Happy Easter

Wednesday, March 27

Pic from source

Wishing you and your loved ones 
Happy Easter!

I am off to Germany for the long weekend to visit friends, and Jen and her boyfriend are joining us on Friday.

Poor Pete will be home alone so that he can study for his exams:(

A few links to some Easter inspiration:

And I don't understand a word of this post but love these colours:

Have a lovely weekend,

Lulu x 

Forget Kony 2012, this is what we all need to watch in 2013...

Tuesday, March 26

My friend Lisa told me about this today.


I watched it this evening and now you need to watch it too.

Below is the trailer.

You have until 31 March 2013 to watch the whole thing for free, on the Hungry for Change Website.

10 steps to Nourishing yourself for a day at home...

Monday, March 25

This weekend, was the first of our Integral Yoga Hatha teacher training, and whilst it snowed outside, we were introduced to some of the many wise teachings that lie behind Integral Yoga.

I can't even begin to touch on all of it, but one of the things that our teacher told us, I found really pertinent.

Picture from Source.

You need to nurture yourself first.

And then you can better care for others.

I feel like I have met so many people lately, who are so busy running around after and caring for their families and friends, that they are not taking enough time to nurture themselves.

Throw in massive responsibilities in the workspace, trying to find time to exercise and to run a household, and it's no wonder that so many people don't even have the time to realise how in need they are of some nurturing.

When you are giving of so much energy, you really need to receive some to.

We all need some downtime.

This can be done through going for a massage or holistic treatment, or simply sitting down and paging slowly through a magazine.

Stop and think and contemplate, when last did you do something simply because you wanted to, and it left you feeling revitalised?

Not everything that nurtures you needs to cost money either.

I was thinking a lot about this yesterday, and in the weird way that life often works out, an idea of how to do this for anyone on a budget was presented to me.

As I lay on the couch finishing a great chic lit novel, called The Perfect Retreat, I discovered this advice from the author Kate Forster, in a random Chapter added at the end of the book.

The Retreat at Home:

Not everyone can head to a super expensive weekend retreat to restore the mind, body and soul.

With this in mind, I recommend you plan the retreat at home.

Step One:
Let those closest to you know that this is what you will be doing.  Ask them to respect what you need to do for yourself. 

Step Two:
Clean your house or the space that you will be retreating into.  The last thing you want is to be trying to 'Zen out' and worrying about the dust on the side table.  Change your bed sheets.

Step Three:
Stock your fridge with healthy food and snacks.  Nourish the body and mind.

Step Four:
Buy yourself some treats.  Nice magazine, a scented candle or bubble bath or all three if you can afford it.

Step Five:
Organise an 'at home massage' if you can or give yourself a lovely indulgent facial treatment like a mask or body scrub.

Step Six:
Unplug your online world.  Turn your phone off and don't check emails or voicemails.  If a true emergency occurs, someone will come and inform you.

Step Seven:
Take a walk and take out the headphones of your iPod.  Be present in the walk, look at the world around you and open your perspective.

Step Eight:
Do something creative, or read a book.

Step Nine:
Watch gentle movies or try a Yoga DVD.  Try meditating or at least relaxing for a period of time.

Step Ten:
Go to bed early and turn off the alarm for the morning.  Let your body find it's natural sleep rhythm.

I can't wait to do this.

Why don't you treat yourself too.

Light some candles, close your eyes and breathe...  

Even just for a day.

Thought for Thursday...

Thursday, March 21

I was pretty appalled to read this week that currently...

Original picture from: Source

On a lighter note, I am really looking forward to attending the Vitality Show tomorrow at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

And on Saturday I begin my Yoga teacher training, which is exciting and daunting at the same time.

Hope that you all have a fabulous Weekend...

Why Nuns are more likely to get breast cancer...

Tuesday, March 19

Back in 1842, it was found that nuns were more likely to get breast cancer than other populations of women.

Today, Doctors now have an understanding as to why this is the case.

