3 Cruelty-Free Body Scrubs For Every Occasion

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

I love a good body scrub.

And yet I don't use them as much as I would otherwise, because I'm too lazy when it comes to applying moisturiser afterwards. (And you have to apply moisturiser, because otherwise your skin dries out.)

The best body scrubs I've found are the ones that I look forward to using  can't wait to use, even  regardless of the moisturiser thing, and today I'm sharing three scrubs that have been firm fixtures on my shower over the past month or so.

Cruelty-free body scrubs

For when your skin is feeling sensitive but you still need a bit of a boost

Avril Body Scrub*, roughly £6.06 for 200ml

I'll be doing a more in-depth post about Avril but for now, let me just say that their products do their job really well and are incredibly good value. Their Body Scrub is no exception  it has a gel-like texture and feels very light, but it's not wimpy; it definitely does something. Organic sugar, rice powder, and almond shell polish the skin, while organic grapefruit essential oil gives the scrub a beautifully fresh fragrance. One for early mornings.

For when you want something a bit more scrubby but you're short on time

Soap & Glory Flake Away, £8 for 300ml

An old favourite, Flake Away contains sugar, peach seed powder, and sea salt to really buff away dead skin, while shea butter, grapeseed oil, and almond oil work to moisturise and soothe. I love using Flake Away and I've never had any irritation from using it. A product I will buy again and again.


For when you want to go nuts

Scrub Love Mint Temptation Coffee Body Scrub, £12.95 for 200ml

Seriously exfoliating, this scrub means business. It goes everywhere. The first time I used it there were coffee granules on the wall, on the side of the bath, in my butt crack... it was unbelievably messy. It took me about ten minutes to clean the bathroom afterwards. The peppermint and tea tree oils cause a cooling sensation when the scrub is washed off, which is incredibly refreshing, and they've definitely helped to dry out and clear up the acne I had on my back (bacne?) However, the coffee granules have been clogging up the pipes in the bathroom (we have problems with them anyway) and my mum has banned me from using it. Yup, it's forbidden. And while I understand why, I'm also a little bit gutted. So long, Scrub Love, it was fun while it lasted...

What's your favourite body scrub? Have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments!
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5 Things That Have Helped Me To Deal With Moving Back Home

Monday, 22 August 2016

Towards the end of my second year, I began declaring that my worst nightmare after university would be having to move back in with my parents. Fast forward a year...

... and I've moved back in with my parents.

21-year-old Beth would be fuming. But 22-year-old Beth is trying to see the positive side of things. First, I don't have to pay any rent just yet (because I'm not earning enough, but we'll brush past that for the moment). I have someone to pick me up from the train station when I get in from work every day. My mum cooks me dinner nearly every night, so that I have more time to relax after a long day at work.

In short, things could be way, way worse than they are. I'm very grateful I have my family around to help out.

But that's not to say it can't be frustrating at times. It's been three years since I've lived here full-time and moving out gave me the independence I was craving so desperately. Returning to the nest can feel like a step backwards (I really like having my own space) but I've been trying to make the best of it.

So what's helped me deal with moving back home?

5 Things That Have Helped Me To Deal With Moving Back Home

Buying new bedding

I used to go to Primark and look for clothes; now I go to Primark and look for bedding. There's just something about buying pretty new sheets that makes me ridiculously happy. I guess it's the homeware equivalent of a new nail polish or lipstick  it's an instant update and such a mood booster.

Eating some meals with my family, and some without

As I said earlier, I really do like having my own space, but it's also good to catch up with my parents and my brother over some delicious food. So I try and have Sunday lunch or dinner with them if possible. It's the one time we get to properly catch up, instead of just having a passing conversation, or sitting slumped in front of the TV in the evening, not talking because we're all too tired.

Being busy at weekends

My life during the week is basically commute, work, eat, sleep, repeat. So come the weekend I'm more than ready to get out of the house, get away from the computer screen, and see my friends. Spending time with my best ones always puts me in a good mood, and making the effort to have a social life means I'm not just sitting at home, moping and dreaming of the day I can leave again. (That said, I am currently typing this while curled up on the sofa in front of the Olympics, but you get what I mean.)

Trying to see things from their point of view

Sometimes I think my parents need to relax a bit. Sometimes they think I need to be tidier. Sometimes we argue about this. We often disagree about different issues, stories in the news and so on. What stops me from losing my temper (most of the time!) is putting myself in their position and trying to understand what they're getting at. Even if I don't agree with them, I can at least see why they feel the way they do, and that helps enormously.

If all else fails... breathe very slowly and carefully

The frustration will pass, I swear!

Have you ever had to move back in with your parents? How did you deal with it? Let me know in the comments!
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The Sunday Ramble: I Feel Like a Body Confidence Fraud

Sunday, 21 August 2016

I've spoken out multiple times about accepting (and loving) my pale skin. I love the body positivity bloggers like Rachel and Olivia spread with their tweets and posts. I'm the first one to protest if a friend puts a downer on their appearance, and I once described stretch marks as cute.

