31 January 2016

Coconut Cups | The Perfectly Instagram-able Snack


I'm not going to lie, I've become a pretty hardcore Instagram addict recently. Nowadays you'll find me scouring the home ware sections of stores, hunting down the perfect Instagram photo prop or spending so long making the prettiest food picture that it will likely go cold before I manage to eat it. BUT I love it - it's my favourite app and I love putting effort into making it look awesome and letting my creative side out.
Making these coconut snack cups has been on my Insta bucket list for what seems like forever - all the awesome food bloggers seem to have done it and I wanted to too! It is the simplest (and cheapest!) way to make the awesomest of Instagram posts. All you do is get a coconut and your favourite fruit, or hummus, other dips, ice cream, smoothie, etc. You crack the coconut in half, fill it with your favourite goodies, find a pretty background and take a snap *insert camera emoji here*.
What's your favourite awesome Instagram post cheat? 

29 January 2016

Nourish My Hair | Getting Coconutty with Faith in Nature*



Having recently started dying my hair, I'm extra conscious about keeping it hydrated and in good condition. Coconut oil has gotten really popular in the beauty world over the last year or so, and pretty much functions as our all-in-one miracle cure. It's my go-to for a moisturising hair mask if I want to soften my hair.
So, I decided to give the Faith in Nature organic coconut shampoo* and conditioner* a go. This was probably the first conditioner that I've ever used as much of as the shampoo - my hair just totally seemed to soak it up and want more and more! A twice weekly hair wash with these has kept my hair grease free and seemed to improve my dandruff as well (hallelujah!). This winter has been particularly tough on my hair - it's been cold, I've taken the dye plunge and I've stopped hair drying it in an attempt to help thicken it, so it should be pretty cavewomanish, but thankfully this has stopped it. I'm not going to lie, having mermaid hair is totally one of my life goals for 2016, and what better way to make a start than smelling all tropical-ly with coconut and having really soft locks? And yes, I have been asking everyone to "feel how soft my hair is" every five minutes for the past few months!
What's been your go to hair care product this winter?

28 January 2016

A Shiny New Project | #NourishYourself Twitter Chats




Before we get on to the juicy new project, I'm going to bring up some ancient history: why I started this blog way back in 2014. (TW) For several years I've suffered with fairly severe depression as well as self harm, and whilst I was at uni I had the time to think about what I could do about it. Changing my diet was a big one (probably should stop living off of curly fries and bacon was my main thought here), as well as taking time out to take care of my body with exercise and a little pamper every now and again. My blog was a way to harness these changes and share some of my favourite ways to nourish yourself mentally and physically with you guys.

So, I've spoken a little bit about things I've done to help, with my Body Confidence post and Beating the January Blues post. These are few and far between though, so I've decided to start up a Twitter chat that will run every Thursday from 7-8 (yes that means tonight will be the first one, eeek!) and Sunday from 6-7. This #NourishYourself chat is going to be all about us bloggers taking care of our minds and bodies. Alongside this, I've made a Facebook group where we can all share our blog posts that encourage wellness and happiness. 

This isn't entirely a shameless self-promo, I really do want to get all of you involved in this! Plus I'd love to get to know a few more of you a little better (and hopefully you feel the same way about me!)

25 January 2016

Nourish My Skin | Winter Holiday Skincare Essentials




If you've been listening to me rabbit on recently you'll probably know that I went skiing at the beginning of the month (you can see my post about this here). I knew it was going to be bloody awfully freezing up there, and my dry/sensitive skin would need a lot of extra help to stay moisturised and healthy.So, here are my skincare essentials for going away to somewhere a little chillier than you're used to:

- Korres Bergamot Pear Body Milk. This smells delightful, and the milky texture means it's super easy for your body to absorb. Although not quite as intense as a body butter, I found this was great for easy application before I hit the slopes.

- The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector. I've got most of a post dedicated to talking about this one here, so I'll just say one quick thing: it is my miracle cure for localised eczema and dry skin. 

