The best bath products ever

I love a good bath. In fact, I need them. I suffer from severe anxiety, which gives me terrible muscle tightness. I find that a warm bath, with candles and some gentle music helps to relax my body and slow my racing mind better than almost anything. Sometimes, especially when I use particularly fragrant bath product, I’ll even sit in the pitch darkness whilst I soak, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it.

Unsurprisingly then, I get through a lot of bath products, and now that the weather is getting colder (and apparently will be getting VERY cold indeed this year) I thought you might like to read about some of my all-time favourite bath products!

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Homemade bath salts – £4.95 approx

The ones in this photo are a mixture of Himalayan pink salt and epsom salts, dried rose petals and lavender essential oil. Bath salts are particularly amazing for sore muscles from sport and exercise. It’s quite inexpensive if you do it yourself by buying your own essential oil and a giant bag of salts like these from Westlab which are the ones I use. However, it can be tricky to get intense or more complex scents by DIY-ing it, so if you want a bath that will be less practical and more sensual, keep reading…

Olverum Bath Oil – £32

This is hands down my favourite bath prodcut on the face of the earth. Nothing compares to this formula, unchanged since the 1930s. It’s all natural combination of pine, lavender, eucalyptus, lemon verbena, which creates the most relaxing, soothing vapours you could possibly imagine. I pour it on my skin when I’m in the bath and then let the water gently wash it around so that I can absolutely maximise my experience of the scent, because the thing about this is, it’s pretty expensive. If I could afford it, I would use this all the time, but for now it’s really just a ‘treat’.

Weleda Bath Soak – £14.95

This is the perfect affordable alternative to Olverum. I absolutely love the Pine scent, which is the one pictured here, but I also ADORE the Lavender, Rosemary and Arnica scents. And the great thing is, they are 100% natural, nourishing and really potently scented so they last for aaaages. I reckon you could mix them up and get a very similar scent to Olverum too – Lavender, Rosemary and Pine are the main ingredients in that too! All in all, these are a fantastic choice for lovely, relaxing baths. Get them here.

KINN Living Bath Oil – £28

This is a delightful, subtly scented bath oil that’s 99.5% organic. The scent is ylang ylang, lavender and tangerine and it’s so delicate and beautiful. The oil base is really nourishing on the skin too. I love this brand, founded by a mother-daughter duo who wanted to create a range of toxin-free home and bodycare products.

Geo Mitchell Relax, Naturally Bath Salts – £14.50

This is another amazing small brand, who have a gorgeous range of products that include natural home fragrances, essential oils and bath salts. These Relax, Naturally bath salts are amazing, combining lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus and peppermint oils in a dead sea salt and epsom salt base. It’s super relaxing but somehow also invigorating?! You get out of the bath feeling like a new person! I love it. It’s great in the bath but also probably one of the best things I’ve ever used as a soak for tired feet. Geo Mitchell have also very kindly provided me with a discount code for you: enter LYB15 for 15% off your first order!

Caudalie Purifying Mask – £22

This is my all-time favourite mask, but that’s not the only reason I’m including it in this list – the other is that it’s a mask that you can leave on for pretty much as long as you like – it doesn’t dry out, which means you don’t have to get out of the bath when your skin starts feeling tight! This mask reduces inflammation and removes impurities to help fix blemishes and give you a smooth, clear complexion. It smells gorgeous and is super gentle on the skin too. Cannot recommend it highly enough! Get it on Look Fantastic, here.

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The Best Body Oils For Summer

HELLO! It’s me, with a blog post?! Yes I haven’t been blogging much lately, I have loads in my drafts I’m just focusing on other things at the moment. You know how it is. But I had to share my favourite recommendations for summery body oils because the wonderful weather we’ve been having has totally inspired me.

