Monday, 16 December 2019

Cruelty Free Skincare Routine

I have been cruelty free for 4 years now and more recently I have been trying to reduce my plastic usage, especially in my day to day skincare routine. Products I would usually buy that are in plastic packaging I have invested time into looking for alternatives in glass or reusable containers. I keep my routine simple and natural trying to steer clear of harsh chemicals on my skin. I use a lot of Lush and always make sure to return my black pots for the store to reuse for future products to save throwing them away.

1. I first splash my face with cold water when I wake up and then use the Aqua Marina cleanser from Lush on my face, an all natural cleanser with extracts of seaweed and calamine which helps to reduce excess oil build up meaning it is perfect for oily skin. I then wash this off with a warm face cloth or reusable cotton round.
2. I then follow this up with a facial oil and the one I am currently using is Boots Botanics Organic Facial Oil that does not leave me feeling greasy but hydrated.

1. If I have been wearing makeup that day I tend to remove it using plain old coconut oil that you can buy from regular supermarkets. I grab a bit and rub it on my face, then take a reusable cotton round to rub off the excess makeup.
2. I then go in with a gentle scrub, my favourite for years now has been the Ocean Salt by Lush. This again is great for oily skin, with sea salt, seaweed and avocado extracts helping to buff away the dead skin whilst still leaving your skin feeling nourished.
3. Sometimes (if I remember) I will do a face-mask, this is usually once or twice a week. I tend to go for a Lush one, like Cup O' Coffee mainly because I love the smell. But I also love how it leaves my skin feeling and looking rejuvenated.
4. I will finish up with some form of a night moisturiser to make sure my skin is kept hydrated overnight. I again tend to go for a more natural one that is not to harsh on my skin, and often find myself using the Sukin Moisture Restoring Night Cream that I can find in TKMaxx a lot of the time.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

An Eating Disorder 7 Years On

When I first developed my eating disorder I was around the age of 13. My body was going through many changes and me having a perfectionist attitude towards most things, including the way I look, I found myself wanting control how I looked. I was consumed by my anorexia to the point where I wasn't sure of my identity without it, food was controlling me.

I am now 20. Back when I was in the depths of my recovery I didn't think I would ever gain weight and be happy. Now 7 years on I am a healthy weight, I enjoy working out for my health and I enjoy food. I can go out for food and I can miss a day of working out without feeling guilty, most of the time. Yes, I still have bad days, there are times when I feel my self going for the lower calorie option, giving into the voice residing in my head. This happens even though I am recovered, but I do not see it as a failure, I move on and try to do better next time. I still sometimes feel guilty about what I have eaten. I sometimes still look in the mirror and not like what I see, but that is ok.  I do not believe I will fully get over my past with an eating disorder. I accept it is probably something I am going to have to live with for the rest of my life, but the difference is I am no longer consumed by those negative thoughts. Now I fight those thoughts daily and keep winning, every time you do something against what the voice in your head is telling you, it is a win. I refuse to go back to the shell of a person I once was. Back when I was 13 I used to think the way a person looked was everything, I wanted to look the way models looked, even though for my body that was not a healthy ideal. I have learned what was healthy for my body and for me. Even three years ago, years after I was 'weight restored', I still had fear foods, I hated eating out and stuck to healthy foods. As time went on I grew as a person and now I can eat out multiple times a week and feel comfortable with my curvier figure, I enjoy treating myself now, I am less harsh on myself for having a treat.

What helped me throughout the years was seeing the variety of body shapes seen across the media today that are seen as beautiful. There is not only one perfect body, it should be healthy and make you happy, screw the outdated stereotypes, every shape is beautiful. Back in 2013 there was few if any curvier girls in magazines or on social media, all of them were stick thin. Though yes that figure may be attainable, beautiful and healthy to some people, a 13 year old girl seeing exclusively thin girls online at such an impressionably age can deem harmful and for me it did, that along with other reasons led me to be taken into the darkness of an eating disorder. It is not the way you look that is important, it is the way you act and treat people that truly matters, if you are a good person you are truly beautiful.

