ISSUE 1 - JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
Health, wealth & family life All-age getaways, GORGEOUS
GRANDPARENTS AND GOOD TIMES!
Generation Ageless MAKING THE MOST OF MID-LIFE:
people to inspire you
Press pause Life-hacks
TO LIVE BY: FITNESS, FOOD AND FRIENDS LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
ISSUE 1 • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
06 All-age getaways Cool places to stay
08 Family walks Take snacks, take photos, take time
10 Who’s grey?
Grandparents keeping it cool
12 Generation Ageless Meet the ‘d0-it’ folks!
15 Eat well
Healthy food hacks
A go-to mini manual for generation ageless Happy New Year - and welcome to our very first Life Guide. This magazine is dedicated to all you active mid-lifers out there - the life-savvy, sometimes silver-haired people of the world, who are ready and willing to embark on a new and exciting phase of life. We’re about health, wealth and family life - the three things that create a worthy and wonderful world. Inside, you’ll find interviews with some of the region’s most interesting and active mid-lifers - people who have made brave life/career changes for a more fulfilling and chilled-out way of life. We’ve also thrown in tons of expert tips on making the most of your downtime and finances, as well as a bunch of fun hacks to help you feel fighting fit and as relaxed as ever.
20 Press pause
Time-out from a busy world
22 Health hacks Ten ways to wellbeing
32 Downsize your life Go small, live big
Entering mid-life is all about living on your own terms - here’s how. Happy reading!
Jessica Laing, editor Contributors Kathryn Armstrong, Laura Beckingham, Adrian Bell, British Heart Foundation
Photography Kevin Gibson and Nicky Rogerson, www.kgphotography.co.uk
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Remember Media Ltd, e-volve Business Centre, Cygnet Way, Rainton Bridge South Business Park, DH4 5QY remembermedia.co.uk All contents copyright ©2017 RememberMedia Ltd. All rights reserved. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, no responsibility can be accepted for inaccuracies, howsoever caused. No liability can be accepted for illustrations, photographs, artwork or advertising materials while in transmission or with the publisher or their agents. All information is correct at time of going to print, December 2016. Essentials Life Guide is published annually by Remember Media Ltd.
LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
Generation ageless Jonathan Blackie, 63, retired in 2011 as Director of Government Office North East, after almost a decade in the role - and 35 after leaving university. He’s now a Visiting Professor at Northumbria University and works part time for the North East Culture Partnership. In 2010 he was awarded a CBE for services to the North East in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
I USED TO DO THIS… I represented the Government in the North East - and never did I have a dull moment. I started during the Foot and Mouth epidemic, was responsible for multi-million budgets, and managed an office of about 350 staff.
Now life is about…
Helping my amazing wife Julie. She is co-owner of a successful online fashion business, Pink Boutique, with my daughter Alice. I was the first significant investor in PB and now it employs over 60 staff. Julie recently opened the Coach House hotel in Otterburn, has had success as a crime writer (she was a number one best-seller on Amazon last year) and has written for television.
WHY/HOW I MADE A CHANGE… After the closure of the Government regional office in 2011, Northumbria University gave me the chance to return to my academic roots by producing ‘Borderlands’, an investigation of the impact of Greater Scottish Autonomy on the North of England, in the run up to the Independence Referendum in 2014. I also helped co-produce a ‘Case for Culture’ in 2015 with Beamish museum, on behalf of the Culture Partnership. LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
I’m lucky I can…
Play tennis and golf to keep fit. I stopped drinking alcohol about 10 years ago.
A day in the life of me… Working from home in the morning, meetings in Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle and Alnwick, followed by tennis or golf. Back home to prepare supper.
I thrive on…
Having a purpose. I really enjoyed devising a culture manifesto for the twelve local authorities and how to create a framework for collaboration across the border with Scotland.
Family is all about… Love and support. They followed me for thirty years - now it’s my time to help them. THINGS ARE DIFFERENT BECAUSE… I’m more in control of events. I can spend more time planning and preparing. I am currently preparing a lecture ‘Northern Powerhouse: Culture and Communities’, for the annual Fulbright Scholars conference at Northumbria in January.
I’ve got time for… Julie, as I don’t disappear to London any more. The College in Durham is important to me. I spent time this year appointing a great new Principal after the sudden death of Joe Cassidy. I also spend time with Mark and the team at Alnwick Garden, which is a great cultural asset for Northumberland and the North of England.
THE PEOPLE WHO ARE IMPORTANT… Julie and family. Alice is expecting in May next year - I’m looking forward to being a grandparent.
WORK/LIFE BALANCE… I’ve mastered the 30C wash and manage to get tea on the table most days. Keeping the central heating boiler fit and healthy is the next big domestic task.
WHAT MID-LIFE MEANS TO ME… Using my skills and experience to help my family and both Durham and Northumberland universities, having more of an appreciation about what I have, and cherishing the people I love. LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
Take a trip with the extended family and let the generations mingle. Naturally, Wi-Fi is on the must-have list - for the surfing silvers with their iPads. Here’s our pick of pads with pzazz!
All ages getaways LIVE LIKE THE WALTONS Glamping and grandparents might not be natural bedfellows but at North Star Club in East Yorkshire they do it differently. Think luxe fur throws, log-burners and firepits for the ultimate woodland glamour. Forget all thoughts of shivering in draughty huts. Think of convivial evenings watching the flicker of firelight cast against a copper bath. The wilderness on your doorstep with those outdoorsy, romantic veranda moments redolent of the Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons. Woodland suites are named after famous and fascinating Yorkshire people, from painter Atkinson Grimshaw to heroic pilot Amy Johnson. The suites all have a cosy sitting room, large bedroom with a wood burner and comfy kingsize bed and spacious bathroom. So you can hunker down in your own space but also make the expedition to The Woodshed, a communal relaxation space where you can snuggle up with a book by the fire and help yourself to tea, coffee and homemade cake – outside there’s a canopied campfire, perfect for chilling and stargazing in all weathers.
Away from it all THE NO-TEARS FAMILY GETAWAY GUIDE WEEKEND GETAWAY: DO Stay close to home. One-two hours’ journey is as much as you need on a Friday night. DON’T Head off on a ‘flyer’ – everyone else is doing the same. Little ones can be put into their PJs if you set off later. Big kids won’t care as long as there’s a drive-thru en route.
DO PLAN WISELY. A giant house or a cluster of cottages? Give granny her own place where the kids can gravitate for secret sweet stashes. Older people rarely sleep late (or very much) – nor do they want to dance to Wham at midnight with their their tipsy offspring.
DO Maintain expectations. New York/Paris/ Berlin. They’re big places and the need to see everything can make the trip overwhelming with kids in tow.
DON’T Expect instant harmony. Don’t force teens to be sociable if they’re not. Have a tech tolerance for their phones etc. They’ll veer towards the social hub of the house at some point for a game of cards or a bag of crisps.
DON’T OVERPLAN. One activity is quite enough.
DO Divide the chores. If you’re self-catering, designate meal duties. Every family’s got an ‘organiser’ who will probably relish telling everyone else what to do – make the most of it and bring what you’re told. The key is to make sure there’s loads of breakfast items. After that think pub, takeaway or caterer.
Relish sleeping in and lazy breakfasts. One wellchosen fresh-air outing will do the job, be it a country show, a beach walk or stately home visit. The rest of the time relax and enjoy each other’s company without deadlines.
DON’T Forget to create a cocktail hour. Ask everyone to bring a substantial appetiser/canapé for the group. And drinks. And let the kids have full-fat Coke for once.
DO Pack light. It’s two sleeps and two days. Adjust accordingly. Jeans, comfy faves and walking kit. A posh top/shirt if Saturday night ‘glam’ is required.
LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
DON’T OVERSCHEDULE. And don’t expect the kids to jump for joy at the third museum or monument of the day. Let them shop and spend their holiday cash. Let them eat from street stalls and hang out in markets. Have a coffee and read your guidebook whilst they do. DO Make eating an experience. If parents are keen foodies then often the lunch option at a food hotspot is a good idea. The atmosphere is more relaxed, the bill lighter and the experience a good way to ease the aching legs if you’re on a sightseeing mission. DON’T Forget to share. If there’s an all-age group, make sure everyone gets a say in the sights and sounds they really want to experience. It might well be a football stadium or a theme park. Let it happen, it’s about making memories.
