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Don’t get caught by the winter bugs

Although I’ve joined Twitter a while ago, only recently I became more (inter)active on this social media platform.  Working from home can be quite a solitary task, so Twitter kind of fill in the space of office chit-chat – and I am completely hooked now!

Just like in a real office, lots of tweets over the past few weeks talked about cold, flu, sore throats and other undesirable symptoms caused by nasty winter bugs.  Here’s some of the advice and information I shared on Twitter… And a little more!

1) Eat healthily, making sure you include lots of citrus fruits and berries as well as green vegetables and garlic in your diet.  These are source of vitamins A and C, and zinc, all of which boost the immune system.

2) Wash your hands regularly. In public places, like the tube, try not to touch anything and steer clear from the sneezing and coughing types. I always pull my scarf up to my nose when I go on public transport.  If you touch things, do not touch your mouth or nose until you have washed your hands.

3) Echinacea – particularly, I don’t take it, but if you do, have a preventative course for no longer than 8 weeks.  If you take medication for health problems, make sure to tell your GP you’re taking Echinacea as it does interact with certain types of medication.

If all these fail and you end up catching a nasty cold or flu:

– Make sure you drink plenty of water; tea helps too, especially if add fresh ginger, lime and honey.

– Wash your hands everytime you blow your nose, otherwise, you’ll re-infect yourself!

– Essential oils of eucalyptus, tea tree, rosemary, niaouli, cajeput, ravensara and thyme all help to fight infection and clear the airways. Remember essential oils are powerful plant extracts that have to be diluted in vegetable oil (cold pressed olive oil from the kitchen cupboard will do!).  Use as a chest and back rub.

– For sore throats, propolis (spray or tincture) is a widely known and scientifically accepted antimicrobial agent.  Make sure you buy a good quality one.

Since I’ve started working from home two winters ago, I’ve been winter bug-free. I do miss the office gatherings, but I don’t miss the colds!

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New soaps on the block

I’ve been very busy today.  There was creation in the morning, some label revamping right on time for the photo shoot to follow… Ah, and a vegetable lasagne in between washed down with one of my favourite wines – organic tempranillo from Santa Julia, Argentina.

I’ve created some brand new soaps:

– flower bud: delicate enough to use on the face; pink clay creates a marble effect; the flowery scent brings spring back to life!

– face scrub: for oily skin, it works like a solid, soapy scrub; it contains green clay and cupuaçu grains for extra cleansing and smoothness.

– scrub bar: a citrus, pungent blend to keep circulation going while gently sloughing off the last bits of summer tan…

– wedding favours: these little pink hearts are cute enough to be considered as such, huh?

Here are some pics of the show – I loved them, and you?

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Simple balm to use after waxing or plucking hair

I make this soothing balm in small batches for myself and use it after waxing or plucking hair.

Add:

20g of apricot kernel oil

2.5g of cocoa butter

2.5g beeswax

to a small glass or stainless steel container and melt the mix using a double boiler method.  It’ll be quick, so as soon as it’s all melted, take the container ouf of the heat source.  Pour into a small glass jar. Don’t screw the lid on just yet.

Soothing balm

Prepare your essential oil blend in another small glass or stainless steel container, mixing together:

10 drops of lavender essential oil

5 drops of German chamomile.

Get your melted mix and stir gently to cool it down.  The colour and consistency will begin to change once it’s starting to cool.

As the mix starts to solidify, add your essential oil blend, mixing well.  Leave it to cool completely, and harden, before you close the jar.  This will eliminate condensation inside the jar. You may also put the jar inside the fridge to cool it quicker.

After waxing legs, or plucking eyebrows, I rub an ice cube made of strong chamomile tea all over the affected area, and then apply this balm.  It works a treat!

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Alternative to wheat-free couscous

I brought a pack of millet a while ago, promising that I was going to embark on the alkaline diet… Well, it never happened and the millet went to the black hole in the kitchen cupboard never to be seen again…

Salmon was soon gone...

I found the millet grain this weekend, when doing a clean up, and decide to try it.  I made it like a dried couscous salad.  Here is the recipe that turned out to be delicious!

1 cup of millet grain

1 ½ cups of water

Cook millet just like rice.

When ready and cool, separate the amount you will eat straight away and add fruits, nuts and seeds of your choice.  Mine was:

Fruit (dried): Goji berries, apricots, raspberries

Seeds: sunflower, linseed, pumpkin

Salt and pepper, to taste

I made grilled salmon with mint and yogurt sauce to go with it.  Yummy!

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Few tips to deal with summer heat

How hot has it been these last few days? As a Brazilian from Rio de Janeiro, I love it… Just wished London was by the sea! 😉

Yeah, we all know about drinking plenty of water, using sunscreen, not being in direct sun between 10am-4pm, eating light food.  But what can you do to cool down yourself and your skin when you feel like a roasting potato???

During summer in Rio, temperatures of 40oC are common and it doesn’t mean that, just because you were born there, you cope well with it.  You do, however, develop many strategies not to faint again next time the bus you’re in gets stuck in traffic inside a tunnel!

Peppermint is a key ingredient on hot days because it’s cooling, astringent and helps controlling oiliness, so it tackles lots of things at once!  It is very easy to grow too, and it thrives even in a small pot on your windowsill – and it’ll fragrance the room with its uplifting smell!

My healthy peppermint pot

My healthy peppermint pot

The simplest recipe: make a strong peppermint tea, put in a spray bottle and keep it in the freezer.  Remember to shove it in your bag when you’re going out and spray all over face and body every time you feel hot.  Remember this will keep for three days max, so make some ice cubes too (you’ll see why below).  If you use a toner (which everyone should, but it’s not the most popular product amongst the English), stick in the fridge so that it’s always cool when you use it – it’ll give your toner that extra kick to tighten pores!

The hottest areas of your body: pulse, arm/forearm fold, behind the knee, and in between the breasts – the ‘sites’ where you put perfume on, as the heat of these body parts will help release the scent.

So, next time you feel really hot, focus on these parts.  If you’re home, get a peppermint ice cube from your frozen tea stock and ‘rub’ in these areas.  If you’re out, go to the nearest toilet and get your wrists under cold running water.  The relief is immediate.

Blending peppermint essential oil to your body lotion/cream/aloe vera gel/shampoo: a few drops of peppermint essential oil in your toiletries will make your skin feel really cool.  Peppermint gives a ‘cold’ sensation when applied to the skin, just remember not to overdo it because essential oils are very strong and potent chemicals.

It seems the hot weather is here to stay, at least for a while, so get ready to ‘endure’ it!

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