- Tuesday, 28 October 2014 -

My experience with Bootea Teatox

Hello you lovely lot! So, this weekend marked the end of my two week teatox, whereby I extracted all meat (apart from fish) from my diet as I strived to eat a little cleaner. Since swooping the blogosphere, the Bootea Teatox has been on my radar for quite some time, piquing my interest as it promises to flush out any nasty toxins, completely rejuvenating your system. I've always aimed to implement green tea into my diet, however that intention isn't always plausible when we have lovely regular tea reigning supreme. So, after discovering that Holland and Barrett was stocking the range in their store, I practically skipped home excited for the challenge ahead and what benefits it would bestow me with. 

The Good: So here's how it works: within your pack, whether you choose to partake in a 14 day teatox or a lengthier 28 day one, you're given two types of teas - a day time tea, which you're instructed to drink every day upon waking up in the morning and a night time tea which you're advised to take every other night before bed. Preference-wise, I found myself leaning more so towards the night time tea, as it boasts a pleasant peppermint aroma, whereas the day time tea I found was more pungent as it was infused with oolong and ginger. I found the prospect of waking up every morning with the promise of my new routine quite invigorating, as the days went by I slowly discovered that I was feeling fresher, my sleep improved and my skin was looking its absolute best! Another symptom I noticed was that the tea tends to somewhat curb your hunger, which was surprising as I thought I'd be absolutely starving considering the removal of meat from my diet.

The Bad: I'm going to say this as politely as possible - I fucking despised the taste of the day time tea; it felt like I was drinking an oriental candle the scent was that strong. With a busy and slightly erratic university schedule, I also soon discovered that committing myself to the day tea every morning proved impossible, so instead I would just arrive home and drink it whenever I had the time. This probably wasn't the greatest idea as the tea's purpose is to regulate your bowels, and because I took the tea at such irregular intervals, I sometimes found myself stuck in the university toilets wishing that a hole would just open up beneath me and end all my misery now.

The Ugly: Following on from the previous sentence, and may I now point out that reader discretion is advised: during my two week teatox, I was on the toilet A LOT. Green tea is generally a very powerful laxative so I wasn't totally unaware of the consequences. For the first few nights, the night time tea destroyed me, in the information section at the back of their pack, Bootea explain that the night tea has an average of 8 hours working time so technically whenever you take it just before bed, you should be getting up in the morning to relieve yourself on cue. Well, this certainly wasn't the fucking case for me. It took the night tea a mere 4 hours to work its way through my system, abruptly waking me up mid-sleep with the worst stomach cramps imaginable. Granted, this internal rollercoaster only lasted a few days, afterwards I found myself feeling weak and literally empty. I was actually afraid to be out in public due to my indecisive digestive system, I can even recall walking to class one morning and making an unscheduled dart for the nearest Mc Donalds toilets.

Therefore, in summation and against my better judgement, I actually enjoyed my teatox. Yes, I endured a difficult experience with my body getting used to the tea but in the end, the positives certainly outweigh the negatives. I lost a few pounds by just drinking tea for two weeks! 

Have you tried the Bootea Teatox?

- Friday, 24 October 2014 -

Book Review: More Than This - Patrick Ness

Hello my lovelies! With my free time dwindling due to my ever-growing amount of university work, I've only allowed myself to indulge in a few select reads. More Than This piqued my interest from the very start and quite literally left me staring quizzically at a wall for half an hour after I'd finished it. I still can't quite put my finger on what genre I'd categorise it as - it's riddled with dystopian motifs yet it entertains an almost sci-fi theme. However, don't let that deter you, as it's FAR from aliens invading a post apocalyptic world. As the title suggests, it's a thought provoking peek into human existentialism - questioning the nature of our tiny human lives and our role in experiencing them, basically this book explores the concept of what happens to us when we die. Deep right?

