I've had a friend staying this week which has been fabulous. Lots of talking, laughter and of course all topped off with yummy food and walks in nature. We first met at a workshop run by author Isabel Losada called 'Life Kickstart'. It's a great weekend where you can stay in Isabel's house in Battersea and enjoy the wisdom she has accumulated over the last few years in her quest for a happier life. It's fun, informative and you meet fantastic people. For more info on the next workshop see my Dates For your Diary page and if you sign up let Isabel know I sent you. In the meantime if you're looking for some interesting and inspiring reading for the weekend why not try these:
I had a post planned for today but I have a beautiful friend staying with me this week and yesterday we got talking about our experiences of living with anxiety. This morning I was thinking about how many people live with anxiety and don't say anything but that maybe we should. Maybe we shouldn't hide so much but instead share our stories because it is so easy to feel alone and as though nobody understands. It isn't something I share very often partly because I am quite a private person but also because I have no desire to be defined by my anxiety or hear more well-meaning advice on how to 'get over it' by someone who has never lived with anxiety as their constant companion. Because the truth is that whilst many people have experienced moments of anxiety the reality of feeling it every day is a million miles away from their experience. This is my experience...
I just love that quote by Louise Hay. Hell yes to being 'comfortable with growing older' and enjoying every minute of every year in whatever way we want to. We can waste too much time on 'if onlys' and 'what ifs'...instead let's celebrate where we are now for soon enough we will be saying 'remember when' about today!
Okay, let's continue with our '40 things every woman should know after 40' series. You can catch up with the first two here. Number three is something that I still struggle with - not the giving but the receiving. Intrigued? Here it is...
I am having so much fun doing this series and testing out new things. This week I have been having fun with Chia seeds. These tiny little seeds have made a big name for themselves recently due to their health benefits but are they nice and what the heck do you do with them anyway!
I headed into my kitchen to find out and tried and tested 3 different ways to use chia seeds...
Happy Monday everyone, here's to another fabulous week ahead. I love these words by Ellen DeGeneres, they make so much sense to me. The first part of life can be pretty tough. Growing-up, navigating those early years, trying to figure out who you are and what you want, it's not easy - watching my own children reminds me of that!
And yes, I know that there will still be hard times ahead, that's just life, but I think the accumulated wisdom and experiences from the years that have gone before help us to deal with things with more grace and humour and that means that in many ways the hardest part of life is behind us. We are all so much stronger than we think... I know I can doubt that sometimes but when I stop and take a minute to look back on all I have been through - the good, the bad and the just plain cringeable - I am reminded of an inner strength that I think all women have. It is deep, beautiful and always there when we most need it. Whatever comes your way this week remember how strong you are and that being 'over the hill' is no bad thing at all.
Instagram is one of my favourite Social Media places to hang out. I struggle with Twitter (it sometimes just feels like being in a nightclub where everyone is shouting but nobody really hears what anyone is saying!) and Facebook, which I like, can sometimes feel like you're talking to yourself these days as the powers that be have so significantly reduced who sees your posts BUT Instagram....Ooh I love being there. Of course we could use it just to see what various celebs are up to but it is also a place to create your own daily feed of inspiration and gorgeousness. Here are 5 of my favourite female Instagrammers to follow - 4 for beautiful pictures and 1 for pure over 40 inspiration....
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past decade you must have watched at least one Ted Talk. This is an amazing platform for people to share ideas, stories and generally inspire others. I am a huge fan of Ted Talks and wanted to share 5 of my favourites for women over 40. Enjoy and do share any of your favourites in the comments below.
Welcome to #2 in our series of '40 Things Every Woman Should Know After 40'. This week's post had me going 'really?!' and 'how did I not know this already!'.
So what is #2? I think the image above gives it away really...
Yes, it's how to use Google Search properly. Honestly I had no idea how many little tricks there are to make searching for something so much easier. I have probably wasted dozens of hours searching inefficiently over the years....but not any more. If like me you use Google regularly to find out a million different things from locations of restaurants etc. to facts, figures, product searches and George Clooney's favourite things (ahem!) then you will love these tips...
First of all Happy Pancake Day! We had the most delicious pancakes for breakfast this morning thanks to my lovely hubby who is definitely the Pancake King! Topped with lemon & sugar or Maple Syrup or Banana & Chocolate....so divine I couldn't resist sharing these pictures.
Anyway, on with this weeks Tried and Tested...
If you're a Pinterest fan like me then you have definitely come across this week's tried and tested project - the Sharpie mug. Scattered throughout Pinterest are the gleeful exclamations of how a simple Sharpie pen baked onto a mug can produce the perfect crafty gift. But does it actually work? My gorgeous girls and I set out to find out...