Inheritance Tax: Why it is important to regularly review your Will One of George Osborne’s last acts in the budget of 2015 was a raft of changes regarding the laws relating to Inheritance Tax. The headlines were that you could now claim up to £1,000,000 before you had to pay Inheritance Tax. The law as it stands allows everyone a tax free allowance (Nil Rate Band) on death of £325,000 or couples can use what is called the Transferable Nil Rate Band to claim up to £650,000 in certain circumstances. The new law adds to this amount if there is a family home in the person’s estate and by 2021 we should be in a position where a couple can have up to a £1 million tax free allowance. However, as often is the case with new legislation, the bold headlines proclaiming tax cuts mask the fact that things are not as straightforward as they may seem. Firstly, the new extra allowance only applies if you have direct offspring and therefore for instance if you do not have children you will be limited at the figure of £325,000 for your Nil Rate Band (or of course £650,000 for couples). Secondly - and as this the main point I wish to raise in this piece - we at Tilly Bailey & Irvine believe that the new law could have quite a disastrous effect on Wills and Estate planning that people may have already done some years ago. To illustrate the point it is important to go back to demonstrate what people were doing before the Transferable Nil Rate Band became available. With clever planning it was always possible to make use of a Nil Rate
GO SWALLOWS & AMAZONS Waternook is the place to live the lakeside dream. You’ve got loads of waterside access and your own boathouse – Ullswater is as the bottom of your garden, what could be nicer? Waternook is a real away-from-itall destination but with plenty of must-have modern touches to keep all ages happy, including a Spa and Wellness Sanctuary, cinema, terraces and an array of concierge services if you need looking after. Gather for morning coffee and chatter over your bacon butties in the luxury kitchen, with its breath-taking lake view dining terrace, then scatter to your place of choice- the bar, cinema or reading room with wood burning stove or just go lake-viewing and star-spotting with the telescope.
OUTNUMBERED Space for all in the Black Mountains in Herefordshire in a house called Charity, where the littlies can run free and groups can gather for champagne and movie re-runs in the fabulous cinema room in this modernrustic mountain retreat. A higgledy-piggledy getaway packed with dive-in sofas, loaded with Welsh woollen throws. The vibe is definitely eccentric bohemian – relax in a hammock in the garden, warm by the wood-burner in the galleried lounge or get super-competitive the way only families do in the well-equipped games room. This is a really comfy and convivial spot – loads of outdoor space, not to mention ‘dad’ toys such as a firepit and stone island bbq station and the all-age pleasures of sauna and hot tub.
www.uniquehomestays.com/ self-catering/uk/herefordshire/ black-mountains/charity/
Andrew Steel is a Wills and Probate lawyer specialising in Inheritance Tax, Estate Planning, Power of Attorney, Trusts & Wills. Band from each member of a couple. What clients did was to leave their Nil Rate Band into what was called a Nil Rate Band Discretionary Trust thus preserving the Nil Rate Band of the first to die. Although such Wills have not been necessary for Inheritance Tax Planning for some time it was our view that clients with such Wills in place did not need to make changes to them as there were still various positive effects of the Discretionary Trust and also they are relatively easy to dismantle if they proved to be unnecessary or cumbersome. As mentioned above however this new Family Home element of the new law is only available if you gift the house to direct descendants. A Discretionary Trust is not therefore a gift to descendants and thus does not qualify for the new relief. Therefore we are advising anybody who has an Inheritance Tax problem to visit us for some advice even – and perhaps especially – if you have made Wills previously.
Tilly Bailey & Irvine Law Firm, 12 Evolution, Wynyard Park, TS22 5TB T: 0800 052 6824 www.tbilaw.co.uk Find us on Twitter @tbilaw
LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
Life Guide we love
North Yorkshire: Kilburn White Horse: Big sky views, blowing away the cobwebs and refreshments at the Sutton Bank Visitor centre.
Favourite family walks
A hearty family stroll CREATES A RELAXED
ATMOSPHERE WHERE ALL GENERATIONS CAN MINGLE AND ENGAGE WITH ONE ANOTHER IN AN EASY, UNHURRIED, STRESS-FREE WAY.
Take snacks, take photos and take time just to be together.
Souter Lighthouse: Marsden, South Shields. Grown-ups can do the science bit explaining how this huge lighthouse works then the family can take to the cliffs or beach for some bracing feel-good seaside scenery, stone-skimming, pebble-collecting â€“ and often fabulous bird-watching. And scones, of course.
LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
we love Gibside: the National Trust property close to the A1 near Gateshead. A great place for the family to gather thanks to a cracking playground for littlies, mobility scooters to hire for the less-able, lovely grounds and woodland for leaf-kicking or bluebell-spotting â€“ and then wood-fired pizza and craft beer to enjoy al fresco at the estateâ€™s pub.
Live in Luxury at... Fleming Court, Jesmond Helen McArdle Care has been providing outstanding care throughout the North East of England for over 25 years. Fleming Court is a new, luxurious care home located on Burdon Road close to the Clayton Road shops and services. At our new flagship care home you can enjoy all of the facilities and care you would expect of a Helen McArdle Care Home and so much more. You can invite friends and family to join you for a meal in our restaurant, compete in a game of bowls on our bowling green or simply sit and watch the world go by from your luxurious suite. When living at Fleming Court you can relax in the knowledge that all of your needs are being cared for to the highest of standards, so that all you need to worry about is enjoying yourself.
Contact Us Today For Further Information T: 0191 281 8136
Helen McArdle Care
Fleming Court, Burdon Terrace, Jesmond
Who’s grey? NOT GRANDPARENTS
Today’s grandparents are cooler, more adventurous and more life-savvy than ever. Here’s a few reasons why these wise and witty humans rock… we love
Celebrities you didn’t know were grandparents… STING ROD STEWART MICK JAGGER JENNIFER SAUNDERS TOM HANKS PIERCE BROSNAN JO WOOD LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
They rock their style
They steer clear of that bit of M&S where the elasticated slacks are. They aren’t scared of black and they know how to tie a scarf and rock a rosy lipstick. They are comfortable enough in their own skin to wear what feels good and this comfort makes them look good, too. They take the grandchildren out for afternoon tea and don’t mind sticky, jammy hands.
Expressions of love and joy for their children and grandchildren are heartily given. They are just happy to see their kids and grandkids and don’t lay the guilt on them for not visiting more. They realise too much time is spent suppressing emotions. So they hug – and hug hard!
They still learn new things
Cool grandparents are up for a challenge, be it sport, a new hobby or travel. They see the next life stage as an opportunity to tick off the to-do list that got put aside when they were busy parenting.
They aren’t waiting to die – cool grandparents are too busy living
Most people think that the 70s, 80s and 90s are the years to be wrapping stuff up. Instead, the really cool grandparents are seeking
opportunities for new beginnings. Older people possess something younger people lack: namely experience, expertise, judgment and performance.
They hold the family together Even when you aren’t together, they are the roots. After all, if it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t be here.
They are wise. Listen to their stories
They are generous with their time and money
They have a sweetie jar, purse or pocket
They know how to text
Reminiscing about how they overcame hardships, how they persevered, or how they remained optimistic in tough times helps to keep them positive and they share this positivity with their loved ones.
Grandparents recognise that a little bit of sugar or gluten isn’t the end of the world. Moderation is a virtue, but they enjoy being the source of their grandchild’s special treats.
They don’t look back
They live in the now. Events and experiences shape them, but they’re savvy about current events - they discuss and want to hear your dreams, and help you achieve them!
Good conversation is a delicate balance of speaking and listening. They have mastered listening and know that a great communicator listens more than he or she speaks.
They remember what it was like parenting and they offer to hang out with their grandchildren so their own children can recharge. They know that £20 in a card and an extra £5 slipped into a pocket really raises a smile.