I recently went to the Europa Donna UK, Breast Cancer Symposium, titled:

 Breast Cancer: Risk Factors, Prevention, Lifestyle.

Picture from Source.

It was fascinating.

Professor Cuzick who has been analyzing the risk factors associated with breast cancer for years, and says that Breast Cancer is the cancer epidemic of this century.  It is the cancer on the biggest increase and it's doing so pretty rapidly.

But Why?

Professor Cuzick outlined the following risk factors for increasing a persons Relative Risk of getting breast cancer.

Family History:
The more people affected by breast cancer in your family, and the more closely that they are related to you, the higher your risk of breast cancer. If 1 person related to you in the first degree (ie your parent, sibling or child) gets breast cancer your risk of getting it is 1,8 times higher than if they didn't. 2 relatives in first degree, you are twice as likely to get it, 3 relatives, three times as likely and so on.

The younger the affected person is, the higher your risk is.  Especially if your family member was diagnosed with cancer before they were 40 years old.  

Having a Baby.
You are less likely to get breast cancer if you have had a baby, this is where the Nuns are at higher risk.

The number of Children that you have and if you Breast Feed:
Every baby that you have, reduces your relative risk of getting breast cancer by 7%, and the longer that you breast feed, the lower risk your becomes by 4,3% per year.

Age that you first give birth:
The younger you are when you have your first child, the more you reduce your relative risk of getting breast cancer.  A women who has their first baby at age 20, is 30% less likely to get breast cancer than someone who has their first baby at age 30.

Age you got your first period:
The younger you are when you first menstruated, the higher your risk of breast cancer is, by 4 % per year.

Your age at Menopause:
Ladies who experience menopause later are at a higher risk of 3% per year, with a lady who reaches menopause at age 55 years having a 30% more likely relative risk of breast cancer than a lady who is already menopausal at 45 years.

Oral Contraceptive:
Relative risk of getting breast cancer increases by 24% if you are currently taking the pill, this risk is eliminated a year after discontinuing the pill.

Hormone Replacement Therapy:
Relative risk increases by 2,3% in oestrogen only, and increases to 5% in combined oestrogen and progesterone users.  This risk returns to baseline levels a year after discontinuing it.

Being obese increases your risk of breast cancer significantly.  every kilogram that you are overweight increases your risk by 1%.

The taller you are the higher your risk of getting breast cancer, with a 1% increase in risk for every 1cm.  The reason for this is unknown, but perhaps to do with increased levels of growth hormones.

Excess alcohol consumption increases your chances of breast cancer, but a moderate amount of alcohol has been shown to be preventative against cancer.  A bottle of wine per week is considered optimum for cancer prevention. 

The Developing World:
Women in the developing world are more likely to be younger when they have their first child, generally breast feed for longer and usually have more children than us living in first world countries.  They are thus less likely to develop breast cancer than we are, for the reasons above.

As I look over this list my heart sinks a little...

I'm nearly 30 and I haven't had a child yet, I'm unlikely to have lots of children and I'm on the pill.

Oh dear.

Good thing I'm not the tallest.

Best I keep my weight down and consume a bottle of wine a week then.

More about the weight loss stuff from this talk soon... 

Ps Read here for a more detailed account of these risk factors by Professor Cuzick.

Dinner at Inamo - Very Cool.

Monday, March 18

It is incredible how you can live in one of the largest cities in the World, with so many incredible restaurants, and still get stuck in a rut of going to the same places over and over again.  Last week Jen and I realised with horror that we hadn't seen each other in almost a month, and that we were urgently in need of a catch up.

Jen suggested that we try somewhere new, and go to Inamo, in Soho, which is an "interactive oriental fusion restaurant and bar."

It was fabulous.

The table has a touchpad to each person's right hand side, which brings up the menu onto the table, and you order from there.  Only time you see a waiter is when they deliver your food to you.

Whilst you browse the menu, an image of the dish or drink that you are perusing pops onto your plate.

