How does a healthy relationship develop?

touchYou’re at a party hosted by your best friend’s new boyfriend. He introduces you to his very hot and very fit Buddy. Yum! You start talking to Buddy and are pleasantly surprised to find that in addition to being deliciously good looking, he’s smart, funny and successful. Out of your league, you think. But you hit it off and he doesn’t leave your side the entire night. You exchange numbers and he calls the very next day. You’re all butterflies as you go on your first date a few days later. Things catapult from here and the next six months are a haze of butterflies, dinners, laughing and mental montages of your wedding day.

Suddenly… You start to get irritated with eachother and have your first fight… Then your second and third… The honeymoon is over and you start to notice how he slurps his coffee in the morning and leaves the seat up in the bathroom. You’re scared… You wonder how things could have changed so quickly… what it all means… Is the relationship nearing the end? Or is this normal?

Sound familiar? We’ve all been there, wondered that and found out that there is no simple answer. Relationships are tough… Sometimes this scenario spells the end and sometimes it’s just the beginning. Fighting is a normal part of every relationship and a very valuable one at that. It helps us get closer to the ultimate goal of true intimacy – where we fully accept, love and support one another exactly as we are. A completely safe environment.

John Bradshaw, an experienced counsellor and acclaimed author, states that there are four stages of a healthy relationship: Infatuation, Disillusionment & Conflict, Independence and Intimacy. Many relationships don’t make it past Disillusionment & Conflict and it can take some couples 20 – 30 years to achieve Intimacy. Here is a summary of each stage:


As in our example above, this stage is the “Honeymoon” period. During this period, the biological processes associated with procreation are most pronounced. The testosterone, dopamine and other “feel good” chemicals are intoxicating. You want to spend all your time together… can’t stop thinking about eachother… The way he slurps his coffee is cute. You idealize your partner so much, you think no one has ever made you feel this way before and no one ever will. But, within three to six months, the chemical processes begin to subside and you move forward to the next stage.

Disillusionment & Conflict

During this stage, the bio-chemistry returns to normal and reality sets in. The honeymoon is over. Suddenly, the way he slurps his coffee is so irritating, you imagine slapping the bottom of his coffee cup as he’s slurping away. This is perfectly normal – yes, that’s right… Perfectly normal! Even the healthiest of relationships go through this stage. You’ve been so consumed with eachother, it’s time to separate a little. But it can be scary. Many people become so afraid of this conflict, they take flight rather than working through it. Or, they begin to cling more out of fear of losing their partner. This is definitely the “make it or break it” stage.

They keys to making it past this stage are to take comfort in the fact that it will pass and to fight with respect. Recognize that this is the stage in which much learning takes place and in the end, you will understand eachother and become closer as a couple. This is the stage in which compromise is essential. However, it takes two to tango, so if you find yourself stuck in this stage despite adjusting based on the conflicts and “feedback” from your partner, it may be time to let the relationship go. Never compromise yourself and your values for the relationship.


In this stage, you have established healthy boundaries and found the right balance between “you”, “me”, and “us”. You have accepted most of your partner’s flaws, and though you may never learn to like the way he slurps his coffee, you love him anyway. Loving someone even though you don’t like everything about them is called “differentiation” and is a sign that you are very close to true intimacy. If you make it to this stage, there is a good chance you will not be part of the divorce statistic.


Bradshaw defines true intimacy as the ability to share who you truly are with your partner and vice versa. This is critical. You cannot achieve true intimacy unless both partners drop their masks and share exactly who they are with eachother. To establish true intimacy, you have to have created safety in the relationship during the Disillusionment & Conflict stage. This means making the relationship free of judgement and ridicule. Establishing your boundaries while showing love and compassion and without making your partner feel as though they are walking on egg shells or that they are inadequate.

It can take fifteen to twenty years to develop intimacy, but longevity alone doesn’t guarantee that you have achieved it. It takes work and unless you truly know who you are and have healed any wounds from your childhood, you will not be able to share your life with another person in a healthy way.

What stage is your relationship in?

1 Comment

Filed under Love & Lust

Homemade Nutella – Gluten Free & Dairy Free

Nutella JarDear Nutella

I want to smother you on everything… You make me think late night binges are the best idea ever. You comfort me during “that time of the month” like nothing else can (not even Midol). I’ve eaten you by the spoonful despite adamant protests by my butt, thighs and stomach.

You are by far my longest relationship ever – my childhood sweetheart… And every attempt to break up with you has left me longing for more and inevitably reuniting with you over a piece of toast and a glass of milk.

But the time has come for us to both be better versions of ourselves… Leaner and healthier, but with all the personality ever.



Homemade Gluten Free Dairy Free NutellaYep… Growing up in Europe has resulted in a bit of a Nutella addiction. Ok… A MAJOR Nutella addiction. I’ve tried to kick the habit, but it seems to be ingrained in my DNA. So… I decided to try deconstructing the recipe, replace some ingredients with healthier options and hopefully reduce the saturated fat, sugar and calorie content. Without sacrificing the flavour of course…

Tall order, right? Well… I tried and am quite happy with the result. It was not only really quick and easy, it’s also Gluten Free and Dairy Free. You’re welcome.


