Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Brand/Company of the Month: Bee Mercy

I've decided to include a Brand/Company of the Month into my little space on the internet to cater to all of the wonderful brands and companies I have come across. Due to many commercial brands and companies taking the spotlight, many small ones go unnoticed which is a shame really, since there are so many hidden gems out there, you just need to divide the sea of commercial companies to find them.

Today, I will starting it all of by talking about Bee Mercy.

I stumbled across this little company when I was looking for raw honey to wash my face with and to use in DIY masks (I also sneakily eat some too, hehehe). It seems that raw honey is hard to find in the UK; or is it just me? Nah, could never be me.

Bee Mercy is a company that makes different kinds of raw honey, it was very surprising and confusing to see so many different kinds of honey with flavours like Lavender, Oak, Rosemary and Thyme. I pondered as to why this company had rosemary honey. Would it taste like rosemary? It turns out that in order to make rosemary honey, the bees collect the pollen made from rosemary and turn it into honey. It's not the honey being made and then infused with rosemary, like what I was thinking. It is very interesting, and it really makes you realise just how amazing bees really are.

I ended up buying the Thyme honey and it came with a little sample of Rosemary honey! They must have read my mind. The Thyme honey came in a 500g jar with a honeycomb indent around the top of it (very pretty and nice detail) whilst the Rosemary honey came in a little glass jar which I now use for making my own DIY honey lip scrubs and lip balms, it's very handy.

The texture of the Rosemary honey was thicker than the Thyme honey and was lighter in colour. Rosemary honey is more of a sunshine yellow whilst the Thyme honey is more of a burgundy colour. They both taste completely different and I wished I had bought the Rosemary honey instead because I liked the flavour of that one more. Shame mine's all gone now though. sadface.

I'm so glad that I found this company because the supermarket honey taste the same to me, and after finding out what they do to the honey, I'm never buying it again.
The reason why I prefer raw honey to store bought honey is because there is nothing taken out and all of the components are still there like vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. Store bought honey is heated to a high temperature to pasteurise it; which kills off any of the nutrients inside of honey, is often blended with other honeys (I wondered why it all tasted the same) and is sometimes blended with sugar to enhance the sweetness (which makes absolutely no sense to me). I highly recommend trying out raw honey because it's how nature intended it to be, raw and natural, not heated to high temperatures.

Another thing I love about this company is the fact that they are trying to stop the use of so many chemical pesticides which are killing off the bees. I think it is a wonderful cause, and with every purchase, you are sent a card that you can fill in and post to join the fight in protecting the bees; because without them, we would have no flowers and many kinds of foods like apples, grapes and pears, it would also cost the taxpayer more to manually pollinate the landscape than it would to save the bees who do it for free, so it is a noble cause. And bees are cute and make a wonderful sweet treat. <3

Bee Mercy have, in order to promote being bee friendly, created a seed ball that you can plant to promote bees from entering your garden. All of the seed balls are packed with bee friendly wildflowers, clay and chili powders to keep away seed predators like ants, mice and birds which makes for growing these plants easy.
With every purchase, two of these seed balls are included, so start planting! Well.. apart from me. Everything I touch dies so I won't be planting anything. Though, Garrie's mum likes to utilise this flaw by making me her primary weed pickerer. :D

Have any of you tried raw honey? If not, have I convinced you into doing so? Comment below!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Mini Haul and Review!

I have been on a shopping frenzy for Korean and Japanese products lately. There's so much to choose from and to want, yet not enough money. :( But today two little packages came in, one with a set of Dolly Wink eyelashes in No.3 Natural Girly, and another one with 2 sets of eyelashes from Etude House and a Moistfull Mask.

Those Dolly Wink lashes cost me a fortune! But it's all worth it, they're pretty and I'm definitely getting another pair. I love how there are two sets of lashes with the Dolly Wink. I have yet to try them, but I can't wait!

I like the Etude House Side and Long lashes (The black ones) and I think I could use them a dramatic bottom lashes, who knows?

 Today I tried out the Etude House Moistfull Mask.

I had been meaning to get my hands on one of these for a while now, as I've only had one other mask before this one. It was from My Beauty Diary and I loved it! So I wanted to try one from Etude House because I love their cosmetics.

Ignore the ugly background. :P

After using My Beauty Diary face mask, my skin cleared up a lot and moisturised it which I needed. My skin looked dull and I had horrible flaky bits of dry skin so the mask was a great pick-me-up for my skin. My skin started going back to it's normal state after a while, so I decided to get another one.
After taking it out of it's packaging, it felt wet like the My Beauty Diary mask, so I had a good feeling that it would be really moisturising. The mask also had a faint floral scent, but once you put it one, there was no smell at all which was good.

I vant to eat ur brainz~! I look like something out of a horror movie. :P And excuse the hair, I just had a shower.

After putting the mask on, it felt moisturising and cooling, very relaxing. I also went into my sisters room with it on and woke her up, she jumped at the sight of me. I'm such a great sister. I also have to ask, do Asians have long faces? Because whenever I buy these, they always seem to be too long. :P And they have HUGE eye holes as well.

Anyway I waited for 10-15 minutes and after taking it off and massaging in the rest of the moisture on my face, I didn't see or feel much of a difference. My forehead was moisturised, but I could still feel some dry patches and the solution on that mask was very sticky, it didn't feel nice so I had to wash my hands afterwards.
Overall, I'd say it's a good enough product for the price. But, it didn't work for me, so I will be continuing the search!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

A Date at the Llama Park, OOTD and New Slippers!

Today, the boyfriend and I went to the Llama Park situated near the Ashdown Forest outside of Crowborough. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but it truly is a nice place. They even have their own publicity llama called Tom (picture below, a very handsome fella'). I love llamas, I think they're so cute. <3

This little farm hosts llamas, alpacas, donkeys, reindeer, chickens and roosters, and even have their own shop. All of the clothes, shoes and hats bought in the shop are either made from leather or alpaca wool and I must say, alpaca wool is incredibly soft, even softer than sheep wool.

