It’s took some doing but I’m now officially a non smoker. I decided back in June that, as a woman nearing her mid 30′s that enough was enough and I set July 1st as my quit date. I had an arsenal of patches, gum and inhalers at my disposal from previous attempts to quit along with an electronic cigarette I’d bought “just to try” so figured I had all the tools I needed and then some and that there were no excuses.
In July I mostly used the patches, the gum and the e-cig and in honesty I found it a doddle. No cravings, nothing. I do know some people don’t like the patches for whatever reasons but for me they were a God send. I had no cravings nor thought about smoking whilst wearing them. Once I had ran out of the patches (I had a month or so’s worth) I then just relied on good old will power and the e-cig as and when I needed it which was around once a week (usually around alcohol and friends who smoke). Nowadays I carry the electronic cigarette around with me but bar the odd social event involving alcohol I never seem to use it and in honesty I’m comfortable with this. Eventually I will quit that too but in the grand scheme of things I rarely go out drinking so this isn’t too much of an issue. Truth is I can’t really be bothered with drinking excessive amounts these days either. My alcohol tolerance has practically flatlined and I’m finding that after 2 drinks I’ve pretty much had my fill. I’ve been out clubbing maybe 4 times this year in comparison to the 1-2 times a week I used to and I never go to the pub “for just the one” after work etc. that I practiced on a nearby daily basis.
Reading all the above makes out that I was the very picture of perfection however which isn’t true. I did slip up twice but the important thing is that I got back on the wagon and I learnt from my mistakes. The benefits of quitting so far? cardio at the gym is easier and I’m saving around £70+ a month which quite frankly is not to be sniffed at.
There isn’t a lot this month to be honest. Still it makes a change from previous entries and yep. It’s all Lush stuff again.
Grass Shower Gel - In my opinion the best shower gel Lush sell all year round and in store. It’s became somewhat of an essential product for mornings and the dark and cold winter months. It reminds me of summer, of sun warmed skin and of chilling with my pals in a beer garden/music festival. It smells just like cut grass and I hope it never get’s retired. I’ll be buying a new bottle as soon as I’ve used up some of my other shower gels/jellies. £16.75
Twilight Shower Gel – Smells exactly the same as the bath bomb and is just beautiful. Also if the glitter in the ballistic puts you off (I’m not much of a glitter fan either) this doubles as a bubble bath too. It was a limited edition product last Christmas and I have a litre of the stuff left. I hope another opportunity to buy it comes along at some point in the future.
Calacas Shower Jelly – I love love love the smell of this (actually as a general rule if it has Lime in it then I’ll like it). I also love the fact that it’s neon green and shaped like a sugar skull. I have one more pot of this in my freezer. I’m scared to use it hah.
Happy Happy Joy Joy Hair Perfume – A lovely light hair conditioner with a main (mane – grrrooaaannn) purpose of fragrancing your barnet. If you like the smell of Orange Blossom perfume then I guarantee that you’ll love the smell of this. It’s vegan friendly too which is never a bad thing. I do like HHJJ and it does make my hair smell amazing but to be honest the price does put me off from rebuying it and so in future I’ll probably just stick with Veganese as it’s like half the price. £30.25
We all do it, some more so than others. My Achilles heel seems to be housework. I find it boring but unfortunately it needs to be done and what with living on my own it’s up to me to make sure that my crib doesn’t resemble something from “How Clean Is Your House” (Kim and Aggie deserve medals). On the other hand after being on my feet at work all day the very last thing I want to do when I do get home is to spend even more time on my feet cleaning, likewise on my days off. I want to spend them having fun. If this sounds familiar then I’m about to blow your minds with (what I feel) is one of the best apps out there for iPhones.
Introducing UfYH (Un-Fuck Your Habitat, or Un-Filth Your Habitat if swearing offends you/you are iTunes). The lady responsible for said app has a blog which, quite frankly is a fountain of knowledge and a source of inspiration for the lazy, those who hoard and the sheer overwhelmed. People are encouraged to post “before” and “after” photos along with accounts of their progress, ask questions and every now and again the app price will be reduced for those still sitting on the fence about buying it.
