Wednesday, 23 December 2015

gratitude...& Christmas cheer

Today I have been immersed in Christmas memories. And the importance of Christmas rituals, especially for children, for these rituals lay the foundation for treasured memories, & for future memories. The excitement, the anticipation, for children. The family gatherings. The laughter. How blessed are we to have the opportunity to do all this. I am truly grateful, especially at Christmas, when we are all gathered for breakfast & secret santa, that my children & grandchildren are well & happy. It is the greatest gift.

This year, our large extended family has had 3 passings over, 1 serious emergency stage 3 cancer operation (recovered, thankfully), 1 very serious kidney operation (also recovered, thank you universe!). So we are all extra aware that these moments of gathering are precious indeed. And we are welcoming a new addition to the family early next year, so this also is very special.

We in New Zealand, no matter what our circumstances, are not in a war zone, nor fleeing from war. We are not in a famine. These are great blessings. As a young child, our Christmas mornings were ....extremely sparse, to be diplomatic. Thankfully we went to our Nanna's after for lunch.....yummy food & presents!! And cousins!

Later, life became more affluent, but I shall never forget the gratitude I had from those early years. It has stayed with me, always. I know, from experience, that we don't need "stuff" to be happy.

And I hope that you all have a happy Christmas, with beloved friends & family. And that it is a happy time, irregardless of "stuff"

Thursday, 3 December 2015

returning to former days

I was reading about a study done in 1959, where older people who were degenerating, were put into 2 control groups. One group wore clothing from 20 years prior, & talked & acted for that time too. The other group talked about the time of 20 years before, memories & such. Both groups regenerated to a remarkable degree & were able to resume much of their life in a more active way.

If we think back to a wonderful time in our life....what made it so? We will have so much memory, of weather, smells, sounds, emotions, food, clothes, hopes, dreams....the list is endless. Amongst all of this there will be specific things that made us feel, & look, good. We can replicate those things in order to enhance our life today.

I have looked at much of my life, seeing what works, right here, right now. And what worked in the past...& why it worked, how it worked, circumstances. Honestly it can often boil down to simple things such as the food you ate, how you dressed, how you looked after yourself. Obviously, peak times are falling in love, & with our family, & our children. But there are other times too.

There was a long period in my life when I was as fit as I ever was going to be. Sleek. It was a lifestyle which isn't exactly appropriate to my life today, tons of exercise (yoga & walking), long periods of meditation.

Then another period, just before the above one, when I did less exercise than my peak period, but I looked & felt amazing. I had a very short yoga routine & it worked, it made me look & feel great, on all levels. I also peaked in self-care, & truly it was minimal...but consistent, as I had very little time to myself. A good wash & wear haircut, hardly any makeup, clothes which flattered & were fuss free, simple skin care. I went for a very quick brisk walk at lunchtime. Both times my diet was simple.

I could apply all these principles to today's life & they still would work. I am constantly recreating much of that period, because I liked how I felt about myself. I felt light, freer, had more energy, looked great. I personally don't wear clothes of a couple of decades ago because it's ageing. But the principles of what suits a person don't often change. I adore wearing strong colours, especially black & white together. I have returned to it...with a flourish! Although I dye my hair now, I still keep my hair simple so that it moves. I wear minimal make-up. I've learnt, through experience, to never let an older woman "do" my make-up, as it invariably puts me into a time-warp...& it looks old & tired. I wear clothes & shoes which enable me to move, not only because it feels good, but also because constriction is ageing...whether it's hair, clothes, shoes, etc.

So, what in your own life, amongst the memories, made you look &  feel great? Why was it so? Can you recreate any of these elements? How? Rediscover parts of you that you liked, & which have been buried. Some of these parts of your former life might not work today.

But, you know, some just might.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Madame Chic

I'm currently re-reading Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott.      

I've read this book often, & I love it. It's about an american student, Jennifer, who stays in Paris with a family whom she calls "famille chic". The whole family are...well, they are all chic, & it's their lifestyle, habits, that make them so. In particular, the mother, Madame Chic. It is by example that Madame Chic teaches Jennifer how to look good, eat well, stay fit, be charming. & like herself.

Madame Chic only used a small wardrobe of 10 pieces, not including her coat, scarf, shoes, etc. And this 10 piece wardrobe has inspired countless bloggers worldwide, including moi. So today I've been looking at my new 10 piece wardrobe for weather that currently veers from cold & rainy, to hot & summery. Actually only about 2 new pieces are going to be added as I already have the basics. As I am currently wanting to downsize, I'm really happy to have a "new" 10 piece wardrobe.

I already have 4 pairs of pants. Soft, lightly baggy, tapering at the ankle. These pants have somehow morphed into being my current "look". Which I'm ok with, for now. 3 of these pants have patterns, 1 is black. I have a black, loose top which goes with all the pants, a royal blue tee with swirly arms which goes with 2 of the pants, & a black cotton top with some white embroidery which also goes with the same 2 pairs of pants. I'm on the hunt now for a red v-necked tee to wear with all the pants,  & 1 will get another top.....haven't decided what it will be. I have a black cardi which I can use & I just might "make it do" until summer. Voila! 10 pieces.

When the heat of summer emerges, I'll do a bit of a revamp, so that I'm wearing more weather- appropriate clothes. Most if my life I have only had just a few clothes, & I like it that way. This was inspired by my own "Madame Chic", my grandmother. She was a total inspiration on all levels. She taught me how to make life nice, no matter what else was happening around me. To be nice, look nice. And she was adamant that I did not need many clothes. Nanna was right, no-one needs a lot of anything. Nanna only had a small wardrobe & she looked so glamorous.

I like to wear cheap, black, canvas slip-ons in summer, as a casual, everyday shoe, & the best cut & fit I've found, is at K-mart. These shoes just never go out of style. I've worn them for years, & I know younger people who do, too. I find many sandals date very quickly, & to me, they are just plain uncomfortable. I'm thinking that a new sunhat is also in order. My old black one from Amazon now has tons of flowers pasted to it, for when I do markets......not exactly chic for everyday. When I wore it one day, one of my kids looked at me & said, in horror: oh....my....god....., so I just braved the sun instead that day. I've got some sunglasses, & I already have a lovely brown bag that I got for Xmas last year.

Madame Chic kept life simple, & I like this. It actually makes life easier. I may change doing the 10 piece routine but for now, I like it. It suits my casual lifestyle.

The other noticeable thing about Madame Chic's appearance is that she had a hairdo....le french bob, which was easy to do & flattering. She had good skin. She kept her figure nice with lots of everyday walking, & housework. And she was well-groomed. My Nanna was big on grooming, in a subtle way, & I absorbed it. Well-groomed means that our clothes are clean & mended, & they are flattering. Our shoes are clean. Our nails are shaped, & this doesn't necessarily mean that they have nail polish. Our skin looks good, with minimal make-up. Our hair moves & is cut in a flattering style. To be chic also means that the whole look is effortless.....one just happens to look this way.

Chicness.....I like it. For now, I am endeavouring to be effortlessly, a bit casually, chic.







Thursday, 12 November 2015

summer glow

With summer approaching, it's time to revamp our lifestyle to suit the new weather, the longer hours. Quite naturally, we move into a different diet than what we were eating in winter. In summer we can make a large proportion of our food raw, as in fruits, salads, juices. These raw foods, especially those that grow above the ground, are high in life-force/prana from the sun, & can increase our own prana levels too.

When we eat foods which are high in carotenes, which are plant foods that have an orange base in them, they help to make our skin glow. Foods like oranges, apricots, canteloupe, orange kumura, peppers, tomatoes. Beta carotenes are found in leafy greens like spinach, & these can help protect our skin from the sun. So add these colourful carotenes to salads, & the fruits to smoothies or fruit salads, & steam spinach, watercress & kumura. Your skin will improve.

Drink lots of water to "feed" our skin & body. Skin seems to "plump up" when we do this. And surprisingly, we seem to need more protein in summer. In New Zealand, we have amazing kai (food) moana (sea), it is light food & so nourishing.

We can also make our skin glow by dry body brushing, before a shower or bath. I get my brushes from a $2 shop. Do long sweeping strokes towards the heart. Start with your feet, brush the soles & start doing upwards strokes. The ankles to knees, Knees to hips. In the sides of the groin. Do 1 side then the other. Up the buttocks. Do big circles on the tummy, going up your right side, across the top & down the left, following the route of our large colon. Then big strokes up the torso towards the heart. Down the chest. Up backs of hands to wrists, wrists to elbows, elbows to shoulders.

At the end of your shower, start cooling down the water. Now is the time to start, so that you build up a tolerance for it. Cool water blasts tighten the skin, & makes it glow.

After, apply a natural oil in the same manner & pattern as the body brushing. Apricot oil contains vitamin A & is very beneficial to skin. Olive oil is good for tired muscles. Grapeseed,or almond, are lovely. A friend makes kawakawa oil, which brings blood to the surface of the skin & increases our skin collagen levels. Collagen is a protein which keeps the skin young. I avoid any skin cosmetic that has collagen in it, as the only way that collagen would be added is by killing an animal. I can't see that harming animals is a good way to "help" our skin.

