29 July 2017

French lavender hand cream (that leaves your hands grease-free)

French lavender hand cream (that leaves your hands grease-free)

I'm a serial hand-washer. There's no two ways about it, I'm obsessed. I'm not saying this because 'omg so proud about how clean I am', but because I do it to a point where I require hand cream to salve the damage I create. I work in a restaurant, and wash my hands after every dirty plate I touch. That's a whole lotta plates. 

Admittedly, the skin on my hands is a lot worse in winter. Not only does it have to cope with lots of soap irritation, but also wind chapping. In winter I need some seriously heavy duty creams, but in summer I can get away with something a little lighter. This is where this beauty from Bath and Body Works comes in.

I've tried so many different hand creams. I've got half a desk drawer of them. I've even tried the holy grail of hand creams for sore hands: The Body Shop's hemp oil cream. Every time I mention that my hands are cracked or dry someone recommends it to me. The problem is that it doesn't sink into my skin properly (and irritates my sensitive skin, but y'know). So, I'm left with sticky, tacky hands. Which makes me want to wash them again. It leads to a vicious cycle and makes the whole point of using the cream useless.

I didn't have high hopes for this mini French lavender scented hand cream from Bath and Body Works. I totally picked it up because lavender is my fave scent ever, not because I thought it would save my hand skin. #priorities. 

However, I've finally found a cream that sinks into my skin perfectly. It smells amazing, it's lightweight and it totally evaporates into my skin. It doesn't irritate my very sensitive eczema-prone skin at all, although this doesn't mean it might not do it to someone else. I've finally found the product that provides balance between moisturing my hands without leaving a film of hand cream behind. I LOVE it, and the next time I head back to America this is at the top of my 'need to buy' list.

What do you use to keep your hands moisturised?

(This is totally not sponsored, I just have a whole lotta love for it) 

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28 July 2017

The responsibility of being a mental health blogger

The responsibility of being a mental health blogger

I LOVE writing about mental health. I love challenging people's stereotypes about MH sufferers, I love spreading awareness and I love tackling taboos. It's something I bring everywhere I go. I chat about it in the workplace, in my relationship, with my friends, on social media and of course on my blog.

BUT

I definitely feel inhibited in terms of chatting about it on my blog. For me, it's my most important platform (even more so than vocally talking about it to people), because it's there on the internet for everyone to see. It's not a conversation that happens and is forgotten, or a tweet that goes missing amidst a sea of thoughts and blog post promos. Instead, it's something that people can look for, and come back to when they need it.

I'm not saying that I think people use my blog as some kind of mental health bible, or that I don't feel comfortable sharing my story on the internet. I firmly believe that personal tales are key to reducing the stigma around mental health, which is why I spoke about my own struggle with self-harm. Instead, I'm saying that I feel an immense amount of pressure to say the right thing. 

Usually I find writing blog posts fun and carefree. I love letting you guys know what kind of lipstick I'm loving at the moment, and I honestly do not feel guilty if someone bought it because of my post and hated it. It's rubbish, but it happens, and it's not my fault that we don't enjoy the same things.

With mental health posts it's different. I read and reread and consider every single word I say. I'm permanently conscious that every word is a potential trigger. My self harm story post was probably the hardest post for me to write for this blog. Not because it re-surfaced old traumas that I'd put behind me, but because I was trapped between not wanting to say too little or too much.

I didn't want to talk in-depth about how awful I found recovery at first; I didn't want to put anyone off attempting it. Equally, however, I didn't want to pretend it was easy; I didn't want anyone trying to recover to think that they were strange or isolated for struggling with recovery. It's exactly this trying to create a balance that makes things hard when writing mental health posts. I want to be honest, but I don't want to trigger people. I want to talk about things in depth, but I don't want to encourage people to do the things I have. I worry that I'm being selfish by not helping others by creating MH posts, and worry that I'm being selfish by using my blog as a space for my own catharsis, when it could trigger other people.

There's so many things I would want to talk about, but know that I would have to spend hours finding the right words, or even deciding whether it's a safe topic to talk about. I want to spread awareness about helping others who are suffering from self-harm. I want to write about how to potentially spot whether someone may be doing it, so that someone could be stopped from taking it one step too far, but I equally know that I would have HATED this when I was struggling; I would have been angry, mortified, and it would have triggered me to be worse. 

