WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

Recipes, rituals and other stories to realign the body and mind

Commisions

Spa of the Week: Dharana at Shillim, India ~ For ES Magazine

Around the World, Commisions, Lifestyle, Mindfulness & Meditation, Natural Living, Pranayama, Review, Rituals, Summer, Sustainability, Travel, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
shillim-dharana-wellness-retreat-4.jpg

Dubbed as “one of the most magical wellness destinations” in the world, Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa combines traditional therapies with advanced diagnostic technologies to help heal, prevent and transform.

The main pillars which underpin the Dharana wellness programmes at Shillim are preventative medicine, exercise, nutrition and dietetics, conflict resolution and spiritual wellbeing. The experts take time to look at both mental and physical health.

Tucked almost untouchably high up in the serene mountains of the Western Ghats, Shillim Retreat Estate and Spa is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is recognised as one of the world’s top biological diversity hotspots.

Just a few hours from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, Shillim is a majestic paradise that feels like another world. Surrounded by forests, valleys, rice fields, bamboo plantations and nature like you’ve never seen before (especially during monsoon season), arriving at Shillim you are immediately grounded and centred by the surroundings, before you’ve even explored the resorts amenities or wellness packages.

Personalisation and Programmes

Ahead of my visit, I filled in an in-depth questionnaire covering a range of physical, mental and emotional topics. The Dharana team then decipher each guest’s unique current state of wellbeing ahead of their arrival, ensuring they put together an appropriate and entirely personalised programme tailored to each guests needs.

Specific results-driven programmes, such as de-stress, sleep, ayurvedic panchakarma, art of detox, sustainable weight management and many more, are available, the best part about Shillim is being able to work directly with the doctors and dieticians to set and reach your own goals.

This makes everyone’s experience at Shillim unique, and is more effective in providing not only short and long-term results, but also education, knowledge and lifestyle tools to take away with you, to incorporate into life back home.

Treatments

The therapies at Shillim were unlike any I have experienced elsewhere. Situated in private villas around the resort, each separate room was inexplicably tranquil. Like everything at Shillim, the treatments selected for you are also highly personalised to your needs, but range from a combination of deep tissue massage, Ayurvedic herbal oil massages, synchronized abhyanga massage, Indian third-eye head massage and much more - all of which are carried out using seeds, flowers, roots and oils grown and produced locally.

The benefits of each treatment varies, but each one helps to balance and align the body and mind, which I definitely experienced, drifting in and out of levels of consciousness and coming out of each treatment feeling simultaneously refreshed, awakened, buzzing and zen.

Beyond the treatment room

Treatments aside, all other aspects of Shillim support its wellness programmes, from the environment in which you live and sleep, the nature surrounding your every move, the food (all of which is made fresh, to your needs and requirements, with local and on-site produce) and the other amenities.

The efforts to balance, heal and transform goes well beyond the treatment rooms, with opportunities to experience mental and physical therapies in the form of meditation, mindfulness, movement (think yoga, hiking and pilates), sound healing, clay therapy and much more. It is, as they say, a way of life.

Verdict:

The approach to wellness at Shillim is refreshingly different. It is non-invasive, non-restrictive and the opposite of intense.

It is inspiring, then, just how powerful it is, and how transformative just a few days can be. It has the perfect balance of seriousness (working with on-site doctors to assess your health and develop your goals) and serenity, and the traditional Dharana teachings are accessible, non-intimidating and realistic. 

You’ll leave feeling...

Inspired, refreshed, cleansed, detoxified and lighter, both mentally and physically. You’ll enjoy reduced tension and mental clutter from all the treatments, improved digestion and enhanced energy levels from the clean and nourishing foods, sharper focus and concentration from self-development and meditation, and so much more. With the support of highly knowledgable and experiences doctors, therapists and other practitioners, specific ailments may be healed and personal issues overcome, simply after just a few days of deeply transformational TLC. 

The best part is that during your stay you truly learn so much – about yourself but also about wellbeing in general - and you adopt tools to take away with you, meaning you will leave feeling empowered to take control of your own life and capable to live much more fully. 

Why You Need to Visit Mumbai During Monsoon Season ~ For Ecoage

Around the World, Commisions, Lifestyle, Mindfulness & Meditation, Natural Living, Review, Rituals, Summer, Travel, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
screenshot_2019-09-11_at_09.33.37.png

Last month I had the last minute pleasure of visiting India, somewhere I had always dreamed of visiting but just never quite gotten around to planning. It always seemed a bit daunting and something that would require a lot of meticulous organization and prior preparations. So, when I was invited to visit one of India’s “most magical wellness destinations” Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa, I jumped at the chance of experiencing India by following someone else’s lead and itinerary. 

Tucked almost untouchably high up in the serene mountains of the Western Ghats, Shillim Retreat Estate and Spa is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is recognised as one of the world’s top biological diversity hotspots. Just a few hours from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, arriving the other side of the hectic traffic and manic energy of the city, Shillim is a majestic paradise that feels like another world. Surrounded by forests, valleys, rice fields, bamboo plantations and nature like you’ve never seen before (especially during monsoon season), I felt immediately grounded and centred by the surroundings even before exploring the resorts amenities or wellness packages.

screenshot_2019-09-11_at_09.41.35.png

Pre-arrival

Ahead of my visit, I was asked to fill out an in-depth questionnaire by the team behind the resort’s life science wellness program, known as Dharana. The questionnaire explored a range of physical, mental and emotional topics, and I felt instantly more connected to myself and aware of how I was feeling and what I wanted to get out of my visit. Aside from that, the questionnaire is a chance for the Dharana team to decipher each guest’s unique current state of wellbeing ahead of their arrival, ensuring they can put together an appropriate and entirely personalised programme tailored to each guest.

Upon arrival

Upon arrival I was greeted by the entire Dharana team and introduced to everyone who would be taking care of me throughout the week, from my dieticians and doctors to the chefs and therapists. Our arrival ceremony then commenced, with a selection of welcome rituals, starting with energy clearing (using burning sage and a Tibetan singing bowl), followed by a detoxifying footbath of lemongrass, ginger and Himalayan pink salt. The entire experience was incredibly grounding and really helped me to ‘arrive’ and feel settled and present after the long journey, transitioning into a much slower and calmer state of mind and pace of living. 

During my stay

Visiting Shillim, guests have the chance to decide exactly what kind of experience they want, or need. The resort is separated, with the Dharana wellness program and accommodation sitting slightly apart from the main resort where the majority of the apartments, spas and restaurants are located for guests not enrolled in Dharana programs. This gives a sense of ease to the resort, in a way that health and wellness is not imposed upon anyone. But for those who are keen to heal, cleanse and detox, to work on self-development or to achieve weightloss goals, there are plenty of options for everyone. The main pillars of their programmes are preventative medicine, exercise physiology, nutrition and dietetics, conflict resolution and spiritual wellbeing. 

I was on a more wellness-oriented journey which started with some incredibly interesting and insightful tests and assessments looking at my physical and mental health, including traditional Ayurvedic and naturopathic analysis combined with advanced diagnostics technology, such as gene testing and Oligo scanning which help to establish what’s going on internally on a physiological level (for example, revealing nutrient, mineral and vitamin levels, as well as levels of metals and plastics found in the body). After these tests, the team curated a more detailed program specific to my needs and requirements, and the week's activities were focused around getting me physically and mentally back into balance with my natural state, whilst using preventative medicine and other natural remedies to cleanse and detoxify.

After our morning movement, we sat down to personalised breakfasts, created with our individual Ayurvedic types and dietary requirements in mind. Each morning began with a juice and the food was often a mixture of sweet and savoury dishes, all relatively small portions but with a lot of variety. It felt satisfying and filling but was at the same time light and incredibly nourishing.  

Throughout the day, myself and the other guests went about our own schedules, which involved a combination of movement classes, pranayama sessions, meditation sessions, hikes, nature workshops, foraging, crafts, pottery and clay therapy, sound therapy, local village tours, volunteering on local plantations and more - all accompanied by an abundance of on-site spa treatments and therapies everyday. We enjoyed a combination of treatments, from deep tissue massage, Ayurvedic herbal oil massages, synchronised abhyanga massage, Indian third-eye head massage and much more, all carried out using seeds, flowers, roots and oils grown and produced locally. The benefits of each treatment vary, and a combination of several treatments was key to overall wellbeing, to bring the body and mind back into balance.

Lunch and dinner each day was similar to breakfast; a combination of small portions of different dishes with mostly curries, dhals, grains and vegetables. All of the food is made on site using local ingredients, such as rice from neighbouring plantations, to vegetables grown on-site and fish from the forest streams. Everything was incredibly fresh and pure, but without feeling restrictive or too healthy. You wont find juice cleansing, raw foods or other fad’s at Shillim, but instead warming, nourishing and grounding foods based on the five elements of Ayurveda (water, air, fire, ether and wind), aimed at bringing the body back into balance. Each menu outlines the nutritional values of each meal, which is helpful and useful to know, but not something they are too fixated on. It is all about the ritual of eating and fuelling the body with functional foods to help it thrive and function fully. 

26d57460-0240-4c5a-a1a4-2ec68e189721_0.jpg

Development and transformation

During my visit, I must say I felt several small transformations, some physically but mostly mentally. During several treatments, for example, I would find deep relaxation and many inspirational ideas began to flood to me. Other times, I felt moments of enlightenment - or realisation – and felt clarity in certain aspects of my life.

Physically, I felt lighter, more energised and deeply cleansed from the food we were eating. My digestion was smoother, and despite early wake up calls, I had consistent energy throughout the day. 

Being in nature, especially with non-stop monsoon downpours, was deeply grounding and cleansing. The staff mentioned how monsoon season is one of the most detoxifying times to visit India and I really felt the benefits of this, as if the rain was washing away mental and physical blockages and encouraging flow. The energy and the nutrients of the rainfall also felt incredibly nourishing and powerful, and I believe it helped with things like water retention and dehydration.Leaving ceremony and departure

On our last day, the team carried out a Shanti Homa and Dhyani ritual ceremony to mark the attainment of mastering the lessons of Dharana and adopting them as a way of life. It was amazing to bring our time to an end, celebrating the week with the staff and other locals. The ceremony is intended to cleanse negative energy and to attract peace and positive energy into ones life, helping to move things along when they seem difficult or stagnant.

Post-visit

For our arrival back home, we were given detailed prescriptions of Ayurvedic tonics and herbal remedies, aimed to pacify our needs and help us reach our goals. We were given a structured daily plan, outlining what to take and when, as well as dietary guidance for life, outlining what we should eat in line with our Ayurvedic types to enhance digestion, energy and overall wellbeing, and to prevent discomfort and disease. Having these remedies and this advice, alongside the daily rituals I had learned throughout my stay, I felt fully equipped to keep the regime up when I arrived home.

The traditional Dharana teachings are not inaccessible, intimidating or unrealistic. The rituals we picked up were simple and short to practice, and the foods and meal plans are focused around everyday essentials and mostly fruits and vegetables that are accessible almost anywhere, and which require minimal cooking and uncomplicated preparation. This kind of retreat is key to overall wellbeing, as you adopt tools and genuinely become educated about yourself and life in general, meaning you leave feeling empowered and inspired to take control of your life and live more fully, using natural resources and remedies and becoming more mindful about yourself and your surroundings in the process. It really is a way of life we should be exploring more and taking inspiration from in order to slowly and consciously adapt our own daily lives.

Wake Up Well Rituals ~ For ES Magazine

Beauty, Commisions, Lifestyle, Mindfulness & Meditation, Movement, Pranayama, Rituals, Seasonal, Wake Up Well, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
BedroomLight_027.jpg

This time of year, whilst full of hope, anticipation and new beginnings, can also feel miserable, especially as the weather gets colder and the days shorter and darker. 

For me, autumn is a time for slowing down and turning inward; think of it as hibernation for the modern human. I like to use the end of summer to regain focus and take stock of where I am and what I hope to achieve.

As with any seasonal shift, changes in the weather will affect us mentally and physically. It's common to feel low, suffer with skin problems and have depleted energy levels at this time of year. That’s why I find it useful to have a bank of reliable rituals on hand to help me feel supported and prepared for anything.

Below are my top tips for keeping skin vibrant and hydrated, for enhancing energy levels (especially as the mornings get darker) and for that all-important immunity boost.

Beauty & Skincare

Massage 

Massage is a really powerful and incredibly underrated ritual for all kinds of things, but particularly for boosting circulation (which will enhance your glow), reducing tension and encouraging cell renewal. I like to mix it up between using tools (like a jade crystal roller or gua sha) and just my hands. It’s super simple and you can work it into your current beauty regime, by simple spending around 2-5 minutes massaging the muscles in your face – focusing around the eye, cheek and jaw areas. 

Neti pot

A neti pot is a traditional cleansing method originating from the East. It is a way of cleaning the nasal passages (known as nasal irrigation), and is a ritual used to clear the debri and mucus from the nose and sinuses. It looks a bit like a mini teapot and you fill it with filtered water. It helps to clear the nostrils, helping breathing and oxygen intake, reduce dryness, ease sinus-related headaches, relieve allergy symptoms and prevent viruses and infections. As the seasons change, we are often at risk of seasonal viruses or just feeling a little rundown and out of sorts, so this can definitely help. I also find it makes my head feel clearer too.

Tongue scraper

Scraping the surface of the tongue is known to remove a build up of toxins which accumulates overnight, preventing us from swallowing and ingesting them. It's a really simple, energising and powerful ritual to add to your morning routine.

To Energise 

Tapping

Tapping is a simple technique known to promotes blood circulation and energy flow. It involves tapping and massaging parts of the body, using a combination of fists and fingertips to activate them and to release any tension, emotion or energy blockages held within. This is one of my favourite rituals and can be an energising practice to include in your morning routine if you want to raise your vibrational energy and feel balanced, lighter and physically less stiff. 

Yoga

Yoga doesn’t have to be an hour-long class or strict sequence, but can be as simple as a few stretches here and there, without any kind of ‘flow’. Downward Dog is one of my favourite yoga postures to stretch out the body and to encourage circulation around the body, whilst also reducing muscular tension.

Revolved Twisted Lunge is a warming pose that energises the legs and stimulates the internal organs to promote detoxification and digestion. This is also a great one to practice in the mornings as the temperatures get cooler.

Breathwork 

Pranayama, also known as breathwork, is one of my favourite tools for supporting internal cleansing and to enhance focus, concentration and energy levels. Ideal to practice in the mornings.

Breath-counting meditation is a powerful exercise for the mind which tidies away distracting thoughts, enhancing concentration, stamina and endurance. Try this to refresh your thoughts or stay on task at work or to feel more present.

1. Sit comfortably either on the floor with crossed legs or on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes, bring your awareness to your breath and notice any natural patterns or rhythms. 

2. On an exhale, start counting silently from one. Then inhale, pause briefly once your lungs have reached full capacity, and exhale, silently counting two. 

3. Keep counting like this at the end of every exhalation until you reach ten, and then starting counting backwards, from ten to one. If thoughts intrude, you get interrupted or you become distracted and forget which number you’re at, simply accept it and start again from one. 

4. Once you are back to ‘one’, repeat the sequence, counting up to 20 or 30 or however far feels natural, and bring the practice to a close when you are ready to. 

Infusions_091.jpg

Nourishment

Herbal tonics 

As the weather gets cooler, our bodies begin to crave different things. Grounding ingredients and warm foods are often desired to bring our bodies into balance, and making infusions to drink is one of my favourite ways to gain warmth and nourishment, anytime of day.

Not quite as potent as ingesting the ingredients whole, infusions and teas still draw nutrients from the plants you are using, which are then quickly and easily absorbed by the body. They also help bring variety to the daily-recommended amount of water we should be consuming.

There are several methods for infusing, and the ratio of plants to water really depends on personal taste. For hot options, simply use hot water or hot milk to brew your choice of herbs, spices, flowers, fruits, vegetables or other plant-based ingredients (such as fresh basil, thyme, mint, cinnamon, chamomile,  fresh fruits or fresh vegetables (such as cucumber, carrot, beetroot). Brew them in a large jug, heat-proof bottle or even a large bowl to then decant into smaller bottles. 

