I have had haircuts (and dyes), spent too much on clothes, gone on random solo road-trips to see long lost friends, looked into pensions (since I’m getting old right?), googled plastic surgery inspo, been stupid enough to to comparing myself to 21 year old supermodels, held pole dancing parties, and it’s often when I buy up ALL the event/festival/show tickets because life is so short and I have to do everything now.
Thankfully I also take time to reflect on life, help in part to no school runs or work for at least 3 weeks in December, plus New Year, obvs, when we get pushed into considering how we’d like life to be different moving forward.
I’m a compulsive learner. I’ve read a few pages of a book every night since I was 12 – fiction, memoirs, business guides, self help…..there’s not one book I regret reading. Reading us the easiest way to absorb information, for me anyway.
When I was 26 I wrote 23 lessons learned – I read over these recently and still agree with them all. You can find it here.
This year I’ve found myself collecting hacks, for want of a better, less puky word.
When I came up with the idea, I wanted to write 38, for my age, but only wanted to include genuinely unique and helpful stuff you may not have thought of yourself. I’ll add to the list when I discover something new, if you have any ideas to add tell me in my group here and I’ll add them.
1. Orthotic insoles.
I have a very high instep and loose toe joints (apparently). This means flat shoes like flexible pumps, ‘barefoot’ trainers and flip flops make my foot collapse and will lead to leg and joint problems and bunions. For around £100-150 I got an appointment at a podiatrist (NHS were being useless) who fitted me with shoe insoles that will last me for life, and hopefully so will my feet now too.
2. Drink only vodka for no hangover
Caveat drinking a lot still creates a hangover, but relative to other drinks, I get off lightly if I stick to vodka with mixers (usually diet tonic or lemonade). I’ve also found I put a drink to my lips out of habit, so drink as much if I’m pouring doubles as with singles. So I stick to singles and if I end up mindlessly drinking it, the damage is smaller, and I’m getting more alcohol free fluid to each unit too.
3. Retinol skincare
Look, I’m nearly 40, and no one is immune to ageing. Everyone who looks good does something. And retinol is a game changer. It speeds up skin cell turnover. It works. I can’t recommend particular brands except for Obagi below if you feel like jumping in the deep end.
4. EatLean cheese
I tried various diet cheese in the past and thought they were horrible. Only when I was sent a hamper earlier this year did I realise Eat Lean’s main cheese is so much better – not as creamy as full fat cheddar, but I actually like it unlike other brands. It’s also lactose free, which means I can eat it without farting all day.
5. Melatonin, 5htp, and ZMA for sleep, or 3 chamomile tea bags in hot water
I’m a terrible sleeper to start with. Various stresses over the years got me prescribed sleeping tablets, but the hangover from them was so bad – I was a drugged up zombie all the next day, coffee didn’t help, I couldn’t drive or work – being tired from no sleep was better as at least caffeine works with that! I have an emergency pack of Zopiclone by my bed but they’re addictive so I don’t use them often, and instead rely on the above natural products to gently relax me in the evening into a more restful state. Tip: take them earlier than you think (around 2 hrs before bed) so they’re properly working by the time you actually want to get into bed.
6. Obagi skincare
I got hormone induced pigmentation from both pregnancies which left brown patches that made me self-conscious on my face. This year I decided to do something about it. The Obagi blue peels are painful, the skincare makes your skin red and flaky, but after the course, you will have the most clear, bright skin you’ve had in years. 100% worth every penny, or should that be pounds as it’s not cheap. There’s an version you can buy, but it’s the prescription set from skin clinics you need, definitely the best for pigmentation, probably in the world.
7. Blankets instead of a duvet
I sweat a lot at night, maybe I’m pre-menopausal? Or just monthly hormones perhaps. Either way duvets make me hot, feather ones make me sneeze, and as a bad sleeper (see above) the weight of multiple natural fibre blankets is comforting. I change the mattress sheet, and the bottom layer of blankets is a cotton flat sheet, but the top blankets rarely need washing. I’ve put a ‘weighted blanket’ on my Christmas list.
8. Hand cream in every room
The only way I remember to use it, and totally necessary after almost 2 years (at the time of writing) of excessive hand washing.
And this isn’t really a major hack as you may already do it but nowadays I get almost all my clothes at charity shops. Well made clothes last beyond one owner (I won’t buy things that were really cheap to begin with) and I can refresh my wardrobe with anything I want for so little money it’s meaningless. Plus it’s for charity, so buying the thing helps someone else too!
What have you learned over the years as you’ve got older? Anything you can share to help us too?