All that glam

My healthy habits for life truly began during our wedding days. For our big day I wanted to glow inside out, that is why I began following an alkaline lifestyle and have kept it up ever since. Another thing that I stuck with is using GLAMGLOW mud masks after seeing them in a wedding magazine.

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Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the only reason I was glowing (my handsome groom definitely put a beaming smile on my face), but my YouthMud was definitely the icing on the cake. They call it a facial in a jar, which couldn’t be more true, my skin felt super clean, lifted and tighter too. Since then I’ve tried their SuperMud as an overnight spot treatment (just dab a little on the affected area) and to keep my skin happy during winter in Canada, I am hooked on ThirsyMud. Which smells amazing and leaves my skin feeling dewy, soft and fresh.

I was replenishing my stock at Sephora the other day when I learnt the owners would be there at the weekend promoting their new “mud to foam” range (which is just as lush, mud that turns into cleansing foam) and so I booked an appointment. It was really nice meeting Glenn and Shannon Dellimore, they even signed my little jar of mud, so much better than just taking a selfie!

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I spend a lot of time choosing skincare products, I love trying new beauty lines but will only really invest in something if it is worth it and does what it says on the bottle. This range is a little like magic, it does the trick. After using it, I rarely bother putting on any make-up, just power up my brows and add flick of mascara.

If you have been keeping an eye on 2015 make-up trends, you will know that day glow, barely there hues and a natural face with pops of colour is right on the money. A fresh faced look needs a little more love than usual when it comes to taking care of the skin in winter and that polar vortex isn’t making it any easier. GLAMGLOW ThirstyMud is all that jazz.

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Happy Friday

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My lazy weekend has begun really early, today, I’m going to be resting under my tartan blanket with a hot water bottle and a Friends marathon on Netflix. (Yeah, I am cranky when I have cold and flu.)

Because I haven’t been up to making all the recipes I would have been this week, I thought I would share what I have been doing. I have drank my weight in herbal tea (which is quite the achievement, I’m no baby unicorn), my lovely hubby has done his best to get me to eat his flu busting paste (I would rather do shots of turmeric and ginger, what does that tell you?) and I bought a load of magazines yesterday which I can’t wait to read, yes, yet again I have ditched the growing pile of books on my “to-read-list”.

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I have also kept up my daily work-outs and doing my best to eat well. Lying on the couch all day just makes me feel worse (I would like to point out, that to me, resting and festering are worlds apart), so doing some gentle exercise really helps me when feeling poorly. (As does writing in brackets it seems.)

If you are missing my usual antics, you can read my article on New Year beauty picks over at We Heart Living or you could check me out on Instagram. (Hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)

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Hope you all have an amazing weekend! Can you believe we are half way into January all ready?

(Ps. If my lovely editors are reading this and wondering when I plan on submitting any of the articles I’m supposed to be writing, your guess is as good as mine.)

Follow me in merry measure

The 25th of December is just four days away! I am almost done with all my work and can’t wait to have a week off to just bliss out with my hubby when he gets back from his trip with the boys. We are off to a spa this weekend for our anniversary and I can’t wait. If there is one thing I love to do, it’s pampering myself just as hard as I work and play.

The other day, a bit over whelmed with all the deadlines on my plate and trying to balance festivities, I decided to switch off for a while, play some music, pop a face mask on and on close my eyes for a while. I didn’t realise I was all out of my favourite GLAMGLOW, so improvised with some wheatgrass powder and almond milk.

Lately I have been seeing spirulina masks on my Instagram feed, inspired by Deliciously Ella’s homemade masks, I did a little research of my own research and found out wheatgrass is just as good. Get glowing for Christmas with this quick and easy green beauty!

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1tbsp wheatgrass powder
1tbsp almond milk

Mix them together into a paste, apply and leave on for 10-15 minutes.

‘Tis The Season

There are many things I find tricky in life but balancing health with party season is not one of them. Let’s be honest though, unless you have the willpower of Gandhi, the weekends are going to be a bit of a challenge. Who wants to eat a salad every time they go out this time of year?

I am totally against that mindset of ‘let’s pile on the pounds in December, because from January I will be on a diet,’ and I also believe in not stressing about eating yummy holiday food. Follow the 70/30 rule of thumb and you won’t have to worry about it at all.

