To all my lovely Inspired by Lucy blog followers 🙂

I am very excited about some big changes to my blog and website. As most of you know, this blog started out in a very simple way, with me setting it up using my very limited knowledge of blog technology, as a way to share stories with friends and family and anyone else who may have been interested to read along too.

Later this week I will be launching my new one stop website www.inspiredbylucy.com.au where you will find this blog and information on my styling and workshop services.

I’d love for you all to come with me to the new blog site, to do so just click on the follow button when you get to www.inspiredbylucy.com.au and it’ll be just like always (only better!). If you don’t already you can also follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/InspiredbyLucy

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A couple of weeks ago my sister mentioned to me that she had been oil pulling. Actually she was telling me why her 15 year old son wasn’t particularly happy with her that morning, which was because she had made him do it! She is really into alternative therapies but in a really real life kind of way too but I was unconvinced on this one.

Then over the weekend I started to feel unwell. At first I thought it was hay fever, then the start of a migraine but once a sore throat began to emerge I realised I may just be getting that little bug I thought I would get straight after I began my leave from work. Not really keen to load up my body with pharmaceuticals before I really needed to, I thought I may as well give this crazy idea a go.

So what is oil pulling? Its an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for around 20 minutes. This action supposedly draws out toxins in your body, primarily to improve oral health but also to improve your overall health. You can use any vegetable-based oil but coconut oil seems to be the oil of choice at the moment. And for me, coconut oil seemed like the most appealing of something really unappealing!

Now I was looking for a cure for a sore throat and fingers crossed the prevention of an oncoming cold but other benefits can also include:
• Whiter teeth and better breath
• Stronger teeth and gums, and protection from cavities and gingivitis
• Improvement with sleep problems and sinus issues
• Alleviation of headaches, hangovers and skin issues

Honestly I thought swishing a spoonful of oil in my mouth would be horrible but it really wasn’t. Its a tough ask though to give up 20 mins to do this though so I’ve started using shower/ hair/ makeup time to do it. The other challenge is what to do with the oil after you are done. Not such a great idea to spit it down the sink as a build up will no doubt cause a block and I just don’t get the suggestion to spit it into a tissue as its liquid by the the time you are done. Its seems gross but I came up with using an old water bottle I can throw out when I’m done. Must remember to put that away before visitors come over!

So did it work? Well my sore throat has gone and the head cold I seemed to be getting didn’t eventuate. My teeth feel really smooth and I think they look a little whiter already. My skin also seems to be looking healthier so much so that I (a make up addict) have gone sans makeup completely today. No doubt some of this can be partially attributed to my other new healthy habits but I think I might just keep on with this one too.

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I have a friend who loves yoga. We probably all do but this friend of mine has the longest leanest limbs of anyone I know. We are the same age and both quite tall so I have deduced the only possible reason my limbs are nowhere near as long and lean as hers is because I don’t do yoga. Seems pretty reasonable to me! Not that I needed more proof but I saw Taylor Swift on the X-Factor last week and she looked amazing, with those same long lean limbs I want! I don’t know if she does in fact do yoga but I have decided she must. And therefore so should I. Conveniently taking up yoga means I can also fulfil my commitment to try new things, especially those that help me reset this tensed up lil bod of mine, my commitment to at least 30 mins of exercise every day and my commitment to Vogue and their commitment to get me Summer ready (refer 2 blogs ago). I am a born multi tasker and this kind of efficiency is right up my alley, 4 birds, one stone!!

In the name of being 100% transparent, I have actually tried yoga before. One class back at uni in which I had to leave because I felt so unwell. Then many years later when I was working in London and suffering from the most infuriating insomnia due to stress (I know, its like it’s a magnet for me, … or am I a magnet for it? Anyway…), I tried Bikram yoga. For those not familiar with Bikram, this is yoga composed of the same sequence of 26 poses practised in a hot room for 90 mins. It worked brilliantly on my insomnia but it was so hard that it was really difficult to convince myself to keep going once the insomnia was under control. I mean I struggled with lots of the poses and spent a lot of the class just trying not to pass out! So I switched to reformer Pilates, loved it and never looked back. Until now…

So after a little research (that’s basically just googling), I found a local studio with a great introductory offer offering 60 min hot yoga classes. Now 90 mins was really hard and to be honest really daunting but I was confident I could handle 60 mins of pretty much anything. So on Tuesday I took my first class. It was great! Even after just one class I swear my head felt so much clearer. I didn’t even think it was that foggy but after a couple of days of achieving not a lot, I came home ready to tackle tasks I’d been putting off for weeks. It still felt plenty challenging and I’ve got sore shoulders and a sore butt as proof but the mental clarity is amazing. So not to do things by halves I’ve been everyday since! Taylor Swift-esq limbs, here I come!!

