Benefit Cosmetics || New The POREfessional Products For 2016

More Benefit Cosmetics launch news!

I'm a huge-huge fan of their The POREfessional products because they work. The packaging's so fun and while they're not always the most easily affordable products, they don't break the bank either. You tend to only need a small amount of product to get the job done so the products themselves last for a long time. Price-per-use they're worth it.

Well, these next products are no different. All of the same coverage qualities as the original POREfessional but with more range. These would make excellent additions to your natural day look too. Enough of me jabbering on take a look at what's coming...
The POREfessional Matte Rescue will be £21.50 for a 50ml tube and aims to give the wearer a matte but polished look with no heaviness. If you suffer from combination skin then you can be confident in the know that this product will be absorbing the excess surface oil and leaving you looking less shiny and more professional. 
The POREfessional Instant Wipeout Masks will cost £24.50 for eight. Inside the box you'll find the masks and some capsules, burst open the capsules before applying the masks and allow it to sit and absorb into the skin, once your finished you use the mask to cleanse and exfoliate your skin. 

These may seem expensive yes but if you're looking to use this product for say, a new job or a new change of direction then it's going to increase your confidence and pay for itself. The masks are double sided and work to clean and exfoliate your pores and smooth the look of them especially around your t-zone. 

What I love about these is that you're using one product that doubles as an exfoliator because one side is textured. Most exfoliators are too rough for the skin, dry it out and cause more issues. This is exfoliating without stripping. 

Plus how cute is the packaging once again. Bravo Benefit. Bravo. 

These are both set to hit the shops on the 30th of January. What are your thoughts on these two products, excited? 

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Benefit Cosmetics || Dandelion Shy Beam Liquid Highlighter


Benefit lovers, there's a new highlighter on the market! 

Well, sort of. Benefit Cosmetics launched their new Dandelion Shy Beam Highlighter late last month, the product gives the wearer a radiant, but matte effect glow with a nude pink undertone. Basically it's the sort of highlighter that's going to look far for all skin tones and types especially because some leave you with overly white or fairy like sparkles. I hate also that some highlighters can be quite clumpy, oily or overly shimmery, apparently this one isn't like that and going by previous experience of their similar products I'd expect it to be equally as amazing. 

You can team this with your moisturiser for a shimmery leg look or decolletege, wear it under your foundation for an understated highlight or over your foundation and makeup for a specific glow on the cheeks, nose or brow bones. If you love the look of contouring on other people but aren't much of a cosmetics wearer yourself you can use a good highlighter to draw attention to specific features and to tone down others. 

Highlighting or fairy lighting is the new 'in' thing for 2016 also so you'd be getting in on the trend early. This is a liquid highlighter also so it's longer lasting than powder and far more easy to blend, blend, blend. 

The bad news is that it launched into Sephora here. It's not hit the UK yet and I've no date on it hitting our shores. Hopefully it does, if not then it's a Sephora haul for me. What are your thoughts on this new launch? 

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Celebrations || Niece Or Nephew’s Birth? Here's Some Inspiration

I have nieces and nephews and love being an 'aunt'. If you've recently become an aunty or uncle congratulations! The chances are that you’re super excited about the birth or your new niece or nephew, and can’t wait to celebrate with the proud new parents. The good news is that there are plenty of ways that you can help the new parents celebrate, it’s just a case of choosing the right one. (Don’t forget to include the new dad in the celebrations, as often, dads can feel a little left out.)

Whether you choose to give the new parents a gift or opt to host them a little party, it’s up to you. Think about their likes and dislikes, and how they would enjoy celebrating. Would they prefer a family meal, a gift or a small party with their closest friends? Remember, it’s about them and their little one, and that’s all that matters. 

To help you celebrate the arrival of your niece or nephew, I thought that I would share a few ideas with you. Hopefully, one of these will be perfect for celebrating the arrival of your newest family member.

Celebrate in style

First things first, wet the baby’s head. This is a must; every baby needs to be toasted with a bottle of bubbly. There are so many options when it comes to marking the arrival of your newest family member. However, what you do depends on how the parents fancy celebrating.

