Chronic Skincare

When it comes to skincare and beauty and the first thing that springs to mind at the mention of either; I worry that my chronic condition and the severe pain I go through will make me look older than I am.

I’m 26 and I already feel 86 – I don’t want to look it too!

Pain changes me. Not just physically or emotionally and not just on the inside. My family can see the pain in my body language, hidden in my sentences and my dull replies of “I’m fine.” But pain is also etched in my features, written all over my face and I’d hate it to become a permanent feature.

Women with Endometriosis fight a life-long battle, their bodies warring with its insides every day. It’s difficult and exhausting.

I decided that I wouldn’t battle with the outside of my body, I would protect it, nurture it. And so, I developed a skincare-selfcare routine.

My skincare:

  1. Cleansing – I use a foam wash which has Tea Tree in it, this help to prevent break outs. I don’t really have a favourite, I’m using one that was on offer in ASDA’s range. I massage this into my skin with a skin buffer that I ordered from WISH for £1! It exfoliates and because it is made of silicone, it’s real easy to keep clean. I also use a Micellar Water from Simple, usually in the morning or pre-workout (this makes sure I get a clean sweat, preventing break outs)

I love The Body Shops’ Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter which is so luxurious and leaves my skin feeling baby-soft and healthy. I’ll use this after a heavy make-up day as it takes every scrap of make-up off. Although, I do tend to do a double cleanse when using this- I’ll wait 5/10 minutes after using the butter to let it soak into my skin slightly and then I’ll go in with Micellar water to remove any excess oil left over.

 

  1. Toning – I love love Boots Botanics Rosewater Toning Spritz! It’s in a spray bottle which is super practical and prevents unnecessary wastage. This product is really refreshing, cleanses impurities and smells amazing. *Boots have recently changed the packaging on this*

 

  1. Serum – I have fallen for The Body Shops’ Drops of Youth Concentrate serum. This goes beneath my moisturiser. It feels slightly tacky until it dries completely, but don’t worry, it feels smooth and is designed to balance imperfection for a more youthful looking skin.

 

  1. Day Moisturiser (make sure this has SPF!) – I switch between The Body Shops’ Aloe Day cream, which is great for sensitive skin, slightly cooling and Simples’ Kind to Skin + Protecting Moisture Cream. I love this during the Summer as it has SPF 30 and is also great because I have sensitive skin. This has vitamins B3 and E too. For night time, I reach for The Body Shops’ Aloe Night Cream feels luxurious and thick and soaks into the skin easily without leaving a greasy residue. It’s gentle enough for sensitive skin and I even use it on my neck and collar bone area.

**Breakouts – I am prone to hormonal breakouts (aren’t we all, ladies?) which I treat with Tea Tree Oil. Just put a drop of this on a cotton bud and apply to spots (don’t use fingers as it can transfer bacteria). I bought mine from Home Bargains for 99p and it works really well!**

 

Other bits & pieces:

  • Lip Scrub – SugarBaby Vita Lip which is a collection including a coconut infused Lip Balm and Lip Scrub. They both come with tube and applicators which is no-mess awesome and have high-performance ingredients including Sweet Almond Oil and Vitamin E.

The scrub is enriched with finely grated granulated sugar and blended with Grape Seed Oil and Organic coconut oil to gently eliminate dry, chapped skin.

The balm has cocoa butter, Shea butter which add softness and shine after exfoliating the lips.

The best thing about these products (not just that they work!) was the price, 49p in the Superdrug sale! This product has no artificial fragrances and is NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS!

  • Lip balm – Vaseline Aloe Vera, Nivea ‘A Kiss of Moisture’ or ‘Hydro Care‘ – these 3 are really handy just to stick in your bag.

 

  • Hand cream – I love Vaseline’s Healthy Hands Strong Nails. But I like to splurge on Champneys As Good As New Harmonious Hands. It’s got a lovely, floral fragrance which just smells like luxury and this lasts a while. This hand and nail cream also has SPF 15 which comes in handy if you’re driving and your hands are just right there on the wheel. We don’t need no sun spots

 

  • Face Masks – I use the 7th Heaven face mask sachets. They’re super convenient, especially for travelling! One packet can do 2 (maybe 3) masks – depending how liberal I use it. (These are around £1) I love the “Aloe Vera” Blemish Mud because of how soothing it feels but my skin feels really cleansed afterwards too! If you feel like a splurge, I reach for Lush BB Seaweed which is a little pricier but feels heavenly. (this needs to be stored in the fridge!)

