What’s your manifesto for 2015?

 

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image via Pinterest

 

Happy New Year lovely people, we trust this finds you all feeling upbeat and rested?  Here in the UK, unless you’ve had your eyes and ears closed for the last week or so, you cannot fail to have been bombarded on all fronts by all sorts of detoxes/ diets/ cleanses/ fasts/ body blasting/ gym bunny/ ab revealing shenanigans which seem to have been devised to make you feel rubbish about yourself and a total failure.  Often this advice doesn’t even come from nutritionists or qualified PT instructors but the fact that some vague celeb loosely ‘endorses’ it means it must be ace…err, sorry but no.  This time last year, we wrote about our feelings on this very topic and infact re-posted our thoughts earlier this month. (http://t.co/SfaNiGtu5j) So, we are going to buck the trend and publish a little manifesto for 2015.  Here we go, in no particular order…

  • Everyday is a fresh start, so start it with a purpose, even if that purpose is simply to not hit ‘snooze’ or drink an entire mug of tea whilst it’s hot!
  • All bodies are good bodies, look after yours, treat it with kindness, nourish it well and it will look after you: you’re pretty amazing, don’t forget that.
  • Move your body daily, doesn’t have to be a workout, just get out and fill your lungs with fresh air with the added bonus that it will clear your head too.  Choose an exercise format you actually enjoy so that you look forward to it rather than dreading it.
  • Focus on the good, positivity shines out and rubs off on others: ditch the draining negative vibes.
  • Look for the good in others, chuck those compliments around like confetti, everyone needs a lift sometimes.
  • Laugh and smile more – it’s the cheapest medicine (cheesy but true, try it).
  • Ask for, and offer, help.  You may be wonder woman, but even she needs a hand some days.  It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s the polar opposite.
  • Learn to say no.  Don’t be swayed, if you can’t or don’t want to do something, say so: you do not have to justify yourself, you’re a grown up.
  • Cherish your family and friends, an unexpected ‘hello’ text will always bring a smile here, try it, it’s lovely to know someone is thinking of you.
  • Always make time for those who make you feel happy to be alive and are always there when you need picking up off the floor and cheering up.
  • Enjoy the small things like cuddles, good coffee, sunshine, good books, a leisurely soak, an awesome workout…
  • While we love a list here, planning can only take you so far (or waste so much time if you are in full on procrastination mode – coloured pens anyone?!): planning is only effective if it is combined with actually doing!
  • Make time for yourself: it’s not selfish, it is essential.  Choose your ‘recharge’ and action it: reading, yoga, a long bath, a run, crafty pursuits, music….
  • Don’t compare yourself to others, especially online – it’s all curated!  Everyone has foibles and down days, we are unique, embrace your individuality.
  • Go on adventures – not necessarily to far flung places, take yourself back to being a child by exploring your local countryside, reengage with nature, use your imagination.
  • Be grateful for what you have: we all have moments of green eyed envy, but flick on the news and be thankful for the troubles you don’t have.

We would really love your feedback on this – it’s always good to share – will you be taking stock and trying some of these suggestions out? Do you have some you think we should add?  Let us know!

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The Sleep Quest…

A little food for thought today, concerning that old buddy Sleep. For those of us with children to care for (or just struggle to drift off), sleep is often seen as the Holy Grail, the unattainable prize and yet…think about it for a little longer and there could be something fundamental missing. No, not a set of amazing linens/ blackout curtains/ total silence; but that little word that is so often associated with children and sleep: routine.

Seriously, think about it, each day we run the gauntlet with the kids of the witching hour: tea – bath – teeth – bed – stories – cuddles – lights out – sleep. OK so it doesn’t *always* go that smoothly (occasional carb induced chaos springs to mind), but we all know what is coming next because it is a routine we are accustomed to. What we are trying to achieve is a gentle wind down, relaxation and a peaceful sleep. So, why don’t we nurture ourselves as adults the way we would our children? Sleep eases so many ills, it allows the immune and nervous systems a chance to repair and reboot, it helps our body regenerate, it enhances your mood leaving you energised in the morning (well, generally it does, on tough days there’s always caffeine!).

Image from here

Image from here

It has long been said that we should kill our screen and tech time at least 30 minutes before bed and that in an ideal world, mobile phones shouldn’t be in the bedroom either – even on silent Mrs W! Usually for Mrs N the pre bedtime routine involves making sure her dishwasher is switched on, the kitchen is tidy (nothing worse than coming down to find last night’s pans still in the sink) checking homework hasn’t been left lying about, that school bags and shoes are where they should be. On a really organised night, there may be packed lunches sitting waiting ready in the fridge! Now, a more purposeful evening, ‘The Ideal’, would involve a lovely bath, spiced hot milk or camomile tea and some reading pre sleep. Now obviously the dishwasher still has to be dealt with and the other jobs too, but it’s more about a bit of planning (and a bit less TV if we’re all honest), so that we can lull ourselves into a relaxed state of mind ready for a good sleep.

The beauty of creating a relaxing routine for yourself is that the routine itself can become therapeutic, and, because you have spent a bit of time doing something that is solely for you, if your sleep is disturbed you will still feel fairly refreshed in the morning as you will have slept deeper due to the relaxation process pre dropping off: deep sleep is quality sleep – even if it has been shorter than you would have liked. The joy of having a good bedtime routine is waking up feeling recharged and energised, when we are happy we respond rather than react – a win win in our book.

Do you have a bedtime routine? What works best for you, we’d love to know so please share!

