The Writerri small bird

Health and Beauty Articles

As I strolled through the Castle Grounds on my usual walk today, I couldn’t help but smile at the crunch of leaves beneath my feet, and the unmistakable dip in temperature that forced my hands to cosy away into my pockets. It was the perfect Autumn day: crisp, clean and suggestive of warm nights by the fire ahead. Yes, I like Autumn (or “fall” as the American’s say). The expectation of summer has passed: no more panicking about fitting into that bikini and no more attempts to keep the kids endlessly entertained! Instead it’s a time to wind down from the hectic summer and a great opportunity to take some time to ourselves.

We immediately think of the temperature and dark nights being our biggest changes at this time of year, but there’s changes that we can make in ourselves to not only embrace this time of year, but to make it as easy a transition as possible. Skin, hair, makeup, colours, diet – there’s more to consider than first meets the eye. Not sure how to go about it? Let me help you...

Skin

Now is the time to repair the skin from the summer, while preparing for the colder months ahead; because one thing is for sure, when the cold weather rolls in so does the dry skin!

At night, you ideally want to repair any damage caused by dehydration and harsh weather by applying a regenerating serum, such as Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair (£49). On top of your serum apply a night cream, such as Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Skin Protectant (£32). During the day it’s important to wear a durable day cream (you should still be able to feel the moisture in your skin without it being greasy once this has been applied). I’d recommend to try Elemis Hydra Boost Day Cream (£38). Once a week exfoliate the skin on the face as well as the body to remove dead skin cells, this also enables all of your products to be more receptive.

Hair

It’s no surprise that I’m a huge fan of the ponytail and layers of hair spray at this time of year! The hair responds to the cold and wind much the same as the skin; it can become dry, brittle and harder to manage. As well as your normal conditioner, you could apply a moisturising mask once a week such as Shu Uemura Art of Hair Silk Bloom Treatment (£30). Apply a heat defence spray to roots before blow drying, such as GHD Heat Protect Spray (£10). Take your time when blow drying and keep the heat on a cooler temperature to combat frizz.

Colouring (makeup, hair & nails)

The Autumn palette is a mirror for replicating colours, unlike Winter and it’s Sparkily Ruby Red’s. You just need to glance at a beautiful Autumn landscape to be makeup, nail and hair inspired. Warms tones such as browns, terra cotta and moss green are gorgeous colours to apply to the eyes, whereas this seasons must have hair colour is ‘bronde’ – the merging of warm brown with the radiance of blonde. Another hair trend this season is ‘un-done’ looking hair – the catwalks were awash with this at London Fashion Week. For nail colour, you will be saying good bye to the hot pinks of the summer and hello to the slightly moodier Autumn vibe – my favourite shellac colours for this time of year are edgy tones such as ‘Burnt Romance’ (deep red-brown), ‘Vexed Violette’ (metallic purple) and ‘Sage Scarf’ (neutral green).

Diet

As we creep closer to the colder months ahead, our cravings for all things cold are a distant memory (yes ice-cream, I’m looking at you). But before we abandon our conviction to be healthy (ice-cream asides) and switch from chicken salad to ‘comfort meals’ why not look at adapting the foods you’re eating so that you’re still receiving all of the nutrients you need, without losing out on the satisfaction of having a hot meal?

One of the best ways to start the day is by having a hot cup of lemon and ginger tea – this healthy drink helps to not only detox the body, but also strengthens the immune system, relieves menstrual discomfort and nausea, helps tackle colds, as well as improving digestion and the absorption of food. Drinking a herbal tea in the morning will also avoid giving you the false ‘high’ that caffeine provides, meaning you will have less energy dips and surges throughout the day.

For breakfast include something that is high in fibre, as you’ll need this to not only provide you with energy, but to avoid reaching for the biscuit tin at 11am! Two good breakfast choices would be porridge, or x2 wholemeal toast with poached eggs.

At lunch time, there really is nothing that beats a nice bowl of homemade soup in the colder months. Prepare a batch of homemade soup the night before, and freeze small portions to take out for the next few days. Try and add to the soup as many veggies as possible – as this clever meal combines a high nutrient density with a low energy density – meaning you get an influx of vitamins and minerals for low calorie content. And it’s very filling as well!

In the evening, having a hot and nutritious dinner is a bit easier to negotiate, as majority of dinners are served in this way. My recent favourite hot dinner is combining chicken with a pile of Mediterranean vegetables (courgette, red pepper, tomato, garlic) in a baking bag, mixed in with some Mediterranean seasoning and baked in the oven for 40 minutes. It’s delicious and is packed with nutrients, and this method avoids having to add unnecessary oil or butter. Another good option for the time of year is to make use of the slow cooker – you can literally put anything in this first thing in the morning and it will be cooked through by the time you arrive home at night (Chicken/fish/vegetables - take your pick!).

Don’t surrender to the T.V... Yet.

“Do you remember the time that we sat in, and watched TV that one night, and it was the best ever? Said no one, ever.”

By the time December comes around, there really is nothing else for it – the vast majority of us succumb to the lure of the HD lights and get sucked into the vortex that is ‘sitting in front of the telly’ night after night. Now, before you think I am being all judgemental, I’m not. I watch T.V more than the average person - I have a widescreen TV in my bedroom as well as my living room, and it is not unusual for me to have both on at the same time even if I’m home alone. When I leave the house I even put the TV on for my two dogs (Their personal favourite program is ‘For the Love of Dogs’)! But I often wonder what everyone did before TV became a priority (back in the days of the four channels; yes mum, I’m looking at your generation!)

Instead of watching the box this autumn, why not:

· Have a weekly game night – invite your friends/family round for a night of games, whether it’s Monopoly (my personal favourite); Singstar (my nemisis that reminds me I cannot sing) or even an old school game like Sharades (reminds me that I cannot act).

· Keep your eye out for events coming up in your local area – our very own Events has the listings for movies, dances and gigs that are up and coming.

· Join a fitness class with friends – keeping up with exercise in the autumn/winter will help improve your mood, circulation and will aid any stiff joints/muscles – making the coming seasons that bit more bearable.

· Read a book in your down time – there is nothing more exhilarating and educating than being transported into someone’s imagination for part of your day.

· Take the whole family out for a walk at least once a week – it is without a doubt the best way to dust off the cobwebs and relieve yourself of daily stresses and responsibilities.

· Involve the kids in something that will get them outdoors at the weekends – such as treasure hunts and nature walks – who said such activities were reserved for Easter anyways?

· Instead of shrugging off Halloween and Bonfire Night as ‘just another commercial exploitation’, welcome these holidays with open arms instead – whether you dress up, or host a party/bonfire, make sure you’re doing something rather than just sitting at home, watching, ahem, the telly.

Whatever you do, don’t be the person that is yearning for the summer months now that they’ve gone – each season is special in its own way, and brings with it its own traditions and habits. Sure, it would be nice if we had sun all year round, but something tells me, we would in a strange way, miss the Western Isle with all of its highs and lows, the wind and the rain; because if nothing else, it gives it a bit of character, don’t you think?

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