Maybe it's just me but has anyone else noticed they are less able to handle even a small amount of alcohol once peri-menopause has started? Maybe you are not aware that being less able to process alcohol is one of the many symptoms of peri-menopause?
Now I love a glass of wine. A glass of red with a steak on an evening out. A glass or two of prosecco with friends. A crisp, cold white on a summer evening or a light and refreshing rosé or kir royale on holiday. I rarely drink anything else, very occasionally a G&T but I have never liked beer or any other spirits. In fact I didn't really drink much at all until I was in my 30's and even then never to excess - three glasses and that's my lot!!
When I first started noticing problems I thought that I'd make sure I only ever had two glasses max. But then that started affecting me too. Now I have to have one glass only or really none at all - or accept that I will have a sleepless night and feel pretty rough the next day.
Prosecco is lighter and has 'less' alcohol so that is better for me but one glass of red is just so nice with a steak?! I tried alcohol-free wine but I wasn't impressed. I'd like to try some low-alcohol wines but am I that bothered really?
Why do I drink?
For me it is now simply a social thing. We eat out quite a lot. Usually in good restaurants, we are minor 'foodies' so enjoy the whole experience of a good restaurant, good food and fine wine. Favourite places ... The Coach in Marlow, The Waterside Inn at Bray, The Ivy Marlow Garden.
I used to drink to relax - yes I know - 'wine o'clock' or 'it's Friday evening' or 'it's the weekend' or simply let's open a bottle for no reason whatsoever.
When I did The Body Coach Plan I gave it up. It was fairly easy as I wanted to lose weight and feel better. But slowly it crept back in, although not at home. We have a small stock of wine that has not been touched for two years. Laithwaites keep calling me and every time I say no we don't need any.
The impact of alcohol on menopausal symptoms
For me it is the increase in night sweats and insomnia. I simply can't sleep. I get too hot and have a very restless night. Then when I 'wake' in the morning I feel absolutely dreadful and this can have an effect for two days after. This then has an effect on my mood and anxiety.
And of course weight gain - although I probably don't drink enough for it to have much effect and I do try to log the calories in MFP but I can often feel much more bloated and inflamed after a few drinks and a sleepless night. My body simply can't process the alcohol any more. And it is very common among menopausal women it seems.
Everyone is different and you might not be affected in the same way. I'd love to hear your experience though. Do my symptoms sound familiar to you? Have you given up alcohol or cut down a lot since starting peri-menopause?
Well I am cutting down further. Two glasses on the odd night out is still a too much and even one glass can affect my already poor ability to sleep. The late night doesn't help either and the more we drink the more relaxed we get and so common sense disappears and you have the dessert and you stay up late (and sod the consequences) then the next morning I feel dreadful and think why!? A glass or two at lunchtime is better for me as by the evening the effects have worn off. Prosecco is also better!
But to be honest I really don't need to drink - none of us do!!! It is just social pressure and I need to learn to say 'no thank you'. But I do enjoy the odd glass and I do enjoy the social side of it. I admit it is relaxing but only 'in the moment' not at 3 am or the next day!
I hear that 'low alcohol beers' are getting much better - but I don't drink beer. I'm pretty sure it is rare to find 'low alcohol wine' in a bar or restaurant. I quite like an alcohol-free cocktail. I've yet to try Seedlip (the world's first distilled non-alcohol spirit) - have you? Someone recommended it to me but it isn't yet served in many establishments.
I did a little research online and found this information about lower alcohol wines (Source: Real Simple).
Very Low (Under 12.5 Percent)
Sparkling: Italian Asti, Italian Prosecco.
White: French Vouvray and Muscadet, German Riesling, Portuguese Vinho Verde, Spanish Txacolina.
Rosé: California White Zinfandel, Portuguese rosés.
Moderately Low (12.5 to 13.5 Percent)
Sparkling: California sparkling wine, French Champagne, Spanish Cava.
