living with a disease

living with a disease

So a while back I wrote a post about trying to battle university while also struggling with a chronic illness. I’ve since finished uni and other than now being able to put the letters MPhil after my name whenever I want to be outrageously pompous, I’ve still got coeliac disease and a whole host of problems, some old and many new. This post will not be me whining about coeliac things but I wanted to discuss how tricky it is when navigating work life, social life and grown up life while also trying to stay alive and not melt away into a puddle of illness. If you have a chronic illness, you will be able to relate to this post. If you have any disease, you will also be able to relate. Any long-term health problem at all really. If you know someone with a health concern, you will understand this post. If you think you are totally uninterested in finding out what life is like when you have something ‘wrong’ with you because you’re perfect and all your friends are perfect…well, you’re just incorrect so you should read this anyway and wise up.

There is no point in me listing all my endless ailments to you because frankly even I find it tedious cos there’s so many. Lets just say that if this were medieval England I would either be the wise woman witch who lived on her own at the edge of the village (with lots of animals) who ate weird herbs to cure things and no one understood how she was even  alive….or I’d be dead. Compared to those scenarios, having a chronic illness and living in the UK in 2018 is easy breezey. That being said, it is still hard as hell. Usually more mentally exhausting than anything else. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of support to be able to emotionally and physically deal with a disease/illness, no matter what it is that plagues you.

Since being diagnosed as a celeriac, as many people call me, I can honestly say it’s been one of the toughest challenges I’ve ever had to face (and I’ve had some blinders). Finding out your life is going to change forever is always going to suck, but actually living with that change on a daily basis is even harder. It’s an uphill mental struggle knowing that if you let your guard down or if you relax you could make yourself sick or badly affect your health. It’s even harder knowing that for a large portion of your life you are totally reliant on other people to make sure you don’t get ill…..and most of those people will have NO idea how serious they need to take you. They’ll assume you’re being dramatic and will inevitably make you ill, unhappy or anxious. It’s just the way it is. Even when people try to be helpful they’ll usually make you feel like you’re weird, or you’re a liability, or once again your old friend anxiety will pop up. It SUCKS feeling like an inconvenience to everyone because of something that you would honestly give your left leg to be free of. It sucks having to apologise to other people for making them change their plans to suit you or adapting to try and fit in because of your disease when really you want to sit and cry over how crap it is that you have to deal with this. And then you feel bad because there are people out there suffering way worse than you and here you are moping because you have a way smaller thing. But I’ve realised that these are feelings that you kind of have to battle forever and you just have to deal with and find ways to cope and ease the stress and the guilt and the awkwardness and the grief. You have to remember to put things into perspective and be thankful for all the wonderfulness in your life and believe me, I have a lot to be thankful for and count myself very lucky.

So with that disclaimer out of the way, and this post not being about me wanting sympathy or anything, I just wanted to say stuff that’s been kinda building up inside me. If you know someone who has any kind of illness or long-standing problem, however serious it may be, consider all the other things involved aside from the illness. How it affects their confidence, their anxiety levels, their social life, their purses, their mental wellbeing among the effects they have to deal with physically. If you EVER think about sighing at how annoying it is cos you’ve had to change plans to accommodate them, take a step back and realise how much they wish they didn’t have to ask you that. If you find it hard to understand what’s going on with them, just ask. If they can’t bring themselves to talk about it then they’ll tell you, and if not then you’ll learn a bit about what the situation is. Before you make that joke “oh well SO AND SO will make things difficult” please don’t because even if they laugh it off they’ll probably be dying inside because they hate it too.

I thought once I found out what was wrong with me then everything would be happy and shiny but I was very wrong. It’s almost the complete opposite as the real work starts when you know what to do. You have no excuses. You can’t slack off. It isn’t like procrastinating and you’ll manage to pull the essay out of the bag last minute. University is a GREAT place to live in a bubble. But it’s harder in the big wide world where you can’t just skip work cos you slept in and you can’t email your lecturer and say you’re sick and it’s all fine. Life has way bigger responsibilities and illnesses can REALLY get in the way. Work drinks and dinners become terrifying or awkward because you have to bring your own sandwiches to the pub…and you can’t partake in the cake a colleague brought in for someone’s birthday however much you want to. You can’t go to your other half’s big family dinner because you don’t want to be a hassle and also need to sit them down and give them an hour lecture on all the things they’d have to do to enable you to eat them. Holidays become a stressful experience and you may end up crying in the airport before you actually leave because you’re so anxious at whether you’re going to starve or die while away. It makes uni seem easy. HOWEVER I can personally say I have managed to battle all of the above problems and can prove that it is DOABLE. It is tough as hell but hey, I have great work friends so no one batted an eyelid about my awkward sandwich eating… my partner’s family either help where they can or I just come by after food etc. to save the hassle for them…. I may have cried in the airport but Venice was fab for gluten free food and we’d picked there as a result of extensive research on what I could eat. SO it all is doable but just requires a lot of prior prep. Yeah its a pain in the ass but it makes life almost seem normal so its entirely worth it. You can do it as long as you don’t give up, however much you want to sometimes (to become a hermit).

Anyways, life goes on and I want to end this post before I start accidentally whinging but I just wanted to drop a post as a shout out to all y’all that have something that hampers your life in some way and know that YOU CAN DO IT and it’ll all be okay and people will hopefully understand that we’re not aliens.

 

Peace Out
O x

When you’re too cool for school

When you’re too cool for school

There’s nothing more important than being happy in life. Honestly and truthfully happy. Sometimes I think it is easy to forget that that’s the main aim of our lives. We get so easily bogged down with work rotas and deadlines that we often forget what makes us smile. However, despite these mundane distractions, sometimes people can forget what truly enhances their life because they’re so preoccupied with an ideal they’re trying to live up to. Whether it be only doing things because you think they’re cool, or going out every night because that’s what your friends do and you want to fit in….these things add up and one day you might realise you’ve forgotten what YOU really enjoy.