- Simple Kind to Skin Hydrating Facial Wash and Kind to Skin Hydrating Light Moisturiser. These are such a winning pair for me. When I was out skiing often the only thing that was uncovered was my lower face, and so it was at risk of getting dried out and wind chapped. A healthy dose of these in the morning and the evening meant I didn't end up with that awful crusty flaky skin that seems to happen every time my face gets too dry (TMI??? It happens). These two combined with the Simple Kind to Skin Soothing Facial Toner really made sure that my face wasn't uncomfortably dry either!

- LUSH 9-5 Cleanser (we all knew LUSH would sneak into this post somehow!). This formed a brilliant part of my nighttime skincare routine. Not only does it effectively remove makeup - even my waterproof mascara, hallelujah! - but it also moisturises your skin, keeping it super soft.

- Seven Balm. I'm one of those nervous lip-chewers, and being up on a mountain slope with only my skis keeping me safe was not exactly relaxing. So, I needed something heavy duty. Products like Vaseline are usually wasted on me - they dries my lips out providing endless amounts of lip skin to chew - oh the joy! This Seven Balm is the first lip product I've ever used that has actually successfully kept my lips from drying out and cracking even in the below freezing temperatures I encountered here!

What are your winter holiday skincare essentials?

23 January 2016

Higher Living Teas* | A Rapid Snapshot


Healthy herbal teas are basically my life. I start my day with one, they accompany every meal of mine and I finish my day with one. So I was overjoyed to have the opportunity to collaborate with Higher Living Teas. Trying out new teas is a wee bit of an addiction for me (boxes of tea take up an entire shelf in my kitchen!), so I was super excited to try out five teas I've never given a go before.
Despite my rather large tea collection I can be rather fussy - anything spiced, cinnamon-y or aniseed filled is a definite no-go. BUT this little collection from Higher Living Tea turned up a priceless little gem for me this winter: coconut green tea*. This has been glued to my hand - and lips - in my favourite new mug from Tiger all winter. It's totally filling and warming and makes me feel uber snuggly when I sit down with a cup in front of netflix of an evening. The strawberry white tea* was similarly a bit hit on my radar. Clipper seems to have stopped selling their strawberry green tea (why tea gods, why?!), and this was definitely a worthy replacement.
What teas are taking your fancy this winter?
The products in this post were sponsored, however all opinions are my own as always.

21 January 2016

Vlogging Extreme Sports | 5 Tips for Beginner Skiing









The word "extreme" in the title may be a slight exaggeration: The first week of January was my first ever skiing venture, and despite my concerns (broken leg, broken neck, frostbite, general disease, falling off of a chair lift etc.) it was the first sport I've ever attempted that I actually enjoyed. I've made a little vlog for you guys to show you that despite feeling heroic on my first skiing attempt it wasn't in fact perfect ... or elegant ... or even speedy; but boy, did I feel an immense sense of pride and achievement. So, if you're planning on hitting the slopes for the first time this season, here's some advice I wish I'd heard before heading up:

1.) You will fall over, and you will get back up again ... eventually. This is probably the most important. Don't be afraid of falling - you're so cold and the snow cushions our fall slightly so it rarely hurts. The worst part of falling really is getting back up again. Thankfully I had a very patient helper, who probably spent hours over the week helping to pick me back up again. It's impossibly hard to get back up on your skis without slipping down the slope for the first few days, but you can do it, even if it takes a while.

2.) Tuck your upper layers into your salopettes. You may look and feel like a slightly overheating marshmallow, but it will totally be worth it so when you fall over you don't end up with ice up your back (I so wish I knew this before I went!)

3.) Day one might be awful, but don't be a quitter. My day one was spent 90% with me on my bum sliding haphazardly down a mountain. It felt as though every time I got back up I was destined to be back on the floor almost instantly. I got so demoralised there was a little drama queen fit on the mountain with "I hate this holiday and skiing and this goddamn mountain" being lamented rather loudly and repeatedly. BUT despite my misgivings I forced myself out on day two and LOVED it - I am so glad I didn't hermit myself away in fear for the rest of the week.

4.) Goggles are simultaneously your hero and enemy. These not only protected my face from impact when I faceplanted the ground ... repeatedly ... but also functioned as particularly unstylish sunglasses, protecting my eyes from glare. Foggy goggles however are an unforgiving bitch.