White: Austrian Grüner Veltliner, Australian Riesling, French Alsace white, French Loire and Bordeaux whites, French white Burgundy, Italian Pinot Grigio, New York Riesling, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Oregon Pinot Gris, South African Sauvignon Blanc, Spanish Albarino.
Rosé: French rosés, Spanish rosés.
Red: French Beaujolais and Burgundy, French Bordeaux, Italian Chianti, Spanish Rioja.
But I am not sure I will whip out my notes when ordering wine in a restaurant!? I will just need to try and remember (oh now there's another symptom of peri-menopause - brain fog and dodgy memory)!
I'd love to hear from you - maybe you have a great 'wine alternative' you can recommend?
I was recently contacted by Vionic who asked if I would like to choose a pair of shoes to test. Well yes please! I had a look at their website as it was a brand that I hadn't heard of before so I wanted to make sure they were in keeping with my style and what I like to wear. I discovered that their styles are very on trend but provide comfort and foot-care with their supportive technology. I was intrigued..
I chose the Syra in white snake (also available in white and black). These retail at £100 so a mid-price option (yes there are similar out there that cost a lot more). But if they provide the comfort they promise then actually very good value.
I tried them on as soon as they arrived and they felt immediately comfortable but I saved wearing them properly for a dry day and chose to road test them when my daughter and I went shopping at Westfield last week.
They are so comfortable! They definitely live up to their promise. I wore them all day without socks or liners and I had no rubbing, my feet didn't get tired and they felt soft and supportive. And they have been my go-to shoe every day since! . Especially now I am a little older and comfort as well as style is important. Gone are the days when I could wear a heel all day to the office, walk down the high street and back at lunchtime and still go out in the evening! My lifestyle means I am jumping in and out of the car, running errands and walking the dogs.
Vionic explain 'our shoes and sandals hug your arches like a natural footprint, giving you all day support'.
Styled above with: Gap Girlfriend Jeans and Scarf from Mango.
Vionic offer a 30 day money back guarantee as well. You can 'wear-test' them and if you are not convinced they are for you then they will happily refund your purchase.
The technology in all their shoes offer relief from conditions such as plantar fasciitis and heel pain.
I wanted to find out more about this brand having not heard of them before. They are an Australian company, established in 1979 by a podiatrist. They have their own Innovation Lab where they are supported by some of the best minds in health and bio-mechanics of the lower limb. So they know their stuff.
This style is perfect for spring - when we are keen to move out of boots and ready to reveal ankles but not ready for ballet pumps or sandals yet
And now I have discovered how comfortable Vionic shoes are, I have my eye on some different styles for summer. I love these espadrille wedges, Maris at £90, I like the pewter but they also come in blue and black.
And men don't need to feel left out - they have a good selection of men's styles too!
Styled above with: Next Coated Jeans in Berry, Next Jumper and Sweet-Bea Scarf.
If you'd like to look at some other styles and reviews too then pop over to Donna at I Won't Wear Sludge Brown she has been trying out the tan backless loafer and Susie So So has the espadrilles that I have my eye on.
PS Since writing this review I have found them so comfortable that I have been wearing them in the house! I don't want to take them off.
Not Dressed As Lamb
Disclaimer: these shoes were gifted to me by Vionic and all they asked of me was to share an outfit photo on my social media. I chose to do the review as I genuinely love these shoes and wanted to share the details with you.
Back in November 2017 I attended a half day workshop with Fearless in the Kitchen - Healthy Eating Main Meals and Snacks and had an amazing day, I learnt new skills, new recipes and picked up some fantastic tips. I wrote about my day here. I then attended another workshop - Wellness in the Menopause - also an amazing, enjoyable and really useful day!! The next one is Friday 20th April if you are interested.
So I was delighted to be invited back recently to do the Healthy Baking half day workshop and what another fabulous day. Okay so the weather let us down but otherwise it was great! Relaxing, a day away from reality, spent with lovely people, learning new skills. What more could I ask for?
