Self care, skin care,
& nurturing Mother Nature.

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Living life with good intention, loving with soul, and consuming with a conscience

July 23, 2018

CF Face Masks for Every Face and Feeling

Hey folks, today I'm coming at you all with a classic beauty post because other than the odd brand review here and there, I haven't posted much in this category for a wee while. That's because I've kind of been experimenting with switching up my skincare, but also wanting to test things out for long enough that I can post about an effective updated skincare routine for you all - but enough of that because that's not what this post is about.

I've always been a fan of a good face mask and find them to be really effective when your skin most needs a pick-me-up, but I also just like to use them as a self-care item too. I'm someone who kind of forgets to look after themselves from time to time and even if it's just a 5 minute face mask I remember to do, I feel a bit more pampered and a bit more like I've got my shit together. As I've been using face masks more and more frequently during each week and have reaped the benefits of listening to my skin's needs and injecting a face mask into my evening routine each time in response, I feel like I've tried and tested a great number of masks that help with every skin need. So here's a definitive list of my favourite face masks which are cruelty free, effective, and help out my skin with every condition it ends up in:

Hydration and Softness for Dry Skin
Nip + Fab Kale Fix Clay Mask | 50ml | £5 - £12.95 - Dry skin is something I'm battling with more and more as I get older and this mask works actual wonders when I need it. It's a really gentle mask that I find very refreshing to use and tend to use on a lazy weekend morning if I feel I need it or simply when my skin is feel dry or dehydrated. If you're someone who suffers from dry flaky skin due to eczema or after a bad acne break out, or simply just dry skin in general, this mask helps soften up the skin so it feels baby soft and really soothes raw broken skin and minimises flakes instantly. (It's currently half price on the Nip + Fab website!)

Oh K! Sleep Mask | 20ml | ~£7.50 - Okay so I've talked about this mask before (here and here) because I've bloody loved it for a long while and could sing it's praises for days but I'll keep this short and sweet. This sachet is supposed to last you 5-6 uses but I find this can last me up to 20 and I don't know if that's because I don't apply enough or if I just have tiny face, but either way, it's a great buy. It's a very very gentle and light mask that you apply before bed which is incredibly nourishing and leaves the skin the next morning feeling buttery soft but never greasy or weighed down. I also find this mask to be very soothing to break outs and again, can work wonders on flaky broken skin. It also smells amazing.

Stabilising Excess Oils for Oily Skin
Liz Earle Deep Cleansing Mask | 75ml | £18.0o - I've always been a fan of Liz Earle products since I was a little girl and used to use them at my grandma's each weekend, but now as an adult, there's some particular products I will always go back to and this is certainly one of them. The Deep Cleansing Mask has ingredients such as green clay, manuka honey, and aloe vera so it is also a very purifying mask if you have problem skin. The green clay and manuka honey work wonders on excess oil and sebum and help mattify the skin without making it tight or dehydrated. I like to use this mask when my skin is oily but also sometimes when I've had a break out as the manuka honey and green clay really help out any pimples with either drying out and healing up, or just soothing them in general.

Mask of Magnaminty | 125g - 60og | £9.95 - £19.95 - When it comes to stablising and mattifying oily skin, it's been years since I've used super harsh and drying face masks because frankly, they do much more harm than good for oily skin and that's why Lush's Mask of Magnaminty is a firm favourite in this department for me. This mask tends to be advertised as something that brightens and gives your skin some glow, but I find it is excellent for excess oil too. Whenever my skin is becoming too oily from anything from shitty diet choices recently or from hot weather, using this mask always helps control it and neutralise my skin but it also cools it with ease due to the peppermint oils in the ingredients. I like to use this mask where I get most oily (T-zone, especially around my nose and also my chin) and always notice a huge difference the following day with how long my face manages to remain looking healthy but shine-free.

Detoxifying and Cleansing for Impurities
The Body Shop Japanese Matcha Tea Pollution Clearing Mask | 75ml | £17.0o - This 10o% vegan mask is a firm staple in my face mask collection and one I reach for at least once a week. The Body Shop Matcha Tea mask aims to rid skin of congestion and pollution and purifying it once more. Something I've looked more an more into recently is the effect the world around us can have on our skin and thus, I've become pretty interested in how pollution can effect the skin particularly. This mask has no nasties added but includes nourishing products such as matcha tea, dandelion extract, and aloe vera which are gentle but extremely effective. The mask itself is very cooling so it's nice to use either mid-week or at the end of a busy week to feel rejuvenated. When you rinse your face, the mask also gently exfoliates the skin making it feel softer, look more radiant and most importantly, it looks and feels clean and fresh with no impurities in sight!

