Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Socialising

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Inspiration to socialise

I was reading about a woman who has, for some months, been using public transport, to get out and about. She has a car, and often used to bike into her local town. But now, she instead, has chosen to use buses.

Where I live, you can, instead of using your car:
  • walk
  • take trains
  • bus
  • or alternate between these to get to many of your destinations
This is something that I really wanted to do, but haven't. Why have I not done it?
  • I haven't been organised enough to do it
  • You have to allow time to do this
  • I have also been using the rain as an excuse not to. But it's not always raining.
I am going to get into working this into my life, even if it takes me a while to do so:
  • If I want to see my Grand-daughter who lives in an inner city suburb, I can walk to the bus around the corner from where I live, bus to the local shops, get a train to my destination. Hop out of the train, walk across the tracks, and I'm at my Grand-daughter's. Or, just walk to the shops to get the train
  • I can walk to the local shops a couple of times a week for some groceries
  • I can walk and bus to the local mall to do chores there
When I was growing up, we did indeed walk everywhere. Plus catch buses. It was expected that we would do this. No wonder we were all so slim, and seldom got sick. (and yes, I do know... this was a long time ago...)

So, just how is this socialising?

Ah, the crux of this post.
  • The woman whom I was reading about, said it was so that she could be amongst people
  • meet people
  • interact with others
Now, this is an internationally famous author, (Monica Grenfell), who simply decided to do this. I'm willing to bet that she doesn't actually need to have more people in her life.

A cure for loneliness

But I can tell you, that doing all this, is a great cure for loneliness. And for when we realise that we are being too insular (which I can definitely be). What I would do, when I was at home too much, and hadn't talked to anyone for a few days, was:
  • go to the library and work on my computer
  • go over the road to the local cafe. I made many lovely new friends at that cafe
  • walk in the local park
  • go to the local beach, even if it was just to hang out
  • go to a local weekend outdoor brunch place by the sea, and eat a delicious french crepe
I wasn't lonely, as such, but I definitely was being too isolated!

People who need people

Barbra Streisand has an old song about this...

               "people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world".

I forget the rest of the song, but I do believe that no person is an island. We need one another. We not only need each other:
  • for company
  • for giving and receiving friendship
  • and for love
              But also for skills. The Art of Being Able To Interact With Others. True socialising.

Children need to mix with others, too

Not just at school, but in many situations. In my early years, I was the eldest of five little girls. We only played together for many years, because it was just too much for Mum when a hoard of kids came other to play. Understandable. Actually, she did try to do this, but it was so hard to do. And I am in no way criticising Mum; she was an amazing mother.

As everyone got older, of course this changed. Each child had friends of their own. But, and for me in those early years, and this was the important part, I did not know how to mix with people, even those of my own age, nor how to forge friendships.

Because I was not socialised.

Image may contain: 3 peopleI had a period of my life when I went to live with Nanna, and there, I was expected to be able to  talk to people of all ages. I soon learnt!! It wasn't easy for me, but it was a learned skill, from those lovely years, for which I am still so incredibly grateful.

I had become socialised. And, it did indeed make my life easier.



                       





ps the family grew........


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Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Still Spring-ing

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Why I love spring

Actually I love autumn too, but for different reasons. But I am quite serious about spring, in a quiet poking fun at myself, kind of way. I have these things that I enthusiastically do, each spring. Because, well, it's spring!! And also, I'm clearing the decks for summer.

But why do I love spring? Probably for the same reasons as everyone else:
  • summer is almost here
  • that darned rain stops, or slows down. Here, our winter rain, as opposed to our spring or summer rain, is often cold, fierce, and windy, so it pelts down sideways. Hence my glee and relief when it calms down.
  • we stop freezing
  • the sun is out!
Not brilliant reasons. But, to me, spring is a time of growth; of new life

new beginnings

New births in the nature kingdom. Not just animals, but beautiful blossoms, amazing spring flowers. With my eldest children, we lived alongside a wide country (semi country, really) lane, and we had horse paddocks behind us. Every spring, up would come daffodils in that lane, and in the paddocks. The lane was almost crowded out by them. A riot of colour. So special.

For me, winter is a time of planning, and sorting things out. Then, come spring, we have our plans sorted to start on, for whatever reason. Or even just have an idea of what we are going to do, the direction on which we would like to take.

everything feels lighter, so consequently, so do we

And I don't think that it's just the weather. That old saying "a spring in your step"? That's what this beautiful season does to me, so I'm assuming that it's the same for everyone else. Being that we are all, in so many ways, quite similar.

Maybe I feel this way
  • because of the new life bursting forth
  • there is more blue sky, which makes us feel so good
  • the days are getting longer, so that we have more time to get things done, do more with our life
  • it's not so cold. For me, it just makes it easier to get things done, when the days are longer, and I'm not so cold
  • I notice that I also get out and about more

for me, spring is the season of hope

and with all of this, for me, I have a feeling of New Hope, when spring has burst forth. I eagerly await it (or is that I desperately await it?), near the end of August, as September is spring in New Zealand. And that hope, inside of me, is for everyone, especially my family. I have great hope that all will be the best for them.

Practical stuff

I do practical sorting-out-life things, too, come spring.
  • spring cleaning. Sorting stuff out. Putting stuff away. Seasonal cleaning (not quite into that yet, to be honest)
  • revisiting my diet (as in my previous post)
  • enthusiastically pulling out my spring clothes. I am now into a single layer, on top, and bottom, with a warm-ish hoodie for when it's cold. Still long-sleeved and too warm for summer, but less than winter
  • I ruthlessly biff any winter clothes which I didn't wear. I didn't wear them because I didn't like them or they were unflattering
  • I decide on a "look" for spring with clothes. With what I already have. As I'm saving for some essentials (not clothes) I cannot spend too much on new clothes. 
                                              Ah, yes. Spring.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Spring has again, sprung

                                 Image result for vintage french magazine covers for spring

Spring is here

I can actually feel it, in the air., Or, is it in the ether? I'm not sure which. On a recent drive into the countryside, you could see the lambs happily running and bouncing around. Frolicking, I believe. Lots of calves. Spring flowers bursting forth. And pollen. Darned pollen. but hey, who cares, because: spring is here!!

le spring regime

Time to move with the seasons, methinks. I have decided to follow a very doable system of:

a diet overhaul:

  • eat three times a day. Which means that I have to eat enough at each meal, which was what I was doing a few months ago.
  • a fortified muesli for breakfast. equal amounts of oat bran (because that's the sort of oats that I already have) and wheat germ. I love wheat germ, to me it is just so delicious. LSA, protein powder (6 - 10 grams of protein), a couple of powders, not much: berries and greens. Soak in whatever type of milk that you like. A piece of fruit. Yum. Adjust all to taste.
  • I'm intending to make lunch my main meal which will be fish mostly, plus a green vegetable or two.
  • and dinner will be vegetable soup for a wee while. With a small amount of cheese and bread. Actually really filling because at present I'm using root vegetables, including beetroot.
  • I'll make adjustments, maybe even change it as needed, as I go along
  • water (this is where I'm slack)

short daily bursts of exercise, for spring, health, and toning:

  • I do a small yoga routine each morning, poses, breathing, meditation. Not earth shattering, but doable. Nothing to boast about, or even really admit to. But, mostly, I do it. As a yoga teacher, I have known so many friends who were unable to maintain daily yoga. This, I feel, is because they made it too hard to do, simply by making it too long. Or too complicated.
  • short, brisk walks. I live in suburbia, and I do admit that have found it a bit hard to get inspired, strolling around the roads, past lots of houses. I have to get over this.
  • short bursts of body toning. Which I had been doing a few times a week, but now I'll do, for example, legs and buttocks one day, upper body the next. Abs, probably three minutes each day. So, that's more, but in short doses, it's doable.
  • move briskly about the day (which makes me feel that I'm doing something. Hilarious really, to think like that.
I need to do the diet and exercise overhaul, even just for health reasons. Especially as the weight loss came to a grinding halt. A new, simple, approach, is clearly needed here. And I fully expect wonderful things like toning up and getting stronger physically.

