Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Finding your unique style

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How to find own your unique style

I had a period in my life when I expressed myself with how I looked. I liked doing that. I just loved clothes, but have never had many. And costumes. I love costumes. So it was natural for me to be creative in how I dressed. But, as happens to most of us, when life takes over with lots of responsibilities, and things which need to be done, spending some time on ourselves is no longer a priority. But now I do have that time. And knowledge. About myself. This can be expressed through our appearance, if we wish. I don't feel that this is so much a vanity thing, but rather it's self-expression. For me, anyway.

I tend to get stuck in a rut. Which I don't want to do. And I really don't always like the clothes available. But I had a shake-up after reading a fantastic book on style, much of what I already knew, and had mysteriously forgotten to do. I just loved the way that the women in the book dressed, I could so relate to all of them. Usually when I look at these books, and at magazines, I'm like: "you have to be kidding". And that is because, I believe, each country has it's own style of dressing. Due to money, ethnicity, climate, and the way life is lived. After all, New Zealand is a very casual country. Most of us would not look like someone, with hair, make-up and dress, who is from Mexico, California, New York, or London, for example. We all dress to suit our lifestyle.

And the book,  The Closet Stylist, by Anna Caselberg, is from my own country. That was why I enjoyed it so much. Every style of dressing in it, I loved.

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First up

So, I feel that this is the first requirement: does how you look, and dress, suit your life-style?

The tricky bit

Do your clothes flatter you? I wrote a course so many years ago, before there were lots of books around telling us how to analyse what does and doesn't suit us. Or, to be more precise, what is flattering on us. There are some easy factors that we can look at look at regarding looking good; colour being the easiest to start with.


When I trained, back in the days of yore, with Grace Cosmetics, as a Colour Consultant, it was all about skin tone. I learnt, in my training, that basically we are either warm toned or cool toned. And that some people are fairly neutral, meaning that they could wear colours from both warm and cool ones.

Nowadays that's been greatly changed so that there are sub-headings under colour types. All of those sub headings are just too difficult for me, personally, so I just ignore them, for myself. The easiest way that I know of to work out whether we are cool, or warm, toned, is by looking at our veins inside the arm, just above the wrist.

blueish veins = cool tones    greenish veins = warm tones

Our skin has hues

I do think that it's a lot harder when we have dark skin, or have a family history of hues of olive, brown, whatever you want to call it, from light to dark, because we then suit more vibrant colours. It seems to me, that even if there is just an undertone of olive, that many of us are a bit outside of the accepted rules about colour and colour types. Even if our skin tone fades (mine has), those sparkling, richer colours, are still more flattering for us, than softer, gentler colours. 

One of my grand-daughters has rich, deep, auburn hair. It is amazing. With a faint touch of olive in her skin. I am sure that if she was blatantly fair skinned, she would not suit the colours which she wears: deep, vibrant colours like mustard and rich browns, black, all are 'her' colours. They are striking, strong, colours, which, incidentally, go with her strong personality.

A modern colour stylist (which obviously I am not) would say that she suits deep colours. I do too. But hers are a bit warmer, except the black, and my deep colours are a bit cooler. Because BG ('beloved grand-daughter', in blog-speak) has such contrast in her colouring, somehow it makes sense when she echoes that contrast thing, with the colours which she wears. Soft, cool, pastel colours would even make her look a bit sickly. So, I suppose that it is also about intensity.

Whereas I, BG (this time it's about me. I know that I am her 'beloved granny') I know that there is not so much contrast in my colouring. So my deep, cool, colours look a bit more flattering when they are not so sparkling. A little bit muted, instead. Just the barest touch. So, I have a muted, or softer, intensity. Softer in this context is not about a pastel colour. It's something else.

Looking at, for example, apricot. A colour which is a warm tone. When it's very bright it's quite different to a softer version of it. Someone with a big contrast with their skin and hair, could wear a rich, deep apricot. Whereas, one of my daughters who is a lot fairer in colouring but has strong definition in her colouring, still with that most subtle, barely there, undertone of olive, could have a mid tone apricot. And a fair-haired, fair-skinned person with lovely soft, delicate colouring, could echo that in a soft apricot. 

I don't know if this is confusing. I hope not. And I hope that it helps with choosing colour.

The easy way to choose a colour

The bottom line is that if you hold a garment, or piece of fabric under your chin and look at your face, and you look a bit tired. Or your sunspots, freckles, wrinkles and other 'things' are more noticeable, then that is so the wrong colour for you. 

