Beauty

The Stress-Reducing Modern Wellness Trends To Know About

golden-gong-by-giselle-la-pompe-moore

Whether you tuck an amethyst crystal in your bra every day or have an energy healer on speed dial, it’s clear that the popularity of spiritual wellbeing is on the rise. It’s unsurprising, as wellness is now a staggering $4.2 trillion dollar global industry. One that’s infiltrated our local café menus, bookshelves and how we spend our Sunday nights. But why have we become so fixated by the pursuit of wellness?

The answer could well be, stress. Yes, that six letter word that’s littered into nearly every conversation. As you might know, the body responds to stress by initiating the fight or flight response, where stress hormones are secreted, our heart rate quickens, we breathe more rapidly and oxygen floods to our arms and legs. This is all well and good, as it protects us in life-threatening situations, but unlike our ancestors we end up going into this stress response more often as our lives are increasingly hectic. Over time, the more the stress response gets activated the greater the toll on our minds and body. So much so, that last year The Mental Health Foundation reported that 74% of the UK have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope as a result of stress.

When we combine that with living in troubling times filled with political uncertainty and environmental threats to the future of our planet, it’s understandable that we are all looking for some escapism. Engaging in wellness allows us to get out of our heads and to shift from the high stress of constantly doing to just being, and with spiritual wellness it appeals to our collective desire to take comfort in something that feels greater than us.

It’s easy to roll your eyes at some facets of wellness and get lost in the buzzwords and fads, but the following trends, which have often been rooted in ancient practices, have a place in modern society and right now we could all do with a helping hand.

Sound Healing

We usually associate meditation and mindfulness with silence or at least with some oceanic background music. But having sound as the core component of your meditation session is a healing practice that has been around for thousands of years. During a sound bath, gongs and crystal bowls are played as you’re led into a meditative state. The instruments create different healing frequencies with the vibrations then resonating in the body to shift your brainwaves from beta (alert and normal thinking) to low frequency waves such as alpha, delta and theta. All of which aid in reducing stress and promoting deep rest and relaxation.

Reiki

From clearing stagnant energy in our homes to trying to raise our vibrations, we’re talking about energy more than ever. One of the reasons for this is the gaining popularity of Reiki, a method of energy healing that was developed by Dr Mikao Usui in Japan in the early 20th century. Reiki promotes the body’s regenerative self-healing ability by balancing physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. When we experience blockages in the flow of energy this can manifest in our bodies and have an impact on our overall health and wellbeing. A Reiki session will leave you feeling blissed out and help you to re-centre by allowing the energy to flow easier through your chakras (energy centres) for optimal health.

Crystal Routines

It’s pretty obvious that crystals are having a moment and it makes sense. They’re not only aesthetically pleasing but they carry within them a host of healing energies. Now you’ve built up a stealthy collection, it’s time to take your crystal obsession to the next level by really harnessing them as a tool for self-growth. Representing the element of earth, crystals can keep you grounded if you’re out of sorts and craving the need to feel connected to something universal. If your crystals have been collecting dust, create your own routines by adding them into your meditation practice, investigate how they can correspond to your chakras and look into creating your own crystal grids.

Spiritual Skincare 

Spirituality has made its way into many areas of our lives and we’ll be starting to see our skin in this way too. The mind-skin connection is a powerful one, from the effects that skin issues have on self-worth to the fact that stress can trigger and aggravate conditions such as acne, psoriasis and dermatitis. Brands will be taking more of a ritualistic approach by incorporating self-care messages and tools such as crystals, affirmations and intention-setting. Products aside, seeing the skin from a spiritual lens means taking a step back to find acceptance and peace with our skin and to work on what’s happening under the surface by slowing down our beauty routines and turning them into mindful rituals.

