Happy International Women’s Day (IWD).  Celebrated throughout the world on 8th March commenorating the movement for women’s rights.  This year the theme for IWD is #pressforchange.  With global activism for women’s equality finally getting the coverage it deserves which has been fuelled by movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, there has never been a more pressing time for change for women.  Indeed the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report notes that gender parity is some 200 years away!


sophie ice maiden


While us women still have a way to go for equality, there are some women making changes and challenging the role of women now.  They are also paving the way for other women to follow.  One group of inspirational women doing just that is the Ice Maidens.  The British Army’s ‘Ice Maiden’ Expedition has become the first all-female team to cross the Antarctica continent from coast-to-coast using muscle power alone.


Over 62 days on the ice, the team travelled up to 43 kilometres a day, navigating crevasse fields whilst pulling sledges weighing up to 80kg and battling temperatures as low as -40°C.  The idea for the expedition was to inspire women of all ages and abilities.


I am delighted that one of the Ice Maiden’s – Sophie Montagne – took time out of her busy schedule to answer some of my questions regarding her recent challenge.  I hope she inspires you as much as she and the rest of the Ice Maidens have me.  Remember to connect with Sophie below on social media and her blog.



What was your motivation for wanting to take part in the Ice Maiden challenge?

I wanted to escape my desk job, I felt bored and unfulfilled, frustrated with mundane life and I desperately wanted to see Antarctica – a totally unique landscape. I wanted to do something physically and mentally challenging that I would remember for the rest of my life and see if by sharing my experiences I could inspire others to take up a challenge and have the determination to see it through.


What were the positives of taking part?

So many, it’s changed my life! But the main thing was the incredible sense of team work and belonging that I had with my 5 team mates. I’ve never met such strong and inspiring women and, although we didn’t know each other before Ice Maiden, by the end I could read them better than my oldest friends. Knowing exactly how to cheer each other up when we were feeling down, or how to motivate each other when we were having a tough day was what made our expedition such a success.


What made you smile during the challenge?

My team mate Jenni – she was always dancing on her skis, singing along to Celine Dion and causing mischief and she always, always made me laugh. She’s morale on tap!


What challenges did you face during your trek?

We had temperatures as low as -56 degrees Celsius and a storm with 100kph wind that kept us trapped in our tents for 2 days. There was also the risk of falling into a crevasse and, if we were injured, help was a very long way away. Most of all though, it was the endurance – we skied 1,704km from one side of the continent to the other which meant 10 hours of skiing every day for 61 days. That was exhausting and I can safely say that every part of my body hurt!


ice maiden challenge

What did you learn about yourself during and after the challenge?

I learned that I have a lot to give a team, that I’m very easy-going, very positive and a good listener. I also discovered a new confidence – we went from zero polar experience to completing an unguided and unsupported Antarctic crossing. Before us, more people had been to the moon than done that, so I feel that I’ve achieved something really unique.


What women inspire you?

Clare Balding is such an awesome role model (and I would love her job!). She is so warm, every generation love her, and she is knowledgeable, successful and pioneering, but with great humility. She has quietly become a national treasure and nobody has a bad word to say about her.


If you could give other women 3 pieces of advice, in terms of facing challenges, what would that advice be?

  1. Break your challenge down into manageable chunks. If it’s huge it can seem overwhelming at the start so set short term goals that will give you confidence and a sense of achievement as you go along. This will help build the motivation to reach that ultimate goal.
  2. Sign up! If you don’t put your name into the hat nobody is going to pick you. When I applied for Ice Maiden, along with 250 others, I never dreamed that I had what it takes to make the final team. I thought I’d enjoy the ride until somebody told me to get off the train…and then I found myself in Antarctica! Don’t rule yourself out of a challenge before it’s even begun.
  3. Don’t let people put you off. I’m an optimist and people are always trying to stamp on my dreams! It takes a lot of strength to ignore the doubters and keep believing in your goal, despite the many hardships and setbacks along the way. Never, ever give up because the planning is always the hardest part.


ice maidens



I also asked some bloggers who inspired them and this is what they told me:


Vicky from Millie Beach Huts is inspired by Dr Kate Granger, young doctor with a passion for patient care.  At just 29, Dr Granger was diagnosed with cancer.  As a terminally ill cancer patient, she had been informed she may only live for another 14 months. But over the five years post her initial diagnosis, Dr Granger achieved so much. I’ve been humbled and blown away by the courage, pride, commitment, love and dedication she has shown to us all at her most vulnerable times.


