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Oct 13

More thoughts on managing the symptoms of the menopause – weekend blog 11th October 2019. As a qualified counsellor and member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, I had the opportunity to attend a seminar recently on various topics with different speakers. Diane Danzebrink who is a Well Being Consultant and known as The Menopause Counsellor, was one of the key note speakers. She is leading a campaign to raise awareness of the menopause in the work place, you can find her on face book and on twitter. She had some very interesting points to make but also some very factual information too some of which I was unaware of and thought would be worth sharing. Firstly the subject of oestrogen, as I have blogged before it nourishes tissues but what I didn’t realise was, that our brains are also full of oestrogen receptors and it also protects bone, heart, regulates cholesterol and in fact there are oestrogen receptors throughout our body. This started to make me think of what the effects our decreasing oestrogen levels, are really having on many aspects of our health. Then there is progesterone which is the main calmer and promotes good sleep, normalises blood sugars, reduces anxiety and unfortunately is the first hormone to fall rapidly. She also touched on sometimes a taboo subject, vaginal dryness which in itself is at best uncomfortable, but it also often results in repeated UTI’s because of the lack of oestrogen in the pelvic area and the tissue in that area becoming very thin, leading to dryness, soreness and irritation. She recommends a book by Jane Lewis ‘Me and My Menopause’ I have downloaded it onto my kindle but yet to read it, but I will and then offer some insights into her thoughts. There were some other interesting topics she covered but I will come back to this on my next blog. On a different note I had a lovely time this week end looking after my two grand daughters while my son and daughter in law had some much needed alone time! They were both really good and it was lovely to spend some alone time with them too. As Saturday was so lovely we had over 2 hours out and about going to the park and getting fresh air, grandad was on hand to and then Rosie had ballet on the Sunday so the week end past in a blur, I didn’t get to see much of my grandson but he looked very handsome at a birthday party he went to today and he has even been copying his grandad (who he calls bear) and putting his pencils behind his ear, feeling blessed.

Oct 06
Sep 29

Perfume and memories…..Weekend Blog 27th September 2019. The 17th September was my 4th wedding anniversary and my husband knows exactly what present I want because its the same one each year, a bottle of my wedding day perfume. I had 3 ‘best friend bridesmaids’ and they surprised me by taking me to Pulse of Perfumery in the lovely village of Knutsford to buy me my wedding day perfume, where the Perfumer takes you on a journey to your perfect perfume. It was a lovely experience (helped along by copious amounts of fizz too!) the perfumer asked me and my friends about me to understand about my personality together with asking me to smell various scents explaining about them each time for example flower based, citrus based etc., without me knowing any brands. The end result was a perfume I had not heard off before Gin Fizz by Luben and by a strange co-incidence there was a connection for me immediately to this perfume to my mother. He told me that this perfume had been created especially for Grace Kelly who was an American film actress and married Prince of Monaco the same year that my mum and dad got married. My mum was a big fan of hers so much so she made a replica of her wedding dress for her own wedding, she was very talented at making clothes then. So it has extra special meaning for me as sadly my mum died at the age of 59. This was second time round for both us and our vows to each other were about nothing will change we were so happy we didn’t want anything to change. We had been together 4 years by then and what we didn’t factor into this promise to each other, was how much things would change around us. Being of this age is a time of change, during the last 4 years since we have married we have both experience loss, my husband lost his dad and then his mother. I lost my closest relative who was officially my aunty but in reality she was more like my sister/mother and my best friend. Then my father was diagnosed with advanced dementia and prostate cancer and I spent the last two years looking after his affairs and taking responsibility for all aspects of his life resulting in him moving in a home, he died this year. My husband and I now refer to ourselves as orphans! We have both left jobs that we were in for over 20 years and moved into new roles and that has been both exciting and scary at the same time. There have been other changes to, my son got married to my gorgeous now daughter in law and my first grandchild was born 3 years ago, closely followed by my second grandchild to my daughter this time and just recently my third grandchild has arrived too! So we can never really say things wont change because at this stage of life change is almost inevitable, how we react to the change though is what really matters. Some changes will be expected, some unexpected and some sad and some full of joy. One thing I do know is that the thing that hasn’t changed is the feeling, how we feel about each other remains the same and in the end that’s what matters most.

