So why should you choose a natural cosmetic. In this article Dearbhla looks at what is actually in our products to help you make more informed choices.

If you had the choice of drinking a glass of tap water, recycled and filtered with added minerals such as chlorine and fluoride or drinking a glass of alpine water, rich in essential minerals from the earth, which would you choose?

Dearbhla Brennan, Natural cosmetic, couleur caramel, headshot, natural beauty, organic beauty, toxin free beauty, beauty, skincare, health, wellness, holistic wellness

It is not always possible to have the purest alternative at our fingertips because we live in a world of mass industrial industries where ingredients can become the least important part of a product and marketing along with gross takings become the top priority. But what happens when you do have the choice: when certified products created as naturally as possible are offered alongside the marketing monsters? You then hold the power, an effortless gesture of turning around these products and reading the ingredients lists to compare:


Aqua / Water, PEG-8, Glycerin, PEG-60, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Poloxamer 124, Citric Acid, Chlorohexidine Digluconate, Parfum / Fragrance


Citrus aurantium amara (Bitter Orange) leaf/twig extract*, Aqua/Water/Eau, Sodium Chloride (sea salt), Potassium sulfate, Citrus aurantium amara (Bitter Orange) leaf/twig oil*, Lippia citriodora (Verbena) flower/leaf/stem extract*, Malva sylvestris (Mallow) flower extract*, Lotus corniculatus (Birdsfoot-trefoil) flower extract*, Equisetum arvense (Horsetail) leaf extract*, Medicago sativa (Alfalfa) extract*, Viscum album (Mistletoe) extract*, citral°, geraniol°, limonene°, linalool°

*Organically farmed ingredients, °naturally preservatives occurring in essential oils


The above are two toners, option 1 being a generic cosmetic brand (pharmacies), option 2 an organic, 100% natural and certified brand called PHYT’S which is considered a natural cosmetic (beauty salons, health stores).

Dearbhla Brennan, Natural cosmetic, couleur caramel, headshot, natural beauty, organic beauty, toxin free beauty, beauty, skincare, health, wellness, PHYTS organic toner, holistic wellnessThe price difference of only a few euro higher for the natural cosmetic option presented in a clouded glass bottle. This is so UV light will not affect the plant extracts versus a clear plastic bottle for the first option. The main reason that interests us in option 2 is the results the skin will receive from these ingredients: improved circulation, hydrated skin through pH balance, reinforced connective tissue. Every ingredient has a beneficial effect.


The idea of using a plant based natural cosmetic is not new, as for thousands of years skincare and makeup have been used by men and women alike through the power of herbs, vegetable oils, and pigments from both plants and the earth. Unfortunately with industrial revolution and petro-chemical developments, we lost touch with our roots through the 1900s: products became more about a promise through synthetically created components which mimicked the natural of times before. Thankfully, at home and internationally, there has been a revival of tradition: plant extracts from sustainable, organic and fair trade farming; certifications of purity and quality obtained by companies to guarantee their ingredients; strict criteria that disallows synthetic fertilizers in farming, or strong chemicals used to clean equipment in labs; and absolutely no testing on animals.


At V.Claire Natural Cosmetics we work with PHYT’S organic skincare, Couleur Caramel natural makeup and Acorelle natural perfumes and professional waxing. We are beauty and skin therapists; we are passionate to bring out the best in every skin; loyal to the purist and most professional ranges we can find; and obsessed with every cosmetic and ingredient we work with and provide to you.


Maybe the simple question is: why choose synthetic, when you can choose a natural cosmetic? We would love to hear from you so comment below with any questions or comments you have!!


Dearbhla Lyons

Training & Development

V.Claire Natural Cosmetics

As an organic vegetable producer, I feel blessed that I am able to grow food from the ground up. Putting time, effort and care into nourishing those plants really does boost the flavour when I find them on my plate. This being particularly true for today’s topic “Sunflower Shoots”.

What are Sunflower Shoots?

Honestly, sunflower shoots are probably one of the best kept secrets in your healthy cooking arsenal. They are the delicious and nutritious micro-greens of the sunflower plant. Sunflower shoots are bursting with vitamins A, D, E, chlorophyll, magnesium, iron, calcium and more!. If it’s protein you’re looking for, they are made out of 20% of it. Oh and for an added bonus, should you let them grow to flower, you will find yourself with thousands of edible crunchy seeds.

