Coming up this week is Rotary International’s amazing initiative, The Rotary Family Health Days (RFHD). Rotary has formed a fantastic partnership with the Department of Health, Coca-Cola, the CDC and USAID in order to host a series of Health Days (across the world) from 9-11 May 2013. On the days the Department of Health will supply qualified people to do completely free testing, screenings and counselling. Rotary’s role is to give as much support and service as possible where needed during the three days. All Rotary Clubs in the world are taking part in this initiative during these three days.
So I’ve just done another shoot with my favourite photographer Sarah Keogh. She is so professional with such a great eye and is very good at what she does!! I had a lot of fun with her on this shoot and also with Nina Thompson at Kinky Curly Straight Hair Design who did my make-up and hair. Together we shot a stunning editorial with a story about a passionate love. Our protagonist is an old hollywood theatre doyenne and as the story begins, she finds herself in a majestic opera house preparing for her performance in a few hours. She is decked in pearls, lace, fur and diamonds. I liked the symbology of the props we used:
1. Pearls. Pearls symbolize Purity, Spiritual Transformation, Charity, Honesty, Wisdom and Integrity, all the best within us.
2. Gold. As well as being associated with power, strength and wealth, Gold is associated with the wisdom of aging and fruition. The fiftieth wedding anniversary is golden. Our precious latter years are sometimes considered “golden years”. The height of a civilization is referred to as a “golden age”. In the same way, our protagonist feels a connection to gold as she she feels she has grown up beyond her years. Her life has catapulted her into the limelight very quickly and she is experiencing her golden years at a young age. Through this she has attained great power, wealth, strength and influence. However, she has had to sacrifice her youth and naivety. She’s learnt hard life lessons that have pushed her spiritually, emotionally and psychologically beyond the age of her peers. As a result she feels alone in the world, with the red velvet settees her only companions.
3. The Mirror. Reflecting surfaces as well as the natural reflective surface of the water plays an important role in the religious concepts of many people. It is believed that somebody who gazes at his own reflection will lose his soul in the process. Therefore Narcissus, who was in love with his own reflection, was doomed. This was because his soul was ‘captured’. In many customs, in order to bar the dead from staying on earth, people veiled the mirrors in the death chamber (especially true in the Victorian era). This was to ensure that the soul of the departed would not get trapped behind the glass and be prevented from passing to ‘the other side’.
4. The Star. For centuries, the symbol of the star has been used to reference divinity, intuition, the feminine, hope and guidance. Stars offer the unique ability to guide us through the night. They can also refer to one’s need to discover their own inner light. Stars exists above us as well as within us. They encourage us to reach beyond our own egos and trust in something much greater than ourselves. The woman in our story has a star around her neck, representing she has found her inner light and values her intuition to guide her in times of darkness.
Here is a great recipe from one of my favourite websites, BBC Good Food. I made “Fruitburst Muffins” which are low-fat muffins with cinnamon, honey, cranberries and blueberries.
- 225g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 large eggs
- 50g butter, melted
- 175ml fat free milk
- 100ml clear honey
- 140g fresh blueberries
- 85g fresh cranberries
- 140g seedless raisins
- 140g dried apricots, chopped
- 1 tsp grated orange zest
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 200C and lightly butter a 12-hole muffin tin. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then stir in the melted butter, milk & honey. Add to flour with the remaining ingredients. Combine quickly without overworking. Spoon mixture into the muffin tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes until well-risen and pale golden on top.
I am very pleased with my successful muffins. One of them came out with what I call a ‘snout’! I have no idea why the mixture does this, it looks hilarious. I couldn’t resist snapping it off for a snack 🙂
These are 3 things I would love to do this month in my down time:
- See an arty film. Now I love mainstream films with all their glitzy movie stars and action-packed storylines. They usually leave you with a satisfied and uplifting feel when you leave. You can just mindlessly watch and you’ll enjoy them so much without having to think too hard. But every now and then, I really believe it’s a treat to go and see something you would otherwise never see. Just to broaden your mind and make you think. Art movies are usually much longer than ‘normal’ films and they very often carry with them deep and profound messages. Often they are based on true stories. They don’t always have a happy ending (in fact they almost never do) and they are totally dedicated to depicting life in its rawest form. Here in Cape Town, we have a great Cinema Nouveau at the waterfront. We also have loads of DVD shops and a DVD Nouveau right near where I live. I don’t care if I hire it out or go watch it, my first goal for March is to go see something which I would otherwise never consider watching.