Store in the fridge but serve warm. 

Seasonal ingredients

As the seasons change - despite the fact that most ingredients are available all year around these days – it is incredibly beneficial for us to incorporate seasonal ingredients into our diets. Autumn brings with it an abundance of earth and root vegetables, such as turnips, cauliflower, butternut squash, cabbage, carrots, kale, parsnips, potato, and so on.

Vegetables grown in the earth are incredibly grounding, and cooking them and enjoying them warm is even more nourishing, providing our bodies with easily digestible meals to warm from within. Do a little further research on seasonal ingredients as we shift from autumn into winter and opt to swap salads and cold dishes for more curries, soups and stews. 

Well Being Around the World Lisbon ~ For Ecoage

Around the World, Commisions, City guides, Lifestyle, Sustainability, Travel, Ritualsdanielle coppermanComment
Screenshot 2019-08-21 at 10.27.54.png

As part of her new series Well Being Around The World, Danielle Copperman, author of Well Being: Recipes and Rituals to Realign the Body and Mind, shares wellbeing rituals, resources and recipes from her travels to Lisbon.

I fell in love with Lisbon the first time I visited a couple of years ago, and so was super pleased to be invited to visit a newly opened hotel in the heart of one of my favourite cities. Situated on what used to be the main street into and out of the city, The One Palacio De Anunciada is a beautiful 16th century palace that has been restored and transformed into a beautiful hotel, perfect for short city breaks and for exploring all of the city in no time. Whilst exploring the local area, I picked up a few tips on Portugese daily rituals from the locals that contribute to the chilled and happy vibe of Lisbon, and they're all things you can try anytime, anywhere.

Screenshot 2019-08-21 at 10.30.08.png

Rituals

Long times over meals

One thing I really noticed during my time in Lisbon was how cherished the ritual of eating and sharing mealtimes was. Of course, with busy works schedules, it's not always possible to spend hours over lunch let alone 10 minutes to get take out, but I did feel inspired by how many people seemed to enjoy longer lunch breaks, even during the weekdays. I also noticed much fewer people eating on the go whilst walking or performing other daily tasks. People actually took their time over their food, and even enjoyed it, sometimes alone and sometimes with others. I think taking our full lunch break allowance is something that has slipped, and instead we end up eating take out at our desks whilst finishing work. reclaim your lunch break and see how positive an impact it might have on your mood and output for the rest of the day.

Vacations and days off are actually taken off

Similarly, vacations and holidays are sacred and they're actually taken off. Thing's completely close down, especially during summer months like August, meaning employees and inhabitants are encouraged to as well. We are so used to the lifestyle of having whatever we want, whenever we want it, but I almost envy this approach to accepting and dealing with a little down time every now and then, and not feeling like it is the end of the world.

Acceptably late

Apparently, there is an unwritten rule that being 10-15 minutes late is to be expected and almost normal. Speaking with locals, it was refreshing to pick up on their laid back approach and how they almost found it admirable. At the end of the day, it's not the end of the world, and if everyone is in on it, being a bit behind schedule won't mean keeping someone waiting, but will just mean allowing yourself a little extra time to get sorted and en route to where you need to be. Maybe this is what we need in order to reduce our stress levels, especially in big cities where transport is often unpredictable and just enhances our hurried and despairing natures.

Spending lots of time outside, wild swimming & surfing

Something else I loved was seeing so many people outside. People tended to walk a lot and rarely reply on getting around in Lisbon by car. Of course the streetcars are popular, but I noticed that, since the city is not overly vast, many people are out walking during the day, hiking briskly up the hilly areas to get in their exercise for the day. Outdoor activities, according to the team at the hotel, are popular all year around. There is a lot of nature surrounding Lisbon, and with local coastal towns and beaches, wild swimming and surfing are particularly popular, not just for tourists but as part of daily or weekly life for many locals. Nature is good for the soul, and keeps you physically and mentally fit, so I'm with them on that.

Secondhand

As someone who loves buying vintage, secondhand clothes and antiques, I love how much Lisbon has to offer in terms of flea markets, secondhand and antiques stores. Whilst the main streets and central areas offer designer and high street regulars, you won't find too many chains around the rest of the city. I love the boutique vibe meaning you can wander and explore for hours and find some really unique and characteristic gems. 

Restoration 

As far as their sustainability efforts are concerned, preserving history and restoring instead of building new is a solid foundation of the development of the city. Every little bit of building or design work needs to be approved by law, which is why as you wander around you'll notice such unique building work and architecture which has been rightfully preserved, giving the city its unique energy and vibrancy. This not only means the city remains authentic and traditional, but materials, structures and already-existing buildings are recycled, reused and refurbished, rather than being knocked down and started from scratch.

Food & recipes

The food in Lisbon is so unique, with influences from all parts of Europe and neighbouring countries. Aside from the infamous pastries, Lisbon has a strong fresh fish and seafood game, due to nearby coastal towns. It is apparent that growing your own and using local produce is commonplace, and even in the supermarkets, you will often find locally produced fare, and not much overly processed stuff at all. There is a lot of fresh meat and bread, even in small convenience stores, and what’s more, I enjoyed that their fresh fruit and vegetable aisle was mostly unpackaged. The produce they use is often local and seasonal, and homecoming is a big part of daily life and almost a tradition.

The hotel

The One Palacio de Anunciada has recently been completely restored, and so many of the original structures and features have been not only retained, but made the focal points of the building. They have recycled what was there originally, and have reused structures from around the palace to make use for them amidst modern updates. Around the hotel you will notice many of the floors are the originals, from ancient woods and natural materials to authentic, untouched tile work. Furthermore, all of the ceilings have been kept exposed and have been really enhances as focal points of the hotel, the details on which are staggeringly beautiful. Original doors also remain, one of the most interesting being what was once the entrance to the palace premises from the main road; a huge wooden door that holds so much history of guests, inhabitants and visitors who’ve come and gone before. In the gardens, you will notice the dragon tree; one of the most amazing tree’s I have ever seen. More than 200 years old, the tree is the focal point of the central communal area, and all renovations had to be arranged around the tree. The tree also produces components that are used in the hotels spa treatments.

The hotel is committed to using local ingredients in their restaurants and bars, as much as possible. They source from local producers and artisans, and the menus of course change slightly from season to season, offering whatever is available, whenever it is available, with an authentic Portuguese twist. They also have specific menus for specific dietary requests or requirements, making staying 'well' whilst abroad really, really easy, including gluten free, vegan, healthy, sweet or savoury.

How to Stay Sustainable While Traveling ~ For Ecoage

Commisions, Around the World, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Sustainability, Traveldanielle coppermanComment
bb507491-f07a-4d53-a967-eb2f5441d68e.jpg

Right now, and more increasingly, travelling, and particularly flying, is raising a lot of eyebrows amongst the sustainably concerned. It’s been predicted that by 2050, tourism will be responsible for around 30%-40% of the world's carbon emissions, split between, transportation, accommodation other tourism activities.

Whilst travelling and flying is currently in the press, it is also important to remember that the choices we make once we’ve arrived at our chosen destinations are almost just as important and have just as much of an affect on the environment, too. In some cases, they might even have a more immediate and noticeable affect on the environment and local area than the carbon emissions of transportation.

While I travel a lot for work and am required to fly quite often, I emphasise the importance of doing my bit once I arrive at a destination, making sure I pack reusable essentials with me, buy and eat locally and support local businesses as much as possible. I also try to avoid cars and public transport as much as possible, trying to walk or cycle at any opportunity. In this post, I detail how I prepare and pack for a trip, how I travel and get around, where I stay (when this is within my control), and what I do during my stay to ensure I am acting consciously and as sustainably as possible.

What to pack

Your usual essentials should come with you to avoid any overconsumption of things like single-use plastics and other packaging. It’s sometimes a pain carrying a reusable water bottle, especially when space in your suitcase is limited, but it is so worth it. I suggest packing:

A water bottle;
bamboo or other reusable cutlery;
a small tupperware;
a tote bag;
a reusable make up wipe / muslin cloth;
moon cup and other hygiene essentials;

And also refillable cosmetics containers - especially useful for 100ml liquids, to ensure you can take from larger bottles just the amount you need, rather than buying specific ‘travel size’ products which means lots of extra packaging consumption (which is most often, plastic).

Getting there and getting around

Depending where you’re going, your only or best options may be to fly, drive or travel by train, coach or other public transport. Which is more the more sustainable and eco-friendly option is debatable and depends on several factors. If you’re travelling in a group, it makes more sense to drive, especially if the car is full. If you’re travelling on your own, though, it may be greener to fly or take the train or other public transport. Taking the train or bus is often the most sustainable option over flying or driving, but it sort of depends on the size of your group, and your route.

If you are flying, try to take direct flights rather than having stopovers and having to change, requiring more than one plane - as apparently take-offs and landings cause most of a plane’s carbon emissions. Also, search for the shortest plane journey possible.

It is also useful to think about how you fly. Flying in business class or first class means you have more space per passenger, and therefore a larger carbon footprint than if you were to fly economy. 

Once you arrive at your destination, try to avoid internal flights or too much travelling around to multiple places. As much as you can, move around by foot or by bike, as these are the greenest transport options out there. Use public transport, minibuses or car shares, too, instead of taxis (unless you are in a group size that justifies this) if you are keen to travel further.

This leads me on to the idea of ‘slow travelling’. Being a slow traveller means traveling to just one destination and spending more time there instead of moving around multiple places. Obviously if you want to explore further afield, that is totally understandable, but if you don’t need to or don’t have any real reason or desire to, then stay put and settle into one place for a little longer.

Where to stay

Your accommodation is also important to consider, and there are some options that are more environmentally, economically and socially beneficial.

An airbnb, B&B or guesthouse would be my preference always, mainly because I love meeting the owners and really feel like a bit of a local. They’re also more sustainable as they are not purpose-built resorts or tourism complexes, but instead reuses buildings that already exists. This option also helps give back to the local community and local businesses, rather than investing in huge corporations.

If staying in hotels, be sure to do some research ahead of booking and look for hotels that are transparant about their sustainability efforts and that have environmental / eco recognition or certifications. Nowadays, there are plenty of eco-hotels and organisations to choose from. Try to avoid huge hotels or commercial resorts that often damage or affect the local environment, and operate on such a large scale that their emissions and waste are likely to be uncomfortably high.

Whatever you do, try to avoid all-inclusive resorts, which are often owned by large corporations, which may not even be based in the country you are visiting - not to mention the waste generated from those all-you-can-eat buffets! Staying within a resort also means you are less likely to get out and explore, and therefore you won't be supporting other local businesses in the area that would benefit from tourism.

If you want to go really wild, opt for camping or glamping out in nature, which usually ends up being much less damaging to the local environment.

During your stay 

During your stay, try to keep conscious in everything you do - what you eat, buy and do can also have an impact on the environment and local area. Try to eat locally, visiting local restaurants (ideally that you can walk or cycle to) and preferably businesses that use local and seasonal suppliers and ingredients. Shop locally for things like your groceries, essentials and souvenirs. Visit food markets and flea markets, as well as local artisan stalls and boutiques. 

Do your bit to give back, too. Support local businesses, give to those in need (be it donating money or things that particular communities might desperately need). Remember, sustainability is not just about being environmentally-conscious, it’s also about doing your bit economically and socially too. You could also find initiatives and projects where you can volunteer with local communities. For example, during my recent trip to India I volunteered on a rice paddy plantation.

As you travel, always be mindful of your waste and try to refrain from buying things in single-use packaging if you can. Try to only buy what you really need, and what you will genuinely use or consume. If you need more inspiration or assistance, do a little more research and communicate with sustainable/eco-friendly tour operators to help you plan your trip.

Five Wellness Techniques to Keep You Zen Whilst Travelling ~ For Evening Standard

Anytime, Lifestyle, Mindfulness & Meditation, Movement, Natural Living, Rituals, Travel, Wellbeing, Commisionsdanielle coppermanComment

Regular travel can start to take a toll on both your physical and mental health.

To help reduce the side effects of long journeys and constant travelling, I’ve shared my favourite rituals that can be done anytime and anywhere to decrease stress, improve sleep, increase energy and keep you balanced while on the move.

While you can’t be expected to do yoga in the airport or start chanting on a plane, you can always find a corner to close your eyes and turn inward for a moment, requiring nothing but the power of your mind and breath.

It really is as easy as that.

Sensory meditation - to ground and arrive

A simple meditative technique to reduce stress, align concentration and balance emotions is to use your senses to redirect your attention.

This is a versatile practice, and will be different almost every time you practise it, because it is likely that scents, sights and noises will change from one day to the next. Use this technique when you find it particularly hard to focus, or feel overwhelmed with challenging thoughts, either first thing in the morning or just before starting work, to shift and reset your focus.

Sensory awareness meditation may be more powerful in an unfamiliar setting, so if you can, try to change your place of practice from time to time. It is best to practise with your eyes closed, as your senses may be influenced by things you see or you may find it hard to focus on senses other than sight if there are many visual distractions.

Method

1. Find a comfortable seated position and rest your hands on your knees, in your lap or by your side.

2. With eyes closed, bring your awareness to the rhythm of your breath. Notice how each inhalation and exhalation feels and notice where in the body you can feel the breath most. Breathe naturally with your attention on your breath until you come to a steady and comfortable breath.

3. Begin to bring your awareness to each of your five senses. Focus on one sense at a time, noticing how it feels and how it is stimulated in the present moment. Start with whichever sense naturally grabs your attention.

Hearing will likely catch your attention first. Notice the sounds within or around you, without judgement or hostility. They may be the sounds of your own breathing or internal movements. They may be sounds made by others close by or far way, by people you know or don’t know. They may be familiar or unfamiliar sounds. They may be clear or indistinguishable. Sit for a few minutes, acknowledging and accepting the sounds around you, and if any thoughts arise, simply use the sounds around you to refocus the breath.

If you find your attention drifting persistently, turn your focus to another sensation. Notice any smells around you, near or far, faint or pungent. Maybe you’ve lit a candle or applied some fragrance to yourself or the space around you. Maybe you smell food or plants, fresh washing or smoke. If a smell brings negative thoughts, turn your attention to more positive smells around you.

Perhaps the taste in your mouth becomes noticeable, next. Maybe there is a sight aftertaste from your last meal, or from smoking or brushing your teeth. If you don’t smoke and/or haven’t yet eaten, notice the inside of your mouth and how your tongue feels. Is it heavy or light? Is it soft or rough? How does it feel to move it slowly around the mouth? This may bring your attention to touch. How do things feel? How do your hands feel where they are resting, and what are they resting on? If rested on your body, do they feel warm or can you feel the warmth of your body beneath them? If on the floor or furniture, how does it feel? Is it cold? Is it soft or rigid? Are you comfortable? Notice the connection between your sitting bones and where you are sat. Do you feel rooted and supported by the earth beneath? Is the rest of your body comfortable in this pose? How do your clothes feel against your skin? If you want, you can even feel around you, resting your hands on any objects they fall upon and considering what they might be.

Maybe this will bring your attention to your sight. Blink your eyes open gently, take in your surroundings, noticing objects, shapes, colours, materials and light. Gradually trace the room, resting on things that catch your attention, and then pause, noticing how you feel after the exercise. Close your eyes again and close the practice with a few deep breaths.

Body scan - to calm and relax

Body scanning is an easy mindfulness exercise to relax the body, calm the mind and shift attention away from overpowering thoughts. It involves relaxing each part of the body by focusing on it for a few moments. Practising this meditation in the evening is ideal as it is best performed lying down, encouraging the body and mind to transition from “doing” to “being”.

Method

1. Lie on your back on a comfortable surface with your legs slightly apart and your arms by your sides. If you are not in bed, place a blanket over your body if you tend to get cold easily.

2. Focus on the breath and notice any thoughts or feelings that arise. When they do, try to turn your attention back to your breath and how it feels moving through the body.

3. Start by focusing your attention on the toes on your right foot. Be aware of how they feel and gradually move your attention up the right side of your body right up to your head, before continuing down the other side.

