Your bedtime beauty regime

Although you might think that your beauty care regime ends when your head hits the pillow, actually, beauty sleep plays an important role in helping our skin repair itself as well as look younger and healthier. So why not follow my simple bedtime habit guide to get you glowing by morning………

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise !!!

Yes, we know we keep saying it, but for a fresh, youthful look in the morning, make sure to use an anti-aging night cream that contains hyaluronic acid. We featured the benefits of Genfiqueproducts with this key ingredient in on our speakeasy blog a little while ago, but in case you missed out, in summary it helps attract water into the skin, which helps smooth wrinkles.

Anne, a beautician friend of mine raves about Lancomes Genique which she applies every night before sleeping. She uses it in conjunction with Vichy Aqualia Antiox Anti-Fatigue Ice Effect Eye Stick which is a gel stick containing caffeine which tightens the under eye area preventing puffiness.   These products work better at night, during what some doctors call the bodies “repair cycle” and for maximum benefit, be sure to couple with a simple lip balm and a lash conditioner before you sleep

Sleep on the right pillow…………

My Friend, Yasmeen had been raving about silk pillows for a while before I decided to give them a try for myself. Although they cost a little Pillowsextra and can be difficult to find, it’s well worth seeking out a Silk pillow case, or the cheaper Satin ones.  The smooth textured fibres help keep you from waking up with “bed head” (Science bit warning – they generate less friction and so reduce breakages and tangles) Also, their smooth finish  helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines because your skin simply glides across its surface!!  Staying on wrinkles for a bit, sleeping on your back can also help, because even if you’re using a silk pillow case, repeated pressure on the skin can lead to formation of lines, which is something no woman wants !!! If you find you tend to wake up with puffy eyes in the morning, it’s well worth considering sleeping on an extra pillow.  Laying flat can lead to fluid gathering around the eyes which increase puffiness.  Lastly, don’t forget to replace your pillows and clean your cases regularly !!!!

Sleep with a humidifier (not literally !!)

Unless you’ve got some sort of weird super power, the chances are you probably won’t be able to drink water when you’re asleep (Note – don’t try this at home !!)

A good friend of mine, Vicky, told me “I always sleep with a humidifier now – its made a real difference to my skin and also since, I’ve been using it, I’ve noticed I’ve been sleeping humidifierbetter and not waking up with so many headaches”.   Ever one to “give it a go” I bought one and have to say, she’s right about the skin benefits, but I found it difficult to sleep with the constant “thrum” of the motor and tended to wake up tired in the morning (confession time – my partner really liked this because I snored less)  Other benefits cited by fans of humidifiers include relief of sinusitis, which makes breathing easier , relieving join pain and promoting healing from cuts and scrapes, which might tip the scales towards you deciding to get one for yourself (or you can buy mine – one lady owner, low mileage)

Listen to some ambient noise

Yasmeen is a techno goddess !!! When I mentioned a while ago I was having trouble sleeping, she “why wasn’t I using my phone ?” and, being a bit of a techobubble on such sleepmatters, I didn’t know you could !!! In despair, she sent me a link to a sleep app called “sleep bug pro” which I installed on my phone and voila !!  The app works by playing a mixture of a background sound and “beta waves” for a set period of time, which takes a bit of getting used to when you are laying in bed waiting to drift off, but once I got used to it, I have to say its really helped me sleep deeper which has been worth its weight in gold !!! Definitely the best £I.49 I’ve ever spent !!! Although I thought I would enjoy the “ocean”, I found listening it a little distracting (too many bathroom breaks) so my personal favourite background noise is the “zen garden” lovely !!!

P.S.  Don’t forget to remove your makeup and cleanse before you go to sleep too – you won’t want to ruin those lovely pillows !!!

Benefits of using Rose Water

rose water

It’s time to blossom like a rose !!!! Just in case you haven’t heard about this new offering from Younique, I thought I’d write a short blog about the product, its benefits and how you can get the most from it as part of your daily beauty pamper.

If you’re anything like me, you occasionally browse through the beauty pages of your favourite magazines looking for inspiration for gifts for friends as their birthdays approach and just occasionally buy “one for them and one for me” if there is an offer on.

That’s how I came to get my own bottle of this little wonder.  “But” I hear you say – what’s it for ?  What are its benefits ? What’s the point? What’s it used for ?  I can feel a list coming on !!!

