Why Do We Moisturise Our Bodies Briskly Rather Than Sensually, And What This Has To Do WIth Emotions




This question was posed in a blog post which, if you understand German, you should absolutely read. The answer was: because it is dangerous. Feelings may bubble up that we don't want to feel. During our lives we push away feeling we don't want to feel, and these get stored in the body.

Touch can release those feelings. Most of us aren't really good at actually experiencing feelings. Maybe we have been taught that negative feelings make others uncomfortable, or we have never learned how to experience them without getting carried away by them.
So we learned to push away the feelings. And they get stored away in our bodies, in the fascia.

The negative feelings we store in our bodies may be big hurts and traumas, but they may also be also smaller things. Big and small fears, difficult childbirth or nursing experiences, bullying, heartbreak, work stress.
When I am in a tense situation I can feel the stress creeping up my back and shoulders, and my fascia feel tight and knotted under my hands. Yet till now I never stayed in the moment with the emotion to actually acknowledge it and let it flow away. So it just got stored there till it built up to pain and migraines.

The negative emotions stored in the fascia can (or feel be released in many ways: through touch, movement, massage, concentrating ourselves mentally on the aching body parts. That is why it sometimes happens that people randomly feel overwhelming waves of emotion or break into tears during yoga, massages or even random theatre exercises.
This is also the reason why we crave the touch of others.
It is also the reason why it can be so hard to give real attention to ones body (something I plan to write about in the next post).
And even though it isn't easy, it can be so freeing, when you turn your full awareness towards your body. Whether it's a body scan meditation or moisturising your body after a shower, sensually.

It can be helpful to have someone to talk about anything that may rise up. A therapist, a supportive friend or even a journal can be helpful.


On a similar note I have been reading Intuitive Eating recently, which is a really revolutionary book about reconnecting with your body's needs and learning to understanding its signals.

Id love to know your feelings on the topic, and if you can recommend any books to me on the topic I'd be really grateful.

Photo by Cristian Newman


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How To Sleep Better By Cutting Down Your Exposure To Bluelight


It's crazy how much artificial light we are exposed to each day. Think about this: our ancestors were only exposed to natural daylight or firelight. And our bodies take cues from the light to regulate our circadian rhythms as well as the seasonal rhythms, so you can imagine that all this amount of white and blue light can mess with our bodies.
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Screens are a huge source of blue light, in fact they are optimised to edit a lot of short-wavelenght blue light to increase visibility. LED light bulbs emit much more blue light waves than most of the older types of lighting.

In nature blue light waves are only found in bright daylight, and in response to them the body suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin. Blue light late in the evening throws off our sleep cycle -- and not just our sleep cycle. There is research going on that links excessive exposure to blue light with cataracts and vision problems. Harvard studies have shown that blue light can inhibit leptin, the satiety hormone. They have also have linked overexposure to blue light with diabetes, obesity and depression.
And my personal theory is that because of the constant exposure to blue light our body doesn't start the natural "pre-sleep sequence" -- where we gradually wind down physically and mentally, the need to eat decreases, the body and mind relaxes. If you have ever lived for a few weeks in a tent or other place free from electric lights, you'll know what I'm talking about. I remember that the treks I made in the Himalayas were among the most restful times in my life (even compared to other treks), partially because the electricity (if the village was even on the grid) was usually so weak that you could barely read a book in the orange light of the light bulbs.

Tips on Minimising Your Exposure To Blue Light

So how to deal with overexposure to blue light waves, apart from moving to a Himalayan village that is not on the electricity grid?

Use warmer LEDs in your home, especially in spaces where you spend time in the evening. The temperature of light is measured in the Kelvin scale. 4500-5500 is more or less like daylight, however for the evening you might want to go warmer, below 2700K. Especially bedside lights should be very warm. 
Have several light sources in a room. There is no need for a bright overhead light during dinner or board games in the evening. Instead you could have warm side lamps and candles.  
If you have the money, look into smart lighting which can be set to automatically make the light warmer a few hours before bedtime. 
Avoid looking at screens for 2-3 hours before bed. Apart from the blue light, the constant dopamine kicks from social media stimulate the mind too much.
If this is not possible, install F.Lux or a similar app which makes the screen warmer in the evening. I find that this makes a huge difference.  
Small screens are better than bigger ones, because they emit less light. Don't hold them too close to your face. 
If you use an e-reader, choose one that has a setting that eliminates blue light. Or reverse the colours -- read white letters on a black background. Or read a good old paper book. 
Try blue light blocking glasses. These are especially amazing if you are sharing your living space or office with other people and don't have much control over the light bulbs, or if you are watching a film with someone and they don't want the screen on sunset mode. 
These are several kind of these --  really intense ones are meant for people who have serious issues with blue light. Lightly tinted ones look like regular glasses and after a while you forget that you are wearing them. 