And you can change the background colour of the table...

And if you are wondering what the chefs are up to - click on the live video link...

They recommend that you share dishes and that you each choose two small and one large dish.

To drink I had the Appleberry Mojio and the Jasmine Pearls Tea.

For the smaller dishes, we had the seared salmon maki, pork ribs, chicken satay, and squid and spring onion dim sum.

Our large dishes were the Miso and Yuzo Salmon and the Korean Beef and Noodle Salad.

The food was all incredibly delicious, and the novelty of the interactive table, pretty priceless.

Food winners for me, were the pork ribs and the Miso and Yuzo Salmon was possible the most life changing salmon dish I've ever eaten - and I've eaten a lot of Salmon... 

Time for the bill?

No need to try and catch the waiters attention here.

It's a little pricey so a bit of a treat, but the atmosphere and delicious food make it so worth it...

Thanks Jen for a lovely evening...

And for discovering every feature that the interactive table had to offer!

Inamo, I will be back, perhaps for a celebration with Pete when he has written his exams in June...

Londoners, I highly recommend that you visit here...and boys, we couldn't think of a cooler place to be taken on a first date...

RIP Lovely Lisa-My Blogger Hero

Friday, March 15

I sobbed this week when I saw on Twitter that lovely Lisa Lynch of the amazing blog Alright Tit had passed away on Monday.

Picture from alrighttit.com

You may remember the post I wrote here a few months ago about how much I loved her blog, and we had a few chats via twitter.

Amazing how you can be so inspired by someone who you have never met in person, and so saddened by their passing.

Look at the latest post on her blog here, written by her husband and good friend.

Sending lots of love to Lisa's Family and Friends, I can't imagine how sad you all must be after losing this incredible lady.

And Lisa, you remain my blogger hero.

Would you believe in this if it happened to you?

Wednesday, March 13

This morning as we walked along the bridge across the Thames to our breakfast meeting, and revelled in the wonder of some blue sky and sunshine this morning, my friend Simon asked me how the Meditation group had gone last week.

I've told a few people about it since last Thursday evening and wanted to share it here too.

Chez and I were rather anxious before the session began, having no idea what to expect and feeling like absolute novices in the group.

We soon realised that we had nothing to fear though as the Meditation teacher spoke us through a relaxation exercise, discussed the art of meditation, and then guided us into our own meditation.  I'm not sure my attempts at meditation had quite the desired effect...but I will persevere.

The teacher described how, although he is a barrister by profession, he has always been drawn to meditation, and how he wishes more people were too.  He discussed how there is a universal energy that we can all tap into, and how when there is so much that can be gained by being still and and looking inwards, we instead chase external sources of knowledge.

He says that there is energy emitted by all of us, and this originates at a cellular scientific level. We all know the feeling of entering a room and feeling that someone doesn't like us, or of being drawn towards another person.  Meditation, he says, helps everyone to access more of the good energy that the world has to offer.

He went on to describe how the roots of many religions lay in that of meditation and prayer, and that this has been lost over the years, and gave the example of how most of the monasteries in Tibet were ruined during China's cultural revolution.  Monasteries that were cultivating the art of meditating and being still.  Children apparently grasp the concept very easily, until the age of 8 years, where our ego's become to big and then our ability to meditate diminishes.

Very interesting food for thought isn't it?

The barrister/meditation teacher is also a healer, and we saw him holding a crystal near one of the girls in the group in the beginning of the class to check how open her energy channels were;  Chez and I were intrigued.

Needless to say, at the end of the class, we asked him to check how open our channels were...

He holds onto a smaller crystal on a chain, with a large crystal on the other end of the chain.

The big crystal swinging in a circular fashion, whilst he holds the smaller crystal absolutely still, indicates a good open energy field, which he assesses along the Yoga chakras. (Don't worry if you have never heard of those, not important for the story...)

He held it in front of me at my heart chakra level, and the crystal swung in a massive circle..."you must be VERY in love", he announced.  Hear that Pete??

