Monday, 30 May 2016

winter has arrived:clothes & stuff

                  Image result for winter in New Zealand

                                   (beautiful South Island)

It's suddenly cold

In Aotearoa, New Zealand, we often have endless warm summer, then one day, we wake up to winter. Just like that! It's suddenly windy, freezing & raining hard. This happened last week. Heaters are on, winter clothes, flannette sheets, heaters, are all pulled out of storage. Rapidly.

I am suddenly sleeping under an old duck feather eiderdown (luxury!) with a mink blanket on top! And flannelette jammies. With socks! I am making a few changes this year for winter: frequent use of a hottie (hot water bottle) as needed, & when it's really cold I 'll be dragging out my electric blanket which I inherited. I've never used one before but I've decided to be intelligent about winter this year.

Time to wear clothes for warmth

I've moved into a winterish-but-not-totally-winter wardrobe: black ponte jeggings & a "denim" jegging; jeans, a nice pair of black pants, some expensive-but totally-worth-it black casual pants. With ballet shoes, long tops (dark blue, & black), plus existing tops with a light cardi, & I'll add another couple of jumpers as needed plus a long, thick, cardi-coat. I have some black leather-look, high ankled, winter sneakers, & ankle boots plus tons of new socks. I had a damaged foot for many years, so anything with heels, & any shoes that were actually nice on me, were unwearable. But times have changed & I have started shoe shopping as I now can wear nice shoes.

Hints for your shape

I am resolute about getting away from any clothes that are old-lady-ish, hence the jeggings, & I so love a simple, straightish line, eg similar colour top & bottom, no frills, it just looks better on me. Those of us who put weight on around our middles seem to suit straightish lines, whereas women who are blessed with breasts & hips can wear more curvy & frilly clothes. Something that I took a long time to learn! 
These days there are all sorts of systems of dressing for your body shape, but I have found this very simple formula to work really well. When I wear curvy or frilly clothes, I just look frumpy, but when I wear more straight lines, I look way better. This applies to necklines too: put me in a vee or square neckline & I look a round neckline & I am starting to not look quite so good. Strangely I also look better in slightly pointed shoes.

Clothes, hair and complexion

Other things to look at are skin & hair texture. I have fine, straight, shiny hair, so anything around my neck, like a long, old-fashioned, rectangular, silk scarf looks best on me. Because of it's similar attributes to my hair. 

But if you have curly hair, you can use a ruffled or textured scarf. If you naturally have multi tones in your hair (mine was originally just blue-black, so this doesn't apply to me), you can wear more colours all at once near your face. 

And I do have freckles, but they aren't noticeable, & just a few sunspots. So I look better without patterns close to my face. If you have freckles, you can have more patterns.

Colour yourself beautiful

If you add the 4 season colour scheme to these hints, straight away you look better. The four seasons being cool skin tones: winter & summer (summer is softer colouring, more "rosy"); or autumn (think warm dark, or, "copper" colouring) & spring (golden, warm, & light colours).

And being only 157 cm high, I can truthfully tell you that the old advice about shorter people dressing in 1 colour, or tones of 1 colour.....yep, it's true.

Layers for chic

Winter is about layering, so I like to wear sleeveless tees, or thermal singlets under my tops when it gets really cold. I look ridiculous with too many visible layers, because I'm so short. Besides, it's just not chic.

Along with my stash of both light & colourful, or woollen, scarves & a couple of beanies, woollen gloves, my overcoat, a full size brolly & a wee one for my bag: I am all set to be warm & comfy this winter. And my new abode, a wee cottage that I'm renting, takes very little effort to warm up. And it is not damp! Which is a big problem in West Auckland, where I live.

In other, colder, parts of the world, people are more serious about having warm homes. But in the North Island of our country, we seem to conveniently "forget" that rain & wind make us cold. Maybe it's because it only snows in a few places in this Island. 

The South Island, being Middle Earth (where Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit were mostly filmed), has lots of mountain ranges & snow, so the winter mentality there will be better about cold. The South Island is so beautiful. New Zealand is such a beautiful & magical country.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

french women inherit their beauty rituals

                    Image result for Madame chic
                         (fabulous books by Jennifer L. Scott)

French women inherit their beauty rituals
This is the title of a chapter from "French chic: the secret to french style", by Ali Martine. (I am so going to buy this book). But in the meantime, I thought about French women inheriting their beauty rituals, & myself.

