My Daily Skin Routine + The Fight Against Acne

Ok, so some of you will know that I’ve had some serious skin struggles. We’re talking acne here ladies (still hate saying that word). It’s something I’ve been battling with since my teens and I still have to keep on top of even though I’m now well in to my twenties. I’ve pretty much got it down now, as long as I follow my routine, get enough sleep and try an avoid too much alcohol and sugary/fatty foods my skin stays on a good level.

Acne can be crippling and if I can help just one person by sharing my story and routine then that’s a win. Ok so, without further ado here it my daily skin routine.

  1. I always have a shower first thing in the morning. I cleanse my skin whilst showering and use the Acne.org 3-step system. I start by making sure my face is wet then take two pumps of the product. I rub together in my hands until there is a nice thick lather, this is really important. Then I wash the problem areas (I just use this n my face but you can also use it on your body if you suffer with back or chest acne) for about 10 seconds…no more. You also shouldn’t rub hard at your face, be as gentle as possible. I then let the running water wash it off, I pat my face dry with a clean soft towel.
  2. Next up is the acne.org treatment – Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5%. Again I take two pumps of the product and gently spread over my face for about 2-3 minutes. It’s important not to rub, gently is key here as you don’t want to aggravate or irritate skin. After the 2 minutes are up I leave it to soak into my skin for 15 minutes. Again this is KEY. I use this time to do things like clean my teeth, do my hair, make my bed etc. Be careful not to get the product on coloured fabrics as it can bleach.
  3. After the 15 minutes is up I take my moisturiser. I used to use the Acne.org one but shipping the products over from America is really expensive so I have substituted for this Avène moisturiser during the day. Acne.org provide a list of ingredients you should avoid, I did a lot of research before settling with this one. The instructions say to work this into your face for another 2 or 3 minutes but I find this absorbs quickly so I don’t. Again leave to settle in for another 15 minutes…more time to get jobs done!
Acne.org: Cleanser, Treatment, AHA+ Glycolic Acid
Acne.org: Cleanser, Treatment, AHA+ Glycolic Acid

Okay, so that is how I prepare my skin for the day (I’ll do a make-up post another time). I use this Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water to remove my make-up at the end of the day  and this Garnier Eye Make-Up Remover for my eyes, it gets even stubborn mascara off without having to really rub your eyes.

I do exactly the same thing in the evening but I use this Cetaphil moisturiser instead. It’s a little heavier which is good for overnight. I also use the acne.org AHA+ Glycolic Acid 10% once a week – this acts as an exfoliate but it isn’t abrasive and harsh to skin. You can use a little bit every night mixed with your moisturiser…I do this when my skin is going through a bad patch.

This may all sound quite time-consuming and pedantic but this is what makes the system work so well. Acne.org really did change my life and gave me my skin confidence back. I’m not going to say I never gets spots because that isn’t true, but I no longer panic that they will get out of control and I can normally attribute it to some change in my behaviour or routine. This stuff WORKS. Have a great weekend ladies.

F x

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Reflecting on 2017.

Afternoon lovelies! This post might seem an odd choice given that we are already one week in to 2017 but I wanted to push live my 2018 goals post first. You know, start the year on a positive note and a focus on looking forward not back. BUT I also think it’s really important to reflect on the last 12 months and think about the things that went really well and the things that didn’t quite go how you would have liked. You should give yourself a pat on the back for the great things you’ve achieved. We can all be guilty of focusing on and remembering the negatives but if you stop for a minute and really think about it I’m sure there are some really great things that you achieved last year. I’m going to go through some of the triumphs and tribulations I experienced in 2017 below.

The year started off on a really positive note. On the 28th December myself and 6 friends jumped on a plane and headed for Kenya. We spent a week at the coast in the beautiful Watamu and then a week on Safari in Nanyuki. Hands down one of the best experiences of my life, the country is so beautiful and I really fell in love with the place. Definitely want to make sure that I go back. It was two weeks of sun and fun, without access to wifi which meant I really got to switch off. Don’t think I’ve felt so relaxed on a holiday since I’ve been in my job. If you haven’t been, put it on your travel bucket list. You won’t regret it.

