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So far this year we have seen many new trends - but nothing has been as prominent and consistent as the buzz of the new age self love brigade. Giving us a multitude of lessons as to what self love actually means and ways in which to deepen our love for ourselves - the commitment to get it right and feel great can feel a little overwhealming.
So what happens when self love is not easily achievable and how do we learn to love ourselves truly and unconditionally?
Self love for me has definitely been a bumpy road, with battles with anxiety and depression, the road to self-love has been exhausting, and something akin to an excruciating ongoing debate with an alter ego. When I acknowledge that I am in all actuality beautiful, smart and kind, negative thoughts find a way of settling in and redirecting my positive self-image. Thus exhausting. So how have I been working on loving myself better? Here are my sercets...
The honour and care that I now give myself is almost ritualistic. From healthy eating, pampering, buying myself a new outfit, trying out a new hobby or new restaurant (i'm a big foodie), girls night out - you name it. They are all efforts that set a trigger in my brain that tell me I am worthy and special. Equating the care that I give my children and loved ones to the care that I now give myself results in a much more fufilled 'me'.
Some of the decisions I have made in order to do just that; put myself first and love myself to the core, to some has been questionable. Take for example learning to say no and putting my needs first, at times has not sat well with others. The problem is it's easy to become a yes machine and have to try and negotiate your life and needs in order to serve others, but when the curtains are closed and you're exhausted and have nothing left to give your children, who will come to your rescue. Learning to say no has not only helped me to preserve much needed energy, but has also strengthened my abilities to set firm boundaries.
Once upon a time I had a mindset that meant any friendships that I formed had to be friendships that I had for life. The friendships that I had since middle school, that were no longer serving me, had to be cherished and preserved based on the length of time I had known said person.
Damn was I wrong. I was sitting in a friendship of over 12 years that was affecting me negatively on a subconcious level and I could not see it. I am now highly observant of the people I choose to share my time and life with - and that should also apply vice versa. It is critical to have people around that add value to your life and whose life you too can add value to.
Over the last few years I have also managed to fight the fear that has been lying inside me. No longer second guessing myself and withdrawing from situations, I now hurdle myself into them - literally. I know that whatever I shy away from and hesitate to do will only hold me back from being the greatest version of myself and by objecting to this I will become greater and stronger each day. The determination and force to do better and be better gives the push to throw fear away.
Additionally I have now become my biggest cheerleader. Whilst I stand in the field about to whack that baseball, I can see myself in the stands cheering at the top of my voice for my victory. This has been one of the biggest factors for showing myself love. The mind that used to be filled with self-doubt, insecurities and self-sabotaging thoughts is now a mind that is filled with thoughts of all the wins I have had and all the wins that are still yet to come.
Like I said, this has been a bumpy road and at times still is, but by being consistent with my practices I have become a happier person who is now in love - with herself. Yes, it is challenging at times but the more you show and tell yourself just how amazing you are, the more you will believe it.
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Mama Wins Magazine by 6 Min Read | By The Editors - 3w ago
Alicia Cook is a writer and award-winning activist residing in Newark, New Jersey - who's efforts to highlight the effects of addiction and drug abuse on individuals and their loved ones has been widely documented by publications such as Teen Vogue, CNN, HuffPost, USA Today, and more.
"The Other Side of Addiction", a book written in honour of her cousin Jessica depicts the rife issue of drug abuse, and h
er bestselling poetry book, 'Stuff I've Been Feeling Lately'was a finalist in the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards (Poetry).
We sat down with Alicia to learn more about her work, her views and what she will be doing next.
1. How did you get started in the field of writing/poetry?
It is just something I have always done. My earliest memory of writing was at 8 years old. I used to write fictional, long form stories when I was 11 and 12. It was always a beautiful escape for me – and I felt my best when I was writing things down. Still do.
2. Your work is highly based around drug addiction and mental illness, which many people and families are affected by - What advice would you give a wife, husband, partner or family member on supporting their loved one who is experiencing addiction?
First and foremost, most people addicted to a substance are battling something else, usually a mental health issue – and they use whatever drug to escape. On the opposite side of that same coin, loved ones who witness a person they care about struggle with addiction develop mental health issues such as anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. Self-care is key - in both the user and the loved one - but equally as hard to maintain.