My own Madame Chic

My own mum never had time nor space (she worked, had eight children & helped bring up some more) to do beauty rituals, but my Nanna, whom I lived with in my teen years, she certainly taught me quite a few things. Just by her own example & standards:

  • one was personal cleanliness. I swear that no-one does as much washing as I do. Except my own 2 daughters
  • my hair has always been on the oily side so I have to wash it nearly every day. Nanna taught me to brush my hair, so I do, every day, bending over from the waist & just brushing. But I have never mastered the ancient ritual of hairdos, even though Nanna (and one of my daughters) tried to encourage me there
  • and to use just a little bit of makeup, so I still do, nearly every day
  • I have never managed to do the nail polish thing very successfully. Nanna always had beautifully polished nails which she manicured herself, but alas! I am a total failure at doing this.
  • Nanna was adamant that no-one needed lots of clothes, & I have always lived by this
  • she was most vexed by my lack of colour sense, but I have managed to improve this vastly. Mostly because she felt that it mattered. And I have discovered that it does. I even did a colour consultant course with Grace Cosmetics about 20 years ago & found that, of course, the correct colours for our skin tone make us look & feel so much better
  • I watched Nanna make youthful clothes with classic lines for herself, & have borrowed this too. Not the sewing, I am not so great at this either, even though I can & have done it, it's just that others do it better than me. And, from Nanna's example I am a great mender of clothes, which so delighted two of my grand daughters. There is something special about your grandmother mending your fave clothes.
Nanna taught me how to be happy

I was a little spitfire when I was younger, but Nanna taught me, again by example, & also with behaviour guidelines: 

  • how much happier one could be if one was nice. It works. It was easy to quickly learn
  • she taught me the value of love & laughter, of routines & self caring
  • she trained me to be tidy, which I am not. I have to work at it, always. And I do. I know how much happier I am when things are put away, I think more clearly, & I feel most virtuous.
My daughters and I

But I have been a bit useless at passing all this on. I thought that my daughters would just absorb it all, from moi. They didn't. They each have their own characters. Perhaps in many ways I had actually been like Nanna after all, & therefore found it so easy to emulate her. 

One of my daughters is quite like me so she picked up from me things like having certain clothes ironed, shoes clean, house tidied, somewhat elegant clothing. We have, on occasion, each bought the same top, & each summer we both buy cheap black canvas shoes which only last a season. And I introduced her to face washes, moisturisers & sun block at an early age. 

Sadly, we were all just frying in the sun when my eldest was young, & face washes didn't exist.

I am still being taught rituals

Something strange has happened instead of me grandly passing down rituals: 

  • one of my daughters takes me shopping to buy important things like make-up primers, & mineral face powders. I need to know these things! She sorts me out, make-up wise, & has been doing so for years now
  • a beautician friend, Camellia Iordache, teaches me what I need to do to look after my skin
  • my eldest grand daughter is a veritable mine of information & I'm often trying to find out where she bought make-up & clothes from. We have similar tastes. 
I am inheriting beauty rituals, in reverse:

  • recently I bought myself some Palmers cocoa butter skin lotion. It smells so delicious! One of my daughters uses it, so I know that it is good as an inherited thingey
  • and pawpaw ointment, as it's always in her make-up bag. I didn't know what to do with it at first, but Molly Sims, supermodel, said to put it around your eyes & on your lips, before bed, so I quite often do. And I put it on on little rashes that I get
  • the latest copycat find is very cheap but fantastically effective face wipes. From Kmart. Way better than the expensive ones that I've used. Another inheritance
  • as is the oatmeal facial scrub that was recommended
  • I do now have bath mitts for scrubbing moi in the shower
  • good nike type shoes for daily walks
  • I now buy cheap slippers each winter then throw them away at the end of winter (I spent years not using slippers as I loathe grubby slippers)
  • I use both a hottie & a mink blanket to heat my bed when it's cold
  • I have used eyebrow dye
  • & recently changed my mascara to the latest Great Lash one. 
All reverse learnt.

It has all left me wondering if other kiwi women inherit their beauty rituals from their kids & friends. Quite opposite to the French.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

just be!

                  Image result for quote about just being in the moment

Sometimes it's too confronting being too mindful

I was talking to a friend recently, & I do realise that I'm always saying that! We were talking about awareness. As a yoga teacher for many years, awareness is something that is a wee bit misunderstood, I think.

Very often, in yoga, one is encouraged to be aware of oneself, one's inner "stuff": generally meaning reactions. If there was ever a way to become reactionary, this is it. Trying to be aware of the inner "stuff" coming up as you hold a conversation, particularly when it's confronting is silly, in my opinion. Of course, if it's confronting to you, then the thoughts & emotions, they are going to be bubbling up. That's just the way that we humans are. 

There is an easier way

We could try being aware of what is happening with the other person, their body language, our own main feeling about it all, & it will be less of a turmoil than being so self absorbed that we are only aware of our own reactions.

Or, we could "just be"

In this discussion about awareness, my friend said: why not (in the above circumstances), just be? Apparently this is one of Eckhart Tolle's teachings. And it's brilliant, for when we "just be" everything flows better, we react less, we are somehow, more knowing. We become more peaceful.

I recall a friend telling me how she had done just that, after reading Eckhart Tolle's 1st book. It was during a traumatic event for her, & she kept saying to herself: "just be", over & over, & once she managed it, as the reactions set in, she did her utmost to keep coming back to "just being". It worked.

So, I have been "just being". So peaceful. So happy. Just be still in the moment, & this is an inner thing, & in just being, those powerful good sensations will present themselves. If we practice things like this when we are okay, it then becomes easier to do it when life is not so easy. We can get through "stuff" easier.