Today the world is changing and adapting, it is accepting eating disorders more widely as a serious condition. I hope that in the future less people will find themselves in the position I once was.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Plastic Swaps

By 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than marine life. As more organisms die due to our own plastic pollution in their oceans something needs to be done. Plastic needs to be gone from our oceans, it does not degrade, it stays there, for years on end being carried from continent to continent withheld in the currents and in the forms of micro plastics. Marine organisms end up consuming it or becoming entangled, leading to death. Species of turtles and whales are facing extinction because of us. In the very near future there may be no more sea creatures left, simply due to the effects of plastic and we will lose a beautiful and essential part of our ecosystem.

Reducing your plastic usage is simple.

Simple Swaps 

  • Bagged produce - for unpackaged produce with reusable produce bags 
  • Toothbrush - for a bamboo toothbrush (completely compostable)
  • Floss - for bamboo toothpicks
  • Plastic bottle - for stainless steel water bottle
  • Single use coffee cup - for stainless steel or bamboo coffee cup
  • Stop with the single use straws and stirrers - use a plain old metal spoon to stir your drinks and invest in some metal or bamboo straws
  • Sanitary products - invest in a moon cup or washable pads, yes they are still sanitary and hygenic (Bloom&Nora)
  • Use flannels and reusable cotton rounds made from fabric (Cheeky Wipes)
  • Cleaning products - look for refillable or glass bottled cleaning products (Plastic Freedom), there is often a shop offering this in your local area (Chester one - (Just Footprints)
  • Beauty products - try to look for things packaged in glass, wood or even packaging free items, Lush has some amazing minimal packaging makeup items such as concealer (Lush)
  • Pasta/rice/flour etc - go to your local bulk buy store and take your own containers (Chester one - Just Footprints)
  • Notebooks - avoid leather and plastic covered notebooks and opt for recycled paper ones (Ethical Market)

These are just a few swaps you can make to make a difference. Yes there is a lot of mention of bamboo here, but the reason for that is it is a great resource to replace plastic. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet and so large amounts of it can be used in a short space of time as the regrowth is amazing. Also, with increasing funding being put into the plastic issue, more biodegradable alternatives are being tried and tested in the hopes to be used in the manufacturing industry. Here is a link to a post showing just a few (Packaging Alternatives). If this postive approach is to continue we can see our oceans and eradicate plastics for good.You do not have to go and do every single one of these steps to make an impact. Just one of these swaps will help reduce your plastic consumption by a considerable amount, more than you realise. The time is now to save our oceans or otherwise they will be past repair.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

What You Should Know Starting Uni

Starting university is a daunting prospect, especially if you haven't ever really lived from home. It is stepping into the unknown, being thrown into a flat with people you most likely do not know and into a routine that is unfamiliar to you. But everyone is in the same boat as you. Freshers week is the perfect chance to mingle and make new friends, especially if you are a fan of going out. Take part in the themed nights out, no doubt you will make fast friends (which always happens when you are drunk, whether you remember them or not the next day is another story). However if you are more like me and not the biggest fan of going out to clubs then do not worry, you can still enjoy your university experience. You do not have to drink to enjoy uni.Take the time finding people who enjoy what you enjoy, go to serendipity, join a society, talk to people on your course. Eventually you will find your 'click'. And if you already know people at your university, great! you will become even closer as you all go through the whirlwind if university together.

There is a big culture behind university, mostly partying and drinking.

With studying and your workload be prepared to be left to your own devices, here it is much more important to be reliant on yourself and  to actually be dedicated to your own work. No teacher is going to be chasing after you if you do not do the work so making sure you can step up and be more mature about the whole process is important. If you do not complete the essay you were given chances are your overall grade at the end of the year will not be quite what you wanted. Invest in a planner, a pin board where you can jot down all of your deadlines to keep on top of everything. The best thing I learnt in first year? Do not leave it till last minute, the stress really is not worth it.

