Season 6

Wednesday 4th October  2022
Lara Briden
Hormone Repair Manual 
Every Woman’s Guide to Healthy Hormones after 40

To kick off Season 6 of The Merry Menopause Bookclub Podcast my wonderful  guest is Naturopathic Doctor Lara Briden. 


A graduate of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, Lara practices in  Christchurch, New Zealand, treating women with symptoms of PCOS, PMS, endometriosis, Perimenopause, and many other hormone- and period-related health problems.


Lara joins me to talk about the second of her two brilliant books Hormone Repair Manual which is about navigating and relieving the symptoms of Perimenopause and Menopause, but I urge you to also check out her first book Period Repair Manual.

Join us as we discuss:-

  • How our Periods play an integral part of our Perimenopause.
  • Want to know if you are in Perimenopause?
  • Perimenopuase and The Pill
  • The 9 common symptoms of Perimenopause.
  • Perimenopause and driving
  • Lara defines Menopause
  • Menopause is part of our evolution, it’s not an accident of living too long! 
  • It’s important that we change the narrative and understand that we are meant to go through this!
  • Early human groups wouldn’t have survived without the survival tactics of it’s Menopausal members. 
  • Why Perimenopause is a tipping point for our long term health. 
  • Insulin intolerance and sensitivity
  • Metabolic health
  • The importance of ovulation
  • Using your period as a barometer as to what is happening to your body
  • Why your 65 year old self will seriously thank you for the positive changes you make in your 40s.
  • I ask Lara about the period I had after 450 days of being period free!
  • Annovulatory Menstrual Cycles – why we all need to know about them . 
  • Why Lara calls Perimenopause Secondary Puberty


This will make sense once you have listened! – And the 9th symptom is….. Onset of night sweats, in particular premenstruall


Lara’s book choice is the wonderful Circe by Madeline Miller

You can find out more about Lara and her work here


Wednesday 10th October  2022
KIRSTen Miller
The Change
 It’s Not Over. It’s time. 

My guest for this episode to discuss her first adult book The Change is  feminist author in the Young Adult and children’s space, Kirsten Miller.
The Change is the story of three women in their Perimenopause who discover that the changes of reaching this age are also their Superpowers.
Life has become so quiet for Nessa since her husband died and her daughters left home that she starts to hear the dead. Jo channels her rage and the heat of her hot flashes and makes them her strength and Harriet is undergoing a very spiritual metamorphosis.

It’s Menopausal Super Hero’s to the rescue!

I loved the The Change and the re-framing of the symptoms of Perimenopause. It show-cases this transition as a time when we truly step into our power.

Join Kirsten and I as we discuss not only The Change but also:-

  • Kirsten’s Perimenopause and the Superpower she discovered, running.
  • The Superpower of not giving a damn.
  • The stories we have been told about Menopause, to keep us in our place!
  • Kirsten’s advertising background and the misogyny within the industry. 
  • The gender bias prompted by Kirsten’s book choice Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez. 
  • Kirsten and her periods and an indicator of her Perimenopause
  • How ‘not giving a damn’ is a real Superpower we should learn to harness. 

Kirsten’s Book Choice – Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

Find out more about Kirsten and her work here

Wednesday 19th October  2022
Sharon Blackie
Reimagining the Second Half of Life

My guest for this episode is Dr Sharon Blackie award-winning writer, Psychologist and Mythologist. Her highly acclaimed books, courses, lectures and workshops are focused on the development of the mythic imagination, and on the relevance of myth, fairy tales and folk traditions to the personal, cultural and environmental problems we face today.

She joins me to discuss her new book Hagitude which explores how nine very different female archetypes chosen from myths and fairytales can help us to gain a better understanding of our Menopause transition and also create a map of how we want to be as we age.

