Tuesday, September 30

Why you need to STOP reading women's magazines!

I love a good 20 minute flick through some glossy mags, looking at clothes, make-up and travel destination; it's like shopping without the blisters. But nowadays I prefer to find a few YouTubers rather than the glossy mags.

Over the last 5 years or so I just got bored and stopped reading them. But sometimes I'll grab one and sit with it for half an hour and the effect it has on me is huge.

My self-esteem dies.

I have a wonderful boyfriend who loves me and generally I like my body and my life. But when I read one of these magazines for the next week afterwards I'm so focused on every part of my body that I hate.

It's not the models or the beautiful ads, I accept that they're photo-shopped and the girls look 'hard' to me, I don't really want to look like them. It's the content of the magazines.

In a nutshell this is how these magazines go;

Womens glossy magazines, lose weight, diet, body confidence, feminism, pressure on women

Of course there are great articles buried in there and lots of orgasm related pieces (the more expensive the magazine the better the orgasm!!) but from the 'trashiest' 32 page right up to the weightiest glossies the above topics are repeated in every issue, week after week, year after year. 

By the time I close the glossy cover my thoughts are as follows;
My job is rubbish, I don't get paid enough and I've ruined my life.
God I'm so fat
I should go shopping
I need those sandals
I'm going to start a diet!
If only I had that skirt
I don't earn enough money
I should look like her
No more eating
My life is rubbish
I'm going shopping.

I never used to notice how bad I felt until I'd gone years without reading one. I was happy.
 I was enjoying the life I have and not pining for the life I didn't, I was enjoying lovely meals and eating out, exercising because I wanted to not for a desperate longing to drop a stone and most of all I like my body

The feeling of dissatisfaction was gone.

And you know what? I haven't turned into some enormous greedy overweight monster with awful fashion sense!!! Who would have thought?!!

Laughing owl, animal bird

Maybe I'm really susceptible to media messages, maybe I'm not quite secure enough to say pah! in the face of these articles, but I feel like I can see through it all now and I've come out the other side. What do you think?

I still like flicking through the free magazine you get with the Sunday newspaper and I love to watch YouTubers like Zoella, Blogilates and Bubzbeauty on everything girly (fashion, skincare, fitness, makeup) but they don't make me feel bad about myself and they don't tell me I'm not good enough. 

I'm a girl, I don't read magazines, I don't hate anything about my appearance.
And I intend to keep it that way!
Ciao for now
x x x x

photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/nbarreto/266361304/">Emerging Birder</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>

Friday, September 26

Facial Buffing Sponge - Superdrug Pebbles

I recently picked up the Superdrug Pebbles facial buffing sponge to add into my regimen. I've never enjoyed using facial scrubs - the beads get in my hair and down my neck and make a mess of the sink. But we know that to keep acne at bay we need to keep our pores clear of those nasty dead skin cells. So thought I'd give it a go. . . and I love it!

Facial sponge for cleansing, exfoliating, acne. Replace a face scrub

It's a puffy little sponge with a little ribbon for slipping your fingers into. Basically you apply your cleanser, massage it in as usual and then before rinsing it off grab this little guy. I've been using it for a month now and it shows no sign of wear.

I use this in the mornings; I'm still enjoying the Natural Radiance Hot Cloth Cleanser which has the perfect texture for this. After massaging the cleanser into dry skin I grab this little sponge and, in little circles, gently buff buff buff around my chin, mouth, nose, forehead and that little area between the eyebrows where I seem to always have problems. My cheeks get a gentle little swipe every other day.

The cleanser is thick and creamy so acts as a great lubricant between the sponge and my skin, ensuring it stays gentle. I've tried it with water alone and definitely no! It needs a little something.

close up pictures of the fibres, scrub, exfoliating, cleansing to help with acne

Having a look at the photos you can see it's soft and puffy but at the same time the little fibres on top are rough and hard to buff away dead skin cells. It leaves my skin with that gorgeous silky soft feeling that you can only get from physical exfoliation (facial scrubs). It's scrubby enough to do the job but gentle enough that my skin isn't left bright red. I'm even able to put on my make-up as usual.

