Ramblings…sponsored posts: should I or shouldn’t I?

It’s something that I’ve been thinking of lately. Payment for a post. Of course, I would only select products from companies that align with my values. I’m not complete sell out, just a little to medium sized one.

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I receive requests on a daily basis, asking me what my “rates” are for a post. And to be honest, I say no and decline. And also…I have no idea what my “rates” are!! I’ve never asked for a payment for a post, and it kinda feels weird thinking about it. Like how much is too much? How much is too little? Should I even be asking for money from a small business? Do you care if I do a sponsored post? Am I a business now? What the f*ck is an influencer? Does this make me a sellout? Or is it okay to be compensated for my work?

I started this blog and my Instagram page to chronicle my journey of living a lower waste lifestyle. I do all of this on my spare time (end of sob story)! I didn’t expect people to follow along, I guess I just wanted my shy(ish) voice out there. I wanted a place where I could write about how I’m trying to be a conscious consumer, or at least “more” of an conscious consumer. Heck, I just wanted to be a better human, and thought other people might want to as well. I also wanted a place to keep myself accountable. To stay on track – publicly!

It brought (and still does) brings me joy running this blog and my Instagram page. Of course, it doesn’t all the time. I have my moments with it. Particularly, as someone who spent a year away from social media before starting up my socials again – could I be spending my time more productively elsewhere? It’s something I reassess on a monthly basis.

But, I genuinely enjoy coming up with products to review or talking to businesses about their manufacturing processes. I’ve learnt so much. Not only from the businesses but also from the community in general. It’s such a supportive network, which I love. And it brings a little warmth to my heart reading messages from people telling me I’ve helped them along in their journey. For once, in a really long time, I feel like I have purpose.

A part of me is hesitant to dip my toe into sponsored posts mostly because I hate disappointing anyone, particularly, a loving and caring community such as this one. I’m a pushover and a huge people pleaser. It’s a horrible (yet, also, awesome) part of my personality. I’m more understanding because of it. I play peacekeeper a lot. But sometimes, it also means I don’t take the risks I need to because I’m afraid that I’m not pleasing everyone.

Sponsored posts are contentious. How can you promote a conscious lifestyle and promote products for cash? It seems pretty ridiculous and also like a contradiction. Isn’t your blog about Simple Living??? 

Well, yes and no. The “ish” is there for a reason – to show that I’m not perfect. I’m full of contradictions, but mostly it shows that I’m imperfect and I’m still very much a consumer – we all are. Being alive is to consume. And honestly, my blog has never been about perfection, and trust me I tried being “perfect” and that just made me horribly unhappy.

While I have received some products from companies (which I fully disclose), I don’t actually get paid for my reviews or my Instagram posts. I come up with the ideas for reviews or for a series, mostly because I think people might find it interesting and mostly because I, myself, think it would be interesting. I’m 100% honest with my reviews and try my best to go through a number of tests that you would actually do in real life. For the very few products that I do accept as “gifts”, I only choose products from companies that I feel people will be interested in, and of course, and the company must align with my values.

I should state that I am an recent affiliate of Biome but to be honest I don’t really feel like I am one, as long before I became an affiliate I was shopping almost exclusively at Biome to buy my “low waste” products. (Oh, I get it, the irony of buying something to reduce waste)! Does this constitute as a sponsored post? I personally don’t think so, as for one, I’ve made $0 from it and most of the products I’ve reviewed from Biome are actually products that I paid for myself. So, if people want to know where I got a product, why not share an affiliate link on my blog? (Even though I forget to add the links almost 90% of the time)! So, I don’t actually feel like I’m selling out on this one, but you might differ on this statement of course.

But, sponsored posts are something that I’m considering. I would love to do this full-time, and the only way is to get paid (yet only for things I’m passionate about). For now I have a office job and work fairly standard hours. So, I’ll continue to run this blog and Instagram on my own time. But will it be run on my own money like it currently is? I honestly don’t know. I hope if you see a sponsored post from me in future, you realised it’s not because I’m selling out (only like 49% selling out), it’s mostly because I genuinely believe in the product and feel that it could bring some sort of value to your life, and heck, it also has to bring value to my life as well. And yeah, of course, it will align with my values!

Side note, have you seen this new Mercedes with Nike wheels car? It’s amazing, it’s cured my acne and now I can travel at the speed of light.

*Sponsored by Nike and Mercedes*

*Kidding, not sponsored. But maybe it is*

*Stop confusing people, this isn’t a sponsored post*

*Or is it?*

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Review: Natural Toothpaste Series – Dr Bronner’s

The first instalment of my natural toothpaste reviews. I understand completely that not everyone can use straight baking soda on their teeth everyday. Heck, I can’t! I have a permanent retainer and can only use DIY toothpaste a few times a week (dentist orders). So, I wanted to test out a few “natural” toothpastes, because I figure there are a few people who probably want to switch to a natural toothpaste, but are not quite ready or can’t use DIY toothpaste.

