Posts Tagged ‘lifestyle’

The Gospel According To Lesley: Talking About Beauty, SLEEP WELL O

March 12, 2017

 

Sleep covers a multitude of sins. Take my word for it. Have you ever recovered from an illness and someone says “Ah, you look so well”? Sleep and rest are linked to all sorts of good outcomes. I used to sleep three four hours a night. If I slept a long time I slept 6 hours. And no matter what time I went to bed I couldn’t sleep beyond 9am. My conscience would have me out of bed and running around like a headless chicken after an all night binge that ended at 7am.

“Work hard and play harder.” I famously said once. “Not on two hours of sleep” the Universe replied and hit me with thyrotoxicosis.

Now I get my uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep every night.  If I go to bed late, I wake up late. If I have a sleep deficit I make up for it real quick. Next night where ever possible. And I sleep late on Sundays. Every Sunday. Just lounge around in bed reading, napping and ringing the bell for service.  If god could rest one day out of seven then so can I god damn it. Its my definition of ‘Keeping The Sabbath.’ No other rules apply.

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Oil painting by Oresegun Olumide

In Nigeria I can bloody well do that too because everything runs on ‘African Time’ anyway. Even the Mexicans know about it. When we plan events and we want the event to start by 6pm we never put that on the invitation. We put noon on the invitation hoping the guests will start to arrive by 6pm. And start at midnight anyway. Go figure. Anyway its part of our planning process, African Time is. I know all you Nigerians in abroad find it infuriating. Kpele.

Depending on the power dynamics I can arbitrarily reschedule a 9am appointment or even not inform you that its been rescheduled at all if I need a couple hours of extra sleep. You’re probably late anyway. My sleep is more important than your good will.

It wasn’t easy putting my needs first, at first. My ‘oyibo’ conscience would scream at me and burden me to get to the meeting and I would convince myself that 3 hours of sleep was okay because I felt just fine.  Margeret Tatcher famously slept 4 hours a night. She had Alziemers or dementia or something when she died. So did my late mother in law who also had sleep problems.

I don’t play with my sleep o.

My bedroom is the nicest room in the house, airy, comfy and soothing. Music, yes. television, no. No television in bed. Only a couple of books on the night stand. My boudoir. I try to fall asleep and wake up feeling happy to be alive.

I also know how to sleep rough. Catching as many or as few hours as possible in the most uncomfortable conditions. Because  sometimes even where you sleep is determined by power dynamics and you sleep and wake up with uncertainty. And maybe work hard to escape and create a personal sense of security. Or status. Or dignity. Refusing to give in to those forces. Or giving in.

Don’t compromise where you sleep o and – as my friend used to say – who you sleep with it. And why.

Till soon.

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The Gospel According To Lesley: Talking About Beauty II

February 12, 2017

Last month I wrote about some of the stuff I’ve done over the years in the name of ‘beauty’ and promised to fill you in after I think about it some more.

For many many years I tried to prove that I was just as hardy as the Natives. Because the natives always told me I was soft because I was half white. They said we are not strong like them. So I used to run around under the sun at noon and otherwise look very hardy during the hottest time of the day and all day till the sun went down. We got up and went to bed with the sun.

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Sun Hustle by David Osagie, Digital Artist

They were right. I was wrong. I am not as hardy as the natives. All that running around in the sun just over heated me and made me sick. So nowadays I follow oyibo advice – I stay out of the sun. My friends tease me because I use these uber cute and kitschy sun umbrellas and hats if I’m even 2 minutes in the sun.

I avoid  being outside between 10am and 5pm. If I could get away with it I would only come out between 7pm and 7am but they might call me a vampire. The natives are very superstitious. They go to bed early. There will be no one to do business with at that time of the night anyway. The ones that stay awake may not make good business partners.

Nigeria proves the stereotype that only bad  things happen at night.

I used to eat a lot of garlic. I still eat garlic but not so much. My ayurveda diagnosis does not recommend it. I eat just enough to prove I am not a vampire and to keep real vampires at bay. Beware the ones that go “Hmm. You eat garlic.”  Like its an accusation of witch craft.

The most common age related damage I seen on Nigerian women is sun damage.  Even in the ones that are not so yellow.  We live almost at the equator, with only gods knows what type of environmental ozone and atmospheric damage making us super vulnerable to the worst of the sun’s radiation.

SPF just doesn’t cut it for me. It also made me sweat too profusely so I dont use it. I just don’t go out during the hottest part of the day. Oyibo is deceiving you to buy sunscreen. The smart oyibo’s are the ones in Spain and Greece. The ones that close all business and take siesta during the hottest part of the day. Americans like to  suffer. Always busy. You understand why Nigerians of the Igbo extraction like them so well? By the way you can read a short history of the tan here.

I don’t want or need a tan. Nor do I need to worship the sun. I’m pretty sure it will rise tomorrow, that I’ll have roughly the same number of hours of sunshine and that I will get some living in Abuja. Imagine what it must be like where they have 24 hours of night or 24 hours of day for a season?