I went to the shop a few months back and eyed up (felt up) a pair of slippers. They were incredibly soft! I think they were £30 at the time and I really wanted to take them home with me, but alas, it was not meant to be.


Today we went back to actually explore around the park because last time we couldn't due to bad weather. We went into the shop, I didn't know if they still stocked them or not because the Christmas period is over and they would start to bring in the new stock. Then, I saw them, sitting on the cabinet, calling out to me. I begged (commanded) that Garrie get them for me, which he very politely did. And guess what? They were on SALE! For £23.89, I just had to have them. It was fate. I have to say, that they are a very good investment. They are sooo comfy! I'll never take them off.

Now time for some slipper porn. ohyeah...

 They're so purdy.

 It seems they are made by a brand called Jyoti. Never heard of them, but I like the slippers.

The soles are made from rubber, very sturdy.

Here is me modeling the slippers. Oh so chic.

This is what I'm wearing today. I didn't include the boots because they are so muddy after walking around the llama park, so instead, I included the slippers. ;)

The dress is from H&M and the cardigan is from Dorothy Perkins.

Maybe it wasn't the best idea to wear a dress today due to the high winds, but I felt pretty today so I wanted to wear a dress. And I was told by Garrie that I flashed a little boy whilst washing my hands after touching a donkey. Oops. Poor boy. Scarred for life.
But anyway, onto the story! Due to the very bad weather we have been having, it was very muddy inside the park. We were given a map to navigate the area.

The green lines are the safe paths with little mud, and the red lines indicate the paths that you should go down AT YOUR OWN PERIL. Since Garrie and I are such rebel badasses, we went down them. What a mistake. We almost fell over a few times. I had to hold onto the wire fence to stop myself from slipping. A donkey ran over to tell me off and to get off his land. :( I thought he was being nice at first, wanting to be stroked. I stroked him, then he buggered off and wouldn't come back! It was probably a warning.
We also saw some reindeer, they weren't too exciting since none of them wouldn't come over. I bet they have been hardwired to only come over when there are children around. I look like a child. A woman child. ;) They probably knew. Smart asses.

One was falling asleep, it looked like he was the head of the herd. His antlers were huge! I always wonder if they use them other than for fighting, and if they can feel if someone touches them. Well, I got one thing right. This one liked to use his a head rest. I would have got a picture, but I was too busy having fun and keeping myself upright.

Garrie commented on how agile and light footed he was at dodging the stodgy mud. I quickly came back with "Yeah, like an elephant." It's so great that he has a great sense of humour, and it was such a great day, I had so much fun. We were laughing together a lot. Honestly, if he brought me here on our first date, I would have been so impressed. I don't like "romantic" dates of going to a restaurant, you can't really act like yourself. I find those sort of dates too stuffy and so many girls dress up too much and wear so much makeup, more so than they usually would. It kind of defeats the purpose of dating to find the right person, because you want the person to know who you really are, not a fake persona to impress. It's false advertising; like a push-up bra. ;)

When Garrie and I went on our first date, it was at the pier in Brighton and we both wore very casual clothing. I wore jeans, a t-shirt and flat shoes. I only wore as much makeup as I usually would (light foundation and mascara). I wanted to impress him, but didn't want to look like a made up doll because that's not how I usually look. I wanted him to like me for how I look normally. Which he did like me for.
I also acted like myself. I was making jokes because I think I'm hilarious (which I AM), but he didn't laugh that much. I commented on it later and he replied, with the EXACT words: "I didn't know you were making jokes. Or maybe you're just not that funny?" Luckily for me, I can tell a joke when it was being told, and I found it hilarious.

On that day I tried out bubble tea for the second time. I didn't like it very much on the first try, so I thought I'd try it again. He paid for it, which was nice, but I ended up hating it. I'm not a bubble tea fan. Those tapioca balls make me feel a bit sick. He tried some too and said it was vile. Oh well.

We then went to the American candy shop in The Laines and bought some of the Toxic Waste sour sweets. We both tried them and OHMYGAWD they were horrible. So sour! We both made really funny faces and ended up spitting them out. He commented on me wasting his hard earned money by spitting it out.
We then went to the mini casino near the beach, because he likes gambling. He played on the slot machines and ended up winning nothing. So smooth. We then went to the beach and sat down for an hour or so to talk to watch the ocean. And that was it. He took me home and we said our goodbyes. We didn't kiss on the first date, I find it a bit uncouth. But we set up a few other dates afterwards and on the fourth date, Fathers Day last year, we got together and had our first kiss. Yaaay!

I can't believe it's been almost a year since we got together. It's been so fast. Just a few months now until a full year. 

What is your example of a perfect date and how would you look? If you have a boyfriend, how did your first date go? Was it fun or awkward? Leave a comment below! :)

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Why You Shouldn't Use Commerical Haircare Products

When it comes to haircare, I have to be really careful because a lot of brands out there like to use toxic and oil stripping ingredients. A lot of people don't realise that shampoo and conditioner are the two products that have the most harmful ingredients in them. My scalp is very sensitive to SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate, that stuff that makes it foam, it's found in shampoo, cleansers, body washes, etc.); it makes me itch and turns my scalp red. Before I knew what the culprit was, I just thought that the itching was normal.

When I came across a natural brand (which I will be reviewing soon), it didn't foam up very well and after a day, it made my hair very oily. To me, a shampoo was supposed to foam up, that was what I was told, so I stopped using it and went back to commercial shampoos and continued on with the itchy scalp.

