6 Things I Love to Do when Visiting Durban

Travelling in Durban

I only discovered beautiful Durban in my 20s when I started dating a guy from Durbs. Over the last 5 years, I’ve fallen in love with the beach vibes, the relaxed way of the people and the eclectic mix of food and people. These are a few of my favourite things to do in Durban when visiting.

6. Cycle on the Promenade

I recently discovered the joy of cycling on the promenade of Durban North Beach. The Promenade is long, very long, and walking it can be quite tiring, but renting a bike is not only a great form of exercise but also allows you to see the promenade and its people at a whole new speed. My favourite is renting an old (green) style cruiser from Xpression on the Beach. They’re right by the skate park and you can choose between R60 for an hour or R90 for 2 hours (I’d opt for this one cause you’ll just enjoy it that much!).

Cycle all the way to UShaka and back and stop somewhere along the way for a beer at one of the many cafes.

Cycling on the Durban Promenade
Stop off at one of the cafes while on your bike trip

 

5. Have Breakfast at Circus Circus on the Promenade

Probably one of the nicest beach breakfast stops you’ll ever visit. Choose between sitting right on the beach, under an umbrella on the promenade or with your feed in the sand at the back where the kiddies can play on a jungle gym to their heart’s content. Every table gets a jug of cold water (which is really needed in Durban, especially after a nice bike ride) and their breakfasts are super yummy with a diverse menu.

Note, they do get really busy almost all day long, so be prepared to wait a little bit. Take in the scenery and enjoy the waves.

Durban Promenade

 

4. Visit UShaka Marine World

I’m referring to the actual USkaka Marine World Aquarium (or Sea World) here, not the water park. You might think, “o just another aquarium”, but I was blown away by the detail that went into creating this aquarium. As you move from room to room you are transported into a sunken ship, underwater wonder world. The décor and theme inside the aquarium are incredible and the exhibitions are beautiful. Personally, I am not a fan of the Shows as you are never sure what methods are used to have these animals preform the tricks and that is not their true nature, but there haven’t been any reports of animal abuse about UShaka which is encouraging. There are also a number of other activities at the Sea World including meeting dolphins and seals.

 

3. Have Cocktails at Moyo on the Pier

After exploring the deep oceans, walk across to Moyo which is built right on the pier in the ocean. Sit on the balcony that surrounds the restaurant to get a magnificent view of the ocean, beach, harbour and even Moses Madiba Stadium in the distance. Moyo is well known for their twits on traditional African cuisine and have an exceptional cocktail menu. Why not also have your face painted by one of the waiters with small dots and flowers for the full experience.

Parkrun at Sun Coast in Durban
Parkrun every Saturday starts at the Sun Coast Casino at North Beach

2. Parkrun at North Beach

We love Parkrun and have done this one twice already. It really is one of our favourites simply because it’s not tough, just a nice run next to the beach with a couple of like-minded people wanting to keep fit. The scenery is beautiful, the course is flat and the people are so friendly. Get there early though cause it’s the Parkrun with the biggest attendance in South Africa, a testament of its popularity. If you’ve never done a Parkrun, why not give this one a try. Every Saturday at 8:00, starting at the Sun Coast Casino at North Beach, and it’s completely free! What more motivation do you need.

Florida Road in Durban
Beautiful buildings on Florida Road in Durban

1. Eat a Chip & Cheese Roti at House of Curries on Florida Road

I was never a fan of Indian food before I visited Durban, but I have fallen in love with the roti and no Durban trip is complete without one. House of Curries on Florida Road is the spot to go to. It has a really nice outside deck where you can sit and watch the beautiful buildings and cars pass by. With craft beers to wash down the burn (Indian food yes) and a great selection of rotis, bunny chows and other curries, it’s simply an experience. My favourite is the Chip and Cheese Roti with Bean Gravy. It’s a taste bud sensation, but please don’t try it if you are counting calories or on a diet cause the roti will throw you off completely. It is the most amazing indulgence Durban can offer any visitor.

Chip & Cheese Roti at House of Curries on Florida Road
Chip & Cheese Roti at House of Curries on Florida Road

I hope you’ll give some of these a try when you’re in Durban next and experience a different side of the beautiful beach city.

Camomile Tea, Nature’s Calming Tea

Camomile Tea

Camomile tea is widely known for its calming properties and also has a number of other healing properties, however, it is one of the more unusual teas which has gained a lot of popularity over the years.

I started drinking camomile tea in school before a maths exam. I dreaded those maths exams, no matter how hard I studied, but a cup of camomile tea would help me relax and stay calm before the exam. It was the first non-Rooibos tea I started drinking and in some ways, I think camomile tea started my tea-loving journey.

Camomile Tea

What is Camomile Tea

Camomile tea is known as a Tisanes, which is commonly known as infusers and include herbal and fruit teas. Unlike most other teas tisanes are not made from the leaf of the tea plant, but rather from other parts of plants or even fruit and flowers.