I know a woman with amazing skin: she gets baby oil for the $2 shop, adds some scented oil from the same type of shop, & uses this mix for her face, body, hair, & to take off eye makeup. So if you don't have much money, you could try something like this. When the singer Cher was about 40...so it was quite a while ago, she used a mix of aqueous cream & almond oil on her body, so that's another option.

Another option for those of us who are pressed for time, & I have done this "trick" also: use body scrubbing gloves from the $2 shop, or supermarket. Tip some body lotion onto each glove, & give yourself a quick scrub after your shower. This brings blood to the surface of the skin & gives us better circulation, & better skin.

Try to keep out of the sun during the danger times: about 10-11am to about 3-4 pm. Use sunblock if you are in the sun during these times, Sunscreens & sunblocks are full of chemicals so it's good if we can also find other ways of protecting our skin instead....like using sunhats, sunnies, loose cotton long sleeved tops, like a kaftan top. Sunbathe during the "sunsafe" hours.....by getting sun on your torso & not washing after. The oils on your skin interact with the sun's rays for some proper vitamin D. So beneficial.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

little habits to be happy

Get up a bit earlier, shower & quickly make yourself look nice: you will feel better. Elizabeth Hurley says it takes her 4 -5 minutes for skin care & makeup. I always got up before my eldest kids to do this because there was never time after.

Lay out your clean clothes the night before.

Throw out/give away any clothes/shoes/accessories that you actually don't like.

Wear what makes you feel good.

Stay current with your clothing...you will feel younger & happier.

Dress for your actual life. Not for your pretend life.

Make sure you (& your children if you have kids) have lunch ready for tomorrow if you're out & about, or at work. Even a cheese, marmite & lettuce sandwich, a piece of fruit, a yogurt, water & maybe a muesli bar are better than grabbing food on the run. We frequently make bad choices when we are stressed. I bought a little padded container bag for $2 at a garage sale that you can put a freezer pad in to take with me when I have to be away from home.

Write out which foods that you don't like. Don't bother even buying them. Now make a list of 5 -6 basic foods that you are happy to base your daily diet on. This is a tip from nutritionist Monica Grenfell. Mine, so far....& this is always up for change if needed, are: porridge, Lewis Rd full cream organic milk for coffee, & cheaper trim milk for the rest, Gopal's yogurt because it's natural, tins of fish, free range eggs, spinach, potatoes, lettuce, carrots. These are the basics I have always available.

Have a rough food plan & stick to it.

Be regular with your diet, what & when you eat, bedtime, getting up in the morning time, because that makes our body happy, which in turn makes us happier.

Have little routines in your life that work: getting up; when you walk in the door after work; dinner routine; before bed routine. When my youngest was at school & I was working, tossing on a load of washing when I got up each morning & then hanging it to dry, whether outside or on a drying rack, were always part of my routine.

Make your home nice to live in. Have a daily routine of dishes, loo wiping, bed making, window opening.

Have 15 minutes of extra cleaning daily, where possible. This is a tip from Flylady.com, & is totally doable without being a stressor.

Aim for a daily walk in the sunshine. Makes us happier.

Have a couple of daily affirmations that work.

Eliminate people from your life who make you just not feel good. Do it quietly, sneakily....but do it. Do it for you.

Sometimes it is actually easier to do practical things for being happier, than by trying to force it by "positive thinking". When life has some routine, when we are less stressed....we are more naturally positive. And then, it is so much easier to sort out why & what we are not feeling positive.

When you need to do something & don't actually want to...quickly "see" it as being done. This really works. You will find yourself doing it! Another trick is to clench a fist hard for a wee bit...it's like getting some determination muscle.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

making our home life nice

Wherever I go, I take notice of what people do in their lives, how they do it, & the effects of what they do. I've noticed, for some time, little things that different people do to make their home life nice.
And it has inspired me to want to have some little habits that make my life nice, too.

I stayed with my sister recently & saw her open all her doors & windows wide, & light some sticks of incense at the same time, as soon as she got up. I usually would only do 1 of these, but I liked the effect that doing the 2 together, gave. So that's 1 of the nice-life secrets that I've "borrowed". My sister is very artistic, with bits & pieces everywhere that she has made, like bejeweled masks & painted glassware & mirrors. And unusual furniture that she has collected. I do know that I will never do the arty stuff. Never. But I came back from my trip with some little antique bits of crockery, which I love, to actually use, & some second hand furniture, of the vintage that I love. I can't wait to polish the furniture, as I also love the smell of polished wood. To me, that's a nice-home smell.

When my eldest children were young, I made some craft bits & pieces for our barren home to make it nice. I made xmas tree hangings too & every year the xmas tree box was pulled out & our humble decorations were happily put up...this was special to the kids & me. With my youngest, we always had crystals & chakra wall hangings.

I go to a friend's meditation group a couple of times a month, & am constantly fascinated to see what new crystal spread she has laid out on her lounge floor, usually to do with the phase of the moon...but sometimes it's a spread about other things. It is totally charming, with the soft unusual lighting & quite unique wall hangings which she has. I have started, when I remember, to light a candle at nights, & light incense, instead of having harsh electric lights going, inspired by my friend, Carolyn.

When I'm at someone's house, I get a tad envious of their gardens. I'm particularly useless at any form of gardening but have decided to change this as I too would love to have fresh herbs, edible flowers & some vegetables on hand. To me that's a type of real affluence....pop outside & get fresh, inexpensive, nutritious fast-food. Having flowers & produce, flower smells, bees & butterflies....to me this is also nice-home.

My grandmother left me with an association of lovely smells in the home. She always had soap wrappers tucked between the towels & sheets, in the cupboards. I have also used empty incense packets, & in my drawers I have at times used empty perfume bottles. Nanna also had what we today would call rituals, but back in the day...they were just they way things were done. In the evenings, leaving the table after dinner, doing dishes, then retiring to the lounge. It stopped us doing non-stop eating, I can tell you. Having breakfast or lunch on the verandah in the weekends, when it was sunny. Having a bedtime ritual of putting your things away, bath then goodnight kisses, then sleep. These wee rituals impress upon our mind, emotions & body, that at a particular time, we eat, pause, sleep, get up...whatever. Our entire being loves routine...we thrive on routine. And good routines make our home lovely.

I have decided to ruthlessly go through my cupboards & biff anything that does not make my home nice......from kitchen utensils, to books, linen, & bits of furniture. Hang up some prints that I love, polish my statues, find some pot plants.....for the first time ever, I want a home that's uniquely nice to me, & as I live alone, I can do this.

We all can make our living situation nice, even if we are just renting a room...there is always something that means "special", for each of us, & if we have children, some things are special to them too. We can bring all this into our "home"....whatever the home is, we can make our living situation more meaningful. Sometimes we need to think this through, & try out different things. Because each of us is unique, what is special to us, whether it's big or small, these meaningful things are unique too.





Wednesday, 21 October 2015

baselines

I was reading about a well known international author, Monica Grenfell, does to stay feeling good, looking good, being healthy & trim. She said that she had "baselines" in place to be able to stay that way.

So what are baselines? They are several things. First are "rules to live by". Things that we will do & won't do, either in daily life or certain situations. Simple rules that we can easily fit into our life: smart rules. A couple of her health baselines are: not to eat in the car, except when driving for hours on end; not eating whilst walking along the road. Eating regular meals at regular times. Not snacking. I mean...how easy is that?

She also recommends having a sort of a baseline diet...meaning that there are certain foods that she emphasises in her diet, usually on a daily basis.....but she also enjoys eating foods that others have prepared, like going to a friends' for dinner. And having a healthy, regular diet in place, enables her to enjoy herself when she goes out. Because we generally eat the same foods & meals, over & over, here our baseline can be that we have healthy food. Plus, we tend to over eat when there are too many choices available, & too many flavours in a meal....so let's Keep It Simple, Sweeties!

I had a think about all this & I decided I should be having, as much as possible, a leafy green, like silverbeet or spinach for folic acid, daily, because I'm prone to anemia. And I don't often eat meat but I can eat organic eggs, fish (great if you have any polynesian DNA, as I have), yogurt for digestive health & calcium, oats & oatbran for porridge & fibre. I'm still working on this list...it could change, but I do need a couple more baseline foods that I can incorporate daily. The idea is not to have too many. And then eat roughly the same types of food at roughly the same times each day. Our body will love it.

Then there is exercise. For decades I had a baseline yoga morning practice....but I have altered it now as it seemed not to be having the effects I was after. So, again, we need baselines for our health & exercise is one of the ways to do it.

I read about a british actress, Linda Lusardi, now in her mid fifties, who has done, since she was 16, 50 sit-ups & 20 side stretches each morning & evening. She looks amazing. Again....how simple is that?

I had a friend with a killer body, achieved with 10 minutes of exercises as soon as her feet hit the floor each morning, that she found on an old video by Tony Little. She either used baked bean tins for weights, or used no weights. For her diet, & she was just as regular with this, she had oatbran & wheatgerm for soaked porridge/muesli with a juice, followed by a simple sandwich at lunch & whatever was happening for tea. These were her baselines. She looked amazing & felt it too. All so simple, all so effective.

