It's still fairly chilly here in New Zealand. In fact I'm writing this rugged up in about four different layers, with a hot cup of Dandelion Chai Tea (this one's my favourite here) and platter of soaked nuts and chocolate by my side (Pana's Raw Cacao, Mint and Nuts flavours are my top three picks at the moment, if you'd like to join me you can grab them here).
So I wanted to share with you ten of my top tips to get you through the rest of winter, while staying in tip top shape, healthy, and brimming with vitality. I had the extreme fortune of being able to spend 3 1/2 weeks in the North of Italy a few weeks back, so definitely got my fair share of mid-winter vitamin D. But more than that, getting away from your normal environment for a short time during winter can do wonders for your mental and physical health.
If you can get somewhere warm that's great, but if not, there's still so much you can do. Take a weekend away stay to a cheap little B&B somewhere with your partner, family or a group of friends. Or ask around in case a friend, family member or colleague has a holiday house (or campervan) which isn't being shown much mid-winter love. Head away, turn off all social media (I know it's a challenge, but trust me it's 100% worth it!), and see if you can truly spend a few days completely away from the demands and routine of your everyday life. Recharging your batteries like this is so wonderful for your physical and mental wellbeing, and will likely mean you'll come rearing back the following week with even more vigour for life, work, study, or whatever it is you're doing. You might even have an epiphany along the way as to where you want life to take you next (I know I had a few).
While you're cuddling up by the fire with a good book and some delicious home cooked food (maybe try out a new recipe here), here are ten more of my top tips for getting through the rest of winter with a smile.
During winter, we're often covered up with leggings and stockings for months on end, leaving our skin underneath quite dry and flaky. Body brushing is not only a great exfoliator to give you smooth skin, but also helps to reduce ingrown hairs, eliminate toxins, increase circulation, and importantly stimulate your lymphatic system. All this helps with detoxification, and optimal internal health no matter where your health's at.
Our beautiful Bodecare brushes are completely chemical free, cruelty free, vegan, use natural bristles from the agave plant, and are made from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified timber. The FSC is an independent NGO that promotes responsible management of the worlds forests - which means extra much needed protection for our incredible tropical wildlife (orangutans, elephants, monkeys, rhinoceros, and bears).
Wondering how one dry body brushes? You brush your entire body when clean and dry, before your shower/bath. Stroke upwards towards your lymph nodes and heart, brushing each area a handful of times before moving up. Then after your shower, slather yourself in coconut oil - skin as soft as a baby's bot. The whole process takes me literally about 90 seconds. I've had friends say it's made a considerable difference to any rough, red or cellulite-y patches too.
To check out our body brushes, click here.
As you know, there are significant dangers to baking for hours in the sun, especially in New Zealand and Australia where our ozone layer is thinner and less protective.
Fake tanning has become a popular and supposedly 'safe' alternative to sun bathing and tanning beds. However most fake tans contain some really nasty ingredients which are absorbed into your skin and bloodstream, affecting everything from our hormones to endocrine system to digestion.
My favourite brand Eco Tan contains no synthetics or toxic ingredients. Eco Tan is certified organic, cruelty-free and whenever possible uses eco-friendly natural inks and recycled paper. They use gorgeous natural and organic ingredients such as cacao (yum), herbs, flower extracts, fruit extracts and chamomile to create their beautiful colours. You can use their Invisible Tan for a quick golden tan overnight, while my favourite is their Winter Skin which builds up a slow and super natural tan over a few days, so you can control how much or little you want.
Even in the winter (especially in New Zealand with that pesky hole in our ozone layer) when you go out into the sun, you should always be wearing a good quality sunblock to protect yourself from too many rays and skin cancer. However, worryingly most sunblocks available in our supermarkets and chemists are full of harmful chemicals that have been proven to cause cancer themselves.
I always recommend wearing a hat and staying in the shade during the peak of the summers day (11am-4pm). However year round including in winter, I like to wear a natural organic sun block on my face, to prevent skin spots, cancer and of course wrinkles. Annmarie Gianni's Sun Love is my absolute favourite, as is the most natural and organic sunscreen I've found, has no nano-particles, and also actually feels nice on your skin (aka not like thick war-paint smears of invisible zinc). It has a super subtle tint to it also which means it blends really nicely into your skin tone.
To read more about Annmarie Gianni's Sun Love Sunscreen click here.
We all know moisturising is good for our skin all year round, particularly to replenish natural skin oils that are washed off with soapy body products. But in winter it's even more important, especially if you've been in a building with the air con and heater cranked up high.
Two of my favourite moisturisers are Annmarie Gianni's Radiant Skin Silk, and Sally B's Eco Body Lotion. Both of these moisturisers are packed with certified organic natural plant oils and butters such as Jojoba, Sweet Almond, Coconut, and Tamanu that will soften your skin, soothe dry patches and ease any accidental sunburn. And of course, they contain no parabens, artificial nasties, endocrine disrupting horrors, and never test on cute fluffy animals.
To browse our body moisturisers click here.
Winter is notorious for the risk of catching a nasty cold - and you have most likely been told time and time again to up your intake of vitamin C to reduce that risk.
While eating oranges is all well and good (or taking synthetic vitamin C tablets - not so good), did you know that there is a natural way to get a hefty dose of vitamin C into your system without taking synthetic supplements?
This is where Camu Powder comes in. Camu is a bushy tree that grows along swampy rivers in Peru. The fruit is approximately 2cm in diameter and has a purplish red skin with a yellow pulp. Our raw Camu is one of the highest sources of Vitamin C known to man with 12% Vitamin C. One tiny 2g serving provides you with 240mg of Vitamin C, almost four times as much as a whole orange. What's more, since Camu is a whole food in its natural form, your body can absorb the nutrients contained within much more effectively than a synthetic supplement, which means you get more bang for your buck.
