New Product Launch — Natural Skin Care

After a long time plotting, scheming, developing and designing I can finally announce that my online shop is now open for business!

You may have read my posts on the oil cleansing method, natural skin care methods and ayurvedic routines lately, and I’ve managed to package all of the amazing benefits of these into lovely little bottles, just for you.

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With a range of cleansers for oily, dry and combination skin, a hydrating tonic that can be used on both the face and the body, and a collection of clay face masks you can select your custom routine easily. There is also a full kit available, so you can really reap the benefits.

On purchasing, you’ll be asked a few questions that help me to determine your skin type, any sensitivities and note any allergies you may have. It is from this that I will create your unique blend, customised to how your skin feels and acts.

Head over to the store for more pictures and information, and reach out if you have any questions at all!

Mindful moments in real life — Grocery shopping with meaning

There are so many tasks we complete as part of our routine that we can think a little more deeply into and utilise as something that can really boost our mental health and wellbeing. My first example of this is the weekly shop. By following the little routine I’ve written for you (even once a month) can really help to change your awareness of what you’re eating and how you treat your body - all by immersing yourself in a task we usually rush through and don’t particularly enjoy.

groceryshop

How to shop mindfully

Allocate a couple of hours on a day when you aren’t too busy and have time to slow down and focus on this activity. Look in your cupboards and fridge and write a list of the things you need to buy. Make sure you hand write this list, as this will help you to focus more on the task and absorb the information.

Visit a shop that sells fresh fruit and vegetables you can choose yourself – preferably unpackaged and organic (see list for recommended stores) – don’t forget your reusable shopping bags! On your journey to the store, take five minutes to sit quietly before you go inside. Whether this is on the bus, in your car or as you walk – go over your list in your head and see what you can remember. Try to think of the recipes you’ve seen that you’d like to try. And think about how that food will nourish your body.

After your five-minute meditation, it’s time to go shopping. As you walk in, pay attention to the smells and the colours of the produce stacked on the shelves. Take a look at your list and begin to search for the items you need. Choosing your fruit and veg should be a mindful practice. Take your time and look at the selection available to choose the ripest, most delicious looking foods. Remember with a lot of fruits and veggies, the darker colours mean more vitamins and minerals! As you select them, appreciate how these natural foods are going to help heal your body and provide you with energy and nutrition. These humble plants deserve more recognition!

Taking care to put your produce in reusable bags and storing it carefully at home helps you to remember what you have bought – leading to less waste and encouraging you to experiment with the new items you might have purchased. Take a look online at the best ways to store certain produce to ensure prolonged shelf life and best flavour and nutrient saving methods.

grocerystore

Series — Weaving Ayurveda into your morning routine | Mental prep

I’m bringing to you all a five part series, giving you step by step ideas of how to incorporate Ayurvedic practices into your morning routine. Whether you apply all five daily, pick and mix which ones you use or just apply them all once a month as a part of a self-care day, any inclusion of these practices at all will benefit your morning in some way.

From helping us become more present and aware of the seemingly mundane tasks we usually perform ‘just because’, to becoming more aware of our bodies and how to care for them, taking the time to properly prepare for the day ahead can make a huge impact on our health and wellbeing.

Just as a note, none of these posts are sponsored - the products I mention are ones that I genuinely use and recommend, and I have no current affiliation with the brands.

Now last but not least, the final part of the series — mental prep.

morningyoga

Getting in the right frame of mind early in your day is one of the main foundations to keeping a calm and steady mindset, whatever life throws at you. If you’re waking up and getting ready for work, these methods work amazingly to keep you feeling balanced, focused and more positive as you tackle an array of tasks, traffic, emails and all the unpredictable stuff we have to juggle on a daily basis.

incense

01— Meditation

A ten minute task that can both help you get out of bed and to get through the day without tearing your hair out? Sign me up.

My favourite time to do this is either just after waking up, or while I oil pull (see more about this in my Ayurvedic oral care article) . Taking 10 to 15 minutes to really sit with yourself and stop that morning rush helps us to slow down a little and get everything done in a more methodical and mindful way, quieting the chatter in our head and the panic of how everything is going to get done in time.

Find a guided meditation to help you - it can be really difficult to meditate alone without any prompts until you’re experienced, so there’s no harm in following someone else’s guidance. I love the Headspace app, and I am a subscriber to one O eight as I love all the videos they have available. There are plenty of free options on YouTube too!

gratitudejournal

02— Journalling

I love journalling, and believe it is a practice so many people should integrate into their lives. Again, another ten minutes just to write a few quick notes in the morning can help to switch your point of view on the things going on around you.

I recommend two methods for morning journalling…

  1. Thought dumping.
    Simply taking a pen and paper, and writing anything that comes to your mind. It’s the very start of the day, so there’s no pressure to write anything prolific - just jot down how you’re currently feeling, what you’d like to achieve during the day (even if it’s just wearing your tshirt the right way around) or anything that comes to your mind. Don’t censor yourself, don’t edit your thoughts. No one else is going to read this so there is absolutely no need to perform.