So what will be our baselines for exercise? A walk each morning? The gym 2x a week? Yoga class? If we choose what suits us, & make it that we just do it as part of our life....it becomes like a baseline.

We can have baselines in other areas of our life too. There can be certain things that you do at work first thing each morning so that your job flows better; you could have a lunchtime walk instead of going to a cafe & eat a sandwich after, at work; we can have specific things that we do in our home each morning & evening to keep on top of housework & make life nicer.

The idea is never take on more "rules" at any one time, that you can deal with successfully. It's just too overwhelming otherwise & is a signpost for failure. So I am also looking at daily life for a couple more baselines for a better life.


Friday, 16 October 2015

Tony Robbins


Tony Robbins has coached & inspired millions of people to be the best "them" that they can be, to succeed in life....whatever that success is to a person! To take control of their own destiny. And, I think, to be unique.

So, how can we do some Tony-isms to our advantage? Here are some of his suggestions that we can use:

1) get into great physical shape. If we are not (& I am not! but I'm certainly working on it) because so much winning...whatever that means to each of us, is mental & has to do with our attitude. It is so much easier to be sharp mentally & have a positive attitude when we are fit & healthy. We have more stamina to do whatever we need to do. We feel better about ourselves too.

2) have a good diet (that suits you) for the same reasons

3) there are behaviours & circumstances under which each of us "performs" best. What are yours? See if you can identify them & use them to your advantage.

4) in any situation, or something we are trying to achieve, whether it's habits, work, friend/family situation, job, finances: focus on something that you can do in the situation.

5) be practical & think things through, then

6) simplify things...that is do things in a simple & practical way to get them done, & to figure them out.

7) work towards positive results (remember that you can always change things if they don't work out - see my previous post)

8) what ever we are trying to do: build a system for it. (Then it's easier for things to be habits)

9) we each need our own personal fulfillment

10) be authentic, be who you want to be & in what you do.

11) be in charge of your own life, take charge of your own destiny, achieve your own goals. Of course  this is also circumstantial, sometimes in life we have to put others first, such as when a close friend or family is unwell, when we have a new baby, for example. We do need also to be realistic.

12) all of this changes the "story" that we have about ourselves

13) Tony has a morning ritual that takes about 20 minutes that he calls "priming himself" for the day ahead, including a physical & breathing routine to change his "state" & then he "primes" gratitude, & finishes by focusing on 3 goals that he wants to accomplish. We might not have the time to do all this, but there are ways: we can think of something that we are grateful for as soon as we open our eyes. If our situation supports it, we can do a few exercises, or go for a walk...we could do our gratitude/goal thing then!

14) so these are Tony Robbin tools...translated into as simple a style as I can, of tools for breakthroughs in our lives, or, even just having a better life.

The next step of course, is to incorporate some of these Tony-gems in our lives.




















Friday, 9 October 2015

recap

Recap on some suggestions for revealing & living one's own uniqueness:

1) if something appeals to you to enrich your life: try it
2) if it doesn't make you feel or look good or is impractical, change it
3) repeat steps 1 & 2 until you do find out what suits you
4) keep doing step 3
5) a 5% change in anything produces a 20% effect, so if it is a positive thing like drinking a bit more water or fruit...go for it & if it seems difficult...do it a little bit (this is our 5%) to get a good effect
6) if step 5 doesn't work out, do step 2, then step 1.
7) a few little daily 5% changes here and there, will give more than 1 x 20% increase, & this will give an accelerated overall effect. This alone will bring changes that make you look & feel good. Like revving everything up.
8) keep a relaxed attitude.....tension creates stress
9) find some good affirmations that work for you
10) notice how the food that you eat effects you.
12) notice what times you eat ...when you are habitually hungry, & sort out snacks/meals for these times
13) make yourself look nice each day
14) sort out a skincare routine that suits you & your budget
15) make sure that you are "current'...not stuck in the past
16) enjoy the unique journey

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Affirmations, self-talk...etc .....etc

I have already mentioned that I have a couple of affirmations that I have used, since my mid-20s actually. I kept those 2 because they work for me: "I believe in love, I believe in life, I believe in me"; & "I do what I have to do willingly & cheerfully"....which may sound a bit silly, but if you have to go to work, or clean, or do a social thing that you balk at....it really does help if we can be cheerful about it.

But I have, in the distant past, done absolute overkill trying to get affirmations to work...adding my name, a time frame eg by "1st January 2000 I will be........."; also I've done "now" affirmations such as "I am happy & have lots of money". I have "powered-up" with force, concentration, doing affirmations. None of these worked.

Why?...because there are ways to do affirmations that really do work, & there are also lots of silly ideas too.

Here are a couple of secrets that I've found, some by myself, others by researching. First, the affirmation has to be relevant, which sounds obvious. If, for example, you want to be rich but don't even have a job....then perhaps getting a job, or training would be better things to make affirmations about. And do you actually want to be rich....or do you want to have lots of money to spend? Generally, rich people don't waste money!! There is a difference between the two. So if you want to be rich but spend all your money all the time...the affirmations would be about saving money, being careful with your spending, growing vegetables, using what you already have (rather than always buying "stuff")...& these are the things that make you rich(-er)....then affirming "I am rich" makes sense.

Researchers at the University of Kent, England, have found that the symptoms of physical tiredness can be staved by simply repeating phrases to yourself like "I feel ok". Try it & see. There is a highly lauded technique called The Lightning Process, which has been found to be miraculous for head injuries & fibromyalgia (amongst others). I don't know the full technique but basically, we can try something similar, so when your symptoms appear eg severe pain with fibromyalgia, you change your stance. So, if you are standing, turn & stand in another direction. Or, if you are sitting, stand. If you are stooping, stand tall. Talk to yourself: "do you want to be this way?" "do you want to feel better?". Then bring to mind a colour, remember what it felt like when you were free of the problem,  & as you release the colour through your brain & body, bring those "good" feelings through your body, mind emotions. Pause...say your affirmation, we will use "I feel ok" here, still holding onto all the good feelings. Now, be aware of how you are in the present moment...this helps to "imprint" everything through the nervous systems. Tony Robbins, personal mentor extraordinaire,  used to say that if you want to change the way that you feel...change your (physical) stance & it will change your emotions.

Affirmations work best when we are relaxed. For some, it's necessary to learn how to relax first. When we are stressed, angry, anxious or upset in any way & we say "I feel ok" (for example)....how can that work? We are saying that we are one way when we actually are the opposite way in fight or flight mode. These are contradictory messages for our psyche, & we are creating tension by doing this. There is a wonderful old book, from the 1960s or 1970s, called Psycho-Cybernetics, by Maxwell Maltz. It can sometimes be found in 2nd hand book shops & fairs, & although it's quite dated in many ways, the basic principles are still correct. Relaxation whilst doing visualisation & affirmations are the important criteria, according to this book.

These are a few ideas to start working with, or to consider. There are more.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

A BIG secret to being youthful

There are people who stay youthful....& it doesn't cost anything!!! They have found some of the secrets. There is one secret that is glaringly obvious, really, yet usually overlooked, when, as one gets older, one sincerely tries to look & feel their best, be more youthful feel & look younger.

So often, people dress, act, & for women..makeup & have hairdos...that they had in their youth, or when they were a few decades younger. B-I-G mistake. V-E-R-Y ageing. One of my kids, when she was a teen, asked me if women kept dressing, doing their hair & make-up, as they did when they were young. We were both looking at an elderly neighbour who was doing just that. I had to admit that it did seem to be true.

Which is a pity...because it is so ageing. It screams: "I am old but I think that I am young & think that I look young!" And, you know, there are times when we feel old, past-it...but these should be fleeting things, not daily sensations.

If you want to look & feel younger...have a "current" hairdo. For example, if you look at "bob" haircuts since the 1920s....there are slight variations in the cut over the decades. To have a bob cut that is 10 - 30 years out of date, is not flattering. In the 1980s, frizzy perms were the rage. (so don't have one now!) A vintage hairdo such as a french twist from the 1960s, can look amazing on a younger woman...but when we're older?/...I think not. If you find a hairdo which is "you"...you can stay using it but...keep it current. I recently did a talk where I "set" my hair to look a bit more professional, because I'm useless with blowdrying my hair...then I messed it up a bit to look a bit more "now". (I think, hope, that it worked...)

The same goes with makeup.....eyebrows drawn in like a big surprise expression - old! Dye your eyebrows or draw in lots of little eyebrow hairs instead..... much more modern.

Lipstick drawn inside the lipline (circa 1980s?) - old! Horrible too. As we get older, our lips get thinner (which makes me very suspicious as to how Angelina Jolie's lips are still majorly puffy at age 40....), so to draw an even thinner set of lips....awful, ageing, unflattering. What we can do is draw our lipstick outline just outside of our lips so that they appear fuller, & use a lightish lipstick shade: instant youthifier!

Lots of blusher - old! Blusher is meant to be discreet & give a touch of colour, not look like a clown nor a makeup refugee from another era.

