failure to find medications to reduce its devastating consequences. Yet in the traditional lands of the Mediterranean – the mountains of Greek islands and the harbours on Italian coastlines, there are very low rates of dementia. This is thought to be due to the diet and lifestyle and perhaps in particular because the colourful vegetables, herbs and spices and ubiquitous extra virgin olive oil are so rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, protecting our bodies, including our brains, from harm.

A study from Thessaloniki University in Greece showed that a tablespoon of high polyphenol extra virgin olive oil, instantly recognisable by its beautiful fruity, deliciously bitter and peppery flavours, reduced progression of disease in people with early dementia in comparison with those given low polyphenol, poor quality olive oil.

5. Protection from Breast cancer

Mediterranean diet

It is said that a woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer in western societies is as much as one in seven. These are uncomfortable odds, yet we see much lower rates across the countries which follow the traditional Mediterranean Diet. The researchers who led the Predimed study found a reduced risk of breast cancer of sixty percent in those participants on the Mediterranean diet. This may also be due to the presence of foods rich in antioxidants as well as a reduction in consumption of processed foods, which we know increase the likelihood of developing cancers. 

6. Improving Wellbeing

It is good to talk about a diet which reduces the risk of diseases and which therefore increases the chances of healthy aging with a good quality of life, but there is an even more positive effect of the Mediterranean diet for people who adopt this pattern of eating at any age. Wellbeing is a concept which is difficult to define and even more elusive to measure scientifically.

Researchers at the university of Granada however, not only found lower levels of depression in university students scoring high adherence to a Mediterranean Diet, but their wellbeing, sense of energy, and social functioning parameters were also much higher. Maintaining good mental health is important for us all at any age, and especially key for children passing through vulnerable stages of adolescence and leaving home for university. 

7. The Joy of Food Preparation

Mediterranean diet

Women have traditionally been at the centre of home making and food preparation for the family, although we must be careful not to reinforce gender stereotypes. That said, preparing delicious Mediterranean meals from scratch is such fun and so rewarding that it might be difficult to keep other family members out of the kitchen. On a serious note, learning to cook Mediterranean style together with children at the weekend is a wonderful experience.

8. A Diet that is Value for Money

There is a perception that the Mediterranean diet is more expensive than a standard, more processed western diet. The reality is a bit more complicated than that. Although supermarkets often offer price reductions on processed foods, fresh seasonal vegetables and wholegrains can be inexpensive and a very affordable alternative.

A good quality extra virgin olive oil is not an industrial product and its production costs cannot be compared with cheap refined oils. But the health benefits are clear to see. Often buying in larger quantities can reduce the price per litre and make regular consumption of fresh extra virgin olive oil much easier to afford. Preparing food from scratch is cheaper than buying ready meals and much better for us. To some degree, it is perhaps also about valuing good food and considering it as a higher priority call on our income in comparison with other expenses . 

9. Increasing a Sense of Community

In the Mediterranean time is spent “breaking bread” together with family and friends. Being part of a community where time is spent in company (a word which incidentally derives from the od Italian “con pane” – with bread) and enjoying food together has been shown to improve health and longevity in itself. A focus on the Mediterranean diet is also a focus on communal enjoyment of the sharing of food. 

10. Sustainability

A pressing reason for our generation to eat healthily is not only to increase our chances of a long and healthy life, but to also play our part in reversing climate change for the sake of our children and future generations.

The Mediterranean diet is lower in red meat and industrial processed foods. It is a plant-based diet based on local seasonal fresh, natural foods and extra virgin olive oil at its heart can be well produced such that the olive tree is not only capable of flourishing in arid, almost desert environments with minimal water use, but sinks 10kg of carbon for every litre of extra virgin olive oil produced. 

You can learn more about the Mediterranean diet by reading Simon’s latest book, The Real Mediterranean Diet. This book demystifies why a Mediterranean diet and lifestyle can improve the health of everyone, young and old. Explaining its origins in Ancient Greece to the modern day, this book is packed with recipes, photography and the science that joins up all the dots.