Camomile tea is made from the Asteraceae family of plants. The daisy-like flowers of this family of plants (hence the daisies on all the camomile tea boxes) can be dried and used for a number of herbal remedies, as well as tea.

Because of the variety of the plant family, camomile tea from different parts of the world can taste differently. I am definitely up for trying new camomile wherever I go next then!

Camomile Tea

Health Benefits

Tisanes have historically been known for their healing properties and to this day Chinese herbalists believe that almost any ailment can be cured with a cup of hot tea tisanes.

The reason camomile has become so well known for its calming properties is because it can help increase the levels of serotonin and melatonin in your body. These heightened levels relieve stress and anxiety symptoms and slows down the mind. It makes sense that a cup of camomile before my maths exam helped me to slow down and focus on the questions at hand rather than stress about the end result.

Camomile tea also helps to regulate glucose levels in the body and can bring down sugar levels. A cup a day can thus hold great benefit for diabetics in regulating their sugar levels.

Camomile Tea

The relaxing qualities also allow camomile tea to relieve stomach cramps and even menstruation cramps. The anti-spasmatic qualities in the tea help to relax muscles. It is also a great cure for almost any stomach ailment, from diarrhea, nausea and even motion sickness.

Camomile is also said to boost the immune system and some people swear by its wonderful rejuvenating properties for their skin and hair.

Camomile Tea

If you want to try a new kind of tea, but you’re still a bit wary of some of the stranger teas out there, then camomile is for you. Easy to drink and pretty easy to come by in most places around the world. The relaxing properties might just coax you into taking some me-time with a cup of camomile more often than you think.

*PS I love the Camomile Tea from Lipton. Firstly the perfect square teabag (read my post on teabags here) and such a full taste. Also very affordable! Give it a try if you are in South Africa.

Camomile Tea

Where Will 2018 GO… Setting Intentions for the Year

2018 Intentions

After a short break over Christmas and New Year, I came back with so many ideas for new blog posts, and a new vigour for The Loud Library and what I want to mould it into for you as the reader this year.

But, I wanted to start off the year with something special. A short outlook on what I am looking forward to in 2018 and my intentions and goals for the year. I hope that me sharing this with you will give you a better sense of how actively seeking my Happiness has helped me to Rediscover my Spark, and I hope you will discover yours in 2018 as well.

Intentions 2018

At the end of 2017 I took some time to think about what 2018 will mean to me. One exercise I tried was Jess Lively’s 60 Second Intuition Mini Course. I spent quite some time last year reading up about Intuition (the academic in me) and I liked the idea of setting intentions that align with your intuition for a new year (but more on that later). I also learnt in this mini course to listen to my intuition. The more time I took to listen to my heart (which is where I believe my intuition comes from), the more the word GO popped up.

Since hearing the word for the first time I’ve been hearing and seeing it in a number of different forms and things; Go For It, Go With It, Go Forward, Let Go, Go With the Flow. I also found a deeper spiritual meaning in GO as an acronym for God Only.

At first, I thought it was silly, but the more I allowed myself to listen to my inner voice, the more the word GO manifested itself.

Hibberdene South Africa

So, I have accepted GO as my word for 2018 and I believe it will guide me through whatever this year throws at me. Whether it’s new adventures, deepening my spiritual practice and working on doing my bit to help save the environment and inspire others to do the same.

By listening to my intuition and keeping the word GO in mind, I set a few intentions for myself for 2018. This year I tried to keep my goals and intentions separately simply because I believe they are really very different things and add value to a life in very different ways.

Hibberdene South Africa

Let me explain: For me, Goals are structured things you want to achieve or attain. They can usually be measured in some way or another. My one main goal for this year is to swim Midmar Mile in February. I’ve been training for 6 months and it’s something I can set a very physical goal for.

Intentions on the other hand, I believe, are general actions, lifestyle changes or perceptions you want to manifest. These might not have physical time frames or dates on which they need to be achieved, but can be incorporated into your life at any time. I believe that intentions are things you can’t really fail at. At times you are a bit more in tune with your intentions and other times your attention shifts from your intentions for a while.

If you’re still confused, here are my intentions for 2018:

  • Live more eco-friendly at home and at work
  • Run more
  • Write more (blogging and other writing)
  • Cook more and find joy in cooking
  • Learn to do proper makeup
  • Live in every moment

Sometimes simple is better. Unlike goals or resolutions, intentions are less urgent and can cause less stress because you are allowing yourself to reach your intentions through a number of paths.

I hope that you will allow yourself to set intentions that make you Happy and help you find joy in life. We live in a very confusing, fractured world, and sometimes we can get lost. By setting a couple of intentions and letting go of the pressures of goals and time frames, I hope you will be able to rediscover your spark in 2018.

Hibberdene South Africa

*Hope you enjoyed some of my short holiday photos at the coast in South Africa. Will do a proper Durban post next week!

The Perfect Christmas Drink: Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Latte Recipe

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Latte

As my last post for 2017 I wanted to share a recipe with you that’s perfect for the holidays (whether it’s winter or summer where you’re enjoying Christmas).

This Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Latte recipe was actually invented by my gran and cousin but it has become a big favourite. The recipe is super simple and is perfect for those who like chai tea but sometime find it a bit bitter without milk.

I changed up the recipe a little bit and made it with Vanilla Chai Tea (which has the most amazing smell and I wish I could bottle it and send it to all of you), but normal chai tea works perfectly.

I hope you try it out and enjoy. Let me know how it goes in the comments below.

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Latte

Ingredients

1 x Chai tea / Vanilla chai tea, tea bag

1/4 cup of milk (literally a quarter of the cup you are going to drink your tea in)

3/4 cup of chai tea

Cinnamon

Honey

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Latte

Utensils

Milk frother

Microwave

2 x Cups of the same size

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Latte

Instructions

  1. Pour a 1/4 cup of milk into one of your cups
  2. Add boiling water to 3/4 of the second cup with tea bag inside
  3. Place both mugs in the microwave for 1 minute (keep tea bag in second cup and check that the milk does not foam over)
  4. Remove mug with tea bag and warm milk mug for another 30 seconds
  5. Use milk frother to froth milk until more froth than liquidy
  6. Remove tea bag from second cup
  7. Add frothed milk to second cup of chai tea and let is mix
  8. Add honey to your liking (I’d suggest adding quite a bit as chai tea can be quite bitter and the honey takes the bite off)
  9. Sprinkle cinnamon on top to your liking
  10. ENJOY

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Latte

Simple and very delicious.

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year Loud Library friends, and may 2018 hold many blessings for you all.

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Latte

My Wellness & Holistic Living Journey (so far) – Part 2

Wellness & Holistic Living Journey Part 2

What better way to end of the 2017 than with a final look back on my Wellness and Holistic Living Journey this year. In Part 1  of this journey, I talked about my journey with yoga, pilates and exercise, and how I have changed my beauty routine to include more holistic practices and eco-friendly products.

Both of these journies have helped me grow in my wellness practices and have spilled over into my meditation practice and entire lifestyle change I have undergone during the last months of 2017.

Today’s post focusses on these two journies.

Wellness & Holistic Living Journey Part 2

Meditation

I grew up in a Christian family and although I am a devote Christian, I haven’t felt at home in the church for a long time . Old men standing up there telling me what the Bible, and God, says and wants, but never speaking about real life. Always talking at me and never to me. I found God again in my private time, my meditation. In truth, I’ve been meditating since before I started the practice.

For me, meditation and prayer have always been intertwined. When I began practicing meditation a year and a half ago I tried to simply clear my mind and think of nothing, but it was impossible. I had always spoken to God throughout my day and I couldn’t simply shut Him out now. So, I changed my focus to incorporating prayer into my meditation.

Wellness & Holistic Living Journey Part 2

Almost like a mantra, I now focus my mind on one or two things I want to speak to God about and repeat those thoughts, questions, ideas, intentions, over and over. I also incorporate a short list of about three things I am grateful for that morning.

I cannot start a workday morning without my meditation anymore. It is my quiet space, my me-time, and my way of setting my intention for the day, realising the things I am grateful for, and finally, it has brought me closer to the universe and God. Meditation has even inspired me to delve back into reading the Bible with a more critical mind than the church ever allowed us to.

Wellness & Holistic Living Journey Part 2

Lifestyle

Where practicing meditation and changing up my exercise regime with pilates and yoga can sound like the biggest wellness changes in my life, I have to admit I have experienced real change in the small things. In the mind shifts I started making every day.

My holistic beauty regime journey and lifestyle journey have gone hand-in-hand, the one leading from and into the other. We’ve made small changes to our eating and consumption habits and each new act of living more eco-friendly has, in turn, made us more aware of how we consume and what difference we can make.

Our first step was to start saving water. The Western Cape region in South Africa has a severe water shortage (they say by March there will be no more water in the city and surrounding areas, no more water as in ZERO). That, on top of not having had water for a full five days because of a burst pipe, has made us realise more and more how valuable water is.

We started a water saving system using our shower water for all kinds of things. I wrote a blog post about it with a couple of tips and tricks on how to save and reuse water.

We’ve also taken to the “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down” thought when it comes to the toilet. Did you know a toilet uses 6 litres of water with every flush! It really is very unnecessary to waste that much water if it’s just you and no guests.

Wellness & Holistic Living Journey Part 2

It’s a small change but we have seen a decline in our water usage and we are more aware of how we use (and misuse water). It’s a sense of pride to wash your clothes with water you saved and knowing you’re doing your bit.

Our second step, was to get back into recycling. We’d become lacks on recycling since moving to a busier part of Johannesburg, but it was important for us to start doing it again. It wasn’t easy to start again (I wrote an earlier blog post about recycling in Joburg as well), but I am happy to say we are in the habit now of simply putting our recycling bag in the car every weekend and dropping it off at the Pick-it-Up recycling Garden Centre.

