Thursday, April 27, 2017

What's New In My Bathroom? | Beauty #Collab

I hold my hands up. I am obsessed with trying out new things and am always longing to find that perfect cleanser or that perfect hair serum. But when I think about it, I'll end up being happy to find said perfect product and sad at the same time because there's no need to continue the search. They reason why I say this is because with this bunch makes me happy!

Let's start by addressing that Superdrug do skincare, GOOD skincare which is cruelty free (what a bonus). I noticed the Superdrug skincare in something that Georgie put up ( I think on Instagram) and instantly wanted it all. 

I've always been told to not break the bank when it comes to purchasing moisturiser, and these bad boys certainly keep my bank happy. There's not much to say about the day cream other than it soothes my skin and is pretty nice underneath my foundation/concealer. The black moisturiser is crazy, and actually black! I'm not sure how I managed it but I didn't know it was black until I opened it. The consistency is different to the day cream, feeling a bit more oil based. I've found myself getting a few whiteheads on my chin and my nose since using this, so am thinking I might have to start alternating when I use this as it may be too much for every night. 

Both products do moisturise my skin and make my skin feel really smooth and soft. That's what you want from a moisturiser right? 

The lead up to summer you suddenly worry about your legs, well I do anyway. I'm not one to bare the legs, and my arms for that matter but theres nothing better than your skin feeling and smelling amazing. Hands down this is my favourite scent from The Body Shop that I've ever smelt and I can't stop using it. I've not had this range long and already am close to repurchasing all of it (monkey hiding face emoji). 

I met the Natural World at Scarlett Londons event BlogConLDN and had a good chat with the representative who wowed me over. You can complete a hair quiz to ensure you go for the range that is perfect for your hair. Mine turned out to be the Chia Seed range and is a real beaut. The range is supposed to boost volume and strengthen hair and my hair is in need of both those things. It really does add volume and having tried this out for nearly a month now can tell that the quality of my hair in terms of strength has improved a hell of a lot. The price is amazing for the size of the product and offer more than just shampoo and conditioner. If I overload my hair with products it can get pretty greasy, especially if I use hair oils. The oil is lovely put had to use sparingly and just through mid to the ends because of this. 

Overall the range is lovely, and also got the thumbs up from the boyf. Great value, smells amazing and adds volume. My perfect hair range. 

Lastly, my love for Exuviance skincare is rapidly growing. I also met these guys at BlogConLDN and have been giving these two products a go since. Hands down from the first time I used both the cleanser and pads I noticed a difference in my skin. The products were gentle and didn't aggravate my face turning it into a red sore tomato. They both soothed my skin and nurtured it, leaving a super clean and happy face. Having skin that is combination and suffers with texture problems, I was advised to go for these products to help with those issues. Of course I still get break outs but overall, my skin has never looked as good, healthy and glowing thanks to these two products. 


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Guilt free raw dairy free fudge | Freeform snacks

I need the fridge and cupboards stocked with healthy snacks and treats as I'm totally and utterly a 'little and often' person. I'm not supposed to have three huge meals a day because of my Colitis so, I tend to just have one proper meal and lots of little things. Having bliss balls or healthy fudge there ready when you want something sweet is perfect, and this recipe is a personal favourite and wanted to share it with you all to enjoy.

To make raw, vegan, refined sugar free fudge you will need:

Coconut Oil - 1 cup 

Vanilla Extract - 1 TBS
Peanut Butter - 1 cup
Cacao Powder - 1 TBS
Maple Syrup - 1 TBS 

It's literally as easy as putting in all of the ingredients into a bowl and mixing them all together. A bit of a tip, either melt your coconut water a bit or keep it at room temperature over night the day before you want to make it. 

The fact making these are so easy, means theres no excuse at all to reach for naughty fudge or chocolate bars. Of course you can experiment with various different ingredients and the measurements above are to my taste so, just give it a go and go with the flow. 

