The Woman Beautiful or, The Art of Beauty Culture

The Woman Beautiful or, The Art of Beauty Culture by Helen Follett Stevans, is an funny, insightful little book. I’m so glad I found a tattered copy in a book shop, at Elephant Castle!

The book is a beauty guide for women but it not only adresses your outward appearance (such as your skin) but it gives you advice on how to conduct yourself, how you should be active and improving your mind etc. Although I do find parts of this book funny as it was written in 1901, so terminology and advice can be a bit out of date, such as fashion advice and making your own creams. However I find that this only adds to the charm of the book, it is so well written and most of the book is still relevant to today’s society and why not try to make your own creams in today’s recession, ridden society? you’ll certainly be saving money. 

The author seperates her advice about each subject into chapters, the table of contents is as follows: 1. Care of the hair 2. The Hands 3. The Eyes 4. The Teeth 5. Bathing 6. Diet 7. Sleep 8. Excercise  9. Stooped Shoulders 10. Breathing 11. Massage 12. Dress 13. The Thin Girl 14. The Plump girl 15. The Working Girl 16. The Nervous One 17. Perfumes.

I find that this book is something to lean on. Especially when you know, there are times when you should be doing something, like exfoliating and moisterize your face before you go to bed but you get lazy, but you would do it if your mother told you too because it’s the being told that does it. Well, I’m generally a person who needs to be told to do things to get things done and to me this book does that for me, it is a voice of authority, it stops me from getting lazy and helps me to to do what I’m supposed to being doing body-wise. Needless to say I use it as a guide book to every day care of my body.

It is also a great little read into the generally the day to day care and insights of a woman in the 1900’s. 

If you want a copy you can buy or download this book for free from: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/23750

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Books That Will Change Your Life….

Books I think made a difference to my life and if you read them; will likely made a difference to yours:

Frankenstien by Mary Shelley

Regeneration by Pat Barker

Atonement by Ian Mcewan

Therese Raquin by Emile Zola

Hunger by Knut Hamsun

The Trial by Franz Kafka

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde

The Dead by James Joyce

All Quiet on the Western Front by Enrich Maria Remarque

Kite Runner by Khaled Hossieni

Strange Meeting by Susan Hill

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Lemon Tree Film Review

I recently watched a moving film about the Israel- Palestinian conflict. This movie is very rare find as there are not many movies on this sensitive issue. The movie is about the legal efforts of a Palestinian widow (Salma) to stop the Israeli Defense Minister, her next door neighbor, from destroying the lemon trees which she had inherited from her father. At the same time, she develops a human bond with the minister’s wife.

What set this film apart from others was the unbiased narration of the story; as the director did not take sides (despite him being Israeli himself). He did not show preference of one group in favor of the other, nor did he criticize. Rather than making a politically charged film; it focuses on PEOPLE. Lemon Tree is very much a human story- exploring universal emotions such as; loneliness, isolation, love and hurt. 

The director stresses in the film, that whether you’re Palestinian, Israeli or Afghan- in the end we are all human beings. He particularly shows this through the two women (Salma and the minister’s wife) who form an unspoken bond (as although they do not engage in dialogue, the scenes between them are particularly powerful). Both women form a bond through womanhood and come to empathise with each other.

Beware if you’re looking for a feel good movie this is not it! The movie does not have your typical Hollywood happy ending but leaves you with a sense of sadness but don’t let this deter you, as the film is well made, the actors are superb (in particular Hiam Abbass who plays, Salma), overall it is worth watching 4 stars out of 5.

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Listen to your body

I recently overcame a very painful and draining illness. Before my illness I considered myself a very healthy person, as I ate very healthily and exercised regularly. Nonetheless I was missing the most important element of a healthy body: PH balance. 

For over a period of four months I was suffering from a very sharp pain in the right- side of my ribs extending to my lower back. I saw the doctor immediately after the pain started but the doctor could not find out the cause of the pain- instead prescribing me antibiotics, paracetamol etc. which made no difference at all. Four months later, the pain was still steadily increasing and after so many blood tests and scans the doctors could not work out what was wrong with me so I decided to take the matter into my own hands.

What I noticed was that certain foods increased the pain in my rib- cage area. I found that the foods that made the pain unbearable were tomatoes, yogurt, milk, eggs, apples and even some cereals. After researching these foods it became clear that the one thing they have in common are that they are all highly acidic foods. On further research I read that in order to be healthy a balanced PH diet is very IMPRORTANT.

Our bodies are designed to stay alkaline and will do whatever it takes to do this (even jabbing you in the ribs to make itself known). When we consume acidic foods and drinks, stop exercising and continually have negative emotions (like stress) our body is overrun with acids and this causes major disruption. So if we have only acidic in our body our ph levels become imbalanced in our bodies and can make us ill. 

According to articles on health 70-80% of your diet should be alkaline foods, this is especially fundamental if you are now suffering from the symptoms I have had. This alkaline diet means eating more foods with a very high alkaline consistency, which means more green vegetables, mineral water, some select fruits such as bananas (which are very alkaline) water melon and other alkaline foods. This fundamentally alkaline diet worked very well for me, after just a day into eating only highly alkaline foods, my pain reduced dramatically and after two weeks (with the help of highly alkaline green drinks) the pain completely vanished.

What I learnt is that you need to LISTEN to your body, this way you can get to the solution of your illness quicker. Alkaline drinks were especially important to my recovery; they are an easy, quick way to get alkaline into your system. There are wide ranges to choose from being sold on the internet.

The alkaline drink that helped my recovery, to buy go to: http://www.energiseforlife.com/cat–Alkalising-Supplements–ALKALISING_SUPPLEMENTS/green-drinks.html

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The Pinnacle of French novels

I picked up a gem in the bookshop yesterday, called Therese Raquin by Emile Zola. Now usually I don’t go for French novels (not to mention films) because most of them are not to my taste as they are rife with sex and sexual imagery, which becomes prosaic. Anyway I decided to give Therese Raquin a chance because I had never heard of the author and let me just say I am VERY glad I decided to give him a chance as it has become one of the best novels I have ever read.

Therese Raquin tells the story of a young woman, unhappily married to her first cousin by an overbearing aunt who may seem to be well-intentioned but in many ways is deeply selfish. Her cousin, Camille, is sickly and selfish, and when the opportunity arises, Thérèse enters into a turbulent and sordidly passionate affair with one of Camille’s friends, Laurent. Now I don’t want to give away too much of the plot but lets just say it has EVERYTHING- sex, murder, adultery, passion, suicide and love.

The sexual scenes in the book were very brief and did not detract from the story. Also I find it really intresting that although the sex scenes in Therese Raquin would be considered as very mild by todays standards when the book was published in 1968, it was considered outrageous and condemned as pornography (oh how times have changed!).

Anyway what makes this book really speacial is that it makes you THINK, which is the best kind of books in my opinion. This book not only makes you questions yourself but human nature itself. The two main characters Therese Raquin and Laurent are ruled by such animalistic passions- you start to question what really seperates us from the primitive animals out there? When we look at these two characters the answer seem to be: very little. The two characters are like primitive animals and seem to have animal instincts- in the fact that, when they want something they, like animals, just take it without thinking of the consequences.

I don’t want to give too much of the book away in case you decide to read it for yourself anyway it is a MUST read and will be kept on my book shelf for all time.

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