Bringing the beauty – a Travel Post!

I’m super excited. Tomorrow I’ll be going to New York for the first time! And then up to Canada, to stay with a friend. I can’t wait, and I thought that before I go I’d share how I roll when it comes to travelling.

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These are my essentials for hand luggage. A good book. Palmer’s lipbalm. Weleda Skin Food (for my face). Weleda Rhinodoron spray for my nose (the dry air doesn’t like my sinuses). A mini Jurlique Rose Hand Cream (luxurious and nourishing, because I’ll be using a tonne of antibac hand wipes too). Pacifica Coconut Milk Wipes (for freshening up). Urbanears Headphones (the best, and prettiest). Gin Gin ginger sweets (for ear popping purposes). Benefit’s They’re Real! (because my eyelashes are more or less see through so I need mascara at all times). Buddha Nose Girl Balm (the smell is calming and refreshing at the same time).

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I’m so glad I invested in a few new mini bottles to decant all this in. Because it went from all that…

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To just these! So satisfying. I’m going to need to wash my hair while I’m away which is annoying, because I need to use so much shampoo and conditioner I have no choice but to bring whole bottles. But being able to shink the rest of the products down to just this has helped SO MUCH. Most of these bottles came from Muji, with the exception of the Travalo perfume bottle, and the oil bottle, which actually came from a Weleda Body Oil set.

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I’ve kept it super simple with make up. To be fair, my make up routine is very simple all the time anyway, as I rarely experiment. I just decanted a couple of broken eyeshadows into my tiniest travel pots to save a little space.

So that’s it! I’m really pleased with how much space I’ve saved with those Muji bottles. Happy travels, touch wood! And if you’re going away yourself this summer, I hope you have a great time 🙂

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Ten things I won’t let out of my sight this summer

It’s really hard not to live up to my sterotype and start this post with a comment about the hot weather. No. I will not do it. TMI warning: I had my first cervical screening the other day, and what did we talk about? THE WEATHER. For those of you yet to experience/dreading to experience that particular facet of womanhood, let me reassure you it isn’t that bad. Don’t skip it out of embarrassment.

WELL, that was quite the way to kick off a post, wasn’t it? If you’re still reading, here are the things I’ve been using/buying/banging on about since the sun started coming out.

1. DHC Blotting Paper

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I reviewed this a while ago and predicted that this super cute little box would be ever by my side this summer. And I was right! Central London is hotter than anywhere else in the UK that I’ve ever been, and these babies have come in so handy, while on the tube, bus and after walking anywhere, so basically, all the time. My friends have been hella grateful for them too, and I still can’t get over how they don’t affect my make up AT ALL. Get it for £4.

2. M&S white ankle socks

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Here’s a life lesson you probably already knew that I recently learned: NEVER WEAR CONVERSE WITHOUT SOCKS.  I used to find it hard to wear ankle socks with my shoes because I have very wide feet at the toes and they seem to pull the socks down inside the shoe. Of course, it turns out that all I had to do was buy better quality ankle socks. Years of picking up a multipack from Primark, I’d kind of forgotten that other places sell them too (in fairness, I used to trampoline, and there’s no point buying good ankle socks for that because they’ll get destroyed two weeks after you buy them). Anyway, these M&S ones are great, they have a ring that goes around the arch to hold them in place, so they don’t slip down! Here they are, 3 for £5.

3. Travalo Travel Perfume Bottle 

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I don’t like to go anywhere without my favourite perfume, Philosykos by Diptyque, but the gorgeous glass bottle is heavy, and I’m always worried about breaking or losing it (£80 ya’ll). I was also reluctant to buy an ordinary spray bottle because I’d have expose my precious perfume to the air whilst decanting it, which might damage the fragrance. This travel bottle has a nifty rubber hole at the bottom, and all you have to do is remove the atomiser from the perfume, attach the travel bottle, pump a few times, and voila. Portable Philosykos. Amazon is where I got mine, for about £9.

4. Ambre Solaire Clear Protect SPF30

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Sun protection is hell of a thing. Endless choice, very little unbiased advice. Should I go with an all-natural version that doesn’t have EU certification and has questionable SPF, or should I get one with five different logos and a host of chemicals in it? Cream or spray? Pricey or budget? Well, this one just spoke to me – a dry oil that doesn’t need to be rubbed in, I really like the way it feels on my skin, because it isn’t sticky. Also, because of the fact that it isn’t a cream there aren’t any parabens in it. Bonus. Get it here!

