Do You Need A Health Kick? Your Emojis May Have The Answer.

Do You Need A Health Kick?

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Thank god for September. We are back to school and work, after endless months of lockdown comfort eating which rolled into a steady stream of drinking. My lockdown skills should have been learning Mandarin or at least doing my wedding album but instead I took up bread making and smoking. There is some solace in knowing that I am not alone with this, as most of the country seemed to gain about a half stone during lockdown and excessive summer drinking is a national sport. It’s hardly surprising we go so nuts in the summer when it’s really only a few weeks a year, I’m sure you could track the summer weather patterns simply by looking at Majestic’s rose sales.

After a while though none of these earthly pleasures were giving me much joy, you can’t keep chasing the highs and I hate being hooked on anything, especially smoking, so in the spirit of a new school year I have chucked away the roll ups, gone back to the gym, purposefully killed my sour dough starter and am adopting the five-two approach to alcohol. This system is new to me, my initial interpretation was perhaps that it meant five bottles of wine and two bottles of vodka, or five glasses of wine followed by two shots. However I’m now following a more moderate approach of five nights off drinking and two night on, I know this may sounds a little dull, but its working. Having had to fend off a sudden onset of depression, with the leaves falling, a chill in the air and the knowledge that soon it will be dark at four pm, I had to make a few lifestyle adjustments to see me through, the first being letting my body do its nightly repair work without having my organs swishing around in a sea of tequila.

The others are quite simple too, I’ve started a twelve week course of Symprove, a liquid pre and probiotic that you take it first thing in the morning. Highly recommended by a podcast guest and the creator of Microbirth (really worth a watch) as the ultimate hangover cure, Symprove works to improves your gut microbiome and thus helps your immune system work better, which in turn benefits your mental health, quite a win win.

There are a couple of other nutritional add ons that I can also recommend. With the change of the seasons we can catch colds or get a bit run down, so few swigs of elderberry syrup also works as a brilliant little immune booster, I love the one from Pukka Herbs and younger kids will love Sambucol, to be used at any sign of a sniffle. Another good way to get a health kick underway is with some energy boosting smoothies. Josh has been making us some banging morning concoctions for our breakfasts, adding in lots of super food powders such as Hemp, Acai, Moringa, Cacao, and Super Berry to a frozen fruit mix with a scoup of Super Nova protein powder. Topped off with coconut flakes, cacao nibs, Necta and Hive honey and freeze-dried fruits, they are totally delicious.

As for supplements, I think a daily vitamin C is essential, with the amazing Your Zooki liposomal vitamin C being my total favourite, its perfect to take if you are already sick. I’m also trying out Bone Growth , from fab British brand Wild Nutrition, recommended to me by a very healthy and energetic friend, it has calcium and vitamin d for bone health plus magnesium and copper for maintenance of your connective tissues, sounds good hey? Josh has also found this great Aussie brand JS Health who have great targeted supplements like “Detox and Debloat” and “Skin and Digestion” definitely worth checking out. Finally when I remember I take a daily drop of Iodine which is good for breast tissue health and thyroid function. Also ever hoping for an increase in brain power, I am trying krill oil as a source of omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. Krill is said to be more accessible to the body and has the added bonus of being more sustainable.

Life is to be enjoyed and these are just a few ideas to help get your energy up. We all deserve to feel healthy and indulge ourselves and by getting your body into a healthy balance it should be able to handle anything life or your Friday night might throw at it. If you are even wondering whether you need a kick start to your health (and my guess is you probably do) I suggest you have a look at you most used emojis for a quick insight into your life. As my lovely therapist friend reckoned during a recent girls night, they can make for a pretty good self -assessment, a snap shot of where you’re at. So incase you were questioning whether my health kick really was in order and in the spirit of transparency and honesty here are mine. Interpret as you will.

Understanding the Teenage Brain

Understanding the Teenage Brain

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Why do our teenagers get such a bad wrap? Moody, difficult, disorganised, are all words that are associated with teenagers. Some parents dread the teen years or are already finding them extremely challenging. Yet teenagers can be so bright, sensitive, caring, fun and curious about life, so why is there such discord at this stage of their lives?

