Having a ‘down’ day? Feel useless? Depressed? Feel like hiding, crying, going back to bed….? Don’t worry you’re not alone, feeling better is a walk in the park.

pexels-photo-631986.jpegWomen are known to be ‘multi-taskers’. Thats a fairly big title to live up to. What if your starter motor fails one day? And all of your oomph has morphed into a bleurgh? You know what you should be doing, but you simply cannot get beyond staring into your empty mug of coffee. Having a duvet day is just not allowed. Resting and blobbing around eating chocolate and other rubbish is all you want to do, but you know its just PLAIN WRONG, so your blobbing, flopping, wrong day is severely tarnished with guilt and self-hatred; you’re a failure, you’re useless, you’re ugly, you’re fat…. you’re blah blah blurgh.

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Because women are natural carers, nurturers and people-pleasers – more so than men – we often set ourselves much higher standards, and when we undertake to do what may previously been considered a man’s job, we feel we have to do it way better, just to prove ourselves. So we’re extra thorough. We’re more diligent. We’re bloody killing ourselves.

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Of course it will eventually get to us. So how do we drag ourselves out of this exhausted rut? Other than reaching for the gin, chocolate, shopping, or all of them? From the age of 45 onwards we have the added struggle of free-wheeling, outta control hormones; many of us have children leaving the nest; some of us also have failed marriages and therefore sudden single-dom to also deal with.

It’s a fight ladies. It’s a fight with the truth. You have to look at your truth.

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Make time to both reflect on your achievements, and to look forward to your ambitions. Maybe the last thing you want is to think about is you. Don’t be scared, this is her – The Long Forgotten YOU. Say hello to her and make her happy.

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Who are you? What do you love to do? What makes you tick? The first thing you should do is take care of your health, both mentally and physically. The two are intrinsically intertwined and when you allow yourself to succumb to chocolate and gin, you will pay – the short-lived pleasures as the toxins engulf your senses are swiftly followed with the downers, the results of such indulgences.

Try and take yourself to a higher plane. Yoga is incredibly good for this. Not only does it encourage you to stretch and strengthen, it also encourages breathing correctly and getting into meditative state. Once in this place, devoid of angst, devoid of self-loathing, you will find that part of you that you somehow lost along the way. If yoga isn’t for you, then simple long walks in amongst nature can also remind you of your earth, your grounding and what a flowering blossom your life continues to be, despite what it may seem to be to you right now. Mindfulness is a big trend and not without reason.

Mindfulness: Getting Started

pexels-photo-906106.jpegFor the more financially blessed amongst us, you can’t do better than to indulge yourself at a retreat or a spa for a few days – you will come back a renewed and stronger person.

Vogue Spa Guide – Best Spa Breaks in UK 2018

Drink plenty of water. Eat plenty of greens. It’s so basic. It’s so obvious, but we all forget these things from time to time when we become awash with what seems like a ton of losses at once. Being alone with your thoughts can initially be terrifying, having time to reflect can make you tearful, but actually once you get there and you realise what life still has to offer you, and indeed, what you have to offer it, then you can being to feel worthwhile, complete and happy once more. Your happiness is solely up to you. Find your inner peace, it’s somewhere in there, you may have to search for a while, you may have to shake off a lot of negative feelings, but start with being proud of what you’ve achieved so far. I am sure its quite a lot.

 

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What’s happened to my waist?! Time to sort yer waist out – let’s Get Waisted

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Did Father Christmas aka Santa give you more than you wanted this year? Has your spare tyre gone a little cray-cray? If you’re over 45 then your middle will be attempting to expand, regardless of the festive season, owing to those extreme hormonals doing their wild circus acts indoors. Add that to your alcohol intake (menopausal women are the biggest culprits) being higher than it was in your earlies* (see reference below) and your flab is having a party, possibly even complete with a bouncy castle, blobbing around where your waist used to be.

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It’s not pretty, it’s not clever and it’s certainly not healthy.

So what are you going to do about it?

Sadly, it’s not easy to shift. But it is possible. And the earlier you tackle it, the better you will feel. It’s that simple. It’s not difficult, if you can stay focussed on the end goal, and trust that these small changes will ALL help find that waist again.

 

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1. It’s glaringly obvious, but stop eating so much.

Especially so much rubbish. Why put things into your mouth that aren’t going to achieve anything? I know, I know – because they taste nice and you’re craving them and and and….BUT, the more you eat processed meats for example which are full of salt (SALT both dehydrating and a big contributor to high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, OBESITY, vascular dementia, diabetes, water retention….need I go on?) the more you will want. Salt is evil and addictive.

