Health & Beauty

Welcome to the Health & Beauty section on City Connect

From the latest beauty, fragrance and skincare must haves to reviews of tried and tested wellbeing products, our writers will guide you through everything you need to know about the world of Health & Beauty.

City Connect brings you articles and reviews in this section crammed full of great ideas to stay healthy and look your best including the best male grooming products, luxury spa treatments, innovative skincare, health foods, weight loss advice and much more.

For a list of all Health & Beauty articles, please see below.

New Nutrition Video and Support the OHC Foundation with Your Christmas Shopping!

We hope all is going well for you in the run up to Christmas?  It is still a very busy time here at the Optimum Health Clinic, and for those of you still thinking about our Practitioner Training Courses for next year, please do get in contact ASAP – further information at www.FreedomFromME.co.uk/scholarship.

In this week’s article we have a brand new video with Tanya Page from our Nutrition Department, talking about some of the complex work that goes on behind the scenes in the department.  If you have ever wondered how the department works, what we do with all of those questionnaires, and how we prepare for your consultations, this video tells all – you can view it below

For more information on how consultations work, please click here

Also, for those of you still doing Christmas shopping online, you may be aware of Easyfundraising, which is a great way for a small percentage of what you spend to be donated to our registered charity The Optimum Health Clinic Foundation.  It costs you exactly the same, but it means in the process of just doing your online shopping you can support the pioneering work we are doing in our charity (more on that coming early next year).  We’d really appreciate you taking a few minutes to do this, it is very easy!  The link is atwww.easyfundraising.org.uk and all you have to do is quickly register and then make sure you select The Optimum Health Clinic Foundation ( charity number 1131664) as your chosen good cause.  Any questions, please do contact fundraising@OptimumHealthFoundation.com

We hope you have a great week leading up to Christmas, and we look forward to sharing our final newsletter of the year with you next week, which will include a rather amusing “Outake” of Tanya and Alex attempting to film this week’s video!

Image reproduced from http://www.nutritionist-world.com

Ouch, My Teeth! Top Tips for Avoiding Dental Damage

The teeth you have in your mouth need to last you a lifetime, so taking good care of them is important. Most of us know that twinge of pain that comes with a toothache a bit too well though.

When you damage your teeth, the pain can be a serious problem. So can the dental bills that come along with that pain and the restorative treatment you’re going to need.

Keep reading to learn more about how you can protect your teeth and avoid that pain altogether. After all, nobody wants a sore mouth when they can avoid it in the first place.

Stop Chewing Candy

Candy is a serious problem for some people, especially those that like to take big bites out of it. Doing that can really harm your teeth, especially if you like to snack while you’re on the road and away from a toothbrush.

If you have to eat candy, look for foods that aren’t sticky and gummy. You don’t want those bits of acidic sugar sticking to your teeth for hours at a time. They’ll cause some serious damage to your enamel if you forget about them being there.

Brush! Brush!

Brushing your teeth is something you probably already do every single day. If you’re like most people, you do it more than once per day. At least your Brooklyn dentist hopes you brush more than once per day.

The problem is that you might not be brushing smart. The best time to brush is about 30 minutes after you eat – not five minutes after.

That’s because the enamel on your teeth can be worn down when you brush after eating – especially if you ate highly-acidic foods or drank acidic beverages like lemonade or orange juice.

Floss More

A lot of people say they floss their teeth regularly, but what they really mean is that they floss when they remember to do so. Flossing once a week just isn’t going to cut it if you want healthy teeth for the rest of your life.

Try to make sure you’re flossing at least once a day at the end of the day. Put your dental floss in an obvious spot in the bathroom so you don’t forget about it or set a reminder on your phone.

You might also want to consider keeping some dental floss in your office drawer at work. Flossing after every meal is even better than just once per day.

Bath Scientists Secure £220k Funding Boost for Dementia Research

A major research project into the role of iron in dementia with Lewy bodies is getting underway in Bath, thanks to grants worth £220,500 from two charities dedicated to funding dementia research. Alzheimer’s Research UK and Alzheimer’s research charity BRACE have teamed up to fund a unique three-year project that could bring new understanding of the disease.

Led by Prof David Brown, the scientists at the University of Bath will study a protein called alpha-synuclein, which accumulates in the brain in dementia with Lewy bodies, as well as other diseases such as Parkinson’s.

Dementia with Lewy bodies is the third most common cause of dementia, affecting about 100,000 people in the UK. People with the disease experience distressing symptoms such as hallucinations, problems with movement similar to Parkinson’s disease and ‘cognitive fluctuations’ – variations in alertness, attention and thinking skills.

Until recently, the normal role of alpha-synuclein has been poorly understood, but Prof Brown and his team have discovered that the protein helps convert iron into a form that can be used by cells. Cells need a certain amount of iron to function properly, and the scientists believe that alpha-synuclein’s normal activity may help protect brain cells. They now want to find out what happens to this activity when the protein begins to accumulate.

One theory suggests that as the protein builds in the brain, it may stop working properly, leading to a lack of iron that can be used by cells. Alternatively, as the amount of alpha-synuclein increases, its activity may also increase, leading to a surplus of iron in the brain. By finding the answers to these important questions, the scientists hope to gain new insight into the chain of events that causes cell death in dementia with Lewy bodies.