I think this is important. We can’t all fit into a perfect label – each one of us are different. Each one of us are living in different circumstances, different bodies, different health boundaries. These toothpastes are not zero waste, but instead it’s a more natural alternative. I will also be comparing these natural toothpastes to one that I made at home – it might be interesting particularly for those who are wanting to make the switch.

Ingredients:

Cleanliness test: I have to say it’s cleans really well. Better than your standard supermarket-bought ones

Foam test: it doesn’t foam. It can take a while to get use to, particularly if you’re not used to foamy toothpaste. But honestly, after a couple of days you’ll get use to the grit.

How it looks when it brushes test: I figure the only way to explain how it brushes/looks like when brushing is to actually record it. So here you go!

This is a very odd video indeed…but hey, sometimes it’s easier to explain via video.

Taste test: Taste wise, it’s pretty damn minty and it’s actually really close to “supermarket” bought toothpaste. Even my partner said he would use it, and he pretty much dislikes anything “natural”. I actually think this will be a really good bridging toothpaste – particularly if you want to transition to DIY/low waste toothpaste. It’s kinda got the feel of a homemade one, but tastes sooooooooo much better

Fresh breath test: My breath wasn’t actually that fresh after brushing. It cleaned my teeth so well, and my teeth and gums had a minty freshness to them, but breath wise it wasn’t the best. My tip would be to brush your tongue. This will infinitely help the status of your breath!

Morning breath test: When I didn’t brush my tongue, my morning breath was pretty horrible – at least for the first few days. Afterwards, it kinda felt like my mouth adapted and it was all good. Even on those times I forgot to brush my tongue

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Too much info I know!

Overall: Ultimately, if you’re looking for a natural alternative but not quite ready to brush your teeth with straight up baking soda, this is a really good “training wheels” toothpaste. I would honestly buy this tube again, but will need to see how the others are first!

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Rating: 4/5 stars (minus 1 star for not leaving my breath completely minty – but brushing your tongue will help remedy this)

If you’re keen the toothpaste is available here!

Next up for review:

Ramblings…my journey and how it started

Oh, I dislike that word. Journey. It feels like I’m on The Bachelor or Masterchef talking about my “journey”. But that’s what it is. A journey.

If you had known me 5 to 6 years ago, you would’ve thought I was a different person. I loved to shop. It was a destructive type of love. I would go shopping during my lunch breaks, after work and on the weekends. Then online shopping was a thing (perfect for an introvert like me!) and I spent hours and hours online, and had multiple packages sent to my home every week. I was also in a lot of debt, way too much for someone so young. I spent everything I had on clothes, and even skimped out on food so I could buy a dress or a pair of shoes with the last remaining dollars of my credit limit. It was stupid, I’m not kidding myself. I was terrible with money. But also, I was really unhappy with myself and thought pretty clothes or expensive shoes would make me feel better. My self-esteem is still something I have to work through and being an extreme introvert, it’s a constant battle. But I’m miles away from the person I used to be.

Didn’t Joan Didion say it best?

I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be…

I don’t think changing is a bad thing. People often tell me that I’ve changed a lot. I’m less angry, less self-involved, more caring – perhaps a sight dig at my former self – how did I even have friends? But, I truly feel as if I’m becoming a better person. And I know, I’m not the best person. I could be better. As someone who used to be spoiled, self-centred and had incredibly low self-esteem – well, I’m just not that person anymore.

But how did it all start?

It’s kinda funny how it all begun. This journey of minimalism (kinda) and low waste (ish-ness). Who would have thought that a overflowing closet was the catalyst to my change, to my improvement?

It seems odd that minimising a closet could have such an effect. Yet, it made me reevaluate what I had and why I was spending the way I was. Without this evaluation, I probably wouldn’t have changed. Sure, my closet would be empty, but in time it would have reverted back. And I would still be left with a truck load of debt and a shopping habit I couldn’t afford.

It took a year to downsize my closet. I had over 100 pairs of shoes and my huge closet was so full that I used my parents’ spare room to store my extra clothes. I had clothes with their tags still on them, clothes that didn’t fit because I wanted to lose weight, clothes for that special occasion that never came. I had clothes I bought purely for the fantasy that I could be that girl who wore that dress or that top or that skirt. But, I wasn’t that girl!

And the decluttering begins.

