Making it Up?

It would be wonderful if all women in the world had the confidence in themselves to go every day without any make-up but, until that day comes,…..

Is there any such thing as ‘natural beauty’? Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so they say, and what is attractive to one person will not necessarily be attractive to another. Women are lucky because they have the opportunity to use make-up to disguise their flaws or, more accurately, what they see as flaws. Using make-up to feel better about yourself, more confident is great but to use it to try and be beautiful for someone else is a bit of a waste of time because of the laws of attraction. Older women often use make-up as a disguise to try and recapture what they see as their ‘lost’ youth but is it really effective?

In these two pictures of Nicole Kidman, a truly beautiful woman, we can see how make-up can change our appearance. In the first picture the make-up is soft with colours blended perfectly, not applied to try and make the actress look younger but to enhance her natural beauty. In the second picture, the colours used are harsh and separate from each other leaving poor Ms Kidman looking a bit clown like and definitely older than her years.

Unfortunately many of us stick to the make-up habits we have acquired over the years and, as a result, we may be doing ourselves a disservice. Our faces change as we get older and so what we need to enhance and what we need to disguise will change as well. Many of us used make-up, when we were teenagers, to try and look older and more was definitely better – heavy foundation covering our pimples and heavy eye make-up to try and create and air of sophistication and mystery. Once you are into your 40’s and 50’s heavy foundation will settle into the lines on your face making you look much older than your years and heavy eye make-up will enhance crows feet and can make hooded eyes look far worse.

Try using a tinted moisturiser rather than a foundation; the coverage will not be quite as good but your skin is being moisturised, the product won’t settle into the lines on your face, it will give a healthy glow rather than acting as a mask and you won’t need to worry about applying it perfectly as you do with foundation so it will save you time too! As the products are moisturiser based they also contain anti-oxidants which help to fight free radical damage which leads to signs of aging. You may decide to use foundation for an evening out where there will be no natural light but for every day a tinted moisturiser is definitely the way to go for a healthy, dewy look.

This make-up tutorial shows how to make hood eyes appear wider and less sunken. The skin on our eyelids and around our eyes is very delicate and, over time, it will become wrinkled and will start to sag making us look older than we really are. Cosmetic surgery is always an option but it’s painful and expensive so why not get good with a make-up brush and see what a difference you can make.

As we get older black is bad; black eyeliner, black mascara etc etc. will not make us look any younger, they will just look harsh and make our eyes look over done. Stick to subtle, neutral shades which blend well together.

It’s also worth asking an expert. We don’t mean spending an hour on a stool at a cosmetics counter in a department store necessarily as, in this environment, you often feel pressured into buying things that you don’t really want but it is definitely worth getting an objective opinion. We are often very critical of ourselves and don’t really see our faces as other people do therefore it’s difficult to know what to enhance and what to disguise – what we think of as a flaw others may see as the thing that really brings character to our face.

Try a consultation with a make-up artist, yes it may be expensive, but a trained professional may be able to help you really make the best of your features and will teach you how to apply make up properly.

It would be wonderful if all women in the world had the confidence in themselves to go every day without any make-up but, until that day comes, find the products that work best for you and take the time to learn how to apply them properly. Also bear in mind that pretty much everyone looks better when they smile!



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Don’t Panic

Your mind has taken you from sitting on the plane to it crashing within the space of a few minutes and that’s before you’ve even set foot on the damn thing!

Have you ever had a niggly little pain in your back or your neck which becomes worse the more that you think about it? Don’t worry, we all do it. It’s the same thing when we have something that we’re not looking forward to; the human mind, wonderful as it is, has a tendency to exaggerate the things that we focus on. For instance, if you’re not that keen on flying, do you find yourself thinking more and more about the flight the closer the time comes to you having to step on the plane? Does it go from a vague sense of uneasiness to imagining yourself sitting on the plane, fingers clenched around the arm rest, to imagining what it would feel like if the plane caught fire? Your mind has taken you from sitting on the plane to it crashing within the space of a few minutes and that’s before you’ve even set foot on the damn thing!

