ADDING A SPLASH OF HYGGE

As we all know, one of the hottest trends at the moment is Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah), which is a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment, whether alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cosy, charming or special.

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I was recently sent some bath oils called Olverum which have been described as ‘Hygge’ in a bottle, it can help aid stress, anxiety and many other things – which I have a lot of! Apparently you just put a splash of this bath oil in your bath and you’re meant to be transported to a land of rest and relaxation – sounds great right? As a bath lover and an owner of a variety of bubble baths and bath bombs I was excited to try something a little different, so I put anyway the other bath essentials and pulled out a small bottle of Olverum.

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Smelling of pine and lavender, Olverum is 48% pure essential oils and blends Siberian Fir Needle, Exotic Verbena, Rosemary, Juniper, Lemon Peel, Lavender, Lavandin, Lime, Lime, Eucalyptus and Geranium. I can honestly say it was a wonderful experience, the essential oil moisturise and leave skin soft but are also perfect for easing sore muscles.

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I would definitely recommend this product, you only need to put a dash in, no more than a capful and I can’t wait to try the oils again!

 

HAIRCARE HEROES

When I was younger I use to have the most beautiful shiny thick long hair, but as I’ve got older and I’ve bleached it, dyed it, cut it and caused it a lot of damage it’s started to show the signs of wear and tear! So I decided it was time to invest some well needed time and research into making sure it got the TLC it deserved. Luckily, as fate would have it I’ve recently been sent some amazing products by a number of different companies to test and review which makes a happy Sarah and even happier hair.

I’ve tried to break down the products I tried into categories in the best way possible but as this is 2017 a lot of the products cross over into other categories, but I’ve tried to cover as many points as possible! Here is my round up and thoughts for these haircare heroes!

CLEANSE

Pantene Pro V has been a brand that I’ve used for years, my mum used to buy it when I was younger and I’ve used it off and on since forever! I like to think of Pantene as I brand I trust, an old friend which I can always rely on. Pantene is now launching a new collection which includes Micellar water within the products to cleanse and nourish hair – I know we’re all use to micellar water to remove make-up and cleanse skin, but apparently it’s a jack of all trades. These products have been created to help combat the issues that daily life throws at hair such as pollution… and as I live in Manchester there is definitely a lot of that.

I love these new products, they leave my hair feeling extra luxe, soft and shiny! Unlike traditional deep cleaning products, this formula lifts and captures impurities from the surface of the hair whilst maintaining the essential nutrients it needs, meaning the hair is left clean and strong. As some-one who washes their hair a few times a week, I worry I am stripping my hair of all its natural oils, but this product aims to remove styling residue, excess oils and unwanted minerals without over-cleansing and lifting nutrients that the hair actually needs.

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PROTECTS & REPAIR

I’ll admit it, I’m really bad for protecting my hair against heat – I use a hairdryer, straightener, curler and have my hair colour, therefore my hair has faced its fair share of heat so I’m always on the look out for amazing products which are quick and easy to use. The team from Andrew Collinge sent me this amazing hair moisturiser which is a great hair styling product to use for heat protection and shine and contains Argan Oils to hydrate, smooth and detangle the hair. I love using this before styling my hair as it calms down any frizziness and leaves my hair feeling healthy and shiny but doesn’t leave it feeling heavy or greasy with product. New heat protection product found – check!

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Envy Dual Fix 12 is a professional salon treatment that helps repair all hair types. Containing a perfect balance of silk proteins and keratin amino acids to target damaged areas and attract moisture to give long lasting results. 12 incredible benefits for smoother, glossier hair that’s easier to manage. This hair repair treatment is pretty much miracle in a bottle so get the instant WOW factor and get great hair in minutes. It leaves my hair feeling revived and much healthier – you can use it on dry or wet hair, I personally prefer using it on wet hair but the results are good either way – I just like to treat my hair while it’s wet for some reason – probably because I can pamper myself a little more.

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NATURAL PRODUCTS

I’ve never been a massive fan of 2 in 1 products for my hair, in the past, they leave my hair feeling lifeless and a little on the greasy side, however, the 2 in 1 shampoo and condition from Noughty leaves my hair feeling soft and looking shiny! It’s not a product I use everyday but I love popping it in my gym bag for a quick shower after my workout! The team from noughty also sent me the intense leave in condition, this is definitely one of my favourite products – I use heat products a lot such as hair dryer, straighteners and curlers and my hair can often become dry and damaged, therefore any products which can help bring back the shiny, bouncing and full of life hair I use to have I’m in!  One of my favourite things about these product is they are 97% natural meaning they have no sulphates or parabens in them – I’m really excited to keep trying these products and see the difference they make to my hair.

