A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

A Menopausal Rant

MenopausalI should warn you that this blog is a rant about all things menopausal. Feel free to not read any further if you wish.

Still here?! Don't say I didn't warn you...

I suspect that the menopause has been creeping up on me for some time. A bit like an unwanted parasite that's impossible to fumigate, worm, or delouse. My periods stopped in January and I'm OK with it - but I miss the months being punctuated by two days of PMS and severe chocolate biscuit cravings. Now I crave sugary snacks all of the time and the PMS never goes away.

I am also...



Ache all over.



Turning into my mother.

I am forty bloody eight.

And no, I wouldn't want to share a house with me either.

I cried the other night because the cat was too adorable. I never cry. OK, it's something that happens maybe, once a year (if that). I suspect that the family pet feels my pain. She came over for a cuddle and fell asleep in my arms. The cat was too gorgeous for words. I may have cried.

Every day is a bit like wading through treacle while my eyes are propped open by matchsticks. Everything gets on my nerves. Inconsiderate drivers. Next door's dog. Indecisive people wandering aimlessly around the supermarket and getting under my feet as I attempt to shop in a hurry and go home again before getting cross and/ or having a flush. People not looking where they are going while texting. Birds twittering too early in the morning. I was even cross when that boat wasn't named Boaty McBoatface. I loved that name. It was one of the few things I had genuinely found hilarious in ages.

Yes, I'd probably laugh at me too.

He's a patient soul my husband, which is just as well as I am irritated by the way he eats ice cream, can't answer a simple question and still has that lone nasal hair dangling from his left nostril that I told him about weeks ago. I know I'm being unreasonable, which is probably why he's developed an interest in gardening (I tend to skulk in the house). He has taken his usual stance and mostly humours me. My new name is Little Miss Stroppy. Still, on the positive side, the garden is coming along rather nicely.

I want to be left to my own devices in a room filled with books and a nice box of chocolates that are calorie-free with the heating on full blast, or an air conditioner - depending on whether I'm mid-flush or shivering in flannel pyjamas, bedsocks and a blanket. I want to be able to do stuff only when I actually want to do it. Yes, I know that's not realistic... I am unreasonable, not deluded.

In real life I've been avoiding people who get on my nerves. I am sorry if you're one of them. It's not you, it's me. Normal service will resume just as soon as I'm post menopausal, or have caved and started taking HRT. I was so going to get on with it. A bit like breastfeeding twin babies, not opting for pain relief during labour and being an earth mother. Ha ha, bloody ha... none of these things happened either.

Apparently symptoms can last anywhere from two to five years. I worry that I might have committed murder by then. I have been trying to self-medicate with a concoction of sports performance vitamins, extra strength cod liver oil capsules and Quiet Life tablets. This is not going well.

I have to remind myself to behave when I'm in company. I have developed a kind of internal dialogue that keeps me in check while I'm out, but when I arrive home there is no release and my hormones (or lack of them) run amok, turning me into a gremlin.

I go to bed and have no trouble going to sleep, but wake up when my husband as much as breathes and immediately want to swat him with a rolled up magazine. It will be hours before I go back to sleep and if he as much as turns over I am immediately huffy.

You know that thing when people ask how you are? What would happen if a person said, 'Actually, I feel rubbish, but thank you for asking. Right now I am probably not the best company - but call me in two to five years and I'll see how I'm fixed.'

If you're still here, then I can only apologise but I did warn you. Thank you for reading.

Rant over. Books online appointment with GP and hopes that 'normal' Izzie will return soon.If anyone has any useful menopausal tips apart from, 'move to Outer Mongolia until you are symptom-free,' I would really appreciate them.

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton

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Thursday, 19 May 2016

Musings on Eurovision 2016

Last week was all about Eurovision 2016 and I was fortunate enough to watch both semi-finals as well as the final on Saturday night. As always there was much tweeting after wine and I was delighted to see so many fellow bloggers joining in with the mayhem (you know who you are!). Even the cat joined in, adding her own unique point of view on the chaos that is... Eurovision.