I wish we had a little garden so I could start a compost heap. For now we are collecting our biodegradable trash (food etc) in a separate dustbin and taking it to my parents’ farm when we go to visit over weekends. It’s not ideal and it is something we are planning to look into improving in 2018. For now at least we have made a plan and are doing our bit.

At the same time, we are trying to be more conscious about packaging, remembering to take bags with to the shops and then if we get plastic bags, to reuse them and not simply throw them away. We’ve also realised that there is nothing wrong with carrying a few things in your hands from the shop (if there’s not too much of course). I am also trying to create the habit of taking a plastic container from home with for leftovers after eating at a restaurant. This one has been harder to learnt than the others (maybe because it is outside the house and comfort zone), but in 2018 I will stop using takeaway packaging.

Woolworths Granola

Living holistically also means taking care of your body and I have become more aware of my eating habits. I’ve always loved breakfast, but I have been experimenting with adding more fruits, berries, chai seeds and granola to my breakfasts. By adding slow energy releasing extras to my breakfast I have more energy throughout the day.

My goal for 2018 is to learn how to make more fresh foods and build up my smoothie recipe stash. Maybe even share some more healthy recipes on the blog.

As I mentioned in Part 1, my exercise regime has become more holistic. I’ve learned to listen to my body and not over exercise but also not not exercising just because I feel a bit lazy. I feel stronger now than ever before (even in school when I was a top athlete) and I love my body. I am excited for Midmar (which I’m training for) and after that I want to challenge myself in more races.

Stemming from exercise I have also learned to take care of myself better. Self-care is so important and I learned so many new self-care methods and tricks from Suzy Reading’s book The Self-Care Revolution. 

The Self-care Revolution by Suzi Reading

I’ve realised how important it is to give myself a break sometimes, but not just give myself a break, consciously take time for myself. Two weeks ago I took a whole week off blogging and I didn’t feel guilty at all, because I needed it. I am also allowing myself to now sometimes spend some money on myself, buy that R30 smoothie, eat the most expensive pasta on the menu, get a manicure, watch your favourite series (2 episodes in a row). Consciously I am being nicer to myself and I am happier doing it.

 

I cannot believe that I’ve only been on this journey for 5 months! It has been an empowering and inspiring journey to embrace the world of wellness and living a lifestyle which is in unison with nature and the environment.

This journey has also opened my eyes to how destructive we are as people, especially to the environment. It is painful and has made me very disappointed in my fellow man, but it has also pushed me to start inspiring others, even in small ways (I am implementing a recycling system at work as well now).

I am so excited to see what 2018 holds for me (and the husband) on this wellness and holistic living journey. I hope you will keep following me on this journey and will be inspired to make a difference as well.

To Tea Bag or To Loose Leaf… That is the Question

Loose Leaf vs.Tea Bags

The debate around which is better, loose leaf tea or tea bags has been raging for decades. Personally, I love to spoil myself with a nice cup of loose leaf tea after selecting the fragrance myself from a small tea emporium, however, this takes time and patients. Despite loving our tea, we don’t always have that kind of time and there are such lovely tastes and combinations available in tea bags today. It’s difficult to choose the one over the other.

Loose Leaf vs.Tea Bags

Most people know that the tea bag was discovered by mistake, but I wanted to know more about the differences between these two ways of having your tea.

I turned to my trusted World Atlas of Tea by Kirsti Smit. This book has taught me so much about tea and tea brewing so I was sure it would have some information about loose leaf tea and tea bags.

History of the Tea Bag

History of the Tea Bag

According to the Atlas, until the 1950’s the tea bag was not generally accepted by tea drinkers outside of America because of the notion that tea drank as loose leaf tea was of a better quality.

The tea bag itself was in fact invented by mistake by Mr. Thomas Sullivan who distributed samples of his loose leaf tea in little silk bags. However, the bags, which were about the same size as the common infusers of the time, were mistaken by some to BE the infuser. Sullivan soon realised that he had invented a new way of distributing and essentially drinking tea. He modified the bag and tea bags soon became very popular in America.

Loose leaf tea and infuser

Lose Leaf vs. Tea Bags

When one steeps tea (lets it brew), the leaves need space to absorb the water, expand and infuse the water with its flavour. Tea in tea bags are limited by the space in the tea bag and thus can only infuse up to a certain level.

For this reason, most teas used in tea bags are of a lower tea grade. Full leaf teas, which are generally used as loose leaf teas, are exactly what the name says, unbroken tea leaves. Most teas used in tea bags are however particles, broken or crushed smaller pieces of the tea leaves. Tea manufacturers soon realised that using full leaf teas in tea bags made for less fragrant tea, and thus the use of smaller pieces.

Different types of tea bags

In some ways, the thought that tea in tea bags are of a lower quality is thus true. Some companies have started compromising for this by rather using silk bags than paper bags, such as the Tony Glass Teas and others have adopted pyramid style tea bags to allow the leaves more room to expand, such as the Lipton range.

