Wednesday, February 29, 2012

3 minute sweat-less workout

Several weeks ago I discussed the topic, 'What is happiness' with 12 other women. To make things more interesting, the chairwoman asked each of us to explain what happiness is to us.

One of my responses was met with astonishment by a few of my companions, admiration by one or two and total bemusement by the rest. What did I say ?

Well, after stating family, health, security etc I added. "Sweating in the gym during a hard workout followed by a long hot shower". I went on to explain that the time I spent at the gym was my time; a time when I wasn't a wife, mother, sibling, daughter, business women etc. I was just me.

I was telling the truth. I love and have always loved exercise. I spent years pounding the pavement during my teens and twenties, when lack of finance made gym membership impossible. I joined a gym after having my son almost 12 years ago and have never looked back.

Sweating in the gym makes me feel alive and healthy. It also gives me a sense of achievement, personal satisfaction as well as the ability to let my mind wonder in ways that just isn't possible elsewhere.

Last night’s Horizon, ‘The Truth About Exercise’ (BBC 2) went against everything I was taught and believe about exercise. During the programme presenter Michael Mosley tested the theory that a few short bursts of intense exercise, amounting to three minutes a week, can deliver many of the health and fitness benefits of hours of conventional exercise.

If '3 minutes a week' is proved to be true; I’m sure that the members of the British public who don’t do the recommended 2 ½ hours a week of conventional exercise (80%), will be ecstatic. For their sake I hope it’s true.

True or not; I for one will not be ditching the gym for a 3 minute sweat-less workout, (which you can do in a suit and remain completely dry) any time soon.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Dignity kindness and compassion

We all want to be treated as valued individuals; worthy of respect simply because we are human. This is even more so the case, when we are vulnerable and dependent on others for our wellbeing.

The NHS is often perceived as the epitome of an organisation whose services are caring, empathetic and open to all whatever  background or circumstances come into play.

I was therefore concerned to learn that the Department of Health had asked the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to produce a quality standard and clinical guidance for the NHS. 

Point one of the new guide (aimed specifically at adult patients) states that patients should be, "treated with dignity, kindness, compassion, courtesy, respect, understanding and honesty".

All very admirable, but it is somewhat disquieting that guidance, on this very basic level,  is needed to address the issue of poor nursing care.

The NICE spokesman has stated that the guide, "is not mandatory, but we do expect NHS clinicians to take it into account."

Speaking personally (and I'm sure I'm not alone), I would sleep far more soundly if NICE had stated, " the guide is mandatory and we expect NHS clinicians to implement it in full."


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mannequins are getting bigger

Shop Window display company Displaysense has reported a 16% increase in the number of mannequin orders specifying size 12-14 (with DD bust sizes).

Jim Moody (spokesman) said, “Curves are back and set to stay this spring/summer”.

He added, “… the commercial viability of the growing plus-size clothing market is being seized by high street chains and independent retailers alike”.

Recent market research by Mintel identified the fact that one in five Britain’s wear plus size clothing. This explains the 47% rise in the purchase of larger sizes during the past five years. The corresponding market is up from £2.7 billion to £4 billion and it is expected to increase (with the British waistline) by a further 43% by 2016 (£5.7 billion).

Considering the fact that the average British Women is (at least) a size 14; I’m surprised it has taken the mannequins this long to catch up.

Perhaps we should view, the increasing size of mannequins, as an admission by the fashion industry that real women do not and will never (in all probability), look like the thin mannequins that currently dominate shop displays.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Fashion Clones

I’m sure many people in their 70's who, lets face it, are often overlooked by the fashion industry, will be both surprised and pleased to hear Dame Vivienne Westwood’s latest comments.

“I don’t notice anybody unless they look great, and every now and again they do, and they are usually 70”.

Ms Westwood (70) made the observation during London Fashion Week. Elaborating she added that the British public, “have never looked so ugly as they do today regarding their dress.” This unfortunate state she put down to the rise of “disposable fashion” that has resulted in everyone looking the same.

“We are so conformist”, she continued. “Nobody is thinking. We are all sucking up stuff, we have been trained to be consumers and we are all consuming far too much”.

I 'm happy to confess that I have some sympathy with Vivienne Westwood's views.

However, I don’t think the general public is looking like fashion “clones” by choice. It’s simply boils down to the fact that the High Street that I grew up with, one that was filled with small independent fashion outlets, is dead. It has been replaced with big brands (much fewer in number) that offer the same things in high streets and shopping centres all over the country.

It’s no surprise that individuals, fed up of seeing others dressed in exactly the same outfits as them, quickly dispose of their fairly recent (and cheap) purchases, only to repeat the cycle next season.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Cosmetic surgery debate

The PIP breast implant issue has been the catalyst to much cosmetic surgery centred debate and raised a number of questions. The main ones being:

    1. Should the operation and standards of the cosmetic surgery industry be regulated?
    2. Should cosmetic surgery advertising be banned?
    3. What is the best way to educate those who participate in the industry?
    4. Should a comprehensive insurance system, similar to the travel industry, be

Read Article


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Adele - a little too fat

Outspoken designer Karl Lagerfeld recently did an interview with Paris Metro magazine. During the interview he commented on Adele's weight.

"The thing at the moment is Adele," Lagerfeld said. "She is a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face and a divine voice."

A backhanded compliment if I ever heard one.

I very much doubt that his comments negatively impacted Adele. She told British Vogue.

 "It's just never been an issue — at least, I've never hung out with the sort of horrible people who make it an issue. I have insecurities of course, but I don't hang out with anyone who points them out to me."

ITV's Lorraine's Kelly's discussed the controversial statement this morning and remarked.

He is a "waspish silly old thing. He should shut up"!


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Body Image Workshop Intro

This introductory video will give you an insight into the underlying objectives of our Body Image & Self Esteem workshop.


 NB. The workshop program has ended.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Aspirational selling

This week senior marketers from the beauty industry, including Boots, L’Oréal and Procter & Gamble, appeared before the All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image.

Conservative MP Caroline Nokes asked the group if they were perpetuating a lack of confidence in order to sell more products and services.

In response Louise Terry(L’Oréal group director of communications) defended the cosmetics firm’s advertising as “aspirational” and “sincere”. She said: “It’s fair to say that images are airbrushed but never to make people thinner. We try to be sincere and try to get the line right between aspirational and going too far. We spend a lot of time on what is appropriate and we have a good industry watchdog (Advertising Standards Authority – ASA) that names and shames us when we get it wrong. People are discerning. If they use a product and it doesn’t work, they probably will not use it again. But we get consumers buying our products again and again.”

Ironically, the meeting took place during the same week that the ASA banned a L’Oreal’s ad that featured an airbrushed Rachel Weisz.

Elizabeth Fagan ( Boots marketing director) added her thoughts. “We want all our brand communications to be engaging”, she said continuing, “inspirational and make people feel good. We don’t want it to be unattainable but want women to think ‘on a good day I could look like that’.... Women don’t want to see unattractive or everyday people – they want to be aspirational.”

Aspirational?  In truth many beauty ads depict images that are unattainable. The industry should address this issue, rather than simply skirting around the edges.