I am also feeling that I need to build myself up. As in immunity:

A friend makes amazing products. Some are made for the individual, but two are available in a few places. I managed to be advised as to what I needed. (lucky me)

  • I'm taking a personalised lung builder-upper. Amazingly, I could feel results after just one dose!
  • and a vitamin C.
So, that's it, at present. To be continued, built upon, or changed, as needed.



Wednesday, 29 August 2018

happy thoughts

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                                         Pixie: the ultimate in happy thoughts

"happy thoughts make happy molecules": Deepak Chopra

I love this. It reminds me how I have been happy and healthy, but, at times, I have fallen prey to viruses & colds because I was having an unhappy time. I don't actually feel that when we get some sort of malaise, that it's always "all in the head". No, of course I don't. To me that's just too silly, and too blamey. Some times we do get a virus for practical reasons.

For example:  I got the worst virus of my life from a new flatmate, some years ago. She coughed and sneezed over everything: including toothbrushes, towels, soap, tea towels, dishes, furniture, door handles ... everything. When I finally got that darned virus-from-hell, I realised that it had been inevitable.

Other times when I have been "low", I have been immensely susceptible to "catching" something.

How can that be? Why does this happen? Is it the universe being mean? Or reflecting back to us? I find this sort of attitude too grandiose. Sometimes things are just more simplistic than that. And, I also don't like the reflection attitude. I feel that it's just a wee bit too self absorbed. How can everything be about me? It doesn't make sense.

I do like to remove myself from the psycho babble. And just so you know... I was around it for many years. It made me feel very uncomfortable. I saw too many people pointing the finger of blame at people if they were sick. I had it pointed at me, many a time, over trivialities.

And, for goodness sake, this was an excellent way to make another person unwell. And unhappy. In a study which I read, it was found that unhappy thoughts do lower immunity. I am assuming here that it's a lot of unhappy thoughts.

Whereas, positive thoughts created more antibodies. And it had to do with the brain. These happier thoughts, we have them when we have more activity in a front part of our brain (prefrontal cortex). And when the activity is there, we have more antibodies. This tells me that we can help ourselves, by deliberately being more positive.

And, we all have times in our life, when this is just like pushing water uphill. I have a couple of wee tricks:
  • I remove myself from people who make me feel bad about myself
  • I go outside and get some "blue": blue sky. This, I know, gives me more serotonin, the calm, happy, and healing neurotransmitter. It sends happier impulses through our body. 
  • I remind myself to stand taller, and look "up". Both make me feel happier
  • If I'm sitting, I stand. I move, I change my physical body stance. Try it, it works for me. 
  • I make myself smile
  • I have faith that things will get better 
  • I go and see Pixie and have licks, kisses, and hugs
Of course, you will have your own tricks. which I would love to hear, and try.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

How to build up your health

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Why do I need to build up my health? Or, why does anyone else, for that matter?

I gaily traversed through this winter, so pleased that I barely got sick. Mostly, it was due to an anaemia problem that I have, sort of disappearing. (I worked hard to get this to happen!!) Anaemia made me very run-down and really lowered my immune system. Now I just keep an eagle eye on it, throughout each day, and do whatever I need to do, to get the iron levels back up. Iron. That's my problem. Lack of iron, at different times in my life. And I lack it because my body can have problems absorbing it, and storing it. I keep a supply of an amazing iron-plus-other-stuff supplement on hand, and it's the best that I have ever used.

Plus, I was actually doing things to actively prevent getting anaemic, and also to prevent getting sick. I do a barely known yoga breathing exercise to cool my body, and amazingly, this has helped no end. Certainly, when I am overheated, not as in summer-hot, but as in body-too-hot, I am inclined to be lacking in iron, and/or, sick. Or, both. So, I do something to prevent both.

First things first

I have never met sometime who was totally free from any physical things that they were prone to, and these, I believe, are often the key to staying healthy, and also getting healthy:
  • do what we need to do, to keep our body moving along efficiently. 
  • Deal with, and keep an eye on, any physical tendencies.

Keep on track with them

So, getting back to my iron-thingey, I found out many years ago, that iron is highest about 7am each morning. Maybe there are new findings, but I have stuck with that. So, I aim to be up and about before 7am to do a small amount of yoga, which is either:
  • for maintaining health: some sun salutes and a couple of easy poses, breathing, etc
  • for recovery from being run down or unwell: some flexibility moves, especially for shoulders and hips, where we store a lot of tension. I'm not a naturally supple person, I have to work at it, and these sort of movements, as trivial as they are, help get me back into my grove
Either for 10 - 15 minutes, with the above exercise. That's it. These are for keeping my body ticking over nicely. And I do the breathing when I'm up to it, for recovery. What I do here, is not for the body-beautiful, nor for any other reason other than keeping on top of things. I find that it is  easier to have something that I do, regularly, that physically, helps me maintain on a level that I can keep fitting into my life. Easily.

find out what suits you best, for maintaining your health, and for building it up, when needed. Keep it simple, and succeed (Kiss formula)

Take time to recuperate when you've not been well

And, of course, as a yoga teacher, I do know not to do exercise when I've got a temperature. I rest, instead. And sleep. And I don't lie there doing yoga techniques. If I'm well enough to do that, then I'm well enough to be up and about, in my reasoning.

To build up our health, it helps to notice what's going on, physically

It's really worth it, to notice what is happening with your body. When I was younger, I really bought into the modern and yoga thing whereby, if you were unwell, then shock, horror!! The universe was supposedly mirroring something back to me. Or, I felt that I "deserved" it.

When I stopped doing that silly tendency to analyse what was happening in my head, and looked instead to what was happening with my body, my health improved. I looked at physical evidence, instead.

What did I look at? My physical patterns, which tell us so much. Which ones? I just do the easy ones:
  • how much sleep that I need, and the quality of sleep
  • how my diet affects me. So, that's what we eat at certain times; and how does it work with our body?
And I find that some things affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally, too
  • other people. Toxic people are truly best avoided (this was totally one of my life's biggest lessons)
  • our environment. This is our home, and our work environment, mostly. 
There will be more factors for each of us, like responsibilities, money, family. But the process for dealing with any thing that impacts our health, is the same. It is unbelievably simple, and involves a bit of trial and error:

Find out what suits you. And just do it. Make it doable (KISS)

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

On making life better

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I am looking today at making my life better. And why? Is that all I ever do?

