Spring Clean Your Life
Traditionally, New Year’s Day is the time of year to mark new beginnings – whether it’s starting a daily exercise regime, launching a business or quitting a bad habit. But why don’t we follow nature’s lead and start our new beginnings in the spring?
For many people, the only springtime change they initiate involves mops, sponges, buckets and bleach; but this year, we’re taking spring cleaning to a whole new level. The turn of the season from winter to spring is our new January 1st, and we’re focusing on cleaning up our health, wardrobe and home.
SPRING CLEAN YOUR HEALTH
with Jessie Pavelka
Somehow spring seems a good opportunity to make changes to our lives. It’s a time for review and renewal and once the sun starts to warm us up, we are no longer able to hide any excess we may have gained over the winter months.
Texan-born fitness expert Jessie Pavelka suggests a variety of ways for us to look at sharpening and shaping up for summer.
I believe that we should be looking after ourselves all year round, but I also feel that spring is a good time for a well-being audit on our health and that undoubtedly leads to the need to make a few changes, so I hope these few words will give you some ideas on how to step up and shape up – not just for yourself but for those around you too.
Changing your body is also about changing your mind. There are many different ways to get results in a mirror or on the scales, but the key to living well over the long term is developing the ability to love and take care of yourself no matter what else is happening in your life.
Review your lifestyle:
- Give yourself time to think back over the last four weeks. Have you been giving your body the food it needs to create fuel for energy and vitality?
- Have you been moving every day? I’m not suggesting you need to do a daily 10-mile run, but I do believe that you should move each day.
- How much good quality down time or ‘you’ time have you been gifting yourself? Have you had any time at all to just ‘be’?
- Who have you been connecting with in the past month? Are they the sort of people who would encourage and support your wellbeing journey?
If the answer to any of these is in the negative, then make the changes you need to rectify it.
I base my philosophy of true health around four simple elements or actions. EAT, SWEAT, THINK, CONNECT.
If you take the time to bring these into your life you will be amazed at how different you will feel. By eating more nutritious food, moving each day, controlling your thoughts and mixing with people who energise you, your life can become pretty special, and the cool thing is that these four actions can be absorbed into your everyday life – but you need to be aware of where you are and the changes you need to make. Today I’m going to be focusing on the first two: Eat and Sweat, the perfect recipe for spring cleaning your body.
I encourage people to see food as fuel. Many people attach food to emotions, eating when they are happy, sad, excited, stressed, instead of eating to feed the body with what it needs to perform its best each day. Some people seek solace in ice cream and sweets, while others seek comfort from takeaways. Unhealthy eating doesn’t only affect your waistline; it can also affect your energy levels and other areas of your body, including oral health and even contribute to conditions such as diabetes. If you find your unhealthy eating has caused issues such as dental problems, take the time to ensure you address these problems and take steps to fix them. An Exeter dentist, for example, will be able to help tackle cavities and toothache; a psychologist will be able to help you understand why certain foods trigger happiness and comfort.
A good way to start is to just start. Sometimes that can be the hardest part, but once you do it can become exciting, especially as you start to realise how much better making small changes can make you feel.
For those who want a kick start, you could try a short-term detox. We give our bodies a hard task every day; your liver, kidneys, colon and other systems are removing toxins from your organs, tissues and fat all the time. Everyone’s experience is different, but some of my clients report that after detoxing for a few days they notice an improvement in their energy levels, concentration and skin condition, with less bloating, indigestion, sluggishness and headaches. Many of them experience weight loss.
I would suggest that for four days you give your body a rest from coffee, sugar, alcohol and dairy foods, and eliminate all processed food and animal protein. You can go cold turkey or reduce more slowly – it’s up to you. I recommend a variety of smoothies and soups for those four days.
I’m a big fan of the breakfast smoothie – it sets you up for the day and gives your body the boost it needs; it’s also quick and convenient to prepare. For the detox, the smoothies should contain four elements:
- Fit fats (unsaturated – for example: avocado, nuts, seeds, nut butters).
- Polyphenols (found in a variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables, spices and herbs).
- Leafy greens (try spinach, kale, cabbage or broccoli).
- Power proteins (e.g. protein powder and yogurt and/or kefir (a fermented milk drink, similar to yogurt).
Try this one!
Green Tea Smoothie
240ml (9fl oz) brewed green tea, cooled
1 scoop protein powder
1/2 medium banana
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp ground flaxseed (linseed)
30g (1oz) fresh spinach leaves
Put all the ingredients into a blender, add ice to taste and blend until smooth.
During the detox days you should eat three soups a day; at least one of them should be vegetable based and one bean based.