Keep the conversation going by commenting below or joining in with our Instagram community.

The denim trends you need to know for 2022

Ditch the leggings! Shove that loungewear to the back of your cupboard! Denim is back with a vengence for 2022 so pay attention people. Here, our favourite stylist Katie Moore of stylepathldn is here to tell us all about the denim trends you need to know.

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We’ve been stuck in this skinny bubble for so long and finally it’s burst! All of a sudden there are shapes and lengths that we thought were unthinkable, the choice is super exciting, but do you need a little help deciphering the new denim trends and narrowing down your options?

Jeans are the ultimate wardrobe staple, they will support you in whatever scenario, although shapes and sizes can vary massively from brand to brand so it’s really important (and annoying for some) to go and try them on. I guarantee you will buy what suits you rather than your initial intention. Here are the denim trends you need to know for 2022:

Mom Jean

Retro-style and derived from the 80s/90s. Ultra high-waisted and loose fitting around the thighs and legs which then taper in at the ankle. Structured but relaxed and effortlessly cool.

Straight Leg

A straight leg is definitely your new staple. They should be fitted at the waist but have a slightly looser fit through the thigh and run off straight from the knee. Subtle enough for them to be dressed up or down. I prefer them on the ankle for a more modern vibe.

Wide Leg Jeans

Very flattering for all shapes. I prefer on the waist, not too high. A wide leg is slightly smarter and in black can look smart like trousers. I prefer worn with boots or heels as I like the silhouette it creates.

Mom Jean: Elle High Waist Straight Leg Jeans from Reiss now £40, Straight Leg: Kate Boyfriend Jeans from G-STAR RAW now £52.50, Wide Leg: High Waist Wide Leg Jean from Mango now £17.99

The Flare – Cropped or Full-length

The width of the flare will vary but it’s important to have a bit of drama to pull off this look. A low-slung cropped flare will give you a more relaxed look or super high waisted and maximum length will create a more…”I mean business” look.

Exposed Fly Jean

A great way to make a fashion statement with a subtle detail, a more casual look which can create a more authentic style. I’ve seen more brands offering this type of construction and although not an uber trend it’s definitely a new detail that people are grabbing hold of.

New Skinny 

Okay okay enough of the skinny bashing, the new skinny is surfacing as I know most of us will not part from our BFF. Find a great fabric with a slight stretch, high waisted (no muffin tops here) and most importantly not too tight, the fabric should cover you but not stretch over your body so the seams are bursting.. voila!

Our obsession with denim doesn’t just stop at jeans. As a nation we will grab onto anything that denim is made in! Dungarees, dresses, skirts and shorts are all good alternatives if you don’t want to squeeze into a pair of jeans. Denim is such a cult and the professionals in the fashion industry have worked incredibly hard to reduce waste, so don’t take your denims for granted guys, buy wisely and cherish your denim pieces. 

Flare: Bootcut and Flare D-Akemi Jeans from Diesel now £122,Exposed Fly: Button Front Flared Jeans from Oasis now £47.20, New Skinny: The Skinny B(air) Jeans, Duchess from 7 For All Mankind at John Lewis £136

Which of the above denim trends for 2022 are tempting you? Personally we’re looking forward to mixing up our denim wearing a lot more this year. How about you? And don’t forget to follow us over on Instagram here where we’ll be showing you how to wear all these different denim trends.

What to do when the world is full of bad news

Is it me, or does everything just feel so bloody hard right now? The world is full of bad news, and life feels – well, depressing. Just as we begin slowly emerge from one crisis, then comes another to beat us back down again with another. If you are anything like me, this might be happening for you on a global news agenda front, then on a more micro level of general daily clusterfucks. When you have the together – which is usually the norm at these times – it can leave you feeling utterly miserable.

If you are wondering how to drag yourself through life when the world is full of bad news, then today we have some words of wisdom to soothe you from influential leadership authority Drew Povey and former BBC and Sky journalist Sam Draper – authors of the new book When The Clouds Come.