When I was younger I often did stuff because I thought I ought to, not because I wanted to. Whether it was going to the cinema to watch Twilight even though I’d have rather gouged out my eyeballs, or going to the local disco because that was the new thing … but it just wasn’t me. I thought I should do those things, to experience life the way people told me I should… but I didn’t want to. It took a while but I soon realised that stuff lead to a dull life and I was far happier staying in while others went out, found myself loving life at home watching Netflix in my pants rather than going to the club with everyone else and sitting down to a good gaming session rather than going to that lecture HA no I’m kidding, instead of getting hammered at a hiphop event because I like juice and I like folk music. Did not doing what everyone else was affect my friendships?! NO. My friends knew that I wasn’t into that kind of thing and respected my decision. It’s not like it stopped us going for coffees or dinner and catching up. I listened to the music I liked, however weird everyone else thought it was, because I enjoyed it. I read my fantasy books because I think they’re great. I didn’t read hipster poetry just because I thought ‘hey that’ll look good on my Instagram’ (P.S. I am a massive poetry fan don’t get me wrong but Tennyson is my MAN). I am not ashamed of who I am or what I like. Yeah, I cry because I can’t cope with how cute ducks are and yeah I know EVERY word to all the songs in Mulan. So what if I enjoy rocking out to some ambient medieval chamber music. I would love to collect medieval tapestries if I had more money. I watch a lot of Say Yes to the Dress. I am proud to have got the platinum trophy on Skyrim ps3 and ps4 which basically means 400 hours of my life was spent roaming the wilds of that realm. I honestly do not care if someone thinks that is lame or if it isn’t what people consider ‘cool’. I am happy with who I am and you can take me or leave me. It is incredibly freeing to have the confidence to say that and I recommend you all have a go. Swim away from the crowd lil fishies, swim awaaaay. Unless you like the crowd stuff, in which case swim with the crowd lil fishiesss, swimmmm.

Basically, if you have found yourself at a point of your life where you are listening to one person’s opinion over your own, you may need to check yourself. Are you going to that gig just cos your friends like that music and you feel you should too? Are you only wearing that expensive jacket cos you thought you should  buy it because you’d fit in more with the crew. Do you end up clubbing every time you go out just cos your friends wanna be more of a legend but you really just wanna go home and read LoTR? If you can relate to this kinda thing then let me tell you something: stick to your guns. If you don’t wanna go out, don’t go out. If you want to play video games, play your damn video games. If you want to watch a kids film at the cinema then you proudly walk in and enjoy that film. WHO CARES what other people think!? If you find yourself caring too much then you need to re-evaluate what is important in your life. Maybe you need a new goal or direction. If you’re worries your friends won’t like you anymore then realistically if they are real friends then they won’t judge you for doing what you want. If its your family? Well they won’t be ashamed because you wanted to go play on a farm instead of becoming a lawyer, because if you’re doing what you truly want to then everyone who loves you should support it.

It’s cliché but you do you. Stand up for yourself and for what you enjoy. Stand up for what makes you happy and for what you believe in. Because if we all just did what our friends did, the world would be in even more of a state than it is already. It is down to the people who stand up for themselves who make a change. And even if the only change they make is something that only affects themselves, then that’s okay too. As long as you are true to yourself, what can go wrong (unless being true to yourself if giving into your obsession with shoplifting or killing people then 100% fight that urge pls). Just take a moment now to really sit and think if you can honestly say you’re doing what you want to do, because if not then maybe now is the time to try and work out how to change or adjust your situation to be even happier.

So this is really just a post to remind you to stop caring about what everyone else thinks and stop worrying about judgemental assholes because if you wanna do something you can sure as heck go and do it….and you’ll have a far happier life for it.

Peace out

O

x

LDR GUIDE

LDR GUIDE

How to cope with a long distance relationship: the (long) guide from someone who’s been doing it since 2015 and is still almost sane.

Let’s be honest, being in a long distance relationship sucks big time. Who wants to be indefinitely away from the person they love? No one that’s who. However, we’ve gotta be grateful that it is 2018 and WhatsApp voicenotes, Instastories and Skype help facilitate communication over long distances and potentially different time zones or high-cost roaming charges. All hail the internet. Gone are the days where you used to say “I’ll use my phone less at night so I get a better night sleep” because your phone is pretty much always by your side because you want to talk to your other half and have to somehow coordinate time to talk among your separate work schedules. It’s tough, there’s no doubt about it. But there are some upsides to LDRs, unusual as that may sound! Let me give you a bullet pointed list so you can refer to it when you’re missing bae.

  • If you can manage to maintain an LDR and come out the other side then you can count yourselves a strong couple. Having to deal with distance means you are forced to address communication issues early on and work together. One of you may be busier than the other one but not explain that they’re not ignoring you, they just had a later shift than normal yesterday, one person may naturally be a pretty crap texter-backer and leaves you on ‘read’ without a reply for no other reason than they got distracted by something, one person might need more reassurance than the other that their partner is thinking about them bla bla bla….there’s a BILLION issues I can list but in an LDR you have to address them early on, perhaps way earlier than if you were dating someone nearby. That means that you get to know your partner super well and become communication professionals (most of the time, it’s a constant process obviously)
  • It means you both have separate lives. Sounds more like a negative but hear me out. It means you’re not one of those couples that are completely joined at the hip and share everything but when it ends up breaking down they don’t know what was your character trait or what was theirs. You have your own friends and they have theirs. You have your own hobbies and they have theirs. You are two completely separate people who can come together and enjoy each others activities, each others social spheres while also maintaining your identity and your life. It means you have a healthy relationship with space when you need it but mostly you have things to talk about that are new and exciting and the other person wants to hear about.
  • It means when you FINALLY get to spend time together you can really make the most of it and go on adventures.
  • It makes you realise what you really want in life. Long distance is hard as hell but if you’re willing to keep at it you can be pretty damn sure you like that person an awful lot to put that much effort in. It whittles out the flings pretty well.
  • Your ability to commit is great. No commitment-phobe can truly keep up a (monogamous) LDR so if you considered yourself a C-P before your LDR (look how fancy I am with all these new initialisms) but you’ve found yourself in a faithful and loving LDR, despite missing the other person, then congratulations…you’re cured of your C-P. Thank me later.