Whichever soups you choose to make, they should include a combination of three of the following core elements:
- Spices and herbs (sage, thyme, ginger, rosemary, marjoram and oregano, chilli pepper, black pepper and cinnamon). They taste great and add flavour and depth without adding fat or calories.
- Cruciferous vegetables (these are the good guys – kale, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy (pak choi), broccoli, rocket, swede, watercress). They are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
- Allium family (onions, garlic, shallots, spring onions, chives and leeks have been used for centuries for their health benefits). These plants provide a rich flavour base for your soups (and many other meals) without added calories and fat.
- Pulses (legumes such as kidney beans, black beans, white beans, chickpeas, lentils). You name it, they’re all good!
Here’s one to get you started!
Carrot and Ginger Soup
Serves 8; approximately 350ml (12fl oz) per serving
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
85g (3oz) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
1.3kg (3lb) carrots, chopped
1.7 litres (3 pints) vegetable stock
Sea salt and ground white pepper
100g (3½oz) broccoli florets, broken into very small florets
3 tbsp chopped fresh chives
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and sweat the onion, garlic, ginger and cumin for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Pour in the stock and simmer until the carrots are tender. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth, adding salt and pepper to taste, then, if you wish, pass through a fine mesh strainer. Blanche the broccoli in boiling water for 5 minutes until bright green and stir into the soup. Serve sprinkled with chopped chives.
If you are going through a four-day detox, I would suggest that the best exercise for you is light cardio. Walking or light jogging or maybe swimming. You want to avoid long distances and remember that your body is dealing with a lot as you cleanse through this period. Food and exercise go hand in hand and you have to adapt one to suit the other depending on your ultimate aim. Keeping the body moving is the best way to assist the cleansing process.
After the four-day cleanse you can start to build up on your food and your exercise. Add plenty of protein into your diets and try to get in five meals a day (three main meals and two healthy snacks). Also, find an exercise that you enjoy and see how you can challenge yourself each day. Cardio is key when it comes to weight loss. I am also a huge fan of resistance training which doesn’t necessarily take off the pounds, but rather adds lean muscle mass to make the body more efficient in its BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate – the rate at which we burn calories at rest). For all the female exercisers out there – don’t be afraid to pick up a weight.
Overall, once you get yourself into routine, exercise or movement holds you accountable and you’re more likely to make better decisions with your food and in life in general if you give yourself the gift of movement.
Finally, here are an additional three bite-size tips that can be incorporated into your daily routine:
- Eat more fish. Fish is a great protein source that is low in saturated fat and high in Omega 3. It’s good for brain and heart health and overall fitness.
- Add variety and colour to your plate.
- Consistency with your exercise and your food is key, but remember to rest.
Want to know more about Jessie’s philosophy for true health surrounding the four elements? His new book, The Programme, (Little Brown Book Group £12.99) is coming out on May10th and will be available in stores and online. Also, read more about him and his online wellbeing environment, The Pavelka House, at www.pavelka.co.uk.
SPRING CLEAN YOUR WARDROBE
with Emma Burke of Jules B
Emma Burke is online editor at Jules B, a high-end fashion retailer that has been dressing stylish men and women since 1984. Here she shares some valuable advice about how you should go about cleaning out your winter wardrobe ready for spring.
You’d be forgiven for not noticing, but, in spite of the rather grey weather we’ve been rewarded with so far, the country has actually moved into our spring season. But it isn’t all doom and gloom; there will be some average-to-nice weather on its way soon (hopefully), so you won’t need to travel around with your emergency umbrella at hand for the entirety of the spring and summer in 2016.
The promise of some great British sunshine also gives you the perfect excuse to update your clothing for the season – you can give yourself free reign to shop for an entirely new wardrobe without feeling guilty! You just have to do one thing first: undertake the dreaded winter wardrobe clean out.
Nobody’s wardrobe has infinite space – well, apart from that one in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe – so you are going to have to make some room before you start spending. It might sound like a bit of a dull chore, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve decided to help you out by giving you some advice to make your spring clean as efficient, productive, and fun as it can be.
Get into the right mind-set
I won’t lie, having a wardrobe clean-out can be traumatic. Sorting through some of your favourite clothes and having to come to a decision about which ones you will keep and which ones will go can bring a tear to almost anyone’s eye. But you have to stay strong – keep reminding yourself that this is for the greater good and you will be rewarding yourself with an amazing shopping spree afterwards.
Choose a date when you have complete freedom to spend the whole day committed to the sorting of your clothes – you can even schedule a whole weekend if you have a large wardrobe to go through or you haven’t had a good clean out in a while. By choosing a date well in advance, you will have more time to prepare your mind for the task. It’s hard, but with the right outlook you can avoid a painful experience.