Astro Living

Times have changed from only reading your horoscope in a magazine once a week, to everyone knowing exactly when mercury goes retrograde. With apps like Co-starTime Passages and The Moon it’s easier than ever to live in accordance with the zodiac and to work with natural cycles. We’ve already seen this with new moon and full moon rituals, so if you’re feeling disconnected you can track the planetary movements and work with their energies in your schedule. For example, if you’re trying to do a huge clear-out of your wardrobe, check in with what’s happening astrologically as you might find it easier to do on a day when the planets are more aligned in your favour, such as when the moon is in an organisation-driven sign like Virgo.

Daily Rituals

Social media and wellness have somehow become merged with one another and it can often feel like you didn’t really “do self-care” if it wasn’t posted on Instagram. Wellness can often seem like it’s something that needs to be performed, so it’s time to go back to basics with daily (and private) rituals. From five minute breathing meditations at your desk to journaling all of the things you’re grateful for at night, this is all about finding small moments in your day to get you back into the present moment. Add in a self-massage after your shower or head out for a walk at lunch, this is all about coming back to the essence of what wellness is, it might not always be photogenic but you’ll definitely feel the benefits.

Giselle La Pompe-Moore is the founder of Project Ajna and offers one-to-one rediscovery soul sessions that incorporate reiki, meditation or tarot.

Why JOMO Is The New FOMO

jomo-is-the-new-fomo-by-jo-fairly

There’s much talk of FOMO, nowadays. Fear Of Missing Out. I blame Instagram (and other social media, to a lesser extent): when we scrawl through pictures of yummy dinners in fancy restaurants, once-in-a-lifetime finds in a posh department store’s Blue Flag sale, or see pictures of perfectly-manicured toes in front of an azure horizon on a sun-drenched beach, it’s easy to feel that we are indeed missing out. On life, bargains, exotic cocktails with paper umbrellas in them, whatever. So the other day, my heart did a little dance when I heard about FOMO’s (much saner) close relation, JOMO. It’s short for ‘Joy Of Missing Out’ – and I realise, I’ve pretty much been embracing this my whole life. Only now it’s got a name. (Or rather, an acronym.)

Technically, in 2019, JOMO is about disconnecting from tech and embracing real life. It’s about not picking up our phones to scrawl through pretty images that make us feel inadequate, every five minutes. JOMO is also very much about not letting social media make us feel that we really need to be keeping up with the Joneses. (Or the Kylies. Or the Beckhams. Or any ‘influencer’ who ever learned to use an iPhone filter, frankly.)

Indeed, there are now websites (experiencejomo.com), podcasts (the JOMOcast), and even books (Christina Crook’s The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World), which encourage us instead to reconnect with the ‘real world’. You know, that quaint old place where people actually talk to each other and eat food together and maybe even leave their phones in their coat pockets for the entire duration of these experiences.

Now, I absolutely, 100% love those definitions of JOMO. As any of you who read Victoria Health editorials regularly will have observed, I’ve developed all sorts of strategies for cutting down my exposure to technology and e-mail. Fact: nobody, but nobody, will go to their grave wishing they’d spent more time on Instagram, no matter how seductive and gorgeous and pretty it often is.

Because the trouble with social media (one of them) is that it can be the fast-track to a misery-inducing case of envy – and not for nothing was that declared a ‘deadly sin’, several millennia ago. If you’re not at peace with your home, the luxury level of the holidays you can easily afford, the size of your car – and so on and so on – then you’re likely always to suffer, comparing yourself unfavourably to others who are ‘better off’ (or ‘luckier’, as some people tend to think of it). Because the fact is that even if you’re a millionaire, with an envious mindset you just can’t win. There’ll always be someone with a faster yacht/car/bigger walk-in wardrobe/more houses/private jet/whatever – and I’ve seen it eat people up inside, frankly.

But for me, JOMO has another meaning, too. It means not feeling bad about refusing to fill my precious time with stuff I don’t want to do. Literally: the joy of not doing anything that doesn’t make my heart soar, at the prospect. For each of us, that’s different. But top of the JOMO list, in my case: going to parties. Now, you may love them. Be the very embodiment of the life and soul, and all that. But I am really, really happy to miss out on almost any party, anywhere, ever. (While being perfectly happy for my party-loving partner to go to just about any party he wants to, so long as he doesn’t expect me as his arm candy.) It’s just who I am, and there’s no point pretending otherwise.