If they like to party, why not host a little get-together for all their nearest and dearest? This could be a few drinks at a local pub or dinner at their favourite child-friendly restaurant. Do whatever the new mum and dad fancy. If they already have other children, don’t forget to include them as well. 

Or, if they prefer quieter and more intimate celebrations, why not host a family meal. Invite all of your closest family over to your home and cook a meal to celebrate the arrival of your niece or nephew. This will give everyone a chance to see the new addition, and will give the new parents a bit of a break from baby duty.

If the new parents don’t want any fuss, why not make up a little box of treats for them and pop it through their door? Add a homemade cake, some snacks and some lovely homemade food to keep them going. Oh, and don’t forget a bottle of bubbly. 

Pick a present that’s personal

If you don’t have the time (or money) to organise any big event, that’s okay. A beautiful gift will be just as appreciated by the new parents, especially if it’s something that they need or that is a keepsake.

Think of an original gift that the new parents can keep for many years to come. Perhaps something homemade could be ideal? How about making your new niece or nephew a patchwork quilt or a personalised baby blanket? Or what about a DIY teddy bear? Sometimes, homemade gifts are the best ones.

If you’re not the DIY type, have a look online at baby gift sites like Bubbalove to find the perfect gift. By shopping around on various sites, you can get an idea of what’s available and what would make a good gift. Even if you opt to buy the gift, instead of making it, you can still get something personal. It’s just a case of being smart about what you buy. 

Make memories as a family

Those first few weeks after a little one is born will fly by, and he or she will grow quickly. While the parents might have arranged a newborn photo shoot for their new arrival, why not organise a family shoot? Get the whole family together for a big family photo to mark the birth of your niece or nephew. As well as having a whole family picture, you could also get the photographer to get some other photos. How about all the cousins together? Or what about the grandparents and the new baby?

When it comes to picking a baby photographer, make sure to do your research first. Ask for recommendations from other new parents or book the photographer that you used for your own baby’s pictures. Don’t book the shoot for a set date, allow the new parents to set the perfect time themselves.

Put one of these ideas into practice, and you can show the new parents just how excited you are about the new addition.

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2016 Health || Increasing Digestive Health


Some of my longer term readers know that I suffer from ulcerative colitis. If you're a newer reader *waves* it's basically an inflammatory bowel condition (IBD) that's similar to Crohn's. Sometime's it's even called Crohn's colitis but I prefer UC or just 'colitis' as it makes it sound less nasty. No-one needs negativity going into the new year so from here on I'll just call it ''UC''. This post although is relating to UC it can improve the digestive health of everyone. 

There's not much of a difference between the two conditions, Crohn's affects any of the digestive track literally from the mouth to the bottom. With UC mainly the large intestine is affected but in some people, the ileum which is the last section of the small intestine closest to the bottom is also affected. I, unfortunately, fall into the last category. 

The symptoms are pretty much the same for both conditions well, at least, the major and problematic symptoms. There are of course some subtle differences. People with this condition will experience pain like no other pain (and I mean it. Unless you experience an IBD level of pain it's hard to relate it to other pains), you'll find you bleed to a point of not knowing if you've started a menstrual cycle from the wrong end, your intestine will bloat so that you can feel and track it by gently touching your stomach, there's mucus, anemia, weight loss and did I mention pain? Smaller issues include increased problems with other autoimmune conditions, skin and hair issues, memory issues, sleep problems, palpitations as well as shivers, and fevers.  You'll go through a battering of tests, gastroenterology appointments and eventually a colonoscopy before diagnosis. It's not fun that's for sure. 

I remember feeling like I was going to die on Christmas Eve in my first year of diagnosis. I also remember I couldn't have cared because the pain was so bad. I couldn't eat anything or drink anything without the pain inflaming and when I was in the bathroom I would black out from the pain or throw up from it. It wasn't fun especially because it was a 24/7 issue and there was no let up from the condition. After some rigorous and strong medications (that did nothing for the first year) and a huge turn around in my eating habits and overall health, I finally got on top of my condition. It was at that point I also found out I had celiacs disease and a number of allergies. Cutting these foods out of my life kept the condition from flaming back up. 