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Get rid of it. You’ll have to exercise some will power initially – avoid processed foods; stop adding salt to your fresh food – and you will soon find that your cravings for salt will diminish: thus freeing up your will power to use in another department.

Sugar is equally as bad and in foods that you wouldn’t necessarily have thought of. Read this for more info.

Alcohol is full of sugar  so do try and cut back there too, if you can.

 

Smoothies are also full of sugar if they’re too heavy with the fruit – be wary of these deceptive ‘health’ drinks.

Reduce your portion sizes. The healthier your diet, the easier this will be, as ’empty calories’, do more damage than good; they play havoc with your sugar levels, making you feel hungrier than before, within a very short space of time.

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I highly recommend snacking on pumpkin seeds, as they stave off your hunger; they contain zinc which helps regulate your insulin levels, (part of what controls your hunger levels); they help decrease blood pressure, hot flashes, joint pains and other menopausal symptoms. 9 Amazing Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

 

2. Stand up straight, hold it in and walk tall

Actually don’t just walk tall, WALK MORE. If you’re not doing more than 2000 steps a day, then up your step count somehow, this will definitely make a difference. Most phones have a pedometer on them somewhere; find it, or download a health app and start checking your step count. This will encourage you to walk more.

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Every time you are walking, try to be conscious of your posture. Walk as tall as you can, remembering to push your shoulders down and back, and to hold your head high. Pull your tummy button in to meet your spine as often as you can remember to do so. Try not to slouch when you’re at your desk or at the dining table. The more often you pull yourself in, whether standing, walking or sitting, the closer you’re getting to burning calories and redefining that waist. All without going to the gym.

3. Drink more water.

waterIt might sound so dumb to some of you, but yes, it does make a big difference. The more water you drink, the more hydrated you are and the better EVERYTHING works – including your circulation which is imperative for flushing out toxins and keeping the systems running smoothly.

 

Try drinking a large glass every time you get peckish, it will allay the hunger whilst also reminding you to drink more water. You’ll see an improvement in your skin as well.

4. Stretch and do some weights

I know this is now entering territory that some of you won’t want to go to, but if you can do these things too, then you’ll achieve your goal quicker. Getting into shape isn’t all about cardiovascular exercise. Menopausal women in particular should be doing some weights. Not only are weights one of the best things for toning the stomach, but they are crucial to keeping our bones strong which is imperative to avoid osteoporosis – an increasing problem in women aged 45+.

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If you can’t get to a gym then start doing the plank – only one to two minutes every day – you’ll soon see the benefits.

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Stretching is also great for helping the stomach recoil and get firmer. Yoga and pilates are brilliant for this. Find a class near you, it may help with your emotional well being too.

If you can’t implement all four of these tummy-changing suggestions, then at least try to implement one and you’ll begin to see a difference. But whatever you do, don’t tell yourself its impossible, because it isn’t.

You can GET WAISTED if you want to.

Let’s do this. corset

Continue reading “What’s happened to my waist?! Time to sort yer waist out – let’s Get Waisted”

Confession time: I’ve gone and cheated. Brazilian style.

Priest-Confession-690x450Even though I listened to my own advice and have been taking supplements, using coconut oil and hair masks etc etc; my hair continued to break at an impossible rate. Unless a pro with loads of serum, talent and patience, gave it a jolly good blowy, my hair remained frizzy and embarrassing. Seeing as I model, this was beginning to possibly cost me work, so DRASTIC ACTION had to be taken – cutting it all off was simply not an option.

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The Brazilian blow dry.

I had heard of it years ago, when it first took our hairdressing salons by waves. A mystery wonder treatment that burnt keratin into your hair and left it shiny and straight for a good 3-6 months…for which, some salons were charging as much as £300. Luckily non-menopausal me didn’t need it at that time.

However, times change…having battled for the last year with seriously depleting locks, that snapped, broke and split at every possible moment, I was beginning to truly despair. Until a friend politely suggested I had a Brazilian. So I went and got myself one. Two weeks later (and several washes, with the specified paraben and sulphate free shampoo and conditioner), it is still SO MUCH BETTER than it was. It doesn’t break every time I sneeze, it doesn’t look nearly as bad as it used to, after my lame attempts at drying it nicely. I’m not embarrassed by it. In fact, I love it.