  2. Gratitude list.
    Writing gratitude lists can change me from feeling incredibly low, to feeling a strangely still, clear and calm sensation. Your list can be as big or as small as necessary, and the points on there can be huge or the tiniest things. Recognising the small good things that happen in your life help you to remember them, and also appreciate smaller things more often in the future. You’ll begin to notice the odd kind gesture or the fact you managed to miss stepping in a puddle at the last minute and feel content and appreciative of life.

    We’re all guilty of only remembering and feeling the big events that happen to us, and sometimes it happens that most of those are negative. As soon as we start seeing the small things, our perspective is flipped and we smile more.

yoga

02— Yoga

Waking your body up gently is a great way to get going, and to help avoid any stiffness and discomfort during the day. A quick, 15 minute wake up routine is all it takes - and this can consist of the most gentle flow. This is a great personal way to start your day, as you can choose your practice depending on how you’re feeling. If you’d like to really warm up your body and do some sun salutations, amazing. If you’re feeling like you haven’t woken up and just need to sit and practice pranayama (breathing exercises) for a little while, also amazing. You do you.


So there we have it. The fifth and final part of our Ayurvedic morning series. I’ll be writing more of these on different themes in the near future, so if you have any requests or questions about how to apply these practices to your day, then let me know!

I’d love to know how you’ve got on, and how doing any of these methods have changed even the smallest aspect of your day. Feel free to reach out and send me an email with your experiences!

Series — Weaving Ayurveda into your morning routine | Breakfast

I’m bringing to you all a five part series, giving you step by step ideas of how to incorporate Ayurvedic practices into your morning routine. Whether you apply all five daily, pick and mix which ones you use or just apply them all once a month as a part of a self-care day, any inclusion of these practices at all will benefit your morning in some way.

From helping us become more present and aware of the seemingly mundane tasks we usually perform ‘just because’, to becoming more aware of our bodies and how to care for them, taking the time to properly prepare for the day ahead can make a huge impact on our health and wellbeing.

Just as a note, none of these posts are sponsored - the products I mention are ones that I genuinely use and recommend, and I have no current affiliation with the brands.

And here’s your penultimate feature… Breakfast!

lemonwater

There’s a reason it’s called the most important meal of the day. After a night of detoxing and processing, your body is ready for the meal that is going to determine how it functions for the rest of the day. From the very first thing we put in to our digestive system, our bodies begin to work to keep us going.

For this reason, I always recommend starting the day on lemon water. Preferably hot water with a slice of lemon, and a little more juice squeezed in. You can add slices of ginger for an added digestive boost too. From an Ayurvedic point of view, warm water is preferable as it doesn’t need the body to work extra hard to process it. Without having to warm up cold water before it continues on its path through your system, it can get to work as soon as possible. The water and lemon help to wake up your liver, giving it the best start as it begins to work to process anything and everything that enters your body.

Now depending on your dosha, there are different types of breakfasts that will make you feel amazing. If you’re unsure of your dosha, you can find out here.

chia pudding

The ideal breakfast for Pittas

As pittas are a fiery type, a cool breakfast such as chia pudding or overnight oats is perfect. Including plenty of fruit, it’s a great nutritious meal that provides slow releasing energy to keep you going through the morning.

  1. Place 1/2 cup of oats and 2 tbsp chia seeds in a seal-able jar or container.

  2. Add 1/2 cup frozen fruit (raspberries, blueberries or cherries work well). Add a tsp of raw honey if desired.

  3. Fill the jar just below the lid with your milk of choice (I always go with almond!). Seal and shake until all the ingredients are mixed, then refrigerate overnight.

  4. By morning, you’ll have perfectly soft oats that you can eat straight from the jar. Perfect for a desk breakfast if you don’t get time before you leave home.

poached pears

The ideal breakfast for Kaphas

Kaphas tend to be a slower and more sluggish type, so benefit from warm cooked foods that include plenty of spices and fibre. A light and easily digested breakfast is best, so poached fruit is a delicious way to fuel your morning.

  1. Peel and chop your chosen fruit - apples and pears are a great choice for breakfast (one of each).

  2. Place in a pan with 1/2 cup water, and add 1 tbsp raisins and 1 clove.

  3. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for around 20 minutes or until the fruit is cooked.

  4. Serve and enjoy! Sprinkle a little cinnamon, nutmeg and raw honey for flavour if desired.

porridge

The ideal breakfast for Vatas

The vata constitution is known for being cold and airy, so a nice warm breakfast is the perfect way to ground and set the body’s tone for the rest of the day. Oatmeal is a great option, as it is warm, moist and easily digested. Add a little cardamom and ginger for the perfect balancing breakfast.

  1. Pour 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup of almond milk in a pan, and bring to a boil.

  2. Add 1/2 cup rolled oats into the pan (gluten free if you struggle with wheat) and bring down the heat to simmer until the oats have soften and are nice and thick.

  3. Grate 1 small pear and a tbsp ginger into the oatmeal, then add the cardamom. Stir well.

  4. Serve into a bowl and top with chopped walnuts.


None of these breakfasts take longer than 20 minutes, and it is the perfect opportunity to have a ‘mindful moment’ and really focus on the process of cooking nourishing foods. Doing small practices like this in the morning can help with your focus and calmness throughout the rest of the day, so try to include them wherever you can.