4. Settle here and notice how your body feels, both part by part and as a whole, and notice how your mind now feels.

Breath of Fire breathing exercise - to energise

This exercise is used for internal purification. It tones and cleanses the respiratory system by encouraging the release of toxins, and is intended to make you feel lighter in your body and mind. It involves short, sharp exhalations and passive inhalations, or vice versa. This is quite an advanced practice so familiarise yourself with other techniques before this one.

Method

1. Inhale deeply and then forcefully exhale to drive all the air out of the lungs and stomach.

2. Take another full inhale, and then begin to exhale forcefully through the nose. Try to start with 6–10 short, sharp exhalations, without taking an inhale (slight inhalation will occur passively). With each short exhale, draw the belly inwards, engaging and tucking the abdomen in and up towards your ribs.

3. After you’ve completed a full cycle, inhale and exhale fully for a few breaths, before repeating a few more rounds. I like to do around 3–5 rounds.

4. To close the practice, settle in your seated position and return to a natural, effortless breath.

Self massage for neck and shoulders - to improve circulation and reduce tension

This simple massage sequence is so simple yet so powerful. I do this anytime I travel, to reduce tension in my neck and shoulders, especially after long flights.

Method

1. Stand tall and relax your shoulders down your back, elongating the neck.

2. Support your forehead by resting it in the palm of your left hand and then let the head tip slightly forwards. Using the edge of your right hand (along your little finger to where your hand joins the wrist), use a gentle chopping motion to lightly tap up the base of the skull. Stay in this vicinity, working around the base of the skull and top of the neck. If tapping is too much, use sawing motions to release tension at the base of the skull and in the neck. Do this for about 1–2 minutes.

3. Return to standing and slightly tip your head back. Take your hands to your head with thumbs just under the ears, palms on the side of your cheeks and fingers along the sides of your face, fingertips on the temples (as if you were going to lean on a table with your head supported in your hands).

4. Then, use the pads of your thumbs to work around the base of the skull, pressing and massaging the area with however much pressure feels right (you will just know). Move your hands passively, however feels comfortable, and work inwardly with the thumbs from behind the ears towards the spine. Work for about 2 minutes, and feel free to use the thumbs at other points in the skull that feel tight, such as above the ears or the temples.

Journaling - to unwind and focus

Journaling is something I love to do anytime, but whilst travelling, especially travelling alone, I love to make time for it to jot down thoughts that come up. Usually, when I'm abroad or travelling alone, I am in a really calm state and love exploring new places which helps to switch off my mind. I find some of my more inspiring thoughts and ideas come to me in this state, and so spending a little time journaling is really useful. It can also be used if you are feeling stuck, lost or a little lonely, to let go of thoughts and any negativity and try to understand it more.

Another option is to practice stream of consciousness in your journal, as another meditation option, which involves simply writing as soon as you wake up, with no agenda or really topic in mind. this helps to clear the mind and enhances energy and concentration for the rest of the day.

Wellness at Six Senses Kaplankaya ~ For Evening Standard

Commisions, Around the World, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Review, Rituals, Summer, Sustainability, Travel, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
Sixsenseskaplankaya-7.png
danielle-copperman-six-senses-kaplankaya-1.jpg

Just visiting Six Senses Kaplankaya offers an abundance of wellbeing, regardless of whether you then participate in any of their additional programs, packages or treatments. By that, I mean that the fresh air, the ocean, the warm weather and sunshine, the food made almost entirely from produce grown in the resorts own gardens and the untouched nature for miles is enough to calm to the mind, nourish the body, nurture skin, hair and nails and get squeaky-clean vitamin and mineral rich oxygen flowing throughout the body. However, if you want or need more, you will find exactly the thing (or things) at Six Senses Wellness Center; all with the guidance and support of in-house and visiting practitioners from around the world.

danielle-copperman-six-senses-kaplankaya-5.jpg

The wellness center at Six Senses Kaplankaya (which, by the way, is one of the biggest in Europe) is built around a variety of theories and practices, from clinical and scientific methods, to more Eastern and spiritual approaches. At the foundation of what they do is the understanding that each one of us is different, and that each individual should be observed holistically and treated in an entirely personalized way. For this reason, the resort offers things like wellness screenings and bodpods which take a detailed snapshot of your current health and composition and which they suggest you do on day one of your visit, so that you can spend the following days enjoying the most relevant areas of the resorts programs and treatments.

Following that, you can either choose to embark on whichever one of their pre-designed packages or programs fits your needs, or to design your own completely unique schedule. The programs (such as mental detox, sleep and eat with six senses) offer a selection of different results; some being more psychological, and others being perhaps solely food-oriented. Depending on what you need, and also how you want to spend your time at Six Senses (since you may prefer to holiday rather than to detox, or to combine both in a more relaxed and flexible way), you can choose what is right for you with the support of some of the world’s most renowned practitioners to guide you.

661ecff0-07f.jpg

For those looking to detox

For those looking for an intensive program and a wholly detoxifying experience, the option is there to work on all areas of your health. You can enjoy tailored menus (which offer options designed with specific results in mind, such as better sleep, better digestion, general healthiness or detoxing and weight loss) and daily exercise classes or one-to-one sessions. For deeper work, the spa treatments and entire spa area (complete with hydrotheraphy, salt rooms, hammam and much more) are there to enjoy at your leisure. Practitioners are also on hand, offering things like deep tissue massage and body scrubs for physical detoxing, as well as more spiritual treatments which help to unblock negative or stagnant energy and to encourage positivity and a sense of clarity and happiness.

For those looking for some gentle cleansing

For those who want to enjoy the indulgences of the hotel whilst also doing a bit of work on themselves, you can take and leave whatever you wish, to ensure you create an enjoyable and relaxed experience that doesn’t feel to restrictive. You might not choose to follow a set diet and you might not wish to workout at all, but you can book in as and when you like for things like one-off classes (perhaps the gentler options like yoga and Pilates) and massages and other treatments. You can also opt for activities that feel more like a good time than exercise, such as swimming (in one of their pools or the crystal-clear ocean), water sports (like their catamaran-bicycles), local walks and hikes, cycling and classes like zumba. You’ll also find healthy options in all of the hotels restaurants, so if you want a salad or a green juice whilst also enjoying some wine and dessert, you can have it all!

For those looking for enlightenment

For the more spiritual or curious, and for those looking for a deep journey into the self, to take things one step further than a short-term diet or fitness program, and to equip you with rituals and skills to take away and apply to life back home, the resort offers all kinds of treatments and therapies to encourage relaxation, clarity, positivity and more. From energy healing such as sound baths, reiki, watzu (basically water shiatsu which I cannot recommend enough) and shiatsu, to meditation, chakra aligning and ayurvedic massage. They also run workshops and as part of certain programs supply gratitude notebooks, to encourage journaling and writing down whatever comes up during treatments or just generally during your stay. If you want to go even further, some practitioners even offer training for certain treatments, such as reiki, in case you want to learn the tools to practice on yourself (or others) in future.

As you can see, there is without a doubt something for everybody at Six Senses Kaplankaya, whether you want to do some deep detoxifying and self-development or prefer some serious relaxation with a side of green juice or yoga every now and then. Find out more about their programs and packages here.

danielle-copperman-six-senses-kaplankaya-6.jpg
danielle-copperman-six-senses-kaplankaya-13.jpg

Natural Remedies & Tips For Handling Your Flight Anxiety ~ For Ecoage

Commisions, Anytime, Essentials, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Travel, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
unnamed-11.jpg

Since I was too young to rationalise fear of flying, I have become a loyal member of the anxious flyer club. Sometimes it’s worse than others. Sometimes, the day before a flight, anxiety will kick in, manifesting in the form of physical tension and/or mental distractedness. Others, I’ll be fine, or I’ll convince myself I’m fine but the minutes the wheels start spinning I’ll lose my breath and start worrying incessantly and assuming the worst.

As a regular flyer, I have, however, found ways to manage these inevitable side effects, since travelling is a big part of my job and I don’t want to miss out on things just because the journey frightens me. I have developed a set of simple rituals, which reduce stress and anxiety, reduce physical tension, silence my worried mind and just generally put me at ease. I know a lot of people struggle with flight anxiety and general fear of flying, and for that reason, I wanted to share them. Below, find some of my favourite natural remedies and simple rituals to help calm the mind, reduce stress and ease physical tightness and tension, to support you all the way to your destination, and back.

1. Avoid coffee, or all caffeine if you can

Caffeine can often enhance nervousness and anxiety, depending on your personal physiology and the way you metabolise it. Some people are fine with caffeine and metabolise it slowly meaning it is manageable, however others metabolise it quickly and that’s when you end up with intense and often buzzy energy spikes. For me, caffeine messes with my adrenals and that extra spike in whatever it is really throws me off whack and makes me feel more on edge. It makes me feel tense and tight and unable to relax, so if you know you get anxious or nervous flying, avoid caffeine as much as possible, pre-flight.

2. Aromatherapy is out of this world effective

One thing I discovered long ago was aromatherapy and the power of scent to heal the mind. For the past few years, I have been travelling with aromatherapy balms and essential oils, and as soon as I get into my seat, I douse myself in it. I rub the balms or oils on my wrists, neck, temples and even under my nose or on my upper lip if I need extra intensity. I use scents that are relaxing, uplifting, grounding or mood boosting, and they honestly help so much. Not only is the scent incredibly healing on a deep physiological level, applying these oils or balms enhances the ritual of breathing deeply, encouraging you to take a moment for some deep inhalations and exhalations. I couldn’t recommend this more, for a quick, relatively cheap and easy-to -do-anywhere remedy.

3. CBD

You’ll be familiar with CBD by now, I’m sure, and I personally use it in several areas of my life to encourage relaxation and to reduce stress, anxiety and physical pain or tension. For flying, it comes in handy as a way to reduce stress and anxiety, calming the mind and helping you to generally chill the F out. I take a few drops internally about half an hour before my flight, and if I’m feeling really uncontrollable, I’ll top up when I settle into my seat too. It helps to just take the edge off my nerves and gently slow the mind, making me quite unfazed and unaffected by my formerly overpowering thoughts.

4. Sleeping aids

Sleep is sensible option if you want to get through a flight, and is my best piece of advice if you would rather just sleep through the whole thing. To do this, for those unable to silence their mind or those who find it difficult to sleep in such uncomfortable and unfamiliar conditions, I present to you, liquid melatonin and magnesium supplements and / or spray. Melatonin works best for me (it knocked me out for almost the entire flight from LA to London) but magnesium is a slightly milder option known to encourage sleep and relaxation, and to relax and repair muscles. Obviously there are also stronger, over-the-counter or prescription options too, but these are my favourite supplements for naturally topping up hormones and chemicals we already hold within us. Oh, and a few other tips for sounder sleep: earplugs, eye masks, socks, a blanket and a cushion or neck support if needed.

5. Eating

Something I discovered works well for me only recently is fasting during a flight. Sure, that’s pretty easy on most flights around Europe, which are a maximum of a few hours long, and sure, that sounds impossible for long haul flights but, hear me out. Fasting, and ultimately giving the digestion a break, allows your energy to be used elsewhere, and also means running less risk of inflammation or bloating. For me, I get a tense stomach and hold anxiety and stress in my stomach area, so having a break from digestion food helps to keep my stomach from being under too much pressure to work hard. When I fast on planes, I notice I feel much less tense and whilst stress still has its side effects on me, my stomach feels generally lighter and more at ease that when I eat whilst be incredibly stressed. If you get anxious and, like me, hold these emotions physically in your stomach, your energy is used on your body’s stress responses, anyway, and so doesn’t have spare energy to use on digesting food. If you can, eat before and after a flight but not during. If you must eat, opt for really hydrating, whole foods like fruits or raw vegetables, which are not so hard to digest, and which don’t dehydrate you (like nuts or salty foods).

6. Breathe deeply and often

This one is another favourite of mine, especially when about to take off. For me, the take off is the worst part for me, and I’ve learned that regulating my breath by practicing deep breathing and / or pranayama techniques really helps me. Not only does it take my mind off my worries to focus on the sequence of my breath, it also just fills my body with energetic oxygen, which is needed all around the body. When we’re stressed, we tend to hold our breaths or adopt a rapid, short breath, so when you notice this next time you’re anxious on a flight, either take about 6-10 long, deep breaths (with your eyes closed also helps), or look into some more advance pranayama techniques to try.

7. Listen

This one might seem obvious, but it’s effective. I have to listen to music during take off, to drown out the noise of the aircraft. Sometimes, any beeps or other unfamiliar noises (like the wheels going up or someone dropping something on the floor) trigger an extra pang of anxiety and concern, so listening to music really helps me. It doesn’t really matter what kind of music you listen too, but I’d recommend something relatively fun and upbeat, or calming (but loud enough). Nothing too heavy, loud or aggressive though as this will just make things worse. It might be useful to make an ‘In Flight’ playlist. Another option is to listen to audio books or podcasts, to take your mind of things.

8. Keep hydrated

Planes are incredibly dehydrating, so be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after flying. Try to avoid alcohol or caffeine as these are dehydrating, and could also contribute to your levels of stress or anxiety. Water is the one.

9. Prepare

This is an important one. Be prepared for your journey and allow enough time to get to the airport, to avoid added stress getting to the flight already feel anxious about. Being bored and waiting around is better than being late and frantically faffing through the airport, a hot and stressed-out mess. On another note, if you want to be really prepared, use the day before to spend time downloading and organising the apps you might need during the flight, as well as playlists and / or videos.

10. Keep busy

Keeping busy and having plenty to do during a flight is another good way to keep your mind distracted from the anxiety of flying thousands of feet above ground with absolutely no control over the matter. Download something to watch (if you flight doesn’t have entertainment screens), listen to music or podcasts, read, write, draw, look through photos (I always find this incredibly calming), play a game, meditate and so on. Whatever you do, just don’t sit there worrying.

11. Gratitude and positive thinking

This also helps me to calm my mind and feel better, and serves almost as a meditation of its own. I use a diary or the notes on my phone to write down a list of things I am grateful for, too, which makes me feel positive and acts to distract my mind from my worries.

12. Walk around

During the flight - whenever possible - try to get up now and then to stretch or stand. This can help boost circulation and prevent stiffness and inflammation, but can also help take your mind of things, too. Standing with both feet rooted on the floor can help you feel more grounded, and even doing stretches at the back of the plane can help boost energy flow and enhance positivity. I like to stretch or do some gentle Qi-Gong-style exercises, and also incorporate breathing with this. It just helps to keep energy moving and to avoid stagnant energy or blocks, and also keeps you busy.

13. Watch the air hostesses

This might sound weird and a little creepy, but whenever I’m nervous, either during take-off or turbulence, I look around to see how the air hostesses are acting. They take multiple flights a day (just imagine if bad flyers like you and I had to do that and be grateful that we don’t), and I always think that if they don’t seem worried or concerned, then everything is under control. Of course some things that you worry about might be out of their control, but it just helps in the moment to know that as long as the airhostesses are going about their duties calm and collected, there is nothing immediately to worry about.

14. Self-massage

Self-massage can be a great tool for relaxation. Try to develop a massage technique to use on your hands, feet, head, face, temples and neck. There is no real right or wrong way, just gently massage wherever and however feels good. It might help to close your eyes, too. If you want to go one step further, do some research on specific pressure points, and specific meridians or points associated with stress or anxiety.

15. Try these apps

Soar is an app that helps to calm anxious flyers and reduce nervousness, panic and claustrophobia. It offers written articles about flying, videos and even things like gravity monitoring and turbulence predictions. The Breathing App is also useful if you want to master your in-flight breathing rituals, and some of my favourite meditation apps include Insight Timer, Headspace, Breathe, Buddhify, Calm and Inscape. You can also find apps with white noise, too, to encourage sleep.

16. Meditate

I’ve mentioned this within some of the other points, but meditation is such a simple method for calming a worried mind and instilling relaxation and clarity and helping you to feel present. Meditate as you take off, during the flight and then just before you land or during the landing. Just 5 or 10 minutes each time can help reduce stress and silence your thoughts. See point 15 for recommended apps.