This doesn’t mean they spend a lot of time on devices, but they can respond to you and use technology to keep connected.
They’re on Facebook
They’re a tecchy bunch – they buy as many smartphones as the kids do (and smash them less). Having a news feed filled with the people and projects they’re passionate about gives them a sense of belonging.
They spend time outside
Some like to potter in the garden, others hike or go Nordic walking. Cool grandparents recognise that fresh air really does do you good!
With the right hearing care, we can help you get the most out of life. Our experienced Audiologists pride themselves on exceptional patient care, offering you support every step of the way. Visit our clinic in Gosforth, Newcastle where we can help you select the best solution to complement your lifestyle. Find out more at www.myhearingclinic.uk or call 0191 519 7291.
My Hearing Clinic, My Choice
Life Guide LIFEGUIDE IS ABOUT TALKING TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE MADE INTERESTING LIFE/WORK CHANGES AND HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE TO THE ‘THIRD’ AGE, DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY, CHANGING THEIR PACE OF LIFE, THEIR PRIORITIES, REFLECTING ON WHAT’S GONE BEFORE AND THE NEW OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES TO COME…
Generation ageless Steve Ashman celebrates his 50th birthday this month. He owns speciality coffee business, Mint Hobo, on Yarm High Street
I used to do this…
I was the ‘corporate man’. I ran supermarkets for a leading UK chain, looking after hundreds of staff and thousands of customers. I had the big salary, the car and the long hours. For a couple of years we spent time living and working between London and the North. While travelling to work in opposite directions on the M25 we would have the same conversation time and time again – how service and people were becoming less at the heart of what a business was about and how much we wanted to build a place where amazing people would be able to enjoy a unique and amazing experience.
Now life is about…
Coffee! As a shopkeeper, I looked after my staff well so that they would look after customers well, too. But values became compromised, customers were taken for granted and it didn’t feel right. Now those values are the same, but it’s my business, my customers - my coffee! There came a point when I thought if things didn’t work out (they didn’t), then I would bring speciality coffee to Yarm. I could have stayed and retired at 55, but instead I see this as a new chapter in life. LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
I’m lucky I can… There endeth the sentence!
Things are different because…
We can do good things. A penny from every coffee goes to a local addiction support charity. We can just decide to do that because it feels right and because we want to. It sounds simple, but it feels good.
Family is all about…
It’s everything as you get older. My wife Claire and I started the business and my daughter Bethan works here. I also feel closer to my parents now than I ever have.
How I made a change…
I am a keen sky-diver. Opening up Mint Hobo on day one was like sitting on the side of a plane for the first time and preparing to jump. Signing the lease was like the first jump, but opening up was a case of jumping, panicking for a minute, then coasting, looking down and thinking ‘yes!’. You’re doing everything that your body and mind say don’t do but you do it anyway - and it feels amazing.
Life Guide we love
I thrive on…
A bit of chaos, I think. I like learning new stuff – like coffee (Steve is very proud of his state-of-the-art coffee machine). I like the challenge of people. I like pleasing - and surprising - difficult customers!
I don’t get to skydive as much as I did, or ride my motorbike, but I’m ok with that. I don’t feel like I’m being denied because work is in the way. I love what I do now.
Day in the life of me…
It starts at 6.30am (my wife Claire still has a ‘proper’ job!) and the shop opens at 6am (not always by me). Every day I’m getting our fresh coffee pouring blend ready. I’m always in for about 8am until whenever! Then we’re baking, serving, listening and making people happy – that’s my official job description! The cafe is called Mint (fresh) and Hobo (home). When people come in we hope we can make them feel better than they did when they walked in.
What mid life means to me…
Wearing shorts for work. That is a simple, but unreal thing. When we opened, someone on Trip Advisor said something about the place being run by a ‘middle-aged man’. I’m fine with that. If this is half way, that sees me to 100. You get here with confidence, with experience and with an honesty about yourself. You wear your shorts to work because you can!
The people who are important…
My family, customers and suppliers – we use produce from local people. People like Rounton Coffee, Parlour Made Cheese and Dropswell Farm. My customers really make this place and always it feels relaxed and lovely. LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
Like they say, you are what you eat. And because feeling good starts with what you put in your mouth, we reveal some of the best grub to gobble to keep your bodies feeling right and tight…
Eat right SuperfoodsGRUB TO GRAB
COOK WITH COCONUT OIL. Yes, it’s a bit trendy. Food bloggers and celebrities rave about it. Even chefs love it. And there’s a reason. 100 per cent organic coconut oil - the ‘virgin’, unrefined stuff - is rich in lauric acid, shown to improve levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and known to help fight off infections and viruses. Buy a jar of it and dig out a few sweet scoops when baking, or frying fish and veggies. Just be sure to use a teeny tiny amount to stop everything tasting tropical. EAT YOUR FIBROUS FOODS. Fibre is key for good digestion, which slows down as we age, causing toilet issues and unpleasant gripes and pains. Boost your intake by stocking up on things like lentils, beans, apples, pears, wholegrain breads and cereals, and flaxseeds. LOAD UP ON POTATOES - just make sure they’re of the sweet and orange kind. Swap white, starchy potatoes for sweet potatoes and start reaping the rewards. Not only are
Ditch the booze-
they packed with rich, creamy flavour, when eaten with their skins on, they’re one of the most nutritious veggies you can eat thanks to their high levels of potassium and vitamin A. Load them up with healthy toppings, like black beans and tomatoes, quinoa and mushroom or spinach and feta.
5 TIPS TO HELP YOU CUT DOWN
BUY A DRINKS MEASURE so you know exactly how much you’re drinking. Making up your own measures means you’re more likely to over-drink, without even realising it. Know your units, too. One unit equals 10ml of pure alcohol and experts say men and women shouldn’t drink more than 14 units per week - that should be your max. A small glass of wine is one unit.
SNACK ON BERRIES. Sounds like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised at how many people are put off by all that (natural) sweetness. But the likes of strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries shouldn’t be ignored. These little beauties are great sources of antioxidants and a cocktail of vitamins, helping mop up nasty free radicals (which can lead to cancer), infection, colds and viruses and bad bacteria.
SET A BUDGET - because buying alcohol soon adds up. If you’re heading out, decide on a fixed amount of money to spend on booze and stick to it. Not only will you savour the drinks you do have, you’ll save money too. Leave any credit/debit cards at home if you think you’d be tempted to spend more.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF PLENTY OF PROTEIN and ‘good fats’. Oily fish, like wild salmon, mackerel and sardines, will bless you with brain-loving omega 3 fats, while green veg such as kale, spinach and avocado will give your body all the minerals and vitamins it needs to keep your skin, eyesight and hair and nails healthy.
DOWNSIZE YOUR CHOICES. You can still enjoy a drink, but just try and make them smaller. Try bottled beer instead of pints. Order a small glass of wine instead of a large one - or a bottle.
NEVER DRINK ON AN EMPTY STOMACH leave all that to the students. They have a lot to learn. Eating while you drink means alcohol is absorbed into your system more slowly. If you’re eating in, have one glass of wine on the table. Put the bottle away and out of sight.
