Cleanse, Tone and Moisturise

Ok, Christmas and New Year are over, breathe, so now to the year ahead. What does 2013 hold for you? Like most people I like to use this time to refocus my thoughts and think about the year ahead. And this year I’ve decided to try working beauty’s big three buy-ins – cleanse, tone, moisturise – to revitalise my life rather than a list of resolutions I never keep, why not try it too?

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Cleanse – It’s time to go through your make-up bag and throw out those old, scummy things lurking near the bottom. Treat yourself to a new mascara, it may not have quite given up the ghost yet but I bet you’ve used it a lot; mascara’s tend to dry out and clump after a few months and the brushes can carry bacteria so it’s good to do this regularly anyway. Make up bag photo credit: Retrograde Works via photopin cc

I like to keep my everyday beauty kit and ‘specials’ separately. New Year is the perfect time to go through that box of stockpiled lipsticks and eye shadows. It’s surprising what comes back into beauty fashion. I’ve still got a great dark red Nars lipstick from 10 years ago, perfect for this seasons gothic lip trend.

Tone – Let’s face it, our bodies do change when we have a baby and eat copious amounts of Christmas pudding and chocolate. The general consensus between my friends is that the tummy area is just not what it used to be. To help you tone up whilst carrying out your everyday chores I’ve compiled a few lazy-man’s exercises, which don’t require a gym membership and combined some good cardio buggy pushing might help you as the year progresses.

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Tummy: Your abdominal muscles need to remember what it’s like to be pulled in. Old-school sit-ups are not advisable for this (hooray!) as they work the superficial muscles down the front of the body and not the deeper abdominal muscles that give you a smooth, flat tummy (yes please!). So, retrain those deep abs with this gentle exercise.

  • Stand up and draw your tummy in towards your spine. This should be a soft jelly sinking feeling, rather than a strong bracing action. Keep breathing throughout.
  • Hold for a few seconds, continuing to breathe.
  • Release gently. Don’t just let it all sag out with one big, uncontrolled sigh!
  • Repeat as frequently as possible throughout the day.
  • The Stairs – You have to go up and down these anyway so why not focus on your posture (and your tummy!) and make the journey work harder for you. Here are a couple of other hilarious ways to climb the stairs and tone, note: do not do these whilst holding a baby or child!!…or if anyone has a camera in the vicinity:

  • To work your inner thigh, stand sideways at the bottom of the stairs, place your hand on the rail (if available) for balance. Lift your right foot and place it on the first step. Transfer your weight onto your right leg as you lift your left leg and cross it over your right and up to the next step. Continue up the stairs in this fashion and try not to fall down.
  • To work the butt, start at the bottom of a flight of stairs, step up with your left leg and kick your right leg back (contract your right buttock when you do this, ensuring there is no small person behind you). Repeat with the right leg and left kick. Continue this until you’ve reached the desired number of reps.
  • To work the hip abductor (the muscle on the outside of your hip that moves your leg out to the side), stand on a stair step sideways with one foot on the step. Without bending the supporting leg, lower the unsupported leg (the one on the step) a couple of inches by tilting your pelvis, and bring it back up. Repeat 10 times and switch to the other leg.
  • Buggy Exercises – you don’t have to join BuggyFit or Pushy Mothers to exercise with your buggy. Just three walks a week can reduce your waist and hip circumference. Remember to hold in those core tummy muscles to tone your belly. And walking outdoors benefits you more, as the different temperatures and wind resistance make you work harder. If you do want some company though joining other mums in a local buggy workout group is a great idea.

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    Moisturise: Ok, so I’m no life coach but I have read a few self-help books in my time…To cut a long story short I’ve concluded (!!) that the basic premise of all these self-help books is visualisation. Photo credit: SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget via photopin cc

    Visualising where you want to be, who you want to be or what you want to have, is the first step in making changes & achieving your goals. Most self-help books preach this is in one form or another, they just take you on different journeys to get there.

    So here’s the thing, figure out what you want first. This can be the hardest part. Then visualise yourself there e.g. in a bigger house, on holiday, starting a new job, having a full night’s sleep. Keep imagining this and over time and your sub-conscious will work out a way for you to achieve it.

    It won’t just happen on it’s own though. The key is to stay focused and be pro-active, making the changes and doing the necessary until you reach your goal.

    Obviously I can’t guarantee this will work for you! Another little trick to help motivate and solve problems is to find a role model – or a “guide” as they would call it in the self-help books. Someone you respect, for example, Tamara Mellon – she is the CEO of Jimmy Choo. She created the brand from scratch and is a single mother. So, when I find myself not writing this blog(!) because I don’t have time whilst looking after two kids, I ask myself is ‘what would Tamara do?”. Well she certainly wouldn’t sit around watching Lorraine (sorry Lorraine I love you, I just don’t have the time). She would find the time. Here are some other useful role models:

    Situation: You’re overtired, the kids are running riot & you’re about to melt down into tears. Ask yourself: What would your mum/mother-in-law do?

    Situation: The kids are running riot & not doing what they are told. Ask yourself: What would Supernanny say/do?

    Situation: The kids are not sleeping well? Ask yourself: What would Gina (Ford) do? Or think of someone who’s kids do sleep well & imagine what they would do.

    Situation: Some of the mums are being bitchy (yes unfortunately this happens a lot!). Ask yourself: What would Lorraine do? (I knew she’d come in handy one day!) In fact, Lorraine is a very good person to imagine handling a lot of social situations – speeches, meeting new people, making light of a faux pas – as she is very warm, kind and naturally confident.

    I can’t promise these techniques will work for you but they help me and if you don’t try you’ll never know. If you’re stuck in a rut this is the perfect way to help yourself through an invigorating New Year and as you cleanse, tone & moisturise your face (or at least wash & moisturise!) your sub-conscious will quietly be reminded of your little New Years ‘resolutions’.

    Best foot forward…

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