Fortunately there are things that we can do about it. Going back to the niggly pain and the mind exaggerating what we focus on; if you feel a twinge of pain when you’re doing something you really enjoy you probably won’t take any notice of it and it will go away but if it happens when you are at work or sitting at home with little to do it can turn into real pain and discomfort very quickly. If this goes on for any length of time, your exaggerating mind will do its thing and you will start imagining that there’s something really wrong with you. This is because we tense up when we experience discomfort or sometimes even the thought of discomfort. If you have a slight headache and you start to worry about it you will probably, unconsciously, tense the muscles around your neck and shoulders which will then make the headache worse. So the answer is to not panic and to relax your muscles which will relieve tension and help your headache. Find something else to focus on; try a guided meditation, let someone else talk to your mind:


When you listen, don’t feel like you have to try – your mind and your body will do the work for you and afterwards you will feel relaxed, calm and hopefully pain free.

Are Those Real?

I bet your mouth is watering just thinking about them isn’t it?

Do you remember when we used to have to think about what to cook for dinner every night and give ourselves about an hour to get everything prepared and cooked but now we can just grab a box from the fridge, chuck it in the microwave and taddah!! It’s ready just like that. We don’t even have to worry about doing the washing up these days as there’s a machine that will do it for us. We really are lucky aren’t we!

Do you also remember the taste of the first strawberries or tomatoes of the season? They were so unbelievably sweet and full of flavour; I bet your mouth is watering just thinking about them isn’t it? Of course now, if we want them, we don’t have to wait until June every year, we can have strawberries and tomatoes pretty much any time but they don’t taste quite the same do they?……….

Of course, in order to get fresh strawberries and tomatoes all year round they either have to be packed up in a country where it is actually warm enough to grow them naturally and then kept cold until they arrive on the shelves of our local supermarket or the plants have to be tricked into think that it’s actually summer here.

Unfortunately no-one has yet figured out how to persuade Mother Nature that it’s summer when it isn’t so producers use special artificial lighting instead. It’s not a natural process so you can’t expect the taste to be the same as it would be had the fruit been grown naturally but it does mean you can have strawberries in January if you want them

Come to think of it, we are actually mucking about with quite a lot of the food that arrives on our plates and we are getting used to it too. Think about the last time you went on holiday to another country and you ate the local food, fresh food, how flavourful was it? Did your taste buds seem to wake up and have a little party? You can have that wonderful experience at home but most of us choose not to because life is easier that way and scientists are seeing to it that our lives will become easier and easier..

The World Health Organisation defines genetically modified foods as “organisms (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination”.

This means that we don’t really trust Mother Nature to do the best for us, we think that we know better, or at least we think we can do it cheaper! Scientists say that GM foods are perfectly safe and maybe they are; the companies that use additives in processed foods and the manufacturers of fast food probably all say exactly the same but, here’s a thing, obesity is now a massive problem in the USA and parts of Europe and incidences of cancer are steadily on the rise.

In the 21st century we have more convenience and more comfort than we have ever had before throughout the whole of history but it’s making us lazy in ways that are beginning to damage our health. Rather than walk, we drive so we exercise less and get less fresh air.

Rather than prepare and cook, we eat microwaved dinners and fast foods. Rather than spend more of our money on food and less on gadgets of one kind or another, we buy cheap packet food instead of fresh. Unfortunately this is becoming a way of life and the numbers of us who can remember the days of fresh wholesome food straight from the farm, the butcher or the greengrocer are getting less and less. Maybe one day all we’ll need to eat is a little blue pill and we’ll accept without question that it will give us all the goodness and nutrients that our bodies need.

Which would you prefer? Eating fresh natural food is a conscious decision and we all have freedom of choice but think back: if you ever went strawberry picking as a child and ate more than you boxed, you’ll know what I mean…

No Fear!

What makes us afraid?

What makes us afraid? We often don’t fear the thing itself; people are not usually scared of heights, they are scared of falling and dying. The same is true of a fear of flying, it’s not the plane itself that bothers us but the fear of it crashing. If we are claustrophobic, it’s not the fear of being in a small space, it’s the fear of being trapped and suffocated that really makes us start to panic.


Have a look at this video. Basically it takes the most dramatic scenes from horror movies but the background music is like something from a cartoon; by doing this and losing the tension and atmosphere from the movie scene, the ‘fear’ element is greatly reduced or even lost completely. Think about watching a horror film in broad daylight on a crowded beach – do you think it would have the same impact as watching it in a dark cinema? No, of course not!

