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Wednesday 2 October 2019

A Time For Reinvention - and Link Up

Autumn/Fall is a much better time for attempting major life changes than January, in my view. January is such a bleak month with three months of winter still ahead and bank balances decimated by Christmas.  I started several of my major jobs in the month of September, and it's a month with feelings of optimism  (Brexit aside) and regeneration.

I like to change my beauty routine at this time of year. I was thrilled to get two more products from British skincare firm ARK to continue my efforts to brighten and polish my skin.

I've been using their Age Defy nourishing moisturizer and cleanser, both aimed at the over-50s, for a few weeks and said I'd give an update when I'd used them for a while.

Well, I've had a few compliments about my skin recently so they must be doing a good job! I like the moisturizer in particular.  The pump mechanism isn't great because it stops working long before the pot is empty, but no problem, I just lift off the lid. It has a refreshing herbal/eucalyptus type scent and is a good primer for makeup.
The new exfoliator is aimed at all age groups:  you simply leave the product on for longer (five minutes) if you're over 50.  I'm not always very good at using exfoliators. They seem a waste of time if they aren't very grainy - how do you know they're sloughing off dead cells? - but on the other hand, too much graininess is bad  (remember Aapri?).

This exfoliator has a triple action: a physical, fruit acid and enzymatic action to gently slough dead skin and debris. AHA acids from bilberry, sugar cane, sugar maple, orange and lemon help to diminish the look of acne scars and the appearance of wrinkles.

I like it! There's a pleasing graininess, but not too much, and afterwards my skin looked fresh but not red.

I haven't tried the hydration injection masque yet but as you know from previous excursions,  here and here, I love trying a mask so I will report back.

Kick starting a New Health Regime

At the start of September I spent four days at my own expense at Grayshott Spa, on the Surrey/Hampshire border. I haven't been there for more than 20 years but it was still the tranquil heaven it always was, with just a few changes.
Every day there are two walks in the gorgeous heath land surrounding the mansion
One of the changes is "the Regime," a special diet for the gut devised by Stephanie J. Moore and Grayshott's head chef Adam Palmer.  Grayshott runs a 7-day long introduction to the Regime.  I didn't do it, but the food in general is based on its principles. I was hoping it would kickstart a healthier eating regime. Somehow, even after the delicious three-course dinners, I managed to lose four pounds! Yes, even after a daily pudding like this - honeycomb ice cream!
I bought Stephanie's book, Why Eating Less and Exercising More Makes You Fat: Current Health Advice is Failing Us, and the Grayshott recipe book, Gut Gastronomy: Revolutionise Your Eating to Create Great Health by Vicki Edgson, to learn more about the diet.

It's low carb and avoids high GI foods  (such as potatoes, bread, grains, bananas).  The diet encourages us to be lavish with fats and nuts. We're now using butter and coconut fat, and avoiding spreads which are full of hydrogenated fats.

Diets like these have shown revolutionary results in reversing type 2 diabetes.

In the last three weeks I've continued the weight loss and it's now half a stone  (seven pounds). I don't feel low on energy and I'm not feeling constantly hungry (hangry) as you normally are when you eat less.

I haven't really cut out any food groups:  vegetables are carbs and some are starchier than others. The diet forces you to cook unprocessed foods and to avoid anything pre-packaged, plus desserts, sugar and sweeteners. But I'm not counting calories for the first time ever, nd it's such a relief.

I've been cooking everything from scratch and trying new veg and ways of cooking them:  celeriac mash was a revelation!  Last night I made my own ratatouille to accompany a dish from the Grayshott recipe book, lemon sole with mandarins and ginger. Both delicious and even Mr Mutton approved.

I haven't given up my vice - cheese - and have a few thin slices with two sourdough crackers if I'm not sated.

I must confess to not doing some of the gut health measures - soaking nuts overnight, blanching salads, eating sauerkraut and making kimchi.  Life is too short!

Examples of what I'm eating


When I'm in the office, I take a bottle of Biotiful Kefir which is nourishing and good for gut health. Or I take a container with some coconut yoghurt, blueberries, raspberries and nuts.  At home, I like two poached eggs on a slice of toasted sour dough  (better for us than wholewheat bread).


Lunch is a challenge with this diet:  the best thing is to make a salad, which I try to do on most days. I add an interesting pot of edamame and soya from M&S or Tesco, and some sliced turkey or salmon. If I'm in a rush, I make a smoothie from the Grayshott book  (apple/pear/juice of half a lime/maca powder and coconut milk). Or I have a Huel shake - quite a few carbs, but also filling. You could, if you had time, roast some vegetables with meat or fish.


I make a few batches of chicken casserole or chilli at the weekend and have plentiful vegetables with those, plus a serving of oily fish once or twice a week, falafels and a grass-fed organic steak. If I'm in a hurry or desperate, I have an omelette with ham and a Greek salad.

I've just bought another recipe book, The Diabetes Weight Loss Cook Book, by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi. This is useful because it profiles the two authors and two others in terms of how many carbs they aim to have each day (it varies).  And there are some useful recipes for crackers/bread without the carbs. Joe Wicks' recipe books are also good for low carb recipes.

I have an ambitious target of another seven pounds in the next month, in time for a reunion with former colleagues from the first job I ever had.  My reward, if I succeed, will be a new pair of Boden patterned Richmond trousers!

Disclosure:  I was gifted with two products by ARK Skincare.  Copy approval was neither sought nor given, and my editorial opinion is my own and always objective. 

Sharing this post with #WordlessWednesday at Claire JustineChic&Stylish at MummabstylishTop of the World Style at High Latitude Style#ThursdayTell at Muttonstyle, Fancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion StyleFabulous Friday at Pocketful of Polka Dots, Anna at The Glamadventure,  Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee On The Edge#BloggerClubUK at My Random Musings#Stylewithasmile at StylesplashVisible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style, #ShareAllLinkUp at Not Dressed as Lamb

Now it's that time of the week:
Last week's most clicked was Jess from Elegantly Dressed and Stylish who looked stunning in her chestnut dress from Target.  Jess is a master of wearing colors that suit her, and accessorizing.
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