This is the first “The Secrets to Happiness & Healthiness” post out of many that will share the people and independent green businesses I have met through disguisedbyzebras.com. Since starting this blog I have connected with so many wonderful people, so many amazing creatives, independent women, natural beauty lovers, artists, vegans, writers, eco business owners, tarot card readers, craft-loving, therapists, crystal loving, organic obsessed, yogis, healthy loving people that contribute to such a positive and sustainable community that I am more than thankful to be involved in. This on-going project will show a variety of self-love mantras and tips for a health-zinged life that you gorgeous readers will be able to read and reflect on. And I can’t think of a better person to start off this blogger project than Nicki from the wonderful Wayside House!
Nicki is one of those people that I will be forever grateful to know. Nicki offers a wealth of holistic therapies. A gorgeous place nestled away in a quiet and tranquil part of Somerset. Nicki has a wealth of 25 years of holistic experience that will relieve you from your strains, tensions and ailments. Using only the finest essential oils and skincare products you will walk away feeling unbelievably relaxed. You can choose from a full body massage, a facial treatment, aromatherapy, seaweed body mask, sea salt glow, reiki, la stone, theta therapy or a hydrotherm massage (you can read more about the treatments Nicki offers here). Nicki also hosts mindfulness workshops to provide others with the resources to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and stresses of daily life.
You look amazing! What superfoods & beauty products do you swear by?
I am an avid juicer…. and my superfoods are spinach and broccoli. I snack on almonds too. My ‘naughty’ treat is Raw Chocolate! Full of antioxidants. I take Omega 3 and 6 as a supplement from Advanced Nutrition Programme which keeps any dry skin in check.
I swear by Repechage Skin Care – pure seaweed filtrate. I can’t use anything else on my skin, and I have never found anything to match it the results in facial treatments or home care. Your skin is nourished with total hydration due to the seaweed being very similar in molecular structure to body plasma. Repechage have patented the method of extraction so no other range has this quality of liquid seaweed. My favourite product of theirs is C-Serum …. I’ve used it for over 20 years. I am also am a huge fan of the original 100% pure mineral make up from Jane Iredale. It complements the skin care perfectly.
You dedicate your work towards making people feel great (which is incredible may I say). You have over 25 years worth of experience in holistic therapy, what treatments do you recommend to increase our general well-being?
Massage is always a super therapy for the mind body and soul and there are many different forms available. Aromatherapy is one of my most popular treatments for good all round wellbeing, although the La Stone therapy is rather amazing! Reiki is another holistic therapy that has a wide range of benefits, and is perfect if a therapist can use it in conjunction with other treatments such as massage.
You help transform others by using Theta Healing, tell us how this is so effective.
Theta Healing helps people break down old belief systems that are holding them back, such as a belief that you have never been good with money, or will never be happy. It’s a big subject and a very powerful way to move some imprinted thought patterns that may have been passed down genetically. It can also be used to clear negative energies that may be attached to a person, and issues such as resentment, regret and rejection.
You have recently begun hosting mindfulness workshops, what piece of advice can you give us to help us stay in the present moment?
The easiest way to be ‘In The Moment’ is to be aware of your breath.
There is much talk about mindfulness at the moment, that many people are trying to forget the past by ‘moving on’ and there needs to be a balance. Mindfulness is about being aware, not merely blocking out and moving on. Without our past we would have no story or memories. It’s important with mindfulness to understand that it should bring us back to the moment….to the breath. From that space we can choose what to do. We can learn to respond to things rather than react in a knee jerk way. Breath work is easy and can be done anywhere. It just takes 6 -8 breaths. Controlled and counted.
Thank you for your beautiful words.
Lots of love & light,
P.S. You can read more mindfulness tips on Nicki’s blog here.
I am crazy in love with Beyoncé and Jay-Z for cutting out meat and dairy as a part of a “spiritual and physical” cleanse. Bey & Jay are partnering up with 22 days of nutrition to explore the benefits of a vegan diet. 22 days of nutrition aim to break our bad eating habits by encouraging people to live a nutritious, organic, meat & dairy free lifestyle over 22 days (read what Jay-Z has to say about it below). 22 days of nutrition also sell raw, organic & vegan protein bars and powders in lots of delicious flavours; cherry chocolate bliss, nut butter buddha, daily mocha mantra & pb and chocolate chip nirvana to name a few. The bootyful couple will be eating vegan right up until Christmas Day – I wonder whether they will still want to scoff the turkey?!
