16 Aug 2014

The Best Kept Beauty Secrets #5

The Best Kept Beauty Secret, Vicki archer, french Essence

The best kept beauty secret is not always an obvious one.


Do you find it easy to relax… to take time out for yourself and wind down?

Last night, chatting to a girlfriend, musing over what I would write to you about today, I commented that I hadn’t relaxed like “this” in ages.

She said, write about that.

It was a small revelation and crystal clear.

Relaxation is as beneficial, if not more so, than any beauty treatment.

We had spent a lazy day… a girl’s day… talking about girly things. We had been laughing and catching up about all and nothing.

The afternoon was spent watching movies… there were no time constraints and was no pressure to do “something”.

No “must” anything, much enjoying of the moment.

No worrying about what’s next, or rushing here and there.

No feeling that we “should” be doing anything other than what we were.

Relaxation felt indulgent, but so, so good.

Relaxation made me feel lighter, more carefree.

The unknown weight, for I didn’t know that I felt heavy, was lifted.

Then there is the bonus of sleep.

Relaxation makes for deep, restorative sleep.

It wasn’t until I stopped and thought about relaxation that I realised it is a tricky little concept.

We might think we are relaxing, but are we?

I am guilty of faux relaxing when all I am doing is going through the motions.

True relaxation is for the self, not selfish. True relaxation is therapeutic.

Why do I think relaxation is one of the best kept beauty secrets?

When we really breathe, really wind down and truly relax… so does our face, our body and our posture.

Our muscles stop working overtime and we become tranquil, calmer.

Relaxation brings composure and like happiness, laughter and romance… it’s a beauty elixir.

Do you manage to take time for yourself? How do you truly relax? xv

The Best Kept Beauty Secrets

#1  //  #2  //  #3  //  #4  //  #5

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I recently deliberately missed my plane back to London from the South of France and stayed there for another 10 days. I felt I just needed some headspace. I don’t remember relaxing like that for years. It was magic I just did nothing more strenuous than lying on a lounger on the beach reading. I felt like a different person when I finally arrived back in London and my skin reflected the benefits.


I am not sure why I loose sight of the benefits of relaxation… it is so easy to become wrapped up in the everyday and not stop… I know what you mean exactly… :)


Now I will say that is the best thing I have read today :-) … I have no trouble making time for myself and relaxing , it just comes naturally to me. I think it has got easier as I have got older, I do have spare time which helps.

Anita Rivera

Yet another important topic, born out of your “living” daily life.

Relaxation has been what my summer has been all about. School starts for me in two weeks, but next week, it’s meetings and preparation. It will be more of a challenge to relax. However….

relaxation is part of healing. It is also easy to think that we are being lazy and forgetting our duties but without relaxation, how can anyone be ready for the stresses of work? I am learning at my age, and loving the process, that relaxation is paramount to good health, physical and spiritual beauty. I laid down on my settee outside yesterday, read my French BIBLE out load to the birds in the trees, and fell asleep. I felt great, it may have been considered a frivolous moment when the dishes were calling me, but so what. Relaxation is vital.

Thank you again dear Vicki, for always talking about what matters. Anita


Anita you are so wise… enjoy this week before your new academic year begins… the pace will catch you so very quickly.
Good health is dependant on so many qualities… but relaxation surely helps them all work together for a great result.


One thing I know I am very good at is relaxing! I used to think that perhaps I was just lazy, but having had a stressful (but rewarding and satisfying) job for many years, I discovered that it was extremely beneficial to indulge myself – whether that was a massage, a facial, sitting in a pool chatting with my close friend or walking around the lake near my home. I know some people find it very hard to relax – fortunately I am not one of them!


Lucky for you Carolyn, it is a wonderful skill… and it is a great skill… it requires a willingness and loads of practice… :)


Unplugging from technology is a big one for me, and I am horrible at it. That could be a whole post of its own…..


How can I suggest that… ;) ;) I am the worst!!
If I’m unplugged it feels like an amputation… Sad, but true!

Sara Batting

Oh, my goodness…you are SO right….
If only I could relax….when I’ve been away and relaxed a bit, I feel ten years younger!
Desperate for a holiday right now…!

Celia Becker From After Orange County

As a wife & mother I have spent the last 30 years always doing for others, which is a joy and very fulfilling. But, it can take its toll, as I never seem to take time for me. I’m working on it now that 4 of my 5 kids our out of the house. I just have to get over the guilt that seems to haunt me when I try to relax. Thanks Vicki for reminding me to stop and smell the roses this morning.


WHy do guilt and relaxing go hand in hand…? Is that something common amongst us mothers?
Enjoy your morning, Celia…

mona turner

I completely agree with the beauty benefits of relaxation. If we could mindfully keep our face muscles relaxed, no need for botox! I’ve learned through yoga to relax, breathe, and feel. Also helpful for me is to keep a soft gaze, relaxed jaw, shoulders down. Keeping beautiful thoughts also keeps our face relaxed. This is why I follow your blog, it’s one of my beauty regimens.


no pressure to do “something”…think that’s the
secret of relaxation. I distinguish a mental and
a physical relaxation, latter is much easier for me
by doing yoga, listen to good music, my
weekly massage, a relaxing lunch in the shadow with wine on a hot summer day and…? These are moments/events where you feel also a bit, but
only a little bit, mentally relaxed. Even I didn’t handle my mental relaxation yet I try at least to enjoy the physical ones and get out of them as
much as possible.


That’s a very good way to look at it Rena… to divide mental and physical relaxation into different parts… it’s so true, they are not one and the same.

