30 March 2017

Moringa Oil Review

Hey everyone!  I have a review today of a product called Moringa Oil.

Moringa Oil comes from the seeds of the Moringa Oleifera Tree. Moringa Oil is well known in the beauty and skin care industry for the many benefits that it offers.  The oil is a great moisturizer for the skin and also works as a disinfectant.  

The oil can also be used to treat acne and improve the overall condition of your skin, getting rid of blackheads and improving the look of scars.  It also works great as an anti-inflammatory so is great for massaging swollen ankles and knees.

I have been trying out the oil for two weeks now, using primarily on my face (although I have lent it to my mother on a few occasions also to massage her knees which suffer from arthritis).  In my mum's case, the oil helped with the swelling that she sometimes experiences and she said that oil sunk well into her skin without becoming greasy.

I decided to incorporate the oil into my daily skincare routine to see what differences it made.  I used my normal moisturizer in the morning (Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel) and then in the evening when I had taken my make up off, I applied a small amount of the oil to my face before I went to bed.

I have to say, I have been very impressed.  You need a minimal amount and once the product has been applied and massaged in which takes only seconds, your skin has a lovely feel to it and is not greasy as I would have expected. 

I have combination skin which can be dry as a bone in places when I first wake up in the morning to then later in the day the same areas of skin turn greasy.  I cannot win!  In addition, at my ripe old age of 38, the area around my eyes is usually puffy in the morning, creating wrinkles which (as yet haha) disappear after an hour.

I noticed the difference after the second day of application.  The puffiness was reduced, the patchy dryness which previously would mess with my foundation was gone.  It also seems to be helping to heal the burn scar I have on my face from being a little too over excited with my hair straightners.

Overall, I would highly recommended.  Moringa Oil costs £16.95 for a 100ml bottle that I would estimate would last you 2-3 months.  You can buy the product here  

*This product was gifted to me but all opinions are my own.

21 March 2017

Beauty Trends 2017

I recently wrote a blog about 5 Tips for Healthy Hair in your 30s.  This year I am on a bit of mission to change up and improve my hair care, my skin care routine and also my makeup and nail routines.

I recently came across the below e-book called Experts in Beauty which provides some tips for the new makeup trends and how skincare is improving and changing up.  There is some really interesting information in there which I will talk about further in the post.

You can enlarge the e-book by clicking on the top right arrow and scroll through the right slider.

When it comes to makeup, the matte look is gone.  Dewy skin and glossy lips are now coming forward, along with smudged eyeliner (which I am happy about being an eyeliner addict with a not too precise hand application!).

Eyebrows are still a fascination for many.  Going for a brow definition treatment is a great way of finding the right brow for you and microblading is becoming a go to for those who want long lasting perfect brows. 

I have always bitten my nails, right up to a couple of years ago.  Having finally gotten my nails to a decent length and getting some strength into them, I really want to play with different colours and techniques.

I have been getting my nail salon supplies from Ellisons to strengthen up my nails and get some good quality accessories to do my manicures and pedicures.  It has really helped in getting my previously ravaged nails back into shape.

Spring trends from the catwalks have had patterned nails, abstract art and using glitter but in an adult, classy way of just a small line along the cuticles which makes it look like jewellery for the nails.  I can't wait to try it all out!

What beauty plans do you have for 2017?

20 March 2017

How Do You Say I Love You?

I love you.  Three small, tiny words that mean so much.  But how do you say I love you?

Sometimes it is a small thing that making someone that first cup of coffee in the morning. Sometimes it is giving someone a hug when they don't know that they need one.  Sometimes it is creating a gift for someone that costs nothing, but means the world.

One my most treasured possessions is a photo album that my mum made for me a couple of years ago with pictures of when I was young with my dad.  Having photographic memories of him, especially having lost him at such a young age is more precious that you can imagine.

Sometimes I think that the best ways of telling someone you love them is when they least expect it.  I love to bring my mum flowers, just because.  It does not have to be expensive, a couple of bunches of daffodils makes her so happy.  They also my favourite flower.

Flying Flowers recently commissioned a survey on how people show their love.  Unsurprisingly, 76% of people said that they would buy flowers to show their love on Mother's Day.

You can check out the survey below.


17 March 2017

5 Tips for a Blog & Work Life Balance

I love to blog,  It is a way of putting a small piece of yourself out into the world.  Whether it be your thoughts on a subject, your personal style aesthetic or just a window to crawl out of your daily life; blogging is wonderful way for those who love to write to put their words out to a wider audience.

