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Archive for the ‘Women’ Category

Ovarian Cancer and the signs to look out for

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Thousands of women are at risk from Ovarian cancer, our fifth most common female cancer in the UK, and because it is usually diagnosed at late stages it is notoriously difficult to treat. The UK has one of the world’s lowest survival rates, so an awareness campaign is badly needed. We are also much more reluctant to see a doctor about gynaecological problems, whereas for example, your average French woman regards an annual check up with her gynaecologist like we regard going to the dentist. An article in The Times recently said that about one third of cases are diagnosed in A&E.

Bloating, abdominal cramps, feeling full after eating only a little and frequent urination are all signs. Initial diagnosis is by blood test and ultrasound. As one of the less common but nevertheless deadly silent cancers ovarian cancer can take a lot of perseverance to get it diagnosed properly:

-persistent pelvic and abdominal pain increased abdominal size or
-persistent bloating (not bloating that comes and goes), and
-difficulty eating, and feeling full quickly
are all potential signs, but the key thing is not to be fobbed by your GP

For more info go to the NHS site

For more information and support go to Target Ovarian Cancer

10 rules for the middle aged

Friday, July 5th, 2013

What is “middle age” nowadays? 40? 50? Approaching my mid 50’s and still feeling in my prime I would say that middle age now carries on well into your 60’s. How different it all is from our parents and grand parents generations. Our own expectations from life, health, fashion, fitness – they all add up to us feeling a good 10 years younger than we are. That said however there are some pitfalls to stay well clear of:

  1. Facial hair – look out for those sneaky sprouting hairs below the chin and remove them.
  2. Watch your fashion choices – above the knee fashion is best worn with 60 denier black tights, when on holiday, or only on very hot days once your legs have got a tan. Older knees rarely look great.
  3. Likewise avoid any suggestion of the girly look whether in style or fabric. Puffed sleeves, frilly skirts, gingham etc (unless going as a cow girl to a fancy dress party).
  4. Drink by all means, but beware of the drink + disco dancing combo. You may think you are really rocking it, but if you ever get a friend to video just a short burst of you dancing, you will realise what you look like. Unless everyone else is tiddly, in which case go for it!
  5. If you are standing on the train or tube do not engage in eye contact with a very young person who is sitting down, unless you want to be offered a seat for looking old. That is just depressing.
  6. Exercise. All those articles that say exercise keeps you fit, healthy, and improves body and skin tone are absolutely right. There is no escape.
  7. Keep up with technology. IT is moving ahead so fast. Face time? Tweetdecks? Don’t get left behind.
  8. If you are having a party, please don’t make it fancy dress party. No middle ages lady looks good in a party wig, and we would all prefer to have our hair done and wear something we feel good in.
  9. Any energetic sexual positions that might cause sagging bits to sag even more are best executed with the lights dimmed!
  10. Don’t get staid with your make up. Take yourself off for a free department store makeover at least once a year. You will be amazed at all the new products. We have already moved from BB creams to CC creams, and there is bound to be a DD cream soon.

And above all remember you are still in your prime!

Going bald is bad enough for a man, but for a woman it is unbearable

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Thinning hair, or even worse a bald patch, is not uncommon in women of any age. It can be hormonal, genetic, caused by cancer treatment or a medical condition.

Now, for all ladies who are suffering from severely thinning hair, or who may actually be going bald, there are three specialist hair loss salons that could have the answer to your problem. They are run by Lucinda Ellery, who became bald after she suffered with alopecia when she was 10. One is in London, the others are in London and Edinburgh with the next one planned in Ireland. Many of the hair specialists who work in the salons have also suffered from depressing and confidence draining hair problems.

Ellery treats people with alopecia, genetic hair loss, hair loss from cancer and trichotillomania (a nervous condition that makes the sufferers, often young girls, pull their hair out).

The specific treatment varies with each person. If your problem is a balding area and severe thinning then the chances are that you will have your own hair threaded through an anchoring mesh. This is the Intralace System where the new hair – real hair – is sewn into the mesh to build up depth after which it will be cut and styled. After that you wash it like normal, you can even swim in it, and then you just have to return for 6 weekly checkups to adjust the mesh as the fit will alter as you hair grows. The whole system will need replacing, but only every two years.

The results are amazing, and an incredible confidence boost to anyone, young or old, who suffers from hair loss.

For further information go to Lucinda Ellery


What’s in a Handbag?

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

The latest bag promotion at Selfridges is the Urban Survival Kit bag. Supported by the likes of Mulberry, Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, Anya Hindmarsh and Eastpak they are full of everything you might want to survive a summer of high octane sport and activity in the City. Each contains the designer’s own interpretation of what it will take to get through the next few weeks.

