I want to scratch my face off…

SKIN

I’ve always had people compliment my skin. In high school I rarely had any spots or blemishes. People would ask me what skin products I use and I really had nothing special to tell them. Much to the obvious annoyance that caused.

When my GCSE exams came around however, I got this rash around my mouth – sexy right? It was mostly at the corners of my mouth but also just around my lips in general so it kind of looked clown esque.

This happened because I have eczema. When I was younger I used to have rashes of eczema flare up over my body and marinate in baths of balneum oil like a slimy piece of chicken. As I got older the eczema seemed to disappear but now it comes back mostly when I’m stressed and most annoyingly, mostly on my face!

I still have clear skin for the most part and you may feel envious passing me on the street but I’m actually in a private hell. Every morning I wake up, wash my face with an E45 emollient face wash , pat my face dry with a towel and then slather my face with E45 cream. The kind of cream you put on a babies backside so it doesn’t get a rash. My face is basically a baby’s ass. Smooth to the touch, clear and glowing but it can become a flared up mess from the slightest irritation!

In the shower I also use an emollient body wash so I’m just coated in a layer of oil 24/7. If I don’t do this, the second I step out the shower and dry my skin tightens around my face and becomes itchy.

Some days I wake up and my face feels unbearably itchy, sometimes all through the day. I can’t wear lipstick some days because it pretty much just flakes off my lips and exacerbates the situation. Some days I can’t wear make up at all.

My doctor gave me an ointment which I smear all over my face before bed when things get really bad. It’s like an oily paste so I sit there looking like I’ve just come out my mum’s womb again.

I think part of the problem is living in a city, the pollution undoubtedly worsens my skin. I’m allergic to dogs and have a dog so that’s a no brainer. I also know my mood and skin seem to have an unshakable bond so I’m in a vicious cycle.

I’m slightly envious of people buying all these fancy French face creams, scented with rose water. My best friend owns a beauty salon and I can’t benefit from all her skin knowledge or treatments!

I wish I had a nice ending, a resolution or some advice. I guess having super sensitive skin has taught me that you don’t need expensive face creams or ingredients sources from the farthest reaches of the planet. On good days I just use a plain moisturiser and face wash like the Simple products because added ingredients just irritate my skin.

On the bright side with all this moisturiser, I’m basically Benjamin Button.

 

Have you ever looked at male fashion models?

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No, this is not an edited photo of one guy, this is a photo of a catwalk show for Louis Vuitton.

I was thrilled when my boyfriend started showing an interest in getting some new clothes recently. Not because I want to reinvent him, he has a great personal style but because I love shopping!

After he was huddled over his laptop for less than ten minutes he suddenly lost interest and I felt deflated. Why get me all hyped like that?

I tried to claw back his enthusiasm but he said none of the things we looked at would look right on him. I thought he just wasn’t being very diverse in his taste but he explained it was the fit of the clothes.

I don’t know why but I’ve always assumed shopping would be easier for guys. I figured clothes fit them like a glove and the ‘it looks good only on the model’ dilemma didn’t exist for them.

He pointed out that all the models had the same physique, similarly to women models. The men were all skinny, straight up and down with sunken cheeks. They all looked identical and sick. I’ve seen this before but not on men for some reason.

I know men can have anorexia the same as women but I didn’t realise this influence was there.

I’m obviously used to seeing men in perfume adverts which is targeted towards women. You know the ones, tiny white speedos, thick tanned thighs, broad chest (smiles off into the horizon)… Strange that women are advertised men with muscle and men are marketed skeletons.

I just find it so strange I was completely oblivious to this! I also find it disturbing men are encourage to have sunken cheeks so their heads look like skulls. This was the one feature that remained across the board.

There’s work being done towards a better representation of female models but I’m thinking there’s a bigger problem for men. Male models normally play second fiddle to female models. I bet you can name more female models than male. As a result, I think not only are they getting pushed into the backgrounds but so are the problems in this industry.

Why is nobody talking about this?

 

What really helps jet lag?

170728_ClaireBeermann_by_JuliaZierer-5659-1272x848As summer is upon us many will be heading to exotic locations for their next holiday. Something that usually spoils my first two days of a holiday is jet lag. However, you’re in luck because I studied sleep a few years back (yes, that was a module) and learnt how to REALLY combat jet lag.

Firstly, why do we get jet lag? A common misconception is that jet lag is caused by a lack of sleep, which isn’t necessarily the case. Our bodies are synced up with our location so we feel awake in the day and tired at night based on our environment.  When it’s dark your pineal gland releases melatonin, which many will know as the sleep hormone. Your circadian rhythm (body clock) is in tune with your environment. Yes, that’s a real thing! So, when we hop countries and enter different time zones our bodies become confused and we experience symptoms of jet lag.