The trouble with blogging, is finding the time to do it.  Whether you are a full time worker, trying to fit in your writing with a 9-5 job and your after work life or a full time mum, running after children and organising a household; trying to add hours into your weeks to encompass blogging can be a challenge. 

You know those memes that go around the internet?  What my friends think I do, what my parents think I do, what society thinks I do?  The idea of blogging to many looks a lot like this.  

Calm, organised, scheduled.  The reality is more than often more like this.

The reality is jotting notes down on the bus to work, writing bits and pieces in your lunch hour; formulating a blog post on your journey home; writing it at 11pm when the house is finally quiet enough to write (it is 10.45pm when I am writing this).

But when it comes down to it, we love to blog.  So here are some tips for working a blog into your life.

Data on the Go
The majority of people have broadband in their homes.   Working from home is the ideal, but when you need to blog, jot down ideas and research issues on the hop, you are going to need a good and reliable internet connection that is not going to run out.  

My phone package include mobile broadband with a portable MiFi device so that I can easily get onto the internet anywhere I am, on my tablet or laptop, without having to worry about the security of public WiFi.  This is particularly useful in the summer months when you can go and sit in the sunshine while you blog!

Using an SEO expert can also really assist you in how to maximise your blog publicity and ensures that it reaches the right audiences.

Making Time for Yourself
Whether you are a full time worker or a full time mum, finding time for yourself is not easy at the best of times.  Add blogging into the mix and that time is cut down even further.  But it is important to set some time aside for yourself, even if it is just half an hour soaking the bath or a walk in the park.  If you burn yourself out, both you and your blog will suffer as a result.

My go to is a Lush bath bomb, a couple of candles and a glass of wine at the end of a busy day.  45 minutes later and I am refreshed and relaxed.

Blog Ideas
I often have several blog posts in draft.  When I get an idea for a post, I write down the bare bones in a notepad or my tablet, in time moving those ideas into a draft post; ready for writing properly when I have time.

When you have notes written down for a post and some key words and paragraphs ready for you, it is much easier to write and formulate your blog post when you have some time.  Having several in draft form at the same time gives you options of what to write when the mood springs and time allows.  I often find my opinion pieces decide to come out of me late at night so it helps to have a basic starter to work from.

Because I write most of my blog posts later at night when I have a little time, by the time I am finished I am often too tired to think about sharing on social networks and promoting the piece as I wish.  This is where scheduling comes into play.

The last thing I do when I finish a piece is schedule it to be published just when I am getting onto the bus for work in the morning.  Then during my journey I use the Buffer app to schedule publication on Twitter and Facebook throughout the day, as well as sharing on Linkedin and Google+.


Don't be Afraid To Write What You Want & Be Visible
Ever had an idea come into your head that you wanted to write about but didn't, because you thought you shouldn't?  If you have as many opinions as me, the answer to that question is probably yes.  It might be an opinion piece on a hot topic (I write a piece about the Grand National every year which always gets flack).

Perhaps you have a political leaning or a social justice cause that you want to share.  Goodness knows there is enough to talk about on that front at the moment!  I have written about everything from prisoners on death row, to feminism and police violence against black people.

The point is, if you do not write what you want for fear of others opinions, your passion for writing is not going to be there.  In the end, you are writing for yourself and sharing a piece of yourself with the world.

So put yourself out into the world.  Find your blog name, decide what you want to write, create a logo for your brand, be loud and be vocal.  If people want to read your blog, they want to read who you are, so share it with them.

16 March 2017

Gone in a Puff of Smoke

I turned 38 last week.  Although I have luckily inherited my mum's genes and tend to look younger than I am (except first thing in the morning when I look 70 haha), I am more conscious as I get older than I need to take better care of my skin and my health.

The grey hairs that start to appear, quickly vanished by the hair dye.  That wrinkle under your eye that appeared overnight that you pray will disappear when you wake up properly.  Not having as much energy.  Slowly and surely, they all start to come into play.  The sands of time never stop moving.

There are of course ways that you can role back some of those effects.  One of them is taking better care of your skin, not relying on face wipes (I know, I know) and pale soap and water instead of a regular cleanse, tone and moisturiser routine.  When you treat skin well, it repays you.  I can practically hear it saying thank you when I apply my Clinique moisturiser.