Prof Brown said:
“We’re extremely pleased to have secured this funding, which will allow us to gain a much better understanding of some of the processes that occur as alpha-synuclein builds in the brain. Discovering this protein’s normal role was a crucial step forward, but this funding will enable us to investigate what goes wrong in this process. If we can understand what goes wrong in cells as diseases like dementia with Lewy bodies take hold, we stand a much better chance of finding ways to stop those diseases in their tracks.”

Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“We’re delighted to be supporting this important project, which could bring us vital new information about a disease that has so far been under-researched. This study could greatly enhance our understanding of the causes of dementia with Lewy bodies, potentially giving us new clues for the development of treatments that could really benefit people.

“It’s especially pleasing to be able to work with such a well-regarded local charity to fund this project, and we hope this partnership could help us make real progress towards our common goal of defeating dementia. With more than 2,000 people affected by dementia in Bath and North East Somerset alone, there is an urgent need for research projects like this one.”

Mark Poarch, chief executive of BRACE, said:
“It’s wonderful to be able to partner Alzheimer’s Research UK and to fund this vital work at Bath University. Some of the most ground breaking research into dementia is being undertaken here in the South West. BRACE is proud to be helping some of the brightest minds in medical research beat this terrible disease.”

Image reproduced from http://www.pediatrics.med.ubc.ca

Emotional Intelligence at the Work Place

Poor emotional intelligence at work can lead to increased stress and sickness.

According to Mind, British businesses lose an estimated £26 billion each year in sickness, absence and lost productivity. With greater awareness and mental health support they said that businesses could save one-third on these costs – ‘a mammoth £8 billion a year.’ Increasing Emotional Intelligence at work will help to do this.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

There are many different interpretations of what exactly emotional intelligence is. I will only offer you my interpretation – “The ability to go swiftly to the place that feels the best in any situation.”

How does this happen in the work place?

With the added pressure of a recession, lay-offs and cut-backs in the current work climate, it is more essential than ever before to gain a higher degree of emotional intelligence. When bosses or colleagues undermine, criticise or threaten you and you do not respond in a way that feels good then this is not emotionally intelligent.

Often at work employees have a problem with someone else and tell everybody except the person that it concerns or those who could do something about it. This divisive practice can cause stress, frustration and can translate into illness, low productivity and a factitious work force. Nobody wins when this status quo remains.

Over time this can cause hypertension as the stress response is triggered in the employees experiencing this. The result is often sickness or absenteeism. Worse still for companies is that employees experiencing these symptoms can be like a cancer for a business, spreading slowly through the system, via the channel of complaints to other employees.

Honesty is the best policy.

If you have an issue with anyone at work it is your duty as an employee to address the source. Do this by stating calmly and assertively how you feel, what caused it and how things could improve in the future. This at least gives the person who is perceived to be at fault a chance to address it and ameliorate the situation. They may even surprise you and were probably not aware how their behaviour has affected you.

If they are not so accommodating then you have every right to take it to their boss, or directly to the CEO of the company. If your issue is with the CEO and they are unreasonable then a new job may well be the answer – before your health suffers the inevitable demise that occurs.

If you are the CEO or department head then it is your duty to encourage an environment of honesty and constant employee feedback. By giving your staff freedom to express them selves honestly, you will be establishing the foundation for more emotionally intelligent employees.

A key factor in communication.

Often when faced with a loud and overbearing employee or boss it is tempting to reply in a softer, more dulcet tone. Just remember that when we are like each other we like each other. Often by matching the tonality of the person that we are communicating with, we increase rapport. Since our tonality represents far more than our language in effective communication, it is a useful tool to match the tone of the person who we are with.

Get it off your chest.

If you have an issue with someone at work then tell them. If you don’t, you may get ill and that would not be emotionally intelligent.

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Walk Innovation – Step 3

Recently, Adam Shaw reported on Step 2 of Walk Innovation. Now he talks about Step 3: Intent. Watch his video here.

Now that you are committed to DOING this programme and you know to ground yourself regularly, we will now talk about intent.

In everything you do in your life your intent will determine your outcome. If you intend to find fault – you will. If you intend to improve your life – you will. If you intend to love – you will.

As non-positive intent yields non-positive outcomes we will only ever be focusing on POSITIVE intent

Being aware of your intent at any given moment is the fastest way to move towards positive outcomes more often.

Intend for what you want – or you will get what you don’t want.

Have fun walking now that your intent is positive.

Read more on Walk Innovation here.

Life or Death?

This may sound like a strange question to ask since you are alive enough to read this but why did it capture your attention?

Did you know that many people are more dead than alive in their daily existence?

Having worked as a nurse for over 13 years, studying health and wellbeing for over 18 years and working with thousands of people who were ill, I realised two incredible facts. The first is that most people who end up in hospital, especially with progressive illness, have spent much of their life dying from within. They have low energy that has been blocked and/or drained for several years before ever ending up in hospital.

What would you do if you had more energy?

Certain things can happen as a result of having more energy. You may need to sleep less, giving you more time. You could find yourself more motivated so that you do all of those things that you have been putting off.

You may possibly start exercising more, getting yourself in better shape, improving your confidence, esteem, relationships and health. This could well lead to a longer, happier and healthier life. It is also likely that your glowing example will be rubbing off on those who you spend the most time with, improving their lives and bringing them all of the same benefits.

How is your energy now?

When I talk about energy, this can be directly attributed to your motivation and the relationship that you have with yourself. Symptoms of an energy blockage or leak are: negative feelings and emotions over an extended period, like guilt, sadness, fear, apathy, resentment, feeling stuck in a job or relationship that you feel has no hope of ever satisfying you, or inability to resolve past challenges or incidents.