There are many more positives to LDRs I’m sure but I’m bored of writing that bit now. I will now move onto ‘things you can do to help maintain your LDR’

  • Like I said before, communication is KEY. It’s super easy to find yourselves in a rut of calling each evening and just relating what happened at work and then going to sleep but forgetting to talk about the cool stuff or laugh about stuff because you’re both so knackered from your respective jobs. That’s when it gets real tough because you then end up angry that you can’t be together and you always have to wait to see each other and all you have to discuss is the day at work and that’s what is keeping you apart….. it’s all very frustrating. When this happens the first thing to do is realise it’s happening sooner rather than later (easier said than done). Start playing games like Mr and Mrs style questions or planning a future dream holiday or discussing what you want your living room to look like in your hobbit house etc. Send each other cute videos, tag in more memes, send each other surprise presents or write a surprise letter to the other person….. little things to remind each other how much you mean to one another and that you’re not just stuck in the monotony of not seeing each other.
  • Make as much time as you can for each other (obviously) but I’m very prone to saying “no its barely over 24 hours together its not worth the travel expense and time, we’ll just wait we’re free for longer” but every minute is precious so don’t get complacent. My ma always says “awk there’ll be money when you’re dead”….reminding me that there’s no point saving and saving and being miserable in the process. Remember to live in the now, as well as for the future.
  • Weirdly enough having an end goal in sight can make things harder. After living apart since 2015, never living in the same county and sometimes not even the same country, I’ll be moving in with my partner in September. But the fact that it’s ALMOST soon makes NOW even more annoying. “Just til September” is now my most commonly heard/said phrase but September is ages away considering how bloody long January has lasted and I’ve only seen him for 4 days in total out of 2018. Nightmare. But there is an end in sight. It might make me bitter about how slowly this month has gone but it gives us something to aim for. It’ll make it more bearable in the long run. And if its not moving in together maybe its a holiday or weekend spent together. Something you can at least look forward to. Avoid leaving seeing each other to some indefinite future time or place because it’ll seem neverending.
  • Remember to show each other you love each other and are thinking about one another. It’s easy to assume the other person knows but it’s nice to be reminded and sometimes that’s the remedy to all ills. A virtual hug and a kiss and a cute sentiment can make a crappy day much better.

The main point to take away from this post is that long distance relationships are 100% doable and can leave you with an incredibly strong and loving relationship that you’d otherwise have missed out on because you were scared the distance would be too much effort. If you’re scared it won’t work out….give it a go. We were scared to embark upon a long distance thing and look how well it’s worked out for us. Don’t be scared because of the stigma attached to them. Yeah its a challenge but if you get through it then it was meant to be and it was worth all the sadness and missing each other.

So good luck with your relationships….and your friendships. This whole thing relates to LDF(riendships) which I also deal with cos I stupidly went to uni in two cities MILES away from where I live and also my friends have decided to travel (how dare they) so make sure you keep up friendships in a similar but probably less romantic way.

 

Peace out

 

O x

 

Going Cruelty Free: the ultimate guide

Going Cruelty Free: the ultimate guide

It’s 2017. It’s almost December so that means buying pressies time! I wanted to do this post, which I’ve been wanting to write for ages, in time for anyone wanting new makeup for xmas! Scroll to whatever heading you fancy and find all the info you want because this post is going to be massive and very comprehensive! Strap yourselves in.

Scroll to the bottom of the page for a big list of cruelty free brands….if the brand you are considering isn’t on that list, they probably test on animals!

We’re the most technologically advanced we have ever been. We’re also as materialistic as ever. You’d think that, with all of these advances, we’d be a bit more sympathetic to the natural world and our impact on it. Aside from environmental factors, which I will no doubt write a blog post on soon as I strive to consider how to be less wasteful, it’s 2017… HOW CAN WE STILL TEST COSMETICS ON ANIMALS. I genuinely cannot fathom how this is acceptable and so widely practised. Basically think of any mainstream brand you see advertised on tv or in shops and there’s an incredibly strong chance they test their products on animals. This is not a debate over medical testing on animals, that’s an entirely different debate but holy god why do we need to test foundation or hand soap on bunnies?! SO MANY brands do NOT test on animals and I’m going to help you recognise them.

This will be a massive go-to guide on all aspects of your life that test on animals without you even realising. From hair products to hand soap, mascara to moisturiser….this guide will show you how easy it is to change to cruelty free products. They are no more expensive than the products you currently use, they may well be cheaper, but they do not test their products on animals. This is not a post about vegan products, though some listed are indeed vegan, so lots of these products do contain animal products but this post is about testing on animals.

I’ll break it down into easy sections for you, with examples of what I personally use and other brands or products you can use, and where I can I’ll give you the prices etc to make it even easier for you.