On the subject of mindfulness, the fifth and final part of this series will be focusing on the mental prep we should take each morning, getting in the right state of mind to begin the day. As this can determine our mood for the next 24 hours, it’s an incredibly important part of the morning routine.

Series — Weaving Ayurveda into your morning routine | Skin care

I’m bringing to you all a five part series, giving you step by step ideas of how to incorporate Ayurvedic practices into your morning routine. Whether you apply all five daily, pick and mix which ones you use or just apply them all once a month as a part of a self-care day, any inclusion of these practices at all will benefit your morning in some way.

From helping us become more present and aware of the seemingly mundane tasks we usually perform ‘just because’, to becoming more aware of our bodies and how to care for them, taking the time to properly prepare for the day ahead can make a huge impact on our health and wellbeing.

Just as a note, none of these posts are sponsored - the products I mention are ones that I genuinely use and recommend, and I have no current affiliation with the brands.

And here is your third routine - skin care.

ayurvedicskincare

Now skin care is one topic that does stand apart from the rest, as most of us do pay a lot of attention to how it’s looking and the products we’re using. The issue is, we just tend to look from the outside. We see blemishes and dry or oily patches, and try to remedy them with chemical laden cleansers and toners from the high street (sometimes in desperation trying out the ones that require a mortgage to pay for…).

A lot of what happens with our skin starts internally. What we eat, how hydrated we are, stress levels, hormones, etc etc. But that’s another post for another day. Today we can look at how you can really nourish your skin using natural products that don’t cost the earth (in more ways than one), and how this can be woven into your personal care routine to help you really feel grateful for the skin you’re in.

I have set up a skin care quiz for you to try, that will help you to get a feel for the products and natural ingredients that would best suit your skin and routines. Simply answer the questions, submit your result s and you’ll receive a personal email response detailing your skin type and how best to nourish it. Give it a go!

oil-cleansing-method

01— Cleanse

This is a bit of a cheat as I recommend you do this cleanse in the evening before bed. But this does help you to prep for the following day, cuts a lot of time out of your skin care regime when you’re rushing in the morning and helps you to relax, ready for a great night’s sleep.

My favourite cleansing method of all time is the oil cleansing method. And all you oily skinned beauties out there - don’t roll your eyes. I was once the oiliest of them all, just running my finger along my forehead left it shiny and waxy feeling. Yak. I tried hundreds of different cleansers and face washes, from the expensive brands (not mentioning any names) to the harsh, grit filled scrubs I’d frantically grate my face off with daily. All they did was strip the oil out of my face, only to make my skin go into panic mode and produce even more oil to make up for the stuff it had lost. I thought it was a lost cause. Until… the OCM.

You can read more about the details in my OCM exclusive post here, and this is how I recommend you begin your cleansing routine. The oils are made from a combination of carrier and essential oils, each one tailored to benefit your skin type. Castor oil - great for oily skin, Almond oil - great for dry and combination skin, etc etc. If you’d like to know more about constitutions or arrange a customised face care package, send me a message and we can chat!

  1. In the evening, whether you’re wearing makeup or not, squirt a fifty pence sized amount of oil into your palm. Rub it between your hands to warm it up slightly and make it a little less viscous.

  2. Massage the oil into your face, using circular motions. Make sure you focus on the whole surface area of the face, massaging a little more into the forehead, nose and any troublesome areas. Treat this like a little (bargain) spa treatment, helping that blood to circulate through your skin and keep those cells regenerating and youthful.

  3. Now run a flannel under hot water, until it feels nice and warm. Here you have two options. You can place the flannel over your face for a couple of minutes, giving yourself a mini steam facial. This will help the oils to penetrate the skin and nourish deep down, drawing out any impurities and toxins that may be hidden in there. Then using the flannel, wipe away all of the oil until you are left fresh and smooth faced. You can skip the steaming method if you’re short on time, but try to do this at least once a week to boost the benefits of the process.

The oils are an amazing makeup remover - they take away even the darkest of smokey eyes (trust me, I’ve tested it) and don’t take excessive rubbing and scrubbing to get rid. They also don’t give you that stinging feeling after cleaning off your eye makeup, which I really have a passionate hate for in other (chemical) cleansers.

As I said this is best applied in the evening, meaning the following morning you can simply splash your face with cold water and you’re ready to go. This keeps your skin working at its own pace, giving it a helping hand every 24 hours to push out the toxins it may have gathered that day.

ayurvedic-skin-care

02— Moisturise

Depending on your skin type, this step may not actually be necessary. The oils are so soothing for your skin that they stick around after you’ve cleansed (which also helps to prevent your skin throwing more oil into the equation) - so if you’re particularly oily then I’d practice without moisturising for a while and judge how your skin feels.

However, if you have dry skin or would like a little hydration boost throughout the day, this is your dream moisturiser. A super light oil that is easily absorbed by the skin and doesn’t stay on the surface - making you feel greasy or prompting your makeup to gradually slide south. The best oils for this are almond and sesame, adding essential oils that compliment your skin type, or just your favourite scents.