So this is what we need to do with our fears because our imagination is pretty much like watching a movie isn’t it? Think about something that worries you, picture it in your mind and let it become dark and sinister; then ‘rewind’ to the beginning and think about the same thing but this time have the silliest song you can think of playing in the background. Then rewind again, start from the beginning and imagine a funny face on the object of your fear with the silly music playing. Next time imagine the object of your fear as being really tiny. Eventually that terrifying spider will be no more scary than a minion!

If you think about your imagination as a movie playing in your head, ask yourself why, if you saw a really awful movie, you’d keep going back to watch it over and over again. That’s essentially what we do when we worry about something; we watch a really bad movie, then make it worse by adding more dialogue or images and then we watch it again and again and again. The next time you feel yourself doing this just give yourself permission to switch it off and watch something else more pleasant!


You Can’t See Me

Perhaps there’s a team of elves that sneak around exchanging people’s healthy salad options for a double burger and fries with bacon and extra cheese?

As human beings we don’t literally stick our heads in the sand but we do have a tendency to do it metaphorically; it’s in our nature to mentally side step those things that we don’t really want to think about and avoid doing those things that we don’t want to do. Unfortunately, the media (both social and mainstream) seems to have encouraged this trait to a point where the responsibility for our actions always lays with someone or something else. How many times do we see “the Government should…..” or “the police should” or “teachers should”? This is a great example of that kind of buck passing; people are eating far too much unhealthy food but they ‘have been tricked into it’!

Perhaps there’s a team of elves that sneak around exchanging people’s healthy salad options for a double burger and fries with bacon and extra cheese? Perhaps there’s some sort of magic afoot which makes a double burger with fries, extra bacon and cheese look like a healthy salad??  No? Then maybe it’s just the case that we’re all well aware when we’re eating too much unhealthy food but we just stick our heads in the sand until something happens to make us realise that we haven’t made the best choices.

There’s nothing wrong with eating what you want to eat as long as you are happy with the consequences and are prepared to take responsibility for them. If you make your choices consciously then what’s the problem…..

This is a really useful site to help you work out how many calories you should be eating every day, how many you eat to lose weight and how many to gain weight; there are too many factors to consider for it to be 100% accurate but it will certainly give you are really excellent idea. Let’s say you’re a 50 year old woman, 5ft 6 tall, you weigh 160llbs and you do little or no exercise – your calorie intake to maintain your weight will be around 1635 per day, if you eat 1000 calories per day more than this you will gain around 2llb per week.

Cornflakes, toast and butter, orange juice   And black coffee: About 430 calories

Tuna Mayonnaise baguette: Around 520 cals

1/4lb burger with cheese and fries:  Around 800 calories

So that’s it, your 1635 calories blown totally out of the water with fairly average breakfast, lunch and dinner. Of course that’s without any drinks and snacks:

Chocolate bar = around 200 calories

A glass of wine = about 125 calories

Cappuccino = another 120+ calories

And there you go, if you have a couple of cups of coffee in the morning and a couple of glasses of wine at night your calorie intake has topped 2500 and, if you don’t do any exercise you could find yourself putting on up to 2llb per week or 100llb in a year; that’s 7 stone.

There are some great sites on the internet that will tell you how many calories you’re eating and others that will tell you how many calories you burn when you exercise so there’s really no excuse not to lose weight if you want to. If you don’t want to that’s fine as long as you are aware that your lifestyle means that you will probably continue to gain. It’s really up to you; no-one else should be able to tell you how to live your life, as long as you’re happy that’s all that matters. This is just to give you some awareness and insight so that, if you decide to make some changes, you can do it a little more easily.

In My Defense

After hearing about the terrible mass shooting in a Florida school and the subsequent reactions I was prompted to write this poem

They cry, they moan, they grieve, they scream

It can’t be happening, it must be a dream

The shots, the panic; can’t run, can’t hide

How did he even make it inside?

The noise, the bullets, the fear, can’t move

What does he think his actions will prove?

It’s quiet, it’s stopped, can breathe, can’t walk

Stop asking questions, don’t think I can talk

The grief, the pain, it hurts, they’re lost

Need to do something, whatever the cost

We suffer, we plan, they’re buried, alone

Still have their smiles somewhere on my phone

Twitter, email, letters and calls

Protests and demos and speeches in halls

Calls to the chief from the country he runs

He’s quick to reply – the answer’s more guns!