Another way to keep your skin and hair looking as youthful as you can is by watching what you are putting into your body.  In this case, it is the toxins of cigarettes.

Turning 38 is only two years away from being 40.  An age where I never thought that I would still smoke.  Having quit for two years before, I know that I can do it.  I remember the benefits gained from quitting smoking that was not just my bank balance.

Food was tastier.  A fresher complexion.  My hair looked shinier.  I woke up earlier and felt like I had so much more energy.

So this week, I am going to bite the bullet again.  

Last time I used the cold turkey method but my life is different now.  I am pulled in many different directions and have many more things that want my time and my attention.  I do not have the energy to commit to the hell of cold turkey.  This needs to be a slower process.

So this time, I am going to go down the vaping route. 

As I have an upcoming holiday, I thought it wise to check out whether vaping is allowed in the two countries that I can going to this year.  This guide to vaping and travelling has proved very helpful and I urge follow vape travellers to check it out.

15 March 2017

Mother's Day Gift Guide

With Mother's Day around the corner on the 26th March, now is the time that I start to think about what I want to buy my lovely mum.

I try as much as possible not to be predictable when it comes to gifts for my mum.  She always tries so hard each year for my birthday and Christmas to come up with a surprise that it is only fair that I reciprocate.  

Whilst I will be buying my mum a Pandora charm for her bracelet (which by the way I think are a total waste of money, as you are just buying for the name, not for the quality), I want to find a little something different that she was not expecting.  I do not care how much money I spend on my mum, as long as she loves it, that is the only factor.

Here is what I have found:

A Weekend Bag from MooJoeGifts

This bag is an absolute steal at £12.50.  My idea would be to put another gift inside, perhaps a restaurant booking for the two of you for somewhere amazing or perhaps a weekend away.

A Family Tree £14.99

My mum, like all mums, is all about her family.  I think that this is a lovely gift to give and would look lovely in a bedroom setting where she can look at the photographs every day.

Image result for the book of everyone

The Book of Everyone £29.95 (Hardback version)

This book is personalised to the year of birth and is so easy to do.  You are able to personalise most pages and include images.

Finally, the most important gift of all, your time.  

Calling just to say hello and have a chat, not because you feel obliged, but because you want to.  A mother daughter day out with a lovely lunch, a glass of wine (or four) and a lazy afternoon of chatting and catching up.  A mother and son afternoon tea or perhaps a wander around an art exhibit or museum.  Something that she will enjoy.  Although spending time with you will be the best part.

We only get one mum, lets make her feel special.

14 March 2017

Stretch it Out!

For years now I have had problems with my lower back.  It is a hereditary trait, passed down from generations of my family (thanks fam!).  The only thing that really helps it is stretching as much as I possibly can.

I have tried various different techniques over the years, but nothing seems to properly suit my needs. The problem seems to be that either I don't have the space at home to have the proper equipment or it costs too much to buy.

Ideally, what I want is something that I can use at home that can be easily stored away and also something that will work with the limited space I have to be able to carry out the stretching manoeuvres.

This search has led me to looking at foam rollers which work with both my space constraints and also my budget.  I found some tips for how to use them effectively whilst in the home that I have shared with you below.

6 of the best stretches for women using a foam roller
Foam rolling is a great way to stretch and release tension and knots in your muscles. It’s inexpensive and can be done right at your own home. You can foam roll while enjoying your favorite TV series or before you go to sleep. If you haven’t yet given it a try, it’s time to go and get yourself a roller and experience its benefits.
For those who already have a workout regimen and would like to incorporate foam rolling, you definitely can. Foam rolling can be done before your workout as part of your warm-up or after, during cool down. With foam rolling, you are helping your muscles to recover faster and be more flexible. And when your muscles function properly, you are able to deliver quality performance in your training. Stretching exercises can also be done using a foam roller. Slowly foam roll each target area, taking at least one minute up to ten minutes per spot. Here are some of the best stretches for women using a foam roller.

