Getting Clean

YogaSo, this might not be what you think it is. Thankfully I am solely referring to my diet and lifestyle, no narcotics involved here people. In case you hadn’t read up already, in 2013 I got a pretty hefty diagnosis which changed my life, and me, forever. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (or PCOS as I will refer to it) is a hugely common condition amongst women, in fact, it is said that 1 in 10 of us suffer. It’s a condition that contrary to the name is primarily a metabolic and hormone disorder. (If you fancy reading up then please see this website.) I decided to look down a holistic and natural route to dealing with my symptoms, and came across this AMAZING book, which was my bible for a good few months.

As you would expect, my diet has a huge impact on my symptoms, and it’s super important to avoid foods pumped full of hormones (anything produced by female animals) to keep me balanced. I’ve been wanting to get back in the game and get healthy for a few months now, but to be perfectly honest, I just haven’t had the head space to dedicate to a lifestyle change. For whatever reason, something has changed this weekend and I’m determined to clean up my act and look after myself a little better. Here are a few things that I hope will help me along the way…

Healthy Role Models

I felt completely inspired after discovering Deliciously Ella. One thing that really grinds my gears about healthy eaters is snobbery, and she has none at all. Also, if one more person tells me that all I can eat for breakfast is home made granola I may simply implode. What I love about Deliciously Ella is her simple, yet creative approach to her food. She uses minimal and easy to access ingredients, quick recipes and a no-fuss method. This makes her recipes 100% manageable for those on a budget as there aren’t a hundred million ingredients you need to buy beforehand. I’d recommend checking out her Sweet Potato Brownie recipe – they look amazing!

Go-to Recipe Books (bibles)

Image Source: http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/
Image Source: http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/

As I say, samey food really gets on my nerves, so I’m on the hunt for some amazing recipe books to help my journey towards a healthier lifestyle. Please please please recommend one if you have a favourite. The ones I’d like to add to my bookshelf are:

1. The Green Kitchen – as recommended by the beautiful Antonia Burrell.

2. Honestly Healthy for Life – this book really appeals to me because it has identified the lifestyle change, and isn’t aimed at fad dieters!

3. River Cottage Veg Everyday – Hugh is my hero, what more can I say?

4. Deliciously Ella – released in September, the countdown begins!

5. I Quit Sugar – Sarah Wilson is also a fantastic, healthy role model

6. It’s All Good – by the amazing Gwyneth Paltrow.

Inspiration

Doing anything without motivation is just a chore, so I’m looking for things to keep me grounded and interested. I’ve started Yoga again, which is amazing for reminding me on a weekly basis why it’s important to love my body. Also surrounding myself with lovely blogs and websites to check in on makes for good inspiration, I got really stuck in to Hip & Healthy the other day. Plenty of good reading there, and a fab beauty section, too.

I may well keep you posted on my progress, and share some occasional recipes, to be honest I could do with the pressure! Please share any recipes with me, and tell me about your health stories too! I’ll leave you with a couple of health tips to keep you going:

  • Craving sugar or salt? A deficiency in zinc can make you long for these flavours, so make sure you load up on foods such as spinach, pumpkin seeds and nuts to replenish your supply! (Please consult a doctor before making any major changes, though!)
  • If you’re struggling to gather energy from your food, you could be deficient in certain B vitamins. I started taking a Vitamin B complex which has helped me to stay feeling a little more energised.
  • Reduce your caffeine & sugar intake. I know everyone harps on about this ALL THE TIME, but it is for such good reason. You know that 3 o’clock hunger and energy crash? Yeah, it’s those two nasties playing games with your mind. Try to aim for low GI/GL foods, especially for lunch & breakfast and you should beat it for good.
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Getting Clean

Drug Store De-stressing Dead Sea Mud Mask

This is actually a product that I have been itching to share with you all since I bought it! It’s my first ‘drug store’ product review since I started my blog! I’m really excited to talk about this De-stressing Mud Mask that I found in Superdrug a couple of weeks ago. It’s a long story, but one afternoon left me and my friend a little stressed so we decided to actually take a lunch break and nip into town for a breather. It wasn’t long before we were drug store haulin’ to drown our sorrows, but to be honest, I’m so glad we did! This face mask has been a bit of a revelation for me. I have been so hooked on high-end skincare that I have ignored what is readily available to me in the shops! I guess it brought me back into the real world a little bit.

