Archive for the ‘Life Advice’ Category

Working Smarter Not Harder

Friday, August 15th, 2014

If you often sigh that there are not enough hours in the day or find yourself working later into your evenings and taking work home at weekends; it could be time to re-assess how you could do less but achieve more.

Today in the UK one in six people work over 60 hours a week. Outsourcing our lives via nannies, cleaners, dog walkers or even hiring someone to sort our photo albums or visit ageing parents is increasingly becoming the norm.

Since when did this this frantic state of busyness become a “good” thing? Having our private lives commercialized means we are increasingly becoming disconnected with our families, the seasons, our communities and even with our sense of self and spirituality. Overwhelm is an all too common by-product as we feel out of control and disenfranchised from life.

The key to any successful person is not only managing time well but also factoring in the highly essential need to take time out to play and have fun. Remember fun?

This is as crucial to our success as any other element of our working lives.

This isn’t the rehearsal and do you want to say on your final day here on earth that you wished you’d spent more time at the office?

But the good news is that burn out doesn’t have to beckon. You can create more, get your work finished on time, have a life and still feel energized – and all without a prescription, chocolate or chardonnay!
Here’s how.

1. Zap Your Tolerations

Tolerations create small leaks of energy. Have enough toleration in your life and pretty soon you’ll be running on half a tank. What might you be tolerating in your life? Get a pen and walk around you house listing the things unfixed or annoying. You can do this in all areas of your life and then start working through the list and zap them.

Common toleration include: a messy office or home, unfinished decorating, IT problems, thoughtless colleagues, no healthy food in the fridge, paperwork mountains, niggling health problems (toothache, insomnia etc). Commit to zapping your energy leaks today.

2. Manage your meetings.

Do you have to go to so many? Would the minutes be enough for you to get the flavour of issues discussed? Question every meeting you are asked to attend. Try to organize quick and well paced conference calls instead.

3. Plan your day.

Make a realistic list of the most important things you must achieve that day. No more than 5 goals and focus only on them. Delegate where you can.

4. Group activities.

Schedule the most important tasks first then group remaining activities together such as phone calls, writing proposals, reviewing documents.

5. Create supporting habits.

We as humans are nothing but creatures of habit. Are your habits supporting or sabotaging you? Analyse how you work. What do you avoid doing until last? Are you always over committing? Is being routinely late acceptable? Good habits include saying “no” more often, making time to plan and organize i.e. white diary space, doing the tough stuff first, taking small breaks.

6. Simplify.

As you go through your working week make a note of systems, processes or communication that can be simplified or even eliminated. Could you check emails on the on the hour instead of every minute? Do you use an automated system for reminders and follow ups?

7. Be a cool communicator.

Be specific in emails, phone calls and correspondence. State times, requirements and deadlines to avoid email ping pong of questions bouncing back. Be polite but professional on the phone; avoid lengthy chats about holidays, family and the flu. Keep your communication friendly, clear and brief. You can save hours this way.

8. Find role models or hire a coach.

This is the fastest route to productivity. If someone is several steps ahead of where you want to be seek them out and learn how they do it. A coach also helps keep you on track and accountable.

9. Be responsibly selfish.

Don’t let other people’s needs, deadlines and work distract you from your own agenda. Volunteer less.

10. Avoid energy vampires.

We all know the sort of people who make your heart sink and leave you feeling depleted or anxious. Keep contact to a minimum, lay down strong boundaries, don’t get into their “story” and make your communication clear.

On a final note, work can be rewarding and engaging but don’t let it become your master. Time is a precious and the only resource we all have and once it’s gone it’s gone forever. Use it wisely.

Tips to Treating Damaged Hair

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Whether it is from colouring, straightening, blow drying, or simply the weather, everyone experiences damaged hair every once in a while. However, getting your hair back on track is easier than you think. Just follow our five tips before those split ends start to take over.

Provide “slip.”

Whether you’re styling your hair, or just sleeping on it, slip is the quality that keeps it from tangling and breaking. You can add slip to your hair when you’re styling it by using products that condition and provide shine, such as John Frieda Perfect Ends Sheer Mist or Style Revival Heat-Activated Styling Spray. Both of these products are meant to be used on wet hair just before applying heat, so they bring out the natural moisture that you get after shampooing and conditioning.
Give your hair a rest

As chic as blowouts and straightened styles look, they aren’t always good for your hair. You don’t have to put away your heated styling tools forever, but it may be a good idea to simply condition and air dry your hair at least once a week. This will give your strands time to restore themselves without the stress that extreme heat can cause. There are endless styles that can be applied to natural hair, such as braids, buns, and the very trendy “hair hat,” so don’t skimp on the chic factor just because you’re giving your hair a break.