One common misconception of teenager’s behaviour is the influx of hormones at puberty but as Frances Jensen explains in her book ‘The Teenage Brain’ this has more to do with the way their brains are reacting to the hormones, than the hormones in isolation. The brain’s frontal lobe, placed right behind the forehead is only fully developed in your early twenties and as this the place where actions are weighed, situations judged and decisions are made, it goes along way to understand the seemly foolish and risky decisions that we made ourselves and that teenagers can be prone to making.

The teenage brain is busy building new connections, especially neurotransmitters, the brain’s messengers and so this time of intense growth and flexibly not only gives our teenagers a window of opportunity for incredible accomplishments but also increases the liability for them to be adversely affected by stress, drugs, alcohol and environment changes. The teenage brain is just not yet hard-wired to make adults decisions.

So how can we support our teenagers through this time as they are developing a perception of themselves, questioning how others see them and forming their identity within their friendship groups. Just as we turn to certain close friends in times of stress, knowing that they will be non-judgemental and supportive, so teenager’s relationships and friendships are very important. However via social media, their friends and any games they might be playing can have access to them pretty much 24/7 via notifications, so try to encourage children to switch off some of these notifications so that they can be in control of how and when they are contactable. Study apps such as ‘Forest’ can help to manage their devices in order to get their work completed whilst uninterrupted.

We should also be proud of our teenagers and support their independence, they’re coming out from under our wings to enable them to transfer into young adulthood. Teens are making important decisions about their school subject choices and further study options and as well as forming their attitudes to sex, drugs and alcohol, so crucially this is not a time to switch off. As independent as they may seem, we still need to be on hand to try to guide and advise them, explaining potential hazards and encouraging healthy attitudes, just be prepared to repeat any advice over and over again.

Our current educational value system can have a negative affect on children. Although we know now that emotional intelligence is just as important as academic intelligence, this hasn’t always been recognised and our tradition system of grading subjects may make children feel that they aren’t doing well, if they not getting the grades that are said to be acceptable or comparable to their peers. As Shefali Tisbaary says in her book ‘The Conscious Parent’, knowing how her daughter was doing as a person at home, meant that she didn’t need to concern herself with how she was doing at maths, reading and writing at school. Her focus was on how good a student her daughter was at life, rather than how good a student she was at school.

After many years of early morning wake ups and children’s TV shows on repeat, costly babysitting has come to an end and it is time to enjoy our teenagers. Arm them with the science to explain what is going on in their brains and by actually listening to them we can maintain a connection with them, whilst also setting some fair boundaries. As my great friend and author Andy Baggott explained to me, parenting shouldn’t be a dictatorship, we can’t presume to have the authority as adults, as demanding behaviour from children with threats, will only illicit submission or deceit, neither traits we would want to promote.

Teenagers need to be respected as well as cared for, so any frustration or anger we might feel with their behaviour is an opportunity to look at ourselves and see why these feelings are coming up. I’ve just started a new podcast Healthy Happy Home, and all the usual platforms, and when we talked on our second episode about “conscious parenting” I thought that there was no choice but to be conscious whilst parenting, unconsciously parenting would surely mean that you are either asleep or hung-over, (both of which I have certainly done many times… ) so really what other option is there than to be conscious? But I understand now that what it really means is being conscious of our own reactions and actions. This teenage stage of parenting is a last chance saloon for us to really learn from our children before they become adults, a final window to take a look at our value systems and see where we have triggers hiding that we can clear out. Personally I take quite a bit of advice from my children these days and why not. I figure I might as well get something back after all those years of childcare and anyway, as experimental as they may be at this age, their brains are certainly fresher than mine.

Tilly and Josh’s bohemian country wedding. The Dress Tribe.

Tilly and Josh's bohemian country wedding

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It was a day to remember and a day full of beautiful contrast for actress, model and producer Tilly Wood and husband Josh Young, the founders of Retreat Life, a bespoke retreat company creating exclusive escapes to focus on personal wellbeing, fitness and health. The couple brought their laid back and spontaneous personalities to life as they tied the knot in the heart of Gloucestershire. From meeting in Bali, getting engaged over Italian food in Barnes, to celebrating the wedding reception on Tilly’s sister’s lawn over homemade infused vodka, a disco ball and barefoot dancing, their wedding truly was a magical day.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON THE WEDDING THEME?