Loose leaf tea and infuser

Which is Better

You can ask every tea drinker on the planet and each will have their own opinion on which is better, loose leaf or the tea bag.

Because tea today has expanded to not only include traditional tea leaves but also fruit and flower particles, which are smaller than the leaves, tea bags are still a good choice for your tea cup.

Personally, I am a fan of both, but each in its own time. I love special loose leaf blends which I can give time to steep and sip on relaxingly. But, in the mornings when I have my tea with breakfast, I need something quick and easy to dispense, then I need my tea bag.

Loose leaf might be a better quality tea, but there is a reason why the tea bag became so popular so quickly, and that is for its convenience and also price.

It will stay a personal choice but I recommend you try both options from time to time, even if loose leaf is only for those special me-moments.

Loose leaf vs. Tea bags

My Wellness & Holistic Living Journey (so far) – Part 1

Wellness Journey Feature Photo

I’ve given myself a bit more time to write this piece. Churning out 2 new blog posts a week, doing styled shoots for the posts and the posting, it can become overwhelming for anyone, and even more so when working full time and taking on more responsibility at work. The question has crossed my mind over the last week as to why I do the blog as well then when I have so much else going on… And the answer is always the same, because I love it.

The Loud Library has been allowing me to focus on my journey into wellness and holistic living, and it makes me indescribably happy.

My “official” journey into wellness and holistic living only started a few months ago when I changed the focus of the blog. However, in many ways, I feel as if I’ve been on this journey all my life.

Caring for the environment, people and my, and other’s emotional needs has been part of my psyche since I was a little girl. Even before I went to school I remember telling a man my father’s age to pick up his cigarette bud he threw down outside a shopping centre because it was bad for the environment. In school, I begged my mom to start recycling because we all needed to do our bit. I hated cars that spewed out balls of black smoke and would hold my breath when passing them. In the same breath, I would give people massages and work on getting to understand why things are the way they are and making them better for my family and friends rather than sitting idly by.

When I started writing this post I realised that I had a lot more to say than I originally planned. So this is Part  of my journey, focusing on yoga, pilates and exercise and beauty. Part 2 will follow next week focusing on meditation and lifestyle.

Yoga and Pilates

 

Yoga, Pilates, and Exercise

My wellness journey really started with meditation and pilates. Read my previous post on how yoga, pilates, and meditation changed my life. Pilates acted as a gateway to reintroduce me to exercise. Today I can say I am in better shape than ever, but I have also learned to listen to my body and not over, or under exercise. I know, sometimes even when I am tired, my body still needs exercise, and sometimes it needs rest.

The transformation I have undergone from someone who exercises in extremes to someone who exercises because it makes me feel like I can conquer the world, is extraordinary.

Yoga and Pilates

I now also know that living fitness holistically means doing a combination of exercises. From running to strength to swimming to pilates and yoga. Each exercise has its own advantage. By combining these exercise regimes and allowing myself to exercise in a less rigid program, I have fallen in love with exercise again (even running which I hated for such a long time after high school). There’s no need to cut out exercise completely, but you need to find the combination of exercises that speaks and works with your body and mind.

 

Beauty

As my wellness journey expanded, I also started taking note of how I was living holistically when it came to my beauty regime. Many wellness blogger and Instagrammers overseas (not in South Africa) rave about these wonderful eco-friendly beauty products available, but the trend really hasn’t taken off in South Africa yet.

I started listening to podcasts and reading up about makeup and beauty regimes and was shocked and grossed out by all the chemicals we put on our faces (this podcast on In it for the Long Run’s Chasing Joy Podcast can give you a much better perspective on eco-friendly beauty). I think we all get to a point in life when we realise that what we are doing to our bodies, and in this case, our skins is not conducive to long term sustainability.

Eco-friendly Beauty

My love for my rabbit, Olive, has also made me more and more aware of animal testing. I’ve become very conscious about picking up beauty products that have the Beauty Without Cruelty logos on them, and let me tell you, they are few and far between at your local Clicks or DisChem.

I’ve always struggled with my skin. My hormones are all over the place, stress and living in a big dirty city doesn’t help. Lately, though my skin felt tired and my breakouts became more intense. It got to a point where I would become teary before going out because of how bad my skin looked. I’m very self-conscious about my skin. I’m 26 but look much younger (people usually think I’m 20 when they first see me) and having bad skin makes me feel like people have even more of a reason to think of me as young and not take me seriously.

So, I made the decision to start changing my beauty regime and see if I could give my skin a break from the chemicals.

Eco-friendly Beauty

First step was a new Rooibos face wash by African Extracts (read my initial review here). Since then I’ve started using the African Extracts make-up remover face cloths as well and I am very happy with the results.

Unlike many other face washes and face cloths which sometimes leave your skin feeling tight and seeps the moisture from it, the Rooibos products leave my face feeling clean, soft and healthy. It removes all stickiness from moisturiser and a long day, but doesn’t dry my skin out at all.