Sep 22

What’s the point of exfoliation? Week end Blog 20th September 2019. I have been regularly exfoliating for sometime now having tried a variety of different brands over the years and I have a few firm favourite brands. But firstly why bother, well exfoliation is one of the most effective ways to promote youthful skin because of its main role in removing dead skin cells and helping to promote softer smoother skin as well as increasing circulation and removing cellulite and assisting the body with its natural regeneration process. All of this results in brighter, firmer and more healthy-looking skin. Unfortunately as we age our body’s lose its natural ability to shed skins cells, younger skin regenerates every 28 days but over time this natural rate declines and this can lead to a variety of changes and result in things like clogged pores, change in texture and dull skin. Exfoliation can help speed things up and improve cellular turnover and allows the skin to operate at its best. Exfoliation helps to enhance absorption of topical skin care products into the deepest layers of the skin, where the aging process initiates. My routine is to exfoliate once a week usually on a Wednesday, I call it my ‘mid week fix’ and it includes a long bath with candles and a glass of fizz! My three favourite products at the moment (remember its good to keep experimenting with new options too) are; Espa Relaxing Salt Scrub around £36.00 and will last you around 6 months. The Espa Optimal Skin Pro Cleanser acts as a 3 in 1 gel cleanser and exfoliator but I use it once a month as an over night exfoliator mask its £32.00 and again will last around 6 months. Lastly I have blogged before about this product, Vaseline Intensive Care gel at around £3.00 its great value and ideal for applying after your body exfoliation, it will take a while to absorb so I usually put on some comfy pj’s straight after applying and by the morning I guarantee your skin will look and feel fabulous (my hubby will endorse this!).

Sep 15

More of the benefits of diet and exercise in your 50’s – weekend Blog 13th September 2019. Unfortunately for us ladies there is another layer added to the challenges we can face at this stage of our lives and it would be very remiss of me if I didn’t mention it, yes I am talking about the menopause. So the science bit, oestrogen helps keep blood vessels healthy, controls cholesterol and prevents bones from weakening. Women lose 10% of their bone mass in the first 5 years of the menopause, but the good news is, there are things we can do to counter this. I have mentioned in earlier Blogs about the benefits of weight bearing exercises to strengthen muscles but equally as good can be a brisk walk or dancing. Diet is also important during this time, we need plenty of calcium and Vitamin D during the menopause, eating diary foods and green leafy vegetables will provide the calcium and getting plenty of sunlight will support your body with Vitamin D which will in turn help the body absorb calcium. Roughly 2/3rds of menopausal women have sleep problems due to dwindling progesterone, this in turns means that sleep patterns become deregulated and hot night time flushes can make it tougher to get back to sleep. Practically sticking to regular bedtimes and keeping your room to 18 c can help. Then what about your memory? Brain fog is commonly associated with depleted oestrogen which can cause a surge in anxiety as well. As we have discussed before our generation is much more likely to working during our 50’s and 60’s and just worrying about our memory could have a negative effect on us, so its reassuring to know that a recent 6 year study that despite the brain fog, anxiety and sometimes depression too, the professional women in the trial performed just as well on cognitive tests as their pre-menopausal selves. Its reassuring too that the weariness is temporary as the brain will simply adjust to the drop in oestrogen within 4 years of the onset of the menopause. There are many options for helping with these symptoms from anti depressants to over the counter remedies. Lastly is the added concern of taking HRT, a recent new observational, study published in the Lancet has brought this subject to for front again. Deciding whether to take HRT is a personal and individual decision and one that many women who are suffering debilitating menopausal symptoms need to make for themselves. Numerous robust studies have shown that there are benefits to taking HRT, reducing the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, bowel cancer and dementia too. Other modifying risks for developing breast cancer which include obesity, not exercising and drinking alcohol, are the things that we can also address to try and reduce our risk. Lastly I mentioned in my Blog last week I would be away on a conference this week, I met up with an old friend while I was there and had a great time catching up with her, one of those friendships that time doesn’t alter and has made us commit to keeping in touch much more, friends are very important at every stage of our lives but even more so during a phase in our lives that probably only another women of a similar age can relate too.

