There Must be More…..

to life than this. Have you ever thought that, when you were having a bad day, when nothing seemed to be going your way? Maybe you felt at the end of your tether, that life just seems to be an endless slog, every day the same with nothing ever getting any better?

to life than this. Have you ever thought that, when you were having a bad day, when nothing seemed to be going your way? Maybe you felt at the end of your tether, that life just seems to be an endless slog, every day the same with nothing ever getting any better?

I have felt like that more times than I care to count over the last few years but recently I’ve woken up to something – there isn’t more than life, there is only how you view it. It sounds horribly cliched to say it but many of the problems that we have in life are caused by focusing on what we don’t have, rather than what we do have. In looking for complex solutions, we often miss the simple things that could give us pleasure if we would but notice them:

IMG_5235 (1)
Mother Nature is always waving her arms at us and saying ‘look!’. She creates beautiful things for us every day, despite the fact that we often do our best to ruin them
New York
We can’t always have a stunning view but we can always find something to make us smile if we look hard enough…
circle-friends-having-fun-together
We can enjoy the time that we spend with our friends and family: the people that we love and who love us
solitude
But there is pleasure to be found in quiet solitude….
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There will be time for adventure, for adrenaline rushes and wild excitement…
Contemplation
Equally, we can take pleasure from the moments when our hearts and minds are still and quiet…
Baby
There is beauty in the young…. 
old ladies
There is beauty in the old……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

animals
There is beauty in the animal world….
lotus-flowers
And a simple flower can be the most beautiful of all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, the next time you think ‘there must be more to life than this’, just remember that there isn’t and then just think ‘isn’t it wonderful!’

Lisa

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Realistic Expectations?

If women weren’t obsessed with trying to look younger and thinner, the manufacturers of beauty products wouldn’t make the billions of $ that they do every year so why do we do it to ourselves ladies? Is it for our own self-esteem, to attract others? Or is it because we are constantly bombarded with images of how we should look and we do what we can to fit within those pre-determined boundaries?

Say Goodbye to aging skin? The models we seen in some of these ads haven’t even said “hello” to aging skin!! Do we really believe that we can slap some cream on our wrinkled skin and we’ll wake up the next morning looking 25 again? I’m not going to say ‘yes’ but we all live in hope don’t we……;O)

I wonder who comes up with all these ideas of what an ideal woman should look like? From what I can make out we should all have long, shiny hair, white teeth, flawless skin, no wrinkles, a toned and perky body, full lips, cheekbones you could shave ice with and legs up to our armpits. In the 1700’s Barbara Villiers was considered a great beauty and referred to as ‘perhaps the finest woman in England’, that’s her in the portrait below; alongside her is Selena Gomez, one of the great beauties of our age. Aside from nose size, the two women are very similar in many ways – dark, heavy lidded eyes, clear skin, rosebud mouth….so does this mean that our tastes haven’t really changed in over 300 years?

Barbara Villiers was reportedly overwrought when Chancellor Clarendon, her great enemy said to her:

“Please remember, if you live, you will grow old”

I believe that she was about 27 at the time (she eventually died at the age of 68 from dropsy). So it would seem that not only have our ideas of beauty not really changed, women’s attitudes to growing old haven’t really moved along either!

If women weren’t obsessed with trying to look younger and thinner, the manufacturers of beauty products wouldn’t make the billions of $ that they do every year so why do we do it to ourselves ladies? Is it for our own self-esteem, to attract others? Or is it because we are constantly bombarded with images of how we should look and we do what we can to fit within those pre-determined boundaries?

Flattered gif.gifI, like everyone else, can only speak from personal experience and, to be honest, I’m not 100% sure that I can answer. Some of it definitely has to do with self-esteem; while this may have feminists scowling at me across the ether, it does boost my confidence if a get a smile from a guy or an approving look. I live in France and I was once the recipient of an oh la la! in a supermarket and that kept me smiling all day! Did I look any different that day from any other? I honestly don’t remember but I do remember the compliment. However, if I was 100% comfortable in my own skin I don’t suppose I would have even thought about it after the event.

IMG_0999 (1)I don’t leave the house without make-up but, if I’m at the beach and go swimming, I don’t worry if it all washes off or leaves me looking like a bikini wearing panda. I’m not overweight but that’s simply because I love exercise and don’t enjoy junk food. I sometimes look in the mirror and think ‘shit! what happened’! but I probably have more confidence in my appearance than I did when I was in my 20’s.  My hair is really short but it looks terrible long and I really can’t be arsed to spend longer than 5 minutes faffing around with it every day. Do I wish I looked younger? Yes. Do I wish I felt as I did in my 20’s? No definitely not! I was a seething mass of neuroses and insecurities.