After a while I got so fed up that I decided to do some research. It turns out, that when you use a natural shampoo with no foaming agents, your hair will be greasy for the first 2 weeks. Why? Because your scalp is trying to adjust itself back to the way it's supposed to be. It's trying to push out all of the drying ingredients that you have put on your head for so long and calm itself down. Your scalp is not supposed to be stripped of all it's oils, it shocks it and makes it produce more oil than it should, just like your skin would with a oil stripping cleanser.
I also found out that SLS is so powerful that it is used to clean out the engines of cars. Why are you putting that on your scalp and face!? That is too abrasive. The oil on your head and on your skin is not like an oil from a car. Stop using it!

Commercial shampoos and conditioners are purposefully made to be drying to your hair to make you buy more of their products, like anti-frizz serums, "natural" oil treatments made from "argan" (they only have to have a drop to be called an argan oil treatment. They are bulked up with more toxic ingredients. Don't buy.) Products that claim to have been "infused" with argan; have hardly any in there. The brand is just jumping onto the bandwagon to make you part with your money.

One such culprit is L'oreal with their Precious Oil Treatment, the precious oil being argan, which only has a small concentration of argan oil in there. It has also been bulked up with olive oil, sunflower oil and carrot oil, to make it feel more oily, so the consumer feels like they are using a luxurious product. The main ingredients are cyclopentasiloxane and dimethicone/ol which are silicone-based conditioning agents that smooth hair, and make it look shiny. Doesn't argan oil smooth out hair and make it shiny? So why have they got these ingredients to make your hair look shiny? Because they have hardly any argan oil in there.

Argan oil is very expensive. I wonder why they don't actually release argan oil on it's own? Oh yes, because it's expensive, and it works, so you wont have to buy so many of their products to improve your hair condition. That's why.

Another culprit is Moroccan Oil. Their oil treatment does exactly the same thing. And guess what? The first two ingredients are our little friends, cyclopentasiloxane and dimethicone and another silicone has been added; cyclomethicone. The fifth ingredient is Argan Oil, but it only takes up less than 5% of the product, so it's practically useless, and the sixth ingredient is Linseed Oil.

You can buy 100ml of PURE 100% Argan Oil that is both organically certified by the Soil Association and cold pressed for £14.40 from Fushi. Whilst a 100ml bottle of Moroccan Oil is £31, what a rip off! You are paying for silicones and a brand name. I suggest you bin it.

A lot of research is needed, by you, to find products that work for both your skin and hair, and that are safe too. The reason these brands use these ingredients, and it is a fact, are because they are cheap. They don't care if they are unsafe or do nothing to improve your hairs condition. They only want your money. It's the cold hard truth.

Have you found any natural products that work for you? What is your stand on commercial brands and their ingredients. I would like to know your opinions. Comment below!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Missha Vita Matte BB Cream Review

Hey everyone, today I will be reviewing one of Missha's BB creams. This is the Vita Matte BB Cream, there are two, a gold and silver one. The silver one has a matte finish, whilst the gold one is more moisturising. It only comes in one shade unfortunately. It is a tanned colour, but once I blended it in, it oxidised and changed to suit my skintone.
This BB cream comes with; SPF 20 PA++ and claims to be suitable for sensitive skin. Yay!

Sorry for the bad phone pictures. Again.

The one I have is a sample size (Of course) with a screw on cap which the larger size has too. I like pumping action though! :(
After squeezing it out, I can see that it has a grey-ish undertone mainly due to the SPF in it. When looking at it, you wouldn't think it was that thick, but when you start blending it in you realise that you need a lot more effort. I'd say the coverage is medium. It covers up your little bumps, but not those blemishes that you've squeezed and picked. You'll need concealer for that. I have dark circles and it does cover them up a little, but I still needed concealer to well... conceal them.

Here's the blending process for you.

Spreading it out...


Blended! See, changed to suit my skintone. Magic!

Now, onto the challenge of applying the BB cream. I've had little adventure with this, trial and error, but that's the fun part, eh?

Round one.
I tried it with a stippling brush at first, put a little bit on the back of my hand, dipped it and swirled it across my face. It felt like there was nothing on my face, didn't look like it either, do you know why? Cause it was all on the frickin' brush! I managed it dab some of it onto my face, but it was incredibly hard to blend in because it is so thick and the bristles are flimsy. Not recommended!

Round two.
Tried it with my fingers this time. This came out pretty well, but since the cream is so thick, you really have to work it in to be able to blend it across your face. This ended up with me having a sore face afterwards because you really have to pull at your skin. But after the sweat and tears my face looked shiny and felt pretty sticky, and still after I patted it in. I had to put powder over my face to stop it from looking as shiny and feeling sticky.

Round three.
I tried it with a foundation brush this time. I liked using the foundation brush because it gave an airbrushed look and didn't feel as if I was wearing make-up after I patted it in. No stickiness or shiny-ness! Woo! The downside to this is that you have to use a lot more than usual, and sometimes it looks as if the brush is just pulling it around. But afterwards the finish looks amazing, even without powder. But when I put powder on, ooh la la!

It doesn't have that much of a matte finish, there was a slight sheen, and I had to powder throughout the day because my face became like an oil slick. I definitely would not recommend this for summer time as it is too thick of a consistency, I would recommend it for winter time instead.
But other than that, it is a good BB cream if you don't need that much coverage. But for the rest of us imperfect mortals, I'd say look elsewhere.

Have you tried this BB cream out? Did it work for you? Leave a comment below!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Nanas' B - It's My Secret! Cleanser Review

My review for today is for a skincare product from Nanas' B that is endorsed by the K-Pop boy band SHINee and Sulli from f(x). The version I have is a foam cleanser for normal skin and comes in a blue plastic packaging.

A lot of you probably haven't heard of it because I think it's exclusive to South Korea. Now I bet you're wondering, "How on earth did you get a hold of it then?". Well, luckily for me, I have a Korean friend who very kindly sent this to me.