Every month I will be writing about an inspiring woman over 40. I think that so often in our society we are focussed on celebrating youth and we can easily forget that many women (and men) do not really step into their own uniqueness and talent until they are older…and dare I say it, have lived a bit!
This month’s inspiring woman is Mary Wesley who also happens to be one of my favourite authors and my own ‘go to’ inspiration as a writer. Why is she my inspiration?
I love this quote and not because I don't think that women under 40 are interesting but because I think that by the time you get to 40 you lose so much of the worry about whether others find you interesting and just settle into being yourself more which, by default, immediately makes you more interesting! We all have stories to tell no matter how big or small but when you listen to a woman over 40 there is often a calmer wisdom that comes through and I think it's because there is less to prove after 40.
What do you think?
What an amazing first week it's been here on the new blog. Thank you for all your support, you are all fabulous and your words of encouragement over on the Facebook page and via private messages have been wonderful, I can't wait to see how this blog grows and develops over the coming weeks and months.
This weekend is the start of half-term so the next week will no doubt be its usual holiday mix of laziness and craziness - with 2 teens and 1 under 10 it's not quite as full-on as it used to be when they were very little but there will still be plenty of juggling to do to keep them all happy and smiley! Feel free to share your half-term activity plans in the comments below as I am always on the look out for new ideas and I'm sure others are too.
It's been a pretty big week here at Loving Life After 40 HQ so our weekend ahead is looking fairly simple - time with family and a dinner hosted by moi for my brother's family and my parents who are coming to see my son in his school play, 'Wuthering Heights', where he is playing Heathcliff (I went to see it last night and it was fantastic); lots of dog-walking with our beloved Springer; plenty of eating and savouring delicious food together; time to read, write and relax and at least one outing somewhere interesting which has yet to be decided - I'll let you know on Facebook where we end up going! What are your weekend plans?
Below are a few of my favourite blog finds this week which you can curl up with a cuppa and enjoy this weekend:
If you are getting itchy feet already this year then why not check out this article 'Top Travel Tips for 2015' by Conde Nast Traveller and start planning.
Of course it is Valentine's Day tomorrow and the web is full of articles on the highs of love and a few on the lows. I particularly liked this refreshing piece featured on Mind, Body, Green '5 Uplifiting and Unexpected Truths about Love
Of course it wouldn't be aproper Valentine's Day without some kind of chocolate and I will be trying out these fabulous looking treats from Deliciously Ella (you can see my Tried & Tested blog post featuring 5 of her recipes here).
If you are looking for a little bit of inspiration this weekend then check out this post from Mind, Body Green about 83-year old model Carmen Dellorefice and this post by A Beautiful Mess (a favourite blog) on the importance of life long learning.
Enjoy your weekend whatever you are up to.
I thought I would share with you what I am reading at the moment. I am a complete bookaholic and always have at least one book on the go but I noticed recently that I was taking much longer to finish my books than normal. I guess that like so many of us I spend far more time online than I used to which has resulted in less time with my head in a book! And in my world that is not a good thing.
So my plan for the year ahead is to read 1 fiction and 1 non-fiction book a month. I would love to hear any suggestions for a good read as I am always looking for new books to dive into.
This month's books are 'Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking' by Susan Cain and 'Tuscan Rose' by Belinda Alexandra.
'Quiet' was a Christmas present from my brother and his family and I have heard so many good reviews about it that I am really looking forward to diving in. I know that being an introvert is kind of the in-thing right now but I genuinely am one...have been for years!
'Tuscan Rose' was a book I found last year whilst spending a delicious day wandering around second-hand shops and stopping for cups of tea and cake. Perfect Bliss! Coming home with a bag (okay two bags...fine, it might have been three) full of pre-loved books is like winning the lottery for me (well okay, maybe not quite like winning the lottery). Whenever I browse for books in second-hand stores I always end up discovering new authors which is so much fun. I have already found out that Belinda Alexandra has written several more books and having started this one already I can tell you now I will definitely be buying more!
Look out for a full review of both books at the end of the month. What are you reading this month? Do share in the comments below xox
Another new regular - I am loving setting all these up this week! Every Wednesday I will be sharing something that I think every woman should know after 40 (and even before!).
So, in (belated) honour of World Cancer Day which was last week on February 4th, #1 on the list is:
'How to Give Yourself a Breast Exam'.
“Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.” ~ National Breast Cancer Foundation
Yep ladies, by now you should know the importance of regular breast examinations and even though after 40 you get the chance to go for regular mammograms you still need to be doing this check EVERY month. I know it can be easy to forget or might feel a bit weird or embarrassing but you know what, by 40 we really shouldn't feel embarrassed about our body anymore. Think of all the things it's got you through, let's show it a little love and self-care.