Choose your curling irons and straighteners wisely.

When it comes to hair irons, the professional quality ones will always be better for your hair. These irons may cost more, but they are usually made of more hair-friendly parts, such as ceramic or tourmaline plates that release ions and add shine to your hair. Professional quality irons also protect against heat damage and won’t pull your hair, which are both good qualities to look for if you’re trying to restore damaged hair.

Shampoo less often.

Cleansing your scalp and hair is an absolute must, but it essentially strips your strands of their moisture, which can lead to damaged hair. You don’t need to wash your hair every day, so give it a resting phase between shampoos by waiting two or three days. And if you like the feeling of freshly shampooed hair, try washing on your “off” days by wetting your entire head and then massaging a bit of conditioner into the scalp. This will help gently remove dirt and excess oil

Never skip conditioning.

Conditioning your hair regularly is the single most important way to restore breakage, drying, and split ends. In addition to a daily conditioner that you use after shampooing, you should also have a deep conditioner that you apply once a week. When you condition your hair, remember to focus more on the mid-length of the hair as well as the ends; your scalp will already benefit from the natural oils it produces to keep your roots healthy.

Tips to Walking in High Heels

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Walking correctly in high heels all starts with your posture and finding your centre of gravity. Follow my tips and you should see your confidence rocket!

Tip 1: Get Fitted

Try on different heel heights and pick the one that is most comfortable for you and ensure that you have the right size. A size too small will hurt your feet while a bigger size is likely to make you wobble and fall so get your foot measured properly at a footwear boutique. Don’t assume one size fits all, depending on the style and material of the shore, the fit and therefore the size can vary. Stores offer half sizes, so if you feel you may be in between – visit them and they will get you fitted with the correct size.

Tip 2: Prepare the shoe

New shoes can often have slippery soles so score the bottom of your shoes with a key or pair of scissors to create rifts and a rough service that make them less slippery and affords you better traction…unless they are Laboutins and the sole is their signature of course!

Tip3: Protect your tootsies

Grimacing in pain at chafing shoes means you are putting unnecessary stress on your feet and risking your health so if you find it tough to break-in your new pair of stiletto high heels, try gel cushions for the balls of the feet and heel inserts to help minimize rubbing at the back of the shoe. Has a great selection of discreet feet saviours that you can wash and reuse. No one has to know and prevention is the best cure.

Tip 4: Carry Spares

Wearing high heel stilettos for a long time can result in a visit to the podiatrist so you have to know when enough is enough. Listen to your body and change to a pair of flat ballet pumps that you can keep in your bag. Many designs now fold in half so they’re small enough to keep in your clutch bag.

Tip 5: Perfect your posture

Walking with ease in high heels all stems from your posture. Without finding your centre of gravity, your weight will be distributed unevenly as you walk with most of the pressure resting on the ball of your foot (due to the angle of the foot when inside the heel). This affects your balance, hence the common wibble.
There are four most common ways that people walk incorrectly in heels, so you may recognise yourself here:

Gripping of the thighs and toes
Stiff Knees
Wobbly Ankles
Tilting forward

Improve your sense of balance by standing on one leg and change. Repeat this as many times as you like until you wibble less.

A great way to test if you have poor posture is to stand straight and let your arms hang naturally at your side. If you palms are facing behind you, you need to correct your posture! If your palms are facing inwards to the sides of your body, you have good posture.

To correct poor posture, lift your shoulders up to your ears, lower them and lower them once again. Ensure your shoulders are rolled back and down, lengthen your spine by lifting your chest to the sky and engage your lower abs by pulling in your tummy.

Now step forward from heel to toe and put your sexiest foot forward!

Are you a Compulsive Shopper?

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Shopping is a chore for some, a joy for most but for some it’s an addiction identified by varying labels, and commonly understood as compulsive shopping. This condition mainly afflicts women and a trawl through the net gives myriad reasons for the disorder.

Women are particularly susceptible to developing a shopping addiction in an environment where worth and status are equated with appearance or possessions. However, understood as an addiction, the condition differs little from other compulsive addictions such as smoking and gambling.

As with other habits, underlying insecurities lie behind the craving to shop. The consequences of compulsive shopping are wide-ranging.

