Friday, 31 January 2014

Bloom: Neal's Yard Mineral Foundation Review

When I decided to start swapping my make up for more natural alternatives, the face powder was on of the first items to change. I had been using a mineral powder by Elizabeth Arden which gave great finish but I felt that if I had chosen to buy a mineral foundation, shouldn't be made of the best possible ingredients?

First I headed to my local Bare Minerals counter and brought one of their beginners kits, at first I was won over by the product's coverage and finish. After about a week, I noticed some small bumps developing along my jaw line which became red and itchy. After a bit of research I found that many people had experienced similar problems and the likely culprit was Bismuth Oxychloride (BO). This had been used place of talc in the Bare Minerals foundation. It is a known skin irritant, as is talc. Unlike talc, the BO can cause further irritation when repeatedly buffed into the skin. The whole point of mineral foundation is that they can be buffed into the skin to for a seamless application.

My next purchase was the mineral foundation my Neal's Yard when it had been first released. At £22.50 it is in the same price range as Elizabeth Arden and Bare Minerals. The Neal's Yard powder does not contain talc, BO, parabens or silicones and it gives me buildable coverage. You also get tons of product which is a bonus. The only negative thing I would say is that the packaging does not prevent the powder from spilling when you open it. I wish there was a sliding compartment to dispense what you need. At the moment it is touch and go whether I spill it or not each time I open it.

I originally brought the shade medium cool, I found that as time went on that it wasn't my colour. So i went back the store and got the shade medium warm which is bang on exactly my shade. The powder has a smooth texture which is pleasant to buff into the skin. I wouldn't think it would give anything more than medium coverage (you have to layer to get that anyway). Most days, I just use concealer and this powder which gives a lovely finish. It also works great for setting liquid make up and gives extra coverage over my Ginvera BB Cream.

There is nourishing vitamin e, sweet almond and shea butter to moisturise and brighten the skin. White Tea has also be thrown in to calm and smooth, whilst preserving the skins collagen. It is a powder that gives you that little bit of extra to keep your skin tip top and a little make up confidence as it provides a semi matt finish.

It's a great foundation and I will keep using it but it wont stop me from trying other ones out there!

Monday, 27 January 2014

A Sweet Treat

Sometimes no matter how good your eating has been and how clean your diet is, sometimes you cannot cut the craving. For me I can go a long time without craving a creamy dessert but then an urge will come from nowhere, suddenly all I can think about are sweet, creamy delicious desserts. It’s normally happens later in the evening so I’m too lazy to bake/make anything that involves too much effort. 

So with a few tablespoons or Alpro Soya Vanilla Yogurt and a handful of blueberries my cravings are squashed and my taste buds are happy. I don’t eat this all the time, this is for when times are tough and I need a sweet treat. P.s there is also an Alpro Soya Lemon and lime yogurt and it rocks!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

The First Yoga Class

Although I have been interested in Yoga for a while now, what I’ve learnt has been from DVDs and YouTube, so I decided that it was about time I get myself to a class. I wanted to get some personal interaction with an instructor to actually get a good yoga practice going. I also wanted someone to help me with my positioning. I really enjoyed it and was worth waiting an hour an half after work to go to it.

Here are some steps I used to prep myself for my first class:

Search for different classes in your area and find out what best suits your abilities. I made sure that my class took beginners because I didn't what to feel out of my depth and maybe forced to do something I couldn't. Which leads me onto....

Look for reviews on the instructor and check out where they have had their training. My instructor had been trained at a local Yoga Centre and has offered beginner Yoga classes for two years. 

 "Go with no expectations, learn what you are taught and see what you can do"

Everyone has heard a Yoga horror story. Hopefully this hasn't happened to millions of people but a work friend of mine said he hated Yoga, when I asked why I found out he had only been to one yoga class and wouldn't go back. Maybe he is a bit stubborn but all he thinks about now when he hears the word Yoga is being forced into a pose that he could not manage by an over zealous instructor who thought my work friend could do anything because he was a young athletic guy.