So what’s the answer??? Say goodbye to a negative self-image, learn to love yourself for what you are, accept what you can’t change and change what you can and just remember that, when you’re really having fun, you won’t give a crap what you look like :O)

Lisa x

 

Do You Want the Perfect Face?

Don’t ever smile or laugh, in fact keep your face as still as possible – too many facial movements will give you wrinkles

Yes? OK here’s what you need to do; just 10 simple steps that will keep your face looking young and beautiful for years to come……..

  1. Don’t ever go out into the sun – it will ruin your complexion
  2. Don’t ever smile or laugh, in fact keep your face as still as possible – too many facial movements will give you wrinkles
  3. Drink nothing but water maybe with a little added lemon juice on special occasions
  4. Make sure that you get 8 hours of sleep every night
  5. Have a facial at least once a week and make sure you take off every last scrap of make-up before you go to bed at night
  6. Wash your face in ice water last thing at night and first thing in the morning
  7. Use eye cream, cleansers, toners, moisturisers, face packs, eye masks and lip creams
  8. Never eat sugar, junk food, processed food, street food, high fat food, dairy, caffeine, shellfish, bread, pastries…….just eat salad and vegetables basically.
  9. Always make sure that you have your personal make-up artist with you at all times
  10. Make sure that a photograph of you is never published without it having been photoshoped

Alternatively, you can forget all that crap and just smile, laugh and enjoy life – it’s too short to do anything else ;O) xx

 

$10,000 or Clams?

Thanks to the media obsession with Kim Kardashian’s rounded, peachy and frankly gravity defying backside, it would seem that big bums are in fashion and, guess what, for around $10,000 you can get one of your very own.

When I was in my teens the plaintiff cry of ‘my bum looks huuuuggggee in this’ would be emanating from the changing rooms of Miss Selfridge and Top Shop pretty much every Saturday. Whilst, for us, it was a cause for much heartfelt sympathy and quiet reassurance, now it would seem to be a cause for celebration. Thanks to the media obsession with Kim Kardashian’s rounded, peachy and frankly gravity defying backside, it would seem that big bums are in fashion and, guess what, for around $10,000 you can get one of your very own. kim_kardashian

Basically, cosmetic surgeons will suck out any spare fat that you have lying around (love handles seem to be a popular source) and inject it into your derriere. Of course, you won’t really be allowed to let your butt make contact with anything for a couple of weeks, you’ll have to wear a compression garment for six weeks and exercise will be off limits for about a month but afterwards you’ll have a nice high rounded hiney. Apparently about 60 percent of the fat will stay in place after the procedure and the rest will just wander off to somewhere else in your body. Oh, and one other thing, it’s also considered the most risky of all cosmetic surgeries; risk of death that it…..

If you don’t fancy any of that but would still like to attain the peach like orbs that a butt lift would give you, you could do a few specially designed exercises. The result won’t be as quick and your arse won’t inflate to quite the same degree but, it’s a lot safer than the sucking and injecting of body fat and considerably less painful.

bridges
This exercise should be done slowly and when you are at the top of your Bridge you should maintain the position for a few seconds by squeezing those cheeks

 

 

squatsLast but not least we have squats; they are not the most popular exercise I find but they do work wonderfully well at firming up those booty muscles as well as giving you stronger and leaner thighs.

 

The other good thing about doing things the natural way is that you won’t need to be forking out loads of cash to another plastic surgeon when you want all the fat sucked out of your arse because the media has moved on from Kim Kardashian and big butts are not longer a la mode!

 

What is it with Women?

All of this exercise may leave me a sweaty, unkempt mess when I’ve finished but a quick shower and a bit of make-up soon sorts that out and, far from making me feel self-conscious or less feminine, knowing that my body is as healthy and in shape as it can be is nothing short of empowering. So, ladies, stop worrying about how you’ll look when you exercise and concentrate on how you’ ll feel ;O)

I’ve just come across an article in the Guardian which refers to a recent study undertaken in Australia; it concludes that fear of judgement is stopping women from exercising. Apparently they are worried about how they will look when they exercise (red in the face, sweaty and disheveled) but they are also worried about becoming overly muscular and less feminine! I really cannot understand the former as everyone gets hot and sweaty when they exercise be they male or female but the second could be, I suppose, a legitimate concern for some women if they don’t understand the forms of exercise that are available to them.

