Saturday, 21 February 2015

The Acne Tips That Helped Me

Acne. It's up there with my least favourite words in the English language and for good reason: from the ages 12 to 20, I was at a complete loss at how to deal with it. Over the last couple of years however, I have learnt a thing or two that seems to have helped... touch wood.

Before we move onto the tips, a disclaimer: acne is, unfortunately, hormonal. My advice is anecdotal and I am by no means promising you clear skin - but this advice helped for me, so I thought it worth sharing!

Get some exercise

Not the most obvious or glamorous one to start off with I know, but there's a reason why I've put it first. My logic is that there is little point in spending money on products that may help if the basics are off, and this one is pretty important to me. Healthy circulation = healthy skin, so please, hold off spending on expensive skincare and get your heart pumping first and foremost!

Keep your skincare simple...

Hell, I love skincare as much as the next guy - believe me, I do - but there is a lot to be said for a paired back routine. The more products you use, the harder it is to determine what is beneficial (and of course, what isn't). Save your pennies and spend them on lippy instead.

FYI, this is how not to do it

...but try a double cleanse

Not necessary for everyone, but a step that works wonders for me; a double cleanse, for the uninitiated, involves using a makeup remover in the evening, and washing your face with your "proper" cleanser after (think balms or creams that must be washed off). Your pre-cleanser needn't be expensive; I've used coconut oil and Garnier Micellar Water and been perfectly happy with both; they cost less than a fiver each.

Keep long hair back when possible

Get all 80s/90s and bring back the alice band girlfriend - you won't damage your locks by sticking your hair in a bun and your face will thank you. I am by no means pressuring you to rock this look in the street, but it is a good shout for whenever you are at home.

Explore which blemish busting ingredients work for you

I know if a product has salicylic acid in it, it is bound to be my friend; but for my bestie Beth, we know it will irritate her like no end. Equally, while her skin responds well to products with natural oils like lavender, mine freaks out like nobody's business. My advice? Inform yourself, get nerdy with ingredients lists, and you'll get there.

Wash pillowcases, flannels, makeup brushes and towels as much as you can

I won't give you a hard and fast rule about how often, because life is life... but if you've just had a nasty breakout, stick everything in the wash as soon as possible. I bought myself a load of plain white pillowcases from the supermarket and it was an excellent shout.

More tips to get through facial crisis mode:

- keep away from alcohol
- get more sleep
- ditch any products recently introduced to see if they are the cause
- stay consistent
- don't forget to moisturise as most acne treatments are very drying
- hold off from wearing base products for a while
- avoid touching your face as much as you can, and wash your hands thoroughly before cleansing/applying any face products
- remember that contraceptive methods such as the pill/implant/hormone coil can all have an effect, for better and worse
be patient

That's me done! Now over to you guys - have you got any of your own acne advice to share? If so I would love to hear about it in the comments!


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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

When In... Cambridge

Travelling round France last year on my Year Abroad made me vow to see more of my own native land... This meant I was chuffed when my mum and dad agreed to a day trip to Cambridge on Saturday. I had thought myself an Oxford lover through and through (see my snaps from my trip my girl Josie here) but I have a feeling my allegiance has swapped over now (shock horror!) My only quibble? We happened to go on a very grey and grim Valentine's Saturday. In half term. Ooh la vache...*

This place looked dreamy - naturally, being Valentine's Day, it was packed!

Who doesn't love a drizzly downpour?!

How cute is this pottery?

These flowers were beautiful!

Gorgeous books be lookin' gorgeous

We had a lush time wandering around the art and craft market in All Saints Trinity Garden - the pottery was my favourite, joint first with some beautiful silver jewellery that I would have happily emptied my bank account for! We would have been spoilt for choice for lunch had it not been Valentine's Day - there were some gorgeous looking eateries (Byron Hamburgers looked fab) but we went for tapas in La Tasca, which was delicious and a fair price.

I loved wandering around the little shopping places - Rose Crescent was my favourite street, boasting a Cambridge Satchel Company shop, Kiehl's,  and more, all whilst looking bloody charming. I drooled over art, gorgeous glass and more perfect pottery in Cambridge Contemporary Art - definitely worth a look if modern pieces are your thing.

Next up was the lovely market in the appropriately named Market Hill - I bought a lovely blue & white Polish mug for a friend, it was gorge! Nearby was the biggest TK Maxx I've ever seen; not as glamorous as other places we visited but so worth finding for its excellent shoe and trainer selection.

