Emotions in the workplace... here's how to think differently about yours and perhaps some knowledge that you can impart on others once you have given it a go.Read More
I'm testing out a simple and lazy method for increasing some basic strength and flexibility in my yoga practice... join me or simply read this blog to find out how and why.Read More
Not your average 'let's-get-fit and bikini-body-ready' blog... read on to find out more..Read More
You know those days when you just feel like shit? Where you look at yourself and wonder where the old and better you went? Or you think about how much better you could be? Or how you wish you hadn’t eaten that extra slice of pizza last night…
I know those days, because I’m not perfect, and I don’t want to be perfect but equally I don’t want to feel the way that I do on those days, heavy, shoulders slouched, eyebrows creased, the lethargy the lack of energy or zest for anything and everything.
Being out of my routine during my travels has taken a toll, I’m so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be exploring and delving further into my yoga and different cultures but am equally feeling out of sorts in my body and my mind. The copious amounts of tapas, rice, pizza, pasta and potatoes that I’m eating is also not doing any favours to my waistline or my mindset and is definitely not giving me the nutrients I need to feel energized and healthy. And you know what? That’s my choice to make, and I choose to experience these wonderful cultures and cuisines while I can.
What I do have a choice in however is how I choose to think about myself in order to feel balanced, courageous and happy. All of these things are directly affected by my ability to love myself – which I’m learning to do, day by day, and which copious amounts of pasta should not affect.
When we were in Spain I pulled out my gorgeous wrap-around thigh split dress (which I had been waiting to wear out properly for a while), which would usually make me feel really sexy and happy. But when I started to tie it up and feel the way that my body fit into the dress I immediately started thinking about how much I’d eaten that day, how tired I was and how very un-sexy I felt in that dress at that very moment.
My thoughts were violent, and not in the traditional sense of violence but they were self-harming, unhappy and unhelpful and they certainly didn’t put me in the right mindset that I needed to go out and have a wonderful time enjoying the local cuisine and exploring the dimly lit streets of the stunning town we were in.
You may think that my statement above is harsh, or too strong, particularly because I used the word ‘violent’ but I’ve been reading The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice by Deborah Adele and the section on Ahimsa (non-violence) has asked me to consider whether I can be the best version of myself if I am continually beating myself up about all of my flaws or perceived flaws? No I can’t. And if I can’t love myself and treat myself with respect and dignity then how can I possibly treat others that way?
The Yamas & Niyamas by Deborah Adele quotes “Our ability to stay balanced and courageous has much to do with how we feel about ourselves.”
In order to achieve whatever perceived success we believe we ought to in this life it first starts with mastering the art of loving ourselves. Because only when we truly love ourselves can we begin to love our lives and others around us. And when we feel great about ourselves – as the quote says above, our ability to tackle all obstacles in life in a calm, balanced and courageous will enable to be truly happy with everything that we achieve.
I’ll admit the practicalities of non-violence or ahimsa are hard to master, particularly the art of non-violence towards yourself but is something that we need to be so conscious of.
So how can we practice non-violence towards ourselves? Well the first step I took on that fateful night as I walked out the door feeling horrible was I looked down at myself with no mirrors in front of me and I suddenly realised that the only reason the dress didn’t fit me properly was because my mind was telling me to feel uncomfortable in it. The dress covered everything it needed too, it wrapped around my body the way it always had, and when I stopped playing around with it every step that I took I realised that I actually looked quite sexy with my thigh showing with each step and reminded myself that it was meant to fit that way. Sure the models whose pictures I see in the dress wear it well, but that’s because they OWN IT!
I thought to myself “I am sexy, and I am lucky to have a body that is healthy and can heal and actually, my body is pretty damn good considering the change in diet and exercise I’ve had.” I couldn’t help but smile, my small little pep talk was just what I needed to shake my bad mood and remember that I AM sexy, and there are plenty of people in this world who I’m sure think so as well (starting with my partner).
So this spring summer season – don’t beat yourself up. Don’t let the thoughts of the impending ‘bikini weather’ or guilt or self-consciousness take over.
As soon as I started owning it, it felt so much more comfortable not only in the dress I was wearing but in my own body – this is what we should be like every damn day. Our bodies are constantly changing, and they will never stay the same so go with the flow of life, as long as you feel healthy and happy that is the best that you can ask for right?