Prepare an awesome playlist
It’s a fact: a playlist equipped with some awesome tunes can make even the dullest task more enjoyable. Some well-selected songs can make the time spent going through your wardrobe fly over, and they will also help you to avoid dozing off when the sorting reaches its dullest.
Choose some upbeat songs with a singalong value to keep your spirits high – essential for when things reach their darkest and you have to choose whether to keep that top that you absolutely love but never wear. Then again, you could just accept who you are and put Madonna’s “Material Girl” on repeat.
Get a look at the bigger picture
The easiest and most convenient way to begin sifting through your clothing is to dump it all on the floor or another surface with plenty of sorting space. Being able to stand over all of your garments really does give you a moment of perspective about how many items of clothing you own and have been hanging onto. Use this insightful moment to fuel your desire to pare down your wardrobe for the new season.
Let the sorting commence
Go through each item and decide whether or not you want to keep it. The Everygirl has a great article (http://theeverygirl.com/7-questions-to-ask-when-cleaning-out-your-closet) asking seven essential and very valid questions regarding each article of clothing that you own. If you following this checklist, you will discover that you have no real reason to hang onto many things that you were previously convinced that you should.
If you have less time or more stuff to sort through, you might want a speedier technique than categorising your belongings into yes or no piles. For everyday items, the 12-month rule – quite literally, if you haven’t worn an item in the last 12 months, chuck it; it is extremely effective at sorting your essentials from your non-essentials. This rule isn’t really applicable for seasonal wear or outfits worn for special occasions, but it will give you the quick answer you are looking for when it comes to all-year clothes like T-shirts, skirts, blouses, jeans, and the like.
You don’t have to be completely ruthless when it comes to your winter clothing – it does come around again every 12 months after all. You are well within your rights to keep a few jumpers or other cold weather items, but everything that you choose to keep will return to your wardrobe, so be mindful of how much space you can allow for carryovers.
A winter wardrobe sorting is the perfect time to put in place a new regime of organisation. Your clothes might have left your cupboard in one gigantic avalanche of wool and denim, but there is no good reason why it needs to return in the same manner. You may be tempted just to stuff everything that you’ve decided to keep back in, especially after the emotional wringer that you’ve just been through when sorting them, but now is the ideal opportunity to instil some order to your clothing chaos.
If you don’t have any at hand, make an investment in some super slim hangers that will not only keep your garments nice and crease-free, but they will also take up less space than their chunkier cousins. This will allow you to either keep more of your favourite clothing or give you more space to store your new spring purchases.
Sell, donate, or chuck?
When the dust has settled and you’ve cried your share of tears for your departing clothing, you should look to sort your unwanted clothing into three piles: sell, donate, and chuck. This trinity of categories is the time-tested technique for working out just where your outgoing items are going to end up, and there is a knack to choosing which pile your things belong in.
If you have clothes that are relatively new or unworn, and are in a resalable condition, you can go ahead and list them on eBay. You might not get much for them, but every penny you earn can go towards funding your new spring wardrobe.
Clothing that is in decent condition, but probably wouldn’t earn you much of a return can be donated to charity. Organisations like Oxfam and the British Heart Foundation are always looking for clothes donations, and often offer free pick-up services to make things easier for you.
When it comes to throwing away old or torn clothes, you should check on your local council’s website to see how to dispose of them. Some councils offer a recycling service, whereas some allow clothes to be thrown away along with other household waste.
When you’ve finished, it’s time to reward yourself with an amazing shopping spree to celebrate your new spring wardrobe. The spring and summer trends for 2016 are going to be fantastic if you are looking to brighten up your wardrobe, with vivid rainbow colours and graphic stripes set to light up the season. Keep a look out for slinky slip dresses, which are making a return to become the summer dress of choice for the highly fashionable.
Haley Blades, womenswear buyer and stylist at Jules B, says: “Spring is a great season for styling because it’s transitional. The weather still hasn’t quite warmed up yet so it’s the perfect opportunity to combine your winter knitwear with a lightweight jacket for spring.
“Boho is big this season and that means the jeans and ankle boots that you bought for the colder months can be styled with a blouse or embroidered dress to create a chic festival look.
“A key trend to make way for is florals. Floral prints and lace cut-outs are going to be a big trend with brands like Paul Smith and Self-Portrait paving the way for summer evening wear, but it’s important to keep a cardigan on hand for those chilly evenings.”
On the accessory front, graphic bags and slipper-style shoes are going to be big, so make sure you save some shelf space in your newly cleared wardrobe.
If you follow my advice, you will have a newly cleared wardrobe in no time, and you can look forward to your fresh new spring and summer clothing taking pride of place in their new home.
SPRING CLEAN YOUR HOME
with Celia Sawyer
Celia Sawyer, founder of the exclusive Knightsbridge interior design company, Celia Sawyer Luxury Interiors, first hit our screens as the stylish, sassy and straight talking dealer on Channel 4’s award-winning primetime show, Four Rooms, currently in its fifth season.
