Wednesday, 27 April 2016

BOTANICALS ORANGE BLOSSOM SOFTENING BODY BALM




Hi lovelies! I've got a review for you all today and I'm pretty excited about it, as it's from a brand that I've only recently discovered but have fallen in love with! The brand in question is 'Botanicals', a brand that aims to create products that are organic, pure, safe and as close to nature as possible. With the huge question mark as to what is and isn't safe in beauty products these days, I think it's a great idea to use products that are as natural as possible, so you can be assured that are no nasties making their way into your system! Botanicals products are hand blended using carefully selected ingredients that harness the power of plants, no harsh chemicals and no preservatives, meaning your skin gets only the best, purest ingredients with nothing synthetic. Why go for something that mimics plant based ingredients when you could get the real thing? If you're not already convinced, you may be interested to know that Botanicals are one of just a handful of companies in the UK that are licensed by the soil association, Europe's most well respected Organic certifying body. Pretty impressive!

So, the product I'm reviewing for you lovely lot today is the 'Softening Body Balm' in the Orange Blossom scent. This is a thick, moisturising balm for use all over the body. Despite being very thick, the product quickly melts into an easily absorbed oil when massaged onto the skin, making it perfect for use in the morning, after a shower or throughout the day when your skin needs hydration, but you don't want to feel sticky and greasy. I tend to use this in the morning before getting dressed as I love how quickly it's absorbed and the orangey floral scent is gorgeous and long lasting, while still being quite light and not too overpowering, which is lovely. This is fab as an everyday body moisturiser as it feels quite luxurious and that along with the lack of greasy feeling afterwards and pure ingredients is reason alone to love this product, but my favourite thing about it is now it has dramatically reduced the dry skin and little red bumps on the back of my arms in just a few days. I know a lot of people suffer with those irritating red bumps and dry skin on their arms and for me at least, this has been working wonders to reduce this.

As you can see from the images, the ingredients in this are really quite simple and many are certified organic, which is a definite plus! It has been proven that what goes onto your skin can and does go into your system, so loading chemicals onto your skin day in day out may well have a knock on effect on what's going on inside in the future and I think that's a little scary! What I love about this is that printed on the bottom is a use by date which only lasts until December of next year. While this seems like a long time, for a shelf life on a beauty product, it's actually not. This may sound like a downside but I think this is great for a couple of reasons. The first and most obvious being that it's not pumped full of unnatural, potentially unsafe preservatives and the second being that this actually can make you shop more sensibly. If you know your products aren't going to last years and years, you'll hopefully be more conscious of waste and start to actually use things up before buying new, which is much better for the environment and your bank account!

Overall, I'd highly recommend this product as its not only a beautifully scented, luxurious, softening body balm, but it's loaded with pure, safe ingredients and it actually works - you can't ask for much more than that!

What do you think? Would you like to try anything from the Botanicals range? What are your favourite natural beauty and skincare brands?

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Monday, 25 April 2016

IMPROVE YOUR DIGESTIVE HEALTH BY INCLUDING THESE SIMPLE FOODS IN YOUR DIET

These days, due to a busy work schedule, many spend long hours in the office which results in an unhealthy lifestyle. Adding to this, unhealthy food choices with readily available food lands us into an even bigger problem with the proper functioning of our digestive systems. 

Our stomach- is our own personal blender and second brain. What happens or doesn’t happen here has a direct effect on digestion. Neglecting our digestion means our body will face difficulties in absorbing nutrients it needs. 

Here are a few ways in which you can improve your digestive health.   

1) Stay hydrated : That is as simple as it gets, but people tend to easily forget to drink water frequently. Water is an essential fluid that our body needs to flush toxins, transport nutrients and provide moisture to our skin
So, how much water does our body need? It’s not as simple as drinking eight glasses  per day. That number is just popular because it’s easy for us to remember. But always remember to drink plenty of water and other fluids, especially after you exercise. Stay hydrated at all times for easy digestion. 
2) Physical activities: Exercise and playing games, even if means playing at bingo sites, is important for a healthy mind and body. Without regular exercise, your mind will not be at it’s best to help with speedy digestion. Exercising increases blood flow to all our organs, stimulates muscles, which helps organs work more efficiently.
3) Limit fat : Beyond keeping us from fitting in to our favorite jeans, eating fatty and fried foods would make it hard to digest and automatically slows down the process of digestion. Instead, eat meat alternatives. Switch from whole or reduced-fat dairy to low-fat or non-fat or plant milks, and replace butter with olive oil.
4) Consume more fiber : Make fiber a regular part of your diet everyday. Fibersincrease the weight and size of your stools, which helps them pass quickly through your system. Without fiber, you get the gas and other occasional discomforts likeconstipation.
In order to focus and enjoy our daily activities, we need to take good care of our body and these are the few ways to improve digestion.

Friday, 22 April 2016

THINGS I'VE LEARNED SINCE GOING VEGAN & TIPS FOR NEW VEGANS

Hi loves! Today, I wanted to share with you a few things I've learned in the past few months since going vegan. I started to transition to veganism in late January of this year, as my main and pretty much only New Years resolution was to clean up my diet. I've always watched what I eat, but I wanted to be more careful with processed foods and learn to cook my own meals more. Going plant based was my first step after I watched the eye opening 'Forks Over Knives' documentary, which discusses the health aspect of a plant based diet over the standard western diet. I then watched more documentaries on the ethical side of veganism and am now transitioning in all aspects of my life. So, as you can tell, I have done a fair bit of research, but I am also a very new vegan, so I thought it'd be fun to do a post on what I've learned and experienced in my first couple of months as a vegan. This is intended to be a light-hearted post and isn't intended to offend anyone or push my views onto others, I'm just simply sharing my experience for your entertainment!