My advice to any loved one going through this with someone close to them is to educate yourself on the disease of addiction, don’t judge, shame, or stigmatize. Attend Nar-Anon or Al-Anon meetings (which are meetings for the loved ones affected by narcotics or alcohol), and go to therapy. Nar-Anon is where you meet people who are in the same boat as you, almost as though they are your kindred spirits who understand exactly what you go through every single day. You also learn coping mechanisms and boundaries in those meetings and in therapy. You learn the difference between enabling and loving. Etc. You need to take care of your mind and body. And it’s almost impossible to do so when you are in the throes of addiction, even when it is not your own affliction.
3. People are frowning on mental illness less and the world is seeing an awakening where people are opening up about their struggles -What is the best piece of advice you can give to aid those experiencing anxiety or depression?
That they are not alone in their struggles. Everyone has their shit. Mind you, everyone experiences things at different levels and to different degrees. Something that always stuck with me is a quote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer when the heroine says, “The hardest thing to do in this world, is to live in it.” I don’t see darkness in that statement. I see the beauty. Life is hard, stressful, unpredictable, harsh, you name it. But life is also precious and fleeting. I love living. But I understand why some people hit a point where they don’t see the beauty anymore – and I just want them to know that they are not alone. The world needs them here. The world would be a colder place without them. But the scary thing about something like depression is that it become almost like an evil voice in your head and you start to believe what it is saying to you (Ex: no one loves you. No one would care if you weren’t here. No one will understand if you tell them how you feel).
The biggest thing I wish I could tell every person hurting right now is that when someone asks them how they are doing, I hope they answer “not great.” Or go into as much detail as they want. Instead of saying, “Fine.” Opening that line of communication can be lifesaving and life changing. When I started being open with the people around me, it felt like taking a deep, needed, breath.
4. Drug addiction is very rarely talked about in the media - what are you hoping to achieve with your work?
I disagree, actually. Addiction is being more and more talking about in the media and news because so many people are affected at this point. I agree that 10+ years ago when I started advocating there was very little coverage. But now, it is everywhere. Now, should scripted tv shows and movies drop the stereotypical “drug addict” characters and develop full-dimensional characters who may be addicted to a substance, yes. The stereotype is tired.
I hope to achieve small victories with my work. I am not looking for awards and insane exposure. I hope what I create finds its way to the people who need it most, at the time they need it most. I am fortunate that I have an outlet to help myself and others.
5. Social Media is becoming a great space for creatives to share their work - how has this impacted your work and creativity?
7 years ago social media provided me a platform to share my voice, story, and work. I will be forever indebted to those first hundred people who didn’t know me who started to follow me and take an interest in what I had to say.
6. You were named by Teen Vogue as one of the 10 social media poets to know, highly due to your best selling poetry book 'Stuff I've been feeling lately' Where did the idea of your stem from?
I had been journaling a lot and around this time, strangers on the internet had begun asking if I had plans to release a poetry collection. The concept of turning a poetry book into a mixtape was always in the back of my head because of my deep connection to music. Everyone has a soundtrack to their life and poetry and music are so closely connected. They make people feel.
So, I compiled my work and drew the cover myself, and the rest is history. Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately is the best thing to ever happen to me.
7. In 2018 you received the Women with Voices award from the Women with Voices Foundation - what does the epitome of real womanhood mean to you?
I was so honored the night I received that award because I was in a room in Brooklyn filled with the most beautiful, kind hearted, diverse group of women I had ever seen. As a culture, for so long, we were almost raised to see other women as competition, as the “enemy.” If our partner cheated, it was the female’s fault. If our friend started befriending another girl, she was a bitch. It goes on and on. And it’s ludicrous.
Womanhood, to me, is being your true self. Living your best life, for you. Not pigeonholing yourself to certain roles just because you were always told you couldn’t succeed at anything else. I am fortunate that I was raised by parents who never said I couldn’t do something I wanted to do just because I was a girl. I always carried that confidence with me.
The best thing we can do is stick together. Support one another. Realize we are all climbing the same mountains, but that doesn’t mean we have to race each other. We can encourage each other to keep scaling even when it gets treacherous.