Sep 08

Diet and healthy food Blog – 6th September 2019. So a very busy week back to work with lots of new things to learn and take on board. Kept to my plan of taking my gym kit with me and going there on the way home, it worked well because I was tired after a full on day and I knew if I went straight back to the hotel I wouldn’t go back out again! Also doing a class really energizes you too and clears the head. The nearest gym was Total Fitness and I have to say I was really impressed with it, I loved the indoor running track, the variety of the classes, the quality of the instructors was excellent and I managed to get there three nights out of four. My other plan was to try and eat healthy too, this had some challenges as lunch most days was sandwiches, quiches, sausage rolls etc., so it helped that I had had a decent breakfast and didn’t feel really hungry by the lunch time and tempted to eat what there was. On the subject of healthy eating, I read an interesting report on the benefits of increasing our intake of fruit and vegetables beyond the current recommendations of 5 a day to 10 a day (800 grams a day), its called the Rainbow Diet. The benefits in the trial led by the Imperial College of London, where impressive; 24% reduced risk of heart disease, 33% reduced risk of stroke, 28% reduced cardiovascular risk, 31% reduction in premature death and a 13% reduced risk of all cancer. I decided to give this a go myself a few months ago, what surprised me was that I really felt I was eating my 5 a day until I actually started to count them each day, some days I was and others I just wasn’t. So it did feel a bit of a challenge to begin with but now its part of my routine and towards the end of day I always have a quick mental tally of how many I have eaten so far and then its easier to make sure I reach my ten. Another benefit I found, from adapting this new regime, was eating a piece of fruit when I felt I was a bit hungry and wanting a snack instead of reaching for something else – usually less healthy. I have also replaced potatoes for sweet potato and now I always have a minimum of 2 green vegetables with my dinner but more usually 3. An example of what this might look like would be; 2 x kiwi fruit, 1 x apple, 1 x pear, 1/2 x grapefruit, 8 x cauliflower florets, 1 x glass of orange juice, 3 x tablespoons of peas, 2 x broccoli spears, 1 x tomato, 1 x banana. Apart from the reductions in serious illness, fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce; cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and boost the health our blood vessels and immune system. On a personal note I also have noticed an improvement in my hair, skin and that it has been much easier to maintain my weight. Watch out for some tips and ideas on this over the next few weeks too.

Sep 01

Weekend Blog -31st August 2019. As always they go to quick especially this one, as I start back to work tomorrow after a long summer break. Decided I needed a wardrobe clear out which is always cathartic and followed my usual principal, I ask myself ‘Did I wear it this year or last year’ and ‘Do I still like it/does it still fit’? and if the answers are ‘no’ it goes to the charity shop. Once that’s done I start to group together what’s left in my wardrobe to help me see what I need to buy to go with it and most importantly write a list so I don’t get side tracked and buy for the sake of it, especially when I am looking for clothes for work. Luckily there are still some good buys to be had in the sales so I managed to get hold of some nice blouses to go with my staple crop style trousers and a couple of nice summer style dresses that I can wear while its still reasonably warm and later with thick tights and a blazer. Managed to fit in a Combat class on Saturday before the shopping and as we left our car in the village after going for a Thai on Saturday night I managed a 30 min run this morning to go and collect it! So a couple of challenges for me this week as I will be in the office and then staying over in a hotel Monday to Friday, will be to get some exercise in and not eat rubbish all day! Packing my gym stuff and will definitely be prioritizing time for a run or going to the gym, I have bought some of those little nuts and raisons shot packs (these were from Aldi a bargain at 39 pence), some low calorie soup packet mixes for lunch times and a bar of dark chocolate so I can have a fix during the week when I need it. I will try to eat a decent breakfast such as poached eggs or omelette. which will usually fill me up and mean I wont need to eat lunch other than some fruit to snack on and then just go for a normal healthy dinner, anyway that’s the plan……

