I used to be a stylist, working incredibly long hours styling A-list celebrities, and while it sounds glamorous, it was exactly the opposite: you start very early in the morning, finish late at night and if you’ve not got exactly the right jumper, everyone acts as if the world is falling apart. 

Because the work was so stressful, we all did a lot of drinking to help relieve the stress at the end of the day. I was also dealing with the grief of losing my mum and splitting up with a partner, so my stress levels were through the roof. I was 48 and knew I couldn’t live like this for much longer.

I was working on a set one day with a model who had a skin problem. Having been a make-up artist in the past, I gave her some advice on a product she should use. She came back to me a few days later and said, “You’re so knowledgeable about skin, you should be doing this all the time.” It was a lightbulb moment – I decided to retrain as a facialist

I had a lot of self-doubt and worried that, as someone older, people wouldn’t want to come to me. It often feels like society views people approaching 50 as past-it. But when I started treating people, I realised my age was a huge advantage: not only did I take the training incredibly seriously (people around me said I was obsessed), but I bring so much life experience. People often say that they feel nurtured by me, because lots of my sessions involve me truly listening to them as I treat them.

Nurturing was something I had to do for myself to start with: I had to listen to my own body. Because of the stress and the start of the perimenopause, and a bad lifestyle (I was eating rubbish on sets and not exercising), I went up to 9 ½ stone, which, at 5’ 3”, felt uncomfortable on me as all the weight went straight to my stomach. I even had cellulite on my tummy. I just thought I couldn’t let it keep expanding; I had to change my lifestyle.

The change of career was a huge step forward: it put me back in control of my life. I started seeing a nutritionist who specialises in perimenopause and menopause, Karen Newby, who taught me so much. My diet before was probably quite typical of a lot of people’s: I would either have a slice of toast for breakfast, or skip it and just have a coffee, then have a pastry halfway through the morning on set, and a sandwich for lunch. 

With her guidance, I learned that I needed a lot more protein to support my body through the menopause – you’re meant to aim for one gram of protein per pound of body weight. Like most women, I wasn’t eating enough of it. Now I have a diet very rich in protein, especially my breakfast (which Karen told me should be my big meal of the day) and eat things like a chia seed pot or eggs with avocado and spinach and veggies and a slice of sourdough. I was also undereating, but instead of causing weight loss, it was spiking my blood sugar levels and causing havoc with my hormones.

From there, I started learning about gut health and upping the number of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs I had each day: Professor Tim Spector says we should aim for about 30 different types a week, which isn’t that hard when you try to do it. 

I do easy things like steam and roast a load of veg at the weekend, then take that in a pot with me and add it to shop-bought salad. I add more by having a pot of seeds with me to sprinkle on my breakfast yoghurt and berries or my salad. Working on my gut health, increasing my protein and making sure I had more variety in my diet saw the start of my weight loss.

I really believe that it’s not one thing that makes you healthy, you have to work on yourself as a whole package. I started therapy with Peace and Love Within to deal with my grief, and that was enormously helpful.

I also needed to start some exercise, but when you’re getting perimenopausal hot flushes, that can be the last thing you feel like doing. I found this amazing PT Kate Oakley who also retrained later in life to set up Your Future Fit, and specialises in peri and menopause fitness for women. 

She has six minute workouts to get you started, then you move up to 12 minutes, and she taught me that the cardio I sometimes did – running or spin – isn’t good enough on its own; it raises cortisol. In mid life you need to add weights to the mix and something like Pilates, too, to build up strength for the future and balance out your hormones better.

To help more with my bloating, I started seeing Roberta Parkin for lymphatic drainage, which is a massage where the therapist works on areas of your body to move lymph fluid from your tissues to your functioning lymph nodes. Roberta said my lymph nodes were blocked, meaning that the toxins were just recirculating around my body. As a result, within a few sessions the cellulite disappeared from my stomach.

The change in lifestyle and career has been so incredibly important for me. I feel really peaceful and so much healthier. I’m definitely fitter than I ever was in my twenties or thirties. It took me six months to drop a stone, my belly is flat and I’m down to a size 8. I’m at a point in my life where I can look in the mirror and like what I see and who I am. I don’t think I ever felt that before.

What I eat in a day

I try to stick to the adage ‘eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’; I focus on eating three filling meals with lots of fat and fibre so that I don’t snack in between and try to stop eating before 8pm.


Chia pot with seeds, or omelette with vegetables and proper sourdough bread (not supermarket “sourdough” which often is packed with preservatives).


A salad with lots of vegetables, a protein like chicken, seeds and maybe some rice. Or it could be leftovers from dinner the night before.


I love to make curries or something like a three bean chilli with brown rice. If I want something sweet I have it straight after dinner – rather than snacking on it later – so that it doesn’t spike my blood sugar.

Lifestyle changes 


I’m a morning gym person, so go first thing and aim for about 3-4 times a week. I do one spin class because I love it, a couple of weights sessions and a Reformer Pilates class. I booked three sessions with a PT at the very start to show me what to do, and now I do it on my own.


I do eat carbs, but I make them complex carbs like brown rice or sweet potato or sourdough bread, which you digest slower so keep you fuller for longer.  


I do drink, but I’ve become much more mindful as alcohol and perimenopause don’t get along. I’ve mostly stopped having wine and have a tequila and soda if I’m out, but there are also lots of brilliant alcohol-free brands I enjoy, too.


I take a sage supplement for menopause symptoms as well as something called Skin Defence by the brand Osmosis, which reduces my oestrogen dominance and helps with hot flushes. I also do acupuncture with Phoebus Tian.


Sleep used to be a big problem for me, but I sleep so much better now. I take a magnesium supplement to help, and I think eating better and exercising have all played their part.


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