Use a small, five pence sized amount and massage into the face, focusing on any particularly dry areas. Always pay good attention to your neck, using upward strokes to avoid the inevitable weight of gravity taking you victim too soon.

charcoalfacemask

03— Mask

So I recommend using a good quality, natural face mask once a week. My current favourite method is using powder masks that you add your own liquid to - giving you the choice of water or oil (or even avocado or honey!) depending on how your skin’s feeling in the moment.

This is also something I offer as part of a customised package, and you should really think about the ingredients of your mask depending on your skin type. Charcoal may be all the rage at the moment, but if you have particularly dry skin it might not be for you. For oily people like me however, it’s great at drawing out impurities and helping to reset your skin’s natural constitution. Another favourite of mine is Australian Pink Clay - this is great for all skin types, and mixed with the right ingredients it can be bliss for your skin. There are also ingredients that can energise the skin like matcha. As I said, it’s all about personal preference and what your skin is crying out for.


So there we have it. A 100% natural, spa-like skincare routine that doesn’t break the bank or take hours to complete. Really focusing on your skin’s textures and colours can help you become in tune with your body, and using the massage techniques will really get you in the moment and appreciating how hard your skin works for you.

If you’d like to know more about how to care for your particular skin type, or arrange a quick (free) consultation with me then feel free to get in touch. I build custom skin care packages for clients who want to try the OCM, whether you’d like to start off with just a cleanser, or the whole trio. As mentioned earlier, you also take the skin care quiz and receive a unique email recommending how to care for your face naturally.

Keep your eye out for the next part in this series, where we will look into our first meal of the day and how treating this as an important source of energy for the day can get us off to the best start.

Series — Weaving Ayurveda into your morning routine | Showering

I’m bringing to you all a five part series, giving you step by step ideas of how to incorporate Ayurvedic practices into your morning routine. Whether you apply all five daily, pick and mix which ones you use or just apply them all once a month as a part of a self-care day, any inclusion of these practices at all will benefit your morning in some way.

From helping us become more present and aware of the seemingly mundane tasks we usually perform ‘just because’, to becoming more aware of our bodies and how to care for them, taking the time to properly prepare for the day ahead can make a huge impact on our health and wellbeing.

Just as a note, none of these posts are sponsored - the products I mention are ones that I genuinely use and recommend, and I have no current affiliation with the brands.

So here is the second instalment, showering.

showering

Another simple task that we all take for granted, showering is such a good opportunity for us to connect with our bodies and give ourselves an extra dose of vitamins and health boosting activities whilst not adding that much more effort.

We’ve all been at that point where we lie on the bed for a while, knowing we need to get in the shower but the thought of peeling yourself off the duvet just makes you stick to it even more. But once you’re in there, you can’t make yourself get out. The feeling of the hot water on your skin is just bliss, and we’re gonna enhance that good feeling and make it last from before entering the shower, until a looong time after you’re out.

Here are some steps you can follow to make yourself feel like you’ve been on a spa day, without leaving the house or denting your bank account.

Image from thebodyshop.com

Image from thebodyshop.com

01— Dry brushing

The perfect way to start your body cleansing process, dry brushing doesn’t just exfoliate the skin. It helps to detoxify the body, by stimulating blood flow and encouraging lymph flow and drainage. It also stimulates the nervous system, making your body feel all tingly and awesome.

It’s a super simple process that you’re gonna want to do more and more often once you’ve tried it. Start at the toes, brushing quite hard against the skin (you should feel the bristles invigorating you, but it shouldn’t be too painful). Work in upward strokes moving up the legs and onto the thighs. Continue all moving upwards until you’ve covered the whole body - making sure to change direction when you reach the chest.

The brushing should all be directed towards the heart, with the exception of the stomach. Here you should brush in a circular motion, moving up on the right side, and down on the left. This also helps with digestion by massaging the intestines. Be careful to brush more gently on the softer areas of skin - like the breast and chest. Look after those tatas.

If you choose to brush the face, be much more gentle with the action. Move upwards under the chin and then use circular motions on the rest of the face.

After this, you should feel energised and tingly - the skin might be slightly pink but don’t worry, this is a good sign. Obviously anything more dramatic and you’re not quite doing it right… No one wants to exfoliate their skin off completely.

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02— Abhyanga

Abhyanga - or self massage - is one of my favourite parts of this process, for obvious reasons. Taking the time to massage and moisturise every inch of your body helps you to really appreciate how awesome it is, and keeps you in check with what’s going on. If you do this regularly, you tend to notice any changes in your skin (rashes, bumps etc) that can be a great early alert for something you may need to consider changing.

Sesame oil is a great one to use as it is perfect for soothing all the doshas (read more about doshas here) and really warms the body up. You can add your favourite essential oils to really nourish your skin and set your mood. If I’m settling down for the day, I’ll add lavender - whereas if I’m starting my day and want to feel energised, I’ll use a citrus oil like lemon or orange.

  1. Warm your oil slightly, by pouring about 1/4 cup into a container and sitting on warm water for a few minutes. It should be around body temperature, so not too hot to touch!

