Silence Really Is Golden
Not to sound like the local librarian…Yep, I must be growing old because I just love being in a quiet room with no noise, no TV, no music, no sounds, nothing.
In the words of Bjork.. Shhh..
“It’s Oh So Quiet”
it’s. oh. so quiet
it’s. oh. so still
you’re all alone
and so peaceful until…
Just this morning as soon as everybody set off on their way, I muted everything, lit a candle and had an ‘ahhh’ moment. Sat back and started thinking of all the reasons why I love quietness oh so much.
These Are The Reasons Why…
1) It clears my mind
My head is constantly busy, like a traffic jam with thoughts, going one way, ideas going another way, stresses, memo’s, to-do lists, and so on. The more noise I hear just adds to the mental mess. I’m at peace.
2) I’m more productive
I can focus, I am more methodical, I get things done quicker and to of a better standard. In the space of 1 hour – I’ve already drafted 3 posts, a ruined my inbox and made brekkie for 2, Phew!
3) Light bulb moments
Some of the best ideas I have had have been when there have been no distractions. I also find silence fuels hopes and ambitions.
It’s really hard to be positive, I mean you can be positive, but still negative things keep on happening to you. Being away from the hustle and bustle gives mental positivity a bit of an edge, you can dig deeper and really feel it, I find that silence makes positivity stronger.
5) Meditation for the modern girl
I have tried to meditate a gazillion, trillion times. I just suck at it, I start off really well, then I get an itch on my nose, my thoughts begin to zip away, I need a pee. Ugh I suck.
But being in a quiet, serene, peaceful room is like the modern busy person’s way of meditating, really. Lie back, day dream and zone out for a bit, you’ll soon reach that zen feeling.
My 15-year-old music blaring self would never believe how I turned out 🙂
Do you like silence? What do you love about it? Do you hate it?
A List of Different Ways to Use Vaseline
This post won’t be too word heavy as I just wanted to write a simple list (we all know I love lists) about Vaseline, because quite frankly I use it for so many things and I wanted to share.
I know it isn’t perfect, but it is certainly handy and cheap. I love the small tins that fit absolutely anywhere, I usually refill those tins with my own concoctions afterwards! Gone are the days of using it just for chapped lips (true story: back in the 90’s the small portable tins weren’t available, in each lesson pretty much every girl would plonk her bottle of water and the original massive tubs of vaseline on the desk..yep weird looks did glance our way)
Anyways let me get on with the list 🙂
10 Genius Uses for Vaseline
- Swipe onto lashes and use as an eye lash conditioner in the pm
- Mix with eye shadow to make a gel look hue on the lids
- Use as a waterproof mascara remover or for any mascara for that matter
- Rub onto nail bed to soften cuticles
- Use instead of, or over your top-coat. Slather on newly painted nails – vaseline acts as a really quick sealant – for toes too!
- The waxiness keeps brows in place
- It keeps skin warm when you are cold – smother on like lotion and leave it to form a barrier
- Instead of anti-histamines use it as an alternative anti-hayfever remedy (rub a bit around your nostrils, ears and eyes)
- Vaseline is a brilliant Foot balm, scoop out a load and just slap it on your feet before bed (best used with cotton socks straight after)
- Mix with your fave blush to make your cheeks glow
Add some of your own ways you use Vaseline in the comments below 🙂
Timeless Truth Bio Cellulose Apple Collagen Mask Beauty Mask
This is the 3rd mask I have tried from this gorgeous company called Timeless Truth and I am becoming quite a fan, I just am astonished at the quality AND the price but anyways before I give everything away, I want to introduce you to the mask I will be reviewing today, which won a silver beauty award in 2014.
Bio Cellulose Apple Collagen Mask Beauty Mask
The apple collagen mask is one I have had my eye on, I’m really interested in apple-based products, especially as I’m constantly reading and lusting over Korean and Japanese brands that have a big emphasis on pectin and its benefits to the skin.
Apples are like a miracle ball – with health benefits as well as beauty benefits. I was extremely happy to have been gifted this and compare it to my previous TT beauty mask reviews here and here.