People will ask questions and some will think you're crazy.
Even in the few months that I've been eating this way, I've had people - usually close friends and family members have a lot to say about it! 'OMG don't you miss meat?!' (more on this later), 'What do you even eat?', 'Are you getting enough protein?' etc. etc. Mostly it's just out of concern or genuine interest, other times people may just genuinely be a bit pissed that you're probably going to be a bit awkward going out for dinner (though check out this post to find out why you don't need to be!). I recommend making sure you're really clued up on the health benefits as well as the environmental and ethical reasons for going vegan, so that any worries and queries can be responded to with an educated answer. Most people are raised to believe meat, dairy and eggs are necessary in the average persons diet, so it's natural that people will be confused, but if you know your stuff, you can definitely put peoples minds at rest.

If you do it right, you won't miss meat, dairy or eggs.
When I say 'right', it's not to say there's a right or wrong way to 'go vegan', but of course, if you cut out all meat, dairy and eggs overnight and don't look into why you're doing it, it's going to be really easy to 'cheat'. For me, it took watching documentaries like Forks over Knives to learn the health benefits and short youtube film 'Farm to Fridge' (also highly recommend this to anyone, it's only a little over 10 minutes long and something I think everyone should be aware of) to see the ethical side to going vegan and most people won't even want to look at these products let alone eat them! This will of course have a different effect on different people, but if you're already considering going vegan, documentaries like these will help you stick to it.

You get better at cooking.
This goes hand in hand with not missing animal products, going vegan forced me to be more experimental in the kitchen as it's not as easy to throw in an oven pizza when you want something quick! There are vegan versions of convenience foods of course, but if you're trying to live a healthy lifestyle, you can't beat home made Also they can be quite pricey! That definitely doesn't mean you can't have quick easy meals though! As many vegan meals can be made in bulk quite cheaply (think huge lentil and sweet potato curries, bean and mixed veggie chillis, rice and bean burgers...), it's easy to whip up a big batch when you have time and freeze in individual portions for evenings when you have less time.

It's as restrictive as you make it.
It's very easy to think 'I can't have xyz on a vegan diet' as many things, particularly treat and snack foods like cakes, biscuits and sweets are not vegan, but it's actually surprising how much you can have. For example, I love to bake my own vegan cupcakes and surprise my family when I tell them there's no eggs or butter in the recipe, I throw together some three ingredient cookies and eat as many as I like safe in the knowledge that they're totally healthy! But there are also 'accidentally vegan' junk foods for when you fancy a treat, perhaps when you go out to the cinema or you're having a night in with your girls! This means foods that aren't branded as vegan, but don't contain animal products. Some of my favourites are Starburst sweets, Pringles (Original and Paprika, some other flavours contain milk), Dark Chocolate Digestive Biscuits, Lindt Dark Chocolate and Jelly Tots. A great source for 'Accidentally Vegan' snack foods and lots of other info on veganism is the PETA site, it's been like a bible to me!

You'll be smug AF when a very non-vegan friend enjoys your plant based meal
No shame in this. My boyfriend used to be a huge meat lover, he used to say he didn't get vegans at all and he could never ever do it, but now he eats vegan most days out of the week as I tend to do most of the cooking in our house. While he isn't vegan and doesn't plan on going full on vegan, he actually really enjoys absolutely everything I make and has admitted to actually preferring eating this way and keeping animal products as 'treat' meals when we go out or order in. I don't see these foods as 'treats' myself any more but I'm not going to force my views on him!

So I'll leave this here for now, as this is getting quite long, so let me know what your thoughts are! Are you vegan? Would you consider it?

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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

UPDATE & DELICIOUSLY ELLA GIVEAWAY




Hello loves! I wanted to get things straight today, not because anyone has been bothering me and not because I think I necessarily need to explain my every move, but because I feel I owe it to my existi followers to give you all a little update! As you may have noticed, my more recent posts (the odd guest post aside) have been mostly food related or focused on eco friendly beauty brands. Chloe's Way has always been a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog and that is how it will remain, just with a few changes.

Most of you will know or will have guessed that in the past few months, I've gone vegan. It started out just with diet, but I am in the process of extending this to my entire lifestyle. I do have some makeup from brands that test on animals (though admittedly, I was very unaware of how much this still goes on!) and I am in the process of switching all these out for cruelty free brands. I also have some leather goods that I will still be using as I personally feel worse about wasting them, however I won't be buying any more. This means despite sill remaining a predominantly beauty and lifestyle blog, most of my posts will be featuring Eco-friendly, cruelty free brands in place of brands previously featured. 

I'm also absolutely loving experimenting in the kitchen right now, veganism has definitely made me a much keener cook and baker - which is something I never thought I'd say! I was always very fussy with any animal products in cooking and baking as I was so paranoid about things being cooked properly and being safe to eat and eliminating these products takes out that worry for me, so I'm really enjoying cooking and sharing my recipes with you all.

I'm still quite new to all of this and while I am very careful about what I share and fact checking everything I put out on social media, I am still learning every day, so take what I say with a pinch of Pink  Himalayan salt and do you!

Anyway! Onto the giveaway! If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have noticed that I recently picked up a copy of the Deliciously Ella Everyday cookbook. What I didn't mention was that I also picked up an extra one to give away to one of you guys to celebrate the change on my blog!