Chloe from Marble Beauty is inspired by Otegha Uwagba who founded Women Who which is a community for creative, working women Her ‘Little Black Book’ motivates me to work as hard as I can, to build a business for myself!


Catalina from Stylish Confidence is inspired by Mihaela Noroc founder of Atlas of Beauty. In a world that cares too much about appearance, Mihaela demonstrates we should forget about set standards.  


Kate from Ever After with Kids has been inspired by Rose Mcgowen and the countless other women speaking out and standing up against sexual harassment – so brave to put themselves out there and face torrents of abuse and name calling – but paving the way for a better future for our daughters. 


Marie from Restless Soul Adventures is inspired by Katherine Johnson and the many other African-American female mathematicians who worked at NASA in the sixties. Being a techie myself, I see these women as true pioneers for women in technology.


Lucie from Call Me Dumpling is inspired by the author and journalist Xinran. In the 90s she had a radio programme in China, documenting the stories of womenpost Cultural Revolution; she later wrote a book based on the lives and experiences of the women she’d encountered on her show. She touches on topics like the one child policy, gender hierarchy, and the lost daughters of China in her novels.


Mel from Raise the Waves is inspired by Claudette Colvin. In March 1955 (9 months before Rosa Parks did the same thing) then 15-year-old Claudette refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white person. She was arrested and convicted of violating segregation laws, disturbing the peace and assault.  To have that kind of courage, not only as a teenager but as a black teenager during an extremely racist time in the US, is inspiring and motivating.



Twitter: www.twitter.com/Mountain_Sophie

Instagram: www.instagram.com/Mountain_Sophie 

Blog: sophiemontagne.com




Other blog posts in Why She Inspires Me Series

Why B from Boost My Budget Inspires Me

Why I’m Supporting Female Bloggers

Why Becky from Cuddle Fairy Inspires Me

Why Sarah from Life in a Breakdown Inspires Me

Why Emma from EmmaDrew Inspires Me

Why Gwennan from Twentsomethingmeltdown Inspires Me

Why Francesca from Pennies to Pounds Inspires Me

Why Laura from Mum On A Mission Inspires Me

Why Katy from Katy Kicker Inspires Me

Why Jenna from A Balanced Belly Inspires Me

Why Jordanne from The Life of A Glasgow Girl Inspires Me

Why Michelle from Making Sense of Cents Inspires Me

Why Victoria from Lylia Rose Inspires Me





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Open to UK residents only.

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Why she inspires me, celebrating female bloggers is a blog series that I started to stand up and celebrate the strength and resilience of wonderful women. Female bloggers who, in my eyes, are quite frankly unstoppable. I wanted to celebrate these women and share with you their blogs in the hope that they inspire you too.


Today I want to introduce you to Becky from Cuddle Fairy.  First, how cute is her blog name?  It was the first thing that drew me to her website.  What also inspired me to explore was Becky’s positivity.  I often suffer from the ‘not good enough’ syndrome which probably most women suffer from.  So having a specific section for Positivity including quotes, positive thinking and the beautiful Happiness Series really draws me to Becky’s site time and time again.


Women have faced many struggles through time, alas those challenges and more still exist.  Becky understands this and regularly hosts a 3 day Posivitity Challenge.  I took part and I have to say I found the challenge to be the most rewarding thing I have undertaken.  My negative inner voice can be constant but each day Becky posts positive quotes and encourages us to choose positive thoughts.


Becky has really inspired me to change my thinking.  I’d love for you to get to know Becky below and sign up for her Positivity Challenge when you get the chance.



Why She Inspires Me


What makes you smile?

My three kids for sure. All three have great sense of humours and can be so funny.  Birds make me smile which might sound odd. I love to see them flying around and hoping from branch to branch in our back yard.  Anything loving or touching makes me smile.  And I always smile when someone is happy when they tell a story, their happiness shines so bright and makes me smile too.
why she inspires me

If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?

Oooo now this is a tough one! I’d be going for someone spiritual and calm that I could learn from their energy and their wisdom. I’d say the Dali Lama but I would never know how to fill his shoes!
Why She Inspires Me

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I’m proud that I breast feeding my kids until they were around 12 – 14 months old each.  I’m also proud of my blog, Cuddle Fairy & my blog’s social accounts.
Why She Inspires Me

If you could give your 16 year old self advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be?