17. Visualisation

Usually I advise people to focus on the journey (of life), not the destination or endpoint, but when travelling, the opposite makes more sense. Focus on the destination, not the journey. Visualisation is a powerful tool (a type of meditation depending on how it is practiced) for enhancing mood and reducing stress and anxiety. Try to develop a visualisation practice, perhaps visualising things like pleasant memories in the past, hopes and dreams for the future, or perhaps most easily, the destination you are heading to. If you are going on holiday, visualise where you are going and what you will do. You could visualise the hotel or accommodation, a beach, the ocean, the pool, the food, people you might be meeting once you get there, or random people you might come across. It could be anything and it doesn’t have to be accurate; let your mind run naturally wild and go with it.

18. Ensure your energy is topped up

This topic has sort of been touched on in point 9, but as well as preparing and making sure you are not going to stressfully be finishing packing before your flight or face last minute issues or delays, be sure to have prepared for your flight on a deeper level. The night before, as much as possible, ensure you get a good night sleep. If you need to be up early for the flight, sleep well the night before the night before, or nap during the day before your flight. This will ensure, no matter the time difference at your destination or the jet lag, that you have your energy reserves topped up as much as possible.

Remember, when it really comes down to it, you have very little control over the situation once you’re on that plane. There is not much you can do, and worrying certainly isn’t going to help anything, it will just make the whole ordeal much, much worse. Try to sit back, relax and enjoy the journey as much as you can. I hope one or several of these tips will help you through your next trip!

Wake Up Here: Danai Resort & Villas ~ For Suitcase Magazine

Wake Up Here, Wellbeing, Travel, Summer, Lifestyle, Commisions, Around the Worlddanielle coppermanComment
2018_05_12_DANAI_Sunrise Beach Shot_126.jpg

A haven of relaxation on the island of Halkidiki, Danai Beach Resort and Villas marries modern comforts with all the charm of an authentic Greek retreat. 

Surrounded by lush pine trees and sandy beaches, and perched atop the rich, earthy cliffs that line the Aegean coast, Danai Beach Resort and Villas is one-of-a-kind, to say the least. While nature itself is enough to bring a sense of calm and tranquility here, Danai’s beautiful design and architecture, private beach cabanas, award-winning gourmet restaurants, top-of-the-range spa treatments and staff that will feel like life-long friends by the time you leave, invite guests to experience a whole level of relaxation.

Located in the remote Greek peninsula of Sithonia on the island of Halkidiki, Danai began life as a modest family home. Today it’s full of character, combining refined modern interiors and accessories with an authentic Greek aesthetic. Thick white pillars and marble floors, which feature heavily across the resort, are brought to life with bright bougainvillea, rattan accessories and antique furnishings.

As a family-run business, Danai is on a mission to make you feel at home. Staff operate across different areas of the resort, so you’ll often come across the same friendly faces again and again. This sense of community is what makes Danai so special, and once you’re welcomed into it so warmly, you’ll find it harder than ever to leave.

2018_05_12_DANAI_Beach View Bar_034.jpg

Rooms

At Danai, the mantra is to never, ever “copy and paste” anything, which is why you won’t find two rooms or villas the same. Each abode is a canvas of whites and creams, bathed in natural light that pours through floor-to-ceiling windows. Yet as modern-chic as that might sound, bohemian accents and local, artisan-made ornaments enhance the character and charm of each space.

Some rooms boast private pools, while others flaunt impressive balconies overlooking the resort, its gardens and the sea. Opt for Guest Rooms and Suites if you’re visiting alone, as a couple or for a short time only (also perfect if you’re on a budget). Deluxe Suites (often with two bedrooms and ocean vistas) are ideal for those who want something a little more spacious, while Pool Suites are ideal for honeymooners who want a private dip. Alternatively, splash out on a Villa if you’re travelling with a larger group, for a longer period of time or if you’re expecting guests.

What’s for breakfast?

Pretty much everything you’ll find in Danai to eat is either sourced locally (from neighbouring farms) or produced on site – you can really taste the difference.

For breakfast, head to the terrace of the open-air Andromeda Restaurant, which, situated on the edge of the bluffs, is prime territory for gazing across the still morning waters. The breakfast spread doesn’t look unlike an art installation, featuring a selection of bread and baked goods, cheeses, cold meats and fish, a hot food station, traditional pastries and a build-your-own-bowl area, complete with fresh and dried fruit, nuts, seeds, cereals and granolas. Plus, the selection of freshly made Greek yoghurt and local honey – varieties include pine, blossom, thyme and more – are the best you will ever try. If nothing takes your fancy, order à la carte and enjoy eggs with a Danai twist.

How about lunch and dinner?

With three restaurants to choose from, you wouldn’t get bored if you dined within Danai at every meal time. Enjoy fresh fish, seafood and daily barbecue specials at The Sea Horse Grill – it’s the most authentically Greek of the restaurant options and situated in a secluded terrace by the beach. You can also order any time of day to wherever you’ve set up camp on the beach.

For a more modern take on Mediterrenean cuisine, try Andromeda Restaurant, situated among the impressive pine trees – it offers an al fresco dining option on warmer evenings.

For special occasions or as a treat, experience the award-winning The Squirrel restaurant, considered one of the principle culinary hot-spots of Greece. Its tasting menu spans French and Mediterranean fare, served in multiple courses and paired with wines from Danai’s on-site wine cellar.

Suite service is also available, and if you’re staying in one of the larger rooms or villas and have a large party or outside guests to entertain, the staff will gladly arrange a bespoke dinner party.

Further afield, local road-side or sea-side tavernas offer quintessential Greek cuisine in a slightly more informal environment. Get stuck in to trays of taramasalata and fava, and enjoy fresh and simple dishes, including grilled fish, seafood paella, mussels soup and some of the most decadent desserts of your life.

Is there a bar?

On a lower tier of the resort, just beneath the restaurants and edging closer to the beach, you’ll find The Philosophy Seaside Bar. Lounge in bamboo armchairs and cushioned benches as the sun sets, and later gather around the communal table at the bar.

If that’s not your vibe, Danai also boasts one of the best wine cellars in Greece. Enjoy a tour or a wine tasting session, or casually converse with the wine cellar’s passionate sommeliers to choose a bottle that suits you, then enjoy from the comfort of your room, balcony, patio or, better yet, the beach.

Amenities

Danai is the ideal place for anyone who wants to wake up late and follow a long, lazy breakfast with an even longer, lazier day on the beach. Although, there is more than enough to keep you entertained if you’d like something a bit more lively, or if you’re travelling with friends, family or young children.

Aside from the private pools, you’ll find a communal outdoor pool at the centre of the resort, as well as an indoor pool inside the spa area. You will also find a selection of spa treatments (including massages, facials and a nail spa), relaxation facilities, a state-of-the-art gym complete with a timetable of yoga, pilates and fitness classes (during the busier months), a private tennis court and table tennis. The concierge can also organise bike rental and external sports such as golf, horse riding, snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing.

As for watersports and beach activities, book out a private beach cabana or, for a more active day at the beach, enjoy access to paddleboards, catamarans, waterskis, canoes, banana boats, donuts, seabobs, windsurfing, and more. Go a step further and arrange a day out on Danai’s super yacht, known as The Bird. Available to rent for between four and eight hours with staff and catering (and the best Aperol spritz you’ll ever drink), The Bird is the most luxurious way to explore the coast. Discover hidden coves and stop by private beaches along the Sithonia coast and Mount Athos peninsula. (Shared yachts and speedboat tours are also available, departing from the private beach and heading Neos Marmaras or Mount Athos).

Danai also has its own quaint “high street” of boutiques, which you’ll pass by to get from your room to the restaurants and to the beach. Find clothing, accessories, holiday essentials, toys, gifts and more, from local, national and international labels.

If you fancy trying your hand at something new, too, perhaps dancing, painting or cooking, it’s useful to know that the team will gladly arrange a private instructor. Day trips and excursions are also available on request.

Things you should know

Nikiti is the nearest town to the resort. While Danai have drivers and The Bird, if you want to explore independently, hire a car. Enjoy walks in the hotel surrounds or, further afield, find a selection of towns and villages to explore within Sithonia, Kassandra and Athos.

Whether you’re on the beach or by the pool, if you’re prone to suncream-smeared sunnies or overheating, the beach staff are at your beck and call, popping by regularly to offer sunglass polishing and to hand out semi-frozen flannels infused with refreshing essential oils.

If you’re visiting for a special occasion, the staff are eager to get involved. They will enthusiastically curate a celebration or prepare a surprise to ensure your experience is unforgettable.

Within a short walk you’ll find

The beauty of Danai is its seclusion and the way it has pretty much anything you could need all in one place. Within a short walk, you can enjoy 320m of private beach and explore the resort’s farmland and herb gardens. Explore local nature trails, most of which are unofficial – so you almost have to pave your own path.

* Danai Beach Resort & Villas (www.danairesort.com/+30 2375 020400) offers junior suites from £375 on a B&B basis, based on 2 people sharing.
** Danai Beach Resort & Villas (www.danairesort.com/+30 2375 020400) will offer The Bird from 3,250€ for 4 hours and from 4,450€ for 8 hours.
*** Danai also has its own wedding planner.

How and Where to Shop Sustainably In and Around London ~ For Ecoage

Anytime, Natural Living, Sustainability, Commisionsdanielle coppermanComment
unnamed-11.jpg

Technically, I began shopping sustainably as soon as I had my own money to do so.  When I had my first job, I used to spend my earnings in charity shops and at flea markets and car boot sales. But, somewhere along the way, as I was growing up and earning more, the fashion industry began changing rapidly and fast-fashion was at its peak. I remember getting over-excited by how much you could buy in certain high street stores for the price of one or two items at the usual, more niche stores, unaware that the low prices come at a high cost for the garment workers producing them. And I remember when online shopping became a thing; I could browse for hours and choose from thousands of brands and styles of clothing, and still only make a dent in my monthly savings. I thought it was great!

But then, as with most things, what goes up must come down, or should I say what grows rapidly gets quickly out of control and is unsustainable in the long run. The excitement soon wore off, as I ended up with often low-quality garments that didn’t last, and also just too much stuff in general. It began to get overwhelming. I also began to discover so much more about the fashion industry as my interest in wellbeing and sustainability developed, and realised I wanted to be involved in improving our relationship with fashion. To do that, I had to start by making small changes myself, and returned to my initial consumer habits of shopping second hand and boycotting fast-fashion high street names. The saying goes that our parents and grandparents always know best, and returning to a less extreme way of shopping - buying ‘just enough’ and only what we ‘need’, and adopting that ‘make do and mend’ mindset - could be just what it takes to reduce our impact on the world and to rectify some of the damage our harmful and unnecessary habits had been having on it.

Below are some tips for shopping more sustainably, from food and fashion to furniture and beauty products, and some of the places best for doing so in and around London. 

Do:

1.    Buy second hand. Instead of buying brand new things all the time, wherever possible, try to find what you need from a second hand source, such as a charity shops, car boot sales, estate sales, markets, online marketplaces or vintage stores.

2.    Swap things. Try swapping items of clothing with friends or renting clothes if you have events or occasions coming up that require a special piece of clothing that you probably won’t wear more than a handful of times. This reduces waste, saves you money and also keeps things exciting, as you can rent something different in future and keep your wardrobe up to date. This also applies for things like furniture, appliances, books and even beauty products. If something doesn’t work for you or if you no longer need it, give it to a friend or swap it for something else. I’ve done plenty of beauty swaps of things that don’t work for me but work for others, and it reduces waste and helps others.

3.    Shop at handmade craft, second hand and food markets. Shopping at markets can mean finding locally-produced, unpackaged products, and recycling and reusing items other people no longer need. Now that the weather is nicer, markets also make a really fun day out.

4.    Shop from local artisans. For things like food, fashion, furniture and all sorts of other items, find local communities selling direct to consumers, meaning you will be supporting local businesses and individuals rather than larger corporations. You will also find the items you purchase are better quality, made with deep purpose and love and made to last.

5.    Buy your groceries without packaging. As much as possible, buy loose foods without plastic or other packaging. That might mean going to separate shops rather than conveniently finding everything you need under one roof (like a supermarket), but it is better for your food, your health and the planet. Visit grocery stores with loose fruits (and use their paper bags or take your own cloth produce bags), and find stores offering refill stations and dispensers of things like nuts, seeds, grains and legumes. It might be a little less convenient for you, but far more convenient for the planet.

6.    Look for materials that have a lower environmental impact. Buy clothes and other necessities made from materials that have been produced using low impact ingredients and processes (e.g. materials that use minimal water, chemicals and energy, and that are not polluting in their production, care and end of life). Materials like virgin polyester and nylon are made from petroleum oil making them similar to plastic, and fabrics may be dyed, bleached or treated in order to enhance their design or extend their functionality. Things like cotton and denim also require so much water to be produced, and at the rate at which we consume, it is not sustainable. Therefore make sure you choose products made with natural materials, which are biodegradable and are less of a strain on our natural resources, such as linen, bamboo (although note that the process to turn bamboo into a fabric can be impactful, so it is important to understand how the fabric was made), Tencel, coconut fibres, banana leaf, hemp, organic silk, sugar cane, the list goes on. There is so much we can do with plant fibers these days, so do some research and see for yourself. Another option is buying up-cycled items or those made from recycled materials, such as ECONYL®, which takes plastic found in the oceans and turns it into fabric.

7.    If you absolutely need to buy new, only buy something you really love and will use for years to come and opt for brands that are transparent about their environmental and social efforts

8. Buy less. In general, just try to buy less. Ask yourself if you really need something before buying it. Studies show that owning less is actually more liberating and freeing and makes us feel less cluttered and stressed than owning lots of things but not using them enough or not having enough space for them. We really need very little for day-to-day survival, so reconsider before you buy something new.

9. Buy better quality. While at the time, spending more on something you know you can get a cheaper version of elsewhere can sometimes be difficult, buying better quality means it will last longer and you will be less likely to have to replace it in the near future.

10. Buy local produce. Buying locally grown or locally made produce cuts down the distance an item has had to travel, meaning less carbon emissions, transportation, packaging and labour has been involved in getting it into your hands. Buying local, seasonal food that is made in the local climate and with local Earth and resources often means it is better for and more familiar to your body, and so easier to digest and more nourishing than something that has grown in a completely different climate and that has travelled miles and been confined in lots of packaging while in transit to your plate. 

11.  Buy more natural beauty products. This will help not only your skin but also the environment. Buy less products made with artificial chemicals and ingredients and find products that don’t include plastics like micro beads, or synthetic preservatives like parabens. These are bad for your skin and often mask skin issues and can sometimes even make them worse, but they also end up in the water supply and can contribute to chemicals in our water or worse, absorbed into the earth. They are also often packaged in materials and designs that can’t be recycled.

12.  Whenever possible, opt for longest delivery time when online shopping. Online shopping has its pros and cons, and some people think it is better than brick and mortar shopping. On the plus side, it groups deliveries together in one transit, which is better than a number of people driving or traveling to a shop. It also requires less physical buildings and while head offices, depots and fulfillment centers count as physical buildings, its generally more resource efficient than running multiple stores with more staff, more lighting, music, air conditioning, heating, electronic displays, tills, and so on. However, on the other hand, it does mean more vehicles are out on deliveries, and often means more packaging.  Back to the point, if you do shop on line, opting for next day delivery is worse for the environment as it forces companies to send out trucks that are not at full capacity, so whenever possible, always select the longest delivery time to ensure your shipment is added to a larger load, rather than on a specially organised service.

Do Less:

1. Shopping in supermarkets. Everything is generally packaged often unnecessarily in several layers of plastic, paper, films, cardboard, and more, just for the sake of keeping it clean and in shape. Also, ready meals, processed foods, junk food and convenience items have all taken a lot of time, resources, human and technological processes, transportation and so on, meaning they are not very environmentally-friendly. Not to mention, all the processing they go through and all of the additives and preservatives added to them - they are not the healthiest option for you either.

2.    Using plastic bags or even paper bags from shops. Get into the habit of taking your own bags (such as a fabric tote bag, turtle bags, rope bags or a good old backpack).

