Clear skin solutions

My skin circa the time I rediscovered moisturiser

Obviously there are lots of products and options out there aimed at clearing your skin and preventing breakouts, and all of them claim to work. Yet if this is true why are most of us still on the hunt for perfect, clear skin?

While I am no expert, I have been prone to spots and breakouts since I was around 17 and during this time I have tried and tested tons of products, tablets and pills and read up on herbal remedies, Googled a lot, and interviewed dermatologists and nutritionists (both for jobs and for myself).

Going to the doctor is always a good idea, even if you don't think your skin is bad enough to justify this kind of medical attention - honestly they'll help. However you really should consider whether or not you want to go down the prescription route as tablets all have side effects and they don't always work.

After trying various tablets and pills to no avail I recently decided to go down the natural route. I stopped taking the antibiotics I had been prescribed and all was well, my skin even seemed to clear up completely, so I decided to stop using my Benzoyl peroxide gel I had been prescribed too (a thin gel which you apply once or twice a day) because it does dry out your skin, and I was concerned it would give me early wrinkles and what not (apparently it doesn't). PLUS when I went to Boots for a skin type test (which I would recommend, they use a little machine to determine your oiliness/dryness/ageing etc, then suggest relevant products) I was told my skin was actually really dry, not oily and this could in itself be causing the spots as the dry skin could clog pores.

So I invested in a hot cloth cleanser and No. 7's normal/dry moisturisers (I only got both day and night because it was 3 for the price of 2, it really isn't vital as they're practically the same but the day one has SPF and the night one is ever so slightly thicker in consistency). Soon after starting this regime my skin cleared up and I got cocky and stopped using my Benzoyl peroxide cream, stopped taking Yasmin (a pill which doctors usually suggest to anyone who goes to them with skin complaints) and obviously had already stopped taking any other skin tablets so I was loving life feeling super healthy and natural.

Then I got a breakout. This was so frustrating as my skin actually felt glowing and moisturised again then bam, back to having to use drying products. I did however decide this time that I could in fact use the Benzoyl peroxide gel sparingly, once a day maybe instead of twice and use moisturiser along with it. Previously I was avoiding any skin product that wasn't aimed at spot prone skin which meant none of my skin products were particularly moisturising, and in fact most were drying which, as Boots pointed out, probably wasn't helping.

So after all of this experimentation my conclusions for healthy, glowing, clear skin are as follows:

1. Don't be tempted to touch your face or any spots you might get. I am so guilty of this, but every time I have asked a skin expert for advice or further medication they have told me the best thing I can do isn't to take tablets it's to just stop touching my face. And when I have actually fully concentrated on this my skin has gotten a million times better. So yeah guilty of creating the majority of my problems myself.

2. Secondly do try a Benzoyl peroxide gel. BP is what's used in the majority of spot treatments and is proven to work which is why it's recommended by the docs. It breaks down surface skin cells to get rid of spots (kinda like a chemical peel which you pay $$$$$ for) and prevents new ones forming thanks to its antibacterial properties. Plus it literally eliminates oily skin. If your skin is super oily it will probably solve all your problems, mine is combination so it tends to make it a bit dry when I use it every single day. You can get this prescribed by your doctor and you can purchase online from Chemist Direct. This is the one I use, Acnecide (the name really makes me believe in it), but this one, PanOxyl, is slightly stronger.

3. Thirdly - don't stop moisturising. Moisturised skin doesn't mean spots, oily skin does. As you use a non-comedogenic (none pore blocking) range, it won't give you spots. All No. 7's products are non-comedogenic and they're a good price so if in doubt, go to the No.7 counter. I currently use the Beautiful Skin Normal/Dry day cream, the night cream from the same range and their hot cloth cleanser. And as my face is 10 x paler than my body I occasionally use Xen tan face moisturiser which doesn't seem to break me out. I used to use Dove's tanning moisturiser on my face as well as my body when I wanted a tan, until the lady in Boots told me this was a terrible, terrible thing to do (apparently body moisturisers are too thick for your face and will suffocate your pores - skin sin no. 1).