With a nutty flavour and a refreshing pop and crunch texture sunflower shoots are perfect for use in salads. Pairing them with nutritious foods such as avocado, bean sprouts and lemon juice, sunflower shoots will leave you feeling fresh and full of energy. Here is one of my favourite sunny salad recipes that you can be creative with and tweak to your own taste.


Super Ingredients:

  • 50g sunflower shoots
  • 1 ripe hass avocado
  • 2 scallions (often known as spring onions)
  • 4 radishes
  • 50g mixed salad leaves (eg.rocket, cress, lettuce)
  • 25g bean sprouts
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 carrots
  • 8 green olives
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • Pinch of salt

Unprocessed Process:

  1. Squeeze the lemon juice, pour the olive oil and toss the paprika plus salt into a bowl. Give them a quick whisk.
  2. It’s off to the chopping block for the avocado, scallions and olives. Cut them into small pieces.
  3. Thinly slice the radish, cucumber and carrots using a sharp knife or mandolin (I’m more of a guitar man myself).
  4. Mix all the cut up veg together with your sunflower shoots, mixed leaves and bean sprouts.
  5. Drizzle on a few spoonfuls of dressing and enjoy.

This will serve 2 hungry people.

#TASTYTUESDAY,sunflower shoots, organic food, salads, nutrition, menu ideas, the green door market, phytonutrients, health, wellbeing, GIY, grow your own, organic living, holistic healthcare, connections, spiritual connections,Where can I find Sunflower Shoots?

As the popularity of sunflower shoots increases we seem to be finding them sprouting up at more and more farmers markets. I bought mine from Christys Organic Wheatgrass inside The Green Door Market located at 18 Newmarket Square, Dublin 8 just off Cork Street.

Open Tuesday – Friday 12:00pm – 19:00pm

Saturday 9:30am – 16:00pm

Sunday 11:00am – 17:00pm


A delicious green smoothie is an integral part of my wellness plan. As most of us are full of empty calories and nutrient poor, a green goddess smoothie is quick and versatile and adds that extra nutrient boost most of us are craving.

I’m not an advocate of replacing food with smoothies but they make a great snack or brekkie on the run. I used to skip breakfast but now I just whip up a quick smoothie to take with me instead.


Small handful of kale and/or spinach

1 inch of cucumber

1 broccoli floret

Handful of frozen blueberries (organic if possible)

1 frozen banana

Half an avocado

Tablespoon of coconut oil

Fill to the line with Almond milk/coconut water or filtered water

Optional boosters: 1 spoon of maca powder – an adaptogen that contains natural fatty acids found in food and B6 which makes it a superfood for mood. Maca is a great addition for people struggling with depression and/or anxiety. It has also been known to boost energy, fertility and even menopause symptoms.

Another great booster is spirulina powder – The incredibly powerful blue/green powder is a natural “algae” (cyanbacteria) that is incredibly high in protein and a good source of antioxidants, B-vitamins and other nutrients. It’s health benefits are endless from helping to detoxify heavy metals, boosting energy and helping to alleviate sinus issues.

Having a green smoothie helps me to stay on track with my healthy eating. You need to find what works for you but for me personally its hard to get a nice variety of veg into my diet each day. The boosters I add depend on how I feel. If I’m stressed I add spirulina as I find it helps and if I’m feeling down I reach for the maca. When you start to live more mindfully you can tune into your food and feed your mood, sleep and overall health and wellbeing in a more connected and conscious way.

Shine Bright

Ali xxx

I love my nut milks and once you get used to making them it takes no more than 5 minutes to make creamy fresh delicious almond milk.

I always buy organic nuts in bulk from the green door market THE GREEN DOOR  for my almond milk as it’s more cost effective.

I always soak my nuts to activate them as nuts contain enzyme inhibitors and phytates making the digestion and absorption of nutrients difficult to digest as the phytic acid binds to minerals in the digestive tract. So by soaking them in water with a pinch or pink Himalayan salt they can be neutralized. I soak mine for 8-12 hours and then I rinse and freeze. You can use straight after soaking, as the nuts are nice and plump from the water. I soak large batches of nuts so I always have some to hand from the freezer.

