Sunday 18 January 2015

New Year's Resolution. A New Healthy Happy Me in 2015

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Holland and Barrett. 
All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias
Really there is only ONE New Year's Resolution and that is to be HAPPY, which is why we all wish each other a Happy New Year. 
When we define our resolutions, underpinning it all is ultimately the desire to be happy, in whatever way happiness is defined for us, personally. BUT if we start with that instead of ending with that, things fall into place in a way that is instant, gentle, but sustainable. What I mean is put happiness at the start line instead of at the remotely distant finish line. Make happiness a now instead of a never! Make it a journey instead of a destination. So, for example, if we are a size 18, and we say "I'll be HAPPY when I get to a size 12" each time you are faced with an exercise or diet decision, you know that won't instantly have an impact on that huge goal, so you can be naughty without a great deal of consequence. BUT if the happiness was something that could be defined daily, like zooming in on the way poor food makes you FEEL, now that is something you can be accountable for daily. So, notice the bloatedness, the headaches, the fatigue. Eat something better and notice the lightness, the full, yet not bloated, wholesome feeling, the hydrated feeling. Notice how you have more energy and concentrate better when you eat better. Thankfully I LOVE salad, fruit and veg, so I just need to keep at the forefront of my mind, how good food makes me FEEL!

My goals are things that'll take some time to get to, but happiness would be the journey to work towards them, so that for me, was what first needed defining. My ultimate goal is to be pregnant, but to have the healthy pregnancy I want, I have to first get well, then get healthy, then get fertile. By this, I don't mean I am infertile, but I have had implantation failure twice. Once before conceiving Aaron and once last year. Both times, it is a message to me that health needs to improve and that is where I was then (2009), and now (2015) - wow I have left it too long!! Both journeys involve nutrition, yoga and meditation. I know my nutrition needs a little nudge and assistance so I went to Holland & Barrett the other day:
My shop for Pregnacare to Holland and Barrett
I bought Pregnacare Conception, which I also took before conceiving Aaron (although that time I was ALSO seeing a Chinese Herbalist).

For me, all journeys are spiritual, so the FIRST thing I did back on 7th January, was make a special shelf for all of my Yoga Books, and on the shelf immediately below, I made an altar. In that Instagram link you just see the beginning of it. This set the scene for what was to come, which was creating a sacred space, that made doing yoga and meditation once again POSSIBLE. It's like creating the finish line, before running towards it. Surrounding yourself in a conducive environment. It's powerful. 
My yoga shelf and altar
My altar is fun, so there is a real pic of Aaron and a pic from a magazine of "Lottie". I have given each of them a duck, and each of them a rabbit. If you've been to blog conferences you will recognise both. It's fun and it makes me smile, and amidst it all, my special Buddha which has been on many a journey with me.

Which brings me on to:

To Thine Own Self Be True - Know Yourself
I am a "going to" person. Some people are "going from". What I mean by this is, for some people, when they are moving house, all they want to do is pack up, visit the estate agent, get their place on the market, and THEN start looking. They're all about "getting outa here". For me, I can't begin to go ANYWHERE unless I know WHERE I am going. Literally I won't get off the starting line, unless I know where the finish line is. You may think everyone is like this, but look more closely and you'll see we fall into two broad camps. So if I tell myself to "give up caffeine, aspartame, alcohol etc..." that is about running AWAY from things and for me, I am only motivated by running TOWARDS, so I have to line up the substitutes. For any degree of commitment you need motivation, and KNOWING yourself is more than half the battle!

When I did my recent shop at Holland & Barrett Aaron and Daddy were with me. Aaron was intrigued by the OWLS everywhere, as you can see in the pic below. Once he'd brought them to my attention, I decided to put the team to the test. I'd read a Fertility Book all the way to the store (the same book I read in 2009) and had me a little shopping list of what I should buy. Once I asked an owl  I mean, asked a team member, she pointed me in the direction of Pregnacare Conception. Sure enough, it had within it, all the things I was going to buy individually. I wasn't happy with the Magnesium having only 16% of the RDA, so I bought this separately. This was my own decision, and no doubt Vitabiotics has a reason for the amount. BUT, I went with my gut instinct and bought Magnesium separately. I bought the Floradix Magnesium as that is a brand I have trusted for decades. It's not in my windowsill photo as I forgot to take it out of the fridge where it now resides.
Ask an owl at Holland and Barrett