For various reasons, sometimes professional, I have been invited to flower-filled, wall-to-wall-celebrity parties in glamorous locations that people would all but kill for invites to – and I’ve mooched miserably in the corner, just counting the minutes till I could go home. Fact: sequins and I are not best friends. High heels, ditto. (See last month’s editorial.) I loathe small talk. I don’t even like alcohol, much. And since an Ayurvedic doctor told me last year that I really should be in bed by 9 pm at night, on the basis of my dosha (or constitution), I now have the perfect excuse to be a party refusenik. For me, there is literally joy in missing out… on any social gathering of more than eight people.

It isn’t that I don’t like people. I love people! But I’d far rather see them in small groups, or even individually. In a (not-too-noisy) restaurant is fine. But I’m just as happy with a bowl of home-made soup or a cake at a kitchen table decorated with nothing more extravagant than a bunch of daffs in a jug, where I can actually hear what they’re saying, and chat properly. (Preferably my own kitchen table, but I’m not that much of a hermit.) Frankly, there’s almost no party I’ve ever attended that has felt more fun, to me, than reading my book at home would have been.

Once upon a time I’d have been called a ‘party pooper’ for that, but now I can just say that I was an early adopter of JOMO. And I’m just going to share with you just the best tip if you’re someone who, like I was, would often say ‘yes’ to an invite far off in the future, where the diary was entirely empty, and then increasingly come to dread the event as it hurtled towards me, wondering how I could gracefully cancel. Every time an invite comes in, ask yourself: ‘If it was tonight, would I want to go?’ And in my case, the answer is almost always: ‘Noooooooooooooo!’ Making it much, much easier to decline at the time the invite arrives.

True JOMO boils down to experiencing gratitude, too – on a daily or even hourly basis. Enjoying small pleasures, rather than lusting after what we don’t have (and probably never will have, lottery win aside). The sunny beauty of that jug of daffs. The trouble someone’s gone to, to bake a cake. Losing myself in a good book (which can be a library book, or a well-thumbed paperback). A walk in the spring sunshine, appreciating the clouds scudding through the sky, or the feeling of fresh air on skin after months shrouded in layers. Watching an old movie, curled up on the sofa with family. (Or a pet, if you’re an animal person.) A hot water bottle on a cold night. Honestly, teeny-tiny things that when you take the time to appreciate them are very, very happy-making. Much, much happier-making than a yacht, I’ll warrant. (Though I’ve no intention of finding out.)

So if the JOMO movement’s looking for a poster girl, I’m right here. Admiring that spring flowers on my kitchen table. Listening to the soup simmering. But most importantly, not wishing to be somewhere – or someone – else, ever.

The Best Face And Body Scrubs For Your Skin

Pink Body Scrub top down view

To paraphrase the Daleks, there is one beauty action more important than any other, this month. ‘Exfoliate, Exfoliate!!!’

Because by now, the central heating’s been on for months. And did you know that your clothes have actually been acting as a wick these past few months, extracting moisture from your body? The problem with dry skin is that it starts to look flat and sometimes flaky. Dry skin doesn’t refract light in the way healthy, dewy, plumped-up skin does. (Which is why our skin rarely looks better than on holiday.) Simply piling on moisturiser, though, doesn’t cut it. Dusty, dry surface cells just don’t soak up nourishment and moisture (never mind all those pricey anti-ageing ingredients you’ve sprung for) the way that new cells do.

We have a positive arsenal of scrubs and exfoliators in our bathrooms. They’re among our favourite products because over the years, we’ve figured out that they really are the fast-track to better-looking skin. So this month, we thought we’d point you in the direction of some of the best face and body scrubs.