This facial sheet comes in a box of 5 for £ 38.50 or just 1 on its own priced at £7.90. The main active ingredients are:
- Hydrolyzed elastin
- Apple stem cell
- Marine collagen
The mask is suitable for all skin types but is specifically aimed at ageing skin. You may have heard of stem cells in the press before when in terms of human stem cells, the apple stem cells work on the same basis of repairing and delaying signs of ageing and tissue damage.
I waited until I was completely alone to savour this one. I wanted no distractions or interruptions.
As I open the sachet the scent of apple cider wafts right up my nostrils, wow it is quite strong but the way I look at this is, you know it is natural and non-chemicalised when it smells like the real thing and not in an artificial way.
The sheet reminds me of a woven cheesecloth, but obviously much softer! Like the other masks I have tried previously, I found the product on this one was very watery.
The instructions are pretty uniform:
- open sachet
- take plastic film off
- place and adjust onto face
- leave on for 15-20 mins
Eye and mouth holes are easy to adjust into place and it doesn’t move. I pottered about the house for the first 5 minutes wearing this – it doesn’t budge.
There are a couple of eye flaps that I took upon myself to place over my lids and close my eyes and lay back for the remaining minutes. I don’t know if this was correct but I used a bit of initiative to get an added shot of oomph.
What I Like
- Super easy instructions
- Cleanse face
- Expose mask
- Place on face
- Leave on for 15-20 minutes
- The product stays wet
- Non-sticky but super concentrated
- The moisture level is very potent
What I Like a Little Less
The smell of cider – sorry! I know this can’t be helped, it didn’t put me off the mask at all but I felt I should mention it so be fully truthful
After 20 minutes I removed the facial sheet and the immediate visible results were:
- Evened out complexion
- Clear skin
- Dark circles had got lighter
- Skin tone was brighter
- Eye lids had lifted
- Face was cool to touch for a further 10 minutes
-Very smooth skin
Tip: Use in the morning as a wake me up.
You can check out the rest of the products at www.thebeautymask.co.uk
Have you tried this mask? What were your thoughts?
Raw Halo Vegan Organic Raw Chocolate
My relationship with chocolate has been an odd one, I have never been a chocoholic but I would quite often get myself a bag of minstrels or a bar of galaxy when out and about and wanting a quick snack. The choccie eating came to an abrupt halt however, when I started getting reactions.
Chocoholics are probably going to gasp in horror when I say that I didn’t touch the stuff for about a year after that, whilst on an elimination diet to determine my intolerances and to aid my fight against candida. The chocolate and cocoa weren’t the ingredients I was advised to cut out but mainly the sugar and milk/dairy.
Ever since then, I have found many dairy-free and sugar-free alternatives but they either contain a form of artificial sweetener or sugar substitute like mannitol, sorbitol or sugar alcohols like stevia and xylitol (I was a long time user of xylitol but it upsets my stomach and I find it hard to digest so have since stopped using it)
Every now and then, I like to search specific hashtags on Twitter – as you do – and I came across a new speciality chocolate brand called Raw Halo. My interest instantly peaked when I read about their ingredients.
Raw Halo makes artisan raw chocolate bars that are 100% natural, organic and the best bit – made with coconut nectar (sugar) instead of refined sugar and the second best bit – they are handmade with love (how cute is that?!?)
I immediately got in touch with them – I wanted to know more because I have been using coconut sugar for a good few years now and even though I don’t really have a sweet tooth, there are always those moments I crave a bit of chocolat without the side effects.
The super lovely Meg (who is also the founder and brains behind the brand) was kind enough to send me 3 samples in 3 different flavours!
- Dark + Sweet Orange
- Pure Dark
- Pure Milk
I literally had to stash these away in a hiding place as the “ooh what are those goodies” and the “they look scrummy, let me have one” comments were getting a bit too much! I feared I would have none left to eat myself (don’t worry I’m not that greedy, I shared a little – promise ;-))
Enough of my gabbling let me get to the good stuff.
What Does Raw Mean?
When a product is raw, this means it hasn’t been processed with a cold filtering system or hot filtering system and it hasn’t had chemicals added to get it to an edible state. Instead, natural and traditional methods are used to keep it in its complete form, which takes a little longer but ensures all antioxidants and beneficial ingredients are kept in their perfect structure.
What are the Ingredients in Raw Halo That Make it So Special?
The all natural ingredients of raw cacao butter, raw cacao powder and coconut sugar are the main reasons why I was intrigued by this chocolate.