I had an amazing customer service experience whilst shopping at The Body Shop, Doncaster Outlet. I think this was a big part of what made me fall in love with their products. The lovely sales consultant listened to what I wanted out of skincare and handpicked products to suit me. Great!

I feel like I should also say that I fell in love with skincare & beauty after watching a GlamLifeGuru YouTube video. Before, I was very lapse with skincare; some days I’d do all the steps, others I’d just neglect it altogether. But after watching Tati’s video on affordable skincare- she really inspired me to get my shit together! So… Thank you Tati xo

Click the links to watch.

 

 

*This is not a sponsored post, all products were purchased for myself and I have found them to be really effective*
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Champneys Heavenly Days Sleep Kit

Where? Boots.

How much? £12

I bought the temple balm over 2 weeks ago, as I have been having trouble sleeping through the night, and if I don’t get my 8 hours, I’m a crypt-keeper in the mornings. I was struck by how soothing the scent of the temple balm was; a combination of lavender, geranium and other English garden scents. I love the smell. The texture of the balm is smooth and blends into the skin without being sticky, melts easily though so be careful where you store it!

After a week of just using this, I was yet to see the benefits. But was optimistic so, I decided to buy the gift set.

Price point-wise, it was great. I got a massive bottle of pillow mist, the same amount of balm as well as a high-quality eye mask all for this low price (plus my Boots Advantage Card points!)

The Pillow Mist has a slightly different scent but it lingers on the bed linens for a while & I seemed to instantly calm after inhaling it. Right from the first time I used these products, it was obvious to me that it was luxurious and well-thought-out but affordable.

However, is it affective at helping me sleep? Great products, but I am yet to feel the benefit of using them. I think this is more than likely due to my personal circumstances at this time- my head’s a shed & unfortunately there’s not a quick-fix or £12 that can sort my issues.

I must say though; my husband loves this stuff. Each night, I just rub the balm into his pulse points (wrists, neck, temples) and 5 minutes later he’s sock on! And this, my friends, is a beast who has tried sleeping tablets and must take muscle relaxants (as part of a regular medication to ease cluster headaches). Miracle? Well, Champneys must be doing something right!

Have you tried this?

Have you had trouble sleeping? If so, what helped you?

TRY IT NOW

 

 

Do I use Coconut oil? Yes!

coconut-oil

For the past year or so, there’s been a lot of fussing over coconut oil and how amazeballs it is for your skin, health, food- how you can use it for everything! For the longest time, I tried to resist the urge to buy a jar and jump on the bandwagon but I found some with a great price point, tried it, loved it, so… I’m now a Coconut Oil Convert!

What do I use Coconut Oil for?

  • Use in cooking/baking as an alternative, healthier oil
  • Hair mask
  • Frizz fighter – I use a small amount after styling my hair to calm fly-aways and seal split ends.
  • ‘Herbal’ Rub *cough/wink* penetrates the skin to treat muscle aches, abdo pain. *Inspired by Whoopi & Maya products from the US*
  • As bath oil. Add some to a hot bath, it’s a natural skin moisturiser.
  • Lip balm
  • Make up remove

 

 Have you tried organic coconut oil?

How did you use the oil?

What did you think?

 

Chick Lit.

Like any enthusiastic bookworm, I have a pile of books on my bookshelf that I turn to when I just want a care-free, stressless comfort read. These are books that I’ve had in my possession for years, probably that cost about a quid from a car boot or charity shop. They feed my desire for happy endings, and romance. They all get 5/5! This entry is basically a guide to some of the best go-to heart wrenching, terrific chick lit’s.