I'm loving using it everyday but you could also use it with a facial scrub to get a really thorough exfoliation (don't do that one too often!), especially before sticking on a deep cleansing mask. And for my acne prone sisters this will fit beautifully into our clear skin rules and routine.

If you find that you forget to scrub as often as you should (and hate spending money on what is basically sand and cleanser) this is a great, easy replacement. You just pick it up, when you're cleansing, do a bit of polishing and put it down again - done! It's only £1.99 and as a Superdrug own brand product it's nearly always on special offer with other products from the Superdrug ranges. It is of course BUAV approved which is great as we love the animals.

Have you used this little sponge? Do you know of any dupes for those who don't live in the UK? Let me know in the comments!!

1 month in and I know this facial buffing sponge has a permanent home in my cleansing regime!
Ciao for now

Friday, September 19

Promising Yellow: Hooray for the UK!! Better together

Early this morning I rolled over to grab some more of the sleep that heals. . . then I remembered something and was instantly awake!! I grabbed my phone typed bbc.co.uk into the google box and waited with baited breath.

Scotland votes "NO" to independence! WOO-HOO!!! Smiley faces for everybody!!

Like most people I don't like politicians, I don't trust them and can't bear to listen to the fluent, childish nonsense that comes out of their mouth. But this whole issue has had me and most of the UK sitting up and watching intently. Was the United Kingdom to become the Separated Kingdom? Was Britain going to be a little less Great?

My favourite debate by far was the one on my local radio station a couple of months ago about the Union Jack flag; how would it change? Would we remove the blue? But what about Wales, if there was to be a new flag they wanted a dragon on it! On the one side 'don't be silly, nobody can draw dragons' on the other side "our Welsh school children are taught to draw that dragon from the age of 5!" and after a good hour going back and forth with all kinds of suggestions one caller phoned in and said. . . "let's just keep the flag the way it is, it's less hassle."

Scotland, England, Wales and N.Ireland are now one big happy family and I for one am over the moon! I surprised myself by how scared I was of Scotland leaving us and I would have taken it as a personal rejection. Well, Welcome Home Scotland!! May we forever be Better Together as one big, happy, United, Great British family.

And of course in honour of this momentous day I shall be grabbing my Matalan tweed kilts and parading around the town showing my support and my legs! Now for an even bigger question. . . . do I choose the pink kilt or the green?

Pink kilt style mini skirt and green and blue tartan mini skirt

green and blue kilt style mini skirt and pink kilt style mini skirt

Och aye for now

Tuesday, September 16

Promising Yellow: The Lottery, competitions and the power of hope!


I entered a TV competition online today and now I'm just waiting to be told I've won. It's the same with the national lottery, as soon as I enter I'm just waiting to win.

I start day dreaming about what'll happen when I find out I've won; how I'll react. Will I cry? Will I jump up and down, what will my boyfriend/mum/dad say when I call them up to tell them? What will we do first with all that money, oh I can't wait to travel first class, maybe we'll go to Bora Bora or on a safari through the Kalahari or maybe fly to Florida and see the seven mile bridge and eat key lime pie!!

I'll feel relieved and secure, I won't have to worry about money or hold out hope for this opportunity or that. I'll be able to take a couple of random courses and learn something new, I could start my own business! Me and my boyfriend could spend time together not working, just like back when we first started out together. Maybe we'll cruise around the world!

That's the thing with competitions, I always feel like they're right there and if I could just get around to entering then of course I'll win! I've always felt this way about the national lottery. As I sit here loading up the results page, despite myself my heart starts beating a little harder and faster and I start feeling excited and then. . . I haven't won. Ever, not even a tenner for matching 3.

But never mind, That's just because fate is saving me for the next one, it'll be more money or something. So I enter again.

