Friday, 18 May 2018

My top 5 cruelty free beauty brands

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Two of my main loves in life would be makeup along with dogs. I love both and so the fact that I can use and buy makeup that means that I can fulfill my love for makeup and all things beauty related without any damage coming to the adorable dogs in the world is a win-win situation for me. I love the fact that brands are so aware of what is going on in the world and making a very clear point that they don't test on animals. The brands that aren't cruelty free will be trading in countries where it isn't illegal to carry out animal testing. Since March 2013 it is illegal to carry out animal testing in the UK and all other states in the European Union. This means brands that aren't cruelty free, trade in places like china who do still test on animals which I try not to think about because I think it is disgusting and unnecessary. 

1. Urban Decay 

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Now of course this one had to be first on my list. I did work for the brand for four years and I realised it really is such an amazing brand. I'm pretty sure I love every product that they do, from there amazing perversion mascara to there amazing optical illusion foundation brush. Wendy Zomnir, who created Urban Decay in 1996, is a strong believer of empowering women as well. She created "the ultraviolet edge" which is a global initiative to empower women. Not only is the brand completely cruelty free but it has a wide range of vegan products as well. If you ever need to know what products are vegan it should be displayed on the counter, however if it isn't then just ask a Urban Decay representative and they will be able to find you you perfect vegan makeup routine. 

2. Kiko 

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Next on the list is Kiko. I love there products as they are all so affordable and I have found that even though there is a deduction in price there never skimp on there quality. The only problem with Kiko is that there isn't as many stores as other brands which does mean when I find one I try out new bits and pieces and see what catches my eye. I don't mind getting my essentials online as I know that I love the product and that it works with my skin type, skin tone etc. My biggest recommendations from Kiko would be there Unlimited Foundation, their lip-liners and their blushers. The foundation is a really good coverage and lasts all day for me. The lip-liners are amazingly good value for money and are really long-lasting but not too drying and lastly the blushers and so pigmented and easy to blend, they also come in amazing colors.  

3. Body shop 

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I'm sure everyone is aware that this brand is cruelty free as they shout it from the rooftops. They also have started a petition to get 8 million signatures to get animal testing banned worldwide which I think is an amazing campaign and I have definitely signed it myself. 80 percent of the world still don't have laws against animal testing which is a crazy amount so their aim is to get those 8 million signatures to present the UN this year. Not only has this brand done so much to help fight animal testing but the products are amazing to. One of my summer staples is there body sorbet in pina colada which they had last year and I hope never to run out of it. Also their skincare is amazing and really affordable, I love their tea tree range for acne as I really does help.  

4.Too faced 

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This is another amazing brand which I still think doesn't get enough recognition. The products are gorgeous and even though they are now under the Estee Lauder umbrella they still remain cruelty free. Some of my favorite products from this brand would be there pallets, blushers and there mascara. The chocolate bar palette and sweet peach palette are by far in my top 5 favorite makeup palettes, the pigment is amazing and color selection in the palettes are great. I personally believe the palettes are on par with the Urban Decay Naked palettes. I love the blushers as they are so easy to blend and I loved the blusher, bronzer and highlighter trio they released with there sweet peach range. The "better than sex" mascara is a well known product from the brand and for good reason. It gives great volume and length to my lashes and it also comes in a waterproof formula as well now. 

5. Lush 

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This is another one that I'm sure you are aware is cruelty free. Now I will say I haven't been that impressed with their makeup items, however the other products they sell are brilliant. I feel they are most well known for their bath products such as their bath bombs and shower gels. I think my favorite bath bomb of theirs will always be twilight, even though I do love there seasonal items especially the Christmas selection. I think another great product that they sell are their face masks, they do different face masks for different skin concerns. For example I bought one for my mum and she suffers with rosacea, I brought her the "rosy cheeks" face mask and she loved it. It is such a great brand and I always find no matter where I go the staff are always so friendly and always happy to help as well. Well... I suppose they would be when they get to play with bath bombs for work, it must be a great job.

So these are my top 5 cruelty free makeup brands. I really can't recommend them all enough. I always say as well don't be scared off by the umbrella the brand is under as well, as the brands themselves will still be cruelty free. As always I hope you enjoyed reading my blog post and I would love to know what your favorite cruelty free brands are as there are plenty out there.  