Symptoms that your energy is good will be regular physical exercise, enjoyment of life, being able to look in the mirror and love the person that you see, smiling a lot, sleeping less than usual, waking up feeling happy and enthusiastic, contributing to a bigger cause and being able to energise others.

Where do you start?

The most important thing when working with energy is to acknowledge where you are. Rate your current energy, based on the above. How much of your day do you experience the symptoms that cause energy blockages or leaks compared to symptoms of good energy levels? Rate yourself between 1-10. 1 being very low energy, sleeping lots and not wanting to get out of bed and face the day and 10 being extreme motivation and/or happiness and great relationships with yourself and others.

And where do you want to be?

Now that you know where you are, decide where you want to be and how you will know when you are there. Pick the number between 1-10 that you would be happy with and find a marker that would give you an undeniable experience of being there. An example could be being able to fit into certain sized clothes, having a regular exercise routine, letting go of a job/relationship/issue that has been draining your energy for an extended period of time or being able to look in the mirror, smile and love the person looking back at you.

Learn to walk before you can run

I’m sure that most of you have come across the expression “You have to learn to walk before you can run.” It seems so obvious – because it is.

What if there was a way of walking that could give you extra energy, improve your memory, focus and life in the process? Add the fact that once you learn this system once you can use it for the rest of your life, every time you walk.

Interested?

Walk Innovation has been formulated from over 18 years of studying health, disease, energy and the human mind. I have found that time, money or motivation are most people’s reason(s) for not making adjustments that can cause lasting results in their lives. This can occur when your mind makes a decision without involving your body.

Align your body and mind and your energy will increase

Because we learn by association it is all too easy for the mind to make decisions while the body is inactive. If you have ever been to a therapist, workshop, seminar or course, learned some great information that could change your life and not taken action then this could be because your body was inactive when your mind absorbed the information.

The benefits of walking are immense

The simple act of walking alone yields numerous health benefits. It can lower blood pressure and regulate blood sugar naturally, release endorphins, your body’s natural, feel good hormones, strengthen the body, clear the mind, reduce blood pressure and increase longevity.

Walk Innovation gives you energy

Through a set of easy to learn, yet potent steps, Walk Innovation is the most sustainable way to raise your energy and keep the changes. This system will show you how to align the insights of your mind with action from your body. With just a few adjustments to what you think about whilst walking you can harness energy with every single step you take.

Walk Innovation fits into your life

You walk anyway. Once you have learned the Walk Innovation system once you can use it for the rest of your life. It can even be done as a visualisation process for those who can’t walk. Every single step that you ever take can be used to focus your mind and raise your energy with this system.

Walk Innovation is fun, friendly and free!

The simplicity of Walk Innovation is its power. It is a system that fits in with your day and can guide you, step-by-step to feeling better and living a more energised and fulfilling life. Side effects can be losing unwanted weight, better relationships, more confidence, feeling younger and improved health.

By going to our website and leaving your name and e-mail with us you can have access to our free, step-by-step guide, giving you very short, weekly steps of how to use Walk Innovation to get results in every area of your life and feel great.

But what was the second incredible fact?

Most people do not value their health until it has gone. As in many aspects in life, we take things and people for granted, until they are gone. I have seen much sadness as people spent their whole lives saving for a happy retirement, only to retire to a hospital or nursing home bed and spend the rest of their lives bitter and resentful being dependent on others.

Personally, I have witnessed enough pain and dying. Now I want to offer energy and hope to those who are ready for a new way of life.

If you would rather live fully then Walk Innovation and extra energy are my gifts to you.

How Important is Your Happiness to You?

Unfortunately, life can be stressful. Worries over money, especially in these economically challenging times, can often divert focus of the things that are truly important in your life. By questioning your current focus and how happy you are, it is possible to save yourself a lot of pain down the line.

Money is vitally important in order to live a happier life, but at what cost is its accumulation having on you right now? This video offers you my opinion on the subject…

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Can Your Thoughts Can Heal Your Body?

Since opening my mind to interventions outside of nursing within the NHS, there have been a few barriers for me. I never really believed that the worlds of energy medicine and personal development were so easily accessible. In this week’s video I offer you an entry that I made last year in Zakynthos that encapsulates my thoughts on the subject.

Image reproduced from http://www.bunspace.com

Depression – What to Do?

1 in 4 British adults experience at least one diagnosable mental health challenge in any one year, according to mentalhealth.org. Furthermore, major depressive disorder affects approximately 14.8 million adults in a given year in America, according to the NIMH.

What are the symptoms?

Depression will often manifest as a lack of motivation. When you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning or you start to hate your life, for whatever reason, then you have been feeling increasing symptoms for a while. You may feel hopelessness, anxiety or helplessness. Your may be less tolerant of others. It is possible that you have considered suicide. You will have less energy and could be experiencing changes in your sleep pattern, appetite or even your menstrual cycle.

Depression affects friends and family members.

All in all, depression affects a vast number of the population and this has ramifications on not just the person who is depressed, but on everyone who cares about them. It is likely that most of the population knows someone who is depressed, whether they have been diagnosed or not.

This page has been created to help those who have depression and those who know someone who is depressed. How can you help them? What do you say? What advice can you give to someone who asks for your help or advice?

What can you do?

