Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Cruelty-Free Favourites: Bath & Shower Gel

A run-down of my favourite cruelty-free, vegan bath and shower products ft. Soap & Glory, Organic Surge, Treacle Moon and more

I admit it: I'm a shower gel hoarder. I get that little glint in my eye the second I turn the corner into the aisle in Superdrug. I just have to have it, whether I need it or not. As you can imagine, my bathroom shelf is very 'busy' as a result (although I tidied it up for the sake of this post). I have it stuffed into cabinets and drawers. Since I've been exclusively vegan and cruelty free with my product purchases, my habit hasn't eased. In fact, it's got worse! As I made it my mission to find *all* of the amazing cruelty-free options, it also became my duty to try them all. So, I thought I'd give you all the benefit of my addiction and share a few of my favourites with you... 

 Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Wash

Come on though, who doesn't love Soap & Glory products? Certainly not I, and I was ecstatic to discover that the products are 100% cruelty free with a long list of vegan options (check them out here). Pretty much all of their body washes, and some of their scrubs, are vegan-friendly and my current favourite of the bunch is Sugar Crush. It's just got that zing. It's also wonderfully lathery and lasts a long time, which is just as well as, at £6.50, it's the most expensive of the bunch. And the packaging... Oh, the packaging!

Organic Surge Super Fresh Awakening Body Wash

Organic Surge have some gorgeous products. They use natural ingredients and are eco-certified. I'm currently also using their lemongrass facial scrub. I was first introduced to Super Fresh in one of my The Vegan Kind boxes and it's one that I have since repurchased. It contains mandarin, may chang and bergamot essential oils so it's a thoroughly uplifting experience. Perfect as a morning pick-me-up. 

Cruelty-free, vegan bath and shower gels

Superdrug Shea Butter & Bamboo Shower Gel

If you're a seasoned vegan like myself, you'll know that Superdrug is pretty much a fail-safe for affordable, cruelty-free, vegan products. If in doubt... head to Superdrug. I think I've tried most of their shower gels to date, but the one that's sitting in my current stash is Shea Butter & Bamboo. Nothing not to love about them at all. Cheap and cheerful (99p) and get the job done. 

Original Source Vanilla & Raspberry

Original Source are another 'ye olde faithful' brand for vegans. Whilst not all of their varieties are vegan-friendly (honey is the main culprit, if I remember correctly), there are plenty that are, and that goes for shower gels, shampoos and their new range of scrubs and creams. Vanilla & Raspberry is my ultimate favourite. Like washing yourself in pudding. 


Treacle Moon Marshmallow Hearts

I don't buy Treacle Moon very often as I can only really get them online with my Tesco shop, but they're a lovely treat once in a while. I tend to use these more as a bubble bath than a body wash as they are a little bit on the sickly side, but they double up wonderfully. That said, they have some lovely, fun, girly fragrances. I often go for the apple pie variety but I spotted this recently and had to try it. Treacle Moon label their vegan products clearly and are 100% cruelty-free. 

Those were my current favourites but, no doubt, I'll be skulking back into Superdrug very soon to feed my habit. I just want to put it out there that there are so many amazing, quality, cruelty-free products to be had, and maybe some you might have assumed were off-limits to those living a compassionate lifestyle. Not the case, I can assure you. I'm probably going to be doing more of these kinds of posts. I haven't even begun to tell you about my body scrub collection... but I'll leave that for another day.

Do you rate these cruelty-free brands? What's your current favourite product to lather up with? 


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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Sponsored Video: Sanctuary Spa #LetGo




I'm here today to highlight a lovely little campaign by Sanctuary Spa**. As someone who is a constant worrier and has always felt under some degree of pressure or obligation, be it in work, study or my personal life, the #LetGo campaign definitely resonates with me. Apparently, almost half of British women surveyed for the campaign admitted to feeling moderately to extremely stressed in their lives, with 40% fearing they were about to burn out. The #LetGo campaign by Sanctuary Spa is all about reflection and refocus. This is a message to modern women to spend less time trying to be everything to everyone and more time just being. We all need take some time once in a while to #LetGo of all the pressure...


**Sponsored video content - Commentary is the author's own
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Monday, 14 September 2015

mycoco Nourishing Body Tonic


It's not too often that I get an email about a product that is exactly what I'm looking for. I've recently been getting rough, dry patches of skin on my arms and legs (oh the joys of keratosis pilaris) and, although my beloved Superdrug Vitamin E Body Butter does a decent job at keeping it at bay, I've been on the lookout for other, more intensive, products to tackle the issue. MyCoco Nourishing Body Tonic* is a new product (to me). It is vegan, cruelty-free and coconut oil-based with all natural ingredients. When MyCoco offered to send me a bottle to try, I jumped at the chance!

About MyCoco

Mycoco are a brand who specialise in making natural skincare products using the finest coconut and tropical fruit/nut oils. Each bottle is blended by hand, using sustainably sourced ingredients from around the world. The product is formulated to hydrate, nourish and to target and treat many skin conditions such as stretch marks, itchy skin, psoriasis and eczema. Plus, because these are all gentle, naturally occurring ingredients this product is ideal for sensitive skin types. MyCoco Nourishing Body Tonic contains a rich source of fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants.

