Focus on Fitness

I’m a little manic today. Fortunately I know now that the manic highs and the depressing lows that have blighted me over the last year are not signs of bi-polar but yet another joyous symptom of the menopause. There can be benefits and I seek to find them. Unlimited (if short lived) energy being one of them (and a tendency to buy very expensive shoes)

But buying expensive shoes will not help with menopausal symptoms. I know this as I have checked through Google. Which is a shame as shoes and handbags always fit unlike bloody clothes that take it personally if you have one tiny bowl of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food Ice Cream.

Every book I have read recommends exercise for the menopausal woman. Apparently a bit of exercise will have me fighting off a number of menopausal symptoms including hot flushes, anxiety, irritability and osteoarthritis, In fact I get a rush of endorphins just reading about the benefits! Davina McCall who is almost as much my Hero as Helen Mirren says she feels “reborn” after a run. I was going to wait til the New Year to get started with my exercise regime because I want to finish all the selection boxes in the house so I can start ‘properly’. But I decide to put my manic phase to good use and start jogging so that I too will obtain Davina’s stunning body. Yesterday I got all organised. Fished out my trainers I bought in the sales 3 years ago – just like new. So like new they were still in the box. And I had to put the laces in. Downloaded a running playlist to my iphone as thanks to my 12 year old god daughter I can now use Spotify as well as paying them £10 a month which is much better value that simply paying £10 a month to have the picture on my phone. This then leads to two hours of finding more and more tunes and dancing around to some then crying my eyes out to others – another symptom of menopause is being easily distracted! I fished out my leggings that seem to have shrunk a bit since I got them – but I don’t worry too much as although not flattering, lycra is very forgiving. Unlike my bastarding Fat Face jeans. So no excuses for not getting going first thing the next day and setting out for a run. Before bed I peruse the London Marathon website – despite my manic mood I have to concur that it is unlikely I will be up to 26.2 miles by April 2018.

Then I get up this morning and the world is beautiful and white under 6 inches of snow. Even Liz McColgan will be in bed with a box of after eights and Netflix today – but not to be deterred, I decide to have a good hike with the dog instead.

I set off and thirty minutes later I ‘have a fall’ on thebecause the snow was cleverly disguising the thick frozen ice beneath Ten years ago I would have ‘fallen over’ and people would laugh as I got back up. But now I am at the age where I ‘have a fall’ and no one laughs. A couple of millennials are passing and come to help. Their friend for some inexplicable reason is recording it and helpfully advises another passer-by that ‘an old lady has had a fall’. FFS. I beg to feckin differ! I am not an old lady. I am younger that Helen Mirren by loads. I am now surrounded by a number of anxious faces (not my loyal caring dog though – she has decided not to use Greyfriars Bobby as her role model and instead take advantage of the situation by rolling in something disgusting with a look of glee on her face)

I am helped to my feet by the lovely millennials and the passer by who do a good job of hiding their shock that the big jacket I have on is covering lots of heavy flab and not lots of layers of light clothes. I fear one of them may need the services of an osteopath before the New Year. The filmer is now recording my kind caring loyal who is still rolling in god knows what. I have a horrible feeling this will end up on UTube.

I head for home. I’m actually fine – but no point in risking any more walking in the ice. I decide to pop to marks and spencer in the car to buy more of their reduced goodies that they couldn’t flog at Christmas to cheer me up. At the till my pelvis thrusts towards the metal rim of the conveyor belt – much to the shock of the poor guy on the till. Feckin Ladycare Magnet. I pull back and get served. I forget and as I pack my pelvis thrusts forward again. The checkout guy is now looking at me as if I am some bloody female version of Harvey Weinstein. I don’t feel like I can explain without looking totally deranged. I get my goodies and head off.

But I am not to be deterred – exercise is good – just look at the joy in Dogs face.

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Menopause – Just like Puberty?

Boxing Day ladies lunch with aunties and mothers and cousins – and I decide to ask my older female relatives their experience of the peri menopause and menopause. (my menopause book says I should ask as I am likely to go through a similar process).