2 cups of raw whole hazelnuts

1 can of light organic coconut milk

½ cup of organic coconut sugar

¼ teaspoon sea salt

10 oz 100% chocolate (or if you don’t have a dairy intolerance, you can use 70% chocolate)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10-15 minutes. You know they are done when the shells look lightly toasted and fill your house with that yummy hazelnut fragrance.
  2. In a medium pot, heat coconut milk, coconut sugar and salt on medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved into the milk. Set aside.
  3. In a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate and set aside.
  4. When hazelnuts have been toasted, lay them on a clean, damp towel and gently rub them to remove most of the skin.
  5. Place the hazelnuts in your blender or food processor (I use my Ninja) and process them until they are extremely fine.
  6. Add in melted chocolate and mix until you achieve a smooth texture.
  7. Add coconut milk and sugar mixture and mix again until all the ingredients are completely incorporated and smooth.
  8. Pour into a jar, let cool and spread all over everything in your fridge. Yum!

1 Comment

Filed under Pillows & Potlucks, Waistlines & Wellness

Has Serial Online Dating Killed Commitment?

online datingAs a little girl, I remember dreaming about meeting Mr. Right, our courtship, eventual Fairy Tale wedding and our “Happily Ever After”. Oddly enough, that dream never involved sitting in front of a computer, “catalogue shopping” for a potential date. But such is the day and age we are in, so a few years ago, I embraced it.

I met some Princes and some Frogs, and got a number of free dinners or drinks along the way. But it has not led to any long-term commitment. While online dating offers many perks – efficient and targeted approach to meeting someone suitable – it can be a double edged sword. From my experience, the proliferation of online dating poses three challenges to the notion of commitment:

1. Creates the illusion of unlimited options

Ask a person what they want in a mate, and they will list off all the things they don’t want, or tell you about the negative experiences they have had. Our negative experiences should help us identify what we are looking for in a partner, but very few people actually take it to that step. So when we meet someone, rather than looking for the traits we want and value, we look for things we don’t want. And at the first sign of imperfection, we bail. After all… We have an endless pool of options that we can turn to.

2. Takes the fun out of dating and courtship

People who are online dating are using it for one of two things: to get action, or to find someone to marry. Both of these take the fun out of courtship – a key ingredient to building a strong foundation for anything lasting. People who are looking for someone to marry, approach online dating too seriously and infuse unnecessary intensity, causing the relationship to progress far too quickly. Focusing on the end goal really limits our ability to enjoy the courtship, have fun and learn about each other.

3. Limits staying power of relationships

Relationships are not easy. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t just “work”. They take a lot of work in order to have staying power. But online dating really limits the need to put in that work. We are much more comfortable with a relationship ending than previous generations have been because we know we still have the online dating sites to turn to. Another, potentially better, partner is just around the corner.

So how do we break this cycle? Well… To start, enjoy dating! Embrace the courtship. Don’t focus on the end goal of marriage, but enjoy the process of getting to know your partner. Have fun together. Create memories. Bond. Laugh.

Second, understand that no person or relationship is perfect. Make a list of what you actually WANT in a partner and know what you will not compromise on and what is somewhat negotiable. I’m not saying ignore the things you don’t want, but focus on the positive more than the negative. As long as the positive outweighs the negative, you have something to work with.

And last, live for the moment. Yes there are many people out there, and any number of them could be a great match. Take the time to know what you want and value in a person and appreciate it when you find it. There are always trade-offs. It takes commitment – the conscious decision to be together and make it work – to achieve the fairy tale ending.

1 Comment

Filed under Love & Lust

Spice up Your Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut SquashWhether it’s a bone chilling rainy day or a frigid winter afternoon, nothing warms my soul more than a cup of home-made roasted curry butternut squash soup. I absolutely love the rich flavour and the curry spice kick. It’s extremely quick to make and comes with a whole host of health benefits.

Butternut squash is low energy density, which means it offers tremendous nutrients without a lot of calories. It’s also rich in dietary fibre and phyto-nutrients and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, making it highly recommended by dieticians for controlling cholesterol and weight loss.

Here is my quick, delicious recipe that is sure to warm you up on a chilly day.


  • 1 Medium Sized Butternut Squash
  • 1 Large Onion diced
  • 1 Litre of Organic Free Range Chicken Broth
  • 3 table spoons of curry powder
  • 1 table spoon of nutmeg
  • 1 table spoon of cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Roasting the Butternut Squash

  1. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise
  2. Place it on a foil lined baking sheet cut side up
  3. Bake for 50 minutes
  4. Scoop the butternut squash into a bowl and set aside

Preparing the Broth

  1. In large pot, brown the diced onion and curry powder
  2. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil

Putting it all Together

  1. Add scooped butternut squash and boil for 20 minutes
  2. Add nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes
  4. Blend well using a food processor or blender (I use my Ninja. Because I love the name. )
  5. Let cool, serve and enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Pillows & Potlucks, Waistlines & Wellness

5 Ways to Set Yourself Apart and Accelerate Your Career

woman legs ladderSetting yourself apart at work is no easy task. Not only are young people entering the workforce more educated than ever, as you climb the ladder, the competition gets stiffer. So what differentiates phenomenal employees from the rest of the pack?

