How Dogs Improve our Health

It probably comes as no surprise, but I really couldn’t imagine my life without dogs. My gran got a tiny little black lab just a few months after I was born. He was my first best friend. He put up with baby me crawling all over him, and as we grew older together, I would pretend he was a pony, or curl up and rest my head on his furry little belly. I always knew he was there for me to nestle into if I was having a bad day because my friends had fallen out with me, or if I just wanted someone to keep me company until my mum came to pick me up. He was always there. He was the first dog that I had bonded with, and he is probably the reason I love dogs so much today.

Baby me and my first best pal

Since then my family have had dogs of their own. We now have two Akita’s called Kodi and Nala, and they are literally my pride and joy. In all honesty, they are the only reason I get out of bed most days. If I didn’t have to force myself awake to walk the dogs, then I would probably be left to moulder away in my bed and my day would never get started. Getting up and having just 30 minutes of exercise in the morning really sets me up for the day in a way that I know wouldn’t happen otherwise. It doesn’t let me slip into any sort of self-enforced depressive episode, which is so easy to entertain when you have no reason to even leave your bed. Having dogs is a benefit to me, both mentally and physically by kick starting my day and getting me exercised.

My dogs are also a great stress relief for me. Some people turn to eating, or drinking too much alcohol, but for me I just like to spend time with my dogs! During exams especially, when emotions are running high, and your head is all over the place, I always find myself longing to spend time with my dogs. So I always make sure to take breaks to cuddle with Kodi (Nala isn’t a cuddly dog) and I feel so much better afterwards. Just taking some time to breathe, and hang out with my dogs can make me feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. list a whole number of ways that owning a dog can positively impact your health, for some it goes well beyond the mental impact that my dogs have had on me. Owning a dog can truly change your life.

puppyspot how dogs improve our health

If you are interested in finding a dog that is right for you, puppy spot are linked up with the American Kennel Club to help you avoid atrocious puppy mills and find the right breeder for you! You might find the right dog for you here. Alternatively, if you are looking to adopt from a rescue service – look locally! My family are personally involved in Akita rescue, and that is how we found our two. But you never know where, or how you will meet your new best friend!

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 ** I was contacted by Puppyspot to help spread their campaign on health benefits provided by owning dogs

*** Photos by Euan Kinloch (@euankinloch insta)


E.L.F Mascara First Impressions Review

Elf have always been a brand that had never quite reached my radar. I had been aware of their existence, but I (still) don’t know much about their products. Despite this, when I found out the brand had launched in Superdrug stores around the UK I rushed to my nearest store. Knowing they are a cruelty free brand, I seized this as an opportunity to buy myself some new Mascara. I have been fairly desperate to find a cruelty free mascara from the drugstore that I like! I haven’t tried many, just NYX (which I absolutely hated), so i got quite excited about trying something new!

I’m considering this as a first impressions review, because as I write this, I have only worn this mascara three times. I don’t really have high ambitions for my mascara, so I usually know almost immediately whether it is something I would buy again or not. Basically, i just want my mascara to turn my lashes black. If I could get away with it, I probably wouldn’t wear any! I want something will create quite a natural look and feel light and easy to wear throughout the day. With this in mind I decided to pick up their waterproof mascara because the temperatures here have been rising, so I needed something that would survive through even the sweatiest of shifts in my work.

Initially, I wasn’t really impressed by the packaging. It just didn’t sell the product to me, it looks cheap and wasn’t promising. When I first looked at it, I immediately thought “this is going to be awful.” It is a basic matte black plastic-y looking mascara tube with the brand name printed on. I had a conversation with my friend about it and we both agreed that it looked like something from our favourite childhood brand Internacionale (does anyone remember that shop?) I also found the wand handle to be incredibly long. I personally would have preferred if it was a little bit shorter to balance the weight of the brush a little better.  The brush is also quite basic looking, but that is no fault as it performs its job.

The formula is waterproof and claims to “achieve thick, full and long looking lashes.” The formula definitely lengthens lashes, and as you can see in the images above, it definitely thickens lashes too! I noticed the product was a little bit sticky until it has dried – after a couple of seconds of cuddling with my dog my eyelashes had stuck together! Realistically though, that is an easy fix. Most people aren’t daft enough to rub their face into their dogs coat immediately after putting on their make up! By the end of the day the mascara seemed to stay in place even through both sweaty gigs, and sweaty shifts. Despite the hard wearing formula, I didn’t find it difficult to remove using Simple Micellar Water.

Overall, I definitely do like this mascara. It looks very natural and that is what I like. It is a little bit sticky, but the mascara doesn’t clump as you layer it on. It also doesn’t budge throughout the day or flake into your eyes. I have worn this during two very busy, and sweaty weekend shifts in my work and also to a gig and it has managed to hold up nicely. While I wouldn’t consider it to be the best mascara that I have ever used. For the price I definitely think it is worth it. I’m still on the look out for a better drug store mascara, but this is my favourite that I’ve tried so far. If you have any recommendations about what I should try next, let me know!