Josh and I were both in agreement about the vibe we were going for. We didn’t want it to be too formal so we chose sharing plates for the tables and the beautiful canvas tipis gave it such an intimate and boho vibe. The beautiful church service was traditional but had a very relaxed and fun atmosphere. 


HOW DID YOUR WEDDING REFLECT YOU AS A COUPLE?

We had so much help from family and friends, which gave it a very intimate and loving atmosphere. My friend Margaret made all the salads and we didn’t have a traditional wedding cake as it felt too formal so my friend Candy made lots of the most delicious chocolate cakes with berries and cream served on the tables with an assortment of flavoured vodkas that me and my girlfriends made on one of my hen nights. We didn’t label them and some were delicious and some not so which was quite funny. 


WHAT WERE THE CEREMONY AND RECEPTION DECOR DETAILS?

I used lots of flowers from my sisters garden in the church and decorated it with my friends and family. One of my best friends Ros brought beautiful white rose petals with her from Marrakesh for the confetti and also my favourite Frankincense incense to burn in the church which was gave it the most amazing atmosphere. 

For the reception decor we went into the woods and pulled ivy off the trees, which we used to wrap around the poles in the tipi with fairy lights which was super pretty. We added a big disco ball and lots of candles and flowers from the garden in various mixed glass vases and jam jars on the tables, a fire pit and some tables outside the tipi. 

Tilly and Josh's bohemian country wedding

WERE THERE ANY TRADITIONS YOU OR THE WEDDING PARTY ORGANISED?

We got a couple of great friends who are DJs to play after the dinner and so I changed out of my dress into a vintage one and danced barefoot all night. Our dear friend Louis Baker sang his song Rainbow in the church which was so moving! I actually really loved the church service as it was lovely to have those moments of quiet and also a few laughs. I am not particularly religious but it felt very spiritual and special and the acoustics were great.

 

HOW DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR RICK OWENS DRESS?

I tried on quite a lot but they just all felt too flouncy and elaborate. I wanted a vintage dress but I couldn’t find quite the right thing, I think its quite hard to find the perfect vintage dress for a wedding as they just aren’t quite pristine enough. I decided not to have something made as it felt like it would be quite time consuming and I was sure I would find THE dress! In the end I went for something more modern for the day with a vintage dress for the night.

I had already worn the exact dress in black and I loved how it felt! It holds you in in all the right places and it has pockets. I kind of liked that it was more contemporary amongst all the boho and the veil was miles long and beautiful.

 

WHAT OTHER ACCESSORIES DID YOU WEAR?

I wore a beautiful pair of Aquazzura gold platforms which just made the dress they were so rocking and we brought the tulle for the veil from, Joel and Sons and my friend Cozmo hand sewed flowers into it that morning, it was very beautiful. Chanel sent me Gardenia to wear and as I had a make up test with them beforehand, the make up was just perfect. 

 

WHAT DID YOUR HUSBAND AND BRIDESMAID WEAR?

A gorgeous morning suit by Favourbrook and a Hugo Boss shirt and shoes by Ferragamo. He looked super handsome. His best man, my son, Arthur, wore Favourbrook too. Lola chose her own dress, it was a Realisation Par, ivory mini dress and she wore shoes with straw platforms, she looked stunning. She also wore a Salome necklace and bracelet made with moonstone.

Wedding skin care planning and make up

Wedding make up

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In the lead up to my wedding I pulled off quite a bit of vanity planning. This was a whole new area for me that I fully embraced after years of extremely low self maintenance, but better late than never!

Firstly I had a series of pre wedding facial treatments at my local “Marta Beauty” salon in Sheen. Every six weeks I would go for a facial, incorporating either mesotherapy or microdermabrasion and on her advice I started wearing sunblock everyday, even in the winter. There are so many treatments available but I discovered that sunblock and deep cleansing are a good place to start as my skin went from very dry to pretty dewy in a few months and getting rid of all those dead cells evened out my skin tone. A big thank you goes to Marta, for being so honest early on and letting me know that my skin was super dry and a bit shit and then for being able to transform it. Mesotherapy is not for the faint hearted as some treatments are a bit painful but we built up once my skin became stronger and she realised that my pain threshold for vanity was above and beyond. For a day or so your skin looks almost burnt so you can’t really go out and you can’t wear make up. But then after a couple of days, your skin boosts itself in repair mode and with the added hyaluronic acid and collagen masks, your skin texture starts to look really fab.

