Healthy Living: Natural Products To Make Hayfever Season Easier

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Healthy Living: Natural Products To Make Hayfever Season Easier
Don't let your hayfever ruin your Summer plans! Here's my edit of natural products which can help to alleviate your symptoms and help you look your best, so you can go outside and enjoy the glorious weather.

Summer is without a doubt my favourite time of the year, but it's also a pain-in-the-ass because I have hayfever. For me, it starts around early May and continues until late September. My eyes stream, I'm constantly sniffling, my sinuses feel blocked, and I basically feel like I have some kind of mild Flu that just won't shift. Not fun :(

Luckily, I've found some natural products which help to take my hayfever symptoms from severe, down to a much milder level. I still have to take anti-histamines every day (I sadly haven't found anything natural-based yet that replaces those), but the rest of my symptoms are much more manageable now, so I hope some of these products and tips can help out my fellow hayfever sufferers this Summer!

(1) Try Out Homeopathic Formulas from Weleda - Hayfever Relief Oral Spray (20ml, £10.95, link) & Rhinodoron Nasal Spray* (20ml, £9.95, link)

One of the most popular natural hayfever products on the market is Weleda's Hayfever Relief Oral Spray. This homeopathic medicinal product contains a unique blend of Allium Cepa 6X, Euphrasia officinalis 6X and Gelsemium sempervirens 6X, and provides much-needed relief from all the main hayfever symptoms, as well as other types of allergic rhinitis. The vegan-friendly formula is easy and convenient to use; simply spray directly into the mouth up to three times a day, and it can be used by adults, the elderly and children over the age of 12. It does have a slightly bitter alcoholic taste as it contains ethanol, but it's not too bad. When I first tried this, I found that I needed to use it every day for about two weeks before I started to see some benefits from it, so I'd recommend sticking with it to see if it works for you.

Another very useful product from Weleda is their Rhinodoron Spray which is a godsend for when the pollen count starts to climb and it's dry outside. This clever nasal spray is formulated with Aloe Vera which helps to clear congested nasal passages, but also keeps it moisturised at the same time. I always find that hayfever severely affects my sinuses, especially when the air is really dry, so this has been an amazing find! I've personally found it a lot more helpful than the nasal sprays that my GP has prescribed in the past so I can't recommend this enough!

Healthy Living: Natural Products To Make Hayfever Season Easier
(2) Put Some Balm Up Your Nose - Balm Balm Beauty Balm* (60ml, £16.50, link)

Did you know that most multi-purpose balms can help with your hayfever? By applying a small amount of balm to the inside base of your nostrils, you can trap some of the pollen and stop it from entering the nasal passage, thus reducing the level and severity of the allergic reaction and its related symptoms. Pretty clever huh? I find that this helps me a lot and I always notice a difference when I forget or don't use it. Multi-purpose balms like Balm Balm Beauty Balm are also brilliant for their intended use and that's for moisturising any dry and cracked skin areas, so if your nose feels sore after sneezing, rub a little of this on it to instantly soothe and hydrate.

(3) Wash Your Face - Antipodes Juliet Skin-Brightening Gel Cleanser* (200ml, £24.99, link)

If you've been outside, make sure to wash your face when you get in to remove traces of pollen from your skin and eyes. A gentle cleanser like Antipodes Juliet Skin-Brightening Gel Cleanser will do this perfectly (as well as removing pollution and daily grime), or opt for a cream cleanser if you have dry skin. Just ensure that it's a cleanser that you're happy to use over and around your eyes!

(4) Soothe A Sore Throat - Comvita Pure Manuka Honey Lozenges Extra Strength 10+ (pack of 8, £8.99, link)

Tickly sore throats are no fun, so I always have a pack of these Comvita Pure Manuka Honey Lozenges in my bag. Made from 100% pure UMF certified 10+ Manuka Honey from New Zealand, these are the best throat soothers that I've ever used.

(5) Depuff & Brighten Your Eyes - Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Eye Revitalising Duo* (Revitalise & Brighten Eye Dew 10ml & Illuminate & Smooth Puff Reduction Eye Cream, £90, link)

My eyes are the biggest giveaway that I'm suffering from hayfever because they get SO puffy which is not a good look for me as it's something that really affects my confidence and makes me incredibly self-conscious. If you're the same, investing in some high-quality skincare that specifically targets the eyes will make a huge difference. I've been enjoying using the amazing Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Eye Revitalising Duo over the past month and it's a game changer for sure!

Aurelia are famed for their probiotic ingredients which are found throughout their skincare range, as they help to protect, restore and balance the skin from within, whilst also reducing the ageing damage from free radicals, pollution and stress. Couple that with some innovative anti-ageing formulas and you have an eye care duo that you're going to see some results from.

The duo consists of two products which work in synergy with each other so you layer the cream over the serum. There's the Revitalise & Brighten Eye Dew which comes in a cooling rollerball applicator that gently gives the delicate undereye area a lymphatic massage that feels so lovely to apply. This serum contains a unique eye complex formula which includes Jujube and Olive extract which has been scientifically proven to show an age correction improvement of 5 years in just 28 days of use. It really does give you a noticeable difference and my fine lines look virtually diminished since I started to use this! After applying the serum, there's the Illuminate & Smooth Puff Reduction Eye Cream which feels rich and very hydrating, yet light and is easily absorbed at the same time. Packed full of Probiotics, and BioOrganic botanicals such as Arnica, Centella Asiatica and Butcher's Broom, this powerhouse of an eye treatment reduces the appearance of wrinkles, blitzes puffiness and brightens dark circles. If you have the budget available to try this duo - do it!

Do you use any natural products for hayfever?

Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - May 2018 review

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

LoveLula Beauty Box - May 2017 review
May's LoveLula Beauty Box arrived earlier on in the month and I've been really enjoying trying out the contents which are worth over £46! 

