Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Write It Down!!

                               Image result for vintage  lady writing                                 

I was talking recently with a friend, and she was telling me 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 travelled 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.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Chic and Slim: learning to wait

Still with Chic and Slim, by Anne Barone:

                Related image


Other ways of being slim

... and of course, chic.


Anne talks about impatience, and instant gratification, as being barriers to slimness. I remember the first time that I heard the term 'instant gratification', some years ago. I was talking to a friend, who was a counsellor, and she mentioned it. I looked at her. I knew that she was perpetually, effortlessly, slim.

She also travelled overseas each year, even though she did not have a high income. How could this be? She actually said that how she could afford to do things, was by not wasting money by giving into wants and whims.

This in itself, is chic, I feel. I also believe that it is one of the major ways that she had stayed the same size, always. When we don't eat and drink what we want when we want it, immediately, we don't 'waste' food, and we do eat less, in my experience.

Becoming more emotionally smart

Interestingly, learning how to wait for things, for gratification, if you will, is one of the major ways to develop emotional intelligence: E.Q. Often a person believes that they will be happier if they get what they want, right now. But, in my personal observation, it just makes us want more, by never being satisfied.

And, although I do not believe that instant gratification is the main reason for being overweight, learning how to wait for meals trains us not to fulfil our food wants immediately, but to wait for them. And, surprisingly, we do end up eating less, overall, doing this. Thereby our weight can move, go down. Simply by waiting for the the designated time, to eat. It is a much more gracious way to live.

"a gracious way of life, is definitely more chic"

Having a small dessert after a meal, or a bit of cake, or a small amount of chocolate, is much more chic than having them as the 'want' dictates. It is a very clever way to have a bit of 'naughty' food without the guilt. When we have such food, as and when we want it, our blood sugar doesn't handle it so well, but eaten at the end of a meal, it doesn't send us into a blood sugar crash.

And doing this, normalises food that an overweight person both categorises as being 'bad', and of course, people being people, when we categorise food as 'bad', then that same type of food becomes what we crave. Whereas, if we learnt to have small amounts and enjoy them, with our meals, that whole puritan good/bad aspect is nicely sidestepped.

Having enough rather than more, is best

We then learn some others of Anne's Chic and Slim methods, by doing this: having enough, rather than having more, of anything, is best. And that quality is always better. So, when we do have a bit of chocolate after a meal, make it good quality chocolate, have just enough to satisfy yourself, without feeling 'stuffed' as we do when we have too much.

How else can we apply "have less rather than more"?  An excellent way, which actually should be glaringly obvious, is to look into your fridge and pantry, and use up what you have. I like to do this to make vegetable soup: I use up the tail ends of lonely vegetables and have something delicious. I could go out and buy more food to eat, but when you use what you have, and make it nice, it really is a treat.

And I had to rethink my cafe social life, a couple of years ago, to fit in with the food philosophy of less being more. All of those high calorie coffees were not doing my health nor wallet, any favours. Let alone the food! It is all so big, or designer-type food. I now just have a sandwich if they are not too giant, or just eggs and toast. With Earl Grey Tea. A Big calorific saving! More stylish, more chic.


Thursday, 3 May 2018

The Chic Files: Style as expression

                               Image result for witty chanel style

Continuing with "Chic and Slim" by Anne Barone, looking at this book, chapter by chapter, as an inspiration for a more chic life. And a more slim one, too.

But at the moment, I am fixated on style.

What is style as expression? Is it :
  • What we say?
  • What we do?
  • How we look?
  • How we dress?
  • The decor of our home?
  • What and how we eat?
Myself, I think that it is all of this, and more: how we live our life, and how we express our style in all of these above ways.

My style

My style is definitely minimalism. Too much 'stuff' around me, makes it hard for me to focus, as my eyes get pulled to this and that. But I have a flatmate for whom her home is an artistic expression of herself; no space left free. Both of us are so different, yet, each of us has a distinct style of our own, coming quite naturally from our own separate personality.

Because I am a minimalist, I also dress that way: simply. I have few clothes; only a few pairs of shoes; my coats last for years. I like my food to be simple and uncluttered too. My make-up is minimal. I sometimes have too much skin care, but in all honesty, most of it has currently been gifts. I also am rather quiet, which is a bit confusing for more extroverted people. I am not perfect, but I am quite self-sufficient, and my style of living my life, and expressing my personality, definitely reflects that.

For me, a good mantra is: less is more.

Your style, of course, will also be quite unique to you. Sometimes, it is quite good to look around oneself to see how you are expressing your style. Unless we live and work alone, it is very difficult to have everything our own way with our style. Of course compromise is involved too. But, what can you do to put your style into your life?

Recently I was talking to someone who is also quite a minimalist. She likes antiques and is a bit quirky. Definitely that is reflected in her style of dressing, her way of speaking, and how she would like to decorate her home.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to think of a few key words to describe your own style? I know that  two words that would define my style are minimalist and feminine.

My style inspiration

The person who inadvertently  taught me about style, was my beloved Nanna, when I lived with her for five magical years. She taught me about being happy whilst having less, when I could have had more. And to make what I did have, nice. This really fulfils me on many levels.

Nanna also taught me, by example, to get dressed nicely, each morning. Not expensively, nor overdressed, just nice. When I don't do this, I feel really sloppy, and I don't get things done. Someone asked me recently why I didn't buy myself some warm track pants to wear around the house. The answer is that I just like to get dressed in (nice) clean clothes each morning, and not have to get changed each time that I go out. (plus - trackies.... ugh)

I think that this is also part of my minimalism. I also do not like to waste time by getting changed into different clothes during the day. And I like to tidy myself and look nice, each morning. I've done this all of my life, and it all goes back to my teenage years with Nanna.

I do also think that how we spend our time, our body language, what we say, are also part of our own unique style. Style is not just about the clothes that we wear.

Does style matter?

I think so. Everyone is unique, everyone has a special gift to the world, and their style, I believe, is part of this. Sometimes it is worthwhile to put some thought and active energy into finding our personal style. On all levels.


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Warm weather food

Yes! The warmer weather has arrived. And with it, a few changes in le regime (my diet, aka what I eat). I really get miserable eating salads...