Old image via White Company

Old image via White Company

Resolutions, Diets & Detoxes? Not Likely!

Here at Nicholas and White we’ve been discussing the obsession with resolutions, diets and detoxes that are prevalent at this time of year. Well reader, it will probably come as no surprise to you that Mrs N and Mrs W don’t do either resolutions, diets or detoxes!
If you say the word ‘resolution’ out loud, it is a forceful sounding word, in fact if you look up ‘resolution’ in a thesaurus, the associated words are those such as firmness, purpose, strength of will, doggedness, tenacity, willpower, fortitude, emphatic: not exactly ‘friendly’ sounding are they?
Most people start each new year with a list of resolutions; common ones are often involving diets, ceasing smoking, getting fit, giving up a so called ‘bad habit’. Tim Weeks, former Olympic athlete and now Olympic coach and women’s specific trainer often says “you don’t break a bad habit, you untangle it”. Sounds kinder from the off doesn’t it? What Weeks wants you to do is look at why you do what you do, not just try to stop it but find the cause for the effect. Pretty sensible no?
Most of us who make a resolution will often fail to keep to it for longer than 6 weeks. A resolution is often phrased in a very nagging or abrupt way, e.g. “I must stop/ give up/ lose…” If you speak to yourself this harshly, when you fail to achieve your goal, your inner critic will be really brutal and the sense of failure will weigh on your mind. Far healthier, in our view, to make a list of achievable aspirations: how you use language will affect your mindset e.g. “I would like to be more toned/ stronger/positive…”
And now we hit two of the most bandied about words at this time of year: detox and diet. Brace yourselves reader, bit of a rant coming! The diet and detox industries are out to empty our purse. Fact. They are selling ideals and dreams that we and the media think we should be adhering to. Miracles are promised, insecurities fed upon, pretty pennies made. But here’s the thing: your actual body that you own right now is a miraculous machine, your organs work in tandem, all day every day – it’s the only one you’ll get too so you need to care for it.
The big secret that these industries don’t want you to realise is that your body doesn’t actually need any weirdly named supplements, juice cleanses, fast days etc: it is crafted in such an amazing way that it is in a permanent state of balancing and detoxifying itself: why would you mess with nature? What your body does need from you is actually quite straight forward: fuel (by which we mean good quality produce, good quality meat/ fish/ eggs), plenty of water, a good nights sleep and some exercise every day (not necessarily a full ‘workout’ but something physical each day e.g. stairs not lifts, walking rather than driving etc). Be mindful of what you put into your body. Don’t deprive your machine, build it stronger and better than it was yesterday.
So, do make yourself a list of positive aspirations for the coming year, be kinder to yourself (nobody likes a bully), don’t be tempted to try for a mega life overhaul in one fell swoop, think small but incremental changes that you can achieve then you won’t get despondent, but, above all else, life is for living so make sure you enjoy it too!

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Image via Pinterest

Christmas SOS

With party season beginning to loom large on the horizon, we’ve listed a few suggestions to get you through from party ready to morning after.

Water – sounds simple, because it is!  You need to stay hydrated in order to function, have dewy skin and not have a sore head the following day!  Make sure you get plenty in you.  Don’t forget the restorative power of H2O extends to the bathroom too, wash it all away with an enlivening or soothing product of choice.

Multi vitamins – with the festive period being a busy time for all –  what with parties, get togethers, late nights and the like, our bodies could often use a little bit more support.  With the best will in the world, you aren’t going to be able to resist all those naughty canapés are you?  Give yourself a boost with a good quality multi vit to see you through, obviously there is no substitute for good diet and exercise, but a helping hand never goes amiss at busy times.

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Multibalm – a veritable multifunction product! Soften dry skin/ lips, add gloss, smooth unruly frizzy ends, stop shoes from rubbing (saving that plaster ;))

Cream blush –dual product, add a glow to your face when you feel washed out and peaky, doubles as a lip tint meaning you can leave the lippy behind.

Tinted moisturiser – this is Mrs N’s go to – brightens the face without heavy cover (because she loathes tidemarks on clothes, urgh, and frankly is rubbish at applying anything more technical than this!), her preferred is Origins Vitazing, which has stopped her looking half dead on more than one occasion!

Mascara – a slick of this will open your eyes up a treat and make you look alert even when you don’t feel it.  Mrs W is currently raving about Neals Yard Lengthening mascara, have to say, it looks fab.

Lipgloss – we’re not fans of gloopy, sticky ones, if you aren’t a cream blush double duty girl, this, rather than lippy is far more forgiving to apply after a few drinks. (Again, Mrs Cack-handed N prefers something like NYR lipgloss or a Clinique chubby stick, almost foolproof).

Face wipes – so you know you should remove that make up before bed, but you can’t be faffed, enter your saviour, face wipes.  Take it all over in one fell swoop and launch at the bin on the way towards your pillow.

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NYRO Beauty Sleep concentrate – the magic in a pump – clean your face before bed and rub this in and it will leave you looking like you’ve had 8 hours sleep when really you’ve only had half of that. Genius.  You can buy yours from Claire here

Fresh air – a quick blast of fresh air will clear the head and lungs and revive far quicker than a double espresso, honestly.

Aspirin/ paracetamol – if you do wake up feeling a bit ropey, reach for the aspirin or paracetamol rather than codeine based pain relief, which, if you are feeling a bit green around the gills, will add to the feeling of nausea and nobody wants to feel like that for any longer than necessary.

Sleep – your biggest saviour!  Anything is possible after a few hours shut eye, honestly.