Go to Urban Backpack Survival Range

Latest addition

Which takes me onto Nora Ephron (You’ve Got Mail / Sleepless In Seattle / When Harry Met Sally), who had such an amazing talent for hitting the nail on the head with her witty script writing and musings on life. Her book “I Feel Bad About My Neck” has had a

Survived a dog chewing

resurgence since her death and just makes you chuckle – its not all about old age – it is just about life in general. Actually I can sort of imagine Michael Palin doing a man’s version.

Anyway, back to Nora and handbags, which is where I was going before my daughter looked over my shoulder and told me about Selfridges Survival Bags.

Nora’s musing on the contents of a woman’s handbag is brilliant. As she puts it – its for women who ‘find it appalling that a purse might cost $600’ and whose purses are ‘full of a morass of loose TicTacs, lipsticks without tops, tampons that have come loose from their wrappings, leaky ball point pens…’

I could add to that old train tickets and shopping lists ( essential if I am to remember to buy the stuff we have actually run out of, rather than the things I then end up with three of), various half full packs

Years old, but one of my favourites

of paper hankies, a purse that regularly gets depleted of cash when daughter on ‘unpaid work

Evening number - not much scope for detritus

experience’ needs train fare subbing, scribbled telephone numbers on scraps of paper that later mean nothing to me, and a safety pin or two – well you never know do you? And the elastic did once go in my grey flannel school knickers, and did I wish I had a safety pin then!

The bag rule is of course keep it small, as the larger the bag, the more stuff gets lost in the bottom, never to resurface. These are my favourite bags – but you will be relieved to know that I have spared you the contents!

And here is my most useful addition, given to me by a friend after a jubilee party – brilliant for holding the essentials, and now it travels from bag to bag.

My bag in a bag

how to market to the baby boomers

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Research by Emptynesting published in marketing Week revealed that there are 3.7 million emptynesters in the UK with a disposable income of nearly £300million . We have more money and time to spend it than any other demographic. In the states eMarketer reckons nearly 60 million adults in the boomer demographic buy online. So why don’t manufacturers and marketing firms target our demographic better?

Are we being ignored?  A survey carried out by PrimeTime Women, says that “In most instances, using conventional celebrity advertising to reach PrimeTime Women won’t work. Consumers in PrimeTime have less of a need to aspire up and impress others and are no longer as driven by materialistic values such as fame and fortune. That is not to say that all celebrity usage is ineffective, but there is a different dynamic. Instead, they are drawn to people …who are approachable.”

They go on to say that the babyboomer woman is happier and more optimistic than women of other age groups. She is more independent and confident in her attitude and thinking and also less susceptible to the herd mentality encouraged by the broad approach of consumer advertising.

So, here are my thoughts on how all those people out there (are they mainly men I wonder?) could better target us as consumers.

1. Don’t insult our intelligence by saying we will look years younger if we use your beauty product, and don’t kid us by using models in their 30’s. Airbrushed 50 year olds won’t wash with us either. Fill your adverts with genuine people whose skin looks rejuvenated, plumper or with less fine lines. We know you cant work miracles so don’t pretend you can!

2. Give us clothes that a sassy, fashionable woman in the prime of her life (though maybe not at her most sylph –like!) would like to wear. Somewhere between M&S and Top Shop would be perfect.  Put yourself in our position – we do not want to look frumpy and shapeless, nor do we want to look like mutton dressed as lamb. We want elegant affordable clothes that flatter our shapes and make us look and feel great.

3. Likewise shoes – flatties don’t have to mean frumpy, we like heels but not ankle breaking stilettos. We can’t all afford Tods slip-ons, or Prada  wedges but you get the drift. Flattering shoes please, and don’t kid us that the models you see wearing those stilettos  can wear them for any longer than 10 minutes. Remember we are out there at cocktail parties and dining and we don’t want to be crippled.

4. Don’t keep sending us endless phonebook size brochures. We then assume half the cost of your products are advertising costs. Boden take note!

5. Cut out all the excessive packaging- whether it’s a perfume or a toothbrush we will admire you for promoting simple sustainable packaging. Talking of toothbrushes, please make those packets easier to open too!

6. Sadly bits of us do sag a bit with time, so how about tee shirts with slightly longer arms, and bras that give support without creating rollettes of fat above and below the back strap?

I’m sure there are a lot of other things I would add but I would just like to end here by saying credit us with intelligence and joie de vivre and you wont go far wrong.

Why men have it easier than women in so many things..