I’m not suggesting you throw out all your old favourites. I know how devoted you can get to a particular foundation shade or cleansing product. But I just want you to consider other options that are far kinder to the little bunnies and other critters that end up suffering for your fav formula. Do you find yourself buying the same shampoo just because that’s the one you’ve always bought? Just consider some of these on this list, as easily available and as good value as your old fav, but kinder! Some of the animal ‘tests’ actually kill the animals, I don’t mean to be all preachy but come on…for makeup!? SO NOT NECESSARY

MAKEUP

Makeup is one of the biggest cruelty-heavy sections of the market. Many brands actively use animals testing, while some only animals test where required by law…aka if their products are sold in China. I know this is the law there but many brands do not allow their products to be sold here because of this law and I wholeheartedly back that opinion! SO if you’ve googled your brand and it says ‘we do not test on animals in the UK’ but it’s on the list below, that’s the reasoning behind it!

These brands DO TEST ON ANIMALS:

MAC, Rimmel London, Revlon, Max Factor, Benefit, Maybelline, Estee Lauder, Avon, Nars, Clinique, OPI, Clarins, Victoria’s Secret, Bobbi Brown, Elizabeth Arden, L’Oréal, Lancôme, YSL, Dior, Guerlain, D&G, Simple and many more.

BRANDS THAT ARE CRUELTY FREE

Look for the leaping bunny symbol, of the PETA certified bunny ears symbol, vegan or some other symbols that state cruelty free…

MUA, Makeup Revolution, Barry M, Autograph (M&S), GOSH, Body Shop, Anastasia,  Colourpop, Cover FX, ELF, Kat Von D, Seventeen, Kylie, Laura Geller, LUSH, PIXI, Real Techniques, Superdrug own brands, Wet’n’Wild, Wunderbrow, Marks and Spencer, Boots Natural Collection, Botanics (bigger list at the end of this post)

Two Faced, Urban Decay, Burts Bees, Smashbox, NYX, Liz Earle, Bare Minerals and Aveda are all cruelty free but are owned by a parent company who tests on animals so they’re up to you whether you class them as safe.

Basically if you go to Marks and Spencer and buy anything from there, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be safe and happy. All Hail M&S for their ethical policies.

So now I’m going to show you the stuff I use! I get a lot of compliments on the products I use so here, they’re cheap and happy alternatives to cruel brands….

FACE

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For my face I use products from The Body Shop. They have a foundation pale enough (almost) for me (HURRAY) and with the aid of their Lightening Drops I can make any of their foundations fit my skin colour. They also have Darkening Drops if you have darker skin tones. The face powder here is also Body Shop and can be used as a foundation or powder, depending on what you like.. My beauty blender is Autograph, M&S. The prices?

Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation: £15

Body Shop Lightening Drops: £10

Body Shop All in one Face Base: £15

I also use an MUA setting powder: £1

Pixi Concealer quad (not photographed because I forgot): £16.50

Other recommendations: M&S Autograph foundation, different options for different skin types and good value.

So these are just what I use…often the Body Shop has offers so it makes life cheaper and easier. You can find Pixi products sold in Marks and Spencer. These are just my favs, but there are countless other options for you….For easy reference I went to my nearest Superdrug and of the entire wall of makeup brands, exactly half were cruelty free! SEE it’s easy!!

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FACE CARE

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Without sounding too much like a beauty blogger, a good face care routine is my ultimate life hack aka it keeps your skin soft and clear and like a little peach. This is an array of my favourite cruelty free brands.

Superdrug’s Vitamin E range is super duper cheap and there are always lots of offers, 3 for 2 etc. so it makes the range even cheaper! My absolute favourite is the SPF radiance cream, it has a teeny bit of glittery stuff? Idk what it is but its magic and refreshes your face and makes you look a bit more awake and alive while moisturising you and protecting against sun to avoid any damage.

Also Superdrug, the B.Simple range is excellent for face cleansers and creams! Also very cheap. That masssssive Micellar water was £4.95 and was BOGOF so I’m sorted for ages.

Boots Botanics is probably my favourite range. They’ve recently rebranded so their packaging is different from what you see above. They offer skin care for different skin types, whether it be anti-ageing or brightening. During their repackaging is when I discovered the Vitamin E and B.Simple ranges. Their rebrand also meant a price increase which I was annoyed about so I’m going to give you the new prices here….I would wear the Botanics All Bright Face Cream with SPF (£6.99), All Bright Night Cream (£6.99) and All Bright Purifying Face Scrub (£5.49).

For Guys? All of the above are suitable for men OBVIOUSLY but specifically Bulldog skincare for men are cruelty free! As well as own brand Superdrug and Boots products!

LIPS

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An array of the lipsticks I use, and I have to admit I LOVE lipsticks.

Above are products from MUA, Makeup Revolution, Barry M, Limited (M&S), Autograph (M&S), Diego Dalla Palma (M&S) and Soap and Glory (Boots). Also not pictured are lip liners from Natural Collection (Boots) which are super cheap and really good! Makeup Revolution and MUA (Makeup Academy) do £1 lippies which are actually fairly good and great for colour testing etc.

My ultimate favs are the M&S lipsticks, I bought about 6 in the sale in the summer, Diego and Autograph colours….

Autograph velvet matte lipstick: £10

Diego Dalla Palma lipstick: £16

Makeup Revolution Matte:£3

Makeup Revolution Luxe Liquid Lip Matte: £6

MUA Liquid Matte: £3

Barry M Colour changing lipstick: £4.50

In Terms of lipsalves? Ditch the chapsticks and neutrogenas, and your blistex and carmex (they’ve even got carcinogenic ingredients!)….go for an own brand version, or Body Shop if you want it to be really yummy! Or Burts Bees….though they may be starting to sell in China and thus testing on animals soon…

BROWS

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Eyebrows are the windows to the soul and I take pride in my big old bushy brows. My favourite product by 100 miles is my Pixi eyebrow palette (£16) and my travelling Pixi pencil/gel duo (£15). I also use the MUA eyebrow gel (£2). I know not everyone is obsessive over brows as I am so I’ve photographed some cheaper options! Barry M’s Brow kit used to be my go-to (£5.99) but other cheap options are available like the MUA Brow Kit (£3.50) and the Seventeen Brow’s that (£5.99).