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

How to unwind...

This post is for everyone who has felt a bit stressed lately or felt like they have a lot on their plates. Everyone gets stressed and its a normal thing to feel and very common so these are my favorite ways to unwind. 

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The first one is definitely my go to way to unwind and distress. I love to have a pamper evening (I'll be posting my full pamper evening routine soon). I love having a pamper evening because it really does work for me. I feel that it is very important to spare a couple of hours once or twice a week for yourself. You don't have to buy expensive products, my all time favorite bubble bath is the muscle soak radox bubble bath. You can remove the remnants of your makeup after a long day, put on a face mask and relax in your perfectly temperatured bubble bath. 

This next one wont be for everyone, but I really find it helps me if I am feeling stressed. Socialising with friends really helps me, whether its going out for dinner or having people round to watch your favorite film with a cheeky cocktail or glass of wine. Having chats with your friends not only allows you to get the latest gossip but its scientifically proven that it boosts feelings of well being and decreases feelings of depression. So, that chat with your friends the other day really does help more than you think.

Now this one is definitely a well known way to unwind and distress...exercise. Now, I don't necessarily mean whacking out those dumbbells or getting to the squat rack at the gym. One of my favorite ways of exercising is going for a walk. Just getting some fresh air. Sometimes, on my days off I do enjoy a walk with my grandparents which normally ends in a stop at a coffee shop. It is of course scientifically proven to reduce stress as it produces endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain. These same chemicals are produced in meditation and massage therapy. So, next time you go for a long walk, you might not know how much your helping yourself distress. 

This one is quite similar to the pamper routine, however it doesn't take up as much time out of your evening. When you're stressed you can find it hard to relax before bedtime and unwind. I find it helpful to surround myself in a calming and relaxing environment. The way I do this is to put on some fairy lights and lighting some candles, making sure you blow them out before you go to sleep as we don't want any houses on fire. I'll then get into my pj's and get tucked up in bed. This would be a good time to do something relaxing things such as reading but not looking on social media. I just find this makes it so much easier to relax after a busy day and allows me to get a good amount of sleep, which will help reduce those stress levels even more. 

The last way I like to help with and worries or stresses that I had throughout the day is write them down. You will find that any worries you have are either irrational or they are a lot easier to resolve once they are written down and its easier to think of a resolution. This technique also works amazingly for positive things that happened that day, whether it being that your eyeliner went perfect on your first attempt or you saw the most adorable dog that day. We really do forget to celebrate our own achievements, even though we are so quick to praise others on theirs. It is a great idea to end the day on positive thoughts. It will always help to unwind and help with the worries of not being able to wrap your head around how you will complete all he tasks you have to do.  

There you have it, these are the ways I always like to unwind. Remember you are not alone in the fact that everyone gets stressed, it's just about spending some time to unwind and take care of yourself, which a lot of people forget to do. I would love to hear any other ideas how you to choose to unwind or if any of these ideas help. After all... caring is sharing. 

Monday, 14 May 2018

My Sourced box review

I have recently signed up to sourced box as I am following a low FODMAP diet. It is a monthly subscription where you get a box full of healthy snacks delivered to you. Its £18.95 which I did think was quite a lot for a monthly subscription box but that was until it arrived. What I like so much about it is that it is a great way to try out so many different products without too much of an investment. 

My favorites from the box were the protein balls, super food sweet clusters, the flavoured popcorn and the real handful bar. I loved these ones the most as they had the most flavour and I find with some vegan foods they have an odd aftertaste and these didn't. These would all be snacks you can take on the go as well and I liked to have the protein balls after a gym session. I had the popcorn whilst catching on my current obsession on Netflix for the evening and it definitely felt like I was having a treat rather than something better for you. 

I only disliked two products in this months box and that was the chocolate from Kaakao and the get fruity bar. It was my first time trying vegan chocolate and I wasn't to keen on this one but as I'm new to it I will happily keep searching for one I like. The fruity bar wasn't really to my taste but I'm sure someone else would like it more than me. 