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  1. The first is Bet Me by Jenny Crusie. I bought this book from a used book sale at my local library, it was 20p! It follows the blossoming relationship of straight-laced Min and her charming new beau, Cal.
    She’s curvy, aggressive and loves food. He’s charming, handsome and eager to please. And it all starts with a bet; “I bet you can’t get her to go to dinner with you…” Lighthearted and sassy, this story is the ultimate feel-good.
  2. Then, it is First Lady by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. This was the first story I read of this author before I went on an obsessed rampage on eBay and Amazon. The president’s widow goes on the run and hitches a ride with a family of 3. Single father and his 2 daughters; the ideal hiding place – or not.
  3. Christine Feehan’s Dark Prince is the first one of the Dark Carpathian series and an awesome love story. Raven attempts to find some peace of mind in the mountains but she finds so much more. Mikhail is the dark prince of his people, mysterious and powerful, Raven is helpless to resist him. Romance with a little bit of fantasy. Brilliant. This book is great, but any of this series are great reads.
  4. In The Duke & I, Julia Quinn writes a beautiful story about a strong, young woman who finds passion and love in the strangest way. Set in the picturesque Austen era, where debutantes are many and chaperons are essential, Daphne and Simon’s lust grows into love.

So these are just a few of my favourite love stories. They have the best plots, with just the right amount of sweet and sour. All of them bring something different to the table and each leaves you begging for more. The dynamics in these books are so realistic, it makes you feel like part of the drama. Enjoy.

A xo

William Goldman’s The Princess Bride

If you have seen this film, you will already know that this fairy tale is one of legend. It has everything; fencing, damsels, giants and torture! It is a favourite of mine anyway, so when I saw this book in Waterstone’s, I leaped at the chance to buy it.

It did not disappoint.

the-princess-bride-cover

William Goldman has adapted Morgenstern’s story tremendously, he has captured all the ‘juicy bits’ from the story and bejeweled them to make them extraordinary. The characters are classically heroic and all have great dynamics.

Buttercup is our damsel, common but beyond beautiful and full of goodness, captures the attention of high-roller Prince Humperdink. After losing her only love, Westley; Buttercup insists she’ll never love again and so decides to find a compromise and decides to reach for a better life. Before the wedding, Buttercup gets kidnapped by a Sicilian, a Spaniard and a Giant.

But the three fugitives and the victim are quickly under siege by the Man in Black. And so begins the quest to save Buttercup; through the cliffs of despair, the fire swamp, and the pit of despair. The Man in Black fights for Buttercup and for his life, through all these obstacles and doing us hopeless romantics proud!

I give this story a 5 out of 5 stars!!

Caption from the book
my favourite paragraph ever written

A xo

If you read this and you’re a fan: try watching the film!

A Tale of Two Cities. Part 1: Cambridge

When you hear the words road trip, you automatically think route 66, exciting places, camper van, awesome people.

When you hear the words bus tour, you automatically think old people, England, drizzly weather, service stops, boring get-away.

NOT TRUE.

I have just returned home from a fab weekend away on a bus tour. I went with my cousin who is the same age as me and my grandparents who are over 70. It was great value for money and we all had a great time. Plus! because it was a bus trip, meaning we had a chauffeur the entire weekend, that meant we could nurse a hangover Sunday morning whilst still managing to see all the sights!

Saturday, we stopped off at Cambridge for a few hours; city number one. As we arrived at the outskirts of Cambridge on the coach, the houses were awesome, great mansions. The kind only rockstars can afford! There wasn’t that much traffic, i think when you start to go down south, your initial thought is it’s going to be manic. It wasn’t. But there were lots of bicycles. Lots. Whizzing through the streets like Harry Potter on his broomstick!

I have never been to Cambridge and expected a bunch of snotty nose snobby students, looking down their noses at our slightly northern accents and common tongue. It was lovely. King’s college looked amazing in the sunshine as we got off the bus and set off on our first adventure. The architecture, distinctly Gothic and I had no trouble romanticizing it at all!

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King’s College
The streets were crawling with tourists and there were people busking and selling punting excursions. It was great to get away from the hum-drum of everyday familiarity and meet the bustling streets with eyes wide open. Exciting! There was a great market on, offering fresh foot and vegetables, pashminas, scarves, handbags, antiques, and butchered meats! Making my way through the crowds it was obvious that the weather was only going to get warmer too!