The raw chocolate used is peruvian: 75% in the dark, 76% in the orange and 63% in the ‘mylk’ with pure orange extract used in the dark + sweet orange bar, cashew nut butter, lucuma, vanilla and inulin powders are used to form the milk replacement.
So, they not only are raw, organic, refined sugar free, vegan and gluten-free. But they are dairy free too!
A gold foil inner wrapper, an outer coloured paper of orange, purple and blue, a white thick label embossed with a decadent gold and black font.
Sophisticated and chic.
The chocolate bars are 33 g, which are small when you compare them to generic chocolate bars.
What Does The Chocolate Look Like
You might think this is a weird title but every brand has a unique look or design on their bars and I just thought it was relevant considering that the halo emblem is indented into every rectangle portion.
If you look at the image below (mylk on the left, dark in the middle and orange to the far right) you can see the halo plus the deep, dark brown shade.
What About The Taste?!
Dark + Sweet Orange: (My Favourite!) The most aromatic out of the whole 3, the orange oil hits the taste buds as soon as you place it into your mouth, the flavour is rich but not sickly, not sweet, not bitter, has no aftertaste but the deliciousness does linger in a pleasing way.
In general, I am a little biased when it comes to this flavour, as I love orange chocolate and have always loved terry’s chocolate orange – but some taste really fake. Not only is this just yummy it also tastes REAL.
Pure Mylk: I hadn’t read the labelling probably because I was too busy getting my chomp on to notice that I was eating a milk chocolate that actually had no milk. I’m pointing this out because this goes to show how good it actually tastes and how the natural dairy free substitutes work.
It really is creamy and melts in the mouth.
I’ve tried quite a few different natural bars and snacks that are dairy-free, so I’m quite used to the unique tastes, but I think newbie palates may well disagree with me.
Pure Dark: This one surprised me the most, I don’t love plain dark chocolate, I don’t hate it either, but I don’t go crazy over it or anything. I have always preferred the flavoured kind because it usually disguises the bitterness.
So back to why I was surprised, well this had no bitter aftertaste – at all! I haven’t ever eaten a plain chocolate that didn’t have a bitterness to it. I think this in itself is the biggest selling point, right?
The taste is what I would describe as cocoa bean powerful but not overpowering. One square is enough, any more and it doesn’t sit quite right on my stomach (but this is my stomach we are talking about here)
What I liked Best
I liked how the bars are sectioned into rectangular portions as opposed to square. So basically, 1 rectangle portion would equal to the normal 2 squares, which is usually the recommended amount for therapeutic chocolate eating.
Overall, I am quite excited, satisfied, impressed and happy that finally, there is a chocolate that doesn’t have fillers or artificial nasties and at the same time is sugar-free. I’m surprised at how the dark chocolate is smooth and not bitter and even though I commented on the small size of the bars, you actually don’t really need them to be much bigger because one bit piece is enough to curb the craving.
I’m curious and excited to see where this brand will go and hopefully I get to try some more of the range too 😀
If you would like more information about the packets of 100% pure indulgence visit www.rawhalo.com
One Pot Chickpea Curry..Not Just for Veggie’s
This meatless version is a twist on the traditional chickpea curry dish, but it has been a bit of a favourite in my household and at family dinners.
This is only the 3rd time I have made this and I’m really glad to say it gets the thumbs up from everyone who has tried it.
You can make it as spicy or as mild as you like (I have to be careful eating spicy foods so I usually scoop mine out before adding the chillies) and you could add potatoes if you wanted too.
Have a go and let me know what you think.
One Pot Chickpea Curry
- A good glug of olive oil
- 1 diced onion
- 2 chopped cloves of garlic
- 2 small cans tomato puree
- 1 bag of baby spinach
- 1 small can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 cauliflower florets
- 1 pepper sliced
- 1 bowl of grated carrots
- 4 cans of chickpeas
- 1 large pot of natural yoghurt
- Medium curry powder
(ground coriander, salt, turmeric, ginger, cumin, mustard, garlic powder, allspice, cayenne pepper)
- optional: 2 fresh chillies, extra chilli powder, dried chilli flakes
- Heat oil until hot on a medium heat
- Add onions/garlic/puree
- Add a little water, stir and cook for 5 minutes
- Add carrots/cauliflower/peppers/chickpeas
- Stir/mix and cook for 5 minutes
- Add chopped tomatoes/3 tbsp curry powder/1 pint of water and stir
- Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil for 20 mins
- (at this point if you want it spicier add the fresh chillies/2 tsp chilli powder and 1 tsp chilli flakes)
- Add yoghurt and stir
- Lower heat to medium/low and simmer for 45 mins/1 hour or until it thickens a little
- Add spinach, stir and serve with rice or GF naan bread or even both!