5. A massive pretty dress several sizes too big for me

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If you haven’t thought of this yet, then seriously, do. The pretty pattern means that it retains a bit of style, but the extra fabric means my poor overheated skin can get some air without having to get sun at the same time. This one was from River Island and I got it in the sale. I got the largest size I could find and it feels so comfortable and summery. Glorious.

6. Bobble Bottle

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Buying one of these was the best desision I’ve made in a long time. The water tastes SO much better, and it’s a very pleasant bottle to drink from, which means you’re more likely to stay hydrated. If you’re in London or any other big city, one of these is an absolute must – especially since bottles of water are more expensive! They come in a huge variety of colours, and most of them are clear plastic rather than coloured. Mine is a Bobble Sport which means the body is made out of more robust plastic than the clear ones, because I don’t trust myself with anything. Oh and lots of different sizes too! Check them out.

7. Jurlique Balancing Foaming Cleanser

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I reviewed this the other day, and all I can say is I regret not doing it much sooner. This is the perfect cleanser for summer. My skin gets oily in hot weather, and this is perfect for removing excess oil while leaving my skin soft and fresh. Plus, I still can’t get over the foaming action.

8. Palmer’s Coconut Oil Hair Care

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If you’ve read my blog at all – well, then you know. I’m obsessed with Palmer’s. The coconut oil products are just SO great for my hair as the sun tries it’s hardest to fry it, plus they smell nice and summery too. Treat your locks.

9. Cute colourful ear studs

IMG_3590 I got my ears pierced relatively recently, in comparison to most women, when I was 22. I don’t know if it’s because I never grew up with them or if it’s just a facet of my scatty personality, but I suck at earrings. I forget about them for weeks at a time and I’m always annoyed at myself as I have lots of nice ones, but I’m always worried about looking too ‘overdone’ when I wear them. This casual set of studs is perfect for me, because I can just put in whichever set I see first and go, whatever I’m wearing (ok I make a bit more effort than that, but still). They’re simple, easy and the perfect accessories for when I’m desperate to get out of my boiling hot bedroom in the morning. I got these pretties from ASOS.

10. Smooze Mango Coconut

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Coconut milk and mango ice lollies, I mean come on, do I need to say any more? Get them from your local health food shop. There is a possibility that they’re made for children, but I literally do not care. They are delicious. Here’s there website for help finding them (if you live near a Whole Foods or As Nature Intended, I know they sell them, but I’m not sure about anywhere outside of London!)

Attention people who menstruate: Buddha Nose Girl Balm

I’m really adverse to using everyday painkillers because I don’t believe that drug companies necessarily want the best for us, and I’d rather know what’s happening in my body so I can be aware of changes. That’s just me though, I know everyone is different. And of course that doesn’t mean I don’t get horrendous period cramps every month. Just today I almost blacked out while talking to someone (they didn’t notice). A while ago I went on the hunt for something natural that I could carry around with me as if it were a sleeve of paracetamol, to help me get through the cramps.

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And hey, guess what, I found something! Buddha Nose’s Girl Balm is a thick organic balm made with a glorious mixture of warming ingredients with bright scents that help to sooth away pain and cut through sluggish pain-induced nausea.

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Now obviously, it goes without saying that this doesn’t eliminate pain like popping a pill. What this does is all together more holistic, and healthier. I’m not saying that people with low pain thresholds or extreme cramps will be able to get along with just this, because I’m not one of those people, but I do think that it will restore a sense of wellbeing, help you to calm down and definitely ease that sicky feeling.

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It has a really gorgeous scent –  refreshing ginger and bright, sweet rose geranium. I can smell lemon in the scent too, although there’s none in the balm. There’s no musk or wood in the fragrance at all, which is important because as I said, much of the effectiveness is aromatherapeutic, and those types of scent really don’t help with feeling groggy.

You rub it on your lower belly and back, and if you’re unlucky enough to have pain spreading down your thighs too, pop a bit on them as well. It absorbs very quickly for me. I think that’s because the base oil is jojoba, which is the most easily absorbed oil since it’s closest to human sebum. This also means that the ingredients can be absorbed better, because they’re being held in jojoba. Along with the ginger, black pepper provides the heat, and it’s amazing what an effect these two run of the mill kitchen ingredients have! Obviously, the action of massaging the area has an effect on the pain too, but with this balm you get the added effects of the ingredients, which I do believe are considerable. I also like to pat a bit behind my ears so I can enjoy the scent for longer. Since owning this, I haven’t used a single other form of pain-relief, (apart from warm baths because they’re just nice).