Our wellbeing e-course will offer you simple, but very powerful, ways to move in a more positive direction. Getting active is also a great way to start moving to a more positive place. Our Walk Innovation System is a good place to start. By leaving your name and e-mail with us in the box on the right of this screen, you will access the numerous free resources available to you. If you are ready for a big shift then you may be ready for a Wellbeing Breakthrough Session.

What will happen if I don’t do anything about it?

You will suffer, your friends and family, who care about you, will suffer and you may soon feel suicidal. It could cost you your job, your relationships and your life. The true cost of long-term depression cannot truly be measured. The ripple effect caused by negative interactions has the potential to affect thousands of people, maybe more. Ultimately, those who go on to commit suicide do so because they did not get help when they started to feel depressed.

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The Healthy Heart Academy

City Connect introduces Adam Shaw and the Healthy Heart Academy.

Thank you for taking your time in getting to know me. Your time is precious and can never be replaced. I truly appreciate yours used to connect with me here.

A different start in life.

I grew up within the grounds of a Psychiatric Institution. My parents both worked there, as nurses and we lived in the staff housing within the grounds. During my youth I used to answer the door to old ladies and gentlemen, sometimes in their nightgowns or pyjamas, asking for cigarettes. I saw many crazy, sometimes very funny things and people growing up.

I learned that laughter is a great gift.

Much of my time growing up was spent exploring the natural surroundings of the hospital, playing with my friends in nature and getting very curious about what mental health was.

After brief careers as a waiter, chef, banker, children’s counsellor and supermarket checkout clerk, I trained as a nurse in 1992. Here I discovered drugs for both treatments in the hospital and recreational use in the nurse’s home. I simultaneously worked part-time as a circuit-training instructor.

Did you ever experience a paradox in your life?

I found a health service that, although providing some critical and life-saving interventions, was very dependent on drugs. I also became dependent on drugs.

I was extremely fit physically, yet increasingly unhealthy mentally by being surrounded by sickness, death and various herbal and pharmaceutical interventions.

I have spoken with hundreds of people who were about to die and witness them realise what was truly important to them in their final hours.

Some people suffer because of things that they had done but couldn’t change. The people who suffer the most always get to regret what they didn’t do. Some had huge shifts in their final moments. If only they had been helped earlier, much pain could have been avoided.

Not only did patients suffer but many families were destroyed by the aftermath of a relative’s death and the unresolved issues left behind. Witnessing this several times led me understand that your heart is always guiding you. Unfortunately, many people become experts in ignoring these messages. Then one day a loved one dies and it’s too late to say and do the things that were unsaid and undone for so long.

Death is so final.

One day we will all be dead. In my experience, very few people consider this and what they hope to have done before that day comes. The only question that will matter at that point is what purpose did your life serve?

A very common theme in hospital was people full of regret because they spent so much of their lives investing money in their retirement, whilst compromising their happiness in jobs and relationships that made them feel trapped.

So many people waste the best years of their life being too unhappy to appreciate their health.

Many people hold regret about things that they could have done in the past. However, if you have any health at all then you can change. I became aware that all was not well in my world and that I was not particularly happy. Consequently, I used my nursing years to save up money and travel the world.

As others collected assets, I collected experiences in 6 different continents, spending over 6 years travelling overseas.

During these adventures I was caught up in riots, where hundreds of people died (I was not involved, just happened to be there!), earthquakes, hurricanes, pursued by gunmen on mopeds, rolled down a mountain in a vehicle with no seat belts and entertained by witch doctors at a party! These are just some of the adventures that I ended up on.

I then decided to leave nursing and discover the worlds of personal development, complimentary therapies and energy medicine. Despite spending over £100,000 on courses to find the answers to life’s questions I still felt that something was missing. Yet, I had no idea what it was.

For all of my classroom-based learning I realised that I was more productive and better able to think when I was on the move. It is a simple principle, yet incredibly powerful when used regularly. It fitted in with my time issues, as I walk anyway.

I realised that physical movement, when associated to learning, was the missing link to all that I had learned.

How was it possible that I had learned so many potentially powerful tools but was not using them regularly?

Time was my biggest issue and I stopped using my many tools for positive change and searching for something that I would remember to use regularly.

I then discovered my own method for enacting positive change at my pace.

By using a set of simple steps each time I walked I could work on my issues at my own pace, taking positive steps every day towards a better place.

In the past 3 years this process has led me out of a job and relationship that I did not love and into a life of discovery. I sold everything that I owned and used the money to learn all of the things that I had been putting off. I spent 3 years training in personal development, energy medicine and business-based courses.

Simultaneously, I took many risks, made many mistakes, had many hard lessons and ended up over £20,000 in debt. I had no assets and had to rely on friends and family to even be able to afford to eat. This was a humbling place to be and taught me many lessons. The main thing that I knew from this place was that I would never make a difference in the world if I didn’t look after myself first.

My natural instincts were to help everyone else and not ask for anything in return. Whilst this made me popular , I found that it was not working for me in the world of business. In order to help more people I had to help myself first. Installing this principle in my life and the lives of others is a key principle to having a healthier heart.

In the past, I would have dropped out and retreated back to my comfort zone, taken a job that I didn’t love and lived a life of mediocrity. However, this process has guided me towards many people who have supported me, believed in me and helped me through the toughest periods of my life.

Despite this, it was only discovering a renewed belief in myself that allowed me to pursue my goals and dreams beyond my comfort zone. This has led me to a much happier and healthier place.

Most of my interventions and resources will not offer you a quick fix for instant happiness. My path has been one of daily, positive steps. There have been ups and downs and still are. What is different now is that I have created a wonderful network of friends and my vision for The Healthy Heart Academy has carried me through many dark days along the way.