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MOISTURE 

One of my favourite brand Baylis & Harding stock up my wardrobe even more with some fabulous shampoo and conditions to try,

The first products from the Moisture Drench collection, the shampoo & condition are specially formulated shampoo with luxury Moroccan argan oil extract (which smells amazing and leave my hair feeling amazing). It nourishes and hydrates dry or damaged hair leaving it softer, smoother and healthier looking. The shampoo contains argan oil extract which boasts natural antioxidant and it contains pro vitamin B5 to strengthen and nourish. It is paraben free and ph balanced. It contains deep cleansing formulation and comes with natural betaine for moisturising.

I’ve also been using the Nourish & Hydrate shampoo & condition have been amazing on my dry and damaged hair, these products include coconut extract – and as we know is the magic ingredient of 2017! The products also include Vitamin E and essential fatty oils to help repair damaged hair! I love the smell of these products and they leave my hair feeling so soft and smooth – I love using the nourish and hydrate when my hair needs some extra TLC and since they are free from parabens they are much kinder to the hair.

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I’ve known the name Phil Smith for a while, whether I’ve been in a shop or salon, the packaging/nice definitely rang a bell so I knew I was in for a treat with these products! I love the formulation of both the shampoo and condition – because they include coconut water the texture is more liquid than cream, but I love this about them – it leaves the hair feeling more less weight and cleansed. I recently started to love leave in conditions, probably because I can pamper myself while being lazy (win-win). I didn’t feel that these products leave my hair as silky as some of the others, but that be because my hair was sick of being washed! However, my hair was really easy to style after using these products and my curls held all day without having to coat my hair in hairspray – my hair often loses curls quite easily so I was really happy with this. Also, the coconut smell from these products was delicious – always a nice added extra!

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COLOURED HAIR

As I mentioned I’ve coloured my hair for a number of years now, it went from a few highlights to all blonde (big mistake) and now I have a balayage, I love colouring my hair and added blonde into it but dye can be really damaging to your hair. I’ve recently been using Joico K-PAK colour therapy which is an instant shine and repair miracle for colour-treated hair that unlocks the secret to out-of-this-world vibrancy, while providing deep repair and illuminating shine treatment – from the first use my hair felt incredibly soft and hydrated – it helped bring the thickness back to my hair (well the feel of it anyway). It’s the perfect choice for all colour treated hair – from blondes to brunettes, lowlights to highlights.

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Let me know if I’ve missed any haircare heroes which you love and i’ll be sure to try them out.. once I’ve run out of these!

SKINCARE SOS

One thing I think is really obvious from my blog is I’m obsessed with skincare! I might not be able to contour, but if you need a girl who knows her daily cleanser from her night cream then BOOM! here I am! I’ve recently become really interested in natural skincare, especially when it comes to products which I use on my face – I’ve been investing in some bits from The Body Shop but now the lovely team at Pure potions sent me some amazing products to try and add to my overflowing skincare collection. The team sent me six products – Daily Moisturiser, Facial Oil, Lip Balm, Hand Cream, Intense Moisturiser and a Omega Cleanser.

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I was a bit worried when I first received the cleanser as it’s oil based and normally I’m not a big fan of oily products, however, it was amazing! It felt really nice on my skin without being greasy or sticky! Currently, i’ve been using the cleansing balm from The Body Shop which I still love, however, this cleanser is definitely up there in my ever-growing collection.

I also received facial oil which has to be one of my favourite products from the collection, I often get dry skin – especially after cleansing and even though I drink more water than a fish my skin can still be really dehydrated! I’ve only been using the product for a couple of days but I can already see an amazing difference in my skin. With the facial oil you only need a couple of drops which I like to add into my moisturiser rather than adding straight to my face – I’ve really enjoyed using this product at night time because it gives it the night to sink in.

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As a girl from Manchester I’m used to the cold rainy weather, however, my lips don’t take to it as well..meaning I often get Ribena lips (imagine drinking a glass of Ribena and the purple lip you get on your top lip – yeah that, but chapness.) This lip balm is really moisturising and perfect for when my lips need some serious r&r – I don’t think I would use it every day, but it’s great when my lips are suffering.

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I’ve been suffering from a little dry and dehydrated skin recently, I don’t know if it the change in my routine or I’m not getting enough water (despite drinking A LOT) but there is definitely tightness/dryness especially on my cheeks and forehead – I’ve been using the moisturiser every morning to help with this and I love it – the moisturiser is thick and creamy without being heavy – it sinks into the skin really well and leaves my skin feeling fresh and hydrated. I think it’s so important to moisturise your face especially before putting make-up on and after taking it off. Currently, I’ve been using one from Nip & Fab, but I definitely think I’ll be adding this one into my circulation.