Within twenty mins I am thoroughly depressed (my younger cousins are wearing similar depressed expressions but taking comfort in the possibility that a cure will be found by the time they get there) as it would appear all the older female members of my family had long drawn out awful menopauses where they were lucky to avoid jail/being sectioned/being on social services radar. My mum insists hers lasted 25 years – I panic and Google it on my phone secretly under the table and am relieved to find that 8 years seems to be the maximum. I’d rather trust Google than my mum. Her medical expertise is limited – she insists to any overdue expectant mother that they should refuse to be induced as the baby will come in its own time – and adds I was due at the start of August and arrived in my own good time in the middle of October. (I was 6lbs 13oz – I don’t need Google to know her theory is highly unlikely)

Then my aunt who has been fairly quiet suddenly declares that the menopause is just like puberty and women just need to accept that and know that it will pass and get on with it.

“Just like puberty? Seriously?’ I say.

“Yes” she says – “look at puberty as the opening bracket of the reproductive and sexual part of your life and the menopause as the closing bracket”

That doesn’t really cheer me up. It is also embarrassing as my aunt is a bit deaf and therefore shouts rather than talks and we are in a restaurant. Several people turn as the word ‘sexual’ was bellowed out. Heads shake as the word ‘menopause’ was bellowed our twice.

“Remember you moped about all the time, snapping at everyone who asked you how you were” she continued. “And you just listed to a tape of that Cure band all the time and dyed your hair jet black – and you had that massive crush on Christine Cagney. Well it’s the same now – except its Helen Mirren you have a crush on. And you dye your hair blonde now. Yes – it’s like you are 14 all over again” she repeats, laughing merrily away.

Oh yes – it’s exactly like I was 14 again! Exactly like it – apart from:

• Occasionally peeing myself whenever I sneeze or laugh too
• Being five stone heavier with the weight I used to put on my
legs and boobs now pooling around my tummy (though one
benefit is I can rest my dinner plate on it now)
• Needing tweezers not just for my eyebrows but for various
other random parts of my face
• Worrying about everything rather than just how to nick a
blue eyeshadow from Woolies and whether dewberry or
white musk perfume from the Body Shop would be best for
the School Disco.
• Not having regular ‘whooshes’ of excitement for the future
and what it might hold because according to my
menopause book it is likely to hold osteoporosis,
cardiovascular disease, thinning hair, zilch sex life and
depression. Whoop de feckin whoop!!
• Regularly feeling like I have an internal radiator that ramps
up whenever I least expect or want it
• Having sagging skin and wrinkles rather than smooth silky
even skin (I wish I had appreciated that more!!)
• Waking up at least three times a night to visit the loo

Menopause is just like puberty? I beg to feckin differ. And actually – my hair is blonde – I just have a few highlights put in to brighten it up. And it wasn’t ‘the Cure band’. It was just ‘The Cure’. And they were cool. I actually preferred Alison Moyet and Yazz and the Communards. But it was cool to like the Cure. And I wanted to be cool.

That is one good thing I suppose – as well as giving very few fucks about anything, I don’t feel any need to be cool any more. That is quite liberating. I know I should proclaim to like London Grammar and other cool bands for 40 something people – but I quite like One Direction and I think Justin Beiber does some good songs too. And Jesse J does some songs to make you think too.

I just remembered that Christine went through the menopause on Cagney and Lacey!!! I didn’t really understand it at the time – but it was an episode towards the end – she had hot flushes. I’m off to find some old episodes – Christine was my crush, my role model, my vision of what I wanted to be. I wonder if it will still be the same 34 years on…..

Happy Boxing Day all.