Below is a great little video that talks you through what to do step-by-step. I'm sure that, like me, you know at least one person fighting cancer, perhaps a family member or a friend, or, again like me, someone who didn't win their battle. With the latest statistics indicating that 1 in 2 of us may get cancer at some point in our lives let's make sure we are doing everything we can to take charge of our own health. Early diagnosis means early treatment and that ladies means a massively increased chance of beating cancer. So what are you waiting for...
Okay, a quick recap of the things you are looking our for:
~ unusual shape, size or colouring of breast/s
~ dimpling, puckering or visible lumps/swelling on the breast/s
~ inverted nipple or change in position
~ redness, soreness or rash
~ any fluid coming out of the nipple
~ any lumps you can feel under the skin of the breast/s
Remember that the best time to do a breast exam is a few days after your period ends. Just before your period your breasts can be a little lumpy or tender so this is not a good time to do a self-exam. You should do a breast exam every month.
You can read more about doing breast exams and a bit about mammograms here
Don't forget to sign up for regular blog updates via the bloglovin' or RSS buttons on the right and if you pop on over and Like the Facebook page you can see what my youngest daughter did to show support for kids with cancer a few days ago and why I am a very proud mum!
Hi everyone, today is the start of another new regular 'Tried & Tested'. Each week I will be trying and testing out new recipes, ideas, products etc. and letting you know what works and what doesn't. This week we kick off with hot new food goddess Deliciously Ella whose first cookbook has been a huge success already...and it was only release at the end of January!
In the interest of total honesty I have to confess that I have been a fan of Ella's blog for several months now and have tried out quite a few of her recipes BUT when her new cookbook arrived I thought I would put a few of her new ideas to the test. So here's what I cooked: Brazil Nut and Rocket Pesto Pasta, Spicy Roasted Chickpeas, Quinoa Tabbouleh, Flapjacks, and Baked Beans. As a veggie who is also gluten and dairy intolerant Ella's recipes really appeal to me but would they also keep my meat-eating kids and hubby happy? Here's how it went.
First up was the Brazil Nut and Rocket Pesto Pasta.
Ease of cooking: This was surprisingly simple mainly because I thought the sauce might turn out to be a bit of a hassle but it was ridiculously easy. Like most of Ella's recipe's it has very few ingredients which keeps it as straightforward as possible. I served it along with some garlic bread for the rest of my family and they also added a bit of cheese on top.
Time to make: It pretty much all came together in the same time it took to boil the water and cook the pasta so around 20 mins which I think is actually quite quick.
Taste verdict: My husband, my eldest daughter and I all loved it - seriously I could easily have eaten another serving and my husband and daughter actually did! Sadly my 15 year old son did not like it at all and my youngest daughter (9) seemed keen at first but halfway through declared it was not as nice as she had thought it would be! Still, considering my husband is not a big pasta fan and he had second helpings I think this was a hit overall.
Overall score: 8/10
Next up I made the Quinoa Tabbouleh and the Spicy Roasted Chickpeas. We had this for lunch and my husband and eldest daughter also had some of the leftover Brazil Nut and Rocket Pesto Pasta which they announced was totally delicious cold and would be great on a picnic.
Ease of Cooking: a little more faffing than the pasta but still very simple and not too many ingredients overall so again pretty good.
Time to Make: a bit longer than the pasta as the chickpeas needed 40-45 mins in the oven. Whilst they are doing their thing though you can easily prepare the Quinoa which needs around 15 mins plus cooling time.
Taste Verdict: My son was out as he had a school play rehearsal so it was just four of us on the judging panel. Sadly I was the only one who liked these dishes, (honestly I am beginning to think Ella and I might be taste bud twins) although my husband said that the taste was good and he quite liked the chickpeas he just isn't a fan of Quinoa in general.
Overall Score: 7/10 (I would definitely make it for me again and then have it cold during the week as a pre-prepared lunch)
Next my eldest daughter helped me make the Flapjacks (shown here with Ella's amazing Raw Coconut and Cacao Bites which aren't in the book but are on the blog - a huge favourite of my son who loves eating them after a run. He is very keen to try the new version in the book).
Ease of Cooking: so easy a child could make them...and she did! With very little assistance from me.
Time to Make: pretty quick - about 25-30 minutes in total, probably a bit quicker for an adult.
