BLOGS    

 

Body Image Movement 

We live in a world where image can be seen as everything. The trouble is, rather than recognise and celebrate the beauty of individuality, so many of us fall into a trap of believing we need to fit a mould. 
This is where the Body Image Movement comes in. 
An internationally recognised movement founded by Taryn Brumfitt, the Body Image Movement is on a quest to end the global body-hating epidemic. 
Its message is that “everyone has the right to love and embrace their body, regardless of shape, size, ethnicity or ability.” 
Don’t change your body. Change your attitude. 
 
 
Heavily-filtered images on social media along with air-brushed perfection in the pages of our glossy mags mean that many people – men as well as women – have an unrealistic idea of beauty. 
Weight and shape, flaws and imperfections, are all erased from these pictures making those of us looking at them feel self-conscious of our perceived inadequacies. 
This can impact on us physically, socially and psychologically. 
I am by no means immune from the societal pressures to look perfect. 
But I have learned that body image issues stem from deep-seated low self-esteem. 
And the key to tackling this is to achieve balance in your life. 
You have to learn to accept things you can’t change. Learn to love things about you that mark you out as special. And to celebrate the journey your body has been on – as it develops and changes whether through age, pregnancy, illness, activity. 
 
Learn to love yourself 
We are all different and none of us is perfect. 
We all have defects and shortcomings. But we all have things about us which make us beautiful, interesting and unique. 
The Body Image Movement revels in the beauty of the human form. It champions diversity and helps us to focus on what is important in life. 
It also teaches that you can be healthy no matter what size you are. 
I believe feeling comfortable in your clothes and maintaining good health is the best way to have a healthy body and a healthy mind. 
It is this, in part, which led me to develop my business and is why I am also part of an organisation - Happy People Solutions – promoting healthy mind, image and nutrition. 
Negative thinking can destroy you from the inside out. 
So, join me in the crusade to stamp out body loathing. Work with what you’ve got! Not against it. 
I hope that you consider coming to my event on April 19th to learn more about the Body Image Movement. Learn more about it at https://bodyimagemovement.com/. 
 
 

April Stress Awareness 

Stress is a killer, leading to high blood pressure, heart attacks, anxiety and depression. But what can be done about it? April is Stress Awareness Month so I wanted to look at the best stress-busters for those of us who need to find a way to relax. 
 
Work-related stress, depression and anxiety is on the rise. 
A study carried out last year found that in 2015 and 2016 stress accounted for 37% of all work-related ill-health cases and a whopping 11.7 million sick days in the workplace. 
It particularly affected those working in the public sector. 
 
What does stress do to the human body? 
 
Stress causes deterioration in the functions of your body, making you more susceptible to illnesses ranging from the common cold to cancer. 
When you are stressed, you release stress hormones - most notably epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine and cortisol. 
These work to boost your heart rate, increase respiration and increase the availability of glucose (cellular fuel) in the blood. 
Because these responses take a lot of energy, stress simultaneously tells other physical processes - including digestion, reproduction, physical growth and some aspects of the immune system - to shut or slow down. 
This is fine in a fight or flight response – giving you the energy you need to take action. 
But the more stress we experience the longer the impact – and this can cause lasting damage. 
After all, your body is only meant to handle stress in small bursts. 
 
Chronic stress can lead to serious problems, lowering your immune system and interfering with the proper functioning of your body’s systems. 
Learning to deal with it 
Stress is a normal part of life for everyone – an unavoidable reality. But too much stress can have serious consequences for your health 
 
So what can you do about it? 
I have learned the hard way that working non-stop doesn't make me a happy person. 
In order to keep my stress levels manageable, I have to maintain a healthy work/life balance. 
Recently, I have made it my mission to spend more time enjoying relationships and personal activities such as socialising, theatre trips, cinema outings, walking and travelling. 
I have also worked hard at taking care of myself – emotionally and spiritually. 
 
Moving forwards 
I think that the hard knocks of life have taught me a great deal. 
Over the years, I have got to know myself better and this has helped me to reach young people – giving me perspective as well as a toolkit for change. 
 
Here are my top tips for dealing with stress: 
Develop a hobby outside of work to inspire creativity and passion. 
Keep a diary. Organise your years, months, weeks, and days in that order. If you are always ahead, you can never be behind. 
Develop a healthy lifestyle and exercise and eat healthily. Exercise could just be a walk into town. Shopping counts! 
Remove negative influences from your life. If you have people or a job which brings you down, maybe it is time for change. 
Take care of your outside appearance. People who look good, feel good. 
 

Maintaining Breast and Back Health: How to correctly fit your bra! 

Breast health and back health are extremely important and unfortunately, women must take extra strides to keep from getting back injuries, breast cancer, and other health issues that can occur from wearing a bra incorrectly. 
 
