What Are Essential Oils?

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Watercolour Leaves

You’ve probably heard of it in passing but have never really considered what it might be. You might even use a few every single day without even realising. You could be watching a shiny advert on TV right now (get your eyes off the TV and pay attention to me!) that is using them in a way to make their product sound like the greatest thing imaginable. You may know the name but don’t actually know what it all means and that’s where I come in. Essential oils meet reader, fabulous reader meet essential oils.

Before we dive too deep into the essential oils swimming pool, let’s actually talk about what the bloody hell these things are. Essential oils are derived from plants and are used for an abundance of things. Some essential oils are used to help us sleep, to promote calmness particularly in anxiety sufferers, to assist acne prone skin and others are used in perfume. There is a long list of essential oils and as much as I’d love to prattle on about the different type of essential oils, I think we’ll just cover the basics for now.

When I was a kid I had a huge issue with a very dry and flaky scalp caused by eczema. I had to use this foul smelling shampoo for months on end and it was of course made from, everyone’s favourite essential oil, tea tree oil. I detested the scent but it eliminated the dry, flaky skin and stopped me from scratching my head a million times a day (not something you want to do in primary school as it actually makes you look like you have nits!). Tea tree oil can also help with infections, acne and can improve the appearance of scars. It may not be my favourite smell in the world but boy does it get the job done!

Rose oil is something I come across on a regular basis since I have a habit of gravitating towards natural skincare products. Rose oil is used for its scent as it’s believed to give you a little mood boost (some say it’s an aphrodisiac as well but I can’t confirm or deny this) and, let’s face it, it smells delightful. Rose oil is also great at soothing and calming the skin; it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that my favourite moisturisers for battling eczema flare-ups and even sunburnt skin all contain rose oil.

Now for all you stomach issue sufferers out there, you might want to try some peppermint oil if you haven’t already done so. A lot of my family suffer from stomach issues and they all swear by peppermint to keep their symptoms at bay. Not only does peppermint have a calming and cooling effect on the body it also controls symptoms of the likes of IBS; the vast majority of my family who have seen their doctor for their issues have been prescribed peppermint oil tablets.

Hands up if you struggle to get to sleep! Yeah, I feel you! Fortunately, there are some great essential oils to help with that as well. Tuberose oil is one of the real magic oils that does a variety of things. It can help you sleep, relieve stress, help with anxiety and depression and can promote better blood circulation. Frankincense (yeah that thing they brought Jesus) oil can also help you get a better night’s sleep while simultaneously healing acne and preventing the signs of aging. Who doesn’t want to sleep while their body maintains their youthful look?

I have something in common with this oil; we share a name…minus the oil part of course. Melissa oil treats skin issues like eczema while also relieving allergies and fighting cold sores. It can help relieve symptoms of PMS, promote healthier digestion and it puts up a good fight against the cold and flu. This oil is so much more badass than I am, maybe I should change my name as I’m clearly not worthy of it.

If you suffer from dandruff but don’t like using an anti-dandruff shampoo that is full of chemicals and tested on animals (I’m looking at you certain shampoo brand that eliminates the look of flakes from 2 feet away) you might want to check out clary sage oil. Clary sage is an antiseptic and has a calming aroma; it is great at helping fight dandruff and can also be used in facial cleansers. It makes for a good natural deodorant and, like Melissa oil, it can help when menstruation comes to town.

Ok, I think we’ve covered a decent number of oils here so I shall let you jump forth into the essential oils swimming pool and let you choose what you think is best for you. The beautiful thing about essential oils is you’re probably already using the more commonly known ones in your everyday products without actually realising but there are so much more to discover. The majority of them are easily accessible and easy to use but make sure you read any instructions especially since some are more beneficial in a topical cream for certain things. Happy essential oiling...that's not a thing is it?

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with New Directions Aromatics

Soap & Glory Hand Food Review

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

If there is one thing I do without fail each and every single day it’s moisturise my entire body. As soon as I’m dry after my morning shower a moisturiser will be slathered all over my skin before I get dressed. I feel like my morning routine isn’t complete unless there’s a faint smell of chocolate (thank you Palmer’s Cocoa Butter) or vanilla (and thank you Lush Sympathy for the Skin) lingering on my skin. I moisturise and moisturise but I forget about the part of my body that is used in almost everything I do; my hands! My hands rarely get the TLC they deserve and I’ve gone years without bothering to moisturise or *gulp* apply sunscreen to them. They’ve forgiven me for now but I had to change my lazy attitude towards hand cream before my hands resented me for good.

Soap and Glory Hand Food

Soap & Glory is quickly becoming my favourite skincare brand so naturally, the hand cream I would start using consistently would be Hand Food. The pretty pink bottle stands out against all of my other half’s skincare products (I swear he has more than me) so I’m always reminded to use Hand Food on a regular basis. The scent of Hand Food also encourages me to use it as it smells delicious; it’s a little on the strong side but the gorgeous almost floral scent makes me want to cover myself in this cream.