I believe that true health is accepting all aspects of oneself, balancing the less healthy aspects of my life with ones that restore balance. Through balancing any activities that may not be considered 100% healthy by some experts in the field, with the techniques that I have developed, I have cultivated a more harmonious relationship with myself.

It is my aim to not just improve the heart health of the world but also to create a movement that leaves a legacy of a healthier, happier planet for our future generations. I am not sure exactly how this will happen but I do know that unless I spend the rest of my life moving towards this goal then I will not be living a life that is true to my heart.

I invite you to join me. You can get in touch with me through City Connect or my website.

Image reproduced from http://nneteworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Healthy-heart.gif

Your Heart Attacks When Your Head Doesn’t Get It!

Your heart has a separate intelligence to your head and it will attack you if you don’t get the message. In this step we look at how to tune into the message of your heart.

Tune into the message of your heart or it will attack you eventually!

You can never be truly happy on any sort of consistent basis until you understand how your head and heart work.

Both have different functions.

Your heart communicates to you through your emotions. How you FEEL is your heart’s communication to your head.

Only by getting your head and heart in alignment will you truly optimise your energy. Your ability to tune into your emotions and act accordingly will determine how much happiness you allow into your life.

Tune into your emotions and trust them

Image reproduced from http://www.doctorsecrets.com

Walk Innovation – Step 2

Recently, City Connect introduced Adam Shaw and Walk Innovation. Read now more about Walk Innovation. This week Adam Shaw talks about Step 2 and you can watch his video here:

Welcome to Walk Innovation’s Active Energy System – Step 2: A technique to help you get more motivation, focus and health.

Step 2: Grounding…

“Grounding is to working with energy what water is to a swimming pool.”

Adam Shaw


Once you have made the first step, the most important one of all, it’s time for the second most important step…..

Grounding is essential when working with energy as it connects you to the energy of the earth. If this doesn’t mean anything to you yet then I ask you to trust this process and be curious.

It only takes a second to do this and can be done anytime at anyplace.

Have fun walking now that you are properly grounded!

For more information on Walk Innovation click here.

Time – Your Most Valuable Asset

Money can come and go but your time is truly priceless.

How much quality time does your average day contain?

You may well ask “What do you mean, quality time?” And this is a perfectly reasonable question.

Quality time is different for everyone. For me, quality time is time spent feeling good. There are many external factors that can cause this naturally. Sharing, laughing, connecting with people or nature, helping others to empower themselves, whilst helping myself to feel better.

If less than half of your waking hours involve feeling good then the odds are that you are being given a very clear signal that something needs to change. This happens to me often. Fortunately, these days I am getting better at identifying the symptoms early and making the necessary changes.

Because my internal world has now become more important to me I am learning to trust my heart more. When you don’t feel good you miss out on life. When you don’t feel good you take things and people for granted. When you don’t feel good life hits harder.

Your body is a barometer of how well your body/mind connection is. If you have any non feel-good symptoms then your heart is just helping you to understand that you need a new programme. It was pointed out to me that our heart has an intelligence that is independent of the brain. This is why the head/heart connection is often different. That is when you will hear statements like “My head is telling me x but my heart is telling me y..”

Your head is a computer and can be programmed in alignment with your heart at any time. This takes time and patience. Most important of all it takes a will to want to learn about it and action towards it.

My intent is to trust my heart, feel-good, have fun and walk my talk with anyone wishing to do the same. This is Walk Innovation – where your time is your most significant investment. May you learn to value your time, trust your heart, feel good and walk your talk.

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Hungry for Change?

Detoxing is something that I do occasionally to give my system a flush and raise my energy levels. The outcomes are increased energy, motivation and drive. Not to mention extra time, where I would have been eating.

The experience also comes with challenges. Not eating is not natural to most human beings. Changing the habits of a lifetime are never going to be an easy task. I have seen my will power stretched and undergone numerous trials and tribulations in the past week.

I have also listened to numerous opinions on fasting. Most people that I spoke to believed that they would not be able to last that long. Others have told me that there are better ways to detox and some just didn’t see the point at all.

Many people were impressed by my will power and wished that they could do the same. It is my belief that there are many beliefs that are incredibly restricting. It is never a case of not being able to do something like this – it is only a case of having sufficient motivation.

If your life was at stake you would most certainly be able to go a week without food.

Being a Health Consultant with a liking for coffee, chocolate, cake and pizza I take the rough with the smooth. Over the months and years I have reduced my intake of these foods and increased my healthy foods intake, yet I still enjoy indulging occasionally.

During the past week I have discovered the wonders of drinking hot water with lemon, lime, maple syrup and cayenne pepper – a veritable taste sensation. My daily drinks gave me more pleasure than I can describe!

I believe that life is about balance. Focusing too strongly on what you have denied yourself is the fast track to failure. For example, how many smokers stop smoking, only to start again? They are so focused on not smoking that they inevitably do. Only by focusing on the benefits will change ever last.

I decided to distract myself from food by focusing on what I did want. I wanted to take action on things that I was passionate about. One was feeling great (and I did during the fast) and another was running an event that could change lives in a positive way – and maintain the results.

Where do I begin?

I decided to ask the person who had made the most change in my life in a short time, Sidra Zaidi, to work with me. She agreed – that was surprisingly easy – all I had to do was ask. Secondly, we need an idea. A few hours with Sidra saw the creation of The Journey To Empowerment.