4. Do take supplements if you can afford them. Probiotics, ZincEvening Primrose Oil and vitamin B6 are among those with spot preventing properties. Probiotics help balance gut bacteria which can cause acne, zinc could help because people who suffer from acne often have lower levels of it, while Evening Primrose Oil and vitamin B6 balance hormones. I try to take them daily, and fail, but when I do manage they do seem to make a difference. After all our bodies are much better at looking after themselves if we provide them with the correct nutrients/fuel to do so, and though some people say we should be achieving this through our diet, lets face it most of don't. I mean, obviously try to eat as much fruit and veg as poss, as they all have vitamins and nutrients which help our immune systems and general health including that of our skin.

5. Avoid dairy. Dairy is the only food really shown to correlate with bad skin (in an actual expert study and also in my life). Plus why do you need cows milk when almond milk exists, it's so much tastier and lower in calories by like 1 million percent.

Sales picks



I have already 'invested' in a few sale items this festive season, including Topshop's silver boots of dreams in the photo above - I have wanted them forever but I couldn't justify the £79 price tag, when I saw them reduced to £60 I was semi-swayed, then when I found they were a mere £40 I could no longer resist.

Motel's Finn dress, also above, is another one. It's not necessarily in the sale but Motel are putting on constant 25/30% off codes over Christmas s I got it for £38.50 rather than the usual £50.

I've also purchased a white lettuce hem crop top from Urban Outfitters (similar here) and a leopard print mini skirt from Miss Selfridge (below), which I bought mainly to wear with my Slayer tee, but I have since discovered it's a lot more versatile than I originally imagined, I've worn it with the white crop, black tops and black jumpers, and I'm sure it would also look cool with something metallic/sequinned too.

However, since Christmas Day I have obviously been scouring the internet for more bargains (wouldn't want to miss out)  and have found some beautiful ones... I perhaps need to limit how many of the below I buy because unfortunately I don't actually have an endless pot of money...

Motel Finn dress in black opal
Motel Finn dress in black opal, as above.

Topshop silver platform boots
Silver platforms, Topshop (link above)

Leopard mini skirt Miss Selfridge
Leopard skirt, £16 from £32, Miss Selfridge

knot tie black jumpsuit zara
Jumpsuit, £25.99 from £49.99, Zara

zara embroidered bomber jacket
Bomber jacket, £39.99 from £59.99, Zara
zara red faux leather jacket
Jacket, £29.99 from £39.99, Zara
Glamorous red floral jumpsuit
Glamorous jumpsuit, £25 from £50, Asos

crocodile leather ring belt topshop
Round buckle belt, £15 from £25, Topshop


oriental black floral blouse zara
Top, £17.99 from £25.99, Zara



backless midi dress & other stories
Asos chevron sequin top
Chevron top, £45.50 from £65, Asos
Red plunge dress Asos
John Zack petite dress, £26.50 from £38, Asos

Metallic jumpsuit & other stories
Halter neck jumpsuit £33 from £65, & Other Stories

floral cami topshop
Strappy cami, £12 from £24, Topshop

Topshop glitter platforms

Topshop long sleeve floral top
Long sleeve top, £15 from £32, Topshop
light pink satin heels topshop
Regina heels, £25 from £56, Topshop

velvet platform sandals topshop
Major cross strap velvet heels, £18 Topshop

purple velvet culottes topshop
Velvet pleated culottes, £36 to £18 Topshop

pink ribbed polo neck topshop
Ribbed top, £15 from £34, Toyshop


sheer Star print blouse, nobody's child
Star print blouse, £15 from £25, Nobody's Child



Central Oven & Shaker Review

Central Oven & Shaker neon lights
Central Oven & Shaker Newcastle interior
Central Oven & Shaker salad, pizza and garlic bread
Central Oven & Shaker, Newcastle table settings
Central Oven & Shaker, Newcastle sweet potato fries, salad and garlic bread
Central Oven & Shaker pepperoni pizza
Central Oven & Shaker newcastle Heat N Meat pizza


As someone who isn't a massive pizza fan (yes, I know this is shocking)  I wouldn't have predicted I'd be so desperate to check out a new pizza place. But what with also being massively shallow, the interior styling of this newly opened eatery (which is across from Central Station in Newcastle) captivated me.

The industrial space is filled with beautiful 60's furniture, diner style accessories and a nice sprinkling of greenery, with neon signs giving everything a nice pink tinge.

