Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

What is it?

Don’t let the very specific tittle put you off, Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser (£35 200ml) gives your skin a helping hand with cell turnover and hydration to reveal smoother, more radiant skin.

How does it work?

It uses gentle Salicylic acid (BHA), Lactic and Glycolic acids (AHA’s) to dissolve dead skin cells. AHAs are water soluble and do not penetrate very deep into the skin of the person, while BHAs are oil soluble and often do penetrate much deeper into the skin, even past the oil barrier of the face. AHAs are good for eliminating dead skin cells on the surface that are caused by sun damage. The oil solubility of BHAs make it better suited for clearing up clogged pores deep in the skin, so that they can be removed.

Jojoba beads are also used to exfoliate and to boost hydration.

My skin type

I have high maintenance and very indecisive skin. Flakey, dry and oily. I seem to have a very quick cell turnover but the cells just build up (because they stick to the natural oils) instead of shedding to reveal the new skin underneath. Basically, I’d make a terrible snake. I also have a collagen disorder thanks to Hypermobilty Syndrome which means I have less collagen in some places but more in others, thanks to acne scarring in my teens and 20’s. As a result, my cheeks have ended up with a very dimpled, orange peel effect going on. Gimme the Pollyfiller, now!

Verdict

This is one of the most effective cleansers I’ve ever used. The beads are natural so no damage to the environment and are incredibly fine so a little bit really does make a big difference. I’ve been using this three times a week as my skin really needs it. I wouldn’t say I have very sensitive skin but it can go red easily when massaged too much using harsh cleansers and soap. Even though this contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate it is still very gentle and does not irritate my skin or strip it’s natural oil barrier.

My skin feels incredibly soft and looks surprisingly smoother and more radiant. It also means that my serum and moisturiser can actually sink into my pores now and foundation just glides on without looking dry or dull. I’m actually not bothering with my medium-full coverage foundation as much, even on nights out.

Honestly, after four weeks of using this, I looked in the mirror and did a little happy dance!

Rating 5/5

Chrissie

Monthly Roundup – Feb & March

FEB

I’m going to start off with ‘Our Day’ as we call it because it’s around Valentine’s Day but it doesn’t HAVE to be on that exact date. We went to our favourite Asian vegetarian restaurant for traditional dishes, contemporary dishes and as many of the amazing mock meats we could fit!

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For Autumn and Winer and lets face it, most of spring in the UK I’ve taken to wearing JJH – Jumper, jeans and heels. For warmer days I pick a light knit with a wide neck, looser boot cut jeans and strappy heels. For colder days a chunky oversize knit, skinny jeans and high heeled ankle boots.

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After a busy afternoon or a night out at a gig, I’d be pretty useless the next day. I was being defeated by simple things like opening bottles, getting dressed and combing my hair, and also saying sentences which went around in circles without any point because I was really brain fogged as well as fatigued and utterly uncoordinated. So I sat down and kind of forced myself to think of 10 Reasons Why I Love My Wonky Body. The post got so many positive responses, from gentle encouragement to people saying they totally empathised and I’d made them feel better.

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I have to confess, in the 80’s I loved bumbags or fannypacks (for peeps in the US). Now the trend has been recycled into the more fashion friendly ‘belt bags’. So here are 12 Belt Bags for Spring.

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I also blogged 10 No Nonsense Life Lessons as it’s taken me a while to figure some of them out and I wished I’d have know all of them in teens and twenties.

Me and the Bloke celebrated Shrove…Pancake Day this year and made some rather substantial pancakes by adding too much flower – oops! We have them in the traditional neutral/savoury way, with lots of sugar and lemon.

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I always get flabby over winter from over eating and hibernating but I figured while the weather is cool I should get my butt moving now, before the weather gets too hot in Spring/Summer. I’m pretty pleased with the result, although those shiny nylon type of leggings act like cellophane (saran wrap) and do a lot of the work aesthetically!