It’s Just A Matter of In and Out

There is no magic formula

“After a lifetime of losing and gaining weight, I get it. No matter how you slice it, weight loss comes down to the simple formula of calories in, calories out”. Valerie Bertinelli

There is no magic formula; if we want to lose weight, we need to think about calories, the fuel for our body if you like, and how many we should be eating on a daily basis. There is no exact answer as it depends on our build, our age (we need less as we get older) and how active we are but, for a rough guide, it’s about 2500 per day for men and about 2000 for women. So, if you want to lose weight, you need to burn off more calories than you eat but, in order to do this, you need to know how many calories you’re taking in and how many you’re burning off.

The 200 calories in a small bar of chocolate will take about an hour to burn off if you are walking at normal pace of around 3 miles per hour. The same applies for a couple of slices of toast and butter or two large scrambled eggs or a salad (no dressing) with grilled chicken.

If you fancy a pizza and eat your way through the whole thing you will have consumed around 850 calories – to burn this off you will need to ride a bike at around 16-20 miles per hour for a whole hour. The same applies if you have a burger and fries, take away fish and chips or a korma curry. If you decide to have a pint of beer with dinner you can add another 200 calories!

So you can see that, if you don’t do any exercise to burn off all these calories, they can add up very quickly indeed. If you have fast food for dinner and opt for a take away curry and rice, with a couple of pints of beer followed by a bowl of chocolate ice-cream you could easily get through 1500 calories if not more; if you’re a woman, that doesn’t leave very many for the rest of the day.

If you decide that you want a healthier life and to lose a bit of weight spend some time working out how much sugar you have in your diet (don’t forget tea, coffee, soft drinks and alcohol) then work out how many calories you eat in a day. If the sugar is more than 25g (around 6 teaspoons) and your calorie intake is more than 2500 on an average day then think about changing something. You don’t have to live on lettuce leaves and water but maybe making different choices could change how you feel about your body. Add to that 30 minutes of fast walking a day and you’ll be surprised at the results.



Love Hurts

The question is: What is too much?

It’s a sad fact of life that, sometimes, the things that we love most will not make us happy in the end and this is so true when it comes to food. Unfortunately people build emotional attachments to certain foods in the same way that they do with people and, just as we must accept that our love of Johnny Depp or Angelina Jolie is destined to be unrequited, we must also accept that our love of some foods will ultimately do us harm.

Various Governments have gone to great lengths to ensure that food packaging these days is covered with loads of nutritional information which is supposed to enable us to have a healthy and balanced diet. Unfortunately there isn’t enough room on the packaging to explain what all the percentages and diagrams actually mean so most people don’t take a blind bit of notice. There are a few things in food which we need to keep an eye on if we are going to live a healthy life and one of them is:


Sugar: Much of the processed and fast food that are the staples of many people’s diets these days contain an awful  lot of added sugar and, simply put, ingesting too much sugar can lead to heart attacks, liver failure, type two Diabetes, certain cancers and a host of other nasties that you really don’t want. The question is: What is too much? Anything more than about 25 grams or 6 teaspoons a day is the answer. So what is going to take you over your 25 grams?

A single can of cola has about 39 grams

A supermarket sandwich and a low fat yoghurt have around 30 grams

A blueberry muffin has around 30 grams

Just these 3 items could well be lunch for someone who is trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle: there’s no fat in cola, a sandwich is just a sandwich, the yoghurt is low fat and everyone knows that blueberries are good for you. Right? Unfortunately no – in this one meal you will have around 99 grams of sugar which is 4 times the recommended daily amount. If you then add in cereal and milk for breakfast you will have around another 15 grams; sweet and sour chicken with rice for dinner could add another 60 grams which takes your total for the day (without snack bars, sweets, ice-cream or chocolate) to around 174 grams

You will also need to check any labels carefully when you decide to reduce your sugar intake as it can be referred to as sucrose, syrup, dextrin, dextrose, fructose, glucose, saccharose and sweeteners, to name but a few!

#Not Waving But Drowning

It begs the question would Twitter would be so popular if tweets were not ‘liked’ or re-tweeted and if people could not follow each other? If that were the case people would just be airing their views based on their own moral standards and not as a way to gain acceptance or approval from others………..

“I was much further out than you thought   And not waving but drowning”.

This line from the poem by Stevie Smith seems, for me, to sum up many of the posts that we see on Twitter these days. Social media seems to have opened the floodgates for people to share their deepest thoughts and feelings, be they negative or positive, without restraint. What we have ended up with is a section of society who are so absolutely desperate for their voices to be heard that it’s pitiful. Abuse, bullying and foul language are common place and, in some instances, actively encouraged but why?

