Small habit changes – vote for the person you want to become!

If you’ve not come across Kate Oakley of Your Future Fit yet, it is my pleasure to introduce her to you.

Kate is a personal trainer who specialises in good physical and mental health in peri/menopause. She’s on a mission to make this stage of our lives the best yet.

She also understands that time is often in short supply and helps us to find ways to incorporate exercise into busy lives and adopt long term healthy lifestyles rather than fad diets, cheat days and negative habits.

Kate is the PT queen of small habit changes that will lead to long lasting lifestyle changes and health improvements.

No time to exercise? Fancy one of Kate’s six minute workouts then?

Have a listen to Kate’s video to understand how starting small can go on to make a big difference. Oh and these small habit changes can be applied in many other areas of life, not just to your fitness.

You can find Kate on Instagram

The Midlife Switch – Career Edition

Many assume, or fear, that making major life changes over 40 is just not possible, that it’s too late or not worth the hassle. So as part of my Midlife Memo newsletter series I’m hoping to disprove some of these myths, along with introducing you to some fabulous women, who will hopefully inspire you to believe that it’s never too late.

Today I’m chatting to Liz who gave up a successful career as a teacher and took the leap into launching her own business in recruitment. Six years later, after much hard work, drive and determination, I’m catching up with her to see how how she’s getting on.

You were an outstanding primary school teacher, what motivated you to give it all up and start your own business, in a new industry, in your 40s?

I just felt so miserable teaching (the system not the kids) and I had no real control over my day to day.  I also had young children myself and was missing out of so much time with them because I worked non-stop.  I was treading water all the time!

Did you ever have a time when you almost gave up? What did you do instead of giving up/what stopped you giving up?

I never even thought of giving up (except when Covid hit and we all thought it was the end of the world).  It just wasn’t an option as I had to make it work as I had no back up plan.  Resourcefulness and resilience are key for me and if I can’t do something I just find a way and dig in and get it done.

What has been the hardest part of the journey so far?

Having two members of staff leave one after the other within a two month period.  I was far too close to them personally and you know it hurt – a lot!  One of them told me they were setting up in competition to me and stole my database too – ouch!

What advice would you give to someone who would like to do a similar thing?

Absolutely go for it!  Honestly the only person holding you back is yourself.  Get the right tribe around you and let them cheer you on.  Own your mistakes – you will make them – and work on your mindset as it is the key to everything.

What’s your superpower?

People.  I am genuinely interested in the people in my life – whether that’s professionally or personally.  You can have such an impact on someone’s life or situation just by being there, listening and being interested in them.

What is your favourite quote?

“Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you.”

What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

Starting the day right.  I love a morning routine.  I get up at 5:30 and have a little time for me whether that be a podcast or journaling and I always try to get some kind of exercise in.    

What did you learn from mistakes you made in your life?

That they are all part of the journey and it’s not what happens to you that defines you but how you respond to it.

You have two sons – which one thing would you like to change in the world for them?

I hope for a fairer world.  That a person’s sex, race, age or colour should make no difference to how they are treated or how they are made to feel.

You can only choose to save one thing. What would it be?

1. Your wardrobe
2. Your makeup bag
3. Your music collection
4. Your shoes

My music collection!

What would you do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?

Say my prayers!!!

Who are the three people who have been the most influential to you? And why?

My dad – he taught me the value of being passionate about my career and that anything is achievable.

My mom – she modelled how to be resilient and face adversity full on with a positive mindset as well as showing me how to be a fantastic mom myself.

Jesus – my faith gives me both peace, strength and purpose.  I would be truly lost without this one!

What would be your must-not-miss podcast/book/film recommendation?

Oh my goodness there are so many!  I’m sorry this is an impossible question.

How do you feel about ageing?

I’m embracing it.  I am braver, more confident and most importantly happier than I have ever been.  I think we really do get better with age (like a fine wine!)

What’s the best thing about getting older?

Knowing myself.  I just don’t stand for any nonsense or drama now.  I know what and who I like, and don’t like, and that’s ok.

You can find Liz on LinkedIn and Griffin & Scott on Facebook and Instagram.

Is it time for ‘real’ women to go?

