Christmas ‘Good Gift’ Guide – Under £25

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll probably have seen me talking about ethical shopping quite a bit. I am far from perfect (sometimes Amazon Next Day Delivery is just TOO CONVENIENT) but I have been trying to buy my gifts from local or independent sellers. It’s important to be aware of where your things come from and what you’re spending your hard earned cash on. A ‘good gift’ supports independent shopping and ethical products.
To celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, I have put together a collection of some gorgeous gift ideas from Etsy that won’t break the bank . I came across all of these while doing my own Christmas shopping but they didn’t make the final cut so I thought I would share them with you all instead.

Candles & Lights

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Song of the Sea Candle from Candleisima – £9.99

Candleisima candles are officially at the top of my wish list. They are so classy and this one is scented like juniper, salt and seaweed, which makes it a perfect gift for anyone that loves being by the coast.

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Floral Votive Gift Set from Lace Emporium – £16.99

These delicate floral candles are so pretty I would be too frightened to burn them. They’re also organic and come in recycled packaging!

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Harry Potter Fairy Lights from Bristol Folds – from £22.50

OMG. These origami heart fairy lights are made from pages of Harry Potter making it the most adorable and unique gift for your favourite muggle.


Kitchen & Bathroom

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Girl Boss Mug from TheBestOfMeDesigns – £10

This mug is ideal for any badass women who are getting sh** done. Be quick: if you want to get this mug in time for Christmas you need to order by the 12th December.

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Personalised Breakfast Tray from Applecratescouk – £15.99

I actually saw this a few months ago and added it to my own personal wish list. It’s a lovely idea especially for a couple who have just moved into a new home.


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Vegan Drinking Chocolate with Raw Chocolate Hearts from Lovelight Chocolate – £12

Why don’t you spread a little cruelty-free cheer this Christmas with Lovelight’s vegan and organic chocolate gifts? All the festive indulgence with none of the guilt.

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Tea Taster Selection from Tea Belly Teas – £10

This gift box is the ultimate pressie for tea lovers. It contains Double Mint Brew, Sleepy Brew, Lemon & Ginger Brew, Detox Brew & Rosen-Berry Brew and each taster pack makes 3-4 cups of herbal tea. Absolute bargain!


Beauty

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Men’s Grooming Gift Set from Emina Botanic Boutique – £20

I don’t know about you but I really struggle to buy for the men in my life but this dreamy gift set (all natural and vegan) would make a gorgeous gift for under the tree. Hey, eucalyptus and peppermint aren’t reserved for men so it would be a lovely gift for ladies too.

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It’s a Wonderful Life soap from Wee Tree Soap – £4

You guys already know I love Wee Tree Soap so I don’t need to tell you why these vegan, natural soaps are awesome but this limited edition has the added bonus of Christmas joy! At four quid, it’d make a brilliant stocking filler.


What ethical gifts have you bought this year? I’d love to chat all things Christmas over on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

15 Ways To Manage and Love Your Natural Curls

Guest Blog by Zina Nouhas.


To all my curly haired gals out there, you know the real effort it is to tame your mane. From strict hair routines to costly products, it can be very time-consuming and expensive to keep up your desired look. However, once you find what works best for you, allowing your hair to go natural is an absolute GAME CHANGER.

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Yes, ladies, you’ve been blessed! It’s now time to understand your curly hair more and allow your beautiful bouncy curls back into your life again!

Here are 15 ways to manage and love your natural curls:

1.Know your hair type/curl pattern

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Knowing your curly hair type is the important first step you can take before you can begin your journey into turning into a natural gal. Once you know this, you can then understand what will work best for your hair and get the right products to help define your curls best! Don’t worry if you think your hair doesn’t fall into just one category, I have a mixture of different textures myself, and many other girls will experience this too.

2. Limit washing your hair to once a week

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Some people may think washing your hair every day is great. However, for us curlies, washing your hair every day does more damage than good. It will result in hair becoming drier (than it already is) which is a defo no no since what we want is to attain more moisture. If this freaks you out a little, and you are scared that your hair may be too dirty, skip to #4 – there is always other methods to keep hair looking and smelling fresh!