Mud Mask

So first things first, I have been looking for a face mask that helps me with the following concerns: congested and open pores, spots/acne, unbalanced skin and uneven skin tone. I picked up this ‘De-stressing’ Mud Mask because I thought it would help to calm my skin down a bit, reduce the redness in my complexion and around my blemishes, and to stop all the hyperactivity going on to slow down my oil production. I thought it would give me a really deep cleanse without being too harsh or ‘stressful’ for my skin – bingo! It seemed like a perfect fit, and at only £2.59 (or £1.75 if you and your friend buy one each on offer) I thought it was worth a shot.

I have no regrets about this purchase. For a mud, the mask has a rich and creamy texture, but with excellent spreadability which makes for even coverage. The directions say to gently massage into your face and neck, and to leave for 15 minutes, and I do feel as though this is enough. As the mud dries it become a little tight and uncomfortable, so you don’t feel quite as tempted to leave it on for hours!

It has got to be said, the mask works an absolute treat! I actually couldn’t believe my eyes; when I had the mask on I could see it working deep in my pores and could really feel it exfoliating and cleansing my skin. It was a great feeling, if a little alarming as it highlighted how open all of my pores actually are! It leaves me with a wonderfully even skin tone, radically reduced pore visibility and a distinct glow to my complexion – it’s fantastic! The Aloe Vera really helps calm the skin and replenish moisture levels, and the Dead Sea Mud cleanses and purifies pores, leaving you soft as a feather. It actually does what it says on the tin… miracle! I’m currently trialling another mask that is over 10 times the price, but it really doesn’t compare to this little beauty.

I really can’t believe how much I’ve fallen in love with this mask, and I urge you to go and try something from this new range! All you have to lose is £2.59 and 15 minutes, but trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

Drug Store De-stressing Dead Sea Mud Mask

Setting the Scene with a touch of Romance…

Now that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, it’s definitely time to start making plans on how to make the big day extra special, whether it’s with a childhood sweetheart or a brand new partner.

There is something perfectly romantic about how candle light softens our complexion and gives us that beautiful glow, which makes candles the ultimate scene setter for a romantic evening with your loved one. I am excited to introduce Romance, the brand new candle from the Isle of Wight Natural Candle Company (IWNCC).

Anyone that follows me on Twitter will know that I’m a huge candle fan, I always have one burning, and they are always from the IWNCC. This is not only because they are a local business, but it’s also because the natural fragrances set in the soy wax somehow always manage to soothe my senses and leave me with a distinct sense of tranquility. I was so excited when they released their new fragrance, Romance, that I popped out for one right away! Here’s what I think…

Romance CandlePersian rose, ylang ylang and a hint of black pepper make up the sensual fragrance in this new candle, and I have got to say… it is incredible. There is something so precious and thoughtful about this combination that just makes it the perfect balance of soft floral fragrance with just a slight hint of masculinity, making it a failsafe gift for your Valentine this February. I truly believe that this candle would make an fantastic alternative to a bunch of flowers, as it is simply a gift that keeps on giving, leaving a lasting memory of your special evening!

All components of this gorgeous fragrance have great aromatherapeutic properties, which all contribute to setting the scene for your Valentntine’s Day…. Rose is well known for it’s natural stress relieving properties, and also works hard as an anti depressant, helping you to feel at ease on your date night (I hope)! It is also known for its aphrodisiac effect, need I say more? Ylang Ylang is known for its ability to aid relaxation and relieve any stresses you are carrying. To top this off, the black pepper gives an extra positive lift to your mood, leaving you calm and prepared for the evening ahead.