Now, to move onto the food. I went for the healthy option, the 'Clean & Green' - courgette spirals with avocado, tomato, spinach and pesto (due to not being a huge pizza fan). It arrived with a side of garlic bread and the sweet potato fries which I ordered separately. It was lovely, but I was really pleased it came with the garlic bread because otherwise I would have been massively jealous of the pizzas my parents ordered - this place are 100% pros when it comes to carbs.

My mum got the pepperoni pizza and my dad got the Heat 'N Meat which, as you can see above had chicken, sausage, bacon and chillies on, the latter of which he donated to my mum and I as he hates hot things (?!), and he said the dough was one of the best he has tried.

We got a side of normal fries too which you can't see in these photos but they arrived in an actual wooden crate, so you get double the amount of normal fries than you do the sweet potato fries. Or so it seemed, but it could have been a bit of an optical illusion.

Drinks wise we didn't have any alcohol here, I had a Coke and my parents had tonic water, which I was pleased to see was by local supplier Fentimans.

The atmosphere of the place is somewhere between club and restaurant, with good music and a cocktail bar area where you can just sip a few of their amazing looking beverages. I am definitely going to have to return to try the cocktail menu, they had some delish looking exclusives, one of which featured candyfloss.

www.centralnewcastle.co.uk 
FB: Central Slice
IG: @centralslice
TW: @centralslice












New Year's Resolutions




It's really quite silly that we pin all our self-improvement efforts on the turn of the year. Honestly, I'm pretty sure we can do these things any time.

On the other hand I'm not dissing New Year's resolutions entirely because making an event of it, and having everyone around you do the same thing really is motivational.

In the past mine have included giving up Maryland cookies (I was around 13 and ate a pack a day, I succeeded in my goal however, and to this day I still avoid the addictive devils), applying Johnson's tanning moisturiser day and night (that led to a very tanned 6 months) and giving up crisps as part of my packed lunch box - I didn't even look back on this one, they aren't all they're cracked up to be I swear.

This year, as an adult, my goals are...

1. Save more money.


It's more my mindset that I need to improve more than anything - a few tricks that help are thinking of the task in small chunks, so for example, sometimes I tell myself I just need to get to the gym, and if I still really cannot be bothered, I can then leave, but just to get there will be an achievement (lol it works). And remembering how crap you feel when you don't go, compared to how good you feel when you do. Alongside the obvious of looking at VS models and what not.

I'm probably going to narrow these things down into more specific tasks because I think you're definitely more likely to achieve something if the boundaries are clear. Like the cookie thing - it was pass or fail really and I did not want to be a failure.

As much as I love squandering my hard earned cash on social events, clothes and food, I would also love to own my own industrial loft type apartment at some point, and I really want to go on some amazing transatlantic trips soon too. To save for these things an ISA is a must - if you don't have one, find out more about them here, I would definitely recommend getting one, mine helped me save for my car. Thinking about the small things really makes a difference. Set a budget for the week - it will mean you really think about what you're spending and there are limits so you can't just have everything, if you have the burrito you can't actually afford the shoes - so which do you choose?


2. Eat healthier


This is a strange one because I actually do eat quite healthily in the main - I love salad and veg. However, I also have a ridiculous sweet tooth. To be able to give up sugar would be the dream, but I don't think that can happen overnight, so I am going to limit the amount of chocolate I eat, swap it for vegan fruit bars, only purchase small chocolate bars if I really must purchase some chocolate (yep, I always go for 100-120g - it's just much better value!). Apparently if you give something up for 21 days you won't want it anymore, so I may just do a 21 day challenge and see what happens.

I am also going to try to eat more clean, vegan foods life the delicious looking Buddha Bowl above (by The Vintage Mixer)


3. Actually attend the gym


This one is definitely easier said than done. I've found that, since starting full time work it is increasingly difficult. Like to the point of impossibility. Once work is over, all the good intentions I had to make that 6:30pm spin class have evaporated along with my energy.

It's all about figuring out what works for you I think. I've tried going before work - almost every day for a whole week I awoke at 6am to get in a workout - the result? Come Sunday I was wiped out with some sort of flu. This may have been a coincidence but that didn't stop me from using it as an excuse not to attend before 9am again. That and the fact that doing so led me to eat two breakfasts and remain super hungry for the rest of the day so despite popular opinion, a morning workout wasn't beneficial to me, it was pretty pointless as I probably consumed triple the amount of calories than I burned.