P Tracker Period Tracker
It gets to a point in your 20’s and 30’s where you are catching up with your BFF’s and the topic of your cycle will come up (well with my girlies anyways) the frequency/infrequency of it and if you know when it is going to start.
Suggestions will get floated around of the best method to log the dates you start or end, how many days you were on for and if it falls on the same day every month. I used to use a calendar to monitor all of this, colour coding away, counting the days in between, whilst on, before and after.
It is something I have always felt is important because when I was younger I would sometimes get my period every 2 weeks.
Thankfully this isn’t the case anymore and I’m more accurate than ever with all my tracking, but that is mainly because of this fantastic app, that I think every female should have on their phone.
There are 2 versions of the P Tracker app, the free version (P Tracker Lite) and the paid version (P Tracker Deluxe) which is £1.49 on the app store.
Both feature a front screen with
- A projected start date,
- How many days left indicator,
- A touch screen button you tap when your period has just started
- An add note tab
- Period log
- A page with 4 tabs (notes, symptoms, moods and others which is weight and temperature)
- A calendar with 4 icons; a pink left angle for period, a green dot for fertile, a pink/yellow flower for ovulation and a heart for intimate.
- (The tracker calculates these and places them automatically onto the month as a guide).
P Tracker Deluxe
The deluxe version has all of the above plus:
- A graph chart
- Skins to personalise the app
- A social setting with groups and chat
- A view future periods option, charts that tell you your cycle length
- How many days in your period
- Your symptoms, weight, body temperature and moods, another tab which features fertility and pills (where you can add/edit your pill and/or meds).
- A pregnancy setting and reports
I currently have the deluxe version which I swear I only paid about 69p, a couple of years back, but anyway, I started off with the lite version and was completely happy with it, but I wanted the extras so upgraded.
It may sound a bit dramatic but I couldn’t be without this app because I rely on it so much. It has never, ever failed and my favourite part is the notifications I get up to a week before just letting me know ‘your period is due in …days’.
It may sound a bit dramatic but I couldn’t be without this app because I rely on it so much.It has never, ever failed and my favourite part is the notifications I get up to a week before just letting me know ‘your period is due in …days’.
As one of those people who literally would forget when I’d be on..until I was on, it is a must-have techie item. I was going to say lifesaver, but then that would be dramatic ;-).
Bad Beauticians are Like Bad Boyfriends
Beauticians are like boyfriends..sometimes they just have to get kicked to that proverbial curb! How do I know? Well, I’ve had my fair share – of beauticians that is, and quite often they do cross that invisible line…
Like hairdressers, beauticians are like ‘a friend that isn’t a friend’ – they listen to your problems, have a little gossip, pass no judgement, are there to help you out, give you advice and are pretty much available whenever you need them to be.
But when they cross that line; become intrusive, rude and make you feel generally uncomfortable. That is when the alarm bells start ringing and it is time to walk out that door.
Why should you pay someone to do that?
Quite recently I ‘dumped’ Beautician No.2, to be fair it was on the cards for a while but what kept me going was her really cheap prices. I was her client by default purely out of convenience when I relocated to a new area, she then closed her salon doors and decided to work from home instead..so I (un)happily followed..until last month.
Last month was my final appointment with Beautician No.2, her usual down to earth chit-chat had turned quite frosty and the whole time she was literally putting me down, telling me what I should and shouldn’t do with my current life crisis and making me feel humiliated. Giving me strange looks every time I spoke and being very short with her words. She wasn’t being helpful or kind, but was absolutely condescending and out-of-order.
To put it bluntly: She made me cry. Something had changed her and I wasn’t going to stick around whilst she made me feel 10 times worse than before even walking in. There is a reason the word ‘therapist’ follows the word ‘beauty’ you know.