8. Do you have any tips to kickstart a positive morning?
I am not a morning person, haha. At all. But on mornings I know I have to wake up a certain time, I slit my blinds so the sunlight gradually creeps in. It helps me wake up more slowly, and less abruptly.
9. Who has been your biggest supporter?
I would definitely say my parents. Like I said before, they never told me I couldn’t achieve my dreams. I was ten and asked for a typewriter, and instead of telling me to ask for something more practical, they made it happen for me. They would sit there and read my ridiculous short stories as a kid. They would sit on the couch and watch my cousins act out a play I had scripted and I am sure it was terrible, haha. The number of video cameras I broke filming my friends and siblings doing sketch shows probably infuriated my father, but he never told me to stop creating. And now, it means the world to me that I can bring them along to my film shows, book signings, award moments, and speaking engagements. They put a lot of work into me, whether they realize it or not. And I am glad I am able to show them that it all worked out.
10. What's next on the radar for Alicia Cook?
Good question. I have a few ideas brewing I am going to keep to myself for now. But I will say I am featured in an upcoming poetry and short story anthology called: [Dis]Connected II. I have three poems and a short story in there. Mine are all mental health related. It comes out in OCTOBER.
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Mama Wins Magazine by 3 Min Read | By Cat Cooper - 3w ago
After writing a piece recently about going to events as a solo person, I had several offers from people saying they would come with me to future ones. Whilst this is, of course, lovely, it wasn’t what I was trying to project, I was saying that it’s okay to be alone. And I’m still saying it’s okay to be alone.
This week is a wonky week for me. The end of the school year always feels quite overwhelming, there are so many events that my daughter is involved in and lots of things to tie up before the summer holidays. It’s also the third birthday of a friend who is no longer here and I can feel myself heading into the eye of the storm. However, having dealt with this emotion for the past three years, I think I’m now able to sit down and take time for some self care. But still, it’s not great feeling slightly out of control and unbalanced.
Maybe writing a piece on being alone this week is not the best timing. A time where I’d like to have someone scoop me up and tell me it’ll all be alright, but then it’s also a time when I cherish being alone. Life is noisy; the constant bombardment of images, audio, online interactions, all of this without adding people to the mix too.
I live in London and it’s clear when you look around on the tube that people want to be left alone, but they don’t want to be ‘alone’. Their faces are tuned into their screens watching downloads, playing games, checking Instagram, et al.
It is hard to find a place of peace.
I went for a walk yesterday and immediately put my hand in my pocket to reach for my earphones. And then took my hand back out whilst asking myself - why did I need them? I went to walk in the local woods specifically because I wanted to be by myself, enjoy the surroundings, and absorb the calm around me.
It’s almost as though whatever we do, and wherever we are there has to be some form of stimulation. The same with being surrounded by people; the after work drinks, the lunch walk to the local sandwich bar, making coffee in the staffroom. But when you are surrounded by people, does that really make you feel less lonely?
When my relationship broke down, I felt that I needed people around me constantly. On reflection I know this was because I was ignoring the voices in my head vs the reality of sitting home by myself and listening to them.
It may sound cliché that you have to learn to love yourself first, but in my experience I believe you do. You can be surrounded by a gazillion people but do they make you feel fulfilled? If they do, great, and if they do, just sometimes, that’s great too.
But also, it’s really okay to be alone. Try it.
Cat Cooperis a forty something, single mum who lives in North London with her ten year old daughter. She is writing her first book about the roller-coaster ride that is online dating, post millennium and post her own break-up. Life’s curve balls can really throw you, and starting over has certainly been a journey of self discovery. It wasn’t until her girlfriends who enjoyed her stories so much and encouraged her to write them down, that she decided to share them.
Instagram: @CatCooperWrites
Twitter: @Cat_Cooper_
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Mama Wins Magazine by 3 Min Read | By Alessandra Guerrier.. - 3w ago
Fashion has always been at the centre of media attention and social networks, and enjoys the privilege of being seen and heard everywhere - at all times. A privilege destined for a select few if we consider how much is written or asked today to become part of the cauldron of the news of the day.