In addition to being a TV personality, Celia is also a well established and highly regarded interior designer with property credits that span the globe from yachts and penthouses to London residences, beach houses and private jets. Seen by many as a style icon, Celia has some incredible tips this month for our readers to revamp your interiors, from kitchens to curtains…
Springtime is the nicest time of the year to de-clutter and give your home a spring clean. After a long period of dull days and long nights over winter months, it is the time where there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel with lighter, longer, brighter days and evenings to encourage us all to feel good in a fresh new spring-cleaned home.
This is something I always recommend. Many of you will have ‘stuff’ stored somewhere in the house which has not seen the light of day for some years. I always tell clients, if you haven’t missed something in two years then get shot of it! Have a good honest clear out of items you know you will never use that just take up space. Also, look at your main living rooms – is it time for a change of what you have on your shelves? It is such a good idea to put/give away some of your nicnacs and start again by introducing some new, interesting accessories.
Your living room should have areas of interest in it, so that at each angle you look, you have something to catch the eye. This doesn’t need to cost the earth, it can be created really simply; you can pop down to your local home/DIY store and pick up some well-priced accessories. New photo frames, bowls and boxes all look fab on shelving and tabletops.
If you are interested in some more historical pieces, you can go to local antique markets or bric-a-brac shops and find little gems to mix in with your new items. This, exercised correctly, works particularly well and really will give your room a different and interesting dimension.
Re-work your layout
Move your furniture around so that the room flows better. Don’t block doors and windows – let the room feel spacious so that you can easily move around your furniture. If you have a small room, invest in some mirrors to give the room a feeling of a lighter and brighter space and use glass tabletops where possible to really open up the look.
A fresh new lick of paint
This seems to be an obvious one for a freshen-up, but is underestimated all too often. Use some brighter, fresher colours in your rooms to give a spring-like, zesty feel to your home. There are also some fantastic wall coverings available now, so change the look of your room by creating a feature wall. This is also a good way to start if you are nervous of papers and vinyl coverings, as if you don’t love the result then you can change it easily.
Spruce up your kitchen
Kitchens need to feel clean and fresh and not tired. If you have old cabinets and can change or paint the doors, this is a great way to give an immediate facelift. Also there are many really fun doorknobs on the market, so give your cabinets a funky makeover. Also invest in some new kitchen accessories, such as bright colours for spring – mainly fruit bowls, toasters, jugs, glasses – which can all make a statement. Rearrange your shelving so that these are on display for a really designer look; be creative and bold!
This may sound odd but this is key to feeling positive and fresh in your home. Get those windows, cupboards, floors and carpets clean and freshened up and you will feel so much calmer in your environment. Invest in some lovely smelling candles or diffusers for your living room, bathrooms, and bedroom so that they give off a fresh, spring-like aroma throughout your home.
It’s time to go out and buy some fresh new bedding for your rooms. New bold colours to really re-vamp the look, with matching accessories such as lovely cushions and throws can really work well.
Your entrance hallway
Don’t forget this room even if it’s not the biggest space! Even if you just use a small table/console with freshly cut flowers and a mirror it will give your hallway a lift. If you have room, display some artwork here too as it immediately gives the area an added interest.
Re-cover your upholstery
You don’t always need to purchase new furniture to sit on. Re-covering it will give it a totally different look too; for instance, your old, brown leather sofa may be a great shape and really comfortable, but if you have had this in your home for years and really want to give the room a new look then opt to re-cover it. Do some research into upholsterers in your area and decide what sort of fabric you want to replace it with; a faux-suede, velvet or linen will all give a really different look so it is worth getting samples of each different type of fabric in your chosen colour and laying them on the furniture for a few days to see which look you like the most.
Remember that throughout the day the light will change which will affect the colours at different times, so you will need to see the fabric in situ for a few days to choose which works the best for you. Remember to be practical if you have children or live in a certain way.
Add some extra lighting in your home; this transforms a room dramatically as the light changes in the evening. If you live with down lighters, go out and find some table lamps to change the mood for evening. Floor-standing lamps will also do this and are a great way to divide up areas too.
Curtains and blinds
These can be expensive items to change but they don’t need to be. Go for changing one principal room to garner the ‘new look.’ If you have always had dark patterned curtains, find some lovely plain light curtains for a change. If you have had short curtains on a window, look at changing them to floor length which will give the impression of a larger window and look really elegant.
Pick some fresh spring flowers
Go outside and find some fresh spring flowers for your home. Not only will these look lovely but it will also make your home smell fresh and zesty, really bringing to life your new spring-cleaned home!