Now, on with the review!

The packaging is very simple, with 'Nanas' B' in lower case at the top with a 'B' in a quotation bubble. Their little tagline 'It's my secret' is also on the bottle with the 'hangeul' or 'hanja' translation underneath, and then there's a little description underneath which I found funny.

'Angel's tear controls sebum and troubles, purifies your skin effectively.'

Angel's tear? I never knew angels existed, but okay.~ If it brings in customers, it's fine by me.

Now on with the product itself. When I (eventually) squeezed the product out it was very creamy and had this very nice pearly sheen to it. When I started working it through my fingers it felt oily; but once I put it on my face, it kind of felt like I was putting moisturiser on as there is no foam. The next day I tried it, I put more water with it and it started to lather up in my hands, but not a lot.

Now, after I had washed it off I felt very clean which is good, but then, when I went to touch my face I couldn't move my hand! It wouldn't slide across my face. I can't find an ingredients list, but I'm certain that it must have a high percentage of alcohol in it because my face got extremely dry afterwards, and I have combination-oily skin, especially in the summer. Now this is the normal version, I can't even begin to think what would happen with the oily version.

It took me quite a while to pin point what it smells like, and I'm still in that process. I keep on sniffing it, and I right now I have two conclusions. One, I think it smells like aloe vera. But on the other hand, it kind of smells like shampoo. Maybe? I don't know. I'll get back to you on that one.

Have any of you tried this product? If so, what did you think? Skincare product outcomes differ from person to person, so if it doesn't work out perfectly for me, you never know, it could work for you.~


Sunday, 2 February 2014

My Sugar-Free Life So Far

It has been four weeks since I started to quit sugar. It has been hard; but I feel a lot better now. I have more energy, I don't get that 11 o'clock slump anymore and I need less sleep. I can walk down the cake aisle in a shop and not want cake! It's amazing!

Though saying that, I do crave cake a lot. I like the texture of cake; and I think that's what I miss the most, yet whenever I walk down the cake aisle, I still don't buy any. I think it's because I know what the stuff inside the cake will do to me. So instead, I've been frantically trying to find a sugar-free cake recipe. And when I say sugar-free, I mean it. That means no honey, molasses, agave, maple syrup, etc.

When it comes to baking; everything needs to be in equal amounts. That has been the hard part because Stevia weighs nothing, yet tastes 300x sweeter than sugar! It has been racking my brains.

Though thankfully, I have come across some sugar-free recipes to curb my craving and an article on how to Replace Sugar With Stevia, and a good website that specialises in sweet treats without the white stuff, Family Fresh Cooking.

The hardest meal of the day for me is breakfast. Every breakfast cereal, apart from porridge, was laden with sugar. A lot of these quit sugar recipes require a lot of time on hand and expensive ingredients or eggs and bacon (I don't like eggs or bacon). Well, honey, I don't have the time or the money to make these elaborate breakfasts. I wake up at 6:30am and leave the house at 7:30am to get to college by 9am, plus I wander around like a zombie in the morning, AND it somehow takes me 20 minutes to make and eat just a normal breakfast. Maybe I'm just special.

So what I've come to do is either make boring porridge (which takes a bit of time, since I like to make it on a stove, so I've reserved that for weekends) or just grill a bagel with some cheddar cheese and ham for breakfast instead, which I have been doing a lot lately. It's quick. But, what I hate about myself is that I can't stick to one breakfast for a long time. I get bored; and once I get bored, I no longer eat breakfast, which is bad! So now I'm fuddled as to what else I can quickly make.

Everyone says how shakes are a good and quick breakfast to have in the morning, but all of the recipes I've come across use really expensive ingredients. In the UK, food is incredibly expensive, so the idea of using a whole avocado in a shake is terrifying. So, I am still on my search.

But on a good note! I feel healthy! I've also lost some weight too. In four weeks I have lost 7 pounds, I've gone from 12.7 stone to 12 stone. I am so proud of myself, and the fact that I can eat whatever I want as long as it doesn't have sugar, is a bonus!

I've lost this weight without any exercise, apart from the walking that I do to get to college, due to a little experiment I'm having. I'm seeing if quitting sugar actually has any more benefits other than internal health. I believe you can lose weight without doing exercise. You gained the weight through eating, so you can lose it through eating.
Exercise is more for toning and keeping yourself fit, not for losing weight. I still strongly suggest exercising, even if it's just walking, to gain bone strength and to get you outside of the house. It's also good for clearing your head and giving you some alone time in the fresh air. Just going outside is good for you. We spend so much time crammed up inside and worrying about the things in life, just go outside, sit on the grass and let everything go, even if it's just for 30 minutes. It will do you good.

What do you do to feel healthy? Do you think a sugar-free lifestyle is just another hype, do you think it is sustainable? Would you be able to give it up? I would love to know your opinions.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Oil Cleansing


It's usually something you associate with cooking, right? Well, it's also very beneficial to your skin.
Whenever you tell someone that oil is good for their skin, even oily skin, they look at you with both surprise and skepticism. Why? Because we have been made to think that oil will create more oil on the skin, when actually, it does the exact opposite.

Water penetrates water. Oil penetrates oil.
We all have different skin-types and pH-balances; and there is an oil out there that suits every single one.

When it comes to skincare, we try to make our skin go from being either of the extremes, to normal, but a lot of commercial skincare products out there end up stripping our skin of it's vital oils, especially those with oily skin. When you strip an oily skin-type of it's oil, the skin goes into shock and creates more oil to compensate for the dryness. It also doesn't help that a lot of people with oily skin never moisturise either.