So, I’m not going to go through all the myths that supposedly help you avoid jet lag but the main one I do want to address is the whole sleeping on a plane waking up fresh as a daisy in Bangkok lie. Mainly because my parents always used to say this to me!

Don’t book one of those god awful night flights thinking you’ll sleep on the plane. Jet lag will catch up with you, it will find you and it will get you. The best thing you can do is book a day time flight and just pretend it’s like you’ve been on the other countries time your entire life – you exotic traveler you!

The best thing to do is arrive, eat food at the same times you would at home but on the other countries clock. Food is actually a big part in helping you kill jet lag quicker because you’re tricking your body to keep to your schedule (not telling it you’re in a different time zone).

Finally, sleep at a normal time in your new country. I know it’s annoying when your tossing and turning, you lie there thinking your just going to fall asleep on the sunbed later but don’t let yourself! Don’t curl up in your air-conditioned room and have that family mid day nap! It will fuck you up! Siestas are reserved for post-jet lag life.

Give my tips a go and let me know how you get on.

Don’t upset the rhythm yo.

Photo Hairstyle

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I always want my hair down in pictures. It annoys me that every time I wear my hair differently and someone takes a photo of me I dislike it. I’ve had my hair all pinned up and styled for a fancy event, then pulled it down just for photos. I’ve thought my hair would look good tied back with certain outfits but bailed in case someone pulls a camera out on me.

The funny thing is I like how I look in person. Sometimes I think I look better with my hair pulled off my face and people have told me I do. So why doesn’t this translate to the way I see myself in photos? I don’t know if it is that I’m not photogenic or if it’s in my mind. Every time I’ve attempt to have a hair up picture my eyes immediately go to my forehead. I just see this line, like I have a lumpy head or something. I can’t see it in person but the light just seems to catch it every time… I’ve just held my fingers to my head to check I don’t have a ‘five-head’ (the paranoia is real).

I noticed recently my sister commenting on the same problem. I was flicking through some really nice pictures of her and she kept saying she hated them because of her forehead. It made me wonder if this a common thing for people. Maybe it’s not foreheads for everyone, maybe it’s something else. Maybe you avoid posing on one side or wearing certain clothes because they don’t translate well in selfies.

Whether I have a big forehead, a lumpy forehead or no forehead at all I’m going to make a conscious effort not to hide it. I’m making a promise to myself never to ruin a perfectly good up-do again because someone is taking a picture of me. Even if I don’t like the picture now, I think I might in the future.

Should you get a dog before you’re 30?

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As a 23 year pupper enthusiast I’m obviously camp yes! If you don’t know already I have a “Minature” Labradoodle called Harvey. He also goes by many other aliases including Wink, Harvoo, Harvard-Wean etc.

I adore dogs. I completely baby them and I greet them before their human compadre. My family dog Jake, who passed away a year ago was the light of my life. He had moles, a sunken back from his fat belly, his hair had thinned, his bottom lip used to droop and reveal two teeth. He sounds beautiful right? Glad you agree!

You’re probably thinking, that’s all well and good but is it sensible to get a dog when you’re young? Something sensible my boyfriend and I did was make sure Harvey was “hypo-allergenic”. Ironically we’re both allergic to dogs but we suffer through our pain for the lurve. Our search became more specific and we kept coming back to Labradoodles.

A dog should never be an impulse buy. Choosing the right breed can be tricky. You might love Great Danes for instance but that doesn’t mean you’re the right owner for one. You need consider your lifestyle and foreseeable living spaces. You need to be realistic and not make false promises to yourself. Will you really walk them 2 hours every day? Are you actually going to groom their coat when it means coating your living room in the process?

That being said people come to pet Harvey all the time and tell me they would love to have a dog. I can’t help but think ‘why not get one then?’ I know we get full-time jobs, have children and travel amongst other things. I think a common misconception is that a dog can’t fit around that. Dogs are adaptable and there are lots of options available to make sure your furry friend is happy. Stop saying it wouldn’t be fair on the dog and start asking yourself how you could make it fair. Can you afford doggy day care? Can you afford a dog walker? Do you have a support network?

It’s true not everyone is in a place of their life for a dog. Maybe you will have to wait till you’re 30, maybe even later. A lot of people would say getting a dog whilst you’re young is a bad idea but I’ve found it to be the opposite.