Without rules and limits, fashion (but much more) whoever takes his place, dared to walk tall. I say dared, indeed. For some time, his safety in terms of "prima donna" has begun to falter. Behind the spasmodic need to dominate the scene, another kind of need has begun to be evident: that of being above everything and everyone, even the common sense of respect. Respect, a mindset from the Middle Ages, some would think. And no, because for someone who is still classified as medieval in thinking, respect is something fundamental and basic.
The straw that broke the camel's back and shook some minds was the controversy triggered by China against the Italian brand Dolce & Gabbana, accused of racism. The commercial shows a Chinese girl eating Italian dishes with typical Chinese chopsticks. What is offensive about all this? Nothing. But the verbal malice behind some of the narrator's questions to the girl is "patently" latent. This is offensive. Can we say that China has perhaps opened the doors for a legislative regulation aimed at protecting respect for people and culture, where fashion intends to build and expand its mediatic and economic power?
After China, other luxury brands were accused of racism. Moschino, Zara and Versace have all had similar accusations. The Italian high-end brand has been accused of using code words to indicate customers whose skin is black. Zara, one of the Inditex group brands, has also been accused of using, as in the case of the Italian brand Moschino, coded words against customers whose skin is black and also against people from Mexico; the so-called 'Latinx'. While Versace, the brand of Italian origin, sold less than a year ago to the American group Michael Kors, had a complaint from an employee who explains that he was fired after the managerial staff discovered that his skin was dark. In the focus of protests - Amazon has been accused of using children's voices with Alexa.
It seems of late that fashion brands are having a difficult time. Fashion often communicates a message (in this case - of dissent) that circulates in society and whose brands are the spokesperson for this message, often exacerbating the message itself to make it even more powerful and redundant with the result of having been heard in launching it, but many times with an effect contrary to that expected. And in fact, the message becomes latent, confused to trigger controversy.
Somehow it seems that we are trying to put a stop to the verbal language and the fashion communication of the brands, which are intent on expanding their market all over the world. Nowadays they also have to worry about not being offensive and disrespectful of the culture and legislation of each country.
On the other hand, when any brand decides to expand into a country it is because it considers it economically attractive, so it claims to be "respected" is the least we can do. But sometimes common sense is overshadowed by the thirst to commodify minds, forgetting that some, indeed more than one, is no longer left in the Middle Ages.
Alessandra Guerrieri studied Communication and Social Media and later specialised in Communication and Fashion Journalism. She has contributed articles to Vogue Italy where her creativity has been expressed through her fashion writing, as she holds a vast knowledge in fashion culture and history.
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Mama Wins Magazine by 3 Min Read | By Sara Beetie - 1M ago
At the tender age of 15 I struggled with my identity. The ruminating thoughts that drained me weekly - Am I too skinny? Am I pretty enough? Am I smart enough? Did said boy fancy me? 15 years later and it troubles me that I am still asking myself the same questions. 15 whole years. Why am I still dissilusioned about my existence - and why do I still allow society to have such an effect on me?
When I ask myself what womens empowerment means - an array of answers fill my mind. Strangely enough equality is not the first to plague me - not in it's entirerity that is. I lean strongly towards the notion of feeling at peace with myslef, with my feminine-hood, my female makeup and overall being. That combined with the barbaric misogynistic idiots that have me seething over discussions of our abortion rights, female genitial mutilation, domestic abuse, trafficking and all round disrespect - I am whole heartedly committed to empowering myself, my daughter and my sisters.
"There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women."
– Barack Obama, 44th US President
The female population constitutes for almost half of the worlds population, which is daringly ironic as we receive half of nothing. So why after 50 years of empowerment are we still not getting what we deserve? Why are we still being mistreated and dismissed as second class citizens?
Women are beautiful, inspirational, a phenomenon almost - so when will society see this? Leaders and infuential people both now and in history have been proclaiming the virtue of the women for some time - but their words are still taking some time to resigntae and dilute into society.
“It’s time to EMPOWER – to RESTORE the inherent POWER of girls and women, which has been denied for generations.”