The key question at the heart of this book is how an exploration of the vividly wonderful and diverse archetypal characters in our fairytales and myths might help us to create a map of what it is to become a good elder

Join us as we discuss:

  • How myths and folklore portray the older woman, compared to the modern perception of older women. 
  • The struggle to find positive examples of ageing women in literature that are seeing the second half of their life as an adventure rather than a decline. 
  • Women are looking for inspiration and different ways to envision why they might want to go on living for decades!
  • Jung’s perspective on ageing as a spiritual process, different from the action-orientated first half of our lives. 
  • As women we naturally turn inwards and start to ask the bigger questions as we age. 
  • Menopause as the time between stories 
  • Menopause as an alchemy, burning away the stuff that we are attached to in the first half of our life that won’t serve us as we move forward, we need to make room for our new story. 
  • Sharon’s Menopause journey – an accumulation of the rage which started in childhood as a child who had never been allowed to express her anger.
  • Wrath vs anger, if we don’t get rid of trapped anger it manifests itself within the body.
  • The role of the Fates and the Furies in Greek mythology – two trios of 
  • Older women perceived to have the knowledge and stability strength to keep order and hold it together. 
  • One big lesson of Menopause is learning how not to hold on desperately to youth and staying young.
  • When HRT is presented as a way to stay young and beautiful, that’s wrong. 
  • Acceptance of ageing and cultural stereotypes.
  • An increasing number of younger women are relating to the Hag or the Crone in fairytales rather than the beautiful princess character. 
  • Creating the archetype of our Elder selves
  • Our gift – every one of us is a unique expression of what it is to be human, that’s our gift.
  • How we find clues in our childhood as to our inner hag that we become in later life. 
  • Reclaiming the definition of “Hag”
  • Sharon’s dreams and her dream theory.
  • The alchemy of Menopause. 

Sharon’s book choice – DH Lawrence The Rainbow

Wednesday 25th October  2022
Alexandra Pope & Sjanie Hugo-Wurlitzer
Wise Power
Discover the Liberating Power of Menopause

Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer are the co-founders of Red School. Together they have spent over 10,000 hours researching and refining their radical new approach to health, creativity, leadership and spiritual life. And the best bit? It’s rooted in the bloody, wild, radical power of the menstrual cycle and Menopause.

They are the authors of two Hay House books Wild Power – which completely changed my life – and the book we are discussing in this epsiode the newly released Wise Power, which is all about discovering the liberating power of Menopause 

They say never meet your heroes but I have now met two of mine. It was a privilege to have Alexandra and Sjanie as my guests. Join as for this beautiful and empowering conversation, that will change the way you look at and experience your Menopuase forever. 

  • Alexandra explains the power of the Menstrual cycle and how Menopause is the final stage of the journey and shares her experience. 
  • Power! The difference in conscious and unconscious use of our power, how it shows up and how to navigate it. 
  • Alexandra talks about her early 50s and her personal experience of the impact of the Menopause process.
  • It should be our birthright that we come into Menopause with some degree of connection with ourselves and knowing ourselves because we have been in touch with our body through cycle awareness. 
  • Rage and Tiredness – When we feel these without context or reason we can feel there is something wrong with us.
  • The dignity of reclaiming our power – This is happening for a reason, this is what you are meant to be feeling.
  • Why the preparatory phase of Menopause is so important
  • Menopause doesn’t just happen in a vacuum its the culmination of our journey
  • So much that happens in our 40s is teaching us to care for ourselves and showing us what needs to be healed.
  • The five phases of our Menopause initiation
  1. Betrayal – at Menopauise we are changing and at the beginning of any time of change there is phase of chaos. 
  2. Repair – Rest is EVERYTHING.
  3. Revelation – Recognising yourself and the changes you’ve experienced.
  4. Visioning – Getting clarity about your vision and what lights you up
  5. Emergence – What happens next?!
  • How Alexandra and Sjanie met
  • How Sjanie is preparing for her Menopause journey. 

Alexandra’s book choice –  Becoming Supernatural  by Dr Joe Dispenza 

Sjanie’s book choice – Mary Magdalene Revealed  by Meggan Watterson

Wednesday 3rd November  2022
Anniki Sommerville
The Big Quit
How to Ditch the Job You Hate and Find Work You Love

Anniki Sommerville’s specialist subjects include Perimenopause, parenting and work/life juggling. She has written for The Telegraph, The Guardian and Grazia and is the author of 5 books. 

In this episode, we talk about her latest book – ‘The Big Quit,’ which is all about how to navigate work and find the right balance for you. 