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For me, it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, I need to moisturise after I wash. I have dry skin on my body, which turns to eczema in winter but in summer I just get a bit of scaliness and roughness (nice). And of course when the inevitable post-burn ‘peeling’ happens, I need to exfoliate and moisturise even more! Hasn’t happened yet, but it’s early days yet, despite it feeling like we’ve already had our yearly allocation of sun about five times over! So anyway, onto my recommendations for body oils. I love body oils, and much prefer them to body creams. One thing to remember if you aren’t an oil convert yet, is that body oils are nearly always far more naturally derived than creams, and when you’re applying a product to such a large surface area, you should really be using something natural. These three are all light enough to be suitable for sticky summer days, but nourishing enough to leave your skin feeling gorgeously soft. Their fragrances are all very different, but each one is perfect for sunny days in its own unique way.

Aesop Geranium Lead Hydrating Body Treatment

This is the freshest smelling and most luxuriously textured of the three oils – the lightly floral fragrance of geranium leaf is combined with mandarin and bergamot for a really uplifting but intoxicating experience. It reminds me of extremely fragrant English country gardens, you know when the sun has been beating down all day and the flowers are just radiating their scents? It’s a wonderful massage oil as well, but I love to use it any time of the day – it absorbs very quickly when you apply a normal amount, but if you want to massage with it, just use more. It absorbs completely either way, you’re never left feeling sticky! I absolutely love the way this oil feels when you apply it – it truly is everything you could want in an oil. The scent lasts for a good while, as you’d expect from a luxury oil. The nourishing base is almond and macadamia oils which are both really rich in vitamin E, an essential antioxidant for preserving youthful skin. Get it from Beauty Expert, here.

Yves Rocher Orange Blossom, Lavender and Pettigrain Botanical Oil

First of all, I’m so sorry to have to direct you to Yves Rocher’s terrible website, but that’s the only way you can get their products in the UK! It’s worth it, I promise. This oil is glorious. It’s thick, but wastes no time absorbing. The scent of this one is primarily orange blossom or fleur d’oranger if you’re fancy, I can’t really get any lavender or pettigrain but that’s fine for me because orange blossom is my favourite fragrance IN THE WORLD. I absolutely cannot get enough of it. Orange blossom makes me feel so happy, it’s one of the most magically uplifting scents in the world. It’s rich and heady, like jasmine, but without being overwhelming, there’s a fresh element to is as well. I’ve had this oil for two summers and it’s still going strong, despite regular use, so it’s also fantastic value for money. The oils in it are very hardy – rapeseed, sunflower, coconut and macadamia, which makes it very effective at softening and nourishing the skin. The smell lasts at least half a day, which is incredible for a body oil if you ask me! Get it from their website here.

Lush Elbow Grease

I feel like I bang on about this oil at least once a week, whether online or in real life, but I just can’t get over how much I love the smell. It’s so tropical without being sweet or sickly, just makes me feel like I’m wandering through a flower garden in Tahiti or somewhere. It reminds me a lot of monoi oil although it doesn’t actually contain any – the scent is neroli, orange blossom, rosewood and ylang ylang. If you want to read more about this glorious slice of cosmetic heaven, you can read my full blog post on it here.

 

 

Skyn Iceland Skin Hangover Kit*

Why is it that getting older means worse hangovers? I don’t drink that often but when I do it’s like being hit with a tonne of bricks, it never used to be like that!! I know I’m not the only one, and I have a feeling that those brutal late-twenties/early-thirties hangovers may have been the inspiration behind this brilliant product I’m going to tell you all about…

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Skyn Iceland is a brand formulated with millenial women in mind. Their tagline is ‘Solutions for stressed skin’ and who among us doesn’t have stressed skin right about now? Whether it’s work deadlines, wedding planning, buying a house, kids, money, dealing with your landlord, worrying about pollution, concerned by the state of the world or literally suffering from anxiety, we’re all stressed out by something. Skyn knows this all too well, and their products are formulated to help support, soothe and care for your skin during stressful periods. I love brands like this, ones that think about what you want, rather than coming up with things to make you want. The Skin Hangover Kit illustrates this perfectly. Containing a detox mask, cooling gel eye patches, a hydrating moisturiser and a refreshing eye cream, it’s designed to help you feel fresh and awake on days where you can’t just pull the duvet up over your head and pretend last night never happened. Grab yourself a large glass of water and let me tell you more about it!