I’d tell myself not to stress and to take each moment as it comes in. I’d say to pause before I answer any question so I can answer the way I want to and not out of habit or out of a moment of anger. And to start reading philosophy and mindset books asap!
Why She Inspires Me

What drives you to do what you do? What motivates you?

I started my blog for two reasons. One to spread positivity. Two to be a stay at home working mother. The aim to spread positivity is what keeps me going. It makes me really happy when people leave me comments about my blog posts or quotes and how they have helped them in some way. That honestly makes my day and keeps me going!
Connect with Becky below

Related posts about celebrating female bloggers

Why Sarah from Life in a Breakdown Inspires Me

Why Emma from EmmaDrew Inspires Me

Why Gwennan from Twentsomethingmeltdown Inspires Me

Why Francesca from Pennies to Pounds Inspires Me

Why Laura from Mum On A Mission Inspires Me

Why Katy from Katy Kicker Inspires Me

Why Jenna from A Balanced Belly Inspires Me

Why Jordanne from The Life of A Glasgow Girl Inspires Me

Why Michelle from Making Sense of Cents Inspires Me

Why Victoria from Lylia Rose Inspires Me


 I want to celebrate female bloggers. This why she inspires me post is about Becky from Cuddle Fairy.


I am absolutely delighted to host this guest post by Dr Rosy Fazzi , who is head of the Women’s Health department at Dr Nestor’s Medical Cosmetic Centre in Edinburgh.  Dr Rosy is a specialist in women’s health issues, and is passionate about the treatment for management of intimate female problems at various stages of life.  Here are her tips on how to survive Christmas with the menopause.


The menopause is often thought of as ‘the last taboo’, trailing behind many other health and wellbeing issues when it comes to something that is spoken about openly. In fact, the menopause is something that up to 50% of UK women are too embarrassed to talk about at all, even with their GPs.


But it is imperative that we talk, that we open the dialogue surrounding the menopause; it’s something that every woman will experience and we need to create greater visibility surrounding the symptoms and the triggers of the menopause, some of which I want to discuss in this blog post. The menopause can be a distressing time for women who aren’t sure what to expect from their symptoms and aren’t certain which triggers will set them off – women need to be equipped with the knowledge that will help them manage the symptoms and the triggers during this time of life.




For example, we all know that Christmas is one of the most stressful times of the year, but did you know that for menopausal women, it is also one of the biggest trigger times for symptoms of the menopause – in particular, the hot flush?


It’s very common for women to experience a higher frequency of hot flushes than normal if they are exposed to increasing levels of stress, as well as other triggers, including drastic changes in temperature or consuming greater amounts of alcohol or coffee – all triggers which are prevalent during the festive season.


The stress of Christmas shopping, meal planning and sticking to a hectic pre-Christmas social calendar – never mind the day itself – these alone can be hugely demanding for women who feel the responsibility is left to them to ensure that everyone else is having the most wonderful time of the year.


Stress is actually one of the major factors in triggering hot flushes; the release of adrenaline into the bloodstream causes your heart to race and blood flow to increase, leading to a subsequent increase in temperature. A hot flush is your body’s response, its attempt to cool the body down. But a hot flush can be overwhelming in its intensity and leave you sweating and even shivery afterwards, as your body attempts to bring your temperature back to a normal level.


Alongside stress, there are other factors that come into play when it comes to bringing on a less-than-festive flush. The extremes of temperature that come with dashing in and out of shops, or in and out of the kitchen on Christmas Day itself, contribute to kickstarting a hot flush. And while we’re all so busy, you might not think that there’s any harm in consuming an extra cup of coffee to give you an energy boost, or indulging in some wine with friends in the run-up to December 25, but caffeine and alcohol are both hot flush triggers too.


But you needn’t think that your entire social schedule, shopping routine and gift list has to go out of the window this Christmas; in fact, I firmly believe that making small lifestyle changes this Christmas may help to reduce stress levels and keep those hot flushes at bay.