  2. Set your environment - light candles, burn incense, play music… anything that makes you feel super chilled.

  3. Massage the face in a circular motion, focusing carefully on each part. The forehead, cheeks, chin, nose… Take your time and move slowly.

  4. Move to the shoulders, using long strokes on the arms and making sure to really rub the oils into your elbows and any dry patches.

  5. Massage the stomach, moving slowly in an anti-clockwise direction. This can also promote digestion and help with bloating.

  6. Move down to the legs, using long strokes again and noting any dry areas.

  7. Move on to the feet and spend a few minutes massaging the oils in to every part. Our feet work really hard for us so we should show them some love back! This can help with any aches and pains, and keep those cracked heels at bay.

  8. I love to meditate for about 15 minutes after my massage, letting the oils sink in and really take advantage of that relaxed, grounded place I’ve created for myself.

towels

03— Showering

A lovely, warming shower after a self massage makes your skin feel like bliss. It may sound odd to shower after moisturising, but this is actually really great for the skin. The warm water will rinse off any excess, but the majority of the oil will be absorbed deep into the skin cells where it will work its magic.

Take some mindful minutes while you’re in the shower, focusing on how the water feels against your skin. Turn around and feel it massage your shoulders and back. Small moments of pleasure like this can help to keep us calm and feeling grateful throughout the day.

Take care to avoid using too much soap, as the oil will stay on the skin if it isn’t washed too harshly (we want to keep it there to nourish and protect our skin).

When you’re done, dab the skin dry rather than rubbing, being conscious that keeping this oil on our skin will feed us with goodness for hours, and protect us against the weather and other outside factors.

Spending some time with our bodies like this is a nourishing, self indulgent (in the best kind of way) practice that helps us to appreciate ourselves, as well as being incredibly stress relieving and calming.

Whether you apply this daily or once a week, it’s a great routine to bring into your life - and I promise you’ll want to make the time to do it more often once you start!

Keep your eye out for the next in the series, which will be focusing on skin care and the natural ways we can really nourish ourselves and get that glow.

Series — Weaving Ayurveda into your morning routine | Oral care

I’m bringing to you all a five part series, giving you step by step ideas of how to incorporate Ayurvedic practices into your morning routine. Whether you apply all five daily, pick and mix which ones you use or just apply them all once a month as a part of a self-care day, any inclusion of these practices at all will benefit your morning in some way.

From helping us become more present and aware of the seemingly mundane tasks we usually perform ‘just because’, to becoming more aware of our bodies and how to care for them, taking the time to properly prepare for the day ahead can make a huge impact on our health and wellbeing.

Just as a note, none of these posts are sponsored - the products I mention are ones that I genuinely use and recommend, and I have no current affiliation with the brands.

First up in the series, oral care!

smile

Ayurveda and oral care—

Something we can all (hopefully) relate to. The robotic task most of us perform with our eyes still closed, every morning before we start our day. Something we see as essential because we are all aware of the negatives of skipping this task, but also something we don’t all know the deeper benefits for our bodies and minds.

The whole process takes around half an hour, but 20 minutes of that can be done whilst showering, meditating, or getting your clothes ready - so to me, that doesn’t count! 10 minutes out of your normal routine isn’t too bad going, considering how you’ll feel afterwards.

Every night, your body goes through a natural detox process. While you sleep, it works like a furnace - burning any foods still in your system, and pushing out any toxins and other bad stuff we don’t need. This works through sweating, our morning toilet visits and also through our mouths. We all know that gross feeling of having a furry tongue and bad breath when you wake up, right? That’s because your mouth and tongue have been working to push out toxins from the day before. Amazing, I know.

Step 01— Rinsing with water

For this reason, you should avoid drinking fluids before cleaning your mouth. All that does is help to wash those toxins your body has worked so hard to flush out back into your system. Instead, the best option is to wake up and head straight to bathroom, rinsing your mouth out with water. This swishes away the loose bad stuff in your mouth, making way for the next process.

Image from georganics.co.uk

Image from georganics.co.uk

Step 02— Oil pulling

Oil pulling has become more popular in recent times, as people in the West are learning the real benefits it can have. Basically, swishing oil around your mouth for 5-20 minutes (the longer the better) before cleaning can help to pull out even more toxins through the tongue and teeth. Some people also claim that his can help whiten teeth - this isn’t a guaranteed effect, but common sense says it should help with light staining.

My favourite oil to use for this is coconut oil - you want something that isn’t going to taste awful if it’s going to be sat in your mouth for 20 minutes. I did use sold coconut oil at first, but to be honest those two minutes before it melted into a liquid had me gagging. I’ve now found the perfect solution for that - Georganics’ oil pulling mouthwash. They have a variety of cocktails available, some with charcoal and essential oils, but so far I’ve only used the original coconut. I highly recommend this as it’s super easy to use first thing in the morning, no fighting with your gag reflex to spit out the squishy lump of oil under your tongue, and a pleasant flavour too. (Also, no plastic packaging! Wahoo!)

Place about a tablespoon of the oil in your mouth, and swish around between your teeth for the desired time (I always set a timer on my phone so I know when I’m done). If you think taking 20 minutes out just to do this is a bit of a squeeze for you, then it’s such an easy thing to multitask. I sometimes shower while I swish, so it literally takes me no extra time at all.

