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

Give the gift of memories

This year I’m giving the gift of experiences as much as possible as I feel that giving someone the opportunity to do something that they wouldn’t normally treat themselves to is really special (well I think so, maybe you’d prefer a new handbag?! 😂)

Therefore I’ve compiled this list from my online community who all offer a service or experience that you can gift, or buy a voucher towards the price. Feel free to forward a link to this page to Father Christmas or leave your laptop open so that curious eyes can have a read!

PERSONAL STYLISTS
Give the gift of style and confidence this Christmas.
A personal stylist can work with you to discover your personal style, colour, a special outfit or wardrobe edit.

Katie Portman Instagram Katie.portman

Styled by Jessica Rogers Instagram styledbyjessicarogers

Sarah Cale Instagram sarahcale_stylist

FITNESS
Actually achieve those fitness goals in the year ahead!

Learn how to do resistance training with excellent technique so you have the confidence and the know how to go it alone! Personal Trainer Kate offers packages of 3,5 or 10 sessions (can be done online)

Kate Oakley Instagram yourfuturefit

HOME
Organise your home and declutter for a calmer you!

Declutter with Emma Instagram declutterwithemma

TECH

Step up your instagram game in 2022!
Finding your confidence on Instagram sessions with Honor.
Instagram honestlywithhonor

Know someone who needs a new website for business or leisure?
Website designer Karen of Somerville Communications is offering vouchers towards the cost of building a website.
For all the details: Somerville Communications

WELLBEING

Life Coaching
Get 2022 off to a clear and focused start with the support of a life coach

Sarah Snape Midlife Coach Breakthrough:21 Days of Supported Action.
During the 21 days Breakthrough process we work together on ONE specific area to gain clarity, breakthrough blocks and gain confidence. Boost confidence, self-belief, gain clarity, start figuring out what’s next in Midlife. Instagram sarahjsnape

Laura Shuckburgh Life & Menopause Coach
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
Instagram Marvellous Midlife

Connect the Mind, Body & Heart – the Enneagram is an ancient holistic way to discover what drives you and can help you thrive in all areas of life.
Enjoy over 50% off an in depth Personal Enneagram Typing Session with Joanne Bonnett 
Instagram @jobo_silver_linings … £45 (usually £99) for the first 25 people to book in December.

Hypnotherapy and Relaxation Clinic
Est and Rach are not your stereotypical hypnotherapists. They will coach and guide you to transform your life using hypnotherapy, NLP and EFT. And yes, this can be done online so you don’t have to be local! Instagram hypnotherapyrelaxationclinic

Hypnotherapy and Relaxation Clinic

BEAUTY

Face Yoga – Get your glow on!
Just as the muscles in the body need toning through exercise, so do the 57 muscles in the head, face and neck. Face yoga classes and workshops will teach you muscle strengthening and tightening exercises and massage techniques with many beneficial effects.

Lisa Barrett Glowology Instagram ukglowology

Lena Instagram thefaceyogaspace

Make up lessons

Allison Tye Midlands Make Up artist Instagram allisontyemakeup

Allison Tye make up

Make Up
Create your own bespoke lipstick experience

Code8 is a London-born makeup brand representing the infinite potential of makeup to express all beauty ideals, regardless of age, skin colour and look preferences. However they not only have their make up range, they also offer you the experience to create your own, bespoke lipstick shade.
“Let our Colour Maestro guide you into finding your unique colour, starting with a profile of your natural colour harmonies, lifestyle considerations and colour preferences and moods. The result is a truly personalised colour created on a lab machine.” Instagram code8beauty

Beauty treatments
Michelle Ramsden (Sutton Coldfield) Instagram michellerbeautyroom

Aromatherapy
Treatments online and in person 
Ali Williams Instagram the_lavender_house_1908

GETAWAYS

Weekends away or holidays

RiadMurakush in Marrakech is offering vouchers that can be used towards a stay at her beautiful riad (traditional Morrocan house B&B) Instagram riadmurakush (PS Maria offers free cancellations and to work with you so that you get to enjoy some away time risk free)

Honestlywithhonor’s Maison de la Roche is an intimate yet child friendly nest of gites in the south of France and with Honor as your host, you are guaranteed an amazing time! Instagram gites_de_charme_occitanie

Happy Christmas gifting everyone!

PS Any of my community that would like to be added to this list – please message me on Instagram asap!

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.

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?

Beauty that comes with age

Today I am more than happy to add my voice to @studio10makeup’s movement to change the negative narrative on ageing. It’s something that many of you know that I’m already passionate about. 

We grow up in a society where ageing is something to dread and then endure. No one ever seems to share or focus on all the positive and wonderful things that come with age. And the ageing role models that we have available to us in the media can be counted on two hands. 

It’s one of the main reasons that I love my Insta community as much as I do. It’s such a positive place to hang out. We are absolutely challenging society’s stereotypes of what we should look like and what we should be doing. 

And yes, there is some shit stuff that happens too but we’re open and we’re talking about it. We’re learning all the time, we’re changing and adapting and I’m definitely laughing in the face of some of the crap, because it’s what I do! 

I’ve also posted a little video (on the Instagram post) that I made back in 2019 when I was already sick to death of being the target and focus of a barrage of ‘anti ageing’ and ‘recapture your youth’ advertising. (Newsflash: there are no age defying miracles and I’m more youthful now than I ever was in my 20s!) I have absolutely nothing against young people, (I made one of my own!) I just don’t want to see them modelling clothes and products aimed at me. (If you can be bothered to go & find it, I even wrote a blog post about it back in 2016!!!! Have things changed much since then? Yes, but not significantly) 

So if you feel passionately about this message too then please get posting. 
All the background info is on Grace’s @studio10makeup profile. 

A letter to all the music snobs out there!

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I bloody love music. It has the power to lift me up or give me comfort. It makes me dance. It makes me cry. It makes me feel stuff. It’s amazing and I’m forever in awe of those with the talent to create it.

However, what has always pissed me off are those people who believe that they are somehow superior to others because of their taste in music. I’m lucky, I grew up in a house full of music and wide ranging music styles. Some days my dad would be playing Glen Campbell or War of the Worlds and on others, my mom would be playing her Boogie Nights mix tape. I did my GCSE coursework to the tunes of the 60s and me and my childhood friends made up dances to everything from Buddy Holly to Bucks Fizz.

By university I’d learnt that it wasn’t cool to admit to liking pretty much anything but 90s indie, preferably from Manchester, and for years I felt like I had to hide about 75% of what I loved.

Then I properly grew up and realised that I don’t care if I’m cool all the time. Music is so subjective. It’s personal. It’s an emotional thing. It’s what touches us and sounds good to our own ears. It is a time or a place. It is a loved one or a fleeting moment.

So for that very reason, no one can be better than anyone else because of the music that appeals to their ears and no one should be able to make you feel bad for liking what you like. 

What’s more, there can be no such thing as a guilty pleasure when it comes to songs because – if it makes you happy then there should be no guilt! 

Warm regards
Katie x

Spring – can you hear me?!

So what to do when you can’t get to spring fast enough? Bring a touch of spring to your outfit!⁣

I’ve been quite colour averse for the last few months but when I saw this cardigan @moobou it screamed SPRING at me and so I treated myself! And, as a Brit, we need cardigans all. year. round! So I did check out what it looked like with my beloved shorts too. It passed the test!

So come on spring, let’s be having you! I’m ready, my bulbs are ready and my cold bones are most definitely ready! ⁣
Who else is ready? 🌷🌱🌷⁣