Most people would be lying if they said they liked bra shopping. Standing under unflattering lights in a small stuffy room being forced to look at yourself, warts and all in a full-length mirror. Wires jabbing, cups bulging. Be honest now. You know it doesn’t fit. But at this stage you’ll take anything to be back in your clothes and out of that door. 
 
But having a good fitting bra could be your ticket to smoother lines, higher bust and most importantly comfort and confidence! 
First things first, chuck away that tape measure! This exercise is not about agonising over numbers and breathing in at the right moment. This is about what works for you. Put on the bra that you think fits you best and stand in front of a mirror. 
 
 
Taking the back of your palm pull away the back band of the bra. If this comes away more than an inch, the band is too big. Not coming out as far as that, too small. You may not want this band to be tighter, but trust me, the snugger the better. This is the band that holds 80% of the support of the bra. It is what gives you lift. Adjust the straps so that you can comfortably lift away from the shoulder whilst still feeling a good level of resistance. 
Now for the dreaded cups.  
 
Here we’ll start with where all the wires hit your body. The wires in the middle should be sitting flush against your chest without pressing too hard. The wire at the side of the cup should be sitting just past your breast tissue but not as far as your arm pit. If you need to go up a cup, you should go down a back band and vice versa. This is because the cup size and band size are relative to one another. For example, a D cup in a 30 back is smaller than a D cup in a 34 back. 
 
Although this might all seem a little more laborious that just whipping out the tape measure, in the long term this will show you what works for you and allow you to keep more in tune as to when your size may have changed. 
In all, just remember this is about comfort and confidence, with the bonus of looking slimmer and not the other way around. Now go and try this and see what you think! 

Women’s History Month Tribute The Inspirational & Beautiful: Mary Kay Ash 

Posted 22th March 2017 
 
The inspiration of Mary Kay Ash, cosmetic entrepreneur and founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, made a great contribution to where my company is today. I worked with Mary Kay Cosmetics for several years as a Senior Sales Director and led a successful team of 90 women in Suffolk and Dorset/Hampshire. 
 
During this time, I developed communication and business skills and taught women how to look after themselves and feel beautiful, by giving them hope and encouragement. 
 
I was also inspired by Mary Kay’s ambition and drive in the face of unequal employment opportunities for women like herself. 
After all, this was a woman who, after working for 25 years in the direct selling business was overlooked for promotion and a man she had trained was promoted above her and given twice her salary. 
 
Mary Kay Ash resigned on the spot and used the adversity to her advantage. 
 
In 1963, she started writing a book to help women gain the opportunities she had been denied, but she ended up writing a business plan that formed the foundation for her business. It has also inspired many generations of women like myself. 
 
She used this, $5,000 in savings, and the help of her 20-year-old son, Richard, to create Beauty by Mary Kay. This was a company dedicated to make life more beautiful for women, which was based on the Golden Rule – “do unto others as you would want them to do to you.” 
 
Today, Mary Kay Cosmetics has more than 1.8 million Independent Beauty Consultants who continue to inspire, enrich and empower women in different parts of the world. 
 
Mary Kay once said that she “envisioned a company in which any woman could become just as successful as she wanted to be. The doors would be wide open to opportunity for women who were willing to pay the price and had the courage to dream.” 
 
Mary Kay showed me the potential that women can have in business and her vision gave me the motivation to dream and start my own company. 
Besides this, Mary Kay’s dedication to combating domestic violence and cancer affecting women in her Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation, gave me motivation to help those who have been plagued by unfortunate circumstances in my own work. 
 
In fact, overall it was Mary Kay’s vision that helped me formulate my first concept of my business purpose, which is ‘helping people feel better about themselves.’ 
 
Although she died in 2001, Mary Kay and her foundation continue to make a lasting impact in the lives of women. 
Before passing, she won many awards including being “America’s 25 Most Influential Women” in the 1985 edition of The World Almanac and Book of Facts. 
 
I aspire to be remembered in the way that Mary Kay is remembered. 
As someone who helped women discover who they could be and gave them the motivation to achieve this. 
 
 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT ACCESSORIES  

Posted 12th June 2016 
 
Outfits can be transformed from 'nice' to fantastic with the right use of accessories. These add character to an outfit giving it your own unique style. To make sure the accessories are right for the outfit you'll want to consider the colour, scale and style. The perfect accessories give your outfit a great final touch and can easily transform it. Here are some guidelines on how to accessorise properly and add interest to any outfit. 
 
If you're wearing neutral colours, any colour accessories look good but when wearing colourful outfits it's best to keep to more subtle accessories. The size of your accessories should compliment your outfit. Simple accessories go well with outfits with patterns, while statement pieces will make any plain outfit look great. Wear understated accessories to keep the emphasis on your outfit and opt for the bold ones to make a simple outfit stand out.  
 