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Women have strived for equality over the decades, often very successfully. But men still have it easy in so many respects, and we ladies will never beat them on these.
So here is my list. It’s only a start but if you have anything to add to it let me know:

  • Men can wear shorts at any age
  • A man’s wrinkles are said to add character not years
  • Men can keep the same hairstyle and clothes style last for years
  • Men will always hit further than a woman on a golf course
  • Men can pack a small suitcase in an instant when off on holiday, knowing you will remember the essentials
  • Men can also sit reading the paper oblivious of jobs, whilst a woman buzzes around
  • Hairy legs don’t matter on a man– and hairy anything else come to that
  • Men can pee literally anywhere
  • Men don’t get ripped off by electricians and car mechanics

Training a man to do housework

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

An Oxford University study suggests that it will take another forty years before men share household tasks equally, although today’s balance is a marked improvement on the 1960’s when we apparently spent six hours a day doing homely stuff and men spent just over an hour. Having said that though, I don’t really want to get into lawn mowing, and sorting out leaky showers. This 50:50 sharing is ok so long as we women can cherry pick our 50% – though by 2050 I don’t think I will be in a fit state to care!

Also whilst the idea is that we women offload some of the domestic chores onto our husbands, I do sometimes wonder if it is worth the effort. If for example I hoover the kitchen, I will invariably whisk out into the hall and then hang a right down to the back door too. Ask my husband to hoover the kitchen and he will do it, but then he goes nowhere else. Likewise if I ask him to put out the bins he will do that too, but not empty the kitchen bin into the dustbin first. Is this just a normal man trait I wonder as I then bustle about completing half finished jobs?

But we must not lose heart ladies, so here are some tips:

Never keep a perfect house – just a little bit of clutter, old newspapers not cleared away etc. will indicate that you are very busy and have lots to do. It will also emphasise that the rest of the house looks immaculate and that you keep 95% of it in perfect order – ie: aren’t they lucky to have you?

Train your partner in the operation of the white goods, but keep one in reserve. Then, when they expect you to operate the lawnmower, you can negotiate your way out of that one by explaining that you have to deal with, for example, the vacuum so the lawn is their responsibility.

Always, always make sure your man knows how to use the dishwasher, particularly unloading it. Only risk divulging the secrets of the washing machine if you are sure that they won’t in a fit of enthusiasm sweep up your favourite pale jumper, stuff it in with their dark colours, wash it on 40 degrees and then tumble dry it for good measure. This is a tricky and rather fraught dilemma, so it may be better to explain the how to’s and where to’s of vacuuming, and instead retain control of the laundry.

Don’t always have a delicious supper waiting for him – he will get into the habit of ‘expecting’ fabulous meals all the time, which you do not want to encourage! Instead dish up the occasional meal of cheese on toast and a cold sausage and, who knows, you might then get taken out for a meal. And of course your usual efforts will be much more appreciated!

My final piece of advice is that a nag in time saves nine. Always nag before bad male behaviour takes root and requires drastic action, which will be construed ( probably correctly ) as nagging. Whether it’s the eternal loo seat issue, removing dirty shoes at the door, nose hair trimming or any one of those ‘annoying male habits’. Whatever it is nip them promptly in the bud, and then you wont have to nag!

How to make new friends when your nest is empty

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Article by Gill Buchanan, Founder of

For many of us, when we get to a certain lifestage, kids leave home (or you wish they would!),  maybe you relocate, meeting new people is not always easy. What I find is that women are getting to this stage in their life and rather than hanging up their lipstick they want to do more and get more out of life. That’s why I set up Hens Dancing which is a women’s social group with monthly meetings happening across the South east and now, with our franchise opportunity, spreading throughout the UK.

I often get asked, ‘what is it actually like turning up at a Hens Dancing social event?’

Most women come on their own the first time and for some that’s a bit of a daunting prospect. The great thing about Hens Dancing is that all the meetings are hosted and from walking through the door you will be greeted with a warm welcome and be introduced to other members so you soon feel comfortable and can relax.

I love that quote by William Butler Yeats:

“There are no strangers here, only friends who haven’t yet met.”

It is so apt for Hens Dancing. I have hosted Coffee Mornings to launch new groups where 25 – 40 women who don’t know each other turn up and within minutes, lively conversation and laughter fill the room – it is so amazing to see. Often anyone turning up late assumes that everyone else knows each other!

I think the reason for this is that when you get a group of women together there’s a special camaraderie filling the air. Women are quick to find out what they have in common, to share life’s challenges and to be supportive of one another.

This is why all our meetings have a social element. So if we’re going to the theatre we meet for supper first, or if we are having a speaker we have a chance to mingle over a buffet and lots of our events are pure social fun from afternoon teas to supper clubs.

Hens Dancing works well for those that are on their own and want to make new friends and works equally well for those that are married but enjoy a night out with the girls.

To find out more about setting up a group in your area and our franchise opportunity go to:

To see some of the hens in action go to our You tube channel.