Almond milk, nut milk, homemade nut milk, vegan, nutrition, wellness coach, health coach, how to make almond milk

Here are some nuts soaking and then frozen ready to use along with a nut milk bag


You can have sweetened or unsweetened almond milk. I sweeten mine with dates. Dates are a good source of energy, iron, potassium, vitamin A, fiber and antioxidant flavonoids. I always have some soaking in a jar of filtered water in my fridge ready to go. You will also need a nut milk bag, which you can buy from Down To Earth and a bowl.

You will need a blender for this, I use my nutribullet

Ingredients and method for almond milk:

  • Place a small handful of nuts in the blender
  • A Pinch of Pink Himalayan salt
  • Dates to sweeten if desired. I use 2-3
  • Fill too the line with water

Blend for a couple of minutes till creamy and frothy. Play around with nut quantities and consistency. I find around 12-15 nuts perfect. Pour into a nut milk bag and squeeze through. This is possible the most satisfying part! Transfer into a jug or bottle and serve.

Here are some nuts soaking and then frozen ready to use along with a nut milk bag

I use the almond milk for oats, muesli, matcha lattes and as a base for soups.


As we move out of the winter months we might want to put a spring in our step by upping our physical game. With the best of intentions the winter simply doesn’t lend itself to a lot of physical exertion due to dark nights and cold mornings. After winters gestation period spring is an opportunity and a time for rebirth. It’s a chance to look at the world through fresh eyes and also try something new.

When it comes to exercise I like to switch up my routine as we enter a new season. To be honest I get bored and I love to challenge my body by switching up my classes.

I’m a huge fan of Reformer Pilates and I can credit these classes with helping me to regain my post baby body a few years ago. It’s been quite a while though since I took a class though but I decided to return to Pilates Performance Ireland (PPI) in Dundrum and see if the passion was still there.

reformer pilates, positively physical, exercise, full body workout, pilates performanceThe Reformer is a bed like frame with springs and straps attached! Don’t let that frighten you because the best thing about this exercise is that your back and body are supported by the bed at all times which is great for me as I have a bad back from a car accident. The Reformer gives you a full body workout and it also helps to build a very strong core. Half way through the class I felt a huge smile appear on my face as I realized just how much I missed these classes.

I felt grounded and really connected to my body as the instructors encourage you to really use your breath with each movement. It’s a potent destressing exercise for many reasons. The deep breathing helps to calm your central nervous system and the movements help to really move your energy through your body. Your circulation gets a boost, your spine and muscles are stimulated and of course those feel good hormones wake up and start to flood your body too.

Because of the strong focus on core strength your balance and posture will also be improved and in an age of computers where we sit at desks for long periods of time I welcome any exercise that helps with that. Your flexibility will also increase and what I like is that it really helps to give you a lean shape and stretches out the muscles as opposed to bulking them.

IMG_1893 Pilates Performance Ireland offer a wide range of classes suitable for all levels and abilities. You can also book personal sessions which I would advise anyone who has injuries or back problems to do as the owner Sarah MacLachann who is a Pilates master is excellent and can really help you to get to the root of your problems and work slowly with you to build your strength back up.

**As printed in Positive Life Magazine


A life without alcohol: That sentence used to cause such turmoil and internal panic I would go and drink.

Sounds stupid or maybe even funny to some of you but in reality for a lot of us the thought of “forever” (sober) can be and is quite scary.

LIFE MAGAZINE, SUNDAY INDEPENDENT, SOBER, SOBER SISTERS, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, DRINKING, ALCOHOLISM, HEAVY DRINKING, LIVER PROBLEMS, HOW TO GET SOBER,Anyway I needed drink to chat to people, for confidence, to have a personality, to be creative, to have friends, to be accepted and my job revolved around it. I would use it to take the edge off, to cope with a tough day. I would drink to reward myself after I had worked hard or worked out or just because it was Friday or Monday or lunchtime or after work! We drink to celebrate weddings, christenings, birthdays, births and deaths so as you can see there is always a reason to have a drink.

When a reason didn’t present itself I would make it up. I could convince you pretty easily that black was white or vice versa. That’s the thing with addiction it tells you lies and you repeat those lies to anyone who will listen. Addiction rips you apart at your soul level, the very essence of your being dies. Using becomes a way of being happy or at least happier than being sober which is not hard.

Overall it’s a vicious cycle that lures you in with false promises of fun and spits you out with nothing: no self esteem, broken relationships, arguments, memory loss, lost belongings, wasted days, anxiety and depression.