Eyes cleverly sculpted a la a previous era....don't do it. Because it's ageing. Please don't. People don't walk around looking like that anymore.

And...women look after their skin now, rather than walk around with heaps of make-up, they have healthy-looking skin instead. Now, that is youthful!

Wearing old fashioned clothes is a real ager too. Old fashioned as in vintage, like 1970s & prior, now that's trendy, if the rest of you is modern. But overdressing = old! Truly.

Look at women in their mid-20s to mid-30s to see what looks current. It actually is just a matter of being able to "see" an overall effect which is made up of a few details. The teenage look is always amazing...when you're a teenager. Otherwise it can fall into the (tragic mutton or) inappropriate look.

So, an easy way to stay youthful: be Now, be current. You will look & feel so much younger if you do this, & it usually is a process. I wear some similar clothes to 2 of my grandchildren who are in their 20s. I know I don't look silly & I'm always asking where they got their clothes from. Because I like to stay current. Be Now. And I get really upset when people try to get me to wear dressy clothes or clothes from 10 years or more ago. (I don't, won't, wear them!)

So be Now, be Relevant. Always. You will enjoy it.











Sunday, 20 September 2015

more choices

It seems to me that my last post ...on choices...might have not been quite as clear as it could have been. Basically when we have to make too many choices, our good judgement/common sense in making choices......this lessens, weakens, for example later on during the day, & we start making unwise choices as the day goes along, or come evening, when we let the kids do things we know we shouldn't allow, we can't decide between healthy & unhealthy food....the list goes on! So this is why we can make better choices when we are rushed, tired, under stress, if we have some things that are habits. Like kids' bedtimes, dinner decided earlier in the day, breakfast & lunch same but maybe slightly different each day. Takeaways for special times or when we just fit in cooking.

Apparently we usually have a repertoire of about 10 meals that we regularly make. If you add a choice of maybe 2-3 breakfasts, & the same with lunches...what we chose is depending on the seasons, I mean...who wants hot thick soup in summer? or chilled foods in winter? Straight up, just by doing this...when we get to the supermarket we know what to buy, what we need & we then don't hike up our food bill dollars by having to make on the spot choices.

I think that it's the same with everything. If we have too many clothes which don't mix & match....it's a stressor just getting dressed! So unnecessary. Imagine how it is for young kids when they have too many clothes & they decide what to wear...or too many choices in anything...how can  they be expected to always make suitable choices?

But I am totally into choices on another level...my kids often decided what to wear when they were young......but....they didn't have endless amounts of clothes, shoes. And they often got to choose meals...but not always....& they had so many choices with playing & their friends. It was through these interactions with their peers that they learnt how to make the choices which built them as individuals.

This is the flip side of choices. Our choices teach us in life. We learn about ourselves, about others, about society. We grow through good choices & bad choices.

As a parent this is what I so wanted for my children...to learn about life & themselves through experience & learn how to make their own choices, travel their own path. And I want it for my grandchildren too. To stand tall & to know who they are. To find & reveal their own uniqueness. This is real power. Although (apparently.......) I was a strict mum, I always wanted my kids to be true to themselves & to grow in that truth. Not follow my path, & not adhere to my truth.

So, for me, I believe in restricting daily choices so that with the real things that matter......we can make easier, happier choices. I can see with some much younger friends, that their children will have a happier adulthood because they have not been overwhelmed in childhood with too many (spoilt) choices. And experience & choices, & the aftermath of those choices, good or bad, taught me this.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

the dilema of choices

When my 2 eldest children were young, I was a lot stricter with them in many ways, than I was with my youngest. There is a big age gap between the 2 eldest & the youngest. But I was more strict about other things with my youngest. I think that I had just gotten older, wiser, & learnt a lot of lessons, so my emphasis on what was "allowed" & what wasn't, had changed. As it does......

But irregardless of all this: what was constant was choices. Choices that I, as the parent, made, & choices that they were allowed. Bedtime was non-negotiable. The 2 eldest had the whole army of neighbourhood children at our place, after tea, playing outside, running with the wind, laughing, climbing. Then it was bed. No arguments. Trust me, they tried: 1 was a balker, & the other a trickster, so often (usually) I had to deal with this. My youngest, when we lived in Northland, in the countryside, had the same "deal", but she had to be in bed by "1/2 past late", no matter what & I had learnt, finally, to give a child ample warning. I am a great believer in fresh air, playing, running, climbing, learning how to get on with other children. So within that arena, were my children's choices.

When it came to meals, the choice was to eat it, or not, but....there weren't alternatives. However, I honestly endeavoured to feed the children really healthy food that mainly included the healthy food that they liked.

It seems that when we make too many choices, our cognitive ability diminishes. What this means is: our memory (of what a particular choice produced previously), our judgement (is this right for me?), these attributes get smaller, have less impact on our emotions in regards to our decisions.

This is as a result of making too many decisions, which is why, say, we make bad judgements/choices at particular times. One of my danger areas for choices was at cafes...so much choice!! But now I have eliminated this problem.... I have 2 poached eggs & toast if I'm out for breakfast or lunch. And usually Earl Grey tea with trim milk. And tons of water. Non-negotiable. This simple decision has eliminated so many bad aftereffects from cafe meals. I just do not handle rich food especially during the day. 

Often, talking about food still, we can get through the day making good choices, then come afternoon or tea or after tea....everything turns to custard, & out come our bete noir (black beast) foods & drinks, caused ultimately by having made too many choices throughout the day, triggering off less positive food hormonal responses & the cravings set in.

So how can we get around this? For ourselves, with diet, nutrition, way of eating? Why not try 1 meal at a time to get it right for you? It could be 2 eggs & a piece of toast for breakfast, or weetbix, or toast & marmite. Whatever. As long as it suits you, your lifestyle, wallet. A meal that keeps you going for at least 3 hours. Have a back-up meal or two for breakfast. I need my backup plan once a week when I leave home at 6am every wednesday to teach yoga. I have a piece of toast with peanut butter & a coffee before I go. When I get home about 8.30am, I have something else, like eggs or porridge. 

Having eggs for breakfast cuts down on the rest of your food for that day by about 400 calories, without even having to think about it. Eating porridge (whole rolled oats not instant which messes up with our blood sugar & makes us become sugar hunters all day) reduces our lunch intake by 31%. I found that I had to have equal amounts of oatbran & rolled oats for my porridge to keep my blood sugar stable. Or just oatbran. 

When you have got breakfast sorted, start on lunch. Find a lunch that you can take with you when you are out & about, say, shopping, errands, at work. Mine is a Vogels Very, Very Thin sandwich, with mustard, lettuce, & cheese. And a small carton of soymilk for extra protein. Glamorous? No. Exciting? No. Does it stop me buying rubbish when I'm out? Absolutely. 

During winter I had homemade vegetable or lentil & vegetable soup for lunches at home. I had to add a big dollop of cottage cheese to each one as I seem to need protein at lunchtime, but this week, inspired by a friend, it's salad & protein for at home lunches.

Some people need afternoon tea. I have tried nuts but they don't suit me too well. Some people have fruit, or a muesli bar, or cheese & crackers. Some protein powder, in milk or not, is a good idea as it reduces our evening appetite. Again, try different things. If you then go on to eat even more dinner, or have extra wine, or go hunting for food after dinner...it could be that whatever you had for this snack is making your blood sugar behave crazily. Trial & error works...it's a great teacher.

Then all we have to do is make a choice for tea!! It will be easier to do this if you have systems in place for breakfast & lunch. And if we get stuck in "choices" for this meal, & it's a stress, we could always try what people did in the past: sunday=roast/tuesday=leftover roast & vege/wednesday= ....whatever you decide for each day to be repeated each week. Hey...it works for some people..... A friend told me that Friday evenings meals in her home when she was growing up were packaged rice risotto & fish fingers. A family member used to do Maggi instant soup & scones on friday evenings. These might not be your choices, but not every meal needs to be a culinary delight, with a new dish every evening. 

I am off clothes shopping today. All the choices in those shops are overwhelming for me so I have decided to approach it as a "hunting" expedition, with the shops being civilised "calls of the wild". I think that it's the only way that I shall cope.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

more being youthful on a budget

I bought some yummy chocolate covered muesli bars recently & after finishing them I realised that I could have saved some money by having peanut butter or nutella on rice or corn thins. And also I would not have consumed so many unnecessary calories. And I think that with staying, or...becoming...youthful, we need to look at these little details. Nutella probably isn't the healthiest choice, but my very yummy muesli bars I bought were in a packet from a shop shelf, keep pseudo-fresh by use of chemicals. Chock full of artificial sweeteners. These artificial additions to our food do nothing really to increase our vitality, in fact, I often feel that they block our vitality by interfering with our body's processes, the natural chemical reactions of our body. So one of the first things that we can do, that fits in with a budget, is look for food choices that have the least chemicals...or.....have the most life force. For example, if you are out & thirsty & your blood sugar is a bit low, so you pop into the diary for a drink: a fizzy drink would have very little life-force, a bottle of fruit juice would have more life-force depending on the juice....because it would have more vitamins....an apple would have the most life force because it is fresh & not tampered with, unprocessed. With it you could have a bottle of water. Choices, choices!! As we went down through these choices, we came closer & closer to youthful type foods, which are always the foods with the most life-force & which are also the best for you. (and the best was the cheapest). Even cheaper would have been to take a piece of fruit with you & fill up a water bottle from home.

