40 OVER 40 Emma Kennedy

April 01, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

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#15

Emma Kennedy

Author and Screenwriter

Emma Kennedy by Jenny SmithEmma Kennedyby Jenny Smith

 

Author and screen writer Emma Kennedy first came onto my radar many years ago when my sister suggested I read a book called The Tent The Bucket and Me. I couldn't put it down and have read it three times since. Each time I've ended up crying with laughter. It's a story of Emma's disastrous family camping trips growing up in the 70s and I can't recommend it enough.  She has of course written many books since, including a touching tribute to her mum after Emma found years worth of letters in the attic after she passed away. 

Recently Emma has joined an ever increasing list of women, myself included, talking openly and honestly about the menopause and has become a patron of Menopause Mandate, a group of women from all walks of life who are dedicated in revolutionising the help and support that women receive from both the medical world and wider society. Menopause Mandate is chaired by the formidable Mariella Frostrup and other patrons include the likes of Davina McCall, Gabby Logan, and Penny Lancaster to name but a few.

She's taken up LEGO in the last few years (as you do in your 50s) and has a dedicated LEGO den in the garden where she films her YouTube channel Relax With Bricks.  We got some great shots in there surrounded by her numerous builds!  I was especially taken with the Death Star which Emma has customised to include toilets, a creche, and an HR department. I love the way her brain works!

Thank you Emma for agreeing to take part in my 40 OVER 40 project, it was an absolute delight to photograph you.

 

 

Emma Kennedy by Jenny SmithEmma Kennedyby Jenny Smith

 

1. Can you tell us about your work with Menopause Mandate and how important that is to you.  Any significant menopausal moments you could share?

I became involved with MM after I went public about the raging heart palpitations and anxiety I had suddenly begun to experience. I was post menopausal - my peri menopause symptoms of hot flushes and night sweats were long gone so it didn’t even occur to me that the palpitations and anxiety had anything to do with menopause. I thought I was out of it. If anything I was a bit smug about it - I’d done it, it was over and I hadn’t needed HRT. After extensive heart investigations, my GP thought to try me on HRT and within 48 hours, the palpitations and anxiety had stopped. I was back to being me. It’s so important that women understand that you can have symptoms beyond peri menopause and that symptoms can make themselves known years after your last period. The work of MM is all about awareness and I’m proud to be a part of that. 

 

Emma Kennedy by Jenny SmithEmma Kennedyby Jenny Smith

 

2. How did the lego obsession start and how has it helped you personally?

I never played with LEGO as a child. Then one Christmas, about five years ago, my then 7 year old nephew came to me with a LEGO set he’d been given and asked me to help him build it. As I did, something weird happened to my brain and I went into a state of extreme zen. My brain goes at a hundred miles an hour and afterwards, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I’d felt when I built the LEGO. But LEGO is for kids right? And I haven’t got any. But then I saw another author post a picture of a LEGO camper van she’d made. And I thought, oh, adults are allowed to build LEGO so I bought the same set and that was it. It was a gateway drug set. So I started posting super short films on Twitter of builds I was working on and someone asked me to start filming the build in their entirety so that’s when Relax With Bricks began. I love it. It’s such a lovely community of people. 

 

Emma Kennedy by Jenny SmithEmma Kennedyby Jenny Smith

 

3. This project celebrates women over 40 - any positive key moments for you since turning 40?

I think for me it was realising that I wasn’t that into acting but loved writing. Everyone should pursue a career in an area that brings them the most joy. Your job is probably the most important relationship with yourself that you will have in your lifetime. It’s the thing that provides self worth and purpose. So don’t waste your life in a job you hate. It’s never too late to change. 

 

Emma Kennedy by Jenny SmithEmma Kennedyby Jenny Smith

 

4. What advice would you give to your teenage self?

You’re gay. And don’t go out with Claudia. 

5. Have you ever come across any hurdles in your career that you can put down to being a woman? 

Yes. I was once told by a BBC radio producer to “shut up, you’re just the girl”. I’ve never forgotten it. 

 

Emma Kennedy by Jenny SmithEmma Kennedyby Jenny Smith

 

6. Any positive words of wisdom for girls about getting older?

Stop worrying about your weight and concentrate on being healthy and happy. You don’t need to do anything other than walking and weights. Eat plenty of fibre, balance carbs with healthy fats and veg and you can’t go wrong. Consume nuts. Do things you want to do. Go places you want to visit. Life is short. Enjoy it.

 

Emma Kennedy by Jenny SmithEmma Kennedyby Jenny Smit

I think it's fair to say that our hormones have affected us all at some time in our lives be it puberty, PMT, pregnancy or the menopause.  If that's you then check out my podcast, Dear Hormones, hopefully it'll make you smile. You can listen to it here.
 


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