This book is full of amazing fairly easy plant based recipes that are perfect for  every day (hence the name!), it has lots of great breakfast recipes, lunches and dinners that can be cooked in bulk and stored or taken along with you to school or work as well as yummy baked treats - all using wholesome, plant based ingredients. It does contain some ingredients with honey, but this can be substituted if you're vegan, or these recipes can just be avoided!

So, all you need to do to enter is use the Rafflecopter Form below! The giveaway will run for three weeks and the winner will of course be chosen at random.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Let me know if you have any ideas or requests for future posts and thank you so much for reading!

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Monday, 18 April 2016

DUCK AND DRY: BLOWDRY IN A BOTTLE REVIEW



Hi lovelies! Today, I have a review for you all and this time, it's a hair product! Recently, I was contacted by the fab people at Duck & Dry, a top London Salon, to see if I wanted to try out a product or two from their new product line. I'm always up for trying new products, so of course, I was interested already, but when I saw that the products were full of natural active ingredients to enrich your hair with goodness, I definitely couldn't say no!

Today, I'm going to be talking about the 'Blowdry in a Bottle'. This product claims to give weightless lift to the hair and add texture, which is perfect for my fine, soft, straight hair as while I don't have too many problems with my hair holding a curl or style, it definitely does tend to be a little flatter than I'd generally like. So, this sounded perfect to me!

The active ingredients in this Honey Locust, which is supposed to give instant and weightless volume while it's lightweight properties prevent build up, Ginseng, which enriches the hair follicles to stimulate the overall texture, giving hair extra grip and control to create styles much more easily, White Nettle to combat excess oil production, giving hair a fresh feeling and natural root lift and finally, Essential Oils; Camomile, Bergamot and Linden Flower to nourish the hair and also make the product smell beautiful! It's also Paraben and Sulfate free - huge bonus. Something I really like about this is the fact the bottle is a spritzer type bottle and not an aerosol can, as I'm trying to limit the amount of aerosols I'm using, so that's another definite bonus for me.

But of course, it sounds great, it looks great (seriously how cute is the bottle?), but does it work? Actually, yes! I've noticed a significant difference in my hair when I use this before blow drying. Usually, I pretty much just rough dry my hair, as it falls fairly straight anyway, so when I used this for the first time, I dried my hair as normal and while there seemed to be no immediate difference, my hair stayed very straight and swishy all day, whereas sometimes I'll get odd kinks and waves if I don't follow up with the straighteners. So, the next time I used it, I was a little more careful and spritzed it all throughout my hair aswell as on the roots and used a brush to dry my hair straight and blow dried upwards slightly using the brush and my hands to create a little root lift and I'm pleased to confirm that it did help to keep my hair volumised all day long!

I've actually taken to using this before styling my hair in any way be it with a hair dryer, straighteners or curling tongs, because I find it helps my hair to hold a style without the need for yucky sticky hairsprays, which I try to avoid at all costs as I don't think they're good for your hair (or to breathe in!) and I can't stand the way they feel. This however is totally weightless on the hair and leaves a light, but pretty scent, rather than the toxic scent of most hairsprays!

So, overall, I'd thoroughly recommend this if you want a long lasting, volumised style without the need for hairsprays and excessive styling products. This retails for £18.00 and can be purchased on the Duck & Dry website.

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Sunday, 17 April 2016

EATING OUT AS A VEGAN: MY FAVOURITE CHAIN RESTAURANTS

Hi lovelies! Today, I have a bit of a different post as I was forever searching this sort of thing when I first starting switching over to a vegan lifestyle. As some of you may know, I have recently adopted a plant based diet and am in the process of using up all my products to switch out for 100% cruelty free (that's a topic for another post!) and while I'd never say it's difficult, it is definitely a huge learning experience and does pose challenges when it comes to eating out. Cooking your own meals at home is easy as you know what's going in it and where it comes from, but eating out can be tricky. Can be. See, often when I tell people now that I'm vegan I get 'Oh.. what do you eat?!', but actually when you know what to look out for and you're not afraid to ask for a menu to be switched up a little, there can be vegan options almost anywhere. So, today, I wanted to share with you all my favourite 'go to' chain restaurants with vegan options, or options that can easily be made vegan. This is by no means a list of the only chain restaurants you can go to and I'm sure there's loads I won't mention, so if you have a personal favourite, definitely let me know in the comments!

Bill's 
First up is Bill's, they've recently opened a Bill's in my town and I really love it here as while the menu isn't huge, there are a few really great vegan options. Something I really like about Bill's (and any other restaurant that does the same!) is that on their menu they have 'v' for vegetarian and 've' for vegan, I think this is great as it makes it super clear. For a starter, I love the Potato and Rosemary Bread, but my favourite is the Hummus with Piadina Bread, if you like hummus you have to try this! As for mains, they have a couple of options, the Superfood Kale Salad is great and is vegan by default, however my favourite is the Beetroot and Falafel salad. While this is just vegetarian as it's supposed to come with goat's cheese, it can be made vegan by simply omitting the cheese. This is so yummy, if you love falafel, lentils, beets and squash, you'll love this! As for deserts, like with many restaurants, you will struggle. However if I'm with someone who's getting a desert, I'll get their Green Smoothie or a juice. They do a Carrot, Apple and Ginger juice and a Watermelon, Peach and Raspberry juice and while all of these options are lovely, the smoothie is hands down my favourite!