I have been fortunate to work for some of the world’s largest and most reputable companies, exposing me to the most inspiring leaders. It has amazed me how quickly some people progress to the top and I have paid particular attention to the way in which they have really set themselves apart from everyone else.

Here are five ways you can set yourself apart and accelerate your career.

1. Consider yourself a steward of the organization

Why should senior leaders or shareholders hand the company over to your leadership if you don’t treat it like it’s your own? Work hard and with the same passion as you would if it was your company. Treat business decisions the same way. Ask yourself: “What decision would I make if I was faced with this exact situation in my own company?”

2. Build your personal brand

What do you want to be known for? You should be able to answer this question without much thought and let this be your guiding light as you progress through your career. Every decision, interaction and behaviour should be aligned with and help to reinforce your personal brand. While there are some traits that must be part of your personal brand (courage, risk, integrity, etc.), you should differentiate yourself in some way in an effort to leave behind a legacy that lives beyond your tenure.

3. Align with key influencers

No one climbs higher up the ladder without the help of others along the way. Identify, learn from and align with key influencers within the organization. Having them in your corner elevates your personal brand similar to word of mouth advertising. Influencers usually have great relationships at the top and impact all key hiring decisions. Carefully select one early in your tenure, and establish a mentoring relationship with them. Then learn as much as you can about the business, the culture and other influencers that you may want to leverage.

4. Become a knowledge broker

Phenomenal leaders are knowledge brokers. They identify a need for knowledge and information related to their field and become the resident expert. Spend some time figuring out what information people in your organization are regularly seeking. It’s usually an aspect of market or industry knowledge. Then take the initiative to learn as much as you can and maintain that knowledge. Go to seminars or webinars related to the topic and stay on top of the news and trends ahead of anyone else in the organization. They disseminate this information to all stakeholders identifying how it may impact the business. Soon you will be indispensable to any project or business decision, being invited to the table for many important discussions.

5. Build relationships throughout the organization

Phenomenal leaders don’t just develop relationships at the top. They build relationships at every level and in every function of the organization. Get out there and get to know people. Treat everyone with respect, help to mentor, recognize and elevate others and seek the opinion and wisdom of everyone you come across. You never know when a peer will be your biggest ally.

What will your legacy be?

1 Comment

Filed under Careers & Cash

Celebrate International Women’s Day with a look at 50 women who changed the world…

 Today is International Women’s Day – a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements and an opportunity to show general respect, appreciation and love towards women around the world. This is the only women’s holiday that is celebrated around the world at the same time, uniting women and girls in different cultures, religions and socio-economic backgrounds.

Every day, I am inspired and motivated by the amazing women in my life as well as those in the public eye, who have and continue to advance opportunities, shatter boundaries to break new ground and pave the way for us, our daughters and granddaughters.

So today, in my small way, I would like to honour all those women with gratitude for all they have done to enable our generation to be all that we can be… friends, partners, mothers, business leaders, volunteers, athletes, and most of all “persons under the law”.

Sappho1. Sappho -570BC

One of the first published female writers. Much of her poetry has been lost but she has gained and maintained a strong reputation from the fragments that have been found over the years. Plato referred to Sappho as one of the great 10 poets.



Cleopatra2. Cleopatra 69 -30 BC

The last Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt. Cleopatra sought to defend Egypt from the expanding Roman Empire. In doing so she formed relationships with two of Rome’s most powerful leaders Marc Anthony and Julius Caesar. To this day, Cleopatra remains a popular figure in Western culture. Her legacy survives in numerous works of art and the many dramatizations of her story in literature and other media. In most depictions, Cleopatra is portrayed as a great beauty, and her successive conquests of the world’s most powerful men are taken as proof of her aesthetic and sexual appeal. You go girl!

Mary Magdalene3. Mary Magdalene 4 BC – 40AD

Accounts from the Gospels and other sources suggest Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus’ most devoted followers. It is said she was a women of “ill repute” but according to the Gospel of Mark and Luke her pure devotion to Christ earned her complete forgiveness. Mary Magdalene stood near Jesus at his crucifixion and was the first to see his resurrection.



Boudicca4. Boudicca 1st Century AD

Boudicca was an inspirational leader of the Britons. She led several tribes in revolt against the Roman occupation. Initially successful her army of 100,000 sacked Colchester and then London. Her army was eventually completely destroyed in battle by the Romans.



Hildegard5. Hildegard of Bingen 1098-1179

Mystic, author and composer. Hildegard of Bingen lived a withdrawn life, spending most of her time behind convent walls. However her writings, poetry and music were revelatory for the time period. She was consulted by Popes, Kings and influential people of the time. Her writings and music have influenced people to this day.



Eleanor of Aquitaine6. Eleanor of Aquitaine 1122-1204

The first Queen of France. Two of her sons Richard and John went on to become Kings of England. Educated, beautiful and highly articulate, Eleanor influenced the politics of western Europe through her alliances and influence over her sons.



Joan of Arc7. Joan of Arc 1412-1431

The patron saint of France, Joan of Arc inspired a French revolt against the occupation of the English. An unlikely heroine; at the age of just 17, the diminutive Joan successfully led the French to victory at Orleans. Her later trial and martyrdom only heightened her mystique.