It's all about pH-balancing. Conventional cleansers are heavily alkaline based whilst our skins acid-mantle is more on the acidic side, so those cleansers actually work against your skin and try to change the overall pH-balance. Those people who use alkaline cleansers and rave about how good they are, have altered their skin's pH. When they go to use pH-balancing products, their skin will fight back and probably break-out.

Washing and hydrating your face with oils is a good step towards good skin. Here are a list of oils to use with each skin type. It can vary, and like with skincare products, you need to experiment to find the perfect one for you. Oil Cleansing is best to be used at night since it gets the bulk of your makeup off, then you follow up with another cleanser.

Oily - Hazelnut, Castor, Argan, Tamanu and Jojoba are good oils for oily skin because they level out the oil balance.

Combination-Oily - Extra Virgin Olive, Avocado, Hazelnut, Argan, Castor, Tamanu, and Jojoba.

Normal - Extra Virgin Olive, Avocado, Argan, Castor, Sweet Almond, Rosehip, Tamanu.

Combination-Dry - Extra Virgin Olive, Avocado, Argan, Castor, Coconut, Tamanu, Macadamia.

Dry - Extra Virgin Olive, Avocado, Castor, Argan, Coconut, Tamanu, Macadamia.

Acne-Prone - Rosehip, Castor, Avocado, Tamanu, Argan, Hazelnut.

Sensitive - Apricot Kernel, Rosehip, Grapeseed, Coconut, Argan, Jojoba, Tamanu.

Mature - Rosehip, Carrot (Beware, will make you orange. ;P), Avocado, Argan, Jojoba, Tamanu (Especially good for mature skin), Extra Virgin Olive.

When using Extra Virgin Olive Oil, make sure it is truly extra virgin. There are some brands out there that claim it is virgin, when in fact it is a blend of both Virgin, Olive oil and Extra virgin. Extra Virgin is needed since it has all of the anti-oxidants, unlike those that have been filtered.
Don't use Coconut, Peach Kernel or Olive Oil on skin that is oily or prone to acne break-outs.

A good place to get oils from is Fushi, their oils are extremely high quality. All of their bottles are amber glass with built in droppers, so you wont end up wasting anything. They are also at very good prices too.
A good place to get castor oil is from Pukka Organics, the brand that makes tea blends also. It is the highest quality I have come across.

It is important to use high quality because you are paying for sustainable farming, fairtrade and not harming your own skin with herbicides and pesticides. Make the right choice.

Do you oil cleanse? If so, what oils do you use and has it improved your skin at all? Comment below.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Skincare I Want To Get My Hands On!

I have recently been searching the internet for reviews on skincare and have come across many brands that make me want to take my debit card and mercilessly murder my bank balance!

As a student, I don't get much money, BUT I will always want to spend as much as I can on skincare to find that perfect skincare routine that works for me. Some say that it is impossible. I say, "You fools! You do not BELIEVE!"

I do.
I believe in fairies.

But seriously, investing in a good skincare routine will do you lots of good for the future (same with drinking water and eating your veggies #listentoyourmum). It will save you stress from a break out, it will brighten your skin and it will halt the incoming of wrinkles when you reach 40! Yaaaay!

Recently I've been stalking reading bloggers that cater to organic skincare whilst also reviewing Korean skincare too and these are the brands that I have found.

This company is quite new, but their products are highly raved about on the internet. Their most famous product being the Snail Bee High Content Essence, but all of them have had very good reviews.

All of their products are good for all skin types, and I mean that. Since the main ingredient in all of their products is Aloe Vera juice and not water, they all have very soothing effects which are perfect for both sensitive and acne-prone skin alike.

I've ordered my first batch of Benton Snail Bee Essence today, don't tell my boyfriend. ;)
I can't help it, there was a SALE!

Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule

 This here serum has been compared to Estee Lauders Advanced Night Repair and is a rival to it, at a fraction of the price. I wantses it, I needses it!
Besides, I think Estee Lauder is way too overpriced for what you get. A 50ml bottle of Advanced Night repair is £65 whilst a 50ml bottle of Time Revolution is £25!

Shea Terra Organics

Apart from loving the word-play of the brand, this brand also has a lot of hype around it. I've checked the ingredients, and they are all very good with no unneeded dilution of ingredients from chemicals. They have a hefty postage and packaging price, but if you subscribe to their newsletter, you get 30% off products every month! It's worth it!
The two things I really want to try out is their Rose Hips Black Soap Deep Pore Wash to help with my acne, and their Argan, Zafron, Camel's Milk Brightening Lait Creme. The camel's milk intrigues me the most. Some people might think it is disgusting; I'm curious about it. I welcome "weird" ingredients. It's often the weird ones that are the best ones.

Have any of you tried any of these brands or products? Do you have any brands that really make you want to spend? Leave a comment!

Western Skincare vs. Asian Skincare

Skincare can be quite soothing and relaxing. I find it so. The routine of it makes me feel good. For others, it may be a chore. I like the way my skin feels after I have applied everything in the morning and night, and I like to see the effects they bring, it excites me to know that my face cream is having great effects on my skins condition. Thanks to this, I am a skincare junkie. I love it so much. If there is a sale on skincare, I'll be in there elbows first!

But what I've found out is that Western skincare is lagging behind Asian skincare by at least 10 years! I was surprised at first, everyone likes to think that Western = the best/more advanced, but then I started to do some research.

In Asia, there are skincare products that have snail secretion, bee venom and egg shell membrane, ingredients that Western skincare brands wouldn't touch with a barge pole. I often wondered why. Asian skincare also has active ingredients, like Western brands, but at a more potent level. Whilst Western brands like to water down these active ingredients with shed-loads of chemicals (or include them at lower doses) so they don't end up giving the real benefits of said ingredient.
Lower-end Asian skincare brands rival that of Western higher-end, that is something to think about. Imagine what higher-end Asian brands would give? I'm curious!

