HELLO! I’ve had a fair few new subscribers recently so I’d like to extend a hearty welcome to one and all. It has given me the boost I needed to get back on the blog after a bit of a hiatus while I was promoting my new book, The Midlife Method: How to Lose Weight and Feel Great After 40. I will endeavour to up my game and try and post weekly here – more of the same stuff really, midlife health, nutrition, the odd recipe and perhaps the occasional rant!
For anyone vaguely interested, here’s a little bit about me …
I am 51 years old (well on 14th May, so as good as!). I was born in London but my father worked in the oil industry so we moved around a lot when I was a kid. I am one of seven children (4 boys, 3 girls), no we aren’t Irish or catholic, my Mum was simply a breeder (as well as being incredibly intelligent and coming top in her class when she went back to university to study law AFTER having kids!!).
After University I became a management consultant, working for Accenture. It was short lived as I discovered that being shunted off to remote parts of the UK and being mansplained to every day wasn’t really my scene (this was the early 1990s). Fortunately, I met my husband-to-be pretty early on and we shared an absolute fixation with being our own bosses. We also adored skiing and being young and naive we decided to set up our own ski business. Ski Safari is coming up to it’s 25th anniversary this May!
Marriage, kids and general chaos followed until in 2013 we decided it was time for a life change and hatched a plan to take a year out and spend it in Bali. I’d googled this wacky school made out of bamboo in the jungle near Ubud and we figured it would do the kids good to get away from the ABCs for a year. Well, it was quite the culture shock for us all, in a good way! Bali and The Green School changed us all forever, what started out as a one-year sabbatical ended up being a 5-year adventure.
But the kids were getting older and the school options were running out, so in 2018 we relocated to Singapore, where incidentally I lived for 5 years as a child so it has always felt a bit like home. My son Rufus graduated last year from my old school, United World College of Southeast Asia (a truly fabulous place) and my daughter is still there, about to embark on GCSEs.
So far I haven’t mentioned anything about food, health, writing or books and that’s because it’s all happened relatively recently! When we moved to Bali I had to shelve my plans to become a wine writer and buyer (quick backtrack, I had gone to Plumpton College Wine School near Brighton to gain my WSET Diploma shortly after my daughter was born). I didn’t really know what to do as I didn’t have a work visa, so I did some volunteering at the Green School, but I was scratching around for a project.
Then my old mucker from Brighton, Mimi Spencer (who you may know as the co-author of The Fast Diet with Michael Mosley), came out for a girls holiday. We spent a blissful week indulging in all things Bali – plenty of yoga, a lot of plant-based food and yes, there may have been a bit of chanting. We visited many of the inspirational health food restaurants, including Alchemy, Sage, Sari Organik and the incredible Locavore (put them all on your list if you are planning a post-pandemic trip to Bali!).
One balmy afternoon while bobbing around in the pool at our hotel, we started hatching a plan; a cookbook for midlifers, inspired by the kinds of foods we were eating in Bali. The very next day, during a down dog at the famous Yoga Barn in Ubud, I had the eureka moment for the title of our fledgling book, The Midlife Kitchen. After some serious brainstorming, we put together a proposal, sent it to a few agents in London and pretty quickly it was snapped up by a big publisher – the stuff of dreams really. When I look back on that crazy few months I really do think the stars aligned (you can take the girl out of Bali but you can’t take Bali out of the girl!).
The Midlife Kitchen was at the very beginning of the recent ‘midlife movement’. The term ‘midlife’ had started being coined in place of the rather awful ‘middle-aged’ and we could sense a shift in people’s attitudes. We wanted to send the message that these were good years, and if you embrace the change and look after yourself you’ll have many happy, productive, active years ahead.
Nowadays you can’t move for midlife – midlife podcasts, midlife books, midlife Instagrammers, midlife blogs – it has gone midlife mental. The subject of the menopause, once taboo, is all over the place and women are sharing more than ever before about the realities of reaching their middle years.
As they say, timing is everything. I’ve been lucky to ride this midlife wave and the popularity of The Midlife Kitchen and The Midlife Method has been extraordinary, so thank you to all of you for making it such an enriching and fulfilling experience. I don’t have another book idea on the boil yet (watch this space) but lots of opportunities have sprung from the fertile soil of midlife (is that an oxymoron?). I am a columnist for Top Sante UK magazine and more recently a writer for The Telegraph (I have a piece in next Monday’s paper on how to stop late-night snacking if you are interested!).