The distinct lack of cheese and eccentricity was more than compensated for by presenters, Petra Mede and Måns Zelmerlöw. I wasn't fussed on several of the entries that made it through to the final, but could quite happily have watched the presenters all evening.

It was this absolute gem from the second semi-final that almost made me choke on my wine...
Caution: contains nudity.

My overall favourite song was Belgium as it reminded me of an early 1980s disco track and therefore perfect for Eurovision. Our boys, Joe and Jake came in at an unimpressive 24th place despite giving it their best shot.

I was slightly amused by the thought of the US seeing Eurovision live for the first time and kept wondering what they thought of it. Justin Timberlake performed during the interval and I wondered if the US crew were taking notes and will be invited to enter next year? If they join, I'm guessing the rest of us won't stand a chance as they will want to win.

Despite Australia being in the lead after votes from the professional juries, there was a surprise overall win by Ukraine once all the viewer votes were added. For the record, I have no idea how this happened.

As always, Eurovision was a slightly crazy way to spend a Saturday evening in May, but life's serious enough as it is and sometimes it's good to let your hair down and escape for a spot of harmless, hilarious fun. I can only imagine how many people in Stockholm woke with up with hangovers on Sunday morning.

Here's to Eurovision 2017 and tweeting after wine all over again.

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton

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Friday, 13 May 2016

The Blog Spot Interview with Anya Harris

Anya Harris, Older Single Mum, Christopher Pledger for The TelegraphThis week's blog spot interview features Anya Harris from one of my all-time favourite blogs, Older Single Mum. I've been following Anya's blog since day one of my own blogging journey and love her refreshingly honest take on life as a single parent to her gorgeous sons.

In real life, Anya has a background working in the City and is also interested in Alternative Medicine. On her blog you'll find posts about parenting, hosting Foreign Language students and raising awareness about the reality of life as a single mum.

Here, Anya shares her thoughts on why she started blogging, her pet hates and latest celebrity crush...

What's the inspiration behind your blog?
I felt I wanted to be a voice for who single parents really are. All the ones I knew were in their thirties or forties and not the stereotypical scroungers that we were all portrayed to be at that time. It seems I was right, because later when I became involved with the single parents charity, Gingerbread - they champion the fact only 2% of single parents are teenagers. The average age is actually 38. People have told me I have completely changed their perception and last year I was asked to be a keynote speaker at the annual NCT conference to advise them how to help single parents better. I felt like my job was done.

What are your pet loves and hates?
I love a glass of wine in the evening before dinner. It takes the edge off the chaos at teatime with the kids and the Foreign Language students I have to cook for. I don't drink with my meal or after it, just before. It's probably a legacy from living in the Channel Islands where influence from the French is still strong today. Well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. And I never go to bed without my electric blanket on, no matter what time of year it is. Plus, I love humour. It can diffuse almost any situation and is very healing.

I am horribly impatient and hate being kept waiting - whether it's for the kids to actually do what I've asked them to do, or queuing for something. I hate wasted time and I hate being woken up, so there's not much hope for me. Also, I hate any form of deceit.

How do you unwind at the end of a crazy day?
I don't think you can beat a hot bath with essential oils (but not wine at the same time - yuck - how do people do that?!). A good night's sleep always follows.

*Note to self to do it more often as most days life is crazy*

Wine - red, white or rosé?
Red darling, always red. Although an occasional rosé in the summer will suffice - especially if we're in France (we only live a few hours away) because I was once advised they keep the best ones over there.

What gets easier as you get older?
Saying, 'No.' But I'm still crap at it.

Do you have any hidden talents?
I can read tea leaves, cards and jewellery to give clairvoyant readings.

What is your best character trait?
It's my best and also my worst - I say what I think!

Who is your latest celebrity crush?
Stephen Mangan. I haven't seen anything he acts in, but fell a little bit in love with him on Have I Got News For You. Twice.

