Thursday, 24 September 2015

BOCA: Botanical Oral Care

This is a post I’ve been meaning to do for a while about a product I really love! BOCA toothpaste is something I’ve been using for about two months now and I absolutely adore it! It’s a morning and night botanical formulation that offers ‘high performance luxury oral care’.

I’m always searching for ways to make my smile look bright and attractive, without having to resort to harsh chemicals and cosmetic procedures and I feel I might just have found that with BOCA. It’s reassuring to know that the products are completely free from toxic industrial chemicals that can pass into your bloodstream through your gums and contain no harsh abrasives, which damage enamel and lead to sensitive teeth.

It’s also reassuring to know that it’s a product made in the UK! The products are designed, researched and balanced by expert biochemists at the BOCA Botanicals laboratory in Bath!

It’s free from all nasty chemicals and each package includes two 150ml tubes of toothpaste; one organic mint flavour and one rose. I use the mint flavour in the morning to give me a fresh breath and clean minty taste throughout the day. The Rose flavour I use before I go to bed for a relaxed and soothing, but clean feel, for overnight.

So how does it work exactly? Well, BOCA Botanical toothpastes harness the natural power and properties of chamomile, aloe vera and Siberian ginseng to keep your teeth and gums healthy. They also add a low-abrasion silica to their toothpastes, which fights stains without damaging the protective enamel on the surface of your teeth.

BOCA also teach of the benefits of using two separate tooth cleaning products; one for day and one for night. When oral bacteria are regularly exposed to the same antibacterial agent, they can develop resilience – similar to germs becoming resistant to cold and flu treatments after a while.

By using different actives in Day and Overnight formulations, BOCA toothpastes make it much harder for your own little germys to become tolerant. This exclusive feature called ‘active cycling technology’ has been developed, and is pioneered exclusively by BOCA – science bitch.

Another cool thing I learnt from BOCA is that foaming at the mouth isn’t natural! Their toothpaste doesn’t make you froth at the mouth and that’s because it doesn’t contain a substance called sodium lauryl sulphate, which is used as a lathering agent in regular toothpastes and industrial detergents. Doesn’t really sound like something you want to be putting in your mouth now does it? Hm no, didn’t think so!

The pastes are jam packed full of natural ingredients and have helped whiten my teeth, freshen my breath and reduce plaque dramatically. 10/10 would use again! If you fancy giving BOCA a go then click THIS link to try the rose and mint duo for just £20.

Have you ever used BOCA products? What’s your favourite tooth care product? Let me know in a comment below!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The 'bedside' routine

So today I wanted to share with you, what I like to call, my ‘bedside’ routine. It’s my morning/bedtime beauty routine consisting of a few god sent products I keep on my bedside cabinet. I go through this routine when I wake up in the morning and before I sleep at night and I've seen dramatic improvements in my skin and well-being since starting it a few months ago!

As you can see above (left to right) the first thing on my bedside is a little white porcelain jewellery holder. As annoying as it is, taking your jewellery off at night is really important! The natural chemicals of your skin can quicken the wear and tear of even the finest jewels so giving them time away from your skin while you sleep will help you prolong the life of your bling. It’ll also give your skin and ears a rest from supporting bracelets, earrings etc.

Next we have my little Yankee candle, not necessarily part of a beauty routine but something I count as essential. I light it when I’m getting ready for bed as the scent of lavender is really relaxing and soothing – perfect to help you drift into a deep sleep. However if you are the sort of person who drifts off really quickly DO NOT light candles before you go to bed, it’s not worth the risk of leaving a burning candle on overnight.

Next we have my Garnier micellar water which I use with the cotton pads that you can see in the glass jar on the left of the cabinet. Micellar water helps remove makeup and cleanse your skin without scrubbing or rinsing so it’s perfect for cleaning your skin in bed. I use this the second I wake up in the morning just to freshen my skin for the day and prepare it for the makeup onslaught it’s about to deal with!

