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Friday, June 24, 2016

It always feels really crap when your skin is starting to look good, and BAM you breakout (thanks life), but it's even worse when you're trying to battle acne. Now I still don't know 100% what caused my acne but it's definitely related to hormones and possibly even my liver not being able to detox them properly, but I will admit the closest I've got to diagnosis is a doctor telling me I possibly I had PCOS back in 2011 because I wasn't having a cycle and coincidently that day I started my period and all hardcore spots vanished. The things your body will do NOT to do on medication.

I've said it here and on my channel many times before, my acne has been low-level running along since May last year and at times it's gotten better and others just freaked the f out. Medication for me was out of the question, and I've been covering all areas to get my body functioning normally and my skin calmed the heck down and stop it from following usual acne symptoms. From ditching dairy and going fully plant-based/vegan, to exercise and supplements, heck even having no-makeup weeks to let my skin breathe, I've tried a lot.

You'll know I'm a huge fan of Tria, a blue light device that kills acne-loving bacteria deep in the epidermis, drying out the skin and reducing oil production whilst helping clear up old marks and blemishes, however I ran out of cartridges and thought 'hey I'll just stop using this for two months and see what happens!'. No. Cue my face beginning to get all textured and clogged, new and almost healed spots resurfacing and a face-palming Lauren who regrets everything. Luckily I've got my hands on some more cartridges and use it 3 minutes morning and night to get my skin back in shape and now I'm on the other side of the 'freakout', I'm hoping it's only upwards we go.

In the meantime, I had another little helped on hand from Dermalex, and whilst this is neither a medicated antibiotic solution or completely natural, it is a little miracle; whilst Tria works deep in the skin up, Dermalex controls what's on top - minimising spots, helping to clear up pigmentation, softening skin and basically speeding up the healing process. Using this alone with my other skincare, I saw a big difference in the bumps, but combined with Tria and other acne busting products (including Mario Badescu's Anti-Acne Serum, a little extra summin'summin for hydration and spot soothing) my skin is starting to get back somewhat on track - coupled with a few more clarifying face masks and exfoliation, those pores will be cleaner than Monica's personal cleaning solution.

Enough of the treatments and creams though, because underneath all the products is still the matter of how your skin affects you, and I have to admit that 70% of the time it makes me feel crap. Sure there are days it's okay enough to put on less concealer and feel 'fine' with how my coverage is, but there's always a bit of flake, a bump which hasn't gone down or a blemish mark still poking through no matter what you apply, and on the days or weeks even when it's really breaking out, all I can see is clogged, oily, gross pores filled with a substance I swear to god has been trying to stress me out since puberty and painful bumps that gleefully sit hiding, knowing you cannot get them out.

I've researched enough now to know that acne causes hormones and chemicals in the body to thicken the skin quicker hence the patch on my chin being a nightmare area where spots like to hide, and that areas of the face reflect your inner bodily functions (constant hormones, much anger) but it's getting to a point and age where I don't want to wreck my skin anymore trying to extract pimples and cysts and actually not have to worry about my complexion - does it look good enough today to wear less makeup? Or shall I stay inside? As much as it is about the physical, it's also mentally challenging, as if my brain can't register the fact my skin can be clear and that even if it looks clear, there just has to be a spot or blackhead of 20 that need to come our right? *face palm*

I'm bored and tired of seeing red lumps, oily pores, under-skin yellow bumps, and I'm bored and tired of constantly saying 'I have the cure!' because truth be told, I just want to have clearer, more manageable and cared for skin; I would take one big hormonal spot on my chin for a week running up to my period over constant 'yuck my face' every day, and I think until I can get the balance of that both mentally and physically ingrained, acne will still be hanging around. Here's to hopefully and finally drawing out every impurity, sorting out my hormones and getting my skin to chill out, because lord knows I've waited long enough.

Do you suffer with acne or easily blemished skin? How do you care for spots? Do you have any tips for me?!

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Despite breakfast being my favourite meal, I rarely experiment with what goes in my bowl; it's always porridge with hemp milk, cinnamon, hemp protein, pumpkin seeds, almonds and chia, oh and some honey, a teaspoon of cashew butter...I mean, pretty straightforward right?

Come summer or winter, I'm having porridge - nice and filling in the morning, not too sweet not too savoury - but I'm open to trying something new when it comes to healthy alternatives, and probably more summer appropriate are the new boxes of Planet Organic's Grain Free Paleo Granola. Unless you've missed out, paleo is a diet that follows what cavemen or early humans would have been able to source i.e. grains, meat, fish, but this granola has gone one step further and added some yummy and diverse flavours to jazz up your breakfast.

I will admit, I've not been swayed by all of them - there's a lot of coconut in these so unless you're a fan of Bounty and the hair fruit this probably won't be for you, as it can be quite overpowering. The Chocolate flavour contains cacao but is a bit too powdery for my taste along with the coconut, the Green spirulina and wheatgrass mix is nice but needs mixing with another flavour for taste, and the Caramel Apple is just a bit too sweet for breakfast - coupled with an already sweet Co-Yo yogurt and I'm buzzing all morning.

However, there are two from the new range I do think are very yummy - Super Berry works well with the coconut and granola for a sweet mix perfect on top of any yogurt or ice-cream, and the Tropical Twist actually does the coconut justice, making it taste more like a healthy piƱa colada or Lilt for a post-lunchtime pick-me-up.

