My Midlife Survival Kit: Jessica Cadzow-Collins

Jessica has had a 30 year career in fine jewellery including roles at Garrard, Chaumet and Asprey. We love her survival kit mix of mindfulness, music and laughter.

We love asking inspiring midlife women how they manage their mindfulness and self care. What is in their midlife survival kit to keep them sane and happy? How do they manage the mental and physical health challenges that can come our way during these perimenopause and menopause years?

Mindfulness for jeweller Jessica Cadzow-Collins includes the work of renowned meditation teacher Tara Brach, the inspiring writing of neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart and a glass or two of very fine Chardonnay. What a wonderful mix.

We also love Jessica’s approach to fine jewellery. She set up her personalised service VIP Jewel Vault because she gets such a kick out of helping people with their jewellery.

Over to Jessica to tell us more about her tools for mindfulness and a happy midlife.

Tara Brach meditation, free

Tara Brach

I used to practise a variety of mindfulness meditations via apps like Calm, UCLA MARC and Sam Harris’ Waking Up. After I came across Tara Brach, I fell in love with her warm caramel voice.

I visit her website a lot to listen to her free guided meditations, recorded videos and podcasts, especially her getting to sleep recordings which knock me out right away. 

A few weeks ago I lost my adored brother-in-law to bowel cancer and it’s thanks to Tara that I can come to terms with his death. Her wisdom and compassion are truly uplifting. What she says to dispel the fears that stalk us is so reassuring, she deserves a sainthood.

She’s a Buddhist but her talks don’t have any specific dogmatic ideology beyond simply learning how to allow yourself to be nice to yourself. She’s my midlife guru. She’s also laugh-out-loud funny.

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BBC Sounds, free

BBC Sounds

I’m not much of a telly addict so this app on my phone is like a chocolate box of fun, information, news and views. It helps me see different perspectives, understand context and laugh out loud.

I love experimenting with the huge, amazing array of music.  I love the programming on Radio 4 especially the comedy, and I subscribe to various shows: Free Thinking, You and Yours, The Infinite Monkey Cage, The World Tonight, Business Daily.

My family groan when they hear the Archers Omnibus theme tune, but I’ve been addicted to the show since Helen Archer went through her abusive marriage. I also suffered domestic abuse in my second marriage: I admire that the Archers writers don’t shirk from a challenging story line. I’ve also just binged on Mary Portas: On Style. She’s fab. 

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Fine Wine from Cambridge Wine Merchants, prices vary

Cambridge Fine Wine

I love a drink: Being Scottish, maybe that’s hardwired into me. For three decades I’ve thought nothing at all of my drinking – all the parties and nights out during my 20s and 30s, a half-bottle of Chardonnay at the end of every workday in my 40s.

Now I find my body can’t take it. After two glasses my sleep is disturbed by night sweats and I wake exhausted.

Teetotal is not for me so I’m experimenting with moderation. There are 110 medical studies in which consumption will drop if there is a minimum unit price. So recently my boyfriend and I decided to both gamify and decrease consumption by enjoying a virtual wine tour of France.

Each weekend we enjoy one bottle of fine wine purchased from Cambridge Wine Merchants. We visit the vineyard virtually via Google Earth and YouTube, testing each other from wine books and compiling our own map and tasting notes.

Now we drink one bottle, which costs what I used to spend per week on three or so bottles of supermarket gut rot. I appreciate it for what it is – a bottled masterpiece. We’re off around Italy next!   

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Allbright Club, £1300 annual membership (+ £300 registration)

Allbright Mayfair

‘Sisterhood Works’ is the motto of Allbright Club, which I joined in 2019. Thanks to it, I’ve made new friends and developed my work skills.

I think it was the UK’s first women-only members’ club when it started in 2018. It was set up by two successful female entrepreneurs who wanted to give women ‘of all ages and stages’ a platform to network, grow their careers and wellbeing.

I lost my job at the start of Covid in March 2019, and Allbright has been my lifeline. Everything has been transferred to their digital realm, so I’ve enjoyed events on topics like growing a £5m business to writing a press release. I can’t wait to get back into the gorgeous Mayfair club house with its golden loos, pink mirrored restaurant and comfy co-working space. Allbright is brilliant.

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The Source by Dr Tara Swart, £10.22

The Source Tara Swart

I heard about this book at an Allbright lecture. Being an old sceptic, I doubted that some woo-woo book could bring you everything you wanted. However, I was intrigued enough to download it on Audible with a free credit during Lockdown 1. I think I’ve listened to it three times now!

It’s a book on neuroplasticity by a neuroscientist. It helps you enquire what you really want in life and shows you how self-limiting behaviour is holding you back. I can’t believe I’ve only managed to find a guide to living my best life now, but I’m glad to have a chance to try to get my life how I want it at last. Plus, it’s working.

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