Today I am celebrating eighteen months of sobriety. They are words I never expected to say and mean, after all I had tried so many times before. They are words that have taken me this long to write for fear that I might drink again. The past few weeks have really tested my sobriety like never before. James was in a near drowning accident on holidays and then our luggage and belongings were stolen on the way to the airport in Spain. But the real truth is that my sobriety will always be tested by something called life everyday if I let it, as life is challenging at the best of times. Learning to live in the real world with out crutches to lean on is really the biggest challenge of all.

For most of my life I numbed myself with drink. It was easy I was a model and partying was more normal than not partying. I was in pain and it was my pain relief. I suffered from depression and anxiety from an early age and during my teen years just getting up could be a struggle. I didn’t think this was unusual though as I thought everyone had to give themselves a good push to get through the day.

When I started experimenting with drink it was blissful. I felt high and alive and all my cares and troubles just faded away. The next day was always horrible but then again my days could be horrible anyway so the high was worth it. Very often I was the one being carried home from discos and nightclubs and I would spend the next 24 hours throwing up and laughing about it with friends. We’d joke about how many shots we could drink and boast about our alcohol intake like it was a measure of our madness and the madder you were the better.

LIFE MAGAZINE, SUNDAY INDEPENDENT, SOBER, SOBER SISTERS, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, DRINKING, ALCOHOLISM, HEAVY DRINKING, LIVER PROBLEMS, HOW TO GET SOBER,‘Party Ali” became a real identity. ‘Invite Ali she’s great fun and she’ll stay out with you all night.” I was never short of friends or invitations when I was abroad modeling and it was glamourized to such an extent that it was completely normal to drink all the time – at lunchtime, on catalogue trips and backstage at shows. The industry today is vastly different to 20 years ago. Back then it was a case of anything goes!

I would have regular blackouts and although they terrified me in the beginning I’m ashamed to say I got used to them. As I got older they began to scare me, no terrify me. I lived in New Your City by myself and there were mornings I wouldn’t remember where I was or whom I was out with. I was too embarrassed to ring around and I would sit nervously waiting for a message from one of my friends that might shine a light on the night before.

I tried to stop many times and succeeded for days, weeks and even months at a time. I periodically fooled myself and I fooled those around me. I got angry when anyone commented on my lifestyle and defended it at all costs after all everyone else was doing it too. I sat in AA for years listening to other people’s stories but I was still in denial. “I’m not as bad as them” I would think and go out and get wasted again, not remembering where I was or how I got home again. It is a miracle I am here today. I lived in constant fear of having to live in the real world with real feelings. I had never done it and I didn’t know how.

I constantly tried to play the balance game and I didn’t fit the stereotype of someone with a drinking problem (whatever that is!!). I could stop for months at a time and not drink during the week but I had to ask myself was I controlling my drinking or was my drinking controlling me?

Every morning I would wake up and look in the mirror and hate what was staring back at me. I always felt dirty and guilty. I was a pro at faking it. It didn’t affect my looks enough for me to stop as maybe if it had I would have stopped sooner. I got away with it you see, I was able to party, go to work and pull of a great shoot and then go home to die. I prided myself on never ever missing a day’s work until one day I did and then it happened again. I slept it out on a number of occasions or should I say passed out and didn’t wake up.

I remember my mum and her cousin coming to visit me in New York and I went missing for a day and night partying. She was sick with worry, as a girl had been murdered on 84th and Central Park West, one block from me!! But it wasn’t the first time I had acted so selfishly and done this. I promised never to do it again and I would argue with stupid things like I was only having fun and I was with good people. As a mother myself now I can only imagine the pain and worry I caused my mum through the years and I can still remember her sad face, it is etched into my memory forever.

LIFE MAGAZINE, SUNDAY INDEPENDENT, SOBER, SOBER SISTERS, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, DRINKING, ALCOHOLISM, HEAVY DRINKING, LIVER PROBLEMS, HOW TO GET SOBER,I lost my dad 17 years ago but even back then he knew there were warning signs and he often cursed my job choice and asked me to sit down for a chat. He told me if I ever felt things were a bit out of control and I needed help that I could always come to him. The irony being that when I lost him I drank more than ever before to help get me through it.