3. Use sulfate-free products

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Switching to sulfate-free hair products is definitely an option you should consider and is one I am glad I made. It may be more expensive but it’s really worth it. Sulfates are chemicals which are very common in majority of shampoos – take a look at the ingedients list of the one you are currently using, notice any? Common ones are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). The reason why so many people have made this jump is simple: sulfate-based shampoos may get rid of oil and product build up to an extent but they essentially lead to drying out your hair, which results in a lack of moisture and potentially can increase the chance of hair breakage. This is of course not ideal for anyone who’s hair is prone to drying out i.e. curly haired gals! Therefore, making the switch to sulfate-free shampoos will prevent this and solve this issue. Mixed Chicks have a great range that I highly recommend. UK peeps, you can find their products on Amazon.

4. Try out co-washing (washing your hair with conditioner only)

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As I’ve mentioned above, cut down your wash day to just one day a week, in between, you can do what is called “co-washing.” This is simply washing your hair with just conditioner. It’s softer on your hair and won’t strip it of it’s natural oils. This way, you can keep your hair clean and it won’t be as harsh as washing it with shampoo. Some hair products do a specific cleanser for this such as Curly Q Curlie Cutie Cleansing, or you can save money and just use the conditioner you have instead.

5. Always use a leave-in conditioner

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Adding a leave-in conditioner to your curly hair routine will save your life! This will give your hair added moisture that all curly hair desires. A little trick I also do (when it’s not wash day), is getting an empty spray bottle and half fill it with leave-in and then the other half fill it with water. Every day between wash day I will spray my hair with this, before adding other products, to keep the moisture in. Again, Mixed Chicks do a great one –Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner – (which I use) but there will be other cheaper alternatives in your local Boots etc.

6. Oil your hair

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I recommend oiling your hair at least once a week, and if you can, leave the oil in your hair overnight for ultimate results. I always use coconut oil for this but there are other alternatives which are just as good, such as almond oil. Once you wash out that oil the next day, trust me, your hair will be flawless. #CoconutOilSavesLives!

Not only should you use oil as a deep conditioner, you should also oil your hair after washing it (and applied your leave-in conditioner) too. This will help keep your beautiful curls in perfect condition!

7. Use a good quality styling cream or gel

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Once you find what curl pattern your hair is, you can find products suitable to your hair. I have to say, the US get all the best products *sad face* but majority of the time you can find them on Amazon. One of my fav curl creams is the Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream, which I highly recommend! UK alternatives I use are from the John Frieda curly hair products – their serums in particular are amazing to use in order to banish frizz.

(*5-7 is better known as the LOC method: Leave-in, Oil, and Cream (or gel))

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8.Sleep with a silk scarf, turban, or cap on at night to reduce frizz

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Ever have perfect curls before bed and then wake up the next day with them looking a mess? Yeah, me too! A way around this is to wear a turban, silk scarf, or satin cap over your hair before you go to sleep. This will prevent your hair from being as frizzy as it usually is. If you don’t want to wear any of them at night, you can invest in a silk pillow case instead – works just as good!

9. Stop using heat appliances on hair and go heat-free instead

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One of the best things you can do for your curls is stop using heat on your hair! Yup, that means no straightening your hair, using curling tongs, blow drying your hair (on high heat), and, you get the picture … Of course, at times, you may want to switch up your hair style a bit and try out different looks and that’s OK. However, if you do, make sure you take good precautions to not damage your hair (skip to #13).

10. Use a cotton t-shirt to dry your hair in order to reduce frizz

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Do you have an old cotton t-shirt in your wardrobe? Don’t chuck it in the bin just yet. You can use this as an alternative to drying your curly hair more quickly than leaving it to dry it’s self naturally. It’s cheap, it’s quicker, and it will keep your curls from becoming frizzy. This method has been referred to as “plopping.” Yes, really … Google it haha!

11. If you allow your hair to dry naturally, DO NOT keep touching it

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Once you have combed your hair, applied your leave-in, oil, and curl cream – do NOT touch your hair. Honestly, just leave it be and by the time it’s air-dried, your curls will be flawless and non-frizzy. If you keep on touching your hair, you will only cause frizz to happen, and we don’t want that, do we, ladies? If you want to cut time down, I sometimes dry my roots but leave the ends to dry it-self.

12. Use a diffuser (on low heat) to dry your hair

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Buying a hairdryer which had a diffuser attachment was the best thing I’ve ever invested in. TBH, I only diffuse my hair when I’ve got the time, as it can be a long process, but the outcome is defo worth it. Diffusing your hair will allow the air flow to change from a direct stream of air to a more diffused air flow. This will help to reduce frizz, as there will be less hot air directed at any one part of your hair, therefore making it perfect to dry curly hair! Trust me, invest in one too.