Call me a snowflake but I have a problem with the term ‘real women.’ I’ve had it for some years now. I know because I spoke to @rachelperu quite some time ago about it & I said then that I wanted to write a blog post about it. Obviously I never did. 

Until now. 

The other day I received a marketing email from one of the UK’s much loved retailers with the subject title – lingerie designed, modelled and worn by REAL women – and I thought the time to write is right now. 

Now I absolutely love this campaign, as I truly have an issue with only seeing underwear and swimwear on ‘perfect,’ airbrushed, young, white bodies and it is about time that we get to see a full range of shapes, sizes, skin colours and ages. I am 100% here for that. 

Yet the term ‘real women’ irks and grates on me like Cheddar on a big, metal holey thing. 

By saying that the women in these images are real, you’re saying that others are not. That the stereotypical models used to model lingerie aren’t real women? Oh but they are. They’re just blessed with amazing genes and probably work incredibly hard to have that figure.

It’s like the phrase – real women have curves – yes, absolutely they do but some other real women do not. Not one. Straight up and down. Muscular. Angular with hard edges. Yet still a real woman. 

Back in 2019 one brand put out a model call for ‘real women with real bodies’ so did that mean that it was open to us all? Nope! Fortunately, someone had a word and they changed the language. 

Why do we have to celebrate one group of women while essentially putting down another? I appreciate that it’s because many women have, for years, been made to feel crap about themselves due to all the traditional marketing/models used and now it’s time to celebrate them. Again, abso-blumin-lutely! I just don’t want it to be at the cost of making other women feel any less of a woman. 

Seeing a full range of bodies in the media and advertising really is important to help most of us feel more confident and happy with what we have and not be self critical or torment ourselves with a lifetime of trying to achieve the beauty ideal that is unattainable for most.

However, can’t we just be genuinely diverse and celebrate us all at the same time, never to the exclusion of others? I’m definitely not normally one to get so sensitive over a word, I know there’s no actual harm intended, but anyone else agree that we’re all real and maybe it’s time to ditch this expression from advertising, magazines and general conversation!? 🤷🏼‍♀️

Going tortoise!

My Instagram bio says 100% genuine.

Hopefully, most of you will know by now how honest and open I try to be on here. I have a real problem with perpetuating the whole ‘fake/one dimensional’ side of social media. Obviously my feed is still a highlight reel but I’m always me. Anyone who’s met me in real life says that I’m like the person that I come across and that is exactly how I want it to be.

My Instagram bio also says positive midlife.

That’s true too. I’m annoyingly positive. I’ve watched the TED talks and read the books. I’ve cracked the code! I know that our brains are wired to default to the negative for safety and survival (from sabre tooth tigers and the like!) so we have to work hard to exercise the positive muscles of the brain. I know that we are what we think so if we think positive things and feel gratitude then we will feel all the good stuff.

Yay! Sorted! I’m bossing at life! Go me!

Except that in spring I started a slow and steady decline into the valley of negativity. I could feel it happening. It didn’t happen overnight. It was very stealth like. I tried to call in my Positivity SAS – exercise, sleep, eating well, getting outside, stroking the dog, having a word with myself, allowing myself some time to feel a bit shit, immersing myself in work activities etc. But the decline continued right to the bottom of the valley where I started to cry. At some point every day. Normally over nothing. Often before I’d even properly opened my eyes. I mean WTF?

Why?

I don’t really know. I still don’t know for sure. 

Options included: the six month winter, a year of Covidtimes, the drastic change to my working life, having a CDB oil break and those bloody unpredictable hormones! Maybe all of the above?!

All I know is that at some point around mid June, the absolute bitch from hell came to camp out on my shoulder and, with the loudest megaphone known to woman, she proceeded to tell me how useless I was, how unattractive and old I was, she even threw in “and you’re meant to be a model!” Who did I think I was trying to create a positive community for midlife women? She also shouted that I was a crap mom, wife, daughter, friend etc. She criticised me in every way that she could about every, single area of my life. 

She was my negative, inner voice and she was proper vile and so very persistent. You don’t want to meet her in a dark alley because she’d duff you up good and proper. I was definitely battered and bruised after my encounter with her. I felt totally useless, inadequate and a complete fraud.

