Fifty and Fabulous

The thoughts, loves, rants, interests & inspirations for Gen X

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Weight Loss Wednesday – Planning and Stocking The Freezer

Hello My Lovely Followers,

It’s another Weight Loss Wednesday post. So, how was your week?

I am full of the joys of spring, although the snowdrops are over, the sun is shining and the daffodils and spring bulbs have taken their place and are pushing their way out to fill my garden with colour.

Last week, I told you that I wanted to get back on track after the frustrating 4lbs gain that I’d allowed to creep on over the last month. I bought a 12 week countdown, a SW journal and I’ve stocked up the freezer with Free Slimming World meals for those times that I just can’t be bothered “to cook anything“.

I’ve been writing down everything that I eat – it’s so tempting to lie to ourselves, thinking that we’ve been good today when in reality the syns are piling on – and although I wasn’t 100% on plan for the first half of the week, journalling my food has helped me to at least be honest.

My new part-time hours also started this week, so I made the most of my time away from school and went for a couple of jogs using the NHS Couch to 5k podcasts. I can’t believe that I am actually running (well lightly jogging) for 28mins without stopping. I can’t recommend the programme enough; it’s certainly kept me going and I do feel so much fitter too.

I was rewarded with a 2.5lbs loss for all my dedication tonight – I am over the moon!

So, today, I want to share with you my favourite FREE Slimming World meals that I always have my freezer. I’ve found that if I plan my meals on Thursday evening – what I’m going to have down the week – I don’t have to think about food so much and I’m less likely to snack on high sys foods.

Slimming World Mums certainly do go to Iceland 😉 yum!yum!

Before you go, I’ve got a money off code to share with you. If you haven’t shopped online with Iceland before quote ICE5OFF409VRGJM and get £5 off your basket when you spend £40.

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Menopause Monday – Mood Swings

Hello Lovely Followers,

Apparently it can be very common to have menopausal symptoms but still have periods. Our periods may become lighter and less frequent or they may become heavier and more frequent (oh goody). If, like me, you are still having periods, then we are perimenopausal. Between you and me, I’m not really bothered about why I’m getting these all these symptoms I just want them to stop.

Between Child1 and Child2’s teenager-isms and my perimenopausal mood swings, I suppose it’s my poor Hubby that we should feel sympathy for.

But I’m in a grumpy mood right now, so no!

Oh, OK, why does being perimenopausal impact on my mood?

From what I’ve read online, low mood and anxiety in mid-life has often been attributed to ’empty nest syndrome’ and the struggle to come to terms with ageing and no longer being fertile. My girls are still at home and after the stress and depression of Child2’s delivery, not being fertile was a blessing.

Apparently, many women say they feel more confident and content with life when they reach middle-age and I think I agree with them. Yes, it is a time of transition and change can impact on our emotional well-being but the truth is that in the run-up to the menopause, we women are on a hormonal roller-coaster. This means our mood swings are far more likely to be caused by what’s going on in our bodies than what’s going on in our lives.

There are oestrogen receptors all over the body, including the brain and one of the roles of oestrogen in the brain is to block the breakdown of serotonin, the happy chemical. So, when oestrogen levels drop during perimenopause, so can serotonin levels, which can impact on how we feel emotionally. The number of times I cry at the smallest thing is crazy! A low level of serotonin is also thought to be why so many women experience increased levels of rage, anger and irritation at this time of life. Once again, sorry Hubby.

Changes to the adrenal glands also mean we can become more sensitive to stress hormones during the menopause, which means we could be more susceptible to anxiety and panic attacks. Stress is a tricky thing to diagnose; I don’t think I’m stressed but my body is sometimes screaming at me that I am.

This is what I found on the NHS website about mood swings relating to the Menopause:

Mood changes

Some women experience mood swings, low mood and anxiety around the time of the menopause.