EYES

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Eyeshadows and Eyeliners and Mascaras, there are loads of options even though the photograph above doesn’t show many and its also a bit blurry but it just wouldn’t focus for some reason. Here’s the breakdown on prices

Pixi eyeliner: £12

MUA eyeliner: £1

Makeup Revolution galaxy palette: free because I spent over £12 last xmas offer.

Single Barry M eyeshadows: Actually sold in Poundland so a whopping £1

Not Photographed but my absolute go-to eyeliner (I’ve run out oops): Collection Extreme 24hr eyeliner felt pen: £2.99 *amazing stuff

Makeup Revolution and Makeup Academy (both superdrug fyi) have an absolutely killer selection of eyeshadows, really pigmented and basically all under £10 so choose any colour selection you want and go wild.

CONTOUR AND HIGHLIGHT

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So my selection here is pretty meagre because I’m due an update but these are my cheap and cheerful contour and highlight products:

MUA pressed powder: £1

Makeup Revolution contour: £2

Makeup Revolution blush/contour/highlight palette: £3

MUA Highlight: £3

Body Shop also do some excellent products for this range, particularly highlighters.

NAILS

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Nail Varnish: basically your life is easy……just go to Barry M. Cheap and excellent. Also M&S Autograph has an excellent range but be sure to have a base coat under bright colours like the above yellow as they can stain a bit. Leighton Denny has a range (at M&S) of really good nail care products too, bit pricy but worth it because they’re excellent quality.

If you’re getting a manicure, consider going to a big Superdrug who do gel manicures (v cheap) with a vegan and cruelty free range called ORLY (they also do normal nail varnishes).

BATHROOM

PERFUME

Before I move on to bathroomy stuff, can I just mention Perfumes in this section. Most perfumes test on animals to be honest…. and I think weaning people off their fav perfumes is the hardest thing to do. So I’ll offer you these suggestions and go and sniff for yourself!

Marks and Spencer

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All very pretty, all very floral, all very reasonably priced!!

The Body Shop

Lots of floral and natural scents in eau de toilettes for reasonable prices….waaay cheaper than the highstreet expensive cruel brands!

LUSH

I haven’t mentioned LUSH much throughout this post but its literally only because I don’t live near one! I would buy a heck of a lot more stuff from LUSH if I was nearby and could smell the yummy things. Check it out.

L’Occitane

They discontinued my fav green tea fragrance but they have some delish scents, for men and women.

SOAPS

Handwashes and hand soaps are the most essential item in the house but do you use Dove? Simple? Imperial Leather? Johnsons? Palm Olive? Wella? Pears? Neutrogena? Olay? Vaseline? THEY ALL TEST ON ANIMALS

Instead of showing you lots of photographs for this section, I’ll just give you the cruelty free brands to look out for…. in supermarkets, in chemists and for online shopping!

  • M&S any soap or hand wash they have!
  • Body Shop
  • Lush
  • Method
  • Bayliss and Harding (sold in Sainsbury’s!)
  • EcoCover
  • ASDA own brand
  • Sainsburys own brand
  • Tesco own brand
  • Morrisons own brand
  • Waitrose own brand
  • Co-op own brand
  • Molton Brown
  • Neal’s Yard
  • Superdrug own brand
  • Boots own brand

TEETH

Easily overlooked on your cruelty free quest but toothpastes under these labels test on animals:

Colgate, Arm and Hammer, Sensodyn, Aquafresh, Crest.

CRUELTY FREE:

Superdrug own brand: I’ve used their sensitive whitening toothpaste and a charcoal toothpaste that does whiten your teethypegs! I have to be honest it takes a bit of getting used to the slightly different texture/taste of toothpastes that aren’t your usual but worth it in the long run. If you think that people put toothpaste on spots to dry them up…imagine that on a bunny’s skin 😦

Mouthwash: go for Superdrug own brand again, can’t go wrong with them, particularly on price! Very cheap and often on offer.

Lush do toothpaste! Go check it outt 

Supermarket own brands are also a good way to go! They may not have the leaping bunny logo but they are!

Other options? Go online to the PETA website and it gives you a long list of less easily available ones but might be more up your street.

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DEODORANTS

Again, easily overlooked! Superdrug own brand is my go-to choice but again, supermarket own brands would work too.

A good travel deodorant is Salt of the Earth: a solid salt stick that you use when you’re damp after a shower or you dampen it before you use it. A solid stick so it doesn’t take up any of your toiletry allowance on the plane. I have to say this isn’t my fav as I like sprays but my mother swears by it! (In Holland and Barrett). It says its made in China but is not tested on animals proving its possible! Another brand similar is Ice Guard natural crystal deodorant, bought again from H&B! 

If you like body sprays, ditch the Impulse and go for these instead.

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HAIR PRODUCTS/ SHOWER

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So this is the array that I use. Again Superdrug own brand Pro Vitamin are cheap and cater for volume, classic and colour shampoos with matching conditioners, £2.29 each. I used to swear by the colour range until I found out it had wheat proteins in and as a coeliac I’d just prefer to avoid anything that says ‘wheat’. Superdrug’s Coconut Water shampoo and conditioner range is fab too (but again, wheaty)… very clean with no residue and moisturising! £3.99 each.

If you want an anti-dandruff shampoo check out Superdrug’s Trichology Revitalising shampoo for £3.99.