When you’re done, spit into the toilet (as the oil could solidify when cool, and no one wants that blocking their drains) and swish your mouth out with water to get rid of what’s left.

tonguescraper.jpg

Step 03— Tongue scraping

Tongue scraping is a really popular Ayurvedic technique that’s used by many people before brushing. Even if you don’t follow the previous steps, this is a great one to include as a quick cleanse before cleaning your teeth.

You can buy these all over, for not much money at all. There are lots of variations and all work, but I prefer the copper scrapers as I’m trying to cut back on my plastic use (plus copper is said to have its benefits when absorbed into the body in small doses). This one from Amazon is great, but there are hundreds more to choose from.

To properly clean your tongue, simply look in the mirror, stick your tongue out out and drag the scraper from back to front. Be careful not to go too far back as you don’t want to catch any of the taste buds at the back of your tongue, but this is easily avoided. As you scrape, you will see the residue coming off your tongue - which is probably pretty gross, but I find it super interesting. Even after all the cleansing processes before this one, you can see how much you can still extract from your body. Just rinse the tool in between each scrape, and complete a handful of times until there is little residue left. Rinse your mouth with water, and you’re good to move on to the next step.

Image from georganics.co.uk

Image from georganics.co.uk

Step 04— Brushing

We all know this part, and we all know why it’s important. The only thing we should think a little harder about is the contents of the toothpaste we’re using. I know I don’t want to start my day by filling my mouth with chemicals (especially when I’ve just spent time cleansing deeply) so I opt for a natural toothpaste. Again, Georganics have some amazing options and I choose to use their activated charcoal paste, as I like the extra detoxifying benefits of charcoal and its stain reducing properties. I also use a bamboo toothbrush (again, plastic-gate) and just brush as you normally would with any toothpaste. Sweet!

Image from georganics.co.uk

Image from georganics.co.uk

Step 05— Flossing

A great natural replacement for dental floss is Georganics’ bamboo fibre and essential oil floss. They come in a little refillable glass pot, so you’re doing your bit for the environment at the same time (and saving money when you buy your next refill!) Just use as you would any other floss. Another great option - especially for those with braces or retainers - is a water flosser. Again, completely natural (and can be combined with essential oils) and great for your pegs.

Image from georganics.co.uk

Image from georganics.co.uk

Step 06— Rinsing

Last but not least, we rinse and we’re ready to go. Again, I don’t fancy using chemical laden mouthwashes after all my conscious efforts, so I choose to make my own. Just using a cup of water, I add some essential oils (one drop it all it takes) and swish around my mouth for around 30 seconds, then spit. I choose to use DoTerra’s On Guard blend as it is a great cleanser, helps the body to naturally fight off bugs and smells awesome. It’s a really nice way to tailor how your breath smells for the rest of the day!

If you’re not into making your own mouthwashes, you can also buy some great natural ones like the mouthwash tablets from Georganics. Just dissolve in a cup of water and you’re set to swish.

So although this looks like a long process, it really isn’t when its put into practice. 10 minutes or so is all it takes alongside your morning routine, and I promise your mouth will feel unreal afterwards. The combination of really being present in the process and the great results you get really help us to get in tune with our mouths and the important part they play in our health. You can learn so much from the look of your tongue, the amount of toxicity you feel on particular days and the benefits this cleansing process can bring.

Whether you apply this daily or once a week, it’s a great routine to bring into your life - and I promise you’ll want to make the time to do it more often once you start!

Keep your eye out for the next in the series, which will be focusing on showering and how we can make this a mindful practice, while boosting the health benefits we can get from it.

How to eat out without sacrificing your health goals — Breakfast edition

Sometimes, you just don’t have the time to eat at home or to prep your own breakfast. Whether that be because the snooze button tempted you a little too strongly, you’re feeling a little under the weather or… well, you just couldn’t be bothered (we’ve all been there).

It can be really difficult to find something in a fast food joint that won’t end up starting your day feeling sluggish and bloated. And without the right information, a lot of us do end up just grabbing that McMuffin without thinking twice. Especially when just a smoothie isn’t going to hit the spot - I know in Winter I much prefer a warm, cooked breakfast.

Well, thanks to the amazing new selections offered by our food chains this doesn’t have to be the case anymore. I’ve put together some of my favourite breakfast options for vegans, veggies and meat eaters alike. Luckily, food establishments are so much more clued up on allergies and intolerances now that even those of us who can’t eat gluten, dairy or other common ingredients can enjoy something that both tastes awesome, and is good for us.

I’ve selected items from the menus of fast food chains that are available in most towns and cities, so there really should be something for everyone.

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Pret a Manger’s Coconut Porridge

This is always my go-to breakfast when I’m in a rush. This mainly happens to be when I’m in a train station or airport pretty early. It’s a nutritious way to fuel your day, making sure you don’t crash a couple of hours later thanks to the slow energy release of the oats and quinoa.

