49 episodes

The Shift is a podcast that aims to tell the truth about being a woman post-40, created and hosted by journalist and author, Sam Baker. 
In this frank, funny, painfully honest new podcast series, Sam talks to a variety of women about the good, the bad and the ugly side of being a supposedly grown up woman in a world that would quite like to ignore us. Each week, guests including Marian Keyes, Sara Collins, Lindsey Hilsum, Philippa Perry, Tracey Thorn, Isabel Allende, Anita Rani and many more share their experiences of getting older and how they rewrote the rule book. From body image to suddenly discovering all your clothes hate you, from confidence to career reinvention, they talk candidly about mental health, menopause and so much more.
Prepare yourself for a no-holds barred look at what it means to be a woman who’s "shifting" in a society that’s not interested in us. Clue: we’re not having it!

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The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker sam baker

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 20 Ratings

The Shift is a podcast that aims to tell the truth about being a woman post-40, created and hosted by journalist and author, Sam Baker. 
In this frank, funny, painfully honest new podcast series, Sam talks to a variety of women about the good, the bad and the ugly side of being a supposedly grown up woman in a world that would quite like to ignore us. Each week, guests including Marian Keyes, Sara Collins, Lindsey Hilsum, Philippa Perry, Tracey Thorn, Isabel Allende, Anita Rani and many more share their experiences of getting older and how they rewrote the rule book. From body image to suddenly discovering all your clothes hate you, from confidence to career reinvention, they talk candidly about mental health, menopause and so much more.
Prepare yourself for a no-holds barred look at what it means to be a woman who’s "shifting" in a society that’s not interested in us. Clue: we’re not having it!

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    Isabel Allende on feminism, anger and being fatally heterosexual (from the archive)

    Isabel Allende on feminism, anger and being fatally heterosexual (from the archive)

    This is a replay of an episode from earlier this year. If I had to choose one episode as my favourite - tough call, like choosing a favourite child! - this would probably be it. If you've heard it before, give it another listen - Isabel Allende is iconic, truly. If you haven't, you are about to meet your old bird role model....
    The main word I can think of to describe this week’s guest is wise. (Well there are other words - fabulous and no-bull for starters - but wise is the biggie.) Bestselling author Isabel Allende has written 25 books including her debut, the global smash hit The House of the Spirits, published when she was 39, and two memoirs, one about the death of her daughter Paula, at the age of 29. Her latest is a memoir, The Soul of A Woman. In it, the 79 year old Chilean who has been in self-imposed exile since 1975, takes a candid look at her own life, sexuality and evolution as a feminist. What, she asks - and tries to answer - do women want?
    From her home in Northern California, Isabel told me why she’s been a feminist since she was five and what feminism means to her (“Not what we have between our legs but what we have between our ears.” Love her!); being “fatally heterosexual”, and why she’s spent her life in training to be a “passionate old woman”. I defy you not to want to be her when you grow up by the end of this podcast!
    The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. I'd love to hear what you think - please rate and review, or let me know on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.
    You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including the book that accompanies this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too by Sam Baker and The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende.

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    • 35 min
    Denise Mina gets frank about HRT, sex and ageing (from the archive)

    Denise Mina gets frank about HRT, sex and ageing (from the archive)

    This is a replay of an episode first broadcast last autumn. I'm replaying it now to coincide with the publication of Denise's new novella, Rizzio, a gripping contemporary reimagining of the 1566 murder of Mary Queen of Scots' right hand man. (And also because Denise is a total legend (not to mention extremely straight-talking) and I'm pretty sure that the new devotees The Shift has acquired over the last year will love her.)
    This week’s episode comes to you from the Glasgow kitchen of straight talking crime writer Denise Mina. She’s written 15 novels, including the award-winning The Long Drop, and her last, Conviction, was scooped up by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Bookclub. But her latest, The Less Dead, based on a real life Glasgow serial killer, focusses on what makes a “good” victim versus a “bad” one, and takes her right back to her political roots.
    Over an enormous pot of strong tea (she truly has the biggest tea pot I have ever seen) Denise and I go to all the places. And I mean ALL OF THEM. I could have stayed there all day. From sexism in crime fiction and what it was like growing up in the 1980s to channelling her anger, plus HRT, withering vaginas and creaking joints and so much more... Plus Denise tries (in vain) to teach me the art of confrontation; all while taking a delivery from John Lewis and baking a mean pecan pie - but don’t tell her I told you so!
    The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker, and edited by Emily Sandford. I’d love to hear what you think - please let me know on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.
    • The Shift - How I (lost and) found myself after 40 - and you can too is out now in hardback and available to buy here.
    • Rizzio by Denise Mina is out now in hardback and available to buy here.