Mirabai8. Mirabai 1498-1565

Born to a privileged Hindu family Mirabai broke with the conventions of society to live the life of a mystic and devotee of Krishna. For her unconventional lifestyle her family tried to kill her, but on each occasion were unsuccessful. Her bhajans and songs helped revitalise Devotional Hinduism in India.



St. Teresa of Avila9. St Teresa of Avila 1515-1582

Mystic and poet. St Teresa of Avila lived through the Spanish inquisition but avoided been placed on trial despite her mystical revelations. She helped to reform the tradition of Catholicism and steer the religion away from fanaticism.



Catherine de Medici10. Catherine de Medici 1519-1589

Born in Florence, Italy Catherine was married to the King of France at the age of 14. She was involved in interminable political machinations seeking always to increase the power of her favoured sons. This led to the disastrous St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.



Elizabeth I11. Elizabeth I 1533-1603

Queen of England during a time of great economic and social change, she saw England cemented as a Protestant country. During her reign she witnessed the defeat of the Spanish Armada leaving Britain to later become one of the world’s dominant superpowers.



Catherine the Great12. Catherine the Great 1729-1796

One of the greatest political leaders of the eighteenth century. Catherine the great was said to have played an important role in improving the lot of the Russian serfs. She placed great emphasis on the arts and helped to cement Russia as one of the dominant countries in Europe.



Mary Wollstonecraft13. Mary Wollstonecraft 1759-1797

Mary Wollstonecraft wrote the most significant book in the early feminist movement. Her tract “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” laid down a clear moral and practical basis for extending human and political rights to women. – A true pioneer in the struggle for female suffrage.



Jane Austen14. Jane Austen 1775-1817

One of the most popular female authors Jane Austen wrote several novels, which remain highly popular today. These include “Pride and Prejudice” “Emma” and “Northanger Abbey”. Jane Austen wrote at a time when female writers were very rare, helping pave the way for future writers.


Harriet Beecher Stowe15. Harriet Beecher Stowe 1811-1896

Harriet Beecher Stowe was a life long anti slavery campaigner. Her novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was a best seller and helped to popularise the anti slavery campaign. Abraham Lincoln would later remark her books were a major factor behind the American civil war.



Queen Victoria16. Queen Victoria 1819-1901

Presiding over one of the largest empires ever seen, Queen Victoria was the head of state for most of the Nineteenth Century. Queen Victoria became synonymous with the period symbolising propriety and middle class values. Queen Victoria sought to gain an influence in British politics whilst remaining aloof from party politics.



Florence Nightingale17. Florence Nightingale 1820-1910

By serving in the Crimean war, Florence Nightingale was instrumental in changing the role and perception of the nursing profession. Her dedicated service won widespread admiration and led to a significant improvement in the treatment of wounded soldiers.



Susan B Anthony18. Susan B. Anthony 1820-1906

Susan Anthony campaigned against slavery and for the promotion of women’s and workers rights. She began campaigning within the temperance movement and this convinced her of the necessity for women to have the vote. She toured the US giving countless speeches on the subjects of human rights.





Emily Dickinson19. Emily Dickinson 1830 – 1886

One of America’s greatest poets Emily Dickinson lived most of her life in seclusion. Her poems were published posthumously and received widespread literary praise for their bold and unconventional style. Her poetic style left a significant legacy on 20th Century poetry.





Emmeline Pankhurst20. Emmeline Pankhurst 1858-1928

A British suffragette, Emily Pankhurst dedicated her life to the promotion of women’s rights. She explored all avenues of protest including violence, public demonstrations and hunger strikes. She died in 1928, 3 weeks before a law giving all women over 21 the right to vote.




Marie Curie21. Marie Curie 1867-1934

Marie Curie was the first women to receive the Nobel Prize and the first person to win it for 2 separate categories. Her first award was for research into radioactivity (Physics 1903). Her second Nobel prize was for Chemistry in 1911. A few years later she also helped develop the first X ray machines.



Emily Murphy22. Emily Murphy 1868-1933

Emily Murphy was the first women magistrate in the British Empire. In 1927 she joined forces with 4 other Canadian women who sought to challenge an old Canadian law that said, “women should not be counted as persons”.




Rosa Luxemburg23. Rosa Luxemburg 1870-1919

A leading Marxist revolutionary, Rosa Luxemburg sought to bring Social revolution to Germany. She wrote fiercely against German imperialism and for international socialism. In 1919, she was murdered after a failed attempt to bring about a Communist revolution in Germany.



Helena Rubinstein24. Helena Rubinstein 1870-1965

Helena Rubinstein formed one of the world’s first cosmetic companies. Her business enterprise proved immensely successful and later in life she used her enormous wealth to support charitable enterprises in the field of education, art and health.



Helen Keller25. Helen Keller 1880-1968

At the age of 19 months Helen became deaf and blind. Overcoming the frustration of losing both sight and hearing she campaigned tirelessly on behalf of deaf and blind people.



Coco Chanel26. Coco Chanel 1883-1971

One of the most innovative fashion designers, Coco Chanel was instrumental in defining feminine style and dress during the 20th Century. Her ideas were revolutionary; in particular she often took traditionally male clothes and redesigned them for the benefit of women.