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Fresh Start Mask Sachets

I absolutely love this mask – I have a box of the sachets as well and enjoy using it whenever my skin is feeling dull. The first sachet contains blue clay to deep cleanse and purify, and the second sachet contains an activating gel which creates an effervescent effect to further stimulate the skin, and give you a really refreshed feeling. It’s a hangover cure it itself, even without the rest of the brilliant products in this kit! Buy this on its own here.

Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels

These lovely little patches help to de-puff the eyes and reduce fine lines with cooling and deeply hydrating ingredients. After just ten minutes they leave you looking totally fresh, absolutely perfect for when you wake up bleary-eyed and puffy. Buy a full pack of them here.

Icelandic Relief Eye Cream

I absolutely love this eye cream. It smells minty and initially I expected it to be like putting menthol under my eyes (cue: weeping!) but it’s very subtle indeed, just enough to make your eyes feel bright and awake without overdoing the tingling sensation. This eye cream helps to target puffiness for the rest of the day (after your eye gels have taken away the bulk of it), as well as reducing dark circles and fine lines. The eyes are the part of the face that really gives you away when you have a hangover, but these two together sort them right out. Buy this on its own here.

The Antidote Cooling Daily Lotion

Of course, there’s no point looking better if you don’t feel better, and while the wonderful eye products do help to relieve that tired-eye feeling, there’s still a whole face that needs some tlc! Once you use the mask, follow it with The Antidote which cools facial skin instantly, and really, deeply hydrates. I’m very picky about moisturisers so wasn’t expecting to like this, especially when I was hungover and moody, but I really felt better after applying this. The Fresh Start Mask gives your skin a wake-up call but this maintains that ‘awake’ feeling! Buy this on its own here.

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James and I tried the kit out the morning after celebrating a little too hard. We climbed Ben Nevis and may have overindulged on prosecco afterwards, and woke up feeling a little worse for wear. The Skin Hangover Kit contains two of both the single-use products, and plenty of the other two products so you can share it with your significant other, or a friend while you sip coffee and complain! The four products come inside a resealable packet, which means you could buy more of the single use products (both available separately, here for the mask and here for the eye gels) and restock the kit to bring with you if you’re going somewhere. I think it’s perfect for after a big night of celebration, such as a wedding, graduation, work party or housewarming, and I also think it would make a really nice bridesmaid gift, or something to put in your best friend’s bridal suit, perhaps a cheeky secret santa or even a going away to uni present! Get it here for £17.

Spring Clean with KINN* – toxin free, natural products for body and home!

Thinking about doing a bit of spring cleaning? Perhaps you’ve read the recent news stories about household cleaning products being an underestimated source of air pollution? Or maybe you heard about the new research, which has found that women are more likely to experience respiratory illnesses due to inhaling cleaning products over extended periods of time? Not long ago I tweeted about how looking after your home is a form of self care, but how can it be when the products required to clean a home are so dangerous? These news stories really left me feeling a bit despondent.  Luckily for me, when these stories were published, I had been invited to try a new, non-toxic and organic lifestyle brand called KINN… and trust me, you’ll want to learn all about this amazing brand too!

Four bottles. One is a body lotion bottle, one is a bath oil, one is a kitchen cleaner and one is washing up liquid. there are two plants behind them.

KINN products are non-toxic, vegan, and have fully traceable ingredients (which is something that very few brands actually have). The brand was created by mother-daughter duo Marie and Sophie, who set out with the aim of creating products for the body and home that would be enjoyable and effective to use, without doing damage to the consumer or the environment. I’ve tried four KINN products so far, two from their cleaning range and two from their body care range, and have been absolutely delighted with every single one of them!

Two bottles sit on top of three cookbooks. The bottles are washing up liquid and kitchen cleaner in modern, clean packaging. A plant is next to them.

Eco Friendly Kitchen Cleaner – £3.50

This is without a doubt the best cleaning spray I’ve ever used. It’s anti-bacterial but not in the same way that Dettol is anti-bacterial – instead of horrific chemicals, KINN use rosemary and lavender extracts to kill off unwanted germs sustainably. The scent is absolutely beautiful, a clean rosemary scent, and it cuts through dirt to leave surfaces absolutely sparkling clean. I actually really do not like cleaning, but the gorgeous scent of this stuff, and how satsfying it is to just absolutely blast through kitchen worktops, the hob, cubboard doors etc with this stuff makes it so much more enjoyable.