Self-help measures such as getting plenty of rest, taking regular exercise and doing relaxing activities such as yoga and tai chi may help. Medication and other treatments are also available, including HRT and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

CBT is a type of talking therapy that can improve low mood and feelings of anxiety. Your GP may be able to refer you for CBT on the NHS, or recommend self-help options such as online CBT courses.

Antidepressants may help if you’ve been diagnosed with depression.

When my girls were young, I used to practice a mix of pilates and yoga (Yogalates) to keep my body flexible while they were at school. But I haven’t dusted off the DVD for years, perhaps I should start it again as part of my weight loss journey and goal of getting healthier. If the NHS are to be believed, it could help with my mood swings too.

The NHS also mention Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, I re-blogged a post all about CBT on Friday (here), did you read it? Have you tried it? Did CBT help you or someone you know?

I don’t think that any of my perimenopausal symptoms are anywhere near “worst case scenario“. BBC3 published an article in January about three women who were going through their menopause before reaching 30.  Reading the article, it seems that the early onslaught of The Change can be caused by a number of medical conditions too. So it could be worse, at least I’m a woman in my late 40’s going through this rather than in my twenties with my whole life ahead of me.

Just knowing that we not alone that women including Gwyneth Paltrow, Mariella Fostrup, Belinda Carlisle, Gillian Anderson, Angeline Jolie, Bette Midler, Kim Cattrall, Susan Sarandon and Jane Seymour to name but a few, are living with menopausal symptoms with me helps.

Although I post these to help me get stuff off my chest, I hope that my Menopause Monday posts help you too. Please feel free to leave a comment below.





Sharing The Love – Book Stores Around The World

Hello Lovely Followers,

I know I don’t post many book reviews on this blog but reading is one of my hobbies (read all about it here). So when I came across this post from Kiersten on her blog – Once Upon A Spine – all about the wonderful oasis’ around the world that are book shops, I just had to share it.

Wanderlusting: Bookstores Around the World (Part 1)

It’s been a little while since I’ve done a wanderlust post. Don’t worry, it’s not because I’m losing my sense of adventure or desire to travel. I’ve actually been planning and researching for the upcoming trips I’ll be going on this year.

There are two things I look for first when considering a place to visit: the culinary scene and how many bookstores they have. As a proclaimed foodie and bibliophile, these are the things that speak most to me. They call me late in the evening and whisper in my ear whilst I’m asleep. “Come to me!” they say. And I listen.

Perhaps I will do a future series of posts about all the foodie destinations I plan to visit someday, but for now, since this is primarily a book blog, I’ll focus on the bookstores.

Eliot Bay Books (Seattle, Washington) – There isn’t much history to this one, but I’ve heard it’s the best bookstore in Seattle.


Shakespeare and Company (Paris, France) – This one has been around since 1919. The apartment upstairs housed several famous authors over the years, like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. Boyfriend and I will definitely be visiting this one when we visit Paris in the Fall.


Livraia Lello (Porto, Portugal) – One of the most stunning bookstores in the world, the neo-Gothic building was said to have been the source of inspiration for J.K. Rowling’s depiction of Hogwarts.


The Last Bookstore (Los Angeles, California) – Lots of quirky character packed into this store, in addition to a quarter-million new and used titles. I can’t even imagine how many people go here every year just to take pictures under the tunnel of books.

Source: Wanderlusting: Bookstores Around the World (Part 1) – Once Upon a Spine

Have you visited any of these gorgeous shops? I haven’t – yet. 😉 Although I get most of my books from Amazon these days, I do visit my local Waterstones. I love the smell. Am I weird? 😉

I think I might add a board – “Amazing Book Shops” or something – to my Pinterest account. These will be added first, of course. I wonder which amazing book shops Kiersten will share with us next. I can’t wait.

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Weight Loss Wednesday – Getting Back On Track

Hello My Lovely Followers,

Welcome to another Weight Loss Wednesday. So, how was your week?

I haven’t have a reduction in my weight since the end of January and if I’m honest, I’m frustrated with myself for not sticking to the Slimming World plan 100%. I’ve gained 4lbs over the last three weeks! 😥 But I have been reminding myself this week about how far I’ve come and how much weight I have managed to shift.