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Pure potion also offer an intense moisturiser which I’ve not had a chance to use this moisturiser yet as my skin hasn’t really suffered from intense dryness – however, from the result I have seen this cream sounds amazing if you suffer from eczema or other skin conditions which causes you skin to be dry – I’m looking forward to winter coming so I can give it a go. The formula for this product is really interesting, stored in a pot the warmth of your hand turns the balm into an oil making application onto dry skin much easier and soothing.

Even though I’m pretty obsessed with skincare I serious neglect my hands, I don’t particularly have any issues with my hands and to be honest I often forget that hand cream is a thing! However, in the spirit of giving things a go I’ve popped this on my desk at work in the hopes that I’ll remember to give my hands some extra TLC – I wasn’t sure on the smell at first, I’m used to things which don’t have much of a smell but this (even though it smell amazing) definitely has a strong one, I’ve started to get used to it and the natural scents have become quite a nice part of my day.

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I believe the range is available in Boots and as mentioned before is completely natural, which I think is SO important for the environment and our bodies. If you want more information about the brand head over to their website which can be found at https://www.purepotions.co.uk/

 

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HOW I FEEL ABOUT MY BODY!

Ah, body positivity – the hot topic of recent years! From Tess Holiday, Ashley Graham, Iskra Lawrence & Rihanna body positivity has been hitting the headlines for the last couple of months, and while a lot of the press are praising women of all sizes for embracing their bodies there is still a lot of issues around body positivity.

As I’ve spoken about openly on this blog at the age of 19 I developed (or first noticed) I had a number of mental health issues which hit my like a tonne of bricks, but what I haven’t really discussed is my relationship with body dysmorphia and eating disorders – my main issues surrounded restricting calories and working out obsessively which at the time I thought was great because I was losing weight! However it was really unhealthy and clearly unsustainable. My weight has yoyo’d over the years but I’m finally starting to develop a healthy relationship my body and food – however, I do have low moments from time to time.

Naturally, I’m a pear shape which people seemed to disagree with sometimes but my hips are bigger than my waist and boobs – making me a pear! It took me a long time to come to terms with that because for so long I considered myself an hourglass shape, like the old school glamour girls with a tiny waist and perfect curves. I’ve internally fought with myself about what I want my body to look like, there are times when I wish I had bigger boobs to complete my curves like the Kardashian clan or Beyoncé, but there are also times when I so desperately want to be slender – like the Gigi Hadids and Kendall Jenners of the world – I wanted the VS look because I personally thought that looked the most appealing to me mainly because I have small boobs. (P.S This is not me saying other body types aren’t appealing or beautiful because they bloody well are! This is just talking about me and my body.)

 

I work out a lot and sometimes I feel like I’ve been on a diet since I was 15 – I think I’m slowly coming to terms with what my body is/isn’t and I know I should appreciate it more. I struggle to remind myself how amazing my body is – it has walked me to the Everest Base Camp, ran for miles, it has danced (not very well), swan, jumped and so much more – sometimes I forget how lucky I am to have this body and how incredible it is – even if I do have a stretch mark or two. My body is more than its measurements and I realise how abusive and ungrateful I have been in past – I use to feel that my body had betrayed me when I put on weight or got stretch marks but then I realised I was putting on weight because I was binge eating and comfort eating and there was nothing wrong with my stretch marks, they are just a part of me (even if I do use bio-oil to lighten them).

It’s hard to admit but I’m still not happy with my body and I suppose they will always be a part of me that wishes for something different – but this is my body and it’s perfect the way it is because it’s mine!

What are you body positivity tips and advice? Do you struggle with anything or do you have a mantra?

 

 

WHY I DECIDED TO JOIN ELITE

Elite Together describes its transform programme as an intensive 6 week programme that is designed to discover your true potential! The goal is to lose 20lbs in 6 weeks and if you do you get your money back!

When I tell people that i’ve joined this programme I’m met with a lot of confused faces, a lot of people telling me I don’t need to lose 20lbs (which is very sweet) and a lot of laughter because I can’t drink alcohol or have sugar for 6 weeks (yes, really). So why did I join? I’m suppose i’m not in desperate need to lose weight and as some-one who can run a decent distances my fitness levels are OK..ish but I still felt like I was missing something within my workouts! Once I’m in a routine I love the gym, especially classes! Being shouted at by an instructor and having people around you to suffer with and inspire you is great – it helps motivate you and keep the atmosphere light, I believe exercising should be challenging but fun – what is the point in doing something you hate? You won’t keep it up or get anything from it long term.

I like to see exercise as therapy and to challenge how far I can push my mind as well as body, I wrote a blog post a little while ago about the benefits exercise on my mental health which you can find here: http://bit.ly/2raXIQ5

I’ve just completed my first week at Elite and it has been amazing, the workouts are killer and the meal plan means that i’m eating better and not stuffing my face full of chocolate or any junk foods, sadly for my boyfriend takeaway Friday is out of the occasion. My first weigh in is on Monday so I will update after that and i’ll keep writing about my experience and how the weight loss/fitness aspect of the training goes.