In my research about anti-ageing, I read of a woman aged 69 who looked fantastic, with beautiful skin & a toned face & neck. She said that she had not had good skin in her 20s & 30s. About 20 years ago, she started having porridge made with just 3 tablespoons of oatbran, & low fat milk, for breakfast every day, for health reasons. Then when she went through menopause, her iron levels dropped, so she started having chicken & spinach, every night for dinner. She never varies her breakfast & dinner, & said that since she had been doing this, her skin became lovely & stopped ageing. Oatbran & milk are cheap. And if you can't afford spinach, it's always possible to grow a pot or two of iron-rich silverbeet instead. I buy organic milk...but when my finances aren't so good, I buy the cheapest. Do the best that you can.

Make-up: I met a very glamorous & gorgeous young woman recently, & me being me...I just had to ask her about her makeup. The surprise was that she used a Garnier BB cream from the supermarket & a face powder from K-Mart that was only $3...honestly!! I raced off to K-Mart & found the powder but they were out of my colour.....And talking of K-Mart...they have cheap, effective face wipes, just $3, & I know quite a few women with nice skin who use them.

I knew a woman who looked many years younger than she actually was: she dyed her own hair & used a tinted moisturiser from the supermarket. She only ever used the same lipstick which was from the Constance Carroll range, very cheap. That range might be now discontinued. Twice a year she bought a mascara & eyeliner pencil in the Avon sales. I would do that too once but now I only go for make-up & skin care which is Cruelty-free. A friend says to use Designer Brand as it is cheap, good, & not tested on animals. Find out what looks good on you, & stick with it in a cheaper brand. At present I'm using 2 lipsticks from my sister's bathroom cabinet..the best "shop" that I know of.

I would always recommend dyeing your hair yourself, unless of course, you have lots of money to spare. Basically you go by the number on the packet. I was using Miss Clairol number 6...they put another number in front of the 6, so it might have been 116. Now I prefer Garnier number 6, because it looks better on me. If you have cool colouring you can use a number which has the number 1 after it. So if Garnier had a 6.1 & I was a cool colouring, I would use that one. Or, for cool colouring, look for the word "ash", for warm coloured skin look for "golden".

In a pinch, you can even cut your own hair. Which I did recently, following a friend's directions (and, incidentally, these are the same directions that Helen Mirren gave about cutting her own hair!). I pulled as much hair as I could up into a ponytail on top of my head, & cut evenly across the top of it. This created layers. Then I took it down & made a little fringe. Not the best haircut ever, but I have been getting haircuts which look amazing, & I leave the hairdresser's feeling like a million dollars. Two days later I look ratty & sad because it was too complicated for me to do myself. Or I've been blessed with hack jobs. I much prefer my own hack job....for a while, at least.

Skin care: I was at a friend's place, she's a working solo mum who doesn't have much money spare. She has beautiful skin. In her bathroom was a supermarket facial cleanser, a Comvita moisturiser with SPF, and a body lotion from the $2 shop. Just the basics. I have looked at some of those lotions in the $2 shop...& was surprised to find that many of them had less artificial preservatives in them. You can also use grapeseed oil or olive oil. So. after your shower, when you are still wet, rub the oil all over your body, then lightly pat it dry so that you don't wipe it all off. If that sounds too unappealing, you can wet a flannel, tip on a bit of oil & wipe it over your dry body. A lot of the beneficial work of the oils is actually that they seal in moisture i.e. water. So it's helping the oil if there is some water to work with. If your skin is really dry, you can just add some oil to your body lotion. And in Victoria Beckham's beauty & fashion book, amongst all the expensive stuff she uses, was her recommendation for using baby oil as a body lotion.

At present I'm using a cold cream to take off my make-up...just because I hate standing in the bathroom freezing & splashing water over my face, which to me is misery personified. (It's still cold in Auckland!) I bought the cream at a $2 shop. Bargain. And I have convinced myself (so it may or may not actually be true!) that it's making my skin soft. And I'm using a baby body lotion that was in a $2 bin at the Warehouse. I'm feeling most virtuous with all this economy.

I read an article a few years ago, about a local celebrity who always looks amazing. She has used the same Fresh Nivea body lotion & Olay sensitive face cream, for over 20 years. Not exactly top of the range, but she looks great. The whole point is: we don't have to spend a fortune to look good. Looking good, youthful, it's about other things, not about how much money we spend on ourselves.




Thursday, 27 August 2015

eating unique on a budget

It's all very well & good being given advice about the latest & greatest in skincare, make-up, gyms, clothes & diet......but....who can afford all that? Especially as the latest & greatest can, & does, regularly change.

I found an interesting article about substituting healthy foods for foods which give similar effects, but also cost less. Which I rather like the idea of. So here are some ideas, some of which are my own tricks:

Trail Mix/snack             small baggies of dry cereal (use plastic snack bags)
                                      another is about 8 walnut halves & a small box of raisins (kids snack size)
                                      or combine the above two, add extra cereal & make up a few baggies

Protein drink                 use milk, add 1/4 cup skim milk powder for about double the protein of the
                                      milk. Whizz it in the blender, add a dash of vanilla & you have a smoothie.

Muesli                          porridge or 2 breakfast biscuits

Porridge with chia seeds  Chia seeds bulk up the protein but especially add fibre & healthy fats. Use
                                      oatbran instead, Homebrand make a good & really cheap oatbran, & cook
                                      in milk or milk powder to increase the protein, add yoghurt/milk after.

LSA                              buy linseeds from the bulk bins, whizz them up in your coffee grinder &
                                     store in the freezer. Add about 1 tsp to porridge for extra healthy fats.

Salmon                         tin of sardines

Blueberries                   dried prunes....great for the bowels & lots of anti-oxidants

High grain "healthy" bread  mixed grain crackers like vitawheat

Broccoli                        sometimes mega cheap, if not, try peas, or grow silverbeet

Capsicum                      these are nightshades which don't agree with me, so I have carrot.

Nuts                              a small serve of: oil with a meal; peanut butter

Chicken                        kidney beans

Designer soups             make your own!!! so yummy & cheap: lentil & tomato, pumpkin, leek &                                              potato, pea & spinach........

Fruit/vege juice/smoothies  eat the whole fruit/vege instead, & have a glass of water with them.

Protein bars                  muesli bar...better still, make your own.

Yoghurt                        Gopals yoghurt is cheap & yummy. Also easy to make...amp up the protein
                                     by adding skim milk powder.

Chai                              Choose: some cardamon, cinnamon, ginger, dash of vanilla, add to a
                                     teabag or 1 tsp of tea, brew, add some milk....yummy. It's ok to just use                                                  powdered spices.

Meat                             when you cook mince, use less meat & add some lentils to the dish

Wraps                           make thin pancakes, or crepes which are more eggy. Makes smaller
                                     wraps but are filling & delicious.

It's very empowering to make your own food, cheaper & more hygenic. You can eat well when the budget is not so big.









                                     

Sunday, 23 August 2015

new beginnings

Spring has well & truly sprung, in Auckland, New Zealand. And with spring comes a new energy, we start to stir from the slumber, rain, wind, & colds of winter. Spring is a time of hope & new beginnings.

Spring is the time to prepare for summer. It is the time when we spring-clean....we go through our home: cleaning, & biffing. Which I happily did, today. I've a big pile of "stuff" for the local op-shop. Actually, I'm also tossing most of my clothes as they don't fit in with my "new" colour palette & body shape. As we look at ourselves, seeing what does & doesn't work...we need to "clear the decks", removing the old to make way for the new. This is a wonderful principle of abundance. Get rid of what you have finished with, don't need.....which creates a void....which then gets filled with the new. Plus,  if we clean & organise in spring, we are then free to have a great summer.

I've also been preparing for the future, with work.....new directions here for sure. When it's cold & wet, & days are shorter, in winter, we can use this time to sort out & plan our life & things that we need to do, then, when spring comes, we can implement our new plans, or the next phase of our ongoing plans.

And I have been rethinking my diet & exercise in preparation for the lighter days of spring & then summer.

 I like to alter my diet with the seasons. The warm, nourishing food of winter is just so inappropriate for summer....& is even getting too heavy in Spring. A friend popped in & I was asking her about her diet because she always looks so young, trim & vital....& I am so copying it. If you ask around you often find new ways of doing, being, that you can try to see if they suit you. I'm not really keen on cooking so I like to find out new ways to get around this! Briefly, she has porridge with chia seeds & some protein powder, for breakfast. I have porridge with oatbran & I like to chai up my porridge with anything from cardamon, to also adding cinnamon, ginger, tumeric & vanilla. Yum. Then she has mostly tuna or chicken with salad or vegies for her other meals. All sounds tres yummy, & is totally do-able for me. I started today. I finally have organised myself a bit better with available emergency food at home: I've got Quorn (vegetarian protein) & vegies in the freezer, & tinned fish in the cupboards. I'm feeling quite superior about this wee bit of organisation, to be honest. I've also been having a giant latte bowl of hot water, lemon, ginger & honey as my evening drink. It's very fulling & keeps my glucose levels up overnight so that I feel more alert in the morning. And stops evening snacking: another bonus.