From personal experience I just love it for the 20/10 timer. The theory is for every 20 minutes of work you do, once completed you get a 10 minute break. It cuts down any task into easily managed chunks (not just housework) so really it’s up to you as to what you do. Be it one 20/10 or two or maybe even a whole days worth. I’ve seriously lost count of the about of times I really couldn’t be arsed with doing something and thought “oh I’ll just do one 20/10″ and before I’ve realised, I’ve done quite a few. It’s magic I tell ya and tonight was a prime example.
The usual scenario was thus. Came home from work, really couldn’t be bothered but realised that the mountain of clean laundry was *still* sitting on my bedroom floor days/weeks after I’d washed and dried it (seriously I hate doing laundry) so figured I’d do at least one 20/10 to reduce it a bit. In two sessions not only had I tackled it but I’d also loaded the dishwasher (best invention ever) and washing machine, hung the load of washing out to dry, dried and put the dishwasher contents away, cleaned the cat’s litter trays out, cleaned inside my microwave and wiped my kitchen benches down. Pretty productive considering my lack of motivation. If I do one 20/10 a day it pretty much tackles my flat and then some. Easy peasy. Give it a try and let me know how you get on. Sorry this isn’t the most exciting of entries but like I say, the app has helped me loads and I really hope by reading this entry it inspires others.
Dirty Body Spray – A definite top 10 Lush product for me. I love this stuff. I spray it about with wanton abandon. The spearmint in it cools you down and it’s basically Febreeze for humans. It’s normally the first thing I pack for music festivals and any other occasions where I may be without shower/bath facilities for a few days. At last year’s Bloodstock festival I was camped with a load of lads. They were all borrowing this by the Saturday. I’ve already bought a new bottle too. £14.00
Veganese Hair Conditioner - I first tried this about a year ago when my hair was becoming healthier after starting to look after it through using henna and getting regular trims instead of bleaching it to high heaven and dying it every colour under the sun. Other conditioners were becoming too heavy so I switched to this and have never gone back. A big bottle lasts me about 4-5 months which is awesome value for money. This is another top ten Lush product as far as I’m concerned and I have bought another bottle already. £13.15
M.A.C. Mineralize Satin Finish SPF 15 Foundation - I’ve gone from being a die hard M.A.C. fan to these days not really giving two shits about them. It’s pretty sad that the main reasons I spent so much money on M.A.C. in the first place, along with the quality of the products (which I’m sure is still awesome) are no longer the case. I’m still using up what M.A.C. make up I have but I haven’t bought any in a long long time and I can’t see this changing anytime soon. This foundation was pretty nice to use. Good value for money, despite it’s £24 price tag as it lasted me about 2 years. I used it on it’s own as well as mixed with moisturiser and I would have bought it again but I’ve since switched to E.L.F. and this.
Avon Purifying Pore Strips - I’m not gonna lie. I’ve had these for years. I’d hate to hazard a guess but if I had to I’d say they were at least 8 years old. They were individually wrapped however so I wasn’t so bothered with regards to hygiene so I recently used them up. They were pretty good to use after a good face mask and I may be tempted to buy something similar in the future but I think that’ll be only on a whim. I don’t even think Avon sell these anymore they’re that old. I know some people who use PVA glue to do the same thing on their face but I don’t think I’ll go down that route if I’m honest.
Cosmetic Warrior - Sometimes my skin just can’t decide on what it’s doing. Some days it feels tight and dry, other days it’s spotty, either way this mask is awesome. The ingredients include garlic and honey which are anti-bacterial and the honey along with the eggs are really moisturising. Truly a life saver of a mask £5.95
Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner - This stuff can be used in so many ways. I use it as a shaving lotion when doing my legs, as a body lotion, and also as a body conditioner too. In the past I’ve used it as a hair mask It’s super rich and therefore super hydrating so is perfect for older/dry skin. It smells the same as the Rose Jam bubbleroon and therefore amazing. £15.50
Ultrabland Cleanser - Hands down the best ever commercial make up remover I’ve ever used. I can’t see me using anything else EVER and I really don’t know how I managed beforehand and this is from the same girl who used to buy this by the gallon (well maybe…). I tend to wear a lot of eye make up and this baby removes it all, without making my skin feel tight afterwards. I used to do something called the Oil Cleansing Method years ago and I noticed a lot of similarities when I first started using Ultrabland in terms of ingredients (oil) and how you use it (identical), nowadays it just means a lot less faffing on with oil ratios etc. if I can buy something ready made. Buying Ultrabland works out cheaper than buying all of the oils separately for the OCM and it’s also cheaper than the Clinique make up remover I used to buy too. Double whammy. As usual with all of my favourite products I already have bought a replacement. £10.75
Ray Harryhausen who was better known for his stop motion animation in such bank holiday classics such as Clash Of The Titans and Jason & The Argonauts (who can forget *that* fighting skeleton scene?) has passed away today at age 92. Devastated just isn’t the word. If you’ve never seen any of the above films especially, I highly suggest you do so.