WINTER IS THE TIME OF YEAR FOR cosy nights in on the sofa with our favourite snacks and beverages - but this isn’t an excuse to pop the bubbly every night. Have several drink-free days and nights per week, swapping glasses of red for glasses of fruity, herbal teas, a glass or two of lime and soda if you like your fizzy drinks, or a smoothie if you’re craving something sweet. LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
Get inspired... QUICK AND NUTRITIOUS MEAL IDEAS FOR WINTER
CARROT AND APPLE MUFFINS
by Joe Wicks, fitness coach and author Makes 10. Ready in 40 minutes
Ingredients 2 medium carrots, grated (130g) 2 medium eating apples, peeled and grated (170g) 100g ground almonds 60g raisins 1½ tsp mixed spice 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp baking powder 75g ricotta 3 eggs 2 tsp vanilla extract 125g cream cheese 2 tsp honey
we love STEWED BREAKFAST APPLES WITH CINNAMON AND GINGER
BAKED SWEET POTATO WITH BLACK BEAN CHILLI
by Deliciously Ella, food blogger and author
by Madeleine Shaw, nutritional health coach, blogger and author
Serves 1. Ready in 30 minutes
Serves 4. Ready in 60 minutes
2 red apples A handful of blueberries 1/2 an inch of fresh ginger A heaped teaspoon of date syrup (or maple syrup/raw honey) A heaped teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 a can of coconut milk Refined sugar-free granola (you can find this in most supermarkets, or you can make your own)
1 carrot 2 yellow peppers 2 celery sticks 2 tbsp of coconut oil 1 large white onion 2 crushed garlic cloves 2 tsp of ground cumin 1 red chilli 1 tsp of smoked paprika 1 tsp of dried oregano 2 cans of chopped tomatoes 800g cooked kidney beans 250ml of vegetable stock (freshly made – no sugar no preservatives) 1 tbsp of raw cacao powder Salt and pepper 4 sweet potatoes 2 avocados
Preheat your oven to 180°C and line a 12-hole muffin tin with small muffin cases. Place all the ingredients (apart from 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract, the cream cheese and the honey) in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until fully combined. Divide the mixture equally among the muffin cases and slide into the oven. Bake the muffins for 25 minutes, by which time they will be cooked through and a little golden on the top. Leave to cool. While the muffins are cooling, whip together the remaining vanilla extract, cream cheese and honey, adding a splash of water to slacken if needed. When the muffins are totally cool, spread the cream cheese icing on top.
Start by peeling your apples. Cut them into bite sized pieces, discarding the core. Place the pieces in a saucepan with the blueberries, cinnamon and date syrup and cover the bottom few centimetres of the saucepan in coconut milk. Allow the pan to start simmering on a low heat. As it cooks just watch that there’s always enough liquid and the apples aren’t sticking and burning to the bottom of the pan. If this is happening just add a little more coconut milk or some water. Peel your ginger and then grate it onto a plate, then add this to the pan. Allow the apple mix to cook for about twenty minutes, at which point all the coconut milk should be evaporated or absorbed. Place the apples in a bowl and use the pan to heat up the remaining coconut milk for a minute or two, then pour this over the apples and add your granola. You can make this recipe in big batches, allow to cool and then store in an air-tight container in the fridge if you want a speedy breakfast. The apples should last about five days if stored this way.
See more of Joe’s recipes at
See more of Ella’s recipes at
See more of Madeleine’s recipes at
LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
Method Preheat your oven to 200°C. To make the chilli, chop up the carrot, pepper and celery into cubes. Heat the coconut oil in a large pot, add the onion and a pinch of salt, sauté for 7 minutes until golden and add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more - but don’t let the garlic brown. Add the cumin, chilli, smoked paprika, oregano and the chopped veg. Pour in the tomatoes, beans, stock and a large pinch of salt, cook for an hour then add in the cacao and more seasoning if needed. While this is cooking, prick the sweet potatoes and place on a baking tray, bake for 45-50 minutes (dependent on the size of your potatoes), until cooked through. Cut the sweet potatoes in half and top with the chilli, slices of avocado and serve.
Top tips ON
FINDING YOUR PILATES POWER
Practise as much as possible! Pick three or four exercises from a class which you want to improve on and do them at home inbetween classes. Some good ones to try are the hundred, roll up, swan dive, spine twist and side leg kick
The power of Pilates Pilates, much like yoga, is the art of balance, posture, strength and flexibility, designed to tone up that core and strengthen that mind-body connection. For some, it’s a real life-saver, giving them a chance to quiet the mind, stretch out sore spots and ease away physical - and emotional - tension. 50-year-old Adrian Bell is owner and founder of Blagdon-based pilates studio, Precision Fitness, where keen stretchers can go for one-to-one tuition and small, relaxed classes. It’s also the only studio outside of London to offer ‘Bodhi’, a type of pilates that involves suspension ropes to improve posture, core strength and muscle tone. Here, he reveals the benefits of pilates for the over 50s and shares some top tips on surviving your first class…
TAKE TO THE MAT As we age, the body tends to lose muscle mass - called sarcopenia so it’s important to undertake some form of strengthening exercise(s) to maintain muscle size and usage. Aging also impacts our flexibility, as muscles and connective tissue become less elastic, and as a consequence joints may stiffen. Arthritis and general wear and tear in joints can also be common problems, resulting in achy knees, backs, elbows - the lot! The good news is that exercise can help all of the above especially pilates, which focuses on better movement to help you feel limber and stronger all round.
Listen to your body and make sure movements are always performed with control and are well thought through. Ask your instructor if you’re unsure
Always make movements functional. Include standing exercises to improve balance and proprioception
Practise breathing. It may sound odd, but we don't always use the depth of our breath and the expansion of our rib cage. Be aware of it - it’ll keep you calm and help ease you into positions
www.precisionfitness.org.uk MOVE WISELY I work with a lot of people in their 50s, 60s and over and we try and focus first and foremost on their movement - we want them to move better, without pain and more efficiently. We start by working on posture and stabilising the core muscles, before moving on from that stable base to balance and flexibility. It’s a process and everyone receives personal attention - even in a class sitting. BE SELF-AWARE Time is spent improving people’s self-awareness, so that they work with their own body and are not tempted to compete with others around. Pilates is really about a person’s own development and that requires self-awareness. We also work at helping people connect to their bodies as a whole. Movements tend to work through the whole body with continuous flow.
DID YOU KNOW? Cardiovascular and resistance exercise can also improve blood sugar and hormone levels, while stability exercise can improve balance and proprioception.
AGE IS JUST A NUMBER We often have clients with medical complications, but we’re able to use both large and small equipment to make movements available to them. We always find a way to help clients - age and physical health are never a barrier. CHILL OUT Exercise definitely boosts wellbeing - clients always feel better at the end of a session. Movement simply helps people feel better! Pilates is a mind and body exercise, in that it requires concentration and precise movement, and there’s definitely a sense of mindfulness when you focus on the movement. MAKE SOME CHUMS Exercise is a great way for older people to meet new people and form new friendships. We know all of our clients well and there is definitely a sense of community at the studio – we want clients to feel at home. LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
Stay sharp Brain-boosting hacks for a healthier, happier mind… LIKE THE REST OF OUR BODIES, our brain changes with each passing year. As children, our brains are like little sponges - soaking up every experience and grain of information life throws at us.
AS THE YEARS PASS, we become smarter and sharper, adapting to the world around us, up until our late twenties when the brain’s ageing process begins and we start losing neurons - the cells that make up the brain and nervous system.
SIMPLE BRAINTEASERS TO TRY: PUZZLES LIKE SUDOKU AND CROSSWORDS - don’t underestimate their powers. Feeling bored? Pick up that magazine on your coffee table and get scribbling. They stimulate your memory and trigger the problem-solving part of your brain.
As we reach our late 50s, our brains have literally begun to shrink. Normal, yes, but scary? A little. It’s a fact that mid-lifers’ reasoning skills start to slow. And parts of the memory start to fade, ever so slightly. You might start to feel a bit forgetful.
DIG OUT THE JIGSAWS - they force you to use both sides of the brain; the left side, which thinks logically and follows sequences, and the right side, which is more creative and intuitive.
FINDING THE DOOR KEYS MIGHT GO MISSING. You may find yourself walking into a room without knowing why. You might forget to pick up the dry-cleaning, or post that important letter. You may feel indecisive; like you don’t know which path to choose, or where you want your life to take you next.
But there is good news. Studies show that other measures of
TRY OUT SPELLING EXERCISES. Spelling out words forces you to mentally ‘see’ the word, prior to saying it out loud or writing it down. Test yourself to wake up the brain’s language-related areas.
cognition - things like moral decision-making, regulating emotions and reading social situations - have been shown to actually improve as we reach middle-age, meaning that today’s mid-lifers have never been more of a wiser, level-headed bunch (with or without door keys).
LEARN A NEW WORD EVERY DAY. Who cares if it’s in another language. Repeat it, try to spell it out. Write it down. Doing so will press on the brain’s prefrontal lobes where judgement and executive function live.