I'd love to talk about other mental health concerns. I've had some incredibly close friends that have suffered with eating disorders. I'd love to work to reduce the stigma against these types of mental health issues, but I feel like I can't because I haven't suffered from them myself.

All in all, I'd like to do more, but this concept of responsibility plays on my mind all the time. I want to make things better, not worse and I feel as though it's often a very fine line to tread.

Would you like to see more open or explicit MH posts? Do you blog about MH too? What are your thoughts on the whole notion of responsibility?

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25 July 2017

How to keep a rabbit safe in the summer heat

How to keep a rabbit safe in the summer heat

How to keep a rabbit safe in the summer heat

How to keep a rabbit safe in the summer heat

How to keep a rabbit safe in the summer heat

Before I launch into this (what I consider) very important post, can we just take a minute to appreciate how cute this little floofer is?! His name is Ted. He's an almost 4 year old male cross-breed bunny. And he's the calmest, friendliest lil bun that I've ever cuddled.

I always get worried about him and our other small furries in the warm weather, and the heatwave we had a few weeks ago had me in overdrive making sure he was always okay. If it's hot enough for us to pass out or get ill in, then it's definitely hot enough for your pets to suffer too. So, here are some things you can do to help keep them safe and healthy in the summer sun:

1.) Make sure at least one part of their hutch is always shaded. Most hutches have a 'bedroom' area with an opaque door, but if yours doesn't, then make sure the hutch is positioned so that your bunny can get out of direct sunlight if he or she needs to.

2.) Ensure that their water is always topped up. This seems obvious, but it's important to keep an eye on it. Ted prefers to drink out of bowls rather than bottles, so we fill one up in the morning and top it up in the evening so he doesn't end up thirsty overnight.

3.) Protect them against fly strike. This is really important, and my family had a bunny that actually passed away due to this before we had Ted. Fly strike is more likely to happen in summer as there are more flies about. The flies are most likely to be attracted to your rabbit's anus due to its warmth and wetness. Once there, they will lay eggs in and around the anus, maggots will hatch and they actually eat into your bunny's flesh. We've got a fly strike spray that we use once a week all over Ted's fur. It repels the insects, and can be used as a treatment once fly strike has set in. Obviously if you notice that it has take your bunny to the vets straightaway. Ensuring that their hutch is disinfected weekly and soiled bedding (which attracts flies) is removed regularly helps a lot too.

4.) Brush their fur daily whilst they molt. Ted is actually still getting his summer coat in at the moment. Brushing their fur means that they won't end up with matted fur, and will help them stay cooler, as you brush out their loosened winter coat.

5.) Place a frozen water bottle in their hutch. They can lie against it if they need that little something extra to cool down. I usually place one in a bit of hay so that it doesn't sit directly against Ted's fur. He seems to really enjoy lying against it during the heat of midday. We take it out again in the evening, pop it back in the freezer, and bring it to his hutch again in the morning.

Do you have any small pets? How do you keep them cool?

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21 July 2017

Trying out a bee venom sheet mask*

Trying out a bee venom sheet mask*

Sheet masks really have taken over the entire beauty market recently, as more and more Asian beauty inspired products are becoming popular. I'm still not 100% on them, as I love a good mud mask to de-clog my pores and soften my face. Plus, I have a huge mouth (fo real) and the mouth hole is always too small for me and I end up with the sheet mask liquid in my mouth. Gross.

But, when Shills offered to let me try their bee venom infused sheet mask* I knew I had to try it because when else would I get a chance to use something like this? Plus, I've been obsessed with the idea of trying out a bee venom formula ever since Nip + Fab released a range containing it. 

This hya-dermis mask is designed to give your face a bit of a lift and soften it. I was a little worried that the mask would make my face sting, or at least tingle a little, but it honestly didn't do that at all. It looked and felt similar to any other hydrating sheet mask I've ever used, but I have to say that the formula was quite nice and thick, rather than runny. I imagine this has something to do with the manuka honey in the mask (which totally drew me to it as well). 

I wasn't expecting to suddenly have the shiny face of 12 year old me back, and I'm very glad I didn't, but I did definitely notice some improvements. Once I took it off, I rubbed the excess moisture into my skin, and unlike other sheet masks I've used before *cough I'm looking at you Garnier cough*, it didn't leave my skin feeling sticky or tacky. It felt plump and clean and fresh. 