I’m drawing a line under this week; Hubby’s birthday last Wednesday meant a major high syn food-fest; pizza twice, Chinese on Friday and the big family Sunday lunch at a local pub. All of which was lovely but, goodness me! 😉

As I’ve said before, breaking the habits that I allowed to grow over the Christmas period is so much harder than I had expected and this week certainly didn’t help. We’re almost at the end of February and I still keep snacking!

I was reminded by a fellow SW member that Slimming World have produced beautiful Journals to help us by physically logging our food and any activities we do for Body Magic. She is writing everything down and it reminded me that I used them myself for the first 24 weeks after joining back in 2017. I know that having them really helped me; writing down what I was eating, what I was feeling, how often I was being active seemed to keep me focused and reduced the little lies, you know, the ones we tell ourselves when on a “diet”. 😉

This week I dug them out and have been reading back through the weeks to re-ignite my passion and focus. I’ve been specifically looking at those weeks that saw the best results (losses) and what I was doing then that I’m not doing now. I can see from my entries that not only am I having too many syns throughout the week but I’m no where near as active as I was.

I have bought a 12 week countdown and a journal this week and I am DETERMINED to get back to basics like I was in the beginning – plan what I’m going to eat, increase my activity and stick to food optimising 100% – and finally achieve my goal weight.

While we’re on the subject of planning, I didn’t want to go without sharing another of my favourite Slimming World recipes. I’m still not wanting salads and dips most days so thank heavens for their delicious soups.

Now I need to be completely honest with you, I haven’t actually made this myself, I’ve cheated and bought it from Iceland but it certainly looks simple to do and I can definitely vouch for it’s tastiness. 😉 very yummy!

Let me know if you’ve tried it (or bought it).

Minestrone soup

An Italian classic packed with vegetables, pasta and herbs.


1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
½ tbsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
3½ tbsp tomato purée
227g can chopped tomatoes
1.2 litres boiling vegetable stock
2 large carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
½ x 400g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
120g dried conchigliette or other small pasta shapes
80g kale, large stalks removed, finely chopped


  1. Put the onion, celery, roughly chopped carrot, garlic, herbs, tomato purée, chopped tomatoes and stock in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Discard the bay leaves and whizz until smooth using a stick blender (or use a food processor or liquidiser and return the soup to the pan).
  3. Add the finely chopped carrot, beans and pasta and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the kale and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked but still has a little bite. Season lightly and serve hot.

Tip: You’ll find this soup available as part of the Slimming World food range in Iceland stores.

Check it out here.

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Menopause Monday – Support when you need it

Hello Lovely Followers,

I hope that you have had a nice weekend. Mine wasn’t too bad, although I did turn into a blubbering mess watching something on telly Saturday afternoon. I wont tell you what because you’ll laugh … yes you will.

OK it was Cars 3. See? I told you, you’d laugh!

I was browsing the internet, once again, on my quest to find out as much as I can about the “M” word and help me with these stupid symptom. OK I can chuckle about it now.


As I’ve already mentioned, I’m a great believer in natural remedies rather than pumping our bodies with man made chemicals, so I do genuinely look to herbalists, homoeopaths and alternative therapists first to help me with any health issues. Although, I must say, I am very lucky to have a great GP who is more open than most and will refer me to alternative therapies through the NHS.

The following article from Natural Health News has lots of background information in it (some of which is based on studies in the USA) links to previous articles about the menopause and useful some tips.


According to the rather dry, medical definition, menopause is simply the cessation of menstruation.  But women experience it in much more richly, and sometimes in enormously detailed and complex ways.

menopausal-womanAlthough we talk about the ‘symptoms’ of menopause – and there are dozens of them – the fact is that menopause is not a disease state but a natural condition. Like all life transitions menopause involves a complex interplay between body and mind, soul and culture that our limited language has never really described well.