Taste Verdict: Now I love Ella but...these were not a hit at all. Having had gluten/dairy free 'healthy' flapjacks before I found them okay but I was definitely in the minority. They are not the chewy,slightly crunchy round the edges flapjacks that most of us grew up with. They are softer, a little drier, and much more oat-y. If you regularly buy the healthier variety of flapjacks then you will probably like these but I don't think we will make these again. BUT do try the Raw Coconut and Cacao Bites because they are yummy!
Overall Score: 3/10
Last up were the Baked Beans which sadly I forgot to take a photo of because we were running late and frankly I needed to get everyone fed before they turned on each other!
Ease of Cooking: Once more these were ridiculously easy and only 5 ingredients needed all of which were store cupboard basics (although not everyone has haricot beans in their cupboard). Her recipe only uses 1 tin of beans but I used 2 as I knew I needed plenty to feed everyone.
Time to Make: about 30-40 minutes all up so a little longer but once they're cooking they kind of take care of themselves so another simple midweek supper. We served them on top of baked potatoes (and I had the leftovers on toast the next day for lunch) and the others had cheese on top.
Taste Verdict: Woohoo! We saved the best until last. This was a definite winner. Everyone loved this and seconds were had. Rich thick sauce, deeply tomato-ey, wonderfully moreish and filling. Delicious.
Overall Score: 10/10
So overall Ella remains a huge favourite of mine and my kids and husband are keen on some and less keen on others (they like a lot of her stews and curries from her blog). In my opinion her cookbook is a very worthy addition to any kitchen (perfect to cook from if you ever want to invite me for dinner) and there is no doubt that her food leaves you feeling great afterwards - no horrible bloating to deal with and satisfyingly full! The other thing I really like about her book is her down to earth advice, top tips and explanations of the different ingredients which make it a cookbook you want to read as well as cook from.
P.S. I had hoped to make a couple more of her recipes - Blueberry muffins and homemade Chocolate Spread for starters - but it would seem that her book is proving so popular that it is proving tricky to get your hands on some of the ingredients!!! Take out shares in Medjool Dates now people their sales are going to go through the roof!
Happy Monday everyone! Thank you to those of you who sent me beautiful messages of support over the weekend and for the lovely comments about the new site. It is wonderful to have so many of you here already...and we are only 3 days old!!!!! It is fair to say that quite a lot of happy dancing took place at 'Loving Life After 40' HQ this weekend - much to the embarrassment of my 15 year old....and 13 year old...and...well you get the point.
During this week you will get to see how the new blog is going to shape up and I'm excited about the direction it is heading in already! Don't forget that you can also join the Facebook community and sign up to Bloglovin' (see the handy button in the side bar) so that you don't miss out on any of the gorgeousness that is coming.
So first up this week is 'Monday Mantra'. Every Monday I will be posting a little bit of inspirational gorgeousness to help us start our week on a positive note 'cos you know we can all do with a helping hand on a Monday morning. This week's quote is courtesy of the fabulous Susan Sarandon...
Have a great day and if you have a favourite quote do share it in the comments below.
Oh my goodness what a crazy 48 hours it has been! To cut a long story short 48 hours ago my old website 'Awaken The Woman Within' accidentally got deleted...yep over 5 years worth of blog posts, work etc. all gone. Talk about a heart stopping moment BUT...after a bit of a cry I realised that this was a HUGE blessing in disguise (oh fate you are sooo funny!) You see for a while now I have been dreaming and lusting after a new website and a new direction, and now I had the blank canvas to start creating it.
So I pulled up my big girl pants and jumped. Feet first all the way in to my dream blog. With just 12 weeks until my 40th birthday I am ready to move in a new direction and infuse my life with more fun and more authenticity. So here is what you need to know:
'Loving Life After 40' is a lifestyle blog for women over 40 (or fast approaching 40). My intention is to fill it with oodles of lovely things that inspire me, make me smile and that will help me, and you, to Love Life after 40. I will be writing about all sorts of things from health & wellbeing to business, books, food and travel. I intend to regularly interview inspiring women over 40 and hope that many of you will come forward with your stories etc. There is also a 'Dates for your Diary' page where you can find out about great online and in person events from around the globe so that you don't miss out on fabulous goings on.
Of course it isn't finished yet, honestly there is only so much you can do in 48 hours even with the help of obscene amounts of chocolate and peppermint tea! But it is a start and I'm looking forward to bringing my vision alive. Do check back soon to see what else is new, you might like to click the RSS or Bloglovin' button so you don't miss new blog posts. See you again soon!
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Hi, I'm Jo...
'Loving Life After 40' is full of things that inspire me, make me smile and help me to Love Life After 40 - books, events, travel, career tips, health and beauty, inspiring women, food, photography and lots more… welcome!
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