Let’s start with the aptly-named Neom Organics Real Luxury Body Scrub, a sugar-grained confection which is infused with the most blissful blend of jasmine, Brazilian rosewood and lavender, working to transform tired, dull-looking skin with its natural blend of jojoba and sunflower oils. Another longstanding favourite buffer is Aromatherapy Associates Polishing Natural Exfoliating Scrub; the exfoliating ingredients here are salt – and, more unusually, coffee grains, which are terrific for scruffing skin without scratching. It also has the most sublime frankincense and grapefruit scent. (And it’s a fact that when we love a product’s smell and texture, we’re more likely to use it diligently and often.) We also definitely need to give a shout-out to the product which so impressed our testers for the Beauty Bible Awards 2019: Temple Spa Sugar Buff, infused with uplifting oils of lavender, eucalyptus, patchouli, clove, rosemary and grapefruit, suspended in a skin-nourishing base of olive oil, grapeseed oil, fig and pomegranate extracts.

Its unisex scent means Sugar Buff is a good one for the kitchen sink, where anyone in the household might like to scrub up after grubby tasks. On which note, we also rate Margaret Dabbs Exfoliating Hand Scrub, a brilliant prelude to a lavish slather of hand cream, when hands need some serious, transformative TLC. And with the day soon to dawn when we’re going to stash away our opaques for a few months, we’d point you in the direction of This Works Perfect Legs 100% Natural Scrub, which is great for making legs – literally – bare-able, with a single treatment. After the Himalayan salt’s done its stuff, it leaves even the most lacklustre legs looking gleamingly healthy, thanks to the base blend of sweet almond, crambe and blackcurrant oils.

The past couple of years have seen eco-developments on the scrub front, meanwhile. Happily, plastic ‘microbeads’ have now been outlawed– for ecological reasons; they were building up in the marine environment. There was really no need for them, to deliver perfectly good results, and our oceans will be the cleaner for it. But you might notice that none of our own ‘hot tip’ scrubs contain hard, crushed particles like pumice or nut shells. There are two reasons for this: a) these can scratch skin, if used over-zealously, and b) we personally find nothing alluring about having a gritty bottom from sitting on a layer of particles that don’t dissolve in water.

Salt and sugar scrubs do dissolve. The reason we sometimes choose sugar over salt is simply that we’re gardeners, and salty scrubs sting wounds acquired when (for instance) pruning roses or blitzing brambles. (As long as we haven’t been in the wars with secateurs in hand, though, salt’s fine.) Personally, we also like it when our scrubs come in an oil base, which not only makes for easy application – small, gentle circles should be fine, NB – but also leaves skin nourished with a veil of oil. We can then smooth on body butter afterwards, for a skin-quenching double-whammy.

If scrubs aren’t your thing, you can buff skin with a loofah or a mitt – but the ultimate skin-blitzer is the now-legendary Dermasuri Deep Exfoliating Mitt, which you use damp, on the body. As beauty experiences go, it’s extraordinary – and ‘ewwwww’-inducing, in a sort of irresistible way: you literally watch balls of grey skin build up as you slough, ready to be sluiced away in the shower or bath. (You might have a little temporary pinkness afterwards, but the brightness of the newly-revealed skin is extraordinary.)

Faces, meanwhile, need exfoliation just as badly as what’s below the vest-line. Again, we have a wide range of weapons at our disposal. (Jo’s bathroom shelf generally resembles one of those arcade games – to be found at the end of her street in Hastings – where pennies are meant to cascade off the front as you roll yours down the slot.) The watchword here, though, should always be: ‘gently’. If you’re over-zealous, skin can suffer – so we always abide by a tip given to us years ago that facial exfoliants should always be massaged in with the ring finger, as it’s harder to apply over-zealous pressure.