– Jin In, Founder 4GGL
So what will we do? What will you do? As women, we have no choice but to take lead and form our own coalition. One of sincere sisterhood, that will empower, stregthen, educate and continue to reign for our daugters. A reign that will be heard, seen and felt with deep force and meaning. Let's remember to stand forward and speak on our beliefs, values and identities. This is our time - and it means so much.
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Mama Wins Magazine by 4 Min Read | By Sara Grove | Team M.. - 1M ago
The world of dating can be pretty awkward and confusing so will naturally come with both good and bad experiences. So much so that when I decided to take the plunge into dating (an anxious plunge might I add) I decided that at the least this would be a learning experience as well as helping to identify the type of man that I was seeking - now in my mid 30's with hopes that my choices had become better and evolved since my late 20's.
The journey has been, er, what's the best way to describe it - eventful. Highs and lows, awkward silences, strange men, really nice men, intellects, musicians - oh the list goes on - but my point here is that I served my time and learnt some valuable lesson's; lessons that I am now about to share - so here are some key pointers that may help you - my fellow single lady on the road to successful dating, when trying to find the one.
Date the 'maybes'- swiping can be an exhausting and extensive task. So instead of only swiping right on men that you think are exceptionally good looking and look like they tick all the right boxes, give the maybes a go too. That guy that you may be judging for superficial reasons could actually be a great person with many of the qualities you are looking for irl.
Do not put all your eggs in one wicker basket - when I started dating I would meet one guy, like him, fixate on him and then everything would go wrong. Get to know several guys at once. This will give you a more objective outlook and allow you to select based on quality and not quantity.
Go against your usual type - dating can be fun and a great way to find out what you really like. Dating a guy in a band could open you up to a new genre of music you may like or a guy who travels a lot may awaken the adventurer in you.
Short and effective first dates - coffee, brunch - keep it short and sweet. If you are really serious about finding a partner then you probably have to meet a few people, which means a good few dates, which adds up to umpteen hours (you get where Im going with this) grab a coffee in the morning, feel it out and then keep it moving. No time wasting getting ready in the evening for two hours, having to book a baby sitter only to find out he lied about his height and what was listed as 6’ was actually 5’2”
Do not indulge in too much dialogue - story time - the first guy I dated was a compete and utter mindfield. He messaged me everyday, during the course of the day and then called every other day for 3 weeks straight - ad tgen at the end of the month stated that he wanted to slow things down (yes - even though he was doing all the chasing) I was stumped and slightly annoyed at all the time I had invested and come to find out wasted in dialogue. Keep it simple and do not add any additional pressure. Things will be build up gradually if they’re meant to.
Be prepared for rejection - you're not going to like everybody you date so it's only natural that they may not like you. Rejection can be a hard pill to swallow, but is ultimately a big and necessary part of dating.
Watch out for the red flags - How have some of your relationships panned out over time? Any red flags that you dismissed only to find out a year or two down the line that that should of been your wake up call? Look out for signs of 'coming on too strong', inconsistency with contact, extreme jealousy, control, flakiness, or not respecting your boundaries’.
Too many opinions can ruin the outcome
- It certainly is great to have a chat with your girlfriends about your new love interest, but sometimes telling too many people and having too many opinions weigh in can confuse the process. Remember you are dating the person and things shouldn’t be determined by your friends likes, dislikes and experiences - granted its great gaining advice but be mindful of the advice you are receiving and why.
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Mama Wins Magazine by 4 Min Read | Kelly Pegg - 1M ago
The relationship we have with ourselves is often the hardest relationship of all.
Learning to love and respect ourselves, sometimes even to like ourselves can feel challenging at the best of times.
Over the years many different situations can impact on our confidence, self-esteem and mental health. I believe every woman endures different battles with her mental health at different times in her life. I’ve recognised mine since becoming a mother for sure, and I know they stem right back to when I was young.
"I watched her battle addiction throughout my whole childhood and during my teenage years our relationship became non-existent."
I’ve grown up not liking myself, not thinking I was clever, pretty, or good enough and my relationship with my mother has had a huge impact on my own mental health, confidence and self-esteem.
I watched her battle addiction throughout my whole childhood and during my teenage years our relationship became non-existent.