African Extract Face Wipes

My next step was to replace my face cream and pimple/acne treatment.

I honestly didn’t know where to start. There were no beauty experts online in South Africa giving advice on what to try and what works and what doesn’t. I was completely in the dark (and still kinda feel like I am). I turned to the Faithful to Nature website.

Luckily for me, Faithful to Nature was having their Black Five Day sale during the week leading up to Black Friday. I scrolled through those promotion products up and down, read reviews and in the end took the plunge.

Down to Earth Revive Moisturiser

I ended up getting Bee Natural Acne Assist for a pimple treatment, Down to Earth Revive Moisturiser and the Essential Collection Face Exfoliator.

I’ve been pretty happy with each of these and I promise to do a proper review of all of them in the new year, but I’d like to use them for a while before making any real assumptions. In general, they have helped and my skin feels softer, less oily and less sore and red around the breakout area. Slowly it’s been giving me my confidence back.

The next step in my wellness beauty journey is to start replacing my foundation and makeup with eco-friendly alternatives. I would love to do the same and simply try something from Faithful to Nature, but with makeup and especially foundation you need to test the colouring on your skin. My skin is so light I use the lightest shade available and anything darker makes me look like I used too much self-tan.

Bee Natural Acne Assist

So I’m still searching. If anyone has any suggestions or tips on what makeup products or brands are both eco-friendly, by holistic companies and affordable, please let me know.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this first part of my wellness and holistic living journey round-up. Next week I’ll delve into Meditation and how my Lifestyle itself has changed through this journey.

Peppermint Tea – Nature’s Caffeine

Peppermint Tea

I started getting migraines when I was around 16 and we quickly traced my trigger back to caffeine. My coffee drinking days were over (not that they were that epic to start with but it was bey bey coffee for me). I haven’t had any coffee for more than 10 years now and even though it didn’t bother me much when I was a student, the working-life me needed an alternative which would give me the wake-me-up in the morning I needed.

That’s when I came across Peppermint Tea!

Peppermint Tea

My Peppermint Tea of choice has always been the Woolworths brand, however they’ve changed the formula slightly recently and I have to be honest I preferred the original. The new version, no longer called “Wake-Me-Up” but rather “Dawn Chorus”, is slightly more minty than pepperminty but alas it will do for now. I do wonder why Woolworths would change a winning formula though.

None the less, Peppermint Tea has been my morning drink in the same way coffee is for most people for about 4 years now. It has wonderful health benefits and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to switch out coffee or simply cut back their caffeine intake.

Peppermint Tea

What is Peppermint Tea

Peppermint is actually a cross between water mint and spearmint. The origin of the peppermint plant is unknown but dried leaves have been found as far back as ancient Egyptian times. There are also records of peppermint being used in Greek and Roman times in food. The plant became popular in the 1700’s in Europe as a tea and has since been associated with a number of medicinal purposes form indigestion to coughs and fever.

Woolworths Peppermint Tea

Health Benefits of Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea has long been associated with helping to cure nausea and other indigestion irritations. Peppermint is antispasmodic which helps to reduce vomiting and can even ease motion sickness in planes and cars.

Where coffee was a migraine trigger for me, Peppermint tea can actually help heal headaches. Headaches caused by stress and bad diet usually cause the blood vessels to the brain to restrict blood flow. In the same way painkillers try and relax these blood vessels, Peppermint tea does it in a natural way. Apparently even the smell of Peppermint tea can help relieve headaches. A tasty and healthy way to feel better.

As I mentioned, I started drinking Peppermint tea as a replacement for coffee in the mornings. It is the invigorating refreshment that helps to get you going. The boost might not be as intense as coffee, but it is, once again, more natural and controlled. The boost is refreshing and will not cause heart pulpetations or jitteriness the way coffee can sometimes do.

Peppermint Tea

Leading on from the refreshing feeling one gets from drinking Peppermint tea, it also has a number of mental health benefits. Peppermint tea can enhance memory retrieval and make you more alert, which is one of the reason some people prefer to drink Peppermint tea while studying rather than coffee.

The relaxing feeling brought on by drinking Peppermint tea makes it the perfect tea to start your morning with as well as a natural way to control anxiety. It’s no wonder peppermint oil is used so frequently in aromatherapy.

Finally you don’t have to worry about having coffee breath after your Peppermint tea cup, as the high volume of mentholated and anti-bacterial qualities help to kills germs and fight bad breath (it’s like toothpaste in a cup, just tasting way better).

Peppermint Tea

Side Effects of Peppermint Tea

There are a few side effects of Peppermint tea and honestly before writing this article I wasn’t aware of any of them. They are very rare though, but it’s important to be aware.

Peppermint tea lowers sugar levels. If you are a diabetic or have naturally low sugar levels be careful of drinking too much Peppermint tea as it can lower your sugar levels even further. If you need to lower your sugar levels though, this is the perfect remedy.