Nando's
Who doesn't love a Nando's? Even prior to going fully vegan, despite loving Nando's, I'd rarely go for the chicken as I was always funny about meat and so I'd actually already tried their veggie options. My favourite vegan option hands down is the veggie burger, which is made with tomatoes and soya. You must specify no mayo though, as this isn't a default vegan option. They also do some lovely salads, but again, you need to specify no cheese/ chicken! Nando's actually do do a vegan desert in the form of their passion fruit gelado. I haven't had this myself, but it's definitely worth a try!
Something I'd like to comment on is the fact that many vegans don't like to eat at restaurants that so all about meat like Nando's is, however I think it's really important to create a demand for vegan options at places like this, so I have no issue with this.


Zizzi
My favourite. Hands. Down. And let me tell you why in three four words. Cheesy Fucking Vegan Pizza. Bonus for those with soya allergies, the 'MozzaRisella' 'cheese' is made with Rice Milk! Zizzi's is the first UK chain restaurant to even offer a cheesey vegan pizza and for that, they'll always hold a special place in my heart (and not my arteries, yay!). The pizza tastes amazing and really quite cheesy despite it being a non dairy cheese. It also looks the same as everyone elses so you don't feel like the 'token vegan' at the table! (Though I have no problem with this title). As for deserts, though I said you may struggle, this is not the case here. They have not just one but three vegan gelato options for desert, coconut with a mango swirl, lemon sorbet and strawberry sorbet. All three are seriously yummy but the strawberry is hands down my favourite, it tastes like strawberry starbursts (which, side note, are also vegan. Fun fact.) so if you love super sweet things, you need to try this. The gelato deserts come with 3 scoops and you can have one of each, but I definitely recommend doing as they're all sooo good!

Pizza Express
Pizza Express doesn't do a vegan cheese option at the moment (I'm sure they'll catch up now Zizzi's have taken the vegan pizza crown), however all their pizza bases are vegan, so you can pretty much just order any pizza without cheese and choose whatever toppings you like. They do have a vegan pizza option on the menu in the form of their 'Pinata' Pizza, which comes topped with tomato sauce, spinach, mushrooms, pine kernels, chilli flakes and rocket with garlic oil. Plenty of flavour and no cheese! They also do a Superfood Salad which you can ask for with no cheese (but as you're eating out, why not go for the pizza?!) As for starters and deserts, the dough balls themselves are vegan, you can just substitute the garlic butter for garlic oil instead. They also do a yummy raspberry sorbet for desert which is vegan, so no need to miss out.


Wetherspoons
Not the most obvious choice, but there's a Wetherspoon on almost every high street so it's nice to know you have options. As far as I know, you need to check your own menu at your local restaurant but I know for sure the Sweet Potato and Chickpea curry is vegan and it's seriously good! It does come with a naan bread as you can see, which unfortunately isn't vegan (I just kept mine in the picture as it looked a bit empty on the plate without! I give mine to whoever I'm with at the time!) but you can order with extra poppadoms instead! If you fancy a side dish, their chips are vegan as are the vegetable samosas and onion bhajis. You can always alter dishes to make them vegan - just don't be afraid to ask!

So those are just a few of my favourite places to eat out as a vegan! I've actually really enjoyed writing (and researching!) this post, so if you'd like another or have any suggestions for future posts on this topic, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Happy eating!

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Thursday, 14 April 2016

GET GLAMOROUS WITH QUIZ CLOTHING

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Hi lovelies! If you know me at all, you'll know I love a bargain. Especially when it comes to clothes as trends come and go so quickly. If I'm on the hunt for a pair of heels to match a particular outfit, or trendy Going Out Dresses that I know I'm not going to want to re-wear lots of times, I really don't like spending a ton of money!

So, when Quiz Clothing let me know about their #GetGlamorous range, I knew I had to share it with you all! With wedding season approaching, I thought it was the perfect time to share some of these gorgeous bargains with you all as at events like these, it's important to look the part, but you may not want to shell out hundreds each time! I think the pink sequinned dress is gorgeous for if you have a big event to go to, or even if you want some super sparkly bridesmaids on a tight budget! The dress next to it is shown from the back view because I though it was really unique and just super pretty! I thought the blue dress could make a beautiful prom dress for younger girl as I know proms and things aren't far away either!

Let me know what you think of my picks! Would you wear any of these?

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Thursday, 7 April 2016

RECIPE: VEGAN CHOCOLATE ORANGE CUPCAKES



Hi lovelies! Since switching to a plant based diet, I'm absolutely obsessed with finding and creating new recipes that prove you don't need meat, dairy and eggs to make a yummy meal, snack or treat. In this case, that proves to be very true. Today, I'm going to share with you my new favourite recipe for Chocolate Orange cupcakes. While this is vegan, it's definitely not the healthiest thing you can eat by any means, so to avoid eating several in one sitting (they're so yummy, you totally could), I'd recommend making these when you have friends and family around the share them with! I love making these for my family and friends because it proves that you definitely can have a vegan cake that's absolutely anything but boring.

