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Anthea Turner

Anthea Turner, 61, is a TV presenter, businesswoman, influencer and public speaker. She lives in London with her partner and French bulldog, Soho. She is the author of How to Survive Divorce and How to Age Well: The Secrets.

1. The best thing about the menopause is …

On the basis that life makes more sense backwards (because when you’re beginning the menopause you don’t see anything good in it at all), it is actually a positive time because you move into your ‘wise woman’ phase, even though at the time you probably don’t see it.

While first going through the menopause, you feel this is the end of an important part of your life. You feel aware that this is the end of your reproductive life, even if you don’t want any more children. You start to frighten yourself as it’s the first sign of the ageing process. You may not want to admit it even to yourself which is why I think so many women don’t talk about it still. My mum who is 90 still insists she didn’t go through the menopause!

But looking back now, you realise when one door closes, another door opens. When you are in control of the menopause, you’ve accepted it and learned how to navigate through it, probably with HRT, life starts to become – for me and many other women – a lot brighter. It’s the next stage for you and you realise there are still so many possibilities…

2. The hardest thing about the menopause is…

I’ve touched on this already which is the closing down of your reproductive system, a part of your body which is not going to be needed any more. Also, women are vain creatures and we start to see the changes. Changes in your skin, hair and inside. You feel different; you don’t feel on top of things. You’re struggling to be ‘you’ and you just want you back. You want to feel ‘normal’. I know very few women who wouldn’t say the same thing.

3. My lightbulb moment was…

It was actually going to a doctor who plainly wasn’t across the menopause and women’s issues. I explained to him all the feelings of the menopause. But because I was going through a divorce at the same time, he used that as the reason for my emotional state and prescribed me tranquillisers when he should have been prescribing me HRT. I remember getting home and looking at these tranquillisers and reading the blurb. That’s when I had a realisation that I didn’t want them. I just knew I had to find the right specialist to help me and so I did.

4. My self-care superhero is…

I think that walking is a fabulous way to think about things. I might have a problem and I’ll go out and walk and sort it out. Or I might just walk to clear my mind altogether. I love walking in the rain. Inclement weather is quite good because you walk quickly to fight off the cold. Walking is also generally good exercise but it’s something that unfortunately we don’t always do properly. I’m a great one for walking properly which is put your shoulders back, put your head up and walk with purpose. I’ve studied the Alexander Technique so when I’m walking, I am sorting out my mind and getting the right exercise. I come back with a solution and toned stomach muscles!

5. I couldn’t live without…

There’s nothing wrong with vanity. Ancient civilisations were obsessed with what they look like and so are we. It’s the way we present ourselves to the world. I couldn’t live without my hairdresser or my makeup bag because with a good haircut and my war paint on, I can go out there with confidence. It might sound vacuous, but I believe if women are being honest, if we haven’t washed our hair or put on our makeup and are wearing old trackies, we’re not going to rule the world; we’re not going to do the deal. I have a vivid memory of going through my divorce (and the menopause!) slumped sobbing on the bedroom floor and my mum ringing me up. It was two o’clock in the afternoon and she said, ‘Have a shower, blow dry your hair and put some makeup on and ring me back.’ I did what she told me to do and immediately I looked in the mirror and thought, ‘Come on Anthea, you can do this.’

Then we snuck in one last question that we felt we just had to ask!

What made your write your book?

It was turning 60 and acknowledging my own mortality. It’s all very well when people say, ‘Oh 60 is the new 50,’ but it’s not. Sixty is sixty and numbers don’t lie. Whichever way I look at it, if I live to 81 which is the national average, I’ve only got 20 years left and I know I have to make the very best of them. I want to be as healthy as I possibly can so I eat as well as I can, I exercise and maintain a healthy weight. We mustn’t be saboteurs; it’s not how long you live but how well you live. I have spoken to many, many experts over the years with knowledge of nutrition, fitness and beauty regimes and it seemed the perfect time to put everything in one place so I can share what I’ve learned, with other women.

How to Age Well: The Secrets by Anthea Turner is available directly from RRP £12.99 @antheaturner

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