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.

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!

Natalie Queiroz is Still Standing.

Natalie Queiroz is the survivor of one of the most appalling attempted murders imaginable. After being stabbed two dozen times by her partner, when she was eight months pregnant, she has rebuilt her life and inspired people the length and breadth of the country with her courage and refusal to be bowed by her trauma. Alongside a successful full-time career, she has since become a motivational speaker, a best-selling author with her international book – Still Standing, and, through various feats of endurance and daring, raised thousands of pounds for the Midlands Air Ambulance charity that she owes her life to.

How do you move on after such a trauma? Not only were you attacked but it was by your partner and father of your unborn child. How do you learn to love and trust again?

Trauma is something I believe that we never ‘get over’ but we learn to live with. I read a piece once that describes how trauma permanently changes us. But that doesn’t have to, in my opinion, be negative. So, the first part of moving on is actually accepting this fact and not trap ourselves in a cycle of trying to go back to be a person we just aren’t any more. 

My children, family, friends and psychologist all played their part in helping me move on step by step – even though sometimes it felt like I was slipping backwards. However, by setting myself small goals I was able to progress day by day.

In terms of loving and trusting again – that was huge. But with the help of my psychologist, I learnt to grow my self-worth and like myself again. Plus I learnt to trust in my choices. It has been, and sometimes it still is, so hard. But I was determined that he wouldn’t win. He hadn’t ended my life that day and he wasn’t going to stop me from moving on. After three years of seeing my psychologist, I met my partner Simon through a fundraising event. He has since proposed and we are due to marry next year – a few months after our 3-year anniversary! He has had to be so patient with me and I still can have ‘moments’ but we are a true team with love, honesty and transparency absolutely at the heart of us.

Did you ever almost give up? How did you feel and what inspired you to not give up?

Oh crikey there were many times I felt like giving up. I had some really dark moments where I wished I hadn’t survived as it was so utterly painful and overwhelming. There were days I would have to battle myself to not do something stupid as I couldn’t stand the continual physical and mental fight. But I knew deep down I wouldn’t ever end my life as I knew I could never give up. When I give talks, I always refer to the ‘sink or swim’ moment – and we all have them. I had three children (one of whom was a very small and poorly baby who had somehow amazingly survived it all!) who needed me now more than ever and sinking wasn’t an option. No matter how painful it was – I would get up, shower, dress (always an essential part – can’t scare the neighbours by streaking everywhere!), put my make up on and do my hair. It gave my children security seeing mom look as ‘normal’ as possible and they were and are my absolute world and focus – my pure inspiration to never give in.

To balance – I would allow myself times to cry away from my children – where I would let it out in torrents (this was a daily ritual for the first few months especially) and my psychologist helped me every week; but at the core of it all was my children.

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

The thought that I am taking that next step into really making those changes I want to still do. You never know who you will speak to, connect with or have a conversation with in a day, which could bring an opportunity that could change so much. Every day could be that win.

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

A kinder world. That sounds really cheesy but basic kindness and thought for others would make this world so much better. There are so many people who have become so hardened or concerned with themselves at the detriment to others, it makes me quite sad how awful people can be to others.

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

Honest, loving, stubborn/tenacious* (* you decide!)

What’s your superpower?

It has been said I can be the human equivalent of the ‘Energiser Bunny’! I have an ability to dig in and find an endurance to just keep going at times in a fairly unhuman-like way! I also will keep going to find a positive option even in a fairly rubbish situation.

What is your favourite quote?

Ok so I’m cheating a bit here as it isn’t a quote, but a positive affirmation. There are many quotes I love, but a simple positive affirmation which has got me through so much is: “You’ve Got This!” 

Whenever you have those little moments of panic or self-doubt – just keep repeating it to yourself and trust me you will believe yourself. When I was in my really tough times, one of my best friends, Harrie, kept texting and telling me the same thing when I was getting overwhelmed. She would always say, “Nat – You’ve Got This.” I took this through to the prison with me the day I faced him. Just before I was taken up some very cold, hard concrete steps to the room he was in, waiting for me to face him for the first time properly since the day he tried to murder me. I popped to the toilet (as you would – it is a rather nervous, wee-inducing moment!) As I stood washing my hands, there was a tiny mirror above the sink and I remember looking at myself and just saying firmly “You’ve Got This” to my reflection as I stared hard at myself. One deep breath later, I left the toilets and was taken step by step up and into the room to see him sitting looking at me as I entered… I smashed that meeting!

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

My clinical psychologist taught me so much – about self-belief, self-love, going with my instinct and not settling for less – always holding out for what I actually want. She didn’t teach me new values as such but helped me discover the real me, who I hadn’t appreciated for pretty much my whole life. She showed such passion, fire, kindness and compassion it truly inspired me.

In terms of other influential people, I have met some incredible people in my journey these last five years, so it’s hard to pick out just a couple. But in terms of my work and desire to support young people and look at their issues from a totally different angle, an amazing man called Craig Pinkney is absolutely up there in terms of influencing me. Craig is a Criminologist, Urban Youth Specialist, an academic (soon to be Dr) and on-road youth worker. His knowledge, experience and strong voice to drive change is just awe-inspiring. So many could learn so much about our young people and the issues today surrounding them if they just listened to some of his work (check him out on You Tube!).