The relaxing qualities of Peppermint tea in too high doses can however also be dangerous. Drinking too much Peppermint tea during pregnancies can cause uterine relaxation and a miscarriage. The same over-use can cause over-relaxation in the stomach muscles, allowing for more acid reflux.

I have to reiterate I have been drinking Peppermint tea for a long time and have never experienced any of these problems, however, I only have a cup a day. What’s the old saying, everything in moderation.

Peppermint Tea

I absolutely love my morning Peppermint tea and although my favourite brand has now changed, I wouldn’t give this morning ritual up for any amount of coffee. Give Peppermint tea a try if you need a bit of refreshment and relaxation in the mornings and feel the difference.

How Yoga, Pilates & Meditation Saved Me

If you’ve been following my journey you will know by now that I am quite an active person, but for a long time after high school and also after coming back from England I wasn’t active at all. I was almost turning into an anti-exercise person.

My injuries in high school and the pressure I put on myself to exercise left a sour taste in my mouth for anything concerning sport and although I’d still go running from time to time, it was more something I felt I had to do than wanted to do.

Then about a year and a half ago I fell off the bed in the dark and with a huge amount of force I hit my head on the side of my desk and then the floor. For a second the whole one side of my body went numb. I was in extreme pain all over, but I also knew that the fall was really my own fault because I was trying to be silly. So, I tried to ignore the pain…

Worst mistake ever! Never ignore pain that makes your whole body contract into spasms, never!

All I can remember of that time is the extreme pain in my back, coming home from work crying from the pain and spending most of the afternoons and weekends in bed with the electric blanket on to help my back muscles stay warm.

After 2 months of the pain I finally went to a physio. It was intense and after 6 sessions I could finally walk and sit again without constant pain. During my physio sessions I also realised again, how tight all my muscles are. I’ve always been tight and I’ve always struggled with stretching, but it was on a different level now, I could barely bend down without pulling my hamstring.

I knew I had to do something because although the pain of the fall was now behind me, I was in terrible shape, or rather, my muscles were in terrible shape.

That’s when I discovered Yoga, Pilates and Mediation…

I know yoga and meditation have almost become fad exercise methods, but I truly believe that a combination of these three methods has changed my life around 180 degrees. This is what I’ve learned, or rather what yoga, pilates and meditation has taught me…

1. Start Slow

I was coming from an injury and a love-hate relationship with sport and exercise, so I needed to gradually ease into it. I started off with pilates because it still seemed semi familiar and less “other worldly”. What really got me started on my journey was pilates videos and pilates challenges from Boho Beautiful. They have a YouTube channel and slowly I started following Julian and her husband Mark’s journey through yoga and pilates. Their environmentally friendly and animal care lifestyle resonated with me and I started doing some yoga videos as well. Slowly I became confident and I felt like Juliana and Mark were on this journey to recovery with me. A comment from Juliana on an Instagram photo I posted documenting my journey gave me that extra push to continue working at this new form of exercise and I was slowly falling in love with yoga and pilates.

2. Group Classes are great for Form Training

I’m not the biggest fan of group exercise classes. There’s a reason why my preferred sport in school was athletics and not a team sport. Doing yoga and pilates group classes at the gym were different though. You can still focus on YOU but you have other people to laugh with and you have an instructor who can help you perfect those moves you are struggling with. I went to group pilates classes for nearly 6 months and it helped me with my posture so much and gave me the confidence to try new moves and push a little harder. Slowly it also got me used to being in a exercise environment again and has now eventually made gymming fun for me as well.

3. You don’t have to be the most Flexible Person ever – It Will Come

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I am not flexible at all! I’ve never been able to touch my toes, even when at my fittest in school. Just because I’m not flexible didn’t however mean I wasn’t able to do yoga and pilates. We each have our own strengths and although I’m not flexible in my hamstrings, I am flexible in my inner tights (I can do some moves people struggle for years because of this). Slowly you will start to see progress and it will be more rewarding than if you were simply flexible to start out with.

4. Progress takes time but it is Amazing to witness

A year ago I could barely bend down, now I can almost touch my toes. I can do a full flow now and do a proper downward dog. Some things I still struggle with, like lifting my leg up during a downward dog, but you compensate. The feeling of accomplishment when you see the progress is amazing and makes you want to continue. Progress is the best motivation and in especially when everything else in life might feel like a waiting game, seeing progress in your yoga and pilates practice is amazing.

5. Yoga and Pilates is not only for people who are “different”

Yoga, pilates and meditation have connections to Eastern religions and hippies, but just because you practice the sport doesn’t mean you are weird or need to conform to the way of living (if you don’t want to). There are some aspects of yogi living that I relate with completely, such as caring for the environment and vegetarian eating habits. I also love the calmness of Eastern religions such as Buddhism and I am obsessed with incense, but that does not mean I agree with everything connected with the yogi lifestyle. You are your own person and can keep those parts you relate to and discard the rest.

