“Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will — through work — bump into other possibilities that kick open other doors you would never have dreamed of if you were just sitting around looking for a great ‘art idea.’ The belief that process, in a sense, is liberating- you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day. At least for a certain period of time you can just work. If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.”
First of all yes I know, I’m late, it’s officially NOT New Year anymore.
Inspiration is the mother of everything. I’d love to be like artist Chuck Close (above), showing up to work and ‘just doing it’ but I have to be honest, ‘New Year’ didn’t start with a bang, it started with a rusty cough, perpetual sneezing and a nose that could never be truly blown. That’s right, me and my feverishly hot and cold bed-mate Bronchitis were inseparable from Boxing Day, my birthday on the 28th and right through into New Year so pardon me if ’2012 me’ wanted to tell ’2013 me’ to bugger off to the land of goop and let me lie in a bed of fermented yesterdays.
Indulge me for a minute. There’s just so much pressure to be positive, Bronchitis and I gazed incredulously over all the processed promises of new beginnings, new bodies, new skin- the pressure for a whole new you to emerge from the sofa or bed-bound wreckage of festive living- who are these people who write these things really?
WAIT- before you click away from my ‘failure to launch 2013′ sadfest, I am merely reaching out to other imperfect souls who would also like to believe in new beginnings but know deep down that happiness lies in accepting what you can’t change and having the courage to change what you can…. And that this is just perfect.
So fellow imperfect ones, I’m not going to try and encourage you to re invent yourself and ‘go-goop’ but rather, just tell you about things that have made my skin look a bit better, my body feel revived and share some stuff that’s helped me feel like getting out of the funk of cynicism and start enjoying again. And, erhm, working.
The most common issue I see regarding skin at this time of year is dehydration from central heating, and dead skin, often confused with dry skin.. Solution? Exfoliation followed by layering hydrating serums with hydrating creams (as opposed to simply rich/thick/oil-rich creams)
Daytime. I like to keep my ph balance so I simply rinse my face with warm water and apply a light moisturiser like Creme De La Mer’s Soft Cream or Skinceauticals Daily Moisturiser.
Nightime: I’ve been alternating between using mild foaming cleanser with a Clarisonic or Karin Herzog’s Mild Scrub (available online) which has been a favourite for at least 15 years- I’ve never come across anything close to this wonder product. Whilst my skin is still a little damp, I add the Eve Lom Hydrating Serum followed immediately afterwards with a hydrating cream like Creme De La Mer’s Soft Cream but this is pricey. However, brands such as Weleda are inexpensive and don’t carry the cheap carrier oils (mineral oil/petroleum) that ‘value’ brands always do. Ren and Nude Skincare are also a favourite for the same reason- no petrochemicals. I love to give my skin a boost once a week with my favourite facialist Sarah Chapman’s Overnight Facial.
I’m a sucker for scents, bring on life’s simple pleasures that’s what I say although I wouldn’t go as far as Coco Chanel who said rather vociferously in a doc I saw ‘A woman without perfume is rien’. Fragrance to me is an olfactory morning cuppa and I ain’t leaving the house without one of those.
I have a working day good girl one; Fragonard Fleur D’Orange (available at M&S Your Beauty depts) and a wishful thinking naughty night one; Tom Ford Cafe Rose.
I’ve already banged on about how crappy I felt at the beginning of the year so now I’ll share what helped me recover plus what I’ve been doing to boost my overall health.
The number one issue is being too lazy to clean the damn thing and although I wouldn’t get as goopy as to say ‘it’s a dream to clean’, my new Phillips juicer is not tedious enough to deter us mere civilians. Because I travel and like most people, don’t have a P.A. (or even better-A WIFE) I find that where there should be fresh Spinach/Kale/other perfect foods, I often find in it’s place a sad and derelict fridge. Therefore I always make sure I have some powerful powdered greens with enzymes added to help absorption. Right is my usual organic concoction; 2 carrots, I apple, loads of spinach and a lemon with an optional tblsn Green powder/Coconut Water. TIP: Using a whole lemon including the rind totally disguises any taste of sewage I promise.
I love Dr Udo’s Beyond Greens, Amazing Grass Green Superfood or Pukka’s Clean Greens or Vitalise as they come in sachets too which are great to carry in your handbag whenever you’re stuck in downtown stodge city with no sign of green life.
