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

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!

Managing Your Stress at Work

According to a 2008, 12 year study of 10,308 London-based civil servants, chronic work stress was found to increase the risk of Coronary Heat Disease by 68% and is higher in employees under 50 years of age. This study also found that work stress was also associated with further poor health behaviours that could compound the risk. Coronary Heart Disease is one of many medical symptoms that is compounded by stress.

During over 13 years of nursing I saw many things. During this time I became increasingly interested in the psychological aspects of illness. For the last 6 years of my nursing life I would always ask my patients the same question, “Have you been experiencing more stress than usual lately?”

The answer was always, “yes.”

There were two main areas in the lives of my patients that continually contributed to patients presenting with strokes and heart attacks; relationship problems and work-related stress. Both of these were big indicators of people who are at risk of more serious illnesses developing.

Let us look at why.

Stress causes our body to go into fight or flight mode. Blood to our non-essential organs is diverted to your muscles and brain, which is why stress can cause indigestion and contribute to weight gain. Your body is also flooded with adrenaline, which is why sleeplessness is common in those with higher than average stress levels. You are also filled with energy, causing your blood pressure to rise and your heart to beat faster, which is why hypertension is common in those who have stressful lives.

This response literally prepares you to either run or fight for your life.

Because office-based jobs that are stressful involve you having to deal with these surges of energy, without giving you a chance to offload the symptoms, it can literally leave you wanting to put your foot or fist through a computer screen. This is because you are prepared to fight for your life.

What can cause this?

The danger of stress is that your brain has not learned to distinguish between a real and perceived threat. Consequently, a dismissive or critical comment from your boss or a work colleague can put you into fight or flight. Clearly, your life is not in immediate danger but your body is preparing you as though it is. Just by thinking about the same criticism, slight on your character or threat can literally have you preparing to fight for your life, repeatedly several times a day.

With the current recession causing pay cuts and redundancies, it is likely that many employees are living on a knife-edge as they fear for not being able to work, pay bills or even feed their families. Constant worry about such issues has the same affect on your body as living in the jungle and seeing lions arriving to feast on your family.

What can you do to reduce your stress at work?

When you find yourself experiencing symptoms of fight or flight then it’s time to focus on your breathing. Deeper breathing is one of the fastest and most effective ways to reverse your body’s stress response. Also, tell yourself “I am safe.”

This may sound ridiculous but your body is preparing you to fend for your life. By repeating the message that you are safe and making a conscious effort to deepen your breathing, you are putting yourself on the fast-track to a more relaxed day at work.

Something to think about.

Ultimately, unmanaged stress will kill you early and then you will not be able to earn money, spend time with your family or enjoy the wonders that life can bring. If you are spending your time focusing on stressful things and the above technique does not appear to be helping then get help. Most people who get ill and die early are those who did not ask for help until it was too late. There are plenty of free tips, resources and easy to use alternatives available to you but you will need to invest a little time in learning them.

You can find such tools at my website http://www.adamshaw.co/

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

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.

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.

Image reproduced from http://socialbuzz.typepad.com

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.

Stress Management, Obesity and Hypertension and How They All Relate

Watch a video by Adam Shaw about: Stress Management, Obesity and Hypertension and How They All Relate.

In 19 years as a health and well-being professional there has been one common link in all illness. In this video I explain…

– the link between stress, hypertension and obesity
– how stress works and its effect on your body
– how you can manage your stress more effectively

Free Hugs – a Fast Way to Feeling Good

“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Virginia Satir

It has taken me many years to simplify the potentially complex subject of wellbeing or wellness. Years of study have taught me some incredible and esoteric things that are infinitely complicated to the curious, western mind.

Study of medicine, energy, meditation, yoga, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), Time-Line Therapy, Hypnotherapy, to name but a few, have given me some varied techniques and perspectives along the way. However, keeping the sustained feeling of change and positivity is something that had been illusive throughout this journey.

How is it possible to get so many breakthroughs intellectually and not translate them into sustained action afterwards?

For the past few months I have been giving out free hugs in London, with a few dedicated friends. On occasions I have woken up and not really felt in the mood to face the unpredictable moods of the general public. Each free hugs session will provoke just about every sort of emotional response possible. I have seen people get angry, hostile, insulting, rude and dismissive, each time I have gone into London free-hugging. This is part of the reason that it is so magical.