Thinking just in terms of physical symptoms can lead to a situation where we medicalise something that doesn’t need to be medicalised.

Menopausal ‘symptoms’ do not arise in isolation. They can be worsened or ameliorated by certain aspects of a woman’s lifestyle for instance, whether she smokes, what she eats and whether she is physically active and her emotional health, whether she is depressed, anxious or fearful of change.

Symptoms can also vary both individually and culturally. For instance, in those countries which honour and revere older women, notably those in Asia, women rarely complain of menopausal symptoms.

While the decline of a woman’s production of estrogen can result in some temporary, and a few longer term, symptoms, it is our emotional response to these symptoms as much as anything which determines how well we cope.

Some women, in panic, fear or hopelessness, have found relief with conventional approaches such as HRT, though the evidence is overwhelming that HRT brings its own complications, chief among these are an increase rate of endometrial and breast cancer as well as a possible increase in heart disease.

A long road

Menopause doesn’t just happen; it’s one end of a gradual transition often called the ‘climacteric’.

This term is generally used to describe the 15 year period during which menstruation will cease. Around this fulcrum will be a number of physical and psychological changes.

You’d think as women we’d be used to this kind of pace. There is, for instance, rarely a precise beginning to menstruation – many young girls have light spotting and erratic bleeding for years. Likewise, there is rarely a precise beginning to labour – many women experience niggly symptoms on and off for days or weeks.

By calling this period perimenopause (the time before menopause) practitioners have a name to hang these symptoms on.  But there is little evidence that this is helpful to women.

Not surprisingly in one study, women’s overall health status, emotional and physical, objectively and subjectively – and not income and education – were the significant factors in how well women adjusted to the menopause.

Here also the language lets us down again. Menopause is so often defined as the ‘end’ of something and yet a compelling review, The Natural History of Menopause, which details work of Pennsylvania State University scientists, the elasticity of women’s cycles comes to light.

Using hormonal measurements, the scientists suggest that during the climacteric women’s cycles lengthen and lengthen until ‘menopause’ which could be described as more like a really long menstrual cycle. Indeed even after menopause some women will get light spotting and other menstrual symptoms from time to time.

It’s a challenging concept and of course it still doesn’t address the fact that menopause does bring physical changes that can make life uncomfortable.

Self help for menopausal symptoms

For those who are simply not willing to take the risks associated with hormone replacement and other medical drugs, there are many natural remedies which can ease the transition abound.  It goes without saying that a healthy diet is important. But herbal and other approaches can help too. It’s worth remembering too, that treating these symptoms during menopause is not much different from treating them at any other time of life.

Studies show that today’s women prefer non-medical treatment for their symptoms and want more support from their GPs – and their partners in pursuing these. Because menopause has become something of an industry, studies into the effect of natural remedies abound. This should make choosing alternatives more straightforward, but in truth the world of menopause remedies is full of myths and untruths.

Menopause triggers so many physical changes it would take a book just to address them all. Here’s our pick of the best approaches to a handful of the major conditions associated with menopause:

Hot flushes

Hot flushes are so individual that it is hard to find consistent evidence on what will help. Practical approaches to hot flushes include dressing in layers so you can put on or peel off as required and carrying hand fan (which with practice can be an elegant solution, here’s a fun video on how). It can also be useful to have a facial spritzer either in your purse or by the bedside. Go for one made with rose or orange flower water or with cooling, calming essential oils.

Vitamin E can help relieve hot flushes for some women, as can pomegranate seed oil. Certain bioflavinoids may also have an estrogenic effect, as well as being supportive of the vascular system. When combined with vitamin C (1200mg daily) have been shown to relieve hot flushes. The herb black cohosh may be useful for some but phytoestrogens derived from soya or red clover, appear to be only moderately effective. In fact, some studies show no benefit at all.

There is evidence that weight loss in conjunction with a low-fat, high fruit and vegetable diet may help to reduce or eliminate hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause. A recent study has also shown that hypnotherapy can help cut the frequency and severity of menopausal hot flashes by up to 80%.