LOOKING AFTER BRAIN HEALTH is something we should all factor into our lives, but there’s never been a better time to get proactive than when you reach your golden years. Read on for top tips on keeping that spongey thing in your head as healthy as can be, from boosting your memory to strengthening your attention span and relaxing the mind…
WORK WITH YOUR HANDS. Try knitting, try making a model ship, build something with nothing but your fingers. It’ll fine-tune your finger control (a great skill that we are all born with, but rarely make good use of, unless you play an instrument or perform surgery for a living) and help boost concentration.
GET YOUR ‘OM’ ON
But it’s not a fad
Much like yoga and pilates, meditation has become a bit trendy in recent years. with practice, it actually works, sending your brain, senses and body as a whole into a relaxed, peaceful state. It stops the mind from wandering. Meditation is all about ‘clearing’ the mind of negative or unnecessary thoughts - that noise in your brain that many of us just can’t switch off. By slowing down your thoughts, you’re encouraging your brain to enter a more relaxed state, regulating heart rate, blood flow and the nervous system. Although relaxing, meditation requires a strong focus (on an object, idea or activity, like breathing), so it’s not so surprising to know that it also helps improve the parts of your brain responsible for concentration, self-awareness and attention. It balances out your emotions. A lot of people start meditating in a bid to reduce stress - and are happy to discover that it does just that. Give it a few weeks and you’ll be surprised at how much calmer and in control of your emotions you feel. Meditation forces you to confront negative thoughts, ride them out, and release them mentally through guided breathing. LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
Pay attention to life’s ‘tiny happinesses’ and the rewards will be worth it, says lifecoach Laura Beckingham...
“PEOPLE MAY CALL WHAT HAPPENS AT MIDLIFE AS ‘A CRISIS’, BUT IT’S NOT. IT’S AN UNRAVELLING, A TIME WHEN YOU FEEL A DESPERATE PULL TO LIVE THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE NOT THE ONE YOU’RE ‘SUPPOSED’ TO LIVE.” - BRENE BROWN
Work right, live more The time is now, that’s why you’re reading this. And yet you may still be waiting to live that life. Waiting for tomorrow, next week, next year; for your older children to leave home, for your next annual bonus, for the courage to leave your job entirely, for the mortgage to be paid off. Thoughts of ‘it’s too late’ may be creeping in. You might feel like the time has passed. You’re too old. There’s too much to lose. You should've done it way back. But none of it is true - the time is now.
So, what is the life you want to live? Perhaps you know that you want to make big changes; leave the job, start the business, retrain, move to the place you’ve always wanted to live, take the big trip. Maybe there are subtler adjustments too; more time for your hobby, holidays, reading, time with friends. And then there are the teeny tiny things - the ‘tiny happinesses’ that truly make the difference to the day-to-day fabric of your life; the cups of tea, the walks in nature, more laughter, fresh flowers, afternoon baths.
Undoubtedly, you know you want to feel calmer, lighter, less busy, more fulfilled and with more time to enjoy the above. And I’m certain you want to experience more joy, have greater clarity and drop even deeper in to life’s experiences. I say, it’s time to claim this life that you want to live - and there’s never been a better time for it than now. Read on for my five top tips on living better…
Find your tribe
You’ve heard it before, but having the right people around you is so critically important. The right tribe will meet your unique needs, and will nourish the many versions of you. Among my tribe are a group of fellow coaches: they champion my every move and listen unwaveringly to my fears; old friends who will laugh with me, feed me wine and call me out when I drop into ego and men who simultaneously nurture me and embrace my fiery masculine energy. Cherish who you already have and go find the rest; they’re waiting for you.
Be greedy with your teachers
Whoever they may be. I have many teachers, literal and virtual: spiritual gurus, my coaches, the children in my life, family, dear friends and I’m greedy with them all. I love to know ‘how do they experience the world?’ ‘What matters to them?’ ‘What wisdom do they have to share?’ Never stop asking or seeking - you’re never too old to learn from somebody else.
I mean broadly in the literal sense genre, historical period, style, and so on. More specifically, I mean read books written by people not like you. By reading more broadly, you’ll become closer to your passions, connecting with what really matters to you and forming a sense of the legacy you want to leave. If reading isn’t your thing, watch different news channels, mix up your social media feed, go to new places, talk to new people, ask lots of questions.
Get alone time
Children, family, friends, jobs, responsibilities... they all rob us of the gift of being alone. We are wired to fill any space we have and as a
consequence we are often overloaded, or at least full-up. So at least experiment with taking some time to yourself. This might mean an afternoon once or twice a month for you, it could be an hour a week to walk the dog, or as simple as taking a long bath instead of a quick shower. This is such a critical practice and many of us, particularly women, feel immense guilt at the mere thought of it. We’ve lost sight of the fact that time and space are the most important gifts we can give ourselves.
Deep in my soul I’m a yes person – that used to mean I’d say yes to pretty much anything – to invitations, to requests for help, to work I didn’t want to do. I’m still a yes person – but now I say yes to me and yes to life, and that now means I say no a lot too. I say no to people I don't want to spend time with, no if the timing isn’t right, no to anything that depletes my energy, and absolutely no to anything that doesn't make me feel whole. Your time for living from obligation is long gone – instead it's time to meet your own needs. LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
Jessica Laing takes some time out to join in at one of Laura Beckingham’s Instant Pause workshops - an intimate one-day event designed to help busy people stop, reflect and look forward to a more fulfilled future...
Press Pa se I’ll admit. I’m kind of ‘in’ to self-help. I know a lot of people don’t buy it - some say it’s all just a bunch of ‘hippy’, cliched nonsense - but in my experience I’ve actually found it to be quite, well, helpful. I have a few books on my shelf that have really helped me see things more clearly. Nudge me in the right direction, shall we say. Have a flick through them and you’ll see I’ve highlighted certain quotes, sometimes paragraphs, that have stood out during times of uncertainty, bereavement, stress and worry. My most recent find (unsurprisingly a number one New York Times LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
bestseller), ‘You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life’ by Jen Sincero, is now one of my all-time favourite reads. So motivational and refreshing that I’ve passed it on to countless friends and relatives in a bid to help lift them up when life becomes a bit overwhelming (which it always does, now and again). There are blogs and websites, too, created by some really fine writers with great stories to tell and advice to give. I’ve also been known to listen to clips of some of the world’s best public speakers (the great Alan Watts is a particular favourite) at
the gym, or in the car on the way to work. But one area of so-called ‘self-help’ that, up until a few months ago, I hadn’t delved in to was group work - until an invitation to join The Instant Pause landed in my inbox. And let me tell you, what a great, thought-provoking and inspiring experience it was. Designed by Danielle Marchant, a Cornwall-born life coach, The Instant Pause is a one-day retreat, created for busy people of all ages, from all walks of life. Attendees are invited to take one day out of their hectic lives to ‘pause’ and reconnect with themselves - and
perhaps learn some new things. A number of Danielle’s colleagues, all experienced fellow coaches, deliver these unique events over the globe (London, Hong Kong, Sydney, you name it) and a few months back arrived in Newcastle for the first time to give some of the busy, worrisome Geordies of this world a helping hand. It took place at The Biscuit Factory, led by the lovely (and oh-socalming) Laura Beckingham. Though based in London, she’s a native Geordie, who worked in the high-flying corporate world for 10 years before leaving it all behind for a more grounded, simpler and meaningful way of life. She now runs her own freelance practice, working one-on-one with the people behind the world’s big organisations - names like eBay and Coca-Cola - and doing public work to help spread the calm. On this occasion, it was an all female affair; a small group of seven woman, all from different backgrounds with different stories to tell. One in her mid-20s, a couple in their 30s and the others in their late 40s. All sat in a chilled-out circle with a mug of tea in-hand. As a little unit, it seemed like we’d been through it all; heartbreak, grief, illness, redundancy, confusion, great joy. We were strangers, but after some time spent sharing why we so needed ‘a pause’ from our day-to-day lives, it felt as if we’d known each other for years. We related to every word spoken, on one level or another. And that, I found, is the beauty of sharing your experiences with a group. You never leave feeling alone. Talking in a group setting may sound mildly terrifying to some, but here you’re encouraged to share as much, or as little, as you want (so long as you have the ‘speaking stone’ - a gold, heart-shaped little symbol you’re asked to pick up when it’s your turn to talk). Some took the opportunity to really offload - sometimes through tears
Life Guide - while others revealed only a few insights. Some of it was happy. Some of it was sad. But it was all good. Laura does a wonderful job of creating a safe space - a really calm environment - in which you feel totally at ease. And not at all judged. We practised the art of reflection by drawing ‘life timelines’, tracking the positive and negative milestones during our years to help gain perspective on what’s been and what it taught us. The timescale was up to us, but we were encouraged to dig deep and take our minds back to particularly poignant times - good and bad. Why? So often we are stuck on thinking ahead to tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, that we forget to look back to see how far we’ve come. Some recalled breakups, career changes, big house moves. Others looked back on loss - the loss of loved ones, the loss of a particular lifestyle or outlook on life. It was interesting - and reminded me of how far I’d come in just a few short years. The afternoon was all about looking forward - to new starts, new challenges, new opportunities.
