New new new!

The big news in my life this month is… I moved overseas! Yes, after waiting a while to finally set off, I’ve finally arrived in my new country of residence and am getting used to this new place. Why did I move, you ask? Well, I was looking for a major change in my life. Not because something bad had happened, or I found something worth uprooting myself for, I just felt stagnant. My world was just the same thing on repeat, a job I wasn’t in love with but paid the bills, friends I felt liked each other more than me, weekends spent sitting in the same pub avoiding conversation with drunk strangers. It just felt like a good way to close that chapter of meh with a fresh start and forced adaption. It’s very hard to fall back into old habits when there are no old comforts around to fall into!

 

It’s been a wild ride from start to present, a steep learning curve, and so many things I just wasn’t prepared for. But I’m loving it, and I feel so much more active already, so they’re not bad things. Just different things. But obviously, you know how much I love skin care, so that is exactly what I’m covering today! I brought over my entire routine (and a few bottles to keep me stocked whilst I focus on the bigger issues of a new life), but my skin just wasn’t having it. I thought maybe it was the flight, and the jet lag, but it continued to plague me. Pimples, everywhere! And dry, flaky patches of skin, next to extra shiny

 

areas. Thewhole balance was thrown off. So I started doing some research on how the climate can affect your skin.

I assumed because both my old home and my new had a similar spectrum of temperatures, albeit a few different extremes in the middle of Summer and Winter respectively, that I wouldn’t have any issues. But alas, that was not the case! In fact, the first week I was there I had the worst breakout of my adult life. Not only was it irritating, I wasn’t feeling particularly confident about making friends looking like I still worked at the pizza shop from when I was fifteen… I did a little bit of research, as you are wont to do, and found out that there were a few other factors at play; humidity, wind, and UV rating most notably. And instead of just making me oily, they were stripping my skin of moisture, which in turn made my oil glands work way too hard to offset the dryness. Honestly, I ended up being more fascinated than anything.

 

So I set to work finding an updated routine. I came across this niacinamide toner, which has been a life saver. It’s both hydrating and lightly moisturising, and amazing for pimples. It sounded too good to be true when I first saw it, but decided that maybe it was just that good, and it would work. And it did! Along with a new moisturiser, I got my skin entirely under control in days. Now I can go out and make new friends (don’t worry, I won’t forget about you all) and feel like my best self!

Loving the 2020 Christmas Vibe

I have been sourcing Christmas presents for the good part of six months, as it became pretty obvious early on this year that we would be relying on the festive period for joy and reconnecting with family and friends, something good to wrap up this not so good year. We’ve only had a few breaks from lockdown, so shopping small and/or local has had it’s challenges. I hope you’ve persevered?

Sustainability has been such an important topic to us this year, and I’ve been so happy to see more people pledge to a more earth-friendly lifestyle. Now at one of the most excessive times of year in terms of waste, we’re being forced into some compromises. I, for one, am very happy to say a hearty farewell to tacky Christmas crackers, and the tacky plastic toys they always contain. I want every element of my 2020 Christmas celebrations to either be a deliberate gift, thrifted, or reusable for next year. With my friends in particular I searched for beauty Christmas gift ideas as cosmetics companies often come up with some really nice designs to house their products (either full size, or minis), such as a bauble, or a cracker. Yes, the packaging is something else to dispose of, although hopefully recycle, but at least it is its own wrapping. It will probably look better than anything I can wrap too! I know wrapping isn’t really necessary… but I can’t move past the excitement and drama of unwrapping which is so ingrained in the Christmas spirit. I know someone who wrapped her presents in tote bags she had made each recipient based on their personal style, which I thought was pretty cool.

When thinking of my Christmas tree, because I am in a new country and brought nothing with me to decor

ate, I knew it had to be plastic-free. My partner argued for a real tree, because then we could just bury it in the garden after Christmas was over. We couldn’t do tinsel, although I may make fabric off-cut tinsel in the future, so instead I got out the crochet hook and started crocheting red, white and green bunting. Just little chain stitches with bobbles and pompoms, they’re quick, easy, but so lovely. Homely. That’s probably just the wool though.