If hot flushes are worse in tense situation, keep some Rescue Remedy or Emergency Essence on hand to calm things down. A 2013 study found that diet is also key.

The researchers found two food patterns were associated with fewer hot flashes: high fruit intake and Mediterranean-style diet (veggies, garlic, red wine, tomatoes). On the other hand, high-fat and high-sugar diets were associated with high rates of reported hot flashes. Other food triggers include caffeine, alcohol and spicy food.


The climacteric can bring major changes in sleeping patterns. A combination of stress, anxiety, depression, hot flashes/night sweats is the likely cause. This is an important time to practice good ‘sleep hygiene. So 1) Make your room dark quiet and safe; 2) Keep your room as cool as you can; 3) Skip alcohol and tobacco.

Use a sprizter (as above) or keep a facecloth in a bucket of cool water near to hand at night so you can cool yourself quickly and get back to sleep. Some women find that special pillows the keep the head cool can greatly help them get a better night’s sleep.

A diet deficient in vitamin B12 may also promote insomnia and it may be important to recommend menopausal women increase consumption of B12 foods rich like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and other dairy as well as fermented soya and whole grains.

Practicing yoga has also been shown to improve sleep in menopausal women. It can also be helpful for relieving stress and depression, as well as keeping you limber.

Vaginal Dryness

This is a difficult problem to talk about and a difficult one to solve. It has long been believed that foods which are high in phytoestrogens include, flax seeds, fermented soya products like tofu and miso, fennel, celery, rhubarb, parsley, clover sprouts, high lignan flaxseed oil as well as nuts and seeds, may help. There is some evidence to support this, but the science is by no means conclusive.

Eating these foods regularly is a good idea even if you don’t suffer from vaginal dryness, as they increase the diversity of your overall dietary diversity.

One study post-menopausal women who added soya flour (45 g daily), red clover sprouts (10 g daily) and linseed (25 g daily) for a period of two weeks each, demonstrated an increase in the number of superficial cells which line the vagina at the end of the six week period. Since thinning of the vaginal walls is linked to dryness, this increase could help symptoms of vaginal dryness and irritation.

The herb Pueraria mirifica, which contains numerous phytoestrogens, has recently been promoted as an effective treatment for menopausal symptoms. In one double-blind study, the herb showed promise for improving vaginal dryness. In another trial comparing Pueraria to standard estrogen treatment (0.625 mg conjugated equine estrogen), researchers found the herb to be equally effective at relieving a range of menopausal symptoms.

Supplementing with maca may also help boost libido as well as energy and vitality. These days you can also buy certified organic personal lubricants for temporary relief (a better choice than the conventional chemical laden types).


Depression is rarely just a physical phenomenon and can’t easily be correlated with ‘hormones’. If you have been prone to depression before menopause, you may be more prone to it during menopause.

Low mood can be exacerbated by major stresses in the lives of menopausal women, which can so often translate into feelings of depression and unpredictable mood swings, are most often caused by family or factors other than menopause.

For instance, in one study around 25% of menopausal women are caring for an elderly relative, which can certainly be stressful.  So, seek help and support, either from a therapist or someone who can take the reins at home. Trying to do it all can just increase the sense of isolation that some women feel during the menopause. Remember also that sleep problems and depression go hand in hand.

Your diet and general level of nutrition is also important. Getting enough healthy omega-3 fats can help combat depression (whereas trans fats have been associated with a greater tendency towards irritability and depression). Evening primrose oil may also be helpful for some, though not all studies agree.

Lower levels of estrogen in your blood may make less tryptophan available for conversion into serotonin – our natural ‘feel good’ hormone. Thus supplementing with this essential amino acid or eating foods rich in tryptophan (dairy, poultry, fish, seaweed, bananas, dried dates, peanuts and all protein rich foods) may make a contribution to easing symptoms of depression and insomnia.