Read enough articles and you’ll believe it can be used for pretty much anything, but leaving aside some of the more outrageous claims I read while doing my research, the ones I’ll be talking about are

  • Healing
    • Rose water has antibacterial properties which help in controlling or reducing acne breakouts.
    • It also has anti-inflammatory properties which can help in reducing redness caused by irritated or overheated skin, such as what happens after going to the gym, sauna or steam room,.
  • Aromatherapy
    • It has an aromatherapic quality, which can enhance and refresh moods, relax, promote emotional well-being and help sleep. (try keeping it in the fridge and spraying it on your face on a hot summers day.  Amazing !!!)
    • You can also use it as room freshener, really nice to come home to after a hard day in the office.
  • Face cleansing
    • Younique Rose water works as a cleanser or toner if used after washing your face. Its anti oxidants aid in removing oil, dirt and help clear clogged pores.
    • It  also has astringent qualities help tighten large pores, capillaries, reduce redness and blotchiness.
    • Helps control shine on oily skin.
  • Make up supplement
    •  It helps set powder foundation, control shine and it gives skin a natural glow as opposed to cakey appearance that we often get after using some powdery cosmetics. Apply it to your eyelids before smoothing on some moodstruck mineral powder for long lasting makeup wear.
    • You can use rose water spray on a make-up brush to moisten it before applying your Younique minerals pigment powder.  This simple tip makes the powder smoother to apply and gives a more even finish.
  • Make it yourself cosmetics
    • Rose water makes a great addition to do it yourself moisturiser products.  Try it for yourself and see !!

 

What are you waiting for ? You’re just a spritz away from a revitalising treat !!  Order here !!!

Nail Care

nailsWith Jamberry launching in the UK soon, I thought now was a good time for a follow on article to my original nail care article of 2015.   So girls, lets talk nails !!

To start with, I want you to take a close look at your fingernails.  Can you see any ridges, dents, or areas of unusual colour, or, maybe shape ? While some of these conditions can be avoided by a proper nail care regime, some might indicate an underlying condition that needs an attention.  But the good news is that all with a little knowledge and preparation, you too can get the kind of nails that are “picture perfect”

What’s normal ?

Your fingernails are composed of  laminated layers of a protein called keratin and in order to be healthy usually contain about 18% water.  Healthy fingernails grow from the base of the nail, just under the cuticle and are smooth, without pits or grooves, uniform in colour and consistency and free of spots or discoloration.  Sometimes fingernails develop vertical ridges, which are harmless, but which  tend to become more prominent as we age. Fingernails can also develop white lines or spots due to injury, but these eventually grow out with the nail.  It’s worth speaking to your dermatologist or doctor if you notice any of the following things :-

  • Any discoloration of the entire nail or a dark streak under the nail.
  • Changes in nail shape, such as curled nails.
  • Thinning or thickening of the nails.
  • Swelling or pain around the nails.
  • Bleeding around the nails.

The Nail care do’s…………..

  • Get a nailcare kit  -there are lots out there to chose from, mine has scissors, clippers, cuticle pushers, glass files, buffers and an emery file.
  • Get into the habit of a good nailcare routine.  Keeping your nails well cut and clean not only prevents bacteria from growing under the nail, but also reduces the risk of it catching on edges or splitting.  When trimming your nails, use sharp manicure scissors or clippers. Trim your nails straight across, then round the tips in a gentle curve
  • Wear cotton-lined rubber gloves when washing dishes, cleaning or using harsh chemicals.
  • Use a hand moisturizer which includes a nail additive. When you use hand lotion, rub the lotion into your fingernails and cuticles, too.
  • Apply a protective layer. Applying a nail hardener like Sally Hansons will help strengthen nails.
  • Some research suggests that the nutritional supplement biotin might help strengthen weak or brittle fingernails.

The Nail care don’ts…………..

  • Bite your fingernails or pick at your cuticles. Naughty naughty NAUGHTY !!!  Both of these habits will damage the nail bed.  They’re also not a good way to trim your nails !!! You can’t see what you’re doing and even a minor cut alongside your fingernail can allow bacteria or fungi to enter and cause an infection.
  • Pull off hangnails. You might rip live tissue along with the hangnail. Instead, carefully clip off hangnails.
  • Ignore problems. If you have a nail problem that doesn’t seem to go away on its own or is associated with other signs and symptoms, speak to your doctor for an evaluation.
  • Use harsh nail care products. Where you can, limit your use of nail polish remover. When you do use it, opt for an acetone-free formula.

