Let me introduce you to Laura the Explorer!


You could write a book about your life in the last couple of years Laura, but for those that haven’t come across you yet can you briefly tell your story?

I am 52 and, in November 2020, I left my marriage because I knew that there was more to life than being in a marriage that was mediocre. We had been looking at relocating to France and I had the dream of living in a French farmhouse with animals and land. I now think it was my dream more than my ex-husband’s and that it was me who was pushing for the new life.

I remember realising one day that even if we were in France, living this fairy-tale life we would still not be happy. I remember looking at what was the 100,000 house online and sitting in the office where I worked with my husband and knowing that I could not go on like this anymore.

The whisper inside me had turned into a scream and the only way to silence it was to end my marriage. I told my husband that day and within 6 weeks I had left, forever…although at the time I wasn’t sure it would be.

So I bought a small car and set off to France alone. I thought if I don’t do it now, I would end up settling in the UK and this, although less scary, did not feel right.

I found a small house to rent in the south of France, a small town in an area where I had never been before and set off on the 31 October, just as they announced a full lockdown.

Many people have dreams of escaping to a foreign country and starting a new life but most never do it. What was your motivation? Where did you find the strength?

My motivation was the calling within me, the inner voice that needed me to listen. The idea of living in a place with more days of sunshine and a lot less traffic and noise was, and had been for many years, very appealing. I have always been someone who is willing to move to better my life and I have lived in many places, moving every 18 months or so has been quite normal for me.


What challenges have you faced along the way and how did you overcome them?

I am in perimenopause and one of my symptoms is driving anxiety, so I have had to deal with that on my journey down through the UK to Portsmouth and then driving on the other side of the road in France. Sometimes it is debilitating and I must stop and have something to eat and then set off again. I also use breathing techniques along the way and some NLP anchoring techniques. I also left my marriage with very little money and a fledgeling coaching business. I do not have enough money to buy a house and so that fear of survival is constant in my life. We did not own a property and settled out of court.

Leaving behind loved ones and friends. Especially my 20 year old son. Changing phones and getting a wifi signal set up to be able to work from anywhere has been challenging.

Can you tell me about a time when you almost gave up, how you felt about that, and what you did instead of giving up?

I have never felt like giving up, it is not an option. I just keep going. I have never regretted my decision and although times are challenging, I know that I am doing the right thing for me.

Can you share some of your favourite times along your journey?

Some of my favourite times… pulling up at a beach on my way to Barcelona to take the ferry to visit my mum and seeing a beautiful sunset.

Driving towards the Pyrenees when I was living in the small French village and seeing the snow capped mountains.

Climbing mountains in Mallorca with my brother in law. 

Walking along deserted beaches in Mallorca in the middle of winter.

SUP boarding in the Dordogne

Christmas 2021 in the Dordogne with friends when my son visited.  

Buying and living in my Hymer motor home… feeling free and having something to call mine has been wonderful. It has always been a dream to have a camper van.

Meeting my French man and falling in love.

How has it been taking your job ‘on the road’ with you?

It has been fantastic to be able to work from anywhere… as long as I have a signal!  I have been able to grow my coaching practice, set up an online menopause directory and membership and deliver online menopause awareness sessions to organisations from anywhere. I am living a digital nomad life.

What are your non-negotiables? And have they changed since you left England?

My non-negotiables are regular exercise, regular space to re charge my batteries. Checking in with myself to make sure I am still aligned to my core values. Regular coaching for growth and connection. Healthy nutrition, drinking in moderation and having fun!

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

This life, our one precious life. My son, my survival instinct, and my dog will need a pee!

What would the closest person in your life say if I asked them, ‘What is the one characteristic that they totally love about you, and the one that drives them insane?’

I asked and they said that I’m kind and tolerant, open minded and resilient would be the thing they love …not sure what would drive them insane… I will ask around! He said nothing!

How would you describe yourself in no more than three words.

Feisty, fabulous and brave

What is your favourite quote?

I have chosen 2 !