13. Use a heat protecting spray if you do decide to use heat on your hair

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If you’re going to brave it and use heat on your hair, make sure you take precaution and protect your hair as much as possible. Use heat protecting sprays and creams before straightening and drying your hair (on high heat) and you shouldn’t do damage like you would without it.

14. Don’t brush your hair when it’s dry

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Some people have looked at me like I’m crazy when I’ve said I don’t brush my hair (or rarely brush it) Trust me I get it, it sounds weird LOL! But honestly, follow this method of only brushing your hair when wet (and NOT when dry) as it will prevent your hair from breakage. When you do brush it, make sure you brush your hair from ends to roots, not roots to end!

15. Find a protective style – such as braids

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Having a protective style is very important for all girls who decide to go natural. Basically, a protective style is when you have your ends tucked away, to prevent further damage from happening. The ends of our hair is the oldest and most fragile part out of our whole hair, which means they are the most likely part to experience damage like breakage and split ends etc. Therefore, by doing a protective style at times, you can help keep your hair in top condition. Protective styles includes braids, twists, updos, and more. I will usually braid my hair or put it in an updo. Try out different techniques and find what works best for you. (FYI, Youtube will be your new bestie as it will give you loads of protective style tutorials, such as this one.)

Convinced enough to go natural yet? My advice: let your naturally curly hair flow free and rock them curls!

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#WerkIt!

Love always,

Zina (purefandom guest writer)

(*Follow me on Twitter and Instagram: OhMyZinaa)

Wee Tree Soaps: Part 1

Everyone loves to pamper themselves. Put on a candle, run a bubble bath and choose a lovely soapy product that smells like bubblegum or lavender, so good, right? Then you end up with a red rash or a UTI because of the high levels of fragrance and chemicals that just don’t agree with you. It was my body’s adverse reactions to commercial skin care products that sent me on a hunt for high-quality products or “dupes” which were not only cruelty-free but natural and kind to your skin. Cue Etsy: I searched for vegan soaps and found the Wee Tree Soaps store. I was immediately enchanted by their products which look good enough to eat!

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As a Scottish blogger, one of my main goals is promoting handcrafted products from Scotland so it is an added bonus that Wee Tree Soaps is, like me, Ayrshire based. Then I discovered that Wee Tree Soaps are actually manufactured in my hometown: Irvine. What are the chances? When I realised this, I knew I had to get my hands on some of these gorgeous soaps. Not only because they are earth and skin friendly but because they are conjured up right on my own doorstep.

It turned out that Leigh, who makes these incredible soaps, has actually known me since I was a little girl! These products are made in my old street where I have the fondest childhood memories. Some of which include playing with Leigh’s kids who lived round the corner. After chatting about old times, Leigh was more than happy to send me a few products to try. I’m trialling Dead Sea MudHoney Oatmeal Scrubby, Spicy Cinnamon, Avocado and Tea Tree and Tangy Tangerine.

Since I have five soaps to review from Wee Tree Soaps, I am splitting this review into two parts to allow for a proper look at each product. All of Leigh’s soaps are free of palm oil, animal products, and artificial colours/fragrances. She made her soaps with her daughter’s eczema in mind because most bath products would irritate her sensitive skin: a feeling I’m sure many of us can relate to. They are fantastic for anyone suffering from eczema, psoriasis and allergies and perfect for anyone looking for a luxury artisan treat without nasty chemicals. The first of my five to try was the Dead Sea Mud soap which I opened on my first night staying in my new flat in Edinburgh. Here’s what I thought…


Dead Sea Mud

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Dead Sea Mud is a muddy treat: beautifully packaged with a lovely marbled effect. I love the quaint tree stamp that adorns every soap; it really makes you feel like you are using an earth-friendly product. It doesn’t give off a huge scent other than a subtle buttery avocado smell with a hint of citrus from the May Chang essential oil. For me, this is proof that there are no artificial chemicals in use so, if anything, it enhanced my experience.

Like all of the Wee Tree Soaps, it is great for sensitive skin. It is marketed more towards mature skin because of its nourishing ingredients. The oils used in this product will draw moisture into the skin, act as a natural barrier between your skin and the harsh elements you face every day and keep your skin feeling regenerated and moisturised as well as providing a lovely bubbly lather.