My personal experience and that of friends, clients and The Merry Menopause community drew me to this book.  Perimenopause and Menopause can put a spotlight on our relationship with work and our careers. 

Join us as we discuss:-

  • Anniki’s experience of Perimenopause.
  • ‘The reckoning’ that comes up in our early 50s.
  • Work ephiphanies. 
  • How did our ancestors feel about work? A brief history of female working life. 
  • The pressure we put on ourselves which leads to overachieving. 
  • Recognising that at times you may not have the stamina to keep pushing yourself to achieve – when you have young children and/or reach Perimenopause.
  • The concept of ‘quiet quitting’ – in your job doing the bare minimum 
  • Asking yourself the important questions – is work serving me? What are my options? Am I regularly feeling overwhelmed, frustrated angry? 
  • Get clear on what you don’t want, the not-so-shit job!
  • What would the ideal job look like?
  • Comparison – comparing ourselves with others who we perceive to have ‘the dream job’ without realising that everyone compromises. 
  • Toss away the idea that there is a perfect job – there is no such thing
  • We reminisce on the careers advice given, or not, to us in the late 80s
  • Anniki’s career aspirations as a 14 year old. 
  • Anniki’s career path. 
  • The pressure of being the chief earner in a family. 
  • Have an open mind and a clear idea of what you want and you will spot the opportunities available to you. 
  • If you are in a negative spiral and you can’t see any escape remember all situations are TEMPORARY.
  • Mental health and Perimenopause 
  • Tools for re-assurance and self-confidence 
  • Boundaries and taking a break – work will take over if you allow it to
  • Actively manage your phone – think of it as a person. What kind of person would it be?
  • Mis-interpreting Zoom calls and texts messages
  • Our life skills are valid and valuable in the workplace. Older women are being undervalued by themselves and their employers. 
  • You can’t have it all – what are your priorities? 
  • How to move on – If you are not enjoying your job, know that it doesn’t have to be forever
  • LIFE IS TOO SHORT – Anniki talks about losing her father and the shift in her perspective
  • Stop focusing on what you can’t do and start focusing on what you can do.
  • Alcohol and Perimenopause. 


Anniki’s book choice – Love Your Sober Year by Kate Baily and Mandy Manners 


Find out more about Anniki here



Wednesday 9th November 2022
Bonnie Garmus
Lessons in Chemistry

What better way to finish off season six of The Merry Menopause Bookclub Podcast than with Bonnie Garmus author of The Sunday Times No 1 Bestseller “Lessons in Chemistry”

Bonnie and I connected on Instagram where I was raving about Lessons in Chemistry, It is one of my favourite  reads this year so far and I was delighted Bonnie said yes to being my guest.

Lessons In Chemistry is about a woman named Elizabeth Zott, a fictional chemist in late 50s early 60s America. She gets fired from her research job for the crime of being unwed and pregnant and as things get a little tight money wise she accepts a job as a TV cooking show host. Most of us would consider it a job to kill for, but Elizabeth Zott doesn’t want the job at all. So instead of teaching straight-up cooking, she ends up teaching the nation chemistry – because cooking is chemistry. And as she does so she ends up teaching women what they are made of at a molecular level and she ends up changing a nation because of it.

Join us as we discuss:- 

  • Sexual assault in the workplace – 1:6 American women experience it.
  • How the character of Elizabeth Zott came into being.
  • How a bad day at work inspired Bonnie to write the first chapter of Lessons in Chemistry.
  • Bonnie dedicates the book to her incredible mum and I find out why.
  • How the ‘The Average Housewives” of the 50s raised a generation of feminists.
  • Why Elizabeth Zott is a role model for Bonnie and the joy of creating and writing her. 
  • Elizabeth Zott’s rich backstory – depression and loneliness.
  • How so many men are totally unaware of the misogyny and sexual assault that happens in the workplace.
  • How can we make sure we have allies in men at work and at home.
  • The awareness of women’s rights issues that Lessons in Chemistry has raised amongst its male readers.
  • A sneak preview of Bonnie’s next book!

Bonnie’s Book Choices:-

The Anthropocene – John Green

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Rachel Joyce

Find out more about Bonnie and her work here