But what about baubles? Can’t have a tree with no baubles! I bought some buttercream coloured felt, gold thread, sequins and beads, and got to work making lovely felt baubles with some stuffing to make them nice and round.

So I’m very excited to set everything up! I can just see it all coming together. Moreover, I know this is just the first year of decorating and in a few years it’s going to be perfect! Absolutely gorgeous, in all my crafting glory.

How are you being more sustainable this Christmas? Let me know, I need more inspiration.

Thinking about the Future

I’ve been wondering a lot recently, about where we’re heading as the human race. It seems pretty dire, doesn’t it? A pandemic, when we can’t even get the rich and powerful to get off their hoards of wealth to invest in renewable energy and reducing climate change. Sometimes I feel so helpless, because whilst we’ve been force-fed the idea that individual changes and practises make the difference, it’s all rubbish. Literally! We need big business to start taking an interest. Anyone know any big CEO’s? I just worry for my family, for future generations. How do you feel? Am I overreacting?

Unpopular Opinion on Food and Skincare

Hello and welcome back!

 

Today I have to share an unpopular opinion… I feel weird using skincare products that use ingredients I primarily think of as food. Banana face peel, honey face mask, tomato moisturiser and avocado spot cream. I don’t know, those could be made up. But the point stands. I get worried about grapes going soft before the use by date has arrived, so how am I supposed to feel about a food being bottled and put on my skin for three months straight? And don’t say canned foods… That’s different. You open a can and have to eat the whole thing within three days. But you’re telling me my sweet corn serum can be opened and closed every night and not put in the fridge and can survive until it runs out? Ridiculous. I won’t have it. Acids, perfect. Glycerine, shea butter, and plant oils, perfect. Oats? Strange.

So with the scene set, I was at brunch with a friend of mine, sipping my coffee and explaining this issue I have, and she goes “What about caffeine?”. I replied, “Yeah, what about it?”. And she explained that she had been using a caffeine eye cream which had done wonders for her dark circles and puffiness. “Caffeine isn’t the same as coffee, though. You can find caffeine in a lot of hot drinks, like green tea.” That resonated, it’s prevalent though lots of consumables! Caffeine was an edible thing. Now, I wasn’t entirely thrown aback because I wasn’t the one using caffeine on my face. There’s a distinction I guess, although I’m not sure I would ever try it out. But then on the other hand, there are coffee skincare products out there, like lip scrubs. Skincare that you eat? I can’t even think about it without feeling ill. You touch it with your fingers, leave it to fester, then come back and eat it again. What is wrong with people?? So I think caffeine is okay. It’s more of an element of something, like water, which can be stretched over different factions of consumables.

 

So this is also why, second unpopular opinion, DIY skincare is a disgusting joke. Honestly. No, I don’t want a four ingredient face mask I can make with the ingredients in my pantry. No! I’m not going to drizzle some honey on my breakfast, then turn 180 degrees and drizzle it into a concoction of eggs and avocado and bran flakes to massage into my face. Nah, I cannot bring myself to be okay with it. And so my friend says “What about school science projects? Baking soda volcanoes and all that?” Okay well baking soda counts as a versatile ingredient. No one eats straight out baking soda!

Not sure what you think of this? I’d like to hear your ‘exceptions’ to the rule, or if you think I’m being dramatic. Nothing wrong with being particular. And hope you enjoy the rest of the month, even though the weather has turned sour over here!

Going Green!!

Hello friends!