We had a lovely afternoon tea in Marks & Spencers (my nan’s favourite) we had chocolate fudge cake and lattes, giving us just enough energy to continue our expedition. We decided to pay the extra cost to go on a punting tour; the young lad who was selling the tickets was clearly unprepared for my nan’s brazen ways. We all laughed as she made him write ‘Paid in full’ on the receipt. He shrewd perception and wit making it impossible for her to take this fellow on face value. The very popular punting tour would give us an opportunity to see all the colleges in their splendor without having to walk there! My feet were starting to hurt! Our punter guide was extremely knowledgeable and made the tour fun by adding in his little jokes about the feud between Cambridge and Oxford and how the architects were mostly drunk when designing the buildings years ago. My nan only made the journey more humorous by answering every question our guide asked, directly. Ha! The lovely young couple seated next to us taken aback by our northern charm! The sun was shining and the heat was amazing, it was like being on an excursion abroad! It was lovely and well worth booking!

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King’s Chapel
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Punting outside the College dorms
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St John’s College
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Mathematical bridge, Queen’s college – built 1902. Students have dismantled this bridge a number of times in a prank!

St John’s College was supposed to have a clock on the tower so that the students would always be on time for lectures, however the architect didn’t want to interrupt the symmetry of the building- it is also believed that he ran out of money! Whether that is a joke, I don’t know! However, when trinity college started doing very well, the architect decided he wouldn’t have the eagle facing the rival college and he turned its head left – breaking the symmetry!

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St John’s

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The Bridge of Sigh
The Bridge of Sigh

After the punt jaunt we had another walk around the city, stopped to get our bearing just outside a lovely Arts and Crafts market. Whilst i was wandering aimlessly, I started to hear drums and chanting. Confused I made my way back to where my little group were perched. I then witnessed a perfectly amicable protest, people chanting about getting the ‘tories out and ‘get rid of the scum!’ waving banners and flags. It was great to see that people are able to express their opinions and fight for what they believe in -without violence.

By this time, our feet were hurting but the sun was shining. The only thing that was difficult about Cambridge, was finding the high street shops. Everything was spread out. But we found a great shopping center with a massive New Look with lots of sales- so I can’t complain too much! I managed to get some lovely cut-out sandals for, black leather ones for £10! Anyway, I’m digressing…

We then fought through a sea of tourists, large groups of ethnic varieties; all angling their cameras at the Gothic splendor, and made our way back to the coach. As we began our short journey to our lodgings for the night; The Hilton Hotel at Milton Keynes, there were a few things that stuck in my mind about Cambridge. I could see why directors wanted to film Harry Potter there, I was never posh (or clever) enough to go to Cambridge university and I have never seen so many bicycles!

Please keep your eyes open for A Tale of Two Cities. Part 2: Oxford – where I’ll be telling you all about our night at the Hilton and our adventure in Oxford!

TTFN.

A xo

My first time- Acupuncture

When I was told that I’d have this illness for the rest of my life, I had the naive ideation that I would just take some pills, some Feminax and everything would go on as normal. Oh, how wrong I was. Chronic pain has seeped into all the cracks of my life, bringing with it- its entourage; fatigue, depression and an unhealthy reliance on pain killers. I am not addicted to pain killers, not yet, but I do rely on them most days. I have had to search all over the web, looking for natural methods to ease the pain, alternative medicines that don’t make me look like a zombie, so I don’t lose days at a time during my ‘pain storms’. For this I have put together a survival kit: heat pads, hot water bottle, Tens Machine and a long soak in a hot bath.

Within a month of my diagnosis, I had visited my GP several times and was given different prescriptions over and over. I changed my diet, reduced my caffeine, dairy intake and cut out red meat entirely, hoping that all the online forums were right. In April, I decided enough was enough and it was probably time to think outside of the box. Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is:

  • “a system of complementary medicine in which fine needles are inserted in the skin at specific points along what are considered to be lines of energy (meridians), used in the treatment of various physical and mental conditions.”

I had my doubts. But, in desperation, I picked up the phone and stated my interest in having a session ASAP- to help with the pain. Within a few hours, I was contacted by the acupuncturist. A lovely man that seemed to understand my illness and empathise completely- which helped in itself as I was used to receiving a lot of blank faces when I disclosed my endometriosis. He seemed eager to help and sounded so sure that he could help; brimming with complete confidence in his craft. I was given an appointment the very next day.