Well, no. I actually, mostly, just live my life, as it is, and be present as much as I can. Of course, who does that 24/7? Not me, for sure, because it's just too overwhelming. And exhausting. Sometimes we  just need to let go, and surrender to the flow of whatever is going on.

The busy flow of my life suddenly ground to a halt

I had been so busy. Life was exciting. Getting Things Done. People to see, things to do. Then suddenly, overnight, it all ground to an inglorious halt.

I aim to do my best, as often as I can. But today, I can't. I just can't. This is the fifth day of me surrendering to the flow, of a horrible bug which is whipping it's way around the country. Apparently, it's not only in Auckland, but  also around Hobbiton, in the mighty metropolis of Matamata. (so I know it's an important bug. I mean - Hobbiton?) (my son did a stint working at a bar in the Shire, he loved working there)

                                         Image result for hobbiton                               

So, it is comforting to know that I am not alone. I have been in bed and slept. Or, I had lain on the sofa, in a stupor, going through boxes of tissues, watching youtube and netflix movies. I think it's called binge watching. I don't think that there are many left that I want to half-pie watch. And I suspect that I actually slept through most of them.

First steps to getting better

Today, I am teetering around the house a bit, trying to sort myself out. Changing my sheets. Putting away My Stuff. Swaying as I make some soup. Being Brave. Being a martyr. Sorting things out. Making life better.

Why do this?

Because I am an eternal optimist. I am clearing the decks for, hopefully, tomorrow, when I shall be ready to be better. I am being prepared. I might be a bit premature in my hopes here, but, still, I'm going to be ready for the day, any day soon, when I feel much better.


Tuesday, 7 August 2018

People who have a better life

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Who are these people who have a better life?

(happiness comes into it, too)

Well according to psychology researchers, it has to do with personality traits. And, specific traits, in particular.

Here are some of the main ones, plus my own (unsolicited) comments:

enthusiasm, extroversion, outgoing, laugh a lot

All under the same umbrella. So obvious, I think. I actually am not an extrovert, and, as an adult, I had to learn how to be outgoing, how to socialise. So I do know that it's possible. I've also noticed that my friends who can find humour and smiles, when life is not good, they are the ones who get through hardship easier. As a healer and clairvoyant, I have observed that under all our problems, lies happiness, so I do think that happiness is like a birthright. But, sometimes we need to do something to lighten our load, so that we can be happier.

Here are some of the things that worked for me:
  • I deliberately aim to be more outgoing. I make myself go and meet people, and spend time with them.
  • Some years ago, I deliberately, v-e-r-y slowly, so as not to cause more drama, removed myself, bit by bit, from "friends" who were not nice. Who didn't make me feel good about myself.
  • I also removed myself from working with people who were not nice. I'm self-employed, so I can do this. But, I have had times in my life when I just had to "suck it up", and handle bad work situations.
  • I make myself look nice early each day. This could be said to be superficial, and maybe it is, however it makes me feel better, more outgoing, less self absorbed.
low levels of being neurotic

I had a chuckle about this, for who amongst us, is not a bit neurotic about something? But really it means something like being less self absorbed. Whew! I always think of this as being a young person's problem. I remember vividly the day that I stopped being all about me: I gave birth. (mothers will chuckle at this). 

The suggestion is that being self conscious, overwhelmed, easily discouraged, actually means that we do not have a good relationship with ourselves.  Myself, I think that we all go through periods of this. And come out the other side. It seems to me, that when we feel good about ourselves in and heart and emotions sort of way, then we like ourselves more. Simply because we feel better about our self.

industrious, conscientious, getting things done

I am not a happy punter when I have nothing to do. I like to Get Things Done. I find housework a bit overwhelming, but I do it. However, there are so many meaningful aspects to my life! But, I must confess, I made it this way. It wasn't easy, but I just kept trying things over the years until I found what works for me. I'm not there yet (is anyone ever?). 

This is what I insist on fitting into my life, what I am conscientious about:
  1. family. I am so blessed to have children, grandchildren, a great grandchild, and a very large extended family
  2. friends. I have many friends, I make a point of making time to catch up with each of them. Our friends are important. 
  3. work. This is what I do: 
  • I am a yoga teacher, but, from choice I cut down to 2 private classes a week. 
  • I keep in touch with quite a few people whom I trained to be yoga teachers. 
  • I write my 2 blogs, which I love doing. 
  • I do Maori healing, in a clinic one night a week, and occasionally at home. 
  • I regularly attend workshops on Maori spirituality.       
  • I teach the odd yoga workshop. 
  • I give clairvoyant readings
I am busy. But I know that I could do more, without being neurotic about it. You would have your own list, which would, of course, be different. 

compassion, kindness

For me, this goes back to first becoming a mother. A well of kindness, love, and compassion springs forth from within when we have a child. It doesn't have to be a child that we give birth too. It is a child whom we love. Actually I include fur and feather babies here!!!

My mother, grandmother and my aunt whom I lived with in my teens, were kind. How lucky was I to be around them! They each inspired me to resolutely be kind. No matter what. I did know, even at a young age, that being this way, made me have a better life. And happier.

And, to overcome my shyness, as a young adult, I learnt to take an interest in others. I aim not to be nosy (I learnt the hard way not to be nosy....), it's more of a connection thing. And it did help me so much in dealing with being shy and naturally introverted. Which naturally leads onto the next aspect of a better life:

being curious about life, the world; learning new things

I always feel that this is also a youthfulness attribute, for, watching toddlers, children, teens, they have an insatiable desire to know what happening. And with it, they keep learning.

We can too. I am not an intellectual, my learning nosiness is with The Unknown aspects of life, The Hidden Secrets. I am always eager to discover more. 

There are so many things that we can learn about in our life. at any stage. And when something grabs our interest, we do not have to get "down"... because we are too busy to be that way! Our attention has gone away from being "down" to being interested, being excited.

Perhaps if you do not have something meaningful in this area, you could start to discover what grabs you intellectually? For me, my interests, are more to do with my heart. Head, heart, body? What does it matter, as long as it's your learning passion.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Winter Musings

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How do we have a better life in winter? 

Right now I'm needing some inspiration. It's been quite cold, here, in Auckland, New Zealand. Why, oh why, am I not in Bali or a South Seas place like Rarotonga, right now, enjoying the sun?

Every year, I forget how wintery it can get. How cold. How wet. How damp. How grey. And yet, when I am around mist, even in winter, I feel that I am in a magical place. And when the sun shines, and the air is crisp, that too, is lovely.

Sometimes we, or is it just me? have to look around and appreciate what there is at any time of the year. Especially in winter.

What can I do to have a better life, in winter?