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Forgetfulness & Memory Lapses

So today started fairly ok. I had to get up at 3am and have a shower due to either hot flush or the flu. Am not sure which. But then I went back to sleep and slept solidly til 9am. I felt most smug when I got up as I have Christmas sorted this year. One of the few benefits I am finding of the menopause is that less and less fucks are given as time goes on. So instead of weeks of prep I ordered a massive steak pie from the butcher and bought frozen roast potatoes and frozen parsnips from Tesco. I then asked all my guests to bring between them a starter, a pudding, cheese and biscuits – and all their own booze. Done!! I can now laze about all day. Aided by my lovely dog walking friend who has no dogs of her own and so wants to come and take my dog up a munro – double hooray.

Following on with my natural approach to my menopause symptoms, I mix a soya yogurt with an egg and chia seeds and some porridge oats and frozen fruit and pop it all in the oven for 40 minutes. I am still a bit fluey (not sure if due to that lady care magnet but giving it benefit of doubt for now and still wearing) and I spy a little tiny bottle of whisky. I mix it into a cup with lemon and some honey – blitz it in microwave and head through to watch some telly while my breakfast gets ready. I feel quite proud of my ‘no stress’ christmas – get me at 20 to 11 drinking whisky with nothing to do.

20 to 11…. 20 to 11…. FUCK…. FUCKITY FUCK…. The bastarding steak pie that I ordered last week. The butcher warned me that i MUST get it by 11am or he will be closed. He called me yesterday to remind me. I forget everything so I put it on a postit on the kettle. But I didn’t have tea did I… No I had to have bloody whisky.

I drag on some jogging trousers, tuck my nightie in, pull on my trainers and grab the car keys. Oh no – the bloody whisky!! Am I over the limit? Can’t risk it. Grab dog as she needs a walk and may as well kill two birds with one stone and tear our the house. Tear back two mins later to turn off oven containing my lovely healthy breakfast. Tear back out again. Five minutes into fast walk/slow jog Dog starts to ominously start twirling that always ends in a massive shit. And FUCK I have no poo bags. None – I forgot to lift them. A fellow dogwalker takes sympathy and gives me two – just in case. I almost cry with gratitude, scoop up the massive shit and toss it in the bin and keep running. I have to get to the butcher or we have no christmas main course. I try not to berate myself as the mindfulness part of my menopause book says to be kind to yourself. But for gods sake – I had ONE BLOODY JOB!!

I get there at 2 mins past 11 – and thank god there are two people in front of me. I take a breath and realise I have forgot my phone… And remember the dog walking lady… NO NO NO – I cannot miss her – I’d forgotten she was coming. I need Dog tired out. And now I can’t phone her.

The butchers daughter comes out with a tub of celebrations – chocolate is good. And she is only 11 and doesn’t say anything or judge when I take 4. I go to pop one in my mouth and smell something horrible. It is dog poo….. on my nail. The rushed scooping lead to a smear of shit – on ME!. I wipe it on my jogging trousers and scoff the chocolates. I get my steak pie and head off at a run to try and get back for Dog Walking Lady.

But Dog can smell the steak pie. Dog wants steak pie. Dog jumps up and adds muddy dog prints to her shit stains onto my trousers. Dog continues in this manner all the way home. She is nothing if not persistent. Resist urge to kick bloody dog. It is pissing down and me, Dog and pie all getting soaked.

We get back. I strip my shit covered paw stained trousers and all the rest of my clothes and fling them in the washing machine – chuck in the bold and turn it on. My healthy breakfast is all disgustingly half cooked and cold so I chuck it out. Fuck it – I am having what I had planned for christmas breakfast tomorrow – my favourite – morning roll with thick butter, tomato ketchup, lorne sausage and a potato scone. I stick the sausage in the oven – bit healthier if I grill rather than fry it – and fling some chia seeds on the butter in the roll. I need to at least make an effort. I run upstairs – quick shower and dressing gown on – then tank back down for my breakfast.

There is an ominous clunk clunk coming from the washing machine. FUCK – it is my fanny magnet. My £35 fanny magnet. Not even 48 hours old. In the washing machine. I frantically google to find out if it is still effective after such an ordeal. But of course this is related to the menopause so answers to such sensible questions are not to be found.