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I think (though I have no actual experience) that this would be a good product for pregnant mums too? The gingery rose scent must be good for hormone induced nausea, and rubbing it on a painful back would be effective no matter what’s going on in your uterus.

I really find that I forget about the pain for a long time after I use this. I can’t say whether that’s because the pain is gone but it definitely doesn’t bother me. I’m so happy I found it, and I really recommend it. I know I sound a bit diplomatic about it, but I would never want to assume someone else experiences pain the same way I do, so although Buddha Nose Girl Balm is perfect for me, I don’t want to try too hard to convince you that it would do the same for you. Hopefully by reading about my experience you’ll be inclined to try it, and will love it as much as I do! The only stockist in the UK that I know of is Naturisimo.com, where you can get it for £20. It’s actually great value I think, given that I’ve had it for half a year and only used that much!

Do you have any natural pain relief tips or tricks?

London Fun

Thought I would post a little update on what I’ve been up to since the sun started coming out…

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I took a trip to a garden centre, where I bought a friend called Bitey.

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I made frequent visits to Regent’s Park, and on one found a perfect patch of bluebells hiding behind some shrubs.

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On another visit I was able to indulge on of my biggest plant based obsessions – blossoms.

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I found this moth in Camden – and was convinced for ages that it must have been an invasive species from some tropical paradise. Continue reading

Hand Cream Review: Neutrogena Hand Cream with Nordic Berry – and some news!

First things first, I want to introduce a new idea to the blog. I have very very dry hands, they always have been and always will be, and many of my family members are the same. In winter out hands have been known to crack until they bleed, which is always fun. Not. This has obviously led to a constant stream of hand creams coming in and out of my life, from thick natural balms to heavy duty nasties like E45 (never again). So I thought it would be nice if I review hand creams as I try them, because if they work for me they’re probably going to work for you too! I’ll also categorise them under Hand Creams so if you’re ever in the market for a new one, you can easily have a look through past reviews.

So, on to the hand cream – Neutrogena Hand Cream with Nordic Berry.

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Unfortunately there isn’t much to say about this hand cream. It does smell absolutely divine, I’ll give it that. Cloudberries must be delicious, because the Kopparberg cider with cloudberry flavouring is seriously good, and this stuff, scent wise, is gorgeous. I originally had the Nordic Berry lipbalm, which was actually really really good, but one of the ingredients was hydrogenated vegetable oil?! So stupid, putting trans fats in the one skincare products you actually end up ingesting. I threw it out as soon as I realised but I did miss the gorgeous scent, which was why I jumped on this hand cream as soon as I saw it. The cream has hydrogenated vegetable oil in it too, but I’m hoping that the absorption of product doesn’t work that way…

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It’s quite a thick, yet light cream, and takes a bit of time to absorb – as you rub it in you’re left with a thin oil that actually feels a bit like alcohol. Sounds weird, I know, but I’m just trying to describe it in detail. If you’ve ever used a dry oil like almond oil, its similar to that but not as thick. The moisturisers are actually shea butter, hydrogenated vegetable oil, and paraffin, no almond oil to be seen. As far as I can tell from the ingredients there are no parabens which is a bonus. However, although my hands are moisturised, I wouldn’t say they’re soft. The moisture doesn’t last for very long, and it leaves a slightly sticky film over my hands which is really annoying (and no, not all hand creams do this).

If you’re looking for a cheap, fairly effective, nicely scented hand cream to keep in your bag, Neutrogena Hand Cream with Nordic Berry is for you. Otherwise, its not worth the effort.

And now for a bit of news! I spend a fair amount of time talking about the Amazon Rainforest and what an amazing place it is. I get a bit paranoid that I talk too much about it actually. However, while I was there, a film crew were making a TV show, and that TV show is going to start on Sunday 1st June on BBC2 at 8pm. It’s called I Bought a Rainforest, and part of it is going to feature the reserve that I volunteered at. I’m really excited to see what Charlie and his team have made, and will be writing a few posts about the rainforest to go along with it. (FYI: I am in no way affiliated with any of the film makers, companies or the charities involved, I am doing this purely as a person with stories to tell)

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If you want to read a bit more about the show, and the area of the Amazon Rainforest that it’s set in, here’s some links:

Charlie Hamilton James

CREES Foundation

I Bought a Rainforest