  • the above appreciation, perchance? Appreciating nature in her glory, even when it's not hot and sunny.
  • I know, I really do know, that if I made hot chai tea from scratch everyday, that would be a small pleasure. The smell alone is exquisite, the taste is culinary divine.
  • I could be using my small crockpot, too, to make delicious casseroles. Again, that sense of smell, and the anticipation of yummy food. You can use beans, it doesn't have to be meat. I have a friend who pops something in her crockpot each morning, and at the end of the day, she has a yummy meal awaiting her. 
  • I have been a bit run-down for a couple of weeks, and I do feel that a brisk walk each day would do wonders, here.
  • winter is a great time to cuddle up with a good book. I am a yoga teacher, healer, and clairvoyant, yet I love to read crime novels. I wonder if it's to balance out all that love, peace, and happiness? 
  • I like to plan and sort out things, in winter. I have written a bit about it here, and it explains a bit about seasonal planning. I find that it takes time to sort things out. Maybe that's just me. But winter is indeed my best time for this. Winter is when we are hunkered down, we are a bit withdrawn. It is a great time to be reflective and sort things out.
  • I make my bed warm each night, in winter. A couple of years ago, I finally succumbed to an electric blanket. Most of my life I had suffered bone aches in my legs, all night long, for part of each year. I never put it together that it was because I was cold. (silly moi) I warmly/heat the bed, then turn the blanket off just before I get in. Winter sleep heaven. 

How to make chai tea

There are a few teabag chai mixtures that you can already buy, in health food shops and the supermarket, and there are also powders. If you can find an Indian food supply shop, they will have lots of  powders to try.


I like to add a tea bag to mine, if I'm being lazy and using either chai bags or powders. And at times, I've also used powdered spices instead. In this case, I might just use cardamon (my favourite spice), or just cinnamon. With, or without, a few slices of ginger, plus gumboot tea.

Another nice mix using powdered spices, is to mix, to taste, basically whatever you have lurking in your pantry: cardamon, cinnamon, ginger, equal amounts of each, even cloves, allspice, or nutmeg, as well, with a dash of vanilla. Yum. You can skip the vanilla and use a dash of ground pepper instead. Steep it a bit in boiling water, with your tea/or teabag, strain.

Add some warm milk: you can do almond milk, soya, cows milk, whatever. But, chai spices need fats for the aromatic compounds to be released, so non fat milk is not the way to go, here.

Chai is usually sweet, and jaggery which is very unrefined sugar, is the correct sweetener, but honey, maple syrup, or just sugar, are fine too.

The very best black tea to use in chai is Assam tea. It is a whole new taste experience.

How to be a chai master

Chai spices are usually ground with a pestle and mortar. You could cheat and use a coffee grinder. Personally, I would just use the whole spices in this instance:

  • a  couple of cinnamon sticks
  • about 6 cardamon pods
  • up to 6 black peppercorns (omit this, or just don't use too much, if you don't like it too spicy)
  • slices of ginger  - you can grate it instead, and again, see what different amounts appeal to you, anywhere from a couple of slices to a sliced hunk
  • 6 - 10 cloves
  • whole nutmeg- grate it, maybe 1/2 to 1 teaspoon 

The thing is, you don't have to use a lot of the mix to make good chai. What some people do is make a brew and leave it on the stove in a cooking pot, all day. And the heating it as needed. If you do this, you might find that leaving tea leaves in that pot makes it very strong with the taste of tea. The other  thing with chai, is that there are many variations. Nothing is set in stone, here.

Slowly bring the spices to boil, until a rich colour emerges. You can add a teaspoon or two of black tea, or add it once the aromas of the spices are released. Warm some milk (of your choice). Strain your spice/tea mix, top up with warm milk. Sweeten.

Some people steep the spices, add the tea later, then add the milk, all in the same pot.

Experiment. And enjoy.







Thursday, 26 July 2018

Tidy house, tidy mind

                                           
                                    Image result for vintage french magazine covers about housekeeping

Why be tidy?

Being tidier, makes me happier.  I am not a tidy freak, but I just find that organisation suits me better. And, when we are are looking for a better life, basically we can find out what suits us best, and just adapt it to suit ourselves.

I have been having a massive reorganisation effort. I don't actually have many belongings, and I am sharing a home. Nevertheless, I am responsible for my own "stuff", and it has been quite overwhelming trying to fit many of my belongings into mostly one room. So I have been living in disarray.

I finally bit the bullet, so to speak, and got myself into organisation mode. Why? I write, from home, and being very visual, I am distracted by things. Especially messy things. And I was being messy. I know that this doesn't apply to everyone, but for me, a tidy home does equal a tidy me. I am just more together when I am tidy, and all around me is tidy. I would love to be more creative and carefree in my home.... but I'm not that person.

And when I am a bit more organised, I write better. My diet is better, and I look more together. Just some things which I have noticed about myself. Yes, I know. Weird.

We all have our little ways of organising

But I'm not a completely disorganised person:

I have put most of my books and folders together. I already had one narrow bookcase filled, and now have done another narrow standing one, and a really tiny one.

I always store clothes which I am not currently using, and am about to store all of my summer scarves and such.

I organise things in categories. Yes, very anal. And so satisfying. It makes it easier to find things, and saves time. Including my books. They are all in sort-of-categories, like spiritual yoga, old fashioned posture books which I love, aura healing, Maori healing, etc. I am still trying to finish all of this, as I like my writing stuff to be close by when I'm writing.

I regularly go through my skin care and make-up, and today is bathroom day. Those bits and pieces which you might use, but never do. Out they go!

I even like things organised in the kitchen. It just makes life easier, for me. It is actually not my favourite room to hang out in, as I am not so much into cooking, these days.

Whenever I have a reorganise, I'm also having a biff-out. I do feel that the local hospice should give a loud cheer whenever I turn up, as I have donated so much over the years.

And, for me, I like to be simplistic when I'm sorting things out. K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, sweeties. I have more organising to do, before I am satisfied, but I still intend to not complicate things, as I go.

The problem is, with putting everything away, that I forget to use things. Like jewellery. All packed in a drawer, in cute wee boxes, but unused, because I forget to open the boxes. One place that I lived in, I hung a piece of thin elastic between two screws, and put my necklaces in a row, on the elastic. Whenever I opened my wardrobe, I'd see the necklaces hanging there, and would wear them.

And, I regularly go through my skin care and make-up boxes to see what I can use up, rather than buying more.

I don't think that everyone needs to be like me. But, I need to be like me. For my own life. And I guess that's the real message:

How do you like to live, for your life?


Tuesday, 17 July 2018

The Weight Loss Chronicles: 3

                                    Image result for vintage dieting books

Getting In My Own Way

The thing is, being a double Libran (Libra Sun and Moon), I really am a bit of a people pleaser and  this totally gets in my way. One of my kids keeps saying: "stop being someone's Mum, Mum". Meaning: stop worrying about others, and just do your own life. Phew! That's a hard one. Librans, and especially double Librans, really prefer to get on with others. It's like an affliction, really.

And most Librans whom I know, and I am generalising here, we are incredibly helpful. Yep. Instead of doing what we need to do for ourselves, we will be helpful, instead. Because, actually, we are (most of us, anyway) nice. And kind.