Usually, it's a complete cliché to say something like "it gripped me from the start" because generally it takes some time for a book to build a relationship with it's reader. However, from the very first page, I was hooked as we're greeted by a grisly scene: a young boy (named Seth) is drowning. And from then on, a morbid curiosity pulls me and drives me to continue reading. Seth succumbs to his fate and dies, however he doesn't really because he stirs himself and wakes up in a curious, barren land. From there, he begins to piece together what has happened, only ever gaining insight when he dreams, experiencing the memories of his past life. Distressing memories of his family and friends rouse his identity; his name is Seth and he is definitely in Hell. However these ruminations are interrupted when finds life in this lifeless place - Regine and Tomascz. 

It's no coincidence that this novel has been likened to The Matrix and all its complexities, as Regine explains to Seth her theory of where they are. This was the exact moment where my brain imploded and thoughts and questions and theories started flooding my mind. Not wanting to disclose any spoilers, I won't go any further however I do urge you to READ THIS BOOK. It's unlike anything I've ever came across before, it has surprised, confused, educated and intrigued me (like right now I'm actually looking up philosophical theories regarding life and death on Wikipedia). It's a darkly fascinating read with humorous quips woven in here and there to break the books intensity. Can I really say that this was the perfect read? You decide, and read it now!

- Sunday, 19 October 2014 -

Pretty in Pink - A Giveaway!

Hello you lovely lot! So, in light of being nominated in the North East Blogger Awards I combed my brain thinking of a way I could thank all of my wonderful readers for your endless love, support and friendship. I wanted to host a giveaway that would essentially tickle everyone's fancy and who in this great, big Blogosphere doesn't love a bit of Benefit, Zoella and macaroons? Let's just have a quick sneak peek of what you could be in with the chance of winning, and I warn you what you're about to see could induce a tooth ache, as everything I've chosen is pretty in pink and oh so sugary sweet!

Giveaway Rules!

  • You must be living in the UK to enter. Unfortunately I can not do an international giveaway as I simply can't afford the shipping at this moment in time! 
  • The giveaway begins on the 19th of October and will conclude on the 20th of November - giving you a full month to enter! However, if you enter after this time, your entry will not be valid.
  • The winner will be notified via Twitter and must respond within 3 days of being notified to claim their prize, if not, it will be given to another entry.
  • If there are any technical issues with my giveaway I will try my hardest to resolve them ASAP. But please remember that technical issues can happen and can't be helped so please be kind and patient if they do.
  • Lastly, please don't just follow and then unfollow, I am aware that this is quite common so I will be keeping an eye out for any sneaky activity!
Good luck lovelies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

- Friday, 17 October 2014 -

A Spook-tacular Wishlist!

Hello my lovelies! It's been quite a while since I've created a wishlist and with Halloween steadily creeping up on us, and the shops strewn with spookiness, I find myself wanting nothing more than being draped in darkened clothes whilst pimping out my pad with the appropriate amount of glittering skulls and candles. The holiday of Halloween has always mesmerised me as it's the one day a year where you can be whatever you want to be - feel like dressing as a slut but completely justifying it with some small animal adornment? Well, yank that skirt up and get those ears on, because this is your chance! Watching a plethora of characters spew from the fancy dress shop has always amused me, pirates come out, disney characters surface and every so often you'll get the odd celebrity sighting (throwback to when I dressed as Amy Winehouse that one year).

I've always felt such an affinity with Halloween, as a child I never shied away from the horror movies and actually dabbled a little in witchcraft myself (we're talking good luck spells for exams and getting noticed by that cute boy, no human sacrifices here my dears!). I've always adored that during this time of year we're immersed back into the dark ages, embracing all that's gothic and gloomy. Feel like embracing your inner Wednesday Addams? Totally go for it, in fact I urge you not to leave the house unless you look like a human shadow. It's such a weird and wonderful time of year that I couldn't help but compile this little list of all I've been recently coveting...

Bone Collector Necklace: Can you imagine how good this necklace would look up against a plain black jumper? It's a stunning statement piece that'll spookify even the most mundane of outfits.