This month, there are five products inside:-

Botanico Vida Omega Oil (sample)
Usually, I'm a little disappointed when I see a sachet sample in a beauty box, but as I've been wanting to try out Botanico Vida's Omega Oil for a while, the stars seemed to have aligned and now I get to finally try it - hooray! This is a beautiful multi-purpose oil which contains Sacha Inchi (the richest source of plant-based Omegas 3-6-9), and it's brilliant for stretch marks, old scars, uneven skin tone, and drier/mature skin. I'm really impressed with it and will definitely be picking up the full-size at some point.

Alteya Organic Rose Water (full size, RRP £7.20)
I was pleased to see this as it's another product I've had my eye on and I'm thrilled - the Organic Rose Water from Alteya is absolutely lush! Steam distilled and bottled in the heart of the Valley of Roses in Bulgaria, it's certified organic and is just 100% pure and natural Organic Rose Water. Very refreshing on the skin, especially if you keep it in the fridge as a cooling spritz for hot days. 

LoveLula Beauty Box - May 2017 review
PHB Ethical Beauty Anti-Ageing Eye Gel (full size, RRP £16.95)
Next, I found another full-size skincare treat, this time from PHB. Described as a firming eye gel which targets the signs of ageing, it's packed full of plant-based bio-actives such as Argan Oil, Seaweed, Rock Rose and Lavender. I've used their Brightening Eye Gel in the past and loved that, and I have to say that this is very similar in terms of overall texture/feel and the results that it gives.

Lyonsleaf Calendula & Marshmallow Balm (30ml, RRP £8.99)
Lyonsleaf are one of my favourite all-natural skincare brands and I particularly admire their clever waterless formulas which mean that they don't need to add any preservatives to their products. I've used their Calendula & Marshmallow Balm before and it's an incredible multi-purpose balm that you can use on any dry, chapped, rough and irritated area. Perfect for sensitive skin and a little goes a long way!

Bellapierre Shimmer Powder in Lava (full size, RRP £12.99) 
With the festival and Summer holiday season just ahead, this Shimmer Powder from Bellapierre will be a gorgeous addition to your makeup bag. Made from 100% pure Mica Powder, this shade Lava is a stunning warm metallic bronze with an insane amount of gold shimmer! Use it all over the lid for a dramatic evening/night look, or apply it to the lower lashline for a more subtle, but still sparkly, pop of colour.

LoveLula Beauty Box* is a monthly subscription box priced at £13.95 with free postage in the UK. Visit lovelula.com to find out more.

Have you subscribed to LoveLula's Beauty Box?

May Empties: Products I've Used Up

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

May Empties: Products I've Used Up
Another month is rapidly drawing to a close, so you know what that means - it's Empties time! I've managed to finish off a lot of products that I've had on the go for a while, plus a decent amount of travel sizes as my samples stash was getting a bit out of hand!

Samaya Kapha Anti-Ageing Cream
I thoroughly enjoyed using this daily anti-ageing moisturiser and my skin loved it just as much. Beautiful texture and perfect for morning use. Repurchase? I've been lucky to be gifted two of these in the past, but sadly it's way out of my budget to buy myself.

DHC Beauty Lift Eye Care Essence Roll On*
I've been using this on and off for the past couple of months and sometimes I love it, and other times I'll just reach for another product. I think the main reason is because it's such a light essence, it's not always hydrating enough for my undereye area, but I do like the cooling roll-on applicator. Repurchase?  Probably not.

Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment
This is my favourite mask from Glamglow, but I've never purchased a full-size tub because I seem to have accumulated lots of these travel sizes from various GWPs and beauty boxes! It's a brilliant treatment for congested skin and really does draw everything out. Repurchase? Already have a bunch of these minis!

May Empties: Products I've Used Up
Naobay Calming Face Toner*
It takes me ages to get through toner and I've had this one from Naobay on the go for such a long time. It's a gentle soothing toner which is perfect for when my skin is feeling more sensitive than usual, but I generally prefer toners in spray bottles to be honest. Repurchase? No.

Weleda Pomegranate Regenerating Body Lotion*
Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm obsessed with the scent of Weleda's Pomegranate range and their Body Lotion formulas are just amazing. They sink in quickly and provide a lot of hydration. Repurchase? Yes, will definitely pick up a full-size at some point.

Pixi Nourishing Cleansing Balm*
I often seem to have one of these in my stash somewhere and these huge pots always last me several months! A brilliant cleansing balm that removes all makeup and daily grime, as well as being lovely to use as a second cleanse product. Repurchase? Yes. 

Westlab Detoxing Salt Body Scrub
Another product that's taken me ages to use up is this body scrub from Westlab - the tub is huge! I loved using this before applying fake tan because it always makes my skin so much smoother afterwards. Repurchase? Currently using up their Reviving Salt Body Scrub at the mo. 

May Empties: Products I've Used Up
Melvita L'Or Bio Huille Extraordinaire 
Multi-purpose oils are something that I like to carry in my travel bag and Melvita's L'Or Bio Huille Extraordinaire is a firm favourite. You can use it on the face body and hair, and it smells absolutely delicious. Repurchase? Yes.  

Weleda Lavender Creamy Body Wash*
I highly recommend Welda's Creamy Body Washes for anyone who has dry skin and doesn't have time to apply moisturiser after a shower - these work a treat! The Lavender scent is lovely to use in the evenings to help you relax. Repurchase? Yes.

Epic Blend More Moisture Lip Balm in Grape*
These Epic Blend lip balms really do live up to their name and this one definitely saved my lips during those chilly Beast From The East storms! The grape flavour is super yummy too. Repurchase? Will do once I've made a dent in my existing lip balm stash.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster
I've gone through a couple of these travel-size serums in the past (again, they seem to be a regular in GWPs and beauty boxes) and I really like it. Certainly helps to brighten up a dull complexion thanks to the Vitamin C based formula. Repurchase? Already have some more minis in my samples stash.

May Empties: Products I've Used Up
Dr Organic Virgin Olive Oil Hand & Nail Cream
This was OK but nothing amazing - I ended up mainly using it up as a foot cream. Repurchase? No.