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MARCH

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What a top night! The supporting band was Afro Cluster (reminds me of a retro hair product) who’s sound I’d describe as funky jazz hip-hop with a fantastic MC. Charles obviously knows his Northern Soul, trad soul and funk as he’s been doing this for over a decade now but I loved that he threw in three of Stevie Wonders funkiest tunes. Band On The Wall were lovely when it came to reserving me a banquette (as part of their disability accommodations) so I didn’t have any anxiety over standing in pain or passing out with heat fatigue.

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It snowed!!! Yes, as you can tell, I love snow. This is my view from the living room window. Rather Narnia-esque isn’t it? ^_^

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I’ve finally found a dairy-free chocolate and nut spread which tastes like Nutella, better actually! Here’s my review of Meridian Cocoa & Hazelnut Butter.

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Now the weather is getting milder (utterly indecisive) for Spring, I’m moving toward my trusty 90’s grunge look as the layering is so practical, plus, it’s more socially acceptable than going out in PJ’s.

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Eeeh, pie! For too long it has been a case of No woman, No pie, so for British Pie Week we accepted an invite to Pieminister on Church Street – which is quickly becoming my fave city centre street. I chose Wild Shroom pie; mushroom and asparagus in a creamy white wine sauce and the Bloke chose Saag Pie-neer; pea, paneer cheese, potato, chilli and mango, both with mash spud and gravy, of course (£7 for one).

The pies were amazing, pastry not too flakey, not too stodgy, with perfectly balanced flavours. I loved the mash but the Bloke thought it a little over-worked. He liked the gravy and I thought it would go perfectly with any pie on the menu but, for me, it didn’t taste savoury enough. Pieminister also offer three gluten free options but it depends were you go for your pie (pub, cafe, restaurant) as they aren’t available everywhere.

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It would seem that I’m going grey early, or rather, gold. My nearly black hair has been getting lighter and lighter, as have my pale green eyes, which are now a golden-amber shade. So does that mean I’m going to be a golden oldie? Haha! Sorry.

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I was sent this Hempz body moisturiser which has the scent of banana, which is just heavenly! It contains pure hemp seed oil, an absolute saviour for dehydrated, under nourished skin. It also contain Shea butter and ginseng to sooth skin (I used it after shaving my legs and it didn’t irritate them) and vitamins A, E and C to protect against environmental damage.

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We are growing a chilli plant, well it was three chilli plants but we killed the other two somehow. I was going to give it a name but the Bloke advised me not to get too attached, going off the overall survival rate.

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These Violife dairy free (and vegan) cheese slices taste like Kraft Cheese Slices but better. I’ve been melting them onto nachos in the microwave for 40 seconds for very melted on with salt and pepper or 20 seconds which is like that sweet, gooey, cinema cheese.

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I decided to check out Peacocks, a brand I used to love in my 20’s. They’ve gotten even better. I bought, beautiful lingerie, an initial cup, an initial makeup bag, a rose gold (and very sturdy) charging lead, and the most blinging hand-warmers and beanie I’ve ever seen. Everything I bought is well made, well fitting, reasonable priced, not to mention, very pretty!

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For anyone who is too old or just too damn cool for an easter egg, I did a little post of Dairy-free Chocoalte Treats for Easter.

Chrissie

Lush (Halloween) Monsters’ Ball Bath Bomb

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Lush have 16 halloween related products including bath bombs, bubble bars, a black lip tint, a shimmer bar (for party skin) and soap. I chose this Monsters Ball (£4.50) bath bomb because my legs love the Himalayan rock salt as it helps with water retention and wrestless legs syndrome at night. Plus he’s a cute little monster.

The combination of lime and neroli oil combined to create an unexpected scent, reminiscent of zingy strawberry sweets which lasted all through my bath. It fizzed for a long time and turned the water pink, then blue and then all purple. I broke him (it!) up into two as there was more than enough for one bath. Relaxing, uplifting and made my skin surprisingly soft.