Throat level swinging crystal concluded my throat chakra and airways were fabulous, as was my head chakra.

When he held it over my stomach, it didn't swing quite as smoothly or confidently and I explained to him that my stomach hadn't been feeling that great that day.

I then asked him to check the energies around where the chunk of tissue was cut from my right shoulder with the melanoma cancer last year.

He first checked my left shoulder and the crystal swang merrily in a massive circle.

The right shoulder was a different story however...

Chez was watching this as I couldn't see it behind me, and she verified that when the crystal was placed behind my right shoulder, it didn't move at all.

Not a bit of energy flowing through that area there at all...

He then asked if he could 'treat me' and I agreed.

He placed his hand a few cms away from my shoulder for about 20 seconds and I felt warmth radiating towards the area, as he transferred some energy from himself.

There after, apparently the crystal swang a little, in a pendular motion and not at all in a circle, but moved up and down none the less.

I was fascinated.

The Physio in me is DYING to google this crystal swinging stuff, to see if it is considered to have any merit or research studies behind it.

 Although I can confirm he wasn't moving his hand at all to cause the swing...

The Yoga teacher in training and wannabe meditator in me is REFUSING to allow myself to research this.

Instead, I think I may go for a few treatment sessions with this man and see if it can help me to tolerate looking at and touching this horrid scar anymore easily...

I will keep you posted...

Another dreaded 3 monthly check conquered and the do's and donts I've learned along the way...

Tuesday, March 12

Today was the 5th 3 monthly check up after all my cancer drama's and surgery last year, and thankfully all went well.  I had one mole scanned that my Dr didn't like the look of, but it was fine on the scan and so there was no need for any more cutting and stitching of my poor body.

The appointments are no longer as terrifying nor panic inducing as they used to be, but I do seem to feel like I have a fear of impending doom hanging over me before hand.

I think that I have also learnt a thing or two about how to approach the dreaded 3 monthly appointment day.

A few do's and don'ts that I have learned over the past year...

1. Do double check the time of the appointment the day before and not on the day, a stressful rushed journey in followed by a delayed wait in the rooms because you missed your allotted time is not conducive to a calm consultation.  I never normally mix up things like times, but when you are a little stressed about an appointment, it is surprisingly easy to get it wrong.

2. Do NOT have to go and treat a patient immediately after your appointment.  This unfortunately I learnt only after twice being consoled by the patients that I was treating directly after my own appointment.  Even if the appointment goes well, the relief afterwards can lead to large unexplained unexpected bouts of crying. 

3. Do call your insurance company with plenty of time in advance to get the authorisation code, and don't try and call from outside the consulting rooms, they never answer promptly when you are in a hurry...

4. Do remember that you are going to have strip down to your underwear in the appointment, and dress accordingly...

5.Do plan something enjoyable for the the afternoon or evening after the dreaded appointment, so that as the day looms nearer you also have something to look forward to, or at least set aside some time so that you can do whatever you feel like for a while.
 Today I think I may have finally managed to find a good combination of the above...

I got to the appointment with plenty of time to spare, and was even seen earlier than planned as they had had a cancellation.

After my examination which was all clear! I had a general catch up with my Dr, her Nurse and the lovely practice manager, regarding wetther I'm still eating Blueberries daily, how married life is and how my new practice is going.  

Then I was off to the Marylebone high street for some shopping.

After a general browse I bought this gorgeous dish from Skandium with a voucher we got for our Wedding.

I am now at home, writing this, and have just baked a banana loaf to have for afternoon tea with Pete as he worked from home today.

Now I'm off to get ready before I meet a friend for dinner in Soho.

Pretty much Perfect, and not a tear shed....yet anyway.

Hope you are all having a lovely day, and thanks for the messages my lovely friends:)

Trilogy Everything Balm Winner...