In terms of facial exfoliators, we’d recommend, however, that even scrubs recommended for daily usage are actually used two or three times a week. (Nobody needs more exfoliation than that.) Still, gentle enough for our liking is Green People Age Defy+ Soft Buff Skin Exfoliator, which features bamboo stem and bentonite clay particles, to help clear clogged pores. It’s formulated with enzyme exfoliants, too, which are optimal for faces because they deliver radiance via an enzymatic action which dissolves the dead cells rather than physically scrubs them away. We also love the skin-brightening effect that LIXIRSKIN Soft Clay Rubber has; this dual-action ‘no-bits exfoliant’ and mask features keratolytic enzymes to break down the dead cells, which are drawn to the white clay in the formula. Remove immediately with warm water (like a normal facial scrub), or leave on for five minutes as a skin-refining mask. And let’s give a shout-out to iS Clinical Tri-Active Exfoliant, which offers the triple-whammy of botanical enzymes, salicylic acid and eco-friendly microbeads – it ticks the box of being kind to skin, but is impressively powerful.

So don’t leave it till the bikini season’s looming (aaaaaargh!) to get in the habit of blitzing your skin. Face or body, regularly removing those cells – and the watchword, always, is ‘gently’ – is one of the best favours you can do to your skin. We promise you’ll almost hear your ‘new skin’ slurping up whatever you choose to smooth into it, afterwards…

A Woman’s Right To Shoes

legs in the air with colourful high heeled shoes

Get any bunch of women in a room and it is not long before talk turns to shoes. Honestly, any bunch of women you could name. But among my circle, the conversation’s shifted, somewhat. These days, we’re not debating the gorgeous mauve suede of a pair of kitten heels vs the lustworthiness of a pair of red-soled Louboutins, but which makes of shoes are the comfiest on the planet. Because when you’re aiming for 10,000 steps a day for optimum health, you want to stride, not teeter. (This is even more important if, like me, you’ve managed to fall over twice and break a wrist. Even though once that happened slipping on a greengage on my own lawn wearing flats, I still want to minimise the chance of falling from any kind of height onto a hard surface.)

Now, I often think that if an alien landed from out of space, one of the things they’d marvel at would be the spectre of millions (probably billions) of women on Planet Earth having a minimum of two pairs of shoes with them at all times. One pair to look pretty, the other actually to get from A to B in. I have in past years sometimes had the privilege of being invited to the annual Women of the Year lunch. This boasts an informal ‘re-shoeing area’ at the foot of the stairs leading to the ballroom, where everyone from cabinet ministers to TV presenters to Olympic athletes (oh, and me) would change out of their practical flats into their heels before lunch, then reverse the process after coffee had been served and the last Award handed out.

Almost the only woman who didn’t have to do this was my neighbor at the lunch a couple of years ago, Cressida Dick CBE, whose role as (the first female) Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police meant that nobody batted an eyelid that she was wearing sensible police-style lace-ups rather than ‘party’ shoes to the lunch.

None of this means, however, that I want to go around wearing shoes that look like they were made for a hobbit, or an extra from Game of Thrones, or which basically resemble a Cornish pastie in shape and colour. So I have become a bit of a world expert on stylish COMFORTABLE shoe brands. Here’s what I recommend to my best friends – and of course, to you.

Allbirds. After an ad for these – promising they were ‘the most comfortable shoes in the world’ – had popped into my Instagram feed for around the 734th time, I finally rolled over in submission and took myself off to their UK flagship store in Covent Garden to try them out for myself. And guess what? They are the most comfortable shoes in the world, made from felt-like wool (and lots of sustainable/reused materials), with soles so springy I’m now doing a fine impression of Zebedee from The Magic Roundabout. I so loved my first pair that I went back three days later and bought another. First day I wore them, I notched up 17,000 blister-free steps – which is unheard-of, in a new pair of shoes. What I would say is: made from wool, they don’t have the support of a sturdier material, thus I wouldn’t wear them for long country rambles.

Veja. This Brazilian brand also has a super-comfy line-up, and will be my summer go-to when wool shoes are going to feel wrong, just so, so wrong. Veja offer lots of examples of white tennis-style trainers (these are still going to be on-trend for summer 2019), all with a ‘V’ emblazoned on the side so everyone knows how cool you are. Actually, I’ve never been cool – but the Duchess of Sussex is. I admit I was a teensy bit put out that Meghan put Veja on the global radar when she wore a pair of their trainers on the Royal tour to New Zealand and Australia – I got there first, Meghan, been wearing them for a year! – but very happy for the shoe brand, which uses lots of sustainable, organic and even recycled materials. You can basically pretty much wear white sneakers with a ballgown these days, which is great news for our tootsies – and I won’t be looking any further for my next pair.