But if you look, well, pretty, then voila! it's the correct tone, the correct intensity, for you. It's a winner.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The Weight Loss Chronicles

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It Is Time To Sort Myself Out

I know that I have to sort out my diet a bit better. I've been allowing myself to be disorganised. Why should this matter? For me, and I can't talk for others, when I am disorganised, my eating is all over the place. I'll have bits and pieces that I wouldn't normally have, and I'll also eat too much.  And I was well aware that I was eating too much starchy food. And then my favourite, buff, french man, gave me (unsolicited) tips on losing weight. Which was both appreciated, and also a bit, you know, embarrassing. I knew then, I totally knew, that I had to change my diet.

The good news

The good news was that the weight which I have dropped, has stayed off. Which I am really happy about. I would, in all truth, be happier if much more had melted into the ether. But only one kilo more has. (sigh) Every now and then, that measly kilo likes to excite me, for good or bad, by going up a kilo, then back down again. It's difficult to handle this sort of excitement, if you know what I mean.

Eating out

And because of my tomato allergy, plus difficulties with most nightshades, when I meet up for lunch with a friend, then eggs it must be. Poached. I find that most cafes have tomato in most savoury dishes. If I'm not too sure about what sort of salad will arrive with my order (some actually have tomato infused oil, as a dressing. Designer dressing. Who would have thought?), I then just have toast with the eggs. I need protein in my diet, at lunch. Having said that, I now seldom go out for lunch.

And I do know that those calorie-heavy delicious lattes and flat whites, I should avoid them. Or even just have coffee out less often, which is of course, a far superior and do-able plan.

And dinner out? All intelligence goes out of the window, with this, for me. I have decided to be grown up and just accept this rather than fight it. Having said this, I seldom go out for an evening meal.

Finding My New Dietary Direction

And, whilst I was pondering. Okay, I was obsessing really, about what to do about my diet. I went with someone to check out the local op shops. I am not much of a shopper, so it was a politeness outing. But, I decided to see if there were any books that took my fancy. (still silently obsessing, in a most nutty way, though) I found a couple of old books (late 1990s). One was Body For Life by a body builder, a well known old book. The other was Fat Free Forever by Dianne Barker, now Dianne Wilson. Both books were somewhat similar, but actually also different.

However, I took these books to be a 'sign' for the type of food regime that would suit me and my needs. After all, there I was: worry, worry, think, think, and up pop these two old books.

I recall many years ago, two female body builders who used to come to my yoga class. Of course, I used to ask them questions about their exercise routines and their diets.  It was over twenty years ago, so that was before women were trotting off to the gym regularly, and also before lifting weights was accepted as the 'norm.' And I felt very privileged that my humble yoga class was one of their weekly workouts.

They both looked amazing. Of course. Not bulked up, just ultra feminine, and amazing.

They were both adamant about eating little and often. Being regular with one's diet. They both said that for body building, diet was most of it. I remember that one woman ate two Weetbix with a sprinkle of muesli for breakfast. The other said: 'you can have whatever you like, but don't have much (at one time)'. I could even have cheese on Ryvita crackers for afternoon tea . Or avocado. Cheese and avocado? Remember, the 1990s were when we allowed ourselves to be conned by the no-fat diets and dogma. I was fascinated. These two ladies really  'had it together' with diet. But, I didn't. I was still locked into the carb heavy, so-called yoga diet of the time. Virtually no fat, too.

Looking back, this was a total recipe for disaster. How could I have lost myself, my integrity, listening to all of that terrible and harmful dietary advice, cutting out fat? And eating bread, dhal and rice every day. But, I did.

Choose Your Hormone Problem

I read in Body For Life how eating little but often, really helps keep one's metabolism working well, as we get older. I haven't done this for a while, but I'm giving it a go. Apparently it's also great for reducing cortisol levels, cortisol being the stress hormone. Whereas, the latest info about diabetes 2 is that it is more helpful for regulating insulin levels, to eat less often. It all sounds a bit like: 'choose, or know, your hormone problem'.

I don't have any diabetic issues and have had incredible stresses in my life, so following the cortisol advice is better, I'd say: little but often.

So, this is the new direction. I shall keep you posted.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

letting go

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Letting go

Letting go of what?  Of that which no longer serves oneself. I am at that stage. Yet again. I suspect that we all do it, from time to time. Sometimes knowingly. Other times. without even realising it.