Another highlight of my pre wedding narcissism was my conversion to Chanel and their hydra beauty range skincare. It is so light on your skin and as the name suggests, super hydrating and gives your skin a glow of its own, even without make up. I love the packaging and everything about Chanel; it manages to be cool, edgy, classic, timeless and effective all at the same time. I’d like to imagine that I’m quite well aligned with these same attributes, I just need to work on being a little more effective at times! A couple of days before the wedding I went to their boutique in Covent Garden, to try out some make up ideas. I learnt so much, how brown eyeliner and mascara really brings out the blue in your eye. How to blend two different shades of cc creams to get the perfect even skin tone, which then go under the foundation (two different tones again to blend) It makes sense right, your skin just isn’t one colour all year round and even with our fairly average summers in the UK, we all get a little more tanned.

They also showed me that using concealer makes you look less tired and brighter and how to use it only from the corner of your eye near your nose and then underneath and stop by your laugher lines otherwise the lightness will show the lines up more. Another tip, using a lip liner as well as a lipstick works really well…of course.. right but did you know the trick of using a bit of lighter lipstick in the middle of the lips to make them look fuller? After many years sitting in a make up chair, I would have thought that my make up skills would be a bit better, I must have been half a sleep for decades. I blame the early start times! However now I’m not getting made up for work and I am no longer 25 I do need to wear make up a bit more often so I am finally paying attention.

I don’t like wearing much during the day, but balancing out my skin colour and a bit of mascara does wonders. I’m using the cc creams alone for a more natural look as they have the added benefit of SPF 50. Make up is so clever and techie these days and I’m proud to say that thanks to my daughter Lola and my new friends at Chanel, I am now totally up to date and have the best make up kit ever.

On the wedding day, Helen, my lovely make-up artist friend used all the Chanel make up for Lola and me and it was just beautiful. Josh said when I came into the church, my make up was perfect, which we all know means not too much! Chanel and Helen had struck the perfect balance between making me look way better than I was that morning and like I was hardly wearing any make up. Of course I piled on the smoky eye for the evening and switched out the browns for the blacks which was easy to do even after a few glasses of champagne.

If you’d like to try any of the products we used, here is the list of the makeup.

FOUNDATION:

  • CC Cream: 20/ 40
  • Vitalumiere satin fluid; 20 / 30 / 40
  • Les Beiges eau du teint; Medium
  • Le Correcteur de Chanel.
  • Éclat Lumiere Highlighter Face Pen: 20/ 40

BLUSH:

  • Les Beiges Healthy glow colour stick
  • Les Beiges Healthy glow luminous colour

POWDER:

  • Poudres Universelle Compacte 30 Naturel Translucent 2

EYES:

  • La Beiges Collection D’Ombres a Paupieres naturelles
  • Liner; Stylo Yeux Waterproof; 88 Noir Intense /20 Espresso
  • Mascara – Les Volumes de Chanel black / brown
  • Stylo Sourcils Waterproof; 806
  • Eye shadow; Les Beiges Collection d’Omberes

LIPS:

  • Lip Liner; (I have to confess I have already lost this so am not sure what number it was!)
  • Le Rouge Crayon De Couleur; 1 /21

Wedding fitness and health

Wedding fitness and health article

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A couple of months before the wedding my writing took a bit of a dive, I can’t really call it writers block as I’ve only been writing for a few months, I just fell out of the habit. There’s a discipline that you need and pre wedding I lost it. I’m now trying to write everyday, after the gym and the dog walk and all the house stuff. A life coach told me that I should be getting up at 5.30am to get everything ready to start work by 9am. Yesterday I was up at 7am and started at 1pm. I need to find my notes; I don’t think we talked about the optimum time to do the laundry.

