Step 1. It only takes five minutes girls……

And I’m not exaggerating. It literally only takes five minutes to throw together a cocktail of goodness with the added benefit of hardly any peeling and no cleaning apart from a quick rinse under the tap. Such is my love for my Magic Bullet, and no it wasn’t purchased from Anne Summers, that I seriously miss it if I have to go away. For so far over the past year, it has kept the bugs from my door, improved my skin and hair and most importantly helped to keep the dreaded hot flushes at bay. It’s not the only factor, that’s in the next post, but by adding the right ingredients, it has certainly helped.

I am aware that it’s an investment, the cheapest I can find at the moment is £79.99 from John Lewis  but I can honestly say that my purchase of the Nutri Bullet, that was wisely recommended by personal trainer Jim Russell,  goes down as my best buy of 2015 along with my tickets to Cafe Mambo s opening party. It has now become part of my life and trust me, I have the patience of a rabid wasp, so if I can find five minutes a day to throw this goodness together, anyone can. We all know we should be eating our five a day, green leafy veg and all that, but quite honestly it can be a bit dull munching through it all when our lives are busy and we’re struggling with our culinary creativity. Well the joy of the Bullet is that you could get twenty a day if you wanted to and still make it taste like a pina colada.

The trick is to keep it simple and don’t go marching in all Lara Croft and hard core at the beginning. One third veg and two thirds fruit is the best option, as if you wade in, all kale, broccoli  and cabbage for your first smoothie, you may never touch it again. You can keep it simple by buying frozen berries and veg. Not only is it cheaper, it’s easier. You won’t get much waste, you will always have ingredients to hand and they contain just as many nutrients and arguably slightly more than the fresh variety. The other joy of the Bullet is that unlike other juicers and blenders, you don’t have to do much peeling or chopping, obviously use a bit of common sense, no one likes avocado peel, and you can throw in seeds and nuts and frozen stuff and it just blends it to a lovely, yummy, healthy pulp.

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Just throw it all in and fill to the max line with water or pressed apple juice.

So my suggestion for starters is:

2 balls of frozen spinach

2 large florets of frozen broccoli

handful of frozen or fresh berries of your choice

1 small banana

A dollop of natural, full fat yoghurt (it’s not fat that’s the issue it’s sugar and it’s great for your digestion)

a handfull of mixed seeds, especially linseed as it’s great for menopausal symptoms.

water or pressed apple juice

add mint as it will make it taste like a mojito!

If you buy the bullet you get a recipe book and there are loads of ideas on line.

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Now, if you put in a lot of fruit, your smoothie will contain a few calories so I would suggest that you have it in the morning as a breakfast substitute or take it to work. It is perfect if you have it half an hour before exercise. You don’t want to be drinking it in the evening after a meal while watching the Telly. I usually make it up the night before so it’s ready and waiting for me in the fridge and if you are using frozen ingredients it won’t be too baltic to drink.

It’s not a miracle cure all, it won’t stop you going grey or turn your husband into Brad Pitt but it will help to keep your immune system healthy and balance your hormones. As I said, it’s part of a jigsaw and getting exercise is equally important as well as cutting down on a few bad boys with a record of triggering hot flushes such as caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol. Sorry but you can’t have it all ways, there has to be a bit of give and take.

But that’s for another blog……one step at a time girls, one step at a time.

 

 

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Unlight My Fire, Cos These Darn Hot Flushes Just Aint Cool Girlfriend..

……but trust me, it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a way out of this conspiracy against women, this curse that could actually make you believe that if there is a god, he is definitely a man. No woman would inflict such torment on the female race at a time of their lives when all the hard graft of child and husband rearing,( although that could be classed as the same thing in some cases), is over. Just when you think your body and life is your own again, bam, it hits you like the proverbial bus, a torrent of volcanic heat that burns you up from the inside out, usually without warning and with blatant disregard for the appropriateness of the situation. As we all know ladies, its hard to hold a sensible conversation over a cocktail when your face is the colour of the cranberry juice, perspiration is trickling through your cleavage and all you really want to do at that moment is rip your clothes off and run naked from the room.

I have been so pissed off about this, as I like to be in control, and I have always tried to work health issues out for myself with diet and exercise. I’ll try any alternative before I take the chemical option but that’s just the way I am. So I’ve been doing a bit of an experiment over the last year and I have some conclusions that I am going to share over the next few blogs. My hot flushes are now negligible, I now get a full nights sleep and life is bearable. Yep, if you want to give it a go it will take a bit of effort and a few lifestyle changes but hopefully if it works for you too, you will also lose a bit of weight, if you want to of course, get fitter, feel happier and generally set yourself up for a healthier and more energetic old age. Because quite honestly, I don’t want to have to check into any hospital if I can help it and I also want to boogie my way into retirement not shuffle.

But a word of warning. If you are going to take up the challenge, take it with a friend, as there’s nothing worse than having bags of energy and feeling great, wanting to dance all night in Ibiza and then  having no one to groove with.