Bar in Watamu
A bar in Watamu
Sundowners on Safari
Sundowners on Safari

Next up is taking on more responsibility at work and expanding my skills as a manager. Our team grew by seven additional people at the beginning of 2017 and I was partly responsible for their work and the direction they take. It was quite tough to begin with. I’d never managed anyone else and it was an adjustment getting used to remotely managing the aspect of their work that related directly to the team I work in. It took a while but I felt by the end of last year we had a strong and confident team who worked really well, both together and individually. I feel like I’ve got good relationships with all of them and I’m proud of that. It also meant that I took on more responsibility as some of my work was delighted to them. I was involved in more brand decisions and I’ve really enjoyed that.

 

Next up was making time to go home, as in back to my parents house in Suffolk more often. I consider home to be my happy place. As soon as I get on that train from Liverpool Street I feel relaxed. I love getting back to the country and taking time off from London life. Our house looks out over a lake and is so peaceful, we’re a 15 minute walk from the beach and within 2 minutes I can be walking in fields. I love it and I’m always a little sad when I have to get back on the train to London. See picture of sunrise below for a little taste of how beautiful it is. I made time to go home more last year and take time for me, 2016 had been really stressful with work, our flat got burgled and I had shingles in the later part of the year so it was important for me to chill more in 2017. I’ll be continuing to go home more in 2018 too. Note to self…do more of what makes you happy.

Southwold Beach
Sunrise at Southwold Beach

Many of you will be familiar with the ’21 days of gratitude’ idea and may even have tried it yourself. I decided to take on the challenge last year as I was going through a bit of a hard time. I wanted to focus on the positives rather than dwell on negatives. So, for 21 days every night before bed I wrote down something I was grateful for (you can read the post here) and also a motivational quote. It made me realise I have so much to be thankful for, whether it’s something as simple as being thankful for your family, or loving the cold side of the pillow. We all know sometimes it’s the little things in life that make the biggest differences. I’m going to reset and do it again in February, you should give it a go too!

Finally I wanted to stop sweating the small stuff. I used to get really caught up on little things, at work, with friends, at home, anything. I’d play them over in my mind and get myself worked up and stressed out, especially over things I couldn’t control or change. I made a conscious effort to change this last year. I think it was affecting my sleep and making me more stressed than I needed to be, and let’s be honest none of us need added stress. I’ve felt so much better since doing this, if I can’t control it…don’t worry about it. If I can’t do anything about it in that moment or on that day, leave it for another when I can. Two books that really helped with this are ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k’ and ‘Get You Sh*t Together’ both written but the wonderful Sarah Knight. If you haven’t got these in your life, go and order them NOW. You won’t regret it.

Next up are a couple of things I found difficult last year. I’m going to try and keep this bit short as the post is already quite long! First up. I struggled a lot personally last year, I felt quite low at certain points of the year and my self-esteem was at rock bottom. I’m feeling better now but I found 2017pretty trying. I also had real difficulty sleeping well last year which started to get on top of me, I’m trying so many things to improve that. Let’s just say there is a lot of lavender, candles and essential oil diffusers going on in my room! My dad wasn’t very well last year and had to have a pretty scary operation. This was quite a difficult time for me and my family. Thankfully it all went well, he is healthy and all check-ups have been clear. In a nutshell they are the big things I found difficult last year – there are lots of other little ones but I’ll leave those. 2018 is all about. moving forward, doing more of what makes me happy and being a better me.

F x

2018. Goals Not Resolutions.

So I’m a little late to the party posting this on the 2nd January but I’ve been enjoying some time at home with my parents over Christmas, and making the most of being in the country away from the hustle and bustle of London.

This year I’m not going to set myself resolutions. I feel like everyone does that and then two months later we’ve all given up and feel rubbish about it. So, I’ve decided I’m setting myself goals instead, five to be exact. Things I really want to aim towards and achieve this year, and that are realistic! I’m trying to head into 2018 with a positive mindset and I’m very pleased to wave 2017 goodbye!