Where does this come from??? I just naturally assume I'll get it. Maybe it's a reflection of having a relatively easy life with the security of my parents behind me. But then again I know friends who've had just as good a life as I so far who are equally convinced they'll never win anything and nothing good will ever happen to them.

It's strange huh?

I'm in charge of my spending of course; I never bet too much on the lottery, just one set of numbers each time. But I'll keep doing it in the hope that one day, eventually, I shall win! And I shall call people up and be like "guess what"! I'll be able to help out charities, give money to my parents, live off the interest and never have to work another in day in my life unless I want to.

Maybe I'll win tomorrow or on Friday's draw or Saturday. All I have to do in enter right???
Fingers crossed!
Ciao for now

Apple cider vinegar toner - 1 major step to fight acne!


There are 3 main things I did which had the biggest impact on clearing up my acne - this toner is one of them. If you want to kick-start your acne battle here is the basic toner recipe and alternatives to try according to your skin type. Read a more detailed guide to toner and part 2.

Go to Google and type apple cider vinegar +skincare and you'll find that 'undiscovered' is no longer the case for this great ingredient! The secret's out and we're all reaping the benefits. In addition to apple cider vinegar this toner has 3 other hero DIY skincare ingredients; honey, green tea and tea tree oil.

Apple cider vinegar toner, green tea, tea tree oil and honey. anti acne
Heads up; yes, vinegar stinks but happily the tea tree oil does a good job of disguising this.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Green Tea - the properties
Apple cider vinegar works so well on acne because it's packed with antibacterial properties (acne is a bacterial infection) and restores the natural PH of our skin, which should be on the acidic side but can be disrupted by anything that touches our skin! However never apply Apple Cider Vinegar to your skin undiluted! Start with a small concentration.

Green tea - is a superfood! (at least to me it is!!) packed with anti-oxidants which are your skin's natural shield against all the nasties out there and in particular UVA/UVB rays. It's also an anti-irritant to irritated skin/pores/sensitive skin and to counteract any irritating effect the vinegar may have.

The Toner
Let's start brewing!
Ingredients (with their alternatives);
  • Green tea - soothing, calming anti-oxidant. Alternative - chamomile tea for super sensitive skin
  • Apple Cider Vinegar - anti bacterial, acidic. Alternative - nothing, DO NOT use any other type of vinegar on your face!
  • Tea-tree oil - antibacterial, cleansing. Alternative - Lavender oil for oil balancing
  • Honey - hydrating, calming, anti-bacterial.
We'll be making the toner at a ratio of  2:1 Green tea: ACV. So that's 2 parts tea and 1 part apple cider vinegar, there are no additional benefits to making it any stronger than this, you will only increase the risk of irritation.

Green tea in colour changing light up mug. yellow kettle
How cool is this mug? The windows glow when the mug is hot :-) Little things make us happy.
1. Brew your green tea using a tea bag, (or if you're using loose tea the equivalent measure), pop a little make-shift lid on it and leave it to brew into a really strong tea.

2. Wait until it's cooled somewhat but is still warm, about 20 -30 minutes should do it. Using a tablespoon, measure out 4 tablespoons of green tea into a jug. Now add approximately 1 teaspoon of honey before the apple cider vinegar; the honey will dissolve much better in the warm tea.

DIY beauty, apple cider vinegar acne toner, green tea

3. Add 2 tablespoons of the apple cider vinegar. This is a ratio of 2:1 --> 2 parts tea to 1 part ACV. If your skin is sensitive try a ratio of 3:1. Don't increase the concentration to more than this, we do not want to burn or irritate our skin and there are no additional benefits.

DIY beauty, apple cider vinegar anti acne toner, honey and green tea and yellow kettle

Give it a stir then pour it into your container. If you find you need more just mix up more tea and apple cider vinegar at the same ratio, use a smaller spoon if you need to; just make sure it's 2 parts tea and 1 part apple cider vinegar.

