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Stop the world, I want to get off!

Happy Friday everyone.

This is a special Friday for me and Mr D. We’re off on a long-overdue holiday. For the next two weeks we will be mostly unplugged and off the grid in an effort to recharge our depleted batteries.

The trip is in celebration of Mr D’s big birthday (one with a zero on the end!) so I’ve pushed the boat out and booked us into a VIP lounge before our flight, and booked a few cultural trips to keep him amused. It’s always fun trying to find a balance between “doing” and “being”. Mr D loves doing, and will walk the hind legs off a donkey. Me? I like to mix it up with some being and some doing. With a bit of planning I think I’ve found the right balance for us.

As we are off the grid, I won’t be posting anything until we return at the beginning of October. Hopefully we will have so many wonderful experiences I will be awash with ideas for a good one-liner for Wednesdays and SoCS.

Until then, dear readers, be good. And if you can’t be good, for heaven sake, don’t get caught.

Cath xx

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Wonderful wizarding weekend

What an epic weekend from start to finish. My family are huge Harry Potter fans as well as Hobbit and Lord of the Rings fans. There’s nothing like a good bit of escapism to keep the mind happy.

The adventure began in the train. We packed food, drinks and puzzle games to keep us amused. It was also a great opportunity to teach our daughter how to navigate around the London Underground!

As we’d allowed plenty of time in the journey plan in case of train problems, we arrived at the Royal Albert Hall with an hour to spare, enough time to find the Princess of Wales memorial fountain. It’s beautiful, the moving waters mesmerising.

On our way back to the hall it was easy to spot other concert goers. Kids of all ages dressed in Hogwarts uniforms chattering excitedly in anticipation. My daughter had her Weasley jumper on and her time turner while I wore my watch necklace decorated with the Deathly Hallows symbol.

The buzz of excitement was palpable in the hall. As soon as the lights dimmed a hush fell as the Celeste played those iconic first few notes. Within seconds we were immersed in the wizarding world.

I was fascinated by the technology involved in keeping the orchestra in sync with the film. The conductor and orchestra were flawless. By the end of the concert my eyes had sprung leaks! Soppy Cath. I wasn’t the only one!

And now I’m heading home on the train, not the Hogwarts Express, into the real world where I have to “adult” and be responsible. Boo!

Wishing you all a peaceful Sunday xx

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Friday fun in the sun

How much fun is it being able to make a snap decision and take the day off? The weather is just too beautiful to watch it from the office window. It doesn’t happen that regularly in the UK that we can afford to pass up the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. As the old saying goes “Make hay while the sun shines.”

I planned to sleep as long as I needed. Didn’t happen though. The cuckoo had other ideas.

Clearly, it is a master of long distance travel and to be commended on its endurance. I’m sure it has other talents, but time-keeping is not one of them. At around 5am it started to cuckoo. By 25 o’clock I thought it might stop to draw breath, but no. It was going for the world record for non-stop cuckooing! By 5:40am it decided to call it a day, by which time I was now wide awake.

Not willing to waste a lovely morning trying to get back to sleep I slipped into my running kit and headed out. Initially I was only going for a short run but the conditions were too good to resist, my legs felt great, and I kept going until I’d completed 5K.

Once home, the run data transferred from my Apple Watch app to my phone, and to my astonishment, I’d knocked off 2 minutes 30 secs off my previous best time! Go me! Time to celebrate with a post-run yoga session on the sun deck. It seemed only appropriate that part of my routine should be Sun Salutations. The only slight blot on the horizon was dog shaped. Molly was so eager to join in the fun. She has Downward Dog off to a fine art but is absolutely rubbish at Bridge, and Corpse pose. She’s also rubbish at letting me do these poses unmolested!

After much face-licking (the dog, not me) she gave in and let me carry on. With the sun well above the horizon, I was able to have breakfast outside while I planned the rest of my day.

My trip to the beauty therapist was excellent. She doesn’t just do my nails and waxing, we exchange news, and generally set the world to rights while having a seriously good laugh. By the time I was ready for home I was in the best mood I’ve been in all week. I think this is why these wonderful people are called therapists.

And now?

It’s mid-afternoon. I’m in the shade of a majestic weeping willow tree, with a big glass of minted water (soon to be Gin and Tonic), listening to Dark Side of the Moon while I write this post.

This is the best Friday I’ve had all year.

Wishing you all a chilled and fun weekend.

Cath xx

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Return of the mojo

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… all it took to find it was a day in my local city, the last thing I would think to do!

Normally you would not find me anywhere near the city centre at this time of year. It’s so crowded and people seem to have zero patience or manners.

However, circumstances dictated that I’d be in the city this weekend. The seasonally cold weather, the smell of mulled wine and various tasty foods on offer were enough to bring a big smile to my face. The more I smiled, the better I felt, until at last, after much walking through very Christmassy scenes, I found my mojo, and an excellent glass of mulled wine.