                         So, this is my next new routine: just get on with my own life

This is what I've been doing so far, and I've written about it in previous posts, including this oneherea bit about waterand this :
  • have a sense of excitement about losing weight
  • make food look nice
  • wait for meals (this actually means 'no snacking'), but of course, sometimes I do have a wee snack. But I do endeavour not to.
  • eat off smaller plate
  • have a glass of water with meals 
  • eat eggs and drink water or tea when I'm doing le cafe thing. All those lattes love to stick to my body, so I am seldom having them
  • I've, mostly, cut down on fats. They like to hug my body too much. Butter is my bete noir (black beast) of foods
  • as much as possible, I've been eating foods which are low on the glycemic index. This means foods which do not cause me blood sugar problems. And delicious peanut butter has been replaced with Vegemite
  • I avoid, as much as possible, foods which have chemicals added to them
I do some extras in my routines:

I've had a morning routine for most of my life. But I've also had long periods, when I didn't. This is the current one:
  • a glass of warm water as soon as I get up. I intend to get into making it two glasses, or, 500 mls. Plus more before lunch. Why? you may wonder. Well, two of the most naturally slender people whom I know, drink a lot of water each morning. I figure that if it works for them.......
  • I mostly do a small yoga routine. Small. But doable. I do this particular sequence, or variations of it, because it's like giving your organs a morning massage. And it really helps with my blood sugar. Which of course, helps with weight management.
  • specific yoga breathing. I vary this according to the seasons, and this year I started a routine in autumn to boost my resistance to flu and viruses. So far, it's been amazing, and although I did pick up a virus, twice, each time it was minimal and only lasted a few days. (I also am a yoga teacher, so I have some tools up my sleeve)
  • meditation most mornings
And I've added some bits and bobs to my evening routine: 
  • an earlier dinner. I go out for a meal at a friend's one night a week. I teach a class there for 5 people, then we all gather around the table for nice healthy food and lovely conversation. (How lucky am I?)
  • But otherwise, I try for dinner between 4 - 5pm. This is because it gives a long period between dinner and breakfast. Have a 12 hour break overnight, between those two meals, has been found to aid weight loss. Many people do a 16 hour break. But.... I am not being so extreme. I do eat a scone each Monday evening when I'm doing mahi (work) at a healing clinic. 
  • drink two full glasses of water between dinner and bed. I used to do that, but, stupidly, stopped. Jon Gabriel, a phenomenal man who last an incredible amount of weight, and has kept it off for years, used this method to help lose weight. As one of his tricks. It definitely fills me up and stops evening snacking
  • I've been getting lots more sleep, as it's a great stress management tool
Exercise

Our diet is the means to losing weight. Who knew? This is according to 2017 - 2018 findings. I'm not sure what the next new findings will be, regarding the exercise - diet - weight connection. But, and these are important points:

  • when we diet, we can lose muscle instead of fat
  • when we tone our muscles, and thereby create muscle tone, as we diet, we are more likely to burn and lose fat rather than muscle
  • our muscles create shape, when they are toned. They also give us strength, and endurance
  • muscle burns more calories than does fat
  • there is a big connection between muscles and our body ticking over as we lose weight.
  • Muscle tone seems to have a big effect on our metabolism not slowing down as we reduce. If our metabolism slows too much, it is harder to lose weight.
So, I have been toning or light weight exercises, a couple of times a week. I haven't weighed myself lately, but, my trousers are getting quite baggy, so I know that the process is continuing. I look the same shape, but my clothes are telling a different story. And, for sure some squats, planks, and vigorous waving of arms with light weights, are having a subtle effect.





Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Having a Better Life

                                  Image result for vintage french woman in sarong                                                
Why write about a better life?

My blogging mentor, Sarah, pointed out that, although I had said on her facebook site, that this blog was about "Having a Better Life", I hadn't actually said in my blogs what a better life actually is. Nor had I put that on my heading, I might add. Sarah pointed this out twice, before her message finally sunk in. So, first I changed the Header on my blog site to point out that you-areunique is about having a better life, then I wrote this post.

I'm really grateful to Sarah, for pointing out what I had missed. It has completely changed my outlook on my blog, in such a positive way.

So I am really excited to be writing this, because having a better life was always what my blog was supposed to be about. But, somehow, I seem to have gotten a bit lost. How could I possibly have done This Big Mistake? Well typical me, I think about all angles of something, get writing about all of these subjects, then forget to actually state the obvious! So, here goes:

What is a better life?

I think that this is something that is so personal to oneself. And, I think that it has to do with:
  • what is a better life for you/me/whoever?
  • why aren't you/me/whoever doing it already?
  • what can we do, right now, towards our dream life?
So, lets ponder this:
  • again: what would be a better life for you, or me? (being a bit more specific, now)
  • better than what? 
For me, that would be: better than it is now. Why? Because I'm not really doing all of the things which I would love to do, in order to give myself the life that I would love. Hardly any of them, actually.

But I do know exactly what my Dream Better Life List would include:
  • travel each winter to a warm country during the coldest, wettest months in New Zealand (this has been a lifelong dream). I could go, say, to Bali, or a Polynesian island, and teach some specialist yoga courses there to pay my way.
  • take a large workshop at least four times a year on deep esoteric aspects of yoga. I taught such seminars for year, then stopped. I have resumed teaching these workshops, but would like to do more 
  • be more involved in the healing community which I'm part of
This is just a starter. For me, there is definitely more. And, all of it is achievable! So why on earth aren't I doing what I know that I need to do, to Have A better Life?

What is stopping me? Or you?
  • sometimes, I do think that it's all about having time to do things
  • not only having time, but also sometimes, for some things - it's just not the right time
  • and, sometimes we need to change a lot in our living environment just to be able to achieve our dream life
  • sometimes we simply need to make changes in other aspects of our life
Honestly, so many options to consider, before The Dream Life happens, especially on a big scale.

I am excitedly pondering the massive possibilities. 

And, I am definitely interested in anything that anyone else has to say about all of this. 


Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Are you a planner, more spontaneous, or.....?

                             Image result for vintage french woman organised

Are you a planner? Or, do you "go with the flow?" Be more spontaneous. Or are you somewhere in between?

My guilty habit

I overplan. Yes, I do. With my youngest I would be staring her in confusion when she was a teenager, in the mornings just before school, when she was teenagering (you know what I mean....), instead of just fitting in with the plan. That list, in my head. That sequential plan of me getting a ridiculous amount of things done, before we both went on our way, for the day. The plan that she knew nothing about.

Nor did my eldest, a generation older, know that they were supposed to fit in with my list of the time, when they were young. Probably because I never told them. I just quickly did whatever, trying to get them to school, and me to work.

Why are we this way?

Why do I do these things? And why don't you, the people who don't? Is it insidious programming from early childhood, which makes us the way that we are? It actually could be, in my case. But I am quite sure that all of my many sisters and brother, are not that way. Nor all of my children.

I am often spontaneous. Yes, I am, friends and family. But, in a more planned way. So if someone contacts me on the day, and says "coffee at Fiesta cafe?", (guess what I'm doing today.... spontaneous coffee coming up), I then drop everything and go for coffee, a chat and a laugh. Otherwise, I get up with a plan in my head and methodically set about doing everything. Do I do it all? Not always. But I mentally plan to. That is, I have it in mind to do everything that I have allocated to do, for that day. But I don't always get it all done. Of course, I don't.

But being a bit of a planner, makes me the sort of person who can be counted on to do this and that. For example, I almost always turn up at The Maori healing clinic that I work at, and go to meditation on another night. Unless I am sick, or am working.