Jay-Z posted about the 22 vegan challenge on his website:
Psychologists have said it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. On the 22nd day, you’ve found the way.
On December 3rd, one day before my 44th birthday I will embark on a 22 Days challenge to go completely vegan, or as I prefer to call it, plant-based!! This all began a few months back when a good friend and vegan challenged me to embrace a “plant-based breakfast” everyday. It was surprisingly easier on me than I thought…
Why now? There’s something spiritual to me about it being my 44th birthday and the serendipity behind the number of days in this challenge; 22 (2+2=4) coupled with the fact that the challenge ends on Christmas day … It just feels right!
So you can call it a spiritual and physical cleanse. I will post my progress … Any professional vegans out there that have any great food spots please help out! Please ha. I don’t know what happens after Christmas. A semi-vegan, a full plant-based diet? Or just a spiritual and physical challenge? We’ll see…
Best of luck and health!
P.S. B is also joining me.
The world megastars will encourage lots of people to eat a more whole-food and super-food based diet that is brimming with health benefits. We can only be proud that they are being role-models for positive change (unlike most celebs…but that’s another story). I wish them the best of luck & I can’t wait to hear how they find the vegan lifestyle – you never know, they might even stick with it!
Love & positive changes,
P.S. I learnt so much from eating vegan for the whole of November (you can read more about it here)
Exfoliating brightens and freshens the skin as it brushes away any dead skin cells. Even though I know this, I rarely ever exfoliate. My skin is prone to dryness so I am always anxious that exfoliating will scrub away all of my skin’s natural oils resulting in dry patches. When really, I should quit the paranoia as exfoliating is one of the best things you can do for your skin!
By exfoliating regularly, your skin will appear smoother giving you that ‘dewy’ look. Exfoliating clears your pores by reducing the amount of dead skin cells which may be causing a build up of oil under your skin which will cause the breakout of blemishes. Exfoliating promotes the growth of new skin cells which slows down the aging process and leaves your face glowing!
As everybody’s skin is different, how do we know when to exfoliate? As I was reading up about the benefits of exfoliating, I found this simple test you can do:
1. Take a piece of skicky tape and rub it onto your forehead
2. Gently remove the tape
3. If you can see pieces of dry & flaky skin on the tape then this will indicate that you need to exfoliate!
If you have oily skin then it is recommended to exfoliate around twice a week and only once a week if you have dry skin like myself. Get exfoliating and tweet me your results!
Love & soft skin,
P.S This fabulous image is from here.
Lip balm is one thing I cannot live without. My lips show the first sign of dehydration. And as soon as they start drying up; I cannot help but lick them (even though its the worst thing to cure dry lips!), slather on tons of lip balm or down lots of water. Until I started reading into lipcare, I never realised how much our lips indicate the state of our general health.
1. Swollen lips
Having swollen lips could indicate that you have an allergy. And in less common cases, the swelling of the lips could indicate the first signs of Crohn’s disease. As Crohn’s causes inflammation in the bowel, Crohn’s can also cause other lymph glands to swell.
2. Cracked lips
No matter what, I always seem to get cracked lips. Cracks in the lips can indicate a high level of blood sugar in the body. Increased blood glucose encourages the growth of candida (a type of yeast which is known to increase in the corner of your lips). Last week I was told that I have polycystic ovaries which means I have a resistance to insulin, so now I know why I always seem to have chapped lips! Sore, cracked lips can also show that you’re body is running low on iron. So make sure you’re sipping green smoothies, munching kale stuffed avocados and jam-packed spinach salads to maintain your iron levels!
3. Pale lips
Pale lips may show you have a reduced amount of oxygen in the blood. This could mean you may have low iron levels, weak lungs or have reduced cardiovascular function.
4. Chapped lips
Aswell as showing that your body’s dehydrated, chapped lips suggest that you may have a food allergy or a food intolerance which you may want to investigate further. As food intolerances may lead to being in pain, feeling sluggish, bloating, gaining weight and other symptoms that won’t make your body & well-being smile.
5. Cold sores
I will always get a cold sore when I have had a difficult few weeks with either work, personal problems or university work. Stress reduces the levels of Vitamin C in the body, which directly affects your immunity to viruses (hence the horrific cold sore!) So try to keep calm and eat well (getting cold sores can often suggest that you have a poor diet!)