Ok, enough with the superficial part, let’s get into how Hand Food actually works as an actual hand cream! Hand Food is a great hand cream for me in the summer when my skin maintains its moisture and just needs a little pick me up every so often. The winter, however, is a different story. My hands get dry in the colder months and it’s especially noticeable in between each finger. Hand Food doesn’t do a great job at moisturising those areas. It may disguise the dry patches for a few hours but they always return and I’m forever fighting a losing battle with my own hands…maybe they haven’t actually forgiven me for ignoring them for so long!

Soap & Glory Hand Food

Hand Food does dry quickly so at least I’m not left with a greasy feeling and getting Soap & Glory scented fingerprints everywhere whenever I’ve applied it. I’ve also found a little goes a long way which means I’ve been using a 125ml bottle since February this year and I still have plenty left.

I’m not going to back Soap & Glory if they ever make a bid for the title of “world’s greatest hand cream manufacturers” (which would totally rival the Oscars during award season) as Hand Food isn’t without its flaws but I adore it for when the weather is luring me into believing it’s summer. It’s not my Holy Grail hand cream and it’ll be put on the shelf for winter in favour of a heavy-duty hand cream but at least the pretty pink bottle will look good while it sits there.

Confession: Why I'm Not Against Plastic Surgery

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Watercolour Female Body

I was always a funny looking kid. I was dorky and awkward and had a face that was far too round for my skinny body. I was smaller than the majority of kids my age and was always told by the adults around me that one day I would shoot up and be the girl who goes to clubs in impossibly short dresses and be a wild child. I never shot up (I barely got over 5 feet), I don’t go to clubs all that often because the music bothers me (fickle right?), I own short dresses but I constantly worry my butt is on show while wearing them and I was hardly a wild child. Looking back, I guess they were all assuming my more flamboyant ways would remain firmly in my childhood and I would become the same as everyone else but my body and mind had different ideas.

Admittedly, I tried to go against the grain as a kid. Everyone I was friends with was too similar and that just didn’t seem fun to me. They turned up to school discos in jeans and t-shirts and I turned up in pink sequinned dresses knowing fine well I’d get funny looks and bitched about all night. They played with makeup while I learned to skateboard. They worked out dance routines to Busted and I sang along to Linkin Park. We naturally drifted apart once we got to high school but, while I maintained my internal differences to the majority of people, I couldn’t help but notice the external differences. Puberty found me at 10 years old but it forgot to give me the thing that it gave every other girl.

We’d been told about puberty numerous times at school; we heard all about body hair and periods and pregnancy so it wasn’t exactly a scary thing for me to go through. I was fully aware I was growing up and figured I’d finally get rid of the awkwardness and the round face and would have big boobs and a nice butt. I got the nice butt (thank you mum!) but the big boobs never arrived. The boobs just didn’t want to make an appearance and that made me more self-conscious and awkward than ever.

My lack of lady lumps raised a few issues for me. Throughout the whole of high school, I still felt like a little kid because my body looked like a child’s with the added addition of unwanted body hair and a period. Finding clothes was a problem as tops would just bunch up and highlight my lack of boobage. When I did find clothes that showed I had something on my chest people made the assumption that I was stuffing my bra so I would shove those tops to the back of my wardrobe. I took to wearing hoodies all the time so I could hide my body; even in the summer, I was walking around in black hoodies while everyone bared their pale Scottish skin.

Once I hit the age of 18 I thought surely something is going to happen. Surely these breasts are going to finally find me and I’m going to have something to make clothing look better and stop me from feeling so childlike but nope, that never happened. I was hateful of my own body by my late teens and wanted to change a lot of it. The best option for me was plastic surgery and, despite the fact all surgical procedures make me squirm, I spent hours watching videos of breast augmentations, I scoured a Plastic Surgery Directoy Info, I researched people’s experience with their surgery and had numerous favorited websites on the aftercare. I was ready to save up for a boob job and then my breasts appeared. I’m always late to the party.

Don’t get too excited for me, they’re still small in comparison to the size I wanted but they’re perfectly in proportion to my body and I’m eager to keep them in their current state for as long as possible. That means I haven’t ruled out the idea of a breast augmentation, it just means I’ve put it on the back burner for a while. I don’t need a boob job right now because anything bigger than what I have would look ridiculous but, as gravity and age take over, my breasts will get closer to the ground and I have no issues with fighting age with surgery. I’m really not against having a bit of Botox and the occasional facelift to keep age at bay. Growing old gracefully is a beautiful thing but I love the fact that I can make fine lines disappear and stop my boobs from swinging across the floor if I really want to. It took 10 years for my lady lumps to appear so I want to keep them in their current perky state for as long as I possibly can.

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with plasticsurgeryinfo.ca.

Lush Oatifix Review

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

If you haven’t eaten a whole “sharing” bag of Doritos while watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey you’re a liar.

I’m usually ok when it comes to my diet but sometimes I just want to bathe in Irn Bru and have an unlimited supply of crisps next to me. It’s incredibly obvious when I’ve gone on a junk food binge as my skin makes me look even more zombie like than usual and I’m probably trying to hide the moon craters that have erupted all over my face. Usually, my skin will go back to normal after a week of drinking nothing but water and force feeding myself carrots but a week is too long for my impatient self. I want quick fixes to all of my problems and my quick fix skin care starts and ends with Lush.