As for living on your own, that for me was the scariest part. I would have liked to have thought that before uni I was quite self sufficient but boy was I wrong when I got to uni. Simple tasks like washing the dishes, doing the washing and cleaning became a lot of effort but something that unfortunately needed doing. I somehow actually learnt to cook (kind of) in first year. Bearing in mind my 'cooking' is mostly throwing whatever I have in the cupboard and fridge into a pan, cooking it and then calling it a meal, but it worked I guess. Looking for cheaper finds to what you may have been used to at home will help your student loan go that little bit further, for example buying supermarkets own brand beans instead of Heinz (they taste the same anyway)

Before you know it first year will be over and you will be starting second year (like me) and you will soon realise that the first time around you were lucky with your workload, as trust me it gets heavier. First year may have felt like a breeze but second time around it all counts, so make the most of it.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Marrakech | 2019

I was quite apprehensive upon visiting Marrakech simply because I had never been to a country with the same culture. It is very contrasting to your typical westernised city. Though some parts are more westernised than others Marrakech still maintains many of their beautiful traditions. One of those traditions being Riad's. These are traditional houses situated on the streets of the city that circle a central courtyard that may often house a pool or meeting area. Me and my friends chose to stay in one for our week there to experience the full Marrakech culture. The one we stayed at was the Riad Amira which was rather central within the city and not a far cry to all the things worth your visit in Morocco.

One thing that enticed me about Morocco was the stunning architecture, this was evident when we took a visit to the Bahia palace and I would highly recommend visiting here if you are off to Marrakech. It is made up of gorgeous 19th century Moroccan architecture filled with culture and is found in the south part of the Medina.

For getting around to the different areas in the city we opted for a two day bus pass that could get us to a range of different areas both within and outside the Medina. I would highly recommend doing this is you want to experience both sides to the city, both inside the tradition Medina walls where you can find the traditional souks markets and in contrast outside the walls where the cities westernised malls and roads are located.

If you are into your instagram worthy spots then along with the Bahia Palace, the Jardin Majorelle will be right up your street. It houses some beautiful architecture displayed in the intense blue walls and contrasting yellows along with a wild array of exotic plant life. Whilst there you can also visit the Berber Museum or pay a trip to the Yves Saint Laurent Memorial.

Probably my favourite part of the trip was a day out to the Ouzoud Waterfalls. We had an amazing guide with us on this day and he made the experience even more special. It was about a two hour drive to get to the mountains and once we arrived it was a quite a hefty walk to get to the actual waterfall. However the guide made the time fly by talking about the Marrakech lifestyle and also along the way we stopped off to get to hold a monkey, yes a wild monkey (because apparently our tour guide was Aladdin) Once we got to the Ouzoud falls we payed a small price to get on a boat that would take you right under the water and you had the option to jump in, but rest assured you still get soaked even if you don not take the plunge. We were then treated to a traditional three course meal followed by the delicious Moroccan mint tea before the walk back to the coach. If I had to recommend doing anything whist on your trip to Morocco it would be to visit here and I hope you get the same guide as me as he really made the trip special.

The Souks are an experience to be had. An attack on the senses many people called it, which I can second. A square full to the brim with traditional markets and food stalls can make one feel overwhelmed and leaves you not knowing where to look. Before you visit here be sure to be ready to haggle your prices and have an idea of what you are looking to buy or you may well be trapped there for hours on end. The locals may be persistent upon getting you to want t buy but simple no thank you's or wearing sunglasses to avoid eye contact if you would rather not be approached will help you out. None the less there are some beautiful items to be found for bargin prices here and the experience is one you will never forget.