If we choose to not eat healthy or live positively then it doesn’t matter about how powerful the ingredients in our luxury organic lip balms (moisturisers, body creams & body oils etc) are. In order to look good on the outside, we need to look inside. We need to pay attention to how our bodies react to different foods, be conscious of the crap we consume and be mindful of how we react our minds react to negative situations.
Love & beautiful pouts,
P.S. I stole this photo from Style Calling - I will forever be in love with red lips & white dresses.
I used to get myself into fits of uncontrollable laughter after drinking far too much Cherry Tango in my early teens. It was back when everything was loaded with artificial colours, sweeteners and god knows what (labelling wasn’t so strict then). An overload of sugar makes us feel treated, makes us giggly and makes us want to stay up all night dancing. But what must go up, must come crashing straight back down. After one too many doughnuts, haribos & coca cola our bodies begin to feel tired, irritated and sluggish. And this is just the immediate effects. Living on a constant sugar high leads to weight gain (the body stores excess carbs as fat due to insulin levels being too high), skin problems, a poorly heart, high calorie cravings, nasty PMS, high blood pressure, premature ageing (as sugar encourages your skin to thin), reduced immunity, bad teeth, diabetes, anxiety and the list goes on…
In the last couple of weeks, my sister has stopped drinking a can of red bull in the afternoons and kicked her lifetime habit of tea-with-two-sugars – which is amazing, don’t you think? But, my sister hasn’t gone completely cold turkey and deprived her sweet tooth altogether. She has been replacing her refined sugar intake with lots of yummy & healthy natural alternatives.
Stevia is a naturally sourced sugar substitute that has zero calories! You can buy stevia extract in either powder or liquid form. And it doesn’t taste like fuzzy, fizzy arteficial sweetener – my sister says it reminds her of the taste of candy floss! She has been adding 2/3 of a teaspoon of stevia to each cup of tea. Stevia is between 200-300% sweeter than sugar, meaning a little goes a long way!
Drizzle honey over cereal, fruit or stir into a hot drink. Honey is amazing for the skin and at fighting illnesses due to honey’s antibacterial & antimicrobial qualities. Ensure that you buy cold-pressed and raw honey to ensure that the honey’s retaining all of its natural goodness!
3. Agave nectar
My sister has been adding a glug (or two!) of agave nectar instead of sprinkling sugar on her wheatabix in the morning. Agave nectar is super sweet. But, unlike consuming sugar, you won’t feel the price a sugar binge. Why? Well, it contains fructose which gradually breaks down in the body, so there is no need for your body to produce an overload of insulin, therefore, no sugar crash! Agave nectar also has a low glycemic index!
4. Try adding spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla & cardamom
These flavours are incredible. And whenever I smell the aromas of cinnamon and vanilla in a hot drink, I instantly feel like I am indulging in a treat! Plus, the health benefits of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla and cardamom are endless…
Comment below or send me a tweet if you have any sugar cutting tips to share!
Love being sweet enough,
P.S. This delicious photography by Juan Diego Jnr reminds me of how good it feels to throw flour around!
I find it easy to eat a diet of clean and organic foods. That is until a friend offers me a piece of chocolate or a doughnut and I begin to dream about the sugary taste. I could eat 250g of chocolate in one sitting if I allowed myself. I just cannot resist. And I find it particularly hard when when I’m in a supermarket as I get so tempted by the chocolate and dessert isles. It would be easier to ignore them if I knew that there were healthy and organic alternatives on the next shelf (which as you know, is quite an alien concept in most supermarkets). It is only evolutionary of us all to crave for the high energy and sugary foods afterall. And this is where Scrummy Organics come to the rescue. They deliver delicious snacks that are made from specially sourced organic ingredients. They are much healthier than the fatty snacks that are marketed to us in the supermarkets. And Scrummy Organics deliver them to your door!
My box lives in my draw so I can grab a snack when I am in need of an afternoon pick-me-up at work (we all know that feeling right?) The box is bulked out with goods that will keep your natural energy high. There are nutritious seeds, nuts, dried fruit with a little bit indulgence – (Green & Black’s chocolate, incredible!!) I am enjoying having small handfuls of sunflower seeds on my break, they are packed with vitamin e, magnesium, red cell production and muscle and heart replenishing qualities. I am also in love with the flavour of the sesame bar. I passed the butter flapjack to my sister today and she enjoyed it. And the Kidz bar is super fruity too.
This organic chocolate rice crispy bar was yummy. And so was the melt in your mouth shortbread. I’m not really a fan of marzipan so I gave it to my dad as I felt he would enjoy it more. And these little boxes of raisins are so unbelievably cute, don’t you think?