My skin is really hit and miss at the moment. Some days it's like full on chip shop grease (grim, I know), and others it's like the Sahara desert. Summer is not doing wonders for me at the moment. But, for the few days after I used this, it felt like my skin actually settled down to a happy medium. I would definitely use it again to help my skin find a nice middle ground.

Have you used something similar before?

*Although this post contains a product that has been sent to me, all opinions are my own*

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19 July 2017

Nip + Fab Detox Blend Range

Nip + Fab Detox Blend Range

Nip + Fab Detox Blend Range

I'm a big fan of a good detox. Whether that's from dairy, or sulphate shampoo, or soft drinks, I just love the idea of helping my body to help me out. I always think of a detox as a way to go back to ground zero, and a way to feel pretty zen. So it's no surprise that I had to give the detox blend range from Nip + Fab a go. 

Detox blend body wash

This was my favourite out of the three. The whole range is tea tree and jasmine scented, so as you can imagine, it smells very fresh and a little floral. This woke me up in the morning and made my skin feel genuinely clean. 

Detox blend body scrub

I was so excited to try this, but so so disappointed with the formula. I don't know if mine had gotten water in it, or what had happened, but the consistency was honestly like water with a few exfoliating beads in. I used up the whole bottle in four uses, and I was actually quite glad to get to the bottom of it. I tried so hard to persevere and use it, but it just ran off my skin, and the little bit of scrub that I managed to keep hold of just didn't exfoliate my skin as much as I would have liked. 

Detox blend body lotion

This was much better than the scrub. Although it was described as a lotion, it was fairly thin, so was almost like a milk. It's also the only lotion that I've ever used with a pump (I'm more of a body butter tub kinda gal normally). The lotion I used before this was so thick and greasy; it just refused to sink in. So, this was such a welcome break from that. It applied really easily, and felt clean and refreshing, which is definitely what I needed in the recent heatwave.

Have you ever tried any skin care from Nip + Fab? What would you recommend?

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18 July 2017

My 2017 New Years Resolutions: a six month update

My 2017 New Years Resolutions: a six month update
I'm big into New Years Resolutions. I love the New Year. It's a time to think about everything you've accomplished in the past year (almost always more than you thought you had), and to think about where you'd like to be in one year's time. This year I've decided to do a lil six month reset, and consider what I'm doing well with, and what I really want to work on. Back in January, I wrote this post on what I wanted to achieve in 2017, so it's time to take a peek at how things are going.

16 July 2017

June favourites and life update

June favourites and life update

June favourites and life update

June favourites and life update

June favourites and life update
I know most of you are going to flick past this, exactly the way I do when I see a favourites post this late on in a month because, really who cares at this point. But, I promise you that there are some absolute gems in here that you need to get your hands on. 

13 July 2017

4 bloggers whose content I'm loving this month

4 bloggers whose content I'm loving this month
I won't lie, this post was totally meant to go up a fortnight ago. I.e. it's all about the bloggers whose posts I adored in June. But, between a terrible mental health week, my sister visiting and generally having ridiculously low levels of organisation, here we are. And yes, this does mean I still have a June favourites to go up, even though I'm fully aware that no one will be interested. It's my monthly online diary entry, so I'll still be posting it.

8 July 2017

June Book Haul

June Book Haul. Nourish ME

June Book Haul. Nourish ME
It feels like forever since I last sat down to write something on here, but I know in reality it really hasn't been that long at all. I've been having quite a tough time with my mental health recently, and I'm really struggling to keep up with doing every day tasks. So, blogging has dropped behind a bit, and the fact that I'm really behind schedule is actually making my mental health worse. Vicious circle much? But, I've found the time to sit down today and write up a post about books, which is so nice as settling down to a good read, or picking up some new novels in a bookstore is something that genuinely helps my mental health a great deal. 

4 July 2017

Rimmel's new Insta range*: does it live up to the hype?

Rimmel's new Insta range*: does it live up to the hype?

Rimmel's new Insta range*: does it live up to the hype?

Rimmel's new Insta range*: does it live up to the hype?

Rimmel's new Insta range*: does it live up to the hype?

Rimmel's new Insta range*: does it live up to the hype?

Rimmel's new Insta range*: does it live up to the hype?
Rimmel has brought out a wealth of new products lately, and their Insta range is a bigun. Whoever does their PR was onto a winner when they created a massive list of bloggers to send their new bits and pieces out to: it feels like this range has been on everyone's lips for the past few weeks. I've spent a little while now testing everything in the range and I've definitely got some firm favourites that have me a little bowled over.