I got to the point where I thought I was sorted. I never thought I'd experience a flare again because I was so careful - but - unfortunately, I did in December 2015. Again my meds were increased and I had my UBiome results to hand, I just hadn't really taken the time to research them fully. When the flare started I realised I had to because I wasn't going to let it take hold. 

So what did I do? 

To have a balanced gut microbiome typically, you'd expect to see 50% bacteroidetes and 50% firmicutes. These biome's help us to digest and breakdown foods, taken the goodness to the necessary pathways to be used and warding off the bad guys. That being said too much of these are also a problem and vice-versa. My sample showed that I had 72.78% firmicutes and only 25.57% bacteroidetes. Completely off balance and having too many firmicutes can cause obesity as the body absorbs more fat and calories than normal. I was also completely missing fusinobacteria and cyanobacteria microbiomes which can cause a multitude of issues too. 

Basically, my gut health was never going to work in the way it should have. I'll cover these in a separate post guys. Instead of pulling out the pre and probiotics I wanted to tackle it with foods and fermented and bacteria based foods are the ideal way to increase what was missing and to help with absorption and bile flow. 

So, rather than spending on supplements I now supplement my daily diet with at least one bowl (two when the flare's bad) of these fermented bowls of yumminess. 

 Beetroots.
 Fermented red cabbage. 
 Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage).
 Pickled Eggs (check the ingredients first).
 Pickled gherkins (check the ingredients). 
 Camembert or mouldy cheeses (in small amounts) they contain lots of lovely lactococcus.
 Live yoghurts. 
 Buttermilk.
 Butter (real butter).
 Veggies such as garlic, tomato, onion, green veggies.
 Kombucha (drink). 

You can really mix and match and if you feel you have to you can make a sauce for dipping by mixing some melted butter with herbs or some yoghurt with a small amount of curry. I prefer to brave it alone. Try to reduce the amount of sugars and complex carbohydrates that you're eating during a flare as they're counter-productive to this whole food medication process guys. 

What I've found...

I found that while eating my bowls, there is an increase in gas (if you have an IBD you'll get what I mean as you can feel the gas travelling throughout your digestive system). An increase in stomach grumbling and growling as it sets to work digesting the foods in your stomach, this is all a fantastic sign that your body is eventually doing what it should be doing. For twenty minutes or so I'll be bloated, again this disappears eventually. Toileting... let's just say it's become normalised and the stomach pain have started to fade. As you continue to add these bowls into your diet you'll find your stomach acid settles and you don't feel a burn as you eat, again this is a good sign that your stomach acid levels are normalising as typically we suffer from low levels of stomach acid. 

Outside of the gut issues I've found my bloating during the day is decreasing. I've found my skin is brighter and I'm losing less hair. I don't suffer from hunger pangs or nausea either which is amazing as I'm due to go back to work on Wednesday. 

I've sent off another test to uBiome to see if my microbes have balanced. I'm expecting good results here but on the other hand, I don't know if it's been long enough. What I will say is that regardless of the results I can't recommend this enough, put the supplements away and pull out the real foods. Get some pickled and fermented products down you and you'll see the benefits pretty quickly. 


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Beauty Trends For 2016 || What Should You Expect

You're going to see a lot of these beauty prediction posts, it's to be expected at the start of the year but hopefully they'll not all be the same as mine. I've tried to consider the brands that are moving in and out of the market place to judge what maybe popular this year (wow still feels strange saying this year). I don't think there's going to be any majorly huge changes this year although I do feel that we'll be toning things down - less orange glow, clown face, super long lashes, overdone nails and hair and more pumped up natural with a highlight on colour over design. Especially with hair and nails. Here's what else I think's going to change...

Facial Steaming 

Old ways done differently. We see it every year especially when it comes to facials. 2016 is no different as we're taking the traditional facial steaming treatment and changing it up with varied additions. Herbs, essential oils and even tea will be used, I'd not be surprised if we see some sort of super ingredient being touted as the next in thing for facial steaming either.