Give up and retreat to the TV to watch the Bette Davies and Joan Crawford feud that I recorded from last night (there are two women who were defo menopausal during Baby Jane!) with my amazing breakfast which does cheer me up.

In all the stuff I have read about symptoms of the menopause, ‘memory lapses and fuzzy thinking’ appear as a simple bullet point. This post is just one tiny example of what that little bullet point means in real life!!!

Christmas Eve – so signing off and off to open the wine. The advice is that alcohol is not good for menopausal women.

I beg to feckin differ!!!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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Magnito Growler!!

Got a fanny magnet yesterday! Well actually it’s official name is a ‘ladycare’ magnet. I have decided to try and get through the perimenopause and the menopause through natural means.

My pal ‘Five Corona Claire’ (on account of the fact everyone counts the beers she drinks when out and makes an excuse to leave when she hits number five as she then transforms from a lovely kind person to a mentalcase who wants to fight anyone within a 100 yard raidius) swears by it. It was £35 quid in Boots and the sales assistant who located it for me advised me that I should do HRT as she used it and it gave her back her sex drive which I did think was maybe too much information to divulge when we had barely met. But I got 140 boots advantage points and I am not convinced I want to take drugs yet so am giving it a go.

I opened it up in the loo in the pub and carefully put it on the front of my knickers as instructed. It is a lovely purpley glittery colour. Then I went to meet my pal for lunch in same pub feeling most grown up. I am taking control of my symptoms. My pal finally arrived and leant forward to give me a hug. As she did so – her lovely long metal pendant swung forward and attached itself to my groin!! She yanked it off ‘what the fuck’ she said. I explained my magnet and we got out the instructions. It is a ‘powerful static magnetic device’. She had some nail scissors in her bag – we tried attaching them and a spoon. The spoon didn’t hold but the nail scissors did!.

She asked how much it was as she might get one for her kids christmas. I told her and she said ‘what the fuck?’ again and told me she had a ton of crap fridge magnets the kids had collected over the years and she would have gladly give me them for free. She texted her husband to tell him, a bit pissed off coz I would not let her photograph it to put on instagram. He replied saying he was changing my name in his phone to ‘Magnito Growler’. My pal thought this hysterical. I, to be honest, was less amused. After a few glasses of wine, I started finding it more funny. And we found all manner of metal objects to attach to my groin – each one funnier than the last. I finally headed for home a little worse for wear.

I felt worse than I thought I would this morning. I normally go for lunchtime drinking where possible as the hangover then takes place when you are asleep thus leaving you refreshed for the next day. But I felt like I had been hit by a bus. I read a bit more of the instructions of the magnet. Apparently the only side effect is ‘slight flu like symptoms’ in the first couple of days. Well as today has gone on I have felt worse and worse. Could be co-incidence as everyone and his dog has a bug of some sort just now. But am not feeling good with swollen glands, sore throat, runny nose and thick head. Also – you are supposed to wear it 24/7 – I don’t really like wearing knickers at night. But it won’t stay on otherwise. I will keep going for a month though and see how it pans out. Who knows – this might be all I need. The packaging does say it ‘may’ help with hot flushes, bloating, mood swings and fatigue. It also says it ‘may’ help with improved skin tone, sleep and libido. The words ‘may’ appear a lot. It also says it it does this by ‘reducing excessive sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity and increasing parasympathetic nervous system (PMS) activity. So that’s the science for anyone who has a clue what that means….I will keep you posted on its effectiveness!

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Judging Books….

You can judge a book by it’s cover – so the saying goes.

I told you in my last blog about Waterstones not having a single book on the menopause! Not one!  And I need answers to a number of questions.  So I decide to look on line for a book to help me.  And am surprised.  But not pleasantly so…

It’s the covers.  If they are to be believed then the menopause is a time when your hair will become thick, shiny and glossy.  You will have a wide smile showing even white teeth.  Your body will be slim and lithe.  According to one cover, when you enter the menopause your husband will start giving you piggy backs through meadows while you both laugh gleefully.  One even referred to the menopausal years as the ‘sexy years’.  This made me laugh so much I wee’d myself a bit.