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Day 1:
My juices arrived at 5:07am! I promptly went back to bed and slept through until 8am. Eventually on surveying what seemed like a lot of juice, I already felt behind schedule. The first juice was quite nice but the second (at least to my discerning palate) looked and tasted a bit like dirt. I was pretty excited by the promise of soup for lunch but now realise this is just warm juice. I didn’t finish my 4th juice, only because I left it a bit late and I was quite excited by the promise of my dinner being savoury. My pre bedtime 6th juice contained ground nuts and after getting cranky with the cat for loudly (and smugly as I accused him) eating his kibbles, I found myself vigorously chewing the residue. I went to bed with a dull headache that had been following me around most of the day and a little annoyed with how often I needed to pee.

Day 2:
Again the juices were delivered bright and early. This felt a little pointless as I just couldn’t stomach the thought of more juice. I wasn’t hungry, thank goodness, but felt a little nauseous at the thought of having to drink more juice. As a result I didn’t get though juice 1 until nearly 10am. Once juice 1 was done I was good to go again though. Even better was the fact the dull headache I had had for 24 hours started to fade. I actually managed to get through all 6 juices then unfortunately found myself hungry, unable to focus on anything, and just a bit bored so channelled a little advice from supermodels in the 90’s and went to bed to sleep off the hunger pangs.

Day 3:
Hurray, it worked!! I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t have a headache and I actually felt pretty good albeit pretty unexcited about more bloody juice. Then I read the info card included in the days delivery and discovered the recommendation is to just eat fruit and veg for the following 2 days. I almost cried. But not wanting to ruin 2 days of hard work, I decided that I would have to give it a go. Heck I’d come this far and at least I would be able to chew something! Tired of being a detox recluse, I arranged to meet up with an old friend at a cafe. I knew it would be hard being in a cafe so drank a juice on the way there. I’m very proud to say I just had peppermint tea but far out that food looked so good! Potentially equating to more torture, I spent the afternoon preparing fruit and veg for the next day on the basis I am certain I will bound out of bed at the thought of real food and it had best be ready! This is the day I hit my juice limit, I just physically couldn’t stomach any more. I think in the end I only drank the equivalent of 3 out of the 6 (I did have some of all of them as recommended) but surprisingly (and thankfully) wasn’t crazy hungry anyway.

The day after:
I completely expected to wake up ravenous but didn’t. I started my day with my lemon in warm water and calmly picked at my pre prepared fruit salad. I packed a banana and a bottle of water and headed off to the Finders Keepers Markets. I think the markets were good but what I really remember is the food hall. I’ve never seen more incredible food! Bagel burgers, gumbo, cinnamon buns, oh and my long time friend coffee! I showed great willpower and found a cacao, banana and almond milk smoothie and a raw protein ball to accompany my home brought banana whilst my friend had a coffee, a lemon meringue cookie and a shrimp po boy. That was tough and the beginning of my need to eat. But I found my dinner of steamed veggies with some garlic and chilli (I added some cashews) very satisfying and something I would make again.

The round up:
It was tough and I’m glad I only did a 3 day detox to start. But I definitely do feel good for it. My head is clearer, my skin looks healthier and my tummy is definitely flatter. Interestingly I don’t really have any cravings now and in fact really just want for really clean food so it should have some longer term impact on my lifestyle. Would I do another? Yes, just not next week!

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Yesterday I read an article on the countdown to Summer and the things I HAVE to start doing right now to be ‘ready’. Don’t get me wrong I actually love reading this stuff but have never actually tried to follow any of it before.

It got me thinking about a book I read a couple of years ago called ‘Living Oprah’ by Robyn Okrant. I unashamedly love Oprah but this took Oprah loving to a whole new level. For one whole year the author did what ever Oprah told her to do. If Oprah said on her show “You have to read this book”, you guessed it, she read it. And so on and so on. The aim was to see if you followed Oprah’s life advice whether life would in fact be better. Now given I don’t ever recall really being ‘ready’ for Summer other than being over being cold, I started thinking maybe I should give it a go and see if this really works… so Vogue, I’m in your hands now!