My Brazilian Blow Dry Experience

I will continue to take my supplements, as underneath that lovely keratin lies some troubled tresses and I genuinely think they help. I will also continue to try and care for my hair in the best possible ways, including using decent shampoos and oils etc. So if you’re like me and are about to give up and give it a big chop then maybe a Brazilian will delay the cutting it all off a little longer.

Here’s the shampoo and conditioner I’ve been using

GOOD WINTER SKIN: THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS. Which moisturizer is THE BEST?

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Okay so you do have to make a little bit of effort here girls; your face is going through the daily onslaught of central heating, freezing winds, low winter sun, pollution etc; we need to recognize that at this time of year, its quite awkward for our skin, to say the least. So what with Madame Winter and Mrs Menopause, which also has a habit of totally screwing up our skin, we really need to be putting a lot more in, just to keep our skin feeling average, let alone good.

And this means more masks…boring, I know…well at least I find them boring, but they really, really do make a massive difference. They don’t have to be expensive, they can be as cheap as an avocado and a spoonful of honey or milk and almonds; but they do have to offer some form or nurturing to our otherwise suffering epidermises.

Here’s some great natural face mask recipes

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So now we’ve ‘masked’, what are the best (top ten) moisturizers for Winter skin?

I’ve been trawling the web, accumulating data from every list: from Vogue, to Marie Claire, to InStyle, to The Independent, to Cosmo, to very many more. I wanted to find out which products truly are THE BEST for our skins. Unsurprisingly every list was very different; only a handful of products came up more than once, which says to me that they either have incredible PR people, or these moisturizers really are the BEST.

The first is an oldie but goldie, it’s been around for years and is amazing.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Skin Protectant

EA 8hr Skin Protectant

Kiehls Ultra Facial Hydrating Moisturiser

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Probably the most expensive one…Creme de la Mer

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Ole Henriksen Skin Insulator This one at least has a token SPF15 in it, which is still better than none. Despite it being cloudy and chilly, we need an SPF all year round. The depleted ozone layer has made sure of that.

Ole Henriksen

Origins Make A Difference Plus

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Sisley Confort Extreme….pretty expensive too

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Eau Thermale Avène Hydrance Optimal – this one is great and cheap

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Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream 

both moisturizing and with a good SPF30…..we like an SPF remember…

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Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizer

I personally never got on with Clinique,  but as it came up a few times, I thought it diligent of me to give it the mention….

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Clarins Hydra-Essentiel

….used in combination with a serum this can get great results

Clarins

I concluded that there are an awful lot of extremely good products out there, so use what works for you, but just use more of it…don’t forget to protect with an SPF, use a serum as well as your moisturizer if you just need a little boost AND try to MASK at least once a week….oh and just because it’s cold, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to drink lots of WATER. Try to make yourself drink plenty, it really does help…central heating, chilly winds etc totally dehydrate our skin…..cheers girls!

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Doing a hydrating mask, its so dull and you look so stoopid…but it has to happen…..

 

REVEALED: MODELS’ TOP MUST-HAVE BEAUTY PRODUCTS – surprisingly pretty basic (& cheap)

Having worked as a model for over 30 years, I’ve got to know many other models, so I decided to ask them all what their top 3 beauty products are; what they absolutely would not be without. Virtually all of them (I asked over 20 girls) said at least one of these three things – a good SPF, vaseline or the equivalent for lips and coconut oil – for everything, hair, face, nails the lot.

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Brucella @MrsRobinsonManangement

Brucella loves Organic Cold Pressed Coconut Oil

Coconut oil

“This is my every day body moisturiser.  I don’t use anything else. Come winter or summer, it leaves skin feeling amazingly soft, silky and nourished. Totally organic and natural too. If you think of it this way – everything we put on our skin goes into our blood stream, so it might as well be something natural! Great for a hair mask or natural moisture mask, too. Feeds the nails and keeps them nourished and strong.” 

Kendra agrees, saying, “Coconut Oil is great for absolutely everything!”

Brucella’s other top products are Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner and Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Balm

 

What was surprising that despite the wealth of products available out there, a handful were mentioned time and time again. Which in my head, means THEY MUST BE GOOD. These were the unquestionable winners.

Ali is just one of many who won’t be without

Ultrasun Anti-Pigmentation

ultra sun face

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Nalintha Duku @ChaseManagement

What Nalintha says, “Ultrasun anti-pigmentation does not leave a white/grey cast on my brown skin! Usually my issue with all SPF of a higher factor. Has antioxidants in it, and does not block my pores. Have seen a huge difference in my skin now that I commit to using sun screen all year round and at a higher protection.  Has definitely help to fade any marks and pigmentation on my skin and the overall clarity of it.”