3.     Buying things new. Particularly things like clothes. Instead try to take inspiration from new trends and then take a little more time to rummage in second hand stores, vintage stores or markets for what it is you want or need. You can often find many things second hand, like appliances, gadgets, furniture etc. All it takes is a little browsing and some organization.

4.    Impulse buying. Just because you want something, it rarely means you need it. If I’m not 100% convinced that I love something or need it, I leave it (occasionally taking a photo as a reminder) and go back for it if I really want it once I’ve given it some thought. Try it next time you feel drawn to buying something new. Stand with the product and ask yourself if you really need it. Ask yourself about the way it was made, who and what was involved, and ask yourself if all of that is worth it just for a moment of your own satisfaction.

5.    Packaging. When shopping for anything, request as little packaging as possible. If you’re in a physical store, refuse a carrier bag and definitely refuse gift wrapping unless you really need it (although it’s better if you recycle old stuff or simply use newspaper or kraft paper). If you get a lot of deliveries or gifts for work, request that they are sent in as minimal packaging as possible.

6.    Shopping for beauty products. Beauty products are highly responsible for waste in the form of packaging and pollution in the form of dangerous and artificial chemicals ending up in our water supply. If you do prefer to use commercial products, opt for more natural, environmentally responsible and ethical brands that use sustainably produced resources and all-natural ingredients. Try to look for those made with 100% natural ingredients and packaged into refillable, recyclable or biodegradable packaging. Better yet, instead of buying new products, try making your own natural remedies from natural raw ingredients, such as coconut oil, shea butter, almond oil, essential oils and extracts.

DIRECTORY

Where to buy food

London Food Markets:

1.    The Real Food Market, Kings Cross 
2.    Stoke Newington Farmers Market
3.    Netil Market
4.    Broadway Market
5.    Borough Market
6.    West Hampstead farmers market
7.    Islington farmers market
8.    Maltby Street Market
9.    Brixton Village
10.  Brick Lane Market
11.  Exmouth Market
12.  Alexandra Place farmers market
13.  Blackheath farmers market
14.  Brockley farmers market
15.  Marylebone farmers market
16.  Peckham farmers market
17.  Berwick street market

Food Stores:

1.   Wholefoods
2.   Mother Earth
3.   Planet Organic
4.   Ocado
5.   Local farms… particularly those that offer "pick your own"
6.   Food for all
7.   Earth Natural Foods
8.   Pipoca
9.   As nature intended
10. Source bulk foods
11. Borough wines (offers refills)
12. Bulk market
13. Hetu
14. Harmless store
15. Harvest
16. Earth Natural foods
17. Daylesford
18. Neals Yard Remedies
19. Abel and cole
20. Riverford
21. Oddbox
22. Natoora
23. The Cure
24. De beauvior deli
25. Organico

* Search for local delis, grocery stores, health food shops and markets near you, as there are plenty across London.

Where to buy beauty products

1.    Content beauty
2.    Lush 
3.    Gracefruit 
4.    Cult Beauty
5.    Space NK 
6.   Wholefoods
7.  Planet Organic
8.  Ocado
9.  Neals Yard Remedies
10. Glow Bar
11. Cap Beauty
12. Goop Store

Where to buy fashion, furniture, antiques and accessories

Markets:

1.    St Augustine's School Car Boot Sale, Maida Vale (Saturdays from 7am)
2.    Picks Cottage Car Boot Sale, Waltham Abbey (Sundays from 6.30am)
3.    Chiswick Car Boot (first Sunday of each month from 7am)
4.    Battersea Boot Sale, Battersea (Sunday from 1.30pm)
5.    Princess May School Car Boot, Dalston (Saturdays & Sundays from 7am)
6.    Hounslow Heath Car Boot, Hounslow (Thursdays & Sundays from 6am)
7.    Capital Car Boot, Pimlico (Sundays from 10am)
8.    Tottenham Car Boot Sale, Tottenham (Thursdays from 6am)
9.    Calvers Fairs Car Boot Sale, Uxbridge (Selected Sundays from 7am)
10.  Wimbledon Car Boot Sale, Wimbledon (Wednesdays from 10.30am & Sundays from 6.30am)

Stores:

1. Reve en vert
2. Bug
3. The Basics Store
4. Beyond Retro
5. Brick Lane
6. Rokit
7. Oxfam (My favourites are in and around Westbourne Grove, South Kensington, High Street Kensington, Notting Hill, Islington, Stoke Newington, Peckham, and if you fancy a day trip, Bath, Frome and surrounding areas).
8. Mercy In Action
9. British Heart Foundation
10. Scope
11. Cancer Research
12. Mary's Living & Giving
13. British Red Cross
14. Fara Charity Shop
15. Traid

Well Being Around the World: Austria ~ For Ecoage

Around the World, City guides, Lifestyle, Travel, Wellbeing, Commisionsdanielle coppermanComment

My first encounter with Austria was at the age of 17 whilst I was interrailing around Europe with my best friend. That visit, fuelled by copious amounts of Viennese baked goods, was somewhat different to how I’m about to depict the country here, which is in a much more wholesome and, I hope, inspirational light.

Earlier this year, I visited two small towns in Western Austria, and as part of a new series of articles exploring Well Being Around The World, I wanted to share some of the local and traditional rituals I discovered during my stay, that I feel we can all learn from and apply to our own daily routines.

Rituals

1. Nature & The Great Outdoors

Since I was visiting a ski resort, it quickly became apparent to me just how much the great outdoors and nature are celebrated and valued in Austria. I guess it could be different in the larger towns that aren’t necessarily towered over by mountains, but there is certainly something about the fresh air and surrounding landscapes which not only bring a sense of safety, security and calm, but also awe and wonderment which is instantly grounding and gratifying.

I visited both Innsbruck and Mayrhofen, and both were relatively small towns encapsulated by mountains. For me, waking up each morning was just mesmerising, and I found it hard to imagine anyone getting stressed or feeling overwhelmed by insignificant worries and problems when the view was such a spectacle. It triggers a sense of wonder, and stands as a reminder that we are part of something much, much bigger than our own little lives.

Being in nature is known to have profound affects on health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally. Things like fresh air and sunlight support skin and complexions, as well as providing vital vitamins and nutrients (hola vitamin D!). Things like plants, greenery and natural formations are known to benefit things like eyesight, focus and concentration and are also known to provide and stimulate certain vitamins, minerals and hormones (that’s why being around green spaces with plenty of plants often makes you feel happy and relaxed!). Not to mention, trees and plants help to cleanse and purify the air, and thus increase the air quality and make breathing more enriched and nourishing. Natural formations, such as rocks, mountains and earth are also known to be grounding and relaxing and to support mental health. Just think of them as different and larger forms of crystals!

As for the great outdoors, Austria is full of adventure and activity. Locals and tourists unite for daily hikes, rambling, cycling and skiing and swimming, when the weather permits. I noticed a lot of people walking, and the people we met often said they rarely drove, except for long distances. I certainly didn’t notice any traffic jams or rush hour on the same scale as London. The cities seemed incredibly bike-friendly, too, something that seemed preferential to locals for ease, to stay active and to reduce pollution (that fresh, fresh air!).

Skiing and swimming are of course more season-dependent, and more extreme ways to keep fit and stay active. However, having it on your doorstep wouldn’t seem so extreme after a while, I don’t think, and some people we encountered said they often make the journey up to the slopes during the winter even if it’s just for an hour or two of solo skiing; in other words, a full-body workout, without the confines of a gym and with the benefits of being in nature.

Swimming is a different ball game altogether. Since I visited in Winter, wild swimming was not particularly on my radar, but locals are known to enjoy icy, outdoor swimming even during the winter, which is known to increase metabolism and boost circulation, amongst other health benefits. The practice is incredibly invigorating and revitalising, and in Austria, with the water coming straight off the mountains, think of all those vitamins and minerals (like a cross between hydrotherapy and cryotherapy)! There are many natural pools, often surrounded by Alpine backdrops and lush greenery, making the whole experience incredibly grounding and nourishing. Some pools become filled by the melting snow from the mountains - the water crystal clear but incredibly cold. In larger pools and lakes, water can get to around 16-20 degrees during the summertime, and serve as a way to cool down as temperatures rise. Want to go a step further, nude swimming is also quite a thing!

2. Saunas & Spa Therapy

Like many Alpine countries, as well as Scandinavian and Nordic, Austria’s spa game is strong. You won’t struggle to find a sauna or spa, something we tend to view as an indulgent luxury rather than a daily necessity. Saunas offer incredible benefits for skin, circulation, lymphatic drainage, immunity and much more, and I for one find a sauna a week to be deeply cleansing as well as relaxing. It helps to purge impurities from the skin and detox from within, through sweat and respiration. The only thing is, they’re not so widely available or accessible in the UK or larger cities, and if they are, they usually come in fancier forms and with a larger price tag.

3. Mid-afternoon Coffee (& Cake)

The Austrian cafe culture introduces another ritual into the day, incorporating an important pause amidst work and other duties. What I loved particularly about going for coffee was that, in Austria, it must always come with a glass of water on the side. I love this as I am all for staying hydrated, and coffee can be incredibly dehydrating. Take note!

Austria is of course not the only culture to advocate regular coffee breaks or a more thorough coffee ritual than we are used to in the UK (we’re looking at you, France and Italy), but it is nice to see so many people actually enjoying a break, and not just working through it or drinking take-out on the go. Their coffee break often comes with a side of cake or strudel too, which is not so ‘wellness’ physically, but, hey, it’s mentally good to treat yourself and do something you enjoy. And it helps to notice that in most cafes, these traditional baked goods are often freshly made and handmade, unlike the processed fare you find in mainstream supermarkets. So that kind of makes it ok?

4. Day of rest

Something I always love about visiting particularly European destinations is how they have held onto the tradition of closing shop at least one or two days a week. In Austria, there’s no (or very few) shops open on Sundays, meaning locals simply adapt their consumer habits accordingly. I like this not only as it means workers will get more rest, but it encourages people to consume less, or at least take a day off from shopping, allowing more time to do something more wholesome.

Screenshot 2019-05-03 at 18.27.15.png

Food and Recipes

The food in Austria is not overtly nutritious, or at least that’s not the talking point when it comes to food. You’ll find most delicacies include generous helpings of potatoes, cheese, dumplings and pasta, alongside other traditions like schnitzel and goulash. It’s all quite heavy, but after all that exercise, it kind of makes sense!

When eating out, though, you will always get a homemade feel from what’s on offer, and whilst there’s often lots of flavour, it all seems to be kept quite simple. There’s often a steady ratio of meat or fish to vegetables, and everything seems quite authentically done, unlike fast food or take away fare.

It is apparent that growing your own and using local produce is commonplace, and even in the supermarkets, you will often find locally produced fare, and not much overly processed stuff at all. There is a lot of fresh meat and bread, even in small convenience stores, and what’s more, I enjoyed that their fresh fruit and vegetable aisle was mostly unpackaged.

Recipes

Below are 2 recipes inspired by those I tried during my visit, made with all-natural ingredients, vegan and gluten-free.

Celeriac Salad - Serves 2-4

Celeriac salad is a common side accompaniment for main meals in both Austria and Germany, and I love the earthy but fresh and hydrating flavour it offers to other dishes.

Components

500g celeriac
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons boiling water
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons soy or coconut yoghurt - optional

Method

First, peel and grate the celeriac finely, or shred it in a food processor to make it into thin, long threads.

In a separate bowl, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, boiling water, apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper together until combined. Next, add the celeriac and stir to coat, then spoon in a tablespoon of yoghurt, if using. Stir to combine again and add more yoghurt if desired.

Season again, to taste and serve immediately or store in the fridge until ready to enjoy.

Porcini Mushroom and Potato soup - serves 4

Potato soup is a staple on almost any menu in Austria. Usually made with bacon and heavy, I’ve adapted to make this vegan and slightly more nutritious, by using mushrooms as a meat replacement, and dairy-free cream alternatives.

Components

500g medium potatoes
20g Porcini mushrooms
1 white onion
1 medium carrot
1 parsley root (can replace with parsnip or celeriac)
½ celery stick, plus leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
500g vegetable broth (or water)
Small bunch of lovage leaves
2 bay leaves
6 peppercorns
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons coconut milk (or soy or coconut yoghurt, or Oatly creme fraiche)
Handful of fresh parsley

Method

Start by soaking the porcini mushrooms for about 10-15 mins in warm water.

Next, roughly chop the vegetables (potatoes, celery, carrot, onion and parsley root (or parsnip or celeriac) and place them in a large saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil.

Next, add the lovage leaves, caraway seeds, bay leaves and peppercorns. Add stock or water along with herbs and spices. The liquid should cover the vegetables, so you may need to add a little more accordingly, depending on the size of your vegetables.

Add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30-45 minutes.

Remove bay leaves and transfer to a blender or use a hand blender to puree the soup, until smooth.

Add the coconut milk (or plant-based yoghurt or cream alternative of choice) and blend again.

Finally, chop the porcini mushrooms roughly into small pieces, add to the blended soup, season for a final time and garnish with fresh parsley.

* If you like chunky soup, sauté the carrot in a separate pan and add to the soup, once blended.1.


Resources

Where to stay

I stayed in an airbnb in Innsbruck and a local hotel/guesthouse in Mayrhofen - most of which are complete with an onsite spa, gym and restaurant.

Featured Wellness Destinations & Other Places to Stay

Hotel Aurelio Lech

Geinberg 5

Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol

Getting there

Flights into Austrian towns are easy and often, but if you want to look at more sustainable ways of getting there, there are plenty of train and bus routes, and driving is often doable with a few stops along the way. It really depends on the number of people traveling though, as to which option is more eco-friendly, so do some research, and perhaps try to choose a destination where you won’t need a car or public transport once you’re there.

Well Being in the local area

Innsbruck:

- Olive, vegetarian restaurant
- Ludwig, Vegetarian restaurant
- Rauch Juice Bar
- Coffeekult, cafe
- The Breakfast Club, day cafe with gluten-free / vegan / vegetarian options
- Haepinest, cafe
- Akropolis, restaurant
- Das Schindler, restaurant
- Lichtblick, restaurant
- Oniriq, restaurant
- Die Muhl, restaurant
- Nordkette Cable Car
- Spa’s (research local to your destination)
- Skiing (research local to your destination)
- Walking / Hiking (research local to your destination)

Mayrhofen:

- Goldkind, cafe with gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian options
- Schneekarhutte, restaurant with gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian options
- Hikes, walks, skiing, activities
- Spa’s (research local to your destination)
- Skiing (research local to your destination)
- Walking / Hiking (research local to your destination)

* Whilst I am not saying Austria is necessarily the wellness capital of the world, and whilst I am not disregarding their love of cakes, cream, potatoes, cheese and strudel, I do feel we could learn a thing of two from the Austrian culture to assist and inspire us in our own quests for wellbeing. For me, wellbeing is not a “one size fits all” scenario and I have always felt that we can learn so much from different cultures, both wellness-focused and otherwise. The aim of these features is to provide a broader approach to wellbeing, one that travels a little beyond green juices and boutique fitness classes and into long-standing traditions that have been used for centuries. Many of the practices I tend to discover are often nothing very new at all, but are instead incredibly simple, as well as being much more authentic and sustainable than the latest trends we tend to get over-excited by.

Vegan Chocolate Easter Nests ~ For Ecoage

Commisions, Dairy Free, Gluten free, Recipe, Snacks, Sugar Free, Sweets + Desserts, Vegan, Vegetariandanielle copperman2 Comments
IMG_3550.jpg

Chocolate covered cornflake cakes are a vital component for pretty much any Easter celebration, but for those searching for something a little more nutritious amongst the conventional confectionary, I've created these cornflake cakes with a difference and, as always, are gluten free, vegan and made with 100% natural, unrefined ingredients. Whilst many might prefer to avoid the sugar rushes and general hyperactivity of the Easter holidays - for either themselves or young ones around them - these have a much subtler sweetness, are high in fibre and can be customised with any of your favourite superfoods, adaptogens or other nourishing ingredients, like dried fruits or cacao nibs. High in cacao, they are also super energising, so whilst everyone else is in their food coma or sugar crash, you can enjoy a natural little high of your own.