Fearless in the Kitchen is run by Jen Roach, an inspirational and passionate cook and gardener. Every workshop is tailored to suit your own health issues and tastes. And Jen is just a really lovely person, a joy to spend time with.
The theme for this day was Easter because it was two days before the Easter weekend!! Which of course meant I had some really delicious and impressive treats to take home for my family. The overall aim though was to demonstrate that it is possible to bake and reduce sugar/calories by including healthier alternatives.
Also attending the day was Jackie who I met through my blog, she found me on Instagram and we have chatted and we met before on the Menopause day.
The recipes Jen had created for us to make that day were:
Hot Cross Buns
Strawberry Custard Tart
Ginger Roots and Nuts Cup Cakes
Poached Fruit and Yoghurt Cake.
Jen has a lovely large, bright kitchen. Her rural cottage is located near Warfield in Berkshire and the four acre garden is beautiful. Jen has an impressive, thriving orchard, organic herb and kitchen garden and if the weather had been better we would have been able to explore a bit more but it was torrential rain! Although it did clear up just before we left and I managed to snap a few photos to share with you.
The day includes morning coffee or tea and a snack as well as lunch - Jen had made us some scones with home made chia seed jam and for lunch we had a salad bowl which I loved and wish I made more effort to do at home. The workshops are relaxed and fun, it is very hands-on and Jen is keen to answer your questions and share ideas for a healthier approach to your diet and family meals.
And here are the results of our hard work! The scones were made with coconut milk, the the hot cross buns had reduced sugar and lots of natural sugar from the fresh fruit, the cupcakes contained parsnips, carrots, beetroot and apple, we decorated them with a traditional icing made with oatly creme fraiche, the poached fruit and yoghurt cake was wheat and gluten free and the custard tart was made with pastry using pea flour (higher in protein) and cocoa powder. The boot of my car was full and my family and visitors over the weekend enjoyed tasting everything. Favourites were the scones and hot cross buns, closely followed by the cup cakes. We had the two desserts with our visiting family on Good Friday and especially enjoyed the Strawberry and Custard Tart.
As we were getting ready to leave the weather did brighten up and I managed to have a quick look in the garden and take a few photos to share with you.
Jen has a number of workshops available to book direct from her website, the day usually runs from 10 am to 2 pm but Jen is very flexible and is able to tailor any of her courses to your own requirements. Maybe get-together with a group of friends? Or you might have a particular diet or concern that you would like help with. Just get in touch with Jen and she will be able to discuss your requirements. The next healthy baking day is on 30th May.
And how about a Field to Fork Cookery Day? Throughout the summer Jen will be offering the opportunity to come along and explore her kitchen garden, pick your vegetables and cook a seasonal recipe then eat lunch on the terrace and take the rest home for dinner! Sounds wonderful! For more details contact Jen direct at email@example.com. What a great way to get-together with friends.
Take a look at Jen's website Fearless in the Kitchen and on this link you can find some recipe ideas to try at home yourself.
I absolutely recommend finding an opportunity to attend one of these workshops though, you won't regret it, now I just need to find some time to try out more of these recipes at home.
Thank you for reading and if you do go along then let me know how you get on!
Jen Roach at Fearless in the Kitchen
Disclaimer: Jen did not charge me to attend this day but I was under no obligation to write a review, the opinions are entirely my own.
Welcome to the first of what I hope will be a regular monthly post and hashtag #beingfiftyandfab! The idea behind this regular post is to tell you what I have been up to be BE fifty and fab ... and for you to share with me what you have been doing. Comment below, I'd love to hear from you. Or use the #beingfiftyandfab hashtag on Instagram!
I will be posting about day to day life, ups and downs, what I am doing, what I am reading and where I have been. Just every day bits that encourage me to be fab, to include self-care in my life, to be the best I can be, for me! There might be exercise hints and tips, nutrition ideas, recipes, it will evolve!