  • 100% vegan

  • 100% natural

  • Never tested on animals

  • No chemicals

  • No artificial fragrances

  • No animal or synthetic ingredients


My Thoughts...

Having used the product a few times now, I can officially give it the thumbs up. It is easy to spread out, absorbs nicely and smells absolutely gorgeous! Literally, summer in a bottle. The product is solid in the bottle, but a quick dunk in some warm water melts it down to a liquid consistency.

The only issue I had with the application of this product is that the design of the bottle means the products is dispensed super quickly and I did have a couple of little spills. As the bottle itself is relatively small this did feel unnecessarily wasteful. It could do with some kind of stopper to control how much product is dispensed. This product also isn't cheap; It is currently priced at £23 for 100ml, but I'm usually willing to pay a little extra for a quality, handmade product.

Results...

This product left my skin feeling lovely and smooth. The hydrating effects lasted well between applications (depending on what bath/shower products I use, I don't always follow with a body moisturiser as I don't always feel like my skin needs it). With regard to the keratosis pilaris, I did see an improvement in the appearance of my skin in those areas after a good exfoliation, followed up with this product. I love love love the fact that it is clearly stated as a 100% cruelty-free and vegan product and I didn't have to Google for hours or beg their PR for that information. Although I haven't tried it in this way yet, the product can also be used on the face and hair. I'd imagine it will be an amazing all-in-one product to take away on holiday.

For more information on MyCoco Body Tonic and to purchase, head over to
www.mycoco.life

How do you tackle stubborn skin issues? Are natural products a regular fixture in your skincare routine? 

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Saturday, 12 September 2015

Why returning to education was the best thing I ever did...

Returning to education and life as a mature student

Last week I turned 33 years old (I know, I know, I don't look it...) On the same day, I walked into my parents dining room to find that my graduation photo had appeared on the wall, staring back at me. For most 33-year-olds this might be a memory from 10+ years ago. For me, it was this past July. When I emerged from my A-Level-induced meltdown in 2001, aged 18, the last thing I wanted to entertain was more education. I'd had my fill of learning. I was done. I wanted to experience the world, earn money and do all of the exciting things. 


In the years after I left school, I crammed in a lot. I learned a skill (hairdressing), travelled and did a lot of socialising. For the best part of 10 years I accepted my life, working chaotic, minimum wage jobs in the service industry. I took home my wages every week, saved just enough to pay my bills and spent what little was left behind the bar down my local. It was hard, it was stressful and it was even fun in places, but I hated my job. Eventually, I completely burned myself out to the point that I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and struggled to even get out of bed for the best part of a year. 

Funnily enough, this was what set me on the path towards where I am now. I was permanently exhausted, in pain and unable to enjoy anything. I hadn't been well enough to work as a hairdresser for some time so I found an outlet for my love of the beauty and fashion industry in this blog. I've always had a great love of writing and, as I got more and more immersed in the blogosphere, I uncovered the world of social media, marketing and public relations. 


Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I went to school in a small Derbyshire town, far away from London, or that marketing and PR just weren't then what they are now but - and I know this for a fact - if I had found out about these options before I left school, I honestly think I would have made more of an effort to continue on to University. As it is, I was 28, unable to work full time, and desperate to do something meaningful for my future whilst attempting to get myself well again. 

It turned out my career epiphany was perfectly timed. I got in just under the wire in terms of the tuition fee increase. I completed a foundation degree in management before taking the plunge and relocating to London to continue with a BA in Public Relations and Communications at the University of Greenwich. As a 'mature' student (pffffff), my student life and experience wasn't typical, but it was never going to be with my health issues and two ferrets in tow. I also would never in a million years have wanted to live in halls and get drunk every night either. Been there, done that, got the WKD-stained t-shirt. I was 100% committed to my learning.


As you can see from these photos, the Maritime campus at Greenwich University is an extremely beautiful and inspiring place to study. Did I make it every 9am lecture? No (my CFS didn't always allow for that), but I had the full support of my lecturers and the other students on my course. I worried that, being a bit older, I would struggle to connect with my fellow PR students. I'm at a completely different stage of my life, with different needs and priorities, but they are all absolutely wonderful and I wouldn't change any of them for the world. It was a pleasure to study with them and we made an amazing team. 

Now, here's the kicker... Now that I have graduated with an upper-second class honours degree, I have a new-found confidence and drive to succeed and push myself that I never had before. My career was never going to be typical due to my health circumstances and, while I'm still unable to work full-time, I can still honestly say that I feel like I have so much more to offer. I can finally see my own potential. I'm also thoroughly enjoying what I'm doing as a freelance PR and social media manager, so much so that it barely feels like work. I'm working at my own pace and this has also done wonders for my health. It has been worth every second of the exam stress, every tear I shed over my dissertation and every last penny of the student debt. 

To round this rambly post off, I don't regret the years I spent running myself ragged in pubs and salons. I had some great times along the way. If anything, it allowed me to get everything out of my system and really throw myself into my degree once I finally decided I was ready. Following my CFS diagnosis, everything just fell into place and brought me to where I am now. Without it, maybe I would still be struggling behind the bar, with a tenner to last me until next payday... 

What are your experiences as a mature student? Have you made the decision to put off University? 


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