Why it’s okay to not be okay!

14th March 2018 / Katy Moore

As I’ve grown older and had the opportunity to speak with people from 
many walks of life, the more I realise just how prevalent anxiety in our current society is, wherever you live in the world.

Although in my experience it can certainly decrease if you move from the busy and frantic concrete jungle city of London, to a calmer and more outdoorsy way of life in Sydney, however, it’s still something that can still bubble up from within. Not even a sunnier climate and sandy beach can cure it totally, unfortunately.

I guess it comes as no surprise that although technologically we’ve advanced dramatically in the last few years, our biological make-up hasn’t necessarily caught up and the ‘fight or flight’ mode remains strong, even if it comes in different forms now.

Anxiety and mental health is still a taboo subject, maybe it’s time we all started talking about it a bit more?

I know now what exacerbates my anxiety, but even when I write it down in black and white it seems so inconsequential; namely lack of sleep and those
 dreaded hungover blues, which I’m sure many experience but for me they can feel quite extreme.

Externally the triggers may seem small, but the feeling can be quite overwhelming and hard to rationalise. The best way I can describe my anxiety is a rising feeling in the pit of my gut, a shortness of breath and feeling tense all over with a particular tightness in my
head. It’s a feeling that jilts my normal secure stand point and makes me feel out of control.

Perhaps, I’ve made a mistake a work, or maybe I think I’ve said something hurtful to a friend, or felt like I just had a few too many drinks over the weekend and it suddenly takes a grip, like an iron fist
 clamping my brain and all of a sudden I feel paralysed, and the worry of
the original worry becomes bigger.

Then, the forecasting to the future begins and I think of all the things that could now unravel and start to go wrong. A bit like a nightmarish domino effect, and the worst part is that when it takes a hold it can really hit my self-esteem. I’d say I’m a pretty strong individual but it’s as if I lose perspective on the bigger picture and become blinkered
to the microscopic detail of the worry, which then spawn into worries, plural.

It makes me feel on edge, and un-nerved, out of control. Out of ‘control’ is a key word for me because I’m a perfectionist. I don’t think I’m alone either. In a society in which social media often portrays everyone else’s life as ‘perfect’, even if we all know pictures never
tell the full story, if you feel your own life is crumbling, it’s hard to keep it together! 
In a city full of millions, you can suddenly feel alone.

So what do I do to combat?



I try and sit with the feeling as I feel it rising up, which was really hard and uncomfortable at
first but has become easier over time. It’s like the experience of 
having a really bad physical pain but realising the fighting against is actually makes it worse.
There’s something about embracing the anxiety, an acceptance which has a kind of peace to it. Like being sucked under a wave and instead of thrashing helplessly, giving into it and just learning to float, going with the sensation of being swirled around without a clear idea of when you’ll come up for air but putting
your trust in yourself that
you will, eventually. Maybe I’ve lived in Australia too long, but the ocean analogy just seems to work!

Finding the things that pull my attention away from the anxious thoughts
and into something physical, like the gym, works well for me too. Often people give credit to exercise helping to decrease anxiety and it couldn’t ring truer for me! When I feel my body and muscles working and becoming stronger, I start to feel more in control of my mind and my wondering thoughts.

Maybe most importantly though it’s about being honest with myself, allowing myself to feel okay that I’m not okay. In a world where there is a lot of pressure to be consistently strong and ‘winning at life’, it’s a relief to admit vulnerability, which by the way, doesn’t equate to weakness.

After all, happiness is a temporary emotion, not a promised constant, and our life is to be lived within the whole spectrum of emotions. Striving always to be happy surely leads to unhappiness and more anxiety! Perhaps the key is not to strive for happiness, but a deeper sense of inner contentedness. So, whatever wave of emotion comes over you, underneath there is a calm to help anchor you, a peace inside, which is all yours and nothing can affect that space.

Anxiety is not something to easily dispel from life, but for me aiming to be more at one with it, knowing it’s just a thread, a part of my make-up, but only a facet, and certainly not the defining feature, makes it okay to feel not okay sometimes.

Maybe we need to start admitting this more to each other too, because behind some of those perfect social media smiles there might be someone else feeling not all that okay underneath the filter either.

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Smells that ring bells: why do scents bring back memories?

22nd October 2017 / Gabriela Czwarnos 

Whenever I pass a man on the street who is wearing the 90s classic, CK Obsession aftershave, my mind flashes back to my very first boyfriend. A whiff of freshly baked doughnuts and I am instantly transported to my grandma’s flat, where we used to eat warm, rose jam doughnuts on Sundays. Everyone has certain scents that take them back in time, proving there’s a strong connection between smells, emotions, and memories.