I used it on my hands, body and face. I don’t recommend using soaps on your face because they are too astringent. Despite all the nourishing oils, this product was still too drying for my face. Leigh also makes Facial Bars which I’d love to try. However, I absolutely love it for refreshing my hands and body. I really wasn’t expecting much of a lather with a chemical-free soap but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how bubbly it is! It doesn’t take much coaxing to froth up – a tiny bit of water goes a long way. Speaking of water, it is really important to keep your product dry and use a good draining soap dish. Because it’s chemical-free, it will just turn to mush if it lies in water for too long. Keep it dry and your Wee Tree Soap will last a very long time.

Oh, and it’s only four quid on Etsy!


 Honey Oatmeal Scrubby

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Having oily and acne-prone skin, a decent exfoliator is key to maintaining a good skincare regime. This Honey Oatmeal Scrubby does the job whilst being cruelty-free and skin-friendly. It does contain honey so may not be suitable for some vegans.

Why do I love this soap? This exfoliator uses ground oatmeal to provide a natural exfoliant. Many high-street exfoliators contain harmful plastic microbeads which are terrible for the environment. These beads go down your drain, into the sea and subsequently into the food chain. According to this article about microbeads by Greenpeace, 90% of birds now have plastic in their stomachs! By swapping out products that use these dangerous beads for an all-natural soap like this, you could make a big impact on the environment as well as your skin.

Like the Dead Sea Mud soap, this soap contains loads of natural skin-loving oils which keep your skin feeling soft and supple as well as providing a bubbly lather. I’m sure many of you will know that the use of honey for beauty goes way back! Women have been bathing and using honey throughout history to keep their skin looking radiant, it’s been used in folk medicine to treat illnesses and various ailments and it’s just generally really good for you. While it doesn’t have a strong fragrance, the combination of honey and oatmeal gives it the faint smell of sweet porridge.

I use this in the shower (do not leave under the water for too long) to scrub the dry skin on my body. This is a great soap to use before applying fake tan or for anyone who feels their skin is looking dull and rough. Unlike many exfoliators, it is very gentle but leaves your skin looking healthy and shiny.

Again, it is a mere £4 on Etsy so fetch yourself a bargain today. This is a lovely gift for vegans and for friends and family with sensitive and irritable skin.


Next time I’ll be reviewing Avocado and Tea Tree, Tangy Tangerine and Spicy Cinnamon!

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Find Wee Tree Soaps on Etsy and follow them on Facebook.

For more home and beauty inspiration, follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

 

How To Turn Student Accommodation Into Your Dream Home

Starting University is daunting but moving into student accommodation doesn’t need to be scary. Once you’re done packing the bare essentials (pyjamas and loo roll), fill your suitcase with adorable bits and bobs to give your new flat that cosy feel.  Here’s some of my favourites:

Inspirational Quotes & Prints

One of the things I did to jazz up my new room was frame some gorgeous illustrations. Get on Etsy and search for prints that reflect your personality. It could be something witty that’ll make you laugh when you see it or something more motivational to get you in the studying mindset. If you’re into a Live, Laugh, Love quote then who am I to judge? Be careful sticking them on walls because some letting agents will kick up a fuss – avoid blu-tac and sticking pins straight on to a wall. If you have a corkboard that’s a great way to showcase your favourite designs and throw up some family photos too. I like framing my prints and resting them on bookshelves and desks. My favourite illustrators right now are The Fuzzy Bee Paper CompanyClaire Barclay Draws and Lemmon Studios.

Candles

You’ll know by now that I’m addicted to candles. I guess it comes down to that Danish lifestyle concept: Hygge. Candles will turn any empty room into a warm and fuzzy place to snuggle up and read a good book. I’ve written a lot about my favourite independent Scottish candle companies but here’s some to get you started. If you’re a book lover like me, invest in a couple of Meraki Candles. For something a bit more luxurious, try MoBros Candles and use my 10% off code: APRIL10. Other candles I love are Love Scottish Candles and McKelvie Candles. Please be careful because not all landlords allow you to burn candles. Find out if it’s okay and if not they still make for gorgeous decorations and smell gorgeous even when they’re unlit.