As if Chi from the Deftones wasn’t enough now Jeff Hanneman from Slayer has passed on (probably burning in Hell much to his delight, considering the bands disdain of the other guy). I must admit I’m not a huge Slayer fan. I like them but I’m not obsessed by them. I’m certainly not going to slate their work ethic, not at all because after Nine Inch Nails (who I fucking love and whom I’ve travelled hundreds of miles at every opportunity I could to see them) they are the only band who I can say I’ve seen more times than hot dinners, purely down to coincidence.
It’s no secret that I work for Lush and as a result probably about 90% of toiletries that I review in this and future posts will show nothing but empty black pots. I also own a shit load of toiletries so I’m on a self imposed ban from buying any in future unless it’s an absolute essential so we’ll see how it goes.
Angels On Bear Skin by Lush - This to me is the best cleanser I’ve ever had the good fortune to use. I have explored other avenues in the past only to find my skin will break out or whatever so I’ll go back to this and within a week or so my skin will be back to “normal” therefore I’m now of the opinion of “if it aint broke then don’t fix it”. My skin reacts really well to lavender plus this doubles as a gentle exfoliator. I’ve already bought a new pot as like I say, I’m sticking with this for life now. £6.25
Atomic Toothy Tabs by Lush – Atomic must be one of the better tasting toothy tabs that Lush make as far as I’m concerned and I’ve tried them all. Others that I find pleasant are Ultrablast, Chou Chou I Love You and Sparkle. I love taking these to Music Festivals/holidays purely because they really do a good job of cleaning your teeth, especially after drinking too much alcohol and smoking too many cigarettes. You know when you go to the dentist for a scale and polish and afterwards you can’t help but lick your teeth because they feel so clean? That’s what these make your mouth feel like after using them for a few days. Some people like to use half a tablet, others two. I’m a one tablet per use girl however. The only negative I have is that I miss the crisp minty freshness that normal toothpaste provides and the confidence of not having a stinky breath that goes with it. Saying that I don’t use Toothy Tabs all of the time, maybe every few days or so as advised by my dental hygienist. I do think that I’ll continue to use these on occasion but I’m pretty happy with my normal toothpaste tbh. £2.50
Dirty Spritzer by Lush – It would seem I didn’t get the memo that decided that this Gorilla Perfume was for the boys. Do I care? Nope. I love Dirty and I douse myself in it at every available opportunity. Dirty is probably my signature “day time” scent and as well as the perfume I’m also an avid user of the body spray and shower gel too. I don’t normally buy the spritzers in honesty, I just go straight for the Atomisers as I find that they last longer. I also like to carry the solid perfume around with me to top up during the day and apply to my hair if needed. £9.50
Enchanted Eye Cream by Lush – This lasts for ages, like best part of a year or so and although it is expensive I find it is worth it. I use this whenever I remember but mostly on an evening. It’s super light so perfect for the delicate skin around your eyes and I’ve found that one squirt is more than enough to do both eyes. Any excess I just rub in anywhere else like my forehead, mouth or neck area. I will buy again purely because I’m 34 and well prevention is better than a cure innit? £11.50
Hair Doctor by Lush - Is a scalp mask and is perfect for those who suffer from problem scalps. Luckily for me I don’t but I still enjoy the sensation of this due to the peppermint and it makes my hair feel really nice and soft afterwards. I used to use this religiously whenever I used to bleach my roots as it really soothed my scalp after bleaching but I don’t feel the need for it as much these days. I’m personally a fan of shoving a whole pot on my head and using it all in one go. It’s a fresh product so it has a short shelf life and needs to be kept in the fridge due to it’s lack of preservatives. Not something I would normally buy these days but it was given to me and well waste not want not. £6.75
Love Lettuce by Lush - Another fresh Lush product that you need to keep in the fridge. Each fresh face mask lasts about three weeks and I normally get about 6 applications from each pot so applying twice a week is ideal to make sure you get value for your money. Love Lettuce is one of my favourite face masks due to the Lavender and also the ground almond shells which really exfoliates and brightens my skin. £5.95
Pied De Pepper Foot Cream by Lush - I only have about half a pot of this stuff left now. It was discontinued about 18 months ago and I miss it loads. Nothing else comes close for me. Pied De Pepper was very spicy and as a result warming so if you suffered from bad circulation in your tootsies or if your feet were just cold then a quick rub with this stuff soon changed that. In winter I’d also use it on my hands to warm them up too. Not a clue as to why Lush discontinued this but I do wish they’d bring it back.