It was also when the fun really started and the creative juices started to flow. Left alone with what was possibly the world’s largest explosion of crafts at our disposal, we were tasked with creating a ‘grown-up collage’, inspired by the bright and colourful mood boards that have become something of a trend in the world of business, fashion, art, textiles and psychology. Our vision boards would reflect our goal, dreams and aspirations for the years ahead, and with sticky hands and open hearts we were set free to cut, glue, draw and pin something together that reflected our deepest wants. It’s all about putting pen (or pin) to paper and visualising your ambitions - sending them out to the universe - and helping you work towards them. We collected magazine cuttings - looking out for words and phrases that had meaning - added sprinkles of glitter, stickers, colourful feathers, sequins, whatever moved us. In the end, mine focused on practical, more ‘grown-up’ things like buying my own home and
getting married, but also touched on a bit of wanderlust, family life enriching those close relationships - and honouring my key values as much and as often as I can. Things like looking after my health and being a good daughter/sister/ partner/friend. At the end, we gathered together in a circle once more and shared our thoughts on the day. Getting to this point feels like an achievement; you feel productive, like you’ve seized the day and spent your time wisely. You also feel more at ease, as if your mind has been quietened and you can see things a little more clearly, with a fresh pair of eyes. I left with my vision board in hand
and a big smile on my face. Who knew dedicating an entire day to just myself - my wants, my needs and my feelings - could feel so good? And guilt-free? A big thanks to Laura for inviting me along to experience the benefits of The Instant Pause - a new and cool kind of self-help that I’d return to again and again. Try it if it sounds like your kind of thing - you won’t regret it. A little glitter and glue never hurt anyone. The Instant Pause returns to The Biscuit Factory on February 11, 2017. Book your place at
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10 Life Guide
ONE ENTER THE 21ST CENTURY
We live in the world of the smartphone, iPad and laptop. Technology is everywhere and with everyone glued to a screen these days - especially the younger generations - it’s easy to feel isolated. But don’t be afraid of the gadgets. Not only is getting online a great way of reconnecting with friends and loved ones, it’s a great way of feeding your hobbies. Love family history? Get researching. Love music? Download all your favourite tunes. Love sport? Follow the scores live or find a livestream link and watch from the sofa. Email old pals you haven’t heard from in years. Get the hang of FaceTime and see them without having to leave the country. Text a friend or family member and ask if they fancy a cuppa. Embrace it all entering the online world is easier than you think.
HEALTHY HABITS TO LIVE BY
GO TO NEW PLACES
We all want to see new sights and experience different cultures, and most of us have a list of places we’d love to visit before we die. The good news is that we don’t have to go far to see the world with new eyes. Ever been a tourist in your own town? Why not give it a go - visit local parks, museums, libraries, art galleries or shopping districts and discover new things. Grab a table at a restaurant you’ve never tried. Take a guided tour. Book yourself into a local hotel for the night. Enquire about that cruise. Go on safari. Head for a hillside retreat. The time is now - and the world is waiting.
GET A PET
Extensive research has shown the many benefits of owning a pet - and the joy that it can bring older people. Ever noticed how many people turn to pets following the loss of a spouse or partner? There’s a reason - not only do our furry friends offer companionship and unconditional love, studies suggest they may have the ability to reduce stress and boost health and wellbeing, especially during times of loneliness. Not only that, being a dog-owner means you can count your pup’s morning and evening walks as your day’s exercise and you’ll always be met with excitement and (slobbery) kisses when you return home. And if you’re more of a cat-lover, having the pitter patter of little paws around the house is guaranteed to make you feel less alone. Never underestimate the power of kitty cuddles, folks.
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FOUR LIGHTEN UP
If the thought of jogging around the block or working up a sweat in the gym fills you with horror, why not try a lighter form of exercise instead? Experts say that mid-lifers should aim for two types of physical activity per week to stay trim and healthy - aerobic and strength exercises being key. Try things like cycling, walking, badminton, singles tennis and aqua-aerobics to get your heart rate up, and simple stuff such as carrying groceries, dancing, gardening, yoga and pilates to help build muscle, strengthen joints and keep you limber.
EMBRACE THE GREYS Few things in life are inevitable, but as we age wrinkles and white hair are two of them, whether we like it or not. The good news is that, thankfully, more and more people are embracing the lines and silver strands - and you should too. Instead of wasting money on injectables and expensive creams, or masking yourself in makeup, why not get to know your creases and show them off with confidence. After all, they tell our story. Put down the hair dye and go ‘au naturel’. Not only will saying goodbye to chemicals do your scalp and skin some good, showing off shiny grey locks means you’ll be effortlessly on-trend (silver hair is having a bit of a moment don’t you know?) Oh, and the same goes for physique. Be thankful for your body, which has worked hard to get you this far. Perhaps it’s helped you bring your children into the world. Keep on top of personal hygiene, too. Bathe yourself in luxury bath products. Get regular haircuts. Treat yourself to a manicure or a professional wet shave. Love the skin you’re in.
TAKE THE TESTS
Coffee - it’s great, we know. Same goes for tea. Tea, glorious tea. Some days, there’s nothing that a good cuppa can’t fix. But do you know what they’re doing to your insides? Sure, your morning espresso may help you stay more alert during your 9am yoga class (same goes for that mid-afternoon Americano when battling your brainteasers), but what about that lunchtime slump? A caffeine addiction causes all sorts of bother - it makes your heart beat faster and knocks it out of rhythm, it disrupts your sleep and turns you into a jittery mess if you have one too many. Cut down by switching to decaf and reducing your numbers (no more than three cups a day).
CUT THE CAFFEINE
It’s important to pay attention to the niggles. Don’t let the fear of receiving bad news put you off making an appointment, but isn’t it always better to be safe than sorry? Chances are, your aches and pains can be fixed, but if not, the earlier problems are caught, the sooner they can be managed as effectively as possible. Keep on top of optician and dentist appointments. Get your flu jabs. Don’t ignore mammogram and prostate exam invites. Get your hearing and your blood checked regularly. Oh, and treat your mental health with care. Speak to a trusted friend or loved one.
EIGHT DEVELOP NEW INTERESTS
REMEMBER YOUR YOUTH
A bit of nostalgia never hurt anyone. In fact, reminiscing about your life has many benefits. Not only is it incredibly cathartic (there’s a reason we don’t forget our happiest memories), it’s a reminder of just how far we’ve come and all the things we’ve learned on life’s journey thus far. But this isn’t about comparing yesterday’s highs to today’s lows - or what you could do back then, but can’t now. It’s about revisiting life’s highlight reel through old photos, videos and letters. Perhaps you have old diaries you could read through, or old clothing you could go through. Laugh at the fashion back then, tell old tales from your youth, listen to the music that inspired your teenage years, dedicate a dinnertime to the food you used to love (if you can still find it in the supermarket!). Retrospect is a beautiful thing.