Books

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Books, glorious books! Nothing makes a room feel more homely than a shelf stacked with your favourite books. I like books that are worn and weathered from a loving reader who has pawed the pages so many times and a cracked spine from an overly zealous reading session. There’s a reason this John Waters’ quote is so famous…

If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ’em!

Books are the life source of any room and you can completely personalise your space by choosing which books you put on display. At the moment, I don’t have many books in my new room but I’m getting there. They’re mostly to-be-read like A Court of Thorns and RoseHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and The Improbability of Love but I will be fetching a fresh copy of Jane Eyre because no bedroom of mine is complete until Jane and Mr Rochester are adorning the shelves!

Soaps, Lotions & Potions

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You don’t need to spend a fortune to have some luxury beauty products in your new home. Having some sweet-smelling, pretty soaps and lotions adds a special something to your room. Between the chaos of starting your course and moving out, it’s important to take time out to practice self-care. That means burning a candle and pampering yourself with your favourite beauty products. Like I said in the Top 10 Tips For Acne-Prone Skin, I love Liz Earle and I’ve recently been enjoying the amazing Wee Tree Soaps too. They are cruelty-free, perfect for sensitive skin and only £4. Investing in nice soaps and lotions makes your room feel more expensive and gives you the chance to unwind too.


For more home inspiration, follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Vanity Femme Glow Dust Review

Review by Zina Nouhas

It’s all about the GLOW!

If you are a lover of highlighters, or are new to the scene and looking for one to splurge on, you are in the right place. Today, I want to discuss a “must have” to add to your make-up collection. It’s sparkly, glittery, and shines bright like a diamond.

It’s the Vanity Femme Glow Dust!

Vanity Femme (aka, Mariyah) is a MUA/beauty blogger who is based in Glasgow, Scotland. Recently, VF and her team launched a brand new product to the make up world called “Vanity Femme Glow Dust.” Glow Dust come in a range of  various of colours (originally four), and thanks to the high success of her launch, VF teased fans with a brand new colour, “Rose Plated.” Isn’t she just the sweetest? All together now, there are five different colours that are currently available to order. Not only does Vanity Femme sell her own highlighter, she also has a wide range of lashes. Oh, that is not all. She takes seminars all over the UK and is pursuing to take them International too. Yass – you go, girl!

What’s next? A lipstick range? I, for one, would LOVE to see that.

I have been following Vanity Femme for a long time now, and as soon as I heard she was launching her own highlighter, I knew I had to invest in them. Back in May, I preordered two of her highlighters, “Gold Caviar” and “Crushed Pearls”, and recently just received them, after her launch date on August 5th. You could say the excitement was unreal – after patiently waiting months to receive them! (Watch the slideshow below for my personal pics of VF’s Glow Dusts!)

Let’s breakdown 5 important points on VF’s Glow Dust:

  • Number 1: the packaging was top notch! Vanity Femme treated buyers to a luxurious black present-like box, and inside, contained the Glow Dust itself along with black pretend diamonds. This kept it right in theme with her glitzy glam glow dusts. Not only that, but the package also had a picture of Mariyah herself, and on the other side was a Katherine Hepburn quote. Nice touch, VF!
  • Number 2: the products are NOT tested on animals. Yay to animal safety! Nah to animal cruelty!
  • Number 3: Despite it being small, for paying £20’s for it, I can state the product is well worth the (debatable) pricey cost. It’s important to note that due to the highlighter being so pigmented, you only need a small drop of it, on your brush, each time you use it. Therefore, the Glow Dust should last a while, meaning the investment is defo worth it.
  • Number 4: the glow lasts ALL NIGHT! Yes, m’loves, you’ll be glowing all night long with Vanity Femme’s Glow Dusts on yo’ face.
  • Number 5: Um, nothing more to say other than …

Go get your GLOW on!

Make sure to check out Vanity Femme on all social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube), and most importantly, her very own webpage – where you can BUY her Glow Dust and also her lashes.

Love always,

Zina

Top 10 Tips For Acne-Prone Skin

Hello and welcome to my first beauty post. It felt appropriate for me to start at the basics with skincare and to go with something personal like spotty skin because I’ve suffered from breakouts since I was about 15. I am not a dermatologist or a dietician. I don’t have any formal training but I have been through a long process of trial and error to get my skin to a state that I’m happy with. Yes, I still have breakouts but now I know how to control them and why they happen. Here’s what I’ve learned in the last 7 years – I hope it helps!