Skinny Dip by Lush – I bought this on a whim last year when it was released as a limited edition retro item. I liked it that much I bought another pot shortly after. It seems to make my skin feel really soft and I found it awesome to shave my legs with. I have one tub left.
Superdrug Setting Lotion Extra Firm 150ml - I bought this for when I needed to pin curl my hair not that long ago and I have one more bottle of this left. Cheap as chips and did the job no problems. I may try the normal hold next time but overall for the price I’m more than impressed. A must for anyone who’s hair is poker straight and drops at first opportunity. It’s not tested on animals and suitable for vegans and on top of that it’s currently 2 for £2 otherwise it’s £1.49 a bottle. BOOM.
Other beauty products that I’ve used up this month which had no packaging (better for the environment innit) but still deserve a mention:
Bubblebeard Reusable Bubble Bar by Lush - I was given this last Christmas and although personally I’m not a huge bubble wand fan this one smells like Dirty and as a bath cocktail ingredient it’s proved quite versatile. I did enjoy it but I’m not sure if I’d re-buy it if it comes out again next Christmas.
Ceridwen’s Cauldron by Lush - Easily my favourite bath melt by Lush. Every time my skin is playing up or feels rougher than a badgers arse I fling one in the tub and after a rub all over with King of Skin Im as smooth as a baby’s bum. Will be using these until the cows come home, despite the price but I’m happy to pay it as I find it really soothing. £3.99
Full Of Grace by Lush - I love this little bar of wonder. I like to use it underneath a face mask for extra moisture and also is really nice on an evening either on it’s own or underneath your night time moisturiser if your skin is feeling dry. One of these bars will last me months so in my opinion is definitely worth the price. I keep mine in a shampoo bar tin (also from Lush) to keep it nice and clean. I’ve since bought another one. £7.95
Keep It Fluffy Ballistic by Lush - A rare item in my stash. Originally from my Jon Burgerman tin, who’s contents I keep forgetting about. I loved this fragrance when B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful was about. I really wish I could get my hands on one last bottle. Despite me loving other BNTBTBB fragrances now such as Dirty and Cocktail I never tried them at the time which is a bit of a regret as I love the old bottles.
King Of Skin by Lush – Where would I be without this beautiful beautiful body butter. I’m that obsessed currently with KOS that I currently have 3 of these on the go. One at home, one at my boyfriends and one in my gym bag. I’m shit at remembering to use body lotion and if it wasn’t for this my skin would be positively reptillian. Soon as you’re rinsed and about to get out of the bath/shower, just rub this all over you and then throw your towel on. No need to rub in or rub off, just leave it be. I would probably say that this is one of my top 10 Lush products. £5.25
Magic Mushroom by Lush - I’ve had this in my stash since the first time it came out which was Valentine’s Day last year. Shocking I know but I’ve always been loath to use rare items until now. My top tip is to take the white stalk from this and crumble it in my washing machine which results in creamy strawberry milkshake scented laundry. The red bit you can just use in the bath. It would have been nice if these were in store again this year, especially since there were no new bath related Valentines Day products but maybe next year. They’re still available online as part of the Retro range. £3.50
Twilight Bath Ballistic by Lush – I love the smell of this but if there’s one thing I hate… It’s glitter. Especially when it get’s stuck to my skin in the bath. I don’t suffer that badly from eczema but I do feel like clawing my skin off after a while. Lush however have changed the glitter in a lot of their products as of late so once that change has hit these bad boys I’ll probably give em another whirl. Until then I still have a load of the shower gel left from Christmas. £3.20
I really didn’t know that a Dahl would last up to a week in the fridge until recently and since Im trying to be careful with regards to what I eat/buy I figured it may be a good idea to always have some on standby just in case. Plus the fact that they tend to be high in protein but low in carbs and fat pretty much makes it the perfect food for whenever you can’t be arsed to cook anything. I found the following recipe here but amended it slightly.