Read more about Camu Powder here.
Caffeine, which is a huge component in coffee, is highly acidifying to the blood and is generally not something you want to be consuming more than once a day. In fact since stopping coffee altogether, I now find even a half strength latte gives me a nautious tummy and headache for the rest of the day - a sure sign the body is saying no thanks we prefer you without!
Our Teeccino herbal 'coffees' are an awesome alternative. My partner is addicted. Teeccino doesn't contain any coffee beans (decaf or regular), so is a naturally caffeine-free alternative to coffee. It's organic, natural, non-acidic, and gives you a natural energy boost from nutrients, not stimulants. It also contains the added benefits of antioxidants from carob, dates, figs, barley and almonds. Teeccino is roasted & ground to brew and taste like coffee, and to keep things interesting, is available in lots of ridiculously delicious flavours. My top favourites are hazelnut, vanilla nut, and dandelion caramel nut. I'm also a big fan of our new Java, which you can brew like an espresso and top with steaming hot nut milk - the perfect doppelgänger for a cafe latte.
Shop our delectable range of Teeccino herbal coffees here.
The other way I like to stay warm and cosy during the colder months is by drinking lots of different herbal teas. Often in winter we're not as enthusiastic about drinking all the water that we need to stay sufficiently hydrated, so hot drinks are a great way to counter that.
My favourite range is made by Love Chai Love Tea, a small family who hand blend a wide range of teas. They're all made with 100% certified organic and fair trade ingredients, are packaged in 100% recycled card boxes, have inners that are fully compostable (just pop them straight in your compost bin or garden), and they donate 1% to the planet. There's a set of traditional teas including the most delicious English Breakfast and Earl Grey, a Naturopathic range (think blends such as Detox, Skin Glow, Calming, Sleep and Digestive), a Herbal range (including Licorice Love, Minty Fresh, Green, Chamomile), a Chai range (including a Dandelion Chai, Vanilla Chai and a caffeine-free Rooibos Chai), and a special duo of Pregnancy and Breastfeeding blends for the mamas.
With so many to choose from you'll never get bored of a good old cup of tea!
Browse our gorgeous Love Chai Love Tea range here.
While we're talking about hot bevvies, it's definitely worth mentioning these hot little reusable cup numbers. We recently got in this gorgeous range of limited edition KeepCups in glass and cork, and they're super cute.
Did you know 500 billion disposable cups are thrown out globally every year? That’s about 75 disposable cups for every single person on the planet. While the lid of a coffee cup can be recycled (although how many people do you know who actually do this? Ok - I have been known to filter through office rubbish bins to move errant coffee cup lids to the recycling), the base of the cup is pure landfill. As the inner is lined with plastic, it can't be separated from the paper outer for recycling.
If you're a regular takeaway beverage drinker, there's no excuse but to not pick yourself up one of these fine little glass cup specimens. Not only will you look super stylish, but you can be proud that you'll be saving a little bit of the planet every morning with your daily cup of Joe.
Browse our Limited Edition Glass & Cork KeepCups here.
I'm not a big makeup wearer, but I do like to keep my skin hydrated and protected year round. My favourite daily moisturiser is Sally B's Skin Yummies Tinted Moisturiser. It's super lightweight, packed full of only good-for-you organic and natural ingredients, and has a subtle natural touch of colour to it. This makes it perfect to wear alone for a fresh look, or my favourite - under a few sweeps of Ere Perez's natural bronzer (I use the My Blush tone here).
Containing only natural and organic ingredients, this tinted moisturiser is a great swap from the usual chemical-filled foundations and tinted moisturisers found at your local chemist or supermarket. Not only will it help make your skin look flawless, but it will also nourish it with wonderful ingredients such as organic aloe leaf juice and hibiscus flower extract. No harmful chemicals, and no animal testing.
Shop Sally B's Skin Yummies Tinted Moisturiser here.
If you haven't yet tried moisturising your body or face with oils, then you really have to give it a go. While we've been brought up thinking that if you put oils on your skin, you'll have oily skin, it's quite the opposite. The skin is naturally made up of oils, and when we wash our faces and bodies (especially if you're using harsh chemical-laden body washes or soaps), it strips it of these natural lubricants. The skin then tries to overcompensate by producing more oils, and this is what can often lead to oily skin.
Instead if you're washing your skin regularly, you want to help replace those natural oils to rebuild your skin's natural protective layer. I love using an oil based serum on my face in the evenings (try Sally B's Nighttime Antioxidant Serum here, or Annmarie's Herbal Facial Oil here), and on my body, Annmarie's Coconut Body & Face Oil.
Oils absorb much better with a little bit of water, so when you get out of the shower, only partially dry yourself so you're still a bit damp, then apply the oil all over your body. You'll find it spreads a lot easier, you use a lot less, and you end up with a much better result. The small molecular structure of coconut oil allows for easy absorption through your pores, giving your skin a soft, smooth texture. It makes an ideal treatment for the relief of dry or rough skin, and it's also great for soothing sun damaged skin.
Annmarie's daily organic Coconut Body & Face Oil (which can also be used as a massage oil) is a unique blend of organic oils infused with nutrient rich wildcrafted herbs, to nourish and hydrate your skin. It also contains botanical essential oils that will help you stay beautifully centered and calm throughout the day.
Once you've tried using oils on your body and face, I promise you won't want to return to the filler-laden creams of old!
Shop Annmarie Gianni's Coconut Body & Face Oil here.
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VIDEO POST! Banoffee Pie is always a favourite, and this healthy version tastes just as good as the original, without leaving you feeling heavy or bloated afterwards. Luscious, low sugar, and delicious!