Did you know ?

It’s a good idea to take extra care of your nails in the winter.  Remember when I said that a healthy nail contains upto 18% water ?  Well in winter, your nails are more prone to suffering moisture loss moving between hot, dry indoor spaces and the freezing temperatures outdoors. These extremes can reduce the moisture level in your nails, leaving them dehydrated.  Nails which are “dehydrated” are more likely to break, split, and chip.

In winter, intense hydration is the name of the game. Nails are made up of flattened dead cells containing keratin which is naturally quite hard.  Moisturizers can make them flexible, supple, and less likely to split and break. So breakout the winter hand cream (even after every hand washing) and get in the habit of applying it your nails too.

If you’re wearing polish, or rely on false nails for your look, massage the cream into the cuticles to help stimulate healthy nail growth. Look for lotions that contain urea—a humectant that helps hold moisture in the skin.  At night, use cuticle oil (in a pinch, olive oil also works).  Then once a week, given yourself a pamper with an intensive treatment. Soaking your nails in lukewarm water for 5-10 minutes,  then coat them with cuticle oil, slip on some cotton gloves and curl up with a good book. Heaven !!!

Skincare for Eczema

Australian oilEver since my early teens, I’ve been used to regular eczema flare ups.  If you are too, I’m sure you’ll recognise these signs of a flare up, dryness, itching, scaling and even inflammation.  But, although my skincare routine is well established now (thankyou Beautyflapper) I’m always on the lookout for something new to try, especially if its a natural product and wont cause further flare ups !!

Earlier this month, a friend of mine told me about a product she had been using for a little while after being introduced to it by a friend.  I love getting these personal recommendations from friends.  Personal, honest and without a sales agenda, you can trust them and even better, see the results first hand !!!  So, what was this new product she had been using ?  Emu Oil…

I know, sounds icky right ?  Bare with me though !!

Emu Oil contains essential fatty acids such as Omega 3, 6 and 9 which have been shown to support cell growth and healing, making a great skincare routine for eczema. It also contains sterols, a natural anti-inflammatory which are very similar in composition to the fats in human skin, which help the oil be easily absorbed by the skin and penetrate deep into its layers making it an amazing skin moisturizer. Australian Emu oil

The product itself comes in two forms a dry oil and cream.  I got a sample of each product from Amazon.co.uk, the links for the each being at the bottom of the page.

I’ve mostly used the oil on my hands and shins, which is where my flare ups tend to be worst. It’s a light weight dry oil which absorbs super fast and being that it’s a dry oil, it leaves behind no oily residue. I have been using this directly on any flare-up and instantly the area is moisturized. I definitely noticed a reduction in inflammation on my shins and hands where my eczema is mainly present. Although it hasn’t cleared up the patches, (I have to say I didn’t expect it to) there has definitely significant improvement in the itchiness and dryness, which has helped me sleep through the night.

I’ve mostly used the cream as a night cream on my face, as I was a little nervous about putting the oil on it there, because of the strength of the product.  My face can easily react to new products with intense formulations and so I always find it best to err on the side of caution. In use, the cream isn’t too heavy to use and is easily absorbed and moisturises well, but leaves a bit more of a resdue than the oil.  After a week of use, I noticed an immediate plumping of my skin, which reduced the lines around my eyes.  Not bad for a first week and something I’ll definitely be using regularly.

You can view the products and reviews on Amazon, by looking at the below links

Emu Oil

Emu Cream

Happy beautyflapping !!!

 

Zen and the art of Work

Mountain

Have you ever stopped to think about the amount of time you spend at work ?  I’ll bet its quite a lot of your week.  Seems kindof a shame if you aren’t getting the most of it. But work doesn’t seem to be the place for Joy and generosity does it ? Do those words fit in with your companies image and expectation of you ? So how can you balance this and find your inner peace at work of all places ?

The practice of mindfulness can offer an answer, not only to help us stay in balance but also to ensure we are able to see our work in the context of creating a better world. But how can this impossibly simple art of bringing our full attention to the present moment and our breath possibly help ?

When we learn how to address our strong and often negative emotions and establish good relationships at work, our communication improves, stress is reduced, and our work becomes much more pleasant.  This benefits not just us, but also our work colleagues, loved ones, families, and society.  By taking care of the present, you are doing everything you can to assure a good future.