Aug 29

Bargain beauty, health and household buys, Blog – 27th August 2019. I have become a fan of the Home and Bargain shop thanks to my daughter Alex and I now do a monthly household shop there for; washing powder (Fairy 90 tabs), dishwasher tabs (Fairy Ultra 76 tabs), washing up liquid (Fairy large bottle), all cleaning products; kitchen, bathroom, shower, bleach, polish, hob, air freshener as well as toilette rolls, kitchen rolls, kitchen foil, cling film (all around £1 to £2) and lastly but not least The Pink Stuff. This has been recommended by Mrs Hinch and has become a cult product, it is a bargain at 89 pence but its not a new product many of us will remember this from many years ago manufactured by Stardrops, you can literally clean anything with it. Its often out of stock quickly so when you see it in get a few tubs. Doing a monthly shop here for these items has saved me about £50 a month. The other items worth picking up are your paracetamol and ibuprofen (39p each) and I have just stocked up on my winter vitamins as I can be prone to colds and sore throats I take Vitamin C and Vitamin B Complex to support my immune system. The effervescent Vitamin C and Zinc tablets are only 99p for a month supply (and suitable for vegetarians) and contain 1,000 mg of vitamin C which is more than double that of another well known brand which is 3 times the cost. All their vitamins are only 99p, I have compared them to well known brands and they contain the same mgs and doses. I also buy my toothpaste here, I am a fan of Oral B, I switched to this brand many years ago having been given a free sample and never used anything else since. I love the way it makes my teeth feel not only when I have brushed them but in the morning too, just like I have just cleaned them and I have had no dental treatments needed for 8 years now including the need for a clean, and here its only 99 pence. In terms of beauty products I have been experimenting more recently with face packs, I like the Balance Gold Hydrogel Mask at 99p it leaves my skin feeling hydrated and looks great afterwards. For sometime now I have been using a tinted moisturizer on my neck as I have sun damage which has left me with redness and uneven skin tone. I tried their Pure BB cream all in one light moisturizer and found it really good for covering up these areas on my neck and its £1.99. Lastly I have used fake tan on my legs for years now, no matter how brown I might go on holiday my legs don’t, its like they didn’t come with me! I apply Coty Sun Shimmer (£3.99 here) using a mit, this one is great double sided and only costs £2.99 and lasts most of the summer too. I am often trying new things that I spot in Home and Bargain so will share new items when I try them too. My top tip go once a month buy all your household products and then have experiment with some of their other products too. Forgot to add a before an after picture of my new hair cut and colour from my last blog very pleased with it.

Aug 23

Mac Make Up – 22nd August 2019 Blog. Had a trip to the Mac Counter in Selfridges yesterday, as I was low on eye shadow and felt my summer shimmer blusher was not right for the onset of the new season. I always buy my eye shadows from them for several reasons but most importantly is the opportunity to see what they look like on before I buy and the staff are brilliant at what they do I often come away with something different and learn a new technique. A top tip I use is to slightly dampen the applicator you are using (and a small brush is definitely best) and then apply the eyeshadow to the brush, this stops the shadow crumbling onto your face and also helps to set the shadow and avoid the creasing you can sometimes get and lastly it seems to stay on much longer too. I have gone for a very different shade of blusher this time as I noticed on pictures of myself that my face sometimes looked pale and my cheeks a hollow. On discussing this with the make up artist she showed me a better way to apply the blusher and suggested this different shade which I really like. This process took around half an hour and is a really good service and reasonable costs for the products too with the 3 purchases coming to £50.00 and they threw in some samples and a free mac lipstick as well. Today was hair cut and colour day, experimenting a bit with my colour as it has gone very light in the summer and pleased with the result. So it has been a few days of pampering for me, spa treatments, new make up and hair always good to dedicate time and invest in yourself.

Aug 21

New products to try – Wednesday 21st August 2019. I had a fabulous Decleor back, neck and scalp massage today followed by a facial, I try tohave a treatment once a month not only is it super relaxing but its also very beneficial and detoxing. Decleor is not a product I have used much but it is one of the most widely used in good salons particularly abroad and has been established for nearly 50 years! My therapist mentioned the benefits of using Iris oil for aging skin as it helps stimulate collagen (something that we stop producing in later life and is the route cause of those dreaded lines). So if anti-ageing is your primary goal (its certainly mine) this is one to try, it works to detoxify the skin as well as helping the epidermis to appear tightened. I have researched the best place to purchase and as usually my favourite website www.justmylook.com didn’t let me down, Lavendule Iris Face Serum is £31.90 and the Night Balm is £22.90. I will purchase some soon when my current face oil and night creams need replenishing and feedback. One last quick new product I have tried this week, is a shower gel by Palmolive called Just Fabulous and by complete co-incidence it contains Iris Oil as well as Avocado, it has a lovely texture and smell and is currently on offer at Morrisons…. wait for it………. for a £1.00 give it a try.