Spiderweb Elbow Patch Jumper: Such a subtle little detail, the inclusion of the web design on the jumpers elbow patches are so eerily enchanting that I know I'd wear this garment morning, noon and night.

Lush Wizard's Hat: Lush introduced this bewitching collection where you can turn your bath water into a bubbling cauldron with the inclusion of the Wizard, Sparkler and Star Light Star Bright bath bars.

Ouija Board Clutch:  My mum always told me never to touch an ouija board, but this beautiful bag doesn't count, right?

Halloween Yankee Candles: Nothing screams Halloween more than a hauntingly beautiful set of candles. Ranging from candy corn to melting marshmallows, these candles are definitely worth sinking your teeth into.

Makeup Revolution 'Give Them Nightmares' Palette: Sporting poisonous purples and bewitching blacks, this palette is all about upping your goth game!

Are you looking forward to Halloween?

- Tuesday, 14 October 2014 -

DIY: Pom Pom Garland

Hello my lovelies! Sometimes it feels as though I have a love/hate relationship with autumn; the satisfying crunch of the leaves beneath your feet is also met with disdain as soon as the heavens open turning that crisp crunch into nothing more than a sloppy squish. Not wanting to succumb to the doom and gloom, I decided to plan this project of mine in the hope of injecting a bit of colour back into my life! During my little excursions into town, I've been noticing these charming pom pom garlands popping up everywhere and obviously not wanting to pay the extortionate highstreet prices, I decided to create my own...

You will need:
Some colourful yarn
A pair of scissors
Your hand

1/ It is completely up to you what colours you choose. I went for a richer combination of teal, green and aubergine. Top tip: This is also a brilliant DIY for celebrating any upcoming occasions - Halloween's coming up so why not pimp out your pad with an orange and black garland?

2/ Begin by wrapping your yarn around your hand - however not too tightly as we don't want that blood circulation cutting off, do we? A good rule of thumb is to wrap the wool around 50 times for a small pom pom and 100 for medium sized.

3/ When you're satisfied with the size, you can cut the end of the wool and gently shimmy it off your hand. Try your very best to keep it from unravelling!

4/ Next, cut a small portion of yarn. This bit of string is what's going to hold the whole thing together.

5/ Okay, so now for the hard part. Steadily slip your piece of string through the tube of the wool so that your string pokes out at either end.

6/ Tightly pull on your pieces of string and make a knot so that your wool makes an almost bow-like appearance.

7/ Make sure the string is tied tightly in place. I actually tied about 2-3 knots just to make sure that there's no breakage or disjoining. 

8/ Steadily snip off the end of your piece of string - however BE CAREFUL you don't actually cut any of your pom pom threads!

9/ Remember I said that your pom pom should take on a bow-like shape? Well, carefully cut the insides of either side of that bow shape. The scissors should smoothly run up the open area.

10/ Cut your pom pom at both ends.

11/ And there you go, you've made your first pom pom! Is that a feeling of accomplish I sense? 

12/ If you feel that your pom pom is unsightly and the threads turned out uneven, don't worry, give that pom a haircut! When you're happy with your result, simply repeat the process about 20 times for a decent sized garland. 

I actually braided the three different threads of wool to fashion my garland and then simply tied on my pom poms, and violà you're done!

- Friday, 10 October 2014 -

Lush Routine: Banishing Blemishes

Hello my lovelies! It has been exactly 8 days since my last blogpost and my twitter presence has been minimal to nonexistent, for this, I am so sorry. Slipping into a regular routine has proven very difficult since I started back at university, with days merging into one another it's hard to keep track of time, subsequently, I've found that my skin has been suffering due to an amalgamation of late nights binging on bad TV and school-induced stress. Not wanting to continue with this vicious cycle, I rushed to my nearest Lush store and picked up a few products which cater for spot prone skin, because everybody loves a Lush haul, right?