The only thing I’ve found since cutting down salt, sugar and wheat from my diet, is when indulging at the weekends, I really struggle with water retention and bloating on a Monday. I’ve been doing a few things every week for a while now to help combat those side effects and it leaves me feeling much better.

Now is a great time to make these tricks part of your weekly rituals to feel fabulous inside out during the festive season and all year round.

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Sunday Night

Psyllium husk. While this isn’t the easiest thing to consume, it is worth trying it out. Growing up in a Pakistani household I’ve known about the husks of the incredible Plantageo Ovato plant my whole life, as it is native to the region of Pakistan and India. I keep it in my pantry in a powder form.

It promotes intestinal health and I drink a tablespoon of it mixed with lots of water and follow it up with a cup of peppermint tea before I go to bed on a Sunday night. You could also take a bath with Epsom salts which can help to alleviate bloating and flush toxins from the body.

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Monday Morning

Oil pulling. You can read in detail about the numerous health benefits of oil pulling here, but in a nutshell, oil pulling is an ancient 5000 year old Ayurvedic method from India. Within weeks you will discover how wonderful this simple and priceless treatment can be for your general health and wellbeing as it aids with removing toxins.

It is a process of swilling oil around your mouth, thoroughly, as you would a mouthwash. It is best done in the morning on an empty stomach with a teaspoon or two of coconut oil for about fifteen to twenty minutes.

After this I have my usual cup of hot water and lemon and then proceed to dry body brushing. Which is an excellent way to get your circulation and lymphatic system going (encouraging the expulsion of toxins) and to energise your self on a Monday morning.

Don’t skip breakfast, have a green juice, some avocados or poached eggs on gluten free toast or how about this quick and easy chia seed pudding you can throw together the night before? Chia seeds are high in nutrients like manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium, so they are the perfect way to start the week after an indulgent weekend.

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Serves 2

1 cup of dairy free milk of your choice
3tbsp chia seeds
2tsp coconut palm sugar
1 cup of raspberries
1/4 cup of raw almonds

Mix the chia seeds with half of the milk, 1tsp of sugar and set aside.

Mash the raspberries with a 1tsp of sugar.

Roughly chop up the almonds by hand.

The chia seeds will have absorbed some of the liquid and started to swell, mix well and add the rest of the milk and leave in the fridge to set for about thirty to forty minutes.

Once the chia seeds have set in the milk you can assemble your pudding. Spoon some raspberries into your jar or bowl and then top with some nuts and then the chia seeds. Repeat layers in this manner until you have two even portions.

Underneath the mistletoe

The other day my friend, Wendy, tweeted that Chapstick abusing season is upon us, terrible news around Christmas, given the mistletoe above our heads. Our lips require more attention than we think. They are thinner than the rest of the face and don’t have much defence against weather changes, so they will be the first to show signs of damage, by becoming chapped. Here are my top tips for smooth kissable lips all winter.

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Hydrate

All that indoor heating, cold weather, warm coffee and holiday season drinking is playing havoc with the skin on your lips. Water is the key to glowing inside out. Just because we aren’t out in the sun all day, doesn’t mean we can skip all those glasses of water. Drink it at room temperature if it feels too cold, or try herbal teas but however you do it drink up.

Exfoliate

Get rid of dead skin cells with this awesome natural sugar scrub. Exfoliating every couple of days will keep you from biting at flaky lips.

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SPF

During the day it’s important to use a lip balm that hydrates and also protects your lips from sun and wind damage. Try this Jack Blacks one from Sephora or this Carmex cherry lip balm which has added SPF15. Keep them in your bag or pocket.

Repair

Using an intense lip treatment overnight is really important, the balm can get to work while you sleep. My favourites are Dr. Jacksons Coconut Melt and The Lip Balm by Creme de la Mer.

Riboflavin

Eat more broccoli and almonds. Increasing riboflavin (vitamin B2) can help to keep your lips super smooth. Try my broccoli and lentil soup recipe on We Heart Living.

Snow White

Last year was my first winter in Toronto, my skin just wasn’t prepared for the harsh weather and I learnt the hard way. This year I was on top of my game, these products will make sure my skin stays hydrated, moisturised and glowing. It is all about trial and error, I really make sure products work for my skin before investing in them and I would suggest you do the same, find things that suit you. One of the reasons I love Sephora is because you can try before you buy. It’s going to be cold one, so gearing up does not just mean boots and warm coats, treat your skin with the same love. Here are some of my tricks.