Evolve Organic Beauty Superfood Shine Shampoo
This was OK, but I felt it was maybe better suited to a different hair type to mine as it left my hair a little frizzier than usual afterwards. I also tested out the matching conditioner but hated that one - it just wasn't moisturising enough for my dry ends. Repurchase? No.

Madara SOS Hydra Repair Intensive Serum*
I loved using this serum during those freezing months a while back, and I've finally just finished it up as I've been alternating it with a few others in my routine. It's definitely more of a cold weather essential for me, but if you have dry or dehydrated skin, you'll love it all year round I'm sure. Repurchase? Will do around Winter time.

Which beauty products have you used up this month?


Bank Holiday Weekend: Fruity Summer Cocktails with Pago Drinks

Monday, 28 May 2018

Fruity Summer Cocktails with Pago Drinks
Hope everyone's having a good Bank Holiday Weekend? These Fruity Summer Cocktails will bring some sunshine to your day - even if the weather is disagreeing!

Pago Drinks recently challenged me to come up with some unique Summer Cocktails using some of their premium fruit juice flavours, and I'm never one to turn down the opportunity to indulge in a couple of drinks over the Bank Holiday! They have a large range of flavours available, but I ended up choosing Cloudy Cherry, Multivitamin Tropical and Pink Grapefruit as these appealed to me the most. All of Pago's drinks come packaged in glass so yay for no plastic!

Fruity Summer Cocktails with Pago Drinks
 Cloudy Cherry Gin Daiquiri

How To: Add 40ml Gin, 50ml Pago Cloudy Cherry, a squeeze of fresh Lime Juice, a dash of Bitters and a handful of ice to a cocktail shaker. Give it a good shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

Why I Love It: Gin and Cherry are a flavourful match made in heaven, and Pago's Cloudy Cherry is an excellent fruity mixer with any kind of classic dry Gin. The Bitters and fresh Lime Juice give it a lovely extra kick and zing!

Fruity Summer Cocktails with Pago Drinks
Tropical Fizz (non-alcoholic)

How To: Pour 50ml Pago Multivitamin Tropical into a glass, top with a little Soda Water and finish off with a fresh Strawberry garnish.

Why I Love It: This one's a great 'mocktail' to serve to guests who are designated drivers or are cutting back on the booze. The Soda Water gives it enough fizz to liven it up a bit and brings out the best of these tropical fruity flavours.

Fruity Summer Cocktails with Pago Drinks
Pink Grapefruit & Raspberry Rhubarb Tipple

How To: In a small shot or tipple glass, add a dash of Pago Pink Grapefruit, two dashes of Rhubarb Gin Liqueur and gently stir. Add a few fresh Raspberries to serve.

Why I Love It: I'm always looking for ways to experiment with the more unusual Liqueurs in my drinks cabinet and was delighted to come across this 'happy accident' when I was mixing drinks for friends the other night. The tangy sharpness of the Pink Grapefruit is subdued somewhat by the slightly sweeter Rhubarb Gin Liqueur, but it still manages to retain a wonderful tarty aftertaste.

To find out more about Pago Drinks, visit pagofruitjuice.co.uk

 What are your favourite Summer Cocktails?

New In Beauty: Tropic Lip Fudge Plumping Lip Conditioners - Review & Swatches

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Tropic Lip Fudge Plumping Lip Conditioners - Review & Swatches
Summer makeup generally calls for simple, easy to apply formulas and at this time of the year, I'm never far away from a pot of tinted lip balm for a gentle wash of colour.

Tropic Lip Fudge Plumping Lip Conditioners - Review & Swatches
Packaged in beautiful frosted glass pots with chic white lids, Tropic's new range of Lip Fudge Plumping Lip Conditioners are as delicious as they sound, and I was very excited when a package of them arrived on my doorstep a couple of weeks ago. Since then, these jars of balmy joy have graced every handbag, desktop surface and bedside table, and I don't think I've used any other lip balm products since they arrived. 

These deliver much more than your average lip balm though and instead are 'bursting with 26 lip-loving plant extracts' which include Sea Fern, Omegas 6 and 9 to help plump up and smooth out fine lines, Acai Sterols and Wheat Cerasomes to deeply soften and condition the lips, and there's also plenty of Mango Wax and Vitamins C and E to help repair and protect the delicate surface of the lips.

Tropic Lip Fudge Plumping Lip Conditioners - Review & Swatches
Tropic Lip Fudge Plumping Lip Conditioners - Review & Swatches
Needless to say, these Tropic Lip Fudges have an incredibly rich and buttery texture that's like a thick creamy balm, but one which is already soft to the touch in the jar. It glides on effortlessly and a tiny amount goes a long way. The balm has a pleasant, mild minty taste and slightly cooling feel to it (which I suspect helps with the temporary plumping effect), and these do an excellent job of deeply hydrating the lips, leaving them so much softer and smoother within a matter of seconds.

Unlike other similar products though, I've found these Lip Fudges to be very long-lasting in terms of moisturisation. I can apply any of them in the morning and yet I don't feel the need to constantly reapply them throughout the day like you have to with other lip balms, so I'd recommend them to anyone who has very dry or cracked lips.

There are currently three different types of Lip Fudges to choose from; a regular, plain non-tinted one, and two tinted versions which I've swatched below. Both of the tinted lip conditioners deliver a lovely subtle hint of colour to the lips which I absolutely love for the Summer months!

Tropic Lip Fudge Plumping Lip Conditioner in Rosewood
 Tropic Lip Fudge Plumping Lip Conditioner in Rosewood

Tropic Lip Fudge Plumping Lip Conditioner in Pink Guava
Tropic Lip Fudge Plumping Lip Conditioner in Pink Guava

Overall thoughts?
These Lip Fudges from Tropic are a fantastic alternative for anyone who is looking for a cruelty-free, 100% naturally derived and vegan-friendly lip conditioner. They will offer intense hydration and a pop of sheer colour if you're going for the tinted versions - what more could you ask for?