For me alcohol was like staying in a bad relationship. There were many warning signs early on but I ignored them. Passing out, blackouts, hospital visits our relationship survived them all. “Wow you can drink a lot,” people would say, “it must be because you are Irish.” Living abroad this was like a badge of honor. The more I drank the more I needed to drink and this is the danger.

I would drink to cope with anxiety especially in social situations and in the short term this worked but the next day was filled full of fear and regrets for money spent and the embarrassing things I did and said. I ended up in relationships with enablers who told me I had a problem but then happily poured alcohol down my neck when they wanted to drink themselves.

When I became a mum I thought I had figured things out after all I only had the odd glass of wine during my pregnancy so I obviously didn’t have a problem and then I breastfed too with no drink but it crept back up slowly in fact it had probably never gone away. A glass of wine was used to take the edge off in the evening, to cope with a stressful day, to help me socialize and enjoy dinners but most of all it was used to help me escape. But behind the façade I was a scared, single mum who was lonely and drink was my friend.

But it was a friendship based on secrets and lies. It robbed me of my dignity, self-esteem, health and happiness. I finally decided I wanted to be fully present in my life as I was exhausted escaping and piecing things back together the day after the night before.

I was sick of having the fear, sick of punishing myself, sick of trying to feel better but only succeeding in feeling worse. Overall I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.

My journey into true sobriety however was only beginning and I began to realise that when life happened which it does every second of every day I had no crutch and I actually had to feel feelings and work through my problems.

There were days I used to long for just a glass of wine in the evening to take the edge off or to destress. I needed a blowout once in a while people kept telling me but this time for the first time in 20 years I didn’t and haven’t since. I spent a year changing my thought patterns or the brainwashing that I have had for my whole life, Jason Vales book Kick the Drink Easily is a horrifying look at the truth about our real relationship with alcohol. I now know that a blow out would only put me back where I started and I’m trying to move forward.

I never truly thought I could break the cycle through the years so I tried to control it but deep down I was scared that this was bigger than me. I regularly cried, beating myself up for being such a weak loser. Annoyed and guilty that I couldn’t just be normal and have a drink and a chat and go home. It’s a vicious cycle of self abuse, low self esteem and getting wasted to escape that but in the end I always ended up in tears at 3AM regularly crying in nightclubs and never wanting to go home. I was a complete nightmare to be out with.

As the years went on my friends became impatient and annoyed. Once I had one there was no talking to me they said and I wanted to party until the bitter end. I told myself it was ok as it only happened once a month but that soon moved to once a week and then the girls were calling in for a glass of wine in the evening. They could stop at one but I couldn’t. The few weeks before I gave up were a mess. I went away with my friend Karen and again went missing to a party. She was so worried but her kindness and compassion in helping me to confront my drinking has helped to stay sober and that goes for all my true friends.

In the beginning I was a hot topic of conversation, which killed me and I would hear all the gossip back, you always do. “Give her time and she’ll fall spectacularly off the wagon and end up in Lillie’s”, “She won’t survive Christmas” These same people tried to hug and kiss me when I met them at work events and they were killed trying to tell me how proud they were. I learnt a lot about people last year. I learnt a lot about friendship, truth and honesty. I was lucky enough to be studying and writing a book in 2015 because let me tell you the phone never rang. Every single time I went out all anyone talked about was my drinking.

I have spent the past few years working hard on myself and it’s a daily job but worth every second. My unexpected pregnancy six years ago not only humbled me but it gave me a life, a real life where I now understand that all we have is right here right now. James forced me to be present, to heal and to dig deep to a really scary place I would probably never have visited otherwise. I peeled off the very painful layers that I have covered up with years of addiction and pain.

LIFE MAGAZINE, SUNDAY INDEPENDENT, SOBER, SOBER SISTERS, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, DRINKING, ALCOHOLISM, HEAVY DRINKING, LIVER PROBLEMS, HOW TO GET SOBER,I feel things now I don’t numb them and as hard as that is sometimes it’s necessary. I was so scared like a frightened child afraid of everything. What will I say to people, how will I stand, where will my confidence come from and will I have a personality without party Ali?

The truth is it’s damn hard in the beginning, like becoming a baby again helpless and vulnerable learning to crawl and then walk. Not long after I gave up drink I was at the VIP style awards and my friend Karen came with me for support. To the outside world I was in great form but inside I was crumbling with anxiety. As we sat at the table I took a massive anxiety attack, my legs were like jelly, my palms were sweating and I felt like I was going to have a heart attack and pass out.