woman body builder

There is a great difference between building muscle and having good muscle definition. If you start going to the gym and gradually lift heavier and heavier weights and eat more and more to compensate then of course you will bulk up. 2b1c4b9de49c2c40bbc3301946cf06f5 I speak from experience here; when I was in my late twenties and early thirties I started going to a gym that was mainly used by people who were they to body build and to weight train. I have a massive competitive streak and so I started to train with weights in order to compete at the same level as the most experienced women there; after about 9 months I was beating them. At this point I will readily admit that it became something of an obsession and I was in the gym 4 nights a week for 2 hours at a time and, after a few more months, I was pushing myself to be able to compete with the men. As I was so dedicated (or perhaps, looking back, slightly unhinged) the owner of the gym started to train me personally as he wanted me to compete. I was more than happy to go along with that and the weights continued to go up and up and up. At my peak I was dead lifting 125kg, bench pressing 70kg and leg pressing 340kg which was more than some of the men. I was also doing cardio and was burning huge amount of calories which meant that I was eating more than I ever had. However, as I was working out so much and my diet was tailored to my work outs (lots of protein, fresh fruit and veg with controlled carbs) I had very little fat on my body and amazing muscle definition. The down side was that I had really bulked up; I weighed around 11 stone (70kg) and was wearing a size 14. That said, in no way did I feel unfeminine, not that I’ve ever been a frilly, lacy kind of girl; I felt empowered, strong and sexy. I was probably at my most healthy at this point in my life and I loved it. A series of events in my personal life meant that I had to stop going to that particular gym and so I lost my personal trainer. However, I carried on alone and, over time, I learned how to keep the muscle definition but also how not to bulk up too much.

Best-Protein-Foods-1068x566High weights and low repetitions will build muscle and strength but lower weights and higher numbers of repetitions will give you muscle definition and stamina. You will also find that the more muscle you have the more easily you will burn fat, so it’s great to work out if you want to lose weight, but that doesn’t mean that you need to end up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Protein is very important so you need to be eating plenty of chicken, eggs, milk, cheese and lean red meat. Accompany these with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and not too much bread, rice or pasta. You need a certain amount of carbs to fuel your body but excessive amounts will pile on the pounds.

Before you go to the gym make sure that you eat something about an hour before; some people swear by weight training on an empty stomach but I just find that I tire more quickly and struggle to finish my workout. I find that a small handful of almonds or a banana give me plenty of energy to do what I need to do.

After I lost my husband I dropped about 2 stone in weight and I’m now a size 10; I’m happy with that and all my clothes are a size 10 so I don’t want to start bulking up again. For this reason I stick with 3 sets of each exercise with 10 repetitions per set but I will do 30 minutes on the treadmill before I start and I will keep the weights heavy enough so that I know my muscles are working but not so heavy that I have to drop down to 4 or 6 reps.

IMG_4186In addition I also do Pilates for an hour twice a week and yoga 2 or 3 times a week when I feel the need to relax or to stretch tired muscles. Both Pilates and Yoga create long lean muscles and shape the body – bum and boobs are lifted, the stomach is flatter and the waist more defined.

All of this exercise may leave me a sweaty, unkempt mess when I’ve finished but a quick shower and a bit of make-up soon sorts that out and, far from making me feel self-conscious or less feminine, knowing that my body is as healthy and in shape as it can be is nothing short of empowering. So, ladies, stop worrying about how you’ll look when you exercise and concentrate on how you’ ll feel ;O)

A Question for the Guys Out There

What I can understand is the attraction of power, money and influence because, invariably, with those things comes an awful lot of self-assurance and that, in itself, can be extremely appealing

I can completely understand the lure of physical beauty, especially as we get older; to feel firm, young flesh and gaze upon physical perfection….yep, got all that but when you see these old rich guys with their young model wives I really can’t help but wonder – what on earth do they talk about?

I can imagine, for the first couple of months, there will be the ‘getting to know you’ phase so they’ll be able to discuss past experiences and future dreams. However, the guy’s life experiences could span the last 6 decades whereas the girl’s might only be 2 (with only 2 years as an adult) so you have an immediate disparity. The girl could, genuinely, be interested in hearing about the guy’s history but I can’t imagine that she could have any real understanding and, conversely, how could he relate to the stories of a 20 year old? As for future dreams, we all have them but the realistic expectations of a 60 or 70 year old are far removed from each other. Is it a case of living vicariously?  A 20 year old can, potentially gain much wisdom from spending time with someone 3 times her age and an older man could gain renewed vitality from being around someone with an abundance of youthful energy but can they ever really meet in the middle as equals?