Tropic Lip Fudge Plumping Lip Conditioners* (10ml, £12 each) are available from tropicskincare.com

Are you a fan of tinted lip balms?

Tried & Tested: Jalue Skincare Ice Therapy review

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Jalue Skincare Ice Therapy review
If you're feeling the heat this week, why not cool down with a refreshing Ice Therapy facial which you can do in the comfort of your own home? I've tried out the Jalue Skincare Ice Therapy set to see what it's all about!

Cryotherapy has been cited as one of the biggest beauty trends this year with all the well-known beauty editors giving it a go, but whilst certain techniques may have become more sophisticated in their applications, the use of 'freeze or cold therapy' for skincare purposes is nothing new. In fact, there are records of women (and men) using cryotherapy which go back centuries, and these detail all sorts of methods including applying ice cubes to the skin, indulging in a chilly ice/snow bath, and swimming in freezing cold lakes (Dita Von Teese is apparently a big fan of the latter).    

Depending on the method used, there are numerous skincare benefits and being ever curious about these things, I decided to test out the Jalue Skincare Ice Therapy set. This isn't the type of cryotherapy facial that you may have seen on Instagram (there's no liquid nitrogen involved here!), but instead, it's an all-natural facial treatment which uses ice and herbs to achieve a range of desired results for the skin.  

Jalue Skincare Ice Therapy review
What Is It?
Jalue Skincare Ice Therapy is an at-home facial treatment that you can do yourself. It's inspired by an ancient Russian tradition which was used by Catherine the Great (1729-1796). The famous empress was said to have applied an ice cube to her face, neck and décolletage every morning to preserve her beauty and refresh her complexion. Russians later improved upon this ritual by adding different skin beautifying herbs to the ice for the ultimate skin care treatment.

What Are The Skincare Benefits?
These cooling mini facials are designed to 'wake up the skin' by boosting the overall radiance of your complexion. It helps to reduce puffiness, fights the formation of new wrinkles, tightens the skin, and reduces the appearance and size of pores. 

What's In The Set?
The Jalue Skincare Ice Therapy set includes one silicone cone and four individual sachets of herbs which contain a blend of Chamomile, Sage, Nettle, Rose and Oak Bark. Every individual herbal sachet is hand-filled and hand-sewn by Anatolian women which supports their local communities. This set is cruelty-free and free from artificial colourants, fragrances and preservatives.

Jalue Skincare Ice Therapy review
How Do I Use It and How Often?
Simply steep one herbal sachet in 100ml of boiling water (though I'd recommend using a bit less so that the silicone lid fits better - I used about 80ml instead). Allow to cool, then remove the sachet and pour the infused water into the silicone cone. Pop it into the freezer on its side and once it's completely frozen, it's then ready to be used.

Apply the ice cone to cleansed face, neck and décolleté in gentle circular motions, but if you have sensitive skin, place a muslin cloth over the ice cone first, so that it's between the ice and skin before applying. You can use this every day, and it can be used morning and night as part of your regular routine. Once applied, pat the skin dry and follow with your normal serum/moisturiser. Remember to read the instructions fully before using and be careful not to leave the ice cone on the skin too long as this may cause discomfort or irritation.  

Overall Thoughts?
I tested this set for four weeks (each herbal sachet contains one week's worth of treatment) and I definitely noticed some skincare benefits such as firming and tightening, as well as a noticeable glow after use, but these were all short-lived, so I found it more useful as a temporary quick-fix for the day, rather than anything I would use long-term. I did thoroughly enjoy using it though, especially as it's been so hot lately. It's very soothing, refreshing and of course, wonderfully cooling so it would be perfect to try out for the Summer months, but I'm not sure I would use it during Winter! If you're curious to try an all-natural ice therapy facial treatment and have the budget for it, consider giving it a go before a special occasion or night out, but it's not an essential for your skincare routine in my opinion.

Jalue Skincare Ice Therapy* retails for £39 for a set of four weekly treatments and is available from LoveLula.com

Have you tried any Ice Therapy facials?

Green Beauty: Weleda's #CleanerBeauty Campaign + 5 Ways To Spring Clean Your Everyday Beauty Routine

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Weleda's #CleanerBeauty Campaign
One of my favourite green beauty brands Weleda, has recently launched a Cleaner Beauty Campaign and I'm thrilled to be involved as one of their Ambassadors to help spread the word!

Green beauty, organic beauty, natural beauty, vegan beauty, clean beauty - call it what you like, there has been a huge growing demand from consumers for beauty products that are 'cleaner', but what does this actually mean?

Weleda's Cleaner Beauty Campaign
To put across one brand's point of view, Weleda have launched their Cleaner Beauty campaign to raise further awareness about this topic, and to help open up discussions about the many definitions that surround natural beauty and what it all means in general. I've been using Weleda products for years (one of my first ever proper blog posts was a review of their amazing Pomegranate Creamy Body Wash way back in 2012 - you can check it out here!) and as they have been promoting clean beauty since 1921, I'd say they're in a pretty good position to start us off in the right direction.

Jayn Sterland, Managing Director of Weleda UK, says: “For Weleda, cleaner beauty is about taking a complete holistic approach to your personal care routine, minimising the impact on the world around us and strengthening mind, body and spirit. Consumers are becoming more informed in the choices they make, highlighting their desire for the principles Weleda have held true for over 90 years. Whether it’s through the natural products we develop, our commitment to sustainability, biodynamic cultivation, nurturing our team of Wellbeing Advisors or pioneering in ethical practices, cleaner beauty runs through everything we do, and it always has”. You can read more about the campaign here.

Weleda's #CleanerBeauty Campaign
What Cleaner Beauty Means To Me
My viewpoint on cleaner beauty is very similar. I love the holistic approach and tying everything together because it makes a lot more sense that way, and I feel that when people see it linked like that, it helps them to fully understand it on a deeper level. I'm not 100% green or 'clean' with the beauty products that I use, but I've become more interested in the subject over the years, and especially since I've been studying Environmental Science and Social Policy at Uni. It's been fascinating to read about the natural properties of ingredients that have been used for centuries all around the world, and how often man-made ingredients haven't always been useful or beneficial replacements.