Step one is to juice detox. I’ve not tried a proper juice detox before but as I’ve already endured my caffeine withdrawals I’m feeling brave! So I’m kicking off with a 3 day (I know 3 WHOLE days!) of a juice and soup cleanse. I’d actually been eyeing off a juice detox I’d found on line called Schkinny Manniny so it seems like the stars are aligning. It’s a bit pricey but I’m just not risking being hungry, caffeine withdrawals are one thing but the misery to be endured if I’m hungry is a complete other thing. And I figure still cheaper than me buying one of those Nutri bullets, using it for 3 days and then having to eBay it.

So the juices have been ordered ready to start tomorrow. I’m equal parts excited and scared! Here’s the link to the Vogue article if you are curious too 🙂

http://www.vogue.com.au/beauty/vogue+loves/six+weeks+to+summer+the+beauty+and+fitness+regime+you+need+to+be+doing+now,33569

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I am one week in to this extended leave. It’s been a good week. I haven’t done anything particularly exciting, as was my plan, just generally taking it easy. But I really expected to be feeling better than this. In fact I was actually really down last night. So today I decided to make a start on my health overhaul.

A problem I suffer from and is a bit of a recurring theme throughout a lot of my posts is that I am a real all or nothing kind of girl. So I love words like overhaul! The challenge with that is it actually makes it really hard to sustain and as part of this new ethos I have started to play with of being a bit kinder to myself and just trying out new things and seeing what actually does make me feel better I’ve decided to start small and build up.

So (and this will definitely make my mood temporarily a bit darker!) I’ve given up my daily morning vice of coffee and replaced with hot water with lemon. It’s not that I actually think coffee is bad, it’s just that I had started to creep from1 per day to 2, sometimes 3 and that I don’t feel is healthy.

I’ve also decided to commit to 30 mins of exercise every day. I have been running 5 kms and doing reformer Pilates a couple of times per week so 30 mins per day isn’t unrealistic but I think to really embed the exercise habit I need to do something everyday. Today I was a bit sore from a hike on the weekend so I walked to the supermarket and back. 4 kms plus dinner, job done!

So that’s 2 chunks of that elephant…

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Unfortunately no, I have not come into a bucket load of money… though its seems I have to many come into something much better…time. 3 days ago I started the longest period of time off work I have ever had. Ever. By a long way. And then doubled!

Its feels though that this win-fall comes with a massive sense of responsibility. Without fail, every single person I’ve spoken to in the lead up has a moment where you can see them drift off to a place where they are faced with all of this time ahead of them and what they would do with it. Promptly followed by a statement of how lucky I am.

Now I am lucky. But I’ve also become a tightly wound ball of stress and someone who finds it really hard to separate work from non work. I say non work because the reality is that I don’t even know what it is I really want to do when I’m not at work. I fear that all the time, energy and money I’ve expended in the interim may have actually been on band-aid solutions just to keep me going. Maybe not, but maybe.

Not only does it feel a little like I have a responsibility to all of these people who can’t take time out but I have a HUGE responsibility to myself to use this time to maximum effect.

So what I do know is that I love writing this blog (albeit as infrequently as I have done in the past) and I am really excited about trying out a whole bunch of new things. And when I remember back to what inspired me to create Inspired by Lucy, it was always really about this journey. So this week it’s all about sleeping in when the cat lets me, getting pedicures and drinking coffee reading the paper, but I have big (relatively!) plans for next week so will update you then!

I’m a little bit of a blog junkie. I use them as my way of gathering information, some I use, some I don’t, but the broader my spectrum the greater the possibility I find something great I didn’t already know about. Sometimes I already know or believe something and it serves as a good reminder. Today I came across 2 blog posts that gave me some great reminders.