  1. The first thing I want to do is learn to speak French fluently. I started learning the language from a very young age and studied it all through school until I left for college at 16. As a family, we used to holiday in France every year so I always tried to practice my French as much as I could. Of course, as I got older I stopped going on holiday with my family and inevitably stopped practicing speaking it all together. This year I’m going to pick it back up and have been looking at having one on one lessons back in London. I’ve got a good basis to start with so I’m really excited to start learning again!
  2. Joining a gym and getting fit is such a cliché and one that is so easily given up on. Instead I’m aiming to move more every day. Whether that be going for a run, walking instead of taking the bus or doing yoga in my room. I need to get more active and make the conscious decision to not be so lazy. So often I get home from work and just get straight into my pjs and sit on the sofa when I know I feel so much better if I’ve done some exercise. So there it is, I’m going to move more in 2018.
  3. Next up is improving my diet. I love food, I spend a lot of my day thinking about when my next meal is and what it’s going to be. The trouble is I love carbs and I love sweet foods. I’ve fallen into a bit of a habit of eating what I like when I like…often meals that are carb heavy followed by chocolate! This makes me feel lethargic and rubbish about myself. This year I’m going to focus on eating healthier, fresher meals that will make me feel better. I’m still going to have sweet treats but just not as many of them.
  4. Make a life change. More on this one at a later date but I’ve got something planned for 2018 that is going to change things up for me in a big way. Super scary but exciting at the same time!
  5. Finally I want to take more time off from technology. I’m guilty of being one of those people who picks up their phone first thing in the morning and check their emails and instagram. I also have a bad habit of scrolling through instagram and Pinterest and whatever else just before bed. We all know that the blue light emitted from your phone is disruptive to your sleep if using before bed and as someone who struggles with sleeping anyway I should really be making an effort to take time out from my phone in the evening. So, I’m going to focus on leaving my phone untouched for at least 30 mins to an hour before bed. I’m also going to try and take more time off from my phone at weekends and when I go away on holiday. I’ve started already this Christmas by leaving my phone in my bedroom during the day whilst I’ve been at my parents and reading before bed.

There you have it. Five things I’m going to focus on this year to make myself healthier and happier. This list might be added to over time but as I said I wanted them to feel realistic and I think having a smaller achievable number feels more manageable.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, whether you were with family or friends at home or abroad. I hope you were able to take some time off and enjoy it with your loved ones.

Here is to a prosperous, happy and healthy new year!

F x

 

Doing It For The Girls…

For a long time now I’ve been looking for and following women I find inspirational. Whether that be their blog, their Twitter or their Instagram. I think it’s really important for women to support each other; in the workplace, at home and in public.

We’re working towards equality but we’re a long way from it. Women need to stand together, not tear each other down. Now, more than ever we need to empower each other and show solidarity. To have a voice and actually use it can be scary, we live in a society where judgements are made and made quickly. No longer are they made in private for no-one to hear, they are shouted loud and often and increasingly directly at the individual. We need to remember that we are all human, all have feelings and however thick a skin we have we can all be affected negatively by such things.

That’s why I decided to do this post. I wanted to share some of the women I find inspirational, who I seek out on a regular basis, who support other women and who are standing up to those who try to bring them down. Here is my power list of women, I hope you enjoy!

Chessie King

I first came across Chessie on Instagram about 6 months ago. I follow her mainly because  of her realness. She’s gone on quite a journey with her fitness and I find her workout videos and posts really inspirational. She lifts the lid on all those picture tricks people use and cuts through all the bullshit. She is all about making women feel good about themselves which I love. I struggle with body confidence issues and she never fails to make me smile, and also work on loving myself a bit more. She is forever positive and in my opinion the kind of role model that young women should be looking up to. Basically a complete BABE! Check out her Instagram for some serious gym inspo and everyday smiles.

Sarah Ashcroft

Saraha Ashcroft, also known as ‘That Pommie Girl’ is all kinds of goals. I think I’ve been reading her blog for about 2 years now (maybe longer), long enough that I can’t remember how I first came across her. I started by watching her make-up tutorials on youtube – my god that girl knows how to slay. Then I started looking at her clothes and had serious wardrobe envy. Then I started following her fitness journey, she was beautiful before but is now really toned and strong too…another goal. I think what I like about her most is that she seems real, unchanged since finding huge success and incredibly grateful for all of her fortunes. If you’re into fashion or beauty in particular you need to give this girl a follow, have a look at her Instagram.

Shay Mitchell

She’ll be a familiar name to many of you, especially any of you who have been partial to an episode or two of Pretty Little Liars (*cough* watched every season religiously *cough*). Ok where to start? First of all she’s funny and goofy on her Insta and Snapchat stories – she is always mucking about with her friends and team and they all seem to be like one big family…something I think is great for someone who is so successful. Secondly, she works hard, REAL hard. Anyone who is familiar with her will see that she never lets up, she gets that workout in, she does those long hours on set, she makes time to see her friends. Mostly I just like how humble she is, she isn’t flashy about all the nice things she has and she seems like the kind of girl I’d love to have as my friend. Big love for Shay.

