Where beauty meets the body. A little bit of body and mind talk to put things into perspective

Mind your own business

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned by being in business is how to mind my own and by that I essentially mean investing in my mental health.  I am convinced that one of the biggest barriers to success for the budding entrepreneur lies in the secret world of Emotional Intelligence or how well we know, trust and like ourselves and consequently others.

I can see how and why this happens as I have witnessed how  absolutely possible it is  to reach the dizzy heights of success in a given trade, art, business or charitable foundation without passing a ‘know yourself, love yourself, now love others’ class, in fact  ‘feelings’ and ’emotion’ were most unwelcome at many of the board room tables I’ve had the pleasure of sitting at – too girly, too prissy, too wishy-washy, diversionary, immeasurable  and not results-driven enough.

And yet time and time again businesses fail and people become disillusioned because of people issues.

Surely the only  ‘people’ you can control are your  ‘me, myself and I’.

And there in lies the problem…….

Didn’t make money this week?  Guess what entrepreneurial maveric, that’s because of you.

Missed that deadline?  Your problem.

Took on too much work?  Hello in there brain….

Not got enough work?   Pull your own socks up woman.

Triple booked yourself?  Where’s your diary dude?

Under quoted and ended up losing money?  You again.

Customers don’t understand you?  Sorry mate but maybe you don’t understand you either.

Made an expensive mistake?  Come on twinkle toes!!!!

These things hurt because while we can always think of a reason or situation to blame it on deep down inside we start to realize that the only way to stop this thing is to take a good long hard look at ourselves.  

Once […]

On why a Labia Library would be a good thing

Headlines such as these:

“The rise of the designer vagina”

“Pictures urged before genital surgery”

and this one on Sunday: “Labia library aims to counter porn images”

have gotten me furious over the years, not least because

a) I own a vagina (and IT doesn’t want to be marketed to thank you)  

b) I am mother of two lovely young girls who will grow up listening to this shite

and

c) It is very clearly just wrong.  

Apparently ladies we are now being told that our bits are not nice unless they are not there. Think Barbie and you will be on the right lines……

It would be wrong if we replaced the words ‘vagina’ or ‘labia’ with the words ‘penis’ or ‘scrotum’.  I mean, can you ever the average man looking into his pants and thinking ‘I really must get some of this junk removed from my trunk, it is just too big AND it chafes when I do stuff’.

NO.

But that is exactly what we are being told and not just from the porn industry (which can still be avoided almost. Sort of…..)

My dismay at the article in the Age on Sunday was that the paper had gone to the trouble of consulting a plastic surgeon specialising in this procedure for her input.  She explained that the women she sees are all pretty worthy patients who really need the procedure.  This is because the labia minora are too big and hang outside of the outer labia.

STOP RIGHT THERE.

Excuse me doctor but isn’t that what they are supposed to do?

Sadly, us ladies have been dealt a duff hand from the English language department responsible for naming our genitalia – a department (well I don’t know exactly who named them) who decided […]

The secret hairstory of hair removal – the swinging 60’s

9pm on a Saturday night in autumn and  I  find myself (a writer/ other stuff) seated next to a gynaecologist, a midwife and a book publisher for my friends 60’s inspired birthday party dinner!  After remarking on the fact that if we pooled our resources we could probably launch our own magazine ‘Women’s monthlies’,  red cover, extra absorbent paper etc we turned our attention to other, more serious business……

“Hair maketh the woman”,  “behind every good woman is her hairdresser’  and so on and so forth!

Yes the 1960’s was renown for its boufants, hair-spray and quaffed locks…….

…..but we weren’t talking about that end of town, we were interested in what was going on down there (between the legs).

Being a woman in the 1960’s must have been quite a challenge because we started off all prim and proper (Mad men Betty style), objectified, pigeon holed and clipped before undergoing a complete transformation by the end of the decade into free-loving, free-thinking hippies. That, paired with the highly political Vietnam war effort would have been enough to get anyones bullet bra’s burning!   However, one thing that the 1960’s woman didn’t have to consider was whether to trim her lady garden.  THAT burden ended up being reserved for us naughties girls!

By the time the 1960’s dropped by women had been shaving their legs for a while given the fashion for short skirts and shear stockings. However the growing affluence of the 60’s meant a growing investment in the hair removal category and before long us women were being marketed wax strips and even laser therapy to rid us of our excess fur (that was until laser got such a bad reputation for leaving burns – the technology […]

Skin Pickings -We are animal.