Detoxifying Lemon Dahl
250g Red Lentils
1 tin of chopped tomato
2 teaspoons of Turmeric
1 teaspoon of Hing (Asafoetida)
1 green chili (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Coriander leaf to garnish (optional)
In on pan boil the lentils with the tinned tomato and double the amount of water (2 tins worth). In a separate pan, heat a tablespoon of oil and when hot, add the cumin seeds. They need to crackle and turn a little brown. Now add your chopped chili and take off the heat until your lentils are tender and cooked. Add the fryed cumin and chilli to the lentils along with the turmeric, hing (I added this because I found out it helps prevent farting and well everyone can agree that flatulence isn’t “a very ladylike practice” despite us all doing it) and salt. If you want to make this more of a soup then add more water or reduce to make it thicker . Towards the end when the dahl is a nice yellow paste, add the juice of one lemon and possibly the rind if you like (I did but I thought it was a bit too much). Add chopped coriander as a garnish.
The first and only time I ever saw the Deftones live was at the Riverside in Newcastle back in 1998. The room was really crowded and the mosh pit was mental. I can remember sweat dripping from the ceiling and steam coming from me when we left. I vowed from that moment on that I would never go to see the Deftones live again as *nothing* would beat that gig and to this day I’ve still haven’t despite having ample opportunity to do so. I think I’m scared of disappointment to be honest. Anyway many thanks to the band and to Chi for blowing my fragile little mind all of those years ago. R.I.P.
Seems all I talk about on here lately is food. I’m guessing that it’s because I’m off work so I have extra time to cook up some delicious noms compared to normal. Anyway this is not only for all you coconut fans out there but also for those amongst us (like me) who still need a little gentle persuading.
Truth be told I fucking hate desiccated coconut but I don’t mind the “real” stuff which is what I’ve used in these and bloody hell they’re good. I haven’t even bothered telling anyone that they’re Vegan and well no one’s asked so shhhhh! *wink*
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup coconut milk (I used the tinned stuff as I had some in the cupboard).
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
For the icing:
1/4 cup margarine at room temperature. (I used Vitalite but I had a tiny bit of Tofutti cream cheese to use up so I added this in too).
1/4 cup coconut milk (from the same tin as above)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 cup unsweetened coconut
Preheat the oven to about 350 degrees F and line a twelve-muffin tin with paper cases and set aside. Sift together all of the dry ingredients and then add all of the wet ones and mix until everything is combined and then some. Fill each paper case to about two-thirds full and stick them in the oven for about 25 minutes. I did think I was starting to burn them as they browned but a quick prod with a skewer will confirm when the cakes are cooked. Remove from the muffin tin and place on a cooling rack.
Whilst the cakes were in the oven I made the frosting. To do so I added all of the wet ingredients together and slowly added all of the dry ones until I’d reached what I thought was perfect consistency and popped this into the fridge until my cakes had cooled down. Once they had I basically dolloped a good amount of frosting on each cake and smoothed with a palette knife.
I started a diet this week so I’ve had one which I thoroughly enjoyed and I’ve been brave and given the remaining 11 away otherwise I would have eaten them all. Seriously beautiful with a cup of tea.
I stumbled upon Smitten Kitchen last week and the next day made this for dinner. It seems that a lot of the ingredients used are relatively easy to come by and also cheap to make and I’m that impressed I’m considering buying the cookbook. It’ll be getting made again at some point soon.
I also tried to make sourdough bread with the culture I started a few weeks ago and it flopped. I ended up using the flat dough for chapatis. All in all, not an experiment I’ll be repeating. Never mind.
Last week I also stumbled upon this by the Hairy Bikers on the TV and quite intrigued I made it. I wish I’d halved the ingredients as the recipe made much more than for just 4 people. It was ok but I doubt I’ll make it again. I have the remnants in my freezer for next time I fancy something sweet.
I’ve also realised that I have more or less a freezer full of food so I’m on a food shopping ban until it’s a lot more controllable. I think it’s going to be pretty amusing to see what I can come up with at mealtimes in the meantime.