Another amazing influential person in my life is the beautiful and amazing Madeleine Black. Madeleine is an author (her book ‘Unbroken’ is her own memoir which is both horrifying in describing her experiences of rape as a teen but also a truly inspiring one.) She is a two times TEDx speaker, a motivational speaker and a powerhouse voice for change around the issue of sexual violence. Madeleine personifies kindness and support, as well as being a person of strong values and passion and drive for positive change.

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

Aw no.. I’m genuinely torn. Music is so important to me. I’m one of those people who listens to lyrics and I adore P!nk. However, I’m going to be cheeky, on the basis that I can stream my favourite music online and don’t need my actual collection, I’m going to go for my make up bag. Firstly, I’m 45 and it is a fact my face needs help! Secondly, make up has always been an important part for me to feel complete and ready to face the world. Yes it was my mask but it makes me feel good. Who can argue with a good eyeliner and mascara (oh and a good eyebrow pencil after the ‘90s literally destroyed my eyebrows through over-plucking!).

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I apologise to all vegetarians/vegans reading this as it would have to be meat based. I just love meat. I know it’s bad and I’m sorry! For versatility I would say chicken as I can season it and have it lots of different ways. Chicken with salad I know sounds very sad and lame but it is my go-to food (mixed in with a bit of chorizo and mushrooms and you’ve got me sold for life!). 

What’s your top tip for positive ageing?

Embrace yourself! Be happy from the inside and it will radiate out. Oh and keep a good hair cut/style and colour if you want to. I am not giving into the greys yet but I know a day will come when I will go for the full on silver hair look (probably dyed silver too!) A good cut and style makes the world of difference. I think we have all seen in lockdown what a difference it makes, I honestly felt I looked older when my hair started going all outgrown from its style. It literally took years off my when I had it chopped. 

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

If I can be part of bringing out conversations to normalise the discussion around domestic abuse and domestic violence and be part of taking that stigma away and changing the narrative around it so more people can get support that would be an amazing 12 months!

Thanks so much Natalie for sharing part of your story with us and for being so honest and open, you really are an inspiration to many. Much love for the future xx

Periods are rubbish!

Hey, hey, hey!

I’m back again banging on about my mailing list subscriber giveway! 🎉

Now let me introduce you to two fabulous brands who are saving the earth one period at a time!

As Wear’em Out say – periods are rubbish!

No, really. Did you know the average person uses 22 disposable sanitary products per period? And they all end up in landfill, or even worse, on our beaches and in our seas. 

@wearemoutpads has gifted us a ‘lighter trial pack’ of pads.

Lauren is mum of four and founder of the new award winning reusable period pad brand that is taking the world by storm. Wear‘em Out pads are manufactured in the UK and made of high quality, hard working fabrics. Each of the four pad sizes are designed with comfort and confidence at the forefront and aimed at modern lifestyles.

And

@periodpantsclub has gifted us a pair of bamboo hipsters.

Sam, the founder of Period Pants Club, trained and worked as a lingerie/swimwear designer for 15 years. In this time she learnt a lot about pants but, as her eyes were opened to the struggles our planet was facing, she knew that she wanted to do more. So she created a brand that she truly believed in and @periodpantsclub was born.

Her aim was to engage more people into the wonderful world of reusable period wear. To offer more than your basic black brief. Being on your period didn’t mean you had to wear boring pants! 

PS both products can help with other little leaks too! Please do give both of these fabulous brands a follow and don’t forget to sign up to my mailing list before the end of June. Add your email below.

I’m already a smug convert – yes, you feel very virtuous as you wear them. Would you give them a try? 

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Silver Sisters

I’ve been really shocked to read some of the posts from these ladies in the last few days. They’ve spoken about the negative comments that they have received from strangers about their choice to go grey.

And that folks is something that I will never understand about this social media malarky. Just because you have an opinion and can share it, it doesn’t mean that you have to!

Personally, you already know that I’m not ready to go grey, however I wish I were, because I feel like I’m being left out of the world’s most supportive, inspiring and empowering girl gang! Obviously though, I’m very pro age and therefore feel angered by the ageist comments thrown at them.

Yet why do some feel the need to judge and criticise others for the personal decisions on how they want to look and feel? Particularly as we age, which can be hard enough some days. 

Frankly, I think it comes down to the person writing the shit. A reflection of their inner issues and rarely anything at all to do with the person who’s sharing a bit of themselves on here. Or maybe they’re just a dick?! 🤷🏼‍♀️

And yes, I do think that it is worse when it’s a woman criticising another woman.

We’re hard enough on ourselves sometimes so let’s do more to build each other up not drag each other down! As the old saying goes, ‘if you haven’t got anything nice to say, then shut the f*k up!’ 

Thanks to these inspiring #silversisters:

@thesilverlining_1970 

@mrsimperfection 

@thin_latin_moose 

@thefiftyist 

 #Bekind

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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