As a monthly subscription you are reassured by the fact you are receiving snacks that are responsibility sourced from organic farmers who care for the environment. Get signing up for your Scrummy Organic box today, you can also get a sharing box (20+ portions) or a family box (30+ portions) if you have extra mouths to feed!
This box is packed with a minimum of 10 yummy snacks & it costs £15 per month. Make sure you use the code 1FREE25 to get 25% off your first order!
Love & organic foods,
P.S Give Scrummy Organics a follow on twitter to keep up to date with any news & offers.
♡ Follow disguisedbyzebras on bloglovin’ & on twitter.
“To keep my skin soft, flawless and wrinkle-free I have made sure I have removed all of my makeup and daily grime by cleansing my skin.” This is the answer I hear when I ask 40-60 year old friends of mine the reason why their complexion’s are so awesome. And since knowing this I have tried my best to ensure I cleanse, cleanse, cleanse, even if I am too tired to reach for my cleanser after a long day. Using a gentle cleanser that works alongside your skin’s natural oils will prevent the skin from being irritated and inflamed from skin clogging toxins from the air, the makeup we use and daily stress. By finding a cleanser that works well for your skin will help speed up your skins healing processes which will prevent aging, spots and blackheads!
Ingredients: Mango Butter (Mangifera indica L), Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter), Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot Kernel Oil), Calendula officinalis (Calendula oil), Cera flava (beeswax), Trocopherol (Vitamin E).
I swear by Jennifer Young’s skincare. Each product is effectively curated for cancer patients who are going through chemotherapy. The specially chosen ingredients are organic and free from toxins which make yourself and your skin feel gorgeous! I particularly love the Defiant Beauty Cleansing Balm. As I prepare myself for bed I smooth this balm onto my face. I leave it on for a couple of minutes before gently wiping away the days makeup and dirt with cotton wool. I leave the balm on my skin mainly as the rich luxurious products feel so good on my skin that I don’t want to wipe it off! But also as this cleanser doubles up as a nourishing face mask. The beeswax, shea and mango butter locks in moisture and helps the skins barrier fight against daily exposure to nasty toxins & dirt. The Defiant Beauty Cleansing Balm has been specially formulated with natural and organic essential oils such as peach kernel oil, calendula, st john’s wort, bergamot, lavender and tea tree oil which clear the skin from grease. The anti-bacterial properties of these essential oils leaves the skin feeling replenished and fully cleansed. The balm also smells incredible!
Tweet or comment below with your cleansing routines, I’d love to know what products you swear by!
Love, smooth skin & gorgeous scents,
P.S. Am I allowed to say Happy Christmas yet?!
♡ Follow disguisedbyzebras on bloglovin’ & on twitter.
As I started scribbling into my notepad the other day I came to realise that I hadn’t put pen to paper in weeks. And for a “writer” that is pretty poor. I have been so busy settling into my new full-time job that I have barely had the time to do anything. Well, I guess that’s not true. What I really mean is, I haven’t been able to schedule in any me time or down time to sit down on my own and relax. And I’m sure you have felt the same overwhelming feeling of busy-ness too.
1. Start taking more walks
I run two to the three days a week and this helps to clear my mind. I concentrate so hard on maintaining my pace that I sometimes lose my concentration on the world around me. Walking makes us conscious of the ground beneath our feet, the call of the birds and the air brushing past our faces. It gives us the change to slow down our thoughts in our fast-paced brains and focus on our triumphs or problems we have or may face.
2. Avoid mobile phones, laptops or television an hour or two before bedtime
I am awful for not taking time out from technology. I am on a computer all day at work, catch up with blog posts on my breaks and spend my evenings scheduling tweets, watching television and planning blog posts. And most nights I am either on my phone or laptop up until I realise that I really should be sleeping. But, when I do ignore my phone and laptop before bedtime, I feel so much better for it. Shelby Freedman, PsyD, a director of sleep-wake cycle disorders at Montefoire Medical Center suggests that we switch off at least 30 to 45 minutes before you plan to sleep. By having time out from mentally stimulating activities before sleep it will give us the chance to rewind and quieten our minds.
3. Schedule in some time to relax
We convince ourselves that there is always something that needs doing. We plan to see our families one night, catch up with a friend another, spend a couple of hours at the supermarket, juggle gym sessions in between that, maybe party on one of our days off, ensure our work or coursework is up to date and make sure we see our partners at any given chance. But, we forget that we need time to ourselves to focus on what’s going on in our inner worlds. By making a habit out of devoting time to relaxing we will find a balance in our go-go-go lives.