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    • 48 min
    Jess Phillips on why we need to talk about menopause in parliament

    Jess Phillips on why we need to talk about menopause in parliament

    My guest today has been MP for Birmingham Yardley since 2015. Jess Phillips still lives in Birmingham, with her husband and two sons, not far from where she grew up with her activist parents, going to women’s liberation playgroup and hanging out with her nan who listened to Prime Ministers Questions while ironing. Before becoming an MP, Jess worked for Women’s Aid - and is currently Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding.
    She has also written four books (because she’s obv got so much spare time on her hands). the latest is Everything You Need To Know About Politics - a typically no bull guide to the ins and outs of being an MP. (I don’t want to prejudge anything, but I’ve got to say it reads an awful lot like a manifesto for a new kind of politics that is a touch less pale male and stale than the one we’re used to.)
    Jess is quite unlike any other MP I’ve ever met. And I’ve met a few. (For my sins.) She joined me to talk about believing you CAN, why Carrie Bradshaw’s behaviour is problematically coercive and every girl has a “Cousin Anne”. She also says she won’t be standing for leader of the labour party any time soon, older women are woefully under represented and when the time comes, she’ll be wearing her menopause proudly in parliament. (Jess, we will be holding you to that!)
    You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including Everything You Really Need To Know About Politics by Jess Phillips and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!
    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.

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    • 45 min
    Lucy Kellaway on fear, freedom and starting a whole new life in her 50s

    Lucy Kellaway on fear, freedom and starting a whole new life in her 50s

    Ever wanted to chuck it all in? I mean ALL of it? My guest today did just that - baby, bathwater AND bath. For 30 years, journalist Lucy Kellaway was a columnist on the Financial Times. Then, in the space of just a couple of years she ditched not only that but her home of 15 years, her husband of 25 years - and even her hair! (Not in that order.)
    In her new book, Re-educated, she talks about the overwhelming urge to remake our lives that often hits women in our 40s and 50s and why she decided to upend her life, chucking in her enviable - and some might say cushy! - highly paid job to retrain for one that er, isn’t… teaching in an inner London secondary school. Over the next 40 minutes Lucy tells me about her newfound freedom, why fear is one of the most important emotions, how her house became a physical symbol of a marriage that no longer worked for her and why going grey was possibly the biggest shift of all. (And don’t get her started on the inequities of internet dating…)
    You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including Re-educated by Lucy Kellaway and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too by me! 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.

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    • 40 min
    Elif Shafak on the power of older women and why menopause can be the end of shame

    Elif Shafak on the power of older women and why menopause can be the end of shame

    My guest today is one of the most intelligent, thoughtful people I’ve ever interviewed - and I’ve interviewed A LOT. Writer and academic, Elif Shafak has written 19 books and 12 novels and been shortlisted for countless literary prizes, including the Booker Prize. Known for her bravery and outspokenness in the face of oppressive regimes, she has almost 2million followers on social media and is the best-selling female novelist in Turkey - a country to which she has been unable to return for the past 5 years after being put on trial for, amongst other things, insulting Turkishness.
    Her latest novel, The Island of Missing Trees, about the partition of Cyprus, is also about love, longing, exile and the environment. I think it might be the most beautiful thing she’s ever written, but you’ll have to judge for yourself.
    Elif talks about what home means to her, the importance of freedom and sharing your truth, the two very different women who made her, the importance of lifelong learning and the art of storytelling, and why menopause signals the end of “ayip” (shame). Oh, and being a middle-aged metalhead!
    You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including The Island Of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too by me!
    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.

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    • 45 min
    Paula Hawkins on midlife success and the importance of financial independence

    Paula Hawkins on midlife success and the importance of financial independence

    My guest today is a woman who I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of, but you may not think you have. Her name is Paula Hawkins, but you probably know her as the author of the global bestseller The Girl On The Train. A book she wrote in her early 40s after - I’m sure she won’t mind me saying - an awful lot of also-rans. The girl on the train went on to sell 23 million copies, be published in 50 countries and is one of the top 5 selling hardbacks since records began. It was also turned into a film starring Emily Blunt.
    But does that level of success - and let’s face it, cash - bring with it massively liberating freedom… or the fear of never being able to live up to your own legend? Paula talks about the shock and salvation of sudden mid-life success when you’re totally broke, the importance of being able to “leave if you need to”, the likability curse that plagues women, why she always knew she didn’t want children and her hopes for her third novel, the taut, tense A Slow Fire Burning, which has some of the best older female characters I’ve read in a long time.
    You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins and the book that accompanies this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too by me!
    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.

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    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
20 Ratings

20 Ratings

Redgirrrrl ,

What a fantastic find!!

I literally stumbled across this podcast and fell in love! I have been exposed to so many women from across the world I was unaware of before. I can’t recommend this podcast enough. It’s hilarious and heartwarming and SO informative!! Fantastic!!!

ZJW100 ,

Brilliant

I LOVE these podcasts. Such great conversations with such great women. The interviews feel like informal chats that are both empowering and sensitive. Since discovering this podcast I’ve literally binged the entire back catalogue! But my favorite - Isabel Allende!

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