I took inspiration for these cakes from a fairly basic egg free chocolate cake recipe I found online and substituted a few things to make them totally vegan and to suit my tastes too. This recipe makes 12 fairly large cupcakes. So, let's get started. For the cakes you will need:
1 Cup Self Raising Flour
1/2 Cup Plain Flour
1 Cup Caster Sugar
1/3 Cup Dairy Free Cocoa Powder (do check as some brands aren't dairy free!)
1 Teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
3/4 Cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice (Do juice your own oranges as it's much nicer that bottled juice!)
2 Tablespoons Orange Zest
1/2 Cup Melted Coconut Oil
2 Tablespoons Water
2 Tablespoons Vinegar (I used Malt Vinegar as I didn't have any Cider Vinegar and it works fine every time)

1. Start by mixing together your dry ingredients to fully combine them. This is the flours, sugar, cocoa powder, and bicarb.
2. When fully combined, add your orange juice, zest, water and oil and stir in well.
3. When everything is mixed together completely, add the vinegar and stir in. This creates a mini reaction with the bicarbonate of soda and will make your mixture go lighter for a moment, keep stirring and it's ready when it returns to it's regular colour.

Put equal amounts of the mixture into cupcake cases and bake at 180 Degrees Celsius for around 12-15 minutes. The exact time will depend on how big your cupcakes are so do keep an eye on them. As with any cake, they're done when you poke a knife or cocktail stick in and it comes out clean!

Now for the icing, I did use Betty Crocker's Chocolate Fudge Frosting, this is technically vegan as it contains no dairy or eggs, however it is made in a factory that handles these products (as many things are), so you can make up your own mind on how you feel about that.
For 12 Cupcakes I used about 1/2 a tub and mixed in 2 Tablespoons of orange juice and about 1 teaspoon of zest. While the cupcakes are cooling, pop the frosting/ juice mixture in the fridge to harden up slightly. While both these are cooling, you can prepare the optional sweet zest topping.

For the decoration, I took around a Tablespoon of zest, mixed it with a little sugar and layed it on a baking tray and placed into the already hot oven as soon as the cakes came out. You'll want to turn the oven off first and just let it dry out a little while the oven cools down. You literally only want to leave this in for a few minutes and keep an eye on it at all times. This is just to remove the bitter taste from the zest and to dry it out and little and make it easier to sprinkle on the cakes. This step is of course, optional but it does make the cakes look pretty!

After icing and decorating, all that's left to do is enjoy! You'll want to eat these fresh out of the oven but I'd recommend letting them cool off and letting the frosting firm up just a little as they taste best completely cooled.

I'd love to know what you think of this recipe and if you'd like me to post more! I really enjoyed making (and eating!) these cupcakes so I'd definitely love to know if you plan on giving them a try! If you do, definitely tag me on twitter or instagram (@chloesway on both!) so I can see your creations!

Thanks for reading!

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Wednesday, 6 April 2016

BE TRENDY AND PLAY BINGO*

Do you love to get recognized as the trendsetter in any sphere of life you indulge in? Well, following the latest trend and implementing it is something that is being loved by millions across the world. You can keep yourself updated be it in the kind of lifestyle you lead or in the type of dresses you wear!
Fashion has no limits and it can be exhibited in anything under the sun. Every individual especially a woman has fascination of following the newest styles in every aspect she engages in. She can buy the newly designed curtains for her home or she can read the latest cooking recipe and cook that or she can even listen to the most popular song in recent times. 
From the above mentioned particulars, don't you think there is a touch of fashion in almost everything in a woman’s day to day life? The list still continues with numerous other such facets. What makes fashion so acceptable in the market is that it reduces monotony in one's life by presenting something new and different that appeals to the senses. 
The world would have become a boring place to live in if there was no newness and variety. Variety is the change that gives a unique meaning to life and makes it worth living. Personally I being a mother of one and a working lady, love to have a fashion statement of my own. 
My lifestyle is simple but very happening always decked up with newness. After a hectic day, I often chill out with my close buddies in some pubs or coffee bars to completely relax and refresh myself. 
We tittle-tattle about any interesting stuffs like the grand wedding gown worn by our friend on her marriage or the current development in India. Our endless talks revolve around anything that makes us smile and laugh our heart out. 
It is in the recent friend's get together that I came to know about the exciting games of bingo. Playing the games is super easy and you can also be a part of such fun world of online bingo inminutes. Just type the popular website linkwww.newlookbingo.com on your mobile browser and get started now- Good luck!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

SKINNY SHAMING: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE IGNORANT*


Dear anyone who has ever called someone 'too skinny', or told someone to 'go eat a cheese burger',

Maybe you can help me understand something.
Something I've always struggled to comprehend, is the double standard when it comes to calling people out on their weight. Why, when you see a slim, healthy girl, eating a salad, do you think it's acceptable or any of your fucking business to ask 'Why are you eating that? You're already so tiny!', or when you see a slim, healthy girl eating a huge plate of pasta, or french fries, is just no problem for you to tell her, 'ugh, you're so lucky you can eat that and stay so skinny'.

You see, all my life, I've been slim and while I do understand and accept that genetics do play a small role in this (I must emphasise that, unless you have a health condition, this is a small role, because until someone finds me a fat skeleton, I won't be changing my opinion), it's also down to something else and honestly, brace yourself because this may blow your mind - it's not 'luck'. I know, right? The revolutionary secret to it is, I eat well and I regularly exercise. And do you know what? I'm sick to fucking death of this being a taboo subject.

Now I do not advocate the media sharing photos of stick thin, blatantly malnourished models to promote products, nor do I think that Kate Moss quote should still be circulating the internet, however, I also don't think posts that say 'real women have curves' and 'only dogs want bones' are healthy either. I'm aware that you can be bigger and healthy, however, I'm also aware that carrying too much fat on your body increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and various other scary diseases and in all honesty, I don't think promoting that is any more of a healthy message to young, impressionable children, than pictures of size zero models. It's the same, we shouldn't teach anyone to strive for a stick thin body, but we also shouldn't promote and glamorize obesity either. For example, if a girl of a healthy size and weight with a banging body because she eats well and works out, posts a bikini photo, it's 'vain' and 'showing off', but when a larger lady does it, it's 'confident' and 'empowering'. I'm not necessarily saying there's anything wrong with either of these, but what I don't understand is why larger ladies are allowed to love their curves, while smaller girls are shunned for loving their well earned rock solid abs and toned thighs.