Bare with me, this is about skin :)

As so often happens the most valuable lessons that I’ve learned about life, the universe and everything came bundled up in an unexpected parcel of un-planned, un-expected and often inconvenient parcels of truth.  I like that about life, it reminds me that I are not just autonomous control-bot computing and rationalizing my way through life.  I am not alone, my actions cause re-actions and vice versa.  I both contribute and feed off the chaos and it is good.

So, it is usually whilst  in this un-planned state of mind that I sit watching my tribe of Guinea Pigs go about their daily business.  We currently have four boys and four girls, a status-quo that changed as a result of a heat-wave induced Guinea Pig cull back in January that wiped out 6 of our beautiful girls and 2 boys leaving us bereft and having to re-think our piggie policy.  With respect to our Guinea Pig friends we try to split them into friendship groups based on sex, age and personality to make their lives with us as happy and peaceful as possible.  Having got this spot on before said hot day things were going well but afterwards we were left with a problem.  We ended up with three boys plus two girls to re-jig.  The girls having been living together before were fine and carried on eating grass, drinking water and pooping merrily as if nothing had happened.  However, the boys were more of an issue.

Two of the three remaining boys are young brothers that had, up until hot day been living in perfect harmony with their older male mentor Ned.  Ned was a lovely boy, about a […]

How do you see yourself – Dove Real Beauty Sketches

Advertisements don’t usually suck me in but this one has. I think that it is simply beautiful.

I say simply beautiful because when I saw it for the first time I didn’t pick it to pieces, dwell on the words, the politics, the product placement. I just took it based on how it made me and the women who took part in this advert feel (well, how they appeared to feel based on this film) and sometimes I think that is best.

After watching for the first time I googled it to try to find the original in order to pop it on here. It was then that I started to read the commentary surrounding it, the critics were as critics are, divided.

For a moment I did sit back to re-evaluate my feelings towards this clip. Was I naive? Foolish? Captivated by the music? Just feeling a bit sentimental? Vulnerable maybe? No, not really. What I felt after my self-critique was that to me this is what I saw it as, a simple  truth that means whatever we choose it to mean, is worth whatever we choose it to be worth and has whatever power we give it . For that I am truly grateful.

Identity Crisis – Goodbye Itchy Girl

For those of you who have read ‘and then I got sick’ you will know that I’m currently working through a number of allergy/ eczema/ health issues and have embarked upon a journey to wellness with the help of a naturopath, a hypnotherapist, a change in diet and my own iron will-power and determination.

Just to remind you that I’m journaling this (in between my normal articles once I get a little more on top of things) because it is a) about the skin and therefore relevant to the blog and b) because by writing I learn stuff.  Thanks for reading along.

So, this is how the first trip to the hypnotherapist went.

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‘Just call me itchy girl’ I said.  ‘I have been itching since I was a baby, got diagnosed with eczema pretty early on and spent a lot of time during my childhood and up to now really talking about my, treating and trying to manage my condition’.

I’ve been to this clinic before when suffering from the stresses of getting a business up and running and everything else I’d clenched my teeth to pieces and thought that hypno would be a good way to rid myself of the habit.  Needless to say that journey was a longer and more winding than I had anticipated but as it had a happy ending I thought why not drag itchy girl out of the closet and see what she can do for her.

‘Let me ask you a question’ she started.  ‘Do you think that your eczema can ever get better?  Can it be cured?”……….

Therapists have a knack of putting you on the spot. Of saying in one sentence what you have been struggling to say or feel for […]

And then I got sick.

Business is booming, life is sweet and weekends are mostly free and easy so why do I feel like death warmed up?

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Regular readers of this blog may recall me talking about my eczema and my disappointment at not being able to stop it despite me being a cosmetic chemist and having access to all the right ingredients and knowledge.   Well, I think I just got a little closer to understanding my problem and I wanted to share that with you, mainly because my most frequent health issue is my skin so it makes sense to talk about it on this beauty/ cosmetic science blog but also because I use my writing to learn and explore so while this may just help you it will certainly help me out heaps!

But first of all history (or her story if you like).

