Skincare update: Cleansers

My skin has been a bit of a mess lately… I’m putting it down to hormones, stress and illness (although I don’t feel particularly stressed out thankfully, but I do have a lot on my plate).  I’ve got a few different cleansers that I’ve been using and I do make the effort to make sure that my skin is clean each night before I go to bed. I thought I’d do a quick round-up of what’s on my bathroom shelf…

Merumaya, Melting Cleansing Balm, £15.50

I really like the Merumaya cleansing balm – it’s got a lovely thick texture that feels great on the skin. It’s fantastic at melting away make-up, even smokey eyes and mascara, although I’ve found it to be a little stingy on occasions if I’m using it on my eyes. I’ve repurchased this a few times, and I think it’s great value for money.

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Merumaya Cleansing Balm

Algenist, Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Melting Cleanser, £32 at Space NK

I decided to try another cleansing balm and picked this Algenist one from Space NK. It’s green in colour and has a similar consistency to the Merumaya balm; perhaps a little thinner. It’s not stingy around my eyes, but I don’t find it as effective as removing eye make-up and I always need to use a separate eye make-up remover afterwards to take away the final traces. For the price, I’m not sure I’ll be repurchasing this.

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Algenist melting cleanser

Origins, Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil, £23.50

As the name suggests, this is an oil rather than a balm. It is effective and I really like this product. My only complaint would be the packaging as it’s a bit fiddly to get the lid off and on again when you’ve got the product in your hand. A pump bottle would make it easier to use.

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Origins cleansing oil

The Body Shop, Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, £13

This cleansing butter is thicker in consistency to the products above. It feels luxurious and I think is good value for money. It’s gentle on the skin although it can make my eyes a little blurry after use for a short time. It’s never my first choice of cleanser, and to be honest I’m not sure why that is.

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The Body Shop cleansing butter

With my skin being a little spotty lately, I’ve been using an acid cleanser after a first cleanse with one of the products above. I’ve used up the Elizabeth Arden Pro Gentle Facial Cleanser but I’ve now got the Clarifying Foaming Cleanser which has lactic acid and salicylic acid. I also have a selection of Alpha-H Liquid Gold skincare products that I’m trying. I’m not getting immediate results, which I guess no product can promise, but hopefully after a few more weeks my skin will be back on track!

Elizabeth Arden Pro, Gentle Facial Cleanser, £26 at Ellen Conlin Hair

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Elizabeth Arden Pro cleanser

Alpha-H, Liquid Gold Skin Renewal Wash, £36.95 at Cult Beauty

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Alpha-H skin renewal wash

 

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A crick in my neck

My good friend Ailsa once asked me how often I go to the dentist. Every 6 months, I replied. She then proceeded to ask how often I get my back checked. To which I responded, never. So you’ll have perfect teeth when you’re old, but you won’t be able to stand!? Ailsa was recommending regular trips to a chiropractor, which is something I’d never have considered myself.

I did end up going, and have been visiting Shawlands Chiropractic clinic for 6 years, admittedly on and off.

I think a lot of people are of the opinion that chiropractors are a bit airy fairy. However I’ve personally had some huge success stories.

My son was a difficult baby, and at nearly one year old he couldn’t sit unaided let alone crawl. He had tummy issues and the chiropractor said he was so tense across his back & shoulders as a result of it. After a few sessions he could sit, and then began crawling. The sudden improvements may not solely be due to the chiropractor’s adjustments but I do feel it played a huge part.

Before I gave birth to my daughter I was struggling to walk, and naively assumed it would fix itself upon delivery and that perhaps the baby was pressing against a nerve. Which it wasn’t. I was told I couldn’t see a physio for 6 weeks after the birth, whereas the chiropractor you can see straight away. After just one session, when littlest was 6 days old, I was able to walk normally. Just like that! I was amazed.

At the moment I’ve got a sore neck, probably from sleeping in a funny position, but the stress, long hours at my desk and just my lifestyle in general isn’t helping. Back to the chiropractor… this time I’ve had two sessions and have seen huge improvements. I’m still a bit stiff though so will have to go back again.

It’s very strange letting someone crack your neck… and perhaps a little nerve wracking. The noise is what is most bizarre, but it doesn’t hurt. Although I was getting a knot in my shoulder massaged out the other evening and it was a little painful admittedly.

I always walk out feeling a little taller though… (Maybe not a good thing given that I’m already 5’11”!).

Does anyone else swear by their chiropractor?

Birthday Wishes

This month sees me turn 34.

Aside from world peace and skinny thighs, I’ve put together my wish list…

Hoover

I had wanted a new Hoover for Christmas, as sad as that may be! I’ve been holding out for a good deal to come up & at the moment there is £100 off the Dyson V6 animal in the January sales.

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Dyson V6 Animal

Pyjamas

I was informed by my friend Carolyn the other day that Hush have a Tall size in their pyjamas. I’ve had a pair of Hush PJs on my wish list for some time now, first writing about them in Sept 2012 on my previous blog.

Now there is a deer print too, which would be absolutely perfect for me… but they’re sold out.

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Deer PJ Trouser

Candle

I’m a huge fan of candles, and I have loads of them dotted around my home. This Christmas I absolutely loved the Neom Perfect Peace candle, and so for my birthday I have another Neom candle on my list…the Jenny Packham Real Luxury Candle.

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Neom candle

Skincare

I was in Space NK at the weekend and spotted the Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil that I’ve heard about on various YouTube channels. At £85 I can’t really justify the purchase myself, but I’ll stick it on my wish list for now!

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Luna sleeping night oil

Kitchenware

This year I will be moving into my forever home, and so over the next few months I may start collecting a few bits and pieces for my new kitchen. I literally cannot wait to get into a bigger space where I can prepare meals and bake with the little ones with ease. It’s so difficult where I am as there is such limited counter space.

