My Midlife Survival Kit: Emma Bardwell

Nutritionist Emma Bardwell swears by her posh pillow and peanut butter to fend off a midlife crisis.

Ask any perimenopausal woman, what is a midlife crisis, and she’ll tell you it’s haywire hormones and the sudden onset of brain fog and anxiety. Sound familiar? Many of us are struck by an unexpected doom and gloom and loss of confidence in the midlife years. What is a midlife crisis? We reckon that’s it.

We’ve asked some of our favourite midlife women to share what’s in their midlife survival kit. Nutritionist Emma Bardwell’s mix is just brilliant. What is a midlife crisis if you can’t turn to peanut butter, a fancy pillow and a compelling podcast to make yourself feel better. We’re with Emma all the way.

Lucas Papaw Ointment, £12.40

what is a midlife crisis

I first discovered this on holiday in Oz over a decade ago. Amazing for chapped lips, taming unruly eyebrows (Glossier Boy Brow also good for this), splinters, dry elbows… I even put it on the ends of my hair. I make my bestie who lives in Sydney bring back a job lot every time she visits me. I haven’t told her you can buy it in the UK now so I hope she’s not reading this. 

Adam Buxton Podcast

what is a midlife crisis

Dr Buckles properly gives me life; his podcasts are therapy for me. I listen to them on the way home after dropping my daughters off at school and this is often the highlight of my day – I get panicked if I see someone I know who wants to chat (seriously, buzz off).

My brother died in March and I’ve found Adam’s openness about his own grief when he lost his mum and dad in quick succession really comforting. Every episode is gold but the Louis Theroux chats really stick out; the Caitlin Moran episode is also worth a listen. Worth tuning in for the Squarespace parody ads alone. 

John Lewis Hungarian Goose Down Pillow, £75

what is a midlife crisis

Sounds a bit boujie but this goes everywhere with me: car journeys, planes (those were the days), holidays, weekend at my Mum’s house. My family love to make fun of me and my precious ways but I always have the last laugh when we arrive at an AirBnB and the pillows are wafer-thin and lumpy.

I know it’s nuts spending £75 on a pillow but bed is my happy place since I hit midlife so I figure it’s a worthwhile investment. Am saving up for the duvet.

Babyliss Flawless Volume Hot Air Styler, £30

what is a midlife crisis

My frizzy hair gets me down but this hot air styler makes it sleek and manageable (my sister swears by it, too). Lasts for a good few years before conking out – perhaps because I don’t clean the air filter – and each time I replace it immediately.

I air dry my hair, use this to smooth it out, iron the ends with straighteners and I’m good to go. Sounds like a right faff but I’ve got it down to about 10 minutes. If my hair looks good I feel 1000 times better about myself. Vapid but true.

Manilife Original Roast Smooth Peanut Butter, £3.75

what is a midlife crisis

I’ve tried a lot of peanut butter but this tops the lot. In answer to the age old question, crunchy or smooth, I’d have to say crunchy for toast but smooth for porridge toppings. Original Roast Smooth is my go-to for swirling on Instagram breakfast posts. Yep, I hate me too. 

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