Well menopause authors….Sarah Raynor and Christine Northrup amongst others…I beg to feckin differ!!!

Menopausal women do not tend to have glossy hair, cheery smiles and have piggy backs from their partners before a rampant sex session.  On account of their hair falling out, grumpiness, weight gain and diminishing libido.  Here is a picture that is a more accurate reflection of what a menopausal woman looks like.


Also the titles….titles like ‘The Wisdom of Menopause’.  Seriously! Trust me .. you do not get wiser with the menopause.  You get thick …. thick as mince!!

And this for me is one of the worst things.  I was the smart one of my friends when growing up.  It was my ‘thing’.  My ‘tag’.  There was the ‘wild one’, the ‘pretty one’ and the ‘quiet one’  (though it turned out the quiet one wasn’t so quiet as we discovered when we visited her in the wee Highland village she settled in.  Suffice to say that the weekend we spent there proved that  old adage ‘the quiet ones are the worst’ and that everything that happened in Forres that weekend we agreed will stay in Forres unless the ‘not so quiet one’ decides to do her own blog – and trust me it would be worth a read if she ever does!).

Anyway back to the point (menopausal women waver from the point quite a lot – deal with it!!).  I was the ‘smart’ one.  I was.  I’ve got a degree and a post grad degree to prove it.  I used to be able to absorb things quickly and could beat an elephant hands down in memory games.  Not now.  Now I forget everything.  Everything.  I can’t remember if I cleaned my teeth… if I rinsed the conditioner out my hair ….. if I turned the straightners off.  The straighteners one is a biggie.  I now have to take a photo of the plug socket so that I can refer to it when inevitably I panic and think I have left it on after I have left the house.


I used to read books – loads of books – one after the other, devouring and getting lost in every single one.  But in the last year I have read just two – I just don’t seem to have the focus or concentration.  As I type just now there is thick fog outside.  Pea Soup weather as my Granny used to call it.  Pea Soup brain is what I have.

Anyway – back to the books.  I have ordered one of the books.  Menopause for Dummies.

I am keen to find out:

  • Should I have HRT?  What are the benefits?  What are the side effects?  What happens when you come off it?
  • If I had a hysterectomy – would that get it all over and done with?  Or do you still have to go through it all?
  • What are the natural alternatives to HRT?
  • What is the longest time anyone has ever taken to go through the menopause?
  • How can you tell how long it will take you?
  • If you were to commit a crime, would being in menopause be considered a ‘mitigating circumstance’

Mainly though I am debating whether to go ‘au naturel’ or whether to pump the missing hormones in….



Definitely Menopausal!

Officially menopausal. Our protagonist has the diagnosis and needs to find out more.

It’s official… I am menopausal…..

Probably have been for over a year.

But I didn’t know.  I have been at the doctors so often over the last year I actually just dropped a Christmas card in for the receptionists (my surgerys receptionists are lovely unlike the stereotypical dragons you often hear about).  The doctors are lovely too – showing great patience as I regularly popped in convinced I had one or a combination of:

  • Altzheimers (as can’t remember anything)
  • Early onset Dementia (as above)
  • Underactive Thyroid (gained 20lbs in a year)
  • Diabetes (craving sugar)
  • Vitamin D deficiency (muscles weak – am so tired)
  • Depression (just want to lie in bed all the time, lost my ‘zest for life’, cry a lot)
  • Bi Polar Syndrome (am manically high then so low)
  • Ovarian Cancer (my belly is so swollen I look 6 months pregnant)
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (I don’t feel like me anymore – someone has taken over my body and my mind)

It was a locum that finally suggested I may be menopausal.  I was highly offended.  ‘Very much MENSTRUAL, thank you very much!  Every 26 days without fail’ I told him.  But the blood test we did ‘just in case’ finally showed a positive result.  Though I can see nothing positive about it.  Perimenopause they call it.  The worst of both worlds.  Still having periods but menopausal at the same time.  A bit like a practice for the real thing the doctor said – less than helpfully.