 

I’ve been on a real green kick recently, taking my recycling seriously, eating organically, and rethinking the kinds of brands I’m bringing into my home. We’re reaching a tipping point with the environment, and I knew I couldn’t keep complaining about the state of things without showing that I was actually making some impact myself. Not that I think it’s entirely up to the people, big businesses and companies don’t give two figs about the fumes and waste they’re churning out so long as the money is still coming in. But if all we ever did was tell big companies to get a grip, it would be just as helpful to rant at a brick wall. At least this way I might get the chance to turn some of my less green friends onto a better path. The butterfly wings, or whatever that saying is…

I’ve spent a small fortune on specialty items; beeswax cloth, bamboo toothbrushes, and a subscription to a pickup drop-off service for my shampoo and conditioner… so instead of just recycling the bottles, they clean and reuse them.

 

But that made me think about the small hoard of skincare products sitting in my bathroom, seeing as I knew I was running low on some of my essentials. Boy is it hard to find a skincare brand I really believe is helping! Or even natural.. I got some advice from a friend to look at the INCI lists on the box, because even though brands can greenwash their websites and make it seem better than it is, you can’t lie about the ingredients. I tried contacting some brands too (I won’t name names!), but a lot of the responses were very evasive. I don’t think they know you’ve got to be more than just cruelty free. I was browsing Feel Unique and came across a new brand, Q+A. Their whole deal is explaining their products from the ingredients to how they help, even the skin type they’re best suited to. Their blog is really interesting, too! I asked some questions, and they were super honest about how they are trying to be sustainable, a little easier for a small brand. So yeah, I think Q+A is one of the best skincare brands out there if you’re looking for something natural.

 

It’s hard to avoid small product sizes, especially when you think about shelf life and sunlight degrading ingredients, so I don’t think I’ll go crazy trying to find something zero impact when other industries, like the food and fashion industries, have such a giant negative effect. For fashion, I’m going to try and stick to ethical brands (researching is underway!) and second hand items. Or repurposing things I already have. I think a big hole is about to tear a hole in the thigh of my favourite jeans, but a quick Pinterest search gave me the idea to sew them into a skirt! So many great ideas out there that aren’t a chore!

 

Please let me know what steps you’ve taken to be more green, this is a team effort!!

 

The Balance Within Your Beard

I know a lot of guys out there who have started growing out their beards and are running into a couple of problems. Aside from the typical problems that some of you growing your beards out for the first time. Your problems can vary from it not growing properly or in some places of your face not growing at all which although might make you look weird for the first month or two will either catch up or can be camouflaged by the rest of your hair which should be at a decent length by this point. Here is where the real problem comes in and that’s the existence of grooming tools and products that a lot of people get lost in.

Now there are a lot of things you’ll learn about when growing a beard, so much so that you have to wonder who in their right mind with do all of this just for a patch of hair on your face. The answer is a lot of people and although you can go the way of just buying a beard kit which helps you get to know most of the tools a bit better. There’s really only a few essentials that you need to worry about. My personal biggest factors of choice in beard care are the beard oil and the beard balm.

Now these two are the most important in my opinion because they directly influence the factors of beard care that I believe to be the most important. The factors I’m speaking of are beard health and beard shape. The beard oil helps keep your beard and the skin underneath well hydrated and although a beard wash might be nice to add to the mix if you really want to cut down on cost just get the beard oil and try to gauge whether it’s enough to keep your beard soft and silky to the touch. The next is beard balm which some people seem to confuse with wax that you might use on your hair. The reality is a beard balm is closer to butter than wax and it will help to nourish the beard and tame it; more of the latter rather than the former. You need both of these because a healthy beard can quickly go crazy and look dingy and even if you style the heck out of a beard but if it feels wiry to the touch then what’s the point.

Feeling really hopeful

I really hope you guys enjoyed that last article that I posted. I know some of you guys did because you went out of your way to let me know about it so thanks so much for that! I always try my best to get the best work I can out there and your awesome selves reminded me why I put so much effort into everything I do on here.

I feel super motivated to get right on the next article and give you guys something else you can be excited to look forward to so until then stay fabulous!

