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.

madonabandw

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….

vacant nest

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?

empty-nest-syndrome-i-prefer-to-think-of-it-as-martin-luther-king-dayfree-at-last-81a7e

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.

mary
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.

JamesreadSLpMask_

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

Life's a beach
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

 

 

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7. Sort yer hair out. Hair today, gone tomorrow. Hair care.

bacallhair
Tressled


Nothing escapes the menopause; collagen loss; more flab and folds; hearing loss; sight loss; hormone blah and hormone blob; but – to top it all – our former crowning glory steadily dissolves into a dull and lifeless, frizzy, fuzz.

And it happens quick. Once barely able to get a large hair tie around my ponytail, I can now wrap a small tie around at least 3 times.


My ponytail  has become a punytail.

Obviously I blame my sons, but in fairness, its not all down to them. I would be on this dissipated, stringy strand now anyway: why? Because I’m on the chuffing meno-train.

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However, at least I am lucky enough to be working in the beauty industry and, as a result, have happened upon several hair-carers; all of whom promise thickening, strengthening and lustre.

And, oh how we love lustre (aka ‘youth’?) Almost as much as we love coffee, and that’s the key. Unfortunately its not drinking coffee that helps our tresses, but caffeine – applied topically.

coffee head

 

There are, of course, many brands that claim to help nurture the hair you have, make it stronger (therefore lasts longer), fuller, thicker, shinier etc; but there are some that are better than others and with ALL of them, you must be patient (we all know how long our hair takes to grow) and you MUST USE the products exactly as advised on the packaging.

Nothing works if you don’t persistently use it.

HIARFIX

HAIRFIX is a brand born to treat women exactly our age. It’s a clever recipe that includes time-release caffeine, which works throughout the night to really get down deep in those follicles. It’s a cost-effective serum (as you use only a small amount), which you rub into your scalp 3/4 times a week, at night, wherever your concerns with your thinning hair are.

Special offer here on Hairfix until end of September

But you also need to be a lot more clever and considerate than you were in your earlies, in order to get that lustre back (or near to it at any rate) and there are several other things you can do which all help.

Drink plenty of WATER (yes water even helps your hair)

Make sure you get enough Vitamin B12 (poultry, salmon, fortified cereal)

BIOTIN – also known as Vitamin H, a great supplement for the hair (and skin)

Take Viviscal – a supplement containing AminoMar C (shark and mollusk powder, an organic form of silica)

10 Tips to Naturally Regrow You Hair

conclusive research proving MPS can significantly improve hair

DON’T use HIGH HEAT tools on your hair (I’m guilty of this one) – no more than 150 degrees centigrade, if you can help it.

IMG_5394
Friday Flop, not enough goodness going on in my barnet

HRT Estrogen, estrogen, estrogen. You need it. Go and get some (via the Doctor), because your body stops producing it, (maybe because its banking on you dying at about 65; but that’s not necessarily the case these days) and, our hair needs it. (obvs consult your Dr on this one).

SILK PILLOWCASES – these have added benefit of less wrinkles on the face too, and believe me the difference they make to my hair is immeasurable. (I must get some more, my old ones have died)

SOFT WATER – If you live in a hard water area, see if you can invest in a filter even if its just one that you put in the shower (like this one)

Try not to wash your hair too often. I sometimes just brush my thoroughly through, let it get wet in the shower and then add conditioner. By doing this, you’re not stripping your hair of too many natural oils, whilst still giving it a lovely freshen up.

Hair Masks: use them. Whether you make your own (some great recipes here) or use shop-bought ones, they truly make a difference.

Treatments: DITTO. this is a great one easy to fit into any routine. Just apply onto damp hair for as long as possible before washing out

Likewise use a good leave in conditioner or at least use a primer that will help you achieve a fabulous shine.

make over
From frizzy mop to good on top

 

SO girls, don’t be defeated by bad hair. You can have a good hair day if you just take a little bit more time and give your hair some much needed TLC. Even if its just egg, honey, olive oil and avocado mushed together and slapped on for an hour or so once a week when no one is looking….just remember, you’re very much worth it.

 

Rule number 2: Cleanse. It sounds so boring, but its both essential and great.

HANDS UP IF YOU GO TO BED WITHOUT TAKING YOUR MAKE UP OFF?

6987-makeupremover

STOP IT NOW, IF YOU WANT GREAT SKIN, YOU GOTTA CLEANSE!

…..and I mean EVERY NIGHT, even if you’re a little bit tipsy, JUST DO IT!

