Thursday, 26 April 2018

The Chic Files: food and style


The Inspiration for being Chic and Slim

I have joined in on a facebook group which is reviewing a book about being Chic and Slim, by Anne Barone. Anne lost 55 lbs in one year, living in France as a young woman. She has maintained that weight loss using what she learned about food, eating, and style, during her stay in France 45 years ago.

The French secret to slimness

But, surprisingly, she says that the reason that the French are slim, has to do with style, and that personal style extends to all areas of French women's lives.

Being a puritan can block our style

What blocks us from living life stylishly? Anne says that, in America, it's the puritan background of the early settlers. Whereby one doesn't feel that it's okay to enjoy oneself, to have pleasure, in one's life. I have a tendency to be like that. Is it my nature? Being the eldest in a not affluent home, when I was younger? My early upbringing where there was not much money? Is it society's conditioning? Actually I probably, myself, won't be delving too much into this, but, I do admit, and yes, accept, that I have this bit of puritanism in me. (sigh)

This extends to eating. Anne is American, and in her books about Chic, she relates relating everything either to her American upbringing and life, or, mostly, to the time that she spent in France. She says that America, is full of "shoulds and shouldn'ts" to do with eating, and that there is no pleasure in eating like this. I personally don't know about this, because I've never been there. Nor to France, either.

I have been that puritan woman

But, I can so--o-o relate to this puritanical dogma. Rather than eating food that I enjoy, most of my life, I've eaten "should" food. Some of that misguided should-ness was from living in an ashram many years ago, where we ate dhal everyday, and it was not the yummy dhal that we get in Indian restaurants. And tons of rice. Poor food, for feeding the masses in a poor ashram. Somehow we managed to accept that this was the food that we 'should' be living on, afterwards, as well. To keep our insides clean, and moving through our system quickly. Both true with eating fairly plain dhal, but - where was the pleasure? There was also this weird misguided notion that we were pressured into believing that if our insides were clean, especially one's bowels, then we would not get diseases like cancer. But, we now know that cancer is genetic, and that 'clean' eating is a great way to help our overall health and vitality.

Having said all that, I do love dhal. I still could eat it everyday.

Prior to that I had a husband who had some Chinese ancestry. He wanted rice. Everyday. So, after decades of rice, I announced: I hate rice. I don't actually, but I seldom eat it, if given the choice. I've done my rice duty.

My serial failure eating non-secret

I also went to Weight Watchers. Five times. (yes, I know....) I was a serial failure, especially when we were hassled into buying their fake food. So not chic! Full of preservatives, artificial colours, all to make them yummy. Oh, & to eat them instead of real food, to lose weight. Not forgetting the blood sugar problems that those pseudo foods gave me. The only WW leader whom I could relate to, took me aside and told me when I walked into her class, 'don't eat the WW food, eat real foods and just count the points'. And, she and her family ate real meals. Not eating on the run, nor eating all over the place. She and her family were eating chicly, stylishly, and she looked amazing.

Hints for stylish eating

So, perhaps the first lesson in style and chicness, could be to look at our eating habits. 

  • Do we enjoy our food? Is it real food? 
  • Do we eat it because we 'should', or because it is nourishing and enjoyable. 
  • Do we eat on the run? 
  • Or, do we sit down and eat?

For someone who is not a foodie, like myself, this whole scenario of food and pleasure is a bit confusing. I was having lunch with a friend, and she confessed that she really didn't like food, it was something that one had to do. I totally could relate! So much food does not gain my interest. Nevertheless, I do aim to make food nice, and sit down to eat. I use nice crockery. I actually have some treasured pieces of the yesteryear type, old-fashioned, and small. As no doubt the crockery was in France, 45 years ago. And I eat slowly, as well as really make an effort to taste what I am eating.

I do think that it's worthwhile to look into the whole arena of making food nice; eating real food; presenting it appealingly. Even for a non-foodie like myself, I find that it totally makes a difference.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Current Kind Make-up

                                     Image result for coco chanel and lipstick quotes

Moving with the times

I've always been a minimalist with make-up. I nearly always always had eyeliner and mascara. But prior to that it was an artful (or so I thought!) touch of eyeshadow around my eyes.

At times I also used foundation, and often mixed it with witch-hazel to thin it, then later, used moisturiser, with a ratio of 50:50, so it made a tinted moisturiser. If I used foundation in any form then I added lipstick.

I've done the no foundation, but waft a bronzer lightly over the face, look, add a bit around the eyes, eyeliner, etc. That was nice.

And I always used brown eyeliner, until one day, I discovered black eyeliner. I've used it ever since. And I've had to add a slate coloured eyebrow pencil (a gift) to refill some of my over-plucked eyebrows.

Times change, we change, and for sure, not staying current with any make-up is an instant ager.

Current make-up

I'm currently using up a Body Shop anti ageing foundation, which is lovely, but it does actually slide off my face. 

Apparently I either need to use a primer first, or, I need a moisturiser (cream type) that said foundation can cling to, and thereby, hold. 

But what I have been doing, is using Essano Vitamin C serum, letting it dry, then mixing the foundation with a rather thick Ego Daily Face Sunscreen 50+, and that keeps it on. I wish that I had been using this sunscreen for many years, it is fantastic. I don't care that it's not 'natural', it doesn't clog my pores and it just suits me. (and not tested on animals). 

Sometimes I just do serum, then the sunscreen, then foundation, etc. As winter progresses, I shall probably just use a moisturiser with SPF15.

To be honest, I also have two other foundations. I am always in a quest for the perfect foundation that makes my sun spots disappear. But recently, I have accepted that this could be a losing battle, so I've decided to just use all of these foundations. I have a cream to powder one that gives a nice coverage for winter, so I'll just use that and moisturiser in the colder weather.