If the instructor doesn't ask you make sure they know if you have any injuries.

Introduce yourself when your arrive at the class. If you feel nervous just take control of the situation and make yourself feel more comfortable by making yourself known.

Don't feel like you have to have the most amazing workout gear for your first lesson. There are some truly amazing goodies when it comes to yoga clothes but you really are fine wearing leggings and a soft form fitting top for your first go. Then when you know your are in love with it you can treat yourself to some new work out gear for next time.

Ask if the instructor has spare mats and blocks prior to the class. They should do, but not always!

Go with no expectations, learn what you are taught and see what you can do. No one is going watch you like you think they will. They are all concentrating on their practice as well!

Lastly, make sure you are not going to an initiation for cult,.......... but that's another story for another time!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Breakfast: Very Berry Coconut Porridge

To me this is a real treat in the morning and it is so easy to prepare. Which is great when you are not quite yet awake and don’t want any fuss in the morning. I love my oats, it’s that stodgy hug in the morning that keeps me coming back for more and the protein and fibre in it keeps me full past 10am, which is a wonderful feat all on its own because I’m always hungry! I love porridge; here is what I recently topped it with.

 Delicious coconut oil gives the porridge an added creaminess in texture. Although it is high in fats coconut oil is a different type of saturated fat that is not found in meat or dairy. This type of fat is called a medium chain fatty acid. MCFA’s, unlike other saturated fats are easily digested and is easily used by the body as an energy source rather than being stored into fat. MCFA’s are also thought to aid the absorption of vitamins from other food. This oil is also a great source of Vitamin E and selenium meaning it’s a great restorative addition to meal. 

" One serving of Blueberries is like having the FIVE portions of Broccoli!"

Almond milk is full of calcium helping to promote bone health whilst zinc strengthens your immune system, making almond milk a great winter essential! 

Strawberries contain B vitamins, they can help regulate the nervous system and with stress levels. They are also full off iron which will help fight fatigue!

Blueberries hold a power house of youth preserving antioxidants that protect your cells from free radicals, did you know that one serving of these juicy jewels is like having the equivalent of 5 portions of Broccoli! Insane or what!

Here’s what to do:

Heat up your oats in a pan with about a cup and a half of Almond Milk
When the mix starts to thicken, add a tsp of coconut oil and let it melt. Stir it thoroughly.
Meanwhile chop up your berries. I like to put some in the bottom of the bowl and pour the porridge over. This way you get bits that have softened from the heat and your crisp fruit on top. Lovely!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Appreciate right now

At the moment i'm trying to find appreciation for the now, i'm trying to think what can I do right now that will benefit myself or others, or both!

What can you do right now to appreciate yourself, work with what you have. You don't have to spend a lot of money, or a lot of time if you don't have it. What can you do that may benefit the now, the moment you are in right now? It might be writing a letter, sending a quick text to a very missed friend,a quick half hour clean or a mani/pedi session. Do you have time to curl your hair? Could you help someone with a task they find difficult? Take a walk, listen to your favourite song. Read. However much time you have use it.

 "What will benefit yourself and others in the not so distant future?"

When you feel at a loss of what to do just do anything, whether it's the washing up, sorting your socks, even if you really just want to watch television always consider what will make now amazing. What will benefit yourself and others in the not so distant future.

When at work could you be a teeny bit more productive to make your day flow easier, for lunch could you prepare an amazing looking lunch that makes you happy and grateful. If you work near a friend pop by and say Hello, maybe drop them off a pre-made lunch or even a snack. It will make their day.

When I worked closer to friends I loved it when they randomly popped in and said "tonight, we are going out for dinner together". It was unexpected and it made it a real treat to spend quality time with them even if we were eating somewhere cheap. Don't put a price on time spent appreciating yourself and others. So what if you can't go to that fancy restaurant, or you don't think someone will like your gift because you don't have a large budget. As long as you have been thoughtful with your gift or the time spent with them it will show. You could even bake a cake and invite a friend over for tea.