The contrast in perspectives just make the interactions of those who do understand that hugging feels good all the better. Feeling good is the only thing that matters in health and wellbeing. It is not what you do – but how you feel about it that matters.

For many years I have questioned myself as a wellbeing role model.

“Do I have the healthiest diet possible?” No. I am prone to eating and drinking things that would not be considered healthy by purists. Though I enjoy what I eat.

“Do I have the healthiest exercise routine?” No. I sometimes have a lapse in my routine. But I always go back to it.

“Do I have the healthiest lifestyle?” No. I am human and have what many would consider flaws in the way I live. Yet I have stories and memories that make me smile every time I think about them as a result of these quirks in my character.

There will always be people who are better at certain areas of health and wellbeing than I am. There will also be those who sit in judgement of how I live my life.

However, ask different questions like, “Do I know how to feel good, instantly?” Yes – Everytime.

“Do I know how to be kind to myself, even when others are not?” Yes – Everything in life is a test of my congruence to my current path.

“Do I know that hugging random people feels fantastic?” Yes – Because I do it regularly.

As human beings we need to connect, we need to have physical contact and we need to FEEL GOOD. Every time I go out hugging there are always enough people who experience amazing shifts in the way they feel – instantly. These are the memories I take from each free hugs session that I do.

We were even passed by a large group of people who were hugging policemen! It was a most interesting experience – and great fun as they queued up to hug us.

Forget the research, forget the complex systems of wellbeing and alternative therapy and forget the judgements of others. The fast track to health and wellbeing is feeling good and the fastest way to do that is to spend a day giving out free hugs. It will make you smile and change your mood and your life – forever.

Please feel free to join the group and maybe join us the next time to share the feel-good vibe.

Image reproduced from www.sparadra.fr

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

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

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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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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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Eyeliners

Mariska Veres wearing eyeliner to great effect

Eyeliners are one of those products that can complete or completely ruin a make-up look. They are available in such a wide range of types and styles – it’s a product worth experimenting with, anyone can wear them, I would say the only market not suited for them would be children.

Glitter eyeliners usually come in ‘different colours’ – this is actually what fools a lot of people, the base of most glitter liners is actually clear and the glitter has the pigment. What gives you the best colour pay off would be to apply it over a coloured eyeliner or eyeshadow and layer the product if you can. Urban Decay did make great thick glitter liners, however, they now test on animals so I’m on a new product search. Barry M also do great glitter eyeliners – the glitter is smaller in their tubes.

Urban Decay Glitter Eyeliners

Colour liquid liners are a fun, funky and fab product. They can be used to make the eyes pop or really going OTT. Usually the consistency is a thick liquid and is often quite difficult to remove – which is great in terms of staying power but if you make a mistake it might mess up your look, so keep the eyes closed for a few minutes after application so it doesn’t print on the eye lid.

Liquid eyeliners for ‘everyday’ use (black or brown) are made by possibly every make-up company out there and must be one of the most used make-up products ever! The brushes can range from foam tip to a brush but the best kind to use for most control would be a firm short foam tip or brush simply because with a longer brush you don’t have the same amount of control and it’s more likely for the brush to go all over the place.

Kohl pencil eyeliners (also known as Kajal) have a little longer staying power than the average black eyeliners. Some people in the Western world have concerns about it because of its lead content but Kohl pencils in the UK do not contain lead. If you purchase a kajal pencil from overseas it might contain lead, I have some from Pakistan and they are absolutely fine for me. This type is used a lot by males, and is most popular in the East and usage dates back to 3100 BC when one of its uses were as a protectant – either from the sun or the ‘evil eye’, rather than as a cosmetic item.

Stila Smudge Pot Gel Eyeliner

Gel liners are a great product if you have a steady hand. You apply the gel eye liner with a very dense angled short-haired brush, this gives you the most control. They don’t yet come in every colour under the sun but this is the most ideal product for black eye liner as it lasts a very long time, doesn’t smudge easily and has more control on application, it is also a little easier to remove if you make a mistake as opposed to using a thick liquid black eyeliner. Also like the coloured liquid eyeliners, you should ideally leave your eye closed to wait for it to dry otherwise it will print and smudge, and it is always harder to remove those mistakes, and just saves time to allow it to dry.