For the Things That Don't Get Done

  • Listen to yourself.
  • Create the right environment.
  • Don't put any expectations on how things will unfold (I'd wrongly assumed I could only paint Aaron's room if he was at school. Turns out it was way more fun and rewarding doing it together).
  • Create solutions not problems (I nearly didn't begin yesterday as I did not have sandpaper. As I was in the right frame of mind, giving up didn't sit well with me, so within 30 minutes I'd come up with the solution of rubbing the walls with a wire wool scourer from the kitchen and it worked)!
  • Then.... just DO IT!

So what do I mean by the above? Well, Daddy bought paint for what will be Aaron's bedroom back in August, and despite having been a DIY Manager for years back in the 1990s, I have not decorated the room. In recent phonecalls with my Mum, I started to be aware of my script, listening to myself in the 3rd person, and reflecting on my words after the call. What were my excuses? Mainly that I was tired, exhausted even. NO amount of telling myself to GET IT DONE was going to work. It was the exhaustion and the dragging of my feet that needed dealing with first, and flu for 3 weeks over Christmas didn't help. So, since he went back to school I have been incredibly gentle with myself; patient even. I let week one AND week two of the new term come and go without starting, but I knew what I was working towards. I've cut back to one coffee a day, and hydrating very much the rest of the day with Caro, herbal teas and water. This then made me feel incredibly tired (as the stimulant of caffeine was removed) so I went with it and started to have early nights. I didn't get the caffeine withdrawal headaches as I cut down prior to going to one a day. So unlike me. In my yoga days I was so extreme I would go from 8 a day to none a day, and just suffer the headaches for 2 days but I am older and wiser now. Anyway, the early nights meant a new me in the morning. Rising at 08:30 Saturday and Sunday instead of 10:30. Friday I made cupcakes even though I haven't baked in about 10 years and Saturday (yesterday) I started to decorate the room. Aaron and I painted 3 out of 4 walls and we're both really happy with it.
Coffee substitute from Holland and Barrett

Good habits Good Vibrations
  • A good habit that I got into a whole year ago, is shiny sinks, thanks to Hannah telling me about it. It means that my sink always (nearly always *coughs*) GLEAMS at me, when I go to put on the kettle and THAT is a great start to any day.
  • I now make every surface that can be polished shine. The shinier and more reflective the better as it is like having surfaces in your home that are cheerleaders to your new ways. So you won't find scale on my taps - no siree!
  • I started to notice that empty spaces stop me in my tracks, like I am afraid of them! I feel the need to fill them, but then it means anything on top of that, and the clutter spirals out of control. Now I force myself to keep certain areas CLEAR. So with this NEW ME, there is NOTHING on top of my fridge, NOTHING on top of my microwave and only a few tasteful things on my windowsill. It works, as then you notice immediately if there is a bit of dust or dirt, and you immediately bring the sparkle into your life. My mantelpiece was beautifully minimalist when the Xmas decs came down, but I have overfilled that and I am still deciding whether I like it or not!
  • Lighting candles. On top of the mantelpiece and on top of my cooker (it has a glass lid over the hob). Creates such a sacred mood that instantly makes one feel calm.
  • Having an altar.
  • Playing "mantras" on my CD player. Do not underestimate the power of mantra! WOW! I have played them (some for the first time in YEARS) every day in my kitchen for weeks. It obviously lifted stagnant energy or raised the vibration or something, as I have now cleaned and made it sparkle not just in a way as if my Mum is coming, but actually how she herself would make it look.
  • Early nights. I have discovered that 9 hours sleep from 23:30 to 08:30 is entirely different to having the same amount of hours from 1:30 to 10:30. Like my Mum always said, sleeping BEFORE midnight serves you well. I will try to introduce sadhana (morning yoga) back into my life, which will mean sleeping at the same time as Aaron but getting up earlier to do yoga before sunrise!
  • Reduced caffeine intake, which both make the above possible, as I can SLEEP and then being less tired means I need less caffeine. A lovely circular way of living.
  • More love, less anger. Just takes being mindful, being in the moment, and taking the path of least resistance.
  • Breathe! Taking a deep breath certainly helps with all of the above. As with yogi breath (pranayama) it is deep breathing down into your abdomen, followed by filling the chest lungs and lastly the upper chest (shallow breathing sees you do only the last) and then focusing on the exhale, to ensure you let go. A bit like frozen, think "let it  go". Any thing, any thought, any habit, that no longer serves you. Let it GO!
salad back in my diet