 

Nalintha’s other top products are Organic Cold Pressed Coconut Oil and Skin Actives Vitamin A serum

Ali’s other two must-haves are Alpha H Liquid Gold and Phillip Kingsley’s Elasticizer

 

A lot of the girls mentioned SPF – they wear it all year round, as it makes such a big difference – especially if you’re using any products with Retinol in them.

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Cindy Robins @Models One

Cindy won’t be without is Heliocare tinted SPF Her other top products are Eve Lom Cleanser and Weleda Calendula Baby Body lotion

Rebi uses Sarah Chapman Skin Insurance SPF30 , Vaseline or Kiehl’s Lip Balm.

Another product that was mentioned time and time again is Gale Hayman’s Lip Lift enhanced with Collagen and Vitamin E

Gale Hayman

Pirjo says, “My lips used to be so dry and uncomfortable. Since using Lip Lift, my lips feel soft, supple and gorgeous. I can’t go to sleep without putting some on at night, even if that means fumbling around the bedside table in the dark, until I find that little stick of magic.”

Pirjo’s other top products are Gatineau Age Benefit and Gatineau DefiLift Body Oil

Sharon says about Gale Hayman’s Lip Lift, “I carry this with me wherever I go. It stops my lips from cracking and keeps them super smooth.”

Sharon’s other top products are Perricone Neuropeptide Night Cream and Margaret Dabbs Nail Serum

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Tara

Tara also LOVES Lip Lift, as well as La Roche-Posay Redermic R Eye & Face Cream and STUDIO 10 miracle serum

Now here’s the best of the rest.

Andii loves John Masters Organics Citrus & Neroli Detangler  conditioner saying “it detangles my hair like a dream and I can use it as as a leave in product also it is a natural product without all the ‘nasties’.”

Michelle swears by washing her face in cold water with any kind of scrub she can get her hands on, and Oils for Life Oil from the Body Shop

Courtney loves Kiehl’s Creme de corps  for her body and is also another fan of oils for her “everything” Nuxe Multi-Usage Dry Oil (face, body and hair)

Cordelia won’t be without Emma Hardie’s Moringa Balm

Of course beauty is also largely down to a healthy diet, drinking water, sleep, genes and many other factors: but it seems to me that as long as you’ve got some organic Coconut Oil, a pot of vaseline and a good SPF then you’re pretty much sorted.

Thanks to all my gorgeous model friends who took the time to tell me their top beauty must-haves: sorry I didn’t mention all of you, but everyone’s input was as equally valuable, thanks so much girls! Frankie x

 

Dogs do it, cats do it, you must too. STRETCH.

Stretctoes

Doing yer downward-facing dog, does so much more than just making you look stupid. Everyone knows that athletes should stretch both before and after exercise, but why do we assume we don’t need to? Stretching does way more for you than you might realise, here are just a few of the reasons why you should.

  • it feels AMAZING – stretching releases dopamine, a brain chemical that affects the feelings of happiness. Fact. Is that not enough of a reason? Even just taking moments to stop and stretch out your back, neck and shoulders helps enormously with relaxing body and mind.

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  • it keeps you FLEXIBLE. Do you want to be the old lady that creaks, farts and shrieks with every movement? Chances are we all eventually head that way anyway, to some degree. But at least try to stall things from steadily rusting into something, eventually, quite painful. Try to stretch one part of you every day, even if its really brief. Its so important.
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No wonder she’s got a twinkle in her eye
  • Stretch yer face out. By doing some facial yoga you can aid the muscular support structure that is keeping your face in place.

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  •  Stretching is great for the circulation – we all know how important it is to keep the blood flowing, even to our outer most parts. Its essential to aid that circulation now we’re older: it even helps our skin.

read this and you will believe me

 

  • it helps your POSTURE. Posture is SO important throughout life, no where near enough attention is paid to this. This is a real BEAUTY issue too. You can take years off by paying attention to your posture. Stretching will alert all your muscles and put into work those needed to stop that hunched back.
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see the difference….
  • its a great party piece. Bendy people always are pretty impressive. (or is it just me?)
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ok…this could look rather awkward at a dinner party…

 

  • PAIN RELIEVING – so many people get a back ache and figure that bed rest will help. NO. In most cases that is pretty much the worse thing you can do. Movement, exercise and most importantly stretching relieves any muscular tension, as well as helping strengthening the core. Here’s some exercises to help pains

So come on girls, do it for you. Do it for your future. Stick some music on and do 3 minutes every day, I promise you will notice a difference within days.