Karen talked me through it quietly telling me I had been here before and I knew it was anxiety and that I would get through it. It took her about 30 minutes of talking me around and then she said the last award is over, lets get up and leave. I did and when I got into my car I fell apart and said I can’t do this but Karen said yes you can the worst is behind you and next time will be easier. She was right the next time was easier and the time after that.

It’s incredibly important to surround yourself with people who love and support you. It is one of the most important things you can do for your confidence, self-belief and health and wellbeing on your journey.

[bctt tweet=”Deep down I had always known that the road to giving up someday leads to a town called nowhere.” username=”alicanavan”]

I have always been a spiritual soul seeker and my life had been running on parallel lines for many years. I have been meditating since my late teens and attending retreats all over the world with many great masters and teachers but my lifestyle would pull me back in and I wanted to fit in.

I never thought it was possible to feel good naturally but now I feel more alive each day than I ever have before. I wake up every day with a heart full of gratitude and appreciation for what I have and who I have become. I’m excited for my future and for what lies ahead and I feel free. I do believe James was my angel and the catalyst that really started my true inward journey of healing but what I realized along the way was that you have to make these decisions for yourself. Not for your parents, partners, children or friends, YOU. You must find that place deep inside of you that knows you are worthy and worth it. This takes time, patience, hard work and perseverance.

[bctt tweet=”You must find that place deep inside of you that knows you are worthy and worth it” username=”alicanavan”]

Loving yourself is not vain or egotistical it’s an essential part of living a happy and fulfilled life. When you fill your tank and engine with kindness, compassion and love for yourself you have so much more to give to others.

I no longer beat myself up and I can’t believe the way I spoke to myself for so many years. I have a rule now and I try and catch myself when I start a negative rant. I think, to myself would I say this to a friend? If the answer is no then I try not to say these things to myself. I’ve learnt that if I wanted my life to be better then I needed to step up to the plate, show up and bring a better me to the table each day.

I’ve also learnt to stop the blame game because I wanted to grow, face myself and live a happy life. Blame to me is not taking responsibility for your own path and your own destiny. I was always blaming my mood or actions on what someone else said or did but in reality I am the only one with that power. We’re all a bit like junkies looking for our next fix from life and when things don’t go our way we blame everything and everyone around us but rarely do we look within and work with ourselves.

We keep looking for balance in an imbalanced culture by doing things like drinking too much to take the edge off and then taking painkillers in the morning to get up and get through our day. Then we go on cleanses, retreats and holidays to fix us but they don’t because real wellness is a daily job and something that needs to be worked on everyday.

What I have learnt since becoming sober is that professionally and personally I have soared. I sleep better and I’m in control of every aspect of my life. I feel things now and although it’s uncomfortable at times I also feel the depth and feeling of positive emotions too. I’m more present in my every day life and I now know that you don’t have to drink to have fun. I’ve discovered I have a personality without alcohol and the clarity in my life is incredible.

I’ve learnt that being happy comes when you realize how extraordinary the ordinary things in your life are and that without inner peace and contentment you have nothing in this life. The richest man will still be poor.

Now I have so much light in my life I feel free. Every day I can live without feeling like I’m drowning or pushing against the tide. To all addicts out there I never thought I could do it but it is possible. It tore me apart; I was emotionally and spiritually bankrupt. I was waking around dead most days. I covered up my feelings of unworthiness and low self esteem for years with alcohol but no more. I now have freedom, passion and a life without chains.

I am only ever a very small step away from addiction and I have accepted that with grace. Today I feel free, blessed and incredibly grateful. I am a work in progress and always will be as we all are. On my card for my book launch my sister Laura wrote “strong, sober and published author” Each one of those words are words I never thought would be used to describe me but we are all capable of so much more than we imagine.

Everyday I wake up and say Thank you. Then I meditate and write in my gratitude journal. As our brains are primitive and primed for survival and not happiness, happiness is our job and one I take very seriously. I have many great daily happiness habits that work for me.

Meditation and mindfulness are certainly having their moments but I would really urge you to not view them as a temporary fad because in my opinion they need to become a natural part of our day exactly like eating or drinking.