In front of the water are my Garnier make up wipes, these are for dry skin (which I have a lot of) and are really good for preventing flaky skin, greasy noses and spotty breakouts. I use these to take off my make up before I sleep, followed by a quick wipe over with the Garnier micellar water.

After that is my Bliss aloe leaf and peppermint foot moisturiser. Everyone should have three moisturisers in my opinion, one for your body, one for your face and one for your feet, and Bliss’ foot patrol is the perfect exfoliating and softening cream for your poor feet! It’s an essential after a long day of work, chasing trains and torturing my feet with high heels and drunk dancing! I use it after my morning shower and just before I go to sleep at night.

Next is my E45 moisturising cream, not particularly glamorous but it’s probably the most exciting/least medical of all my moisturisers. Because I have psoriasis (a skin condition that makes your skin crack, flake and open raw sores due to the over-production of cells) I need to use a lot of moisturisers that have medical, as well as cosmetic, benefits and E45 is the perfect light moisturiser for this. I use it morning and night after I shower and use a small tube throughout the day on any exposed/sore skin.

Finally on the right are my Protein World vitamins. I take two multi-vitamins a day and I also take two Vitamin D supplements every day as they have been proven to help with psoriasis. Protein World’s vitamins are really helpful just because they come in a large jar for a pretty reasonable price. Multivitamins are always handy to have as it’s hard to get a lot of natural vitamins (that our body should get from the sun) when you live in the UK!

This routine helps keep my face fresh and free from breakouts and has helped the state of my poor scabby skin improve so much over the last few months! Also thanks to the vitamins my hair and nails have all improved dramatically! Another thing I usually have on my bedside is a bottle of water, I try to drink a pint in the morning and one before I go to sleep – water helps with energy levels and has tonnes of natural benefits, so a pint of cold water is the perfect way to start and end your day!

I hope this post has helped some people who suffer from skin problems as well as anyone just looking to improve their beauty routines. I’m considering doing a post specifically on treating acne/break outs and maybe one specifically on how I treat my psoriasis, so let me know if you’d like to read more in a comment below!


Thursday, 10 September 2015

September Birchbox

Birchbox has been something I’ve wanted to try for a while now and as it was their birthday (or Birchday) in September I thought when better to give it a go? For those of you who don’t know what I’m on about, Birchbox is a company who send out a little box of goodies for you each month ranging from beauty samples to accessories and sweet treats!

When you sign up you go through a tonne of tick boxes to help Birchbox pick the samples that are right for you. Next you’re given the choice to pay upfront for a certain amount of boxes or pay monthly (about £12 a month including delivery). Then a few days later a little box of goodness shows up on your doorstep! Think Graze box, but with cosmetics not food!

The September box contained a Laura Mercier ‘flawless skin’ face scrub, a Benefit Porefessional: License to Blot sample, a Birchbox tangle teaser, a John Masters organic detangle serum, a Laqa & Co ‘cheeky lip’ lip pencil and a Bliss Foot Patrol softening cream.

The Laura Mercier face scrub was something I was really excited to try. I have really sensitive skin which reacts to a lot of products, however Mercier’s products have always worked really well with my skin. After trying the scrub I wasn’t disappointed, after five days of using it my skin felt a lot softer and smoother and my pores looked a lot cleaner. You can get the full sized version here.

Benefit’s Porefessional is a product I use pretty much every day! I have really visible pores and the Benefit products hide them really well, giving my skin and smoother appearance. The new roll up blotting stick, that the product now comes in, makes for easier application than the old tube version as well, so I would definitely recommend this product to those of you who wants smoother looking skin without having to spend forever applying products! Check out the full sized product here.

Thanks to the Birchbox tangle teaser and the John Masters serum, my hair has never been smoother. I apply a little of the detangler to my hair then rinse through with warm water, then I brush my hair through with the tangle teaser as I blow dry it. These two combined make for the perfect silky sleek hair look that is so desperately sought after this season!