4. Once it's in the container add your tea tree oil; again, depending on your skin type, add between 10 - 20 drops. Tea tree oil and lavender oil are two of the only essential oils which you can apply directly to the skin and are both great for acne-prone skin.

Anti acne DIY beauty apple cider vinegar toner in Lush bottle
There you are, one kick-ass acne-destroying super toner - all done!!
Remember; Shake it well before use as the honey will sink and the oil will separate

Use twice a day after cleansing; avoid the eye area. It may tingle if you use it directly after a bath/shower when your pores are open, if it ever feels worse than a tingle reduce the concentration of ACV to tea. 

Be consistent, use it everyday and I hope it will make just as big a difference to your acne and pores as it has for mine. 

TIP: mix it with bentonite clay (fuller's earth) to make a great deep cleansing mask!

It's super easy and the most affordable toner out there! And, because of the vinegar, it won't go off! So what are you waiting for? If you've had enough of your acne or your pores just keep getting clogged, get into your kitchen and mix this up! I've been using it for 4 years and have never looked back.

Good luck!!
Ciao for now

All comments on this topic welcome!

Friday, September 12

Promising Yellow: Loving this sweet treat!


So, this is a guilty confessions post! I'm addicted to these;

They're from Lidl, around £1.29 and completely moreish. I've always had a well-developed sweet tooth and these are exactly the kind of gooey, mallowy sweets I can't resist. Did you ever have a snowball? Covered in flaky coconut and filled with the squishiest, sweetest, lightest mallow cream? These remind me of snowballs. 

The mallow is more firm than a snowball but they just collapse inwards when you bite them. What is it about sweet treats like these that makes them sooooooooooo moreish!! I found myself eating two or three a day!! The good thing is that meant they didn't last too long!

Zooming in. . . .oh, can we just. . . .  I know to some you it may look like a disgusting cup of chocolate covered poison, and I wish I could think like you! But I'm too weak in the face of the mallow! Like a perfect little minion made of mallow and covered in shiny chocolate, beckoning me in. I can't say no.
I just can't
I'm weak, I know it.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to; battling my sugar addiction!!
What's your 'can't resist' sweet treat?

Ciao for now

Thursday, September 11

All about PORES, Why are they such troublemakers?

We hear all the time 'opens and cleanses your pores, blocked pores, enlarged pores' etc. And we start to think our pores are the enemy, but here's a secret, they're not! They are however the centre of your skin universe for healthy, clear, balanced skin.

OPen pores on a cheek
Open pores on a cheek. source

What are pores and what do they do?
Your face is covered in lots of little holes, these are your pores. They're bigger around the sides of your nose onto your cheeks. They're actually the end of little tubes transporting oil from the oil glands to the surface of your skin; oil (or sebum) is also not your enemy! Oil (sebum) lubricates and protects your skin against all the nasties in the air. Oily skin produces slightly too much of this oil whereas dry skin doesn't produce enough. Throughout the day your pores open and close with changes of temperature and that's where the trouble starts.

Why are they such troublemakers?
When pores get clogged acne happens! This can happen in 3 ways;

Imagine your pores; a network of little holes. You get ready for your day and apply make up over those pores (and maybe some bacteria from an unwashed make-up brush, is this you? Naughty!). You go out - pollution hits your face and sits there (bus fumes anyone? Yuk!). You touch doors, money, your steering wheel, your hair, your handbag etc and then you reach up to touch your face and transfer all kinds of bacteria and hair products to your skin. Then you get hot, your pores open and that germy cocktail goes tumbling into your pores, your pores close up. Meanwhile your pore keeps producing oil but now there's a plug in the way; the oil is trapped under this layer of gunk! The oil keeps coming and the pore gets bigger becoming an enlarged pore. It may develop into a spot, blackhead or whitehead (guide coming soon!). 