6. Meditation brings it all Together

I started doing meditation around the same time I started with pilates. To be honest I can’t remember why I started doing meditation but I just remember feeling like I need a change in my morning routine. I wanted to start my mornings calmer and with the right mindset. I now meditate every weekday morning for about 10 to 12 minutes (depending on the morning) using mediation videos from Boho Beautiful. Meditation helps me set the tone for the day and helps me focus on gratitude and my goals. It also brings all my other practices together as meditation is very dependent on breathing practice and you need to focus on good breathing in both yoga and pilates as well. There’s a great article on the In It for the Long Run Blog on integrating meditation into your life. Give it a read.

Ultimately yoga, pilates and mediation have allowed me to take on a life change. People have commented on how much calmer I am and it’s simply because I feel more in control of my body, mind, and breathing because of my yoga and meditation practices. Living a mindful life is difficult in this day and age but small habits can help increase our mindful awareness. Try yoga, pilates and meditation and I promise you will see a difference too.

4 Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Sleep

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with sleep for most of my life. As a kid I hated being awake when everyone else in the house was asleep. I had this fear of being the only one awake forever, and my parents and brother never waking up. I can only imagine how it drove my parents crazy, and of course, once I had this fear, my brain simply would not shut down and I’d be awake for hours on end.

Sleep Blog Post

As I got older, sleep became less important, I wasn’t scared of being the only one awake anymore, but I did sleep very little in high school and at university. Of course I was very busy during these periods as well and a lack of sleep is associated with being a student, but I believed that if I could get away with as little sleep as possible, I would be able to get more done and achieve more, both socially and academically. I’ll be honest I had slight FOMO (ok really bad FOMO) as a teenager and student (thank goodness I’ve outgrown that) but at the same time, I wanted to excel academically. The only solution was to cut out sleep.

During my time studying in Oxford, my hate relationship with sleep became even worse. I was alone in a strange country working very hard on my Masters and sleep was the last thing I wanted to do. I would either have dreams of home or nightmares of never reaching home. I would be up studying or researching until 1 at night and be up by 6 to go for a jog.

Somewhere over the last 2 years, my relationship with sleep has changed drastically. Since returning to South Africa sleep has become a comfort for me and slowly I have learnt to love sleeping and the effect it has on my body.

Sleep Blog Post

There is this stigma that the less you sleep the smarter you are. We live in a society where we always need to be plugged in, always available, always ready, and sleep doesn’t fit into that picture.

Suzy Reading has a whole chapter on sleep and relaxation in her new book The Self-Care Revolution coming out in December. Reading explains that sleep is a basic human need and that sleep is even more needed during and after times of extreme stress. When we don’t sleep Reading says our bodies simulate the sensation of being drunk and after a being awake for little more than 17 hours our cognitive impairment is at the same level as having a blood alcohol level of 1.0%!

The Sel-Care Revolution

So I’ve had a bit of a thought, inspired by Suzy Reading’s book (which I’m definitely going to use in a few more posts), and here are 4 ways to get a better night’s sleep, seeing as it is so important for all our wellbeing.

1. Don’t use you Computer in Bed

I am so guilty of this one! I love working on my laptop in bed, it’s the comfiest place in the house. My excuse used to be, but I sit at a desk all day, I don’t want to sit at a desk when blogging or doing freelance work as well. Unfortunately, the stimulus created by the laptop in your sleep space is very bad for you and can make it difficult to shut off, even after your computer is. I’ve been very conscious of keeping my work and sleep spaces separate and I think it’s helped me relax completely when I finally get in bed. Worth a try.

Sleep

2. Use a Pillow Spray

I’m not sure of the science behind this but I’ve been using a pillow spray every few nights and it has definitely been helping me to feel more relaxed. Make sure the spray is a smell you enjoy (don’t get lavender if lavender gives you hayfever) and make sure not to spray too much either, the smell can be overwhelming. When you’re on this, also remember to wash your pillow case often, even once a week. A fresh place to lay down your head can mean the difference between a good and a bad night’s sleep.

3. Read something Before Bed

This is one I will always promote and I mentioned it in my post on Selfcare (read here) as well. Reading before bed can stimulate your mind, but unlike electronic devices, it does not over-stimulate. I’ve found even reading just a few pages before bed has helped me to relax and even dream happier, more creative dreams.

The Self-Care Revolution

4. Prepare your Sleep Space

You need to prepare your room for sleep. Suzy Reading agrees that your bedroom should be a haven, a place to escape the days rush, where you can simply relax. Try make the room as dark as possible, let in fresh air by opening windows in the summer, and make sure you are not too hot or too cold as temprature changes throughout the night. I’ve also started turning my phone around in it’s docing station so I cannot see any lights if messages come through during the night. This has helped me to not check the time as easily every time I wake up during the night (I’m a very light sleeper) and stopped my brain from waking up.

 

Sleep is so important for all of us. I hope that everyone will be able to realise the wonderful properties of sleep and remember that if you are tired, sleep. What doesn’t get done today can wait until tomorrow, the world is not going to end in the few hours of sleep.

Sleep