For more motivation and ideas, read this post I wrote almost two years ago when I was a gym addict who attended at least 3 times per week.

4. Mindfulness/inner peace


I'm not even entirely sure I know what mindfulness is, but I'm pretty sure on a scale of 0-mindful AF I am somewhere around -10. In my view of mindfulness it's being calm, zen and basically feeling in control and at peace (inner peace then really?!). I have colouring books but I think what helps me achieve this kind of inner peace that I'm confusing mindfulness with, is going to the gym and having time to myself to relax, clean, tidy and get organised. Honestly, after a day of doing these things I feel way more happy than if I had been out socialising. Sad, but true, sorry people. In 2017 I am going to make time for myself and spend more money on spa days and less on alcohol.

5. Stop overthinking and be confident


I literally worry and obsess over the most stupid things. I have overthought myself out of relationships, many an hour of sleep and into bad skin I'm sure. I mainly overthink about how I come across to people, how I compare to others, my career, where I live, where my life is heading, if I should be doing more, whether or not I should buy that £70 pair of boots, if I should be writing a novel rather than scrolling through Instagram... Honestly the list goes on and on but in the end what matters more than enjoying life? And I'm not going to enjoy it while panicking over every detail and decision. It's so unhealthy to compare ourselves to others and to worry about what people think of us. We would all probably benefit from trying to free our minds of these pointless thoughts. Improve yourself, be productive and focus on what's best for your own health and happiness.

City guide: London


London is one of my favourite places for a weekend away. I have family down there so I tend to go quite frequently and despite not always doing lots in terms of touristy activities, I have discovered and heard of some really cool places over the years (mainly bars lols). Here's my round up of some of London's highlights and hidden gems...


Eat...


Eating is one of my favourite things to do in London and probably where most of my London-related expertise lie. For Vegetarians and Vegans Mildreds is excellent, especially if you like faux meat. They are pros, even if you're carnivore you'll enjoy (I'm not entirely veggie or vegan I just try my best to keep my diet as plant-based as poss for my health and the planet etc). Their delicious dishes are served up in light and bright restaurants in Soho, Camden and Kings Cross.



For something a bit more raw, My Village Cafe is a great little spot in Camden - think tree trunk tables, hummus, leaves (in your food), exposed brick and plants (decorating the room). Chilled, peaceful, healthy and green in a multitude of ways.



For those of you who appreciate the aesthetics of your dish as much as the taste (don't deny you've been swayed in your menu choices thanks to Instagram). SaladPride in Covent Garden is a must. Creator, David Bez, made the decision to start eating salads for lunch and for the past 4 years he has been challenging himself to create a new salad each day, and blogging about it. Now he has a little spot at Neal's Yard where he serves up healthy and delicious breakfasts, salads and tapas which also double up as Instagram-worthy works of art.



Caravan is another London chain which has nailed breakfast, and the only one on my list which isn't healthy or veggie, soz. The coffee is freshly roasted, they have innovative daily blends such as plum, cocoa and berry, and their food ranges from grain bowls and cereals to salmon and eggs. And you can choose between small plates and large plates depending on your appetite. They're now at Exmouth Market, King's Cross and Bankside.



Drink...


The pricier of the choices... With a selection of beautiful rooms, including a library room created by interior designer Gahban O’Keeffe, a parlour featuring Louis XV seating and The Glade, which is themed around an enchanted forest, Sketch is perfect for glamorous evening cocktails. And whether you've visited or not, you've probably seen the toilets which are Insta-famous for being so... quirky, I mean, who wouldn't want to pee in a pod?



Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch hosts a range of events, live music performances and it has a rooftop terrace of dreams which is transformed twice a year, taking on new themes each winter and summer. Although the place as a whole is worth a visit, the rooftop is unmissable. Think fire pits and wigwams in winter and faux grass and bright colours in summer.



Well and Bucket on Bethnal Green can really be classed as the oldest pub in London having opened in 1818 but has only recently reopened as a pub (after being used as a restaurant and shop for years). And it's already making its mark thanks to its craft beers, beer garden, authentic decor and my favourite part - the secret basement cocktail bar, 5CC.