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Dark Side by David Osagie, Digital Artist

The changing lengths of  the days in London, Moscow and St. Pete’s freaked me out good enough. After four months of cold short days cooped up indoors I almost rushed out to worship the sun too.

Around here we tend to worship the rain storms, thunder, lightning, the earth that yields food, water, rivers, oceans, creeks and springs. My skin loves the rainy season when the air is heavy with moisture. In Nigeria we have real rain storms. The rain in England is civilised. You can walk for hours and not get wet. In Naija you are soaked within seconds by just one gust.

Avoid the heat too. In the absence of air-conditioning in the village I found that generous applications of nzu, a chalk like mud from the river beds, when left to dry on the skin, would cool the body and leave the skin wonderfully moisturised. I would lounge on a mat under the mango tree in white chalk and a wrapper reading or listening to music on the radio. Of course the natives thought I was crazy. What do they know. Suffer head people. Running around in the sun. Perspiring. Smelling funky.

Avoid the sun joor. Apu na anwu.

Chao bella

 

 

Introducing The Gospel According To Lesley – Talking About Beauty

January 8, 2017
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Sisi Eko, Digital Art by David Osagie Dot Com

 

I just turned 51. I’ve been told often enough that I do not look my age and asked just as often how do I do it. I shrug it off, blame it on gene’s or one way or the other avoid the topic. I feel uncomfortable talking about it. A lot of women are. Even Chimamanda used to be.

The other day I was talking to a young woman about how I protected my skin from dryness during the UK winter. I described abhyanga, ayurvedic oil massage for her. I always used an oil massage before a shower during the winter never soap. And when I soaked (once a week maybe less) I dumped a bottle of Johnson’s baby oil in the tub with the bubble bath.

“So after using that sisal brush on your skin you took time and used oil to give yourself a massage? Hmm. You dey pamper yourself.”

I guess you could say so. (I’ve used a sisal brush to dry brush the skin before bathing in the every morning for more than ten years. Read about it in Vogue back in the day.)

“I’m just trying to keep my skin supple. I’ll always been obsessive about my skin even as a child. What was  an unhealthy obsession then is just what I need now. ”

I’ve also used Boots ‘Glycerin and Rosewater Tonicto clean my face everyday for over 20 years. Never soap and water. It suddenly occurs to me. I’ve had a very sophisticated beauty regimen all my life. I do pamper myself and take care of myself. No small thanks to My Evil Step Mother who tried to make a lady out of me. And curb my vanity. Was she successful?

In the tropical heat I always use a loofah and a gentle soap or shower gel. Currently using PH balanced Sebamed. And last last I will use Dove or Pears. Gone are the skin punishing days in the village when Dad bought me Tetmosol or Dettol soap. And Vaseline. And I would run around at high noon like one of my dark skinned brethren. My Father tried to make a revolutionary ought of me. And curb my vanity. Was he successful?

I’ve also used a body scrub at least two three times a week for well over 20 years. St.Ives Apricot Scrub used to be a favourite. It was always available in the market sha. At reasonable price too. Then I when I started to travel plenty I got into Soap & Glory. Now I am in love with Lizzy Ab’s All Natural Sugar Body Scrub. All natural ingredients. Leaves the skin feeling baby soft and smooth. It even taste’s good. I really take time when I’m scrubbing. I put all the attention into it I once put into bathing my new born babies.

I don’t let my skin feel tight. If it feels tight I know I need a moisturiser.  I use coconut oil daily right after a bath or shower and Jergen’s Ultra Healing lotion during the dry months. I apply as often as necessary in between to relieve the tightness. And drink more water. Till I am peeing every hour or two. Dry skin has to be attacked from the inside too. I eat right and take my vitamins. 

I take care of my skin because I figure clothes are disposable but I got to live in my own skin for my whole life. So I might as well keep it healthy and looking great. I mean if you can do it for those Blue Suede Shoes you can do it for your skin right? It just another piece of leather. Just that its still ‘alive.’ Can you relate? No?

Don’t worry about it.

I treat my feet well too. Notice how the feet do so much work? Show them some appreciation. Give them a massage with the nicest smelling richest cream or lotion you can afford. Pamper your feet. Wash and pamper them when you come home from the market square. Appreciate the work they do. The intricate engineering that keeps you upright all day long.

Say ‘Thank you.’

A proper pedicure once in a while would do. Not the road side kind. I swear I judge a person by the state of their feet.

And how they smell.

I get complimented a lot that I smell good. Thank you. I appreciate the effort that goes into smelling good. I make a lot of effort to smell good. My revulsion at unpleasant smells is primal. I think its evil to assail your fellow human beings with funky body smells. Or any other kind of unpleasant smells. Like cheap perfume. Cheap perfume smells cheap. I do not use it. I’d rather withdraw from polite society.

I  frequently do.

Let’s see. What else do I do to stay healthy and strong? Let me think about it and get back to you.