My fav conditioner is Palmer’s coconut oil repairing conditioner. Palmer’s is a cruelty-free company so go wild with your coco butter! This conditioner really works and is everything-bad free: no gluten, no parabens, no sulphates, no dyes, no mineral oil etc. £4.19 but right now on offer for half price at Superdrug.

Kind Natured is a lovely range from Boots, natural ingredients and cruelty free and free from all the gunk often in shampoos. I use the colour shampoo because, strangely enough I’m not naturally Malfoy-white. Bit pricier at £4.99 but sometimes on offer so I mix and match til I can get it cheaper. They also do nourishing ranges and not just colour shampoo and conditioners.

I also love a good hair mask….again superdrug own brand (I swear this isn’t endorsed by superdrug, they’re just great for cruelty free!)

Shower Gels

All shower gels pale in comparison to Natural Source. I’m hardcore and go for the mint but they have loads of different scents and flavours and are often on offer for £1, available from any supermarket so they’re perfect for online shoppers! Also all natural ingredients.

Other shower gels: Body Shop and Marks and Spencer have amazing smelling ones and very reasonably priced too!

I also just discovered this range at Superdrug and really want to try them asap! All cruelty free of course!

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HAIR PRODUCTS

Dry shampoo! Happily the biggest brand Batiste is cruelty free! As are Superdrug own brand dry shampoos so you can’t go wrong!

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Products I use? Superdrug’s salt spray is fab, Boots own brand leave in conditioner and dry shampoo. Paul Mitchell is a great cruelty free brand, bit pricier but worth it for the salon feel.

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HAIR DYE

One of the hardest categories to talk about. My new silver locks are as a result of the Pick&Mix permenant collection, though I’ve found their semi-permenant range to be pretty weak. Other cruelty free options? I use Jerome Russell bBlonde for my bleaching as they do an excellent range that works REALLY well. Other brands include Manic Panic, EcoColours, Arctic Fox, Punky Colour, LUSH (henna).

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KITCHEN AND WASHING

Remember the soap section above for your kitchen hand soap but for washing up dishes and washing up clothes? Your products may not be cruelty free!

When doing your supermarket shop, get an own brand bleach and an own brand washing up liquid and move past Fairy! My ultimate recommendation is Ecover washing up liquid….it doesn’t test on animals and doesn’t harm animals that live in the drains like little frogs and fishies. Not expensive either and available at all supermarkets!

Basically on your travels, buy own brand supermarket washing up liquid, washing detergent, and everything you need in the kitchen! They do the job just as well, don’t assume because they’re not the big named brands that they’re any less efficient! Just because they’re cheaper, don’t assume they’re less efficient! You’re almost just paying for the animal testing because there are usually very few differences.

Ecover is just an amazing brand for washing dishes and clothes but the clothing stuff can be expensive so watch out for supermarket deals. They do toilet cleaner too so consider it for your bathroom as well!

 BONUS 

Got a tattoo lately? Don’t use Bepanthen the gloopy sticky nappy rash cream, get yourself to LUSH and get their Elbow Grease, its a stick so its easy to use and so good for tattoos! Saves you the hideous feeling of the thick creams and is way more subtle to have on as its clear! 

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I hope this blog post has helped you when thinking of your next makeup haul or inspired you to adjust your weekly supermarket online order. When in doubt, look to own-brand items. When in doubt actually just look at this list, or message me because I am happy to do the digging into the background of a brand for you!

I am super passionate about spreading the word about cruelty free products and to make people aware of HOW MANY BRANDS STILL TEST ON ANIMALS when they REALLY don’t need to. I live a cruelty free life and it makes me happier and I still smell amazing, am squeaky clean and look on fleek.

Below is a big list of cruelty free brands just for your ease of access. It’s not 100% complete but it’s the best I can do and I will add to it when I find more etc.

CRUELTY FREE BRANDS

3rd Rock Sunblock (Yes sunblock tests on animals!!)

American Apparel (Nail varnish)

Anastasia Beverly Hills

Arctic Fox

Australis

Arbonne

Argos

Autograph

ASDA

B.Simple (Superdrug)

Badger

Barefaced Beauty

Bare Minerals

Barry M

Batiste

Bayliss and Harding

Body Shop

Botanics (Boots)

Bulldog skincare for men

Collection

Co-op

Colourpop

Cover FX

Crystal Body deodorant

Diego Dalla Palma

Drunk Elephant

Earths’ Beauty

EcoColours

Ecover

EcoTools

ELF

Everyday Minerals

FatFace

Glossier

GOSH

House of Lashes

ILIA

Illamasqua

Jerome Russell

Julep

Kat Von D

Kind Natured (Boots)

Kylie Cosmetics

LA Girl

Laura Geller

L’Occitane

LUSH

Makeup Academy

Makeup Revolution

Manic Panic

Marks and Spencer

Method

Milani

Milk Makeup

Mineral Fusion

Molton Brown

Morrison’s

Nature’s Gate

Natural Source

Neal’s Yard

ORLY

Painted Earth

Palmers

Paul Mitchell

Pixi

Pure + Simple (NOT ‘Simple’)

Pur Minerals

Queen Helene

Real Techniques

Sainsbury’s

Seventeen

Sleek

Soap and Glory

Stila

Superdrug

The Natural Soapworks

Waitrose

W3ll People

Wet”Wild

Wunderbrow

Zoya

 

Owned by a parent company who tests on animals, though they themselves are cruelty free:

Two Faced, Urban Decay, Burts Bees (may be soon to sell in China so won’t be cruelty free for long!), Smashbox, NYX, Liz Earle, Bare Minerals and Aveda

head vs heart conundrums

head vs heart conundrums

We all have those moments in life where you have to weigh up whether you do the logical thing or whether you do the emotional thing. Do I follow my head or my heart? I’m not even going to go into the “following your gut” section of how to make decisions based on your organs/body parts because that just complicates matters. If your head and your heart are saying different things then what the hell is your stomach gonna say? It’ll just be flipping and churning cos it doesn’t know what side to take. And don’t even get me started on making decisions while listening to other body parts…

But what do you do? Why is there no easy formula to follow like “oh just always follow your head, its easy”…but then you are unhappy or sad or heartbroken?! “Oh sorry no I meant just always follow your heart, simple”….but then you might make decisions based too heavily on this specific moment in time and haven’t considered the long term implications of whether what you’re going to do Is even viable?  “Oh no sorry I meant just follow your gut…” JUST SHUT UP OKAY YOU’RE NOT HELPING.