At the same time though, I've become increasingly frustrated with the lack of regulations in place in the beauty industry, which have allowed many unethical brands to hoodwink consumers via greenwashing (a marketing term used to deceptively promote the perception that an organization's products, aims or policies are environmentally friendly when they are not). This is why I strongly believe in certifications from independent bodies/associations on products so that consumers know who they can trust. For example, all of Weleda’s natural and organic cosmetics are NATRUE certified, and their products are also free from artificial additives such as synthetic fragrances, GMO ingredients, mineral oils, silicones and petroleum derivatives. If a brand doesn't have any certifications and doesn't properly list what they're free from, I'd suggest doing some more digging before buying from them. After all, there's nothing worse than thinking your hard earned cash is going towards something 'good' when it turns out to be the complete opposite!

Weleda's #CleanerBeauty Campaign
5 Ways To Spring Clean Your Everyday Beauty Routine With Cleaner Products

Want to get involved with cleaner beauty, but don't know where to start? Here are 5 tips to help you give your everyday beauty routine a spring clean!
  • Start with just three products. Think about three products that you use every single day; this might be shampoo, toothpaste and deodorant. Check the labels and if you don't like what you see, switch these three products to a cleaner alternative brand. This gives you a good starting point and allows you to experiment with some new products without overwhelming you.
  • Look out for certifications. Certifications are one of the easiest ways to see if what you're buying is the real thing. For example, if a product says 'organic' on the front, check to see if there is an organic accreditation from an organisation such as the Soil Association, NATRUE or EcoCert etc. If there isn't, question why or don't buy!
  • Do your own research. If you're reading this, you probably have internet access and a computer or a smartphone/tablet, so start to do your own research into ingredients and what you personally want to avoid using in your everyday beauty products. Concerned about parabens? Look into the natural alternatives. Only want to buy vegan? Search for vegan-friendly brands and find some new favourites.
  • Don't bin your unused products, donate them instead. There's always a desire to automatically bin everything that you own and buy a clean version instead, but throwing away unused products only adds to the growing landfill/waste problem. Either use them up yourself, give them to a friend or relative, or donate them to a charity like Beauty Banks who distribute beauty products via food banks to those who can't afford to buy them (this helps to fight hygiene poverty). Local charity shops will gladly accept toiletries and makeup as donations as well.
  • Use Facebook Swap groups and eBay to keep switching costs down. Buying cleaner beauty products can often be more expensive than purchasing the ones from mainstream brands because using things like organic ingredients costs more money for the manufacturers to use. Keep your personal costs down when switching by using swap groups on Facebook to swap your existing products with cleaner ones, or have a look at second-hand sites like eBay and Depop when you want to buy cleaner alternatives for a cheaper price (or sell the products that you no longer want on there). 
Weleda's #CleanerBeauty Campaign
Photographed: Weleda Luxury Three Drawer Gift Set* retails for £32 and contains 15 try me/travel size products - available from weleda.co.uk

Are you interested in switching to more cleaner beauty products?

Women's Health: LIVIA 'The Off Switch For Menstrual/Period Pain' - 3 Month Trial Review

Thursday, 17 May 2018

LIVIA 'The Off Switch For Menstrual Pain' - 3 Month Trial Review
Period pain is something that affects a huge percentage of menstruating women, and levels of its severity and impact on day-to-day life can vary from woman to woman - there's no singular pain factor that's the same for everyone. 

My experience with Period Pain
Some women can go through much of their adult lives and not have their periods bother them that much, but for others, they can be absolutely awful, and I've struggled a lot with severe period pain ever since I started menstruating at the age of 11. I remember having to take a lot of time off school because the pain was so bad, and after countless trips to the GP, I was simply told to take some higher-strength Ibuprofen and basically 'get over it'. For the first couple of years, this seemed to work to some degree as it dulled the worst of it, but by the time I was 16/17, my body had built up a tolerance to both high-strength Paracetamol and Ibuprofen, to the point where they no longer did anything and I still have issues with them doing nothing for me to this day.

At college, a friend recommended that I visit her female GP who was more understanding of these issues, so I requested a transfer and was accepted at her surgery. She asked me a lot of questions about the pain and prescribed Mefenamic Acid, an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) which worked wonders! It even helped with my heavy periods and I felt happier than I had done in years. My periods were no longer a problem, until two years later, when the Mefenamic Acid suddenly stopped working. The crippling period pain was back, so I made an appointment and saw the same GP, who then prescribed Naproxen, a different type of painkiller. I had a lot of side effects from it (heartburn, nausea, headaches etc) and eventually stopped taking it after five months when I started to get heart palpitations. The GP suggested trying Mefenamic Acid again which I did, but it no longer worked for me. That was the point where she shook her head and suggested I look at alternative methods, as I had exhausted all of the options that she knew of.

LIVIA 'The Off Switch For Menstrual Pain' - 3 Month Trial Review
Here's Livia in action - the gel pads are slightly higher up than usual as I was getting more pain in those areas on the day that I took this photo, but you can adjust them to wherever you need them to be and you can use them on your lower back as well.

I've done a lot of Googling and chatting to other women over the years, and have tried so many different methods to manage the severity of my period pain. These include exercising more, acupuncture, diet changes, different painkillers, taking different versions of the Pill, and even trying hypnotherapy. Some helped more than others, but none of them had a noticeable impact.

Last year, I came across a news story online about a new drug-free solution to period pain called Livia. The startup business behind it had successfully crowdfunded over $1.7 million dollars via Indiegogo, which perhaps gives you a good indicator of how many women worldwide have been looking for an alternative like this!  