The demand for skincare in Asia is so much higher than it is in Western countries. In Western countries, we like to buy more makeup than we do skincare, which baffles me. If you have good skin, you wont need so much makeup, and that is true. Most people in Western society don't seem to grab onto that idea though, they think skincare is tedious, and if they do-do it, it's only the bare minimum. Though saying that, a lot of Western beauty bloggers are helping to push the importance of skincare, which is good.

I believe that makeup is to be used to enhance, not to cover up. If you have acne and you use makeup to cover it, it's only going to make it worse.

I've played around with Korean skincare brands for a while, but for some reason, went back to a Western routine, which I regret. My skin has been so bad!
I'm going to show you the differences between Western and Asian routines.

Western Routine:
Moisturiser - Optional

Serum - Optional
Moisturiser - Optional

I highly recommend an Asian skin routine because the extra steps make sure that your skin is pumped full of moisture and protected from the sun.

Asian Routine:
Cleanser - Get two cleansers. One for mornings which is gentle, and one for night which will take off the rest of your makeup. If you have oily skin, use a cleanser made for normal skin. Cleansers usually made for oily skin strip too much oil, thus making your skin oilier to compensate for the dryness.
Toner - An Asian toner is moisturising, not drying like ours are. If you have oily skin, still use a moisturising toner. Your skin is oily due to dryness.)
Gel - To lightly moisturise.
Cream - To moisturise further, especially if you have dry skin.  If you have oily skin, apply little by little. Feel your skin to see how it's reacting.

Oil-Cleanse - To get rid of the bulk of your make-up.
Cleanser - If your cleanser isn't getting off the rest of your make-up, get a new cleanser.
Toner - NOT for getting rid of the rest of the make-up
Mask (Optional)
Spot Treatment (Optional)

See the difference? A lot more thought is put into their skincare which is why a lot of the time, their skin is amazing.
A good place to get Korean skincare is either RoseRoseShop or Cosmetic-Love. They are both South Korea based, so it will take some time for the products to get to you, but it is so worth it.

Good brands to use are:
- Benton - Highly recommend! The best skincare some people have ever used, and it is chemical free. It's had huge ravings.
- Missha - Their Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule (Serum basically) rivals, maybe even better than, Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair at a fraction of the price, with better ingredients and a more high-end feel. Their bottle is made from glass, whilst Estee Lauders is made from brown plastic.

For other alternatives use Ciracle, Mizon, From Nature, ElishaCoy, Skinfood, Innisfree, Laneige, Etude House (The cutest packaging EVER!) and Nature Republic.

You have to remember that South Korea's beauty industry is incredibly competitive, even more so than ours. Due to this, their skincare is better than ours and have better ingredients. I recommend to invest. And they have so many sales! One is on right now at both RoseRoseShop and Cosmetic-Love due to Korean New Year, but you wont get your items shipped until after February 5th. Get buying!

What is your skin routine like? Are there any products that are your "holy grails"? Have you too started to adopt an Asian skin routine or are you comfortable with the Western one? Comment below, I would love to know.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Sugar Is Making You Fat and Sick

For many years now, fat has been demonised for making people fat. What if I was to tell you that it wasnt? What if I was to tell you that fructose was the thing that was making you fat?

We are all addicted to sugar even before we come out of the womb. Everything your mother ate, you ate, that also includes sugar. Don't believe me? Try quitting it, then you will see. You will have cravings, you will be tired and hungry all of the time, you might get cold sweats, you might feel dizzy and sick. That 10 o'clock chocolate bar you have to get you through till lunch will have to be substituted for something else.

But after 6 weeks of being fructose free, you will feel so much better. You will refuse to have that chocolate bar or that piece of cake because your body wont want it. You will be free from the grip of fructose, to the point where you may be able to smell the sugar in the cereal aisle, from the other side of the supermarket.

"Everything in moderation"

I hate that term. Everyone's opinion on moderation is different. Eating a piece of fruit a day to me may seem moderate, yet for someone else, eating 3 pieces of fruit is moderate. Nutritionists need to stop promoting "everything in moderation" because it doesn't work.
Our bodies naturally moderate our eating for us. They tell us when we've had too much to eat, so there is no need to moderate how much you eat. When our bodies have had too much fat, it tells us to stop eating because it wants to metabolise it. The same goes for complex carbohydrates, fibre and glucose.

And do you know why? Because our bodies recognise those things. When they enter the body, it knows what to do with it all.

It isn't the same for fructose.
Fructose isn't recognised inside the body, so when it enters it, the liver turns it straight into fat. Fructose also blocks your leptin signals that tell you when you are full, so you end up overeating.
Fructose also makes your insulin not do it's job of regulating fat and carbohydrates, so it ends up making your pancreas go into overdrive to metabolise what you eat, which raises your blood pressure, which then contributes to Type-2 Diabetes.

Whenever you eat fructose, your body cannot control how much you eat.
Back in caveman days, whenever you came across a berry bush, or hit the goldmine and found a honey bee nest, you would gorge on them, because you didn't know when you would stumble across another one. You cannot moderate fructose, it is impossible, because your body isn't designed to do so.

Fructose is found in many things;
Fruit - only eat one or two pieces of fruit a day. Even though fruit has fructose, it has twice as much fibre which stops some of the sugar from blocking the leptin signals. But not a lot, so only a few pieces of fruit a day is advised.
Fruit Juice - which is pure sugar, I don't recommend drinking them
Dried fruit - also pure sugar, don't eat them
High-fructose corn syrup
Sugar - any kind, even the 'healthy' sugars like coconut palm.
Agave syrup
Maple syrup
Lucuma Powder

Fructose is in everything you buy from the shop, except from meat and vegetables. Walk into a supermarket and check the back of any packet, and you will see, 10 times out of 10, that it will have sugar in it.