Eco Friendly Washing Up Liquid – £3.50

Easily the best washing up liquid I’ve ever used. Although in this country, everything that goes down the drain is heavily treated before being released back into the ecosystem, I do know that your water company’s job is made a lot harder when weird chemicals go into the mix. So when I put things down the drain, I prefer them to be as natural as possible. This is an absolutely brilliant washing up liquid, it’s so effective, it’s kind to my hands and smells wonderful; those lavender and rosemary extracts again.

Two white bottles sit on a white tile in front of two green plants. The bottles are of body lotion and bath oil.

Organic Body Lotion – £18

This body lotion is absolutely stunning, and is 90.9% organic, amazingly. The scent is ylang ylang and lavender, with orange in there too to lift it up. The base is sunflower seed, shea and cocoa butter which makes it rich, but absorbs really beautifully. And there’s aloe vera in there too which gives it a gorgeously soothing feel as you massage it in. A little goes a very long way too, and I find that when I use it after I shave my legs, it completely prevents any dryness from occurring, which is a recurring problem for me with shaving – so it’s clearly an amazing body lotion if it can treat that!

Organic Bath Oil – £28

This might actually be my favourite product of the four I’ve tried. It’s not like any other bath oil I own, which have very herbal scents like arnica, pine or rosemary. This is a delicate, uplifting scent that put me in a good mood as soon as I poured it in. The scent comes from tangerine oil, lavender and ylang ylang and it’s just so lovely. The oil blend is composed of sweet almond, grape seed, avocado and sunflower seed oils which are very good for nourishing the skin, but they are all very easily absorbed meaning it doesn’t make your bath or your skin oily. There’s added vitamin E for extra skin-loving nutrients. Every time I have a bath in this I just do not want to get out, ever! The oil is 100% natural and 99.5% organic too. It doesn’t get better than that.

I hope you enjoyed reading about KINN, this brand has been an absolute revelation to me and I can’t believe how much I enjoy using their home cleaning products! They have lots of other gorgeous sounding products too, including a body oil and body wash, a bathroom cleaner and a floor wash. I really want to try their body wash, it sounds divine!! You can buy KINN products on their website here, or they are also available in Waitrose.

 

 

WHAT IS SELF CARE?

Ever since the concept of self care became a thing that we actively talk about, people have tried to define it in lots of different ways. I have to say, I’ve found a lot of these definitions lacking, because most of the time they seem to invalidate what one person does, in order to validate another person’s self care techniques. I’ve seen people laugh at and bully a wonderful internet activist who created an app reminding people to drink enough water. I’ve seen people describe taking a bath as ‘self care for people without any problems’. I’ve seen websites promote buying £200 weighted blankets for ‘luxury’ wellbeing, while these very same blankets are desperately needed by people with ADHD who often can’t afford them. I’ve seen people implying that the only valid form of self care is basic maintenance (sleeping, eating, drinking) whilst other people claim that meditation and mindfulness are the only true ways to perform self care. Others will tell you that self care is worthless if you don’t love yourself. The concept of self care is turning out to be quite a complex one, and I wanted to spend a little time unpacking it, to shed light on what has become so unexpectedly confusing.

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I believe that the root of the problem is consumerism. Brands have had a hugely negative impact on the way people view self care. Above, I mentioned a listicle of luxury self care items, and this is where I think the problem comes from. Most people will have first heard about self care in the media, so they see it as something luxurious, an indulgence. Something they have to spend money on. This makes many people who are truly in dire need of self care reject it, because it seems frivolous. It isn’t the bubble bath that’s the problem, it’s the women’s lifestyle website telling you that you need to spend £100 on accoutrements to go with your bubble bath.