Sukin Super Greens Detoxifying Masque | 10oml | £11.95 - A mask that recently came into my life and has shook it ever since is the Sukin Detoxifying mask. This mask is from the Sukin Super Greens range which is a range I really enjoy using because it's effective, has great natural ingredients, and you can really notice a difference in your skin with consistent use. This mask is my go-to when a bad break out is brewing and I want to speed things along. Unlike the Matcha Tea mask from The Body Shop which detoxifies what is already happening to the skin, this Sukin mask is perfect for bringing underlying skin issues to the surface. This helps decongest the skin but also helps draw out impurities such as acne so your pores appear cleaner, clearer, and smoother. This is a great one to reach for if you know you have an important date or event in a week's time but your skin is causing issues as it will hurry things along so your skin has longer to heal.

Glowing and Radiance for Tired or Lack-lustre Skin
The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask | 75ml | £17.0o - Although this mask is another great option for purifying the skin and getting rid of the grime of everyday life, I personally love this one for getting my glow on. 10O% vegan with great ingredients such as bamboo charcoal, tea tree oil, and green tea leaves, this mask really helps give the skin a healthy, well-looked-after look but honestly, gang, it's the glow this creates that's the show stopper for me. This mask tingles on the skin and is a quite a traditional clay mask in the fact that it can feel quite tightening on the skin and can be a bit of a nightmare to wash off but it is *so* worth it. If I use this mask even just once a week or every 2 weeks, I can see a considerable difference in how fresh-faced and radiant my skin looks. It exfoliates, it doesn't dry out the skin yet also doesn't over hydrate, and it works some sort of witchcraft on minimising the pores.

Superdrug Vitamin C Orange Peel Jam Mask | 50ml | £4.99 - If you want something that's more gentle on the skin but that can give you some exfoliation and noticeable glow, I highly recommend the Vitamin C Jam mask from Superdrug. I remember picking this mask up on a whim months ago and it's been a repurchase item for me ever since. This super sticky but very effective mask is something I tend to pop on every Saturday morning whilst I have my morning cuppa. It's a very zesty and fruity mask so it's very uplifting for the scent senses but it also really works wonders on the skin. With orange peel, kakadu plum extract, and goji berry extract as some of its main ingredients, this mask gets you looking like you've spent some healthy hours in the sun and gives you a glow from within. As it is a sticky jam-like consistency, it doesn't dry down and I find that to be very nourishing if my skin is feeling slightly dehydrated too. The mask also includes simple sugar for gentle but effective exfoliation and it melts away as soon as you wash your face.

Clear and Happy Skin for Acne and Blemishes
The Body Shop Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Night Mask | 75ml | £12.0o - Nowadays I don't worry too much about my acne and trying to control it, but if I'm having a particularly bad break out that just needs to be soothed and reduced, I will always choose this mask. Packed full of tea tree oil and salicylic acid, this mask is a great leave-on option that will reduce redness, soreness, and bumps overnight but if oil is something that is a struggle for you too, this will help control excess sebum too. I obviously pop this on before bed whenever I feel I need it instead of my usual evening skincare and apply a generous amount. The mask is a very cooling gel which feels so good on the skin- especially when you have angry spots! This mask always helps to get the ball rolling when I need to sort out my acne and I will always have it at hand for emergencies.

Lush Brazened Honey Fresh Face Mask | 75g | £7.50 - When people think of Lush face masks that will help with acne-prone skin, most folk would suggest Cosmetic Warrior to tackle the problem and whilst I do like that mask, I think Brazened Honey is the true winner for this skin need. This mask has so many great products in it from ginger root, to fennel, to lime juice and cloves, to honey - all products which help to do a number of good things from cleansing, to being anti-septic, to moisturising! I find this mask is great all-round for any sort of skin pick-me-up but I find it particularly effective on any blemishes I have. If I'm having a hormonal break out, I like to smooth this mask over my face and let it gently warm the skin. It dulls inflammation with just one use and spot size always appears reduced in size and pain whenever I use Brazened Honey.

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July 08, 2018

Sustainable Sundays: Thrifting & Slow Fashion Online

It's been a few months now since pledging to spend a lot less on fast fashion, and in that time I've purchased some of my absolute favourite items in my wardrobe currently and also - at risk of tooting my own horn - gotten pretty good at sourcing stuff I like. Charity shops and vintage stores in the UK will *always* be where I point anyone to if they want to buy more slow fashion pieces and help recycle old items (as well as you know, help charities by spending your money in their stores - check out this post all about it), but sometimes it's not feasible to visit an actual store or if like me, you really enjoy online shopping and not so much in-store because ugh, people.

Therefore I thought I'd put together this post, detailing what apps, stores, and tips I use when shopping online that help me keep to my ethic of only purchasing slow or sustainable fashion, and hopefully you can pick up some ideas or feel inspired to make the same pledge!

