The Shift with Sam Baker

Share

Susannah Constantine on alcoholism, 'mental' menopause & finding herself in her 50s

Season 10, Ep. 101

You might think you know all there is to know about today’s guest. Posh girl who once dated Princess Margaret’s son. Half of the early noughties style duo Trinny and Susannah. Plus a short-lived and strangely identifiable turn on Strictly as the slightly embarrassing older woman who can’t really dance. (Hands up who over-identified!) 


Because that’s what the media has told us. 


But look at it another way, Susannah Constantine is a novelist, writer and broadcaster with over 25 years experience. She’s a hit podcaster (My Wardrobe Malfunction is a hoot - check out the episode with Kristin Scott Thomas!) and, on the cusp of 60, she’s just written a game changing memoir that will make you think more than twice about what it really means to be a girl brought up in privilege; a girl brought up to be Ready For Absolutely Nothing.


Susannah joined me from her swanky kitchen to talk extremely candidly about hitting rock bottom before she could confront her alcoholism, her complicated relationship with her mother, rediscovering her identity after it was ripped away and how she experienced a mental menopause. PLUS surviving Strictly humiliation, Dolph Lundgren and having tea with the queen.


* You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including Ready For Absolutely Nothing by Susannah Constantine and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!


* And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter plus loads more content including transcripts of the podcast, please join The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/


The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.

More Episodes

1/31/2023

Cariad Lloyd on what she's learnt from 25 years in The Grief Club

Season 11, Ep. 118
Hello and welcome back to The Shift. Somehow we're onto our 11th season and I'm thrilled to start 2023 with podcasting legend, the creator of Griefcast herself, Cariad Lloyd.If you’ve been unfortunate enough to join what she calls The Grief Club, chances are you’ve already encountered Cariad, through her conversation-changing, taboo-busting, award-winning podcast Griefcast. A much-needed place to talk about the many messy faces of grief.Now in her 40s, Cariad lost her dad, Peter, to pancreatic cancer when she was just 15. In the late 90s, nobody talked about death, let alone what it was like to join "the dead dad club" in your mid-teens. Now she’s written a funny, frank book about her experience, You Are Not Alone: a new way to grieve. Cariad is also a comedian, actor, improviser and writer who has appeared on Peep Show, Have I got News For You and QI amongst others. So whilst this episode is moving, illuminating and thought-provoking, it is far from sad. I promise.Cariad joined me to talk grief (of course), how pregnancy, therapy and approaching 40 collided, doing "grief maths", why thinking about the future makes her twitchy and how she feels about approaching the age her dad died. We also compared our inner goths and she advised me on how to ask your partner if they want to be buried or scattered!You can listen to Griefcast wherever you get your podcasts.* You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at The Shift bookshop on Bookshop.org, including You Are Not Alone by Cariad Lloyd and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me. The Death Book is available from Victoria Health.* And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter plus loads more content including transcripts of the podcast, please consider joining The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/And if you already subscribe - did you know you can buy a Gift Membership of The Shift for a friend at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/gift_plans• The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.
1/24/2023

Clover Stroud on sex, sisterhood & looking forward to menopause - THE SHIFT REVISITED

Season 10, Ep. 117
Over the Christmas period and into the new year, I'm going to be replaying some of my quiet-favourite episodes of 2022. This week is the utterly fearless Clover Stroud. This episode first aired last March.----It takes courage to lay yourself bare on the page the way today’s guest does. Journalist Clover Stroud has written three memoirs - The Wild Other, My Wild and Sleepless Nights and, now, The Red of My Blood. Each more visceral, more exposing, than the last.But then Clover has lived no ordinary life (whatever that is). Hers features adventure, divorce, trauma, lots of sex, depression and five kids aged between 21 and 5. But before that, when Clover was 16, her mother suffered a catastrophic fall from a horse which left her permanently brain damaged. A state in which she remained until her death 22 years later. Then, two years ago her sister Nell Gifford, to whom Clover was exceptionally close, died of breast cancer, aged 46. The darkness that descended in the wake of Nell’s death informed The Red of My Blood - an emotional read about living with and learning from grief.Clover joins me from her bedroom in Oxfordshire (excellent wallpaper!) to talk - extremely candidly, so please brace yourself if you’re feeling vulnerable - about grief and trauma, bearing the unbearable and how, out of loss, she’s finding a new person to be. But It’s not all sadness. We also discussed midlife sex, sobriety, looking forward to menopause and why we’re bloody lucky to be middle-aged.* You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including The Red Of My Blood and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!* And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter plus loads more content including transcripts of the podcast, please join The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/• The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.
1/17/2023

Kit de Waal on race, class – and her exceedingly cool hair! - THE SHIFT REVISITED

Season 10, Ep. 116
Over the Christmas period and into January I'm going to be replaying some of my quiet favourite episodes of 2022. This week is the brilliantly outspoken author Kit de Waal. This episode first aired in July.---Today’s guest is the award-winning writer, Kit De Waal. Until she was 21, Kit had never read a book voluntarily. But once she started there was no stopping her. Kit started writing in her mid-40s and published her award-winning debut, My Name Is Leon, at 56. Since then she has used her success to work tirelessly to promote the voices of working class writers. Using some of her advance to set up the Kit de Waal Creative Writing Fellowship (aka the Fat Chance scholarship!) and editing Common People, an anthology of working class writing.Now she’s turned her attention to her own childhood. Her memoir, Without Warning And Only Sometimes, is the story of growing up in poverty, one of five children with a Black father and Irish mother who brought them up Jehovah’s Witness…Kit joined me from possibly the most envy-inducing workroom I’ve ever ogled via zoom (and I’ve ogled a few!) to talk being single and reclaiming your own space at 60. We discussed race, class, privilege, the impact of a childhood spent not stepping on the cracks and why she hates that “fucking overused word resilience”. Plus why she’s not interested in a man on the downward slide, being a Tuesday friend and her exceedingly cool hair* You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including Without Warning And Only Sometimes by Kit de Waal and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!* And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter plus loads more content including transcripts of the podcast, please join The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/• The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.