Menopause.  Yes of course I had heard of it – and I knew I would probably have to go through it at some point.  Jean from Finance at work was going through it last year, she called it ‘the change’  and bored the arse of anyone who shows even a vague interest.  She used to  sweat profusely, regularly pull a fan from her drawer and whizz it dramatically in front of her four or five times a day.  She then went off sick and we were told not to ask why.  But she was old – with grey frizzy hair. And elasticated beige trousers.  So although I knew at some point I would go through it – it seemed a very long way into the future.

When I did think about it – which was rare – I suppose I felt I would be a bit more ‘Helen Mirren’ about the whole thing.  Elegant and Slim.  Floating my way through it gently like a summer breeze.  I certainly wouldn’t be like Jean.

Except I am now like Jean.  Not the grey frizzy hair.  My hairdresser and my straightners are very much still in use.  But the sweats are there – I thought I was just coming down with things and that was my body fighting the infection.  And I also have the need to find out more and talk about it.  I want to talk about it – a lot.

I went off to Waterstones – one of the last bookshops in town – to find out more.  I was raging and sweating when i got there.  I had forgotten where it was despite having been there several times in the last few months.  I reassure myself that at least I know now (thanks to google) that this is a symptom of the menopause and not Altzheimers (which incidentally I aced the test for at the doctors – defo not altzheimers!!).  For the last year I thought I was going mad – I would get calls from friends asking where I was – I’d just totally forgotten to meet them.  At work I’d be half way through a meeting and realise I’d forgotten what happened at the start of the meeting.   I’d get half way through a book and forget what happened at the start.  I regularly got lost travelling to familiar destinations.  I was sweating just because that happens all the bloody time despite having done zilch exercise but walk 200 yards from car to the shop.  I was raging because I had caught sight of my reflection looking a lot more like Jean then Helen Mirren.

Found the health and self help section no problem as I had regularly visited it over the last year desperately looking for new meaning in my life.  But never to find books on the menopause.  But yet here I am.  And there is nothing.  NOTHING!  Thats right – NOTHING.  I am now more raging.  (I have been getting raging a lot over the last year).  I can find out how angels can help my life.  I can discover the power of crystals.  I can even learn a bit about the Kama Sutra.  Apparently I can make myself happy, feel the fear and do it anyway, cleanse my aura, learn the rules of love and get slim on a million different diets.  But I cannot find out about the menopause.  The sales assistant (male and about 20) is ‘working’ ie reading books on cars nearby.  But I can’t bring myself to ask.  I scan the shelves again – every woman in the country will go through this – surely there is a demand for books on the topic.

I give up and go to meet my pal for lunch.  Am a bit late as I forget where we are meeting and need to scan through whatsapp then my texts then my emails and finally find the location on facebook (thankfully she is facebook obsessed and checks in everywhere she goes – it is a big help).  She is the same age as me – in fact 2 months older!  I am going to ask her and am looking forward to a long chat about our symptoms (I am realising I am more like Jean than I would like).  We get wine and settle down and I ask if she is menopausal.  She almost drops her wine.  ‘We are in a restaurant’ she whispers looking around in horror.  ‘But are you?’ I say… desperate to find out and talk about it.  ‘No’ she says and then ‘Lets decide what we are having to eat’.  I am dismissed.  This is the woman who 30 years ago told me in great detail in Macdonalds about her genital warts diagnosis and treatment while referring to the guy who gave her it as that ‘fucking riddled cunty bastard’ in a voice loud enough to be heard a mile away.  And now…. she can’t bring herself to talk about the menopause!! I am about to remind her of that story but I stop myself.  I am finding myself in trouble a lot for not filtering whats in my head before it comes out my mouth.  I think now is one of those moments where silence might be the best option.

But it isn’t just me .. is it?  And thats why I am doing this blog.  For everyone woman out there who thinks she is going mental and can’t find a book or blog or someone to talk to.