What is Livia and How Does It Work?
Livia is basically a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) device which works as a pain management treatment system by using electrotherapy. The device is composed of a rechargeable unit which sends light electrical pulses into the body through the skin via two electrodes which are placed over the areas where you're experiencing the pain. This means that the high-frequency electrical signals sent out by the device effectively 'blocks out' the pain signals and stops them from being delivered to your brain, so that you no longer 'feel' the pain. Low-frequency bursts of mild electrotherapy also help to activate the natural pain control response that we all have, by releasing additional beta-endorphins - pretty clever stuff eh?

How Do I Use It? 
The first thing you'll need to do is charge the Livia unit for 12 hours before using (it's easy to charge it via a USB or phone charger). Once charged, you simply attach it to the waistband of your trousers/skirt etc, and plug in the electrodes which are attached to flower-shaped gel pads. Stick these onto the area where you're feeling pain, making sure that they're at least 10-15 cm apart in distance, and then switch Livia on. You can increase and decrease the strength as you wish by pressing the plus and minus buttons. There's no time limit for how long you can use it for, but I found it most effective for around 15-20 minutes as the effects continue for a little while afterwards. As always, I recommend reading the instructions in full before using any new device.

What Does It Feel Like?
I tried out the lowest setting first and it felt like a series of gentle, small vibrations. It's a little strange at first, but definitely not painful. As I adjusted to the higher settings, the vibrations get more intense of course, so I'd suggest working your way up to them, rather than going straight in at the deep end. That said, once you get used to the sensation of it, you quickly realise that it's not painful - it just feels weird to begin with!

LIVIA 'The Off Switch For Menstrual Pain' - 3 Month Trial Review
Did It Work For Me?
I tested out Livia for three months to see if the results or feelings would change from period to period, and I found that it was pretty consistent throughout. I get the most period pain during the first three days of my period and I found that Livia definitely helped with the severity of the cramps. However, it didn't make them go away completely and I still experienced some moderate pain during those first three days each time, though it was a lot less than I usually felt. If you have milder period pain, it may eliminate all of that, but as a severe pain sufferer, I'd say it helped to reduce the pain by about 50-60% to give you a rough idea, though I appreciate that we're all different with our pain levels.

Overall Thoughts?
Livia is by no means the miracle product that I desperately wanted it to be, but it has certainly helped me to discover a much better method of period pain management and I'm thrilled that it's something that women can try which is a drug-free option. I strongly believe that many young girls and women are taking far too many painkillers on a regular basis for period pain, which can result in a tolerance being built up that may have problematic consequences for them later in their lives (I know it has done this for me), so I fully support any methods that could help to reduce that dependency. 

I do feel that Livia is very expensive for what it is though, and you could probably find a similar TENS device for a much cheaper price (you must factor in purchasing additional gel pads etc). But for those who have the budget for it, it's a wonderfully convenient piece of kit to have in your handbag, ready to blast away those pesky cramps so that you can get on with your day.

LIVIA* is currently on offer as a complete kit for £119 (original price £149) and is available direct from mylivia.com

Would you use a product like this for period pain?

New In Beauty: Living Nature Ultimate Day Oil review

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Living Nature Ultimate Day Oil review
Launched last month, Living Nature's newest release, Ultimate Day Oil, is a Summer must-have that all skin types can enjoy.

You guys know how much I love a good quality face oil and my collection of them has grown considerably over the past few years. I always used to shy away from face oils due to my oily/combination skin, but they are honestly one of the best products that I've ever incorporated into my skincare routine, partly because they help to balance the skin so that it produces less oil over the long term - clever stuff eh?!

The latest face oil that I've been testing out for the past 4/5 weeks now is from the certified natural brand, Living Nature, whose products I've featured on here many times. Their new Ultimate Day Oil comes packaged in a beautiful frosted red glass bottle (the product is a regular yellow oil colour inside) and contains a blend of certified organic oils including Rosehip, Evening Primrose and Calendula. Packed full of natural fatty acids and antioxidants, Ultimate Day Oil is far more than just a regular facial oil as you can also use it anywhere on the body (it works wonders for dry areas like cuticles, as well as damaged and scarred skin, so it's a good one to try on stretch marks and acne scars), making it a multi-purpose must-have for your Summer holiday bag.  

Personally though, I've been mainly enjoying it as an anti-ageing treatment in the evenings to give my skin a rejuvenating boost as the ingredients can help to minimise fine lines and wrinkles, as well as providing essential daily hydration. I love how smooth and soft my skin feels after using this and it's brilliant as a facial massage oil too. As with all oils, you only need 2-3 drops per application and it absorbs nicely into the skin without any greasy or sticky feeling afterwards. If you're looking for a new facial oil to try out for Summer and like the idea of one that you can use on the body as well, definitely give this a go. Vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and certified natural by BDIH.

Living Nature Ultimate Day Oil* (30ml, £30) is available from various stockists including mypure.co.uk

Do you use facial oils?

Foodie Friday: Chocolate Protein Pancakes (Vegetarian recipe)

Friday, 11 May 2018

Chocolate Protein Pancakes (Vegetarian recipe)
With Summer just around the corner, I've been trying to fit in some more exercise sessions to tone up, and I'm now including more protein in my daily diet to help build up and repair my muscles. These Chocolate Protein Pancakes are one of my favourite ways to up my protein intake and they are super easy to make.

As much as I'm interested in health and fitness, there's one thing that I can't stand (actually there's quite a few, but let's keep on track here), and that's protein shakes. I've tried a lot of different brands and flavours and nope, I'd still rather eat my protein, rather than drink it! So what's a protein shake-hating girl to do? Make Protein Pancakes of course!

These pancakes are ridiculously easy to make and they really help to refuel your body after a sweaty HIIT workout. They also feel like more of a 'treat', so if you're finding healthy food boring or are tiring of the ultra-dry taste of most protein enhanced snacks, give these a go instead. You can use any kind of Chocolate flavour protein powder that you like, but if you fancy switching it up, why not try a different flavour like Vanilla or Strawberry? Top with fresh seasonal fruit and you're set for the day.