Thirdly, we need a date – we quickly agreed that we could both do the 6th December and that it was better to do it sooner, rather than later. Next we needed a venue – it seemed like a daunting experience having had no dealings with this before. So, I put a plea on Facebook for help.

Within minutes two people had given me leads. One phone call later we had a room booked at a reasonable price. Finally, we needed to create some advertising material. That night a good friend spent two hours on Skype going through our advert with meticulous detail.

The result – within two days I had taken an idea and made it real. Furthermore, I had even called another friend and arranged to get it filmed for future marketing material. This was what is possible when I channelled my focus into the benefits of the fast and the extra energy that I had. In this time I felt no hunger – hydration is a great replacement.

Fortunately, during my fast there was a time limit on how long I had to do this for. As I have no intention of giving up anything I was happy to indulge in several puff pastry mince pies upon my completion. I did this experiencing taste like I never had before.

I feel better now than I have all year – and that’s after my cake indulgence. Focus, balance, belief and action are an incredible combination.

How could you feel better right now?

Image reproduced from www.naturalcoloncleansings.com

Living and Dying. Which Will You Choose?

Do you ever feel that maybe something is missing from your life?

Life is a curious thing. When did it begin? What is really true? Do we live on in spirit once our body dies? Will we be made accountable to all of our actions at some point? What is our purpose for life?

These are just some of the questions that I have had the opportunity to consider at length over the years.

The one question I would rarely ask.

During my nurse training, I was taught a model of nursing that involved 12 sections. The Roper model of nursing was to enable us to get a complete assessment of each patient’s physical and spiritual needs. We needed to know things like their ability to mobilise, communicate, wash and dress themselves, sleep, eat and drink.

There were 12 such sections, the last of which was: living and dying.

In theory, by asking this question I would be able to assess people’s beliefs about death so that they could be nursed from a more spiritual perspective. In practice, I felt that asking a patient who had just been admitted to hospital with an acute illness, their thoughts about dying to be slightly inappropriate. I usually left this section blank or, just to have a bit of fun occasionally, would write “living” in.

Just the mention of death or dying may give some people the wrong idea.

My sense was that for most people it was not necessary or appropriate to assess their beliefs about dying. Especially when they have been admitted with an undiagnosed lump in their body or a symptom where recovery was almost guaranteed.

We tend not to address dying in the western world until it is on our doorstep.

Nursing taught me many things. Perhaps the most important and lasting lesson that I have taken away from over 13 years of working in hospitals is the importance of considering death occasionally. I witnessed hundreds of people through their final moments of life and saw how this impacted the families and friends left behind.

Have you ever taken enough time out of your daily life to consider what your life will have meant just before the moment you die?

I know that this may appear as a strange question. After all, who wants to consider death when you feel that it is nowhere close?

Talking to people about death just before they die has been one of the most profound and incredible experiences that I have ever had. I have witnessed plenty of pain and regret by people who were about to die and the families left behind about what they wished they had done or said.

Issues with family, bitterness and unspoken feelings are just a few of the recurrent themes that I have witnessed as people stare death in the face.

An excellent, if slightly morbid, exercise to do now is to ask yourself what your biggest regret would be if you died today.

Who would you have told that you loved more?

What would you regret not doing the most?

What urge do you regret not acting upon the most?

The above 3 questions are your key to what is missing the most from your life at this moment.

So many people sit at the end of their lives reflecting on what they could have done different to make their final moments of life more meaningful to them. So many people wished that they had told people how they really felt about them, after years of holding back through one fear or another. Others rue the opportunity that appeared hugely exciting at the time but they had held back through the uncertainty of the risk involved.

Not taking that leap of faith on an intuitive pull is often the biggest lament of many of those who were about to die.

Beyond this is always the fear about death being finite. I have asked several hundred people who were about to die whether they believed in something beyond death. It is easy to speculate on your answer whilst life is pumping through your body. It is not quite so easy when you are about to die and doubt creeps into your mind.

Giving someone hope when they are about to die is one of the most liberating things that anyone can do.

I could write a book on the various individual experiences that I’d had whilst navigating people through the dying process. So many profound changes occur when people move to the place that feels the best. Those who were filled with doubt can be filled with hope when they have nothing left to lose.

Ultimately, there are only two choices: living or dying.

Those who choose to live are usually filled with hope at the point of death and tend to be peaceful and relaxed as they die. Those who are filled with doubt tend to suffer more. There are no exceptions to this rule that I have ever found. Some have had varying symptoms but peace is a state of mind.

By asking yourself whether you have really lived a meaningful life up until this point, you will know whether you are currently living or dying. If you feel that something is missing from your life right now then just imagine that you have just found out that you are about to die: What is the first thing that you wish you would have done to make you feel better, that would also feel better to everyone involved.

Assuming that fate intervenes to give you life beyond that moment: Do it!

Walk Innovation – Step 4

This week Adam Shaw reports on the final step of Walk Innovation: Step 4 – Breathing. Read more about it here and watch his video.

Now that you know the value of the first 3 steps as you set off on each walk……

1.Commitment
2.Grounding
3.Setting a positive intent

It’s now time to talk about step 4: breathing.

Walk Innovation uses simple principles to get you maximum benefit.

Your breathing controls your mood and most people spend most of their lives not breathing properly, thus not energising their bodies. When you realise that you can regulate your breathing and develop this through walking, your energy will increase quickly.