- Bake something! Even if it’s terrible. The last time I baked something was 2 years ago when I did a short cooking course at Silwood. I challenge myself to make a decent milk tart/scone/red velvet cupcake – I’ll figure it out!
- Look up interesting things to do in Lisbon. Since I’m going to Lisbon for a Rotary Convention in June, I figure it’s time I compile a really educational list of things to do while I’m there. I don’t want to wait until the last minute, I want to look up beautiful sights, foods, places and spaces I should make sure I see!
Working too hard has got me totally consumed these days. I’m neglecting the side of me that needs down-time … I’m hoping these can provide that for me. What about you? Do you have goals for March? Here are pictures of a course I recently did in cooking at Silwood School of Cookery.
So we all love to keep healthy. I’ve read a lot about berries recently and it seems they are seriously the way forward. I’m talking about dried pomegranates, gooseberries, goji berries, blueberries and strawberries.
Scholars speculate that the pomegranate decorated temples in the Old Testament and was buried with Egyptian royalty as a means to a healthy afterlife. It is a viable source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium and folic acid. Although the pomegranate does contain a high quantity of sugar and is more calorie-dense than most fruits, it does not take a whole portion to reap its rich-in-antioxidants benefits.
Here is a snippet from from a Men’s Health article on goji berries:
Goji berries have one of the highest ORAC ratings—a method of gauging antioxidant power—of any fruit, according to Tufts University researchers. And although modern scientists began to study this ancient berry only recently, they’ve found that the sugars that make goji berries sweet reduce insulin resistance—a risk factor of diabetes—in rats.
I like that you can eat these things dry, or simply include them in a health smoothie for an on-the-go day.
Here are my favourite places for smoothies in Cape Town:
Liquorice & Lime in Bellevue Street – Fruit Smoothie R28
Spur anywhere – Strawberry Smoothie R24
And Kuai anywhere – Strawberry Smoothie R21
I’ve also found a great recipe for a healthy banana & peanut butter smoothie:
- 2 bananas, broken into chunks
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons honey, or to taste
- 2 cups ice cubes
Place bananas, milk, peanut butter, honey, and ice cubes in a blender; blend until smooth (about 30 seconds).
So a very memorable event that I went to recently was The Aloe Igazi Foundation‘s launch of the new Haematology Ward at The Provincial Hospital in Port Elizabeth. It was a momentous occasion because it’s the very first Haematology Ward in the Eastern Cape! It cost R20-million to build. They had great food, champagne, TV cameras, press and guest speakers to give the launch proper justice after all the hard work that’s gone into its development. My mom and I attended the event together. She is the president of the Rotary Club of Algoa Bay (2011-2012) and many members of other Rotary clubs attended the event to show their support and congratulations. One of the guest speakers was the renowned Dr Neil Littleton who is a physician & Head of the Department of Clinical Haematology at the Provincial Hospital. He is the recipient of a Paul Harris Recognition from the Rotary Club of Algoa Bay and was also the winner of the Herald’s Citizen of the Year (Business) title in 2010. There was a tour of the ward afterwards – I have included some of the official photos of the ward below, courtesy of the Foundation’s website. Dr Littleton carried out the first haematological stem cell transplant in the Eastern Cape in May 2010. And now stem cells are separated out in the Eastern Cape by the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) in Port Elizabeth. “Stem cell treatment is the future of medicine. Pioneering work is being done on using stem cells to treat all types of disease,” said Dr Neil Littleton.
The establishment of the Igazi Foundation in Nelson Mandela Bay grew out of the need to highlight the high incidence of blood diseases in the Eastern Cape, reads the media release for the Igazi Foundation, and it has sparked a research project into the causes of blood cancer in the province. Here are some great links to look at – articles with more information surrounding the new ward, it’s design, the key players involved in making it happen and The Igazi Foundation itself.