I sometimes fluff the Antipodes mineral powder over the top of the Body Shop foundation. This is an amazing product and I sometimes use it every day. So I buy it fairly regularly. One of my daughters recommended it. And sometimes, if I'm in a hurry, it's just moisturiser followed by the mineral powder.

Then, and yes I know, it's getting ridiculous with all of these products! I sometimes spray over the powder with Elf  Matte Magic Mist and Set (also recommended by daughter), to help it all stay on my face and not disappear.

I have an Essence xxxL mascara (excellent) that I got cheaply at Pricewise, a place which often has cruelty free products. But, when that has done its dash, I'm getting a Thin Lizzy mascara.

I love Thin Lizzy. If I was going to use bronzer again, I would only use theirs. I used to buy a tin of it each year, there are two bronzers in a tin, and one of my daughters and I, would have a bronzer each. Sometimes she bought a tin to share with me. It was like an annual ritual. I always kept those fabulous tins. And their liquid eyeliner, which I also use, is world class. Thin Lizzy is New Zealand made, cruelty free, and named after a Kiwi model (I used to teach yoga to her lovely mother)

                           Image result for thin lizzy tins
                                                              Thin Lizzy tins                       

I also have a Designer Brands lipstick. I always end up with slight variations of fuschia, no matter which lipstick that I buy.  Even if I ask for help from a make-up person, this is the colour that they give me. I shall have a good look at Designer Brands 'stuff' next time that I need more makeup etc. Which will be ages away.

I like to look nice, and I'm okay with using a small amount of artifice to do so. What do you use?

Friday, 13 April 2018

Some Kind Beauty Products Which I Use

I prefer to do Cruelty-free skin care and cosmetics. But, it now seems that some big companies outsource their products to be animal tested whilst they, in turn, say that they don't test on animals. After thinking about this, I've realised that, of course, I probably have been hoodwinked by this, too.

And then there are the existing skin care and makeup bits and pieces that probably are not completely cruelty free, that we already have. What shall we do here? I have chosen, rightly or wrongly, to just use them up. Because I also hate waste, and try very hard not to clutter up Mother Earth with non-biodegradable rubbish.

What a quandary. But, I suppose that we can just do our best, in any situation. And, I also appreciate that this is a personal decision.

So, what have am I currently using that ticks all the boxes, for me? And, these are not sponsored items!!

My current skin care

Apparently Palmers products are not tested on animals. Yippee! I use their amazing Palmers Cleansing Facial Oil, which gets off all make-up, and also leaves skin lovely and soft. Another bonus is that I no longer wake-up with panda eyes, which always used to happen, even after after having cleansed my tiny amount of eye make-up off, the night before. And I love their Cocoa Butter Lotion, scented or unscented. Scented is fine for me as I don't mind smelling delicious (it smells of chocolate!) I buy the oil and lotion only when they are on sale.

I am using Christie Brinkley day cream, and night cream, to make you look mysteriously like a teenager, as Christie, aged 64, does. No comment here. They were gifted and I am ploughing my way through them, but they are too rich for my still oily skin. And I still look like me, I haven't morphed into something amazing. I hope that no-one gives me any more, I would never buy it as I don't like the stuff.

I have often used Essano Vitamin C skin care products. They are made in New Zealand, and are in the supermarket. I first tried them when I was gifted a small pack, and I love all of the products which I've tried. I'm currently using their Rosehip serum (gifted), which I really do like, and occasionally I buy their wipes for when I'm away overnight, when they are on special. And the other product which I have actually bought, is their creamy cleanser - very good.

                            Image result for rosehips nz
                                   beautiful rose hips

I'm still using Antipodes amazing day oil, but I've finished their lovely night oil. I think I'll start mixing the day oil with my serum.

I always have  kawakawa balm made by a friend, and that is useful for almost everything. Dab it on mozzie (and flea) bites and the itching goes away, so I used it a lot this past summer. She also has an amazing kawakawa face cream, which increases collagen in your skin, which keeps skin youthful.

                                Image result for kawakawa
                     New Zealand's much loved kawakawa plant

I always have rosewater, which I don't always use. Sometimes I make it myself with majestically smelling rose petals, and lavishly use it up quick, because it only lasts a week. Other times, I have again, been gifted it by my friend Camellia who has also made me wonderful oil mixes and moisturisers (yes, I know, I'm totally spoilt). Other good sources of rosewater are Indian or Middle Eastern food shops.
What I really like about Camellia's products, is that they are custom made, just for the buyer (or giftee, who in this case was me), and are incredibly effective. She has also given me scrubs, masks, sponges and a towel- scrubby thing. I love all that she does.

And I haven't yet used up my amazing Clarins night skin care. Yes, another gift. (thank you, grand daughter)

I'm really not into body washes, but I love sandalwood soap. I buy it at fairs and put it in my drawers to make clothes smell nice. A hand crafted Rose scent would be my second choice, and sometimes I think that perhaps using a chocolatey smell to go with the Palmers would be rather clever.....

Weight update

I have been a bit frantic, thinking that I had put the weight back on. And so I braved the dreaded scales again. Actually I've maintained, and gone down another 1/2 kilo... with no effort of the sort that one usually does, regarding exercise and diet. What have I been doing?
  • Just puttering along
  • Eating smaller portions
  • Mostly eating only three times a day (but not always)
  • Having an early dinner
  • Moving around a lot more, whether at home or when I'm out and about. 
  • Doing specific yoga breathing to get my metabolism going a bit quicker. 
Oh, and today I had to toss out some of my clothes! They are now too big. I shall hold out for some more weight loss before getting more clothes.

rewriting your life

                                    a difficult time I have been unwell and then managed to get the flu, too.  My immunity was so low f...