In my early years I was the eldest of 5, and I was Mum's helper. Which is how it always is in a big family. (bonus = you learn pretty quickly how not to be selfish) And so when I became a young mum, myself, it was easy to quickly step into a routine. We first lived in a small flat in an old villa on a beautiful beach, where I wanted to be asap, each morning, with baby. But I learnt pretty quickly that wee one needed a routine in her early months, and I guess that I just automatically fell into a system, no doubt from hidden memories of being the eldest when I was younger.

But, I wanted my kids to have a freer life, and so, part of our routine each day, was, as much as I could manage it, was them playing with friends.

How can we change?

I guess, really, that we have to want to change, with anything, before we can even think about it. I have often thought of all the lazy days on the beach that I missed out on, because of that darned list that I had for the day. The movies, the plays, the being carefree. All of the things that I didn't do, but, in retrospect, I wish that I had (sigh)

I want that life. That more spontaneous, more full of laughter, life.

I think that I should make it a priority.

I have a new "rule". Or is it a plan? For spontaneous people whom I know, I shall quickly contact them and see if they are free to do this and that, on the day. As suggested by a spontaneous person.

What would be your choices? Plan? Be spontaneous? Or a bit of each? What suits you best?


Thursday, 28 June 2018

Le Evening Routine


                                        Image result for french chic women  boudoir

It's time. Time to sort out le evening routine, other than facebook, tv, and generally wasting time, when I actually could be doing something beneficial and nice, for myself.

Is this you? Or, are you organised?

I do have a (non-) routine. Of course I do:
  • I clean my face
  • do some dishes (usually)
  • get out my clothes for tomorrow (but I have been very tardy with this)
  • I have stopped drinking my evening 500 mls of water, due to not being organised, when I moved home. I loved that little evening water drinking routine! Why have I been so slack?!
  • put on hand lotion before hopping into bed 
Ggrr. How annoying that I stopped doing beneficial things. I am wondering if the cold has something to do with it. Padding down the hall into a cold room to fluff around? I think not. But the truth is that I would like to stop thinking and behaving like this.

I read of a process where you write things down (that again!). This is my write-it-down, and then sort it out, plan:
  • what you really do each evening 
  • what you have to do each evening
  • what you want to do each evening
  • what your ideal evening routine would actually look like
We always have habits

The thing is, in one way or another, generally we are creatures of habit. I can see that, just looking at my non-routine. If we watch ourselves, we do the same things in the same way, and for some it's at the same times. A habit is something that we repeatedly do, almost without thinking. So, I think that the difficulty with changing our habits for any reason, and in this case, it's to make new routines, we are going against automatic, unthinking, patterns of behaviour. 

Behaviour, because habits in this case are what we are doing. It's a tall order to change things which we do. But, it can be done. If we want to. 

So, perhaps the first step really, should be why we want to change things around. Before the above list, really. Why do I want to change my evening (non-) routine? Or, the slack evening habits that I now have?

What do I want to do each evening?
And why?
  • resume my water drinking. Because it's so cold, I might just Suck It Up and do warm water. Cold water when it's cold? Not if I can help it. I found that I just look better, and feel better when I wake up, the following morning, after my 500 mls of water between dinner and bed. A couple of winters ago, I was having hot water, lemon, and honey, in a giant soup mug each evening and that was nice. So, there are options other than the cold water thing.
  • I am moving my main shower to before bed, after I used up most of the hot water recently, and left a mostly cold shower for the next person. I really didn't feel good about myself being so thoughtless.
  • I want to go back to have a quick (very quick) face massage before bed. Mostly because I want to practice the facial pressure points which I have learnt and can use in healing. But also because, well, it's a nice thing to do.
  • I'd like to do a few classical floor poses before bed. Release the days tensions, keep myself supple, and yes, the feel-good factor.
  • I want to resume evening meditation. Why did I ever stop? I don't feel the need to "have to" do it. But I'd like to get back into it again. The ole stress release thing again. I prefer the "Short and Sweet" and "Just Do It" style, rather than making a production of it.
Is this too much? Is it doable? We shall see. I might tweek it, but I'll give it a go. 













Tuesday, 19 June 2018

The Weight Loss Chronicles 2

                                          Image result for french woman eating drawing

Not Great News

I am not a happy punter. Back came 500 grams of the six kilos that I had mysteriously lost. And my weight loss stalled. How had this happened?

How, I ask you, how?
  • I moved and eating was a tad chaotic, to say the least.
  • Then someone moved in with me. Someone who loves a full, slightly messy, and very decorative home: think masses of furniture, household plants, knick knacks...etc, whereas I like a lot of space, and order, in the home. For some reason, this made me a bit disorientated.
  • We were sharing food. Food which I do not, as a habit, nor as a treat, usually eat. 
  • All of this meant that I was totally out of my routines.
My Routines

I am a great believer in routine, as a daily way of life:
  • It seems to make our body rhythms work more harmoniously. 
  • And our massive hormonal system gets into the daily swing of things, working with our body, not against it.
  • My new lack of routine, was, I am convinced, a major factor in those 500 grams deciding to return to my body.
It has been many years since I last flatted with anyone. I did have an adult child return for a few years, to go to University, but that of course, is totally different. We fitted in with each other, and it was so special for me.

Why Have A Routine:

I know that I sound really boring, rabbiting on about habits, routines, blah, blah. However, I now only actually have a few routines. I'm really flexible with my time and life when something else comes up. And I think that I can be flexible, because I have worked out a couple of routines and generally stick to them. However, none of my routines are actually set in stone.

And I deliberately do them for a reason. My main one is my morning routine, and these are my reasons for doing it: 
  • I like to be ready if someone in my family, or a friend, contacts me for an unscheduled catch-up
  • I also like not to be disturbed by any mess awaiting me in the house when I get up each morning, so it's my habit to have a quick whip around before bed, putting stuff away
  • I like to have clean clothes, so I keep on top of washing
  • My routine stops me mucking around wasting my morning, which, if I am sloppy, mysteriously morphs into wasting my whole day
  • My routine makes me feel good (very important)
So, I've re-looked at my routines: food, habits, etc, to fit into my new living situation.

The New Food habit

To reboot the weight loss, I have gone back to mostly eating the foods which agree with me, on small plates, which naturally means in small amounts. I was reading about a recipe of 100 years ago which was for four people. But the person who was using it, said that nowadays she would expect it to feed 2-3. Point taken. Our portions are just too big.

A naturally slender person whom I know quite well, once said to me: 'you can eat anything, Mum, just not too much at a time'. Point also taken here. This is The New Habit. Enforced as of a couple of days ago.









Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Purpose

                                   Image result for vintage french woman writing                                    

Practical Purpose

I don't know about everyone else, but talk to me about purpose & I get all high falluting. I think in grand terms on The Meaning of Life .... & so on.

But actually that's not how I'm thinking about purpose today. I'm thinking more along the lines of
Getting Things Done.

Being Impractical Didn't Work For Me.....

I used to buy into the "visualise and it will happen" scenario. Meaning that if we visualise something, it will come to us, or happen. As if! It seldom ever happened for me. Why? I wonder. And I used to do affirmations with the visualisations, too.