We are moving too fast and it’s coming at a high cost for us both personally and professionally. We are distracted, uneasy, unhappy, unsettled, anxious, depressed and ungrateful. We live in a world of instant gratification wanting more and more, quicker and quicker than ever before. Round and round we go, getting dizzy from the craziness that’s called modern life.

But how do we start to change this pattern, this endless cycle that we can’t seem to break free from?

We must train ourselves to slow down and even stop at times throughout our day. I now write myself a prescription for life to replace all those pills and prescriptions from years before. It goes something like this

Be Grateful

Check in with yourself


Live with Joy


Eat well

Move your body

Laugh with friends and

Love Fearlessly


 My life lessons have been vast and in very different settings and very much outside of what we consider the norm but if I can change my life anyone can and today if you ask me do I believe in miracles I would say yes I do because I’m living one and I’m sober.

minding mum, dreams come true, love, life, motivation , new book, mothers day, gift ideas, thank you, book launch, I spent a lot of my life thinking I couldn’t do a lot of things and being really hard on myself for not doing and being enough. I have pushed myself, studied hard and broken down a lot of my fear barriers in the last few years and let me tell you although difficult at times it is incredibly rewarding to keep pushing through your comfort zone a little each day.

I have been completely overwhelmed by all the support for my new book and I am so grateful for everyone who turned up to support me on Tuesday evening at my launch but more importantly I am so grateful to every single mum who has taken the time to write to me over the years. Often you mention that I inspire you but actually it works both ways and this book was written and inspired by your kind words of encouragement on very difficult days when I felt like giving up.

The day James was born is the day I was reborn into this world. Through the eyes of a child I learnt to see the beauty and wonder in everyday things.

On this journey I learnt to love myself but more importantly I learnt that I am enough!!!

This book is my hug, my hand and my smile that I’m reaching out to give to any mum who needs it.

Two sayings ring true to me

No man is an island


It takes a village to raise a child

We have some of the loneliest people living in the biggest cities in the world. Professor of Positive Psychology at Harvard Shawn Achor, has been studying happiness for many years now and what they are starting to understand is just how important human connection is which is what our busy lives are preventing us from having. New mums often feel isolated and lonely at home with a new baby so it’s important in the early days to have help and support.

Six years ago all I saw were broken dreams and personal disappointments but now I’m standing here doing something that some people only ever dream about and there is not a second of this journey that I have taken for granted.

Our lives are journeys throughout them we either learn or die. There are too many people walking around already dead and I did not want to be one of them, so I fought hard to learn everything I could about myself, my illness and how to be happy.

Our brains are primed for survival not happiness. Happiness is our job and a job we need to work at every day.

It’s so important that we value self care. I try to be better both professionally and personally every single day. These past few years like everyone I had some great days, good days, OK days and some very bad days but every day I tried. I initially fought because of James and for James but because of him I now do it for myself. I now value myself enough to treat myself better, be my personal best and really try and live each day no matter what it throws at me!

minding mum launch, book, james and alison canavan, house dublin, dreams, selfcareI’m so incredibly grateful for this opportunity and know that the catalyst for all change in anyone’s life is taking risks and some ONE person taking a risk on you. Deirdre and The team at gill did just that and I wanted to make them proud.

Never under estimate the influence you can have on a persons life as I said no man is an Island and we need each other to succeed and grow.

Dalai Lama:

“Hard times can build determination and inner strength. Through them we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger”

Enjoy #mindingmum in all good bookstores now €16.99 and send me your pics with the book to or tag me on social media



Do you want to learn how to get started with essential oils? in this video Caroline from Honest about Health takes us through the initial steps and explains in detail about essential oils, what they are and their uses


and check out our weekly articles right here on Be Complete every Friday called Essential Health

Todays video is all about the most frequently asked question I get which is “Is healthy boring?” and if I’m honest this is what i used to think too. Now I know that living a healthy lifestyle is the gift that keeps on giving. Putting time and effort into your health and wellbeing brings side effects such as:

  • happiness,
  • health,
  • fresher complexion,
  • better sleep,
  • more productivity,
  • vitality and a
  • lust for life like never before

So join me and get on the healthy train today

Ali xxx


This week I’m chatting to Top Irish model Sarah McGovern. Sarah is a truly beautiful person inside and out and we have been working together for many years now. In our business no two days are the same so it can be a challenge trying to find a balance but what I love about Sarah is that she never gives up, as you’ll see in her interview. When something is not working she just tries something new. Her honesty is refreshing and I think most parents will relate to Sarah’s daily challenges.