All in all my visit to Morocco is one I shall never forget. I have fallen in love with this country and city itself. The traditional culture is one that is truly beautiful, one that should be respected. The traditional cuisine is something I still miss and can never replicate as good myself. Moroccan culture is something I think everyone deserves to experience because it will leave you wanting to go back for more.

Monday, 24 June 2019

How to Deal With Body Dysmorphia

Body dysmorphia is a lot more common than you think, most people tend to associate them with eating disorders and though there is a strong correlation between the two, anyone can suffer from this condition.

Previously I have spoken about the reality of an eating disorder and my struggles, I touched upon my struggles with body dysmorphia. From a very young age my ideal views of what I 'should' look like were drilled into my brain with media images of perfectly airbrushed bodies being slammed into my face. The impact of those images on young girls can be detrimental and it is this that spiralled my eating disorder and dysmorphia.

Body dysmorphia is seeing a figure in the mirror you deem as severely flawed. Your mind basically portrays flaws that will be unnoticeable to those around you. For me I saw myself as 'fat' when in reality I was in the grasps of anorexia sitting at around less than 6 stone. Body dysmorphia makes you see fat when in reality there is bone. It will make you obsess over cellulite or stretch marks when they in fact are normal and beautiful. The persons image of themselves becomes distorted and they obsess over trying to conceal those flaws. The painful thing for sufferers of body dysmorphia is that it does not easily go away. It is embedded in your mind and retraining yourself to think that your body is beautiful and you are good enough is something that is incredibly hard to do. Instead of picking out your flaws, pick out what you like about yourself. For me I like my eyes, my strong legs and my freckles, it may be random but it helps you to concentrate on the positives you see in yourself and not putting yours down.

Though yes, today I am weight restored from my eating disorder, I do still struggle with body dysmorphia. It has become an on going battle that I do not intend on giving into. I therefore prove that body dysmorphia does not have to only affect someone who is overweight or underweight, it can affect anyone and those people suffering with it should seek help. I struggled at 6 stone and I still struggle at 9 stone, there is no grey area with this mental illness. Just because you are recovered from whatever eating disorder you may have had it does not mean you are fully ok. Body dysmorphia may linger and it is ok to seek further help for it, whether it is speaking to a therapist to help retrain your thoughts or simply just speak to a friend. Everybody is beautiful no matter the size or marks or battles is has been through. It is worthy of your love.

Monday, 10 June 2019

My Current Gym Routine

I have been going to the gym now for around 2 years consistently and within that timeframe I would say I have been training heavy for around a year, more so the last six months. I have hit many plateaus on my weight training journey. I have had times where I have been unmotivated and times where I have whacked out PB's left right and centre. Recently I have been loving my routine and love lifting a heavier weight each time.

I typically train 5-6 times a week currently with a workout split of three lower body days and two to three upper body days with abs and cardio worked into those sessions. With my compound movements I aim to add weight on and lower the reps in order to build my overall strength, then with the isolation exercises I tend to do higher reps with more focus on doing slow and controlled movements to help tone the muscle. 

Day 1 - Legs 
Warm up stretches 

Back squats - work up to 3x5 on 70kg followed by 2x2-3 on 80kg
Front squats - work up to 3x5 on 50kg
RDL (with dumbbells)- 3x8 on 18kg per leg, superset with 3x8 on 12kg
Hip-thrusts - 3x12 with 26kg dumbbell, superset with 3x12 with resistance band
Leg press (with resistance band) - 3x8 on 155kg
Donkey kicks on cable machine - 3x8 per leg
Goblet squat - 3x8 with 26kg dumbbell, superset with 3x8 bodyweight jump-squats 
Box jumps - 5x8