I have been using these two models from Spektrum glasses. They come in several styles and colours, the tortoiseshell one is a prospek-50 model which blocks the most harmful blue light while allowing other colours to pass through. The glasses are every so slightly tinted, almost clear; they frame has a nice matte finish and they look like regular mid-range prescription glasses. When I put them on I see a very slight tint, but very soon my eyes adjust to distinguish the tones of colours. I find the effect very soothing, and my eyes feel relaxed at the end of the evening.I have also heard that they help with chronic dry eye.

The black model is from the prospek-99 range which blocks 99% of blue light. I wouldn't wear them at work, but they are perfect for late-night writing on the computer. They are also recommended for anyone who is very sensitive to blue light.





All the glasses are anti-reflective (which is a huge bonus when working in front of the computer, anti-scratch and UV blocking. The lenses are polycarbonate, which is supposed to be very durable. They come in a sturdy and elegant case. The price is extremely affordable -- I was sent these glasses to review, the regular cost starts from 40USD on Amazon or directly from Spektrum
The Artist model happened to fit me to a T -- the width of the entire glasses, the nose bridge, everything. The sides are light and bendy so the should accommodate different head widths. However if a model doesn't fit you, you can easily exchange it or return it-- from many sources I have read that their customer service is amazing. 


Have a great week!


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Try Applying Highlighter On This Area: The Temples




While browsing through makeup blogs I stumbled upon someone mentioning applying highlighter to the temples. This stopped me in my tracks, since usually I applied bronzer / contour in that area, sometimes blush, but never highlighter. After a bit of research I realised that central European bloggers often apply highlighter there, while American bloggers stick to contour.

I'm not talking about dabbing on highlighter on the temples but rather on sweeping the highlight from the top of the cheekbones to the temple area in a semicircle. Another example here, here and here. Whether this works for you depends upon the shape of your face and the effect you are looking for.

After a bit of experimentation I realised that if your cheeks are pronounced and your temples are sunken in, this kind of application will probably look good on you, provided you don't go to low in the cheekbone area.

The opposite effect of this is sweeping the area from the temples to the cheekbones with contour, I notice makeup artists do it a lot on Charlize Theron to make her cheekbone area less broad.


Ariana Grande's makeup artist seems to sweep her highlighter towards her temples:






Have you ever applied highlighter on your temples? Do you think it would work with you features?


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Cosmetic Favourites December 2017


I haven't been writing about new products recently because I haven't been buying that many. I have pared down my make-up and skin care routine to tried and trusted products, and I find that the less I have the more I actually use. My mineral make-up isn't going to run out in the next years, and I buy new make-up products only when I'm really sure I want them and know what to do with them.

For example the Catrice palette. I was looking for a dupe for the Clinique Chubby Stick in Ample Amber. I loved its subtle toasted shimmer, it's perfect for every day wear. So I prowled around the shelves in the Müller, testing the chubby stick (I must have looked shady because the salesladies rudely told me that if I wanted to test something I have to ask them -- since when can't I simply use the tester?). Then I found three viable dupes -- an Essence Blush, the Catrice Art Couleurs eye shadow in Ashton Copper and then the palette. Of all of the shades this one came closest, also I was getting a whole bunch of colours fur less that 5€. As demonstrated:



The Precious Copper Collection Eyeshadow Palette

The colours have a decent amount of pigment, nice shimmer that is not too sparkly (they apply more satiny than how they look in the pan), and feel "moist" and are really easy to blend. My only gripe is that the dark sculpting colour is sparkly. I have slightly hooded eyes so the fold has to be matte. But it's not like I don't have a whole palette of matte browns, so I wont complain.
This particular palette is selling out like hot cakes, if you can't find it in the Müller try the DM.