To save some pennies you can purchase your own herbs if you can forgo the incredibly cute packaging. I recommend:

Rosehips - for maturing skin. Rosehips are chock full of vitamin c goodness so get some in your steamer.
Lavender - Speeds healing, is great for combination skin types.
Calendula - Soothes dry or inflamed skin types.
Marigold - A great all rounder. Heals, soothes and hydrates.
White Tea Tips - Gold! white tea is a great antioxidant and detoxer.


Overhyped Science Laden Skincare Marketing

2016 will see skincare brands become more 'scientific' and less naturally marketed. With words such as engineering, DNA, enzymes and cellular regeneration being thrown out consumers will be snapping them up. We've done the whole holistic, pure and natural skincare thing and as consumers we want more. The only thing is, the marketing doesn't automatically mean it's better or less natural. You'll find many of the scientific products or brands actually use similar ingredients such as fruit enzymes, marine and botanical based ingredients and vitamins.

Look more closely at what you're buying and judge it based on what you know works rather than any fancy attached 'hyped' branding. Don't pay heavily for the marketing guys. There are brands such as DNA Renewal which are quite new which do this already but that being said, their products look pretty amazing. I've yet to try them out but even the packaging is made to look like test tubes. There's no hidden agenda with this brand as far as I can see so they are worth a look in at least.

Mega-Palettes

Palettes, we can't get enough of them. Typically palettes hold between four to twelve shades of product at a push. 2016 will see the risk of the super palette. These bad boys hold more product but are clearly thought out, the packaging is made to hold everything neatly and if you're taking into account a cost per use calculation, these bad boys are worth every penny. Morphe Brushes launched these gorgeous mega palettes filled with every colour you'll need for each season, no need to change things up and think of the blending capabilities...
Lip Liners

The Kylie Jenner effect isn't going anywhere. I predict bloggers and hipsters will try to take the humble lip liner and change it into the 'new Kylie Jenner lip effect' always taking something that works (or doesn't work depending on how you view it) and changing it. If you hate that your lipstick slides all over your face then I would recommend Lipstick Queen, Nudestix and OCC for their lipliners. The good thing is you can top with a clear lip balm if you dislike matte effect lips.
Korean Skincare 

K-Beauty is already huge and isn't going anywhere. That's it, I predict Korean beauty will be coming into the UK in abundance. So many people have had to search for UK sellers of K-Beauty or have tested the Ebay waters fearing they will receive a fake product (and not knowing if they have) but more UK beauty stores have taken note and will be stocking Korean beauty brands such as TonyMoly, Blossom JeuJeu, Mizon, The Face Shop and Etude House will be hitting our shores and yay because this means we can be sure it's the genuine product.

Plus how damned cute is that packaging, I kinda don't even care if the product doesn't deliver on results because - packaging!


What are your 2016 beauty predictions?

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Sticking To Resolutions || Mentally Strong?, No? Here's How You Could Be


It's the New Year. Happy 2016 guys! 

Today marks the first day of change, the slate's wiped clean and whatever held you back last year is no longer there to do so. If you made resolutions, today is the first day of your new routine and changing routine takes a lot of work. People fail at resolutions because they become disheartened when they realise that their lives haven't changed. It becomes so easy to give up and just go on what the same old-same old but the thing is how can you expect changes to happen if you aren't willing to work at changing up your routine?

So back to the routine change. Make a list of what would hold you back in making your resolutions work. You know what you want to do and you made these resolutions for a reason. Let everyone you love and care for know what it is you want to achieve and why so they can support you along the way. When things get tough you need to be mentally strong, can you currently describe yourself as being someone who is mentally strong? If not here are some tips on how you can be...

Be Kind 
Kindness shouldn't be viewed as weakness. Mentally strong people know what their opinions are and don't feel the need to battle others if they don't match. Accepting other people's views and personality as being just that - other people's and embracing the differences between each of us is typically seen in mentally strong people. Anger, hatred and unfairness won't get you to where you need to be. Patience and giving people some of your time or a borrowed ear is so important to becoming a kinder you.

If you're struggling with any of these emotions follow the tips in the rest of this post to become more balanced.