I think the key to keeping ahold of it, is to take time to enjoy the moment, instead of always thinking about all the stuff I have to do before the big day.

I really need to pay more attention to the lovely daily sayings I get from my Headspace app!

Happy Monday everyone xx

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New beginnings…

Yesterday afternoon I sat down to prepare topics for this week while Sunday Dinner roasted in the oven. My writing spot is perfect for keeping an eye on culinary creations while trying to put pen to paper. While things were motoring along nicely food wise, I was stumped for writing ideas. Even walking the pup didn’t help. Pup is nearly one year old but still shows no sign of calming down. Instead of inspiration I got exasperation and mud down my jeans!

As I hosed her down (and me) I had an idea, ask for inspiration from my Angel Oracle cards. So I did, and today’s topic is “Time To Go”.

My first reaction was worry. What was coming an end? My job? Last week, filled with a determination I never had until menopause, I asked for my job to be regraded, citing similar positions currently advertised, along with their remuneration packages. I’ve saved them the bother of coming up with a new title because I’ve already got one lined up. I’m on holiday this week, so the management team will be mulling over my request and proposal. Maybe this card means that they will say no and I’ll be looking for a new job.

Reading further down the card I see a glimmer of hope. Maybe I am starting a new cycle in my life. I like the more positive sound of this. The start of new beginnings. Well here’s a new thing for me, time off to myself. Hubby does not have the same amount of annual leave as me so I am in charge of my own week. What fun. I have booked a little something for me every day this week in an effort to recharge batteries.

Today I had a whole hour with a personal shopper followed by an hour with a makeup artist. The main tasks were to find a party dress and to have a bold new makeup design to go with the new dress. There is something special about having a professional stylist take me in hand, push my boundaries and get me sorted out with a dress. I had so much fun trying on everything. It reminded me of playing dress-up as a kid. I am now the proud owner of a very purple, sparkly dress that makes a fabulous sound when I move… it actually susurrates.

On to the makeup counter. My personal shopper came with me to brief the makeup artist on colours and looks, and to push me out of my comfort zone. It was so much fun choosing colours from the vast pallet. Even as I write, I’m still wearing the glam makeup. I’ve never looked so glamorous for the lunchtime pup walk. It’s such a shame I didn’t meet a soul! Never mind. I have a full list of instructions on how to recreate the look for myself, and I have new make up to help.

And the cherry in the top? The department store was have a price match with a competitor so 20% reduction at the till!

I’ve never felt more bold and confident in my life, so I’m taking courage from the Angel card and enjoying my new beginning in my post menopausal years. And if my company throws a wobbly because I asked for a regrade and better pay then maybe it is time to look around. At least I’ll look fabulous.

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My conscious life blueprint – Intimate relationships…

Couple

Here we are at the third section of my life blueprint. Intimate relationships! Hmmm. That’s quite an interesting subject to write about without blushing and flushing! My husband must be wondering what I’m writing about, if the subject elicits such a response!

Fortunately, the Journal has a number of guiding questions to help fill out this section. Reading though the list, you’ll see it’s not focussed on sex at all. Was that where your mind jumped to? It’s exactly where mine went. Mmmm. Fancy that!!

Back to some of the questions.

What are three things that I most appreciate about my partner?

Easy. He is my absolute rock. Whenever I get my knickers in a knot over something, he’s the one calming me down. He is the most optimistic person I know. And finally (well not really finally… there’s loads more) he makes me feel cherished and safe.

How can I be more open-minded and accepting of my partner?

Ooooo! I think I have open-minded nailed. However, ‘accepting’ might be a little bit of a challenge. Sometimes hubby is so driven to complete DIY jobs around the house, he will prioritise this over taking time to rest up and enjoy what he’s achieved so far. He believes in finishing a job as soon as possible, whereas I will tackle the big jobs in bite size chunks. He just can’t sit still and chill. Perhaps it would be an idea for me to accept that this is what makes him tick instead of trying to force him into relaxing. Accepting that he ‘needs’ to complete the job for his own gratification will stop us from being at loggerheads over it. I admit to getting quite cross when he’s still painting at 9:00pm. Instead, I will accept that this is ‘fun’ for him, and do something else, or grab a paint brush and join him.

What are my partner’s dreams?

I think he dreams of saving up a decent sized pension pot as soon as we can to enable us to stop working for ‘the man’, and go exploring the world. He doesn’t have a bucket list, but if he did, I bet a trip to New Zealand, visiting Hobbiton would be right at the top. Closer to home, he would move to Cornwall in a heartbeat if possible. Me too for that matter. We pisceans love being near the sea.

And you thought it was going to be about keeping things hot in the bedroom!