Accessories represent your taste and style. Depending on the choice of accessories, you can make any outfit look completely different. If you've edited your wardrobe, you'll know that less is more and makes life so much easier. However you dress for work or socially and whether you are smart, glamorous or casual your accessories define your style and you should choose the ones that project your personality. 
 
 

PERSONAL BRANDING 

Posted 27th May 2016 
 
Taking control of our own brand may be the difference between an unfulfilling job and a rewarding career. It can also make a difference to finding the person we want to spend the rest of our lives with. Tony Robbins, life coach and writer/speaker Matt Finch challenge us to step up our game saying "Take a look at yourself! You need to be the kind of person you're hoping to attract". Or we could say, to be the person for the job that we want.  
 
Coming to grips with our beliefs, values, behaviours and characteristics is part of the way to developing our personal brand. Our appearance and how we are perceived is another. Our personal brand is how we are seen by the world. This includes our personal image and style as well as our reputation and online profile. Having a strong brand differentiates us from others, it's our way of marketing ourselves. It increases our personal effectiveness, builds confidence and enables us to have a positive impact. When an organisation has a strong brand the personal brand of its staff should enhance this and its culture. 
 
Personal Branding and Executive Presence together strengthen our unique skills and talents, from how we are perceived to our behaviour and the way we communicate. 
 

TALKING EXECUTIVE PRESENCE   Posted 18th May 2016  Executive Presence is how we are perceived, look and behave says media strategist Greg J. Stone who asks the direct question "Why would anyone want to be led by you?" and that the traits of EP include being unpretentious, humble and quick-witted.   An example being President Lincoln who when famously asked if he was shining his own shoes replied without a beat "You wouldn't want me to shine someone else's, would you?" Would people describe you as inspiring, motivating, commanding, credible, confident, or compeling? Stone says that one of the cornerstones of executive presence is recognising that you are on stage all the time.  In his book What to Ask the Person in the Mirror, Robert Stephen Kaplan notes that people will notice if your door is open or closed, where you sit, whether you stay in your office or walk around and so on. Awareness of the image you are projecting is key, as is your visibility. There is a deep emotional component to EP. If you're not conveying passion, you are not projecting presence. Above all, don't hog the credit, apportion it.   

LONDON FASHION WEEKEND TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE  Posted 11th May 2016 

Yes, London Fashion Weekend is looming again from 22nd - 25th September. A brilliant occasion held in London at the Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York Square. The nearest underground station is Sloane Street.  
 
A wide choice of tickets from £20 to £200 which depending on tickets purchased offer trend & designer catwalks - some offering front row seats, prosecco and canape receptions, access to the VIP Lounge, Designer and Style talks with leading industry experts, Q&A Panel and a designer tote bag to take a way.  
 
As well as these treats there's the shopping of course! Pop-ups offering designer shopping with galleries of over 150 British and international brands. Visitors can also access activities including beauty and hair treatments. I'm booked on the 22nd, can't wait! 

PARING DOWN YOUR WARDROBE  Posted 4th May 2016 

Like many, once upon a time I had a burgeoning wardrobe. Filled with a dearth of black and neutral and frequently adding items without really being aware of how they would work with the rest, everyday dressing was problematic. 
 
Not only did I not decide the night before what I'd be wearing the next day but with such a choice of clothes crammed tightly in the wardrobe and drawers I often found myself just wearing the same things forgetting what treasures lay deep inside. As is often the case in life, you get to the point where you just can't stand it and something's got to change. It was a revelation when I forced myself to set aside the time to work through all those clothes. 
 
As I piled them into categories and waded my way through them I was very honest with myself in deciding what were key pieces, what really worked and what made me feel fabulous. 
 
Being well read on the subject I was finally able to pare down to the elusive capsule warddrobe - classic pieces which were timeless that I could add colour and fashion items to - often less expensive so could be phased in and out in season. 
 
That was some time ago now and I can't tell you the difference this has made to my life. Deciding and dressing has been simplified and it seems that less is more! 
 

FASHION v STYLE  Posted 27th April 2016 

Lauren Hutton, American model and actress is quoted to have said "Fashion is what you're offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose." True style is unique to who you are. 
 
Even if clothes are by well-known designers it doesn't necessarily mean they will look fabulous on you. It's vital to know what colours, styles and shapes suit you personally and this is often not easy to 'get'.  
 
You only have to walk down the street or into shops to sometimes be non-plussed that people are expected to wear some of the items available. It goes without saying that we all have our own thoughts on what is lovely but really, it's distressing when in the name of fashion, or not, that people do not always look or feel as great as they could and should. 
 
Unfortunately we are judged for the way we look whether at work or in our personal lives and when you look well put-together you gain respect because you look as though you respect yourself.