Lauryn Evarts Bosstick

Ok, so I may have saved my favourite for last. Lauryn Evarts Bosstick or The Skinny Confidential as she might be better known. I have been following this blog and woman for about 5 years now and I never cease to love the content she creates and the realness she brings. Her and her husband Michael are a power team of dreams…yes they bicker, yes they take the piss out of each other but most importantly they work TOGETHER, they SUPPORT each other, they RESPECT each other and they build each other UP. Lauryn is a boss and she is unapologetic in being so. I love her honesty, her quirky ways, her tips, tricks and hacks, her willingness to share and most importantly how she supports other women. You NEED to go and check her out, like, now. We could learn a lot from her on perseverance, chasing your dreams and taking that leap when you might be scared shitless. Trust me I’m taking notes from this lady.

I’ve only included four women in this post, but I could include many many more. Maybe I’ll make this a regular thing, practice what I preach and all that. I hope you like these ladies as much as I do. It’s refreshing to find some healthy role models in a society that is constantly trying to tell us what the ‘ideal’ is. Let’s stand together :-).

F x

Weighing On My Mind…

So I've shared a little with you about my fitness journey…and more importantly how I'm struggling with my weight.

I'm by no means fat but I'm not comfortable with the weight I've gained. I got weighed at the doctors the other day and the number that jumped out of me was a shock.

I'm finding it really difficult to have control with my food and to balance my diet. Getting on the scales at the doctors made me realise I need to make a change and only I can be the one to do that.

I've started having sessions once a week with my old personal trainer, this is motivation number 1. Secondly I will be reigning in my sweet tooth and love of carbs…I need more variety in my diet and that needs to include a lot more fruit and vegetables. Thirdly I'm taking inspiration from my mum, she's been steadily losing weight over the last few months and is doing it through exercise and good diet. I'm going to take her lead and really try.

Do any of you have tips for making this work? Any habits I should try ditching or should start following? I need your help!

This has been short but sweet I'm afraid. Trying to get the frequency of my posts up…something else I'm trying to achieve!

F x

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Summer Loving

Anyone who knows me will know that I love the winter. I love knitwear, snuggling up by fires and costing up in layer upon layer of clothing. I also don’t really do colour…ever. I live in jeans and jumpers are one of my favourite things. Not so great when in the middle of a heatwave in London.

Not saying I’m anti-summer, I just don’t love it here. BUT, to try and get into the spirit of things I’ve picked out some of my favourite summer pieces this month.

Red Gingham Smock Dress
Red Gingham Smock Dress

I love this asos dress, it’s summery without showing too much skin or figure hugging…something which I’m not a fan of when it’s hot.

Blue Striped Sleeveless Top
Blue Striped Sleeveless Top

This little Zara number is a great work piece that can be dressed both up and down. I like that it’s slightly structured but again not tight. I need this in my wardrobe!

Adidas Blue & White Sliders
Adidas Blue & White Sliders

I actually have a pair go black and white Ivy Park sliders but I’m planning on getting myself a pair of these this summer. I like the classes style of these Adidas ones and you can wear them with SO many things…jeans, jean shorts, dresses at the beach. The list goes on. BIG fan.

New Era 9Forty NY Navy Cap
New Era 9Forty NY Navy Cap

I’m really fair skinned so a hat is 100% a must for me on holiday. I catch the sun really easily and I’ve burnt my scalp more times than it’s cool too. You can’t go wrong with a baseball cap and I don’t think you’ll find many people who don’t like the classic new era caps.

Ok, so nothing ground-breaking but this is how a winter loving girl styles out summer. I like quite classic looks that are effortless but stylish too. Let’s see if I can push myself out of my comfort zone this summer and wear more dresses!

F x

Tired, oh so tired

I’m not sure what has been going on with me recently but I am tired, so so tired all of the time. I sit at my desk at work fighting the urge to curl up and go to sleep. Today I even had to take a 20 minute power nap on my lunch break. What is going on!?

So as most people would do I took to Google and searched ‘chronic fatigue’ and here is what I found…

The NHS lists 10 medical reasons why you might feel extreme tiredness and a couple of these ring true for me. I’ve been tested in the past for iron deficiency, thyroid problems all of which came back clear. I’m also not someone to take advice from sites that aren’t verified or from trustworthy sources…I’ll stick with NHS and WebMD thanks!

Two things that were on that list I can relate to are stress and anxiety. I feel both of these on a regular basis. My job can be quite stressful at time, I work to deadlines often, I work across several departments and there is often a lot of change/last minute changes. I’m someone who likes structure and organisation so this can be difficult for me…something I have been working on for several years. I also feel anxious a lot, I go through stages of not being able to sleep, worrying excessively and being irritable.