The Laqa & Co ‘cheeky lip’ lip pencil is a really long wear lip crayon and is a really popular product in general, however I found the shade sent to be way too bright for my complexion. The bright pink colour really clashed with my pale skin and made me look pasty and drawn out, so even though it was a good quality product, it probably wouldn’t be something I’d go out of my way to buy as most of their colours are really bright and summery and I am not! *insert crying emoji here*

The final goodie in my box was the Bliss Foot Patrol softening cream. All feet go through dry, cracked periods – it’s not surprising considering what we put them through! Having a good moisturiser that targets the skin on your feet specifically is really important and I would strongly recommend the Bliss cream to be that product! After one use my feet felt a million times softer and I’ve already purchased the full sized product!

I know this was a super quick overview of each of the Birch items but I just wanted to do a mini review of each without the post going on and on! I will hopefully be doing one of these posts each month so stay tuned for more Birchbox goodness.

If you’re interested in getting your own Birch goodies then follow THIS link to get your very own box. Have you ever tried Birchbox or any of the above products? What did you think of my reviews? Let me know in a comment below!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Burger Parlour

A few posts ago I told you all about my crazy July and all the good things that happened for me around that time. As luck would have it I wasn’t the only one that fortune shone on that month.

Josh applied for a new job in June, heard back at the start of July, passed all the required tests and interviews and was offered a place at the end of July. He has just started his four year apprenticeship training and is insanely excited!

To celebrate even more good news we went to the Burger Parlour that has just opened up near us. We’d heard good things about it but had never had chance to go there, but with a reason to celebrate we thought we’d give it a shot!

Burger Parlour mainly serves burgers (surprise surprise) but also has pizzas, steaks, hot dogs and much more on their menu. There is also a super cute ice cream parlour attached to the restaurant which I was pretty excited about!

I had the Crispy Coated Chicken Burger which was is a bread crumbed chicken breast topped with bacon, brie, Hawkshead chilli jam and salad, served in a sesame seed bun with fries.

Josh went for the Wild Boar Burger which was a 5oz minced boar meat patty, infused with garlic, spring onion, honey and oyster sauce, topped with jalapenos and blue cheese. That was served with homemade crackling, pepper mayo and sweet potato fries.

If I’m completely honest I’m not a huge burger fan and only picked the option I did because I love brie! But I really did enjoy my meal, all the ingredients for the burgers (and other dishes) are locally sourced and the food has a wonderful ‘homemade’ feel to it.

Josh loved his meal but was slightly disappointed with the crackling, it came slightly anaemic looking and soft, whereas crackling is usually slightly darker and tougher/crispier. We asked for it to be cooked for a little longer but it returned anaemic and still oddly soft – we gave up on it after that.

For dessert I ran to the ice cream counter like a child running downstairs on Christmas morning! Josh opted for the chocolate fudge cake and I got a three scoop sundae with bubble gum, mint choc chip and cookies and cream flavours!

Dessert was brilliant and all the ingredients were, again, locally sourced – it’s always good to know where your food is coming from!

The service was also excellent at the Burger Parlour and you can watch the chefs cook your meal through the serving hatch that stretches along the wall of the restaurant.

Overall the meal and experience at Burger Parlour was excellent, with the exception of the crackling, so I’d probably give it a 4 out of 5 stars!

Have you been to a Burger Parlour recently? Where’s your favourite place to grab a burger? Let me know in a comment below!

Twenty one

So one of the reasons I didn't get round to posting last month was because it was my 21st birthday and I had a whole lot of party planning to do! (This is a picture based post, just to give you a brief look into how I celebrated turning 21.)

The festivities started when my family came round for afternoon tea/champagne at around 4pm on the 28th of July. Then later on my friends joined us for a BBQ and way too many cocktails! It was such a lovely, chilled out day spent with lovely people and I felt royally spoilt!

Above you can see some of the decorations from the afternoon tea, my flowers from Josh and some of my lovely gifts from friends and family. It was an absolutely amazing day and I hope you all forgive me for not posting as often as usual!

What did you all get up to last month? What do you think of my birthday celebrations? Let me know in a comment below! 
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