If you think having a social life is just for teenagers, then think again. The benefits of having a group of good chums around you are endless, as are the ones that are born out of meeting new, likeminded people. Nobody wants to be lonely, so why not get out and about in a bid to build new relationships and perhaps spark new interests, or a hobby. Join a local walking club or choir, head for church, sign up to a yoga class or do some volunteering. The feeling of community can work wonders when it comes to boosting self-esteem, feeling accomplished and feeling like you (still) have a purpose in this world. Network as much as you can and start reaping the personal rewards.
TEN NO BUTTS
Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable deaths in England, affecting just about every part of your body, from your heart and lungs to your brain and bones. In fact, it accounts for more than 80,000 deaths each year. Our lung capacity naturally diminishes with age, making cutting down - and eventually quitting - even more crucial as we get older. Ask your GP for help (the NHS offer a ton of free, proven support, including nifty apps, ‘Quit Kits’ and face-to-face guidance). Get outside when cravings hit (the fresh air will make your lungs feel clearer and exercise will ease anxiety), distract yourself by talking to friends and family or chew on something healthy instead - things like carrot or celery sticks, peppers or berries to satisfy the urge to put a cigarette in your mouth. Trick yourself healthy. LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
Feel-good buys 8
10 3 1 5
1/ The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well (Penguin Life) £4.99; amazon.co.uk 2/ Sweaty Betty - Eco Yoga Mat £40; sweatybetty.com 3/ Coral Activewear, Frame grey panelled jersey leggings £130; harveynichols.com 4/ Live the Process, Cutout stretch-Supplex® sports bra £120; net-a-porter.com 5/ Clean Beauty Co. Well-Earned Soak £20; cleanbeauty.com 6/ Kreafunk - Buy aHEAD, Plum £79; uk.kreafunk.com 7/ Garden Glory - Diamond Watering Can, Jade £79.95; amara.com 8/ Pashley Poppy Bike, Peppermint £495; pashley.co.uk 9/ Camden Passport Cover - Burnt Orange £95; amara.com 10/ Hakan 9 Open Red - Pre Spring 17 £119; trendygolf.com 11/ Fitbit Blaze Gunmetal Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracking Smart Fitness Watch, Large £189.99; johnlewis.com
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Little things that make life click, from relaxing indulgences to fresh-air fixes... 13
12/ Panama Collection, 2017 W1 Diary £255; smythson.com 13/ Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay Bath Oil £40 250ml; jomalone.co.uk 14/ Original Kids Gloss Wellington Boots £49; hunterboots.com 15/ M’30 Round Champagne Bucket Copper, Mauviel £225; conranshop.co.uk 16/ Historia Decor Oval Casserole Dish £520; amara.com 17/ Nude - Herb Garden, Set of 2 £134; octer.co.uk 18/ Sweet Virtues Energise Chocolate Truffles with China Seeds and Lime £17.95; harveynichols.com 19/ Club Brogue Kiddo - 2016 £220; trendygolf.com 20/ Caroline Gardner Blooming Lovely Gardening Gloves £14.50; carolinegardner.com 21/ Dailygreatness Journal Box Set £114.95; dailygreatness.co.uk 22/ Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom £7.99; waterstones.com
LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
Kristine Zuliani left the corporate world aged 40 for a more colourful and creative life. She launched House of Colour a dedicated personal styling and colour analysis business - soon after.
I used to do this…
I enjoyed working in a corporate environment as a consultant for a national payroll company, demonstrating software, and travelling to meetings all over the country. After five years, I felt unfulfilled and decided to do something completely different with my life - and the reinvention began.
WHY/HOW I MADE A CHANGE… I finally decided to make a change from my corporate life when I reached my 40th birthday - it felt like a real milestone. Two people in my family had been affected by Alzheimer’s, bringing home to me the importance of the moment and how quickly time moves, and the need to do something with my life that inspired me and my personality! Looking back, what helped me was my own Colour Analysis journey which struck me as something I would love to do for others. Handing my notice in filled me with trepidation and excitement all at the same
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time. During my leaving party I was given countless words of encouragement from my colleagues - things like how brave I was and many of them saying that they’d love the courage to make a life change, too.
Now life is about…
I launched my company as a Colour Analysis and Personal Stylist with House of Colour last year. My creative genes are finally flourishing; I work with people to rediscover themselves, to consider a full range of new colours through the analysis process, working with them to identify the perfect style through my Style Development classes. Now, I have more time and more ‘me time’. I’ve joined a running club and find time to paint (watercolours this month). I do pilates and spend precious time with my family.
FAMILY IS ALL ABOUT… My family are the most important people in my life. Spending time together is so wonderful. Now, I have time to read bedtime stories to my six-year-old and going to watch my daughter swim is so precious. It’s not the big trips, it’s the tiniest little things that create the memories - like watching them brush their teeth!
The thrill of empowerment, knowing I’m in charge of my own destiny gives me a new work/life balance.
I’M LUCKY I CAN… Do what I want. I now have the freedom to do what I’ve always wanted to do. I’VE GOT TIME FOR… ‘Me time’ - for the first time since having my children. I love going to the gym, meeting friends and shopping whenever I have any free time between family and my business. THINGS ARE DIFFERENT BECAUSE… My children are nine and six and they see much more of me which also allows more opportunities to watch my son play football and take my daughter to tennis. No more just dropping them off - I can watch the game and be in the moment with them.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF ME… I take my children to school, then buy some lovely treats for my clients booked into my studio. People arrive around 10am and I offer colour, style, skincare and makeup classes. After the session, my clients go home reinvigorated and feeling good about themselves - and I go back to do school pick up again. It’s a perfect arrangement! THE PEOPLE WHO ARE IMPORTANT… The support from my family and friends is so important to me and I couldn’t have made the change without the support and encouragement from my husband.
I thrive on…
The excitement of seeing the change in people’s lives. My transformation has been over a period of time and my confidence keeps growing, which is what I love to share with my clients.
What mid-life means to me…
A new beginning. I feel like a phoenix. I now have a chance to embrace my creative side, while improving people’s lives daily. Through my House of Colour sessions I get to watch - and direct - the transformation. It’s like seeing a caterpillar emerge as a beautiful butterfly!
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CUT YOUR WAYS: INHERITANCE TAX BILL
USE ALLOWANCES Each of us has an annual gift allowance which enables you to give away up to £3,000 free of IHT each tax year. You can give away more than this amount if you want to, but you must live for at least seven years from the date of the gift for it to be free of IHT. You can also make any number of individual gifts worth up to £250 in any one tax year and no IHT will be due on them. In addition to these allowances, there is no IHT payable on a wedding or civil partnership gift worth up to £5,000 if given to your child, £2,500 if given to a grandchild or great-grandchild, or £1,000 if given to anyone else. Remember too that if you are married or have a civil partner, they can inherit your entire estate without having to pay IHT. For example, if your half of the property you live in is worth £250,000 and you have another £150,000 in other assets, you can pass everything to your spouse or civil partner without an IHT charge.
PUT THINGS INTO TRUST Setting up a trust to hold some of your savings or investments can mean that they no longer form part of your estate for IHT purposes. For example, when you set up what is known as a ‘bare trust’ your assets are held in your name as a trustee, but will go directly to a named beneficiary. Any transfers you make into this type of trust may be exempt from IHT, as long as you survive for seven years after you have made the transfer. There are several other types of trust and they can be really complicated, so you’ll need expert help if you’re considering using trusts to help reduce your IHT liability.
LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
GIVE TO CHARITY
All gifts you make to charity are entirely free of IHT. If you leave more than 10% of your estate to charity, then the amount of IHT you must pay on anything else you leave to others is reduced from 40% to 36%. That means that both the charity you’ve left something to as well as your loved ones could benefit from your generosity.
MAKE THE MOST OF NEXT YEAR’S NEW IHT ALLOWANCE
IHT rules are changing, so that from April 2017, a new ‘family home allowance’ will be introduced, with the aim of allowing more people to pass their properties on to direct descendants free of IHT. The allowance will be in addition to the normal £325,000 IHT threshold. It will be phased in gradually until the 2020/21 tax year, starting at £100,000 in 2017/18 rising £175,000 in 2020/21. At this point, when added to the £325,000 current threshold, the allowance will mean that an individual can leave up to a total of £500,000, and a married couple £1m, before IHT becomes chargeable. The allowance will be scaled back for estates worth over £2m.