My self esteem and confidence was pretty much in tatters.

When I feel like this I have a tendency to go a ‘bit tortoise.’ I go inside my shell and try and hide from the world, even though this isn’t necessarily the best thing for me. I just can’t help myself…

… a few more weeks have passed since I wrote the above and, while I’m still walking a bit of a tightrope and my self confidence is not totally back in place, things have majorly improved.

Why? I wish I had the answer!

I had a couple of very good chats with great women, I consistently took my CBD oil again and very importantly I started to take a lot more pride in my appearance. This has definitely made a massive improvement to my self esteem. Also my hormones may have fluctuated to a more stable place (who bloody knows what’s going on with them!?) Resilience became my word of the moment and I kept reminding myself that I have an amazing life!

The evil bitch vanished. I started to feel joy again. Frankly I started to feel like me again. 

I just wish that I knew what had changed?!

Maybe I’ll never know and my desire to know the reason why (so that I could sort it out) was only making things worse? 

Maybe at times, you feel just a bit shit for absolutely no reason and you simply have to ride out the storm until you’re plonked back down on the shore, a bit bedraggled, and you pick yourself back up and start again?

All I know is that I’m currently trying to be very kind to myself and it feels so much better than beating myself up!

Anyone for a new newsletter with a slice of cake?

Anyone want some cake?

Well now I’ve got your attention! I’ve done a thing and I want you to be part of it! There ‘may’ be cake later so keep reading! 🧁

You know how when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade? Well life gave me some really nice Instamates and I want to make the most of it!

I have therefore created a mailing list so that we can stay in touch.

1. Because I’ve heard too many stories of people losing their Instagram accounts and therefore all their connections.

2. Because I am starting up The Midlife Memo monthly newsletter where I will be curating loads of positive news, info, features and stuff and I’d love to be able to send it to you! I suppose it’s really an extension of this account but with lots of input from other wonderful people.

This is a work in progress so lots still to work on and think about but in the meantime, please do sign up to keep in touch by adding your email to the box below!

Oh and even though it’s called The Midlife Memo – it’s a really inclusive and welcoming place for all ages – younger and older. So if you like what I do on here, please do come along and join in.

Really exciting bit! If you sign up before the end of June I’ll put you in a draw for some fabulous stuff too. There may even be cake! Well there will be if any cake makers would like to send some cake to the winner! Any offers? 😂

Please do share this post to your stories and encourage your mates to join in too! Muchos luvos! 💕

Any questions or if you’d like to get involved in some way, feel free to send me a DM xx

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Back to work with a beautiful bang!

If you’ve followed me on my Instagram stories this week, you will have seen some of the behind the scenes from a job that I did for @peanut and also why I had a very disturbed night’s sleep on my first hotel stay since February ‘20! 🙉

The job was made for me in so many ways:
1. It was a totally pink set and I got to wear pink!
2. The styling by @gemmaharrisonstylist and the overall design aesthetic was so visually pleasing to my eyes.
3. I was one of four women representing women of peri / menopausal age and as you know, I am very passionate about being open and talking about this so that we, and future generations, are more informed, less worried and more understanding of the options open to us before we’re in the middle of it! I’m assuming that by now many of you have seen the @davinamccall programme on Channel 4. I don’t know about you, but I found it so refreshing to listen to someone talk so candidly about it, in the way that we often do on here, but is rarely seen in the mainstream media. I will say again that this isn’t a conversation to be had solely by middle aged women. It’s for everyone. Plus I have to agree, if men had menopause, it would definitely be sorted by 2021. 
4. I was part of a totally fabulous (and bloody beautiful!) bunch of women and crew and after a year of being a hermit, it was frankly wonderful.

I can’t wait to hopefully share some of the images with you once they come out because I think they are going to be very special.

If you did see the programme, what did you think?

Where for art thou mojo?

Okay – got to admit, I’ve lost my mojo folks and the problem with having “100% genuine” in your Insta bio means that I can’t fake it with a pretty picture and an uplifting quote!