Overall I was really impressed with my first Sourced Box and I would rate his one an 8/10. I'm also really intrigued to try the tasty decaf and perfect with dairy free PG tips tea bags as I LOVE tea. I don't have caffeine or dairy so I can't wait to give these a go. I can't wait to receive my next sourced box and see what great things are in there.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

My top tips for anxiety

Now this is a post I have always wanted to do as it is very important to me. I'm no psychologist, however after suffering with anxiety for 6 years you tend to learn what works and what doesn't. I wont only be talking about how to live with anxiety and how to prevent having panic attacks or be less anxious, but I will be giving some advice on what to do when having a panic attack. 

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I will start off by saying ways you can change your lifestyle to help with anxiety, these are things that I have tried and found extremely helpful. These are my 5 tips on how you can change your lifestyle to help with anxiety. 

1. Change your diet 

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I'm a big believer in how your diet can influence more than just your weight. Changing your diet can influence your mood as well and in this case... anxiety. For example beef and foods high in vitamin B can ease anxiety, now I love steak to the point where I have it once a week. Another food you can include or increase in your diet are omega 3 rich foods such as salmon. Omega 3 has many benefits to your body and one of them can be that it can help with anxiety. Even though foods can help with stress and anxiety some foods can make it worse. Coffee and caffeinated drinks can lead to increasing anxiety and stress so it is best to limit or if you can avoid these foods completely from your diet. It would also be best to limit the amount of sweets and chocolate you intake, I'm sure you have heard of the sugar high and then that crash that comes after, this won't help your anxiety. The last food that is best to avoid and I definitely personally avoid this one, is alcohol. You don't have to cut it out completely and you can still enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. However, alcohol is a depressant and therefore will definitely not help with anxiety as it will just decrease your mood even further. 

2. Get a better nights sleep.

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Sleep can do many things for your health mentally and psychically. Sometimes, with anxiety getting a good nights sleep is hard to do but really try to get those Zzzz's. Sleep gives your brain and body time to heal and also is crucial for maintaining healthy emotional and social functioning. 

3. Exercise 

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Doing regular exercise can work as well as medication for some people to reduce anxiety symptoms. The effects can be long lasting, one vigorous exercise session can help reduce symptoms for hours, and if continued it may significantly reduce them over time. Also, if you joined a team sport being sociable will be great for your anxiety as well.

4. Mindfulness and relaxation 

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This one has been proven to decrease stress and lower anxiety as well as increasing self compassion compared with yoga alone. I like to mindfulness 3 times a week to wind down in the evenings. I feel it is very important to spare 10 minutes of your time a few time a week.

5. C.B.T or counselling.

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Sometimes you need a bit of extra help which is sometimes hard to admit to yourself. However, sometimes it is needed and it really does work. I learned so many things from counselling that have helped me so much over the years and I really recommend giving it a go. 

The next 3 tips are ones to help you when you are feeling extremely anxious or having a panic attack. Now I know when your having a panic attack you actually do feel like you are dying, so hopefully these next tips will help to calm you down. 

1. Look up at the sky

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This might sound like something so ridiculously simple, however it does actually work. When you feel yourself getting anxious or if you are having a panic attack try going outside and looking up at the sky. I think the reason it works for me is because when I start to feel anxious or have a panic attack I feel chlaustrophobic or like I cant breathe properly. Therefore, when I look up at the sky weather it be raining or there are blue skies I don't feel like I cant breathe or am trapped.

2. 5 senses trick

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Another one is the 5 senses trick, to help when your feeling anxious or having a panic attack. The way it works is to distract yourself whilst feeling anxious, you need to acknowledge your surroundings and determine what you can notice with all of your senses. You would focus on what you can taste, smell, hear, see and touch. So next time you are feeling anxious try and take in your surroundings and see if it helps.

3. The bubble technique

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I found this one the most helpful when I am feeling anxious. The way this one works is you use visualisation to imagine that your in a bubble and that any negativity or anxious feelings are bounced off of your bubble. It helps to visualise your bubble being a happy colour. I normally go with a nice baby blue or a happy yellow. Just try to really focus on this and I found it really helped me feel less anxious and more calm.

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There you have it, these are all my tips from what I have learned from having anxiety. So next time your feeling anxious or start having a panic attack these are some things you can try and use. I hope they work as well for you as they did for me. Sometimes with anxiety you can feel trapped and with practice and self help you will feel... FREE!! 

Lots of love 

the happy goldfish