And in spring we start to want to exercise, & get out in the sun & fresh air, so this is an ideal time to step up our walking, gardening, whatever we like to do that can be done outside & makes us feel good.

When we feel good, & are improving our fitness, our vitality & uniqueness shines through.



Friday, 14 August 2015

I've been re-coloured beautiful!!

I had my appointment with Beverley Cole to get my colours & make-up sorted. Here is the irony of it all: I've had 3 colour sessions with this & that person over 26 years, including 1 when I was trained to do a more simplified colour version than Bev does, with Grace Cosmetics. The general consensus with these other colour people was that I was a winter...I suppose the darkish skin & the black hair (now not quite so black I must admit), were the deciding factors.

But it always made me a bit confused, as I can see auras. And I had seen apricot & a light warm aqua green over my chest. When we are of a warm colouring we have apricot meridian lines which you can see in the aura, & they are clear pink in cool toned people. I look good in apricot, peach & ivory...all warm colours. I just wasn't happy with a lot of the winter colours, as they didn't feel like "me"...but I wore them anyway...after all....I was going by what the experts had said....

I am, of course, a warm colouring, with lots of apricot tones suiting me. A muted, soft, warm, person, & I am quite soft & warm in my personality too, & the colours that Bev gave me....& this was done very carefully over several hours....I loved the colours...they were delicious!! I finally was starting to look like I felt. marrying the 2 is so important...how we look & how we feel. I also got my make-up & hair colour sorted.

I had to take a piece of favourite clothing & a picture of how I would like my home to look. Well, these all were pronounced "feminine", & as a "winter" I had not been doing the feminine thing...but over the coming months, that is all going to change!!

Anyway, the other great news is that Bev, who does fashion & colour feng shui, Carolyn de Silva who will be presenting crystals, & chakra colours, & myself, the aura lady, are doing a Colour My World presentation at Bev's lovely home: 4 Ototori Rd, Titirangi, on Sunday 20th September, 2pm. It's byo, if wished, plus a wee plate of finger food to share.

So, if you contact me at: ratnamurti108@gmail.com, facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ratnamurti.saraswati.....ph 021 265 0720
or Carolyn at https://www.facebook.com/carolyn.desilva

we can give you any extra info....& you can book in also via either of us

Sunday, 2 August 2015

colour me feng shui

today I went to a colours, dressing, style, personality workshop with a woman who was with Colour Me Beautiful way back when. She then moved into her own colour system based on each clients own natural colours: eyes, hair, skin etc. So, this system has moved past the original format but although it sounds more complicated, it actually has the effect of simplifying how we buy, what we buy, including our makeup. I was so impressed. I am so going to get my colours done with the lady who put this all together, Bev Cole.

She is on facebook: Beverley Cole Custom Colour Analysis

websites are http://beverleycole.co.nz/ & www.stylessence.co.nz. 

She then helped us see, for ourselves, by 1 of our accessories, what personality type we each are. You know: dramatic, classic, natural, romantic .....& I discovered I was a classic.....!! It just made so much sense. How could I could not see it for myself? Clean, simple, tailored lines, very few patterns. Definitely a classic. I recently read a book where the 4 seasons ...summer, autumn, winter, spring, had each been classified as a personality type, & according to this book, I would have been a dramatic. I think not. The lady next to me who had once been diagnosed as a winter (cool colouring) turned out to be of warm colouring, the old autumn (honestly you could see it), & was described as a "natural". A friend who is very creative was described as "creative"....no surprises, plus a "natural": she makes her own skin care, & has a gardening business, which Bev did not know.

And, according to Bev, our bodies tell us about the jewelry, textures, & patterns that are right for each of us. Also the structure of our clothes, whilst our unique personality adds extra elements....& this is also where we crossover into the feng shui aspect.

You end up with a whole book, a book of you. A whole system of external expression....I'm looking forward to getting mine. I've felt, for a long time, that if we have systems that suit us, on all levels, from clothes, makeup, hair, food, exercise, rest, to work, housework, all according to our our unique nature, preferences, time, & life, we then have the basis, the framework, to fully express ourselves....& then move onto doing what we would like to do in our life.

Plus....I'm meeting up with Bev, & my friend Carolyn de Silva with whom I've presented chakra & crystal workshops. We are putting together a new format for colour use in our lives, combining practical & mystical plus crystals. Most exciting.

Watch this space!!

,

Monday, 13 July 2015

being youthful: the food aspect #1

The body of youth can walk all day & play all night without looking tired or ragged. It recovers quickly from illness, & wants to go!go!go! When it is tired, it rests. It has muscle tone, can move it's joints easily, can move it's body through a full range of motion, is supple, full of energy.

How can we maintain, or perhaps, obtain, a body like that? It's a tall order, but some people do actually manage it. Exercise/movement which suits you & your way of life is one way, nutrition is another. The best way to be youthful through nutrition is to eat healthy, & not diet.

One way that we can do this, is by observing people who are healthy, youthful & toned. Some of these people will, of course, be in their 20s, but I also have observed & also read 1st hand accounts of women of all ages who also are healthy, youthful & toned. I also brazenly ask people about their diet, exercise, skin care, hair dye...hey...I'm interested! And if what they do intrigues me, I'll try it to see if it suits me.

A naturally slim, toned, & healthy person has a different mindset & habits than someone, for example, who is slender & maybe also fit (the 2 don't always go together, meaning you can be slim & not fit, or fit & not slim), but who also has a food disorder whereby they are obsessive about their weight. Obsession of any sort is ageing. Some of the similarities I've noticed with the naturally healthy people are:
  • They don't live on rubbish foods
  • They do eat some foods which aren't so nutritious, in small amounts, & not all the time.
  • They also don't slavishly look for the latest food or drink fads. 
  • They eat the food that they like, that their body likes.
  • They don't overeat, nor do they starve. 
  • Some just have a suitable food regime, some don't have a regime as such, but rather, habits.
  • They don't necessarily eat expensive foods

I lived with a naturally slim, toned, healthy, person, for 4 years, & her habits & also her food habits were different from most people:

  • she didn't diet, & seldom overate. She said that "you can eat anything, just not in large amounts", so she would have some cake & pizza when she wanted, at times that she wanted, except after a certain early hour in the evening. She would only have some of the cake or pizza....not heaps, & not everyday.
  • Most of her diet was nutritious. 
  • If she hadn't done much moving around that day, she felt that she didn't need to eat a lot (which does make sense), but if she was really hungry, she ate quite a bit. 
  • She drank water all day, during the evening & sipped it at meals. 
  • She kept chocolate in the freezer, & ate a tiny bit at a time. (p.s. it honestly was totally annoying, I was trying to lose weight & she didn't have to even think about it). 
  • She also would go for long walks with her friends, or to the gym if she had time.

Just by living with her, I could see that, for her, feeling a particular way, in this case it was feeling & being healthy, was a mindset, which for her, had accompanying habits. We need to have our own health habits which make us look good, feel good, be healthy. And it can be a process for some of us to figure this all out.  If, as the years go by, we have aches & pains, bone deterioration, thinning hair, no muscle tone, if we are tired when we wake up, are listless throughout the day, we need to look at what we eat, & our eating, or food, habits.

Food fads come & go, but the truly youthful person finds a dietary regime which suits her, her way of life, her wallet, & keeps her looking & feeling good, as well as healthy. Not a spartan regime nor "only" foods...you know, "I only eat this & that" ....rigidity is not youthful...flexibility of body & mind is youthful. It's a fine line between self-discipline & knowing yourself, knowing your lifestyle, your time available, it's more than just food.

We need to see also what effect different food & drink has on us. These  are mine, some of which were in my previous post:

  •  I have a serious food allergy: tomatoes... aka deadly nightshade...as you can imagine, I truly do not understand why/how people can eat them, with a name like that. So, tomatoes I do not eat, ever! 
  • Red food makes me nervous (tomato association)...so I don't eat strawberries & other red food.
  • An intolerance (all other nightshades).  If I eat potatoes, spinach, peppers, &/or other nightshades, I know for sure that the next day I will have stiff, swollen, sore joints, & be very tired. So, I never eat them at home & just do my best to avoid them when out. 
  • I also know that dark chocolate & other high antioxidant food like blueberries, red wine, give me a sore stomach & a headache the next day.
  • I don't digest sushi nor cucumbers very well, so I avoid them. 
  • I know that a big breakfast, for me, equals eating more than feels comfortable during the day.
  •  I can only eat starchy carbohydrates like bread, pasta, at certain times during the day. If I eat them, or eat too much, at the wrong time....I get sleepy, in fact my whole body also gets sleepy. 
  • I do ok on coffee, but not so well with tea. Cafe milky coffee (lattes) can make me feel queasy. 