There are a few reasons I think, although I’m really not totally sure of the root cause. Covidtimes catching up with me. Missing my job. Thinking about what I’m doing/going/where I want to be. Working hard on a couple of new projects behind the scenes but progress, when you’re starting off, is often slow. Having so many ideas but getting frustrated at being just one person with not enough time (or energy or motivation at times!) The moon. This shit weather. My cold bones can only take so much winter weather in a year. Etc. Etc.

I’m fine though. Honestly. Just more pissed off at my own, self inflicted, inertia I suppose.

So, I’ve chatted with a couple of people today, given myself a kick up the arse and set up a little office workstation rather than working in the kitchen where I very easily get distracted by house chores. Just clearing out the junk space to an office today already gave me a little burst of focused motivation so I’m hoping it lasts and I have a few more superwoman days going forwards!

What do you do to clear out a head funk?

Top Tips for positive ageing

I often talk about positive ageing but I have had a few comments about what it actually means. So this is what it means to me. 

I think that these work for everyone, whatever your age. I know that my worst phase of ageing was my late 20s heading towards 30. I absolutely dreaded it and had a bit of a ‘midlife’ crisis!

For me personally, it’s mainly about having a positive mindset as much as possible (Remember – having a positive attitude can add another seven years onto your life!) and taking control of the areas of my health and wellbeing that I can actually influence.

However, I’m sure that positive ageing means different things to each of us so I’d love to hear what it means to you in the comments below. I look forward to learning more! 

Getting to know you!

Well it seems like it has been 18 months since my last ‘getting to know me’ post so I thought that it might be about time for another! 

I don’t want to repeat myself, so I’ll post the last two from 2019 to my ‘hello’ highlight on Instagram if you want to find out more useless stuff about me!

1. I can tap dance. My favourite step is a quadruple time step!
2. I can’t sing but I love to do it so much. Loudly and badly. But I can’t tell you how I’d love to be able to do it so that it didn’t make ears bleed! Magic wand please! 
3. If I had to live in a totally dark world or a totally silent world, I would choose a dark world as I could not live without music.
4. Food is one of my greatest joys in life.
5. Change your thoughts and you’ll change your world is a quote that I live by.
6. I’m not a fan of small talk but love anyone who gets real and open.
7. I’m a water baby. I love being in it, next to it or on it.
8. I don’t like coffee but still ‘go for a coffee!’
9. I have a weird fascination with wind turbines.
10. Quite often I prefer dogs and plants over humans but when I find wonderful human beings, I think that they are bloody awesome. Luckily for me, I’ve even found some beautiful souls on here! 😘

So there you go! Learnt anything new? Any mutual feelings there? 

Happy weeks ahead. Hope the sun keeps shining for you. 

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The ‘Invisible’ Change

I was 45 years old before I started to learn about the peri menopause.⁣ Shocking!

Two years later, I’m starting to question how this is even possible? How can something that affects us all not be talked about or properly understood, even by the women that are about to enter this period of their lives?⁣

I honestly thought the menopause was just a time of hot flushes and grumpiness with some women hotter and more grumpy than others! 🙈⁣

If it wasn’t for my community on Instagram, I wouldn’t know that there are at least 34 symptoms, that it affects us all very differently and starts, (and comes and goes) at different times, but how I wish that I’d known more about it earlier in my life so that when things started happening, I didn’t question my sanity! ⁣

I’m talking about this today, because while it may make some of you feel uncomfortable, it may make others feel so much better. Understanding this time in life is key for all of us. We all know, live or work with someone going through this!⁣

One of the uncertain things that I faced is when to speak to someone about my experiences. When is the best time to get professional help? My husband said that I was too young. I’d heard too many unsympathetic stories about GP visits and I wasn’t sure what to do.⁣

Fortunately, @healthandherltd offered me an online appointment with one of their specialist GPs. I had a 30 minute session where we discussed everything that has been going on over the last couple of years and she made some recommendations for me going forwards. It was a very reassuring half hour. 

If you are interested in finding out more about your symptoms or have your questions and concerns answered then I would recommend booking an appointment via their website. They will provide you with prescription recommendations if necessary and notes for your own GP.⁣

Also, remember that @marvellousmidlife and I chatted about much of this during our #midlifeglowupchat so go to my IGTV to have a listen.⁣

Any questions, let me know below! 💕