Eleanor Roosevelt27. Eleanor Roosevelt 1884-1962

Wife and political aide of American president F.D.Roosevelt. In her own right Eleanor made a significant contribution to the field of human rights, a topic she campaigned upon throughout her life. As head of UN human rights commission she helped to draft the 1948 UN declaration of human rights.



Annie Besant28. Annie Besant 1847-1933

Annie Besant was a campaigner for social justice, advocate of women’s rights and later member of the Theosophist society. She also actively campaigned for Indian independence.







Katharine Hepburn29. Katharine Hepburn 1907-2003

An iconic figure of twentieth Century film Katharine Hepburn won 4 Oscars and received over 12 Oscar nominations. Her lifestyle was unconventional for the time and through her acting and life she helped redefine traditional views of women’s role in society.



Simone de Beauvoir30. Simone de Beauvoir 1908-1986

One of the leading existentialist philosophers of the Twentieth Century, Simone de Beauvoir developed a close personal and intellectual relationship with Jean Paul Satre. Her book “The Second Sex” depicted the traditions of sexism that dominated society and history. It was a defining book for the feminist movement.



Mother Teresa31. Mother Teresa 1910-1997

Devoting her life to the service of the poor and dispossessed Mother Teresa became a global icon for selfless service to others. Through her Missionary of Charities organisation she personally cared for 1000s of sick and dying people in Calcutta. She was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1979.



Dorothy Hodgkin32. Dorothy Hodgkin 1910-1994

Awarded the Nobel prize for chemistry Dorothy Hodgkin work on critical discoveries of the structure of both penicillin and later insulin. These discoveries led to significant improvements in health care. An outstanding chemist Dorothy also devoted a large section of her life to the peace movement and promoting nuclear disarmament.



Rosa Parks33. Rosa Parks 1913-2005

Rosa Parks refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man indirectly led to some of the most significant civil rights legislation of American history. She sought to play down her role in the civil rights struggle but for her peaceful and dignified campaigning she became one of the most well respected figures in the civil rights movements.




Millicent Fawcett34. Millicent Fawcett (1846 – 1929)

Millicent Garrett Fawcett was a leading suffragist and campaigner for equal rights for women. She led Britain’s biggest suffrage organisation, the non-violent (NUWSS) and played a key role in gaining women the vote. She also helped found Newnham College, Cambridge.







Billie Holiday35. Billie Holiday 1915-1959

Given the title “First Lady of the Blues” Billie Holiday was widely considered to be the greatest and most expressive jazz singer of all time. Her voice was moving in its emotional intensity and poignancy. Despite dying at the age of only 44 Billie Holiday helped define the jazz era and her recordings are widely sold today.


indira gandhi36. Indira Gandhi 1917-1984

First female prime minister of India. She was in power from between 1966-77 and 1980-84. Accused of authoritarian tendencies she only narrowly avoided a military coup by agreeing to hold an election at the end of the “emergency period” of 1977. She was assassinated in 1984 by her Sikh bodyguards, in response to her storming of the Golden Temple.



Eva Peron37. Eva Peron 1919-1952

Eva Peron was widely loved by the ordinary people of Argentina. She campaigned tirelessly for both the poor and for the extension of women’s rights. At the same time she was feared by some in power for her popularity. She was also criticised for her intolerance of criticism; with her husband Juan Peron they shut down many independent newspapers. She died aged only 32 in 1952.


Betty Frieden38. Betty Frieden 1921-2006

Leading feminist figure of the 1960s. Her book “The Feminine Mystique” became a best seller and received both lavish praise and intense criticism. Betty Frieden campaigned for an extension of female rights and an end to sexual discrimination.




Margaret THatcher39. Margaret Thatcher 1925 –

The first female Prime minister of Great Britain, Mrs Thatcher defined a decade. In particular she is remembered for her emphasis on individual responsibility and belief in free markets. Developed close relationships with R. Reagan, but was more sceptical of European integration.



Marilyn Monroe40. Marilyn Monroe 1926-1962

Born Norma Jean Baker, Marilyn rose from childhood poverty to become one of the most iconic film legends. Her films were moderately successful, but her lasting fame came through her photogenic good looks and aura of glamour and sophistication.



Anne Frank41. Anne Frank 1929-1945

Anne Frank’s diary is one of the most widely read books in the world. It reveals the thoughts of a young, yet surprisingly mature 13-year-old girl, confined to a secret hiding place. “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”



Audrey Hepburn42. Audrey Hepburn –

Leading female actor of the 1950s and 60s. Audrey Hepburn defined feminine glamour and dignity, and was later voted as most beautiful women of the twentieth century. After her acting career ended in the mid 1960s, she devoted the remaining period of her life to humanitarian work with UNICEF.



Germaine Greer43. Germaine Greer 1939-

Leading feminist icon of the 1960s and 1970s Germaine Greer enjoys raising contentious issues. In particular her book “The Female Eunuch” was a defining manifesto for the feminist movement, which proved influential from the 1960s onwards.




Betty Williams44. Betty Williams 1943 –

Together with Mairead Corrigan, Betty Williams campaigned passionately to bring an end to the sectarian violence of Northern Ireland. They founded the Community for Peace and were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 (post dated for 1976).




Billie Jean King45. Billie Jean King 1943

One of the greatest female athletes Billie Jean King was one of the greatest female tennis champions who battled for equal pay for women. She won 67 professional titles including 20 titles at Wimbledon.