+ Add mini eggs to replicate traditional Easter nests, or instead, to keep things as natural and nourishing as possible, replace with nuts, seeds, fresh berries, dried fruits or whatever else you fancy.

Vegan Chocolate Easter Nest Ingredients

Makes approx. 12 nests

200g fibre flakes or corn flakes (doves farm) (link)
8 tablespoons coconut oil or cacao butter
5 tablespoons cacao powder
2 tablespoons coconut syrup other natural sweetener of choice like maple, date or rice syrup
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds or chia seeds (optional but extra nutritious)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, powder, paste or seeds
Pinch of salt

Optional
Handful sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds
1 tablespoon nut butter or tahini
Handful of dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries, goji berries, chopped dates or mulberries
Qnola
Puffed quinoa or puffed brown rice

Method

Make a double boiler by placing a heatproof bowl over a small / medium saucepan with about 2-3 inches of water in it. Bring to the boil then reduce to simmer and add the coconut oil or cacao butter. Allow to completely melt, then remove from the heat and whisk in the cacao powder, syrup of choice, flaxseeds or chia seeds, if using, vanilla and salt. Stir to combine, then add the flakes. Add any of the optional ingredients, if using, and stir a final time to combine. You can use a gentle mashing technique to slightly break down the flakes, if you like. This will just encourage the flakes to set more closely together and will intensify the crunchiness.

Next, spoon the mixture into a case-lines muffin / cupcake tin, using about 1 or 1.5 tablespoons per case. Gently press down on the mixture with the back of a tablespoon or spatula. Place in the fridge or freezer for 30 minutes to set and stiffen.

Store either in the fridge or in an airtight container.

Decorate with nut butter, fresh or fried fruits, raw chocolate chunks or eggs or even a dollop of something like date caramel or cashew cream.

Screenshot 2019-04-09 at 14.12.18.png

How To Spring Cleanse Your Life ~ For Ecoage

Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Wellbeing, Commisionsdanielle coppermanComment
Screenshot 2019-04-02 at 10.13.05.png

Last week marked the first official day of spring, and with what might just be my favourite season of all approaching, I wanted to share some of the practices that I like to incorporate into my day-to-day routines during this seasonal shift, along with some tips for adapting to this transition from one season to the next.

Four times a year, we experience a shift between seasons, and whilst the actual exact shift usually passes unnoticed, when you really take time to pause and acknowledge it, and to tune into whats going on beyond your own little world, it will begin to bring your attention to just how interconnected everything is, and in turn, this will allow you to make more sense of your moods, thoughts, emotions, feelings, actions, experiences and the general behaviour of you and all other living things and beings around you. It’s quite fascinating, and you will come to learn that things going on around you are happening in your favour, and to support you. For example, different foods will grow in abundance depending on your local surroundings, as nature adjusts to the new season not only for its own welfare but to provide us and other living things with exactly what we need.

Spring is a time of cleansing, and when I think of Spring I think of detoxing, new beginnings, resetting and rebirth. It is a time of freshness and newness; a time of hope and anticipation; a time of faith and excitement as the warmest and brightest part of the year approaches. Having spent long wintery months in the shadows of gloomy weather and arctic temperatures, forced into hibernation, Spring brings with it this joyful and vibrant energy, and as our natural surroundings begin to flourish and bloom, our own cycles and energies do too. Or so they should. If you are not entirely in tune or in sync with the seasons and the natural cycles and phases of the Universe, the following practices are intended to help you to get there, by boosting your energy levels (bringing them in line with the energy of nature), boosting your mood (bringing it in line with the frequencies of nature) and cleansing your body and mind through food, movement and other rituals. Try a few of these practices to not only look and feel more thriving physically, this Summer, but also to let go of anything that feels heavy with negative energy, and to adopt a powerfully positive mindset, to attract all that you desire in abundance.

1. Food & hydration

In Ayurveda, the same way living beings have doshas, seasons do too. Spring is known to be the kapha season, which starts off somewhat wet and cold in March and develops to become still wet but much warmer between around June / July. In early kapha season, the world is slowly coming out of hibernation and things are beginning to awaken and reemerge with new life. Kapha characteristics are known to be heavy, slow and cool, so it is good to incorporate practices that make you feel light, active and warm, such as detoxing your diet, exercising regularly, eating warm foods and getting under the sun whenever it’s out.

During kapha season, when we want to adopt more vata and pita habits in order to balance the kapha energies, it is a good idea to cleanse internally, by really purifying your diet and detoxifying any internal build up. Luckily, spring’s produce supports this, providing us with light and hydrating ingredients that are high in vitamins and minerals to aid detoxification. As well, further cleansing can be done where needed, to gently purge and reset the digestive system (in other words, if you’ve never had a colonic, now could be the time).

Try incorporating some of the following ingredients into your meals and habits into your daily routines to cleanse from within and to eat as nature intended, with ingredients determined to support us this season.

Spring ingredients:

To eat in ways to support you during the spring, eat both seasonally available and abundant ingredients, but also be mindful to eat in ways that balance kapha energies. For example, avoid oily, greasy, heavy and dense foods, and instead opt for lighter and drier ingredients. Enjoy warm foods rather than cold or entirely raw foods, and favour rough, fibrous ingredients more than soft or smooth ones (such as banana and avocado).

Asparagus
Broccoli
Dandelion greens
Lettuce
Fennel
Spinach
Peas
Potatoes
Strawberries
Carrots
Green Beans
Garlic
Leafy herbs
Rhubarb

* Take into account also your own Ayurvedic constituency, as this will determine more personally what you need and also what you digest best.

As spring approaches, I would suggest a 3-7 day cleanse incorporating both spring produce and kapha balancing ingredients, with a daily eating schedule looking something like this:

Incidentals2_005.jpg

Hydration:

Start the day with two glasses of water (around 1 litre in total), on an empty stomach. Add a dash of fresh lemon juice, sliced cucumber, ginger root, turmeric root, a stick of activated charcoal or apple cider vinegar, to flavour the water but also to awaken the nutrients of it and add more nourishment to each sip.

Throughout the rest of the day, ensure you drink a minimum of 2 litres in total. Try to avoid drinking a lot during mealtimes, and instead be mindful to time it by drinking at least 1/2 an hour before a big meal. Small sips during or after a meal are fine, but it is preferable to drink a little while before eating if you can.

Breakfast:

Try to have breakfast after 10am, when your digestion is more active and energetic. If you get hungry before, try to enjoy a liquid meal, such as a juice or smoothie, or some plain, fresh or cooked fruit.

Lunch:

Try to make lunch your biggest meal of the day, and try to enjoy it between 12pm and 2pm, when the digestive system is most active and efficient. During a cleansing period, try to base your meals on raw and/or cooked (ideally not fried or roasted, but boiled or steamed) vegetables, whole or psuedo grains, and ethically sourced meat or fish. Foods like salads, soups, stews, kitchari, dahl, curries, or mixed vegetables are advisable. Try to avoid processed condiments or dressings, and select seasonal ingredients as much as possible, as they are in season for a reason!

Dinner:

Try to keep dinner relatively small compared to lunch. Try to eat by 6pm, as the digestive system is thought to slow between 6pm and 10pm. Base your meals on the same ingredients and ideas as lunch, and try not to snack before bed. Avoid rich or sugary foods and substitute with fresh fruit if you really crave dessert. Also enjoy herbal tea if you need something else later in the evening. Try to drink a small glass of water before bed (and take any relevant supplements such as probiotics before bed, too).

Snacks:

Try not to snack at odd times throughout the day, but instead snack directly after your main meals. Enjoy fresh fruits, raw vegetables, natural and wholesome dips (like houmous) and / or nuts and seeds. Also enjoy hot water (which is known to nurture the digestive system), herbal teas, coffee, cacao or other adaptogen drinks whenever you feel hungry. Light liquid ‘meals’ are also advisable, such as juices or smoothies.

Stretching_022.jpg

2. Movement

This season is a great time to get active. Emerging from the still and stagnant winter months of surrendering to home comforts instead of persevering, Spring brings a new energy of lightness, strength and resilience. With a sense of newness in the air, it’s time to start afresh, dust off your trainers and get moving.

Exercising regularly, even if thats just walking (aim for 10,000 steps a day if you’re not otherwise active), can help with the body and minds detox processes, and will also encourage circulation, digestion and lymphatic drainage. Not to mention, it will also increase mood, stamina, focus, concentration and positivity, so, you know, there’s really no excuse. It’s also interesting to know that as spring’s energy is associated with kapha characteristics, it is thought that living beings tend to have more strength and endurance around this time of year too, so it shouldn’t feel quite as much of a struggle as it does during the winter, when you generally feel more lethargic and sensitive.

Massage is another form of movement you can really benefit from at this time of the year, and a practice that further supports detoxing and lymphatic drainage. Try using a body brush before or after showering, and or indulge in self massage (either with lotion or oils). Even better, get a partner or friend to massage you, or treat yourself to a professional one. Focus on the neck, shoulders and back, as well and the legs.

3. Rest and recuperation

You’re gonna like this one. Getting enough rest, despite the fact we’ve basically been sleeping all winter, is still advised during early spring. Whilst the sun rises earlier, it is advised to go to sleep earlier and rise earlier too, to sync as closely as possible to the cycles of nature. So, I’m not about to tell you to enjoy your lie in’s, but I am going to suggest keeping an eye on your sleeping habits, and ensuring you get enough sleep and rest to aid physical and mental detoxing, and to ensure your energy levels are topped up (and, again, aligned with that of springs own energies). A nap here and there wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.

As well as sleeping enough, be sure to practice some grounding rituals, such as meditation or breathing / pranayama techniques. This is important as towards the end of spring can become quite an energetic and buzzy time, so feeling grounded, present and supported is crucial for keeping physically and mentally balanced and for remaining tuned in to yourself and all around you.

Space_018.jpg

4. Space

This section brings me to one of my favourite parts of spring. I can feel my desperation to clean, tidy and declutter bubbling away as I get restless towards the end of winter (having been feeling too overwhelmed or lazy to approach it), but as spring arrives, I immediately want to clear the air, make some space and get rid of things I don’t use or need anymore.

The infamous spring clean. It’s a tradition for a reason, and not one to be ignored. Regardless of whether or not you do it in spring, I think at least one annual purge of your possessions is crucial for sanity if not for sight. Rather than getting rid of a little bit here and a little bit there throughout the year, an actual appointment of sufficient time gets the job done much quicker and more efficiently (and less painfully, too). Over time, our belongings build up, and if we’re not constantly replacing things, then we’re constantly adding things, which, not always, but often means that old items get buried or forgotten.

A good old fashioned spring clean is crucial to refresh a space and to clear the energy, but it has also been known to benefit our own wellbeing too, enhancing productivity, positivity, concentration, motivation and peacefulness, reducing the stress and anxiety often brought on by tidying being another overwhelming task on our to-do lists.

It’s important to note that you should cleanse your space and belongings mindfully, though, and instead of throwing things away, finding ways to recycle them - either by giving to friends or family, charity, vintage shops or even selling them on sites like eBay, Depop and Vestaire Collective or at markets if you have the time and a little patience. Try not to let anything go to waste.

Another way to enhance your spring cleaning rituals is by smudging. Using sage or palo santo, or even incense or essential oils in a diffuser to clear any negative energy. Did you know, energy from arguments or other negative situations and occurrences can linger in the air or in areas of a room where they took place, and smudging is known to cleanse these ‘bad vibes’ and reset the energy. I love to smudge a few times a month, either after an argument or bad news, or if I’ve just had a stressful or frustrating day.

Finally, when cleaning after you’ve decluttered and tidied things away, choose your cleaning products with care. Opt for natural, non-toxic products from brands like method or ecover, or even make your own, using natural ingredients like bicarbonate soda, vinegar, oils and essentials oils. There are plenty of recipes for these online and in my book, Well Being.

5. Mindfulness

Finally, mindfulness, as always, is a powerful ritual to keep up during the spring. Practicing regular meditation, stream of consciousness (writing without agenda as soon as you wake up, before checking your phone, speaking to anyone or getting out of bed), positive thinking (writing down or simply thinking positive thoughts about the day gone by (if practising before bed) or the day ahead (if practising in the morning)) and / or gratitude (writing a list of things you are grateful for), will help to keep your energy positive and abundant, which will in turn attract experiences of the same frequency. Furthermore, as this season resembles new beginnings and new life, letting go of negative habits or relationships or removing yourself from negative, draining situations is crucial in order to open up new opportunities and to ensure you can attract what it is you truly desire. It is an exciting time and with just a little bit of extra focus and attention, it can be powerfully transformational, rewarding and fun.

We Need To Talk About The Full Moon ~ For Ecoage

Commisions, Lifestyle, Moon Time, Natural Living, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment

Danielle Copperman, author of 'Well Being: Recipes and rituals to realign the body and mind', shares some insights into the affects of the full moon and practices to help you align with it.

The Moon and its various phases is something I have been interested in for a while now. Since first learning about how the cycles of the moon work and how they influence so many things - from animals and humans, to tides and climate - I have been curious to find out just how much the different phases can effect our day-to-day lives. There is a lot of information and many references to the moon these days, particularly to the full moon - which is mockingly blamed for manic mood swings and rolling bad luck. But just how much does the moon really influence us, how exactly does it influence us, and what can we do to really align with it in order to get the most from its powerful energy?

I believe that when we really tune in to what’s going on in the Universe, we can instantly begin to understand ourselves, our environment and others around us on a much deeper level. The phases of the moon is a good place to start, as it introduces you to the idea of energy, and how everything is interconnected. Everything is energy, and understanding how the energy of the universe influences our individual energies has been life-changing for me.

The moon holds a different energy at different times of the month. The moon’s cycle is around 28 days, and during this timeframe, it goes from new moon to waxing moon to full moon and then waning moon. When the moon is waxing, it is essentially growing, and as it grows, it brings an energy of abundance, meaning this time of the month is an ideal time for you to manifest what you want. When the moon is waning, it is essentially shrinking, and that is why this time of the month is an ideal time for letting go and cleansing; be this physically (like tidying and decluttering) or emotionally (like letting go of negative thought patterns or challenges in career or relationships, etc etc). And that’s why the full moon and the new moon are seen as such transformational times. They are the pinnacles of the moon's cycle and are therefore seen to be the most powerful. In this article I’m going to touch on the most popular and perhaps most intriguing; The Full Moon. More on the New Moon next time!

Full moons are powerful but not all are created equally. Usually, we will experience one full moon per month, however sometimes, if we’re lucky, we get two. You can get conventional full moons, but you can also get super moons, blood moons and several other more spectacular and energetically unique full moons. If you delve even deeper, you will learn that each full moon correlates with a certain star sign too, which looks at the full moon in relation to stars and other activity within the cosmos.

MoonCeremony_021.jpg

What is a full moon?

The full moon is when the moon is at its fullest. It is essentially when the sun and moon are exactly aligned on opposite sides of Earth, and the entire face of the moon is illuminated by the sun. It is thought that this sense of illumination is present in aspects of our own lives, too, with certain things becoming more illuminated and amplified in the same way as the moon. For these reasons, the full moon is thought to be a time of change and transformation.

How does the full moon affect us?

Generally speaking, people tend to feel physical effects of the moon, as well as mental. Often, during or leading up to the full moon, it’s common to experience more bloating and a feeling of fullness, as well as severe fatigue. And on a more emotional level, the full moon is also thought to amplify mood swings, anxiety, more frequent low moods and sensitivity. It is also interesting to know that in our most natural and harmonious states (i.e. without drugs, alcohol, contraception, other medication and / or poor diet), women are supposed to menstruate either at the new moon or the full moon. It is not surprising, then, that if we are naturally intended to sync with nature, we must have some kind of intrinsic connection to the energies around us. When you also think about how the moon affects water and, more specifically, tides, it is interesting to notice that we humans are made up of around 75% water, and so, if the moon can dictate tides and influence the gravitational pull of our planet, it would make a lot of sense that it might also do the same to us on a smaller scale.