What I need you to clarify for me, if you can, is why you feel it's perfectly okay to tell me I need to put 'more meat on my bones' or as a total stranger (yes it's happened), grab my wrist and say, 'look how thin you are, you're so lucky!', what if someone like me decided to tell a plus sized person, 'you could do with losing a bit of weight' or 'look at your chubby arms, hard luck love!'. That's not okay, that's rude. Here's what you need to remember, to me at least, 'skinny' is not a compliment, 'slim', fine, 'healthy', you're damn right, 'in shape', go for it, but 'skinny' implies, too thin, unhealthy, negative. Yet we don't put it in the same category as calling someone 'fat' because those who are skinny are the 'lucky' ones.

Lucky. Is it luck to eat well every day? It it down to fate that I get up and move my butt in the morning? Is it written in the stars that I avoid fatty, cholesterol filled foods because I want my body to function properly for my whole life? Maybe my horoscope said because Mercury and Venus are aligned, I won't be taking part in McDonalds Monopoly? Ridiculous? Absolutely.

I'm not saying it's hard to be healthy, because I love the way I eat and live and wouldn't change it for the world, but I am saying it takes some effort and I refuse to be put down and sniffed at for that any more. The next time you go to share that post about being a 'real woman' because you have curves, think about how that actually comes across and how you'd feel if a girl 3 sizes smaller than stated that 'real women' do their squats and don't have bingo wings. Sounds rude when I put it that way right? Why? Is it because it's any worse than saying a woman isn't a real woman if she's not plus size. or is it because your views on the entire subject are so distorted that you don't realise how offensive you're actually being?

Sincerely,
That lucky, skinny bitch who probably only eats salad.

*Usually, this is where I'd write a disclaimer about not wanting to offend anyone, but I'm not going to, because this letter is addressed to those who have ever skinny shamed someone, which is offensive and if you're offended by this post, then I'm glad I returned the favour.

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Sunday, 3 April 2016

CHIHUAHUA TIPS & ADVICE


Hi lovelies! Bit of a different one for you all today, as this post is going to be all about my advice and tips if you're thinking of getting a dog, specifically a Chihuahua. When I was looking into dog breeds before getting my gorgeous little Belle, I was obsessed with reading new puppy blog posts, tips and advice and Chihuahua facts, but I didn't come across too many blog posts like this one, so I thought I'd do one myself. So if you're thinking of getting a Chihuahua, or any other small dog, or you're just dog obsessed and want to hear my thoughts on the breed, read on! Warning, this will be a long one!

Before I get into this, I'm gonna do the annoying blogger disclaimer, so to make it quick, I'm not an expert, I just bloody love my dog. Okay? Let's continue!

So, I got my Chihuahua, Belle a little over a year ago in November 2014 and before getting her, I read up on a few different breeds, because there were several things I needed to consider. First up, at the time, Darren and I were living with my Parents, but as we had plans to move out in the next year or so, we knew we wanted to get a fairly small dog, as we'd be renting our first house and it's hard enough to rent with any pet, let alone a huge dog! Side note, this is definitely something worth considering if you're going to be renting, we were lucky enough to find a cottage to rent that allowed a small dog, but we wouldn't have been allowed a larger breed. We also wanted a dog that didn't need too much walking, as we don't really get the time to do 2 plus walks a day and didn't want the guilt of leaving a very active dog bored and restless. Other reasons for looking into a smaller breed were simpler reasons, such as buying good quality dog food works out a lot cheaper as they eat much less, they're more portable (I didn't have my smart car at this point, but I'd have been screwed if we had a big German shepherd to content with!) and we knew our first house wouldn't be huge and we knew it'd be unfair on a big dog to be cooped up and let's face it, little dogs are SO FRICKIN CUTE.


So, now we knew we wanted a smaller dog, it was time to look at breeds, we didn't look at too many really before I came across Chihuahuas, but Darren loved the idea of a Pug or French Bulldog, however after looking into them, we decided while they're both adorable, Frenchies were still that bit too big and Pugs seemed to have a whole heap of health risks, which I think is often to do with over breeding/ interbreeding, which I know isn't always the case, but as this was going to be our first dog together without any patental help, we didn't really want to take any risks. I also briefly looked at Daschunds, but we were told you had to be very careful with them jumping on and off sofas, beds, stairs etc due to their short little legs as it can potentially be quite dangerous for them. This wasn't really going to put us off, but in the end, it was a toss up between a Daschie and a Chi and we saw Belle on a puppy site and fell in love.

First and foremost, we made sure we visited the breeder, saw that the parent dogs were healthy and well looked after and went away to think about it before committing. Ideally, we'd have loved to have adopted a dog, but any shelters within a reasonable distance to us only had bigger dogs and no puppies. I do think we would adopt in future, but we just desperately wanted a puppy for our first dog. If you are going to buy a dog, then please, please make sure your breeder is legit, if the house is full of unhappy looking dogs, if it appears unhygienic, if they don't let you see the parent dogs or at least don't have any info on them, then get out of there -and if it's bad enough, report it, dogs deserve a good home!