There wasn’t really any awareness about mental health back then and I didn’t realize she was clearly fighting a battle with her mind as well as everything else. What I have realised is that - the closest people to addicts are affected nearly as much as the addict themselves and it’s a painful, heartbreaking situation that I wouldn’t wish on anybody.
"I struggled with confidence and I felt like I could never be good enough because I hadn’t been enough for my own mum to fight for, to live for."
I spent the later part of my teenage years so angry with her because she chose anything alcoholic over me that when she died I couldn’t remember one nice conversation we’d had together in the last year or so. A nervous breakdown followed a year after her death and I struggled with panic attacks for a while.
I spent my twenties telling myself that I could never get married or have a family because I feared I would turn out just like my mother and I wouldn’t be able to handle life. I struggled with confidence and I felt like I could never be good enough because I hadn’t been enough for my own mum to fight for, to live for.
I have also spent a long time feeling angry, sad, heartbroken and confused by it all and even now at 37 years old I still can’t quite make sense of how I feel about it.
I understand addiction is a disease, I understand that a person’s mental health is hugely compromised before it begins and as a result of it.
"Learning to like myself and believe I was intelligent and lovable has been a journey, like stacking bricks on top of one another slowly and praying they don’t fall."
Each and every one of us has had dark in our lives and thankfully we also have light.
Meeting Chris was my light, marrying him and becoming a mum, I finally felt like I belonged. All the pieces to my jigsaw puzzle fitted and I was no longer alone.
Learning to like myself and believe I was intelligent and lovable has been a journey, like stacking bricks on top of one another slowly and praying they don’t fall. Since having my children I have suffered with anxiety, I worry about them constantly with small things niggling away at me and keeping me awake at night.
When I entered motherhood there were so many new challenges to face, most of them I wasn’t expecting. I really struggled after having my first child, the first month of trying to breastfeed her nearly put me back in hospital - I think I had post natal depression but refused to admit it and I was way too hard on myself. I also went back to exercising far too soon and ended up injuring my back badly. I had no appreciation for how hard my body had worked.
The second time however was totally different, I didn’t care that I’d piled on four stone.
I’d sit cuddling Heath all day, eating biscuits and feeling like the luckiest woman alive.
He’s 18 months now and I’ve lost my baby weight slowly and I’m working on getting the shape back that makes me feel good.
My daughter is 5 and very impressionable, she watches and copies everything I do and it petrifies me. Everyday I try and tell her how brilliant she is, I tell her she’s smart, brave and can do anything that she wants. I pray she won’t grow up believing she is worthless and not good enough like I did.
"I’ve also started to feel more comfortable in my own skin, finally."
I also make sure she knows I workout, because I like to feel strong and healthy.
A few weeks ago whilst buying a big sack of dog food the guy in the shop asked if he could carry it to the car for me and Ava-Lilly replied “Have you see my mummy’s arms? She can manage” I couldn’t have been prouder.
Exercise and my focus on nutrition are my medication for keeping mentally strong and happy. I’ve also started to feel more comfortable in my own skin, finally. Sometimes after a workout I could run around the street naked and I wouldn’t give two hoots about my downward facing boobs or wobbly bottom cheeks, I feel great on the inside and that’s all that matters. I’m starting to appreciate myself more, my mind and my body.
Loving and respecting ourselves can feel so difficult, over coming any mental health issues can feel like an upward battle, you’re never alone though and it’s never just you. The more we talk and open up about these kind of issues the more we can help and support each other, woman to woman, mother to mother.
Kelly Pegg
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Mama Wins Magazine by 3 Min Read | By Charlene Foreman - 1M ago
ShopHere
Ever since I can remember, I have been using a multitude of creams to moisturise my skin and it is definitely satisfying when my skin is behaving the way it should, no issues, no breakouts, absorbing amazing ingredients and looking and feeling good overall.
Going through the imaginary list in my head, I have used numerous creams. From E45, Astral, Nivea, Dove to those gorgeous body butters from Bodyshop in different flavours and let’s not forget the small lotions that we all store from perfume gift sets, but nothing compares to Unrefined Shea Butter.
Now, as you step into the cold weather, you want to ensure your skin is moisturised and nourished in the right way and Shea Butter acts like a safety blanket, as it provides food for our skin to keep it looking and feeling healthy. As a young girl I suffered from a mild case of acne and eczema, and for years I have been using this cream to prevent dryness and can honestly say I have never looked back.
