COMFORTS & JOYS

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Shown: Abahna’s new 385g, 100% soy wax and 100% natural essential oil 3-wick Sleep Aromatherapy Candle with Lavender, Clary Sage & Neroli £35 at www.abahna.co.uk

We all seem to still be semi-hibernating (not a bad thing) but the UK days are getting longer and lighter by 2 minutes a day (OK not fast enough really, but in the right direction). That’s because the sun rises a minute earlier and sets a minute later every day.  As we look forward to sunny evenings (remember those?) here are a few ways to get through the last weeks of the winter that never seems to end!

1. D is for DON’T DETOX.  Almost every health and beauty feature in January is about detoxing when the fact is, winter is a time for hibernating, nourishing, nurturing, being kind to yourself, sleeping in, walking, soaking up any and all the pale British winter sunlight we can get.  Not shocking your body with a detox or low calorie regime.  Full bloom spring is a better time for that.

Instead of detoxing, why not balance your body’s PH levels all year long and build your defences against illness with Vicki Edgson and Natasha Corbett’s “Honestly Healthy” recipes? If you or your diet needs an overhaul, Vicki and also Ian Marber, the Food Doctor, both really know their stuff and are both nutritionists you can follow for life, without feeling deprived or taking the wacky road to weight loss.

2. W is for WINTER PROTECTORS. Speaking of nutrition, if you only add one thing to your diet next month…I swear by Udo’s Ultimate Oil Blend at Bodykind and Whole Foods.  It’s not just brilliant for skin, it helps support energy, stamina, hormones, weight management, digestion, feeds your hair and nails and you’ll see a difference! I’ve been using it since late November and if I had a £1 for everyone who said “You look well!” before Christmas, I’d be living in a Mediterranean villa.

For those pesky bugs still circulating, Unbeelievable’s Bee Prepared Immune Support helps stave off virus infections and another preventative supplement to try is Sambucol (black elderberry extract, which has shortened colds and flu by days in trials – you can use it as immune support during winter or when you actually get ill to shorten colds or flu). I also like Potters Herbals a lot – not the best tasting elixirs but instead of putting a bandage over your symptoms, they can really help clear out a cold in record time.

3. S is for SLEEP.  If the alarm always seems to go off an hour too early, these can help you get to sleep more quickly, and sleep better and longer: 1) This Works Pillow Mist at Victoria Health 2) If you’re feeling a bit anxious, frazzled or downright exhausted, try Terra Nova’s Avena Sativa & Tart Cherry supplements to support your nervous system and adrenals. 3) Invest in your own box of calm, rebalance and reboost with this Therapie Discovery Kit (including their Himalayan Detox Bath Salts which are a beauty editor favourite) at www.roquesoneil.com and Cult Beauty

I have two new winter rituals.  Every day I go for a walk, whatever the weather and every evening I draw a line between my work day and my evening with a cup of De Mamiel Contemplation Tea, which is packed with good things to calm and revitalise your mind, body and spirit.  It’s wonderful stuff, it helps me wind down but it isn’t sedating, it just gets me into a calm, gently revived sort of place ready for the evening and feels very “centering”.  As Annee De Mamiel says, “Winter is a time for deep rest that brings replenishment and renewal of spirit. It is a time to be quiet, to contemplate and plant new seeds of thought.”

4. G is for GOODBYE SUGAR! The best time to say goodbye to sugar is yesterday. I have a feeling sugar will be a hot topic in 2013 – it’s horrifically addictive, the big food giants know it and make huge profits from our sugar dependency. Why feed their profits while sabotaging your own health? Sugar feeds cancer cells, paves the way for diabetes, obesity and other illnesses and is a nasty energy-drainer. Your skin hates it, too.

So next year why not say GOODBYE SUGAR!!!! And mean it. There healthier alternatives out there, and here’s a chart which shows sugar and sugar alternatives’ glycemic indexes so you can see which ones are better and which we should avoid like the plague. Also have a look at Sarah Wilson‘s Quit Sugar Programme, she’s brilliant.  And if you have autoimmune thyroid issues, you’ll probably love her blog, too and really identify with the ups and downs of this disease which nobody can really see but you can really feel – it’s one big drag but there are things that can help and she has a lot of tips.

5. L is for LONG BATH Well maybe not too long, in fact London luxury bath brand Abahna says 20 minutes should be the max. You also want to aim for a temperature of around 38C-40C because 40C or over can stimulate the heart which isn’t conducive to sleeping well or winding down after a stressful day although I haven’t a clue what 38C feels like without a bath thermometer.  Shut the door, light some candles and sink into a bath full of Abahna’s new Lavender, Neroli & Clary Sage Sleep Aromatherapy Bath Salts £12 from their new Sleep Collection or Dr. Hauschka’s uber-relaxing Lavender Bath (the Spruce or Rosemary are two lovely wintery alternatives).

For a mellow, uplifting bath with a hint of the scent of summer evenings, Kneipp do a really fabulous Orange and Linden Blossom Bath Oil. If you feel a cold coming on, keep a bottle of their Eucalyptus Bath Oil handy, it really helps clear the sinuses. Frankly, their whole range is fantastic – it’s one of my personal favourites. Been on a long flight or have aching muscles? Treat yourself to a 60g mini-sachet of Kneipp’s Soothing Juniper Mineral Bath Salts £1.95.

6. …and G is also for GOUGERES They’re not the healthiest canapes but they fit into the comforting category. I spotted these Parmesan Gougeres on Oprah.com and made them on New Year’s Eve. They’re very easy, very French and freeze well (and very moreish so good luck finding any left to freeze!)

You might also like: KEEP CALM AND KEEP IT SIMPLE

 



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