Benazir Bhutto46. Benazir Bhutto 1953 – 2007

Benazir Bhutto was the first female prime minister of a Muslim country. She helped to move Pakistan from a dictatorship to democracy becoming Prime Minister in 1988. She sought to implement social reforms, in particular helping women and the poor. She was assassinated in 2007.



 Oprah Winfrey47. Oprah Winfrey 1954 –

Influential talk show host, Oprah Winfrey was the first women to own her own talk show host. Her show and book club is tremendously influential – her opinions and recommendations have been seen to drive the economy for many products and brands. She is also one of the world’s wealthiest women and most successful business leaders.




Madonna48. Madonna 1958 –

Madonna is the most successful female musician of all time. She has sold in excess of 250 million records. In addition to being a great pop musician she has rarely been out of the limelight. And she brought us cone shaped bras.




Diana Princess of Wales49. Diana, Princess of Wales 1961-1997

Princess Diana combined the appeal of a Royal princess with her humanitarian charity work. Although her marriage to Prince Charles was overshadowed by affairs on both sides, her popularity remained undimmed as many were inspired by her natural sympathy with the poor and mistreated.



 J.K. Rowling50. J.K.Rowling 1965 –

J.K.Rowling is the author of the phenomenal best selling Harry Potter series. The volume of sales was so high, it has been credited with leading a revival of reading by children. She wrote the first book as a single mother, struggling to make ends meet, but is now one of most successful self-made woman.

Leave a comment

Filed under Careers & Cash

Two full closets and nothing to wear!

Walk in wardrobeI was looking at my closets the other day (yes I have 2 large ones all to myself) realizing that, while they are overflowing, I always seem to struggle with what to wear. I decided it was time for a major purge, inventory check and a back to basics shopping trip.

I surprised myself with the number of items I have been holding onto since high school thinking someday, I’d wear them again. But more surprising was the fact that I was seriously lacking on some basic essentials every woman should have in her wardrobe to make “outfitting” easier. So I made a list, checked it twice, (made sure there were items both naughty and nice), and hit the mall.

To save you the trouble, I have prepared this list of “wardrobe essentials” every woman should have be sure to hang (or fold) in her closet.

 Jeans and Structured Jacket

The Structured Jacket

A great structured jacket pulls together any outfit and is a key essential for your wardrobe. Wear it with a matching pant or pencil skirt to create a power suit, over a basic tee with a scarf, jeans and flats for a casual look or with a flowing silk blouse, jeans and a pair of stilettos for a few evening cocktails with the girls.

Killer Jeans

Every woman needs at least one pair of form fitting, dark jeans that make you feel fabulous. A flattering pair lifts your bottom if you need it or accentuates it if you don`t. They are slim through the leg while still allowing you to sit down comfortably. They hit the waist at the right spot. This means no muffin top. Not even a little. And for some of us, this will require high rise jeans. I know, I know… low rise is all the hype. But when it comes to jeans, how they fit YOU matters most. And some of us are just not built for low rise jeans.

Black Pumps

A good pair of basic, black pumps are a versatile staple that can be paired with your power suit or killer jeans.

Little Black Dress

The Little Black Dress

A simple, elegant and classic black dress is a great “go to” for more formal functions, especially if they are last minute social opportunities. The right dress will make you feel fabulous and sexy every time you put it on.


The Pencil Skirt

A simple, pencil skirt is another chic essential perfect for professional as well as social situations. Pair it with your silk blouse or tee


Silk Blouse

A silk blouse in your favourite and complementary colour is a great, versatile staple that can be paired with your power suit or killer jeans for a very stylish look. Team it with tailored shorts or a pencil skirt and you`ve got a year round go to for any occasion.

The Tailored Pant

Crisp and tailored black pants are absolutely essential for professional situations. But they’re not just a key ingredient for a power suit (along with your structured jacket).  Pair them with a simple tee and statement jewelry, a colourful silk blouse, a structured dress shirt or a cute cardigan for a variety of chic and professional looks.

black white and brown polyvore

The Basic Tee

The perfect basic tee should feel soft against your skin and hug your body without being skin tight or so loose it borders on frumpy. The style and fabric should look luxurious enough to be worn at work with statement jewelry or dressed down with your jeans for a leisurely Saturday stroll. When you find the perfect one, don`t be afraid to buy it in several colours. White, black, grey and in stripes are eternally elegant.

Yoga Pants and Hoodie

A good pair of yoga pants and a hoodie or zip are essential for casual days, walking your dog, hitting the grocery store, or even just lounging around the house.

Black Mid-Calf Boots

A pair of basic black, mid-calf boots is a great staple and the best way to “sexy up” an outfit. Whether you throw them over a pair of skinny jeans, leggings or pair them with a mini skirt and sheer stockings, they do nothing but wonderful things for your legs.

What are the essentials in your closet that you can`t live without?

Leave a comment

Filed under Fashion & Facials

Is it time to end that friendship?

two girlfriends having a quarrelMy friends mean the world to me. I would do absolutely anything for them and never expect anything in return. To me, friends are like family and when I bring a friend into my inner circle, I think of them as friends for life.