What have you got planned for Valentine’s Day this year? Will the Romance candle be making an appearance for you, too?

Setting the Scene with a touch of Romance…

Naturalmente Organic and Natural Shampoo

This is a brand that I am super excited to introduce, so I’ll just cut right to the chase. Naturalmente is another brand new to the UK, and formulate Organic and Natural Shampoos and Conditioners using an aromatic blend of botanicals. The reason I’m so enthused about this brand is that they seem to tick all of the boxes for guilt-free haircare. Created back in 2004 by top Italian hairdressers Brigida and Domenico Tomaselli, Naturalmente was inspired by the natural healing powers of aromatherapy. Naturalmente refuse to use: Parabens, Formaldehyde, Diethanolamine, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES) or synthetic perfumes and promise that their packaging is 100% biodegradable (and also toxin free if it’s burnt), leaving minimal impact on the planet, which is right up my street. I’ve been testing their Rosemary and Lavender Shampoo* and their Yogurt and Millet Conditioner*, here’s what I think!

Naturalmente

Rosemary & Lavender Shampoo

Natualmente ShampooNow, those of you that follow my blog will know that I’m a HUGE fan of the Liz Earle Botanical Shine Shampoo (review here), and it takes a lot to steer me in a different direction, though I did feel in the mood to try something a little different, and really fancied putting this to the test. Rosemary & Lavender are two of my favourite scents in the world; Rosemary simulates the brain, and gives us extra bursts of happiness and energy when we need it most, and Lavender is well known for it’s antibacterial and calming properties, so a match made in heaven really. This product has been formulated especially for those with oily scalps or problems with dandruff, and I have got to say that it does keep my scalp really balanced throughout the day. Having combination skin means that my hair tends to get oily very quickly, certainly overnight, but this shampoo helped me to feel fresher throughout the day which was fantastic. Despite this, I am still sat on the fence with this shampoo. I found that I had to use double the amount I would normally use as it almost refuses to foam up, meaning I didn’t feel like it was working very hard on my hair, which is fine as it’s a very natural shampoo, but I would be worried about the value for money if I purchased a full-size bottle. Saying that, even with all of the wonderful organic ingredients, Naturalmente is still a very affordable luxury, and this bottle retails at £9.00 for 250ml.

Yogurt & Millet Conditioner

Naturalmente ConditionerThis conditioner is especially designed for those that struggle with dry, damaged or dull hair, which unfortunately is a category I fall into. Having long hair is always tricky, it becomes hard to tame, and is more prone to tangles and environmental damage. I have got to say that this conditioner has been fantastic at helping to restore shine to my hair and has certainly made it feel really nourished and well looked after. The scent is very unusual – it smells sort of like biscuits, which does take some getting used to, but is by no means unpleasant. I haven’t seen millet used in hair care before, but millet is rich in protein which helps to restore your hair’s health, it also can help to promote hair growth, so would be fantastic for those that suffer with hair loss. The millet combined with the yogurt protein, lemon, eucalyptus and mint essential oils make this a highly nourishing product for both your scalp and hair – and definitely worth a try.

Just one final note.. the packaging is incredible. Not only is it 100% biodegradable, but it is this wonderful material that feels really great (I know that’s a weird thing to say, but it really does feel amazing) and is perfectly squeezy. There is nothing worse than having a shampoo container that you have to battle with each morning! Overall, I think these products make for a fantastic everyday haircare routine. Naturalmente also have a range of hair styling products, including this Smoothing Solution for a very reasonable £6.25, which has made its way firmly onto my wish list!

Top Tip:

Carry around some Rosemary Essential Oil when you travel for an instant, natural pick me up when you need it most!

Naturalmente Organic and Natural Shampoo