20 March, 2014 By Staff Writer – Natural Health News

See also:  How to prevent brittle bones and Soya – how the world’s healthiest food is making us sick 

Source: Support during the menopause

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Weight Loss Wednesday – Pea and Mint Soup

Hello My Lovely Followers,

It’s another Weight Loss Wednesday post. So, how was your week?

I’m happy to say that my cold has finally gone. Woo!Hoo! I was frustrated with myself after the 1.5lbs gain last week so this week I’ve been stricter with myself and although I didn’t get a loss tonight, I maintained.

I didn’t stay to group tonight; it’s Hubby’s birthday and this coming week will be a major food-fest because of it. Pizza tonight, Chinese with friends on Friday evening, Saturday evening pizza then big family Sunday lunch at a local pub. Goodness me, if I don’t come in next week with a half stone on, I’ll consider myself lucky! Lol!

I really miss not staying tonight. Once again, I can’t stress enough how beneficial staying to your group IMAGE Therapy is (read about it here); I couldn’t have lost the 2 stones (28lbs) without the continued support, tips and understanding that is freely offered at group from our amazing consultant Carol O’Neill and my fellow members.

Today, I wanted to share another of my favourite Slimming World recipes. It’s still cold and wet so salads and dips just aren’t doing it for me at the moment; I’ve been needing comfort food. Hello Pea and mint soup.

Now I need to be completely honest with you, I haven’t actually made this myself, I’ve cheated and bought it from Iceland but it certainly looks simple to do and I can definitely vouch for it’s tastiness. 😉 yum!yum!

Let me know if you’ve tried it (or bought it).

Soothe your soul with this satisfying soup.


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 200g potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1.3 litres boiling vegetable stock
  • 400g frozen peas
  • 10g fresh mint
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Put the onion into a large pan with the potatoes, garlic and stock. Bring to the boil over a high heat, turn the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are very soft.
  2. Add the peas to the soup, simmer for a couple of minutes and stir in the mint. Take off the heat, cool slightly then pour into a food processor or liquidiser and whizz until smooth.
  3. Season to taste and serve.

Tip: You’ll find this soup available as part of the Slimming World food range in Iceland stores.

Check it out here.

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Menopause Monday – Detox Dieting

Hello Lovely Followers,

So, here I am again posting something about the menopause. As I have already said, I am at that age where the “M” word is begin bounded around in my circle of friends and colleagues and I am sure that I am perimenopausal because I’m experiencing quite a few of the tell-tale signs. 😉

In my research, I’ve noticed that the same foods keep popping up; I’ve already increased the amount of soya I consume since joining Slimming World (read my Weight Loss Wednesday posts to find out more) and I had taken caffeine out of my diet a couple of years ago by switching to decaffeinated tea (I don’t drink coffee) as one of my colleagues had recommended that it helped reduce her menopause symptoms.


I found the article below on the Natural Heath News website. As I’ve said before, I’m a great believer in natural remedies rather than man made chemicals so I was very interested in the suggestions made in the article that supposedly helps with the symptoms and the Detox Diet itself is very similar to the healthy eating plan that I’m already on through Slimming World!!

Oh, and I’ve added a few purchase links to help, if you’d like to try out some of the suggestions yourself or the simple detox diet yourself.

Your detox diet for menopause

The menopause is potentially one of the most liberating transitions in every woman’s life.

It can herald a shift to greater freedom and personal satisfaction as you move from constantly supplying family needs to having more time and space to express your own purpose. Making love can also become more relaxed and adventurous as the fear of pregnancy recedes.

In more traditional societies the role of the older woman is well established in the community and such things as wisdom, calmness and more time to observe and reflect are valued and respected.

From an energetic perspective during the fertile years a woman’s spiritual energy ebbs and flows during her menstrual cycle, after the menopause the spiritual contact can be more direct and consistent.

There are still societies where the cessation of periods that indicates the menopause physically, is just that and no other symptoms are expected. Japanese women, for example, are known for their lack of menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, attributed mainly to their increased consumption of soya based products, which are high in phytoestrogens.