Over the last five years, I have become MUCH more comfortable with putting an end to friendships that are no longer adding value in my life, or worse yet, promoting stress. I’m starting to look at friendships in much the same light as romantic relationships. Like a romantic relationship, the goal of a friendship is to have a friend for life. So why tolerate in a friendship what you wouldn’t tolerate in a guy?

Friends are supposed to be a source of comfort, love and acceptance. Not to mention fun. The second they become anything else, it’s time to think about letting them go. Perhaps it’s not a full break-up, but just a demotion from friend to acquaintance. Either way, life is busy, stressful and complicated enough. No need to make it worse with a toxic or negative friendship.

5 Signs That It’s Time to Let a Friendship Go

  1. The Effort Is One-Sided: Throughout our friendship, there is a natural ebb and flow as we take turns giving and receiving love and support in the form of listening, inviting eachother out, paying for things, etc. Healthy relationships are balanced because as humans, we want to give AND receive. So if you’re always making the effort to get together, call/text, drive, pay the tab, etc. it may be a sign that the relationship is changing.
  2. You Are Often Criticized: Our friends are supposed to support us and make us better. Constructive criticism when we need or ask for it is one thing, but constant generalized criticism about who we are is yet another. This does nothing but damage our self-esteem and put distance in the friendship. It’s especially problematic when the criticism is directed at actions we have taken to support our friend. I was once given a “performance review” as a Maid of Honour in my friend’s wedding after bending over backwards to make all three parts of it a smashing success. Needless to say, she is no longer in my life.
  3. You Don’t Have Anything in Common Anymore: As we age, we change. Duh! This poses  a particular challenge for the friendships we developed when we were younger. Sometimes we grow together and our lives remain parallel, but sometimes, we lose the connection that brought us together. Our values, lifestyle and personality can all diverge. In these situations, we often try to maintain the friendships simply because of the history. But this just causes unnecessary tension and discomfort. There is no need to have a big “talk”. You can just put some distance between yourself and your friend. This often takes the pressure off and allows you to just enjoy the time you do spend together and treat it as a “catch-up” rather than a reincarnation of the friends you were those many years ago.
  4. You Are Their Therapist: Ok… So I know I said earlier that, as friends, we are here to support eachother. And I firmly believe and stand by that. However… When the only conversations you have with your friend are about his or her problems, it may be time to reconsider the friendship. Let’s face it… Conversations like this are draining. Sure, we all get into funks now and again and look to our friends to help pull us out. This is OK as long as it’s short-term and reciprocated. If this goes on for a longer period of time, it’s time to distance yourself. And if you’re comfortable enough, suggest that your friend seek counselling for the issues. Above all, friendships should be fun and energizing.
  5. She Can’t be Happy For You: There is nothing worse than finding out wonderful news, calling your friend with excitement only to have your enthusiasm flat lined by a negative comment on the other end of the line. Friends want the best for you and are your biggest cheerleaders in life. They are just as excited as you (if not more) about all the wonderful things that and every milestone you reach. If a friend is critical, judgemental or negative in these circumstances, it’s time to cut ties. There is no need to let someone bring you down under any circumstances.

As you consider this list, if a friendship comes to mind that nets negative against these signs, you know what you need to do. You just need to decide if the best way to handle it is to simply pull away or if a conversation is warranted to see if things can be improved. Whatever you decide, do it with dignity and respect for the friendship you once had and be tactful in your approach.

Remember… With every ending comes a new beginning.

Have you broken up with a friend?

Leave a comment

Filed under Love & Lust

Weight gain after 30… The top 3 reasons and how to beat it

I have been athletic my whole life; if I wasn’t doing layback spins, I was running like the wind, trying to hit a homerun or spiking volleyballs. Although my weight has always fluctuated somewhat, I used to be able to think about losing weight and make it happen. By and large, I have successfully maintained the same dress size for over 10 years.

Then I turned thirty and everything changed. I went up 2-3 dress sizes seemingly overnight. Ok… I was doing my MBA, working a demanding job that involved a lot of travel and adjusting to a move back to the big city. Life was crazy! Surely this was the reason. I was just reliving my Frosh 15. As soon as school finished, I’d be right back to where I was.

Well… School has been out for over a year, and I’m still struggling to drop one more size. And getting to where I am has been extremely challenging. Much more challenging than ever before! I had heard of this “weight gain after 30” phenomenon, but I was sure it wasn’t going to happen to me. Sharing my challenges with friends and colleagues has revealed that they too have been dealing with the same issues.

So, the past few months, I have made it my mission (I may have become a little obsessed) to better understand the reasons behind weight gain over 30 and how to manage it effectively. I have read countless books and articles, spoken with nutritionists, doctors and other healthcare professionals and learned from other women who have successfully managed through this challenge.

I know what you’re thinking… It’s all about hormones. They are the cause of the slowdown in our metabolism. I thought that too. But I quickly came to the sobering realization that, unless you’re dealing with thyroid challenges, hormones only play a small role in this. Everything else is about living a balanced lifestyle.


Reason 1: Busy Lifestyle

When we hit 30, most of us are at the top of our career trajectory; working long hours, sitting behind a desk all day and eating catered food at important business meetings. In addition to this, many of us are facing major life changes – buying our first homes, moving in with our partners, getting married or starting families. Balancing all this leaves very little time for healthy and nutritious meals and exercise – both of which are increasingly more critical to maintaining a healthy weight after 30.