Monday, March 11

Apologies for the lack of blogging in the past two weeks, I have been so busy!  And I'm not going to complain about it as I am so lucky to be busy with my new business, but a little more blogging time needs to become a priority I think...

Tonight Pete drew a name out of a hat (very old school), of the entrants for the Trilogy Everything Balm Giveaway, and I'm very excited to tell Freya @nishaantishu that she is the lucky winner:)

I also want to give my friend Little Nik one.  She is my biggest blog fan, and has 'liked' every post that I have ever shared on Facebook.  

Nik your encouragement and enthusiasm are one of the biggest reasons that I have continued to write this for the past year.

Thank you for being so bloody fabulous!

Hope you girls love this balm as much as I do:)

And thanks to everyone who entered!

Why Mastering the Art of Meditation doesn't look like it's going to be easy...

Tuesday, March 5

pic from onlinemba.com

I don't know anyone who has mastered the art of meditation, who doesn't swear by it.

It's been something that I've been keen to try and grasp for a while now, but never quite got around to it.  A requirement for the Yoga course that I am doing this year, is that we spend 15 minutes a day meditating and keep a spiritual diary.

A friend of mine leant me a guided meditation CD, to try and ease myself in slowly, and this morning marked my second attempt "to get into the vortex" as the CD advises.

Not so easy though.

My friend Linds summed up my problem perfectly, when we were discussing this on Sunday.

"The problem is" she said " when I'm in a Yoga class and they getting me to focus and say "Ommmmm....I'm thinking Om-I need to buy broccoli-mmmm-what else should I make for dinner-mmmm...."

My sentiments exactly.

I try and focus on the breath and "acknowledge and ignore" the other thoughts that come into my head, but before I know it, I've not only acknowledged the thought but totally embraced it and the the 5 thoughts that bounded up beside the initial one.

The only time that I am able to achieve this near state of 'meditative bliss' is after a Yoga class when we do the relaxation part.  But by  the number of people snoring around me, I wonder if it's more of a sleepy state that I too enter?

That is why this CD is a good option to start with I think, as the lady with the gentle American accent guides me as to when to breathe and offers me gentle encouragement to get into the vortex.

Yesterday and today I got up 15 minutes than usual to listen to the CD, sat myself on a cushion cross legged and closed my eyes.... And even though I still seemed to think about a million things, it did help me plan what I needed to do for the day, without the internet or TV or tidying the kitchen getting in the way of my thoughts.  And I was far more efficient in the first hour of today than I usually am...

And so maybe if I continue to struggle with entering the vortex, but force myself to spend 10-15 minutes with my eyes closed in undisturbed thought rather than half asleep in bed with the snooze button going, it is still worth it?

The spiritual diary needs to be kept from two weeks time, so hopefully I will be in the habit of this by then.   

I'm also going to try a meditation class this week, and hoping that helps me to clear my head too...but until then I will continue to listen to my CD.

Any tips anyone?

3 weeks clean from toxic 8 hour cream and a Trilogy Everything Balm Give away

Friday, March 1

I mentioned earlier this week how I am currently obsessed with the Trilogy Everything Balm.  My friend Lisa from Skin+Care was so appalled at my addiction to my Elizabeth Arden 8 hour Cream as I applied my umpteenth layer on my lips for the day, that she gave me a pot of the Everything Balm from  her shop to try for free!  

I was grateful but sceptical.  Over the past two years I have tried and failed on numerous occasions to bin the 8 hour cream and to replace it with something more natural.  Each time I have failed.  Largely due to the massive cold sore that appears on my lip within 2-3 days of me ceasing my two hourly application regime of the 8 hour.  And cold sores are NOT pretty.  Especially when you are working with babies a few days old, I certainly wouldn't want me and a cold sore holding my brand new bundle of joy.  

It has been three weeks now since I started using the Trilogy Everything Balm, and I have been cold sore free and 8 hour cream clean. 

Yesterday, I took the plunge and threw my 8 last tube of 8 hour cream into the bucket of 'toxic products' that Lisa has put in her shop.