I love the brand Gray & Willow at House of Fraser, and this chopping board caught my eye. It would be ideal for serving up platters of meats and cheese for dinner parties.

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Marble and wood chopping board

TV favourites

I always say that I never have time for TV, however I have been spending quite some time lately watching box sets on Netflix*. The joy of the holiday season (although it’s a pretty horrible time to be a singleton, I’m in control of the remote…gotta think of the positives!).

My colleague recommended The Bridge (Bron/Broen) and I’ve since watched all of the two series that are available on Netflix at the moment. It’s brilliant, and I’m not the only one who thinks so as it has scored 8.6 out of 10 on IMDb. In series one, a body is found on the bridge between Sweden and Denmark. The show follows a Swedish inspector, Saga Norén, who is working together with her Danish counterpart, Marin Rohde, to find the killer.

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From IMDb

The programme is subtitled which means that I was unable to do anything at the same time as watching. That said, it did allow me to completely relax and zone out for a while. I loved this and am looking forward to starting Series 3, which has just aired on BBC4.

The next box set I watched is How To Get Away With Murder, this time on the recommendation of my sister. This wasn’t an instant hit, and I had to force myself to watch Episode 2 but once I had I was hooked. I preferred The Bridge, but I did still watch all 15 episodes of this drama which follows the lives of a group of law students who get tangled up in a murder case. If you’re interested for comparison’s sake, this got 8.3 out of 10 on IMDb.

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From IMDb

So, what should I watch next?

*I’ve just added up how many hours I’ve spent watching these box sets, and it’s shocking!!

Hello January

Christmas and New Years has been and gone… 2015 flew in and in a flash the festivities were over.

I can’t quite believe that today is the 1st of January already! As you’ll have seen from my previous post I’ve set the resolution to live more sustainably. The kids went off with their dad this afternoon and I’ve got the next few days to myself. I’m going to get the house cleaned and get ready for the month, and the year, ahead. 

This is going to be my year… I can feel it!

It’s my birthday this month, and I’m turning 34. I had started a list on my previous blog of 35 things to achieve by the time I turn 35. I’ve only got 12 months left and I already know that I won’t be able to complete it. There’s no way that I will manage trips to Japan, Australia & Disneyland all in one year. It makes me sad that I won’t get to the end of my list. But with the start of a new blog and a fresh start…its maybe time to write a new list! Watch this space.

Sarah x 

Resolutions for 2016 and #LiveLAGOM

I have decided not to set myself the obvious resolution to lose weight (I’ve got about 9lbs to go!). Instead in 2016 I am going to focus on living sustainably.

Saving more, wasting less & living healthier

I will freely admit that I am terrible when it comes to saving gas & electricity, water and don’t get me started on wasting food.

I live in a draughty traditional property in Glasgow and yet I haven’t done as much as I could to help insulate the house. This is on my list to rectify next year & I’m confident I can get my heating bills down. Similarly, there are lots of things I could be doing to conserve electricity… such as making the switch to LED bulbs or turning off appliances instead of using their stand by mode.

One of my major flaws is food waste. I am lousy at keeping on top of the food stocks in my kitchen fridge and I end up chucking out so much each week. It’s shocking! Part of my problem is that my kitchen is tiny and I’ve not been inspired to cook much lately. I have very little storage space (even the inside of my cooker is used to store my baking trays and cake tins) which causes me loads of grief too… trying to recycle can prove problematic as I’ve nowhere really to segregate everything.

The little number of cupboards I do have are rammed, which then makes it difficult to see what is available for planning meals. Inevitably the food then goes out of date and I have to throw it in the bin.

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The little counter space I have is always crammed full of ‘stuff’
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I don’t have enough cupboards to store mugs & glasses and whenever I want to use my oven, I have to empty it of baking trays first!

 

 

By taking part in IKEA’s #LiveLAGOM project I will be tackling all these areas. The first area I want to improve is kitchen storage, as this will allow me to increase my recycling efforts and hopefully also encourage me to cook more, meal plan and ultimately waste less food.

Lagom comes from the Swedish phrase “Lagom är bäst” meaning the right amount is best.

Ikea believe that this is secret to sustainable living… not denying yourself what you love, whilst not taking from the planet more than you need.

I have received some sustainable products from the Ikea range and I will be keeping you informed of my journey as I tackle food waste, reduce my gas & electricity bills (I hope so anyway!) and improve storage & recycling in my home.

I’m worried that I won’t be able to break my bad habits, but I am committed to making the change and even if I start with baby steps I will at least be going in the right direction. I’ve heard it takes 6 weeks to form new habits… let’s see if that really is the case.

A more sustainable life at home should be easy.

I can’t wait to get started!!

Recipe – Mint Chocolate Brownies

These are the most delicious chocolate brownies that I have ever made myself. At this time of year, I try to do some baking and deliver it to the neighbours with our Christmas cards… this is the sort of batch bake that would be ideal to then cut into little squares and parcel up in some greaseproof paper with some festive wash tape.

Ingredients:

  • 200 g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 200 g butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250 g soft brown sugar
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp chopped mint leaves

 

 

 

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Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160C / 140C fan / Gas 3.
  2. Line a 22 cm square tin with baking paper.
  3. Put chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl, set over a pan of simmering water and leave until melted. Once melted, remove from heat.
  4. In another bowl, beat eggs and sugar until foamy.
  5. Stir the chocolate mixture into the eggs and sugar.
  6. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and stir.
  7. Finally, mix in the mint leaves.
  8. Pour into baking tin and cook for 50-60 minutes before cooling on a wire rack.