In western society ageing has become associated with failure and losing one’s function, becoming less useful and unattractive. The emphasis on youthful appearance has led to a great fear among many women of showing the natural signs of ageing and embracing one’s changing role and status.

The key to a healthy menopause is to accept it as a time of transition into a new phase of life and not view it as the beginning of a decline. There are many positive examples of women at this stage of their lives who have changed careers, moved to a different part of the country or chosen to pursue their own interest in such things as a natural medicine course, gardening or painting.

If you are finding it difficult to have a positive attitude towards this major life transition then the Australian Bush Flower Essence called Woman Essence can be very helpful.

It has been developed to encourage a woman’s own innate strength and beauty and it will help to harmonize mood swings and balance the emotions during the menopause. Simply take a few drops morning and night for a few weeks.

The menopause transition

Like all periods of transition, the menopause can throw up symptoms both emotionally and physically as we move through it.

The average age of the menopause is 52 (although anything between 48 and 54 is normal and many woman may be younger), and the cessation of periods is the observable result of a number of complex hormonal changes occurring within the body.

The ovaries, the pituitary and the hypothalamus in the brain are the glands that communicate with each other to regulate the menstrual cycle. During menopause the hormonal balance begins to change, and less oestrogen produced by the ovaries.

At around the same time, more follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) are produced by the pituitary. It is usually the level of FSH that is measured when testing for the menopause occurring.

These hormonal changes, when out of balance, are responsible for the symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats that can occur during the menopause.

The decline in oestrogen fluctuates at first, but eventually tapers off. This is then replaced by a form of oestrogen called oestrone, that is converted from androgen mainly produced by the adrenal glands.

Insufficient oestrogen can lead to the symptoms of hot flushes, vaginal dryness and in the longer term, osteoporosis. This emphasises the importance of having healthy adrenal glands if we want to enjoy good health after the menopause. The adrenal glands are especially prone to damage by poor nutrition and an excess of stress.

What goes wrong?

The liver has the job of breaking down ‘old’ hormones and eliminating them from the body. If the liver is not functioning efficiently then these ‘old’ hormones continue to circulate in the body causing PMT-like symptoms, hot flushes, irritability and headaches and can eventually lead to a range of tumours such as fibroids and, when malignant, to cancer.

Going on a detox program can really help the liver to regenerate and this is why a regular detox can be the key to reducing menopausal symptoms.

Misc_fruitThe Detox Diet

This cleansing diet is a 10-day programme that is suitable if you are basically healthy but want to clear your system out and give your liver a chance to regenerate.

If you have a particular health problem you should have a consultation with a naturopath before going on a special diet.

Day 1

Fruit for breakfast, lunch and in the evening. Choose one fruit for each meal from the following: apples, pears, kiwi fruit and grapes. Eat as much fruit as you like at one sitting.

Day 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

Fruit for breakfast. For lunch make a mixture of at least five salad vegetables: mix grated roots, sprouts and leafy vegetables.

In the evening eat cooked vegetables. Make a soup by boiling a mixture of at least five vegetables. Do not add any salt or seasoning. You may add fresh, chopped herbs or a handful of mixed seeds.

Day 7, 8 and 9

Breakfast as day 2. Lunch as day 2 but in addition eat two rice cakes or two rye crispbreads. Evening as day 2 with the addition of a portion of brown rice or millet.

Day 10

Breakfast as day 2. Lunch as day 7. Evening as day 2 but in addition eat a baked potato with a small knob of butter (it will taste delicious!)

Things to pay attention to

Drink lots of mineral water every day. Obtain as many as possible of the fruit and vegetables organically produced. Important things to avoid altogether throughout the diet are: tea, coffee, smoking, salt, pepper, recreational and non-essential prescription drugs and late nights.

A simple salad dressing, made by combining olive oil, lemon and fresh chopped herbs, may be added to the salad lunch.