 

LOOK FOR THE HELPERS

Manchester is my home – I work here, I live here, I fell in love for the first time here and I’ve had my heartbroken here and on Monday night my heart was broken again. Manchester Arena, a nostalgic place for many, was attacked which took the lives of 22 people, injured over 50 and left scars on thousands more. It’s hard to describe the feeling of seeing your city on its knees, especially a city like Manchester – known for its music, its culture, food, comedy and history! It’s honestly one of the most beautiful cities I’ve had the pleasure to live in.

The city has been praised worldwide for pulling together in a time of need, but I don’t think people truly realised how spectacular it has been. From the moment it happened, on and off duty police officers raced to the scene, paramedics and firefighters all put their lives at risk to help the victims. The people of Manchester opened their doors, offered free taxi journeys, suppled tea & coffee, donated blood and thousands of people stood strong at the vigil all to show their support and to mourn the loss of the victims.

As I write this, victim’s names are slowly being release and families are trying to come to terms with the lose of their loved ones – I could never imagine being in their situation, and my heart goes out to each and every one of them. When I first heard the news I was in disbelief and to be quite honest I didn’t cry – I couldn’t cry but the dull ache in my heart has turned in sadness, helplessness, uncertainty and I can help my cry over the lives lost and changed forever. However, I hold hope in my heart and I know Manchester will rise from its knees, lifting up the people who need it most.

My friend quoted Mr Rogers and reminded me to ‘look for the helpers’ and that is what we have to do! Tragedy has struck Manchester but so has love. Paula Robinson rescued 50 children after the attack and took them to a local hotel for safety, a homeless man by the name of Stephen Jones raced to help the victims without hesitation and the Manchester Evening News along with the people of Manchester have raised over 1 million pounds to help the victims.

Manchester needs to make a promise now, a promise to those 22 people who we’ve lost, who are not just a number or a statistic but apart of our family – whether we knew them personally or not. We’ll never forget this attack but we need to ensure the kindness and hopefulness in our community continues for years to come.

Stay strong our kid!

x

WHY IS SELF-CARE IMPORTANT?

The definition of Self Care is:

The actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness.

Why is self-care important?

Whether you’re some-one who suffers with an illness (physical or mental) or not self care is really important. All of us are constantly on the go with our social lives, work, families and other commitments and from time to time it can all become a bit much. As some-one with a full-time job, a blog, a social life, a boyfriend and family who like to see me (for some strange reason), and a mental health issue I think it’s really important that I give myself a break from time-to-time. I know the above paragraph makes it seem like i’m throwing myself a pity party but i’m definitely not! I know there are people out there who have 10x the amount on their shoulder that I do and it so important to recognise this and check out for a moment or two.

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There are a number of things which I really enjoy doing when I need some self-care, firstly, I love going for a run or a really long walk – nothing makes me happier than plugging in my music and just losing myself for an hour or two – i’m really lucky that my parents live in an area which is close to the countryside! I believe getting out into nature with fresh air and time away from your phone and laptop is really important – it give you time to think, re-evaluate and get a little bit of light exercise which help the endorphins to start pumping.

The second I do when I need some time out is a digital detox! I believe all social media apps from my phone (if I still need to have my phone on me), I close my laptop and forget about the world online. I know this might sound strange or drastic but comparing yourself to the lives on people you see through a filter (mostly Valencia or Ludwig) is not healthy and it’s easy to forget that everything you see has been brighten, tighten and whatever else you can do with editing app these days. So turn off your phone, unplug you computer and give yourself a breather – then you’ll realise that you’re probably smashing it!

Another tip which I find really effective is to mix up your routine once in a while, this doesn’t have to be finding a new job or moving country – it can be really small but  something which will re-stimulate your mind, it can be simple like finding a new way to work, buying a new outfit or going out for some food or a drink afterwork if you normally rush home! As they say variety is the spice of life.

Last, but definitely not least is pampering – it’s important to take pride in your appearance, not for vanity reasons but to re-establish your self worth and how f*cking amazing you are (pardon my language). I love to take long hot baths with essential oils, bubble bath, bath salts and all that fun stuff. Recently I’ve been struggle with my self-worth and I’ve seen a few red flags of my anxiety and depression, so the lovely team at Baylis & Harding sent me a little care kit which included a linen rose and cotton bath and shower creme, linen rose and cotton bath salts (actually incredible), a exfoliating mit, three gorgeous luxury bath soaks, one of which has grapefruit in it and it’s actually heavenly! To top it all off they came in this gorgeous basket which I can store all of my products in! I used some of the products tonight after a run and I literally could feel my stresses melting away, therefore, I thought it would work perfectly for this post. It’s little simple things like this which can make you feel so much better! I find soaking off a long hard week really therapeutic.

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