So watch this space or preferably follow this blog or like my Facebook page, if you fancy giving it a go, as I would love to get your thoughts on what works and what doesn’t. Because life’s too short to be spending it in a pool of perspiration and stiff joints.  Yes, I may drop dead tomorrow, as I’ve already outlived my mum and my granny, but if the only sleepless nights I get are in Ibiza and I breath my last breath on the dance floor, then that for me will be just perfect.

 

IT’S A HANDBAG JIM BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT!!!!

Dear friends. I have just emptied my handbag onto the kitchen table, as quite frankly the daily rummage for my car keys was getting beyond a joke and sadly the realisation has dawned that one of my youthful aspirations will never be achieved. So, I have looked deep into my own eyes in the mirror and told myself, gently but firmly, to just let it go, to free myself of an unrealistic goal and to never again be burdened by the gnawing and psychologically damaging effects of guilt. Today I allowed myself to confront the full horror of my handbag’s contents, acknowledge that it will never, ever be power woman tidy and that it is, in fact, ok not to be perfect. To be honest, the fact that it looks like an exhibit for the Turner Prize is actually quite satisfying, as the more I look at it, the more I realise that this mad pile of stuff is my reality, an honest reflection of who I am, a little snapshot of my life.

So let’s start at the beginning. Throat sweets, 3 varieties of, in ripped bags. Yes I had a sore throat this week and I am happy to report that the Jakemans of Boston, Original and Famous Throat and Chest Soothing Menthol Sweets, tasted very much like Sambucca. However, it’s the ripped bags that say more about me than the throat sweets. Not for me, a carefully opened bag, nicely folded and secured tidily. Oh no, these bags are ripped open by a woman with no patience, who holds no truck in finding a pair of scissors, which if she had, would have prevented the bag from splitting straight down the middle. Why I’m trying to keep the sweets in the ripped bag is a complete mystery because most of them are lying in a sticky heap amongst the other bottom-of-handbag detritus. My packet of Ibuprofen is similarly distressed, not for me a neat, un-squashed packet that other women seem to have, along with tissues, nail files, handbag-sized umbrellas, neatly folded shopping bags and other useful, womanly things. I’m trying hard not to be bitter.

Then there’s the lipstick, five of the same type, in a safe, natural pearl, plus one slightly off-piste racy red. I think I put the red one on once, then promptly calmed it down with the pearl, complete coward that I am. There were also two lip glosses, obviously  in case the other six got mislaid, as well as a three year old concealer. I think my game plan here, was to have one lipstick in an evening bag, one in the car, one in my handbag and one spare but somehow eight lippies seemed to have found their way into the same place. How? I have no idea. It breaks my heart really, as I do try.

I also have two notebooks, one with a lovely William Morris pattern, bought as a present from a dear friend. There were three. No idea what happened to the other two. Sadly there’s not much of interest in it. And then there’s a little battered one I bought in Ibiza, a replacement for the Spider-Man one I initially bought which turned out to be full of graph paper. Why any child would want a Spider-Man notebook full of graph paper on holiday, I have no idea, but it’s probably not as strange as a grown woman buying a Spider-Man notebook in the first place. If you must know, it was the only one the shop had. To go along with the notebooks, I have three pens, a blunt pencil, two pink golf tees, one broken golf tee, three 5p coins and a golf ball marker.

The toothbrush, still in it’s packet is from a vending machine at a Premier Inn, remnants of a weekend away. You actually get two, plus toothpaste for your 2.50 and this is the spare, which will now, no doubt, sit in the bathroom cupboard for the next three years along with the other might-come-in useful mini shampoos, shower caps and body lotions. There’s a bracelet, a little bit of sunshine and sparkle,  bought at The Hippy Market in Ibiza and there’s normal stuff like hairbrushes, hair bands, keys, reading glasses (sadly), sunglasses, a calculator and perfume, aptly titled Flowerbomb.

The garden vouchers, however, are looking at me accusingly, as my August birthday present from my Dad is supposed to have been spent on bulbs which should, by now, have been planted and snuggled up cosily underground before the frosts come, ready to remind me of me old Dad when they appear with a glorious hurrah in the Spring. I meant to plant some last year too. As usual, the best laid plans and all that, mañana mañana. Guilt, guilt and more guilt.

When I’ve finished writing this, I will tidy my bag. I’ll throw out the receipts and the sticky sweets, put the various bits and pieces where they’re supposed to be and move the garden vouchers to my car, which will hopefully remind me to buy the bulbs tomorrow. And for a short time my handbag will be clutter free and compartmentalised. I know it won’t last though. Next week it will be back to normal but hopefully full of new stuff, new stories and probably several lipsticks. Because, quite frankly, if a woman’s handbag is supposed to be a reflection of her life, I now realise that I  wouldn’t actually want it any other way.