As you’ve probably guessed, I’ve recently had a head vs heart dilemma that caused a great deal of stress, inner turmoil and just a general feeling of yuckiness, knowing that whatever decision I made would shape my future and if I made the wrong choice there was no going back. LEMME TELL YALL A STORY. My options? HEAD: Pros….go and do a PhD with a supervisor you know you will work super well with and who is super excited about the project and who really thinks the idea will make you a good career and you’ll likely get funded and maybe even get paid to travel and take internships. Cons…. not completely my first preference of subject area but if it’d do me well then I’ll just deal with it. So you see the head had it all worked out really, knew the area, knew living costs were cheap, knew people in said area….it was all pretty much a done deal in the world of the head. HEART: Herein lies the proverbial spanner in the works. My boyfriend gets a potential job that I really felt he should do as it would give him a hella good wage while also letting him rock out and compose and all those things. An excellent spanner right? The only snag was that job was not in the same place as the PhD. If we were to both do our respective plans it would mean 3 long years in different countries. DRAG. Head says “you can do that, you’ve done it for the last 3?” meanwhile Heart just sobs uncontrollably at that idea. Instead, Heart gets its ass in gear and makes a deal with Head and considers a new PhD near job and a new supervisor and a new topic and a new proposal to write and a new life plan. Head feels a bit better because its still a bit like the old plan. Heart then feels guilty at having to let down everyone in Plan A. Head tries to revert to Plan A again. Heart sobs uncontrollably… again. This is a very squishy heart. Head feels sorry for Heart so does the talking to people and they’re all super nice and understanding and supportive about Plan B. Heart can’t cope with how nice everyone is and sobs again.

So the moral of this longwinded story? I went with my heart in this case. If its a situation where its career vs love, however fulfilling your career is, if you’re not emotionally fulfilled then you won’t feel happy. On the flip side, imagine you’re with the person you know you’re going to spend the rest of your life with and you have a job but one thats just okay and not amazing? That can be fixed cos you can always get a new job, you can’t get a new soulmate quite so easily. I’m not saying that by changing my plan I’m settling with the latter option there. This Plan B might actually give me a job and career path 100x better than Plan A. It’s just quite new so I haven’t had a chance to fantasize about having my own historical tv show yet (well maybe a little bit). I’m aiming for a solution that makes me head and heart and gut exceedingly happy and I think I can wangle it that it happens. (I also have to say as a disclaimer, though this was a head vs heart story about me, the boyfriend also had the same dilemma so it wasn’t just me. But he hasn’t got a blog so you get to hear my side of the story cos I have a louder mouth).

I always thought I was pretty Sherlockian about career matters, nothing would stop me doing what was best for my future and I would always follow my head. But I realised in that moment, I would give it all up for the opportunity of living in a country cottage with my man and a dog (and maybe some dumbo rats and some snails and all the animals I can fit in really). Because ….CLICHE ALERT……if you believe in yourself, academically or career-ically or professionally or job-ily then you can make it work wherever you are. You may think one specific path is your only option when really there are 10 different scenarios that are all as viable as the other, each with a different set of pros and cons. It’s all about balance. It’s all about thinking outside the box. I originally went with Plan A because I knew it was comfortable and it was easy. Plan B aka Current Plan actually could work out better for me and is in no way a step down from Plan A, it’s just different. And different can be good.

This blog post was a bit of a mind splurge but hopefully when you one day have a head vs heart dilemma you’ll remember that you don’t have to go with a path just because you think you ought to. You see teen movies where kids’ parents tell them they’re ‘ruining’ their lives following a boy or a girl because okay sometimes it all goes jellytots up. You get told not to let a boyfriend/girlfriend get in the way of your education because that’s the most important thing (ok well that’s true when you’re young but I’m all grown up now). And YOU KNOW WHAT now those sentiments are absolute Bull (pun intended hehe). Every circumstance is different. Every relationship is different. Every career decision is different. You can’t follow that formula, which is exactly why there is no simple answer to head vs heart. Be logical and weigh it all up and include your emotions in that pros and cons list cos they’ll rule your life as much as any job.

Who knows if I’ll end up actually going with a Plan C or D or G but the point is, I’m okay with that. Though it kills the control freak inside me, I’m learning to take things as they come and not pre-plan the next decade of my life and not deviate from that idea. Easy breazy baby, easy breazy.

 

Good luck with all your tough decisions, they’re hardcore.