Turn Negatives into Positives 
If you had a plan in place which doesn't go quite right turn admit defeat because a negatives popped up, accept the negative and make a change. Trying to quit smoking and suddenly been invited to a family event filled with members who smoke? Worrying that you're going to crack and this invites come at the worst time - what can you do? Well you could temporarily take an e-cig for just incase moments. You could go and instead of clinging specifically with a small group of friends you could make it a mission to talk to everyone there. When your friends or loved ones are out smoking, go and speak to a new person. See this negative has just turned into a positive - you'll become stronger by abstaining and you'll become more sociable, chances are this positive and friendly attitude won't go unnoticed. Be honest with others about your worries also so they can be considerate towards your needs too.

Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate
You'll have an ideal in mind. When you were a child you'll have considered your future career, your future partner and possibly what car you'd drive or what your wedding day would be like. As you aged you made adjustments to that plan without even realising it. Apply this to your day-to-day life. Have your 2016 plan in mind (or on paper). Each week, month or quarter look at your plan and evaluate it. What will you achieve ahead of plan, what risks will there be, what do you wished you'd added but forgot to. Update your goals after your evaluation to stop yourself from growing disheartened. This is your life, nothing's set in stone so don't beat yourself up when rigid goals don't happen as you initially expected them to.

Tolerate Discomfort 
The best things in life never come easy. There will be a lot of discomfort in various forms in 2016, if you're not uncomfortable then you're not doing it right. The good thing is you'll remember the moments when you were embarrassed, put on the spot, placed outside of your comfort zone or maybe in some cases - physically ill. You'll also be able to look back on those moments and see how far you've progressed and, that it possibly wasn't even as bad as you originally thought it was. If it helps find a person that's done it, do you believe you're stronger or weaker than that person? If you think you're stronger in any way to that person say to yourself 'if they can do it so can I'.

That's what got me through childbirth believe it or not.

Embrace Change
Stop saying no as much. Challenge yourself to 'yes' days so you can become comfortable with change. Pick one day per month and say yes to any new challenge that comes your way. You'll completely surprise yourself once you get over that initial anxiety but, the good thing is the more you become faced with change the easier it will be to deal with it and to move on.

Acceptance
Learning to accept failures is important because going over old business and constantly wasting time on the ifs and buts isn't going to change anything. Accept it for what it is, move on and learn from the mistake. Don't beat yourself up about it too much because you'd never learn and progress in life if you never made a mistake.

Solitude 
To be mentally strong you need to have time to de-stress. As much as you believe you're too busy or you're ''OK'' take it from me, you're never too busy and you can always destress. The human body isn't robotic, we need to clear our minds and to detach from this modern world of noise, pollution, constant social changes and modern day problems. If you didn't then there would be something wrong with you. Do you know five things that make you happy right at this moment? I mean five things that you personally enjoy away from the family and children? If you answered yes then I suggest doing it more. If you answered no then you absolutely need some time alone because you've lost your path. Being a parent, a wife, or a responsible adult doesn't mean that you should lose yourself along the way. We all need an ambition, a hobby or a dream to drive us forward in life otherwise we're plodding along and when things get tough you'll be the first person to crumble.

Let it Go
The past holds us all back to some varying degree. Mentally strong people have learnt to let it go (you're singing the Frozen song now aren't you?). Shed the old heavy coats from the past and the labels you held and just. let. go. You'll feel so much better. Now I say this like it's an easy thing, it most certainly isn't and I completely understand just how scarring past events can be. There is help out there in the form of counselling, complementary therapies and if, need be medication via orthodox and alternative doctors. If you can work at it alone and be sure it will stick then good for you but there's no shame in asking for help to get you through your past and back into your future.

Work Towards Happiness 
So you made some resolutions. What lead you to make those resolutions? Did you wish to have more money, to be thinner, to be faster, stronger, have a job or drive a car....? Mentally strong people understand their bodies and emotions, they realise that while we can resolute to achieve things of material value the actual underlying resolution or need for change in our lives is happiness. We choose these things because we want to be happier. If your main goal in life is to work towards happiness then life gets easier. I promise you it really does.

I believe you can do this and if you make only one resolution this year make it 'happiness'. I believe in you, now do you? 

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