Nature abhors a vacuum
The reason New Year's Resolutions often fizzle out, is because people expect to be able to give things up, without putting a substitute in its place. Science/the Universe doesn't tolerate this very well so
  • If you are reducing caffeine, substitute your coffees with something you like nearly as much. For me, I can drink gallons of herbal tea, but there are times when it just won't cut it and I want a mug I can hug. So it has to be brown, warm, and milky! This means Barley Cup. Naturally caffeine free but it hits the spot. It doesn't wake me up, so bedtimes are naturally earlier and I am still having my morning coffee, but keeping it to just that. Even keeping that one, I am already feeling the benefits. Up at 08:30 yesterday and today, when normally at the weekend I would wake at 10:30. Now the mornings are sunny and the sky is bright blue, being awake for it is much appreciated.
  • Don't leave cluttered spots empty/vacant/dead, make them shine, or put something sacred/well loved there. You need a mental map of how the area looks when good, so that you can keep going back to that daily, in a good way rather than a chore way - makes such a difference! It works for "going TO" people like me!
  • I had two shelves dedicated to Xmas ornaments to the left of my fireplace. I was bereft when I took everything down, so shelf one became a yoga book shelf and shelf two became an altar. Just doing that brought focus and a focal point into my home, both of which I was lacking, because I was simply drifting, at sea without a boat, let alone an anchor!
Some caffeine substitutes for my detox with Holland and Barrett

Become Intolerant of What Does Not Serve You
Once you put your good habits/good vibrations in place learn to love the way it looks and the way in turn, that makes you feel. Then become intolerant to anything less than that. So for me, washing the dishes is now less of a chore, as I am motivated by that shiny sink, and shiny windowsill. My Mum has been a size 12 ALL my life, because when she gets a little muffin top that comes the top of her size 10/12 jeans or trousers, she says "Oh I've got wings" and for a few weeks she eats less. She does this a couple of times a year, keeps herself in check, and as a result, she's never ever ballooned in size, even though I have, several times, over the decades. I was a beautiful size 12 for my wedding and even stayed like that for a couple of years. I didn't notice the weight start to sneak on - I blame LYCRA ;-)

Giving to receiveCupcakes in a jar as a gift
  • I know we are not meant to give with the intention of receiving but often one leads to the other, such is the circle of life. I spent 15 hours on a Christmas Gift Guide (not at all sponsored) and that day I received a HUGE hamper of Xmas goodies. On Friday I gave Aaron's two teachers each Cupcakes in a Jar, and when I opened his book bag, he'd received a Head Teacher's Award for handwriting. So on both occasions, I'd given something massive (me baking is a huge deal) and received something pretty amazing each time in return. Same day. I never fail to notice these signs from the universe.
When we came out of Holland & Barrett, back on 12th January, Aaron wanted a slush puppy. I know!!! He eats ice lollies throughout Winter tooooo! Anyway there was a cake and coffee combo offer and I could not resist. So, for the third time, I had my last latte of 2015:
A coffee outside Holland and Barrett
You'll see in my Holland & Barrett haul photo above (which doesn't include the Magnesium I bought), that I bought almonds. In Kundalini Yoga which I taught for 6 years, we had a strong belief that women should eat 5 almonds a day, everyday. I also believe that they should be soaked. Here is why: almonds soaking wet. A quote from there: 
"Almonds are difficult to digest because of an enzyme-inhibiting substance in their brown coating. These enzyme inhibitors protect the nut or seed until it has what it needs for growth. Soaking almonds overnight removes these toxic enzyme inhibitors so that the enzymes secreted during digestion can do their job. Also the gluten breaks down, and digestion becomes much easier. Phytic acid, which inhibits absorption of vital minerals, is also reduced after soaking almonds. This helps our body get the benefit of vitality contained within them".