5.) Relax. This was the trickiest part for me. Generally my face was stuck into a grimace and my body was so rigid that you could have prodded me and I would have fallen over in the exact same position. But, in the end it's a holiday, and you're skiing to have fun and enjoy yourself - so do so!

What would your tips be?


16 January 2016

5 Tips for Beating the January Blues



This coming Monday is supposedly the most depressing day of the year (who makes these statistics?!), but I think it's safe to say that January can be a bit rough on all of us: Christmas is over, we're back to work, money's tight post Christmas and worst of all it's bloody freezing and dark outside All. The. Time. So, I thought I'd share my tips on how I'm nourishing myself that little bit extra this Jan to make sure my mood doesn't dip too low.

1.) Take a little pamper time out. For me this involves a good ol' pamper night. I whack on a face mask and hair mask, sit down with one of my favourite movies and take some time out. Doing a little extra than just my normal beauty routine really makes me feel good - my confidence is boosted which is super important for keeping us happy.

2.) Get your diet right. Now, by this I don't mean we all ought to ensure we're eating salads everyday, minimising calories and joining the nearest dieting group. We all over indulge a little over Christmas, and there's a lot of pressure on us to start a "new year new me" 2016 diet in the effort to lose a dress size, or git rid of a few pounds. But this diet mentality actually adds to our unhappiness I believe. We need to be maximising our nutritional intake with home cooked meals, and a shedding of toxic foods without making ourselves unhappy. Yes I love cheese, and yes going without it is hard, but treating myself in another way - perhaps with a fruit salad & yummy yoghurt after dinner is the better way forward than removing it and not replacing it.

3.) Don't believe that you can 'disappoint' yourself. Even if we don't all set New Years' resolutions, most of us at least ponder something we'd like to change. It can then be rather disheartening if we don't see the results we want, and feel as though we've let ourselves down to some extent. But, it's important to remind ourselves daily that human beings are not perfect. One of my goals was to do something blog related every day, and I've broken this more than once. But I can acknowledge that even though some days I've been too tired or too busy, having this goal in mind has allowed me to do a lot more than I otherwise would have done.

4.) Practice mindfulness. This is possibly the most important one for me at the moment. There are a tonne of really good books out there that can tell you exactly what mindfulness is all about, but for me mindfulness is about being in the present moment. We're all pretty aware that colouring books for adults became a massive market in the last year, and are aimed at helping us to enhance our mindfulness in a fairly easy and affordable manner, and I'm absolutely loving this craze at the moment. A little yoga routine every morning as soon as I get up, and a cheeky 15 minute colouring session in bed before I attempt to sleep has pretty much cured my horrible sleeping pattern (which brings me on to point 5)

5.) Get some zzzzzz's. Sleep is love, sleep is life is basically my daily mantra, but too much sleep can almost be as negative as too little. I was sleeping for at least 12 hours a day up until recently, which was not only super unproductive, but meant that I only sleep for about 2 hours' straight at any one point before waking up which was making me feel super tired even though it was the excess of sleep that was waking my body up (what a vicious cycle!. The establishment of a decent sleep routine has amazing benefits, and there's nothing better than actually feeling sleepy at night and awake in the morning because you've finally conditioned your body clock correctly.

What would your tips be?

