My scariest leg press ever

I felt really grumpy and de-motivated this morning, and for no obvious reason.

I practised the power of positive thoughts, that didn’t work, my ‘chimp’ got in the way, so I was on a downer. But I knew what I had to do, get out and exercise.

I thought of doing a body weight session in the garden, but anything would have distracted me, so I decided to go to the gym.

I love finding new gyms whenever I travel, and deliberately look for smaller venues with basic equipment and free weights. Personally, I find the members of this type of gym friendly and extremely helpful, despite many of them lifting weights heavier than I am!

I arrived and immediately my mood started to lift.

There was a piece of equipment, the Vertical Leg Press, in this particular gym, that I hadn’t used before. Yes, I’m used to the Vertical Press, but not one that was as low to the floor and as ancient as this one!

I’ve avoided it for weeks, choosing the Horizontal Press, it made me shiver every time I looked at it, is it safe, what if the plate falls on me, how does it work?

It was time to leave my comfort zone and go for it.

This was only a little step out of my comfort zone, but I was a tad scared and apprehensive, we are all creatures of comfort and can hold back on things that challenge us.

As children we are natural risk takers. But as we get older and learn to fear failure, we tend to hold ourselves back and attempt fewer things, with the result that our comfort zones tend to shrink.

A study by The University of Texas, found that learning new and demanding life skills, can help us stay mentally sharp as we get older, and that’s no bad thing.

So, I found someone to reassure me with how the machine worked.

When I’d used the Vertical Press in other gyms, I was confident thinking I could use the same weight with this machine, despite my helpful gym member giving me a quizzical look and stating the weight I had chosen was heavier than he used…mmm, ah, no problem!!!!  Until, the weights did not move! So we reduced them to the amount he uses, perfect, heavy but safe and a great leg workout.

I must add here, in my opinion, the Vertical Leg Press is not for beginners, so stay safe with the Horizontal Press, until more experienced.

I’d conquered my fear, laughed at my failure and learned by my experience.

I continued with my workout, and with endorphins flowing felt great. For me, exercise really is the answer to a healthy mind and body.

Join us on the Sant Elia Retreat in September, it can work for you too.


My four minute early morning makeover

Yes, ‘age is, just a number’, but I personally think there are some things that we have to adjust slightly as we age.

My most obvious change has been in my makeup.

I loved wearing heavy black eyes, with perfect liner…mmm, that’s definitely not the case now!

For me ‘less is best’, especially when it comes to wearing skin foundation and even eyeshadow.

When I feel my skin looks particularly dull in mid winter though, I’ll mix a little of Clarins, Delicious Self Tanning Cream with some moisturizer, and apply it to my face and neck, giving a healthy glow.

It also have my eyelashes tinted, which just means, less mascara!

I wear a serum and Heliocare Factor 50 everyday of the year, it works well for me both in the UK and Italy.

I have very little time in the morning, and have got my Early Morning Look down to 4 minutes or less, I thought I’d share it with you as it’s a stress free look!!

Pixi 24K Eye Elixir.

I don’t know about you, but my eyes often feel quite puffy in the morning. This is a lovely non sticky light serum, and the application is via a metal roller ball which feels so soothing as you apply it. I actually bought it from Marks and Spencers, I’m so pleased with it I may try some other Pixi products.

WONDER GLOW, by Charlotte Tilbury.

It can be used under or over foundation, or, as I use it, on its own. It feels extremely light and gives the skin a dewy, no makeup look.

Yves Saint Laurent, TOUCHE ECLAT, Sometimes I use it, sometimes I don’t, but it’s always there. It’s a highlighter, concealer, and can be used for contouring, which I will learn one day, when I have more time!

I occasionally use it on my eyelids instead of a light eyeshadow, it gives a great natural effect.

ROCK ‘N’ KOHL EYE PENCIL, by Charlotte Tilbury, It’s one of the best pencils I’ve used, and the nearest I get to the ‘black eyed’ look of my youth!

I don’t always use it, depends on what the day has in store, but if I do, it’s a very light application to the outer aspect of my inner lower lid.

EYELASH CURLER, by Bobbi Brown A ‘must have’ for me, but it doesn’t have to be Bobbi Brown, you can get cheaper, but it’s essential that the pad that comes into contact with the lash is soft and can be changed after extensive use.

Using an eyelash curler really does give eyes a more open look.

MASCARA, I opt for FULL FAT LASHES by Charlotte Tilbury, I like because it’s easy to use, no clumping or flaking and covers my lashes easily with the minimum amount of mascara.

Finally, DIOR ADDICT LIP MAXIMIZER, I wear more lip glosses now and love this product. although it’s really a treatment.

It has a lovely minty flavour, causing your lips to tingle when applied, it’s a clear gloss but not at all sticky.

I’m then ready to start my day.
I’d love to hear your quick tips for an Early Morning Look, as well as your best Early Morning product…there must be loads of ideas out there.

Have you heard about the Mediterranean Pyramid?

I wanted to write about the Diet we follow at Sant Elia, The Mediterranean Pyramid.  

Research from the Mayo Clinic has shown that the traditional Mediterranean Diet reduces the risk of heart disease. In an analysis of 1.5 million healthy adults, it was found that there was a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease by those who followed this regime. In addition, the Diet was also linked with a reduced incidence of cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

All sounding good so far. The actual Diet has an emphasis on:

  • Eating primarily plant based foods, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
  • Eating good fats, avocados and olive oil.
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour food.
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week.
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month.
  • Drinking red wine in moderation.
  • Drinking plenty of water.

A key feature of the Diet is eating fresh and homegrown food; but there are other vital elements too. The first being daily exercise, secondly, sharing meal times with friends and family, and finally having a deep appreciation of the pleasures of eating healthy delicious food.

I find it truly heart warming in Italy, when I see large families eating together. There is no age barrier when eating out, it’s not uncommon to see generations from newborn babies to great-grandparents eating, drinking and laughing together, everyone feeling wanted and having a purpose.

The streets in Italy, as I’m sure many of you know, come alive in the early evening, it’s passeggiata time, which just means “to stroll” or a “little walk”. A time to unwind after work or just to take in the evening air.

Another heart warming moment for me is when I see a very old lady on the arm of, probably her great grandson – generations apart, but both looking equally as smart and coiffed, participating in the passeggiata, her daily exercise.
I’d like to think that when I’m no longer able to do my heavy gym sessions and my body ages and slows down…just a little! I will have a grandson who will offer me his arm and take me out for my daily passeggiata.