Chocolate Protein Pancakes (Vegetarian recipe)
Ingredients: (makes 2-4 pancakes depending on how big/thick you want them)
  • 2 Bananas (very ripe ones work best)
  • 2 scoops of Chocolate flavour Protein Powder (I used Prana Protein)
  • 2 Free-Range Eggs
  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil
  • Fresh Fruit (optional to serve)
  • Honey or Agave Nectar (optional to serve)

Method:
  • Roughly chop up the Bananas and add them to a blender with the Eggs and Protein Powder. Blend until you get a mostly smooth, batter-like consistency.
  • Heat the Coconut Oil in a frying pan and pour out the pancake mix into your desired portion sizes. Cook the pancakes for a minute or two on each side.
  • Transfer to a plate and serve with Fresh Fruit and a drizzle of Honey. Enjoy! 

Chocolate Protein Pancakes (Vegetarian recipe)

Do you prefer to drink or eat your protein?

Summer Fragrances: Pacifica Perfume Roll-On - Waikiki Pikake, Island Vanilla, Tuscan Blood Orange & Hawaiian Ruby Guava review

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Pacifica Perfume Roll-On - Waikiki Pikake, Island Vanilla, Tuscan Blood Orange & Hawaiian Ruby Guava review
Looking for a new Summer fragrance? Or simply want to find something travel-friendly to pop into your suitcase for your holiday this year? Look no further, Pacifica's range of Perfume Roll Ons will keep you smelling sweet and fresh all Summer long!

Pacifica are one of those amazing brands that seem to do a bit of everything; from makeup to body care, to soaps and candles, they inject a fun and vibrant vibe into all of their products. Based in Portland, Oregon in the USA, Pacifica are one of the most popular and affordable brands on the green beauty scene. Their colourful ranges are inspired by travel and adventure, and all of their products are natural, handmade, cruelty-free and suitable for vegans, as well as being free from lead, parabens, mineral oils, GMOs and phthalates. 

The brand are most famous for their unique fragrances which can be easily found across many of their main product lines, and I've had my eye on their Perfume Roll Ons for a while now. These are made using a base of natural, pure grain-derived alcohol, which is blended with a little water and a mix of essential oils. With Summer on the way, I decided to pick up these four scents to try out. 

Pacifica Perfume Roll-On - Waikiki Pikake, Island Vanilla, Tuscan Blood Orange & Hawaiian Ruby Guava review
Pacifica Perfume Roll-On in Waikiki Pikake*
Waikiki Pikake is described as a homage to the lush wooded and flowered paradise that represented old Hawaii, and this fragrance is a beautiful fresh floral with a woody undertone to it. Notes of exotic Jasmine are the most dominant here, but there's a lovely warming Sandalwood base which helps to balance it out.

Pacifica Perfume Roll-On in Island Vanilla*
Vanilla fans will adore Island Vanilla which is one of the nicest 'sweet' scents that I've come across in a long time! I was worried it would be a little cloying at first, as it starts off quite strong when you initially apply it, but it soon dries down to a sultry, sexy, floral Vanilla fragrance that would be perfect to wear on hot Summer nights.

Pacifica Perfume Roll-On in Tuscan Blood Orange*
If you like bright, fresh and citrusy scents, Tuscan Blood Orange is a must-have. Featuring a blend of zesty Orange and Italian Mandarin, it's a comforting and sophisticated perfume which helps to lift your mood and always make me feel like I've got an extra spring in my step.

Pacifica Perfume Roll-On in Hawaiian Ruby Guava*
My personal favourite scent out of these four though is definitely Hawaiian Ruby Guava which literally smells like a tropical paradise. The fresh, fruity, juicy Guava notes are obviously the strongest in here, but there are also some underlying hints of Coconut which adds to the overall exotic island vibe. Delicious! 

Overall thoughts?
These Perfume Roll-Ons are a great way to try out Pacifica's signature fragrances and they are super convenient to pop into your bag. They all start off quite strong at first, so don't be put off when you apply them as they do dry down nicely to a more subtle fragrance within a matter of minutes. Being natural perfumes, they're not as long-lasting as mainstream brands, but the handy roll-on applicator means that it takes no time at all to re-apply them throughout the day. Having tried out these four, I definitely want to try all of the other scents!


Pacifica Perfume Roll-Ons (10ml, £12 each) are available in the UK from LoveLula.com. If you like these scents, you can also purchase them in full-size bottles, as well as in solid perfume tins.

Have you tried any of these fragrances from Pacifica?

QVC The Big Deal Offer: A'kin Skincare Hydration Collection review

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

A'kin Skincare Hydration Collection review
I've been a fan of the Australian natural skincare brand A'kin for a long time now, and I recently featured some of the many ways that I use their amazing Rosehip Oil in my routine. There's a lot more to A'kin than just their superstar oil though, so I wanted to share this fantastic offer from QVC on their Skincare Hydration Collection.

I don't know about you, but my skin is feeling a bit parched after that recent Bank Holiday heatwave (which was absolutely glorious wasn't it?!), and if yours is also in need some of essential hydration, this four-piece skincare set will be right up your street! 

Comprising of some of A'kin's bestsellers, it's a great value-for-money way to try out the brand, and all of the products are 100% vegan, cruelty-free and free from a long list of 'nasties', e.g there's no sulphates, parabens, silicones, PEGs, phthalates, mineral oil, artificial colours or synthetic fragrances, which makes them suitable for all skin types to use. In the Skincare Hydration Collection, you'll receive all of the following:-

A'kin Skincare Hydration Collection review
A'kin Certified Organic Rosehip Oil (20ml)
Certified organic by COSMOS, this 100% natural Rosehip Oil contains a minimum concentration of 80% essential fatty acids (Omega 3, 6 & 9), to give your skin an ultra-hydrating and nourishing boost. There are just two ingredients in this concentrated formula; pure Rosehip Oil and a small amount of Rosemary Leaf Extract to further boost its antioxidant content. This multi-purpose oil can be used in various ways; massage a few drops on the face after cleansing as a hydrating treatment, or rub a little into any dry skin area like cuticles and knuckles to give them some instantly softening TLC (check out my post here on my top 5 ways to use Rosehip Oil).