My five top tips for surviving a menopausal Christmas:


Wear temperature-control undergarments

This is such a simple change to make, yet it can really make a big difference. There are some fantastic menopause-specific undergarment ranges on the market, using temperature-control fabrics to regulate body heat, reduce the awful shivers post-flush, and wick away moisture to avoid embarrassing sweaty situations too. These garments are designed for wearing underneath your clothing during the day, so you can still wear your regular clothes and get all dressed up for the festive season, but be confident that you can remain in control underneath.


coping with menopause at Christmas

Layer up your clothing

Layering is the ideal solution for helping to regulate your temperature when you’re out and about. Layer a temperature-control tank top with a t-shirt and a cardigan, rather than wearing one bulky jumper, to help you better manage your body’s response to changes in temperature. Choose cosy items that are quick and easy to pull on and off, depending on how hot or cold you feel.



Swap your coffee for a matcha tea

The caffeine in your regular teas and coffees stimulates the central nervous system, accelerating the heart rate, the blood pressure and the body temperature – all of which can bring on a hot flush. But just plain hot water can induce an episode, so I recommend trying something cooler to start your day. A bottle of cool iced matcha tea a good choice, as it’s cool and refreshing, with very low levels of slow-release caffeine, and an incredible level of antioxidants that help to keep the body healthy – especially important in winter when germs are rife!



Reduce your alcohol intake

Yes, this can be very tricky around Christmas, but if you find that a glass of wine brings on a sweaty, shivery flush, it’s best to find an alternative. There are plenty of non-alcoholic options in the supermarket if you don’t want to feel like the odd one out without a glass of something with dinner, or you can make delicious mocktails with fresh fruit juices. Pomegranates are credited with high levels of oestrogen and antioxidants that can help ease the symptoms of the menopause, as well as rich levels of vitamins C, A and E, and folic acid. Make yourself a deliciously festive, non-alcoholic cocktail this Christmas, using a plentiful helping of pomegranate juice and seeds, so you can still join in the festivities but soothe your symptoms at the same time.


coping with menopause this Christmas

Limit exposure to extremes in temperature

If you can stay indoors and do your Christmas shopping online, you might find it much easier than dashing from the cold into a store with the heating ramped up, and back out again. Extremes in temperature can bring on hot flushes in a flash, so if you can avoid exposing yourself to them in the lead-up to Christmas, you might find that you have a far more comfortable experience Christmas shopping. If you do find yourself getting hot and flustered whilst out and about, try a cooling face mist with rosewater to soothe and refresh the skin, and help you to cool down.


Related posts:

8 Useful Tips To Get You Through Perimenopause

8 Beauty Products To Help You Through Winter


E L Feelgood’s Vintage Top Suggestions to Help You Through the Menopause this Festive Season:

  • Wear temperature control garments.  These garments by Become are just what you need.  They are made using a combination of intelligent fabrics that help to regulate body temperature and wick moisture away from the body while reducing odour. They feel silky smooth, are comfortable and breathable against your skin.  If you head over now to order you will receive 10% off your total order by inputting code ELFEELGOOD10 at the checkout!


  • OMGTea Iced Matcha tea.  Matcha tea has many benefits from potential anti-ageing health benefits  to the antioxidants which have amazing nutrients and enzymes that are essential for fighting life threatening diseases and the negative effects of UV radiation.


  • A pomegranate ‘gin’ cocktail, made with Pom Juice and Seedlip non-alcoholic spirits.


  • Try doing your Christmas shopping online, with stores such as King & McGaw or Trouva, to help you find gifts without the stress!


  • Spritz your skin with Aster & Bay’s Rosewater Mist to cool down and refresh.  This is an amazing spritz.  Rosewater Mist is an aromatherapeutic hydrating mist for face, hair and body. It has a light scent derived from the hydro-distillation of fresh Bulgarian rose petals.  Bulgarian rose is one of the finest out there, our recent trip to Bulgaria I purchased as much Bulgarian rose as my suitcase could carry!



coping with menopause this Christmas


Dr Rosy Fazzi MBChB, MRCGP, is the head of the Women’s Health department at Dr Nestor’s Medical Cosmetic Centre in Edinburgh (www.drnestor.co.uk). Dr Rosy is a specialist in women’s health issues, and is passionate about treatment for management of intimate female problems at various stages of life. Dr Rosy understands the mental and physical impact on women that can result from menopause and childbirth; she is enthusiastic about empowering women, with options to restore their sense of intimate wellbeing and general health. Dr Rosy offers bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, which is an alternative to traditional HRT and can help to ease the symptoms of the menopause.

