THE BODY

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I love food.

I have never had a problem gorging on carbs and rarely count calories. I always thought that I was actually an Italian woman trapped in a freckled body and felt superior because I was one of the few girls in my year who wasn’t obsessed with what I ate. I had this idea that I was the cool girl, the one who ordered spaghetti on a date, slurped until her heart was content and never split puddings. Ever.

But what I lacked in obsession, I more than made up for in neglect. I used to be skinny and only ever used to move my body to shuffle to the dance floor, drifted from shop window to shop window and only ate vegetables because I had to. I would eat a cheese and pickle sandwich everyday after school, after snacking all day, and no one could understand where it all went.

But since I turned 25 and completely lost the ability to break down anything fattier than a carrot stick, I decided to give my body the leg up that it needed. In addition to buying a yoga mat – and actually using it – I’ve started juicing; making glasses of goodness that kick coffee’s arse in the pick-me-up stakes each morning. I cycle, I walk, I sit down less and I’ve started wearing heels again. Not only do they make me look taller than normal and feel a little more glam than when I’m in my jim-jams, they give my calves a workout when I get down and dirty on the dance floor.

Now, although I’m pretty laid back about what goes in my mouth (don’t), pretty much only eat when I’m hungry and give my body what it craves – even if that is a bar of Whole Nut -one rule I do abide by is that I absolutely never weigh myself. This isn’t just because the last time I checked (in 2005) I weighed eight stone and I would like to continue to pretend that I am stuck in that weightless, pubescent tunnel, but because it doesn’t matter to me what the scales say. As long as I don’t have to burst a blood vessel trying to fit into my beloved black skinny jeans and I can still cycle across London on a Sunday without passing out, then I’m happy.

Loving our bodies shouldn’t just be about pounds and ounces and although we’d like to say otherwise, most women my age tend to focus primarily on what’s staring back at them in the mirror. I love to try out the latest MAC lipstick as much as the next person and have an unhealthy obsession with clothes, but I cannot stress enough that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, so please, do not neglect your health.

You might be young, have hair like Rapunzel, a bang-tidy bod and your nails might be lacquered every Tuesday, but that’s not what’s going to keep you going for the next 30 years, is it? Just because we are young doesn’t mean that we are immune from life’s curveballs, no matter how invincible we feel after a few glasses of gin. Prevention is so much better than cure, so speak to someone if you are not feeling 100%. Go for all of your check ups – even if it means cancelling on friends – and have a timely route around for lumps and bumps, because no one else is going to do it for you… well, unless you ask nicely.

I, myself, have been feeling a bit fuzzy in the head as of late, so have been accepting advice from wherever it’s offered. One chap suggested to me that I would only be able to move forward with things and exercise a positive mental attitude if I explored what is good for my body. “Sort out the physical”, he said, “and the rest will follow”. And he was right. A few vitamins, some freshly squeezed fruit juice and some serious work outs later, I feel a lot more like myself. Actually no, a better version of myself.

I urge you to do it too and do it now; after all, once the arthritis sets in, there’ll be no Zumba for anyone.

Here’s to health and happiness. Have a wonderful Wednesday.

The Follicle

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From hair loss and hair cuts, to the fuzz between your legs and the strands sprouting from your bonce: we’re hair obsessed.

I have always been partial to the longer haired gentleman, and I think if more women were honest with themselves, they are too. It’s something to do with our sexual appetites harking back to the Stone Age- forget pecks, biceps or even triceps, give me a head of hair and I’m putty in your hands. Teamed with a beard? You don’t even have to know my name. Blame science, I do.

It therefore pleases me that one of the most iconic styles of the last year or so, and one of the trends sure to define our lost little generation is the ‘mun’ or man bun. This, to me, reigns supreme in follicle fashion; so much so that I think it should be mandatory for men to don one for at least a month of their lives. Why should top knots be restricted to women only? I’m all for equal rights and if we can do it guys, then so can you.

For women, it’s fringes that are coming to the fore. Put off for a while when a guy mate of mine at uni told me that he could never understand why women had them:

“Why ruin a pretty face?” he asked.

I didn’t (and still don’t) even know where to begin.

I’ve always loved having one. They frame my face more than Kim’s contouring ever could and they add that certain something to an outfit that a hand bag just can’t. But as with most great fashion or beauty fixtures, they come with their perils and fringed females must always think ahead: staying over at people’s houses requires either a full bag of bobby pins to curb the curl; hats are pretty much a no-go if you’re headed anywhere you’ll need to impress, and rain… well, just stay inside. Deschanel and Byrne make it look so easy but I can pretty much guarantee that they have a team of twenty to make those facial curtains look so seamless.

And what do we hide under our bangs? More hair, of course. I’ve always had fuller, very dark brows – unlucky me until Delevigne hit the big time- and I now walk around like a boss, only tweezing when things get really bad, or my fringe grows out. But I don’t believe they’ve ever received so much attention; from drawing them on to waxing them off, we’re really quite distracted by those little sweat guards. But as one who is quite clearly pro-hair, I must stress something I feel quite strongly about: the fact that they are called browS. It’s for a very good reason. We should all, no matter what gender or how painful the upkeep, have two. The forehead is no place for a caterpillar- except for Frieda Kahlo’s of course; hers seems like the perfect habitat.

So, in a world obsessed with beauty, let’s come together to celebrate being low-maintenance and hairy; something we rarely (except for Cameron Diaz and Julia Roberts) do. And lads, if Leonardo DiCaprio is doing something, then don’t ask questions and just follow suit- the mun is paramount. 

Oh, and FYI, Primark do hair ties for a pound. Thank me later boys.

 

The Beard

970941-beardsAs a small child with a fair-haired father, I would bawl and back away from any dark haired men with a bit of facial fuzz who came anywhere near my pram.

Oh the irony.

Although beards are quite clearly having a moment, I have been enjoying their existence ever since I first watched Teen Wolf.

Some girls wince at the thought of stray hairs getting stuck in their teeth and their toes curl at the prospect of food getting caught in their man’s moustache. I beg the question: “What is so wrong with saving a few crumbs for Ron?” Hamsters store them in their cheeks, hipsters store them on their chins. If nothing else, beards are efficient.

On an arguably shallower note, they’re hot. Most men, as I think even they will agree, look like unborn foetuses when they are clean shaven. The common excuse I hear about having to grin and bare it is that their bosses won’t have it. Tell them to do one. It’s the 21st century; if we are in charge of our ovaries, you should be in charge of your chins. Fact.

A definitive downer to the beard however is that they are deceptive as hell. Boys, you know when you see a hot girl in the summer wearing oversized sunnies and think “phwoooooar!”, only for her to take them off and be utterly disappointed? Yeah that. Beards are like a blanket for the face. Ladies, prepare to be fooled. Beards have the ability to make even the Barlows of the world look attractive, as we have recently noted. Cue One Direction.

My boyfriend has a beard so big he practically looks like the missing link. In fact, one of his pals even questioned him as to what it was like before electricity was invented. Drunk women also have the desire to touch his face a lot. Young children point and stare.

But despite all of the hecklers and over friendly females, there is a plus side. If he even thinks about moaning about my prickly pins, all I have to do is point at his face and laugh.

I am aware that it is a matter of taste and, as Gosling has demonstrated, there is still time in this world for a lack of facial follicle. But think low maintenance lads and let that beard run free. It’s what God would’ve wanted.