Owning the way you look and either a) making a positive lifestyle change to FEEL healthy (looking healthy does not make you feel any better) or b) stop beating yourself up about the way that you are meant to be and look is the first step to making a change. It takes time and confidence to believe that you are beautiful just the way you are but it also takes dedication to the art of thinking great things about yourself, because let’s face it – it doesn’t come naturally to a lot of us.
The benefits you will see and feel immediately – every single time you think ‘I look amazing in this’ or ‘I love the way I look and feel today’ you will start to believe it and those beautiful thoughts will soon start to become things like ‘I am the right person for this job, I will get it’ or ‘I will take that leap and be successful at something I’ve always wanted’. These self-affirmations are the difference between a confident, happy and energized person and an unhappy, self-conscious, guilt ridden person. Practicing positivity every single day and banning the ‘violent’ thoughts from your mind and your life (and that includes anyone who puts those thoughts in your head) is the best thing that you can do to change the life that you are living.
So go on and give it a go – it’s perfect timing for summer.
Sometimes you meet someone in life who you instantly click with and can spend hours chatting away without a care in the world about anything and everything until you realise you're 2 hours late for an appointment you have... Well that someone for me is Nicole De Valter of Mint + Magik who has become a soul sister for me in so many different ways and I am so lucky to have met her for a number of reasons.
1. She is absolutely stunning inside and out and is the best friend a girl could ask for.
2. She helps me be the best version of me and is a wealth of knowledge on health and wellness that I can tap into.
3. She brings me and everyone around her back to centre with her cool, calm, collected ways; and
4. She supports my candle addiction with her decadent and delicious smelling hand-poured-made-with-love candles through her business Mint + Magik which I can't get enough of!
I am so excited to share this Q&A with you all because not only does Nicole have an incredible wealth of knowledge on health and wellness from her studies and experiences in the industry but she has taken a completely different perspective to helping others find an avenue to be healthy and feel great... Keep reading for how ...
What inspired you to start Mint + Magik?
I have a real passion for holistic health and wellness which lead me down the path to study to become a holistic health coach. During my studies, I was really drawn to the ancient healing science of Ayurveda. Throughout the course I became overwhelmed with the sheer volume of “diets” and different ways of eating, that I wanted to come up with a different focus to help restore balance and health. Aromatherapy can relay fragrances through your sense of smell to the brain, in order to bring healing energy to the mind and body.
Tell us about the things that you are passionate about?
I’m am a passionate about all things health and wellness. Over time I have come to realise that you need to balance the good things with the bad. Wellness comes from within by finding balance between the physical, mental and spiritual. I feel you can’t shine on the outside unless you are healthy on the inside. It’s hard for your eyes to sparkle, your hair to shine, or your skin to glow if you are not truly healthy in mind, body and spirit. It’s not just about food; it’s about finding balance between everything you put in and take out. It’s giving and receiving equally.
What’s the best way to burn a candle to get the most amazing scent filled room?
I have 2 simple tricks that will ensure you have a long lasting, full fragranced soy candle:
- Create a Burn Memory - When lighting your soy candle for the first time, allow the wax to melt all the way to the sides of the container. The first burn of the candle should last as long as it takes to reach all the way to the edges of the container. This will give you maximum fragrance and an even burn. If you do not allow the wax to pool on the first burn you may get wax remaining along the sides of your container.
- Trim the Wick - Soy wax does not burn as hot as paraffin wax, so soy wax candles require a thicker wick, which does not burn 100% and needs to be trimmed regularly. Always trim your wick to about 6-8mm before you re-light your candle. This will ensure a long lasting candle, minimise soot and remove any mushrooming of the wick left from the previous burn. But be sure not to over trim your wick as you may not be able to re-light your candle. If you do not trim the wick regularly, if the candle is in a draft or is left to burn too long you may get a “mushroom” of carbon on the end of the wick. This may cause some soot to collect on the inside of the container. If this happens, extinguish your candle, wait for it to cool, wipe off the carbon marks with a clean damp cloth and re-light.
What’s the difference between soy candles and other wax?
There are so many reasons that we use soy wax instead of “regular” paraffin wax. Firstly, soy wax is non-toxic, while traditional wax is actually a bi-product of petrol! I couldn’t believe that when I read it doing my research at the beginning of this journey, and I’m pretty sure that you can imagine that burning petrol leftovers isn’t great for your health.