So, the day came to go and pick Belle up and we made sure we were prepared, we had two beds, a small crate, puppy training pads, food (we started her off on the same brand the breeder had given her and slowly transitioned her onto a different food), treats, a lead and harness, a carry case and enough toys to open a puppy daycare centre. So, we went to get her and despite crying in the carry case on the way home, she actually settled in really quickly, she ran straight for a cuddle with Darren before trotting her to have her first accident under the dining table - gross! Toilet training with Belle was actually really easy, she learned to use her puppy pads in just a few days and to go in the garden soon after. The thing to remember with small breeds is that they have teeny tiny bladders, so particularly as a puppy, you need to give them the opportunity to go frequently. With enough training though, I found this little Chihuahua in particular very easy to housebreak. However, Chihuahuas aren't great with the cold, so in particularly cold weather, we do still use puppy pads indoors which isn't ideal, but she can be quite stubborn in not going out for very long in the cold. This is just a personal preference of ours, as while we do live in a house, not a flat, we still only have a very small garden with no grass, so unless she's on walk, she doesn't get to go on the grass many times throughout the day and concrete and stones are just too cold!

Chihuahuas are generally known for being either a quivering wreck in the face of any stranger, or a ballsy, yappy little terror without much inbetween and while they do display these qualities, there is also a massive grey area. As a tiny puppy, Belle loved anyone and everyone and hardly barked at anything and showed little to no fear of anything, however as she grew up, she developed more typical Chihuahua traits. This wasn't through us keeping her away from people, or teaching her to bark or anything like that, but we did notice after a few months, she began acting a bit afraid of new people. Oddly enough, this wasn't with everyone and to this day, she goes one of two ways with new people, either the instant 'OMG YOU'RE MY NEW BEST FRIEND ILYSM LET ME LICK YOUR FACE!!!' or with a few people, it's more 'YAP YAP YAP I'M SO TOUGH wait.. MUMMY STRANGER TRIED TO STROKE ME I'M SCARED!' Cue shaking, barking and hiding behind mine or Darren's legs. Generally though, as long as we show her that whoever the person is is not a threat (i.e. Give them a hug, sit and chat with them while letting her get on with her suspicious sniffing), she'll always warm up to anyone we have over and will end up on your lap. This is rare though and because we've tried to train her to be sociable, guests aren't generally a problem. 

So, if you don't have the patience for a nervous little dog who may need a lot of reassuring in unfamiliar situations, a Chihuahua may not be for you. However, if you love cuddles and want the kind of dog who will sit on your lap for hours on end, a Chihuahua is perfect. As I've said, Chihuahuas don't need loads of walks, but they do need stimulation and exercise like any other dog, so one short walk a day as well as lots of playing indoors is enough to keep Belle fit and healthy and when all her playing is done, she loves nothing more than snuggling up under a blanket on mine or Darren's lap. She's very cuddly and sweet and once she's comfortable with someone, she'll jump up on her back legs waving her paws in the air like a child just to be picked up and snuggled. Chihuahuas are known for having a lot of character and our little lady is no exception! She's very clever and learns quickly, she's also very observant and notices that if someone is a little nervous, she needs to be calm, for example, my Nan can't see very well and Belle instinctively knows to be calm, sit still to be stroked and not get under her feet.. Too much! Whereas if Darren's friends come over, she knows it's playtime and it's perfectly okay to jump on their shoulders and nibble their ears. This doesn't mean they don't need to learn though firm but fair training is needed to calm down any behaviours you deem inappropriate.

As for sleeping arrangements, Belle would be on the bed with us all night if she could and we do let her up for cuddles before bed and in the morning, but at night she sleeps in a crate, big enough to have a little wander round but not so big she feels intimidated. We initially only got the crate for training purposes, but she loves it and sees it as her little den, so she stays in there with water and a Kong toy (perfect to keep them amused for a while!) when we go out too. We found she actually doesn't like being left in a whole room alone, possible because it feels like a big, empty space, but she loves her crate. This is fine with me, as I know she's safe and secure, but it's important to remember this doesn't work for all dogs!

So, a quick list of pros and cons for those who've made it this far, or those who are skimming and want something quick and easy to read!

Chihuahua Pros:

  • Perfect for smaller houses.
  • Great for those without much time for walking.
  • Good if you're going to be out at work during the day (not too long though, Belle is fine alone, but we only live up the road from my salon and I do come home every day for lunch and my Mum helps out a lot too)
  • Lovely 'lap dogs', love to cuddle and have naps with you!
  • Lots of personality, very chatty! (We're sure she tries to talk to us)
  • Fast learners (tricks, training etc)
  • Very portable, in our experience, very good in the car.
  • Inexpensive to feed
  • Easy to groom, Belle only needs occasional baths and doesn't shed too badly.

Chihuahua Cons:

  • They can develop separation anxiety, however, we trained Belle gradually to be alone, which worked for us, so I'm sure you'd be fine too.
  • Sometimes stubborn, she's a fast learner but she won't always do as we say!
  • Can be nervous, which comes across yappy and potentially aggressive, need reassuring.
  • Picky eaters! I didn't mention this yet, but we struggled to find a food Belle liked, she turned her nose up at so many before we settled!
  • Scavengers - fussy yes, but only with dog food. They're tiny and can get into anything low down so you really do need to keep of top of the cleaning!
  • Regular feeding needed, some would disagree but I believe small dogs should have three small meals a day as their little tummies can't always handle large amounts of food at one time.
  • Sensitive to the cold, we have to be very careful in the winter particularly on walks, if it's cold enough, we often take her for walks around Pets at Home rather than outside.
  • Quite clingy aka, always under your feet! You really learn to watch where you step with a Chihuahua!