You will have your own list. I truly feel that we need this knowledge of ourselves.

If you have children you look after their own health aspects, so why not look after your own? You matter too. Observe how you feel...it only takes less than a minute...if you don't feel too good, remember what you have eaten or drank recently. If you keep doing this, you will start to notice patterns between certain foods & drinks, times of eating e.g. lunch at noon versas lunch at 11.30 am or 1 pm, & your body.

Look at any health issues. I have had an anemia problem my whole life, & it can & does get very serious. My problem is absorbing the iron. I have tried iron pills, double dose of the pills (too unpleasant), taking vitamin c with the pills, floradix, spatone (liquid iron), eating meat, lots of eggs....but  the best, the most absolute quick delivery of iron, absorbing it, plus feeling good with it...is blackstrap molasses. I tried it in desperation. It is miraculous for me. I put it in warm water to dissolve it, & chug it down on an empty stomach.

We absolutely can not feel youthful when we don't feel well. So why not spend a small amount of your time observing how you feel after eating? Sometimes it can take a couple of hours for the effects of food & drink to kick in. It's not rocket science to figure out that if you feel sleepy after lunch, or after dinner, that you overate, or ate something that disagreed with you.

The next step is to see what does work for you.







Wednesday, 1 July 2015

progress not perfection...with diet

We are after progress not perfection, do a little bit more each day & that's how we get results & make a difference in our life, in ourselves: Kathy Smith, American fitness icon extraordinaire.

Kathy is talking here about fitness, but what she said applies to all areas of life, & I think that it especially applies to finding & expressing our own uniqueness. And when we start doing little things here & there, via our daily habits, & work out our own effective "systems" we start to create an energy, a momentum, like a "quickening". On some levels things start to speed up, we start to look, feel, be, better than we were. With this momentum, it won't be such a major if we miss a day here & there, because we will have created a progressive system that we can return to without feeling that we can't keep going just because we missed a day, or ate the wrong thing at a meal.

Suppose we are trying to find a way of diet, or eating, that suits us. We will already know lots of things that do & don't suit us, so we can use this knowledge to start the process. For example I have a major tomato allergy, so that means I have to be careful when I eat out. For example, at Subway, (I eat from there 1- 2 x per year), I always request that the food server change their gloves & use clean serving equipment & of course I explain why. And I love potatoes! & spinach! But...they are nightshades, & the next day after eating them, my joints will be stiff & swollen. So I seldom touch them, but sometimes....I consciously do. And strangely I get a bit freaked out around red food (tomato association) but I do sometimes have red lentils...even though I know they don't sit well with me, too acidic.

But, continuing with what suits, & using myself as an example.....I'm not too fond of eating animals. So I seldom do. Fruit, especially dried fruit, doesn't suit me too much, so I don't eat much of it, despite what nutritionists say. And some nuts don't make me feel good. I love pumpkin, beans like haricot beans, milk, porridge, cheeses, eggs, greens, soups. And I get unhappy eating salad when the weather is cold.......so now I have a framework to loosely work on for my own unique dietary needs.

Suppose you want to tweak your own diet so that it's more suited to you? Remember, if we work on progress, not perfection, it would be both a learning & a gradual process. Why not start with a list of what you do & don't like. Then a list of foods which do & don't suit you.

Now try to work out your unique existing dietary tendencies & habits. You might know that you are grumpy in the mornings until you have a coffee, or cup of tea, or food. I know that at 11.30am I will be hungry! And if I don't eat enough of the correct food at that time...I will stay hungry. I also know that if I eat mainly carbs, or even eat too much, at this time, I'll be drowsy within the hour. You also will have tendencies depending on what you do & don't eat or drink, at particular times. You will be hungry at certain times too. One of my sisters, very slim, eats very little during the day because she doesn't feel good eating then, but she eats 1 very healthy meal at night, & sleeps well.....she sleeps well because she sleeps better with a full tummy. You might be just the opposite. Sleeping with a full stomach is uncomfortable to me, but works for her.

Eat real food, at roughly the same times around the clock. Think of variables for difficult times to do with food & hunger & try out different things to see what suits you best. Work out what those times are! If, say, you are starving & a bit woozy at 5.30pm, but you are driving home from work then....have a banana whilst driving or before you leave work, to tide you over, or an apple, or something like a piece of cheese.

Look at other unusual associations you have & do with diet. My tendency is that I always, absolutely always, get seduced by the latest "health food" claims, even though I know that they differ from decade to decade. I can remember that granola (baked muesli) was big once, oatbran, no fat, all those unhealthy no/lo fat pseudo foods that made many people pile on weight, atkins, hi-protein, eat 6x a day...no, wait, eat 2x a day...no, hang on eat....x a day...polyunsaturated oil (like seed oils eg safflower)...no, no, now avoid them, have mono-unsaturated oil, eat Mediterranean, Greek, Japanese, French, eat eggs...for god's sake don't eat eggs, soy foods, no, now soy is bad........the latest 'rules' are endless & constantly changing. Now it's pulverised food made into a liquid. Try whatever new finding appeals & if it doesn't suit you...don't continue. This is about you, being your most unique, it's your own journey. I still love granola, oatbran, & eggs, so I include them all in my diet.

Keep in mind: progress not perfection, a bit at a time, working out what is best for you, within your own life situation. You will find that this will keep the body/mind connection working, & if you don't have that connection, it will emerge as you observe & feel, how your mind, & your body, work with certain foods & drinks. Even better, it will set up a "quickening" in this area. These quickenings give real energy & happiness, they spur us on to keep doing more.

Friday, 26 June 2015

the vitality of being & looking young

Children have lots of energy, for sure. They move constantly, they look vital. To feel & look young/youthful, a quick way is to emulate this: move, a lot....don't just sit. I write 3 blogs, so unfortunately I'm often sitting....! I am going to set up somewhere in the house where I can stand whilst using the computer. Standing uses up more muscle movement than sitting, & this in turn is better for the workings of our body.

Get up & move, walk to another room to get a drink of water if you are at home, if you actually do get a lunch break at work, go for a quick brisk walk. Dance when you are alone. I met a very youthful & glamorous solo mother of 5, who got up every morning & cycled on her wee stationary bicycle for 30 minutes in her bedroom. When she was at home & got bored, she would do aerobics with light weights in her lounge, go for a quick jog around the block, or garden.

No doubt about it, movement makes us look & feel vital. As a yoga teacher I can tell you that there are other ways too. Yoga breathing exercises, called pranayama, increase our life force. Prana is life force & its main transport vehicle is the air that we breathe. When we raise our levels of prana, we get more definition. This is similar to when we get a tan - we are more visible, our outline is stronger. When our prana reserves increase, our eyes are brighter, the skin is rosier, we are emulating some of the characteristics of youth. So we look younger. The opposite is true for when we reach the end of our life, the life force level, the prana, starts to slowly decrease. And our "definition" seems blurred.

Without this life force, allied to the breath, we cannot live. Sometimes, our internal prana gets blocked from flowing freely, due to illness, difficult emotional happenings, or just from general loss of vitality...you know, those times when you feel heavy, & a bit down. Conversely, when we are "up" we appear to have more of this vitality, we have more physical energy, we are nicer to others, we like ourselves more, so we could say that being "up" is one of the attributes of youth.... & at these times, we love life, we love people, we love ourselves:

"I believe in life, I believe in love,  & I believe in myself." I have personally used this affirmation for decades.

When we are "up" we do whatever we need to do quite happily: "I do what I have have to do willingly & cheerfully". Another long time fave. The opposite of this is, of course, resentment. Resentment is ageing.

So it looks as though emotional vitality is also youthful. When I'm talking about youthfulness, I"m not talking about being like a child, but rather, the attributes of youth & youthful people. I once completely changed my life using the above 2 affirmations (I had other ones too), they carried me through a very difficult time in my life, & for me have worked very well.

Another youthful vitality attribute is enthusiasm. It goes back really, to having prana, to being active, being positive, living & loving. And having something/s to look forward to. When we are young, the excitement that we have when we are doing something that we love, or find exciting, that enthusiasm, it is contagious. As human beings, we all need things to look forward to, & sometimes we actually have to figure this out: what makes us enthusiastic? A cause, a passion, ideas? Something to pin our heart on.

The spirit of youth, therefore a youthful attribute, has dreams for their life. And desiring, wanting to achieve those dreams, now. So, having the vitality, being "up", having dreams, being enthusiastic.....NOW!

These are some of  the aspects of the vitality of being & looking young.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

on staying "young"

I went to a 2nd hand book fair. There were lots of books on "how to stay young". I reached for them.....then put them down, as I had read many of these sort of books.  They all, except 1, had depressed me. I just could not relate to them. So many had an underlying message (& this could have just been my own interpretation!) that one was old...so lets "be" not quite so old, & usually containing advice on the latest health food of the time. Some exercise. Exercise your mind too. And the latest findings about people who have lived long lives.

Being "young" is different from all this. I thought about youthful women whom I'd known, women who look much younger than their years. A few came to mind, & I thought that I'd share some of their characteristics. I could only recall 1 man who was eternally youthful.