TO FREE OR NOT TO FREE, THAT IS THE QUESTION….

On the way back from the cricket last week, I stumbled upon an interesting article in a freebie magazine on the plane, an article which had I read it a couple of weeks ago, may have had an influence on my latest fashion dilemma. Unbelievably, according to the latest French research, going bra less is actually better for your boobies than trying to hinge them up in M & S’s finest and apparently, left unattended, they will naturally learn to support themselves! Well that’s ok then and  if anyone reading this is brave enough to give it a go, please let me know how you get on, for  a  few weeks ago I experienced another fashion dilemma which again was not an easy  one for a woman of a certain age as unlike the shorts issue,  where really, the decision not to purchase was the  obvious one for any woman with an ounce of pride, this one was a little trickier.

In yet another act of rebellion, (woo hoo, I know, get me), I purchased a very nice black jumpsuit from Top Shop which I decided I could wear to a black tie dinner. The dress code was short cocktail dress but I felt I should practice what I’ve been preaching and opt for an outfit that I actually liked and felt comfortable in. If any one complained I reasoned, I would declare that I batted for the other side and see what they had to say about that!

Anyway, that turned out to be the least of my problems, as the very nice jumpsuit actually had a very low back ,which, I concluded, called for some seriously off piste underwear. But, hey, I was in Glasgow, style capital of the North, if Glasgow didn’t have a solution, no one would. And so it was that  I set about the task of finding suitable cladding for my upper regions, a task that frustratingly turned out to be a lot more difficult than anticipated. What actually amazed me was the fact that there really was so little on offer.  To  be honest I don’t really know what I expected but I expected a little more than the  stick on item I was eventually forced to purchase. Don’t get me wrong, the sales assistant was very helpful but I would now like to get her to elaborate on the ceilidh she attended while wearing the aforementioned contraption as I can’t believe she can have moved much or raised her arms above shoulder height. For when I finally hit the dance floor later on that evening, all hell broke loose and trying to dance with your arms clamped to your sides isn’t a great look for the Queen of Ibiza. To be fair to her, she had suggested that the easiest option was for me to just swing free,  as it was obvious I wasn’t built like Jordan and the outfit was black and high necked, but once again the age thing reared it’s head along with the fear of  some of the male members of our party finding out that I had gone commando. Wearing  trousers to a black tie do was one thing, going bra less was probably pushing things too far.

So sadly, I didn’t do much dancing and to be honest I’m a little cross with myself for not being quite the free, liberated spirit after all as by that time of night, even if I had whipped off the offending item, no one would probably have noticed and my wee boobies could  have swung joyously free to the beat in the aptly named Swing Club. ( that’s Swing club by the way, not Swingers…it hasn’t come to that yet!).

So if anyone out there has the answer to my problem, please let me know, as I really cannot believe that the fashion world hasn’t come up with something suitable that doesn’t involve sticking on or strapping up,  unless of course a low backed jump suit isn’t meant for the un-surgically  enhanced older woman ,who if she dares to shop in  Top Shop  has to live with the consequences.

Answers on a postcard please…..

DOES MY BUM LOOK APPROPRIATE IN THESE?

imageI may be having a midlife crisis but I know where to draw the line when it comes to buying a pair of shorts. Short shorts, for those not in the know, are those skimpy little numbers offering a tantalising glimpse of a well toned bum cheek and quite honestly, unless you are an ex supermodel, they are just not appropriate for a woman of my age. The problem is, the shops where I live  are full of them and there doesnt appear to be much else on offer other than a bit of sensible, middle aged, knee length tailoring.

Apparently, one of the first signs that you’re approaching a midlife crisis, is the hiring of a personal trainer and I am not afraid to admit that Jim my personal trainer has made a huge difference to my life. I’m now fitter and stronger than I was ten years ago and I’m hopeful that I have managed to stall the ravages of time for just  a little longer and not go shuffling sadly into my twilight years. If I drop dead tomorrow, however,  I will be well pissed off but as Jim so nicely put it, at least I’ll look good in the coffin and I won’t need to supersize!

Anyway, back to the shorts. As a consequence of being abused (sorry, encouraged) by Jim and his circuit training, I think my legs are in quite good shape. I have dieted, exfoliated and anti cellulited, (Temple Spa do a mean anti lumpy bumpy cellulite lotion) and body brushed, massaged and lathered myself with aromatic oils. But  as I stand next to a nubile, taught skinned teen something in Top Shop who probably thinks I’m shopping for my daughter, I know I’m kidding myself. .Mutton dressed as lamb springs to mind along with visions of Madonna depressingly clad in black leather and if Mr Derbyshire saw them he might actually ban me from going. I might be heading to Ibiza with a sister who has just accidentally dyed her hair orange but I know my limits. Smiling  maternally at the nubile, I  place the offending items back on the rail. I think I’ll leave the short shorts to the gorgeous leggy Amelia and on this occasion act my age.

One more sleep!