The Trilogy Balm goes on smoothly, can be used on any part of the body and smells subtle but lovely. It also doesn't make you feel like you need to reapply it constantly all day long, as some other lip balm options that I've tried do...

asked Lisa to write a post for Berry Diaries explaining to me and you guys again, why it is SO much better to be using the Everything Balm rather than the 8 Hour Cream...

Lisa Copley
25 Church Road, Wimbledon Village, SW19 5DQ

When it comes to 'multi-tasker' balms, the most famous is in a white tube with a red door. Everyone swears by it, make-up artists claim it is their go to product and it has a made up legend that it began with healing horses - amazing what massive marketing budgets can do.

However I wonder if all these followers have ever analyzed the ingredients in this product, they might be quite shocked.

Of the 16 ingredients, 7 are known toxins which cause irritation and are linked to much worse.

Knowing that your skin is absorbing everything going onto it and not wanting these toxins in my body,Its definitely no longer a go to product for me and not worth slapping onto your skin every minute.

As a great alternative, Trilogy Everything Balm's is an all natural balm and contains no toxic ingredients, showing that there is no need for them to exist in our beauty products. The ingredients it has, Citral, Citronellol, Geraniol, Limonene which could be suspect are all naturally derived essential oils and therefore absolutely fine.

Toxic ingredients in 8 hour cream:

1) Propylparaben:
- linked with developmental/reproductive toxicity
-parabens mimic estrogen, therefore act as endocrine system disruption
-immune toxicant or allergen
-parabens have been found in breast tumor tissue (whether this leads to cancer is up to the individual to decide)
-parabens can age the skin when exposed to UV light
- rated 7 out of 10 toxicity

2) BHT
-irritation to skin, eyes or lungs, irrespective of where you put the cream on
-organ system toxicity
-it is a toluene based ingredient (toluene is used in paint thinners, believed to increase chances of miscarriage, a derived benzene is a bone marrow poison, does not exit easily from the body)
-human skin toxicant or allergen
-shown developmental effects in animals
-rated 6 out of 10 toxicity

3) Citral 
- occurs naturally and synthetically made (synthetic in 8hr)
-associated with allergies and contact dermatitis
-immune system toxicity
-skin irritant
-rated 6 out of 10 toxicity

4) Citronellol, Gerniol & Limoene
- all cause allergies/immunetoxicity if synthetically derived. Prefer naturally derived

5) Fragrance
-worse ingredient as manufacturers can hide over 169 ingredients under the term 'fragrance/parfum', which the consumer by law is not allowed to know which ones.
-known human immune toxicant or allergen
-human respiratory irritant
- can cause dark/reddish patches, skin discoloration when exposed to sunlight
-rashes, breakouts
-can exacerbate asthma
-known neurotoxins
-usually disguises the ingredient phthalates, which is a banned ingredient in the EU but found in many products under 'parfum'. These are known reproductive disruptors, hormonal acne, hormone disruptors, linked carcinogenic, can cause birth defects in male babies. Suspected cause of endometriosis and polysistic ovarian syndrome
-rated 8 out of 10 toxicity

The remainder of the ingredients are Petrolatum, Lanolin, Salicylic Acid, Castor Oil, Corn Oil, Tocopherol, Iron Oxides, Vegetable Oil

Wow am I glad that I made the swap!

If you live in London and haven't visited Lisa's Shop yet, treat yourself.

And to continue to share the love and awesomeness of the Trilogy Everything Balm, we are giving a away a free tub here.  And we will post it to you where ever you live in the world...

To enter, Follow BerryDiaries and Skin+Care on Twitter and tweet us a hello saying you would like to try the Balm.

A Like and or a comment on our respective Facebook Pages or on this post will get you an extra entry too.

Facebook: Skin+Care
Facebook: Berry Diaries

Give Away closes next Sunday the 10 March 2013.

Looking forward to hearing from you and giving away a tub of this truly amazing product...
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