2019 choices

I was thinking about what choices and focus to make for 2019. Whilst I realise that  probably everyone else has already done that, I hadn't. I knew what I wanted to do, but was unsure with some things about how to get them going, do them, and maintain.

Then, I realised that I just had to let go with a lot of things. Then I would have time and space to do what I what like to do in 2019. Create a void. A space for things to happen. Instead of that space being filled up with whatever was blocking me, my life. Or, lets be honest, whatever I was doing that allowed the blocking. 

And instead, cast my fate to the winds. Again. Sometimes it seems we just have to let go and step (bravely) into an abyss of uncertain outcomes. Yet knowing that it's the right thing to do.   

We don't always get what we want..... (rolling stones)

I am letting go of worrying about the outcome for quite a few things. I just can't go on always placating, doing my best, in some situations which never end and are just so exhausting, and we get so tired. I feel that this depletes our joi de vivre. Our life force seems to lessen. We compromise ourselves, which just doesn't make us feel good on an inner level. I don't want that anymore. Time to let go. Time to fly.

A close friend was saying how she deeply believes in things working out the way that they are meant to. I really appreciated this. It came at just the right time. As things do. Good and not so good. With beneficial outcomes. Or not.

So that's it. Let go. Let things work out. It's not always about ourselves.

But still, for us all, (talking about moi here), it can be difficult. It is in our nature to want, hope, that things work out a certain way. Especially when our heart is involved. I know that my heart is in many things: things that I love; that I do in my life; situations; people. I so want the best for everyone and every thing, not just moi-self (new franco-english word here). But who am I to decree that someone else's life, or a situation, should be a certain way? It's not a moi-iverse (me universe, where it's all about oneself).

The space of not giving any energy

I am privileged, and lucky, to study with a Maori healer. He often talks about not giving things which are not positive, any energy. By holding onto our own energy. Holding onto our own integrity. Centre oneself. This stops us "feeding" something. And this creates that void. For the magic to happen. For things to work themselves out, which is of course, the real magic. Then we don't "have" to do anything. Destiny does it for us. 

Whew! Time to take all this advice into my life, methinks. Look out, 2019.


Tuesday, 8 January 2019

how to have better skin

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Better than what? Better than what it is now.

But first a disclaimer

This is about having beautiful skin without having botox, fillers, or face surgery. I have wrinkles and some sunspots. It is impossible to live in New Zealand and not eventually have some sun damage. No matter how careful one has been (talking about myself here).

The sad truth about skin

  • we get older. And the effects of our life start to show. Yep, they really do. People today have access to so much info and products to protect the skin: use them to prevent and delay the ole sun damage.
  • the environment affects our skin. This is really annoying. And so true. If, like me, one third of your life was around heavy smokers, it does affect our skin. Just as it does for smokers. Smoking is fantastic for getting tough, leathery skin, and wrinkles.
  • what we eat affects our skin. Sugar is about the worst. Makes us puffy and saggy. Which is bad news for us sugar lovers. And, this is just an observation, greasy food - eeks, it wrecks our skin. This is disturbing, if, like me, you love good old fish and chips. And processed food? With added chemicals? Don't even think about it. Those added unpronounceable bits and pieces, and mysterious additives which have sneaky numbers so that you don't really know what they are? Think of them as instant toxins which age you. Not just your skin, but the whole body. 
  • what we drink affects our skin. Too much cafe lattes do not seem to create lovely skin. Which is, of course, unfair. And lets not forget alcohol. Which I always do. Forget it, that is, as I have always been a non-drinker. Alcohol does not seem to have a good effect on skin. 
  • our state of health affects our skin. Another unfair thing. I have a blood disorder, and I can tell you that it really does affect my skin. Most adversely. When I have lots of blood and iron, I have lovely olive skin and seem to have fewer wrinkles. When aforesaid blood and iron are low, I look really pale, pasty and wrinkly. Not a good look.

I think that I have to stop here, as it is all getting a tad depressing. 

What can we do to get better skin?

Quite a bit, actually. And none of it is rocket science.