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Cleansing & Exfoliating

With all that wind blowing around, I need a deep clean. I love Purity by philosophy, because it doesn’t dry out my skin. I will also exfoliate a few times a week, I use St. Ives Apricot Facial Scrub, because it’s a family classic and a beauty steal. It’s also great as a body exfoliator.

Hydrating & Moisturising

Heating dries out your skin like crazy, that’s why I love to use serums and hydrating infusions in conjunction with a moisturiser. My skin tends to be a little wary of most moisturisers, but Ren’s Vita Mineral Daily Supplement leaves it feeling velvety. Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair, is a top-selling cult beauty product and I will tell you why I bought it.

When I was at Sephora, the girl showed me just how well it retains hydration by applying it on my arm and then spritzing the area with mist. We did this for a few serums, whilst most of the serums retained the water, it turned into droplets, not covering the entire surface, leaving tiny bits exposed. That didn’t happen to the area with the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair, needless to say I bought it there and then and have been really happy with it. I’ve struggled with dehydration lines on my forehead, they are now gone.

The La Mer Hydrating Infusion is a steal for some drops of that potent Miracle Broth when you consider the rest of the luxury line. I don’t want a strong serum for the day, so this infusion works wonders for me and lasts ages.

Treatments

I got into the GLAMGLOW range last year when I was getting married. I use all their masks, but their ThirstyMud is so yummy and it leaves my skin feeling nourished and looking dewy. You can smother it all over your face a couple of times a week before you go to sleep and let it work its magic or sometimes while I am watching my favourite Netflix show, I like to cut holes for my eyes and breathing passages in some cling film and lay it over my face while the mask seeps in.

Winter can sometimes leave my skin looking grey and dull, I recently got a sample of Ren’s 1 Minute Facial from Sephora and love it. It brightens up my skin, so it’s great for a night out when my face needs a glowing boost.

Also I don’t leave the house without my Carmex or my First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, it does what it says, hydrates, calms and smoothes, both are handbag friendly so it’s worth carrying them around in the winter. Don’t forget to use an SPF.

For skin as fresh as snow, it’s also about what you eat, some glowing recipes are coming soon, but in a nutshell, I find I crave warmer meals in the winter, a vibrant and heart salad just won’t cut it. I love roasting beets, onions and sweet potatoes to have alongside a warm lentil salad. Green juices go hand in hand with summer but on cold mornings I want some hot relief, perk up your morning cup of hot water and lemon with some healing cayenne and honey. Gluten free oats and quinoa flakes, with steaming hot nut milks, avocado, coconut oil, berries and super foods like maca, spirulina and wheatgrass can bring good health too. Okay, so it’s not a green juice but it’s also full of nutrients, hits the spot and leaves you feeling ready for the day.

The Sparkling Snowflake

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It doesn’t feel like a Monday, because I am currently tucked away in Beaver Creek Lane, eating a gluten free baguette with goat Brie cheese in bed and wondering if there are any fairies in the woods here. They are so picturesque and I have been binge-watching “Once Upon A Time” so why not let my imagination run wild?

A big component of glowing health and beauty is restoration, I see getting out in nature as a holistic and necessary part of that.

Speaking of running, that’s what the hubby and I have been doing lately, plenty of running around. He just wrapped up on the Gillers Prize, did anyone else notice how good it was this year? Full of heart and a real celebration of Canadian literature, I’ve gotten ahold of the books and can’t wait to start reading them. I was really proud of him and the CBC for their wonderful coverage of the literary event.

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I feel like I am finally settling into Toronto, with that has come a buzz of things which have kept me blissfully busy. This past weekend I went to Spark Sessions, Canada’s Fashion and Beauty Blogger Conference.

I found it to be really informative, inspiring and very encouraging. It was a great experience made possible by the passionate organisers, sponsors, speakers and of course all the bloggers who were there. Vanessa Craft, the beauty director at Elle Canada, said we are all snowflakes, that metaphor for being unique really stayed with me.

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This little getaway was so needed and I feel grateful that we can do this. I grew up on the Isle of Man, nature was always in abundance there and while I love city life, coming out to stunning forests and being beside water is a welcome blessing. A big component of glowing health and beauty is restoration, I see getting out in nature as a holistic and necessary part of that. Perhaps it is the placebo effect, but my skin, body and spirit all feel refreshed and amazing after a little time out in the wilderness. I believe it helps one to keep sparkling like a snowflake.