So how can mindfulness help at work ?  How can we integrate it into our work routine ?  Well, try these simple steps… And let me know how you get on !!!

  • Start the day with meditation.  10 minutes is enough, just sit, breathe. Nothing more. nothing less
  • Take the time to enjoy breakfast at home.  Think about what you are eating.  If you eat with your family, take the time talk to one another.
  • Don’t think of time as “my time” and “work time.” At the start of the day you were given the gift of 24 new hours,  time has no owner and all time can be your own time if you stay in the present moment.
  • Find a calm area at work to sit and breathe. Take regular breathing breaks to come back to your body and to bring your thoughts back to the now.
  • At lunch time, don’t eat lunch at your desk, change your environment and go for a walk.
  • If you feel anger or irritation, refrain from saying or doing anything straight away. Come back to your breathing and follow your in – and out-breath until you’ve calmed down.
  •  Share with work colleagues your appreciation of their positive qualities.
  • Take the time to relax and restore yourself before you go home, so you don’t bring negative energy or frustration back home with you.
  • At the end of the day, keep a journal of all the good things that happened in your day. Water your seeds of joy and gratitude regularly so they can grow

Well, that’s what I try to do – what about you ?

Mindful sleep

Sleeping.jpg

As someone who suffers with insomnia, all too often when my head hits the pillow, my brain doesn’t switch off and stop. I know sleep should come, but I just can’t switch off from thinking about the pressing and mundane things, reviewing the day’s events and things that need to be completed tomorrow.

In that moment before sleep should come,  I lose sight of the present moment and I get stuck in a maladaptive way of thinking. Slow, deep and relaxed breathing is forgotten. Once that happens, my muscles tense and then – my thoughts become dominated with “I’m not falling asleep…..!” My body seizes up, breathing and heart rate quicken, and falling sleep becomes more difficult.

As a practicing Buddhist, I’ve found that there are many benefits to the practices of mindfulness and meditation.  But recently, after a talk at out local Buddhist centre a few of us were talking about difficulties we were having sleeping. Our teacher overheard us and mentioned the practice of mindfulness has even been shown to benefit sleeping.  As an example he gave us an exercise to try that night, which I’ve repeated below

  • About an hour before you go to bed, dim the lights.  Start to wind down mentally by doing light relaxation activities. You’re not looking for anything too taxing to sink your teeth into.  Just something you can just “be” with.
  • Avoid looking at tv screens, computers, tablets, phones etc.  the light from them can keep you alert and awake.
  • about 15 minutes before you go to bed, begin a focussed mindfulness exercise.  Find a comfortable chair, dim the lights.  Imagine the outline of your body and slowly trace it through in your mind. Mentally sink into the chair, feel where the chair rests gently against your body, where it presses harder.  Work from your head down, focus on your neck. Down one side, to your feet and then back up the other side.  Take about 10 minutes for this exercise.  If your mind wonders, notice it and bring it back to the place where you noticed it had wandered.  Don’t judge yourself.  Your mind is always going to drift.  The point to the exercise is to bring it back to the moment.
  • Get ready for bed and lay down.  Now focus on your breath, slowly, gently, stay in that moment of the breath. In about 5-10 minutes you should notice that you’re tired and sleepy.  If you don’t – go back to the previous step and repeat the exercise.  This time though – don’t go back to bed until you’re sleepy !

I’ve tried it a few times (I like to try different methods, so I don’t lose the benefit of each practice by over using them) and it really works.  The trick is not to fall in the chair – that’s uncomfortable !!!

 

 

Living in the moment

How do you stay in the moment ?

It’s a deceptively simple question which many of us struggle to answer, let alone integrate into our daily lives.

If, as buddhists, we hope to be released from suffering, this practice should be a central part of our awareness. For me, this practice starts at 04:00 am at meditation, where I remind myself to “focus on the breath”. When I do this, I give myself a better chance of avoiding “monkey mind” and getting the most from this practice and the day ahead.

Fast forward to the working day and like you, I’m bombarded with thoughts of things that need to be worked on, which colleagues or myself need help on. These things contribute to a perpetual state of “Monkey Mind” where I am drawn away from the peace and freedom of the now. Then the more I think about them, the more of them I attract. So how do I return to the now ?

Remembering the words of my teacher, I look at my feet and say to myself to “stay where my feet are”.

That one thought grounds me to where I am and the moment I am in.