The top 3 makeup products you can make at home

Anybody can make their own beauty products at home with just a little bit of research and a few quick trips to the store. Now I do still enjoy actual products purchased from the store and there’s nothing wrong with a Sérum éclaircissant straight from the store at all. The homemade alternative is just nice to mess around with and it’s also a fun activity you can do to keep yourself entertained for an afternoon. Another benefit of going the homemade alternative is that it helps you save a little bit on makeup because buying the ingredients is just cheaper overall in most cases. Now here are 3 homemade makeup recipes that are easy, affordable, and all around just fun to make.

Homemade Lip Balm

1/2 ounce beeswax
3 teaspoons olive oil or jojoba oil
2 teaspoons coconut oil (solid at 74º F)
1 teaspoon shea butter or cocoa butter
1/2 teaspoon pure aloe vera
1/4 teaspoon vitamin E oil
5-7 drops essential oil (like peppermint or grapefruit)

In a double boiler, combine the beeswax, olive oil, coconut oil, and the shea/cocoa butter. Place over low heat just until oils and beeswax are melted. Take it off the heat. Add in aloe vera, vitamin E, and the essential oils make sure to stir constantly.

Pour the mixture into small 0.15-ounce tubes. Let it cool completely to everything sets properly.

Moisturizing Orange Face Mask

1/2 cup steel-cut oatmeal (you can substitute instant unflavored oatmeal)
juice from 1 whole orange
3 tablespoons plain yogurt with active cultures (Greek yogurt is a nice option here)
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons dried orange peel (you can buy this at the grocery)

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Stir until well-mixed and combined. You want the consistency to be thick, if it’s too runny it won’t stay on your face. You can add extra oatmeal to thicken.

Wash your face gently and dry beforehand then apply the mixture in one even layer, be careful not to get any in the eyes. Leave on for 15-30 minutes.

Rinse this mask off with warm water.

Store any leftover mask in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

Cucumber Mint Sugar Scrub

1 large cucumber

2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Place cucumber and mint into blender. Puree.

 

Into a medium bowl add: sugar, puree and olive oil. Stir until combined. NOTE: if you prefer mixture more firm add additional sugar.

 

Divide mixture between desired storage containers and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Looking back and forward

Hopefully you enjoyed and appreciated the story I shared here about my brother’s childhood dream. I really appreciate the kind words I have received thus far.

Perhaps next time though I should focus on something a little closer to my heart.

Expect something extra on my current favourite subject – cosmetics.

See you in a little while x

A Man Who Just Wants To Be Like His Dad

What keeps a boy from becoming a man? Perhaps just by continuing to look like one! Unfortunately I don’t have the manly mature looks my father had when he was my age.

One look my Dad always goes for is having shiny soft hair on his chin. We were never quite sure how he pulled that look off! We would often look at it, especially every time he sat on his favorite chair while reading newspaper with hot coffee on the table. For us, it looks very respectable, intelligent and sophisticated. My brother wants to become like my dad, he wants to be like him, and he wants to look like him!

My brother is already a family man blessed with two lovely daughters and one son. His old dreams of becoming just like our dad have been forgotten for a while. Before Father’s day, I gave him a small bottle of Beard oil. I said to him “just put this on your beard tomorrow and believe me you will see magic.”

Early morning, we were so excited to have a look at him after using the oil. After some time he finally emerged from the bathroom with a regular office suit on and a very shiny and soft beard. He looked great! Not only that but he also looked just like my Dad! To tease him, we made him sat down on my Dad’s chair with some hot coffee on the table and a newspaper. Just so he could fulfill his dream and 100% look like our Dad.

I know it really made him happy and I’m proud of myself for contributing to his happiness as well. Of course, this wouldn’t have been possible without the help of my dad’s favourite beard oil. There is no need to spend too much money when trying to achieve a shiny and soft beard. With just one drop of beard oil, all your worries will fade away.