Make Me Bio Orange Energy

On my trip to Poland I finally got my paws on this much-praised moisturiser. And its as good as I heard it was. The ingredient list is beautifully simple. The moisturiser lightens discolourations ( which is something I constantly struggle with), after a few days of use my skin colour was more even and brighter. The cream is rich so I prefer applying it in the evening because I do a heavy layer and let it all sink in. The scent is a simple lovely orange, the texture is like cold cream. The only downside is the price --  ca 12€

Ingredients (INCI): Aqua, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond Oil) Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Cetearyl Glucoside, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Monostearate, Citrus Reticulata (Mandarine) Peel Oil*, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Glycerin, Matricaria Chamomilla (Chamomile) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Limonene**, Linalool** *organic **naturally occurring in essential oils


Murumuru butter

Another blogger recommendation. It's similar to coconut oil but without the scent and the greasiness. I use it on the face, hair, lips and hands. The scent is almost neutral. The butter is not greasy and absorbs fast. Murumuru has a higher melting point than coconut butter, which means I have to warm it up in my palms before applying -- this takes a bit of work but it worth it. If you want to melt bigger amounts (for a hair mask) you need to use a stove top or bain-marie.

The murumuru butter is amazing for the hands, especially for damaged cuticles.
For hair care this butter has been called a vegetable silicone, since it forms a protective coat around the hair shaft, protecting it from the elements, adding shine and cutting down on frizz. It absorbs really well. It's apparently popular in Brazil among people with heavy, curly hair as a pre-wash treatment.




De Bruyère Beaute Jumbo Eye Pencil in Bubble 07

It's a lovely soft pencil in a beautiful colour that is hard to define: it's metallic grey-brown colour that could also be described as a smokey something between violet and khaki. Very unique, looks good on most skin colours.  It's easily bendable for instant smokey eyes. A friend of mine had it, I admired it and she gave it to me.




Beeswax Lip Balm

A bee-keeper on a farmer's market praised his propolis and beeswax balm so high that I had to try it. I didn't believe that it would be as good as he said it would be, but here I was pleasantly surprised. This balm heals dry chapped skin on my hands overnight, smoothing any ragged cuticles. It beautifully moisturises my lips in the winter. I have even used it on my entire face and was really happy with the results.
Many bee-keepers in Germany sell such beeswax balms, so I got another one this winter, this time it's a Demeter-certified one. Beeswax balms seem to be everywhere, so if you are looking for the real thing do check that it not contain anything apart from beeswax, a plant-based oil and propolis. I feel that small-time urban bee-keepers are crucial to the survival of bees so I try to support them. Although bees fly everywhere and so certified organic honey isn't necessarily pesticide-free, it's still worth buying because organic bee-keeping is much more humane -- for example the cutting of the wings of the queen is forbidden.






Glycolic Formulations Rejuvenating Face Serum with 25% Glycolic Acid Solution

I found this bottle in the TK Maxx and grabbed it, thinking that it's time to test out glycolic acid. This alpha hydroxy acid moisturises the skin and cleanses it, and in concentrations above 20% it exfoliates, evens out discolourations and minimises fine lines. This serum is quite pleasant to use due to it's gel consistency, but I'm not a huge fan of the smell. Also I'm not a huge fan of the parabens and silicones, in hindsight I should have ordered plain glycolic acid and mixed my own.
INCI: Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glycerin, Cyclomethicone, Mineral Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Polysorbate 60, Glycolic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Triethanolamine, Dimethicone, PVM/MA ecadiene Crosspolymer, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance, PEG-100 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Methyl Paraben, Ethyl Paraben, Propyl Paraben, Butyl Paraben, Isobutyl Paraben. 



 Finally, I have began to experiment a bit with taking photos for the blog. I researched a bit and realised that I have to start working with the RAW format instead of jpeg, there is no way around it with the low-light conditions of the German winter. Editing RAW is challenging but rewarding. The photos in this post are my first real attempt, they already look pretty good even though I have no idea what I'm doing. If you have any tips for me, let me know!





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Berlin, Lake Constance and Kitchen Comforts -- Aka November Discoveries And Joy Sparkers


Hello everyone

November seems like it will never end! I'm writing this while eating breakfast, through my balcony door I can see tiny snow flakes swirling down, melting when they hit the ground. November can be hard on me, the transition form the golden autumn to the grey winter isn't easy. I wanted to share with you some photos from this November and tell you about some things I discovered this month and a couple of things that sparked major joy for me.


   

 November started with a short trip to Lake Constance, as those of you who follow me on instagram have seen. That place is a balm for my soul, expansive and serene. This time I got to see a stormy side of the lake. My phone was almost ripped from my hand while taking the second photo.


  
  

I also got to see the pumpkin festival in Nonnenhorn, on the shores of Lake Constance. The entire beautiful tow was decorated with thousands of the most beautifully carved pumpkins, jazz played in all of the cafes, and everyone from the region was out there enjoying the music and the pumpkins.
Finally we plundered the little self-service booth that sell delicious local apples.