Like so many by Christmas, my immune system was staggering to a halt and even after bed-rest on a pre-bedsore level, my bronchitis insisted on being a particularly virulent hanger on. I did my best to kick the unwanted bugger out with Bee Prepared Max Strength Immune Support, Equinacea drops and EmergenC (available from good healthfood stores). Sambucol Black Elderberry Extract is also excellent.
Many women are on the spectrum of mild anaemia, the official diagnostic levels are very broad (if you experience inability to be able to concentrate, moderate-to intense fatigue despite plenty of rest, this could be you) plus Iron is reknowned for it’s difficulty to absorb. That’s why I love SpaTone (available at large Boots Chemists) , it is naturally sourced and unlike traditional Iron supplements, will not cause constipation. Take with Vitamin C for maximum absorption. For stress I also take Higher Nature True B Complex as the Vitamin B comes in a form most recognized by the body.
Before you zone out, let’s be very realistic here. Exercise is essential but it has to be incorporated into your life, it has to be something you enjoy, and it has to make you feel good or the whole point of it is lost. Personally, I’ve placed way too much pressure on myself in this regard, so speaking as an ex-over-exerciser, find something you enjoy but most of all-keep moving because keeping active makes you happy plus it’s free. I also find it’s best to mix it up or it becomes a routine you ‘have’ to do and no one needs more of that. I either speed walk my dog around Hyde Pk, use the a combo of the cardio equipment, weights or classes at Equinox Gym or Jivamukti Yoga London. I even invested in a cross trainer at home for when I’m stuck with a week of early starts in a studio (the most challenging time to keep on the straight & narrow!) as the combination of lack of sleep and sitting around (as many in offices know too well) makes you feel exhausted and sluggish and you are more likely to crave starch and sugar, thus encouraging the glycaemic spiral downhill.. If any of this is an issue for you and you’d like to change it, try to learn your personal triggers (and how certain foodstuffs can affect your mood and eating patterns) and create solutions that work for you.
I try to be as in sync as much as possible, and by that I mean having a healthy mind is like a having a healthy body, it doesn’t ‘just happen’, it requires intention and is quite literally ‘what you put into it’.
I was very inspired by Brene Brown’s TEDTalk on vulnerability a few years ago, I also saw and heard her talk at The School Of Life in London last year. I’ve been reading her book ‘The Gifts Of Imperfection-Let Go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are‘ during a January that began with illness and seemed to continue with a daily, grey dose of mundane must-do-right-nows (whoops I’m moaning again).
I’m as ‘British’ as the next British person regarding books that fall into the ‘self-help’ section but fortunately, a life spent in & out of the USA taught me to that there is pragmatism in being open, change cannot happen without it. Brene is a brilliant academic with a progressive heart and I, for one, can learn from her.
If, like nutrition and exercise we are what we put into it then what about our minds, can we have intentions about what we choose to put into that? Naturally we all have different tastes and interests, but surely we’re happier when we are truly inspired than when we’re mindlessly being entertained by the shortcomings of others and commune in our ability to judge them? I see the echo of this on my twitter feed and I often wonder how conscious people are of buying into entertainment via humiliation. It’s such an easy thing to slide into, it’s what everyone else is doing, it’s an actual community. And we all want to belong but in this regard, I’d say laughs had at the expense of someone’s humiliation is….well I know how it makes me feel.
I truly love watching telly but I’ve not watched anything terrestrial (except for Obama’s inauguration and the Olympics OBVS) for 4 years. I-Tunes and Apple TV means we can all cherry pick our favourite dramas, films and documentaries minus the stuff that for me is Kulturally Korrosive and becomes ‘normal’ if you keep digesting it- just as the Stocks (above) did once upon a time. This way I can remain horrified (haha) and avoid the crass flogging from processed food corporations and other misleads.
Click this link to TEDTALKS! The cleverest people in the world with brilliant ideas about changing the world and everything, all in accessible language.
I’m not high brow, I loove Greys Anatomy, When Harry Met Sally is probably my favourite film and I like listening to Foreigner and Chicago in the car whilst singing along so there.
Though I do see it all as a type of consumption, some of it makes you feel good, some doesn’t because it isn’t really feeding you at all… There are so many wonderful things to absorb in life: good company, good food, art and environment- just for the heck of it- why not absorb the best you can and see what happens? Okay I’m rambling to myself. Now I’m ready 2013.
There are links on most of the above if stockist is not mentioned.
Chuck Close quote taken from an article by Maria Popova on her excellent site BrainPickings twitter @brainpickings
All art images Chuck Close