Ecco. These Scandi guys have really moved on from the time when they just made shoes that only your great-aunt would actually swoon over. I find them particularly good for comfy summer sandals and even funky hiking sandals. (Yes, I now hike – although I do not own a compass or a waterproof kagoule, which definitely makes me the fairweather kind.) Many styles are smart enough to wear to meetings. And I’m talking city meetings, not gatherings of the Women’s Institute.

Ferragamo. I also have one pair of sturdy, shiny, rubber-soled, shiny, black Ferragamo lace-ups that basically look exactly like something out of Cressida Dick’s shoe wardrobe, and I bloody love them. The famous Florentine shoe line does not always have sensible flats in their collection, but I’m always keeping my eyes open for another pair – even though mine show not a sign of wearing out for many years to come. I have to admit: the pair I bought cost an arm and a leg (and both feet), but they are so beautifully constructed that I can (and do) walk miles and miles in them, so the cost per mile is now a fraction of a fraction of a penny.

Chie Mihara. OK, I’ve saved the best for last, here. Every year, I invest in one new pair of Chie Mihara heels (because they really aren’t cheap either). But I still have and wear almost every pair I’ve ever bought and I have lost count of the number of times I have been stopped in the street or at parties or after giving a speech and asked: ‘WHERE DID YOU GET THOSE AH-MAZING SHOES?’ I’ve got gold lace-up heels, and a similar pair in black embossed leather. Chunky platform sandals in snakeskin and also a deep velvety rose colour, with a suede rose adorning the front.

The platforms make me taller, while showing off a pretty pedicure – but the bottom line is that all these shoes so, so, so comfortable because (so I’m told) the somewhat unpronounceable Chie Mihara herself, founder of this Spanish shoe brand, used to be a podiatrist. So she (or rather, Chie) perfectly understands foot architecture, and that we need padding under the balls of our feet, and that we most of all want stability and not to fall off our platforms or our heels. Ever. And that once we reach a certain age, we want styles that are – yes – stylish, but basically timeless.

I’ve been known to walk fairly long distances in her heels, if needs must – and I really haven’t done that since I was about 19. You do have to pick your style – I like the ones that look more like tap shoes, but they just don’t suit me – but I have a little piggy bank with ‘Chie Mihara’ on the side, for my next pair.

Happy walking…

Five Nutritional Trends To Have On Your Radar

Nutritional Trends

Confused about celery juice? Tempted to try a new dairy alternative? Between the continuously changing health advice and the latest buzz ingredients we’re encouraged to adopt, the term ‘healthy eating’ can be tricky to balance. To make your life a little easier, health and beauty writer Danielle Fox has spoken to the experts and outlined the key nutritional trends to take note right now…

Celery Juice

Scroll through the hundreds of thousands of hashtags of #celery #celeryjuicebenefits pictures and posts on Instagram and you soon realise celery juice has become the latest health trend to take over social media. Made popular by the ever influential wellness warrior, Gwyneth Paltrow, who champions celery juice, guru Anthony William aka ‘The Medical Medium’ who, guided by the knowledge of a spirit (yes!) claims a daily celery juice is a miraculous healthy elixir. And the anecdotals are impressive; clearer skin, better gut health, de-bloats, gives more energy and even soothes eczema and arthritic pains, the list goes on.

But what exactly is the science behind the green stuff? “There is no science behind this at all,” says nutritionist Eve Kalinik. “Celery juice is mostly just water (to make you juice one bunch of celery and that’s it) and claiming that it has the ability to kill off pathogens is dangerous thinking.” Texan-based dietitian Ali Millard agrees and also warns that raw celery increases the sensitivity of the skin particularly for UV damage. “Stick to eating not juicing broccoli, sprouts and cabbage all which are far more potent detoxifies,” says Millard.