Day 2 - Shoulders, Chest and Triceps 
Warm up stretches

Barbell chest press - work up to 5x5 on 30kg
Dumbbell chest press - 3x10 with 10kg per arm
Cable flys - 3x8 
Dumbbell shoulder press - 3x8 with 10kg per arm
Barbell shoulder press - 3x5 with 20kg barbell 
Single arm lateral raises on cable machine - 3x10 per arm
Front lateral raises - 3x10 with 4kg dumbbell, superset with side lateral raises
Tricep press - 3x8 with 8kg dumbbells
Skull-crushers - 3x8 
Tricep extension on cable machine - 3x10

10 minute row

Day 3 - Legs
Warm up stretches

Back squats - work up to 2x5 on 85kg
RDL (with dumbbells)- 3x8 on 18kg per leg, superset with 3x8 on 12kg
Hip-thrusts - 3x12 with 26kg dumbbell, superset with 3x12 with resistance band
Single leg, leg press - 3x8 per leg
Donkey kicks on cable machine - 3x8 per leg 
Leg extension - 3x10 
Goblet squat - 3x8 with 26kg dumbbell, superset with 3x8 bodyweight jump-squats 
Box jumps - 5x8

Day 4 - Back and Biceps
Deadlifts - work up to 5x4 at 80-90kg
Barbell rows - 5x8 on 40kg
Cable rows - 3x10
Lateral pulldowns - 3x10
Face pulls - 3x8
Dumbbells single arm rows - 3x8 per arm with 16kg 
Bent over rows with dumbbells - 3x8 with 5kg in each arm
Hammer curls - 3x8 per arm with 9kg dumbbells 
Bicep curls with dumbbells - 3x8 with 4kg
Bicep curls with bar - 3x10 at 12.5kg

10 minute row or abs 

Day 5 - Legs
Warm up stretches

Front squats - work up to 5x5 on 50kg
RDL (with dumbbells)- 3x8 on 18kg per leg, superset with 3x8 on 12kg
Hip-thrusts - 3x12 with 26kg dumbbell, superset with 3x12 with resistance band
Bulgarian split squats - 3x6-8 per leg with 12kg dumbbells in each hand
Leg press (with resistance band) - 3x8 on 155kg
Donkey kicks on cable machine - 3x8 per leg
Goblet squat - 3x8 with 26kg dumbbell, superset with 3x8 bodyweight jump-squats 
Box jumps - 5x8


Day 6 - Back and Shoulders 
Deadlifts - work up to 5x4 at 80-90kg
Barbell rows - 5x8 on 40kg
Cable rows - 3x10
Lateral pulldowns - 3x10
Dumbbell shoulder press - 3x8 with 10kg per arm
Barbell shoulder press - 3x5 with 20kg barbell 
Single arm lateral raises on cable machine - 3x10 per arm
Front lateral raises - 3x10 with 4kg dumbbell, superset with side lateral raises

10 minute row or abs

If I make it to day 6 and I am still motivated to work out it is a good workout week for me and I can assure you that rarely happens. By the time I reach the end of the week my body is tired and everything feels heavy. But that is okay because it is just your body telling you to rest. Rest and fuelling your body is just as important as working out.

Monday, 20 May 2019

The Reality of First Year

It really does feel like only yesterday when I moved into my university room and waved good-bye to my parents as they left me survive in the student world. But now first year is over,  I guess it is onto second year now (if I pass).

There is so much hype around going to university everyone boasting about how it is the best years of your life, maybe I am doing it wrong. Yes, I love my life here in Bangor but the actual university side of life here has been quite daunting. 

Leaving Friends 
This was probably the hardest for me. I have always had a safety net of friends with me whatever club or school I have moved to, I always followed people. University was the first time I was plummeted into a lonely abyss where I knew no-one in the first few days. I was lonely and envied my friends from home who looked like they were having the time of their lives in freshers, I guess I was jealous. I left many friends from home but gained many new ones. I found people I knew and found out how amazing they are as friends. They took me in and made me feel included and we have shared so many moments together both drunk and sober. I cannot wait to move in with them next year. 