Rating 4/5 (I’m saving the extra point for when I get the beautiful golden Bubble Bar)

Chrissie

 

 

Figs & Rouge Hydra – Activ Hero Cream – Limited Edition ‘Aphelia’ Design

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With the change of season I’ve been wearing trousers and haven’t been paying much – alright, any – attention to my legs. Today I de-fuzzed them and they looked so dry lacklustre. I exfoliated them with those unmerciful nylon gloves and some shower gel and then applied a dollop of cream to each leg while my skin was still damp.

Texture

I used to love really rich oily body creams like shea butter and cocoa butter but I’ve started to hate that clingy celophane-wrapped feel they give my legs. Hydra – Activ Hero Cream (£18 80ml) feels indulgent but sinks in well and leaves your skin feeling moisturised but not tacky.

Active Ingredients

Hyaluronic Acid & Vitamin complex A, C & E. Sesame Seed & Avocado Oils, Aloe, Cucumber & Carrot Seed & Cucumber Fruit Extract.

Result

My skin stayed hydrated for much longer than normal thanks to the inclusion of Hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring acid in the skin which draws in moisture from the air. Skin tends to produce less of this as we age. Clearly my legs have never bothered producing much of this at all! They tend to look very dull, even though I have a naturally golden skintone but after using this my skin appeared more radiant and looked healthier.

Packaging

I love the metal tin as it’s recyclable, easy to open and you can scoop every last bit of cream out of the tin. There are two different design collections to choose from Mythic and Empire, with five designs in each collection. The tins are the perfect size to upcycle into storage pots and they also turn the cream into a lovely luxurious gift for someone.

Rating 5/5

Chrissie

 

 

 

Murad Intensive-C Radience Peel

Peel? Sounds scary! Actually no, the Murad Intensive-C Radiance Peel (£55) is a very gentle process which doesn’t even cause redness.

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The Claim

‘Instantly brightens skin and reduces hyperpigmentation… Actively smoothes and perfects skin to enhance luminosity’

The Science Bit

‘Glycolic Acid exfoliates to accelerate turnover of dark damaged cells, removing dullness and improving skin texture to make skin glow.’

‘Vitamin C and Indian Fig protect against free radical damage while enhancing skin clarity and luminosity for an illuminated complexion!’

‘Myrtle Extract supports collagen production to boost youthful resilience and elasticity.’

To Use

Gently massage onto your clean face and neck, leave on up to 10 minutes (you might feel a slight warming sensation) and then rinse off with a warm wash cloth.

Does it work?

Absolutely! It’s such a shame that it’s so difficult to show smoothness of skin in a photograph because this really made a difference.

The pores on my nose looked smaller and my skin felt incredibly smooth, in fact it looked really healthy. My skin didn’t feel tight or dry and my daily moisturiser was absorbed really quickly, rather than it just sitting on the surface.

A few days after exfoliating there is usually a small blemish or dull flakeyness (my skin renews its self quickly so I get a build up of skin cells which dull my complexion and blocke pores) but my skin looked great for four days! My cheeks didn’t look instantly smoother but a BB balm was sufficient coverage – even when I went out for drinks that evening.  I’m going to keep on using this every four – five days as it’s gentle enough.

Expense This is at the very top of my skin care budget but considering the cream is very thick and I only had to use a small amount to get a big effect, I know this will last me a long time. Plus, if I only use this on problem areas it will last even longer!

Rating 5/5 (I need a 6!)

Have you considered using any kind of facial peel before?

Chrissie

Summer Skincare Tested (miniatures)

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Amie, New Leaf Deep Pore Exfoliating Polish (full size 100ml) £5.95

The scent of this exfoliator which includes mango and orange blossom extracts is beautiful. I wish it were available in a perfume! This gently but thoroughly exfoliated my skin and left it super soft and glowing. Amie products contain no mineral oils, no sodium laureth sulphate or sodium lauryl sulphate and no animal derived ingredients.

Alva, Handcream (full size 75ml) £8.50

With organic avocado oil, antibacterial tea tree and anti-fungal calendula this is the perfect handcream for hardworking hands. It also sinks in quickly without being tacky, which is really important to me.