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world” Ann Frank 

 “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage” Anais Nin 

If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great 12 months it’s been for you, what did you achieve?

Ooo I love this question! I would be travelling around and will have visited many interesting places in my camper van. I would have grown my coaching practice and be helping support many more women on their journeys to thrive in midlife and beyond. I would have seen my son at least 3 times. I would be delivering many menopause awareness trainings online for organisations. And I would have bought a plot of land to build a home.

You have a son – which one thing would you like to change in the world for him? 

I would like more women to be in power throughout the world. This one change would have a huge impact on everything that happens. Wars and corruption and sexual violence would become less and that would make the world a much fairer place. I cannot abide injustice.

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 shoes 

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

My aunty Ruth who has always lived an unconventional life and supports me every day.

Victor Frankl for surviving the concentration camps and helping others through founding Logotherapy because of, not despite his experiences

Maya Angelou for her wise and wonderful poems and life experience.

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

I don’t like to think of anything as a mistake or a failure, rather a chance to learn and grow. We are where we are at any given moment because of all that has gone behind us and that is exactly where we are supposed to be. I am a lifelong learner and treat every experience as a chance to evolve and expand myself. 

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I have attempted many but would have liked to have been a really great singer and make my money by playing in concerts etc. Or a successful travel presenter. 

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

Book, The Four Agreements  Don Miguel Ruiz.  Podcast Rich Roll. On my last eggs. And The Coaches Journey podcast. Film too many to mention but maybe my favourite feel good film is still Dirty dancing  and my favourite director is Pedro Almodovar

What have you learnt this week?

I like to learn always, this week I have learned that sometimes things don’t work out as planned and actually it is never a failure only an experience to learn from. 

How do you feel about ageing?

Ageing is a wonderful privilege for me. I love how wise I am and how much more comfortable I feel in every circumstance but I do struggle a bit with my ageing body and skin etc and how I look. After a 25-year modelling career it is part of my story, being judged on how I look for so many years has and is something that I work on daily. One way is by high fiving myself each time I look in the mirror, thanks to Mel Robbins for this! And practising gratitude and self-compassion through meditation.

What’s the best thing about getting older?

Not giving as many fucks!!

Where can people find out more about you?

Social links to point them to…

Insta marvellous_midlife  https://www.instagram.com/marvellous_midlife/

Facebook group  Menopause Hive https://www.facebook.com/groups/2957582994522638

Menopause Hive online menopause directory and membership https://menopausehive.com/membership/

Facebook page Marvellous Midlife  https://www.facebook.com/marvellousmidlife

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!

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! 💕

When my confidence went AWOL

This week I lost my confidence.

If you follow my Instagram stories, you’ll already know this and I thank you so much for your kind words and messages.

I wanted to share this with you because I know that my account is full of positivity – because that is me 95% of the time. My relentlessly positive mindset is what has got me through the past year relatively unscathed. Nevertheless, the other day I turned on myself and I thought it would be good for you to see that I’m human after all!

It crept up on me very slowly during the day. I’d been putting off a task for the last few months because there was a very high chance of rejection, coupled with a very low chance of success, but I decided that I couldn’t put it off any longer and so, with that tiniest glimmer of hope, I put myself out there and on a course for a new wave of rejection anyway!

Rejection is a massive part of my job. I’m used to it. It’s like water off a duck’s back but for some reason this felt different and I was scared.

To say that the past year, like for many others, has not been the greatest of years for me work wise is a bit of an understatement! At times, it’s fair to say that my confidence has taken a few knocks and it’s made me question if I’m any good at what I’m doing after all.

And once that negative voice took over the other day, well it was game over!

But then came another day and I had a chance to change my attitude, and I did, and even when the first rejection email came though, it didn’t actually hurt at all, so there was no need to fear it after all!!

So yep, my fragile ego has taken a bit of a battering during Covidtimes but I’ll keep putting my dented, titanium coated positive pants on and keep showing up. Compared to many, in the last year, I’m still one of the lucky ones and for that I’m truly grateful.