The Socials
Guaranteed I am not the average university student. I do not enjoy going on club nights out and this year I did not apply to be in any society's, so I guess my first year has been what many people would describe as 'boring'. I do wish I joined some exciting and unique society to meet new people but maybe I will try that next year? I have not been to a club in university since Halloween and to be honest that really does not bother me. I would much rather have a Netflix night in with a Domino's. My kind of socials involves being with my friends at a bar, stuffing our faces with food and just chatting utter rubbish. 

The Work
This has been the hardest aspect of university for me except for the loneliness. Toward the last year of sixth form my mental health and education did not mix very well and this has been the case this year as well. I struggle with the motivation to do my work, with my anxiety preventing me enjoying particular elements of my course. Yes, I have not been to all of my lectures, not because I was hungover after a night out but because I could not bring myself mentally to go. I learnt that giving yourself a break and not being hard on yourself for needing time off was ok. The mental strain of university is not what most first years talk about but it is definitely tough to deal with.

Leaving Home
I have always been rather independent but in saying that I rarely went away from home. When I was younger I always got homesick and cried for my mum. But as I got older I liked my own space. I enjoy having my own space to call my own (even though it was a tiny box room). I feel like I have grown a lot as a person living on my own. I feel more like an 'adult' even if I am not very good at it. I never really missed home, I am not very far from it in reality, but still I would like to think I have succeeded in living on my own without dying.

All in all it has been a rollercoaster year, I will not lie there may have been slightly more downs than ups but I would not take this year back for anything. the first few months I struggled more so trying to get into a new routine and adapting to the university life, but it got easier and I enjoyed it more and more. I have grown so much as a person here in Bangor with the help of the people close to me here and I hope to continue to grown throughout my remaining years of university.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

The Reality of an Eating Disorder

Eating disorders come in many shapes and sizes. It is always regarding a persons hatred towards their body, turning them towards self destructive tendencies. It is a way on control, when the person feels like they are spiralling. It is a voice inside their head leaving them blind to what is actually going on.

Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating and Orthorexia to name a few.

All are eating disorders, all are very different, all evolve around control. Eating disorders are not something someone choses and it is not as easy as 'just eating a cheeseburger', or to 'eat normally', eating disorders are a routine to the person suffering with it. Everything revolves around their food. Plans with friends revolve around their meals. Strategic planning and manipulation comes with eating disorders, ways of hiding food, planning meals to the hour, skipping meals or avoiding situations that involve food. It is an isolating experience where you feel alone. 

Anorexia. The condition where a person quite literally starves themselves to death to achieve the ultimate goal of being skinny, but once it starts the person does not realise when to stop. They are never skinny enough in their eyes, no matter how many times you tell them that they look ill or too skinny. They want to see their ribs poking out because to them that is beautiful to them it is an achievement, they have warped sense of what real beauty is. All they see in the mirror is someone not good enough, a fat figure staring back at them, never skinny enough. The voice in their head tells them they should eat less and less. Even once a person is weight restored, the voice may still be there. It is a constant battle inside your own head. One voice telling you to not eat the pizza, for the fear it will make you fat, the other telling you it is okay and that you are stronger than your eating disorder. It is like a tug of war, however which side you let win every day is your choice, but you have to let your own conscious be stronger, not the voice of ANA and then overtime the voice will quieten.

The reality of Anorexia is that you are tired all the time, no clothes fit you properly, you fall out with your family and friends, you lose your period and your hair can fall out. No, it is not glamorous. 

Eating disorders make the person suffering isolate themselves, they think everyone is working against them. Time and patience with someone suffering from any one of these conditions is the only way a person will recover. Get them the help they need, even though sometimes they will not want it. Sometimes they need to come to the realisation themselves that they are killing their body. Recovery is possible as I have shown it. Yes there are days when I still battle and I do not know how long that will go on for, but what I do know is I do not want to go back to the shell of a person I was all those years ago. Now I try to love myself for who I am and the body I was given.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Reducing Your Plastic

Hi, yes I am studying marine biology and yes I am going to blab to you about saving the marine environment.