Lush Oatifix fresh face mask

Thanks to Lush’s bring back 5 empty pots for a free face mask deal and my Lush addiction, I’m doing pretty well in having a steady supply of fresh face masks to work with. I usually opt for Cosmetic Warrior but, as I had been on a junk food binge in the days leading up to visiting Lush, I wanted something that was going to help my dried out, icky skin. I went for Oatifix on the recommendation of a Lush employee who always seem to be the nicest people both in personality and smell wise.

Oatifix is made from bananas, illipe butter, oatmeal, ground almonds and a whole bunch of scientific sounding things to help moisturize dry skin. It smells like a hearty breakfast cereal and is just as thick and lumpy. My other half and I had a hell of a time trying to get Oatifix onto our faces as it doesn’t stick to skin as well as other Lush face masks.

Once you’ve battled with the application of Oatifix and you have a nice, thick face mask all you have to do is wait around for 10 minutes before washing the oat lumps off. Washing Oatifix off is just as difficult as applying it so I really wish I had used this face mask right before showering; that would’ve been too sensible for me though!

Lush Oatifix fresh face mask

I was adamant Oatifix was going to leave my skin looking and feeling greasier than a chip pan after I’d washed it off but I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried. Oatifix had actually managed to get my skin back to normal after just one use and it had evened out my other half’s skin tone (he suffers from acne scarring and a little redness). Admittedly, my other half did resemble a wax figure but that look had disappeared by the following morning. Every other use of Oatifix gave us the same results which meant I didn’t have to consume an obscene amount of carrots! My other half did accidentally fall asleep with it on but, despite having oat goo on his face for 2 hours, it didn’t have any negative effect on his skin whatsoever.

My only wish for Oatifix is that it didn’t expire so quickly. The face masks in Lush are amazing but only getting around 3 weeks of use from them before they go out of date isn’t fun. More often or not, I never finish the small tubs and I’ve seen one too many moldy Lush products to risk using them beyond their expiration date. Despite the limited timeframe to use Oatifix in, I’d still happily pick this face mask up every time I’ve got tubs to return and skin to fix.

Benefit Cheeky Stowaways Beauty Kit

Friday, 1 September 2017

Do you know what really annoys me about airports? People; airports would be much more enjoyable if it wasn’t for other people. It’s not that I don’t want to share an airport with you (it totally is but let’s pretend I’m nice) it’s just I can’t handle people getting in my way at 4 am when I’m dragging an overweight suitcase and my tired butt around. I actively avoid moving anywhere in an airport until my gate is called as I know I’ll end up throwing my passport or a shoe at someone. The benefit of my aggressive airport tendencies means I rarely spend any unnecessary money as the idea of fighting my way through duty-free is not even remotely appealing. That being said, Prague airport is so unbelievably efficient that I ended up in duty-free without anyone but my other half so they won, I bought something. How dare they run an airport correctly and ruin my foul mood!

Benefit Cheeky Stowaways Beauty Kit

In my weak defence, I did want some new makeup products especially blusher and bronzer as I’ve been using nothing but MAC Dollymix and Benefit Dandelion for years now. I had plans on buying individual products as opposed to a palette as I always feel like large palettes are anything but travel-friendly (which goes against the travel set that this is supposed to be). I couldn’t walk away from the Cheeky Stowaways beauty kit regardless of how much of a pain it is to travel with though so it instantly became mine.

The Cheeky Stowaways beauty kit consists of Benefit’s infamous Hoola, Coralista, my beloved Dandelion and Rockateur. It also contains a small tube of They’re Real mascara and They’re Real push-up liner. There’s a small blush brush as well which will never be used.

Benefit Cheeky Stowaways Beauty Kit

I’m really taken by the variety of the shades in the Cheeky Stowaways and I’m amazed by the fact they’re all light enough for my skin tone. I’ve stayed away from Hoola for a long time as I was certain it would be far too dark for my ghostly complexion but it’s such a beautiful, light shade that it almost makes my horrendous contour skills look good. Coralista is another shade I would typically stay away from as I feel like coral is a total hit and miss. I don’t think Coralista looks amazing on me, it is too peachy for my skin tone but, with the right look, I can just about get away with it.

Dandelion is probably my all time favourite blusher as it’s the perfect light pink. It works well with my pale complexion and provides me with just the right amount of colour with minimum effort. Rockateur on the other hand looks too dark in the palette for me but it’s currently in a fight with Dandelion for the title of my favourite blusher. I absolutely love wearing Rockateur when I’m going for a subtle “hey look at my face” kind of deal as it provides a pretty pink flush to my cheeks without making it look like I’ve just been slapped.

Benefit Cheeky Stowaways Beauty Kit

Aside from the non-travel friendly size, I love everything about this beauty kit. I may not use the mascara and eyeliner very often but I love having them there in case I feel like having a raccoon eye look (I can’t use eyeliner and mascara to save my life) and the variety of shades of blusher means I’ve got shades for almost every mood. All I need now is a bright red for when I feel like looking like a clown. I wonder if I can get one in duty-free...
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