14 January 2016

Nourish My Versatility | Seedy Health Boosts with Linwoods Health Foods*





Despite having slightly unreasonable health goals for 2016 (stop eating sugar, look like Blake Lively, develop mermaid hair etc.), I have one massive downfall that is the likeliest reason to keep me from achieving even my minor ones (doing yoga 5+ times a week, going to the gym regularly, cut down on my dairy intake): laziness. If I can see a way around doing something the long way, believe me, I'll be down that rabbit hole of a shortcut before you know it. Often this leads to unhealthy choices - I've ashamedly had my share of takeaways over the past couple of months - but here is an opportunity to allow myself to still be that little bit lazy and get the health kick I need with my meals: seeds. Now, I'm not one of those people that can sit there with a handful of seeds or nuts and eat them as a snack unfortunately, but this selection of seeds* from Linwoods helps me get around that issue.
Chia seeds are my main gal in terms of the seed world. They really hit the healthy food sphere big time a couple of years ago and now almost everybody has heard of them. These Linwoods chia seeds* are used on pretty much a daily basis for me. Firstly they're fairly flavourless, so I can whack them in almost anything to add a little bit of much needed nutrition. They're always blended up in my smoothies and pancakes, and are great for topping fruit salads. 
My next favourite is the Milled Organic Flaxseed, Sunflower & Pumpkin Seed*. I'm really not the greatest fan of sunflower or pumpkin seeds in their natural form. I find the flavours far too strong and can't abide the texture of the seeds themselves. So, this little mixture gives me the opportunity to add just a tiny bit of a nutritional kick to my soups and pastas without having them swimming in boldly flavoured crunchy seeds!
Finally we have my lesser favourites of the bunch: shelled hemp* and goji berries*. Again, this is largely a flavour thing for me. Raisins are pretty much my enemy (why can't I just enjoy all the foods that are good for me?!), and goji berries lie a little too close to that territory in my opinion. However, if you're like the other 80%ish percent of the population and are a raisin fan. these are great for adding to muesli or granola and topping your fruit salads with. The hemp seeds are similarly fab for adding to cereal to make it taste less bland and add a little bit of protein to your meal.
I hope I've given you all some ideas on how you can add just a little extra nutrition to a whole range of meals without any effort - see, this changing diet thing isn't so bad after all!

11 January 2016

Best of 2015 | My Beauty Picks







2015 was a massive year in beauty for me. From discovering the importance of organic skincare. to finally getting my hands on some decent brushes, to learning how to contour(ish - I'm still a beginner!), I developed so much in my understanding of the beauty world. So, I thought I'd share with you my favourite skincare, hair care and makeup goodies that helped transform my style in 2015. and that I'm looking forward to continue using in 2016.

Haircare:

1.) LUSH H'Suan Wen Hua Hair Treatment. This is my go-to deep treatment for my long and rather unruly hair. It keeps my hair soft and glossy for weeks after I use it and it's my favourite little hair treat.
2.) V05 Plump It Up Amplifying Blow Dry Lotion. This works miracles with my thick but flat hair. Pre-brush I look a little cavewoman-esque, but after I've run a comb through it it gives my hair that extra bit of life it's missing.
3.)John Frieda Frizz Ease Moisture Barrier Intense Hold Hairspray. This saved me during a humid trip to Tenerife this year. I have that problem that seems to come with Irish genes (thanks Mum) where baby hairs stick out at the front of your head at any sign of potential moisture. This generally means goodbye Blake Lively aka Serena Van Der Woodsen high pony tails and hello being the 'before' Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries. But, this actually keeps my hair under control in a way that no other hair sprays have don.
4.) John Frieda Extra Strength 6 Effects Serum. This combined with the hairspray above is what dreams are made of. You basically whack a tiny bit onto your hands (which means it lasts forever, unless you accidentally spill half a bottle all over your bed, ffs) and comb it through wet hair from root to tip and voila you have hair that is actually manageable and protected when it comes to drying it!

Skincare:

1.) Benefit's Foamingly Clean Facial Wash. This was probably my all time favourite beauty product of the entire year, so much so that I've dedicated a whole post to reviewing it here. This product smells so good and is something that I always reach for, especially when I'm breaking out. It seems to hold the perfect middle balance between being light enough for every day use, and strong enough to clear up and avoid any breakouts.
2.) Simple Kind to Skin Hydrating Light Moisturiser. This has a firm spot in the heart of a lot of bloggers. My combination skin often breaks out if I moisturise, but when it's a little on the dry side a dab of this before bed time balances my skin out perfectly and leaves me feeling refreshed.
3.) LUSH Brazened Honey Face Mask. Usually I only buy LUSH face masks once. i get the opportunity to head in there so rarely that I like to try out different things, but Brazened Honey had me bowled over so much that I repurchased it (madness!)
4.) LUSH Snow Fairy Shower gel. Now this is something that pretty much every blogger and her mother picks up at Christmas time. A limited edition LUSH product, it's only released in the couple of months preceding Christmas, and sells out uber-quickly. This basically makes me smell like a fairy and is one of the few super pink and shimmery girly things you'll catch me indulging myself in.
5.) The Body Shop Frosted Cranberry Body Butter. This is one of The Body Shop's three key Christmas scents and I always make sure I grab a tub in the sales. I love using it all year round for a sent that's not overly sweet or too musky. Plus it keeps my skin super soft.
6.) The Body Shop Spa of the World African Ximenia Scrub. This entire range was incredible - a spa at home is something (my) dreams are made of, and this scrub was my favourite of the lot. I have very sensitive skin, so often scrubs are simply too harsh and painful for me, but the particles in this were fine enough to soften my skin without marring it. 