You are probably sick of hearing about your plastic usage nowadays, seeing as there are countless adverts and news articles on how they are polluting our planet. The reality is that plastics are in a way indeed killing our environment.

As a population we consume 245 million tonnes of plastic per year, with the overall cost of plastic pollution costing around 4.7 billion in that time (GESAMP, 2015). Not only is the issue in the greenhouse gases released when plastic eventually degrades, but also the effects plastic pollution is having on our animals, especially our marine organisms. A number of species are consuming the plastic packaging that has been dumped into the oceans by fisheries and the public themselves. They mistake its identity for a food source, for instance plastic bags are known to be consumed by turtles who mistake them for jellyfish. Plastic bags contain Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's) that are toxic for animals in high concentrations and can as a consequence lead to eutrophication further up the food chain therefore may even be harming ourselves without us even knowing. Also, animals like sea birds and other organisms are becoming entangled in parts of the packaging debris that floats along the surface of our oceans. This debilitates the animals and can lead to death, having catastrophic effects on our marine ecosystem and animals populations as a whole with certain sea turtle species numbers declining by up to 95% of their original population. If nothing is done this problem will just continue to escalate further.

The issue of plastic has become more widely known and this has led to many attempts being made to reduce our overall consumption as a planet. Many reusable alternatives are being produced with shops and restaurants being seen to scrap plastic usage all together and opting for more wholesale options where you bring your own bags and containers for produce.  Little steps can make a difference, whether it be you just taking a reusable cup to a coffee shop (which can save you money as well) or even taking your own metal straw rather than wasting the plastic ones. Also cutting the plastic packaging that comes on cans to hold them together or the rings off the long life milk sealers will prevent animals becoming trapped in them. Not being lazy is what will make the impact, make an effort to save our planet. Yes, it may be tedious to carry a reusable cup, straw or bag with you day to day, but the difference it will make is worthwhile. Please do not litter on the beaches or streets, find a recycling bin to reduce landfills. Taking part in beach cleans can really help your local council, it will protect the marine animals and also help to improve the appeal of your local beaches.

In a nutshell there are many things you can do to help, because in order to help combat the growing issue of plastic everyone needs to get on board. Realistically one person is not going to make a difference, everyone needs to take a step to reduce their plastic usage including you.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

High End Cruelty Free Brands | 2019

Yes I will admit it, I am more into my affordable beauty bits being a student, however there are times when I like to splash out and treat myself to the slightly better quality products. So I thought I would put together a list of cruelty free brands that are a little more on the pricey side to use when those student loans come in. Now, even though I cannot say that I have actually used the majority of these brands (mainly because of their price tag), they are some of the most sought after brands in the cruelty free market.
The ones marked with an * are brands that themselves do not test on animals, however are owned by a parent company that does such as l'oreal. I do still believe that by purchasing from these companies you are supporting the cruelty free protest, as you are showing these parent companies that you want your money going to those that do not support animal testing rather than buying directly from brands that do test. 
The List 
Two Faced* 
Kat Von D
By Terry
Sonia Kashuk
Charlotte Tilbury
Lime Crime
Cover FX
Urban Decay*

Monday, 11 March 2019

Vegan | 3 Years On

It has been 3 years since I changed to a vegan diet, I am not malnourished and I have actually gained a substantial amount of muscle mass on a 'protein deficient' diet as people call it.

I started off my vegan journey when I was 16. I was very much one of those 'preachy' vegans who dismissed all other diets, and wanted everyone to know the benefits of veganism. Whilst I was living a healthier lifestyle with my diet, with my eating disorder history I used it as a way to steer clear of certain foods I deemed 'unhealthy'. For my first year of being vegan I lived a very much 'clean' diet of salads and lots of fruit and vegetables. I rarely ate the meat substitutes and pretty much lived off salad and chips on meals out because that was all there was to offer back then.