I am a yoga teacher so the people who came to mind, except 1 who still surfs at the age of 50, all practice yoga. Only 1 does hard core yoga such as very strong vinyasa, & in this case it's like athletic moving yoga. The only man does about 25 (in some systems they would say it was 50!) sun salutes, fast, & some easy lying poses. Some of the others do much less, a few sun salutes, twist, a couple of postures. Not much. But they do it regularly, & this is 1 of the keys, regularity in your exercise. And yoga does seem to delay ageing.

The  80 year old who came to mind, went to a gym everyday, & had exercised all her life: running for many years & lots of calisthenics. These days she goes on the treadmill, then does a class for an hour: pilates, yoga, pump, etc. Honestly, she could do poses that no-one else in the class could. One of the 60+ year olds, very youthful, very glamorous, did 2 yoga classes each week & 2 days golf. The other 60+ lady walked 1-2 times daily, & went to 1 yoga class per week.

So, I can deduce, or observe, from this, that some sort of exercise, regularly, keeps us young. Actress Helen Mirren, almost 70, has done the xbx system for women for years, a combination of exercises which increase in difficulty, & you also try to do more & more repetitions in the allotted time. Takes 10 minutes, done most days.

Exercise thickens the skin, & maintains muscle tone....& builds it up if there wasn't much tone. Muscle tone is what gives us a nice shape. Exercise brings a rosiness to the cheeks. When we are young we have that bloom, we have muscle tone, we are active. We are healthy, we move. In youth, we have good posture, & exercise helps us maintain that posture, it keeps our muscles holding us upright so that we don't get a hunchback & shrink.

To keep standing tall: lift up chest, drop your shoulders, & soften the buttocks down towards the floor. This (should) lift your head to correct position & gently activate your abdominal muscles. Stooping makes us look & feel tired. Standing tall gives more energy & we look more vital. Vitality is 1 of the keys to youthfulness.


Thursday, 11 June 2015

weekly update

What a week! Family "things" have caused havoc - I'm from a very large family of mostly girls, some of us have had kids, some have grandchildren, so something is always happening with someone, &, being a large family, we do tend to, well, be involved with what is happening with each other.

Plus one of my kids, an adult, had major surgery. We all kept each other informed with it: facebook, emails, texts, phone calls. No privacy, really, but in a big family, this is how it is. People care, deeply, & want to do their bit for the family member who they think needs help. Sometimes it's actually more about heaps of us turning up to "help" when in secret reality, it's a family reunion of whoever is able to come.

And a lovely niece is very sick, so 2 of us are having pixie haircuts (her Nanna & me, so far...might be more) to match hers as she undergoes treatment.

For me, this is a brave step, for I shall end up looking like Liza Minnelli, & whilst I think Liza is great, that's not how I want to actually look. Ah, the things we do for love, in this case, of my niece.

And I got bitten, very sorely, by a frantic leaping dog who attacked my bottom. I was a tad tender for the next few days, plus used up 1 day having health checks.

I managed to maintain being unique, quite a bit, with my wee daily list, except on the night that I was so exhausted that I walked in through the front door & fell early onto the bed, & slept till late the next morning. I also realised that for what I want to do with my life, I have to get up even earlier & be more focused in the morning. I'm looking at not opening the computer, 5 days a week (I teach yoga early 2 days a week), before 9am, & getting my wee cottage presentable 1st thing. This is my next project: a quick, but nice, morning maintenance routine for my abode. One thing not on my list, that I have effortlessly slotted into my life, is cooking rice & vege for wee doggy (I buy cooked chicken for her), & popping on some dhal (lentils, or split peas) with whatever vege are lurking in the fridge, most mornings, so that I have a lunch that I like.

Baths have gone by-the-by for a while as it is so cold, & my bathroom is not heated. Am still "prettifying" most mornings, & eating my nice muesli for breakfast. If I hadn't had a diary, what with work, wee doggy, large extended family, my own mishaps, I would not have managed to fit everything into my life.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

colour me gorgeous

I was chatting with a friend & remarked how much her new bright orange scarf suited her. She had just had "her colours done" with her mother-in-law, who does feng shui with clothes & colour. She was involved with Colour Me Beautiful many years ago, & her system had evolved from then. The friend's next step was The Big Wardrobe Cleanout....... terrifying, no doubt. She ended up with a pile of "great" clothes & some maybes for the time being, all culled from her wardrobe. This sounds rather less daunting than a major biff-out. In time, the maybes will be replaced by the yes! clothes.

My friend looked great, she had new make-up on, discreet of course, but she looked lovely.

If you have a colour system, & stick with it, any system, it will work. There was once a system for daybreak, daytime & sunset....I tried doing this from a book, & as usual went a tad nutty trying to figure out which one I am. And I have an old book (I love & collect old books!) which has yet another colour system. My sense of sanity forbids me to read those pages.......

The basics of the warm/cool type colour systems do work. And there is an esoteric reason why: have you heard of meridians? They are lines of energy running through our body, & outside the body in the aura. This is the interesting part: for a cool-coloured person, they are pink, for a warm-coloured person they are apricot. As a clairvoyant, I can see this, so can others. So in the warm/cool system, we are working with what is already there, via these meridians, & also via undertones in the skin.

I have also found that as my skin tone has gotten lighter over the years, that I also suit softer hues of the colours of my palette...a winter looks good in cool, bright, clear colours, & as long as I adhere to these aspects, I can also use a quieter shade, in, for example, emerald green, purple, fuschia.

But it's about more than just colour. Appearance wise, there are other factors.

As well, there are prints. If you are short, big prints look ridiculous. I always think that if you're wide, whether tall or short, there is the danger of looking overwhelming.....like a giant canvas painting, if you have large flamboyant prints or patterns in your tops. And, for economy's sake, I like to confine my prints to 1 area of my body, mostly because I don't handle too much pattern near my face. I do have a bright retro scarf of bright auric colours, & I use it only to teach about auras or, chakras-in-the-aura, as I find that it helps the students during the workshops, it's an effective visual aid. I tie it like a man's tie, but a bit looser & lower, & feel very smug doing this. It takes me back to my youth when I often would wear a man's tie & cuff links...I thought that I was so chic.

I generally use a print on the lower 1/2 of my body in pants mostly but I've had some lovely patterned skirts over the years. That's my personal preference, but for you it could be on your upper torso, or on a 3rd layer, such as jackets, cardis, scarves, whatever is your choice.

If you just like to have tons of clothes, a system won't really matter, but for those of us who like a smaller wardrobe, or finances dictate that we need a smaller one, a system will set you free from the tyranny of "I've got nothing to wear"!




Tuesday, 2 June 2015

are these diet secrets?

last night I had dinner with 2 friends at an Indian restaurant...yum, yum, my favourite food. I have to have consultations with the staff whenever I eat out due to a full-on tomato allergy. I found 5 dishes there so definitely will be going back. Often. Plus the restaurant is local, & does takeaway, so for $10 I can get 2 meals out of 1 dish...a bonus! I shall be doing this too.

I can still taste it, so delicious, it's the following morning & I'm still not hungry. Maybe this is one of the secrets of successful diet....eat yummy foods where the taste & memory linger long after.

I ate slowly & savoured it, I savoured it because of it's deliciousness, & I wanted to make the taste last, which I know is one of the secrets of being a good weight, as is eating in a convivial atmosphere which it certainly was, laughter was abounding. I'm sure that this creates a happy stomach & thereby helps with digestion.

I even left quite a bit as I got full, & these were not gargantuan portions, so I surmise that when food is delicious, perhaps we are satisfied earlier than when the food is not so nice. I have been eating a lot of "should" foods, for decades, & it is totally unsatisfying, so that the craving to fulfill the taste buds...it lingers. Of course that maintains hunger.

Why have I been doing this? Because I felt that I "should"? Sadly, yes.

I have had a few eating out days recently. Yum char at a family birthday lunch.....I only ate what I wanted, & again, slowly...(the delicious factor again). I couldn't eat till the next morning, not because I was stuffed, but because I was satisfied.

Then another lunch, just a delicious egg thing with vegetables...again...it fulfilled so many inherent requirements that I could not eat dinner.

None of these 3 meals out were big...but they were sufficient. I often don't eat out, because of the tomato "thing", because I think I'll put on even more weight, & also because I usually don't enjoy the food, but I can see I've been choosing food incorrectly (eating "should" foods again!).

So I've started a new regime....find some yummy food that satisfies, & I've started with a muesli from the 1970s, by a chef. It has wheat germ, bran & lecithin in it, 3 of my favourite tastes. Some nuts & seeds, coconut, a bit of dried fruit. When I last made it, I loved it, surprisingly I only needed a small amount for a serving, & it filled me up for hours. I also found that in winter I seem to need a small breakfast so am going with this for the time being.

It has been a long time since my diet was made up largely of foods that I enjoyed. Over the 3 days that I ate out, & ate differently, my weight has gone down 500 grams. Food for thought......







What I do with my life

This is not a fripperies post. It's about a passion, a lifestyle, of mine.  I learn Maori healing, and ancient teachings, and have bee...