This has led to people feeling that it doesn’t reflect what they actually need, and I completely understand. Just like the trivialisation of the word ‘triggered’ affected me in therapy, where we used the word when discussing trauma, thoughtless media treatment has put people off self care because they feel silly talking about it. This is why I’ve decided to spend time earnestly talking about it; I know how important it is, and want help other people see that self care isn’t a fancy lifestyle choice, it’s a basic choice that helps you live your life.

Some people have tried to get around this trivialisation by moving the goalposts – describing self care as being only things like taking meds, drinking water, brushing your teeth. But I believe this makes some very unhelpful assumptions, and doesn’t clear things up at all. First of all, it assumes that self care is only for people who are ill. It’s also very ignorant of the fact that illness and wellness both take many, many forms. You cannot make a statement about self care being one thing but not another, because you don’t know what other people need. At the Foodbank I volunteer at, we put bodycare products like lotion or bubble bath in with our monthly menstrual parcels, we put chocolate into all of the food boxes and we put lipbalm into every homeless food box. Why? Because people need more than just baked beans and tinned vegetables. They need to feel like a human being. Many people across the world go through terrible, horrible things whether it’s due to poverty, sickness, grief or abuse. They don’t just require basic self maintenance to feel better. I truly believe that there is a gross lack of empathy in a lot of conversations around self care.

The NHS describes self care as being the different ways you can look after yourself, both mentally and physically. What we really need to understand is that this looks different for absolutely every single person on earth. And we need to accept that we can never, ever know how much another person needs their self care, how hard their journey is or what’s going on with them. Self care can also be very hard for some people. Roxane Gay makes a very good point that this concept of self care seems to her like yet another thing women are expected to be good at, and I’ve been there; I used to suck at self care too. But you cannot expect people to be able to learn how to practice self care if it doesn’t sound accessible, or attainable. The only answer is to eschew rampant consumerism and to be empathetic when others talk about their self care. We should be open about how we like to look after ourselves, both the elaborate and simple methods, and be honest about how that doesn’t always mean doing what we want to do. You can’t change what self care is – it already is what it is.

What we should be spending our time doing is discussing how to ensure we make honest choices about self care, because it doesn’t always mean doing whatever you want. Being honest with yourself about what you actually need is essential. For example, you might really want to spend four hours cooking a fancy meal to cheer yourself up, but perhaps you only want to do that to procrastinate some less fun chores? Skipping school or work might be something you do need to do once in a while, but you must be careful – why are you skipping it and what are you doing instead?

Every human being on the planet deserves to practice self care, and some people find it harder than others. The most important thing to remember is not to be negative about what one person is doing to care for themselves, because you don’t know how much they need it, why they need it or what they’re going through. But next time you see a magazine listing the “40 Best Self Care items you need”, ignore it.

January Beauty Favourites!

I’m not sure if I’ve ever done a monthly favourites post before, certainly not for a long time! But I thought it would be nice as I’ve been loving a few specific things this month; a combination of new discoveries and some old favourites.

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Lush Rosy Cheeks – I picked up a pot of one of my most beloved face masks this month and I’ve been loving it just as much as I always do. Rosy Cheeks is made with calamine and rose oil to calm the skin, as well as kaolin clay to draw out impurities. It’s fantastic because it does it all – deep cleanses the pores, calms irritation and nourishes the skin, thanks to the rose oil. My skin has been feeling a little more sensitive than usual this month so using a mask that comforts, calms and cleanses has been great. 

Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask – I got the flu this month, and I had a few irritating stressful things to deal with as well. These things always give me spots, and I decided to use this gorgeous, calming, purifying mask to calm them down. It really worked, as it always does. This mask contains manuka honey which is like a holy grail skincare ingredient – it nourishes, calms, hydrates and is also antimicrobial so it’s perfect for clearing up spots. It feels gorgeous when it goes on, like a soft gel, and it smells divine too. Highly recommend! Read more about this miracle worker here.

Magic Organic Apothecary Green Balm – Ok ok, I picked a couple of spots and they got nasty. I was stressed! I applied my MOA Green Balm before bed to help them heal and prevent infection – and they healed perfectly. What a relief! This stuff is a total multitasker and I LOVE it. You can cleanse with it, use it on eczema, scrapes, all sorts of things. You can even gargle with it! Read more about it’s amazing healing properties here.