When I turned 17 and started sixth form I discovered alcohol and parties. Yes, I was still vegan but I became less hard on myself and ate less 'healthy' choosing to enjoy myself more and live in the moment. If I wanted a burger (vegan of course) , I had it. Of course with alcohol comes impaired judgment and to no ones real surprise the vegan became a chicken nugget eating fiend when she had a few too many drinks. But that was okay, because slip up's are okay and I learnt to not kick myself down for doing it, even though I did often feel shitty the next day (and not just from the hangover). So a few slip ups were a thing in 2017.

2018, to be honest I slipped up less, once or twice. I started training at the gym a lot more frequently and pushed myself harder at every session. With training more I needed to fuel myself with more food, including upping my protein. Whilst I argue a vegan diet is not a 'protein deficient' diet, I did add protein powders and bars into my diet to build more muscle quicker. Though beans and vegetables can provide you with plenty enough protein for your daily requirements also. I started cooking a lot more for myself, making (kind of) healthy meals but with a lot more bits like fake meats, vegan cheeses and chocolates. Everywhere seemed to offer vegan options now, so no longer did I have to opt for a limp salad when I ate out. Balance was much more my thing this year and I no longer saw certain foods as 'unhealthy' but as treats instead.

2019. This marks my third year as being vegan (minus the slip ups). I cannot see myself not eating a vegan diet as I truly love the benefits it has given me. Even being vegan I have been able to gain muscle mass at the gym and continue to work hard, I am the strongest I have ever been and continue to get stronger. I have accepted balance when it comes to veganism, you do not have to go all or nothing. Small changes help, whether it be eating less meat or switching to a plant based milk, it is putting a foot in the right direction to living a more sustainable lifestyle.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Becoming a Gym Girl

When I was younger I was not the athletic type of person to say the least. I never competed on sports teams, the most I did was swimming. When I was around 14 I started doing little home workouts after discovering the miracle that is YouTube but most days I would only do one or two Blogilates videos and that was it for my exercise.

Going into sixth form I wanted to put on weight by gaining muscle and so I started the gym. All over the media was the growing appeal of girls with curves and butts, so I signed up to my local gym and started going regularly. Since joining the gym I have gone through many phases. I first started out by only doing leg day and training my booty. I did this by light weight squats and using the machines that were provided. When I started the gym I was very intimidated by the guys in the free weights area, so I stayed away.

As I became slowly stronger and more confident at the gym and going more regularly, I tried out new things. I started hypertrophy training by doing free bar squats and deadlifts in sets and I got my schedule down. Now, I train lower body twice a week and upper body twice, sometimes I do cardio once but very rarley (I am not much of a runner) but if I do it is a short inclined walk. I tend to do either sets of 8 or 10 depending on the weight I am using. Recently other than hypertrophy I have incorporated more hyperplasia training which requires doing less reps and has longer rest periods but using heavier weights and forces you to train your muscles harder. For example, I have started squatting 5 sets of 4/5 at my maximum weight where as before I would have done 3 sets of 8 at a lighter weight. I have found this has helped to prevent my muscles plateauing.

I use the gym as my me time, I put on my music and block out any anxiety or stress I have and put it all into my workout. When I up that weight a little each session I get that little bit of pride in myself knowing I am becoming stronger. Going from a girl who was scared to eat or workout because it would make me 'curvy' to a girl who strives to lift heavier each session and fuels herself with good food is something I am really proud of.

My Routine

1 x back and biceps
1 x leg day (butt focused)
1 x chest, shoulders and triceps
1 x leg day (hamstring and quad focused)

My Favourite Exercises

Free bar squats (5x5)
Deadlifts (5x6)
Push Presses (5x8)
Shoulder Press with dumbbells (3x8 or 10)
Cable chest flys (4x8)
Leg press (5x8)
Bulgarian split squats (4x6 per leg)