You can book an appointment with Dr Rosy by visiting www.drnestor.co.uk

Find out more about Become by visiting www.webecome.co.uk



Want some hints and tips on how to survive Christmas with the menopause? DR ROSY FAZZI TELLS US HOW TO SURVIVE CHRISTMAS WITH THE MENOPAUSE

*collaborative post*


Monday Stumble Linky


Recently I have become concerned about my health.  All sorts of things started to go wrong from severe mood swings during certain times of the month to feeling utterly exhausted no matter how many hours sleep I got.  It was when reading up on how to improve my health that I came across Perimenopause.  It was the first time I had heard about it. Since then I have been devouring all the information I can about it, I believe that knowledge is power so understanding it helps with dealing with it.




What is Perimenopause?

It is also known as the menopause transition.  Perimenopause takes place several years before the menopause and can last from four years to eight years.  It can happen to women in their late 30’s to early 40’s.  With the average age of menopause being 50 you can see why it’s important for us women to understand Perimenopause and educate ourselves on how to deal with the symptoms.


Perimenopause does not happen to all women but for those who do, it is a normal process.  According to Eileen Durward author of the A. Vogel The Menopause Guide Perimenopause is “the first phase during which your hormonal balance begins to change.  Many women will begin to experience menopausal symptoms at some point during the peri-menopausal phase.”


I would highly recommend you visit the A.Vogel website to equip you with the information on Perimenopause.



Symptoms of Perimenopause

There are several symptoms related to perimenopause and you may experience some of them or none if you are lucky!


  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Changing periods (duration, flow)
  • Tiredness
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of confidence
  • Breast tenderness
  • Bloating
  • Aches and pains in your muscles





8 Tips to Get You Through Perimenopause


  • Exercise

Taking regular exercise will help with your mood swings as well as staying healthy in your body and mind.  You should aim for 5 times per week.  You don’t need to go to a gym, a brisk walk is fine or doing an exercise programme at home as I have started to do is also great.


  • Food

The lovely Suzi over at Alternative Ageing highlights the importance of nutrition before, during and after the menopause.  Read her article Eating Your Way Out of the Menopause to learn more about the importance of diet and good nutrition during this transition period.


  • Good Sleeping Habits

If you are anything like me, the symptoms I have been experiencing have made it extremely tired.  It’s important therefore to get enough sleep.  That means keeping mobiles turned off when you go to bed!  Make sure your bedroom is a sanctuary when you can relax and unwind.


  • Avoid caffeine

Try to avoid caffeine as much as possible but avoid it close to bedtime.  Switch to a more relaxing hot cup of chamomile tea which will help you unwind.


  • Time out for yourself

During these changes to your body it is even more important to take time out for yourself.  Which can be extremely tough if you have a job and children!  It is important though that we take time to recharge our batteries.  Why not have a nice long soak in the bath or start meditation. Taking time out for 30 minutes a day has proven to reduce the symptoms of perimenopause!


  • Drink more water

Increasing your water intake can also help reduce symptoms.  I can vouch for this!  After reading this tip I immediately started to drink more water and my symptoms have improved.  Of course, it is difficult drinking more water especially in the winter.  But with a few changes I now drink a glass first thing in the morning and have a water bottle beside me as I type this and continually sip during the day.  Drinking little and often is the key.


  • Take control

There are many therapies and treatments that will help get you through any symptoms you are dealing with.  A.Vogel have a Menopause Support supplement for all stages of the Menopause and their Arnica Gel will help with any joint issues you are having.  There are also beauty products out there that all also help you take back control.  For example, if you are prone to increased hair growth the Jolen Crème Bleach facial hair lightening formula is gentle and safe to use.


  • Seek support

It can be lonely going through the Perimenopause, but you don’t have to do it on your own.  A. Vogel have a free 7-day plan with information, support, and advice to help you deal with the symptoms of Perimenopause and if you sign up you will also receive a free sample of Menopause Support.



Are there any other tips you have?  I’d love to hear them.



Want to know more about the Perimenopause? This post is for you, telling you what it is, they symptoms and 8 useful tips to help you through it.



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Terms & Conditions of entry

There will be one winner.

The prize is the meditation pillow and Neom stress  pictured above.

The prize winner will be announced within 24 hours of closing.

The prize must be claimed within 14 days.

There is no cash alternative.

All entries must be received by date/time specified above.

Open to UK residents only.

Please note those who enter will be signed up to our newsletter to receive emails about other giveaways and blog posts.  You can unsubscribe at any time.