Sarah Mc Govern, wellness wednesday, lifestyle quiz, health and wellness, top model, andrea roche agancy, health, inspiration, motivation, parenting, mummy, irish model, balance, life, be complete, alison canavanSarah is a model with the Andrea Roche Model Agency and a Wholesale agent with ‘The Showroom’ in Fashion City. She is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and also an Ambassador for the National Spring Clean Campaign. She is a very proud mom to Jude, 4, and Robyn, 2 and is very happily married to Kenny for over 7 years now.

Sarah Mc Govern, wellness wednesday, lifestyle quiz, health and wellness, top model, andrea roche agancy, health, inspiration, motivation, parenting, mummy, irish model, balance, life, be complete, alison canavan

Image by Sandals and Greenhouse

How would you describe your lifestyle? 

In one word.. ‘Hectic’!! With a 2 and a 4 year old and juggling two jobs, life is hectic! Because no two days, let alone weeks are the same, it’s hard to find some sort of balance in my life. I think it’s the same for most parents though, so I know I’m not alone! Being self-employed, you never want to turn down work so I just take it as it comes and work a day at a time. It does mean not being able to plan too much ahead and cancelling plans with family and friends quite often but it’s just the way it is for the moment!

What’s your favorite food? Naughty or nice.

I have a total sweet tooth unfortunately and chocolate is my vice! I try to eat a well balanced diet though but I always love something sweet after my lunch and dinner.

Do you exercise and if so what do you do to keep fit?

I have always exercised my whole life, until I got to baby number 2! I loved sport as a kid and then always went to the gym and had a personal trainer before and during my pregnancies (I decided to put the money into having a trainer than going private) I was as fit as a fiddle for both births but after number two came along I found it really hard to fit exercise and work all in to a day that was already busy with two kids!

At first I tried baby body fit classes where you could bring the baby but Robyn crawled at 6 months and so it was hard when you spend the time trying to bring her back to your mat! I took Pilates up again once a week and while I love it, work sometimes gets in the way of the classes. I tried Crossfit for a season but again work kept getting in the way and trying to make classes made me more stressed out!!

So I started running just last week again and I’m hoping to keep that and the Pilates up and id love to get into Form school to do some Ballet Barre classes soon. My friend Aoife owns it with her husband Gordon. The classes are brilliant. I just need to make more ‘me time’ to get there!

How do you find balance in your day-to-day life? 

Honestly I don’t feel I have any balance and if I find it, I’ll bottle it and sell it as I think so many parents feel like this!!

The kids are in crèche two days a week now, but neither started until they were nearly two so juggling work with finding babysitters was always a little challenging! However, since they are both in crèche, it’s giving me some stability to my week, where I can work without having to worry about them. I have the best crèche too! Also I find if I’m fully organised the night before for the next day, then I can start the day as stress free as possible and that adds a little bit of balance to my day too!!

How do you manage stress in your life? Do you meditate? 

No unfortunately I think I just take it out on my poor husband or at least he gets to hear about a stressful day even if he doesn’t want to! I’m a talker and so I just generally get it off my chest and it makes me feel better!!

Have you ever tried meditation? No but I like the idea of it.

People often set goals or intentions as they go through life. Is this something you do?

I always privately set goals or do a lot of planning in my head, but I should really write things down. I know they say that your goals are more likely come to fruition if they are written down. I’ve been very fortunate to have achieved so many goals and intentions so far with family, work, travelling etc but I need to start looking at the next chapter in my life now!

How do you unwind after a busy day? 

I generally like to tidy up after the kids go to bed and get ready for the next day. Weirdly it helps me unwind! Then a cup of peppermint tea and some chocolate while watching a little bit of TV before bed. Nothing fancy I’m afraid!!

It’s the weekend, what do you do for fun?  

Spend time with the kids and depending on the weather, we would go somewhere for a walk or go visit family and catch up with the cousins! The odd weekend we’d catch up with friends too.

What’s your top health tip for our readers? 

 My grandmother always drank hot water, especially with lemon in the morning. She had beautiful skin and so I have it in the mornings too! Breakfast is so important and I try have a healthy one every morning to start off my day well. Everything in moderation too!

Finish the sentence – Being complete for me means… Being happy and content!