Dairy free, gluten free and a taste sensation, it’s an amazing choice for vegans and allergy sufferers. Pret also offer free toppings to choose from, including honey, berry compote and a seed mix. Naturally I use all three but if you prefer your porridge savoury rather than sweet, the seeds alone add a great flavour and extra boost of vitamins.

Image from leon.co

Image from leon.co

Leon’s Smoked Salmon and Avocado Egg Pot—

Leon is a great fast food chain that offer healthy and delicious meals. They are super conscious of allergies and have plenty of vegan options, and their ethos of making healthier fast food more accessible is a life saver.

Their smoked salmon and avocado egg pot tastes amazing, and is a perfect and comforting warm bowl of goodness to eat on the go. Another breakfast that contains nutritious ingredients to fuel your day and give you long lasting energy that will keep your blood sugars steady, and avoid the mid morning crash that makes you reach for the office biscuits.

Image from starbucks.co.uk

Image from starbucks.co.uk

Starbucks’ Vegan All Day Breakfast Burrito—

It’s great to see Starbucks offering breakfast alternatives for plant based eaters, and this wrap doesn’t hold back on the ingredients. Featuring a tofu scramble, chipotle beans, mushrooms and tomatoes all in a spinach wrap, they’ve been creative and developed a grab and go meal that doesn’t sacrifice flavour for ethics.

I’ll be featuring both lunch and dinner options in future posts, hopefully helping you all to make easier decisions when stuck in a tight place, that will help you feel great about yourself whilst enjoying a treat at the same time. Because we all deserve for someone else to cook our food every now and then.

Blog Confessions — Junk Food

Lately I've been thinking about the whole health and fitness blogging world and where I fit in with the culture surrounding it… One of my main intentions when I started Yoi Dachi was to be 100% honest, even if that meant admitting my faults at times (cos come on, we all have them). This is a rule that's gonna stay, so if you ever have questions then fire away. I want to show how real life works, how real women live and that if you don't have that perfect 'social media lifestyle' then who gives a fuck. I'm bored of that bullshit, and I'm sure plenty of you are too. 

So here we have Blog Confessions. I've decided I'm gonna write about a 'taboo' subject once in a while that paints me as much less than perfect — but also shows that I don't wanna be perfect. And you shouldn't either. 

Confession #1 — J U N K  F O O D

I love junk food. Like, more than life itself. I have to squash those cravings so often it's sometimes tiring, and leaves me wondering why the hell I'm so focused on it. I've even googled junk food addiction, I'm that bad.

Don't get me wrong, I love the effects healthy food has on my body and mind. I appreciate the taste of an amazing nourishing meal, and feel so good for looking after myself. But I just can't silence that voice… all it tastes is a slight scent of fried chicken and I'm like a woman possessed until I get hold of it.

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These days, I've learned to accept this and balance my diet accordingly so that I can treat myself to take out. I know how bad it is for my body, yet have begun to realise that my happiness is more important. So many people are suffering from eating disorders such as orthorexia these days — the dangerous obsession with eating nothing but clean food. Our minds get carried away with the idea of being perfectly clean and it's just not healthy.

Personally, I've been through phases of eating amazingly clean for months and being happy with the way my body looks, and how I'm feeling. But there are times when things aren't going so great and I just want to reach for something comforting. After my clean periods, I would normally end up binging for about a week, eating everything that I could get my hands on. One day I went through a 12 pack of muffins, a large bag of Haribo, two packs of sushi, two bags of crisps and a kinder bueno. For my lunch. 

I'm VERY lucky in that I never really gained weight doing this as I always trained, but mentally it wasn't good for me at all. I felt guilty and disgusting, and swore I'd never do it again… only to repeat it the next day. Remember the Sex & the City scene where Miranda has to cover the cake in washing up liquid so that she won't eat it from the bin? That was me.

But then I'd bounce back into my clean habits a few weeks later, thinking everything was fine. Even writing this now just feels insane to me, but I was totally lost in it. 

Balance. That's what it's all about. Nobody wants to be the person who can't go out to eat with friends because there's nothing on the menu that won't pollute their diet. No-one wants to avoid the birthday party because of how many calories are in a vodka and coke. I'm not saying we should let go and do these things every day, but in moderation why not. I'm aware some people have no interest in this and can eat healthily 24/7 without batting an eyelid, but that just isn't me. I love chips.

I've vowed to let myself eat naughty things every so often, as long as I train and more importantly, enjoy the food I'm eating. What's the point of living life without letting ourselves enjoy the small things? I'm happy, I'm healthy, and I'm balanced. That's all I want.

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Total Ninja — The World's Largest Ninja Course

Move over Jessie Graff, there's a new Ninja Warrior in town.

(I'm kidding. That woman is unbelievable)

We've all seen the Ninja Warrior series on TV, but now there are more and more courses popping up around the country that we can all visit — aka, play centres for adults. The biggest course in the world is currently in Manchester, and I went down to meet the guys and see how I got on with their obstacles.

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The place is unreal, it literally is just a huge playground that I couldn't wait to get into. There are four courses in total, ranging from Easy to Pro (and there is a huge difference between those!). My recommendation is to go for the hardest you think you can handle first — fatigue is not your friend when you're trying to climb along metal girders. I found myself a bit gutted that I used most of my energy on the hard run so couldn't quite muster up the strength to get through some of the pro challenges — NEXT TIME. I will not be defeated.