How to Beat It:

  • Give up unnecessary commitments and make more time for YOU
  • Make Sunday a cooking day and make as much snacks, lunches and dinners as you can to free up some time during the week
  • Use the time this frees up to add regular exercise to your routine and protect this time as much as possible
  • Engage in active social activities with friends and loved ones or your kids

Reason 2: Increased Stress

With a busy lifestyle comes increased and chronic stress. Chronic stress produces the stress hormone cortisol which not only slows down metabolism, but makes it more difficult to shed unwanted weight. In addition, prolonged stress can cause changes in your blood sugar levels that could result in hyperglycemia or metabolic syndrome, which significantly impair your metabolic functioning. Plus the stress can cause us to eat unhealthy foods. How many of us turn to cookies, chips or wine to help reduce some of the stress? Guilty!

How to Beat It:

  • Yoga is a great way to relieve stress and remain centered through life’s toughest challenges
  • Try having bubble baths at night to help you unwind from your busy day. If you’re married or in a relationship, this can also be a nice way to spend time with your partner and infuse romance into your relationship
  • Go for a manicure and/or pedicure, or treat yourself to a spa day. Doing something nice for yourself will automatically enhance your mood and give you the recharge you need to get through whatever is on your plate.

Reason 3: Inadequate Sleep

Our busy lifestyle and stress often leads to inadequate sleep. We have so much on our plate, we`re staying up late and getting up early just to keep up. And when we do sleep, it`s poor quality sleep. We`re reliving the stressful day we had, thinking about all that needs to be done tomorrow, etc. Lack of sleep also produces hormones that impede the proper functioning of our metabolism. Plus we`re taking in more calories we realize through the consumption of caffeinated drinks and sugary treats for that boost of energy to get us through the day.

How to Beat It:

  • Use fruits for sustained energy boosts during the day
  • Avoid caffeine after 2pm
  • Aim to exercise 5 hours before you go to sleep to optimize the quality of your sleep
  • Aim for 7.5 hours of sleep a night

How you do you manage your weight?


Filed under Waistlines & Wellness

I called in “ugly” to work…

Katerina Ilievska - Pyjamas

In high school, I was THAT girl… You know the one… Flawless skin… Seemingly unaffected by the negative aspects of puberty. So imagine my surprise, when suddenly at the age 29, I developed an acne problem. A serious acne problem. Apparently my tendency to over achieve extends to my face too. So much so, there were days when I felt so unattractive and embarrassed, I actually called in “ugly” to work.

The search for a cause and solution began immediately with doctor and dermatologist appointments as well as the establishment of my own skin care testing facility where I tried concoction after concoction in an effort to shut down the zit farm.

Three years later, I have effectively cleared my face, with the exception of a small one here and there associated with my cycle. Although the main reason for adult-onset acne is hormonal, it is significantly exacerbated by stress levels. I found the more time I made in my life for exercise, meditation and R&R, the easier it was to see results from my skin care regimen. Diet also plays a big role. As soon as I changed my eating habits to include mainly fruits and vegetables with very little fat and oils, I started to see a big difference.

Still, special attention must be paid to the products you are using on your skin. Not just the cleansers, but also your make-up. Remember, our skin changes as we age, so the formulations you used as a teenager should not be in your shopping basket. There is no miracle prescription that works for everyone, no matter what acne product commercials tell you! We all have unique skin types, oil production and underlying issues that can impact the effectiveness of skin care products.

Your best bet is to see a dermatologist and learn more about your skin type, get some product recommendations and give them a try. You may have to try several different brands before finding the one that works for you, but be careful not to change things up too much. Give each product you try at least 2 months to produce results before trying something else. You may want to try different lifestyle changes at the same time to see if that increases the impact. An acne journal can help you keep track of the changes you are making and what impact they are producing.

Here are some practical things that will help, regardless of the nature or cause of your acne problem.


  • Non-comedogenic products are your friends. Look for this disclaimer on everything you put on your face
  • Use water or gel based formulas and avoid products with excess oil
  • Use a new make-up sponge for every application of foundation. This includes powder – the sponge included with your compact is not meant to be used forever.
  • Clean your make-up brushes regularly with proper make-up brush cleaning solutions
  • Change your pillow cases every few days. Dirt and oils accumulate on your pillow case while you sleep. Since your face spends at least 8 hours a day on your pillow, this can be a cause for breakouts.
  • Wash your face immediately after the gym. I do this before I even leave the gym locker room, especially after Hot Yoga. Your sweat releases toxins and it’s important that you remove those toxins from the surface of your skin while your pores are still open.


  • Avoid cleansers or other skin care products with scrubbing particles or a gritty texture as they can irritate the skin and clog pores
  • DO NOT WEAR MAKE-UP TO THE GYM – I don’t care how many hot guys who may be Mr. Right go there. Sweat combined with make-up is a bad recipe for clogging pores and causing breakouts and he’s not going to want to date you AND your zit farm, anyway.
  • DO NOT POP YOUR ZITS! This is a recipe for permanent scarring on your skin.


  • Call in “Ugly”.

What are your tips and tricks for maintaining a clear complexion?


Filed under Fashion & Facials