All of the above can lead to feelings of extreme tiredness and exhaustion. Question is, what do I do about it? For me exercise makes me feel better, and it’s definitely something I’ve not been doing enough of. I’ve already schedule workouts into my diary for the next two weeks. Avoiding alcohol. Again I’ve been drinking too much recently and it’s showing both on my skin and how I feel. I’m aiming to only have alcohol one day a week for the foreseeable and not to get drunk. I’m also trying to get back into practising mindfulness. I’m listening to sleep stories every night, I find these really help me sleep without having a programme play on my iPad. I’m also going to start using my diffuser more and colouring books…both of which help me to relax.

I’ll let you know how I get on in the next couple of weeks!

F x

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Digital Detox

Smartphones, tablets, laptops…they’re all great things that enhance our lives in many ways. They mean we have a world of information literally at our finger- tips, we can keep in touch with family across the world easier than we ever could before, they provide a platform for us to have a voice, we can find out news instantaneously and can share memories with all those we know at the touch of a button.

But sometimes, we need a break from the digital world we live in. It can be suffocating, stress inducing and stop us from enjoying the moment and living in the here and now. This is something I learnt when I travelled to Kenya just after Christmas in December 2016. I spent just over two weeks without any internet access, no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or work emails. Just me, my friends and the amazing memories we made.

I can’t explain how good it felt to disconnect from the rest of the world. It was probably the first time since I left university and started working that I had not checked my work emails once on holiday, worried about something that was happening back at home or not having my mind on two things at once.

I came back from that holiday feeling completely refreshed and ready to get back into the swing of things. It made me realise that I needed to put my phone down more and worry a little less. I now make a conscious effort to not heck work emails on my days off or when I’m spending time with my family. I try not to sit in bed at night for an extra half an hour after I decided I’d go to sleep checking my Instagram or reading articles on my phone.

If you haven’t already, try it. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel for it. The world won’t stop because you have.

F x

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Jewels + Gems

Everybody loves a bit of jewellery right? Whether you’re into full on glam, dripping in chains and rings or your prefer something a little more subtle, I think jewellery can really enhance an outfit and make it feel…complete.

Personally I like to err on the side of subtlety. I wear very little jewellery, partly because that’s what I like and partly because I got burgled last year and they stole 95% of all the jewellery I owned.

I’m going to give you a little run through of what I like to wear on a daily basis. For my 18th birthday my nan gave me her ruby and diamond ring set in a gold band (pretty much all the jewellery I wear is gold). I was too scared to wear it whilst at uni but for the last 4 or 5 years I can’t remember a day where I went without it. I wear this on my right hand along with my mums eternity ring. My dad replaced hers so she gave me the old one. On my left hand I just wear a little infinity knot gold pinky finger ring.

I also wear a couple of bangles on my left wrist but I want to replace these soon. I also wear a little cubic zirconia stud earring in my left triages – I love this piercing. And that pretty much sums up what I wear. I told you it was minimalist!

Below I’m going to share some of the pieces I’m loving at the moment and want to add to my collection. I hope you like!

Lucy Williams X Missoma Large Horn Pendant Necklace
Lucy Williams X Missoma Large Horn Pendant Necklace £139.00

I love this necklace. I actually bought this for myself about a month ago, I’m going to buy some smaller chains to layer it with

Lucy Williams X Missoma Shark Tooth Pendant Necklace
Lucy Williams X Missoma Shark Tooth Pendant Necklace £89.00

I actually got an email today saying that Missoma were bringing back some of the Lucy Williams collection for summer. I love this little shark tooth pendant. Perfect to layer up with other chains for a day time or night look

Gold 'F' Necklace from Orelia
Gold ‘F’ Pendant Necklace from Orelia £15.00

I love how delicate this little chain is. I’m planning to buy it and then layer with the above Missoma necklace

Gold Stacking Rings from Orelia
Gold Stacking Rings Set from Orelia £20.00

I love pinky rings and as I already wear a couple of rings on my right hand I love delicate ones like the above for my other hand. Subtle but beautiful.

Gold Fiji Friendship Bracelet from Monica Vindar
Gold Fiji Friendship Bracelet from Monica Vinader £125.00

I bought this for myself after we got burgled and had the word ‘positivity’ engraved on the bar. I love Monica Vinader products, I could buy so much from this website!

These are the things I’m loving at the moment, will update with some more soon!

F x