I think having a natural or plain base is what makes these work best, and very kindly Good Hemp (which happens to be my OG milk of choice in all my porridge) sent over some of their range including an unsweetened and coconut milk I'd not seen on the shelves or pages of Ocado before, but are great if you just want to focus on some crunchy sweetness without it being bone-dry. Admittedly, I prefer the Original milk best, but if you're packing in as much flavour and topping to your breakfast as I am, the unsweetened version is undoubtedly best in terms of sugar content; all three however give essential omegas per 50ml and has a creamy, almost bubblegum ice-cream taste (in a nice way) and is possibly the best dairy-alternative milk I've tried.

Whilst I won't be ditching the porridge just yet, these granolas definitely offer up good competition to supermarket branded options and are much healthier and packed with benefits and superfoods, plus Planet Organic is one of my favourite healthy food spots in London so I'm pretty impressed with the range of flavours (even if they're not all to my taste) but maybe I just need to find the right yogurt!

How about you, are you a granola fan in the morning? Have you tried the Planet Organic range? Would you switch your milk to hemp?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

It's been a while since I've posted some photography on here, truth being that a combination of people finishing uni and starting to go on holidays coupled with some sunny days and many rainy 'wth is this Autumn?!' days that I've been a little out of action. Not fab, but I've been brushing up on my skills recently thanks to another workshop with Jessops, all focused on fashion photography and how to make it work in the blogging industry.

I'll admit that I turned up a little apprehensive that I'd be surrounded by bloggers with camera know-how or fabulous photographers themselves who just got it, knew it, had the game down, but I felt at ease and able to grasp everything the team at Jessops along with Tommy and Riccardo (truly amazing Italian fashion photographers) were demonstrating.

Jessops have lots of different photography and video based courses on offer (you can see what I did on their Level 1 + 2 Combo here) which is great if you want to try something new or build a skill, and I've always felt despite mainly photography people for fashion posts that I never knew enough about brief and control when it came to a professional fashion shoot, so I can safely say my practical confidence has grown (as has my tech list).

Because I'm an over-enthusiastic clicker, I took a good 1000+ photos on the day but have started to narrow down my best shots including these above; all were shot on the Canon 5D Mark III with either the 50mm or 85mm lens, which when camera and lens are combined is bloody beautiful.

Now that I've dipped my feet back into ~fashun~ I'm starting to take requests for photoshoots so if you're based around London, Surrey or Brighton (locations can be discussed, obvs) and you'd like a photographer then get in touch for details! If you want examples of my previous work have a mooch here and here too.

As I said I'm doing a few more personal wellbeing posts, and photography is one of my biggest interests (if not my career goal) so I hope you'll be sticking around to read more including the scattering of beauty bits, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on these photos and how you've been building your photography skills, or if you'd like to see me start up my photography posts again.

Lots of Love,
Lauren x

Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.

Website | Flickr | Tumblr | Twitter | Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest


Friday, June 17, 2016

A state of wellbeing is a state of being comfortable, healthy and happy; a good or satisfactory state of existence.

I think I need some of that.

See, I came to believe that wellbeing was all juices, yoga, positivity and happiness, feeling great and being chilled, which I guess is a part of wellbeing as a whole, but I feel my sense and vibe of wellbeing has been warped, but more so lately it’s been lacking.

Since the end of May I have had this heavy feeling in my chest and in my head, I’ve not been been able to shake it and I still don’t know what has made me feel this way. A week in Ibiza where there was sun and slow wifi made me feel at peace and relaxed, it felt amazing, I felt whole and like this new routine was so much better than what I’d been experiencing before. But that’s the thing, I can’t keep escaping or deterring from this feeling, because sooner or later it’s going to get all too much.

One of my friends recently said that ‘if you went back to feeling those feelings you had before, then something in your wellbeing and life has to change’, and rightly so because something needs to change. The thought then popped in my mind - when I was 19 and trying to express all the angst and stress I had towards my body and eating, I used photography to express and visualise my inner struggles to create beautiful and thought-provoking art (so much so that when my Mum saw the images of me she said ‘if I didn’t know you I’d be worried’) which along with a little chat helped me clear that constant mindset that was holding me back, so I’ve decided to self-heal myself again, through writing and blogging about things related to how I feel and how to overcome it, to help me improve my wellbeing.

This isn’t an ask for feedback, it’s a creative intervention on my own behalf. I need to work out my brain dump in the only format I know - writing. Write it all out, write it out day and night until I know what needs to change and how I can make my wellbeing more than a satisfactory state of health and happiness. I want to focus on how I deal with stress so I can feel a little bit of relaxation in my life, to clear my mind and enjoy time out of things. I want to focus on happiness so I don’t feel like I worry about everything and what people think - self-help at it’s creative content best.

I’ve always prided my blog on being a little space for lifestyle and wellbeing and recently it’s felt beauty overload which is fab and fine but I don’t feel there’s much me, so I want to add more of me and my thoughts; with everything that’s been happening in the world and in my personal space, I want to share more of myself, my likes and fears, how I work things out and to possible help a few others on the way, but mostly I want to get myself back on track and know I’ve cleared all the old and looming energy that’s been frustrating me.

Here’s to a new sense of wellbeing.

Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more. Website | Flickr | Tumblr | Twitter | Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest
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