For a 1min 45sec demonstration, join me as I walk and breathe

This technique alone will change your life forever, giving you extra energy every time you walk.

Breathe deeper, walk longer and have fun with this.

If you are interested in Walk Innovation and want to learn more, click here.

How Do You Go from Stuck to Flow?

When you start doing the more mundane tasks that have been building up it is easy to lose focus, energy and motivation as you feel yourself get progressively more stuck in unhelpful and unproductive thoughts. This can be debilitating and lead to stress, guilt and nothing getting done. When this happens it helps to do something that can improve your mood, focus, motivation and energy.

Image reproduced from http://www.agodman.com

Primers: Is Your Face in It’s Prime?

Firstly – welcome to my first beauty post!

I will be posting weekly tips, tutorials and advice on things to do with beauty – topics that fall into that are make-up, hair and miscellaneous beauty products! Reader input is always welcome, be it questions, opinions etc, anyway, I digress and shall get on with this week’s post!

So, here we are, almost summer and the weather is hotting up, and you know what that means… sweat! Rather than having to touch up your make-up countless times in the day that it becomes the OCD of the season, you can try using primers – I know, these are one of the Marmite products in the make-up world, and I’m going to type-talk you through face primers today.

For those unaware what a primer is, it’s a make-up product designed to keep foundation on for longer by being a base for the foundation, smoothing the appearance of the skin and filling in fine lines.

There are many questions about whether these products are actually beneficial to keep foundation on for longer. If you’re one of the people that are worried it will cause break-outs, clog pores or sit heavy on the face – the real answer to this would be to assess the factors that affect your skin – everyone is different, common factors to think about are your skin type (are you oily or dry?) and your location – the skin is different if you live in the country as opposed to a very busy city.

There are a variety of primers out there for different skin types. When introducing a new product to your routine it can throw your skin off balance because for the first 2 weeks the skin trys to get accustomed to the new product – we’re talking about very small changes. However,  if you go bright red, itchy and sore on the first application, I don’t think you need telling twice to put the product down, step away and get yourself a cold compress!

Smashbox Primers

Primers cost between £7 to in excess of £30 and finding the right one for you can be expensive if not done properly, so here are a few tips for the various skin types. Mature skin suits gel primers more than liquid, it’s smoother and applies better to this type of skin. Dry skin (with exfoliating and moisturising depending on how dry you are) would also benefit with gel primers because dimethicone (polydimethylsiloxane) is a silicon based polymer found in gel primers that does wonders for smoothing the skin and makes gel primers a little more gentle on the skin as opposed to liquid ones. For areas that have a rougher skin texture, gel primers could help a smoother application of foundation with less irritation. Smashbox do a wide range of primers aimed at covering most skin types.

GOSH Gel Primer

Dimethicone can also be found in other non-primer products such as anti-chaffing gels. The Monistat anti-chaffing gel was creating waves on the primer scene a couple of years ago and, when compared to gel primers like the ones from Smashbox, was a third of the cost! Whether Monistat was a surprising multi-purpose cosmetic or a placebo due to price I shall leave up to you to decide.

Monistat Anti-Chaffing Gel

Oily and acne prone skin would better suit liquid and oil free based primers. Oil free primers in liquid form settle better on oily skin rather than gel primers which can sometimes add to the shine and make-up feels like it’s sliding off. I would advise those with acne prone and sensitive skins to also go for natural, perfume-free and oil-free primers so you don’t irritate the skin. NYX HD liquid primer is a US brand similar to GOSH and MAC and available to purchase online in the UK.

NYX HD Liquid Primer

As for myself, I fall into the combination dry/oily skin type. I do use a primer when I am going out to special occasions and/or gigs but sometimes I do not use a primer on days when I’m short of time and obviously I wouldn’t use a primer on days when I do not wear make-up. If the weather is really hot or wet, I will always wear a primer as it works wonderfully to make my foundation last longer and it helps make my skin look flawless.

On the whole primers are a great investment if you love to have that flawless look everyday or even just on special occasions. Primers – like all other make-up – are not gender specific. Both men and women can use them.

What are your opinions on primers? Do you wear them daily? Do you think they are a go-to beauty product? I’d love to hear about your experiences – good or bad!

Get Cheeky With Blusher

Blusher is a less is more product, main use to give your face a bit more life and a fresher appearance, if you over-do it you will look like you’ve rolled around in your make-up bag.

You can get a variety of finishes and types of blush, from powder to cream – don’t forget to keep that blusher brush clean as you’re going over the same part of your face (possibly daily) and if you wonder why your skin breaks out it could be a need to clean your blusher brush.

You can apply blush and bronzer, mainly powder with a simple angled brush, preferably sized between a big eyeshadow brush and a powder brush, the angled brush can give you a great contoured effect on the cheek-bone because it is angled slightly and you really blend out the product neater and apply it better, I would say that an angled brush is perfect for highlighting and shading the face – you can apply down the sides of the nose, forehead, chin and cheekbones to give that (forgive me as I know it sounds ridiculous) ‘dimensional’ look.

Bronzer usually goes all over the face for a sun-kissed look, and blush is kept on the cheek-bone or apples of cheek, depending on face-shape – or your preference. Bronzer mainly comes in a shimmer finish, contouring powder comes in matte (so it doesn’t attract the light, making features thinner) and blushers come in shimmer, matte, glitter and finish, I personally think glitter blush should be kept for fun events as the glitter specs look like enlarged pores, matte blush can sometimes look chalky but can look really natural too, darker skins should make sure there’s no chalk in it so it doesn’t give a dull look on application, shimmer suits pretty much all skins – gives a glow too, powder blush comes in a wide variety of colours, from neon to the palest peach.