Sanctuary Spar, Radiance Exfoliator (full size 100ml) £10.00

Tiny apricot granules & grape seed are the exfoliators in this product which also includes pumpkin, pineapple & papaya extracts to ‘increase cell renewal’. This is another gentle exfoliator which I’ve used three times a week for smooth, clear, brighter skin.

This Works, In Transit Camera Close Up (full size 40ml) £30

This product has been formulated as an three-in-one mask, primer and moisturiser. I found it be too heavy and rich to use as a mask and it was useless as a primer for makeup, which slid off as soon as I got too hot. I do love it as a general moisturiser though. It evened out the texture of my skin slightly and calmed some redness and my combination skin stayed balanced until early evening.

Which cruelty free brands have you recently come across?

Chrissie

 

 

Faith In Nature Coconut Body Lotion Review

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I’ve tried Faith In Nature shampoos and not been remotely impressed; I’ve tried their shower gel and been rather apathetic toward it, but this Coconut Body Lotion is absolutely heavenly!

Made with organic coconut oil it’s amazing fragrance is all natural. I even had an attractive bearded shop assistant comment on how ‘lovely and tropical’ I smelled. Bonus!

This product is perfect for either humid weather or when you’ve run out of face moisturiser and need to hydrate skin fast without it feeling tacky or greasy.

Alergy warning contains wheat straw sugar.

Rating 4/5

Chrissie

 

Arbonne, Calm Range Review

I’ve only recently discovered Arbonne, traditionally a skincare company developed in Switzerland in 1975 and I’m impressed with the purity of their products and the ethically sourced botanicals they contain. Their products – now ranging from skincare and makeup to nutrition – are vegetarian, free from animal products or by-products, artificial flavours, artificial sweeteners, benzene, formaldehyde donating preservatives, mineral oil, parabens, petrolatum, phthalates, sodium laureth sulfates (SLES), sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), synthetic dyes and talc and gluten.

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I have mild heyfever so my skin gets irritated easily in spring and summer, so I need lighter, gentler products making the Calm range perfect for me.

Soothing Facial Serum

• Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) soothes Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) soothes and moisturises
• Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) helps soothe skin
• Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) softens and soothes skin
• Mallow (Malva sylvestris), rich in vitamins, softens and soothes
• Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) contains antioxidant properties
• Sea mayweed (Matricaria maritima) calms skin
• Japanese green tea (Camellia oleifera) helps soothe skin

It’s been so humid lately I’ve not needed to use any moisturiser (my skin sucks up the moisture out of the air so well) but my skin did need soothing and balancing, which is exactly what this serum achieved and without any oil slicks around my T-zone in the evening. I’m going to carry on using my usual serum for Autumn and Winter as it contains vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid and retinol (which I know some people can be sensitive to so it’s understandable this wouldn’t be a suitable ingredient for the Arbonne Calm range).

Gentle Daily Cleanser

• Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) soothes and moisturises
• Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) helps soothe skin
• Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) softens and soothes skin
• Mallow (Malva sylvestris), rich in vitamins, softens and soothes
• Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) contains antioxidant properties
• Sea mayweed (Matricaria maritima) calms skin
• Japanese green tea (Camellia oleifera) helps soothe skin

I think I’ve worn makeup twice this whole summer but when I did, it was a full face. This gentle cleanser removed all of my makeup (although I wasn’t wearing water proof mascara) and left my skin feeling clean, refreshed and nourished.

Soothing Eye Gel

• Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) soothes and moisturises
• Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) helps soothe skin
• Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) softens and soothes skin
• Mallow (Malva sylvestris) rich in vitamins, softens and soothes
• Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) contains antioxidant properties
• Sea mayweed (Matricaria maritima) calms skin
• Japanese green tea (Camellia oleifera) helps soothe skin

I have to confess that I’ve been upping my salt and water intake to help me cool down in the heat and my gosh has it made a difference to my giant puffy eye bags! After using this gel (which I keep in the fridge and apply by gentle taping with my ring finger) my bags weren’t visible AT ALL. Can’t get any better than that!