We’ve had time to train Harvey and get him into a routine. We had money set aside to care for him properly. He’s on the best pet insurance which was lucky because he’s been a sickly dog; he’s such a regular at the vets we walk in to a choir of “Welcome back Harvey!” .

As many of you know I set up a dog boarding business last summer and I don’t know if that would’ve happened if I didn’t have Harvey. He puts a smile on the faces of everyone who meets him and he’s just crackers. For all the hassle that comes with having a dog he is 100% worth it.

I must stress, If you are thinking of getting a dog they basically become your child. Harvey’s a full-time commitment and accompanies me on most of my dates. My boyfriend is regularly rushing back to his flat to limit anytime that he’s left alone. Day trips need to be organised in advance so Harvey can get a sitter arranged, if he can’t come along. We can’t just spontaneously wake up and decide to go to Paris. He’s always in our thoughts and always needs something. However, if you really do love dogs more than life itself then you’ll fine a way to make it work, no matter how old you are.

 

 

The what the hell effect

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Have you ever told yourself you’re going to eat well but moments later you’re stuffing your face? Yeah? Let me guess, a lot of times something triggered it. You were going to be healthy but then your friend got a promotion so you have to go out for drinks. You were going to be healthy but now it’s your mum’s birthday so you have to eat birthday cake. You get my drift? No, I’m not going to tell you off for making excuses, I’m going to tell you about the ‘what the hell effect‘ (legit psychological term).

The what the hell effect happens when we set goals for ourselves but feel like we’ve messed them up so everything goes out the window. If we diet and say we’re not going to eat any biscuits but then we eat one, your more likely to devour the packet because in your mind that line has already been crossed. You tell yourself you’ll start again tomorrow and the whole cycle starts again.

 Janet Polivy did an experiment with dieters vs non-dieters. Both groups were given pizza and cookies. The dieters were lead to believe the slice of pizza they received was bigger than the non-dieters pizza, although all slices were the same size. Both groups were then offered cookies. The results showed that the dieters ate 50% more cookies than the non-dieters because they believed they’d already blown their limit.

So are we all doomed to stuff our faces for all of eternity?

Apparently, part of the problem is short term goals. When we think of things more long term we think about all the work we’ve done to get to where we’re at now and don’t want to mess that up.

One famous example is Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics are trying to avoid drinking so they thinking about the number of days sober. It’s like they’re trying to acquire non-drinking days in the grander scheme of things.

So in relation to food, dieters can think about the number of days they’ve been good. Sure you could then count a whole day as a failure and give up but hopefully having this knowledge helps you.

A chocolate biscuit doesn’t ruin your diet, or a slice or pizza, or a cookie. What ruins your healthy eating is not focusing on the bigger picture.

Why is everyone changing their face?

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I caught myself looking through pictures I was tagged in the other day criticising myself. I always make it a point to tell myself off when I do this because I know it’s not healthy. What I was focusing on this time was my lips. I knew why I was doing it. I’d been binging on social media all day and it seemed like every woman had these ginormous lips. Going from looking at those to my face seemed like a massive jump. I feel shame writing this but I actually thought for a second about getting my lips plumped out one day. How silly!

I’m white, I’m British and I don’t have a whole lot of diversity immediately in my family tree. I have a narrow nose, I’m pale as fuq and my lips are thinnnnnn! That’s just me – and a bunch of other people. So why do I always seem to crave the opposite? I used to hate my nose, I don’t really know why now… It’s small, it’s not got anything too crazy going on with it. For some irrational reason I’d just developed this hatred of it. When I was younger I wanted brown skin. I thought it was beautiful, warm and looked good in every colour. Now, I’ve been turning my judging eye on my lips. I basically just want to look Jamaican!

I’ve wizened to these negative thoughts about myself over the years. I’ve spent more time appreciating the face and body that I have. I’ve grown to feel thankful for my nose, love the contrast between my skin and my hair, as for me and my lips, we’re going to be just fine. Actually, I’m pretty sure one day I’m going to be thankful they’re thin because my face will look like my own.

There seems to be this one face that everyone is striving for and I can sum it up for you. It has tanned skin, big eyes, big lips, a small nose and thick threaded eyebrows. It’s basically Kylie Jenner’s new face. Everyone seems to be inching closer to this one homogeneous look and it’s scary! I find it really disturbing that all this natural uniqueness we all have is being blended into this fashion face. Every trend has its day, it’s like Newton’s third law of motion – you know the one ‘what comes up must come down’. This trend is going to peak and when it does there will be girls all over the place stuck with giant lips, that don’t match the rest of their face.

Facial features can all be different but for me I think it comes back to a question of ethnicity and identity. Why wouldn’t I want to look like me?