“there’s power in the Second Spring!”
Lisa Snowdon wants to help us embrace positive thinking
The Celebrity MasterChef winner, TV presenter and menopause campaigner on championing women, manifesting love – and embracing the woo woo
Menopause is not the end of our lives as women. We are wise and fabulous and living longer. Support the fantastic matriarchs in your life.
Lisa Snowdon has always been a showstopper. Last October, she won Celebrity MasterChef shortly after whipping up a trippy Mad Hatter’s tea party dessert. But we shouldn’t be surprised by the sweet treats under every cloche, because the queen of self care is a beacon for transformational life hacks that help make us all feel good. And today, she’s lifting the lid on menopause.
Since being scouted as a model as a teenager, the popular presenter has introduced us to new tunes on MTV, woken us up on the Capital FM breakfast show, and still gives viewers a fashion fix on This Morning. Telly can chuck her into the jungle, onto a ballroom dance floor or into a Michelin-starred kitchen, yet she always keeps it real. While the fearless former supermodel has also graced the covers of Vogue and Marie Claire, was the face and body of Gucci and Triumph – and dated George Clooney in his perennial bachelor days (something people will forever ask her about) – Lisa has always been open and honest about her personal struggles, from abusive relationships to navigating debilitating menopause symptoms.
Now 50, the passionate wellness podcaster is part of the Menopause Mandate, a collective of celebrities, politicians and experts from diverse backgrounds with one common goal – to keep the meno-cause in the minds of MPs and top of the media agenda. The formidable group is pushing for access to free hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in the UK and trying to revolutionise support, education and healthcare.
Her impetus? Lisa was spurred on by a challenging time that started eight years ago. Out of nowhere, she started to suffer from anxiety, depression, panic attacks and a terrifying feeling of being out of control: “It wasn’t like getting in an occasional funk or feeling a bit crap. It was a cloud,” she says. “I didn’t recognise myself. The rollercoaster of symptoms just kept coming.”
She was 42. Anxious, lonely and exhausted, the M-word wasn’t even on her radar. “I always thought menopause was way further in the future, something for much older women who don’t look like me. You picture grey hair and a walking stick.” She found it harrowing being told that she wouldn’t be able to have a baby. “Thanks to the terrible bedside manner of my initial private hormone doctor, I was left devastated, made to feel knackered and old. I felt unbelievably numb.”
Spurred on by her experiences and then lockdown, in March 2020 Lisa launched her popular Self Care Sunday IGTV series as way of creating a community to help lift each other, followed by the popular Midweek Menopause Madness with expert Dr Naomi Potter. The pair offer medically backed-up health advice and HRT hacks to help other women gain confidence and reclaim their lives. Nothing is off the table.
Following those successes, in the summer of 2021 Lisa launched the Get Lifted podcast to take a deeper dive into our health. “If we put the time in working on our bodies, minds and souls, ultimately the world will be a happier, healthier place. That’s the dream.” She talks to scientists, doctors and alternative therapists about everything from breathing and fasting to sleep and energy – as well as hormones and the menopause. Because it is something that affects everyone.
“Everybody needs to understand that around 51 percent of the global population goes through this change directly as women, but even more people are affected as partners and colleagues,” she says. “Family relationships can break down, and women want to leave their jobs. It becomes a very lonely time when you don’t recognise yourself. So there needs to be more support, understanding and kindness out there for fantastic women, the matriarchs in your life.”
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Every World Menopause Day on 18 October, Lisa rallies with the Menopause Mandate outside Westminster to demand free HRT prescriptions in the UK. “Often women have to choose between whether they put food on the table or take their HRT,” she explains.
The group intends to keep making lots of noise when it comes to a menopause policy in every workplace too. “Ideally we would like a menopause specialist in every surgery across the UK so women aren’t misdiagnosed or given the wrong prescription. Antidepressants really aren’t what we need.”
Often women have to choose between whether they put food on the table or take their HRT.
Lisa adds that in the early 2000s, HRT was demonised, and the science was wrong. “Doctors are still understandably quite scared of prescribing it for women, but the reality is that HRT has changed since then. There’s sprays, gels, pills and patches; it’s far more transdermal and not one size fits all.”