Now you’re older, whether you’re 38 or 87, or anything in between, its time. Its TIME  to really take care of this cleansing routine. In fact great cleansing is imperative to get into your life regardless of age, so those of you in your ‘earlies’ get into a routine now and you’ll reap the benefits forever more.

bare faced
bare to face

However, for those who’ve been on the planet a while; not only have you undoubtedly acquired many ‘things’ such as old books, inherited artifacts, children (maybe); miss-matching towels; speeding fines; debt, a crap vacuum cleaner etc but you’ve also more than likely gained some worrying wrinkles; perhaps a smattering of pesky pigmentation; some screaming scars; open pores, flaky, dry patchy skin or just ruddy rosacea; whatever misdemeanors that now sully your once glowing, perky, vibrant, peachy skin can, in fact, be helped. A lot. Just by great cleansing.

So this is a two-pronged attack. I want to encourage you all to have a clear out; with everything – permanent complaints, excess clothing, dead skin cells, temperamental bowels, bulging cupboards, clutter, useless men: the lot.

EXFOLIATION IS KEY

Just as you wouldn’t wear the same pair of knickers for months on end, nor should you wear those skin cells. When we’re in our ‘earlies’ our skin naturally replenishes itself at an astonishing speed. By the time we’re 30, our skin has got less efficient and the dead cells are replaced more slowly. By the time we’re 40, its even slower. Once we’re 50 and beyond…well we need to get the big guns out to drag off those determined old cells that cling like glue to our faces and bodies, hanging on for as long as they possibly can in order to facilitate deeper, darker wrinkles; bigger, badder, more rotund pores and dull dull OH SO DULL skin.

NO THANK YOU. 

Here are some of my favorite products that REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Liquidgold_awardALPHAH.001

Buy Alpha H Liquid Gold here

Alpha H Liquid Gold is genius. First brand ever to recognize that exfoliation is key. Wipe this over cleansed (Alpha H Balancing Cleanser is FANTASTIC for ALL skin types) skin at night and you’ll feel a tingle – this is your skin being woken up, sent into the gym, as Liquid Gold forces your PH levels to rebalance. Do not moisturize. No need, Just go to bed and let the magic work. While you’re sleeping the AHA’s slowly munch away at your dead skin cells, revealing a fresh, hydrated face in the morning. Do use sun screen the following day. This product is brilliant for ALL SKIN COMPLAINTS.

As far as cleansing goes, this Flora Mare 4eversonic is a Great hygienic facial tool

4EVERSONICDIAMARE

If you don’t like the idea of an AHA exfoliator then a physical one can work just as well. I recommend the Flora Mare 4eversonic, in my opinion its better than any sonic brushes out there. Partly because bacteria can fester in brushes, no matter how frequently you clean or change the heads, but also because the 4eversonic is a joy to use, leaving your skin feeling like glass. For the older skin I highly recommend the Diamare range from Flora Mare, pictured above is their beautiful creamy cleanser, which again leaves the skin thoroughly clean and smooth.

 

ITS NOT ALL ABOUT THE FACE: YOU GOTTA BODY SCRUB TOO

I’m currently testing a couple of different body scrubs, so have none to recommend at the moment – but even if you just get a pair of exfoliating mitts and some body wash, add a little salt and olive oil and your skin will feel amazing.

BUT GOING BACK TO CLEANSING ALL OVER….

No one likes a mess. Not really. Some people say they don’t mind living in a mess, but I don’t believe them. It hurts your head. Its annoying not being able to find stuff. Cleansing your life is as beneficial as cleansing your skin. Have a clear out. Its incredible what it does for the soul. Your junk could be someone else’s…junk, or maybe they would have a use for it…either way, get rid. Don’t hang on to stuff that is just taking space. Head space. Space space. Every time you buy a new piece of clothing, make it a rule to either give a piece away or throw a piece away. Sort through that clutter on the side, it won’t take long and it will no longer irritate you slightly every time you see it. Likewise with friends – if they’re not bringing it, then drop them. Yeah that sounds mean,  but seriously, if you have certain friends who only ever have negative things to say about you and your life…..the dump ’em. Have a cabinet re-shuffle and nuture the good ones.

So please girls, you’ve got one skin, make the most of it. Treat it right and you’ll get rewards. Of course, skin health is not just about cleansing, its also down to stress, pollution, sun damage, sleep deprivation, smoking, drinking and men. Yes, men. If he’s dragging you down, putting you down, or never going down….there’s just one thing for it….you gotta….

wash that man right outta yer hair

 

 

 

 

 

Sort Yer Life Out; Becoming 50.

Come on girls, let’s re-brand 50, bugger all those preconceived, old fashioned opinions of what 50 is… 50 can and should be great

Rule number one: Stop moaning.

Hello. I’m 50. And proud. I’m currently entering that phase in life where people say it’s ‘the best years’ of their life. Are they lying? Whats so great about your womb slowly dying, while your waist expands and your wrinkles get deeper and your hair thinner? Whats so good about that? Nothing. But hey, I’m alive. I’ve made it this far. I’ve wished that other people (mainly just my mother) had told me a load of shit when I was 20, but had I then known that golden, beautiful youth is a commodity that can never be revisited, would I have done things differently? I think not. No one can tell you. So I am going to endeavour to help those who in some way or other want to sort their lives out. And I want to begin with those of you that have a problem with turning the dreaded FIVE OHHH.

this is me
no make up, no hair do, just me

Coming out: I’m 50, deal with it.