Basically, I'm fully on board with the loving yourself as you are way of thinking.

This post is not the happiest, so here's a picture of me with a cute dog.

But recently it's really hit home that while I'm good with it in theory, I'm not so good with it in practice. When I stepped out onto the beach wearing my bikini in Portugal last month I felt incredibly uncomfortable. I'm the heaviest I've ever been, which is not a bad thing by any means*, but I'm still getting used to this new shape. I don't feel like my body is mine again just yet.

I was also the palest person there by miles, and I stuck out like a sore thumb (or should that be a snowman?) I'm still not sure whether people were gawping or whether my insecurities led to me imagining it; a teenage boy may or may not have shouted 'Zombie!' I felt awkward, and I felt ashamed of myself  I've always tried to be very vocal about embracing my near-white skintone, be it through searching for the perfect pale foundation on this blog, or writing posts about my defiant refusal to fake tan, and there I was wishing I looked completely different.

I wanted to be able to walk on the beach and not give a single fuck.

In this day and age of celebrating different body types, standing up for the everyday woman, and embracing armpit hair, I feel like I'm letting the team down. I also feel like I'm being too dramatic. I'm just a woman who has typical Irish colouring, who put on a few pounds while she was finishing her degree. What do I have to worry about, really?

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that logic is telling me one thing  we're all different and I look perfectly fine  and my insecurities are telling me another. I don't want them to take over, but I also think I need to remember that the bad days are normal. Body positivity is a wonderful thing, but acceptance takes time. I'm going to try and be kinder to myself.

How do you approach days when you're not feeling so great about your body? Let me know in the comments.

*Long story short, I lost a stone or so during my first year of uni when I didn't have a stone or so to lose. Getting back to a healthy weight was a relief.
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Review: Sleek i-Divine Mineral Based Eyeshadow Palette in All Night Long

Thursday, 18 August 2016

I have a love/hate relationship with eyeshadow.

Love how much it defines and opens up my eyes when I blend it together. Hate how long the blending can take.

Love it when eyeshadows are buttery and pigmented. Hate it when eyeshadows are chalky and don't stay put.

Sleek All Night Long Palette

I've encountered my fair share of both over the years. Fortunately, Sleek's i-Divine Mineral Based Eyeshadow Palette in All Night Long* (v) falls firmly into the love category. Despite the good reputation Sleek's eyeshadow palettes have earned, I'd yet to try any of them until I got my hands on this one. All Night Long contains a beautiful mix of shades that are right up my street. In fact, Sleek themselves put it best: warm creams, soft golds, and shimmery browns that will take you from dusk till dawn.

Oh, and each one is named after an alcoholic drink. What could be better?

Sleek All Night Long Palette
Clockwise from top left: Bellini; Negroni; Martini; Prosecco; Cosmopolitan; Mai Tai; Spritz; Champagne
Pigmentation: Good, and the shadows are also easy to build  you can create a soft wash of colour or lightly layer on the shadow to create more of an intense look. I find the shimmery shadows to be a touch more pigmented than the mattes.

Texture: Much to my delight, the shadows are buttery soft and blend out really nicely. I often use Mai Tai on the eyelid with Negroni in the socket line for some subtle definition, and I finally feel like I've mastered the art of shading the crease of the eyelid *pats self on back*.

Staying power: The shadows last a little longer with an eyeshadow primer underneath (I use the NYX High Definition Eyeshadow Base) but the staying power is still pretty good without it. I did a slightly amped up version of my usual Mai Tai/Negroni combination for graduation and it lasted for the whole day without any product underneath (except base). All I needed when I switched up my look for dinner that night was to top up the shadow with some sparkle (I love the shades Martini and Daiquiri for this).

Sleek All Night Long Palette
Clockwise from top left: Martini; Prosecco; Kir Royale; Mimosa; Manhattan; Daiquiri; Cosmopolitan; Mai Tai
Packaging: The matte black casing you'd expect from Sleek, which I adore... until it gets dirty. Luckily the plastic isn't rubberised, so it's easy to clean. The palette also comes with a double-ended spongey brush, which I'd recommend getting rid of in favour of making more room for the eyeshadows. No one I know uses those brushes!

Price: £8.99, a bargain considering you get x (bloody good) shadows. If you're a sucker for a pretty eyeshadow palette (and I suspect a lot of you are) then All Night Long could be a worthwhile addition to your collection.

Have you tried any of the Sleek eyeshadow palettes? Which one is your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan
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Currently Testing: Cruelty-Free Skincare

Monday, 15 August 2016

Being proven right when you have high expectations of a product is the best thing. Being proven wrong? Not so much.

Both of those situations happened to me recently, since I've been trying out a couple of new cruelty-free skincare bits from two of my favourite brands, Antipodes and LUSH. My experiences with these brands have always been incredibly positive so I was especially excited to get my hands on something new (new to me).