Let's back up a little bit here; since I was 10 years old I've always felt the plight of problem skin, as children and adults alike would relentlessly question if I have chickenpox or not - yeah it got that bad. Stung by society's words, I was prescribed a cocktail of hormone balancing drugs and tried every natural remedy known to man in the hope of banishing my blemishes. My teenage years were half spent experimenting with creams and the other half spent caking on makeup to conceal my face. And right now, at the ripe age of 22, I find that a simple cleanser, toner and moisturiser routine can be the best way of fighting those flaws. True, I'm never going to achieve a photoshop perfect appearance, but with the help of these three Lush products, I've found that I'm pretty damn close.

CLEANSE - Ultrabland: First and foremost, you want to apply Lush's Ultrabland cleanser smoothly and evenly all over your face. The cream has a greasy texture but don't let this deter you as it's suited for all skin types and boasts a warm honey aroma as it's made from beeswax. I like to administer a generous amount all over my face and then leave it for about 15 minutes so it can really sink into my skin and catch any dirt that may be lurking there. I then use a cotton wool pad soaked in hot water and continue to remove the cleanser from my face in an upwards motion - upwards strokes will stop you from pulling your skin down otherwise resulting in wrinkling.

TONE - Tea Tree Water: It's no secret that anything tea tree-infused is going to help zap those zits. Tea tree water soothes angry and irritated skin and drys out any spots wishing to rear their ugly heads. After I've cleared my face of the cleanser, I apply the Lush's Tea Tree Water to another cotton pad and wipe away any remaining dirt or cleanser visible. Afterwards my face feels fresh and super soft however, for those of you with immensely sensitive skin, you may find that the tea tree water is quite drying on your skin but don't be discouraged, this is what the next step is for.

MOISTURISE - Celestial: This is without a doubt my favourite part of my Lush routine. I usually smother my skin in Lush's Celestial because I can't resist its sweet scent of vanilla. Naturally, I was quite dubious at using this product as moisturisers are notorious for breaking skin out but within a few days use I found that the cream was extremely kind to sensitive skin. The moisturiser does create a light barrier to prevent the loss of moisture so for this reason I only apply it right before bed so that the hours ahead give my skin time to drink it up. 

After 4 weeks of religiously following this routine, my skin appears clearer than ever. After attempting a range of expensive products and countless visits to dermatologists, this simple three step ritual has actually granted me the confidence to go out in public makeup-free.

- Thursday, 2 October 2014 -

Hair Care: Tips and Tricks

Hello my lovelies! You know those rare, blissful moments where you're rummaging away in a coat pocket only to fish out a fiver? You feel like you've actually won the lottery because in that split second, the universe is on your side. This week I was shortlisted for best 'New Blog' in the NE Blogger Awards and have been beaming from ear to ear ever since. Of course I've already cradled a hairbrush whilst melodramatically reciting my acceptance speech, thanking my friends, family and the big man upstairs for bestowing me this opportunity, but all joking aside I want to thank YOU my readers. Actually no, 'readers' is the wrong word... My friends, not only have you helped my blog grow, but you've helped me grow. When I was in secondary school, it seemed that all my peers had found their callings - music, sport, drama, art - I felt talentless and alone. The blogging community warmly welcomed me with opened arms and I've never looked back. We're a family and without you all, I wouldn't be where I am today. 

I've had a longer relationship with you than I have any man, sure we've had our ups and downs but you've given me confidence where I've needed it most. My hair is probably my most fascinating feature and is a constant source of attraction for many, be it that little girl in the street, eyes wide with wonder or a hairdresser, baffled by its sturdy resilience to stay on my head, regardless of its harsh history.

My hair's been every colour of the rainbow, it's been brutally bleached countless times, and during my teenage years, my straighteners were permanently welded to my hand. So, if you've fallen victim to vanity (like us all) and fear that your hair is beyond repair, well fear not! There are a few easy tips you can follow if you're forever dreaming of that long, luscious Rapunzel hair...