Peggy Braswell

i was at a meeting (women) just last night + we spoke of relaxing + guilt + don’t think the 2 have to go together + but they do sometimes + think it is a woman thing. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

lisa thomson

Yes. I like to think I do, but truth is it isn’t easy. Unless I;m away from my routine, on a holiday then I tend to keep busy and not relax the way I should. Thanks for the inspiration, Vicki :)


It’s the thinking that we relax but in truth we haven’t… that’s what surprised me… :)
Sometimes to much effort goes into trying to relax… :)


Vicki I have learnt from my restorative yoga teacher how to quickly relax at home when I’m feeling under pressure. Legs up the wall or the bed, even an armchair, head comfy on a pillow and just deeply breathe until your whole body feels totally relaxed. 10 mins is usually all it takes.
Amazing what this does for the body.

Susie Martin

Great post Vicki – always something to take on board – so full of wisdom and female intuition Thank you – Susie x

Cathy Wong

This is very timely for me, been thinking quite a lot about it, and I really need to get myself together on this one. After finishing a vacation filled with family here visiting, fun time spent with precious children, days at the beach…we are back to work and immediately have more family staying with us for 2 weeks. It’s been packed with fun, laughter and love but I’m feeling (guiltily) exhausted. My chest is always tight and am often lightheaded. Although it’s been great fun it just hasn’t been relaxing-and I feel my body is telling me I NEED to relax. For me it’s always a challenge : I’m doing something fun/lovely but am I actually relaxing?????
Will be trying Kate’s technique and thinking of Rena’s comment “no pressure to do “something”and dividing the mental and the physical for a start….. why do i feel guilty if I’m not doing “something” or looking after “someone”???


Such wonderful words of wisdom Vicki, I am guilty of faux relaxing too. happy relaxing Shell – A Darlings Nest


I agree! Great post!

For me…I try to think how to relax now. I’m stacked between my life or something. It’s pretty stressing situation. Things like reading alone in a empty house was first helping but now…I’m just waiting…It’s frustrating because this would be now good time to relax before “everything should happen all in a same moment.”

Boxwood Terrace

It is hard to find time to relax these days, isn’t it? In order to do so I feel like I have to plan ahead for it and sometimes put a time limit on relaxing, which isn’t very relaxing! I end up feeling like I’m wasting time and should be doing other things like exercising or laundry. Happy weekend to you, Vicki!



I am a francophile of note, ever since I turned 6 years old!! My parents thought I was crazy! Your message about relaxation resonated a lot – we have just returned from a month in our beloved France, too much baguette, cheese and wine, but oh my goodness, it was heavenly. Having lived there for 3 years, we return every year to walk down memory lane, and yes, RELAXATION is what our time away means for me. Away from 4 hectic businesses, loads of family……I don’t feel at all guilty about just wanting some time out!!! It restores your soul and makes you better to deal with daily life! Keep them coming Vicki!


hey Vicki, I’ve been walking daily…..long long walks, listening to the sounds of nature, seeing great progress in my legs too….feels wonderful….living in the present helps me, I catch myself thinking about the past or future without realizing it, I swiftly snap out of that, it is a meditaion in mindfulness & living in the present….hugs xo

Katherine Leighty

Because of multiple neck and back surgeries as well as fibromyalgia I have learned the absolute necessity of relaxation.

Our bodies get tense in situations you actually might consider fun and mentally liberating…but your body is in fight or flight because you are amongst many!

Most people would just be a little more tired afterwards! I feel like I did a two hour workout while simultaneously hit by a fast moving truck! It can lay me up for 2 days! The tensing creates inflammation and inflammation causes aging!

I am retired now and I purposefully avoid putting myself into stressful situations! I don’t schedule 2 appointments in a day! I even avoid it in a week! I have learned to make things as efficient as possible, easy to perform and take care of and eliminate the frivolous!

YES people need to learn to turn it off! Schedule your relaxation…use techniques to free your mental stress…more laughter less worry!

I have learned to focus on my blessings!

My faith also let’s me enjoy mind freeing meditation!

Laugh it makes better lines on the face!

Patricia Cowan

Love your blog and enjoy the sublime photography.
I’ve been trying to click on the little symbol for facebook in order to share your blog with many of my friend…nothing works.

As to relaxing…my best form of relaxing is being in my garden…no matter what I am doing or how much I hurt, it still makes me feel terrific! Outdoor sanctuary is watching the butterflies, hummers, birds and deer who come to visit daily.


I hadn’t realised it wasn’t working… I’m sorry… I’m looking into it… and will get it going… :)
Yes… the outdoors is such a sanctuary… the best… and I agree about the garden… As I write I am listening to all the beautiful sounds outside… and trying to make myself keep focussed… ;)

Doré @ BurlapLuxe

Oh beauty is for the taking here, all your beauty and words of calm relax ones soul… I have been creating a bit more French around my home and staying in its space of calm while it takes over my soul.

I have entered the GiveAway and could so give those linens a home :)

I often visit and take in all your beauty dreaming someday a visit to France with my daughter Hannah perhaps in the spring of next year.



Kristin Freeman

Great post today – just what I needed to read – reinforces my endeavor to stay “unplugged” one day at least each week, spend more time writing and sketching in the journal while I sit in the garden and taking more walks as days are cooler and fall is such a magnificent time for walks and will be here in just a month.


Here I sit in Finland and read Your wonderful blog.Thankyou for giving me these nice moments.With warm greetings Hillevi


I also think this is a great post. I’m working 24/7. Not making alot of money, but making more money. I enjoy shopping! So yes, relaxation, love, romance or all “the good life” things we need to surround ourselves with.


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