Have a list of things you're looking for
Just like any old online shopping, it can overwhelming and daunting having so much choice out there so having a curated list of items you're looking for is the best way to go about finding a gem. If I'm looking out for a particular item and I know it might be difficult to pinpoint in a charity shop, I always turn to certain websites that I know will have a selection at my fingertips. Just as I said in my last fashion-related Sustainable Sundays post, having this list not only makes it easier for you to find what you're looking for, but it also stops you from potentially getting side-tracked and purchasing things you don't need.

Have a rough limit to your spending per item
Another point I made in my last post covering thrifting/second-hand shopping but of course transfers over to online shopping in knowing your budget. Of course shopping second hand/thrifting clothing can be much cheaper than shopping items brand new, but it can also occasionally be drastically overpriced. Keeping in mind a limit to what you want to spend on each item can be a good habit to get into to avoid over spending. Typically speaking, I think anything over £30 is a lot for new clothes so it is certainly my limit for second hand. There have only been a couple of times when I've went over this price and that has been to buy coats or originally very expensive footwear. If you see something you really have fallen in love with but it's out of your price range, try justifying it to yourself but always look elsewhere. As lots of items such as Levis and Harley Davidson tees have become hugely popular, these are often sold for extortionate prices and were probably picked up charity shops a bargain price to begin with.

Don't overlook certain sites
When people think shopping second-hand fashion, they instantly think of eBay and Depop. I like using both of these sites/apps but they're not the only options out there. I typically search eBay first then a plethora of other sites/apps if I can't find what I'm looking for. If I'm looking for straight up just second-hand pieces, I will typically check Depop, Vinted (an app similar to Depop and one I used to prefer & use regularly! You can swap items on this one too rather than buy), and Oxfam's online shop. If I'm looking for vintage items though or want a selection of more curated, possibly more suited to my taste or what I'm looking for items, my next stops are Etsy, Asos Marketplace, Rebelle (for second-hand designer items), Rokit, and Beyond Retro.

Here's some more shops I'd recommend checking out:
- Loot: great for second-hand items that are reworked to fit current trends, styles, and cuts
- Brag Vintage: a reasonably priced store that always has a good range of items in (particularly coats!)
- True Vintage: a go-to for sportswear or more casual items
- The Stellar Boutique: vintage gems with a more bohemian feel
- It's Vintage Darling: if vintage handbags are your thing or you need a vintage wedding dress, this is the store for you
- Waiste Vintage: the only store you need for those 70s vibes

Know your measurements
One of the biggest downsides to buying secondhand online is obviously not having the opportunity to try things on. Therefore, it's worth knowing what your exact measurements are so you have every possible chance of only making good purchases. Of course, depending on what kind of items you're buying, you can be a little lenient with sizing (e.g. if you're after an oversized shirt), but knowing your measurements just makes shopping so much easier. Most secondhand sellers and sites will list the exact measurements of items because vintage clothing in particular is often very different to contemporary clothing - for example, a ladies vintage size 10 is often much smaller fitting than a modern-day size 10 - so always check these and if a seller has stated that a sizing is off, believe them! Items such as vintage Levis are usually not accurate and the waist size can be much smaller than what is listed on the tag. As I mentioned in my last sustainable/slow fashion shopping post, you always have the option of having items altered, but you play a bigger risk with buying items you've not physically seen "in the flesh".

Don't be afraid to haggle
Although some folk can be extremely cheeky on Depop/eBay etc. and want to purchase items for essentially negative money, don't shy away from offering lower prices to sellers for items you're interested in. As vintage and second hand clothing has gained so much popularity over the past few years, it does unfortunately mean that many sellers and stores have inflated their prices to make ridiculous profit so don't shy away from asking them to reduce their asking prices where possible. You know your spending limit but you also may know which items are worth what so don't be afraid to make a seller aware of that and politely offer a lower amount. Many times I've offered lower prices on eBay/Depop and been pleasantly surprised to see the seller accept because they simply want to get rid of the item in question because let's face it - you won't get if you won't ask!

Buy with certainty and confidence in your purchase
The last point might be common sense to some, but make sure you really want the item you're buying because secondhand shopping online can become a slippery slope of wasted money if you take the same consumerist mentality as you might with hauling clothing on fast fashion sites but you can't return vintage/secondhand items so easily the majority of the time. If you're certain you want an item, double check with the seller the condition of the item too. Of course items might not be in perfect condition, but asking sellers to be completely transparent about the condition of items isn't rude or unjust. I've made a couple of regrettable purchases in the past from reputable secondhand stores via Asos Marketplace or Depop purely because they've not mentioned all of the defects or shown them clearly in the photography. They will have mentioned in a wishy-washy way that the item isn't perfect due to age and use, but won't have stated that big stripe of paint on the back of it - you see where I'm going with this? By asking you might get a more straight-forward clear answer and if you're really unhappy with an item and feel the seller hasn't told you enough about the condition before your purchase, you will have conversation evidence which can help you claim a refund as the condition wasn't declared/wasn't truly stated. Cover yourself and your purchases always!

