Nora Ephron (American writer and filmmaker, sadly deceased and most famous for writing ‘When Harry Met Sally’) wrote some really enjoyable essays on being a woman and ageing. If you haven’t read them I recommend getting a copy of ‘I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman’. These essays made me smile as they eloquently described some of the struggles and frustrations we all face as we age. The disappointment of looking at our sagging faces in the mirror and not quite believing the ageing process.
To cheer myself up I regularly remind myself, and anyone who will listen, that I am the same age as Kylie Minogue. This gives me some hope that if I put in some effort I could look much much better (although I do not have access to a team of stylists and make up artists….not yet anyhow).
I am reminded of the Nora Ephron book as I take delivery of my latest order of products from Healthspan which I am hoping will propel me backwards into youth. I am a bit of a supplement junkie, always searching for the product that will give me a boost of vitality and beauty.
This time I am trying Soy Isoflavones to replace some of my rapidly declining oestrogen (or estrogen to my lovely readers from the US). I was also hoping for great things from a tube of ‘Instant Skin Perfector’ which is enriched with phytoestrogens and is slightly tinted.
Can’t really comment on the Soy Isoflavones yet, but I am quite pleased with the cream. The effect is very subtle ( I put some on half my face and asked my husband to tell me which half… which he got right. He is a very patient man!) It makes my skin tone more consistent and minimises pores, but does not cover the skin. A good base for make up.
If I feel guilty about treating myself I remind myself of Nora Ephron who always bought her favourite, extravagant lemon bath oil (Dr Hauschka) because..well why shouldn’t she?
I met my good friend for coffee yesterday and she sheepishly told me that she had just got a new car. A convertible. She was slightly apologetic and jumped straight in with the ‘must be having a midlife crisis’ line. Women of a certain age are often going through, or about to go through, the menopause. Our children are leaving home and we are left wondering where all the years went and why we look tired and old. We all need to have a midlife crisis. It is right that we should re-evaluate our lives, re-discover ourselves and reset all our gauges. In fact, everyone should probably be doing this every 5 years. I am a huge fan of the midlife crisis and am in the middle of one myself. I am excited to remember what I enjoy doing, try new things, travel and generally re-invent myself and my life.
My friend has fond memories of owning a convertible in her 20s, before having children. She is now re-discovering herself and she deserves to indulge herself after years of never putting herself first. I love a good midlife crisis and am ready to dive right in and see what happens, with no apologies.
I was talking to a friend today who is going through the menopause. Apart from random feelings of rage and despair, she also feels totally unattractive, even though she is beautiful. I have a lot of empathy with her. It is very difficult to feel attractive as you age and succumb to middle aged spread. Your body changes. Skin starts to hang rather than spring back and a flat stomach is a distant memory. The interesting thing is though, that I see women far bigger than me, who obviously feel attractive regardless of the love handles. Somehow, despite not conforming to the standard media images of women that we see in magazines, they feel attractive and this somehow radiates from them. So how is it possible to overlook our flaws and feel sexy again?
Esther Perel From Psychologies magazine tells us that attractiveness is a state of mind rather than a set of physical attributes..
“Beauty is a state of mind, feeling sexual is a permission you grant yourself”
So how do we change our state of mind?
It is impossible to feel sexy without feeling confident. So identify all the areas of your life where your confidence is low. The most obvious might be your body, so dedicate some time each week to how you look. This is time for you. Look at yourself in a mirror from top to toe. Which areas need some attention? Hair? When did you last have a new style or colour? Face. When did you last update your make up routine. Can you book a makeup lesson at a department store? How about a facial? What about your body? Freshen it up with a salt scrub and some new body lotion. Remove all surplus body- we are going for siren not cave woman. Hands and feet. Get a manicure and pedicure-at home or in a salon. If you’re still wearing clothes that you have had for over 5 years, get rid of them. Styles change and old clothes look dated. All black trousers are not the same..trust me-if they are from the 90s, they look like they are from the 90s! All this is going to be an investment, but it is important. Budget for an overhaul every year. Do an audit and keep your look fresh. Madonna was the master of re-invention and we can all take a leaf from her book! This year I booked a styling session at John Lewis and it was fantastic. I got a new set of clothes and, yes it was expensive, but I have had so many compliments since and I came away with outfits that I would never have been able to choose my self. Investing in yourself will give you a real lift and everyone around you will benefit from that too. Tone up your body by scheduling regular exercise. Give it priority in your diary: walking, running, Zumba…find something and do it! You will feel more toned and energetic. I really recommend a book by Lori Bryant-Woolridge called “The Power of Wow-a guide to unleashing a confident, sexy you”. It is packed full of top tips including having your own signature scent, wearing jewellery, beautiful underwear and being more aware of sensuality all around you.
The other main area where women lose confidence is in their sense of achievement. Women can often lose themselves after years of childcare or putting others’ needs first. Menopause is time for re-invention and feeling successful and valued is an important part of this. It is a great time to re-launch your career or investigate new income streams. This can be a very exciting time. A time to rediscover ourselves. There is nothing sexier than feeling successful and being noticed. Don’t become invisible- reclaim your VaVaVoom, starting right now!