PUBLISHED by catsmob.comI hugely admire people who really don’t care what society thinks of them and if these older men and young women find happiness together who am I to criticise their life choices BUT I believe that there always needs to be an initial physical attraction between people for them to want to spend more time in each other’s company. I can quite understand a 70 year old grandfather being physically attracted to a 20 year old lingerie model but I really can’t see it the other way round. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking, ‘honestly, you are so shallow!’ and wondering if this is just society’s conditioning that makes me think like that but no, sorry, just can’t see it.

What I can understand is the attraction of power, money and influence because, invariably, with those things comes an awful lot of self-assurance and that, in itself, can be extremely appealing. I can imagine a young girl being completely over-whelmed by a rich lifestyle – the yachts, the travel, private planes and parties with the rich and famous; childhood stories like Cinderella and films such as Pretty Woman have much to answer for. The young, beautiful but poor girl who finds a life time of happiness with her prince? We know it well of course. In some stories the girl had to kiss a frog to get her prince but she always got him in the end!

Pretty womanI can’t help but think that these stories that all us women hear from a very young age are the reason why so many of us have utterly realistic expectations when it comes to relationships with men. We are looking for the rich and powerful man to sweep us off our feet (literally and metaphorically), to worship us and keep us cocooned in a world of adoration and luxury. Realistically, we all know that it’s a dream and the feminist in all of us will publicly rile against it but I genuinely believe in all of us there lingers a secret desire to be Cinderella (or Julia Roberts).

With men, there is an inbuilt instinct to procreate and a young, fit and healthy woman is a better choice than someone older and past their physical prime but are men really so one dimensional that they cannot move beyond their base instincts? No I don’t think so. Perhaps it’s back to Cinderella and some men want to be the Prince in the story and sweep a young, poor girl off her feet and into a life of luxury; the desire for adoration works both ways I’m guessing. Actually, thinking about it, maybe it’s less a case of Cinderella and more James Bond, the ultimate man’s man who always got the girl. James bond

Perhaps it’s just the case that, as the cynics would claim, that the young women are gold-diggers and the old men are in the midst of a protracted mid-life crisis but the romantic in me would like to think that there is more to it than that.

All of this is complete guesswork of course so I really would love to hear a guy’s perspective on the subject if any of you can spare 5 minutes to share your thoughts….or experiences ;O)

Funny Faces

When I first came across the video I couldn’t help but give it a go – I spent the first couple of minutes in fits of laughter imagining the way I must look but I kept going and really enjoyed the experience.

Would you be prepared to pull some funny faces if no-one was watching? If it was just you and the mirror? If so, face yoga might be just the thing for you and it could help keep those wrinkles at bay! I do a number of the exercises regularly and have found that they do make a difference over time but then I’m a huge fan of yoga in whatever form it arrives.

Just because the years are passing by it doesn’t mean that we can’t do anything about the signs of aging, there are many things that we can do to keep our bodies fit and agile such as yoga but did you know that we can also do the same thing for our faces? Just as you can relax and tone muscles in your body through yoga postures, you can also relax and tone muscles in your face with face yoga. It is said that the series of exercises will work all layers of the skin which will increase blood circulation; this will allow more oxygen and nourishment to reach the cells of the skin. We lose collagen and elastin in our skins as we age but face yoga techniques are designed to promote production of both which will give you smoother and tighter looking skin.

The exercises need to be done regularly, 20 minutes a day is recommended, but it’s promised that you will see results quickly. Some plastic surgeons say that face yoga cannot possibly work but many people swear by it plus it’s non-invasive and painless so why not? The video below gives a short explanation of the process and also how to lose a double chin – a good one for pretty much everyone and great fun to do:

Danielle Collins explains: “Just as your body needs regular exercise to stay toned and firm, the 57 muscles in the face and neck also need to be exercised, as they become stronger they are lifted and firmed and the skin attached to the muscles is tautened, reducing lines and wrinkles.” The massage moves increase circulation, lymph flow and remove toxins, improving skin tone, reducing puffiness and dark circles.

These pictures will give you an idea of the sort of faces you can expect to be pulling if you decide to give face yoga a try, admit it, you’re tempted aren’t you? When I first came across the video I couldn’t help but give it a go – I spent the first couple of minutes in fits of laughter imagining the way I must look but I kept going and really enjoyed the experience.

Yoga has been keeping bodies and minds in shape for over 5000 years so it’s pretty much tried and tested and, best of all, it’s free and you can do it in the privacy of your own home so what have you got to lose ;O)

Measuring Up

I wonder if our slightly green tinted glasses distort reality.

