Busy, hard-working femme fatales seem to always be on top of their gargantuan to-do lists, be it work, family and their relationships, while still having that mad desire to nurture themselves. Women being women, we still want to do great things for the world, have immense adventures, and all the while wearing a wink and a smile and killer 5-inch heels. To that I salute you modern woman, you are indeed fascinating!
Tiny switch-ups to your habits can make a huge impact on how you feel on a day that would’ve been just average. Here are a few natural (and affordable) things I learned that would make you feel great, look amazing and hence, add a hint of magic to your day.
1) Olive oil and Lavender oil is a miracle worker for your skin
Italian women know their shit. For centuries, pure extra virgin olive oil, applied on skin, is their primary skin care regimen. You don’t need to procure expensive products infused with this; the cheaper bottle you use for cooking is way more potent and effective.
This is one of the best beauty regimens you can acquire. Olive oil is an incredible cleanser and moisturiser and rich in Vitamin E. It’s even a natural UV ray protector, amazing. If you have cracked heels or dry hands especially this winter, coat your hands and heels, then put some gloves and socks on till it gets absorbed.
For the face, it’s the best acne and break-out solution, with lavender oil. Olive oil doesn’t clog pores and in fact, cleanses the pores off of clogged sebum better than over-the-counter products. Lavender oil is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and helps cure break-outs. And it smells amazing!
Purchase those cheap, 30ml plastic bottles for traveling, from the chemist, then fill it with olive oil and 15 drops of lavender oil. Use this magic concoction as a combined toner and moisturiser.
For the sweetest facial scrub, mix some olive oil with some brown sugar. Your face will turn baby soft and give your pores a really good clean out.
Hint: use only high-grade, cold-pressed, low-acidity extra virgin olive oil. The darker shade of green, the better. And, never use lavender oil on its own, as it will be too harsh for your skin and you could develop allergies to it.
2) Morning green smoothies
I’ve had this habit of drinking green smoothies every morning for nearly a year now and I swear by the magnitude of goodness it has done in my life. For one, I haven’t been sick for the first time last Winter, when back then I would always be sick without fail. Incredibly, everyone around me, even my boyfriend then, was down and out with all manner of ailments!
Kris Carr, best-selling writer and Cancer-survivor extraordinaire, is a smoothie advocate and this habit is one of the things that saved her life. The idea is, Cancer cells replicate fastest in an acidic, high-sugar environment. Coffee, alcohol, meat and dairy are all acidic foods, while fruits and veggies are alkaline. Our modern lifestyles are highly acidic by default, and the idea is to reverse that and make our body more alkaline. More alkalinity = fewer diseases. In fact, the cancer cells that should’ve killed Kris Carr 10 years ago is still in her body, but because her body is now highly alkaline, it’s isolated in one area and can’t move around or multiply and replicate itself! Her cancer isn’t gone, but it’s just sitting there and can’t do anything, for 10 years. She’s healthier now than before the cancer. Amazing.
The idea is your smoothie IS your breakfast, because it works best if you don’t mix it with food (unless it’s another piece of fruit or you’re snacking on a celery), especially anything acidic (coffee, bread). Which is perfect if you’re busy, as you just chuck a bunch of fruit and greens in the blender, add water and honey, blitz, glug, then you’re off. You don’t eat anything until lunch time. And let’s face it, how many times have you either skipped breakfast, or just had a muffin and coffee in the morning? This is way more filling, and way healthier.
If you’re panicking that this will kill your coffee habit, don’t. When I started this, I was a huge coffee-dependent, but the smoothies made me so full and so full of energy, I didn’t feel the need for coffee at all. In time, when I try and have coffee in the morning, my stomach feels so repelled by the acidity that I nearly hurled. Coffee addiction gone! I only drink coffee now occasionally when I’m seeing friends, which is the best frequency for it anyway.
There are plenty of green smoothie recipes on the web, but my usual would either be an apple, kale, honey, ginger and spirulina powder, OR, a banana, mixed berries, almond butter and spirulina. Spirulina is the most potent green you can acquire. Either that, or wheatgrass. Purchase a big pot of wheatgrass from your local organic grocery ($12 at Huckleberry Farms), snip it then add to your smoothie.
Best greens to add to your fruits are:
Hint: Don’t add yoghurt to your smoothie. If you mix only fruit and veggies, you can’t go wrong on the combo. If you’re out, TANK or Habitual Fix sell really good smoothies, and TANK always have spirulina or wheatgrass. Googling for the nearest one wherever you are should do you good.
3) Lemongrass or lemon essential oil
Keep a bottle with you close to your work area, and take a whiff if you’re stressed or need to focus. Bonus, it makes you happy! I usually have this close to my painting area for those long hours slogging away on a painting.
4) Ginger, mint and honey tea
A slice of raw ginger, some mint leaves and honey will make the best tea for an upset stomach, sore throat, or if you just want a different (and cheap) type of herbal tea.
5) Rose hip oil
If you have discoloration, surgical or wound scars, pure rose hip is the best. Purchase at any pharmacy.
Lady, there is such a thing as radiance. It’s that glow that most people have when they just got out of a gym. Let’s call it life force. We rarely tap into that life force if we’re in our head all the time, thinking of a million things that needs to be done. Meditation is the best way to clear the muck in your mind so you can make space for better things to inhabit it.
For those who are not used to it, even 5 minutes of just sitting and clearing your mind in the morning will do wonders on how you feel for the rest of the day. Set your alarm to 5 minutes, and work on having a blank slate. If a thought comes, just notice it, but don’t follow where it leads. Just come back to your breathing. It even works better if you have a Mona Lisa smile going for you while you’re doing it. Anyone can find 5 minutes. Once you’re used to it, it’s easier to go on for longer. It will reduce your crankiness, anxiety, worries and fears during the day, leaving you free to be creative and awesome.
If you must catch the bus in the morning, you can do it there too. And don’t worry about what people would think of you, most people in the morning bus are asleep anyway so you look like you’re just dozing off. Make sure you actually don’t!
This is a type of moving meditation, with the added bonus that it is an incredible work out. There are a multitude of classes all over your local city, so try different classes and different instructors until you find the best fit. Sometimes a style of yoga may not be for you, sometimes it’s the instructor, so do search around and experiment.
My yoga of choice is Ashram yoga, or Hatha. My friends like Ashtanga, some Bikhram.
Physically, you’ll notice you’ll have more stamina and strength. Emotionally and psychologically, you’ll feel happier, more centered and more focused.
The clearer your mind is, the more space you’re making for it to produce brilliant ideas, creative shenanigans and inspiring insights. Make time for small changes in your routine and notice the switch-up on how you feel during the day. Plant tiny seeds to make you feel good and make life easier, then expend the rest of that energy you acquire on things that matter to you, instead of expending said energy doing damage control on your psyche.
Writer’s own from Miss La Belle’s stall at VVDO + Writer’s own + John Salvie + Etsy Lemongrass + Courtney Out Loud + Etsy Rosehip + ujean-glazyrin.com + Dali & Yoga Desk + ffffound.com