  

If you have the time, try making candied ginger. It makes a great stress-busting tea for travelling (just add hot water!), but I also like to chew on the pieces during the winter. The round thing is a candied lemon peel, also delicious. The by-product is a ginger syrup which can be added to Asian food or winter teas.
This tea from Greece was gifted to me by a friend, it is delicious steeped in hot water for 15 minutes.



I had to rebuy a baking tin after losing yet another one. I bought this one because its so pretty and also because the cake can be transported in it. Turns out it makes a great cookie tin for Christmas, I love surprise multitaskers!


I swallowed the book Leaving Mother Lake is just a few days. The description of the author's childhood in The Country Of Daughters -- a truly matriarchal society in the mountains in China is incredibly fascinating. The descriptions of how a society run by women functioned, and how the family was basically the women and their sisters, what the role of the men was and how truly independent the women were in terms of sexuality is so engrossing that I find myself still thinking to it. The book follows the author's childhood at Lugu Lake, from where she runs away to try to pursue a musical career in China. 


   

After the lake, Berlin felt oppressive, hectic and grey; however we still managed to see a couple of cool things. For cold days the tropical gardens in the Botanical Garden are a serene hideaway. The Game Science Center has a bunch of cool things to do but the best was the Virtual reality headset. If you ever have the chance to try one, absolutely go for it. I found the real-world recordings mind-blowing -- one moment I was sitting on a boat in Thailand, then in a Mongolian Yurt -- it felt almost completely real.

  

One of the most amazing places to eat in Berlin on a Saturday is the Thai park. Women and men cook the most amazing Thai food on improvised kitchens on the grass. In November it was all very small, but still there was more variety of amazing (and cheap!) food than we could eat in the entire day. Next to the park is a flea market, with quite an interesting clothes section -- women from eastern Europe sell beautiful cashmere pieces for reasonable prices. We also got an adorable moose cap made of Alpaca wool from a stand called Guckmalwiesüß, for 12€ -- quite a steal, considering how much alpaca yarn costs.
Another place in Berlin I really want to recommend for fans of beautiful office supplies is the Grüne Papeterie in the Oranienstr 19.


 

 And the Kiloweise. where the clothes are sorted by colour, and then also by style -- boho, americana, athleisure, 20s, 50s, animal print, etc. I also discovered a store with the Berlin brand Chapati which makes the most amazing pieces from Merino wool, unfortunately I had to limit myself to window-shopping this time.


    

From Berlin I picked up this little reusable coffee cup for just 4 euros at the Holzmarkt. Which is a magical place, especially in the summer or during the Christmas time.

 Thrifting for handmade pottery was a success! If, like me, you love handmade bowls and plates, flea markets and thrift stores are absolutely the best places you can find beautiful treasures for cheap.


 
Also I made friends with a sheep. They like getting scratches behind the ears.




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Gorgeous Bras I'm Coveting This WInter


The past days I was browsing through the offers of some of my favourite lingerie brands and decided to share my favourites with you. Whether you are looking for a Cyber Monday bargain or for a gift for someone (or yourself!), here are some beautiful bras to get you started:



Ewa Michalak Przeplatanki

Strappy BDSM-inspired bras have been in style for a while, but Ewa Michalak has topped them all. The przeplatanka is totally customisable -- you can wear the five straps in many different ways or remove them altogether. Instructions on Bras And Body Image -- she even did a star! A star! It comes in the S cut and the 3D cut, with the former going up to LL cup.
Oh, and it's pronounced pshay-plaah-tahn-kee -- rhymes with say, blah, Han (Solo), key. It means tatting!


Doggo by Wellfitting

So on this site you can sort bras per breast type: "full on top", "wide root", etc. And included stats light height of the gore and cup separation, and what shape is gives (rounded, natural, extra cleavage, etc). Why isn't this a thing everywhere? Though the unicorn and cat prints, this plant and dog model is absolutely the cutest.
 The Doggo is available in several different cuts, which are helpfully explained on the site.


Avocado Ce Soir

Avocado's Ce Soir is another bondage-inspired piece -- an utterly gorgeous one. The cup size goes up till K (in their sizing system(, and as A Sophisticated Pair has shown, looks stunning peeking from under a dress and the straps sit perfectly even on big cup sizes and don't dig in.


 

Samanta Cora Chabrowy

Most of Samantha bras lean classic elegance, but what stole my heart was the Cora with the embroidered cornflowers. Like most Samantha bras, the Cora Chabrowy comes in several different styles, both padded and unlined, including my favourite cup style. The A922 style goes up to an M cup.Chabrowy means cornflower and is pronounced haab-ro-vee.