Whereas Beautician No. 1 I often still think about. I knew her and her salon for 4 years and I was religiously loyal to her and all her staff. I knew things about her life as she did mine. She met my family, my husband and I often was given freebies to try out as a ‘thank you’.
In my bout of unemployment she even offered me temp work as she knew how I was struggling in my job search.
So what went wrong?
It was Christmas 2012, I called to book an appointment but she wasn’t there. I was informed she was poorly and would be away for 2-3 months, that I could book with someone else in the mean-time – which is what I did but it just wasn’t the same.
We then moved home, my nails fell off, my tan faded and I had finished a job placement. First it was 1 month, then 2, then 3 and then 4 and before I knew it 1 year had come and gone. Like someone you lose touch with, there becomes a point when you just don’t know what to say when you make that initial call, as too much time has flown by.
So you don’t make that call. Ever again.
I’m on the market again for a new one, let’s see what my search will find, I’ll be sure to let you know……
Edit: I since have found a wonderful beauty therapist who is lovely. It is the first time I have used a mobile therapist and I am not disappointed, I actually wish I had done this sooner. So right now, I’m extremely happy with my “relationship”.
A version of this post first appeared on THE LIFESTYLE REVIEW on 24 november 2014
A List of Things I Like About Myself
Mental health issues come in various forms, depression and anxiety are two that are everywhere nowadays, especially in girls. In the spirit of mental health awareness week, I wanted to jot down some notes about myself that I embrace and like and share them with everyone as part of this campaign.
I feel it is really important to vocalise the small things we enjoy about ourselves without being embarrassed or shy.
It hasn’t always been this way, I don’t like to publicise it, but I as a young girl, I suffered with various forms of disordered eating, dysmorphia/self-loathing, agoraphobia and as a victim of bullying for 2 years – you can only image how low my self-esteem was.
So, with Positive Mental Attitude in mind, I thought that I’d write a light-hearted list of things I actually don’t mind about myself (Lord knows I have a good few that I still have trouble with! ;-))
10 Things I like About Me
1) Being Short. I love being 5 foot 2
2) Being Bilingual. Sort Of. I like that I’m sort of bilingual and can understand most Latin-based languages
3) Independent Woman. I don’t follow the crowd online nor in RL
4) Growing Old. I like that I look young for 35
5) Inner Me. Loyalty, sincerity and empathy are my strengths
6) Angel Cat. I have a bit of a rebellious streak in me which I enjoy
7) Good Friend. I like that I’m the bestest friend anyone could ever have
8) Selflessness. I am very helpful
9) Lone Ranger. I love my own company, which I am thankful of
10) And Lastly…Domestic Goddess. I can rustle up a meal from whatever is in the fridge without a recipe
What do you like about you?
Yoghurt Orange Bundt Cake
This is my first attempt at a bundt cake and I’m pretty chuffed how it turned out. It’s the easiest cake I’ve ever made and I’m not much of a baker at all. You don’t need any fancy equipment just a bowl and a wooden spoon, so this is the perfect recipe for beginners.
This is my own recipe but you can tweak it however you like. I made this for a tea and elevensies type thing for the family, so this is not a grain-free recipe, replace the wheat flour with a brand such as Doves for a WF/GF version.
Yoghurt Orange Bundt Cake
- 1 cup natural greek yoghurt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1/4 ½ cup oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla syrup
- Zest of 1 orange (traditionally lemon is used but I ran out)
- Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas Mark 4, line the 6-inch bundt cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides
- Pour the batter into the cake pan, bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a knife comes out clean
- Before taking the cake out of the oven, place a tea towel in a clean sink, pour hot water onto the towel
- Take cake out of oven and place onto the steaming tea towel for 10 minutes (the top of tin needs to be on the bottom touching the tea towel so that the steam releases the cake from the edges with ease)
- Turn onto a plate, tap the tin a few times and slowly lift the cake tin off
- Once cooled, dust with some vanilla icing sugar
** If the top starts to look a bit too brown, yet the cake hasn’t cooked yet, just cover the top with some foil.
*** If you want to have a mega perfect presentation, before turning out the cake once cooked, slice the top (which would be the bottom of the bundt once turned into plate) off so it makes it extremely straight and level