Although the questions for the blueprint section do not specifically address libido and sex, there’s no doubt they play a part in an intimate relationship. I’ve experienced many a waxing and waning of both during perimenopause. I think my beliefs and expectations played a part, as well as a not-so-strong pelvic floor.

My beliefs were that we women waved goodbye to our libidos at this point, that everything ‘down there’ simply dried up and stopped working as well. It’s common knowledge, after all. You only have to switch on the television and within the first set of adverts, there will be one for incontinence products for those inevitable oops moments.

Apparently this is a common problem for us ladies. Yes, well just because something is common, does not make it normal. Most of us have fully functioning pelvic floors before pregnancy and childbirth so why can’t we have that function back again? I know every time I mentioned it at my well-women check-ups I was told the lie.

“It’s to be expected after having babies.”

My babies are grown up now so why was I reduced to randomly stopping, crossing my legs and holding on for dear life every time I wanted to sneeze or cough. And as for running, jumping or dancing, forget it unless the bladder was empty. Hayfever season was the worst!

However, I have since discovered that we can do something about those oops moments. We do not have to line the already fat coffers of the Tena Lady company. We can save our money and invest it more wisely in ourselves. There is an army of unsung heroines out there, specialists in women’s health and physiology. Quite by chance I met one at the beginning of this year. She gave me a thorough check up (nothing invasive) and we discovered I had a diastasis, and a pretty big one too. I’d never heard of this and had to have it explained. It turns out that my abdominal muscles, which separated in the middle when I was pregnant, never rejoined. In fact the gap was big enough to get five fingers in it.

That explained why running, jumping, sneezing etc were troublesome and also why, even though I lost a heap of weight, I still looked pregnant! Six weeks later, following weekly exercise sessions and some homework, the gap closed and I could sneeze and cough safely and dryly. There was an unexpected bonus too, and this links to the topic of today’s post, the old libido came out of retirement, much to hubby’s surprise (and mine too!).

So here’s my advice to any woman suffering from oops moments, find a fitness coach who specialises in women’s health and reclaim your pelvic floor function. It’s never too late and no, you are never too old!

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Looking after my health and body

Health and Body

I’ve come to realise that I get heaps of inspiration for writing while walking my dog. As I squelched through the mud, pup tearing across the fields with her ears flapping in the wind, a pile of leaves took flight. Looking around, I could see some trees seem to have eagerly embraced the changing season and are showing off their Autumn colours, with a few trees clinging desperately to Summer Green, all be it, quite faded and lack-lustre.

Kicking through the leaves got me thinking about life, as you do. The health and beauty industry would have us be the green leaves, determined to stay forever young, with their anti-aging skin products, multivitamins for the over fifties, hair dye for those pesky greys, not to mention those awful adverts for life insurance. So here’s a few thoughts from the field –

  • I can try to hold back the tide, but I’d end up soaking wet
  • Time waits for no man, or woman for that matter
  • Why do we try to defy time with so-called anti-aging products? Be the autumn leaf and embrace the change
  • Should I look to my mother’s example for how to live my live?
  • Or should I be a pioneer and create my own path?

On returning home and completing mud removal, I settled in to start my lovely yoga journal. There is a whole section called “My conscious life blueprint”, the first part of which concerns health and the body. It asks questions such as

“What is my specific goal/outcome?”

“Why do I want it?”

“What must I do/be to achieve it?”

“How will I make it happen, and by when?”

“What might get in the way?”

Goodness me. It’s like writing an essay and being in a therapy session all at the same time!

Once I got over the size of the planner, it was quite a fun job – got me thinking about my view on health and age, and the thoughts that popped up on my walk. Last month, I wrote about my experiences with Dr Northrup’s 14 day ageless goddess plan… the ups and downs and things that got in the way. This planner seems to be an extension of the goddess plan.

I have decided I am not following my mother’s path for menopause and beyond. From my point of view, it didn’t work for her, and I’m sure as hell not doing that to me or my family. It’s taken me countless hours in therapy to undo the damage.

Instead, I like the look of my own path. I’m trying to let loose my inner crone, chosing a more holistic approach to this stage in life. I am escaping the age cage by not conforming to anyone’s expectations of how I should be “at my age”. I’m banning that expression for a start. Age is only important for cheeses and fine wines!

Instead, I am following the guidance of my Daily Greatness journal which advises daily affirmations, daily yoga (obviously, it being a yoga journal!) meditation, getting in touch with your intuition, doing something that gives you pleasure, and getting your body moving in new ways.

 

So here are my goals for the health and body section –  to weigh about the same as I do now in one year’s time (I’m within my BMI range), to increase my flexibility and stamina, to learn to ballroom dance, and run a 5km fun run with my daughter.

I’d better getting planning. After all, failure to plan, is planning to fail… or something along those lines. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Wishing you all a wonderful, fun weekend.