Oat Milk

You may be well-versed in a plethora of dairy alternatives, but there is one milk in particular that is having a real moment popping up on your local baristas menu. Some believe it’s down to the backlash against soya, the fact that it’s naturally sweeter than most alternative milk, has a dairy-like creaminess and that many of us are embracing veganism with open arms this year. But how nutritious is oat milk? “For those that can’t tolerate casein (whey proteins) oat is gentler on the stomach,” explains Millard. But most plant-based and nut milks are simply expensive water she says, and nutritionally speaking coconut milk, consumed moderately, is the only one she recommends swapping to as it is abundant in rich fats, fibre, vitamins and electrolytes.

Algae Oils

We know the extraordinary benefits of omega 3, a real hero for easing inflammatory flare-ups and also excellent for the health of the heart and nervous system. But, experts advise you do your due diligence with omega 3s as the word covers a broad range of fatty acids. Look for EPA and DHA (both found in fish) instead of ALA, which are more difficult for the body to use.

However, algae oils are thought by some to be far safer, purer and more eco-friendly. Unlike fish they don’t contain heavy metals and algae omegas are straight from the source – no fish is needed. But this school of thought is still hotly contested by some nutritionists who argue that seaweed is incredibly effective at absorbing toxins from toxic seas. “Always buy organic where possible and check out the source,” advises Millard.

Vegan Bone Broth

While the name suggests a little bit of a misnomer, yes, bone broth cannot be vegan, in a new era of liberal veganism it can certainly be adapted. Enter vegan bone broth – a nutrient-rich plant-based broth. When you break it down, the benefits of a bone broth – curbing inflammation, soothing the gut, supporting joint health and boosting antioxidants you can find many plant-based alternatives that do all of those things.

When nutritionist Eve Kalinik feels under the weather, she always makes a shiitake, leek and seaweed broth which is full of immune-boosting and naturally anti-inflammatory ingredients. “Shiitake mushroom is the star turn in this broth as not only is it a fantastic prebiotic but manages cortisol, the stress hormone too.” By adding mushrooms (B Vitamins, iron and zinc), seaweed (iodine, anti-inflammatories and B vitamins) and a vegan collagen powder to a base of onions, celery, herbs, ginger and turmeric, you have beautiful broth with all the benefits.

Meso-Dosing

Having recently crept across the pond, the latest US wellness trend to hit our shores is meso-dosing. The term —which literally means “middle dosing” — refers to the in-between nutrients that you might be missing in your everyday diet. These meso-nutrients are the active compounds and antioxidants within superfoods such as the highly potent catechins found in matcha green tea. The likelihood is that we’re not always ingesting enough quantities of these actives from our daily diets to really reap all of the benefits. For example a turmeric latte while it may give you a macro dose of turmeric, won’t give you enough of the curcumin, the meso-nutrient, so in these cases you should turn to a supplement.

While the experts are still out on this wellness trend, nutritionist Eve Kalinik believes we should just keep it simple; “always turn to a food source first to get your nutrients, eat like our grandparents, go organic where possible, eat a varied diet full of grains and starch vegetables.”

How To Spring Clean Your Beauty Stash

Beauty Bible Makeup

Time flies. And the evidence of that is almost certainly there, in your make-up bag/on the bathroom shelf or your dressing table. It’s ridiculously easy to let expiration dates on cosmetics fly by, or say to yourself: ‘I’ll get round to washing my make-up brushes at the weekend.’ Only – invariably – you get a much, much better offer. (Let’s face it: almost anything is a better offer…)

But just as reorganising your clothes seasonally allows you to identify gaps and make room for new finds by disposing away older items, so it can be hugely satisfying to spend an hour or two cleaning, caring for and organising the beauty products you’ve lavished your hard-earned money on and figuring out what’s missing from the line-up. So: this is the perfect time to edit your kit – and prepare your beauty stash for spring. (Before the sun really comes out and all anyone wants to do is loll around outside. )

First off, check expiry dates. You’ll probably need specs for this – or maybe even a magnifying glass – but this should really be done twice a year. Beauty products do go ‘off’ and lose effectiveness. Beyond that, there’s a potential risk of bacterial infections or breakouts. If anything’s gone beyond its best-before date (or you’re in doubt), throw it out. Use your nose: does anything smell ‘off’? And use your eyes, too: anything which has separated really needs to go. Mascaras, meanwhile, should always be ditched after no more than three months – or sooner if you have any kind of eye infection.