Rule number 6: Empty Nest Syndrome. Dig deep, it’s gonna be okay: just find your inner Madonna.

Madonna. Madge. Maddie. Mad. Mary, mother of Jesus. Whatever you call her, one thing is for sure, Little Miss Madddiepants has successfully survived decades in the public eye. Love her or hate her: she certainly has got one thing totally right; she reinvents herself. All the time. Even through the menopause.

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He’s leaving.

My youngest, aged 18: off to uni. The last time I felt this type of anticipated pain, was when I drove my beloved border collie to the vets to be euthanized. That feeling of utter despair, (even though I knew I was doing the one and only right thing), I am reminded of now, in that I’m snatching every available second, to tidy his hair, stroke his back…get his food…knowing this will be one of my very, very last chances…end of an era….

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Perfect timing: menopause right alongside your nest getting thoroughly emptied.

Okay my son is not dying; I’m being over-dramatic. But him leaving is, for me, another painful, albeit inevitable, life-changing occurrence. It IS a rather big corner.

What else would I want, though? He’s been successful enough to get to go to uni: well done me. Good parenting. Wahoo. I didn’t even encourage him to have a gap year. I could have maybe got another year out of ‘what’s for dinner?‘ or ‘can I have some money please?

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But actually its not all about those duties you’re seemingly constantly harangued into doing….its way more than that….In my case..well…how the hell am I gonna cope without him?!

He looks after the (new) dog when I’m working; he helps me work my camera; he’s the sole, in-house (tremendous standard fyi) cake-baker; he even asks how I am. Okay, to be completely truthful, he has practically become my counsellor. I feel physical pain, in my gut, that he’s going.

My fluffy nest feels like its being turned inside out.

Read more about causes of Empty Nest Syndrome Depression

So why is Mary, Mother of Jesus (bet she was an incredibly proud mum) relevant to Empty Nest Syndrome?

Madonna is really interested in herself.

She takes time to work on her entire image. Sure, she has people to do stuff for her, but ultimately, she is the one asking for ideas on clothing, image and hair styles. She wants the best for herself. And why shouldn’t she? So she’s busy. With herself. And that help heaps, if you’re feeling that final severing of that strong, yet intangible, umbilical cord, as that ‘taking-to-uni’ day arrives. You need to pick yourself up and at least try and look good.

So, get your inner Madonna out and focus.

On you.

Its great that you’re not needed anymore. Come on; it is! You will now have a bit/a lot more time to consider some self-reinvention. Cause, if nothing else, it will stop you from wallowing in your own tears, and encourage you to rediscover YOU. Someone other than just his mum.

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Mary had a ball

Maybe, like me, you’re realizing that it’s much less how you’re defined by others, but more how you’ve inadvertently defined yourself – “my son”, “my angel”….”my co-dependent”….”my rock” ..”my ‘he-makes-me-feel-needed-and-useful-and-stuff'”…”my I can’t fucking cope without him!”

I can. You can. Once I stopped crying; I drank a bottle of vin rouge while watching shit tv, I then decided that I’d better get to bed and wake up in an altogether more acceptable mood.

Upon awakening, I dragged out my inner Madonna and decided to work from the outside in. So my personal reinvention began with a fabulous fake tan.

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It stops you from crying. Cry, and pay with streak marks down the face; therefore, keep it together bitch. This fab faux tan instructs to use at night, but it also works beautifully during the day – especially if you need to make yourself happy/slightly happier/less miserable. And its so easy to use, as long as you’re not balling your eyes out, you can’t go wrong.

Buy Sleep Mask Face Here

But I didn’t stop there. I then immersed myself in the fabulous melting coconut balm

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I took myself to a far off island and lovingly massaged beautiful, dreamy, coconut oil into my tired, dry, menopausal skin…..

James Read products are very user-friendly. I literally LOVE using the coconut melting balm. It is beautiful to massage in – the smell and texture takes you away from it all. This particular tanning brand understands that people are generally complete rubbish at applying their own fake tan, so it compensates in products that do the work for you. They moisturize as well as any luxury skin brand does, while giving you the tan you want – superbly natural.

More about James Read – tanning guru

However, if you do need more help, maybe from the inside out, then read Germaine Greer inspirational book The Change

Although arch feminist, Greer slates sex a bit much in this read; her general stance on how to deal with the change, for me also helps in how to deal with life when you’re facing up to the fact that you’re no longer as needed as you were before…

Come on girls: lets VOGUE