Peace and Love

O

things you realise when you’re sick

things you realise when you’re sick
  1. WHY DID I NEVER APPRECIATE THE SWEET SWEET JOY OF BREATHING THROUGH MY NOSE. Suddenly the act of breathing requires such vast effort that one hefty sniff results in you needing a nap. To avoid this, welcome to the mouth-breathers club: a place where no one is happy and everyone looks like fish and your mouth is so dry from sucking in air you feel like a broken hoover. Who knew your sinuses actually governed your state of happiness?! I miss the good old days when my nose felt empty and cavernous because now its claustrophobic up there and you can’t even blow cos there’s nothing to blow cos its just SWOLLEN AF.
  2. The only thing good about a cold/flu is that moment, that rare but magical moment when you stand up quickly, or roll over in bed, or even lean on your face a little bit when suddenly…..*click*……YOUR SINUSES UNBLOCK FOR A REASON KNOWN ONLY TO A HIGHER BEING AND YOU CAN SUDDENLY REMEMBER THE TASTE OF COOL FRESH AIR AND THE SMELL OF FREEDOM
  3. and then 0.8 seconds later you’re clogged up again like a shitty broken drain.
  4. You remember when your body could regulate temperature? Doesn’t that seem a long time ago? Hot to cold to sweating like you’re in a rainforest, to sweating but like a really cold clammy sweat and only on your feet, to being icy and smothering yourself in blankets and hot water bottles to warm again to the whole cycle beginning again.
  5. but also that’s just kind of Autumn problems anyway but not when you’re inside, that’s where you’re supposed to be safe.
  6. Feeling sorry for yourself like the sick child you are.
  7. Thinking you’re actually okay and doing something really wild like getting up to make food and then falling over in a heap and staying there til you die cos you weren’t okay
  8. Breathing. Cos that’s still a really big deal okay I’m not over mourning the loss yet
  9. The voice….. it may be sore and raspy and dry and like there are a million tiny needles in your throat and if you breathe in, idk in the wrong direction or with too much vigor you begin to cough a lung up……..but it sounds sexy so you’re totally fine with all that
  10. Day time tv….. it really is tripe but I’ve watched so much Say Yes to the Dress I want to go wedding dress shopping like right now cos I know that fishtail lace satin dress is totally unsuitable for my bodyshape but I think id suit a sweetheart neckline with nipped in waist and it doesnt matter that i dont have a fiance, I think I’m ready to wedding dress shop
  11. Online shopping cos I have nothing else to do but I’m also sick and not at work so I’m not earning any money but I’m okay with spending it more than usual on crap I don’t want or need
  12. Being realllllly hungry but as soon as you come to eat it, the sight of it makes you wanna vom and you end up perpetually starving and not hungry (not pregnant before someone makes a wiseass joke)
  13. remember breathing
  14. remember smelling stuff
  15. remember that funny thing called taste
  16. remember the good old days where your senses worked
  17. Idk bout you but my balance is WAY off, more than usual and the corners of my house hurt a lot
  18. Not caring what you look like and it being totally 100% fine… like, I haven’t changed my top in over 24 hours and my hair is worse than Grease 2 and who needs makeup when you can rock the grunge vibe solely with the pallid complexion and deep dark bags under your eyes. Its 2017, you do you
  19. You leave a Kleenex shrine behind you, wherever you may go
  20. Remembering reading it was gonna be a REALLY BAD flu season and planning when to have your flu jab cos I’m one of those vulnerable people like OAPs and toddlers who need extra help and then realising that the damn flu caught me with my pants down and beat me at my own pre-emptive game and kicked me hard in the chest before I could even plan on trying to plan not getting sick
  21. Screw the universe
  22. Feeling a constant source of guilt cos you’re not at work and had to call in sick but also relief that you’re not sneezing on paying customers or your colleagues and being happy to be lying down and able to close your eyes when you need to but also still feeling guilty but relieved all at once its all so confusing
  23. Being annoyed I wished autumn would arrive so I could be rid of summer so I basically brought this on myself
  24. Not being able to breathe.


I hope y’all don’t get this bloody flu cold sickness from hell cos it’s crippling and I haven’t even got man flu, I’m used to being bunged up and dribble-y cos I had bad hayfever all summer but man, this is intense. Keep scarves on and hydrated and prepare yourselves. The war has come and I’m fighting a losing battle. Gondor calls for aid.

R.I.P.

O x

I’M BACK LIL BUNNIES

I’M BACK LIL BUNNIES

SOOOOOOO where have I been these last couple of months? Sitting in my bedroom dying over my dissertation is the answer to that. Not exciting or adventurous I’m afraid. But the good news is I’VE FINISHED MY DISSERTATION AND FINISHED MY MASTERS AT CAMBRIDGE! It’s such a relief to say those words and I’m so proud of myself. It seems to be a running trend that I have a tough time at uni, usually with my health. At undergrad I was in and out of the doctors surgery every week finding out issues and being told issues existed when they actually didn’t bla bla bla. ANYWAY this year started similarly…..trip to A&E in an ambulance on my 22nd birthday wasn’t ideal but since then I’ve stopped being malnourished, have become a healthier human and am getting myself back on track yay. Knowing I’m a coeliac means I’m even more proud that I even got through my undergrad with the ‘brain fog’ coeliacs often get from eating gluten but this time round I managed to avoid that….just procrastinated like hell and napped a lot, as per my character, not based on illness. Just a regular olive fog brain.

I also had a tough time at my undergrad with pals, I happened to get in with a crowd I really shouldn’t have and they negatively affected my experience massively. Shout out to third year tho surrounded by my babiesssss and had a lovely time. I was so worried Cambridge would be like undergrad halls again but this time I met and LIVED with some of the loveliest humans I could have hoped for. Holla and kisses to you guys for being babes and lifelong friends.

This year has been TOUGH AS HELL, work-wise, but also with massive periods where I could chill about work but maybe I shouldn’t have been but oh well…I’ve managed it. It’s been an absolute dreaaaaam wandering along these cobbled streets and spending hours among ancient buildings that make my heart hurt they’re so pretty. It’s spoiled me rotten having free access to, essentially, castles. SO wonderful.

This lil summary is just a post basically to say “I’m sorry ive been busy but I swear it was for a legit reason and now I’M BACK and will be blogging more about far more interesting stuff than this post I swear”

 

Hope you all had a good summer. Mine is just about to begin..

 

Nice to see you again, tune in soon for more fun
Peace out

O x