So it’s that time of year again! Top Model is hungry for new models for their 2012 competition. It’s set to take place in London next year. This is how it works: they narrow down contestants from all over the world to just a hopeful few that will take part in a runway show in London next year in March. Their aim is to get a cross-section of applicants from around the globe to take part in the show, where eventually only 1 winner will remain. And for those who make the cut? Video interviews via Skype for the final selection process…nerve-wracking! They’ve narrowed it down to 3 girls from South Africa to choose from for the show, and I’m one of them. See my modelling portfolio here. So after just getting off Skype with them, I found some tips for calming nerves from this awesome website:
1: Melt the frown. Smile and release the worry. It takes lots and lots of energy to hold a tense, tight frown on your forehead. Check in with your forehead now – lose the frown then relax the skin across your forehead. Notice how you release the pressure in your temples as well when you melt the frown. While you are at it, pay close attention to your teeth and jaw. Un-clench your jaw, relax your tongue (very important) and part your teeth slightly. This will help enormously release facial and neck tension. You might even notice your shoulders relaxing and dropping at the same time. Melt the frown, un-clench your jaw and drop your shoulders.
2: Take a chill pill. Close your eyes, cup the palms of your hands over your ears, now listen to the sounds of the ocean playing inside your head. Continue until you feel your nerves a little less frazzled, your thoughts a little calmer and your breathing more relaxed.
3: Turn off the noise: Silence nourishes your body, mind and soul. Silence is very restorative. Toxic urban noise is never ending and can be a constant background stress that you may not be aware of. Tune into your hearing and notice which sounds irritate you. Take a five minute “no noise” break. Alternately turn down or turn off any unnecessary stressful noise.
4: Repeat a calming mantra: Use your thoughts to fuel your body with a constant stream of calming and relaxing thoughts. Mantras work because they take your focus away from the stress and drama (just for a moment) and invite more peace into your life. Here’s a few of my favorites that you might like use.
“I remember to breathe and relax moment by moment”
“Every cell in my body is loved and healthy”.
Breath in “I am calm” breathe out “I smile”
5: Take a mental health break: A less crowded mind means your nervous system is calmer. Take regular breaks from too much thinking and bring your awareness back into your body. Do your best to have an enjoyable morning and afternoon away from your desk in a pleasant environment if you can. Listen to the requests of your body, drink when thirsty, stretch and move when you need to and never skip a meal. An added bonus; A quiet mind has direct access to wisdom and insight.
6: Adjust your breathing: Find some calm: Make your “out” breath twice as long as your “in” breath. This will immediately calm you down. Your breathing directly reflects your stress levels. If you breathing is fast, tight and shallow then I encourage to read my article 12 great reasons to start alternate nostril breathing:
7: Calm your nerves by turning your back to the world: This is in my top 3 all time favorite relaxation postures in the world. It’s such a simple way to calm an overcrowded mind, call back your scattered energies back, calm your breathing and relax. Click here for full details. I promise you’ll love it.
8: Hug well and hug often: Give a hug or receive a hug, either way hug well and hug often. Heh, even give yourself a hug. Hugging and cuddling is therapeutic, healing and calming. According to Virginia Satir a family therapist; we need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth. Whats your daily hug quota?
9: Rest your eyes: When you relax your eyes you are inviting your mind and body to follow. Do yourself a favor and grab yourself a yoga eye pillow and enjoy 5 minutes of relaxation.
10: Self massage nourishes your nervous system: Touch is healing and extremely nourishing to your body. Self massage releases happy feelings into your body, improves circulation and supports the removal of toxins from your body. There are simply loads of benefits. Whilst “self massage” might seem like hard work at first, I can guarantee you’ll soon notice a difference.
11: Cancel, clear, delete your energy drains: Notice what zaps your precious energy and reduce your exposure to gossip, shopping centers, busy places, certain friends or family members.
12: Give yourself a chocolate facial: Warning! This is very addictive. Licking is definitely allowed as long as no one is looking.
13: Hum your worries away: Time to Hum. Place your hand on top of your head, smile, now start humming. Feel the healing vibration of the hum reach the top of your head. Your clever hum will brush away the cob webs, soothe your mind, relax your face muscles and nourish your nervous system.
14: Sip a calming drink: If all else fails then do what I do; grab for my bottle of chamomile. I know for a fact that the medicinal herb of chamomile calms my energies in an instant. It great for insomnia and nervousness and has a sedative effect on your nervous system. Around one teaspoon sends a warm calming feeling throughout my body.