No matter what the situation I find myself in, when I sense frustration at how something is going, resentment or disappointment, even shame at my actions, I stop, breathe and look at my feet. I become conscious of this, forgive myself, make another choice and embrace the now. Slowly, I forgive myself and allows myself the freedom and to show up completely for others.

From there, a confidence returns to be able to let go of the past, not to worry about the things in the future. My consciousness shifts to the now.

On reflecting over the many moments where I have reminded myself to look at my feet, I’ve noticed a pattern to the things that make me need to and what I learnt from doing so. My top 5 are below

(1) “I don’t know” .

One of the most interesting courses I’ve ever attended was about the “Destruction of ignorance”. While at face value, the course title might seem strange, the point of the course was that it’s ok not to know, its even ok to let go of the things you think you know too. By thinking we know something we unconsciously assume, we don’t challenge the status quo or even ourselves. By admitting I don’t know, I make myself teachable to new lessons and possibilities and I become better for it.

(2) “Let it go”

Although my daughter (and probably your kids too) will tell you it’s a Disney Anthem, there is a freedom, wonder and mystery in the present. Look around, ask, seek, and discover that which is waiting to be discovered and expressed through you. Its fun too ! Each of us has a capacity, but in  order to be available, we have to clear out the stuff that we no longer need. It doesn’t mean to say its gone forever, you can always pick it up again……..

(3) “What if it all goes wrong”

This can often be a paralysing fear which takes courage to overcome. There are lots of ways of looking at this though. Usually, when I look at my feet, I realise that its already going wrong, so I’m often not losing anything by trying. Fears ok, as long as you don’t let it paralyse you. Being afraid to jump out of an crashing aeroplane won’t kill you. Letting that fear paralyse you from pulling the ripcord on your parachute however…..

(4) “Why’s this happening to me”

Whatever is showing up in your current experience is meant to be there or it wouldn’t be. This simple thought allows me to move from being a victim to being empowered to triumph. Often too, I realise that it’s not “just me”. Even though you’ll often hear people say they dont like Mondays, they tend to happen to everyone. How I react to it is my choice though. I am responsible and “response able” for my own happiness.

(5) “What I have defines who I am”

What clothes and shoes are cluttering your closet that you haven‘t worn in over a year? What junk is taking up space in your filing cabinets or kitchen drawers? Cleanse, clear, release, and in your emptiness you shall be filled with good. I was once privileged enough to meet the Dalai Lama and ask him a question at the Vajrasattva Ceremony in Nottingham.  I asked him “Can happiness exist in a state of no mind ?” his answer “yes”.  If its good enough for him, well, what more do I need to say ?

Longer Nails

nails 4
Bet you thought all engineers used CAD didn’t you ?

All us girls want long beautiful shapely nails, but have you noticed how hard it is to get them to share that vision ?   They always seem to prefer to be dry, brittle, even split – so what’s a girl to do ? Well fortunately, I’ve got a some tips for you, which I’m eager to share for a summer of fab looking nails !!

Protect them

How many of us do the dishes without wearing our marigolds ? Naughty girls !!! Did you know the chemicals in dishwasher detergents other household cleaners can dry out your nails and break them down.  Its the same in winter when you’re going from warm to cold temperatures, you need to wear gloves to stop your nails from drying out.

Feed them

I’m going to go out on a limb and try to start a new hashtag #nailnomnomnom !!!!!  Have you heard of biotin ? (It’s also known as Vitamin H in some countries).  Biotin is one of the b-complex vitamins which help nails stay healthy and stronger.  There’s also information to support that it is also of benefit to your skin and eyes. Other vitamins that can support healthy nails are Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Calcium, Folic acid and Zinc.  If you rely on gel nails or polish to get your nails looking fabulous, Vitamin E can be particularly useful, because it repairs the damage that removing these can cause.

Strengthen them

I’m a big fan of Sally Hanson nail products.  In particular their nail strengthener.   Nail strengtheners are made of keratin protein, which is what your nails are made of.  Upon application the strengthener bonds the molecules of the nails together and make your nails stronger. it’s not a permanent effect though – once you stop using it, your nails will return to normal.  Conditioning and massaging your nails will also help strengthen them by increasing blood circulation to the cuticle, afterwards treat yourself to a pamper with cuticle oil, or if you prefer natural products, use a little olive oil, jojoba or coconut oil, slip on some cotton gloves and curl up with a good book.  Heaven !!