Ornages, orange peel, pores
Enlarged pores look like the surface of an orange/lemon
(and is a less gross photo to include than close-ups of real people's pores! (source)
The other cause of blocked pores is dead skin cells. Your skin sheds dead skin cells inside the pore as well as on the skin's surface. When the oil travels up the tube to your pore it mixes with any dead skin cells that have been left behind and this can also cause a blocked pore.

And if you're going for the hat-trick, the final way to block your pores is by using the wrong products for your skin type or using terrible ingredients on your skin. 

So the solution seems really simple doesn't it? Open pores, cleanse, exfoliate regularly! But so many of us out there are crying in frustration "I already do that!! But I'm still getting blackheads and acne!" 

So what can I do?
Once the blocked pore has become a blackhead, spot or whitehead (known collectively as comedones) that's a different topic for another day! A consistent, good skincare regimen of proper cleansing, regular exfoliation and avoiding the wrong ingredients should keep those pores running clearly and unblock them before they get clogged and develop into a comedone.

Of course if you're cleansing properly at the end of the day you'll be opening the pores and cleaning out this gunk before it has time to become a blockage. Go to bed with it all sitting there at your peril!!!

Some quick advice. . .
The oil cleansing method opens your pores and allows the oil to dissolve the dirt inside them. Using a chemical exfoliant such as glycolic or salicylic acid will keep your skin free from dead skin cells. And if acne is a worry for you brew up some of this wonderful apple cider vinegar and green tea toner or one of the variations mentioned to really kick acne's ass!!

You know how people say 'look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves'? Well in this case your pores are the pennies, so look after your pores and your skin will take care of itself! Read Cleansing - What Why and How to find out how you should be cleansing and what to avoid and check out the toner guide too. 

This is a big topic and there'll be many more posts to come on keeping your pores clear and unblocked, but for now this post should give you a good understanding of what your pores are and how they work.

Ciao for now

(as always I'm addressing mild to moderate acne and not cystic acne which is much different and needs the attentions of a trained medical professional)

Monday, September 8

Makeover your feet; the thickest, hardest skin - begone!


There are sooo many products out there for removing dead skin and softening hard skin. And most of them don't really work - not for me anyway. I thought I'd found success for a while with one of those little grater things, but it was short-lived *sigh*.

For anyone who's ever sat down with a pair of manicure scissors and literally cut the dead skin away you need to read this post! The 3 tools working together WILL makeover your feet, completely.

Callous remover, foot file, foot spray, hard skin remover Superdrug, DIY pedicure

So, your 3 tools are; a foot file, a hard skin remover and the hero tool; the callus remover. This one comes from Boots and is £4.49. The most common callus remover is a different shape, I haven't tried one of those, but I can tell you that this one works like a charm.

Superdrug callous remover, DIY beauty, pedicure

Step 1. Peel the hard skin with your callus remover - this works great on dry and wet skin; [I used to prefer to use it on dry skin but since first writing this post, I prefer wet, squishy skin, just out of the bath -- I'm leaving this to your personal preference]. It basically works like a vegetable peeler, you lay it flat against your foot and literally 'peel' the dead skin away with the blade inside. It may look scary but it's not, it's fine. You just scrape the skin off in thin light layers exactly as a pumice stone would except this works much quicker.

Hard skin on heels, callous remover, superdrug, pedicure

It's tempting to go overboard with this and take off too much skin - don't! Remember, your skin hardens to protect areas where there's a lot of pressure, I know from experience it takes a while for the skin to thicken up again and you'll get some pain. For me it was worse when laying down and the weight of my feet rested on the outside of my heels - ooh the burning!! You'll notice the skin comes off in little chunks (on dry skin) rather than long smooth pieces, don't worry, this is fine.

Dead hard skin from heel of foot, DIY pedicure
After you've used it on your heels remove any calluses in the same way; for me that's the knobbly bit below my little toe and on the bottom of my big toe. The picture above is how much hard skin I removed from ONE foot! Can your pedi-egg do that?