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Candida Diaries: It’s been three years

panties yeast infection chronic illness

It’s been about three years since I had my first yeast infection. Not knowing what was happening to my body I ignored it and hoped it would disappear. Since then I have watched my body change, my lifestyle change, and even some of symptoms and nature of this ailment have changed. It took me a really long time to actually come to terms with this illness. There is so much that is just unknown about chronic/recurrent yeast infections so any treatment that I have had has been very muddled, and uncertain.

So where am I now? I’ve kind of given up. My doctors have always been reluctant to recognise this as a long standing illness. But I always wanted to be persistent, I always wanted to keep it on my medical records as an existing problem and insisted on having regular check ups.  But I just don’t have the energy to pursue it. I’ve grown tired of visiting my GP and hearing the same thing, and getting no further forward. In my own time, at home, I have researched loads of different methods which could limit yeast overgrowth, but very few of them would be successful without medical guidance.

It’s very difficult to continue being persistent when you know that there is nothing else that the doctors are willing to do for you. But I also know that there are other possibilities that could be aided by dietitians, or even acupuncturists.  It goes without saying that three years down the line there remains a desperation to get rid of this illness. I have researched all sorts of treatments all of which have no certainty to be successful. I want to try them, but I just need the support from medical professionals to take my illness seriously. Without that, it has been difficult to keep up any hope that I have to get rid of it. For now, I just hope that the many blog posts I have read from fellow sufferers are right, and one day I too wake up and my yeast infection has disappeared!

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Cruelty Free Update: My Every Day Make-up

Illamasqua Skin Base NARS Sheer Glow Seventeen High Drama Sara Hill Luxurty Face Primer Urban Decay Primer PotionA year or so ago I decided I wanted to switch up my make-up routine and ensure that every single product that I use is cruelty free. So today I am going to go over the products that I use on a daily basis to hopefully help guide you towards some cruelty free and easy to obtain alternatives to your beauty routine.

Before I go on to list the products I use, I do have one confession to make. The one product I have struggled with finding an alternative for is my moisturiser. I was previously using some pretty heavy duty E45 cream to moisturise my face on a daily basis. I since picked up Aveeno to try. For some reason I was certain I had googled it and found that it was cruelty free, but when I double checked it after buying it, I realised I was wrong. So if anyone has any recommendations for a good cruelty free moisturiser, I am all ears! Now lets get into it…

Primer: Sara Hill Luxury Face Primer (£28) for the face, and Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion (£17) for the eyes

Foundation: NARS Sheer Glow Foundation (£32) in shade light 3, mixed with Illamasqua’s SB 01 (white) Skin Base Foundation (£33).

Sara Hill Luxury face Primer NARS Sheer gLOW Foundation Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation

: Seventeen High Drama Liquid Eyeliner (£3.99)

: I have been switching Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes (£23) and Maybelline Colossal (which you can see pictured) which is not cruelty free, but it was gifted to me at Christmas and I think I would be wasteful not to finish it.

: I rotate mostly between Jeffrey Star Velour Liquid Lipstick (£16) and Kat Von D (£17)

Jeffree Star Androgyny Kat Von D Lolita Urban Decay eye primer potion Seventeen High Drama

Make up Remover: Simple Micellar Water 400ml (£6.59)
One thing I have found quite difficult since transitioning to a cruelty free beauty routine is keeping the cost down. As you can see I spend well over £100 on just my everyday ‘essentials’. I don’t even use a lot of products daily. I reeally want to find a drug store alternative for my mascara that I actually like. Previously I have used NYX Doll Eyes Mascara and I found the product so clumpy and horrible that I just had to indulge in something that I knew would work. On the other hand, I have fallen head over heels with my Seventeen eyeliner, I have already gone through multiple little tubes! I wouldn’t swap it for anything!

If you have any Cruelty Free favourites that you want to share with me then please do! I’m always looking for new products to try!

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NARS Sheer Glow Foundation Review

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation reviewAfter a few years of being an Illamasqua loyal I decided to change it up and try something new. I have really dry skin so as much as I liked the Skin Base foundation, it just wasn’t doing anything to hydrate my face. This lead me on a hunt to find something that would do just that! I had heard good things about NARS foundation and it was first on every ‘best foundation for dry skin’ list that I had looked at. So I figured it was a good place to start.

I popped into House of Frasers to get colour matched and I was honestly a little underwhelmed by the service. It felt very rushed, and it wasn’t even a busy Saturday – I visited midweek and the store wasn’t even busy. I also wasn’t keen on the MUA applying the foundation to my neck with their hands, perhaps that is me nitpicking, but I would much rather they just used a brush so that the process felt clean. It seemed very unprofessional to me.

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation swatch Review

On to the product itself. It is in a very nice glass bottle, it’s quite heavy and feels very sturdy so you wouldn’t need to worry about smashing the bottle at all. This is inside of a classic NARS black box. The main problem I have with the packaging is that it doesn’t come with a pump, and you are charged to buy one. Once the pump is attached you can’t fit the lid of the bottle back on to the product either. It feels a bit wasteful to me because I now have a spare lid floating around “just in case.”