What's the best advice you've ever been given?
I read it in one of Terry Wogan's books: 'The people who tell you the things you want to hear aren't necessarily your friends and people who tell you things you don't want to hear aren't necessarily your enemies.'

In my next life I'm coming back as a...
Fish. I'd love the freedom. Or perhaps a dolphin - which isn't a fish, but you know what I mean. Or maybe a mermaid.

What were the last 3 things you bought?
I bought a Diet Coke and a brownie in a beach café this afternoon. I'd just handed the kids over to their dad and wanted to nurse my soul. Before I picked the boys back up, I bought 2 beautiful purple daisy-like plants called Senettis. They're for outside my front door as a huge, cheery welcome (mainly for me).

The world would be a much better place if...
We were all taught how to meditate and about natural health at school. There would be less fear, people would take more responsibility for themselves and there would be more honesty. I told you it was my weakness!

Thanks to Anya for her honest and inspired answers. I may have to 'borrow' the tip about having a glass of wine before dinner as it's sheer genius. I can't fathom out why I haven't thought of this before.

Anya Harris, Older Single Mum, Christopher Pledger for The Telegraph

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton
Image: Christopher Pledger for The Telegraph

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Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The Week That Was... 9th May 2016

Daisies, Blue SkyAfter another busy week, we were treated to some rare, but welcome warm weather at the weekend. I'm hoping that this is just the start of a fabulous summer ahead. It was lovely to see so many people out basking in the sunshine and taking the opportunity to explore the great British countryside. The evenings were heavy with the scent of last-minute barbecues and here, the first Pimms of the season was enjoyed in the garden. Today, the rain has returned with a vengeance. Here's hoping it won't be too long until the clouds disappear and we can get on with making the most of summer.

This was my week...

Sudeley Castle
As the weather was glorious, we chose to ignore the mountain of monotonous tasks requiring our attention last weekend and ventured out to visit Sudeley Castle in the Cotswolds instead.

Sudeley Castle, the Cotswolds

The castle was built in the 15th century, possibly on the site of a 12th century castle and is surrounded by ten beautifully laid-out gardens. The chapel, St Mary's, is the burial place of Queen Katherine Parr, sixth wife of King Henry VIII.

Queen Katherine Parr, Tomb, St Mary's, Sudeley

It's a fascinating place to visit and comes highly recommended.

The Promise of Happiness by Justin Cartwright. This was a gift from my daughter and looks promising so far. It's perceptive and features lots of amusing observations about a family in crisis. I can't wait to see how it ends.

Both daughters are working hard on dissertations and final pieces of work for university. Parcels filled with treats were dispatched recently - containing sweets from their favourite sweet shop in town, sachets of hot chocolate for windswept beach walks and cold evenings spent camping at a rowing event. Plus cookies and breakfast biscuity things perfect for pulling all-nighters in the library. Final letters from home featuring nonsensical news and motivational words were posted yesterday.

I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of my daughters.

How did the last 3 years at university go so quickly I wonder?

Holiday 2016
And finally, the holiday is booked... after much trawling through the internet last weekend in search of the perfect vacation for 3, (yes, you did read that correctly). Sophia's going to work for Camp America again this summer, so we offered to take Olivia along. It's been a while since we've taken a holiday with either daughter, but I'm looking forward to spending time with my eldest. We settled on a week in Sorrento at a hotel that's right in the centre of town.

Today, it's 63 days and counting. Not that I'm keeping tabs.

The Week Ahead...
I'm looking forward to Music Night on Friday and Eurovision on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. For Eurovision 2016, I'm hoping for lots of cheesy, eccentric entries and will probably be tweeting live throughout. I hope to see a few of you on Twitter on Saturday night. You know the rule about not tweeting after wine? Well this goes out of the window for Eurovision as I suspect that everyone's having a party on there.

It's amused me that the US will get to see Eurovision broadcast live for the first time this year. I can't wait to see what they make of it.

Well that's about it for this week. Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead whatever you're up to.

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton
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