Lie down on the floor with the foam roller on your lower back. Place your feet flat on the ground and use your arms to support your upper body. To move the roller up your back, bend your knees and slowly move your arms outward. Move the roller just below your shoulder blades and then roll it back to its starting position and repeat.
Sit on the floor and straighten out your legs.  Place your hands on the floor behind you to support your weight as you roll. With the roller under your calves, slowly roll it along the back of your legs up to your ankles and then back up to your knees.
Sit down on the floor. Starting with your right leg on the roller, cross your left leg over your right. Use your arms and hands to support you as you roll up and down along your hamstring. Do the same for your left leg.
Your quads are the upper thigh area of your leg. To foam roll this area, lie facing down on the floor with the roller under your hips. Use your arms and hands to support you. Cross the lower part of your left leg over your right. Roll down until your knees and then roll back up again to your hips. Switch legs later on.
IT Band
The IT band is the area on your outer thigh. Lie down on your side and place the roller under your hip. If you’re lying down on your left side, use your left arm to support you and place your right hand on the floor in front of you. Cross your right leg over your left and use this to support your roll. Roll up and down your outer thigh, which is from your hip up to your knee. Do the same for the other thigh.
Glutes, or the butt!
Sit on the roller and have your arms and hands support you. Place your right leg on your left knee and then roll the butt cheek back and forth. Switch sides to roll the other but cheek.

10 March 2017

Competition Time!

I think that Spring may be my favourite time of the year.  Daffodils are my favourite flower so when they start popping up in people's gardens everywhere, it always makes me happy.  

When the sun is shining and the flowers are all coming out, it always makes me long to live on the coast.  To be able to go to the beach on a sunny day or just take a walk around the coast line whenever you felt like it would be just wonderful.

I visited Cornwall as a child many times during Spring and Summer and I always thought that at some point, that may be the place that I might finally settle.

It is from Cornwall that I bring to you today a competition to win a vintage style,Cornish art print from the wonderful John Dyer Gallery  

The John Dyer Gallery is predominantly an online gallery which is run by husband and wife team John Dyer and Joanne Short.  Clients are also able to book private appointments with the artists to view their work or alternatively attend their public exhibition openings.  The gallery represents the work of three of Cornwall's most established and acclaimed contemporary artists.

The John Dyer Gallery was established in 2005 and has had working relationships with The National Trust, The National Maritime Museum, the Eden Project and many more around the world.

The prize today is to win a framed vintage style A3 print from any of the pieces featured in the link here  The competition will run for two weeks and the prize will be forwarded direct to the winner.

*Competition rules
UK entries only
The prize must only be chosen from the link as mentioned above and not from any other part of the site.

3 March 2017

A Trip to Grassington

Today I wanted to tell you about a 1940s festival weekend that I went to in Grassington last year, one which I am intending to return to this year!

Every year the town of Grassington holds a 1940s weekend.  There are live bands, wartime re-enactments, vintage market stalls and much more.  I went last year with my mum and we had such an amazing time.  I thought that I would share a few photographs that I took on the day here.

Walking about Grassington that day felt like I had truly stepped back into the 1940s.  The pubs were serving war time ration food, live music was playing and people were dancing in the streets; everyone had a smile on their faces and the atmosphere was fantastic.   There was even someone dressed up as Winston Churchill standing in the middle of the square saying his famous speech.

The main thing that struck me about the day is that everyone had made the effort to dress up.  I would have guessed that at least 90% of the people I saw, both locals and tourists were wearing 1940s garb and you really did feel like you were living in that time.

I did not have much time to find an outfit to wear last year and ended up just putting pieces together from my current wardrobe.  This year however I am on the hunt to find a real 1940s style outfit, vintage if at all possible.

Here are some of the vintage clothing items I have been looking at from Rokit:

3. 40s/50s style Leather Handbag

I will be definately buying the vintage handbag as that is perfectly my style.  I love all the different dresses and will be using them as inspiration of what I should be buying when the event rolls nearer.

I think my favourite is the Hawaiian print dress, which is yours?

2 March 2017

Wall Murals for the Home

I am a planner.  Always have been.  I like to plan things in advance so I know that whatever event I am going to, whatever task I am going to complete or decision I am going to make is as well organised as possible.

One plan that I have ongoing is the plan to move out from my mum's and into a flat.  This plan is going to probably take a couple of years to achieve, paying off outstanding debts and saving for things like rent and furniture.  But the timescale does not stop me from planning how I will want my new space to look like.

One of things that I have been thinking about is decoration.  Putting your own stamp on a place can be hard when you working around someones else's choice of carpets and wall coverings.  You cannot do anything about the carpet other than to make sure that your furniture does not clash, but the walls are something different.

Even if your landlord will not let you paint the walls and you are worried that too many nails in them will relieve you of your deposit, there are things that you can do.