I do what I can to stay in shape, I eat healthily and exercise every day and, for the most part, I am OK with what I see in the mirror. I sometimes find myself looking wistfully (and with the tiniest amount of envy) at the beautiful 20 somethings but I’m sensible enough to realise that I’m not going to have their perfect bodies and flawless skin at my age. No amount of time spent at the gym and no amount of money spent on moisturizers will turn back the clock. That said, I’m a UK size 10 and a minor investment in botox and dermal fillers has ensured that my face doesn’t look like it needs ironing just yet so, all in all not too shabby.

Until I walk into Monaco, which is about 20 minutes from where I live. I swear to God, there are more beautiful women per square metre there than anywhere else in the world! Young, tall, flawlessly made up and with an amazing, effortless elegance. As I usually walk to Monaco, to avoid the traffic and the notoriously small parking spaces, I dress in trainers and workout clothes and am invariably, unless it’s between January and March, sweaty by the time I arrive. I also love to listen to music when I walk so my ensemble is topped off with a pair of bluetooth headphones which are incredibly practical but make me look a bit like a cyberman. CybermanFaced with the visions that float around me trailing clouds of perfume and very small dogs dressed in small pink dog jumpers I can’t help but feel a little inadequate. beautiful woman tiny dog

I guess I’m not the only woman that feels like that from time to time, the fashion, makeup and cosmetic surgery industries wouldn’t exist if I was, but I do wonder why we put ourselves under so much pressure to look good? Moreover I wonder if our slightly green tinted glasses distort reality. Of course there are some women who are naturally beautiful but many of our expectations of ourselves and our appearance come from what we see in newspapers, magazines and, of course, online. When someone has been dressed, made-up, beautifully lit and possibly airbrushed of course they’re going to look their best but, see that person without all those things and it’s a different story. They may well still be beautiful but it’s more real, more attainable if you will.measuring-up

The pictures below show celebs with and without make-up; I give them to you as a gift for the next time you’re beating yourself up because, no matter how hard you try, you can’t stop finding yourself wanting when you look in the mirror.

As Sophia Lauren famously said “Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful”. I’ll be sure to remember that when my hair’s plastered to my head with sweat, my face is red with exertion and I’ve just remembered that I’m wearing the leggings that go all baggy around the arse after about 10 minutes ;O)

Instead I’ll leave you with this quote which reminds me that focusing on how we act towards others is far more important than how we appear to them:

A beautiful face

Barbie and Ken

It’s just a shame that our selfies don’t show our inner self

In case you were wondering, yes, the people in the photo above are real.

I can’t believe that I’m actually writing this but, apparently, the new trend in plastic surgery is Beauty Matching……………..couples who go under the knife in the spirit of togetherness and, in some cases, in order to align their physical features. It used to be that two people came together because of shared passions but now, it seems, that it will be because they share noses or buttock implants!

I’ve got nothing against plastic surgery or treatments such as botox or fillers; if you’ve reached a certain age and want to make a few subtle enhancements, no problem but I cannot understand the desire to completely change your appearance. Cosmetic surgery should leave you looking as though you’ve spent a few months relaxing on holiday not as though you’ve been captured by aliens and experimented on. We all want to look our best but why would you want to look like someone else…………..unless you are not happy with you. I also wonder at the psychology behind wanting to look like your romantic partner; facial similarities are typical in siblings and other family members!

The other ‘big thing’ is people undergoing cosmetic surgery in order to look like their favourite celebrity (apparently, the celebrity of choice is Kim Kardashian) so don’t be surprised if star spotting starts getting a little trickier in the future. You could find yourself rushing up to a post surgery Joan, Carole or Betty for an autograph in your search for the famous Kim. kim kardashian fan

In the early days of cosmetic surgery, you ran the risk of looking as though you’d been covered in hot wax and then stood in a wind tunnel until you dried off but these days it’s a very different story. Surgeons and other practitioners are often highly skilled and can really make people’s beauty dreams come true but I do wonder at what cost.

Women and men in their teens and twenties are now having cosmetic surgery to correct what they perceive as imperfections. How many of them are satisfied with just one procedure I wonder? How much more time will they spend examining their faces and bodies until they find the next candidate for cosmetic enhancement? How long will it be, when they start so young, before it becomes an obsession?

cosmetic surgery

These days it seems as though people are constantly confronted with their own image – Facebook, Instagram etc and, therefore, constantly at risk of  criticism of their looks. I suppose then its no real surprise that cosmetic surgery is becoming ever more popular. It’s just a shame that our selfies don’t show our inner self and the potential we have for change……