Sage_024.jpg

How to adopt the energy of the full moon and how to handle whatever comes up:

The time leading up to and during the Full Moon is a highly energetic one. It is a time when lots is in flux; it may feel like there is a lot bubbling away and like something is building up and you may feel unsettled, uncertain and ungrounded, but not quite be able to put your finger on it. Whilst the new moon is a time of intention setting and cleansing, the full moon is a much more active time where things seem to be really in motion and up in the air. If you are able to tune into the energy, you can often ground and go with the flow, and be entirely in your power - mimicking the energy of the moon and in fact being super productive and inspired. However, if you are not aligned with its energies, you might experience a constant sense of feeling overwhelmed, confused and lacking direction.

1. My first piece of advice is to honour your energy. Sometimes at a full moon you may have bundles of energy, whilst others you may be super tired and lethargic. The key is to accept however you feel, and understand that it is not necessarily because of anything you have or haven’t done, but is in some cases out of your control. Surrendering like this feels amazing, and it really helps you to tune in to what you need. Sometimes you just need to pause. And at the other end of the spectrum, if you have high energy levels and feel highly motivated, it is also important sometimes to slow down, and not to jump into any rash decisions or make any major changes. Whilst this time can be incredibly inspiring, it is sometimes still best to be open to what comes up, analyse it for a while, and not necessarily act on in straight away.

2. My second piece of advice is to start to take note of when the full moon is approaching. I would suggest downloading one of many free apps, or investing in a moon calendar, to ensure you can schedule in certain things around the full moon (such as seeing friends, a massage, or just doing nothing) and avoid certain things (such as intense exercise, important meetings or self-set deadlines). By doing this you can be not only more aware but also more prepared.

3. Thirdly, take it easy and don’t do too much. It is not just one day that the full moon affects us, unfortunately, but it is often just as difficult or emotional a time in the lead up to the full moon. My advice is to just keep aware of how you are feeling, and take it easy. Don’t try to do too much, instead, turn inwards and dig deep to discover what’s really going on, why you are experiencing certain thoughts or moods, and take time to be grateful for what you’ve got. Having a grateful attitude will attract more experiences and opportunities of the same vibrational frequency. This may sound a bit ‘out there’, but the more positively and abundantly you think, the more of the same you will attract, according to the unwritten law’s of the universe. So, take it easy, take time to take stock, and think positively.

4. Finally, a few tips on making the most of the full moon energy. How should you utilise this powerful time and what can help you in staying grounded whilst manifesting efficiently? For me, it is about taking time to pause and ask yourself a few meaningful questions. How are you feeling, physically and mentally? How is your career? How are your relationships? How is your fitness? Delve deep and try to find the root of any troubling thoughts or emotions, then try to set them right, or do something to change them. To do this, you might do yoga or try meditation, or even sound healing if you don’t have a independent meditation practice. Another thing you can try, to really tune in, is going for a walk, alone in silence or with someone else. Being in nature is incredibly powerful, always, and especially at this time of the month. I often take a cup of tea and walk around my neighbourhood with one of my friends when night has fallen and the moon is bright. Even just gazing at the night sky is an amazing ritual for instantly feeling grounded.

Notebook_010.jpg

Once grounded, it can also be useful to write things down or journal. You might want to write about how you feel or write answers to the questions you’ve asked yourself, or you might want to write down things you want to manifest or goals you may have had, or just random bits of inspiration that may have surfaced. I always find it useful to brainstorm at this time of the month, as i often feel quite unsettled and unfocussed. It works for me to brainstorm what i really want to be focusing on, and sometimes this means letting go of certain things or just saving them for another time.

Another way to really nourish and ground at this time, too, is to eat a really natural meal, either during the day of the full moon or the evening of, depending on the time. I like to choose fresh, unprocessed ingredients, such as vegetables and grains, and in the summer I'll keep these raw and in the winter, i'll turn them into some kind of soup, curry or stew, for a more deeply nourishing, comforting and grounding meal.

Dahl_031.jpg

So, a lot of information to digest, I know, but in a nutshell, if nothing else, the full moon should act as a reminder for you to slow down a bit and turn inwards; to recalibrate, take stock and to get focused on where you are and where you want to get to. It is a very personal time and can vary from person to person, from month to month, but I would strongly recommend getting to know the phases of the moon in order to get to know yourself a little more, to ultimately live a more informed and empowered life. Honour your energy, and if you're feeling active, get manifesting, and if you're feeling fatigued, indulge and take care of yourself! If nothing else, please go and gaze out at the moon and stars tonight; it will change your mood instantly!

Sustainable Swaps to Live More Consciously ~ for The Welle Co

Commisions, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Sustainability, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
IMG_1517.jpg

KNOWING EXACTLY WHICH EVERYDAY ITEMS YOU CAN SWAP, AND WHAT FOR, GOES A LONG WAY TOWARDS LIVING A HEALTHIER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE LIFE. DANIELLE COPPERMAN EXPLAINS WHY.

Sustainability is a hot topic right now. It’s no secret that human behaviour is taking its toll on the earth and people can no longer deny that the way we act (and more specifically, consume) is unsustainable.

Modern life has progressed so much and whilst we now have more than ever, we also seem to want more than ever, too. We crave more and more possessions, newer and newer things… when in actuality, basic human needs are really very little. As a result of recent warnings, such as the amount of plastic in the ocean equating to more than the amount of fish come 2050 (yikes!), I’m on an ongoing journey of overhauling my lifestyle to make it more sustainable.

I know first-hand that it can seem quite intimidating to know where to start when it comes to making impactful changes. But there are so many things you can do, some large and some small, so I’ve outlined a few of my favourite ‘harmful for helpful’ sustainable swaps below that will help you to reduce your consumption and in turn reduce waste, meaning you will have a much lighter impact on the planet this year.

SAY NO TO…

Single use straws

Say NO to plastic straws! If you absolutely need to use a straw, opt for a paper or bamboo straw or a reusable straw made from glass, silicone, recycled (and reusable) plastic or wood. Luckily, many cafés and restaurants are now ditching the disposable straws for more sustainable options, so this swap is getting easier and easier to incorporate into your lifestyle. You could also buy your own and keep one in your bag ICOE.

Takeaway coffee cups

As much as we all love our coffee, the abundance of takeaway cups being tossed into landfill is absolutely killing the planet. Instead of using takeaway cups, invest in a good reusable option such as a Keep Cup, or a reusable glass, plastic or bamboo takeaway-style cup or flask. Your favourite coffee shop will gladly fill it for you.

Disposable cutlery

Say no to disposable, single-use plastic cutlery from cafés. Instead, invest in reusable bamboo cutlery – this is great because you can keep it in your bag at all times. Alternatively, just keep your standard metal cutlery in your bag (however in my opinion they’re a little heavier, louder and less convenient). This set is super handy and comes complete with straws, straw cleaners and a fabric wrap to keep them together and clean.

Standard cotton buds

Swap your standard, plastic stick cotton buds in favour of those made from bamboo, wood or paper, and ideally with organic cotton. As a bonus, the organic cotton is better for your ears as it contains less harmful dyes than the cotton from a standard cotton bud.

Disposable make up removal pads

Swap disposable, single-use cotton wool pads for reusable versions. You can find reusable cotton rounds, or bamboo options, or even make your own from old fabric. Alternatively, use a muslin cloth or flannel to remove make up (instead of going through loads of cotton pads which take a long time to biodegrade and can harm the environment in doing so). Also, buy in bulk, to save of shipping packaging and transportation miles.

Plastic toothbrushes

Swap your plastic toothbrushes for bamboo ones. If you have an electric brush that lasts for longer, don’t worry too much… but for those of you going through a new plastic toothbrush every month or so, swap to bamboo! You’ll be taking care of your teeth and the environment.

Harmful beauty products

Take a look into your make up bag… how many of your products use plastics, parabens, chemicals and other fillers that are harmful for your skin? Those hidden nasties not only clog your pores but also seriously harm the environment (by circulating in our water supplies). Instead, opt for natural beauty products and keep an eye out for brands with recyclable, biodegradable or refillable packaging.

Fast fashion

We’re all guilty of impulsively spending on a trend that we just had to have… but we could all stand to stop buying so much! Next time you fancy a shopping spree, why not head to a charity, thrift or vintage store or a flea market? You’ll find something more unique whilst also finding a new home for something that could otherwise end up in landfill.

Plastic shopping bags

Not only are plastic shopping bags terrible for our planet and wildlife, they’re relatively flimsy, too… so instead, use reusable tote bags or other fabric bags when shopping. You’ll feel good about making a small swap that helps the planet and you’ll fit more in your bags, too.

Bottled water­

Bottled water costs you a pretty penny and contributes greatly to landfill, with as much as 91% of plastic bottles not recycled. Instead, invest in a reusable water bottle. Reusable bottles also come with great features that disposable bottles can’t complete with (such as fruit infusers, thermos protection and filtration), so shop around and find a bottle that fits your needs.

Supermarket shelf sanitary products

For the women out there, you should really rethink your period management and collection methods. Tampons can be dangerous (TSS, anyone?) and surprisingly, even organic tampons are quite unnatural. During menstruation, your body is detoxing itself so it’s really important to ‘let it out’, so to speak. Moon Cups are the most eco-friendly form of feminine care, and they’re cheaper too! The average period cup can last you up to a decade and has the benefit of being leak-proof (bonus!), so­­­ you won’t have to stock up on sanitary supplies every month.

Simple Lifestyle Hacks for Surviving the Winter ~ for The Welle Co

Commisions, Beauty, Autumn, Essentials, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Winter, Wellbeingdanielle copperman2 Comments
EssentialOils_002.jpg

WITH WINTER IN FULL SWING, THE DAYS ARE SHORTER, DARKER AND HARSHER, YET OFTEN WE FORGET TO TAKE THE TIME TO ADAPT OUR LIFESTYLES IN ORDER TO SURVIVE THEM. LONDON-BASED NUTRITIONIST DANIELLE COPPERMAN SHOWS US HOW.

Whilst we take care to brace ourselves for the freezing conditions (think more layers, bigger boots and larger coats), too often we forget to consider the areas of our lives impacted by the cooler weather other than our wardrobes. Instead, we carry on our lives as much as normal, trying to power through and forcing ourselves to continue our usual lifestyles whilst enduring winter’s side effects (such as low energy, low moods, low motivation, skin issues and much more).

For me personally, when the seasons change (and especially during the shift from summer to autumn/winter), I try to make small changes to all areas of my life to help me continue to thrive.

I find that I naturally begin to crave more seasonal foods (which I believe, if we are tuned in to listen to our bodies, is in our innate nature) and honour these cravings;

  • Swap out a few of my daily beauty products

  • Incorporate new rituals such as self-massage and natural movement (even if exercise is the last thing that I feel like doing!)

  • Make space for little moments to pause, take a breather and tune in to acknowledge and honour my energy at least once or twice a week – especially if there’s a lot going on in my life socially or with work. Sometimes, it’s important to learn how to say ‘no’ and the winter is a wonderful excuse for this, so use it!

These little life hacks make a big difference in my life.

Struggling to find the mojo to make it through to the summer with as much energy, inspiration, motivation and positivity as possible?

Try these life hacks and watch your mood improve (you’ll also benefit from supported physiological functions, a thriving immune system and vibrant, hydrated skin – bonus!)

PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOUR CRAVINGS ARE TELLING YOU

We have cravings for a reason and our cravings speak to changes in our activity level, physiological responses and environments.

We crave carbs when we’ve worked out or run or walked for miles. We crave sugar if our blood sugar levels are dipping too low. We crave salt if our blood sugar levels are too high. 

Similarly, at different times of the year and in different climates, we need different things from our food, and nature knows that. It prepares itself for the ingredients that our bodies really need to flourish, and in winter, these foods are usually ones that keep our immune systems strong and keep our energy levels high. They’re also usually warming and grounding.

At the beginning of the year, my seasonal cravings usually include Brussels sprouts, apples, cabbage, chestnuts, mushrooms, dark leafy greens, earthy roots (like carrots, parsnips, pumpkin and beets), blood oranges and grains (like brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat).

I tend to prepare more cooked meals during these colder months as they are easier on our digestion, warm us internally and support circulation. I also try to incorporate apples or citrus fruits into most of my days too, for their abundance of vitamins to protect against viruses.

I also ramp up my adaptogen game during the colder months and add in some new ingredients to replace those I need during the summertime. Adaptogens, herbs and spices play a major part in my daily diet and I find the easiest way to use them is in smoothies or stirred through hot or cold water or plant-based milks. During the winter, I love the SUPER ELIXIR with cacao, mucuna puriens, ashwaganda, cordyceps, reishi, shilajit and maca that really do wonders to keep my energy levels and moods high (as well as keeping those dreaded winter illnesses at bay).

NOURISH YOUR SKIN

My skin always suffers during this time of year and becomes incredibly dry, fragile and sensitive, so I always make sure to switch my lighter and usually water-based summertime products with denser and oil-based products. I also exfoliate less (and use more gentle products when I do) and cleanse as usual. 

Once a month, I also do a steam with essential oils and throughout the season, I use all-natural, organic products made with whole ingredients (without nasty additives or chemicals) and most importantly, lots of natural oils (such as coconut, almond, shea, cacao and essential oils).

If you suffer from dry skin, I’d highly recommend using more oil-based products - or even just pure carrier oils - as they are gentler on the skin whilst providing rehydration and bringing balance back to your complexion. Many people falsely believe that oils will make their skin greasier and blemish prone, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In addition to being nourishing, these natural oils are often antibacterial and antiviral too and as such, keep skin clean.

STEP UP YOUR DAILY MOVEMENT

During the winter, one of the most important rituals to incorporate into your routine (at least a few times a week, if not daily!) is movement. It’s so important to keep things moving and keep your circulation in check with supported blood flow and oxygen intake. If you can’t bring yourself to work out or if it’s just too cold for a run, try to walk places as much as you can. Walking is enough to get your heart rate up so it’s a great option for those who struggle with finding the time or motivation for more strenuous activity during winter.  

It’s super important to find ways to move that are still gentle and not too stress-inducing, as this is a time when most other animals are hibernating… and to some extent, we should be too. But it’s important for us, as we continue to go about modern life and our daily responsibilities, to keep things moving. You’ll feel better mentally and physically for it!

SET YOUR INTENTIONS

Other rituals I like to practice during the winter and particularly at the beginning of the year in January include setting intentions and journaling. This really helps me to reflect on my achievements from the year, focus on what I have and note what I am grateful for – as well as helping me map out my goals for the year ahead.

I also like to use tarot cards or oracle cards if I’m feeling particularly lost, stuck or unmotivated in life. These cards can help to give you a sign, a message or just a nudge in the right direction, and you don’t have to be a pro tarot reader to use them. It works by simply putting your energy into the deck of cards and asking them questions on things you want to know or need some clarity or guidance on. I love this practice and even if it seems a bit ‘woo woo’, if nothing else it helps you to become present and grounded and always gives positive and inspiring information.

BECOME COMFORTABLE WITH THE COLD

This one’s going to hurt, but it’s actually really good for us - mentally and physically - to be exposed to the cold… not for a long time, perhaps, but for short intervals.

That’s why during this time of year, I try to take interval showers a few times a month, which means standing under cold water for 1 minute then returning it to warm water and repeating a few times. It’s like cryotherapy in your own home.

On the other end of the spectrum, it is of course super beneficial to be warm too, and so I’d suggest saunas or steam rooms to be incorporated into your rituals, at least once a month if you can.

When I’m in Sweden visiting my boyfriend, there are places you can go to jump naked into an iced-over lake, and then run quickly (with a robe of course) into a sauna nearby. It’s so invigorating, revitalising and energising and is a wonderful way to move energy, shift blockages and keep your metabolism active.

Danielle Copperman is a qualified nutritionist, food writer and chef based in London. She is also the founder of QNOLA. You can also find Danielle’s book, Well Being, on Amazon.