Makeup (face):

1.)  Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. This brush was my first foray into the world of proper beauty brushes. Don't get me wrong, I owned them, but they were incredibly cheap and simply incomparable to this. Now my foundation could be spread evenly and blended into my skin effortlessly. If you're a beginner in the world of decent makeup brushes this is definitely the first step I'd advise taking.
2.) Ecotools Mattifying Finish Brush. Not only does this look SO pretty, but it's also the perfect highlighter brush. It allows me to sweep a cheeky bit of shimmer across my cheeks, allowing me to feel confident enough to face everything that the day throws at me.
3.) Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. This is massively popular with a lot of beauty bloggers out there and I can definitely see why. My contour game was upped massively due to the incredible blending abilities it offers (no more streaky bronzing!).
4.) Makeup Revolution Pressed Powder in porcelain soft pink. This goes on post foundation and pre contour and effectively smooths and mattifies my foundation. For £2 it's definitely a must buy in my books.
5.) MUA Undress Your Skin Highlighting Powder - Iridescent Gold. Even the name of this makes my beauty blogger senses tingle. It was the perfect highlighter for the Christmas period and is great for adding a little subtle shimmer to an evening party.
6.) Barry M Chisel Cheeks Contour Kit. As I've mentioned before, I'm hardly the queen of contour, and I was advised that this was a fab product for beginners, and I have to say my advisers weren't lying. There are three shades in the product, a white powder, a light brown and a deep brown. i only tend to use the latter two as I prefer my MUA highlighter, but the two products combined have a crazy effect - I mean, it actually looks as though I have cheekbones underneath my hamster cheeks!

Makeup (eyes):

7.) Rimmel Wonder'full Mascara with Argan Oil. This both softens and lengthens my eyelashes, making sure that they stay in good condition.
8.) Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara. I'm pretty much too much of a wimp/inaccurate with my hands to put fake lashes on, so this is the second best thing. I've been a big fan of Benefit's They're Real mascara, but I'd say the benefits (get it?) of this one almost equal it for under half the price tag.
9.) Maybelline Eye Studio Master Precise Ink Pen Eyeliner in Black. I think everybody goes through a transition of eyeliners, usually starting with a pencil and ending up at either liquid or gel. I've been a massive fan of gel eyeliner for the past couple of years, but a slightly shaky hand, a laziness for washing my brush frequently and a small variance in my eye shape meant that 90% of the time my eyeliner didn't match on both eyes. At all. However, Maybelline stepped in with a miracle product - thank god for over browsing in Superdrug. This pen is almost effortless and allows you to create the tiniest of cat flicks and the most dramatic wings.
10.) Makeup Revolution Ultra Flawless Eyeshadow Palette. This has allowed me to be more adventurous with my makeup than ever before. A combination of day and night shades means you've pretty much got all of your go-to looks in one simple palette!

Makeup (lips):

1.) Rimmel Kate Lasting Finish Timeless All (08). I'm not usually the greatest lippy fan, preferring to go for bold eyes over bold lips, but this is the perfect shade for everyday use for me. This lets me get the confidence boosting kick from wearing some sass on my lips without it being too obvious and blatantly smearing everywhere when I decide to chow down.
2.) LUSH Mint Julips Lip Scrub. We all know that a lot of 'saviours' for our lips actually contain drying ingredients, making us feel the need to wear more lip balm and therefore buy more product. Most people bite their nails, but I chew my lips (disgusting but true), meaning I'm always in need of a saviour for my lips. LUSH have here provided an answer to my prayers. their mint julips lip scrub not only tastes exactly like a sugary mint chocolate chip ice cream, but also contains natural softening, but not drying ingredients.
3.) KORRES Jasmine Lip Butter. This is a bit of a 2 in 1. Not only does it keep your lips softened with natural organic ingredients, but it also provides a subtle feminine lip tint to your smackers.
What were your favourites last year?