Okay, on to Step 2! Take a bath, or a shower or soak your feet and grab your hard skin remover.
Hard skin remover from Superdrug, DIY pedicure
£2.99 from Superdrug, nearly always on special offer

It has a strange texture; much lighter than a pumice stone but much rougher too! When your feet have softened from the bath and your skin is still soft and squashy use this exactly like you would a pumice stone; grind it against your foot going back and forth to remove any big flakes of skin and rough areas. After you use the callus remover for the first time, you may find that this will be the only tool you'll need to remove hard skin in the future.

Step 3, our last step. Now that all the big chunks and little flakes of hard skin are gone, you'll find that the surface of the skin feels a little rough and could do with buffing. Grab your foot file!

Foot file, pedicure

Wait until your feet are DRY, and I mean really dry, not just towel dry! Use your foot file to buff away the last roughness on your feet. This won't really remove any skin, it'll just file away the tiny flakes to leave your heels very smooth and even shiny looking. 

Finally, grab your heel balm or intensive moisturiser, rub it all in and you're good to go! Smooth, shiny, crack-free feet with no hard skin to be found. 

If you're out and about don't forget to pack some foot spray - a godsend if you're sight-seeing or shopping all day. It'll not only kill the odour but it's incredibly cooling and comforting for overheated feet.

Superdrug foot spray, cooling deoderant. Lemon and tea tree oil
£2.99 also from Superdrug Now discontinued - does anyone know of a good replacement?

I'm loving my callus remover, I find that I only need to do this method every 3-4 weeks; once the hardest skin is gone the hard skin remover does a good job at keeping the heels smooth and soft in between.

Don't forget to paint your toes a pretty colour too!

And finally, again, go easy with the callus remover, don't remove too much!!

Ciao for now

Saturday, September 6

Precious Argan Gold!!

UPDATED!! scroll down for my mini-review.

Finally got my hands on some of this Argan oil after months of looking, picking it up and then putting it down again. "Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco"

Moroccan renewing argan oil for hair

This week the special offers Fairy came down, shook her magic wand and offered it to me at half price. So I partook!

I've only used it once but so far I like the texture, argan oil doesn't make my hair look greasy in that way hair serums do; although my hair is long and I have a lot of it, it's actually only fine so this was important to me.

UPDATE: mini-review time! 2 days since washing my hair and using quite a generous amount of the the argan oil; Having taken my hair out of its overnight pin-curls I can say it's definitely

Wednesday, September 3

Guy friendly Make-up - how to wear make up without it getting in the way!!

Ola everyone!

1920s man and woman romantic clinch, romance, dating, couple.Kissing

You're walking hand in hand with your guy along the water's edge, the stars are twinkling, the moon is glowing brightly, the gentle waves are a romantic music to your night together. You stop to admire the view and rest your cheek upon his shoulder, slowly, he turns you to face him and strokes your face tenderly, he leans in for a perfect kiss which gives you butterflies. Then. . . there's lipstick all over his face, and yours! He looks at his hand and ugh! It's covered in some weird pink shimmery stuff! And oh no, his dark jacket has a big orange, powdery smudge from where you rested your face on his shoulder. . . . 

Boyfriend friendly make-up usually means minimal, neutral, barely-there. . . this post is more of a 'how to wear all the make up you usually do without it ruining your romantic cuddles and kissing times' kind of post (snappy title huh?).

Man friendly skin - base
Don't - liquid foundation, Do - mineral makeup.
I love cuddling my guy; my head on his shoulder, my cheek against his chest but I don't want to leave 'my face' there!

Mineral make-up is not only great for your skin, it's much lighter so won't sit on top of your face like liquid foundation. Use a small dense brush and really blend well to make sure you've buffed all the excess powder into your skin. Mineral makeup isn't powdery once it's set to your skin and this should ensure your make-up stays on your face and off your boyfriend's clothes!

Man friendly Colour - Blush
Guys are fascinated by how soft our skin is and like to show affection by stroking your cheek now and then. My advice here may sound strange but I tell you it works!!