Love & relaxing,
P.S I’m using another Lina Aiduke photograph, I can’t stop obsessing over her work.
♡ Follow disguisedbyzebras on bloglovin’ & on twitter.
I am happy to announce that over the next 12 weeks I will be collaborating with beauty bloggers for #TheSkinProject. This project has been set up by the lovely Lianne from thebrunettesays and over the course of the project myself and other bloggers will be writing about our cleansing, exfoliating, toning and moisturising routines. We will be going into depth about the serums, eye creams, facemasks, anti-aging products and other treatments we used to keep our skin looking its best!
I have told you in my previous skincare posts that I am prone to dry skin and eczema. Up until the last year, my skin was mostly always dry and my arms were covered in patches of horrendous eczema. But now, my skin seems to be in tip-top condition apart from the occasional flare up of dry skin around my eyes, spots in my t-zone or paranoia about me getting wrinkles under my eyes. I believe that there are 3 reasons why my skin is at its best:
1. My diet
Around three or four years ago my eczema was at its worst. I used to party a lot and as a result of my ex-boyfriend being a carnivore I used to eat steak, lots of bacon and cheese at the weekends. I cringe when I look back at how unhealthy I was. But everybody makes mistakes and the best thing about making mistakes is that we learn from them. I have learnt that my meat-free diet of mostly raw, whole-foods and low-dairy food choices has worked wonders. I try to avoid hormone disrupting ingredients found in non-organic foods, dairy, meat and processed foods. By being mindful of what enters my body then it maintains hormone levels which lessens the chance of a breakout or getting patches of dry skin.
2. Using make-up and skincare products with the healthiest ingredients
Like cutting out crappy foods from our diets, we need to cut out crappy products from our skin too. For example, I have started to use apple cider vinegar to balance my skin’s pH and I use coconut oil to cleanse and moisturise. By reducing the toxins entering the skin then the better our skin will look. Start by cutting out cheap make-up removing wipes and chemical ridden moisturisers found on most supermarket shelves. Replace them by sourcing natural and organic products to help replenish your skin.
3. The pill
Most of us know that the pill can be prescribed to stop spots. But in my case, it made my dry skin and eczema worse by reducing the production of natural oils found in my skin. And since coming off the pill, my skin has never felt better. If you are on the pill and have dry or oily skin then the pill may be something to look at changing. The pill is just another example of how something so small can have a knock on effect to our skin, body processes and the way we behave.
I hope you have enjoyed the first instalment of #TheSkinProject, next sunday we will be posting about our cleansing routines so be sure to check it out!
Love and yummy skin,
P.S Keep up to date by following #TheSkinProject hashtag on twitter!
♡ Follow disguisedbyzebras on bloglovin’ & on twitter.
We like fresh starts, the excitement of a new experience and pushing ourselves to new heights. We set new years resolutions, curate to do lists and decide to detox. And Magic Monday is the chosen day where Tarot and Tea Magic will be delivering you with the fresh perspective of a tarot reading.
It started off with reading Paige’s daily card readings on instagram, then I began to follow a few other tarot loving girlies and now, I’m obsessed. For those of you who have never read anything tarot (like me not so long ago!) then you may too enjoy the way a tarot card reading causes you to reflect on your actions and make you conscious of what you should focus on.
This is the card Paige drawn for me tonight:
Your card is the Nine of Rods (aka Wands). Ohh, baby! You’ve been working hard, especially on yourself and what you put out there into the world. Sometimes that process can feel really isolating, frustrating, and overwhelming. But don’t worry – the end is in sight! You’re approaching a major crest in life. There will be time to rest, soon. Don’t give up now – you’re so close! The key to success now is avoiding an over-burden of responsibility. Know that you can keep chugging along at a pace that’s comfortable and healthy – you don’t have to sprint the remaining distance! Inside of you is a powerful fox and it knows what you need to do. Listen to yourself, trust yourself, and all will be well!
We love new beginnings.
Paige is also selling her own unique blend of Celestial Love Moonbless tea. A blend of bonafide Camellia Sinensis tea, intuitively selected herbs with a Full Moon Blessing. And a rose quartz comes with each tin of tea too!
Love & making magic,
♡ Follow disguisedbyzebras on bloglovin’ & on twitter.