When your delicious fudge mixture is all combined you need to line a tray or lunchbox with some cling film. This way it's so much easier to get it out once set. I like to pop the trays and lunch boxes in the freezer for 24 hours. I promise it's good enough to wait for. 

Being frozen it basically melts in your mouth and I just prefer them straight out of the freezer. Let me know if you keep them in the fridge once cut up and whether or not they melt or not as I've not tried it yet. 

Please let me know if you make this fudge! I can't stop making it and have a whole draw full of it, yummy snacks for a long time coming. 

Remember to let me know if you have any recipe requests for me to do or create. 


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A beautiful Sunday in Whitstable | Collaboration

Whats a sunny Sunday without a walk by the sea? Living so close to the sea is something I really take for granted and I'm trying to make a conscious effort to go there more. As soon as the sun showed its face, I knew it was a day to be comfortable (however I underestimated the heat wearing jeans). 

Popping into my fav juice cafe and sitting on a bench and watching the time drift by was perfect, and hit the spot and made for one of the best ways I've ever spent a Sunday. 

So, lets get down to business........ Accessories can really make an outfit. When you think about it, I'm wearing such a basic outfit and without the way its been accessorised, it wouldn't look put together or thought about at all. When Jewellery Box asked me if I'd like to collaborate and choose some pieces to style and I was so excited as I'd recently been stalking the website. You've probably seen all over social media, hoop earrings have made a huge comeback and had to get me some. You know, to keep up with the kids and all. 

The second piece I picked out was this super cute arrow necklace. I'm not sure what made me pick this out of everything other than the fact it's super cute! I love stacking thing delicate necklaces, so I can't wait to stack and add this to my others. 

Rings are my thing, and I can't ever wear enough. I used to have a ring from Jewellery Box but lost it a while ago so knew I had to get another. These are the nicest!! Love a standard band to stack with other rings and fits my thumb as well as other fingers which is always handy. All items I chose from Jewellery Box are sterling silver and some of the best value for money when it comes to well made beautiful silver pieces. 

I feel that this gorge mushroom Angel MarcB Bag is the PERFECT Sunday bag. I chucked my camera, a bottle of water, purse and sunglasses in and having so many pockets and compartments meant it was accommodating for so much. The overall quality of the bag is insane! It's super soft and feels like leather, even when it's not. I chose the mushroom colour as I thought it was a lovely colour for all year round and is great to not be restricted in terms of being a seasonal bag. 

If your looking for a large bag as you carry a hell of a lot of things around with you, like me, then this is your guy! Great value for money, looks so bloody good and top notch quality. I remember buying my first MarcB Bag from Topshop Oxford Street which was so many years ago and lasted years until the used it to death, so knew this new star would be a great piece to see me through for a while. 

Outfits like this are my absolute go to, especially for Sundays. Simple clothing choices and accessorising it up!! 

Make sure to check out Jewellery Box and MarcB Bags new in section as they're smashing it right now!


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

My IBD story - Colitis and me

Two years ago I was at rock bottom. I was signed off work, unable to eat, couldn't stop sleeping, constantly felt sick and would need to rush to the loo after everything I attempted to eat. This was only the beginning of my life turning upside down and really testing my strength. Since sharing a few posts and food pictures, I've had lots of interest in me sharing more information on my health and lifestyle. What better way to start than to share my journey with you up until now. 

Until January of this year I was a secondary school teacher. Constantly on the go with not enough time in the day to even nip to the loo, let alone have a proper lunch break. I loved my job so much and never doubted my love for it. Summer holidays 2015 hit and I had two holidays booked to Berlin and Spain but, I had felt a little under the weather with my glands deciding to swell up and become very firm. Before going away I decided to visit the doctor to get checked over before jetting off, and at that appointment was issued with some antibiotics. My holidays weren't affected whatsoever and I had a great summer. Throughout that summer I had worked a hell of a lot, more so than I ever had done before in my career. (This is an important piece of information and will touch back on this later on).

