Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Oil Cleansing Method

As a thrifty shopper, and a girl who is generally more switched on to using natural alternatives where possible, the oil cleansing method has really intrigued me for some time. I'd like to say I decided to give it a go out of interest alone, but actually, I completely ran out of cleanser and didn't have the time to get any more. I scoured my cupboards for some sort of alternative, and found this method again after reading about it before, and thought - why not?

Now you are probably thinking that this is a gross idea and wondering why on earth anyone would do it (I know my other half still doesn't get it). I too was initially skeptical, as my face can be quite oily, and I couldn't see how putting more oil on it could help things! Despite this, and because at the time I had no alternative and nothing to lose, I decided to ignore my reservations and go for it. Needless to say I was really pleasantly surprised, even after the first day. My skin was soft, it wasn't greasy, and my face felt clean. Since then, it's only improved, and three weeks on, my skin has actually cleared up significantly.

The principle of the oil cleansing method is simple. We often buy into mainstream skin products which promise to clear the skin and clean it, but in reality these products often strip our skin of its natural oils. The skin then tries to replace this oil, overcompensating by creating more oil! Added to this, alcohol and fragrance (even in non scented and expensive products) irritates skin on a level you may not notice but does affect you.

Now don't get me wrong, I have come across a few cleansers in my time that haven't caused me too many problems, but I've never found one that has actually made my skin look and feel a lot better like this, genuinely.  I'm actually so impressed. After three weeks of just washing my face in olive oil (and later, introducing castor oil) I've found my skin completely clear, clean, and less greasy! I think this might be because oil dissolves oil, when you wipe it away. Oil in itself isn't bad, your skin produces it because it needs it, the main cause of spots or breakouts is actually more often down to hormones, environment, and clogged skin. By working with your skin and not against it, the oil mixture will dissolve any natural oil that has become stuck in your pores and allow for a deep cleanse. I have found that not only is my face softer with less need for moisturiser, its now also much clearer and makeup sits much better on my skin!

Here is how it works;

You will need a blend of two oils. I started with olive oil for the first week or so, and honestly that worked well, but after reading into it more, I discovered that castor oil has anti-inflammatory properties, and is very cleansing. If your skin tends to be more oily or combination, you will want to use less castor as this as it can actually be quite drying. Castor oil isn't as easy to find as you'd expect, (try a pharmacy or the pharmacy part of your local supermarket). It takes a little bit of practice to get the mixture quite right, but as a general rule;

  • Oily Skin: Try a blend of 30% Castor Oil to 70% to olive/sunflower oil.
  • Balanced Skin: Try a blend of 20% Castor Oil to 80% olive/sunflower oil
  • Dry Skin: Try a blend of 10% Castor Oil to 90% olive/sunflower oil.
I've been reading up on this online and there are different verdicts about the benefits of extra virgin olive oil and sunflower oil, but I myself have been using olive oil and find it to be great!

  • Create desired blend (this might take a few attempts to get a mixture that suits your skin best) and apply to face. 
  • Massage in circular motions (anti clockwise around the eye area, I learnt this from a make up artist, you should take your eye makeup off in this direction too to avoid encouraging lines!) I usually do this for about a minute to two minutes, because I am impatient and often don't leave myself much time in the morning, but for optimum results do this for 3-4 minutes. Take time on the areas you have problems with. It gets the blood flowing and allows the castor oil opportunity to sink through and really cleanse. 
  • This removes makeup too and seems to work well on my eye makeup!
  • Lastly, get a washcloth and dip into hot water (obviously not too hot) and apply to face. This will remove all the oil.
That's it! Your skin should now be glowing :) As I said I've never been happier with any other cleanser my entire life - so I'm sticking with this one!

Have you ever tried the oil cleansing method? What do you think?

Saturday, 12 July 2014

A Jaunt in the Big Smoke and a Review of The Monty Python Live Show!

So I don't normally do theatre posts (though, fun fact, I actually have a Masters degree in Contemporary Theatre), but last week myself and the other half hopped on a train to the big smoke to catch Monty Python - the last ever live show. I thought this most certainly deserved cementing in history, or at the very least, a blog post and a nod to the occasion.

I've mentioned my love of visiting the capital before, and nothing really excites me more than taking a few days out and exploring London. We decided to make a big deal of out of it and booked an airbnb for a couple of nights. We have an emerging tradition where we always find a good Groupon for a nice meal out when we go (call us cheapskates if you like, but its expensive to eat there) and this time was no exception, we found a lobster/steak meal for two with a bottle of wine for £30! Needless to say, I do quite like lobster.