"The Secret", and other such books decreed that visualising what we wanted, worked. Ha! I am proof that this isn't always the best method.

But Here Is How To Be Practical With Purpose

I do know that writing things down does produce results. And, (this is just me) I think that it is because there is purpose involved. According to the Oxford Dictionary, purpose is the reason for doing something. So I am thinking that, along with writing something down, we need to know why we want to do, or be, or have, something. It would help to know why. Know the reason why, the purpose.

And then, I feel that it would help to hold onto that reason why, and do things with focus to achieve that reason, that purpose. When we focus on what matters most, according to The Powers That Be (meaning: I forgot where I read the studies on this!), we use less energy than just daydreaming. Yes!

                           Doing is less tiring than just daydreaming about things.

Who would have thought?

So, it looks as though just writing things down, is not going to be enough for me. Actually, I do write what I want to achieve, on a list, then promptly forget about it ...... that has been my pattern, so far. But I want to be more effective, so I feel as though I need to work out reasons why, alongside each Thing. And read it often, as part of The Doing Process. To keep my attention on what I'm supposed to be doing, even though the Write It Down, Then Promptly Forget It, method, has worked, it isn't the best way to have a momentum towards doing and completing something. I do know this.

The Satisfaction Of Achieving

And when I just wrote things down, then forgot, of course the surprise at achieving was quite fun. However, the resulting feelings of satisfaction from actually doing something, with awareness on what I'm doing, then completing it, with purpose, I do love that. It gives such a good feeling.

I am also thinking that I shall have to purposely write things down, plus the reasons why, and read it, hopefully, every day, for this process to become a habit. For it to become ingrained, so that I quite naturally Just Do It.

What do you do? Think about it, then just go ahead? Plan? Put up post-its to remind you? There are so many ways .......

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Chic and Colour

                        Image result for Coco Chanel wearing black and white

Chic colour suggestions

I was reading a French chic thing, where the writer said that to use only two colours at a time, in one's dressing. Others say, up to three colours. Both hints definitely suit my minimalist and economical tendencies. The truth is that I find it just too much visually, to wear lots of different colours, and that also applies to wearing too much jewellry, for me.

I do understand that colour can be an extension & expression of our personality. Some people are very good at this. I do not think that I am. The French chic colour suggestions which I've found, are:

  • a neutral colour with a small pop of colour
  • 2 neutrals with a splash of a colour such as with accessories
  • use up to 3 hues of 1 colour, if you want to only wear variations of one colour at a time

I do like black

One of my colours would always be black. Browns, for some reason, depress me, so black as my basic neutral, it must be. Coco Chanel who seems to have epitomised the expression "chic" all through her career, had black and cream as basic colours. I have been toying with the idea of adding some cream to my wardrobe, as it does suit me. 


Angelina Jolie does the chic colour well

I also really like Anjelina Jolie's basic wardrobe colours of black, navy, white and grey. I think that if a strong accent colour, like red, my favourite actually is purple, is used too - ohh-la-a-la! And I have seen that she does sometimes do that. I also love the simplicity of the clothes that Angelina wears. Very chic.....

                                            Image result for angelina jolie chic clothes

But it wouldn't suit all

I cannot imagine someone with lighter coloured hair suiting Angelina's clothes palette. But I can imagine such a woman looking wonderful in browns, and camels, and all colours in between. That to me, is just so elegant.

                                              Image result for french chic wearing browns

Colours also represent eras

The other thing, is that it seems to me that the way colour is used, does change. In the 1970s, there were hippie looks which ranged from very earthy (drab, really) through to bright with a multitude of colours, and in the 1980s, there were those awful overly bright colours that were all the rage. In other eras, it has been black, black, black.

So, I am wondering about this: with colour does it also represent The Times? Or, are some colours timeless?


Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Write It Down!!

                               Image result for vintage  lady writing                                 

I was talking recently with a friend, and she was telling about her new food regime. Plus more. And how she had written a list for her mornings and put it on her bedroom wall. What she was eating, drinking, the order of each, and everything that she wished to do each morning before work.

I so relate to this.  My friend explained that as she was a visual person, she needed to see something in order to remember to do it. So am I. So I too now have a morning list. Most of which I was doing anyway. But, it also serves as a visual reminder prior to going to bed. I sometimes lie in bed in the morning (not often), thinking and planning, then 'come to' and realise I've left it too late to do my yoga practice.

I was using my diary for ages to have my list that I ticked off, but, in packing to move, moving, and unpacking, my diary somehow got lost. And so did my routines..... So having it written up on the wall, will allow me to re-set my morning rituals. It will be a glaring reminder.

I only have to do things for myself now, but I do remember well how being ordered and having planned ahead, was so much easier for all, when one has children.

There are so many variables regarding what each of us does, each morning. There is also a routine of sorts, because we are such creatures of habit. Now, it's a Big Thing, having a routine each morning. Of course we all have some sort of routine!! The trick, for me, is to have a routine that makes my day so much better. I do know that's it's easier for me because I no longer live with children. I do have a flatmate now, so I do have to accommodate another person's habits and routines.

I never knew how ridiculously full my life was years ago, and why I was always so tired and stressed, until I wrote down on a timetable sheet, everything, including meals, for each day, for a whole week, of what I was already doing. The timetable sheet was overfull - with no time for rest nor recreation. And I was also working some evenings and many weekends, as well as each day. It was a real wake-up call doing that exercise. I had to learn how to leave time, for me, and for my youngest who had just started High school. If my daily lists including work had been up on a wall, so that I couldn't miss seeing them, I would have been able to see how unrealistic my life was.

             Put your list where it's visible, until it becomes your routine, your habits.

This is my current morning routine. Most of it I was already doing:

  • coffee on the go whilst I put away any stuff left out in the lounge, and open the doors and windows
  • a few yoga warmups; sun salutes; a couple of other poses. The yoga routine seldom varies. That way, I don't have to think about what to do, and being a yoga teacher, I do know exactly what to do for myself. But it's not a long nor trendy practice. It's a do-able one.
  • some yoga breathing and meditation
  • a walk, if there is time (there often isn't!)
  • breakfast that I want to get into the habit of preparing the night before (oats and fruit)
  • shower
  • 4 minute make-up (thank you Elizabeth Hurley)
  • put on washing

Why do so much in the morning? Because I am a morning person. And I love routine, and I think that's partly my personality, but also because I am so aware that our body loves rhythm. Our body clock and hormones work with well with routines. So I think of this as me helping myself. My youngest said that when she went flatting, she knew what to do, just from having watched me, as she was growing up. And that's how I learnt too, from my Nanna. I knew to get up and get dressed before my children, and to be on hand for them as we had breakfast and got ready for school, and for work for me.

Our own early morning routine does depend a lot on whether we are a morning person, a day person, or a night owl. So, when do you have your most energy?

  • When you get up early? 
  • During the day? 
  • Or at night? 

My morning list would be totally unsuitable for a day, or evening, person. A night person (I am assuming here!) would get things ready the night before, so that mornings are easier. A day person would do their exercising during the day.

So, what works best for you? What would make your mornings a better start to your day? And how would you do things for that? Sometimes it really is "trial and error" to work things out.







Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Travelling Chic

                                       Image result for 1920s french travel fashion

I wrote this in 2016, and forgot to post it. So, here goes:

I have just had 3 days away with 3 friends. We went to some very rustic & highly therapeutic natural hot springs. These sort of hot springs are highly mineralised. They are in quite a few places in New Zealand, but to find some that are also therapeutic in cost, which these ones are, is just such a treat. Sadly many of our more well known ones are out of the range of many of us kiwis. "User-pays" culture gone mad.

We went to a really inexpensive lodge & just chilled out, & soaked. So special. I am constantly amazed at how lovely our country is, & how there is still so much that absolutely anyone can do & see, cheaply. It really is beautiful, hauntingly so, in many places. And I always ask about the history of any place that I go to ... there is always someone with fascinating stories.

It was not one of my more chic weekends. I had a sore chest (it's winter here), & was quite debilitated with it, however one long soak in the appropriate pool .... & a miracle happened: my chest started to heal.

And I took the wrong food. We were staying somewhere with a big communal kitchen, & just prepared our own food. My group shared food. Why did I take organic muesli & almond milk for our breakfast? Everyone, myself included, just wanted toast. And no-one wanted the tins of tuna that I took, either. Mistake number one. I'm clearly not sure how to do this travelling food thing.

We stopped at a cafe going to the springs, & back to Auckland. It was a long trip. Why do we stop & eat a full meal size snack when travelling? It's not as though we are expending much energy, sitting in a car. Out of a city the food is either really bad or fantastic. No midway here in this country! Mistake number two. Water & a bit of fruit or piece of cheese to nibble on would have filled me up. And, it would have been more chic.....

I pared down my skin care, but not enough: mistake number 3. Next trip anywhere it's wipes for cleaning, bio-oil to get off any make-up & for night cream, plus day cream with spf. No time to luxuriate with body lotion when you're sharing a bathroom. I keep soap freebies from hotels & take one with me, deodorant, & small containers of shampoo, conditioner, & hand cream that I have decanted.

And now, 2018 update:

My most recent visit to the above hot pools in Northland, last year, was a disaster. I felt sorry for the person whom I traveled with. I was a terrible travelling friend as I had big allergic reactions on the way up and was very sick. It took days for me to recover. I now have anti-histamine pills permanently in my handbag for any sensitivities. There is absolutely no chicness in travelling and getting sick!!

It's late autumn and I have again been travelling, staying with family, for four days. I went with:
  • two pairs of jeans
  • a few tops
  • a jumper (which I didn't need.....)
  • a jacket-cardigan thing 
  • walking shoes
  • pjs
  • 2 bras 
  • 5 pairs of knickers
  • 2 pairs of socks
So you can see that I travel really lightly. I feel that this is less invasive for my family, as I take up less room with my bits and pieces. And being rather short, I definitely don't take up much room!

And I must confess that I am not one of those bloggers who have lovely outfits on their blog: I simply do not have a big enough wardrobe for that. (And, others do it better than me)

I take a small everyday handbag, and everything else fits into my old medium sized travel bag. It's not a flash bag, it's a tidy one, and has travelled far and wide with me.

I also took minimal make-up:
  • Antipodes mineral powder and Thin Lizzy brush
  • eyebrow powder (it's actually an old eyeshadow) and brush
  • mascara
  • eyeliner
  • lipstick
  • all of this except my lippy, goes into a small make-up bag
And minimal other stuff:
  • facewipes for removing make-up
  • tinted sunblock 
  • shampoo and conditioner decanted into small containers
  • small soap, conveniently taken as a freebie from some hotel stay
  • toothbrush
  • small tube of toothpaste
  • deodorant
  • hand cream
  • all except the hand cream goes into a toilette bag
So, to recap, these are my tips for chic travelling:
  • sort out The Food Thing 
  • take and drink lots of water
  • decant your skin and hair care into small (labelled) containers
  • take minimal hair, skin, and make-up products
  • take a mindful wardrobe with you

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

the chic files: being chic and stylish on a budget

                                          Image result for french vintage fashion

I had a great teacher

I learnt a long time ago, how to look nice on a budget. I learnt this from Nanna, who did not have many clothes, but she always looked amazing. And stylish. A total inspiration. As I keep saying, she taught me that we didn't need a lot of anything to be happy. And, whilst I was living with her in my teens, it was indeed, an affluent life.

I learnt to use what I had, to look nice, and to get dressed to look good, each morning. Not fancy, not overdressed, just nice. I still do these, they are two of my habits. I do think that if we want to be stylish and chic, that looking our best does need to be a habit.

Work out what you are prepared to do, to look nice

Being chic and stylish is not just about what we wear. It's also about how we look after our body.

This is my list, based on being easy to maintain, affordable, and achievable:
  • I have a simple hairdo. (As I'm useless at doing The Hair Thing)
  • I dye my hair, myself. (I'm not prepared to be greyish, yet)
  • I trim my fringe
  • I moisturise morning and night, and clean my face thoroughly at night
  • None of my skin care is expensive
  • I use a simple oil or body lotion after my showers. (With a mini massage)
  • I keep my nails a medium length and don't use polish. (Because I never maintain the polish)
  • I wear a small amount of make-up
  • I wear colours that flatter me, in my clothing
  • I wear the shapes that suit me best (which is a bit of a trick, as I am short and need to lose weight)
If I added too much more to this list, then I know, through experience, that I won't do it.

Be savvy with what you already have

On my previous post, I talked about less being be more. And using what we already have, to prepare meals from. So, it was about food. But, this also extends to our way of dressing, too:
  • Each season, I have a good look at the clothes that I already have, and see what I can do to have a nice, small but enough, appropriate, wardrobe for that season.
  • Then I work out what we need to bring my wardrobe 'up to scratch'. I need only about three singlets to go under some sheer, coloured shirts, for this season.
I am not a fashionista. I'm not creative enough for that, with clothing. But, I don't wear outdated nor inappropriate clothes. I'm currently wearing some clothes that were my grand-daughter's (she's 27).

Looking stylish with less $

I know that when I have just enough clothes, the best quality that I can afford, and, I have had times in my life, when op-shopping is the only type of shop that I can afford, I am definitely telling myself that I matter, I am 'worth it'.

I have found that, when times have been hard for me (financially), I was able to cope with a mostly summer wardrobe, all year round. I did this by layering clothes in winter.

And making sure that whatever I wore, was flattering. Even though this often means having less, with or without having plenty of money for clothes, it does mean that we look better.

Dress for the life that you have

So, what do you need for the life that you actually have? I write, at home. I also do give clairvoyant readings, do healing, and teach private yoga classes. On a day when I'm writing, giving a reading, or getting out and about, I wear jeans. My yoga clients feel more comfortable around me when I wear tights, and it's a lot easier to do a healing in tights. I wear nice tops with the jeans or tights. I don't do the 'old clothes for the house' thing, but that's just me.

So, what do you need for the life that you have?

And don't forget to look after what you already have
  • mend where needed
  • wash and keep your clothes clean
  • put clothes away nicely
  • clean one's shoes. 
Not rocket science, but it works.

Socialising

                                                                                 Inspiration to socialise I was reading about a woman wh...