 The first one grabbed my attention because I am really struggling to get out of bed at the moment. Its so cold outside and its so warm in bed! But if I was to find some additional motivation to get out of bed, todays post for ‘I Quit Sugar with Sarah Wilson’ was as good a place as any to find it. Heres the list of things that struck a chord with me from her list of ’14 things to do before 9am’:

  • Catch the sunrise: I have to admit once I get past the yawny, eye rubby part of getting up I really do enjoy that beautiful peaceful part of the day as the sun comes up. I’ve tried to do this from bed but its too easy to fall back asleep! So I now have visions of a cup of lemon and ginger tea, a big warm blanket and sitting on my balcony watching sunrise, and  I like it!
  • Take a few deep breaths outdoors: Should be easy to combine with the above! This is apparently said to assist with decreasing anxiety. Being a long time worrier and a thinker I think this could be a good thing to try. Worst thing that could happen is nothing right? This actually reminds me of a technique I learnt a few years ago that I do practice. When I know I have a busy mind at bed time I know I am likely to have bad dreams, so I was told to try taking a deep breath in and a deep breath out 3 times saying ‘be gone negative energy’. I can’t tell you why but this has NEVER failed me.
  • Be productive: Well since I’m going to be up so early, may as well stick on a load of washing or have a quick run around with the dyson! The idea is that getting something off the to do list early means you hit the ground running for the day.

 There were 11 (obviously!) other tips, these were just the ones the stood out to me. So the next blog ran beautifully after this one, ’10 ways to make the rest of today amazing’! How about that for a coincidence! So here’s what I took away from this one:

  • Loosen you grip: Apparently micro managing everything is stressful…hmmm, that explains a few things. So eyes forward and let life happen just a little bit. Noted.
  • Help someone smile: I know what a difference it makes when a perfect stranger does something nice for me even if its holding the door open for me because I have full hands or even a compliment on something I’m wearing, so I think paying a bit of attention to others will only feel better. I have this awkward vision of someone tickling a stranger on the tram though – don’t do that!
  • Spend time with a friend that improves you: Absolutely! I’ve got this one covered but it took little ole people pleaser me a while to realise that its okay to let go of those that don’t add something to your life. I talk a bit about my A-team, these are the people who honestly want good things for me and are supportive and believe in me. And I work hard at being that person right back. Its really easy to be really happy when something good happens for one of your friends because you feel like you’re a little part of that success.

So happy Wednesday, hope your days a great one!

 

Is it just me or do lots of women (and probably men too) self sabotage? I’m sure this is very much subconsciously but ever present none the less. I’m a serial offender and after a late night conversation with an old university friend after a wine or 2 a few weekends ago, I realised that even those women I think have it all together suffer the same dilemma too. Here are a couple of my favourites; I’ve already eaten a little too much to feel full but finish of that last piece of whatever because I’ve already eaten too much anyway, whats one more piece. Deciding not to go for a run, but that I’ll get up early and go then…yeah right! The biggest of them all comes with a big declaration to be my version of perfect (diet, exercise, cleaning, budget etc etc etc) which I know I won’t stick to because well perfect is actually impossible.

 

So my latest inspiration is to pick a couple of things that might not seem huge but I think might just chip away at achieving better health and happiness. Its more an exercise in becoming more aware of the things that actually make a difference to the way I feel through a little trial and error rather than giving too much focus to this pretty picture I have in my head of my perfect me in my perfect life. So I did eat a little too much cake today (it was left over from my birthday so I’m not going to feel bad about that!) but I went for a walk this morning, had peppermint tea instead of coffee and made time to write on my blog. Perfect? No. Happier? Yes.

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After the big week I wrote about last post, I needed a slightly quieter weekend. So on Saturday night I went to the movies for the first time in probably a year. Now movies to me are a bit of escapism but I want that escapism to be happy which is why I often end up at rom-coms. Saturday was no exception, we eventually settled on a movie called ‘About Time’.

I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone going to see it so I’ll be careful with how much I give away. But essentially the movie is about a guy who when he turns 21 is told by his father that he can travel back in time. I know, this doesn’t sound that great so far and I really didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. But during the course of the movie it raised an interesting concept. If there was one thing you could go back and do again with someone you’ve lost, what would it be?

Having lost my Mum 3 years ago, my thoughts went straight to her, and I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve thought about being able to tell her one more thing, have 1 more day or a million other combinations of more time. But then I started to think about all the people who are still here in my life and some of my favourite times with them. Playing cards with my sisters poolside in Singapore. Laughing to a political satire and eating chocolate peanuts with my Dad when I was a teenager. Dancing on a table during a belated shared 30th birthday weekend with some girlfriends. Playing chasey with the best cat in the world. Why not do it now, whilst they are here and I can?

A movie and a life lesson. Not a bad quiet Saturday night!

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