Pencil eyeliners were once the popular choice. I remember being at school and the girls solely using pencil. These are great to line the rim of the eyes. Use white or a pale flesh tone to open the eyes and make them look bigger or use black for the smouldering smokey look. These are also available in a wide range of colours but I feel if you want the best colour pay-off and longer wear you should use the liquid ones and stick to using pencil liners for the common colours like black, white and greys as I think it’s better to invest in really good coloured liquid eye-liners. I personally find that pencil colours are not as strong and do not last even half as long as liquid colour eyeliner.

I use all kinds of eyeliners and love to experiment with each type however I mainly use the gel eyeliners at the moment because they really last a lot longer and I can do detailed flicks better with these kinds.

Images reproduced from galanisrock-diaries.blogspot.com, temptalia.com and shopchicks.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!

Powder Power

Cosmetic powders are a classic item that has been in many a make-up collection for hundreds of years and through the years and with cosmetic science there’s now lots of different varieties available (and not containing lead anymore!) It is the cosmetic that can give you an over-all matte finish or a dewy glow. Some people can’t live without, some are indifferent and some don’t use it at all. The uses of powder are quite extensive, the main uses are to set foundation and concealer and mattify the skin and take away shine – a definite use in the media TV and film industry, other uses are cover-up, highlight, contour, dewy are just a few to name some of them. I have previously talked about highlighting and contouring so check my other articles out for that information.

Anyone can wear powder, unless you have an allergy to it, for darker skin the setting ‘translucent’ powder can look dull and ghostly on the skin I believe this is because of the clay ingredient in most white based translucent powders. Translucent powder is used to set make-up, it is applied over foundation and concealer to set the make-up, and also over creme blushers (applying over powder can make it hard to blend out and look cakey.) You can purchase mineral compact powders to give the face a healthy glow and a pearlescent look, the compacts are really beautiful as well as the effect it gives on application – if you apply this all over the face you may look very shiny so perhaps apply it where the light would naturally hit for that beautiful radiant glow.

Powders can also be used as a foundation, the options available in this variety are or creme-to-powder, heavy coverage and light coverage. The sheer cover range are probably the most popular for cover-up as a powder foundation, it’s use is to give the skin a flawless look and to hide any blemishes, popular with those that have scars or birthmarks, however, everyone can use this product and the form of this range is mainly loose powder. The other foundations that are compact ones are the creme-to-powder range, it is basically a creme foundation but has a powder finish. Foundations that are solely just powder give a light coverage, and a brush is needed to apply this type of foundation.

Take into consideration, if you steer clear of powders and powder foundations because it breaks you out, see what the factors affecting you other than the product itself, if the powder comes with a sponge applicator – you must clean it daily if you use it daily as the bacteria will absorb into the sponge and because it’s a sponge it’s even more prone to absorb and hold into it, so every time you re-apply with a dirty one it’s putting that bacteria back onto the face and back into the product. You can use a powder-puff, sponge or brush – just remember to keep your applicator of choice clean.

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Beauty Tips for Shaping Eyebrows

The eyebrows are what frame the face and to shape them ‘correctly’ gives your face a little more pizazz, I am a huge lover of shaping eyebrows and filling them in and a firm believer of doing your own thing, so if you want Gothic mehndi style eyebrows or ‘scouse brows then go for it, I’m here to talk you through the products that are available to experiment with those brows!

First of all when it comes to shaping them you need to pluck them first, remove make-up and pop witch hazel on and wipe off to remove any oils and the plucking can almost begin, if you want the best from your natural shape then place the tweezers in a straight line aligned with the side of the nose, mark where it is on the brow (side of the tweezer that is closest to the brow) and that’s where they should start, then angle the tweezers in a 45 degree angle with the end positioned still against the nose, that is where the brow should stop, and then for the arch of the brow angle the tweezers or pencil another 45 degrees between the last angle, that is where the arch should start. You can also highlight the shape you want by using a white eyeliner as a guide, so you know where to pluck/thread. If you prefer to wax the lot off and draw them in then use that same method, or if you want avant-garde brows then experiment away.

Some people opt to have eye brows the same colour as their hair and seeing as brow pencils only come in natural colours it leaves the un-natural colours to use a replacement, that can be eye-shadow or eye-liner, when using eye-shadow you make it damp so it applies easier and doesn’t create a fall-out all around the eye brow area, you basically have more control over it when it’s damp, pencil eye-liners have a tendency to not be as long lasting as the eye-shadow technique and rub off a lot easier and have a slightly shiny appearance – try to set the pencil eye liner with powder if you have no eyebrow hairs and have solely used pencil.

