We may finally have started talking about menopause, but it can still seem like a mystery.

"It’s ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous," says TV and radio presenter Jenny Powell, admitting her menopause symptoms ‘crept up’ and took her by surprise. "And I’m one of those people who’s always tried to check in on myself, I’m always looking after my health. And when you think you’re doing that, you think whatever comes along, you’re going to just nip it in the bud.

"But perimenopause, menopause, it isn’t like that. It really slowly creeps up on you, bit by bit, and then boom – you’re in it! And boom – you’re that person, who sometimes goes, ‘That’s not me, this isn’t me’."

It’s not helped by the fact "it’s got so many layers to it and it’s so individual" and your needs can change from one week to the next. "But I don’t want to be too negative about it either," Powell, 54, adds. "I’ve got two daughters. I don’t want them to be like, ‘Oh my God, I don’t want this time of my life, I’m dreading menopause – is it going to be like that?’"

The "positive" thing, she acknowledges, is we’re finally bringing awareness to it. "And it’s making people take time out for themselves and respect themselves a bit more when it comes to their health. For women, it’s making us realise we have to be responsible for our own health and wellbeing first and foremost, before we can be responsible for anybody else’s."

For Powell – who is mum to Connie, 21, and Pollyanna, 13, from her first marriage to Toby Baxendale (she and the girls now live in Cheshire with Powell’s fiancé, sports therapist Martin Lowe, although Connie has been off at university in London and recently graduated) – this has all been mixed in with grief.

"My dad died right in the middle of it, which took me right back to square one, when I thought I was getting closer to being myself again," says the Greatest Hits Radio host, whose dad Leslie died in July 2021, aged 93.

It’s taken her a while to "let myself grieve", she says, adding. "It’s a funny one, grief. Because you don’t really think about it until it happens." And she’s "really grateful" she already had her yoga.

"Dad was on palliative care and was given two weeks to live – he lasted 12," Powell recalls. "That’s really stressful, when you know [what’s coming] and it’s not happening and it’s just going on and on. I got him into a beautiful hospice in the end, but we cared for him at home for about nine weeks. And without fail, I would go to yoga first, before going to dad, because that was my crutch. It just gave me the strength, and everybody at yoga was so lovely to me. It helped me no end, without a doubt.

"And now he has died, I connect with him in yoga. At the end of our [sessions], I close my eyes and I connect with my dad, so it’s a continued thing now. But I’m forever grateful that I was already doing yoga."

A "late starter", Powell only took it up at 50. She’s always been very into fitness and was aware that taking care of your bones, flexibility and mobility is "really important at this stage in life". However, she says it’s been "a game-changer", and an hour of yoga "sorts out everything – mind, body and soul".

She can’t stop singing the praises of being more connected to her breath. For example, it comes in handy when she needs a quick reset before going live in front of an audience. "When you get the menopause, you have far more moments where you go, ‘I just don’t want to be me today’. I’ve found that’s something where I really have to dig deep sometimes – so I take myself to one side and I do some breathing. It’s amazing what that does for you," she adds. "That’s from tapping into my yoga and it’s my go-to tool now."

Powell loves live events (Ian West/PA)
Powell loves live events (Ian West/PA)

Another thing Powell has been singing the praises of is bone broth, which she swears by for helping her feel good lately, particularly her gut, hair and skin. She remembers her mum "boiling up bones" to make broth when she was young, and got reacquainted with it more recently, thanks to Martin.

"He’s really into nutrition and real food, he started me off on all those kinds of things," Powell explains. "I didn’t even know what coconut oil was, what’s good for you, all that sort of thing – so Martin introduced me to making bone broth myself. We’ve had it in our house for a while. Pollyanna would come in and say, ‘You’re making broth, aren’t you?’ – because you’re boiling up a chicken carcass for 24 hours, you can smell it!"

She’s now teamed up with Boosh, promoting their range of organic broths, which she loves because "they’re laden with collagen" (and getting their pre-made jars means she doesn’t have to boil her own chicken carcasses all day).

Work is still a big joy, too. Powell, who started TV presenting in the Eighties, rising to fame on ITV’s Wheel Of Fortune in the mid-Nineties, now does a lot more radio and live events, such as festivals. She also hosts The Hot Mess Mums Club podcast with fellow radio presenter Kelly Pegg. But she’s a lot pickier these days.

"I’m happy to say no," says Powell. "I will put aside a certain amount of time for myself, no matter what, if I’m feeling a bit like ‘Oop, I’m doing too much’. When you’re younger, you feel like, ‘Oh I’m not allowed to do that, I’ve got to just keep going, keep going’. I fretted a lot more when I was younger."

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To "work consistently" but not "let it take over" is her goal now.

"I love events because I love live audiences, and I decided to do a podcast because I wanted to be more in control of what I did and when. But things like holidays, my family and my lifestyle, if [work] starts to really impinge on that, then I’ll back off.

"I’m at that stage where I just want to do what I like doing," says Powell. "There’s a time for doing all that fretting, thinking you’ve got to do everything, say yes to everything. And then there’s a time for choosing what you enjoy."

Jenny Powell is working with Boosh Foods to promote the health benefits of organic bone broth.