For some reason, smells can trigger memories faster than words, pictures or even sounds. Dr Becky Spelman, a psychologist at Private Therapy Clinic says, “as babies, we come into this world with blurry vision, poor coordination, and an inability to interpret the sounds we hear around us. We are guided to our mother’s breast through the sense of smell, which is perhaps the most fundamental of all our senses. As we grow and develop we learn how to speak, listen and gain an understanding of the world through touch, sight, and hearing. Our sense of smell seems to become less important, and yet, smell more than anything can evoke a memory and a strong emotional response as it’s linked to our instincts and the days when we relied on our mothers for everything”.

According to scientists, smells go into the emotional and memory part of the brain, whilst words go into thinking part. This could explain why memories brought back by smells feel nostalgic rather than specific and detailed.

Dr Spelman adds, “our memories tend to hook highly emotional moments onto smells which can trigger all of those feelings whenever they are encountered. These strong experiences will meld with their associated scents, and every time you encounter those scents, you will be assailed with memories”.

What smells trigger memories the most?

So how can we trigger the greatest memories from the past? Is there just one unique fragrance or smell?  Nick Gilbert, fragrance expert at Olfiction says, “every single person is different, with their own scent associations based on their own experiences and memories. So it’s not that any particular notes tend to be more impactful to the majority of us”.

However, there are smells that most of us will associate with our happy childhood. Erica Moore, fragrance evaluator at Fragrances Of The World explains, “certainly, we can generalise that the smell of vanilla, for example, which is most commonly associated with baking, cooking and sweet food such as chocolate will provide positive scent memories.  Cut grass, coffee, fairy floss (or sugar) and wood-smoke are also notes that rate highly as preferred scents.  Perfumers and marketers often weave these notes into fragrances to appeal to happy childhood”.

Lots of us have strong relationships with older, classic fragrances just because our parents or grandparents wore them. “Children from the 60’s may recall their parents smelling like patchouli, 70s children may have a similar experience with fragrances such as Charlie and 80s children will no doubt smell Opium or Lou Lou from the next suburb”, says Moore.

There is no doubt, smell associations are really powerful. “When I used to sell perfume, a lady came into the store and sprayed Youth Dew onto a card and almost instantly burst into tears. I just gave her a big hug and let her cry, and eventually, she told me her mother used to wear it and she had died a few weeks ago” says Nick.

Memory-triggering perfumes

 

39Jo Malone, Blackberry and Bay Cologne – £44

40

Chanel Cristalle EDP – £57 

41Guerlain Herba Fresca EDT – £39.49

42YSL Black Coffee Opium EDP – £50 

43LA Fumee, Miller Harris EDP – £105 

 

Gabs

 

 

 

Sleeping beauty: products that work while you sleep

20th October 2017 / Gabriela Czwarnos

We all need sleep to re-energize ourselves, but 8-hour ‘beauty’ sleep is also important to restore skin. Nothing screams ‘another sleepless night’ more than dark circles and a tired, dull complexion.

‘When you sleep, your body goes into repair mode. It allows your skin to restore and rebalance itself. Levels of adrenaline drop and the body will start to produce the growth hormone – this is when the repair and growth processes kick in’, says leading Oculoplastic Surgeon and Aesthetic Doctor, Maryam Zamani.

You might be finally switching off and getting ready to sleep but your skin is just waking up: it’s time for a cell renewal and regeneration! That’s why this is also the best moment to give it all support it needs to recharge. With this in mind, we’ve chosen our top 5 overnight skincare products which all work their magic once the lights go down…

Multi-Action Overnight Treatment, Perricone MD, £89 – available here

Best for: nourishing

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In this rich, creamy treatment Perricone MD has combined his most patented sciences with natural ingredients. Alpha Lipoic Acid minimizes skin’s visible imperfections, including fine lines, wrinkles and enlarged pores, while improving skin texture. Added coconut oil and squalane (derived from olives) help to nourish and fortify the skin’s lipid barrier, while copper, magnesium and zinc energise your skin.

DREAMDUO Overnight Transforming Treatment, GLAMGLOW, £42 – available here

Best for: plumping

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This two-step overnight treatment is packed with plumping ingredients so you can wake up, looking fresh and glowy. Green Coffee provides an instant hydrating recharge that reduces the appearance of fine lines and charges the skin with essential vitamins while Hyaluronic Acid and Green Algae provide intense hydration during your dream cycle. Your two steps to that red-carpet-ready complexion.

Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream, Dr Dennis Gross, £59 – available here

Best for: smoothing

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The eye area is where you can first see the signs of ageing as well as effects of sleepless nights. This little gem contains ferulic acid ( a potent antioxidant) and retinol that re-texture skin for a firmer-looking skin while also improving the look of dark circles, fine lines, and sagging.

Radiance & Renewal Mask, MZ Skin, £110 – available here

Best for: brightening

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Created by Dr Maryam Zamani, this refining mask instantly brightens dull and tired-looking skin, smooths lines and target pigmentation. A 10% concentrate fruit acid complex stimulates cell turnover, refines pores and helps to eliminate pigmentation to brighten and restore luminosity. Thanks to its subtle smell and luminous texture you can now transform your bathroom into the most luxurious SPA, every night.

Advanced Night Repair Intensive Recovery Ampoules, Estee Lauder, £86 – available here

Best for: calming

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Tiny capsules, huge results! This powerful recovery concentrate calms the look of irritated, stressed skin and strengthens its barrier thanks to ChronoluxAI technology. Its rich formula based on plant oils and antioxidant-rich plant extracts are ideal for those with dry and thin skin. The Advanced Night Repair range has been around since the eighties and it’s still one of the best-selling overnight treatments out there. That says it all!

Gabs

 

 

 

 

Words of wisdom on why turning 30 is seriously fabulous

28th September 2017 / Gabriela Czwarnos

It’s funny how everyone has a different opinion about turning 30. For teenagers, the big 3-0 simply means ‘old’. In their heads, by that age, people have everything figured out: career, relationship and a big house with a garden and dog. It seems so far away, they can’t imagine it happening to them. For those in their 20s, turning 30 is a bloody scary moment: no more sleepless nights and 2-day parties, spending your wages on 3 pairs of shoes and surviving on super noodles, no more trying to get through days in the office on horrendous hangovers. It feels like a cut-off point in life. ‘By the time I am 30…’, everyone keeps promising, what will they finally achieve and who will they finally become.

By the time you are 29, the fear of ageing is so real that you will desperately try to hold on to your 20s by doing things that every 22-year old would be proud of. New tattoo? Tick! Purple hair? Why not! Quit your ‘adult’ job and go travelling? Yolo! You’ll probably find yourself dating someone who is too young to remember what a Walkman looks like? Damn you super hot 25-year-olds…

So, is it really that terrible? Should we cry into our birthday champagne flute? We’ve asked 8 amazing women to tell us what happens after the clock strikes. And, thank god, it sounds pretty damn promising! Maybe life does begin after 30…

“Don’t be afraid of change. Embrace it. Every time I have made a big scary decision and taken a risk to change something, it has been for the better. Even if not immediately.Gemma Harris

Change is good. Trust the magic of beginnings. The fact you aren’t where you want to be should be enough motivation. Leave the comfort zone – there are far better things ahead”. Gemma Harris, co-owner of Lineup Media

“You will become more confident with each birthday. By the time you hit your forties, you’ll genuinely stop caring about wanting to fit in, pleasing others (but not yourself) or what other people think about you. You will never feel so liberated”. Busola, journalist. 

“The thirties is when you find your true love, excel in your career, move into your dream home and have a beautiful baby. What is not to like? It’s a decade when everything comes together and all struggles in your twenties finally cease and it all starts to make sense. Enjoy entering the most exciting decade of your life”. Emma, Founder of EBWPR.

“Don’t settle, and don’t worry about it. Focus on self-love and everything will work out in the end. In words of Steve Jobs, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards”. Joules, PA.

“This is your prime time – you are in control of your life and make the most of it. Use this power to make better choices for your health, career, love life — anything you want. Walk away from anything that upsets you, bad habits, companions or situations”. Sylvia, mum of 3.

“Embrace it – you will know your worth and you will find out what is it that you actually want from life. You will finally stop worrying what others will say or think about you. Make the most it”. Anna, dentist.

You will see life in a new light! There wasn’t a lot that I understood about myself until I hit my thirties – true story. Natasha, Beauty PR

There was no magical and sudden change, but throughout this decade I’ve found myself relating to my nearest & dearest, the world, my possessions, my passions and ME in a completely different way. Your inner world will become richer, life will make more sense, and you’ll be surer of who you are, what you want… You’ll experience a gorgeous clarity and purpose that will continue to grow as you age – exciting! Natasha, Beauty PR

Oh, go on then, bring on my thirties, I don’t like odd numbers anyway…

Gabs