Have you visited Nivea House?

If I have time when travelling I like to go into a large pharmacy or cosmetic store to see what quirky things are available.

Imagine my surprise whilst in Hamburg, when I was told that the store to visit was Nivea Haus!


We’ve all heard of Nivea cream, many of our grandmothers having used it, and it’s also one of the more affordable skincare brands on the market.


The store was packed with Nivea everywhere. The staff were so helpful and obviously very proud of the product they sell.

Nivea is now over 100 yrs old having been developed in Hamburg, where their laboratory still remains.


I loved the historical wall of tins and adverts, dating from 1911 to the present day. There was even a photo-booth where you could personalise your very own tin of cream!

Throughout the decades the company has developed numerous other innovative skin care products such as deodorants, sunscreens, and now a Anti-Age Professional Bioxilift range which can only be purchased at Nivea House or on-line.

I needed a night and decollete cream so thought I’d try the Bioxilift, especially as it was less than half the price of similar products in the UK. As I had bought two products I could have another for free, so I chose an eye cream.


My only reservation is the amount of glycerin within the creams, which in my experience can cause the skin to look quite greasy, but we’ll see. 


Nivea is now sold in over 200 countries, so it must have something going for it! 

I’ll report back soon, perhaps I’ll become one of the millions using this iconic cream, in it’s instantly recognisable blue and white tin.



Five easy trends to take you through summer 2017

As we begin to get excited about summer holidays and warmer weather, here are 5 easy to wear trends to take you through the next few months in style.  All of these are adaptable to any body shape and are instant updates for summer wardrobes.

  1. Frills and Flounce – fabulous frills are staying around! We can all embrace the on trend feminine ruffles, but wear them in a way that suits you.  For example, if you have a larger bust, go for ruffles on sleeves or a skirt instead of the shoulder or chest area. I love J Crew for up to date basics in a great range of colours.
  2. Gingham – as you know, gingham is one of the prints of the season. Wear head to toe or as a nod to the trend with accessories. I’ve picked Hobbs for work or casual gingham styles.
  3. Floaty midi skirts – good for most body shapes, you may just need to add heel height and be careful how much they poof out at the waist! Jigsaw have some great skirts, and the one I’ve picked is top of my shopping list.
  4. The jumpsuit – when you find a jumpsuit style that works for you, they are so easy to wear. Admittedly it can sometimes be a challenge finding one that flatters on the top as well as the bottom – and then there is the other downside of taking the whole thing off to go to the loo! They are still everywhere in the shops – I love the simplicity of their navy Pure Collection jumpsuit and the floaty florals of their gorgeous little number from Anthropologie.
  5. Sandals/ Mules – you just can’t beat them for comfort and style when you are in the sun. Carvela have some fun, easy styles, perfect if you are exploring a beautiful walled Italian town or strolling out to the pool to relax after an early morning workout.

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What are your favourite styles for the summer? We would love to hear from you! Come on sunshine…

I can’t believe that by the time we are holding our retreat in September, we will be focusing on transitioning into Autumn.  Lets make sure that we embrace these summer trends while we can!

*Blog post by Chloe Brasier, Sant Elia in-house stylist 

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.

How to combat those bingo wings

The majority of women I know complain about flabby upper arms!

There’s only one way forward, those arms will have to do some work.

With summer coming, let’s make a start with Tricep Dips. This is an exercise that can be done almost anywhere, at home, out walking, you may come across a bench! or even in your hotel room if you’re travelling…so really no excuse for not doing a couple of sets a day.

It’s a straight hit to the tricep, which will help along the road to “no more bingo wings”.

  • Find a bench, chair or step, that is stable and will support your body weight.
  • Hands should be shoulder width apart and fingers pointing forward.
  • Extend legs out in front of you with a slight bed in the knee (slightly more than a 90 degree angle)
  • Keep your derriere close to the bench and with your tummy tight, slowly lower for the count of two as you bend your elbows.
  • Reverse the movement, and do two sets of fifteen reps. (15 reps. give your arms a shake followed by another 15 reps). Remembering always to focus and stay in control throughout.

To make the dip more difficult, stretch both legs out in front with only a slight bend in the knee, or more difficult still, single leg dips. Which will not only hit your triceps, but also your quads, glutes and core.

Let me know how you get on!

Metallic neutrals

I am like a magpie, I love a bit of sparkle.  Anything glitzy and glam is quite frankly, right up my street.  Vintage statement necklaces, shiny pink disco trousers, sequins galore – if it sparkles, I have probably worn it.

Over the years I have reigned it in, but still today metallics are a staple in my wardrobe.

When worn in the right way I firmly believe that metallic accessories are a neutral – an easy go to piece to pull an outfit together, or simply just to add a bit of interest or grown up sparkle!

Silver, gold, bronze, rose gold – you name it, there are shoes, belts, bags in every shiney hue imaginable in the shops as the spring and summer collections continue to flood the high street.  Are they are all easy colours to wear? Well yes, sort of.  As with anything, it really helps to have an awareness of the colours that work for you.

If you roughly break metallics down into either cool or warm tones, one of them is guaranteed to work with your skin tone and consequently with your wardrobe better than the other.  So either silver or gold will be more flattering.  

Does this really matter if we are talking about shoes?  When it comes to buying truly versatile pieces, I believe it does.  Silver works for me, I have cool undertones to my complexion and hence wear cool colours.  Gold shoes look too yellow and almost garish next to my clothes.  Silver on the other hand is my neutral.

Metallic trainers, slides, heels, clutches, handbags– not surprisingly I love them all.  If you are still unsure about the right shade for you, opt for rose gold, it flatters every skin tone – a universal neutral!

Some of my favourites for spring –

  1. Jigsaw Tania soft flat shoe


2. Office Maddy block mid heel shoe in copper


3. KG by Kurt Geiger Mojave cut out sandals, gold


4. Mint Velvet Mia block heeled sandals


5. Jigsaw Stevie zip backpack


6. Liebeskind Aloe F7 leather clutch bag, rose gold


*Post by Chloe Brasier, Sant Elia Style Consultant.