We had a bit of a wander around Camden town during the day, I threw a new outfit together with one of my favourite Bershka shirts, and it also gave me an excuse to take out my new handbag that I picked up from 'Asylum'. My best friend runs the shop and honestly, I can't walk past without being coerced into buying something, (but I do love it all).

Now onto the show itself - I'm going to start by admitting that I felt like a bit of a sham going to see Monty Python. Trig got the tickets for us, but in reality my parents are much bigger fans than me and I've barely ever watched it. I almost felt guilty going, because I thought someone else should probably be in my seat! Every MP fan I've ever met can usually recite entire sketches by memory, which is just an indication of its cult following, really. Although they were initially only going to do one show, it sold out within 45 seconds so they kept adding new dates until it stopped selling out. We got tickets for the second night, and I tried to get myself up to speed before we went without watching too much MP at home and ruining it for myself.

We met some of Trig's workmates and chilled out in the Sky VIP lounge beforehand int he o2, which was a really nice touch! The staff were so friendly and made us feel so welcome.

I happen to have what we could call a minor fear of heights (OK - I really don't do well with heights) and luckily for us our seats were the very top of the arena on the absolute highest tier. Once I got over that (and begged to swap with someone for the end seat so I didn't have to climb over anyone) everything was splendid. The show itself was about 2 1/2 hours long. They did recycle lots of their famous sketches which they have been slated for in the press, but if you're doing a last show of an iconic comedy spanning decades, you would be silly not to. That is what their audience and fans clearly wanted. There were sketches even I recognised, their famous dead parrot sketch, for example, which was really great to see live.  Others I didn't know but would now like to watch. John Cleese was phenomenal on stage - a natural comic, they were all great. I have an odd sense of humour, and the slapstick elements don't usually tickle me, but I enjoyed it immensely.

They also added new material - with guest spots from Lee Mack live, and recorded material with Stephen Hawking and Brian Cox (Stephen runs him over and flies off into the sky to 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life'.. perfect) John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones all had such great chemistry and it was fun to watch, especially when things didn't go to plan.

What I loved the most, was that you could tell that they were old friends with history, getting together and having a laugh, remembering the good times, and nodding in respect to the late Graham Chapman, one of the original Pythons (they jokingly titled the show '1 down, 5 to go!).

The show closed to 'Christmas in Heaven' and 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' which everyone was on their feet to.

Overall I loved it - some things you just feel fortunate to be a part of.

Have you been to the Theatre lately or are you planning on going? Let me know! x

Monday, 7 July 2014

TRAVEL: Portugal & The Beautiful Algarve!

I've recently been on a series of little jaunts and the Algarve was the second installment. It's been an absolutely amazing few weeks!

Myself and my friend Penny visited Albufeira and stayed for 5 days.  We've been twice before, and this is actually my fourth visit to the same spot in two years, so its starting to feel like a home away from home. Now normally I'm not really a creature of habit and like to spend my holiday visiting new places, but, we've gotten to know a few people who work in the bars, I know the nice places to eat, the drinks are cheap and the temperature and surroundings are just perfect. Something about the place has got me hooked and I need my regular fix! Part of me really wants to spend a summer there, working or DJing in bars, and it's a fantasy I allude to everytime I go back. The beautiful Mediterranean sea is calling my name, and if I could easily do it, I would!

In some ways, Albufeira is ridiculously touristy and that would normally annoy me. But Albufeira has something about it, a cheeky charm, friendly locals, and I love that. I know that when I go there, I will be mostly going to chill out, eat and drink, and I'm okay with that, especially with a pretty stressful job back home. Relatively speaking, a meal out with wine will cost you about £10, so as long as you don't go mad you won't break the bank. Even in the height of the season, our hotel was £60 each for the week, and flights were £50 return, so we knew we were getting a cheap holiday.

In between chilling and more chilling on the beach, we did venture out to the zoo in Lagos! We saw a whole number of animals, including some cats and some monkeys, which was to be honest the main reason we went..


We also went on a bar crawl, where the average age of everyone seemed to be about 16 and there was copious amounts of people using water guns to squirt sambuca into people's mouths, but we did make some cool Irish friends so it was 20 euros well spent.

And some robot friends.

The bars are great fun in Albufeira, and either in or out of season, you will usually find us in a little kareoke bar called Albertus! The staff are friendly and the atmosphere is great, which really is all you need.

A good relaxing week well spent! We also found pictures of Cliff everywhere..

Are you off on holiday anytime soon? I'd love to hear about your exciting summer plans!