August was over and the first day of September term was upon me which I was excited for but still, my glands were up and I started to feel run down (even before the term had started!). As fellow teachers know, you generally have a CPD day to kick start the term and this wasn't a good one for the school I was working in at the time. Our GCSE grades had dropped as a school and we immediately felt the pressure and stress hit, and I knew that this next academic year was going to be a hard one. I was at work for three whole days before I had to get my boyfriend to physically push me out of bed on the Thursday morning and we knew something wasn't right. I felt completely and utterly exhausted. 

I was sent home having only what I can explain as an anxiety attack as my stress levels shot up incredibly quickly and my body felt like it was going into shut down. The next 4 months included straight-through 20 hour sleeps, a hell of a lot of doctor and hospital appointments, viles and viles of blood, endoscopy and not being able to keep anything down (All of the above didn't start at the same time). These happened one after the other and in the December my specialist said he felt I was suffering with severe acid re-flux, and some sort of virus attacking my digestive system. He mentioned possible ME however wasn't 100% sure.

Various symptoms started to show themselves, such as swollen and incredibly painful joints, ulcers that at points would really distort my speech; I had that many in my mouth at once and the continued glamorous symptom of severe bloating (looking 6 months pregnant). Over the next 8 months myself and my specialist started to see some patterns and so I was sent for a colonoscopy, numerous x-rays and an MRI scan. 

Microscopic Colitis. . . . . . it seems crazy that something they call microscopic can affect my body in such drastic ways. I was also diagnosed with arthritis as a symptom of my Colitis and started an intense food journey as I'd lost 3 stone in weight and got down to the lowest I'd been for as long as I can remember. I felt incredibly sad and not confident whatsoever. I didn't feel or look like myself and didn't eat out for months as I feared I would fall ill and would need to go to the toilet, and there wouldn't be one. I experienced anxiety like nothing I'd experienced before and my love of food, clothes and doing my makeup had left me as I just wasn't me.

I'd like to fast forward to now and by-pass a lot of horrible times I had to go through, and fill you in on my life now and how I'm finally feeling myself again. 

I now have to live on a gluten free, dairy free and processed meat free diet (please remember this was all tried and tested with medical attention). As well as these main groups of foods I need to avoid as they either make me ill, start a flare or have some sort of affect on me, there's quite a few things I also have to avoid when possible. Garlic, onion, artificial sugar, apples and more, are on my list (an actual list) of foods that can trigger a symptom. Some of you may have heard of the FODMAP diet. This was something I was told to start exploring by my specialist and after experimenting, it's safe to say that I couldn't be happier with how I feel (most of the time). I'm also medicated as well as managing my disease with my diet and lifestyle, which means I can have the occasional thing I shouldn't and have relevant tablets to help. I don't like doing this but sometimes when eating out, you never know. 

Now time has moved on, I understand my body. I understand what can trigger a symptom or cause a flare so I am able to prepare myself and be more knowledgable. I know that if I don't sleep enough or over-exercise, my knees and hands will swell and I'll be in pain and have to neck some steroids. The list honestly goes on. 

So, if you're reading this paragraph I firstly want to just say a huge thank you! I know this is probably the LONGEST blog post ever. Secondly, my reasons behind sharing this huge part of my life with you is because I'd like to start doing 'What I Eat in a Day' videos and more cooking and baking content on here to include my own recipes and ones I've tried. You guys are amazing, and I know you will support me in this extra little part of my blog and YouTube channel (go subscribe if you haven't already), but if sharing this helps 1, 10 or even 100 people I'll be so so happy. I was lucky and had a very close friend who also has Colitis so could relate and understand with her. But if I didn't have her, I'd have felt even more lost than I did. 

Thank you so much for reading! Obviously this is an extremely shortened version of two years and I'm very open to questions if you have any. Let me know if you'd like any particular meals for me to share with you. I know pudding is a big one and can be quite tough for someone who has such a restrictive diet like mine. Let me know!

Much love as always