Skincare || 5 Ways to Treat Spots & Pimples


I think I would struggle to find many people that aren’t too fussed about their skin. For a lot of people, breakouts come and go. For others, it can be constant and affect them day in, day out. Bad skin and breakouts can make people miserable. 

There are several reasons why we do get bad skin. It can be due to poor skin cleansing routines, hormonal (hello teenage skin) or down to your diet. It could also be stress related or your may be genetically predisposed to it. There could be other factors. It isn’t always possible to know the answer to the question why do we get pimples on our face. We can certainly look at reducing our chances of getting them, though. We can also help them to disappear faster if we do get them.

Natural Vitamin C 

One way to treat spots is to use the juice of citrus fruits. So take a lemon or a lime, perhaps even a grapefruit. The juice helps the spots to dry out quickly and citrus fruits are bursting with vitamin c that is great for skin. Dab the juice in a cotton wool ball or cotton bud. Dab it on to your spots just before going to bed. This way it can get to work overnight.

Use Toothpaste

This is another method that needs to be done overnight. And yes, it works! Apply a dab of toothpaste on the spots or pimples before going to bed. In the morning, gently rinse off using warm water. The toothpaste works to dry out the skin. Another method like this is using a nappy cream, like Sudocrem. It works in the same way and does make a difference.

Use Steam

Having a hot shower softens our pores. When you wash your face, you should always start with warm water so that your softened pores can be cleansed gently. Cold water closes them so you should always finish washing your face with a splash of cold water. Fill a large bowl with boiled water, you can always add some essential oils such as lavender or frankincense, leave it for a minute or so. Then place your head over the bowl, putting a towel over your head to cover it. This keeps the hot air in so that steam is produced. This will also open up your pores and help to clean them and get the dirt out.

Drink Plenty of Water

Water is so important to have anyway, but especially during spotty times. You should aim for 8 - 10 glasses of water a day as Water helps to rehydrate skin. It also helps to clear toxins out of your system and is a great way to improve skin health. 

Avoid Oily Foods

One of the ways we get pimples and spots is from over productive skin glands producing more sebum. We don’t want to add even congestion to our body by consuming a lot of trans fats, simple carbohydrates (bad ones) or processed foods that clog us up. Something like oily fish is fine because it contains essential fatty acids. These help to keep skin soft. Foods like chips, burgers and greasy pizzas should be avoided though because they stop your body from working effectively and cause your hormones to become unbalanced. This will lead to symptoms such as increased sebum production. Make sure you eat a lot of fruits , fibre, healthy oils and vegetables as they help to repair your skin.


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Friends Cult TV Show || Which Friend Were You?

Friends was a major TV show when I was young and even to this day it remains a firm favourite with many generations of lads and ladies. I think the reason it was appealing was because everyone could identify with at least one of the characters - Joey was the 'how you doin' hot Italian stallion, Ross was the reliable geeky dinosaur loving know it all and Chandler was the funny guy; Monica was the OCD, overly organised lady, Phoebe was the funny but quirky boho and Rachel was the pretty, popular ex-mean girl.

The show covered their lives and how at the end of the day this group of friends who were so different were always there for each other - it was funny and heartwarming. It made most people grateful for the friends they had. As for who my favourite was, it was always Phoebe. I liked Phoebe and Joey when the show centred around their kooky friendship and I also loved Chandler for a small amount of time as he made me laugh. I never thought Ross and Rachel were appealing because they were dull and boring. As a teenager who wanted the world and more, I just didn't get the appeal of dinosaurs, staying at home, cleaning and being 'boring'.  My group of friends were kinda similar to the Friends cast. There was the popular girl, the geeky sidekick, the clever clogs, the shy girl and the wildly unpredictable and zany one.

In your group of friends which one would you have been? Did you find your place within the group changed over the years?

I played a lot of varied roles in my changing friend groups mostly not through choice. I say played because looking back it certainly felt like I was acting rather than just being 'me' - to those who really knew me I played the funny friend, funny but unobtrusive. In my teenage years I played the quirky but shy girl and this position didn't change mostly because I don't feel I allowed many of my school friends to see my funny personality for fear of being mocked (oxymoron I know), as an adult I became the weird one - the girl that didn't drink or didn't like to 'hit it hard and get mortal' and I became the 'know-it-all or the one you went to for answers'.

At first I tried to fight back from these labels. I had the same sort of emotions towards being placed into these roles as I had felt for Monica and Ross's roles on the TV show. No-one wanted to be the boring one. I later realised this was why I just didn't connect with Monica, Rachel and Ross in Friends, it wasn't because they were bad characters it was more about my worry about being considered as being boring.

These days I actually really identify with Monica, Rachel and Ross, I am boring; if boring means not getting drunk, not partying, not going to amazing parties, festivals and concerts - if this is what boring means then yes-I-am-boring. I hated being considered as being a nerd and I know realise that comes from teasing in primary school, it affected me so badly that I actually deliberately made sure I got things wrong or kept saying I didn't know answers - I kind of sacrificed my future opportunities at the expense of name calling.

I've since found out that Hungarians are known for being sponge-like, intelligent and having a huge thirst for knowledge, my grandad was Hungarian and yes I take after that side more than any other branches of my family tree - growing up without that side of my family in my younger years absolutely made me feel alienated because the rest of my family are considered bright, bubbly and fun. But what they have in terms of fun they lack in having a need for knowledge.

If I could go back in time to speak to my eleven-year-old self I would give her a hefty shake or kick up the backside. I'd explain that it's OK to be the organised, bohemian, quirky, shy, clever and funny girl - that stereotypes aren't true examples of who we are and just to be herself. I'd tell her that anyone who didn't like her true character could be dropped by the wayside as most friends don't stick around, people's lives change, friends come and go but you will always be you and you need to be comfortable with that.

Now as a parent I aim to ensure my sons never feel so out of place like I did in my friend groups growing up, I hope that they never sacrifice themselves just to fit in - we are a quirky family, we embrace our quirky nature and our shy natures and our funny natures and hell's we are boring to others but boring in an absolutely non-boring way. It's my job to make sure my little dudes are good friends, good teenagers and awesome adults.

So if I was to ask you now what character you played in your friend group would you say yours has changed or looking back was your placement in your group actually not what you thought it was at all?

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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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