Aside from the lack of writing, I did keep up with my pre wedding fitness and health plan. So much so, when asked how the wedding preparations were going I’d say “Fab thanks, I’m doing proper push ups and I’m starting to lift some quite heavy weights now, I feel great.” I’d then probably bang on about the mental benefits, how it was helping me stay positive, deal with stress blah blah blah, like a born again person in lycra. (I’m not using the expression middle aged, as, by the time I’m ninety I’m aiming to have an entirely reconstructed titanium body and be flying around with a jet pack, so this is nowhere near the middle) but then I realised after a while that they meant the actual wedding, the ceremony, the party, the food, not just how my abs were coming along. So around three months before our wedding day, I started with the final wedding planning. I loved it all, organising a party and a love ceremony, how could you not? Maybe this could be my excuse as to why my writing dropped off, I was too busy getting excited, totally understandable. Maybe I should be a life coach; my speciality could be stopping anyone feeling guilty for being useless. “Think you should be achieving more? Come and see me and I’ll find a million excuses as to why you haven’t been able to and you’ll leave feeling totally guilt free and fabulous”

Weddings or higher number birthdays do give you to chance to indulge yourself a bit. My advice? And this is free, as at the moment as I haven’t officially started my life-coaching career, give yourself time to achieve your goals. In my twenties I didn’t even consider fitness as part of wedding planning but in my forties I needed all nine months. The fat takes a while to burn off, the muscles take time to build and they need time to rest. I couldn’t have dropped everything for a three months detox or to do an intense training course, it had to fit into my schedule. Too busy with all my writing you see.

I worked pretty hard at it and I am quite proud of myself, sweating away in cardio workouts, months of increasing weights to do heavier deadlifts, planks, pull-ups and squats. A huge thank you has to goes to Olivia Fraser who got me going and then kept me steadily improving with her boot camps and pts. Good company and laughter makes exercise so much easier. Towards the end I found my local F45 club, which is a total savour. Only ten minutes from my house, their fun and quite intense classes alternate daily between cardio and strength. With start times as early as 5.30am there’s no excuse not to fit it in, (the inner life coach in me is delighted)  

It wasn’t just about the training; I figured out how to eat quite optimally, which in the last couple of months was timely.The trick? I cut crisps out as a food group (which includes potato’s not the sweet ones obvs) I stopped eating magnum ice creams, sweets and general snacks in the evenings, switched pasta for spiralised courgette, got totally hooked on coffee and did the odd session of intermittent fasting (you know that one, skipping dinner or not eating until later in the morning) I have to say that I found this technique particularly easy as it doesn’t involve any cooking.  These adjustments came from a couple of consultations that came with a great DNA fit package that I tried. In the last month I was even sharing my pre work out bananas with my gym buddy Kate to cut down on the sugars. I ate a lot of deliciously activated nuts and seeds from Eat Boundless as pre or post work out snacks and I then in the last couple of months upped my training to four to five times a week. With these extra workouts and the small changes in my diet, things really did start to shift. I did love my “cheat weekends” starting on Friday going straight through Monday, until I realised that maybe four days on three days off wasn’t going to do it. 

One more thing I wanted to share is that I never want to train and I don’t think many people do, its hard, it can be boring and its exhausting, its exercise, its not really fun, its sweaty and you have to push yourself again and again. So if you don’t feel like going to go to a class or the gym don’t listen to that, just go anyway and look forward to the high you’ll get from escaping when its over, combined with all the endorphins. After just forty minutes I reckon you feel pretty good all day, so that’s a major return. Here I am again, the born again/life coach bursting out, I can’t help myself. Exercise has become an integral to my life now; I miss it if I stop. I miss the energy it gives me and I  love being fit and toned, I can run up the stairs and wear my denim hot pants. Of course there are a few wedding photos that won’t be making it to instagram or to the framers, the Rick Owens dress that I chose to wear wasn’t taking any prisoners but over all I was very happy with the outcome, I reckon I pretty much rocked it. Now to setting my alarm for tomorrow, 5.30am really?

Marriage In Your 20s Vs Getting Married In Your 40s. Grazia.

Married in your 20s vs 40s

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According to the Office for National Statistics, 42% of marriages in the UK end in divorce. Some see this as a dismal fact, but I always like to look on the bright side. In this case it means there are plenty of people like me out there who are now finding themselves in their forties and in the lovely position of getting married for a second time –and with the opportunity to plan another wedding.