Unlike many rooftop bars which close over winter, Coppa Club at Tower Bridge have found a way around the chilly weather which makes many of their competitors seem somewhat defeatist. Coppa's solution? Take inspo from the Eskimos and create see-through igloos for cocktail drinking while enjoying panoramic views across the city and not shivering to sobriety. Genius.



Visit...




Madame Tussauds - a classic. If you haven't been to MT already you need to get to ticked off your
list. I haven't visited for a few years now but think I may return when I head to London in January. It's probably a justified expenditure as the celebs change frequently and they've probably changed entirely since I visited in 2008. One part I really want to see is the new fashion week section featuring Kendall and Cara. Personally I'd love to have photographic evidence of how short I am next to them, I'm sure it would be a great confidence boost. If you do want to visit make sure you book in advance and get your tickets from discount-london.com at a discounted rate. They also offer great packages for London sightseeing so you can combine your trip with the London Eye and Tower Bridge etc, which is what I might do because I've never actually been on the London Eye despite visiting the city at least twice a year since birth.



The Design Museum covers everything from fashion to architecture and graphics. I haven't yet been but it's definitely on my list.



With DJ sets on Friday and Saturday evenings, Bump Rollerdisco at Southbank Centre is surely the most fun way to burn calories. If you're heading to London before 22nd January 2017 get your 70s head on and prepare to rock and roller. Plus there's a bar.



I didn't really anticipate golf being on this list, but then I heard about Junkyard Golf Club. Located on Brick Lane it aims to 'bring golf back to the streets' - I'm not sure when golf was on the streets but I'm glad it's back because this looks mental, in a good way. The course is scattered with junk (surprise) from jacuzzis and slides to wendy houses, speedboats and treadmills, oh and ofc the odd cow. Plus they have four bars selling cocktails with names such as 'Who's Your Caddy'. Get me there now.



Shop...


Camden is one of my personal favourites. You have the markets for cool jewellery, band tees, quirky gifts and unique homeware, while the high street shops include Urban Outfitters, American Apparel and H&M. If you're wanting to cook your own food while in London (not sure why you would as the restaurant and cafe offering is unbeatable) head to Whole Foods where you can get some delicious and healthy ingredients. In fact, even stocking up to take home is a good idea if you're a health nut.


Source: handluggageonly.co.uk

One of my favourite places on earth (and Europe's fave shopping street, apparently). If you need a hardcore haul don't look any further than Oxford Street. With over 300 shops there literally won't be anything you can't find here. Don't you just hate when your local Topshop doesn't stock that amazing dress you saw online? Fear not, the Oxford Street Topshop probably has their whole collection and more. In fact, last time I visited they even had a frozen yoghurt section...


Source: londongramer.tumblr.com


Click here to see my other travel related posts















Renowned for it's beautiful and unique picks, Beyond Retro is one of the shops I often want to buy from online but feel like I need to try the stuff on first (vintage is unpredictable when it comes to fit) so heading to the shop while in the city is a must. They have Brick Lane, Soho and Dalston stores.













So this is my view anyway, if you have any tips or know any cool places/shops in London please let me know, I love discovering new places!



p.s. I know my font is not the same throughout - I am having HTML issues which I am hoping to resolve soon. Feel free to offer your help if you know anything about this.

The Wedding Challenge

jumpsuit wedding outfit
Jumpsuit: New Look
Hat: Asos

Having never attended a proper wedding before - i.e. the ceremony part, and having compiled fashion pages for wedding guides, I thought finding an outfit for myself would be a fun, quite simple task to undertake. I was wrong. 

My favourite bands of 2016


blossoms band


So 2016 is coming to an end (sob, it's been a good'un) and I have discovered some excellent bands. I thought I'd share to remind us that some positive things have actually occurred this year...


Dream Body



Zara bodysuit

Jeans: Topshop Jamie
Boots: Asos
Rings: Dixi & Rock 'n Rose


This bodysuit which I wore for my friend's birthday (a day of drinking at Newcastle Gin Festival) is possibly my favourite purchase of 2016 so I thought it was worth its own little post. Next to this top anyway which was an equally long-loved hit.

It wasn't an easy purchase either. Well, the buying itself was pretty simple as always, but the wearing proved a challenge... As much as I support #freethenipple I didn't want mine freeing over a G&T in a crowded event space. BUT I loved it so much that I took a risk and spent time and money on finding a solution.