So I am now eating 5-10 almonds a day:
Eating soaked almonds daily for women's health
I've kept that ornament above out, as although there is a Christmas Tree there, I imagine it to be a boy and a girl. Hopefully my boy and girl. I am quite into Feng Shui and imagery and what you surround yourself with, and thus focus on, is extremely powerful. No harm in some cosmic ordering, and some manifestation going on.

You'll notice this post was meant to be about yoga, and there isn't a single photo of me striking a pose in an asana, but did you know, that postures are BUT ONE, of the 8 limbs of yoga as defined by Patanjali, which are:
  1. Samadhi - awakening and absorption in spirit
  2. Dhyana - deep meditation
  3. Dharana - one pointed concentration
  4. Pratyhar - synchronization of senses and thoughts
  5. Pranayam - control of prana (life force) which includes breath work, i.e. pranayama
  6. Asana - postures for health and meditation
  7. Niyama - five disciplines (purity, contentment, purification/zeal, study, and devotion/surrender).
  8. Yama - five restraints (non hurting, truthfulness, non stealing, sensory control, non possessiveness).

So, although I have not started my asana practice, as defined by my discipline of Kundalini Yoga, I have been doing so so many of what you see above. I have already started a meditation practice, just that so far, it has been Celestial Communication, which I find incredibly moving, nurturing and joyful, which after 3 weeks of flu, I sorely needed.

I've never ever been a fake it till you make it type of person, which is why Conscious Mum (my other blog) often lays dormant, if I am not in the zone with my spiritual work, however I do believe what we've always said in Kundalini Yoga, which is, roughly "if you can't change your longitude or latitude, change your altitude in order to transform your attitude" which I have always interpreted to be, RAISE YOUR VIBRATION or that of your surroundings, and you yourself will elevate. I have been doing it for weeks, decluttering, and playing mantras, and it truly works. Once I raised the vibration of my home, the meditation began naturally, as a consequence, without effort. The room I'd been meaning to paint for months, was finally commenced yesterday. The urge, with an increase in health, finally came.

You see the word purification above? And my pic in this post of tulips. Imbolc is coming. It's 1st Feb, which is the Pagan start of Spring. I can already feel it in the air, hence me buying the tulips. The sky is frequently pure blue of late. The bush in my front garden is blossoming already. The birds in my back garden are playing in a gleeful way. So, I like to think, that I am pre-pregnant and it is now pre-Spring. So, happy days!

You'll see in my Holland & Barrett "haul" pic above that I feature Yogi Tea which I have drunk for years. Holland and Barrett charge £2.29 for this. A good tip, which one of their staff member's told me a long time ago, is that, their Licorice and Oriental Spices Tea is nearly just as good! Yet it is 50 pence per box cheaper! That's needed when you drink as much of it as I do, BUT when I am fully back into yoga I will be making it from scratch like I used to, but it is always handy to have a couple of boxes in for when you can't be bothered :-)

While the whole family of us was in Holland and Barrett Daddy did some shopping two, and he bought two jars of Coconut Oil (which I have used on Aaron's hair and skin for years/since birth). They are in the penny sale, meaning the second jar was only a penny! Result! This is the one we use: Perfectly Pure Coconut Oil and it is LITERALLY good enough to eat - I have often made coconut rice with it!

I think what I am realising in the last few weeks can be summarised as what I wrote in my notes when brainstorming this post (something I never do by the way, I normally just start typing):

If you want a beautiful life, 
surround yourself 
in beautiful things.

So may my sink always be empty
May my taps always be shiny,
May my flowers always be in bloom and
May my sky always be blue (you can't tell from this photo but it was stunningly blue this morning when I took this pic)...

Start your purification journey, like me, and then you can spring into Spring when it does fully arrive.

Shiny sink to wake up to every day
What are your hopes and dreams for 2015? Being happy is surely number one?