As a little PS, we also like to reassess what our skin may need whenever we finish a bottle or jar of anything. Are we restocking on autopilot? Have the needs of our complexion/hair changed? Beauty habits are all very well – but beauty ruts aren’t.

Be ruthless about disposing of products you haven’t used in a while

Fact: if it’s more than six months since you put a product on your face or body or hair, the realistic chances are you’re never going to use it again. This can be a really hard thing to tussle with; it seems like such a waste. A half-way house, if you feel torn about throwing something out, is to put it centre-stage on the shelf of products that you use every darned day: cleanser, toner, moisturiser. If you still haven’t opened the jar or bottle after a week passes and it’s been staring you in the face, consider it to have signed its death warrant.

Don’t put packaging straight in the bin, though

Be sure to recycle wherever you can – glass jars and plastic containers can often be put in with your other recyclables. Again, you’ll probably need a magnifying glass for this (we’re never without one!), but look on the bottom for the numbers identifying what kind of plastic it is, for recycling. (Although many councils nowadays do all the hard work for us and recycle what they can, without the need to separate. Or the need to go blind figuring out WHAT to separate).

Dispose of last year’s suncare

Sun protection isn’t cheap – so this can definitely hurt. But not as much as sunburn hurts. SPFs should never be ‘over-wintered’, but bought afresh each season to ensure optimum protection. This is the time to invest in a new SPF 30 minimum, for the coming sunlight season. (It is coming, we promise.)

Organise a ‘kit-to-go’

This is a good time to assemble a travel kit-bag with small pots of the products you like to use – for face, body and hair – so that you’re packed for any emergencies. Just add cotton pads, a needle and thread and you’re good for any last-minute getaway invites. Ditto to save time before your next trip, put together in-flight essentials and stow them in a zip-top, security-friendly plastic bag. Job done. Several Brownie points awarded.

Clean your brushes

Brushes are prime breeding grounds for germs – and every make-up artist we’ve ever spoken to recommends washing them once a week. Use just a little gentle shampoo on the bristles and swirl against the side of the sink till the water runs clean. Alternatively, you can use a professional brush cleaner which will be solvent-based – but to be honest, even though most of the solvents evaporate after you’ve done this, we still prefer the old-fashioned washing-in-warm-water technique, which feels more thorough when done correctly.

Let the brushes fully air-dry before using; leave them to dry with their ends over-hanging the edge of the counter, resting on towel so they don’t roll off. (And maybe set a diary reminder on your phone for you to do this more regularly than oh, once every spring…)

Reorganise what you have

Harness spring time’s glorious throw-the-windows-open energy to take an honest look at what’s left, and figure out how to display it more attractively. Group like with like. (It’s easier to see what you have that way.) Find pretty containers: upcycled candle jars, hand-painted vintage teacups, trays and acrylic beauty organisers.

It’s all too easy, though, for a bathroom shelf to become like one of those arcade games where you roll a penny down a lot and small change cascades off the front of the shelf. (Are we the only people to have bruised our toes with products that have fallen off when we’ve tried to add one product too many to an overcrowded…?)

So we suggest that for the Zen feeling it gives you, tidy away anything you don’t use every day, tidy away – face masks, perhaps, or depilatories/razors (as well as any medical non-necessities). Notwithstanding this neatnik advice, Jo’s tip is to keep this ‘non-everyday’ beauty stash in a glass-fronted cabinet – as all too easily out of sight can be out of mind.