Debt is a common factor in the lives of those afflicted, as well as on their families; secrecy and concealment of debt and purchases also goes with the territory. The personal damage to the sufferer is equally devastating with increased feelings of anxiety, self-loathing, lack of self-esteem and the secretive behavior needed to hide the problem can destroy personal relationships.

A supportive environment is a necessary one for those who want to engage with any form of compulsive shopping therapy. However, this does not mean that family or friends should minimize the nature of the problem. For those who are compulsive shoppers, before healing of any sort can happen, a clear acknowledgement that there is a problem is a prerequisite to engaging with treatment.

How to deal with compulsive shopping is very much a personal choice; the internet is a useful and reassuringly anonymous first step in the information gathering process and in the search for help – though beware of the quality of much commentary on the net. Professional counseling, self-help or group therapies are all proven mechanisms for dealing with addiction and for those who live in or near London, The Therapy Lounge hypnotherapy could be something that helps – hypnotherapy is now mainstream in the treatment of addictions and, as it is more targeted, it may lead to a speedier resolution for the sufferer.

There are many testimonies on the net of sufferers from this condition overcoming the addiction. What they have in common is admitting the existence of the problem in the first instance and then seeking out the treatment most suited to the individual and to their circumstances.

Tips for Feeling Good in Your Clothing

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

There are three ways that fitness makes you look good in your clothes – physique and confidence and attitude.

You can follow a training routine designed to help you lose weight and tone up. It’s important to understand that you will have some genetic bias. You may have an hour glass or a pear shaped body, either because of your bone structure or because of your body’s preferred sites for storage of body fat.

By exercising regularly and eating healthily you can reach a toned and healthy physique, athletic even – with some consistency. You won’t be able to change the proportions of your skeleton or your height any more than exercise can change your hair colour – but you can certainly look and feel good from it.

In my opinion looking good is only useful because it makes us feel good. Truth is, that by beginning exercise you’ll immediately start to feel good, long before you lose a dress a size or tone up those arms – you’ll already feel great, just knowing that you’re in control and doing something about the way you want to be. You’ll fill your being with vitality and be buzzing off of those feel good endorphins – the exercise ‘high’.

Feeling good about yourself fills you with confidence and anyone who knows anything about fashion knows that the attitude is half of what makes you sexy and attractive. So begin an exercise programme with a goal in mind, and enjoy reaching the goal, but also enjoy the journey, the first steps even, the change in self esteem that you will feel right from day one.

Stuck in a Style Rut?

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

According to research just out two thirds of us British women are stuck in a style rut because we lack the confidence to change our image. There were some fascinating finds; we’ve focused on the key ones.

Let’s start with the top 10 style barriers for us:

Current style is comfy
Can’t afford salon trips
Worried it won’t suit me
Not enough time to style myself
Don’t want to risk cutting hair another way
I’ve always had this style
I’d be nervous trying a new hair colour
I love my current style
I’m not confident styling myself
I don’t know how to create new styles

The most interesting points from the research are as follows:

The average woman has had their current hairstyle for a staggering six years and 153 days, while nearly half have had the same hair style since they were a teenager.

One in three said they were suffering a ‘hair rut’, while sixty per cent feel they never changed the way they dress or do their makeup.

Over a third fear they won’t be able to pull off an image change, with many worried about how their partner might respond or whether other women would judge them.

Most women keep the same hairstyle for work and play, with 75 per cent admitting they sport a similar style for different occasions like business meetings, parties or even dates.

70 per cent believe the right ‘do’ makes them feel more attractive while a quarter were convinced it could help them to be taken more seriously as a professional.

Many are convinced image plays a big part when it comes to success- a quarter of the study thought they had been held back in life by a lack of confidence to change their look, either for a job interview or date.

Seeing themselves in old photos has caused four out of ten women to re-think the way they look, while many others have been rocked by comments from a friend or partner.

So, what advice can we give you…

Confidence comes gradually, and with happiness. The first hurdle is to make yourself happier by changing the way you think. Start exercising, lose a few pounds, commit to fix whatever you are unhappy about and get to it.

Hiring a personal stylist for an initial session or download your personal online style guide and you’ll start learning the secrets to dressing for your body shape. Once you start appreciating the style theory and experimenting, you’ll start to gain a little confidence. Sometimes it’s easier to put your style into a professional’s hands – not all of us have that creative eye, enough to appreciate what looks good and bad anyway.

Change your image because you want to, not because you feel you have to.

Don’t think that by buying expensive clothing that you are going to make all the difference, that’s not how it works… certainly not in the long term anyway. Understand what shapes, colours and styles suit you and more importantly, you feel comfortable in and then hit the shops.