Secondly, soy wax comes from 100% sustainable soy bean plantations, which is a lot better for the environment than the alternative. Soy wax is biodegradable, vegan and washes easily with soap and water (you can even pop your empty glass in the dishwasher, providing you’ve removed the leftover wick).
Lastly, soy candles have a lower burn temperature than other candles, meaning that they burn slower and last a lot longer. It may seem to melt very quickly but rest assured that it will re-harden giving you hours with your favourite fragrance.
Tell us a little bit more about Ayurvedic principles?
Ayurveda is the science of life, it teaches an art of healthy living that encompasses all phases of life; body, mind and spirit. To understand our bodies make up Ayurveda explains that we are a combination of three doshas - Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When in balance, the three doshas create health, generate noble qualities such as understanding, compassion and love. When their balance is disturbed by stress, improper diet, environmental conditions or other factors, they can give rise to negative emotions such as anger fear and greed. These three doshas are responsible for the huge variety of individual differences and preferences, and they influence all we are and all we do, from our choices of food to our modes of relating to others.
What inspired you to create dosha balancing candle?
Using my understanding of the Ayurvedic principles, I wanted to create a candle that could influence your environmental conditions to help restore balance and health. Each of these candles will assist in restoring a state of balance, but essentially it is your own moment-to-moment awareness and self-observation, your sensitivity to your own constitution and your own unique requirements for health and perhaps most importantly your willingness to act on your knowledge, that will make all the difference between poor health and a vital, happy, healthy, long life.
Can you give a brief explanation of each dosha?
Our pure aromatherapy Kapha Dosha Balancing Candle assists if you are feeling a lack of inspiration, feel sluggish or a little slow. Our carefully crafted combination of Ayurvedic essential oils include Basil, Thyme and Rosemary to invigorate and revitalise your mind.
Our pure aromatherapy Pitta Balancing Candle assists if you are feeling a touch frustrated, are quick to anger or feel out of rhythm and impatient. Our carefully crafted combination of Ayurvedic essential oils include Lemongrass, Sandalwood and Jasmine to help soothe and comfort your mind.
Our pure aromatherapy Vata Balancing Candle assists if you are feeling anxious or flighty, have irregular moods, tire easily or have rapid, racing thoughts. Our carefully crafted combination of Ayurvedic essential oils include Musk, Orange and Lavender to help you relax, calm your mind and ground your body.
What’s your favourite way to spend a lazy Sunday?
I know you’ve probable heard the quote “A Sunday well spent, brings a week of content” and I completely believe that’s true. I like to start my Sundays a bit slower, have breakfast with my hubby then head out for a long walk around Burleigh Hill. If the weather is perfect I’ll generally make sure that I get in some quality beach time and play around on our SUP board. Then the afternoons are reserved for watching a movie, reading a book, or whipping up some clean treats for the week ahead.
What’s your normal evening routine?
I love this question! There is so much focus on the perfect morning routine that we can forget that equally important is an evening routine. The way you set up the hours before bed can influence the quality of sleep you have at night. I like to keep my evening routine pretty simple, I just keep to a couple of non-negotiables.
- I stick to a rule of putting my phone down and shutting off technology at least 30mins before I plan on heading to bed.
- I also think that it’s important to not shower just before you head to bed, because being in the water will stimulate you and wake you up not prep you for sleep.
- I like to get an idea of what I need to achieve for the next day down on a piece of paper so that I'm not thinking about it when I’m trying to get to sleep. It really helps me to start my day with a clear intention of what I need to get done.
- Lastly, a cup of chamomile is the ultimate for relaxing before bed.
What’s your number one wellness tip?
Educate yourself about your body, I believe it is one of the most important things you can do - YOUR BODY IS AMAZING! Right now, whatever shape you are in, your body is an amazing machine that does so many incredible things, from using the air in our environment to keep your brain alive to turning food you eat into an explosion of energy that allows you to move through the day. It is the same body you’ve had since you were a baby and is the body you will inhabit when you are 80 years old. Along the way it has changed and it will continue to change, but it is still yours. No matter what shape it is, how much you love or hate it - learn how to love your body and learn how to look after yourself.
What’s next for Mint + Magik?
I have a few ideas in the pipeline, think a weekend retreat self care box... but for now the next move is to run a few workshops to explain the benefits of the dosha balancing candles and keep expanding awareness.
Where can we buy your decadent candles?
ps. go to my SHOP page to find out more about how you can get a discount when you buy any Mint + Magik candles!