That 'low-fat' yoghurt you bought? Full of sugar. Do you know why? When the fat is taken out, all of the flavour is taken out too, it would taste like cardboard. In order to bring flavour back, they add sugar to make it palatable. Never buy 'low-fat' or 'no-fat'. Always consume whole foods, so whole milk, whole nuts, wholegrain, etc. Apart from the whole milk, those foods have lots of fibre in them too. Fibre is taken out of a lot of packaged food to give it a longer shelf life and to make it cook quicker. All fast food restaurants take the fibre out of all their food to make it cook quicker and to be able to ship it around the globe. Never eat fast food, apart from a salad, even the so-called 'healthy' fast food chains.

Everyone tries to defend fructose consumption by saying;
"It's natural; so it's good for you" - Tobacco is natural, and that isn't good for you. So is petroleum, but you wouldn't eat that.
Or, "But sugar is in our blood, so you can eat it" - Yes, sugar is in our blood, but that sugar is glucose, not fructose.

A can of Coco-cola has 9 teaspoons of sugar in it. A glass of apple juice has 10 teaspoons of sugar in it.

Here is how you calculate how much sugar is in a product.
Look at the chart on the back of the label which says 'Nutrition Typical Values', go down to ''Carbohydrates, of which are sugar'' and the value will be written in grams. To turn that value into teaspoons, you divide that value by 4 to get the total teaspoons.
Why teaspoons you ask? Because it's easier to visualise how much sugar there is via teaspoons.

Here are two low-fat yoghurts;
Activia Zero-fat Raspberry Yoghurt 165g
Yeo Valley Organic Zero-fat Vanilla Yoghurt 450g

The Activia yoghurt has 13g of sugar in it. That equates to 3.25 teaspoons of sugar per 165g.

Now, the Yeo Valley yoghurt has 23.7g of sugar per 150g, which equates to 5.9 teaspoons of sugar. If you were to eat that whole pot (which I could have done easily), that equates to 106.65g(estimate) of sugar or 26 teaspoons. That is a lot.

Commercial bread also has sugar in it, so I recommend making your own or going to a real bakery and asking if they have any without sugar in it.

Here is the estimated total sugar for cereals per 100g;
Dorset Cereals Oat Granola, 31.25g per 100g or 7.8 teaspoons
Kelloggs All-Bran, 32.5g per 100g or 8 teaspoons
Kelloggs Special K, 27.5g per 100g or 6.8 teaspoons
Nestle Cheerios, 21.4 per 100g or 5.3 teaspoons

You are only supposed to have 6 teaspoons of sugar for a woman and 8 teaspoons for a man. That seems like quite a lot if you look at it, and hard to reach, but you will be shocked by how much you eat in a day.

So, if you were to have a glass of apple juice and a bowl of Nestle Cheerios, you would have already blown your sugar intake for the day at just breakfast time.
Then you may have a chocolate bar or an apple as a snack before lunch. For lunch you may have a pre-packed sandwich from a supermarket, another piece of fruit with some more fruit juice and maybe a packet of crisps. Calculate how much sugar you are eating in a day, and you will be astonished by how much there is.

I, myself, was eating at least 35 teaspoons of sugar a day. It made me feel a bit sick, actually. I was convinced that I was eating healthy sugar like fruits, dried fruits and honey, yet couldn't pin point why I was gaining so much weight. I've now quit sugar for 2 weeks and I've already lost 3lbs, without doing anything.

I honestly don't blame fat people for being fat. No one chooses or wants to be fat. The amount of gripe that fat people get is disgusting. It's all well and great if you can eat whatever you want and don't gain a pound due to a high metabolism, but not everyone is like that.
I thought I was eating healthy, a lot healthier than a lot of high-metabolised people I knew, but couldn't shift a pound. It got me very upset, confused and my self-esteem shrunk, because I was eating ''healthy'' and doing exercise too, yet I was still fat.

The amount of sugar that is in our food is scary. Sugar makes you eat more because that leptin signal is blocked, so your body can't tell when you are full up. It is also very addictive, and whenever you think you're eating healthy, if you look at the back of the packet, it will be laden with sugar. It's a landmine of sugar in the supermarket.
You will have to start making things from scratch, which wont take too long.

I have to admit, it has been hard, especially at breakfast. We've been hardwired by the breakfast industry to think the only things you can eat for breakfast are cereal or toast. Well, there are other things out there, you just need to experiment.
If you come to quit sugar, your best friends will be eggs, bacon and cheese. Protein and fat are going to keep you full.

Here is a video on sugar and what it does to you, it is very insightful;
Sugar: The Bitter Truth by Robert Lustig

Here are some books to read about the subject too;
Pure, White and Deadly by John Yudkin, published in 1972 but was side-lined due to the growing demand in low-fat food.
Fat Chance: The Hidden Truth about Sugar, Obesity and Disease by Robert Lustig.
Sweet Poison by David Gillespie, a more recent look at sugar and what it does to the body.
I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson, has recipes in there to help with the detox of ridding sugar from your life. You may think that the recipes are impractical or expensive due to the ingredients, but you wont be buying cakes, bread, pre-packaged food anymore, so it wont be as expensive.

Friday, 17 January 2014

My Story and Inspiration

Since the start of this year I have been trying to get my health, state of mind and weight in check. Since I started puberty, I have been overweight and unable to shift it. My mother had always given me more to eat than a little girl should. At the age of 7; I was eating adult size meals. I thought that was normal back then, I didn't know any different, but looking back now; I realise that I was hugely overfed.