There are accounts which have obviously been set up to try and promote hope, tolerance and positivity twitter positivebut, unfortunately, they are far outweighed by those which seems to serve no purpose other than to stir up anger and hatred in others. DWPm_5oWkAETuiG I wonder what that says about the owner of the account?

People who are happy with themselves and their lives are rarely unkind to others so how low must someone’s self-esteem be for them to constantly hit out? The vast majority of people look for attention from others and what better way to get it than on Twitter? You receive a notification when someone ‘likes’ something that you’ve said; people will re-tweet posts and you’ll receive another message which, effectively, tells you your views have been validated however negative, unpleasant or inflammatory they may be:

“If we can fund Planned Parenthood to murder babies, I think funding our schools with armed security guards to keep our children safe is more than a reasonable suggestion”.

Added to that people ‘follow’ you which is indicative of approval and something that many look for in their friends.  This results in people of like minds ‘following’ each other and using their sense of unity to bully others. Celebrities are often targets of this type of online abuse but they are also part of the problem; they are ‘accessible’ and some people will literally do anything to attract their attention. From fawning applause of even the most banal comment to threats of injury and death, to be noticed by someone famous can be seen by some as a huge boost to their ego. If they had a genuine sense of self-worth would they still be so desperate?

If Twitter were real life the world would be in a state of complete anarchy and war would be the norm rather than the exception but it’s popularity continues to grow. Even the President of the USA is in on the act and, as a hugely powerful and influential man, his words could literally divide a country:

….If a potential “sicko shooter” knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won’t go there…problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!”

It begs the question would Twitter would be so popular if tweets were not ‘liked’ or re-tweeted and if people could not follow each other? If that were the case people would just be airing their views based on their own moral standards and not as a way to gain acceptance or approval from others………..


Fashion at any Age

Looking great is 50% attitude and a great big smile works well with any outfit.

If you have a rummage around in your wardrobe and find nothing but comfy t-shirts and leggings, it might be time to update your style  but have you reached an age where you’re really not sure what suits you? Have you given up looking at fashion magazines because you’re 20 years older, six inches shorter and 2 stone heavier than all the models? Don’t worry, a teeny, tiny percentage of women look like the models in fashion magazines and even fewer without airbrushing, touch ups and the highly skilled fingers of a top make-up artist!

Finding what to wear as you get older is less to do with what’s appropriate for your age and more to do with what’s appropriate for your body type and your lifestyle. So here are a few tips on how you can make friends with your mirror again.

Foundations First

Invest in some really good underwear; even the most flattering outfit can be ruined by badly fitting bra and pants:

Make an appointment with a trained specialist to have your bust measured and then ask her to help you find the best style and fit of bra for you. It may not be the tiny scrap of pink lace that you’d love but it will give you the best shape possible under your clothes.bad underwear

Then think about pants, matching is always nice but not essential, what’s more important is that you buy the correct size; too tight pants can look like you’ve wrapped cheese wire around your backside – not pretty! Actually a too tight thong can even feel like cheese wire!


Body Shape  

There are four categories: Pear, Apple, Hour Glass and Straight (sometimes referred to as banana but that’s just taking the fruit analogy a bit too far!)

These pictures illustrate the various body types and also how celebs like to dress them. From left to right we have pear shaped: carry more weight around the bottom and thigh area. Apple shaped: weight is carried around the middle and upper sections of the body. Hourglass: bust and hip measurements are pretty much the same and the waist is significantly smaller. Straight: slim with no real curves. All of these women are different shapes and sizes but  they all look wonderful and they’ve all chosen outfits to suit their body shape. It’s really a case of ignoring fashion and working out what suits you; none of the women above would look any where near as good if they swapped outfits.

However, it’s not just a question of fitting clothes to your body shape, it’s also about how you wear them. What we refer to as ‘style’ is essentially just feeling comfortable and confident with the way we look, whatever our age. If your attitude is ‘I’m happy with the way I look and I don’t give a stuff what you think’ you will pull off pretty much any outfit but if you look for approval everywhere and constantly fiddle with your clothes because you’re not comfortable you’re not going to feel great in anything.

Looking great is 50% attitude and a great big smile works well with any outfit.