This Simple (And Cheap) Hack Will Give Your Beauty Routine An Instant Eco-Upgrade ~ For Mind Body Green

Anytime, Beauty, Essentials, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Sustainability, Commisionsdanielle coppermanComment

The U.N. warned us: We have 12 years before the damage we've done to the Earth becomes irreversible. Instead of letting reports like this paralyze us, let's use them to empower us. The experts are saying it's going to take a mix of large-scale change AND individual action to save our planet—and we want to help you do what you can. Consider our new series your no-excuses guide to cleaning up your act, one step at a time. Today, we're sharing an eco-friendly hack that will clean up your beauty routine.

When it comes to eco-friendly living, I like to think I'm on top of my game. Well, as much as one can be in this day in age.

I made my first step into a more sustainable lifestyle when I worked as a model. Having a behind-the-scenes look into the fashion industry inspired me to make more conscious decisions about my own wardrobe: buy less, recycle more, and support brands championing natural fabrics. Soon enough, I was spending more time browsing secondhand shops and vintage markets than high-end stores—and it felt good. I was excited to start becoming more mindful in other parts of my life too, and my beauty routine soon took centre stage.

The problem: Some beauty tools aren't great for us—or the planet.

I probably don't need to tell you that the green beauty industry is booming. In my opinion, it's great news: Natural products just feel better on my skin, and they also tend to be healthier for the planet since they are free of ingredients like parabens, paraffins, and other artificial compounds that are resource-intensive to manufacture. A lot of them also come in more sustainable packaging, be it recyclable, refillable, or biodegradable.

All of this is great, but I recognise that it's unrealistic to ask people to overhaul their entire beauty regimen in one go. However, even if the average person can't afford to switch over to green products overnight—they CAN easily update some of the tools in their kit.

Over the years, I've made some super simple and economical swaps in my vanity (think: bamboo toothbrushes for plastic ones and refillable floss containers), but finding an alternative for the masses and masses of cotton pads I use to remove makeup is definitely the one that brings me the most pride.

There are a few problems with standard cotton balls or pads: They can't be reused, and they don't biodegrade quickly. Cotton also requires a lot of water and heavy doses of pesticides and insecticides to grow. Cotton pads are often bleached, too, making them more harmful for our skin and more dangerous to the surrounding environment. When you consider that many of us use at least one of these suckers every single day, this ain't good.

The "one small thing" solution: Ditch your cotton balls or makeup rounds for a reusable option.

I've managed to ditch disposable cotton rounds for a reusable alternative that is kinder to the planet, gentler on my skin, and super absorbent. Win, win, win!

These days, it's pretty easy to find a pack of reusable cotton pads made using 100 percent cotton, fleece, or bamboo online. They often come in the same shapes and sizes as standard cotton pads—the only difference is you can still get more than one use out of them. I usually use the same one about three or four times during the week. Then I simply add it to the rest of my laundry. Most shop-bought reusable cotton pads come in packs of five-plus, meaning you can continue to use fresh ones while the old ones are in the wash.

My Favourite options are these, these, these, these and these. Some come in quite large pack sizes, but share them out with friends or family if you don’t think you’ll get through them all yourself. The more people making small sustainable changes the better!

Keep in mind: Cotton pads are not always guaranteed to be 100 percent cotton and sometimes contain synthetics like rayon or viscose. Read your labels carefully!

If you don't want to shell out the cash for these (though they are cheap!), you can simply use a muslin cloth the same way you would a cotton pad, focusing on one corner of it at a time and rinsing with hot water between uses. When it's time for a refresh, simply add it to the rest of your laundry. You can also make these yourself from old clothes or scrap fabrics.

Even if you don't use cotton rounds to remove makeup, there's bound to be part of your beauty routine that adds up to a lot of trash. Identify it, then see what you can do to cut back.

With all the information out there about how to make eco-friendly changes urgently, it can be intimidating to know where to start. The good news is, there are an infinite amount of tweaks each and every one of us can make that will ladder up to larger change. And these changes can be as small as a cotton ball.

Read the full article here.

How to Self Massage ~ For Ecoage

Commisions, Anytime, Beauty, Natural Living, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
6A227053-3509-4763-9EE2-E222958DF089.jpg

Massage shouldn’t be a luxury confined to the spa…

Having a massage is commonly seen to be an indulgent act of self-care; an expensive and quite frankly ‘extra’ luxury that only a fraction of us has the time and money to enjoy. It is very rarely seen as a necessary part of our wellbeing, and especially not a priority in our everyday rituals.

However, since studying Shiatsu and holistic massage last year, I became so interested in the benefits that massage has on both our bodies and minds, and how it can be used not only for relaxation but in many cases to prevent and/or to heal all kinds of physical and mental malfunctions.

When you think of massage, likely an image of a peaceful spa springs to mind, and you associate it with feeling instantly relaxed and calm. That, or it’s an unimpressive setting, maybe even a pop-up massage table in your own home, and a deep-tissue sports-style massage that leaves you grinding your teeth and in more pain than when it began. Either way, aside from it being used for pure relaxation or to reduce physical tension, there are so many other benefits of massage and issues it can ease.

Massage, of course, is relaxing, which makes it a powerful ritual to reduce stress, anxiety and even depression. Also, given the purest oils are used, it can help to make skin softer and more hydrated, and can even be used to soothe and heal irritations or imbalances. Massage can also be incredibly energising, which may seem unlikely when you think of how relaxing they can be (I almost always fall into a deep sleep during mine). But given the right techniques are used, massage can really enliven and invigorate the body and mind, and help enhance energy levels. On the contrary, it can also aid sleep and improve sleeping patterns. But perhaps one of my favourite benefits of massage is how it contributes to internal processes such as circulation, lymphatic drainage and digestion. It can help encourage circulation, reduce toxins, shift stagnant energy and diffuse internal blockages, and even improve digestive issues such as IBS, indigestion, bloating, constipation and more. And one last thing, if you think of the body in terms of energy flow and its meridians, massage used to reduce physical tension can help to redirect the energy flow of the body and mind, having major affects on the mental and emotional, reaching them through the physical and enhancing the connection and communication between the two.

Granted, this information is all well and good but it still doesn’t make going for a massage any more accessible for you, right? Well, the good news is, you can still reap the benefits of massage by doing it on yourself. Or, better yet, getting a partner or friend to help you out once in a while. Make it a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ kind of scenario? However you choose to do it, dissolve accumulated stress and toxins within the body and mind and enhance your mental and physical performance with a daily, or at least weekly, doses of massage. You can do a full body massage using your hands, with or without oil, improvising as you go, or if you need a little more guidance and inspiration, read on for massage sequences for specific areas of the body.

1. Neck and shoulders

These exercises are great for people who are especially stressed and who hold a lot of physical tension in their neck, shoulders and back. It is great for those hunched over desks all day too, and can even be done at your desk during the day. If you want to make it more of a ritual, use a little oil and take more time over this sequence at home after a long day. This sequence is also calming and relaxing as just the act of focussing solely on this massage can help activate the parasympathetic part of the brain, slowing busy thoughts and becoming a kind of gentle meditation.

How to:

Use the thin edge of your hand and in saw-like motions, gently hack at the neck, focussing on the trapezius muscle - the large muscle that holds up the neck and runs over the shoulders and shoulder blades and even around the upper back. Tilt your head to the left, first, and work on the right side of the neck, then repeat on the other side.

After you have done this ‘chopping’ motion, make a fist and gently use your knuckle to work around the shoulder. Have your right arm hanging loose and limp, and using your left knuckle, work in a sort of Mexican wave motion, moving the knuckles in a flowing motion over and around the shoulder. Then, release your fist and simply use your finger tips and predominantly your thumb to work more deeply into the shoulder area. Repeat on the other shoulder.

2. Face and head

These exercises are incredibly energising for both the body and mind, but are simultaneously calming. Working to energise the face and head increases alertness and can enhance focus and concentration, which makes these exercises perfect at the start of the day.

How to:
Using the fingertips of both hands, start by gently tapping them over the forehead and temples. Move the hands across the forehead and the temples, back and forth a few times. You can use as much or as little force as feels good. Gradually work your way in the same manner up the sides of the head to the top of the head, and move around the entire top, back and sides of the head a few times. Finish by bringing the fingertips forward again to the forehead area.

Next, using your middle three fingers, smooth the eyebrow areas from the centre of the face where they begin, out to the edges. Then get your thumb involved, smoothing it under the eyebrows as the fingers remain on the top of the eyebrows or just away from the face. Next, use the fingertips under the eyebrows on the upper eyelid bone to smooth and massage. I often get puffy here after sleeping so this is a great exercise if you experience the same.

Next, bring the fingertips once more to the temple and press with some force, massaging in a circular motion. Then bring the fingertips to the cheeks and cheekbones. Start by tapping the cheekbones with the fingertips, back and forth from the outer edges of the face towards the nose. Then massage the cheek area using circular motions. You can also smooth the area (this works best if using a light oil), starting at the edges of the nose and smoothing the cheeks a few times, out towards the edges of the face. You should work on the top area, the main middle area and the underneath of the cheekbones. Finish at the edges of the face, towards the ears, and using your index finger, press gently a few times into the bone that joins the cheeks and the upper jaw bone.

Then, work on the jaw area. From the cheek and jaw bone join, drag the fingertips down the sides of the jaw to the bottom join, where you back teeth meet. With you middle three fingers on the bottom jaw bone, had the thumb gently gripping underneath the jaw bone, and work in circular motions to move from the edges of the jaw in towards the chin. Repeat a few times and alternate between using circular motions and just smoothing in one swift movement.

Finally, use the fingertips to move above the jaw into the main fleshy cheek area, over the teeth and around the mouth. Work in circular motions or however feels good to massage into the muscles of the cheeks, and do the same around the area above the upper lip and below the lower lip.

Finish by working around the nose, smoothing up and down the sides of the nose and pressing with your index finger into the corners of the nose. Smooth from the nose slightly out towards the cheeks. This is especially good for sinus issues and to improve breathing .

Finish by using the palms of the hands to rub over the entire face, pulling and stretching however feels good or just lightly brushing over the face to complete the ritual.

*You could also try using traditional massage tools for face massage, such as a marble gua sha, a jade roller or other wooden or stone tools

3. Feet

We demand a lot from our feet to support us, perhaps more than any other body part, yet we rarely consider taking extra special care of them. The following massage technique helps to invigorate the flow of energy and relieve tension within the feet. Through working on the major muscles and pressure points (and meridians) in the feet we can aid many other organs and ailments in the body too, including aches, digestion and inflammation. These exercises are great towards the end of the day, and can also encourage lymphatic drainage, meaning diffusing toxins and waste matter. 

Read the full article here, and find out more about self-massage along with more rituals in my book, Well Being.

How to Boost Your Immunity This Fall ~ for Glasshouse Journal

Commisions, Winter, Wellbeing, Rituals, Natural Living, Lifestyledanielle coppermanComment
LF6B3062.jpg

Earlier this winter, I shared my winter wellness tips with Glasshouse Salon - one of my favourite natural / organic hairdressers and beauty salon. Find out how I keep well during the colder, darker months, below.

What do you do during the colder months to boost your immune system? Do you incorporate different things that you might not use during the spring/summer?

Yes, totally. Naturally, my body craves different kinds of foods this time of year. I never used to pay much attention to it but as I become more aware of locally seasonal foods, its super interesting to notice how my preferences adapt. I don't know if its tradition and comfort as the temperatures drop, but i start to crave more root vegetables, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, spices, curries, soups and broths, as well as tea on tap. So in that sense, i incorporate different ingredients into my diet and cook very different (more hearty and grounding, but also energising) meals. I also take more supplements (like vitamin D, 5 HTP, multivitamins, omega fish oils, zinc, copper, probiotics - depending on how I'm feeling) to support my body's natural immune response. And i continue to drink lots of liquids - lemon and ginger, water, charcoal in water, spirulina in water, greens powders and more. I think the more antioxidants the better. It's also useful to know that sometimes, depending on the type of illness (cold/flu or sore throat or headache) will depend on which remedies work for you. Last christmas my sisters and I were all ill with sore throats (it often happens when we fully surrender and relax and our bodies just shut down!), and we were chugging ginger tea like there was no tomorrow. but it was actually aggravating our throats more. So don't just follow what you read. Do some research and use more gentle herbs, rituals and rest whenever you feel the onset of any ailment.

In terms of beauty, I change up my routine slightly as things like colder, drier weather, heating, wearing layers and more viruses in the air tend to aggravate it. I stick to the same fundamentals mostly, as i find my skin gets confused if i change my products too often - and if your regular products are natural and pure enough, they should have a variety of adaptable properties and functions that can provide for all kinds of situations, skin-types and seasons. But I will stop cleansing my face too much with water-based products (as they are more drying), and I tend to use much genteel exfoliation processes, and much fewer masks (changing to sheet masks which I find more hydrating and moisturising). I like to let the natural oils of my face stay as balanced as possible and so i try not to over-wash. I think we over-wash so much these days, that our skins normal and natural PH, oil levels and immunity gets out of whack. If you wash your face less I find the skin is trained and more prepared to cope with bacteria and dirt, as the oils of the skin are our natural protection against these things. It's only really when you've been wearing make up that you need to cleanse thoroughly. A parting note would be not to be scared or sceptical of oils, as i think many people assume they will make the skin oilier. i wear an oil to bed almost every night, and as long as your diet is in check and you are drinking plenty of water, you won't find that natural oils contribute to blemishes or clogged pores like you think they will. what clogs pores is dirt, not powerful and functional ingredients from the earth. Oils are full of essential fats (for cell growth, elasticity and renewal), as well as antioxidants and are antiviral, antibacterial and much more. I use oils as my body moisturiser too, and dry brush to encourage circulation, lymphatic drainage and to remove dead skin.

Rituals I use to elevate my immune system include yoga, movement and pranayama. Pranayama can be really cleansing for the organs and also ensure that breathing is regulated and youre sending enough oxygen around the body for vital functions. I also find movement is vital in order to keep the body feeling alive and active. I use meditation and pranayama to enhance my energy levels this time of year too, as well as yoga and other exercise. I do tapping and shaking (both rituals from my book, Well Being) in the mornings to encourage circulation, to reduce muscle tension and to warm up the body. Hot baths are great when it gets colder, as they regulate temperature. Better more, use a potent mineral-based bath soak to restore essential vitamins and hydrate. I also turn to massage more in the colder months, as the drop in temperature can lead to aching or tight joints, muscle tension and poor circulation. I have the worst circulation and am a cold person most of the year, so in the winter i get really cold hands and feet and my fingers occasionally go completely numb and lose their colour. I use oils on my body to give myself regular massages (especially on my hands, legs and face), to encourage circulation and lymphatic drainage.

I truly believe that illnesses are an indication of a much deeper emotional / mental / energetic / chakral issue. There is so much to learn in this area and it sounds pretty woo woo but it makes perfect sense to me. When I'm anxious or stressed, I always reach burnout and my body just shuts down to show me that i'm trying to make it operate at a pace that isn't normal, and to really force me to stop. When i recently felt super low-confidence, fearful and a little uncertain, I had a sore throat and my chest was tighter than ever. I went to an energy healer and she told me sore throat was associated with not speaking your truth and intense worry. And in the past I have had migraines when i've been too in my own head with thoughts and not living in the present moment. The body is so clever, so if you do feel something coming on, take time to pause and really tune in. Then the real healing can begin. It may not always be something that can be healed with food, supplements or rituals. Although, often at this time of year, illnesses are virus or bacteria based (especially in over-crowded cities), so sometimes its unavoidable and nothing personal at all! Just be aware and then you'll find what you need.

Inside My Apartment & My Sustainable Wardrobe ~ With What's Your Legacy

Beauty, Business Stories, Essentials, Lifestyle, Inspiration, Natural Living, Style, Sustainability, Video, Commisionsdanielle copperman1 Comment

Last month, I welcomed What’s Your Legacy into my apartment and let them nose around my room and delve into my wardrobe in search of the most ethical and sustainable pieces and to discover the stories behind them. We talked about my business, my book, my lifestyle and much more, and I showed them my favourite eco-friendly / second hand / vintage items, from jackets and dresses to bags and other accessories.

If you have any questions or comments, leave them below.