6 January 2016

Nourish My Skin | Winter Hand Care




Winter is pretty tough on all of our skin, but often our hands bear the brunt of it, especially if we forget to wear gloves on cold, windy days (whoops), or perform any kind of outdoor manual labour. And yes, taking the bins out pretty much counts as the latter. 

I managed to develop eczema over the summer due to an allergy to the table sanitizer we used at a pub I worked out. Fortunately it's very localized, only present on two of my fingers. Unfortunately it's very painful and can look horrendous. Brill. So, I've been trying to keep me hands in much better condition than I have in previous years. Usually my winters are spent with knuckles that look like I;ve punched someone recently; they're so red and chapped. This year however they actually look normal (hallelujah). So I thought I'd share with you guys my favourite two hand care products this season that have been helping me keep on top of things.

LUSH's Golden Handshake. I picked this up initially for two reasons: one, it was glittery, and two, it waas a hot hand mask. I love my hair and face masks, and I've even tried a foot mask (a very odd sensation), so I thought I may as well give this a crack. You put the product in hot water and make a hot creamy, or watery, lotion as mine was and then soak your hands in it for fifteen minutes. As this is quite an intense treatment I only use it every fortnight, or less, but it works miracles. After using it my eczema cleared up completely for a couple of days, and since then it's noticeably improved.

My other favourite is The Body Shop's Hemp Hand Protector. This is something I try to remember to use every day as it just makes my hands feel so much better. It's really fab for dry skin, and keeps me from getting chapped. Also as I spend almost all of my time on a computer either blogging or working, it allows me to give my hands a gentle massage each day, to make sure that they remain cared for.

What are your favourite hand care products? 


4 January 2016

Why You Need to Switch to Natural Period Products Now


The recent controversy over the tampon tax has been good for pretty much one reason: bringing the discussion of periods into the public conscious. Now, all us girls get them, and they affect us in a pretty extreme way, but we’ve been conditioned into considering them a shameful thing, not to be discussed, especially in front of men. Thankfully by bringing the ridiculous nature of the tampon tax into light (in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, in the UK tampons are taxed because they’re considered a “luxury” and, well, helicopters aren’t because they’re necessary. Makes sense right?), Osborne and our band of merry politicians have encouraged both men and women to discuss the tabooed issue of periods.

Now, here’s why I think this is important. We’ve all heard of thrush and BV (bacterial vaginosis) right? Well these can be caused by a number of factors, but the material which both our underwear and sanitary items are made of can contribute to the development of these conditions. Now that we’re finally able to discuss tampons, and by extension sanitary towels, I think it’s important we look at what they are doing to our health, and alternatives to the heavily marketed perfumed ones which ever-so-hygienically allow us to wear them for hours and hours, trapping all the nasties that our bodies get rid of during our periods.

I came across a brand called Natracare in my local Gaia store a couple of months ago and would never look back to the kind of sanitary products I was using previously. Did you know that normal sanitary towels contain chlorine and are made of around 80% plastic? And that tampons contain artificial fibres that can shed whilst inside you and remain in your vagina after you remove the tampon itself? Because I certainly didn’t until I started doing more research into it. And this is why I use Natracare products. Their tampons, for example, only contain organic cotton, whereas most mass-produced and well-recognised ones contain a mixture of rayon and cotton. It is rayon which has the potential to shed and cause vaginal infections. Let’s face it, most people are either a tampon girl or a pad girl. We all want whatever we feel most comfortable in when we’re feeling at our most uncomfortable physically.  Natracare offers both styles for women to wear, which are chlorine free (and yes, that does mean normal pads contain chlorine, ugh!) and made from 100% organic cotton. At some point in their lives, most women will suffer from thrush or BV, and gynaecologists urge women to change their hygiene routines, and now many are supporting Natracare, suggesting that it could be incredibly beneficial to move to sanitary products which will not irritate the skin.

Ultimately, we all want our vaginas to function at their optimum right? Not only does this impact our day to day comfort, but it can have a massive effect on our sex lives. So, I think we should all think about exactly what we are using at a time when our vagina is at its most sensitive and perhaps opt for brands that offer the opportunity to improve our sexual and vaginal health.