Working with the now will then in turn make a difference in your future. Working with what you have in the present allows to appreciate what has flourished in the future.

I'm hoping to make more time for friends and family this year and make some great memories.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Making Time For Yourself

" I’m often in a rush applying moisturiser whilst making my toast. Once I even almost put my knife in my face cream instead of my almond butter"

 I’m a chronic snooze button presser. I  will go to bed “thinking” that I will get up at 6.30, so I will set my alarm for 6.10 in preparation for getting up for 6.30am. It’s stupid for two reasons. A: I’ve pre planned to hit the snooze button and B: I never get up at 6.30am. I will then snooze until the last minute to make the most of my warm duvet until I pull myself out of bed and get on with the day.

Because of this I only have about 30minutes before I have to get out of the door and be at work for 8am. I’m often in a rush applying moisturiser whilst making my toast. Once I even almost put my knife in my face cream instead of my almond butter, that would have tasted interesting! I only ever have enough time to wash, brush my hair and then eat before heading out.

I never feel like I have woken up properly and I have made myself stressed for no reason. I get to work in the nick of time and have to be on the ball from the word go even though I may feel like zombie.

I know that I am my own problem; therefore I am my own solution. So from tomorrow I am promising to do the following to ensure that I can have the best possible start to the day.

  •  I will snooze but when my second alarm goes off I will prop my pillows up and sit upright. With my eyes still closed I will think about how I would like my day to go and how I would like to feel.
  • I will make myself hot lemon water when I get up. 
  •  I will have washed, cleansed, toned and moisturised by 6.45am.
  • I will make a smoothie and eat breakfast at 7am.
  • I will at least put concealer on to stop scaring early morning clients.
  • I will leave the house at 7.25am, meaning that I will get to work a tiny bit earlier to prepare for my day

These are all simple tasks and they are what I should already be doing to provide myself with self-care in the morning. It will allow me to have some time to wake up smoothly. I often go through bouts of good stages where I do all of this and feel great. Then one morning the warmth of the duvet feels better and I sacrifice the potential of the day of a few more minutes in bed.

I’m coming to realise that I have the means to the end. That I can at least prepare for my immediate future by taking care of myself and taking my time at the start of the day to feel as good as possible.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Why I Meditate


Some people are instantly put off by the idea of Meditation because they might think it out dated and unnecessary. What I’ve found is that it is a free tool for everyone to use in order to regain a grounded perspective.

Nowadays we are all too often consumed with what is going on around us, what other people are doing and comparing it to our own situation. We have gotten used to a fast pace of life that can often make you feel that you are being left behind. I can feel quite anxious for no apparent reason other than I’ve let the day get on top of me when it really didn’t need to get like that. 

Meditating can literally be a couple of deep breaths for a minute to bring you back into focus or you can go all out and do it for longer. Taking time out to listen to myself is great to clarify thoughts that may be flying around in my head. A misconception is that you have to be instantly still and quiet in your mind as soon as you close your eyes. This may not be the case, your thoughts will come to the surface for a bit at the beginning, listen to them while taking in long deep breaths and as you breathe out ask yourself what it is that’s bothering you. Trust your instinct; your gut is almost always right. 

Once you have gathered your thoughts is time to focus on your breathing, if you don’t like being in complete silence you don’t have to be. Put on some gentle music, there is plenty available online just search meditation music on YouTube and there are tons available. Guided meditation videos and C.D's with positive affirmations are also an option. 

You don’t have to be sat cross legged, although this can be super comfy. You can lie down, be sat in a chair or on your sofa. Whatever is comfortable and works for you is perfect.

Learn to love being in that moment with yourself, become comfortable being alone with yourself, being silent with no distractions. Over time I have noticed that even if I don’t do this every day, meditating has helped me gain a positive outlook. If certain situations become stressful I just take a few deep breaths and then carry on with what I’m doing. Sometimes the breathing is enough to remember the feeling of meditation and can ground you when needed.