Shea Butter comes in two forms, you have the refined and unrefined version.
Unrefined Shea Butter – is the natural form of the substance which contains nourishing vitamins A & E and other healing ingredients that is not processed.
Refined Shea Butter – is the processed version which is selling on the market shelves.
Nowadays we are all quite conscious about the products we use, as it can be an all too common occurrence that our skin may react to certain ingredients - and heck do I know what that's like. So, a few years ago
I decided to do some research on Shea Butter, and I discovered the various healing and anti-inflammatory properties which act as treatments against acne, skin peeling, eczema, and insect bites and looking back at the list, I have had my fair share of skin issues.
I learnt that this product is derived by nuts of the Shea Tree, which spread across Western parts of Africa, with many tribes using the product in their cooking and everyday life, and although I am allergic to nuts, poor me(sad face) this cream has not given me any annoying or unflattering reactions. Now that's big news!
Now luckily, you don’t need to book a flight to Western Africa, as you can find it in shops such as Boots, Superdrug’s, Bodyshop as well as independent online stores.
You can use the product in your hair to prevent hair loss, it reduces stretch marks, which can be a godsend for mothers during and after pregnancy. And as much as we like to embrace our stretch marks, for those who want to rid theirs I have no doubt that you will see a difference in your elongated mirror ladies if you use Shea Butter daily.
Using Natural products, in my opinion, is definitely something we should all be doing more of these days and if you want your skin to look young, fresh and radiant, then unrefined Shea Butter is the way forward and should be the number one cream on your dresser.
Charlene Foreman is a thirty something Londoner, who works as a fashion editorial writer. She has strong interests in art, fashion, photography, lifestyle and travel and enjoys expressing her knowledge and experiences with others.
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The term parenting astrologer is one that most have never heard of. So when we asked the MW team their thoughts on it's meaning, let's just say they were all pretty perplexed, but nevertheless extremely excited to learn more.
We decided to hand the mic over to Tara Vogel, to explain exactly what a parent astrologer is and subsequently what her role involves.
Tara Vogel:
So let me explain a little bit about what I do...
First a little astrological background….When we are born the planets are in a particular place in the sky. They’re all in a zodiac sign and an astrological “house”. Almost all of us know what sign the sun was in when we were born. That’s called your sun sign. It’s what you say when someone asks,“What’s your sign?” “I’m a Capricorn,” you reply.
Many people don’t know it, but they also have a moon sign, a rising sign and more! A map of where all the planets were on the day, time and place of your birth is called your birth chart or natal chart. That’s what I use in my sessions. Your astrological natal chart is a visual, flattened out map of where all the planets were in the sky at the moment of your birth.
It is essentially a map of who you are in this lifetime. It shows who your soul has come to be. It tells you about your temperament, the kind of experiences you’ll seek out, what unique needs you have and how you think and learn best. It will tell you about what kind of lessons you’re here to learn and what makes your heart sing. The amount of information you can learn from a person’s natal chart is vast.
As a parenting astrologer, I work with moms to help them understand their kids better using their child’s natal chart. We all have some important soul work to do and it’s my mission in life to try to illuminate the bigger picture of your child’s life and offer practical ways to support them so they can do what they’ve come here to do. It’s my firm belief that we’re all here to contribute a unique gift to the world and to also learn specific “soul lessons”.
Very often, we as parents, have ideas of what we think is best for our child, but it may not line up with who they’ve come to be and the work they’re here to do. You may even have a child you are struggling with. That’s actually my specialty and the children I feel the most passionate about! I look at their natal chart (aka the blueprint of their soul) and give you insight on how to work with them in a practical way while still honouring the essence of who they are on a soul level.
And a very important part of what I do as a parenting astrologer, is to be sure that Mom is on her soul path too. (Yes, we have one!) Very often, when we become moms, we can get so wrapped up in taking care of the little people we birth into the world that we lose ourselves a little bit. Our identity changes as we enter into motherhood in a beautiful way, but we can also lose a little bit of our individuality. I help Moms get connected to their passion and purpose and I shed light on what the bigger picture of the work they’re here to do in the world is. I give them the overall picure and practical steps on how to get there.
