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

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!

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

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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Midlife makeup lesson

Anyone remember the heavy blue and green eye shadow from the 80s?⁣

And then do you remember those ladies who carried on the trend way after it was considered flattering? ⁣
⁣Now, I’m not a massive follower of trends so if it makes you feel good, crack on! However I do think that getting stuck in a rut and doing what we’ve always done with the products we’ve always used can be a bit ageing. Products change so fast and many brands are now created with ageing skins in mind (@studio10makeup I’m thinking of you! 😍) They are so much more flattering than something that we may have loved in the past.⁣

With that in mind, I invited Sian @flicks_and_red_lips from @so_coco_rouge to one of my #midlifeglowup chats which was full of top tips and advice. If you haven’t had chance to watch yet, go to my IGTV and give it a save now!⁣

This week I caught up with Sian again and as it was half term I invited my (mainly) teacher friends, and my daughter, along for a virtual makeup lesson. I haven’t seen them all in real life since September so it was a lovely way to see each other but do something completely different together.⁣

We all used the make up in our own bags, (so no pressure to buy anything new) and Sian gave us a step by step demonstration on how to create our own ‘face.’ Undoubtedly we all learnt something new and I definitely now have more confidence on how to do a blended eye. So watch out. There may be some more colourful eye shadow posts on the way!! ⁣

Have a swipe to see more of the results and the before.⁣

Products I used:⁣
Serum foundation & lipstick @bobbibrownuk 
Blush & lipliner @studio10makeup 
Eye shadow @toofacedlovestheuk 
Lip gloss @trinnylondon 

Never have I ever. Part 2 – the clothing edition.

Happy Monday folks! ⁣

Fancy another game of never have I ever to start the week? This time it’s the ‘clothing edition.’ ⁣

I’ll start you off – never have I ever worn animal print! 😱 I know! It’s a massive Instafave but I’m not great with a pattern. Check out the photo of my wardrobe! 🙈 It’s something that I’m looking to improve after my #midlifeglowup chat with @katie.portman in a couple of weeks. ⁣

Your turn! What trend have you never tried?! ⁣