Today's #ForteFemale is Kate O’Brien, a lifestyle author, journalist and qualified dietitian with a post-graduate diploma in Cosmetic Science. She has written nine lifestyle books, her latest being, GLOW: Your Complete Four Week Plan to Healthy Radiant Skin. This combines her joint passions for nutrition and skincare, with science-supported advice and delicious skin-nourishing recipes for healthy glowing skin and a vibrantly strong body and mind. She is also a regular contributor on spa in titles including Conde Nast Traveller, Tatler, Asia Spa, Wander and The Gloss magazine in Ireland.
Which place would you travel to now, if you could?
Where do I start? Since lockdown began I have already missed my return visits to Preidlhof in South Tyrol and the Stanglwirt Eco in Austria. Both are family-owned and very special. The two dream escapes that I'm hopefully going to travel to later in the year are Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, as they're apparently about to launch a new yoga-centric wellness programme. The second dream escape is Verdura Resort in Sicily, not just because it's Irene Forte's family resort but it’s the Mediterranean diet at its best and I have not yet been to Sicily!
What's the first restaurant you're going to go to after the quarantine?
Bread41 in Dublin; I think it's the best café around! It also has the best sourdough and pretty good coffee too.
What are your favourite beauty places or spa treatments?
For me, it's the therapist that makes the difference… that said I love a deep powerful hot and cold stone body massage. The best experience imaginable would to be in a field under the hands of a super knowledgeable intuitive therapist.
What are you doing/ using to stay physically active and mentally well at the moment?
When I'm in my home city of Galway taking care of my Mum (94), I love sea swimming in the Atlantic and I always love Yoga. I have been practising for over 20 years now and qualified as a teacher last year, but with current uncertainty time on my mat first thing in the morning has found new meaning. Whether it's an hour’s vinyasa flow, 30 minutes kundalini or even 10 minutes just sitting with myself or reciting some of the mantras, it always sets me up for my day.
What helps you get to sleep if you are wired but tired?
Breathing slowly and deeply... I also use a natural Sleep Easy tincture from Blooming Blends that helps me settle into a peaceful sleep.
What is your skincare regime during the lock-down (morning and evening)?
I start with a gentle cleanse, spritz with toner and massage vitamin C-rich serum into my skin followed by a moisturiser with sunblock or a separate sunscreen over this. I’m not a fan of heavy make-up – and only started using it a few years ago, so it's a light foundation, preferably natural, mixed with my moisturiser that gives just a hint of glow.
I clean my skin as early as possible each evening to maximise skin repair and recovery time. For me it's a balm cleanse or gentle natural exfoliator – I adore the Irene Forte Almond Face Scrub, followed by a night serum, eye cream and a natural oil deeply massaged into my skin. I have mastered my little evening routine deeply massaging the oil into the skin and using these short moments to wash away any negative thoughts from my day…it works! When my skin needs added night moisture or cream to lock in the goodness, I apply this later in the evening.
Do you have one evening or more a week where you spend time masking/ pampering? What do you do?
Not as much as I would like, but when I do I apply a face mask in a hot bath with healing salts and a few drops of essential oils (depending on my mood). I also have some of my favourite music to keep me company – nothing too loud for me!
What is the best beauty/ skin advice you've ever been given?
Eat a colourful varied diet. For me that’s a primarily plant-based Mediterranean diet with fish and very occasionally free-range chicken.
At 94 my mum still glows – eating well has always been her secret as well as regular exercise, she still plays golf and walks when she can. This love of good food and exercise I treasure.
What's your favourite:
There are a few but top of my list is Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières and White Cargo by Felicity Kendall
The Architecture of Peace by Michael O’Neill - stunning photography and very wise yogis
I adore the GOOP Beauty Closet. The interviews are fab and in my view, GOOP beauty editor Jean Godfrey-June is amongst the best in the business. Hopefully, Irene will soon be a guest!
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