Gentle Daily Moisturiser

After some gentle exfoliating with a fruit peel my face needed some moisturiser but I was dreading the feel of it on my skin and wondering if it would be too heavy. My skin absorbed this moisturiser immediately and any redness from exfoliating had subsided within five minutes. I also used some on my hands which were rather dry as it was to hand (please excuse the pun) and it worked really well. I would recommend this as a basic moisturiser to everyone, no matter what their skin type.

Overall Rating ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Chrissie

 

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Weleda, Calendula Shampoo and Bodywash

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My frizzy hair does not react well to any kind of chemicals. I dye it though which means my haircare has to be really gentle and natural in comparison, which this Weleda Shampoo and Bodywash is.

  • No synthetic preservatives
  • No fragrances
  • No colourants
  • No mineral oils

It’s active ingredients are Almond Oil and organic Calendula, which made my hair soft, clean and manageable. I really like how creamy it is because it’s easier to massage into my hair without using too much product or having to dilute it. It’s so creamy I actually re-read the bottle, wondering if I had bought conditioner by mistake!

I must add that after using this there was no noticeable fade to my turquoise streaks which made me very happy.

Rating ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Chrissie

My Lifestyle Lately – May 2017


Obviously as I’m Mancunian there has been one big event for me which has separated May from any month surrounding it. The terrorist attack. I have so many things to say about this, how upset and angry I am, the social and religious politics, the possible ramifications and what actions could be taken now, but I’m emotionally exhausted by it so I won’t. What I will say is that the resilient and empathetic spirit of my fellow Mancs and the support from people around the world has been amazing. I’m actually writing this to the sound of The Courteeners concert drifting over from Old Trafford Cricket ground and they are doing a cover of Oasis’s Don’t Look Back In Anger, with all of crowd singing their hearts out. Aw shit, I’m filling up now. I really do love Manchester.

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Food & Drink

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Have you been drinking lots of water but still feel more thirsty, brain foggy or fatigued because of the heat? I’d give this a go. It tastes like blue ice pops (you can get other flavours like strawberry and tropical) and because of the aloe (i.e electrolyte) content, it hydrates better because our bodies use it more efficiently, rather than just rushing it through our system like it would with water.

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As the weather has been so warm I’ve only been able to manage very light meals. I’ve discovered that Original Sheese spread can be broken up and used as a creamy feta cheese alternative.

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I’m starting to see why people mistake me for a vegan but it’s actually my wonky body that can’t cope with dairy and egg white for gastro and auto-imune reasons. I miss having omelettes though so I was pleased to come across this. If you use it with a small amount of say, mushrooms and are sparing with the cooking oil and leave it alone to cook, rather than harassing it with the spatula, this comes out brilliantly! Unfortunately I was too hungry to take a photo of my perfect first time attempt. Then I fracked it up something terrible the second time – doh!

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At the begging of the month it was my birthday so me and the bloke hopped on a bus and then a tram and went to our fave Indian restaurant of all time, Lilly’s in Ashton-Under-Lyne. You can read my review of Lilly’s here. We also got a lot of takeaway which lasted us for around three days!

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I’ve been making cold mocha’s every evening so there is one waiting for me as soon as I get up. I actually take it back to bed with me. 1 heaped tspn dark cocoa powder (mixed with a little cold water), 1 heaped tspn instant coffee, 2 rounded tspn sugar, 1 tspn vanilla essence, a little hot water to mix, fill up beaker with unsweetened almond milk. Chill.

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I compiled a dairy and gluten free shopping list and reviewed each item to make it easier for people who are feeling a bit overwhelmed with this kind of dietary transition.

Fashion & Style 

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I put this Romwe wish list together right at the start of the month and managed to resist buying anything for myself. op

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It’s funny that in the same month that I’ve stopped approaching any brands, two brands have asked me to collaborate with them on Outfit Of The Day outfit reviews. However, the items (around six of them) are taking ages to arrive so those will be live on the blog next month. I’ve also ordered stuff from EMP, yet again and opted for everything to arrive together but apparently it’s not all available (even though they weren’t ‘Out of Stock’) so that hasn’t arrived either. Only just realised last week that my fave jumper works really well with my fave skirt, both of which I’ve had for ages, ha!