What didn't help was the fact that I was not allowed to leave the table when I was full up, I had to keep on eating to finish what was on my plate, and that has affected my eating habits now. I used to get bullied a lot at school and at home. I looked different from the other children (Half Turkish-Cypriote) and I was shy and quiet, so an easy target. I was often called fat and ugly, and no one wanted to play with me, I was extremely lonely as a child. I was an outcast. And my mother kept on telling me I had to lose weight, that I was fat, yet she wasn't willing to help me lose any of it. She continued to give me huge meals, and so the weight piled on.

I used to comfort eat to make myself feel better, I had no one to talk to, so food was my only way of coping. That and video games. This led me to gain more weight, which got me bullied more and made my self-esteem fly out of the window.
When I was 16 and finally left school, the bullying stopped, but I still had no self esteem. I would wrap myself up in baggy clothes, only have my hair up and wore nothing girly because I thought I was too ugly/manly-looking to wear it. I was overweight for my height, 5'3'' and 13 stone, and not feeling very comfortable in my own skin. I was diagnosed with depression, which I already knew I had, and started my journey towards healing my mental health issues.

My biggest hurdle to healthy living was the "I have asthma" excuse. I do know that doing exercise was always harder for me than it was for everyone else, but I let that excuse stop me from taking the big step to being healthy and happy. This went on for years, I'd always complained that I couldn't do exercise because of my asthma. I power walked everywhere, still do now, but that wasn't enough to shift the weight. I couldn't understand why my body mass wasn't shrinking, I power walked everyday and ate what I thought to be 'healthy'. I ate better than a lot of the people I knew, yet I was the fat one. I was confused and upset.

I was addicted to sugar. If someone put out a cake in front of me, I couldn't just have one piece, I had to have two or three. I just couldn't help myself, I had no willpower. I convinced myself that I was eating healthily when it came to everything else, so having two pieces of cake was justified. Well; it wasn't.
I read an article in a magazine telling how sugar is both addictive (more addictive than cocaine!) and a danger to our health. Whilst reading the article, something clicked in my head, what they were saying just made sense to me. It said that a lot of what we eat is laden with sugar, even the food we think to be savoury. I tracked back to all of the 'healthy' things I usually ate, and found out the sugar content of everything I ate in one day. It was an extortionate amount, it was scary.  Why is the food industry spiking our food with sugar? All of the 'Low-fat' and 'No-fat' food is full of sugar. And do you know why? Because to take the fat out, the flavour, you have to add something back in to make it taste good.

It finally made sense as to why I couldn't shift the unwanted weight. I was eating too much sugar, way too much. I decided to cut down on my sugar intake, and bought a book called "I Quit Sugar" by Sarah Wilson to help me do so. The only downside of this book is the fact that a lot of recipes call for expensive ingredients, or those you can only buy on the internet, and take a lot of time to prepare. In the UK, food is incredibly expensive, so putting a whole avocado into a green smoothie would rack up quite a large food bill. So I am entirely going at this on my own, reading her book to keep myself inspired. I am constantly learning about the things that we eat and find it very interesting.
I am also about to apply for a gym membership to help with the weight loss and overall good health. I like to swim, so I may spend most of the time in the pool. Though, the gym I want to go to is starting a female strength class, so I may do that too, it seems interesting.

Only now am I slowly getting my self-esteem back, it's been too long to be continuously hating how I look. It's time for change.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Honey and Cinnamon Spot Zapper!

I've had a lot of breakouts recently that have become and annoyance.
I don't have perfect skin, far from it, but I have a habit of picking at spots which makes them even worse. One of my new years resolutions is to stop picking at spots, which I have already failed, but the thought counts. I have one on the side of my mouth which really hurts, and it's taking all of my willpower not to pop it, but I have a secret weapon.

Ta daaaaa!

The Cinnamon and Honey Spot Mask

It's a simple recipe really..

Cinnamon - preferably a teaspoon
Honey - Just enough to mix all of the cinnamon in.

All you need is some cinnamon and some honey, mix it into a paste and apply it to a cleaned face. Leave it on the skin for as long as you would like, but I wouldn't recommend going to bed with it on, you might have a messy pillowcase in the morning. To remove, just gently rub off with a wet flannel, and then apply your moisturiser to add moisture back to your skin.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Why I am creating this blog

I have tried to make a blog once before, but it failed miserably. I didn't keep it up unfortunately. So here, I have started again, but this time I am documenting my progress on my skin and my health.

Recently I have started a new lifestyle change. I have decided to quit sugar.
Why, you are probably thinking?
Well, sugar has been linked to the rise in obesity and cancer, and a book published in 1972, "Pure, White and Deadly", realised this would happen, yet was shortlisted due to the rise of the 'Fat is bad' bandwagon that has plagued the modern diet.

Fat does not make you fat.

Our ancestors ate a high-fat diet yet stayed lean, there was no 'low-fat' alternative and better for it. Anything 'low-fat' or 'no-fat' has had high amounts of sugar added to it to make it taste the same as full fat. Doesn't that sound weird to you? It does to me. We are a nation of sugar addicts, and like any addict, you don't know that you are addicted. When you try to eradicate it from your life, it takes immense willpower, because there are danger zones everywhere that entice you to break away from the diet. No more store bought chocolate, no more ice cream, no more chocolate milkshake, and lastly... No make cake. (Nooooooo!)

It has been a week of no sugar for me, and the signs of addiction are evident. I feel like I need sugar, I need it to make me happy, and if I don't have it, I get moody. I have managed to stay sugar free for a week, surprisingly. I do feel sorry for my boyfriend though, he gets the brunt of my sugar-laden aggression, but he knows not to take it seriously. He gets his revenge by eating a bar of chocolate in front of me. RAAAAGE.

This isn't just a food blog, it is also a beauty blog. I also jumped onto the organic skincare bandwagon too, I started July this year and my skin has become better because of it.

This blog is to track my progress, to share my ups and downs, and my recipes and food choices. If you like what I have to share, then I encourage you to keep on reading.