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Let’s be honest, it’s hard to stay positive and chipper when that metaphorical rain keeps falling and the world is full of bad news. But storms arrive and they pass, and we abide regardless. So how can we learn a few simple ways to get more silver linings in these tumultuous times?

In our new book ‘When The Clouds Come’, we explore some positive and practical ways to deal with difficulties and challenges in your life. And here we’d like to share with you why P’ing’ is so important to staying realistic and positive in times of crisis – Pausing, gaining Perspective, and Prioritising.

The 3Ps

In these times of anxiety, the easiest and arguably most annoying response to a problem is ‘toxic positivity’ – “look on the bright side”, “others have it worse than you”, “feel the fear and do it anyway”. All true in many ways, but sometimes you can’t help but feel the pain and trauma of stuff going wrong. It’s human to have these emotions and react in these ways. However, the 3Ps might help you acknowledge the difficulty and find a realistic and optimistic ways through.

world is full of bad news
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Time to pause

The Pause is the first element of our model. The pause is powerful in all different scenarios in life. Consider a conversation where the other person isn’t really saying anything, just pause. Wait. Don’t say anything. Within 15 seconds that person will respond or remark on your silence. You have literally made them talk. The pause is powerful.

So why is the pause useful right now? Well, if you think about the world we’re living in at the moment we’ve never been so anxious and so contactable. Thanks to broadband and technology, many of us remain contactable all day long. Where is the time to pause? It’s no surprise that we get into quick, fast thinking mode that makes for poor responses to any situation. Everything is expected to be instantaneous and we can get a little bit upset if it doesn’t happen right now.

The alternative is finding a moment to slow down, be outside, give yourself some head room.

Think about the number of people that have brilliant ideas in the shower, or start thinking of things when they’re having a walk outside. In our busy world, we rarely stop and pause. These rare moments facilitate a moment of clarity or creativity that we need to make even better decisions. It’s a slow thinking habit that you’re trying to create. A deliberate pause point. If you’re in a meeting and it’s getting to a point where you can’t quite make a decision, or it’s getting fractious and difficult – time to take a pause. Ask everyone to take ten minutes and stretch their legs and come back. It works. When they return, it’s a different mindset, a different framework.

world is full of bad news

Get some perspective

The next P is Perspective. It’s the reason why so many people find it easier to give advice rather than to actually make their own decisions. Someone else’s eyes often seem to be better than your own at seeing a situation clearly. Sometimes we live life really zoomed in. As if our life is only a couple of inches from the end of our nose. We can’t quite see the bigger picture.

Sometimes it only takes a short conversation from a close friend to see that bigger picture and when you do, it really changes how you might make decisions. It’s the easiest thing in the world to get hung up on the smallest details, the tiniest of issues. Those dark clouds are on the horizon and you lose the other possible options that you could decide upon. When problems arise it is very easy to catastrophize about the situation – the snowball seems bigger and bigger, and looks like it could cause the end of the world. When really, it’s just part of a passing snow shower. Press pause, get perspective, and try to see what is actually happening.

Review your priorities

The final P is Priorities. It’s now time to use the information you’ve gathered and set some priorities. What is it that matters most right now? Part of the feeling of panic and catastrophe is because the problem reveals a whole range of different things you might try and solve. But which first? What is our important?

We need to see past a whole range of distractions to the key elements that matter most. This helps you decide what to do next. If the different perspectives you’ve been given provide you with the calm reality of your family being safe, a roof being over your head, food being on your table, you can then get to the real dilemmas. They’re the things that matter most. In these high-pressured times, we can all take on too much and try and do too much and therefore achieve very little or get that sense of being overwhelmed. We all do it, and we all need the chance to pause, gain perspective, and refocus our priorities.

You won’t feel positive by just ‘pulling up your boot straps’ or ‘soldiering on’ when the world is full of bad news, but if you use the 3Ps to help take control of your own situation, you might just see that patch of blue sky on the horizon.

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When the world is full of bad news – as it currently is – take a moment to reflect on the above. Here’s hoping the storm clouds will pass soon enough. In the meantime, come and get a virtual hug over at our Instagram community here.

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