Chao bella

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Chimamanda, Digital Art by David Osagie

 

Style Essentials -The Perfect Pair of Jeans Can Take You Anywear

August 16, 2013

Jeans are a staple of my life. I wear then for work and play. I even wore jeans to a black tie event once with a tuxedo jacket and pumps. When I find the perfect pair I wear them till they literally fall apart on my hips.

It doesn’t get better that the Levi’s Curve ID.

Here they are rocked by Janet Jackson.

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How a 21st Century Working Woman Starts An At Home Yoga Practice

July 25, 2013

You are a busy women. Raising kids, working, sometimes working two jobs. Sometimes more. Struggling with bills. Tough. Then some smarmy hippie or yuppie type suggests you try yoga for all those aches pains and kinks age has brought on. Its a little harder getting up in the morning and to pick up that box. Hangovers take two days to clear up and a day of hiking wipes you out.

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You kinda laugh. Yoga. As if you didn’t know already. Really cool but where are you going to get an extra 50 or 60 quid and 12 to 56 hours a month (unpaid). You long for the contemplative calm and peace you know yoga can bring. You joined a one month beginners introductory class last year with your Christmas bonus. Unlike previous times when you managed to go only twice you stick it out till the end. After the first 2 hour workout you sleep all day. You start to feel great at the end of the month. But Junior had music lessons AND football practice. It played havoc with your schedule.

You tell yourself you can do yoga at home. Its the early 21st century. There’s YouTube, internet and Blueray. You buy a DVD, subscribe to several yoga channels on YouTube. Its hard to keep up, its hard to flow when you’re busy trying to watch the screen. You wonder if you’re getting it right. There’s no feedback. A one hour session takes almost two hours of fumbling. And It still plays havoc with your schedule. After a week the DVD lies forgotten beside the Jane Fonda and the Chillates DVD.

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The creaking bones get louder. The long evening walks aren’t enough. You know you need yoga. You need to get over the inertia of doing yoga at home alone so you start real small. You set up a yoga corner first. Just a space to stretch out your mat and your body and some fresh air. That’s. All. Forget the ‘large sunny well ventilated room’. You live in a box. Then every morning soon as you get up you go there and get into child’s pose. Its the simplest pose. That’s all that your frazzled body and soul can handle right now. You hold it for as long as you can. At first its only a couple minutes. Your monkey mind jumps around the whole time. But it doesn’t matter to you. You are doing yoga. You’re pleased. Soon you’re doing 5 minutes everyday.

 

Think of babies, before stuff gets them all uptight and inflexible

Think of babies, before stuff gets them all uptight and inflexibl

 

Then you start to stay in the pose longer. And mindfully focusing your body and breathing. Monkey mind stays quite longer each time you’re on the mat. You feel more and more comfortable. You remember the other poses you learnt in yoga class. One morning you slide out of Child pose into the Plank then the Cobra and then down into Down Ward Dog. You’re elated! You just accomplished a flow even tough your arms quiver, and you held your breath and each pose for less than ten seconds!

 

The Plank

The Plank

 

Six weeks later and you’re doing 20 to 30 minsof basic flow at least 3x a week. Some days you really can’t face the mat but frequency is building up. You’re introducing a new pose every week or so. You learn some simple sequences on YouTube and expand your repertoire. Some weeks you actually manage to do some yoga daily. Sometimes you even do a sequence before bedtime or ten minutes during the day if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Yoga practice is slowly but surely becoming an organic part of your day without costing you extra money you don’t have or taking center stage of your life.

The Cobra Pose (and if you can keep that smile on your face it does help!)

The Cobra Pose (and if you can keep that smile on your face it does help!)

You wonder about the people that can afford to commit 1.5 or 2 hours a day (counting transit/ travel time) to yoga practice. You guess that’s why all really committed enthusiasts are instructors, studio owners, celebrities or under-employed. You say to yourself that If you  money from it you would spend 2 to 4 daily hours in the studio. You realize the expensive private yoga instructor you still think of as Kalashnikov Gandhi because he carried a gun doesn’t get yoga at all. He pushed you like a drill sergeant to overcome your body’s natural laziness till you injured yourself. Yoga isn’t about force and resistance. Its flow. Flow into it. Breathe into it

Downward Dog - Babies are natural yogis! I try to get back to that energy in yoga - uninhibited

Downward Dog – Babies are natural yogis! I try to get back to that energy in yoga – uninhibited

Happy flowing.

Little Habits That Conserve Money Or How Much Toothpaste Do You Need

July 24, 2013

Very little really. I read about it years ago and used just pea size dollop of toothpaste since. My toothpaste lasts months if I’m the only one using it. I’ve been using one for 5 months and it still going strong. Might last me till I’m back from Moscow in 3 months time.

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To all my family and friends who didn’t get the memo you can read it here. Now if you promise to use the regulation amount of toothpaste you can come stay with me and I promise not to tear your head off if you don’t. (I used to get really grouchy.)

Forget those commercials that tell you to squeeze it on. They want you to buy as much and as frequently as possible. You got to educate yourself.  Oh and seriously, floss is not optional. I really want to be able to kiss everybody.

Teach your family too. You’ll save a fortune in toothpaste

 

Happy brushing