All in all I had a lovely, lovely day in Cambridge and would definitely recommend a day trip if you get the chance! If you're ever in the UK on holiday, and you're not a diehard Philip Pullman fan, I'd say skip Oxford and head here instead. I'm happy to argue in the comments however ;)

So, have you guys ever visited Cambridge? And do you recommend anywhere else I should go?


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*"Oh the cow"

Thursday, 5 February 2015

RECIPE: Mini Nutella Croissants

Today is apparently Nutella Day! But as my bae housemate said, "Isn't every day Nutella Day?"

I said yes, and that is my excuse for this being so super late. I'm hoping you guys can forgive me once you've eaten some of these amazing Nutella croissants! They are delicious, cheap, quick and easy - basically all of the qualities that matter most to me in a recipe. I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Thoughts On Creativity

I've been thinking a lot about creativity, and when I am at my most productive for my blog and just life in general. I think I've started to work out my own guide for being at my most creative.

I'm organising this into a series of questions that I ask myself when I feel I've hit a wall - feel free to add your own down below! (Perhaps we can even do a followup post featuring your guys' ideas? We can discuss that more in the comments!)

Is my working space tidy?

I'm not one for an immaculate space, by any stretch of the imagination. Super neat, perfectly arranged desks are honestly boring to me, but I like to make sure any books, glasses, makeup and life debris that definitely doesn't belong on my desk are cleared away properly. If I had my own office, I would try and make sure I kept it nice and clean; I definitely don't have my own office, so for the present it means keeping my room as tidy as I can (I'm not a tidier by nature, but this year I have formed some good habits!)
A neater desk reduces distractions and just looks better, and as a visual person, that's pretty freakin' important to me.

Am I looking after myself?

I've got a bit of a working theory that good ideas come from a good place. So this means getting the right amount of sleep, exercise and food; having one of these majorly out of balance means that I'm not fuelling myself properly. Stress is sat at the opposite end to creativity on my mental spectrum; if my brain is worried about work I need to do, my good ideas wave goodbye and leave the house.
For blogging, if I stress myself out by not leaving myself at least a couple of days to mull on an idea, play with it, shoot the pics and write about it, my posts sound forced and false and just a bit half-arsed. Looking after me always means I am looking after what I want to achieve too.

Am I comparing myself?

Lots of you will relate to this one I am sure as comparison really is the thief of joy. Too much time spent analysing other people's work is unproductive and doesn't ultimately alter the quality of mine (usually just the quantity!) It's not something I've properly got my head around yet and I have no magical fixes for you, but please share if you have some guidance of your own!

Am I feeding myself creatively?

This one can be a tricky one as I really do love reading blogs. Prior to my own blogging days, they were my favourite way to unwind, but as I am now working on finding my own ideas, I find that spending too much time reading other people's blogs is wasteful and leaves me unable to further my own ideas.
To my mind, anyone in a creative field can run the risk of creative in-breeding; when your ideas are merely a mix of others in your own field. This is why I find getting out and seeking inspiration in areas that aren't your forte is far more productive. In January, my bud Jono and I went to the fantastic Louise Bourgeois exhibition in Southampton, and I found it majorly eye opening. It also had the bonus of being completely free, so keep your eyes peeled for something similar if you aren't local!

Here are some quick suggestions just to get you started...
  • Head to an art gallery
  • Hit up your local museum
  • Go chill in a library or bookshop
  • Mosey round a charity shop
  • Learn a new skill
  • Go on a trip to explore somewhere beyond your hometown

Should I cut down on screen time?

Possibly the last thing you'd expect to hear from an internet lover like me, I know, but stick with me on this one. I find that too much time spent sat in front of the computer on my bottom overstimulates my mind and understimulates my body and that is not a healthy combination. If I can avoid screens, I will.

Here are the things I've tried to cut down on unnecessary screen time...
  • I no longer use Google Calendar to organise my life
  • I took up knitting, so I had something to keep my hands busy when I felt like playing on my phone.
  • I put my phone and laptop as far from my bed as my room will allow when going to sleep. 
  • I go for walks,  and work out on my pole to relax 

It all leads to a healthier, happier mind and a sufficiently appreciated body. This is one that I need to carry on working on, but if you think you need to, I would recommend logging out of all social media on your phone and computer, just for the weekend. It won't kill you, I can promise that!

Ever wondered why your best ideas come in the shower, or in bed? Because you're not distracting your brain with unnecessary stimuli, that's why!

Please, please share your creativity advice down below - is there something I am missing? I would love to do a sequel to this post - so if you are a creative person too, let me know your thoughts!


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