A'kin Cleansing Micellar Water (150ml)
Remove all of the day's dirt, impurities and make-up with this super easy to use natural micellar water which is infused with Organic Coconut Water, Green Tea, Cucumber and Lavender extracts. Soap-free and pH balanced, this is one of the most gentle micellar waters that I've tried, yet it does a brilliant job and feels nice and refreshing on the skin. I love using this as a quick first cleanse (just pour onto a cotton wool pad and sweep over the face), on days when I'm wearing mineral-based makeup as it removes all of this in less than two minutes.

A'kin Hydrating Mist Toner (30ml)
No hydrating skincare set would be complete without a refreshing toner and this travel-size bottle will be perfect for throwing into your handbag or suitcase this Summer. Like the Micellar Water above, the Hydrating Mist Toner is also infused with Organic Coconut Water and Green Tea, and it feels so lovely to use, especially on a hot day! Simply spritz all over the face as part of your regular skincare routine or whenever your skin needs an instant shot of hydration.

A'kin Hydrating Antioxidant Day Cream (50ml)   
To finish off the collection, there's a full-size Hydrating Antioxidant Day Cream which is worth £20 on its own! Packed full of ingredients such as Coconut Water, Aloe, Macadamia Oil, Shea Butter, Niacinamide, Olive Fruit Oil and Rosemary Leaf extract, this day cream has a gorgeous texture that absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving it feeling softer, plumped up, thoroughly hydrated and protected against the elements. You can also easily skip using a primer as this works so well underneath makeup, creating a super smooth base for a flawless look.

 A'kin Skincare Hydration Collection* is currently The Big Deal offer on QVC for one week only priced at just £29.98 - strictly whilst stocks last! 

Have you tried anything from A'kin?

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Tried & Tested: Dr. Hauschka Clarifying Intensive Treatment for Acne / Blemish Prone Skin review

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Dr. Hauschka Clarifying Intensive Treatment for Acne / Blemish Prone Skin review
If I had a pound for every person who told me that my skin would 'magically' clear up once I hit my mid-20s, I'd be an incredibly wealthy woman! Sadly though, neither happened (sigh) and whilst my complexion is certainly less spotty than when I was a teenager, it's still prone to some annoying, confidence-busting breakouts as an adult.

During my teen years, my skin was as moody as I was; it was easily irritated, often angry at the world and would flare up at a moment's notice for no reason at all (yeah, I didn't handle puberty well at all!). I was lucky enough that I had never had severe acne, but a mild amount was more than enough to knock what little self-confidence I had in myself, and I quickly became very conscious about it.

Moving forward to the present day and my skin is a lot clearer thanks to a better diet and skincare routine, but I still experience regular stress and hormone-related breakouts. I've been dealing with a particularly bad one recently due to exams stress, so it's been the ideal time for me to test out a product that I've always wanted to try from Dr. Hauschka, their Clarifying Intensive Treatment

What Is It?
Designed as a specialised treatment for acne and blemish-prone skin, Dr. Hauschka's Clarifying Treatment has been developed to support unbalanced skin. Now, if you're familiar with Dr. Hauschka, they have a very different natural approach to skincare than most other green beauty brands. Their formulas are carefully 'rhythmitised' to work in harmony with the skin and its natural 28-day renewal cycle. You can read more about this in further detail here.

Dr. Hauschka Clarifying Intensive Treatment for Acne / Blemish Prone Skin review
What's In It?
100% natural and organic, certified by NATRUE. Cruelty-free. Key ingredients include Sage and Mercurialis to rebalance the skin, and there's also Witch Hazel and Chicory to control moisture levels and minimise breakouts. Full ingredients: Water/Aqua, Mineral Salts/Sales, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Fragrance/Parfum, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract¹, Cichorium Intybus (Chicory) Extract¹, Mercurialis Perennis Extract¹, Peridote¹. ¹in rhythmitised dilution. Free from synthetic fragrances, dyes, preservatives, mineral oils, silicones and PEGs.

Who Can Use It?
Anyone who has acne or is prone to blemish breakouts. Dr. Hauschka have two types of Clarifying Intensive Treatment based on age (one for under 25s and one for over 25s) to address the differences in the skin at those life stages, so choose the right one for you.

How Do I Use It?
Use this Clarifying Treatment instead of your usual toner for 28 days (to complete the full renewal cycle of your skin), applying after both morning and evening cleanses. Mist 3-4 pumps all over the face and gently press into the skin. 

Overall Thoughts? 
At first, I was a little sceptical as to whether this was going to do much for me. I've used a couple of Dr. Hauschka's skincare products in the past and have found them a little hit and miss to be honest, but I'm pleased to say that this is one of the good ones! I didn't see any big changes straight away though, so it's definitely something that I would recommend sticking with for the full 28 days, making sure to not miss a day for the best results. After around a week of continued use, I started to see a reduction in the size of my blemishes, and by day 15/16, pretty much all of my blemishes had gone, as well as the associated redness and inflammation. During the rest of the 28 day trial, I only had ONE new blemish pop up when I got my period (I usually get a lot more!), and this quickly subsided within the next two days.

The two downsides for me with this product is that I found it quite drying on my skin and noticed some flaky areas start to appear around my nose and chin that weren't there before. Dr. Hauschka recommend using the Clarifying Treatment four times a year to stimulate and rebalance the skin (28 day cycles each), so I'm keen to try it again in the near future, but with some more hydrating products in my routine to try and combat these dry patches. The other obvious downside is the price; at £51 for a full 28 days worth of treatment, it won't be accessible for everyone, but for those who have a higher budget for their skincare essentials, it may be a worthy investment to keep those pesky breakouts at bay. 

Dr. Hauschka Clarifying Intensive Treatment* (40ml, £51) is available from LoveLula.com

What are your favourite anti-blemish products?

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