CONSIDER A PROTECTION POLICY TO PAY FOR BILLS
One way to cover any potential IHT bill you leave behind for loved ones is to consider taking out a protection policy. For example, you could pay monthly premiums for a life insurance policy that will pay out a lump sum when you die to cover any IHT bill. This could save your family or dependants having to sell any of your assets to cover costs. Make sure any policy you take out is written in trust, or your loved ones will have to pay IHT on the pay-out.
*Writing a will is essential if you want to make your financial wishes clear. If you die without one, intestacy laws will apply, and your estate may not go to who you want it to. 29
LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
A new Uni term can kick off empty nest syndrome. Here’s how to handle the hurt...
The B YE B YE ba January can be a gloomy time of year,
NOT LEAST FOR THOSE WAVING OFF THEIR KIDS TO ANOTHER UNI TERM. Their departure and exciting new adventure (not just in September) is a family milestone with mixed emotions on every level – lucky them, poor you left behind?. Dr Mark Winwood, is director of psychological services at AXA PPP Healthcare. He recognises the reality of so-called empty nest syndrome and says there are many ways of making the best of the changes. DON’T BE AFRAID of speaking to your partner or a friend about your concerns which may also help alleviate any worries you may have.
IDENTIFY TRIGGERS that may indicate your mood is deteriorating. This will allow you to get support from others before the symptoms take over. SEEK SUPPORT from friends and family, or look for other ways to extend your social contact, e.g. joining a club or even owning a pet – these are all ways in which you can help ease the symptoms of depression. IT’S ALSO IMPORTANT to remember that children can pick up on your emotions, moods and worries, so try to keep a relaxed, calming atmosphere around the home in the build up to the move. After all, it’s an exciting new chapter in their lives and they may also be feeling worried about their next steps.
TAKING EXERCISE is beneficial and often helps with sleep problems. EATING WELL is also important, so try to eat regular, healthy meals. “Try using some of the tools of positive psychology, it can be useful to identify ‘happier’ moments in our lives in order to get through harder times”, he says. “A really good technique is to make a habit of writing down three pleasant things that have happened to you at the end of each day - this helps you to reflect on the positive.” If these tips don’t help, then it is important to seek professional advice from your GP or health provider who can advise on the best course of treatment. They can refer you to a talking treatment, such as counselling or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). These are regarded as the best approach for mild to moderate depression.
Dr Winwood, says, “We all feel down from time to time and it’s a normal part of life. But when that low feeling won’t go and becomes deeper, like a cloud affecting our lives, it’s a sign of depression. Depression caused by a child moving out of the family home is often referred to as empty nest syndrome.” LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
Will it Matter? Your Will is the most important document that you will ever sign. This one document will guarantee the destination of every item you own. So, “Will it matter if I don’t write a Will?” That really depends on what you have, on your family circumstances and how important it is for you, to guarantee the destination of your hard earned savings. If you choose not to make a Will (or simply don’t get around to it) the law imposes strict arbitrary rules as to how your assets are distributed on your death (known as the Intestacy Rules). In some circumstances these rules may satisfy your requirements but why leave it to chance? If you have substantial assets then it is unlikely that the Intestacy Rules will be in line with your wishes. If you live with your partner but are not married (or in a civil partnership) then your partner will receive nothing on your death. The Intestacy Rules may provide that your children receive their inheritance at 18, which is generally considered to be far too young to come into wealth.
By executing a relatively simple Will you are able to take control of the situation, dictate the destination of the inheritance that you leave behind. Leaving a Will will also make life easier for the loved ones you will leave behind. Mincoffs specialist solicitors are delighted to offer advice on all aspects of Wills, succession planning and inheritance tax. Louise Miller, Head of the Wills, Trusts and Probate department at Mincoffs, is a member of The Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP), an organisation whose members are the most experienced and senior practitioners in the field of Trusts, Estates and Will preparation. Louise and her team will be pleased to take time to discuss your personal circumstances, to address your wishes and provide you with clear, bespoke advice and can be contacted on 0191 212 7753 or email email@example.com.
Louise Miller, Head of Wills and Probate at Mincoffs Solicitors.
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LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
Down sizing AN ESTATE AGENT CAN ALMOST BE LIKE A THERAPIST SAYS YORKSHIRE ESTATE AGENT DIANNE SPROUSE. “The most important thing I can do is have a conversation about different aspects of downsizing. Just by chatting it can provoke something a vendor may not have thought of. Asking thought-provoking questions may be better than direct advice in some cases.”
CHANGING LIFE HABITS
Often people don’t think OF THE LITTLE THINGS THEY MIGHT
MISS WHEN DOWNSIZING.
Being able to keep your options open. For example, if you leave behind a house with a garden will you miss being able to have the choice to sit out on a summer afternoon? Even though you neglect your yard for the rest for the year? Being mindful of replacements for when moments like this happen so they don’t cause stress: Is there a nearby park to satisfy your urge to sit in the sun? Need space for visitors? Just invest in a blow-up mattress/camp bed or convertible sofa for family visits. Don’t stress about Christmas get-togethers – book a restaurant on Christmas day instead of having a gathering in the family home – noone will stop loving you just because you’re in a different house!
LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
DOWNSIZING YOUR BELONGINGS
When sorting through your belongings; although some things might hold some great memories, they simply may not be useful in your new setting. However, it’s important to not be too cut-throat; leaving behind a family home can be emotional, so be sure to keep some items that hold those precious memories!
Keep it in the family
Ask around relatives to see if they would like any of your furniture or belongings that can’t find a space in your new home. It’s a great way to make room but not let go completely; particularly important for larger, more valuable pieces or those with family history.
If you just want to get rid
Then hold a garage sale or take yourself off to the car boot, or for those larger ticket items head to a local auction house. Be mindful that all of this takes time, so to save rushing always overestimate the amount of time it’s going to take. Don’t forget charity shops, which are constantly asking for donations, and will give you a boost that you’re helping a good cause.
Be aware that storage costs can really add up!
Quality of life DIANE SPROUSE
Saving money is an obvious improvement to quality of life. Downsizing can be cheaper in many ways with smaller houses less expensive to run.
Save money on:
A cleaner – less muck and maintenance! Expensive bills for heating a larger empty home. Use saved money for indulgences along the line. Tracking these funds and setting goals could spin a positive if downsizing begrudgingly. Diane Sprouse is an estate agent for YOPA with ten years of experience in helping property clients in Yorkshire downsize.
Being unable to manage household upkeep can often be overwhelming, which might lead to all sorts of emotions like guilt or sadness. If you’re downsizing because your family have grown up and moved out this can also be an emotional time. By moving into a new space it can help alleviate these feelings and create much more positivity in your life.
LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
Shake off shackles Live the dream: the lure of a fast-car, world travel or a gourmet adventure. Downsizing to a hassle-free property can be the savvy way to shake off the shackles of responsibility and release some cash once a business has boomed or a family fled.
Downsizing allows you to gain access to the wealth held in your property – the baby boomers of today are those who have cashed in on the value of their home. This cash can provide funds for retirement aspirations or to help other family members cover important costs like home deposits or university fees.
LIFE GUIDE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 17
Reducing Domestic Maintenance
Having fewer rooms and space to care for can be a relief – at any age. Aching joints and fast minds weren’t made for cleaning and gardening. You’ve got better things to to with your time in early retirement.
Downsizing in later life can allow people to move into properties better suited to their physical needs and that can have a positive impact on their health and wellbeing.
Moving to a smaller and retirement-focused 50-plus property gives people access to greater social contact and interaction. This can help prevent experiences of social isolation and loneliness, which can have negative effects on wellbeing and health.
McCarthy & Stone; “Homeowners typically move about four miles from their existing home, allowing them to maintain contact with existing neighbours and friends.”
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