And I want to inspire you to do the same! Put a bit of time aside for you. I will include ideas and recommendations, suggestions for what I find helpful and I hope that you will share with me - maybe there is something I can share on my blog that we can all try.
This month I have been ...
Exercising - umm not a lot at all! I got really involved in some technical bits for my blog and a few networking events plus the ongoing miserable weather seems to have sapped my energy and enthusiasm. I like to be real! And I am real, I really do hate exercise, I do it because I have to if I want to keep fit and healthy and stay slim and lean. My PT was away for a week but she is back on Thursday so I will be trying to get back into it.
Reading - I have been trying really hard to read more, to put the iPhone down an hour or so before bed and read a book. I must say I feel better for it and I do sleep better. This month I read a book that was a bit different to my usual. I joined in the book club on the Facebook support group Fifty Fit and Fabulous and read The Wonder by Emma Donoghue - it is set in Ireland and tells the story of Anna whose deeply religious upbringing is threatening her life and Lib the nurse who comes to care for her. I also read Paris for One and Other Stories by Jo Jo Moyles - this is a collection of short stories and includes a preview of Still Me (third book in the Me Before You and After You trilogy).
Wearing - I have been desperate to shed my winter woolies and start wearing some spring colours. I have had a wardrobe sort out but it is still cold and despite trying very hard to remain positive it is affecting my mood. I was gifted two new scarves from Sweet-Bea and swapping from a black base colour to navy and adding in some coral did help a bit! Don't forget that I have a 20% discount for all my followers at the moment - pop over to the Sweet-Bea website and use the code FAB20 at checkout!
Above - Hobbs Pink Jumper, French Connection Breton and Hush Blouse (similar here) - scarves from Sweet Bea
Doing - I attended another fantastic cookery workshop with Fearless in the Kitchen this month. I will write a separate blog post on this as it is so good and too much to tell you here. Look out for it. I baked some delicious healthy treats for the Easter weekend.
We have just had the long Easter weekend and this year we were at home. Some years we might be away skiing but we went earlier this year - although those skiing later this season will be very lucky - the snow has been amazing and it is proving to be a very late season.
Good Friday I had my niece and my sister-in-law here for dinner. I made a salmon recipe from my new cookbook - Sheet Pan Cooking: 101 recipes for simple and nutritious meals straight from the oven by Jenny Tschiesche - this is a really fabulous cookbook - easy, one pan meals - I definitely recommend it! We then sat down to watch the film Wonder (not the same as the book - just a coincidence)!
Easter Sunday I just couldn't get my happy head on. I just felt a bit deflated by another grey day. Despite knowing that I should look on the bright side, I just couldn't seem to snap out of it. I spent the morning cooking a chilli to take to lunch at my parents on Monday then in the afternoon my daughter got some driving practice in and we visited Thame Country Show - it was an outing and it didn't rain! I came home and snuggled down to watch another film!
Easter Monday we had lunch at my parents and looked through old photos then we came home and watched Goodbye Christopher Robin - this is a must watch! Interesting and sad but also cute.
Thank you to everyone who took part in the Instagram Giveaway over the Easter weekend - I had lots of new followers and comments on the post. The scarf was won by Lyn from London and she chose the navy pom pom scarf - it is on it's way to her as I write.
I will be back at the beginning of May with another #beingfiftyandfab round up! Until then I'd love you to join my mailing list, I promise I won't bombard you with junk - just an email to let you know when I have a new post up and any special offers just for my mailing list.
Hobbs Rhian Striped Jumper with Sweet Bea Navy scarf and Boden navy jeans
Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties, I share fashion, beauty, lifestyle and exercise/nutrition tips to inspire others to be fifty and fab too … join my mailing list below for regular updates and offers. And don’t forget to take a look at my social media pages Facebook Instagram and Twitter.