In TOPIA’s regular My World of Good series, we ask inspirational people to imagine a more understanding world through their hopes and influences. We asked Lisa to share some of the tricks that have transformed her life. “Life can knock you off kilter. I want to help women talk about confidence. Little hacks can help you to be fearless.”
1. Embrace the Second Spring
Menopause is not the end of our lives as women. It’s a new positive phase we need to embrace. In Eastern cultures, they call it the Second Spring.
OK, we don’t look like our 25-year-old-selves, we can’t consume the calories we used to burn off, drink all the wine we used to or sleep like a champ, but…
we are wise and fabulous and living longer.
2. Make time for self care
I want to be healthy and look the best I can – we all do. I started Self Care Sunday on IGTV during the March 2020 lockdown, a time when we were all feeling anxious and lonely. It evolved from at-home beauty hacks into talking about little things that we could do to help ourselves to feel great. After a week in your PJs, without washing your hair, you feel sluggish. So I’m like, “Right! Let’s get some structure back to our day. Let’s get up, have a shower, get dressed and make an effort!”.
Moving is important, whether it’s going to a class or walking outside. Live in the moment by immersing yourself in nature rather than being on your phone. I take my shoes off and walk on the grass, just to ground me.
4. Know your triggers
If coffee triggers you, don’t have that second one. If people trigger you, then see them less or better still, get rid!
5. Listen to Deepak Chopra
After being in some quite abusive relationships, I went on a dating detox for one year and would listen to Deepak Chopra’s The Secret of Healing: Meditations for Transformation and Higher Consciousness, every night. His voice is amazing. It plants seeds of hope, happiness and healing into your subconscious. It’s often only when you’ve hit rock bottom and been hurt badly that you can reassess. I spent that year trying to reprogram myself to break the habits of a lifetime – of attracting the wrong person, not knowing my own self worth and welcoming situations into my life that didn’t serve me. I still listen to him now to bliss out.
6. Make a list of what you want
Don’t omit anything when you send it out to the universe! The first time I realised ‘manifestation’ was real was manifesting my partner, George, coming back into my life after 15 years. I used to look at the ceiling and create an invisible list of what I wanted. I wanted a partner to be kind, with kind eyes, a great work ethic, a good relationship with his parents, to be loving, funny, intelligent, supportive, ambitious. And tall! Every day, my list would get longer. I wanted a decent human to show up in my life.
And then he did.
Born and raised in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, today Lisa lives with George Smart in Loughton, Essex. They originally met over 20 years ago, when they both worked at MTV.
7. Think positive
The power of positive thinking is massive. It’s a magnet to everything.
You can do this from day to day. Just fast forward yourself into a space, take a moment of reflection, picture what you want and think, “I got this!”. I even visualised that I was going to win MasterChef. (That’s not to say I didn’t try really bloody hard. I mean, I sliced up my fingers and got covered in burns.)
In the final, it was my own personal challenge to nail preparing duck. I practised cooking that dish so many times (poor George!) that I cleared duck out from every supermarket and butcher in a five-mile radius. When I won, a friend bought me two cute little wooden ducks to remind me of that mission!
8. Embrace the woo woo!
If we put the time in working on our bodies, minds and souls, ultimately the world will be a happier, healthier place. That’s the dream.
In my Get Lifted series, it’s been so nice to make something for my community without any producers breathing down my neck! One episode is called ‘What’s the Woo Woo?’ as I’ve always been open minded when it comes to energy; it features incredibly brilliant practitioners talking about manifesting, journalling and reprogramming our brains.
I love a holistic way of life and use CBD oils in times of need. I also like spritzing things to help deflate me. The Moon Mist aura spray by Paolo Reflex is a beautiful mood-changing spray that he charges – bespoke – under the light of the full moon every month with big vats of crystals.
9. Read The Life-Changing Power of Intuition by Emma Lucy Knowles
This book is about learning to trust your gut. Don’t ignore the signals. It’s happened to me my whole life. You try to convince yourself someone you don’t like is fine, cut to… they’re an asshole.
Another book recommendation is The Source by neuroscientist Tara Swart. It’s about the neurotransmitters and pathways in your brain, and trying to retrain your thought processes.
Also, the first Menopause Mandate book, It’s Beyond a Joke is incredible. Alice Smelle collated all your brilliantly brave stories. It’s done with humour but there are some heartbreaking takes of misdiagnosis.
