The SPF Dilemma

spf dial

These days I’ve a new found love of the sun – the light mornings and being able to wander in the park and sit outside before the heat rises and the hustle and bustle of the day kicks in. In the past though, it was always a bit of a hassle to go out into the sun. Having fair skin, I would never leave the house without at least an SPF15 sunscreen on – whether I was on holiday in Greece or going to work. And I did this unfailingly throughout my teens, twenties and beyond. It was good in the sense that I was practising what I preached as a Beauty Director. It’s a fact that there is a direct correlation between sun exposure and premature ageing of the skin in the form of fine lines, wrinkles, uneven texture and pigmentation (and worse still, skin cancer). And this approach seems to have worked to keep my skin relatively youthful in my 50s. Read More…

Your Healthiest Smile

Lemon

My fear of the dentist stemmed from around age ten when I had to have four teeth extracted to make room in my ‘overcrowded’ mouth. I did manage to escape without train track braces, but the damage was done. Once I became a teenager, I totally refused to go at all and it wasn’t until I hit my mid twenties when one of my molars disintegrated into a massive cavity through decay (yuk!) that I finally faced my fear. Via a friend’s recommendation, I found a female dentist who not only seemed to be able to calm my anxiety throughout the drilling and filling, she also managed to save my tooth. She explained it was a close call – I was lucky, the nerve hadn’t been affected and I didn’t need root canal treatment.

It was the wake-up call I needed. I felt ashamed at the neglect and finally appreciated that if I wanted my teeth to last a lifetime I needed to look after them. From then on, I never missed a check-up, scheduled hygiene appointments every six months and upped my teeth cleaning regime at home. Read More…

The (Unexpected) Benefits Of Meditation

peace heart

Many of us are instinctively drawn to meditation these days – it’s the much touted anti-dote to modern day life. However, not so many of us are actually able to do it every day, and stick to it. In my case, it remained as just another thing on my to do list for ages simply because in the back of my mind, it seemed like a waste of time to just ‘sit still’ for ten minutes each morning. The truth is even if we do get started it is hard to keep it up – some of the most disciplined yogis do fall off the wagon.

For me, it was a gradual start. I began to realise I enjoyed the breathing exercises and Shavasana (relaxation) part of yoga classes, and I went on to explore these and other meditative practices at home. I instantly reaped big bonuses, such as sleeping better, having more energy and this gave me the impetus to practice regularly. Little and often. Then I began to hit a real gold mine of deeper benefits which I’ve written about here. There are many more. And the experience will be different for each one of us, but I hope these less talked about perks will inspire you to begin or kick start your meditation practice. Read More…

Owning Our Own Bodies

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As children, we’re very connected to our physical bodies – all being well, we move freely, our bodily functions happen naturally. Once our minds start kicking in there’s a sense of disconnection: our thoughts start to take control, we start to care about what others think. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are shaped by everything around us – our home environment, the food we eat, the emotions we experience and the wider influence of the culture and the society we grow up in. When we’re young, most of us are encouraged to be active, but often once we leave school, this falls by the wayside.

I’m a typical example of this. I enjoyed country dancing, going swimming, playing netball, tennis and rounders at school, but this faded away in my teens as I got interested in parties, going to the cinema, boys. By the time I went to college and got my dream job on a magazine, I found myself sitting at my desk writing for long periods. There was a certain amount of running around for interviews, going on photo shoots and appointments, but there didn’t seem to be any time for exercise beyond that. In any case life was so full and fun, I didn’t think about doing any formal classes or activities. In fact, I’d begun to consider myself as no good at sports, and now I can see that I lost confidence in my body and that this had quite an effect not only on how I saw myself, but also how I treated myself. Read More…

Feeling Frazzled

feeling-frazzled-lifestyle

Lately, I’ve been using the word frazzled more and more to describe the way my brain feels after a day of work at the computer, or even just down time spent surfing the net on my phone. Believe me, I am not glued to screens like some. In fact, I avoid social media, and switch to ‘airplane mode’ as much as possible. However, the fact is, we cannot avoid the 24/7 streaming of information (whether it’s work, pleasure, good news, bad news), and undeniably, it is affecting us. Basically, it’s a hi-tech form of stress – our brains are having to process the enormous amount of information thrown at us by the speeded up digital technology we use everyday. Read More…

No Pain, No Gain

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Recently, three days into a week long yoga retreat I woke up in the morning with my lower back practically seizing up. It was a bit a of shock because I’ve been going to classes regularly for years, and although I’m not the world’s bendiest yogi, I am used a reasonable level of flexibility. Although I managed to get through the morning session moving somewhat gingerly, as the day went on my back continued to tighten and I noticed my mind going into overdrive. What have I done wrong? Did I push too far the day before? Why have I wasted so much time and money on yoga? It all added to the tension to the point where I could barely walk. Luckily, the afternoon session was a meditation – and although I had to lie down because it was too painful for me to sit in the classic cross legged position, I felt it ease off a little as I relaxed. Later that evening, the teacher explained that many students suffer some sort of pain – usually around day three of the retreat and that it was a psychosomatic reaction. It was not something I wanted to hear. I just wanted to relax and take it easy. Read More…