Sat nam


  1. I hope all your changes lead to the one goal that brings ultimate happiness :) x

    1. Thank you darling. Will literally be a dream come true. One I have been putting off for far too long xx

  2. Such a great list of ways to change positively this year, thank you for sharing such a positive post! :)

  3. What a wonderfully positive post, I hope you reach your goal and are happy along the way.

  4. I love your post - you've really poured your heart out into it, and it takes so much determination and courage to really, truly look inside ourselves. I love your word for the year too. Elimination feels so freeing. I think being gentle is so much better for ourselves too, no one likes being treated harshly yet we do it so often to our own souls. I'm going to try too. Happiness is all we really need.

    p.s. I miss you on Instagram too :)

  5. I love this post, and many things you mention are true of me too. We want another baby, but I refuse to even try until I'm healthy. After seeing some of the problems an unhealthy pregnancy can cause there's no way I want to go through it myself. Some great ideas in this post, thank you!

  6. My Dad is a buddhist and one of the fundamentals of his religion is that heaven is here and now. Dont waste life looking for future happiness (or even waiting for happiness in the next life) but be happy in the here and now!

  7. Such a positive post! Thank you.

  8. I love the positive vibes in this post.....I need to make sure my sink is shiny at all times (im bad at that!)!

    Good luck with the end goal, hope it happens soon for you x

  9. So many wonderful ideas and plans. I hope you smash your goals in 2015 x

  10. This is a great way to look at things. Good luck with all you want to achieve!

  11. Good luck with all of your plans, I really believe in positive thinking and it sounds like you've really got that right!

  12. beautiful post full of happiness and changes. I wish you all the happiness in the world. For me I just want to be happy, now my heart is fixed I feel like I have a new lease of life

  13. Love the positivity of this blog. You inspire me to get back on track. 3 weeks into 2015 and I've not really pulled myself out of the holiday slump. You've given me much to think about. Thanks and good luck with your journey.

  14. This is such a brilliant post, so positive and full of hope x

  15. Great post, I hope you can achieve everything you want to! I love the very first bit about the feeling of happiness - I couldn't agree more and need to implement that in my own life! How many times have I started a new diet or exercise regime, thinking I'll be happy when I'm at least a size down, and then making excuses because the results don't come instantly anyway... Time to be happy before I reach the actual goal! :)

  16. I do hope all the changes are good for you, I am trying to get fit for my wedding thats my goal and to eat well.

  17. I sat here nodding all the way through this post. I hope with hope that you get that healthy, happy pregnany

  18. I enjoyed reading this post--lovely to see a refreshingly new perspective. I do a little yoga and really have been meaning to get it going again but found it hard to make a start :). Agree totally about the almonds, that and a banana are responsible for both my girls rarely falling I'll! I heard it mentioned in a UN health, spot on :). Wishing you and yours a very shiny time ahead. Stay blessed and smiling... It's a pleasure knowing you. X

  19. A wonderful way to think of things by adding the word Start. Good luck

  20. What a lovely, positive post, I hope you reach your goal! xxx

  21. I Love everything about your post. Your life is so clean and positive. You sound as if you are in a great place right now.
    I have hopes and dreams this year. To get married and have another baby. Firstly i have to have a small op and recover but i am staying positive and fit.

    Shiny sinks all the way girl friend!

  22. Ahhh!! I didn't know (though had suspected) you were trying to get pregnant too. This makes you my new bestie! So in April, I am going to start actively 'trying', but in the meantime I have been altering my lifestyle in preparation for that. Each week since the new year I have given up/ changed one thing (so far: no coffee, less than 200mg of caffeine, no alcohol or pop, yesterday I also stocked up on pre pregancy vitamins so they are on the list, next week I will start eating 2 pieces of fresh fruit STRICTLY a day and on and on and on and I also created a strict bed time routine so that I get my sleep and meditation time. We are so similar!

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  25. When I was growing up we had salad with literally every meal and I feel bad that we don't do that. We rarely ever eat it or give it to Wilf because it's easier not to and I really want to start us all eating the same healthy food again! Almonds are great, I drink a fair bit of almond milk x

  26. Some great ideas and I truly hope you get what you desire. (Try Zita West's CD for increasing fertility xx)


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