1. You are what you eat.

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If I could give only one piece of advice about looking after your skin it would be: turn to your diet. Skin is susceptible to change due to many things including hormones and the weather but more often than not you can reduce your spots by cutting down on refined carbs, sugar and trans fats. For me, it’s pizza. If I eat pizza, my face literally looks like a pepperoni pizza the next day. Keep a food diary and whenever you have a breakout, ask yourself what foods did you have the day before and try to eliminate them from your diet. Now, I do still eat pizza but knowing that I will face the consequences of a bad breakout the next day!

Skin healthy foods: Lots of green tea and water. Fresh fruit and veg packed with vitamins  and antioxidants like tomatoes (check out recipes like Huevos Rancheros), kale (you could throw some into my Quadruple Green Sweet n Sour dish) and yellow bell peppers (dice them into Classic Lasagne) Check out this list of 25 Best Foods For Your Skin.

2. The drugs don’t work.

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Okay, that’s a bit harsh. A lot of medication does work. I’ve spent years being prescribed different drugs but, more often than not, they only provide short-term solutions. My skin would clear for a few weeks but my spots would soon fight back with a vengeance. Having said that, Roaccutane will clear severe acne undoubtedly. I have never used it but know many friends who have clear skin now as a result. It comes at a price though: mood swings, dry and flaky skin, sore bones and joints… It just depends on how severe your acne is if you’re willing to try it. If you are really suffering from your bad skin, do go to your GP. They will offer a sympathetic ear and hopefully provide you with some form of solution to your problem. My only advice is to follow these other tips in conjunction with medication. Don’t expect a drug to fix it all if you’re not looking after your skin in other ways too.

3. Let it breathe, let it breathe…

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If you don’t need to wear makeup, don’t. If you’re off work for the day then avoid putting any makeup on; cleanse and moisturise skin as usual and let your skin breathe. On days where you can’t avoid make-up, clean your face immediately when you get home. Don’t wait until late at night if you don’t have to. Likewise, wash your face thoroughly after gym sessions and don’t wear makeup when you’re working out. Taking your makeup off as soon as you can is really important to let your skin breathe and heal itself. On this note, try to avoid really heavy-duty foundations. I know it’s tempting to cover up with a heavy slick of Double Wear – been there, done that – but you’re only prolonging the issue. Try a lighter coverage, even a tinted moisturiser if you feel you can, with some concealer on problematic areas. See my next tip for my favourite and least favourite foundations for spot-prone skin!

4. Start at the foundation.

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I mentioned Estée Lauder Double Wear because it is the holy grail of heavy coverage. When my skin was really bad, I felt more confident covering myself up with a thick layer of this foundation. I used it for a year plus and thought it was amazing but I’ve since realised that the heaviness was only worsening the issue. Heavy foundations will clog up your pores and prolong the inevitable. The best foundation I’ve ever used for my skin is Arbonne Perfecting Liquid Foundation. It is made with really natural ingredients which soothe your skin rather than damage it with nasty chemicals and it still gives a great coverage. Bonus points: it contains an SPF 15 for sun protection and it’s vegan-friendly.

5. Back to basics.

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There is no use in applying a chemical-free foundation if you are damaging your skin with a disagreeable skincare regime or, worse, not using one at all. If your skin is prone to spots it is important to find a cleanser, exfoliator, toner and moisturiser that work for you. Start with your cleanser. Don’t use make-up wipes. I love Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser with their muslin cloth. It’s a cleanser that will remove makeup, clean impurities and act as a gentle exfoliator at the same time. I have never found a better cleanser and have repurchased several tubes. For me, nothing works like it. I’m trialling and enjoying Emma Hardie Amazing Face Lift & Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm at the moment so I’ll let you all know how I get on with it. It smells lovely and feels very luxurious so hopefully, it clears up my current breakout. I love Liz Earle for toner and moisturiser too. All their products are very light, enriched with skin-loving nutrients and leave my skin feeling soft, radiant and clean.