But how did the products fare? Let's find out.

Cruelty-Free Skincare

Antipodes Juliet Skin-Brightening Gel Cleanser, £24.99 for 200ml (suitable for vegetarians)

A bit of a splurge but Naturisimo had an offer on and I was picking up some other bits and pieces, so why the hell not? I've read glowing review after glowing review of the Juliet Cleanser and curiosity got the better of me. I consider it a morning cleanser (or a second cleanse in the evening).

First, the good points: it smells incredible, like fresh apples. This is exactly the kind of scent you want when you're bleary-eyed and half asleep, particularly if you have to get up early (as I have to now, yay real world). The gel feels nice and light on the skin  almost frothy  and you don't need to use a lot to cover the face.

It contains kiwi and hibiscus to exfoliate, Vinanza grapes to combat dryness, and manuka honey, which is antibacterial and also one of the main ingredients in my favourite Antipodes product ever, the Aura mask. I figured the Juliet Cleanser would keep blemishes at bay and, as expected, my acne hasn't flared up. It also makes the skin look bright and fresh, so I guess the kiwi and hibiscus have been working their magic too.

What about the not-so-good points? Well, my skin tends to feel tighter than normal after I use it. At first I brushed this off  I have (mostly oily) combination skin and some areas of my face do feel tight after cleansing regardless of what I use  but it got to the point where it was so noticeable that I actually stopped using it. I really wanted to like the Juliet Cleanser but I just think it would be better suited to someone whose skin is oily all over.

Repurchase? No. I love Antipodes as a brand but this particular product isn't working for my skin.

LUSH Grease Lightning (v), £6.50 for 45g

A predominantly natural spot treatment packed with the kind of ingredients that dry those buggers right out: tea tree, sea water, and witch hazel, to name but a few. (There's also aloe vera to soothe.) A lightweight gel, I use it in the mornings if I know I won't be wearing make-up that day, or if I have time for it to sink in before I apply make-up (otherwise it pills).

The best thing about Grease Lightning is that it has all of undiluted tea tree oil's benefits with none of the stinging. True, it can make skin feel a little tight where it's drying up spots but as long as you apply it directly to the blemish and avoid the surrounding skin, you shouldn't have any problems. I always see a noticeable difference after using Grease Lightning  my spots look smaller and less red  and it works well in conjunction with my prescription acne cream. Another winner from LUSH.

Repurchase? Yes

LUSH Rosy Cheeks (v), £6.95 for 75g 

A relatively new addition to the Fresh Face Mask range, Rosy Cheeks has overtaken Catastrophe Cosmetic as my favourite LUSH mask. It still calms my skin but has none of the flaky shedding that you get from Catastrophe Cosmetic, which makes it much more practical to use, and it's so gentle.

Rosy Cheeks contains kaolin clay, calamine and rose petals, all very soothing to stressed out skin, plus the rose scent is very pretty and delicate. I can see quite a dramatic difference to my skin the morning after using Rosy Cheeks and if I'm having a bad skin day (or week...) then it will often speed up the healing process. True love.

Repurchase? I already have.

What are you testing out at the moment? Have you tried any of these products? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan
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Tropic Aftersun Review

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Tropic Aftersun

After such a good experience with the Tropic Travel Essentials, I barely hesitated before accepting Tropic's offer to review their Aftersun*(v) while I was away in Portugal. As someone with extremely pale skin there's always a chance that I'll get burnt when I'm in the sun, even though I'm fanatical about applying sun protection. Knowing I had something with me in case I ended up looking like a lobster was a huge help.

(The Aftersun is also a tan optimiser, but I never tan so I can't really judge that.)

Aftersun is a white lotion which has the lovely, herbal smell that I've come to associate with Tropic products  fresh, earthy, and natural. Normally my male friends are completely oblivious to anything beauty-related but they commented on how much they liked the scent, and some of them even borrowed the lotion to use themselves while we were on holiday. High praise.

Often I find that aftersuns have a tingly, short-term cooling effect and then end up drying my skin out but this is the opposite, in that it feels like a normal lotion at first and then it gets cool as you rub it into the skin. Tropic Aftersun contains aloe vera (a natural conditioner), eucalyptus (a natural pain reliever) and calendula (which is antibacterial), all ingredients with useful properties in this situation.

The most interesting thing about the aftersun is the texture  I wouldn't describe it as light, exactly, but it's not heavy either and it's very hydrating. It sinks in pretty quickly too, soothing skin and providing some much-needed relief for sun-kissed shoulders.

So, would I buy it? Truthfully, I can't see myself splashing out £16  it's a bit much for something I would only use for a few months (or even weeks) of the year. However, I do love it and would recommend it to those who have a bigger budget than mine.

Tropic Aftersun is available on the Tropic website and costs £16 for 200ml.

What do you like to use as an aftersun? Have you tried this before? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan
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