Back in 1972, I knew what age I’d be in the dreaded 1984. The year 1984, I’d read, was a whole frightening world, borne out of George Orwell’s prophetic novel. As we know he was incredibly insightful, as it wasn’t long before Big Brother did arrive, with all his glorious CCTV. But 1984 was a subtle beginning of the actual truth of what we’re left with now. NOTHING escapes the camera. NOT. ONE. THING. No matter how we might hate it. We can deny it, or accept it: either way we film it. Our looks and the value of our looks has raised considerably, because anyone and everyone can see them, good or bad, all over the world at the press of a button. And that fact alone applies more pressure to us ladies entering the grand old decade of 50. I’d never given ANY thought to what a woman might feel like when she turned 50. Let alone ME. I was never going to do it. I would never EVER do it. After all, this was me – Frankie. I honestly, truly, have NEVER imagined myself as OLD. And doesn’t 50 = OLD?

As a child, I had worked out I’d be 35 when we entered the millennium. That seemed ancient. Thirty-five was grown up. Aside from naively assuming that aged 35, your life was a happy marriage, a nice house and kids; I’d imagined the millennium to be so futuristic; it would be an era when everyone wore metallic everything; silver bras, gold shoes and bronze masscara. I looked at 2000 with both trepidation and awe. It felt so incredibly far away – yet it came and went as fast as they all do. And being 35 didn’t feel half as old as I’d thought. Aged 35, you can still kid yourself to certain degree that you’re actually young. Young: what a lovely round, collagen rich, bouncy hair word.

The year however that I couldn’t even be bothered to try to imagine, let alone accept, which, as a matter of fact, came up pretty damned quick, was the year 2016. Which was the turning 50 year. It’s known to be when a woman officially become stale. She’s used goods. No longer fertile: a barren wench, a dried up hag. Grey hair. Saggy and dry everything. Plus menopausal women are known to hate EVERYONE; often including themselves. You’d think that would be a pretty monumental time in any person’s life…let alone a woman’s….yet no one tells you – at least they didn’t me.

The menopause is the dark secret. It’s embarrassing because it’s coupled with turning 50, aka officially going over the hill. There’s no more telling yourself you’re not yet middle-aged. Middle-aged has been and gone. You’re now entering the osteoarthritis phase. Free bus passes are around that corner. Tinnitus. Funerals/free drinks and a bit of a social every month…you actually know a few people who have died, by the time you’re 50. You’re robbed of pretending you’re young, the minute they all start popping off.

But I say NO. No to all of it. I am re-branding 50. The Golden Years. Why let yourself ‘go’. Go where? Down that hill? Why? Laziness? Conforming to what society has always expected us to do – i.e. get fatter, grumpier and less sexy? No thank you. We live longer. I don’t want to be ‘old’ for possibly as long as 50 years, no thanks. I want to ride my bike, dance and laugh just like I always have done. (although to be honest, I’m not much of a bike rider, never have been, I just enjoy the odd cycle).

So how do we do it girls?

We find that girl; that girl who is deep within us and that has been there forever. We let her out again. We forget what we’re supposed to be, how we are supposed to behave and set free that young and optimistic beautiful thing that we all were once upon a time.

We also stand tall, and I mean stand tall. I know its more effort to stand or sit up straight, now that we are older and more worn down, but make the effort. Good posture takes 10 years off you and will help to keep/get that body toned. No one has great posture the whole time naturally, we have to be self-conscious about it. We have to remind ourselves to suck in that belly, push back those shoulders and stick those tits out.

We move about. We eat healthily and drink plenty of water.

But most importantly we drop the RESENTMENT. Resentment is the worst thing in the world. If you don’t like it then don’t do it. You’re 50. Change it. Don’t walk around mealy-mouthed and angry. You’re not doing yourself any favors. You need to slap yourself in the face and work out what the hell you’re feeling so bitter and twisted about. Don’t hate yourself for whatever has happened in the past. Don’t hate others for whatever they’ve done to you in the past. Look forward. Look at you now. Who are you? Who do you want to be? Don’t be sad or scared of growing older. What are the choices? You can either grow older or you can die. So if you’re choosing to grow older, then do it with a smile on your face and a spring in your stride. Life is just as beautiful as the leaves blowing in the wind and the ducklings in the river. Try something new….I’m trying to write my first blog… tech stuff is daunting, so it may be a bit sketchy….but we gotta try…

I will be posting more tips in life, parenting, fashion, health and beauty. Ask me any question, give me your worries and I will do my best to help you sort yer life out girls.