I have been looking into wall murals.  I have seen a few of them around people's houses, my sister has one, and it made me wonder if that would be the way forward.  Here are a few of my favourites so far:

This is a very bold piece which would work well if you wanted to make a statement.  If you are working with a mostly white area as shown above, this would be a wonderful focal point.

This image makes me relaxed just by looking at it.  It would work wonderful on a large wall in the kitchen, or perhaps a small version in your bedroom for calming influence

This is an example of how you can use a huge piece, making a statement of the entire wall.  You could lie in the bath and pretend that you were on a beach!

This is my favourite, and one that I will keeping an eye on for when I move out myself.  I adore the way you can look over and thinking for a second that you are actually living in Paris.

All of these wall murals can be found at PIXERS  You can choose the exact height and wide of any piece that you want and some are also washable, perfect if you have a certain family member with sticky hands!

Tell Me More

After receiving an email from someone who has read my blog in the US yesterday, I am intrigued to know who reads my blog and where you are from.  If you wish to divulge, tell me more about yourself in the comments!

If you do decide to comment, I would love to hear if there is anything you would love to see on the blog, more opinion pieces, less, more fashion etc etc.

Vicky xx

1 March 2017

5 Tips for Healthy Hair in Your 30's

When it comes to hair, we are never happy.  The blondes want to be brunettes, the brunettes want to be red heads; or combinations thereof.  The people with straight hair want it to be curly, the curly haired folk wish for straight gleaming locks.

I have always had very thick brown hair which has a mind and a personality all of it's own.  My sister, who is a hairdresser and therefore could tame it much easier, has quite fine hair.  Go figure. The picture below is probably a fair representation of me in the mornings.  Not much of a clue, just apply heat and pray to the hair gods.

Over the years I have done many, many things to my hair.  I have had streaks of all colours and have been a blonde, a brunette and a redhead; going back and forth when I got bored of the colour as I went.

In recent years the trends for hair colour has changed.  From balayage to ombre, grey hair to multicoloured.  All these different looks are amazing and can really show the style you want to portray and make your personality shine, just through your hair. 

Experimentation with hair colour is a right of passage in your twenties, but when you hit your thirties, your hair can pay the consequences.  Hair can become brittle and easily break from constant bleaching. It can even start to fall out as Kiera Knightley shared recently.

Our hair is not only at risk from over colouring.  When you hit your thirties, you are in your stride and often, this will be your busiest decade.  This is the time when you are really building your career and having children can come into play which can play havoc with your hormones and your hair. Undue stress can lead to problems with your hair thinning, and even leaving bald patches in your hair which is a condition called Alopecia Areata.  

But never fear!  A decade of bleaching your hair combined with a stressful lifestyle does not necessarily mean disaster.  I learned coming into my thirties that there are many things that you can do to take care of and maintain your hair so I thought that I would share a fair tips with you.

Protect from the Heat
Make sure to use a good heat protection spray each and time you style your hair.  There are also many shampoo and conditioners out there that can also help with heat protection.  I love the Aussie Take the Heat range.

Watch Those Split Ends!
Ideally you should aim to get your hair cut every 6-8 weeks to promote healthy hair with split ends at a minimum.  

Deep Moisturisation
I love using Coconut Oil in my hair once a week.  After massaging it into my wet hair for a few minutes, I wrap my hair into shower cap and either leave it for 20-30 if I don't have much time, or leave it overnight for ultimate moisturisation.  It really does make a difference and your hair after washing it out feels wonderful.

Wash Your Hair Less
Now I not suggesting that you walk around with greasy hair, but contrary to popular belief, you do not need to wash your hair every day (unless of course you have naturally really oily hair).  I wash mine every 3 days, usually having a ponytail on the third day or using dry shampoo if I am not entirely happy with how it looks.   The natural oils in your hair can help to keep it healthy and the longer you can leave between washes, the better.  I use the reverse hair wash method which has really made a difference.

Hair Replacement
Even you have bald patches or have developed Alopecia Totalis (total hair loss on the scalp), thankfully there are now treatments and procedures that you can undergo, such as a hair transplant which can restore your hair via donated hair that is then transferred to your scalp in a minimally invasive procedure that does not even involve sedation.

My hair will always be a beast that needs to be tamed.  Add rain or a muggy atmosphere and my hair can still turn into something that looks like a bush that you have dragged through a hedge.  But the most important thing is that my hair is now healthy and has a gloss to it that the incessant bleaching took away for so long.

Invest in your hair, it is the crown that you never take off.

*Collaborative post