The way I like to work is to have anastrology session for mom first. Moms are the foundational glue for everything. After we spend some time looking at what her soul has come here to do, then I’ll have a separate session for the child. It’s here that we look at their personality, what they need from mom, their gifts and their challenges and I give you practical steps on how to work with and support them.
My favorite way to work is to do family pacakges. This is where I work with everyone in the family...dad too! I record all the sessions so you can listen to each other’s sessions. This brings a whole new level of allowing and acceptance of each other when you can understand everyone’s “soul promise.” It brings family harmony to a whole new level!
I also post daily on Instagram about what the cosmos are doing in the sky and how you can use that to support you in the very difficult job of mothering your children. You don’t need to understand astrology to apply my daily guidance. I have many followers who aren’t parents but just want to work with the planetary influences of the day. Life always feels easier that way when you’re in the flow!
TaraVogel is a certified astrologer and professional coach for mindful moms. She's passionate about helping moms stay connected to their kids and themselves via the cosmos. She loves to dive deeply with her clients and believes that understanding the astrological natal chart is one of the greatest tools we have for developing compassion for ourselves and others. She helps moms get clarity, understanding, and answers so they can support their kids on their unique path and at the same time, stay true to their own.
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For a decade Lady Gaga has dazzled us with her impressive and striking theatrical “out of this world” outfits. Whatever elegant or insane outfit she wears, she brings to life with amazing credibility. She is a true artist in her own right and goes far above and beyond to push the boundaries in Fashion and Film. However many people might not understand her take or choice of styling and outfits, but when she embodies legendary stars which have graced our TV screens, I believe people can get on board with her look because she stands out from the crowd.
As everyone knows, every year Fashion runs on a cycle. There is always a hint of repetitive trends that appear each year but as the years go on, the looks become more modern, innovative and at the same time exude a reflection of past eras. For example, this is not the first time Lady Gaga has shown us an updated version of imitating a look from legendary icons which we all love and admire. At the 2016 Golden Globe Event, she wore an incredible Versace off-the-shoulder, sultry black velvet curvaceous dress which matched her glamorous blondie curls. You could say her mission was to reincarnate the beautiful bombshell Marilyn Monroe, as a way of expressing a contemporary update and bring forth the allusion of 1940’s past Hollywood looks, such as the hourglass shape, the wasp waist and pin-up attitude.
The ironic coincidence is Lady Gaga has done it again. With her impressive take on the remake of “A Star is Born” three years later at this year’s 2019 Golden Globes Event. The star-studded musician and actress has brought a designer’s creation to life. She wore an incredible princess-like Valentino voluminous off-the-shoulder Taffeta sky blue dress, oversized puffy sleeves with a thousand-yard-long train, which shares some similarities to the legendary Hollywood icon Judy Garland’s dress that she wore in the previous classic adaption of 1954’s version “A Star is Born”.
As both gowns share a few similarities it also shows you the change in Fashion design throughout the decades. From the neck line, garment panelling, cuts, prints, colour and silhouettes. These elements have led the Fashion Industry to evolve and develop from the 1950’s styling of Christian Dior’s “New Look” to the present day with exaggerated luxurious statuesque gowns, in all shapes and sizes, alongside attractive panelling and accessorised with added eyelash extensions and hair dyes to create the ultimate glamourous finish.
I believe by wearing this gown Lady Gaga wanted to make an extreme bold statement to her audience, she wanted to send out a message that portrays her influence, her love for iconic Women of Hollywood and their Fashion sense by remaking history and connecting with her character in order to revamp, or should I say reincarnate legendary stars into the 21stCentury.
I have no doubt Lady Gaga will continue to blow our minds with flamboyant, reinventive, “out of this world” looks but society will also witness a budding beauty, a talented artist who will continue to take us on a journey around the block through Hollywood Fashion history and rencounter those looks that brought us to Fashion we see in front of our eyes today.
Charlene Foreman is a thirty something Londoner, who works as a fashion editorial writer. She has strong interests in art, fashion, photography, lifestyle and travel and enjoys expressing her knowledge and experiences with others.

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