Snip snip: I know, I know, this is probably some advice you were hoping I'd skip - the dreaded hairdressers and their somewhat warped perception of what "I only want the ends TRIMMED" really means. I used to be like you, only investing in a biannual haircut and having thin, limp hair the remainder of the year. I avoided getting my hair trimmed like the plague because I didn't want to stunt its growth - but trust me, within a year of regular trims, my hair was thicker than ever and shedding and snapping has become minimal to nonexistent.

2 Words... Coconut Oil: The benefits of coconut oil are endless, it truly is a saviour for weak and damaged hair. Scenario: you're fresh out of the hairdressers and some serious bleaching has gone on. Your hair feels brittle like straw and the distant memory of the hairdresser telling you to "condition condition condition" rings in your ears. That fateful night, heat up your coconut oil in the microwave until it becomes a liquid base again and slather your entire head in it. Apply an old towel to your pillow and sleep with the coconut oil in your hair. After washing all the coconut residue from your hair, it'll have regained a lot of its health which the bleach/dye stripped from it! I've also actually arrived at the hairdressers with coconut oil already smothering my scalp - the oil acts as a balm and absorbs the bleach more gently causing minimal damage and resulting in your bleach lifting a lot lighter!

Ice ice baby: Did you know that cold water acts as a conditioner? Whenever I'm washing my hair, I rarely use hot water as it widens the pores of your hair follicle, making it super absorbent - ever come out of the shower and noticed that your hair is kinda elasticated? This makes the hair all the more fragile as it stretches so it order to combat this, rinse and wash your hair with colder water. If this doesn't appeal to you, you can always give your hair one last blast of cold water before stepping out of the shower, as this will eradicate frizz, boost shine and improve the circulation in your scalp (basically helping the blood flow better in your scalp) and thusly causing better hair growth.

Wet hair + hairbrush = bad: Whenever I proclaim the good word to people about not using their hairbrush until their hair's at least 80% dry, I get a lot of confused looks and argumentative statements like "but my qualified hairdresser brushes my wet hair, are THEY wrong?" Now I know I'm not a certified beautician and mostly I do everything from experience, but change your hairdresser asap because that bitch is pulling out your hair. Remember me telling you about how hair stretches in hot water? Well, imagine a brush pulling on that hair hundreds of times, causing it some serious stress. Be a bit kinder to your hair - on a low heat, use your hands to aid the drying of your hair and only when you think it's nearly dry, then you can use your hairbrush to work out the tats.

Grease lightning: Probably going to get a few unfollowing me after this wee word of wisdom, but I actually haven't washed my hair since Sunday. The photo above was taken today (Thursday) and that's exactly how my hair looks: no slicked fringe sticking to my forehead, no roots reminiscent of being caught in the rain. It looks this way because I so often leave my hair untouched by not washing it, it has actually began to wash itself in it's own nutrients. Now, I understand that this may be difficult for some of you to grasp - I can almost hear the "ew's" from over the internet - because this routine has taken me months to work out, and understandably some of you may not be willing to leave your hair unattended for days on end, I will tell you this: do not wash your hair every single day, wash it every other day if you can help it. This strips your hair of its natural quality and nutrients, putting you in a vicious cycle and giving you no other choice but to wash it again and again.

Less stress for your tresses: It's quite a known fact that any heated hair products can't be too good for your hair for the simple reason that they're quite literally burning the hair from your head after each use. Keep the curlers and straighteners to a minimal, for instance, if I ever have an interview coming up or am just going out for a night on the town then yes, I will justifiably use my straighteners. Coinciding with their usage, I also like to apply Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique Heat-Activated Reconstructor Milk and have been doing so for years as it actually works with the appliances heat and works towards protecting it from any nasty exposure or damage. Additionally, try not to use tight hair ties too often and if you do, try to mix your styles up a bit, because if you're wearing a tight ponytail day in day out, then that area where the hair tie is will inevitably begin to break due to the stress it's under. Likewise for those of you who like to wear a topknot to bed, use a loose scarf or headband instead as this will decrease breakage.

Now, no hair care post would be quite the same without the obligatory (and embarrassing) montage of past hair experiences, enjoy!