Masquerade Harem Plunge Bra

Masquerade hits a sweet spot with me with it's elegant, opulent and slightly old-world designs, and this nude bra is one of the most elegant nude bras I have seen. Unfortunately it's not a true T-shirt bra since the horizontal seam is visible under tighter clothing. The fit is perfect for shallower breasts.
This bra seems to be not produced any more, and different online stores carry just a few sizes each, sometimes for as cheap as 7€.
Bratabase reviews here.

Claudette Mesh Bra

This one comes in all of the colours of the rainbow, light as clouds. I personally love the neon ones best. This bra comes in the elusive sizes 30B and 30C -- although the cups run smaller and the band apparently runs bigger.
A review from Dreams And Underthings.



Peek A Boo from Scantilly by Curvy Kate

The Peek A Boo from Scantilly by Curvy Kate comes in red, violet, black and chartreuse. The style looks fresh, I really love the front panel. Personally I like the red one best but I couldn't resist featuring the chartreuse because it's such an unusual shade.
Review on MyThoughtsOnBras


What bras are you coveting this winter?


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Regrowing The Nail Bed




The nail bed is the skin to which the nail plate is attached. The rest of the nail plate grows "free", and looks white. If you bite or pick at your nails, you might have shortened the nail bed. Fortunately there is a way to grow it back.

The nail bed is a bit flexible -- have you ever cleaned the dirt from below your nails with a toothpick only to notice that you have changed the shape of the line between the white and the flesh coloured part of the nail plate? This is because you have just pushed back the hyponychium -- the soft pinkish tissue that seals the nail to the nail bed and prevents pathogens from entering (it looks like this). Apparently some people have a nail bed that is too long!

A while back I chanced upon a blog post (which I cannot find anymore) where a woman and her guy regrow their nail beds. It was amazing to see how the nails grew out and extended the nail bed; she posted photos documenting how the hyponychium grew back. I was fascinated and decided to let my nail bed regenerate itself.



Another nail issue of mine is the side of the nail -- the nail bed was not attached on the sides, which means you could see the white free edge on the sides as well (instead of the white free edge looking like a half moon, it looked like an inverted U). The lateral nail fold (the skin that embraces the nail bed from both sides) had been pushed away and did not seal round the nail.

How to grow out your nail bed

  • Make sure you don't have an infection or a fungus under your nail. If your nails look weird, it might be a good idea to show them to a doctor.
  • Don't bite your nails. If you have problems with picking your nails, these wishing rings gave me a better way to fidget. 
  • Only use a soft nail brush to clean under your nails. No toothpicks or orange-wood sticks. I found that as the hyponichium regrows, dirt doesn't get stuck too deep under my nails anyway. I got myself a pretty wooden nail brush in travel size that doesn't look ugly on the sink.
  • For the duration of the nail bed recovery, wash your scalp with your fingertips, don't scratch with your nails. Avoid any dirt getting under there.
  • Keep the nails short, but not too short (at least 1mm of free edge). Too long nails might get pushed away from the nail bed when you do stuff.
  • Don't use your nails as tools. Don't scratch off labels, avoid drumming your fingernails on the table.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals. Wear gloves if necessary.
  • File the nails instead of cutting; use a glass or a ruby nail file. Or at least cut the nails with sharp scissors after a shower when they are soft. This is because cutting the nails squashes and bends them which can disturb the nail bed.
  • Painting the nails will keep you from obsessing about what's underneath them. If you are busy/low-maintenance, nude tones show less wear and don't need to be redone so often.
  • Push back the cuticles as little as possible, to allow the nails to fully recover. Hang nails can be gently cut with baby nail clippers.
  • Avoid nail products with formaldehyde. If your nails are the least bit porous it seeps through the nail plate into the nail bed and can cause onycholysis (separation of the nail plate from the nail bed).
  • If you are working on your toenails, make sure that your shoes fit well. Many shoes are too narrow in the front and create pressure on the toes and nails (also a cause of bunions).
  • Also constant wearing of shoes from non-breathable materials causes the feet to sweat which makes it easier for the nail plate to unglue itself from the nail bed.

If you follow this for a couple of weeks you'll see the nail growing out and "dragging" the nail bed with it. Your mileage may vary, the more you have mistreated your nails in the past, the more they will heal. My changes were not so dramatic, but I'm very happy with them. I didn't think to take before photos, but you can admire the nail metamorphose of Ewalucja. Now I'm working on my toenails, the small on is tiny and now I realised it's due to picking on it constantly.




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