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July 02, 2018

Embracing my Non-Existent Style & the Confidence that Comes with it

Ah, blogging. How I love and loathe thee for immersing me in the world of fashion; for making me find great styles and trends that I fall in love with, but for also changing overnight and making me feel self-conscious and like I'm always one step behind. Fashion has always been something I've been incredibly interested in since a young age. At secondary school going through my GCSEs, I was convinced I was going to study fashion design at university one day and the ultimate dream was to become as fantastically eclectic and grand as the queen Vivienne Westwood. I would create my own "collections" by drawing and painting various outfits, even detailing the material choices, and I even attended taster weekend courses at Northumbria University (and was pretty good at it too!). Somehow along the way I lost confidence with the idea of me pursuing a fashion-focused career and it became just something I was interested in. My mam has always been a big supporter in the "wear what you want and experiment with your style" mindset and although I think back on past outfits and cringe, I'm so pleased I was brought up with that openness and acceptance. That might sound very OTT when we're "just talking about clothes" but personal style and wearing what you want is so much more than that. It's a simple way of expressing yourself. It's an opportunity to feel the most confident in your own skin. For some, it's even the chance to pretend they're someone else. It can be a coping mechanism for many but by equal measure, it can be something people hate because of the pressures on presenting yourself well and fitting in with the status-quo. It can all be a bit of a mess to be honest.

Growing up for me was great because my mam was very open for me to wear what I wanted which was lucky for me really - I was a MySpace generation scene kid through and through so you can imagine how many pairs of stripey elbow-length gloves I owned that I would pair with clashing neon fish net tights and band tees. Back then I dressed like that because it was what was expected of my music taste - how else would someone know I listened to Alexisonfire and The Devil Wears Prada on repeat if I didn't literally wear it all on my sleeve?! As I got older, I realised that dressing to your music taste doesn't need to be a hard and fast rule and I started to dress more girly, more "boho", but also realised that actually? I don't have a set style. Not having a set style has honestly worried me for years. I, again, feel incredibly dramatic typing that but it's true - it seemed like as soon as everyone started moving into their 20s, they all knew exactly what clothes they liked, what suited them, and that was that. I was somehow steamrolling my way through Primark picking up a bit of everything then throwing it all on together like Joey when he wears all of Chandler's clothes in Friends.

(wearing: Asos Fedora Hat [old], Abercrombie & Fitch Dress via my local Hospice Charity Shop, Swedish Hasbeens Clogs)

Looking back on all those years of worry and experimentation, I don't regret any of the "stages" I went through but I do regret the pressure I put on myself to find a style and stick to it. Growing up in the peak of social media, it seems that many of us feel that we're under a watchful eye and therefore have an unreasonable and sometimes not even real expectation to live up to. I'm sure you've seen some of your favourite bloggers and YouTubers come under fire from people about this that will point out how their style has changed over the years as if it's some sort of crime and frankly, it's ridiculous. Fashion is there to enjoy and if you want to wear the same hoodie and jeans from the age of 15 until your 87, you do it. If you want to dress like a "girly girl" one day and then wear the whole Topman catalogue the next day and alternate from now until the end of time, do it. Your personal style might well be an outlet of expression, but it shouldn't define you and it certainly shouldn't pigeon-hole you and take the enjoyment out of getting dressed each day.

Now that I'm 27 (fuck me, I know) and now switched to slow fashion second-hand or sustainable shopping only for most of my wardrobe, it's given me a chance to step back and recognise a few things. It's okay that I don't have a set style. Even recently I've tried to narrow down my fashion choices and selections in an attempt to streamline my wardrobe but you know what? I just can't always do it. Sometimes I just reach for things that are out of my comfort zone. As I've already said, fashion and clothing in general is there for us to consume and enjoy and putting a label on myself takes the fun out of that for me. Don't get me wrong, I know fine well that if you saw me on most days I'd be wearing a Breton stripe top, a pair of high-rise blue skinny jeans and a pair of clogs, but I also know that some days I might be dressed in a maxi dress to rival those of Free People and then others I'll look like I've stepped straight out of a Tony Hawk's game. Fashion doesn't define you and finding the comfort in that can create so much confidence.

Thinking ahead to being 40, 60, even 80, I know that my personal style will evolve and change and maybe revert back to certain things then change once again but it's no use losing confidence over it. Think of it as a fun timeline to look back on. There's outfits on this blog that I wouldn't dare wear now and there will be countless in the future, but just being comfortable with yourself to experiment, make mistakes, and also good choices and finding what you love and feel your best in is the best thing about fashion. Live it, love it, and never let your confidence be knocked because of it.

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