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Even though I don’t rent a place I can call my own, I still love compiling homeware posts every now and then like this In The Tropics one.

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I made a Stylish and Sensible Summer Shoes post because I like alteration and not falling over when I walk in summer.

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No, not me going for a job as a waitress at a sports bar but me melting in this fracking horrendous heat. My feet still get cold in the evening though due to circulation issues, hence the Uggs. I actually love this basic look but haven’t been brave (crazy?) enough to leave the house in it yet. I’m managing to keep weight on these days but my muscles tone is disappearing fast so I’m getting a cross trainer for less fatigued days (I’m being very optimistic here) as it will give me a whole body work out but the machine gathers it’s own momentum quickly so you can put as much or as little effort into it as you want.

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I’m a firm believer in wearing what you want no matter what size or firmness you are so I gathered together the 15 best shorts. There is a style here to suit everyone. I’ve bought the denim scalloped hem one’s from H&M and wear them with very sheer black tights and they look great! I keep meaning to get some black fishnet tights to wear with them and with my ripped jeans for a grungy feel (like I used to in the 90’s) but I keep forgetting.

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I would stagger around blindly in summer if it weren’t for my sunglasses. Some of these are off-the-shelf but some are designer so they should be widely available in options if you need prescription lenses like I do. I suggest getting polarised lenses to decrease glare if you are light sensitive.

Random Stuff

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As a fellow geek I decided to join in with the The Geeky Girl Tag after I enjoyed reading other bloggers answers.

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I wrote this post as I wish my parents would have come across something like this when I was a kid as they and they and my paediatrician and my teachers where clueless as to why I was struggling so much and therefor how they could help me to help myself. Actually my Paediatrician barley noticed. *giant face palm* As a child I was very aware that I was different. Things didn’t come easily to me, yet the other kids magically seemed to instantly know what to do and how to do it, without constant mishaps. As a teen I realised I had a rather different thought processes going compared to my mates as well a lot of the time. Like what is the point of over analysing the way that cute guy said “Hi” to you for hours. Just be glad he said it and maybe even have an actual conversation next time. Reading something like this would have made me feel a lot less like an alien from another planet.

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I made a Funko Pop! of myself, which I’m pleased with.

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May has been Ehlers Danlos Syndrome awareness day, which is so important as it’s one of the most misunderstood and miss represented genetic disorders out there. I’ve been given a verbal diagnosis of EDS but several Rheumatologists are still refusing to put it in writing on my medical records. Preferring instead to say instead “Christine is having it that she has EDS” er, I’m ‘having it’ because I was TOLD that I have it FFS!?!? It’s important to mention that all of this stubborn ignorance and arrogance from specialists (and I do use that term lightly) makes dealing with EDS so much worse as it’s a constant battle with people who’s actual job it is to know better. It really does make us emotionally exhausted and just adds to all the other shit we have to deal with. I’m so lucky to have received support from an amazing online community of fellow zebra’s here, otherwise I would have been questioning my own sanity.

Beauty and Skincare

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foundation

I reviewed e.l.f. Studio Tone Correcting Powder and Studio Flawless Foundation and was impressed with both products. In fact their foundation was the best I have ever used!

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I arranged my lipsticks in colour order and had a general makeup clear out. I just kept on buying the same 3-4 shades of lippy over and over again, having forgotten that I already own them. I’ve thrown out any shade that needs mixing with another to create the colour I bought it for in the first place and any lipsticks which are either too drying or slide off after ten minutes. Same with foundations as I don’t have the time, storage space or patience to have to mix several together to get the right colour or consistency. No more making-do with crappy makeup.

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palette

I reviewed Soap & Glory Perfect Ten Shadow Palette but wasn’t that impressed with it for some unexpected reasons.

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I finally found a use for my old metal heart cage. Storage for all of my mini’s and free samples.

Well that was quite a catch up! Let me know if there was anything you found interesting.

Chrissie