The formula is amazing. It makes up for everything that I didn’t like about the service in the shop or the packaging. When I first swatched the product on my hand I was very aware of how thick it felt, and I was worried that this would mean the product would be cakey and crack, but it is actually the complete opposite. The product feels so silky to apply and it sits on your face beautifully throughout the day. It has a medium/buildable coverage, I don’t usually wear thick foundation, but I definitely do feel like I could build this up for a fuller coverage look and I wouldn’t need to worry about my foundation looking cracked or patchy.

I’ve taken some pictures of the wear. I really put this foundation to the test, by it wearing to work (where we don’t have air conditioning, or windows for that matter). The temperature was boiling on this day and as you can see my foundation lasted pretty well! There isn’t any cracking – it pretty much hasn’t budged (other than where I have rubbed it off). I am certainly impressed by this foundation. The first image was straight after my initial application, and the second is at the end of the day. All that I had used was the foundation itself, and mixed it with my primer and a white mixer No setting spray or powder had been used.

One thing that really needs to be noted as a disadvantage to this product, is that I could not find a perfect colour match. I was between light one and two, so I do add Illamasqua’s white skin base mixer into the foundation. This is a bit disappointing, but it is a common problem that I have. This could have an impact on the overall wear of the foundation, and those that can wear the foundation on its own may have a slightly different experience.

Overall I would definitely recommend NARS sheer glow foundation to anyone with dry skin. I feel like this has changed the game for me. I stuck with illamasqua for so long because I just love the company and the concept that their foundations are made to be customisable sat well with me and my awkward inbetween skin tone. However, it just wasn’t right for my skin. Since switching to NARS I haven’t experienced any new foundation breakouts (I do unfortunately get hormonal acne), and my skin just feels much happier underneath my foundation. So if you are having difficulty finding something for your dry skin, give this a try! It has changed the game for me!

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Kat Von D Launched in Glasgow

A week ago Kat Von D launched her cosmetic line in Debenhams in Glasgow city centre. It arrived just in time to serve as the perfect motivation to get me out of bed and into the uni library to study for my exams the following week. I was out of the house on time to catch the 10 am train (which is the earliest and cheapest train I can get using my railcard… I’m a savvy student) to get my hands on some goodies! And oh boy, the counter does not disappoint.

The counter itself is a gothic dream with beautiful black baroque detailing on everything from the counters to the mirrors, and with shelves created in shapes similar to that of  glass windows found in a cathedral. I’m always very drawn to the stained glass windows of my local Cathedral, so I found myself taken away by this very minute detail of her counter. It is all very beautiful and very Kat Von D.

Kat Von D Nars Beauty Haul Liquid Lipstick Everlasting Lipstick Eye shadow Quad White Out Concealer Sheer Glow Foundation

The counter was incredibly busy when I visited. It was launch day, and within the first few hours of Debenhams opening. But the girls at the counter were incredibly helpful. One even found the time to swatch some lipsticks for me, and show me the eye shadow palettes. I ended up buying the white out and L03 concealer, which on reflection is a bit too dark for me, and I probably should have went for L01, but that can be bought another time. I also picked up a liquid lipstick in the shade Vampira, and the Plum eye shadow palette, which I have been wanting for ages. I was on such a spending hype, that I even went over to House of Frasers to pick up NARS Sheer Glow foundation to try for the first time. I’m pretty pleased with my purchases. I still need to try them all out, but you can be expecting some new blog posts when I do!

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Beauty Things I’m Bad At

Lydia Saskia Illustration art beauty FUCK!!
Illustration by Lydia Saskia

Doing my own make up can quite often be the proudest moment of the day. It takes some amount of time just to decorate your face in the morning before you leave the house. But no matter how hard I try, there are just some things that I cannot get to grips with! I try not to get on board with unrealistic expectations, but in the beauty world, the pressure to do absolutely everything faultlessly is unavoidable. The truth of the matter is, I’m no make-up artist, and there are things that I just do not have the patience to learn or perfect. After lifeaccordingtojade shared her list of beauty things she’s bad at, I felt a little bit inspired to share my own. After all, nobody is perfect!

Shaving – I do shave, but only periodically or if my armpits are going to be on show (which honestly, isn’t very often). It just takes so much time and effort and there is better things I can be doing than spending an hour in the shower trying to achieve a silky smooth finish. I just don’t care that much.

Skin Care – I know there is definitely more I should be doing than just washing my face and moisturising, but that costs money, and I sure don’t have enough of that.

Eyebrows – Not only do I manage to draw ugly overly thick eyebrows, but I struggle to find the right shade that actually matches my eyebrows! My hair might be ginger, but my eyebrows sure as hell aren’t!

False Eyelashes – How do people even wear these anyway? They just feel heavy and fall off.

Nails – I cannot for the life of me maintain my nails. My polish is constantly chipped and my nails are often dirty. There isn’t enough encouragement in the world to get me to keep my nails tidy.

We’ve all got to be bad at something!
What is your least favourite part of beauty?

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