6. Be prepared for change.

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When I first went to the doctor about my skin, she explained that a woman’s body goes through a hormonal overhaul every 7 years. Not just puberty. That means every 7 years, your skin can change dramatically. You may have crystal clear skin all through your teens and twenties but could wake up with acne in your thirties. Do not get complacent with your skincare routine! One of my friends had been using the same moisturiser for years when suddenly her skin took an adverse reaction to it and she experienced redness on the sides of her face. She gave it up, swapped it for a different moisturise and the redness quickly disappeared. What I’m saying is: don’t be afraid to change. What was once your knight in shining skincare armour could quickly become your worst enemy. Similarly, the weather has a dramatic impact on your skin.  You might find your skin gets uncomfortably dry in the wintertime so you have to opt for a more moisturising regime. Likewise, the heat of summer might cause you to sweat more and, in turn, cause breakouts so you need to be wary of any oily makeup. I go between Liz Earle‘s moisturisers for Normal/Combination and Combination/Oily skins depending on how my skin is feeling at the time.

7. Don’t be afraid of moisture.

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It’s a common misconception that you want to dry your skin out to combat spots. I never moisturised until I was like 19 because I believed it would make my skin oilier and therefore spottier. I was so frightened of adding any moisture to my face but I later discovered that my skin was severely dehydrated in some areas especially under my eyes. You should moisturise morning and night. Period. Look at your skin: is it oily? is it dry in some patches? is there redness? Like I said, there are moisturisers to suit your skin needs so use them! If, like me, you have combination skin then apply your moisturiser first in dry areas, like your cheeks, and blend out to your oilier areas, like your t-zone. If you’re really fancy you can use different products for different areas but that’s expensive!

Moisture surge products I loveESPA 24-Hour Replenishing Eye Moisturiser and CREME FRAICHE DE BEAUTE masque.

8. Get ready to fight back.

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Have a go-to emergency regime when you have a really bad burst of acne but don’t have a lot of time for slow healing. There are plenty of tips online but I think one of the best things you can use to combat a bad breakout is tea tree. Bodyshop does a great range of tea tree products. I’ve trialled several of them including the foaming cleanser, scrub, toner and night lotion. Do not overdo it with tea tree products because they will really dry out your skin.

My emergency regimen: The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Foaming Cleanser or my ordinary daily cleanser using a slightly abrasive muslin cloth to gently exfoliate my skin. After cleansing, I splash my skin with cold water to close my pores and gently pat it dry. Once my skin is dry I’ll sweep The Body Shop Tea Tree Toner over my face with a clean cotton pad and moisturise as normal. I then apply a small amount of Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream (for nappy rash) with a clean cotton bud on any spot breakouts. The next morning I find the pain, redness and unsightliness have reduced dramatically and I can return to my usual less-intensive routine.

9. Treat yo’ self.

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When your skin is really bringing you down, your self-confidence can plummet so it’s nice to pamper yourself once in a while. Why not book into a spa for a deep cleaning facial? It’s a good way to lift your spirits when your self-esteem is low. It will leave your skin feeling totally refreshed and recharged and you’ll get the chance to talk to a professional about your skin problems. Beauticians often have a lot of skin-loving wisdom to pass on. I’ve received some amazing tips from beauticians over the years and they certainly know a lot more about dermatology than me! If you don’t have the time or money for a spa trip then set aside some cash for a luxury skincare product once in a blue moon.

My Future Splurge Products: Elemis Skin Buff and La Roche-Posay Effaclar 3-Step Anti-Blemish System (I was recommended La Roche-Posay by a beautician and adored their products but have never justified the price again since I ran out)

10. Learn to love your skin as it is.

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This is easier said than done. You can buy all the fancy skincare and beauty products in the world but there is no telling that your skin will ever completely clear up. One of the most important pieces of advice I can give to anyone suffering from spot-prone skin is to learn to accept it. Spots may be a physical problem but the emotional turmoil they can cause can be awful, especially in your teenage years when you are so preoccupied with your looks. My self-esteem has been greatly affected by my bad skin over the year. I was always envious of my friends with perfect skin and perpetually worried about the redness and bumps all over my face. By no means am I saying that I like having spotty skin now. There are days when it drags me down but more and more I have come to accept it and not let it bother me as much. Now I can go out without makeup and feel comfortable enough in my own skin because the truth is the stress caused by worrying about spots will only make your spots worse! Remember: there are a lot worse things in the world than spots and while I try to reduce them as much as I can it’s important to remember that your complexion is not a reflection of how much of a funny, intelligent or kind person you are!

So what are you skincare secrets? Do you have any fool-proof ways of clearing spotty skin?

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