Eyebrow pencils come in natural shades, there’s most variety in these kinds to suit natural tones, easiest application out of them all just sharpen and apply, when applying you apply from the bottom of the eyebrow and flick up gently for a less harsh block-brow look, making the pencil brows last longer and harder to smudge, apply a clear mascara over the top.

Eyebrow powder is a lot like the eye shadow, but it’s usually formulated to be water resistant and smudge proof, comes in a wide variety of natural colours and able to mix and match to your desired coloured a lot easier. The Urban Decay powder comes with a brow wax to hold the brows in place.

Eyebrow gel is a longer lasting than the pencil, it ‘stains’ the skin more and doesn’t rub off as much onto clothes or smudge easily, these are possibly the most expensive product for filling in and shaping eyebrows, and the downside is that they come in a smaller variety of colours, often sold in trios available in blonde, brunette and auburn. When applying with gel or shadow you use a firm angled short-haired brush, and apply on the underneath of the eyebrow and flick up for a hair look-a-like application and a natural finish, it is optional to use clear mascara over all types of these products but it does help a lot.

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False Eyelashes: Fake It To Make It

False eyelashes is like clothing for the eyes it can enhance and widen the eyes so much, but if worn incorrectly or too many pairs will be extremely bold and a little OTT.

Strip eyelashes are the ones that are, well, the strip kind and these are the most commonly used false eyelash product, and surprisingly come in so many different varieties from natural to disco-fever, and when I say that I mean I own a few pairs of gold falsies! Always feel free to experiment and have a gander at what’s around, if you really look around – chances are you will find what you’re looking for. Prices of these can range from £1.99 – £10.00+ and my advice is if you’re looking for a standard natural pair, try looking at drug-store (Superdrug or Boots) brands (collection 2000 etc.) as they usually do their own and it’s a lot cheaper! Also look out for deals, usually you can collect bargains on eccentric styled lashes because they are harder to sell!

Individual lashes are more a product that’s used for weddings and special occasions, probably due to the time and effort to apply, not to mention that super strong adhesive you need! They are used loads by beauticians, and is one thing we trained with whilst doing beauty therapy. These come in the bog-standard naturals and vary in shape – small, medium and large so you can apply all around the eye effectively. These do give a much more of a natural look and are a closer alternative to eye-lash extensions.

Eyelash extensions are a cosmetic procedure made to last for a longer period of time than that of the other types, they can last up to months! They are a time-consuming process that must be applied by a professional, it is your choice where to get these procedures done but please take into consideration that one case went to a non-professional in a shopping centre and they used super-glue which almost blinded the client and they had to have their lashes cut off! Not ideal just before a wedding. The eye-lash extensions are a fabulous go-to for holidays or just if you want a break from all that curling and mascara applying, this is something I would love to try one-day as I think it looks stunning!

With false eyelashes, strip and individual, you can curl and I would advise you to apply mascara to blend the natural lashes with the false for a more natural look, clear, brown or black mascara is your choice for whatever type you have on! The lash adhesive available is also quite mixed, I love ones where you can apply to the lash with a tiny brush (remember to keep products like this clean and what your applying to clean) my reason for this is that’s the main style I’ve used for years and I like the control, the one I currently use a lot is the latex-free lash glue by DUO, it dries clear and also makes my life a lot easier if anyone was to have a latex-allergy! To test if you have one do a patch test on the bend of the arm or behind the ear and wait up to 24hrs, a reaction will usually be instant.

There are also lash glues in tube form and that’s the most common I find, just remember to squeeze the tube very lightly as it comes out quite quick! Some lash glues are black so match the eye-liner and to make application ‘easier’, I have not actually ever used this type but I hear it is effective. Try to avoid the little applicators that come with the eyelashes because they are a bit pants, sometimes they’re okay but it is easier for you to purchase a separate adhesive.

For individual lashes you usually use a stronger glue, this is so the tiny delicate few lashes will stay on better, this glue isn’t good to use for strip lashes, as it’s a strong glue in larger amounts will make the eyes water, and you don’t want to ruin that make-up! Remember if you get any in your eyes – remove immediately!

Image reproduced from capitalhairandbeauty.co.uk, gigibeauty.com, eyelashextensionshq.com and pauls-hair-world.co.uk

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