10. Learn to breathe properly
Stuart Sandeman, aka Breathpod, is an amazing breathwork guru, who says: “If in doubt, breathe it out.” Whenever you’re feeling completely out of sorts – panicked, worried, scared – just take a deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds and breathe out.
We never get taught how to breathe. If we had to concentrate on breathing we’d probably forget to do it, and be dead! If I’ve got a deadline or I’m rushing, my breathing will be shallow ad my body panics like a tiger is chasing me. But we can reset our body and mind by concentrating on different techniques by experts like Stuart, as well as Aicha Mckenzie and Chris Wille.
11. Appreciate the crackle of vinyl
We’ve just got a new record player. Putting vinyl on is a ritual – a beautiful way to properly appreciate music. Chaka Khan’s ‘I Feel for You’ was my first 12-inch, and I’ve still got it. I’m such a musichead. George and I have got a really soulful collection we’re curating. We’ve got a bit of Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill, some funk, disco and 80s. Prince is one of my all-time favourites. ‘Girls and Boys’ and ‘Erotic City’ are tunes.
12. Watch feelgood films
Like Almost Famous! It’s an uplifting, super-cute feelgood story by Cameron Crowe about hopes, dreams and integrity. It was Kate Hudson’s breakout moment – playing Penny Lane, a “Band-Aid”, not a groupie – and reminds me of my best friend Michele, who lives in Los Angeles. We love that movie. It’s about that tenacity and belief that you can do it, and that’s what moves me.
13. Fill life with little surprises
14. Honour real-life heroes
After getting a rare glimpse behind-the-scenes of the work carried out by the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance helicopter crew on MasterChef, I am proud to have joined the charity as an ambassador. My feedgood recipe is a wholesome veggie version of the sweet potato dish I cooked for them on the show.
Celebrity MasterChef semi-finalists Mel Blatt, Danny Jones, Lesley Joseph, Kitty Scott-Claus, Lisa Snowdon, Faye Winter, Cliff Parisi and Jimmy Bullard | Photo credit: BBC/Shine TV
If I could have any superpower, it would be flying. I love flying dreams. I’m running then all of a sudden, I take off. It’s an amazing feeling when I’m soaring through the air. If I could fly, I could be transported to Japan, or to my spiritual home in Thailand. I’d also be able to get into London really quickly!
16. Treat others how you want to be treated
My dad always says this and it’s stuck with me.
We’re all doing the best we can.
17. Have a GOOD TIME!
I would like to be remembered as a girl’s girl.
Who is loving and generous. And had a really good ****ing time!
Lisa Snowdon recipe hacks
Stuck for recipe ideas? The Celebrity MasterChef winner recommends her sources of inspiration.
- If you want to eat more vegetarian food, Yotam Ottolenghi is great.
- I love Tom Kerridge, period.
- I’ve always loved Jamie Oliver and have a whole shelf of books where my MasterChef trophy is.
- BBC Food has some great recipes.
- Fall down rabbit holes by simply searching online. You just put in “sweet potato recipe” or perhaps “chicken, tomato and chilli dish” – or enter your ingredients – for inspiration. Easy!
Want more from Season 02 of TOPIA?
What’s so good about this?
Lisa Snowdon is on a mission to spread the word that growing old just means getting better. This new phase of life is actually a golden opportunity: a chance to become an even stronger, even bolder you. In her first book, Just Getting Started: Lessons in Life, Love and Menopause (HarperCollins, 25 May 2023), the radio and TV presenter, podcast host and menopause advocate supports women from fertility to the second spring and beyond. “By being patient, kind and open-minded, by learning and listening to what your body needs, you too can make it through the menopause with a smile on your face.” Preorder here.
Meet the writer
Lisa Goldapple is the creative brain behind the world of TOPIA. The magazine’s Editor-in-chief has been creating shows for MTV, BBC, Vice, TVNZ, National Geographic and more since the noughties. Then created social good platform, Atlas of the Future. Today her desk faces the trippy side of Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, which might explain a few things. To understand how TOPIA came out of this rare brain, read ‘Mind Blown’. As she puts it: “If life splinters and you hallucinate triangles, make a kaleidoscope.”