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I must admit even I was a little daunted by some of the obstacles, looking at them thinking… yeah there's no way I'm gonna do this. But next thing I knew I was swinging my way along bars as if I'd done it a hundred times — there is nothing like that kind of satisfaction. The lesson? Don't underestimate yourself! Even if something looks impossible, you should still try. You never know what you might achieve.

Admittedly, at 5'2 I found myself struggling on a couple of the sets, especially ones that involved needing a long reach. I guess these are the sacrifices I have to make in life… but I definitely made up for it by bossing the sections some fully grown men struggled with. 

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All in all the place is a great spot to have a laugh and some good fun, and it's totally up to you how competitive you get. The staff are super friendly and will give you tips on any obstacles you can't quite grasp. I still feel awesome after it — the personal achievement makes you feel like a boss and then the general fun atmosphere (cue wrestling moves into the foam pit) makes sure you let go and have a great time.

Thanks again to Total Ninja for having me, I'll definitely be back soon! Who's up for a Yoi Dachi ninja event night...?

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Leon — Great food on the go

 
Leon-lunch

One of my favourite haunts when I take trips to London has to be Leon. One of the more well known food places I think it's important not to look past the abundance of their stores. 

Living up North (out in the sticks as I do) it's more difficult to get a quick healthy lunch than it is down South, so I really appreciate being able to grab fast but nutritious food when I'm out and about. I'm used to having to cook everything that's good for me so I'm sure you can imagine the relief when someone else hands it over to me in minutes… 

Leon-juice
Leon-lunch

Earlier this year I tried out their lunch menu and got hooked. The juices are on form (always find myself going back to my old favourite — carrot, apple and ginger) and the food is unreal. Fresh and tasty as well as being healthy, aka the way forward for fast food.

Leon are yet another establishment that prove eating well isn't difficult, and doesn't have to cost the earth. We need this culture to keep increasing and giving us better options than junk food, especially when you're rushing to grab some lunch because you're working your ass off and didn't have time to meal prep! Being busy and busting your balls shouldn't mean compromising on health. Especially through food.

Leon-lunch

So if you're finding yourself struggling to keep up on looking after yourself in this age of 14+ hour working days, don't settle for anything less than you deserve. If you have healthy food outlets around you then use them and let's encourage more of it! 

Put down the chicken nuggets… save them for the taxi ride home on a Saturday night (or Sunday morning…). You no longer need to sacrifice taste for health. 

Om Bar — Raw organic chocolate

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Raw organic food is definitely in the limelight at the moment, and a lot of people still see an image of raw broccoli on a plate when they hear about it. If you are one of these people — where the hell have you been!?

Now the health food market is absolutely booming in the UK, it's getting more and more easy to access good, honest food that cares about your insides. Even supermarkets in the smallest of towns are stocking some great options and a healthy lifestyle is now becoming much easier to adopt. 

 
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One great brand that has taken this concept to produce something we all crave (and most of us ultimately feel guilty for eating) — chocolate. Ombar use the best natural ingredients to create a treat that isn't quite as risky as a Dairy Milk.

 
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With lots of flavours to choose from, I found their coconut and vanilla centres bar to be my favourite. I'm not a fan of dark chocolate, but they've created these tasty little bars that are less bitter than the darker options. 

Available in Whole Foods and plenty of other health food stores, you need to give them a try!

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Photoshoot — Girl Warrior

I'm stoked to finally share with you all the pics from my latest photoshoot with Scott Cross — I wanted to work with my makeup artist Louise to come up with a really gritty, girl warrior feel along with my best buddy Atticus.

My outfit is by Namastetics — featuring the Rebel leggings and Toga bra. Their sportswear is great for both performance and style. I'm very fussy with sports bras… but this one had great support as well as being practical. The sheer straps look awesome but don't compromise on practicality at all.

As usual Scott nailed it and I'm in love with these shots! Louise did a really artistic look with no beauty style makeup at all — just powerful Native American inspired warpaint and the most amazing French Braided Faux Hawk.

Let me know what you guys think of them!

The London Wellness Guide

London_wellness_guide

As a born and bred Northerner, trips down South are a bit of a big deal. I like to plan ahead and make sure I know what I want to cram into a weekend when I'm there, so I usually end up scouring Google and blogs to try and make my list.

Enter the London Wellness Guide. Pre warning — you're gonna be seeing a lot of posts about all the places in this book. It's now my official journey planner, all in one book.

London_wellness_guide

Every place worth visiting is in here when it comes to wellness in general. From restaurants to gyms, spas to meditation spots, it has everything you could possibly need. Whether you want to go for a hardcore sweaty gym session and a big refuel to follow, or a clean vegan meal with a relaxing yoga session, you'll find all of it in here.

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I literally close my eyes, flick through the pages and just see what I land on. The best of the best is collated in this book, making a healthy lifestyle in the city so accessible. I am SO glad someone has finally put all this in one place!

London_wellness_guide
London_wellness_guide