I was born allergic according to my parents and I have to agree with them.  Some of my earliest memories involve me taking off all of my clothes because they were too hot and itchy (it wasn’t my clothes it was my skin), of tummy aches and of feeling uncomfortable.  That’s not to say that I spent all of my time in that state but eczema and allergies did feature heavily in my growing up.  That said I had friends who had it worse and my allergies never got so bad that I needed hospitalization or extra-special care.  Just a large dose of calamine lotion, some cortisone and a few cool showers usually kept me on track.

As I got older my eczema changed and I stopped getting it on my body so much. Instead it crept onto my hands mainly because I spent a good […]

Why who you are matters

I do a lot of different things in my business but the thing that I like best is helping individuals (first) and brands (second) to find their ‘fit’ within the cosmetics industry.  It is a whole lot of fun but with up to 80% of new products failing to make it past two years on-shelf it can be devastatingly expensive to get wrong.

Getting it wrong is very, very easy and is usually stems from one thing – not knowing who you are and what you want.

and I don’t mean knowing who you ‘think’ you are or should be as that is mere projection.  What I’m talking about is your heart and soul.

Now I’m not a spiritual guru but then again neither was this guy and he still managed to gain a few followers and teach some really meaningful stuff – all thanks to the power of projection.  On a conscience level Vikrams ‘customers’ saw an Authentic Guru in Kumare and bought it, all of it and it made them feel good.  However, had they searched deeper those ‘customers’ would have realised that they had bought a projection of what they desired – they saw what they wanted to see rather than what was. It was still good but it wasn’t as great as it could have been and for some it was devastating.

And so it goes with brands.

The reason that Vikrams experiment was so successful stems from the fact that he knew who he was (and who he was not) and had researched and experienced that.  He understood the heart and soul of his project, the meaning behind each symbol that he employed and how to bring this to life as a product – […]

This old skin of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!

Well maybe not ‘shine’ in the literal sense but well, you know what I mean…..

Whether we like it or not growing younger is the stuff of fantasies and while we can turn back the clock somewhat with our arsenal of modern interventions there is some truth to this idea:

At 25 we have the skin we were born with.

At 45 our skin reflects our lifestyle.

At 70 we wear the skin we have earned.

So what does that mean?

Well firstly I want to re-frame what I am talking about as our ‘skin’ being a dynamic and ever-renewing thing is never really that old, shedding fully every 28 days or so.  What I am talking about is our skin producing cells, their health and their vigour.

Unless we have an illness, trauma or genetic condition our skin functions like a well tuned sports car throughout our younger years.  Wounds heal,  environmental damage is mopped up and repaired, the barrier (our outer defence) is strong and ready and its appearance is smooth, taught and vibrant.  This flush of youth generally sees us into our early or even late twenties despite relentless wear, tear, abuse and mis-management but by the time the clock ticks over to 30 things are starting to change.

I remember turning 30, looking in the mirror and going ‘yay for me’ as by that time my acne had finally started to calm and my skin was yet to show any outer signs of ageing despite my aforementioned spottiness plus my pallor (the sun and me aren’t good friends), eczema and general itchiness.  Little did I know that my smugness would be limited and that the winds of change were just around the corner.

Now at nearly 40 (38 actually) […]

Why does my fat butt burn?

It is not often that I go ‘sun baking’ due to the fact that my transparent whiteness is actually quite scary when nearly naked and even more scary (and painful) when burned.  But having kids and being someone who wants to at least TRY to enjoy summer type activities I do, on occasions get my kit off and last week was no exception as you see here:

Sensing that a moment of almost nakedness creeping up on me I whip out my invisible shield of factor highest-I-can-get-my-hands-on and rub it in. Yes I make sure that I rub it in lightly to get the maximum SPF coverage and yes I also wait the required 20 minutes to give it time to get working….

Then I go outside and play.

Sometime later (not too long as being a nerdy calculator type of person I know that my great whiteness has an absolute max of 4 hours total sun time a day with factor 50 and more sensibly 2 ‘good hours’ of beach time before I start to burn)  I go inside to assess the damage and…….. low and behold my fat butt burned.

As much as I love sharing all of my embarrassing life with you I will not be posting a picture of that. Instead I will describe my little issue in words and let you draw the mental picture if you so wish.

I always, always burn in a half moon-ish shape following the line of my swimming bottoms on the fleshiest (and fattest) part of my thigh – I think they call them ‘saddle bags’ but being allergic to horses I prefer to think of them as ‘side impact bags’.   The burning isn’t severe but it […]