Glossier Body Hero Daily Oil Wash – Urghhhhhhhh this STUFF. It’s SO GOOD. It smells like absolute heaven, a light orange blossom scent that’s refreshing but indulgent at the same time, and it leaves the skin velvety soft. No shower gel, body wash or even oil wash has ever made my skin feel so wonderfully soft. It’s the perfect way to make your shower time a little bit special. Get it on Glossier’s website here.

Byredo Inflorescence Eau De Parfum – This is an absolutely beautiful fragrance. It’s extremely unusual but also quite familiar – it really does smell exactly like a garden bursting with fragrant spring flowers. It’s basically the essence of spring and I love wearing it whenever I need a pick me up – I’ve been feeling a bit down with the cold weather and it has lifted my mood every time I wear it. Byredo are a very high quality brand and you’ll find their fragrances wonderfully long lasting and flattering.

Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Toner – When my skin was really bad, I tried just using my trusty Avene Tolerance Extreme Emulsion to moisturise, thinking that keeping it as simple as possible would work. But my skin was very dehydrated from the winter weather and I found that I needed something else. Fresh’s Rose Deep Hydration Toner turned out to be exactly what I needed – it’s rich in hyalurinic acid to hydrate and rose to soothe. I applied it like an essence rather than a toner (pressing it into my skin) and it was perfect. Read more here!

Hope you enjoyed this quick little look at the products I’ve been loving throughout January 🙂

Knixwear: The Most Empowering Bras In The World! #ad

The topic of bras has always been a bit of a minefield for feminists, and it’s not hard to see why. Bras are often uncomfortable, horrendously impractical and outrageously expensive. So much focus is given to how bras (and the breasts in them) look, that most companies seem to have forgotten that the people wearing them have ribcages, plain t-shirts and active daily routines. It’s difficult to know what to do, when you know that this happens because of the objectification of women, but you also know that you need the support of a proper bra. Or it was, until an amazing brand popped up in Canada and changed everything…

Knixwear is a feminist company that makes bras, pants, loungewear and tank tops designed with actual human women in mind. Their products are extremely comfortable, flexible, and made to fit a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They move with you, instead of constraining you, which is something all clothes should do, but thanks to sexism, throughout history, women’s clothes never truly have.

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Knix very kindly sent me their signature 8-in-1 Evolution Bras to try out, and I have to say that it delivered on every single claim they make. They began with a mission to make ‘the most comfortable bra ever’ and I really do believe it is. It’s so comfortable I keep forgetting I’m wearing it! The support is effective, but subtle; it doesn’t push your cleavage up under your chin, but it keeps everything right where it should be – for me the shape it gives is like a firmer, higher version of my natural breast shape, which I really love. The bra is reversible, seamless and wireless, but because of the brilliantly engineered material, it still has ‘cups’ so you don’t get that annoying single-boob look of other non-wired, crop top bras. You can run for a bus in it, you can bend forward in it; everything stays just where it should. I even tested it out in Yoga sessions and it performed flawlessly. Wearing this bra, I do feel truly empowered because I know it was made specifically to meet my needs, as a human being with a pair of breasts.

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Not only does Knix prove itself by selling the most comfortable bra in the world, you can see their empowering ideals shine through in all the products they make. You can get a pair of thigh savers to beat the chafe, leak-proof underwear that looks exactly the same as normal underwear and super comfy looking loungewear with POCKETS!! …Everything in their range looks fantastic, is there to make women’s lives more comfortable, and to make underwear shopping a fuss-free experience.

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So there you have it, I’ve actually found a bra that makes me feel like a valued human being, and to me, that’s true empowerment. No more angry red marks around my breasts at the end of the day. No more tight shoulders. No more boob sweat. No more underwire (!!!) No more poking my ribs as soon as I sit down. Hello to comfort, real support, and never having to think about how irritating my bra is ever again. Hello Knixwear!!!

This post was very kindly sponsored by Knixwear but every opinion expressed is my own.