You can get blush in the form of a cheek-stain, these ‘stains’ are a great product they give long-lasting colour – I guess hence the name, ‘stain’, usually in blood red and shocking pink – the colour should dilute a lot when applied on the skin and definitely use sparingly! Gently apply and blend with the ring finger, try to avoid touching your face repeatedly with the applicator in the bottle, the stain works very fast so please make sure to give it a test-run if you’re new to the product. Stains usually are just applied on the apples of the cheeks. This applies really well on normal, combination and mature skins.

Creme blushers are like the happy medium between a stain and powder, it’s easier to apply than a stain but isn’t as easy to apply than a powder, this is also great for a dewy complexion and really only on the apples of the cheeks, you can slightly extend up the cheek-bone – more-so than with a stain, mainly because you have more control over application. Colours come in a slightly wider variety than the stain, and more to suit darker skin tones too, these apply really well to mature or dry skin because it’s more of an emollient than a powder blush that may go chalky.

Highlighters come in powder, liquid and creme form, and possibly other new forms I am unaware of, however, these are the ones I have used – my favorite to use is a creamy liquid, these types give the best dewy glow and fresh appearance – best applied on the cheek-bone and brow-bone. Powder high-light comes in matte and shimmer – best for the brow-bone, I would say matte highlight is best in theatre/stage conditions for areas like the cheek-bone as it’s not the most natural for day looks. Highlight usually has flesh-tone colours mixed with the ‘white’ because it comes across a lot more natural than bright white applied onto the skin.

I want to keep this as rule-free as possible and let you have a play about with the different types available, I mix and match mainly between powder blush and contouring but I do love to use stains and creme blushers, I just can’t use these kinds daily because the product builds up on my skin and just can’t ‘handle’ a daily application.

Image reproduced from avonteens.com

Lip Primers

Gwen Stefani and her coveted red lipstick

This week I will be looking at lip primers which do the same as face and eye primers. They are designed to keep colour on for longer and making colours a little more vivid. I will also go into how to make your lips appear bigger and enhance their natural shape.

To enhance the natural shape of your lips there are a few easy techniques to follow before you make a knee-jerk reaction to get botox or fillers.

Lip primers either come in liquid form or solid like a lipstick. They really need to be moisturising for the lips which is why those kinds are more successful and popular with lip primers. Application is applying a small amount to the lips and making sure it has been fully blended out, sometimes lip primers are a nude colour and the application on the lips can give a pale effect, it’s just creating a base for the colour, most are colourless on application – but is for your information. A primer would go on just before you put lip liner & lipstick/gloss on. There are a variety of things you can do to enhance your lips just before you apply the primer.

Different Lip Primers on the market

Lip plumpers can be fabulous but I feel if you were to apply everyday you would build a natural tolerance to the sensation on the lips they give, which could make you think that it’s not working as well anymore, so for best results try not to apply it daily and stick to it being between special occasions or just use it now and again. Mint is a common ingredient in plumpers giving them a minty scent. Lip plumpers get the blood ‘rushing’ to the lips which gives off that pouty plump look. The texture of lip plumpers is often a thick liquid consistency.

Lip Plumper

Another tip to help smooth out the lips and prepare them for a lip plumper would be exfoliating. Please consider if you do this daily it may cause dry, cracked lips. Exfoliate when needed as this will get rid of the dead skin cells and the exfoliating beads will improve blood circulation to the lips, creating a slight plumping effect itself.

Lip Scrub by Sara Happ

Highlighting is a great effect that will make a difference. Applying and blending concealer out around the lip-line brings out the lips and gives an illusion of making them bigger. It’s a small and very easy tip, remember to line your lips with a lip-liner if you can as a little extra make-up around the lips might make your choice of lipstick bleed. Another tip – using white eyeliner does not work in this case, I have tried and it is not cute that’s for sure!

Lip liner is a product for delicate hands. What colour you use is up to you, keep it on the lip line especially after highlighting around the lips as this will create a very defined look and enhance the natural shape of your lips. Feathering the colour into the lip from the line will help blend the colour of your lipstick and have a more seamless effect. If you’re using similar lip colours, I wouldn’t advise you to do that for dark brown lip liner and a pale lipstick.

Blistex

Matte lip colours do look beautiful in red but they can sometimes make you look dehyrated or have a chalky appearance. Adding a tiny bit of a natural lip balm can blend the lip colour where it’s needed to stop the chalky look. Glosses made from natural ingredients or SPF like Blistex are the best choice because of their qualities. Sometimes gloss is used as another layer of colour and that can really make the lipstick come off after a short period of time. Lipcote, and other products like it, do a good job of keeping lip colour on for longer but it makes the colour bleed very easily so try to use minimal amounts.

Glitter glosses can enhance the appearance of cracks in the lips and they are a hard one to pull off at the best of times. For best results, use these glosses on smooth, plump lips. If you have dry or mature skinned lips, place a lip plumper on before using glitter glosses. Primers do have a tendency to help moisturising lipsticks last longer.

Images reproduced from fashionstylebeauty.com, strictlyesthetics.ca, jaleesajaikaran.com, bellasugar.com, makeupconnection.com, product.madeinchina.com, lipexfoliator.net and eyecandybeauty.blogspot.co.uk

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