Just Be leads to Just Do It

And I have been thinking about "just be" in other contexts too. Because I've been posting about Getting Things Done, I thought: why not work out what a few attributes for getting whatever it is, done. For example, I had been working very hard, very busy, & my wee cottage had gotten, shall we say, a tad messy (understatement). So this morning, I've been saying, "just be neat, organised". And then, "just do it". My first big chores got quickly done. I was impressed. I actually feel a housekeeping whirlwind building up within me.

So if we wanted to get something done: 

  • what would be 1-3 attributes that would help you? 
  • do you know someone who gets things done? What attributes do they have that you could use as a mantra? If you wanted to get fit but found it overwhelming
  • what attributes does a fit friend have? 
Put those attributes into a mantra. It can be a word added to "just be", like "just be......":

  • healthy
  • happy
  • fit, 
  • enthusiastic. 
As long as it works for you. Or,  even try something like "just be organised. fit", because this would mean that you would organise your time for fitness to happen.

So, a couple of easy things to fit into our unique life: 

  • just be,
  • & just be "----------". 
I am quite happy about fitting these 2 into my life, & I'm still using "just do it", simply because it has worked well for me.

Friday, 6 May 2016

more getting it done

                           Image result for red rocket readers

(Red Rocket Readers were created by Rachel Walker, in New Zealand. The very best example, ever, of "just do it!" and having a vision and systems)

Just do it! is working

I am pleased to announce that my new mantra "just do it!" from my mystery friend, has had dramatic results, from the mundane through to getting goals underway.

I had asked him if he multi tasked, & he smiled & said: "yes, but.........".  

So it was not about doing a multitude of tasks simultaneously, but rather, doing 1 task, finishing it, then doing the next task. 

And thereby doing multi tasks, by doing one after the other. I like that & had been 1/2 heartedly doing it for quite a while, but now am embracing it.

Multitasking can be stressful

It has been found that multitasking has a role to play in degenerative brain conditions, as one gets "old". I suspect it has to do with reducing our ability to focus well, & also because multi tasking stresses the brain. Too much to focus on at once. I know that there are times in our life when we have to multi task whether we want to or not: for example a teacher in a large classroom has to have their mind on so many things at once, so does a mother of young children, nurses, etc. 

And I recall I job I once had when I was the book-keeper, answered phones, served customers (it was a large shop),  then buying stock, quickly flicking from one thing to the next without a break, & coping with endless migraines. Even when I teach yoga classes, although I can focus very well (thanks to yoga & meditation), I baulk at doing postures with the class because it interferes with my focus & the people in the class get a lesser experience.

And, when we are aiming to "get things done" & it's in addition to an already crowded life, that too is  stressful, & I suspect that is one of the reasons why change is so hard. Trying to work things out, make plans or even not know how to make those plans. 

Systems help us reduce stress

When I first wrote "you are unique" as a course, years ago, I had a new baby, no income, & very little time available. But, I had a rough framework that I had already worked out , & I divided that framework into "areas". From there, I wrote (by hand! I had no computer), a little bit of an area at a time. Then a friend wrote it all up on the computer for me. The course was very comprehensive so there was a lot of info that I had to systemise & write out. Lucky for me, I like systems, as they make life easier.

I do aura healing & Maori healing, & with each, I follow a system. With the aura healing, it's two systems that I was taught & then combined, & as I worked this system, my own knowledge emerged to create a more comprehensive system. With the Maori healing, I was taught a system, & I follow it. It totally works. When I teach yoga, I have about three formats that I use, each works very well & gives a lovely class.

How to work out a system

So, when I am working out how to do something, I look for a do-able system. And if the change we are making to our life is something that we want, or need, to do for a long has to be do-able. It has to fit into our life, easily. 

And sometimes, this can mean trying out several things to see what works best for us, in our life. I am going to do that with a few goals. 

For each:

  • I'll have a point A (starting point)
  • & a point B (desired outcome) Even though I know that outcomes can be far greater than we imagine, I'm going to still have a point B written down
  • then, I may have bench marks. A benchmark is like something that shows that what you are doing, working towards your goal, works. An easy example is if you want lose, say, 15 kilos, a benchmark could be 3, or 5, kilos, or fitting into the next size down in jeans.

Vision boards can help keep us focused

Another thing that can help us when we are going for our goals, is a vision board. I was gobsmacked when I went to my daughter-in-law's (Rachel walker) home office. I actually was a bit awed, as she is very successful in what she does: she writes school readers, publishes them, & sells them in New Zealand & overseas. They are for younger children. (Red Rocket is the name of the books) Very inspiring. And she had a home made vision board in her office! Yes! With affirmations. One of the things that Tony Robbins recommends is to see what successful people do & copy it. So, I remembered Rachel's vision board this morning, & thought: I've gotta do it!

So, hopefully, these are some more good ideas to help with goals.

the chic files

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