  • increase our vitality. I don't mean the ability to rush around, or be extremely extroverted. Or passionately emotional. Vitality is something else: it shines from within. Like an energy. We could call it life-force. Yogis would call it prana. 
  • emotions can lower our vitality. When we are troubled, our life-force gets depleted, and it shows. When we are happy, or calm, our life-force can flow more easily. And crabby people are most unattractive, even if they have beautiful features. (I was going to say that being a horrible person makes them ugly, but that could be a bit mean) 
  • exercise thickens the skin, and we get less wrinkles. Oh, and increases our vitality. 
  • fresh food has more life force than food with nasty bits added
  • protein slows down sagging
  • vitamin d. The sun is a great source of life-force. It doesn't have to be high noon sun. Going for a promenade early morning or later in the afternoon is perfect.
  • foods which create good skin are oils like nuts and seeds, avocados. And eating colourful foods like greens and yellows and orange and purple colours, make our skin glow. Some even help with a natural form of sun protection. Not complete protection, no, but some.
  • "our skin is like a flower, it needs watering": Jerry Hall

What can we do on the outside?

Other than inject stuff into ourselves until we end up looking really weird and scary.

Have a good skin care routine. It does not have to cost a lot of money. It just has to be consistent and relevant to you and your skin. In the morning, if you do nothing else, at least put on sunscreen. In the evening, take off any gunk, like lovely make-up, and if you don't wear make-up, there will be environmental gunk on your face, so it does need cleansing. For most of my life I just let my skin breathe overnight. Unadorned. It worked for years. And then it didn't. Because I got older, and needed some form of overnight TLC. 

So, that's it: be a nice person; do some exercise; drink water; eat fresh food; have a basic skin care routine. All easy peasy.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019


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(sometimes we just need to listen to wise women's words)

I really don't know why I haven't already blogged about this, on my Unique You site. Especially as I am a clairvoyant, and, well, intuition obviously plays a big part in my life. And sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes I just don't want to do the intuition thing. And other times I forget that my intuition is literally screaming at me, but, alas, for some mysterious reason, I am ignoring it. As we all do. So often.

Within a few weeks period, I can quickly recall some intuition "stuff", that I was slow on the uptake of:

  • wondering why I couldn't get going on a writing project. This was causing me such angst. One day, it came to me in a flash, so to speak. I wasn't being "me" as I wrote. That was why it wasn't working out. So, now, it's back to the drawing board to rewrite it as "me". 
  • I also realised that on my yoga blog, I also wasn't being me. I was writing for a niche audience, because that's what I'm supposed to do. Right? Wrong. I was so-o-o confining myself, and wasn't, yet again, fully expressing myself. I really should have been doing what I intended, all along, with that blog. It was supposed to be about spirituality. That is my real niche. So I've "come out" again, on that blog. In no way do I believe that spirituality is confined to yoga. Gosh, no. It's all bigger than what we think, the whole spiritual thing. And I have actually been on another deeply spiritual path, rather than yoga, for the past ten years. 
  • I kept thinking, for some time, that I would arrive home, and one of my nephews would be there. Which was weird, because he was supposed to be living in another town. Chuckle. Of course he was living not too far away, in the town where I live. 
  • I kept being very nervous, and stressed. So, being me, I started to wonder if I was becoming paranoid. Nope. It was just someone repeatedly lying to me. This is the thing with intuition. Sometimes we need to look at when we are having troubling feelings. In what situations? Who are we with? Honestly, I do believe that we all need to learn to trust what our feelings are trying to tell us. Feelings are such a valuable form of intuition. Yet they are often ignored. And I do believe that part of it is that we just do not want to believe, or face, some things. After all, we are all so human.
  • I woke this morning just after a dream of me doing yoga poses, such as downward dog. It's quite a strenuous pose, and I hadn't been able to do it for two weeks, due to a medical mishap, hospital, and a recovery which seemed to be taking ages. (yes, I do want everything done by yesterday, including recovery. And no, that's not intuition) So, I got up and did a bit of yoga. Not too much as I'm still a bit weak, but, hey, yesterday I was not my best, so I was really pleased with myself this morning. And strangely, a whole lot of other things that I was trying to sort out, became very clear to me. (thank you, horrid downward dog pose)
  • I couldn't get a dear friend out of my mind. For weeks. We finally chatted on the phone. Yes, she had been having such a hard time. I wish I'd followed my intuition, and rung sooner. 
  • Another friend, whom I'd not seen for a while, I suddenly started feeling that I needed to contact her. Yep, she was having hard to manage things happen, too. I made sure I caught up. 
  • I'm house sitting, and I started to worry about burglars. I'm actually very good at worrying (little joke here). The house behind where I live got burgled. 

An intuitive 2019

There are so many stories that we all could recall, of ignoring our intuition, our knowing, our feelings, our heart. I would like to recommend that 2019 is a year of listening to all of these. And having a better life, in the process.

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