  • Mid-morning you can have an additional portion of fruit or a fruit smoothie.
  • Mid-afternoon you can have a handful of roasted seeds e.g. pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds. Do not add salt.

This detox diet should be carried out at least once a year and preferably twice a year. Spring and autumn are traditional times to undertake a detox.

The above article is excerpted from Understanding the menopause: natural solutions that really work by Susan Curtis (Winter Press, 2007). Susan’s book features advice on a range of different natural options to ease the transition of menopause.

13 September, 2011 By Susan Curtis

Source: Your detox diet for menopause

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Joe Brown’s Spring Collection Best-sellers

Hello Everyone,

I hope that you are enjoying your weekend. I was sat here, recuperating from this morning’s Parkrun 😉 when I got a lovely e-mail from Joe Brown’s. I do love their clothes – I love wearing my latest purchases (read all about them here) and I want to add a few new items to freshen up my spring wardrobe. I know that some of you also like their style,  so I thought I’d share with you a few of the current best sellers in their women’s department that caught my eye.

You can check any of them out yourself by clicking the pictures (a new window will open to make it easier for you). Let’s start with…

Best Selling Dresses

Perfect Polka Dot Jersey Dress

Perfect Polka Dot Jersey Dress

Reversible Mid Length Dress

Reversible Mid-Length Dress

Coconut Palm Dress

Coconut Palm Dress

I really like the reversible mid length dress; the diagonal pattern is very flattering for my shape. You can check out more dresses here.

Best Selling Jackets

Joe's New Favourite Jacket

Joe’s New Favourite Jacket

Summer Days Jacket

Summer Days Jacket

Step In To Spring Jacket

Step In To Spring Jacket

The step into spring jacket really appeals to me. I love getting away from black and navy by adding a splash of colour. You can check all their wonderful jackets here.

Grab a cup of tea (wine or even coffee if you must) and browse the whole Womenswear range. Did you know they also do Gifts & Books that are full of uniquly Joe Brown quirkiness? I didn’t. Check them out for yourself (I love the odd socks) or go to Joe Brown’s Home page to access the whole kit and caboodle from the very first page.

Don’t forget that shopping online with Joe Browns you get free returns on UK orders and of course secure online payments.

It couldn’t be simpler.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! x

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Recipe: Nando’s Style Chicken

Reading this recipe makes my mouth water. Yum.

I should confess, am a bit of a wuss when it comes to “spicy” but I have increased my chicken meals since joining Slimming World. I will have to hunt out JD Seasoning in my local supermarket and give this recipe a try.

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Weight Loss Wednesday – Chicken and Vegetable Soup from @SlimmingWorld

Hello My Lovely Followers,

It’s another Weight Loss Wednesday post. So, how was your week?

Like so many, I’ve been suffering with a cold recently. I haven’t been as active and I’m sure having a cold has influenced my food choices. I gained 1.5lbs this week 😦 which is always so depressing even when we know where the gain has come from but I’ve come away from group feeling re-focused so that next week I will stay on track and see that gain disappear.

Today, I wanted to share another of my favourite Slimming World recipes. It’s cold and I’ve been needing comfort food. Hello Chicken and vegetable soup.

Now I need to be completely honest with you, I haven’t actually made this myself, I’ve cheated and bought it from Iceland but it certainly looks simple to do and I can definitely vouch for it’s tastiness. 😉 yum!yum!

Let me know if you’ve tried it (or bought it).

Soothe your soul with this satisfying soup.


  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stick, roughly chopped
  • 200g cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 large floury potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 litre boiling chicken stock
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 150g broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 skinless and boneless chicken breast, cut into small chunks


  1. Put everything except the carrot, broccoli and chicken into a large saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Remove the bay leaf and rosemary sprig and whizz until smooth using a stick blender (or use a food processor or liquidiser and return the soup to the pan).
  3. Add the carrot and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the broccoli and chicken and cook for another 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Season lightly and serve hot.

Tip: You’ll find this soup available as part of the Slimming World food range in Iceland stores.

Check it out here.