This post was bought to you by Royal Canin and their #TheRoyalFamily campaign, which provides information on all dog breeds and helps you to choose the perfect dog for you by inputting info such as where you live, how much time you have your experience level with dogs, which I think is fab, particularly for those that are undecided on a dog breed! All opinions though are of course my own and should be taken as such, as I'm definitely not a puppy pro!

That's all I can think of for now, but if there's anything else you'd like to know please leave me a comment below!

Friday, 1 April 2016

ECO FRIENDLY FASHION BRANDS WE MUST EMBRACE

So you want to go green and you’ve started embracing eco-friendly products in your day to day life. Maybe you’re buying locally-grown produce instead of processed and GMO foods. Or you’re using recyclable and earth-friendly plastic bags instead of petroleum-based ones. What about the clothes that you wear every day? The clothing industry has an enormous environmental impact – second only to the petroleum industry. With the help of ethical and eco-friendly clothing brands, you can go green in fashion too.

What Are Eco-Friendly Clothes?


There are a number of ways in which a fashion brand can be eco-friendly. Maybe they’re using only organic material to manufacture their clothes. Or maybe they’re recycling fabric for new clothes, so that there’s minimum wastage. Regardless of the differences in materials they use, the main thing they have in common is that they aren’t using petroleum-based fabrics in their manufacturing process. The goal is to provide sustainable clothing that isn’t harmful for the environment.

These eco-friendly fashion brands usually embrace an ethical manufacturing method, which means that everything they make is done in an ethical work environment. They shun the use of real fur and leather, so that no animals are harmed in the process of creating their products. Their clothing is also either made locally or under Fair Trade agreements. So any ethical woman would choose to wear clothes from an eco-friendly fashion brand over garments made in sweatshops.

Who Makes Eco-Friendly Clothes?


Let’s take a look at some amazing fashion brands that choose to create earth-friendly garments to preserve the environment:

  1. London Ethnic – This ethical fashion label promotes London-based designers and revolves around high-quality women’s clothing and organic beauty products. Everything under this label is produced within the U.K., so you won’t have to worry about buying clothes made in sweatshops.
    Image Source: London Ethnic

    London Ethnic is dedicated to making fashion sustainable with ethically-sourced materials and promoting fair trade. Another reason why we should embrace this brand is because it serves as the foundation for novice British designers to gain ground in the fashion industry.

  2. Indelust – This South Asian label is made up of ethically-sources and artistically-curated creations from the Indian Subcontinent. Its online luxury boutique promotes clothing made by independent artisans from the region. The Indelust fashion brand isn’t just about items for women and kids but also boasts of artistic decor pieces.

    The brand’s sentiment revolves around organic, vegan, handmade, sustainable products that will generate a positive social impact. Indelust infuses local materials with traditional techniques to create minimalistic designs.

  3. L Saha – This UK-based premium womenswear label targets fashionable and eco-conscious women. L Saha uses natural fabrics to create timeless pieces and puts a modern twist to them. With a commitment to produce ethical and sustainable fashion, the brand nurtures the skills of their craftsmen and gives them the platform to make a positive change in their lives. Image Source: L Saha
    What’s unique about L Saha is their dedicated to build a connection between their customers and the people who created their products. Every item comes with a ‘Made By’ tag, which provides customers with basic information about the person who created the item. Customers can also trace the detailed journey of their purchase using a tracking code. This helps them learn about the conception of the design to the package and delivery of the finished product.
  4. Sydney Brown – Before she launched her US-based ethical footwear brand in 2012, Sydney Brown had been embracing the vegetarian lifestyle for years. The idea for eco-friendly shoes came about when she found herself thinking twice about buying leather shoes. Being unable to find an alternative to leather designer footwear, she started working in European shoe factories and took up an apprenticeship in the craft.

    Now she oversees the production of her ethical, cruelty-free line of footwear handcrafted by artisans. Shoes from the Sydney Brown brand are made using high-quality eco-friendly materials. The brand makes the most of reclaimed wooden soles, coconut insoles, and recycled and sustainable uppers.

  5. Kabukimono – Another UK-based fashion brand, Kabukimono was launched in 2014 and has since come up with eccentric and unique creations. Each piece of clothing from the brand is hand-crafted under ethical conditions in London. Their latest collection is named “Hands & Faces of the Shiro Meda”, which tells a story with abstract hand-painted designs.
    Image Source: Sancho Dress
    The collection shows an appreciation for textiles made by Ethiopian co-operative and comprises of unisex jumpers and totes. Kabukimono is all about individuality and cultural infusion with ethical production of goods. Each piece is described using a Haiku poem, which further promotes their idea of preserving individuality.


There are a lot of other eco-friendly clothing lines that cannot be all covered in one article, so let’s just leave it at five for now. When we’re adopting the eco-friendly lifestyle, we should always be conscious of everything that we buy. We can always opt for a sustainable method even when it comes to buying clothes for special occasions and events. For instance, we can buy second-hand goods and re-purpose old clothes for Halloween costumes, so as to save money while promoting a green lifestyle.
Author Bio:
Brandon Leibowitz, is a seasoned writer at Saversglobal thrift retailer. He is also a contributor to many social media blogs like social media examiner, businesss2community and many more... His knowledge and dedication made him popular on Social Media as a strong influencer.

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