I travelled the few miles to the therapy centre, my anxieties growing, starting to feel uneasy. The idea of having needles all over my body was not comforting. My worries grew and soon I had the image of Pinhead from Clive Barker’s ‘Hellraiser’ answering the door, beckoning me into the treatment room, to my torture. I have included a picture, just to show you how quickly my imagination escalated! Oh dear.

Pinhead
Pinhead

The therapy centre is off the beaten track in a village just outside of my town, I had never really seen the area very well or visited it much. It was a lovely, uncharacteristic spring day as we drove down a lane adjacent to fields with spring lambs bouncing through the grass. My spirits lifted even more when I saw the building. New and shiny, it stands in what appears to be the grounds of an old school. With the sun bouncing from the round window and a light breeze through the trees, I walked the paved path and spied an overgrown tennis court with weeds covering the court lines and growing through the net. It truly is a lovely place and if you have the chance to look around, please do. You can find the website here.

Anyway, enough of the location and my wild imagination. Next- bring on the actual experience! A short young man welcomed me into building. It is light and airy, full of windows and has a minimalist style. I started to feel better already. I turned to my husband to seek reassurance; we had suggested him waiting around or accompanying me but decided against it in the end what with the session possibly taking over an hour. I was a big girl and didn’t need him to hold my hand- much.

Once in the session, I told my story of confusion, worry and pain. I told the acupuncturist of all my hospital visits, my surgery, my medications. He asked about my diet and lifestyle. I explained that since all of this started I’d not really had much of a lifestyle. When he urged me to discuss my diet, I faltered. I was embarrassed. At that point, I pretty much survived on a diet of what I ‘fancied’. My appetite was poor, but I had to eat as I was taking medication so it was mainly things that I liked; junk food. As I reeled off my list of food stuffs, I became increasingly aware of how it sounded like a child’s menu without adult supervision; chicken nuggets, noodles, chips, chicken/tuna pasta, pie, smiley faces and broccoli. I’m pretty sure if Turkey Twizzlers were still in production, they’d have been on the list as well! He laughed and wasn’t too hard on me about it.

It came time for pins. Pinhead’s ugly, cruel features flashed in my mind instantly and then was forgotten as my acupuncturist talked me through the procedure. He is extremely well trained and qualified. He had learned in China, had a university degree, but most of all, it was his absolute assurance that it would be beneficial to me. And after months of medical professionals “trying this” and “giving this a go” – it was about time! He told me that he could feel how different parts of my body were poorly based on the different areas he could take my pulse. For example, on that day, through close monitoring of my pulse, he could tell that my lower abdomen and intestine were extremely enflamed. Woah. Even CT and Ultrasounds scans, X-rays and blood tests couldn’t tell that in my 5 hospital admissions.

Bring on the pins. The first few were a little cause for concern; going in my feet and toes! Ugh. This was hell for me, the idea of having a needle in my bony feet, is harrowing. I felt them go in, but as I wasn’t looking, it didn’t hurt, and they were quickly forgotten. I had a total of 7-9 needles in my legs, feet and wrists. He continued to check my pulse through the procedure and after the pins were in for 20 minutes confirmed that my pulse showed that the aggravated body parts and eased and settled down a little. He stated that I may need ‘top-up’ sessions (it looked like I would be seeing more of Pinhead) and that he would contact me to see how I was feeling.

On leaving the session and building, the sun was shining. I don’t know whether it was a psychological thing as I expected to feel better, whether the pins had actually eased my raw organs or whether my painkillers had kicked in, but I felt like running. I felt more upbeat, laughing as I retold my experience to my husband, including all the Pinhead bits! My body felt alive, tingly almost, I felt ready to run a marathon; that sensation when all your muscles tighten in expectation of adrenaline. Everything felt slower, I felt ready, better able to cope with the day. It was £40 well spent.

I was under the impression this would last a week. It didn’t. Within a few hours I started to feel very tired, my muscles ached and it was hard to keep my eyes open. I collapsed into bed for an early night. The next few days I had pain but it was more manageable. I was able live close to normal, doing things I would normally do; work, eat, walk. And just for that, I would recommend, wholeheartedly, the Acupuncture experience.

A xo