I remember the first day so clearly. I had bought a new top which was sleeveless and had a galaxy print on it (I know). I tried finding room in my closet and noticed a slight bend in the rack. I had packed my clothes so tightly that the rack was starting to buckle underneath its weight. And I tell ya, my closet was huge and the rack was made of metal. At the time, I was newly unemployed and getting further into debt. My spending habits hadn’t changed even though I no longer had a job. I told ya, I was incredibly stupid with my money!

I had a donation bag for kerbside collection and started to fill it up – mostly because I didn’t want a broken rack! It took about 15 mins to fill up the bag. Surprisingly quick for clothes I was willing to go into debt for. So, I gave myself a break from shopping. It was the first time in a very long time where I didn’t spend my week online browsing for clothes or shoes. A week isn’t long I know, but it was at the time. And I realised a couple of things during that week, I shopped when I was sad, and oh boy, was I sad.

Over the next year, I reduced my closet by 90% and stayed away from retail shops and used apps to block certain websites on my phone and laptop. I even minimised my possessions by half. I got a job and for the first time in a very long time, I didn’t spend my wage on clothes, shoes or pointless stuff. I sold what I could and donated the rest. (Any type of junk was thrown away – unfortunately). I paid off my credit card, learnt how to cook so I could pack my lunches to work and I actually started to save for the first time in my life. I even went part-time in my fancy job after saving some money.

This doesn’t mean I’m great with money. I’m not. Or that I don’t buy something that I shouldn’t. I still do. But I’m a lot more conscious with my spending, and now I prefer to spend money on the people I love or travel, rather than on material possessions.

Once I reduced the amount of things I owned and paid off my consumer debt, which took about a year, I started to buy “stuff” again. This time, I was a lot more conscious of what I was buying. And because I was more conscious, I started to care about who made my clothes. It was a domino effect, because I cared I started to become aware of the environmental impacts of fast fashion. (Of course, this doesn’t mean that everything I own is now ethical or environmentally friendly. But I do avoid fast fashion outlets like H&M and try and not buy synthetic fabrics like polyester). 

And there.

That’s how it started.

It’s honestly hard to explain a “journey” that took over 5 years to get to. It’s much longer than a blog post! But it started with my closet. It started with assessing why I was spending the way that I did. It started because I was tired of being unhappy. Yeah, it started because I was selfish and wanted to be better.

Getting rid of everything you own won’t fix a thing. You’ll be left unhappy AND with no clothes on your back. Instead, being conscious with your purchases can help assess what really is going on.

And there.

That’s how it started.

No, really that’s it.

The end.

Why are you still reading?

Bye.

Review: Favourite Low Waste Swaps (for going-out)

You don’t have to be a crazy bag lady to be low waste or to even give a damn. I get it, it’s easier to carry nothing and to throw shit out. I did it for years without giving much thought. #minimalism

But the reality is our disposable lifestyles aren’t exactly sustainable. This doesn’t mean we can’t live our lives, we still need to enjoy it. I’m not a monk, nor do I claim to be, but there are some very simple steps we can all take to soften our footprints on this earth.

So, here are some of my favourite low waste swaps for “going-out”.

1. Reusable coffee cup

If you’re a coffee drinker and still using disposable cups, it’s time to make one of the easiest swaps. Get a reusable coffee cup! The great thing is you might even make your money back if you have takeaway coffee on the reg. A lot of places now will give you a discount for using your own cup. Bonus!

I use a Frank Green coffee cup. But there are so many out there, or you could just use your own mug if you don’t want to spend the dosh on a new cup.

Some pros and cons of the Frank Green coffee cup:

  • positives – leakproof & reusable
  • negatives – the lid (damn that lid is hard to put back together. I had to google “how to put Frank Green lid back together” and watch a video about it)

But ultimately, I love how it’s leakproof. So for me, this is why Frank Green wins over KeepCup or most reusable coffee cups

2. Glass or stainless steel water bottle

50 billion plastic bottles were used up last year. That’s a lot of plastic bottles. A lot aren’t recycled. On my trash-pickup walks I come across a lot of plastic bottles. So, if you have access to clean drinkable tap water (and are able), a reusable water bottle probably should be in your bag.

I was personally using a VOSS glass water bottle for over a year. It was $2.50 from the supermarket and it was great. But I broke a couple of them and realised I needed sturdier replacement.

I purchased a Klean Kanteen water bottle a couple of months ago. Here are some pros and cons.

  • Negative – price. PRICE! It’s definitely not a cheap water bottle – it retails for about $40. You can definitely find a cheaper alternative on ebay, but look, sometimes, I pay for convenience

  • Positive – no plastic. Just a little bit of rubber around the lid. I like how it didn’t have a plastic lip or screw top. Plus, I just purchased it in store rather than online

3. Light weight container

I personally don’t eat out that much. Mostly, to save money. But also it’s not super easy trying to be low waste AND eating out. Not all places will accept your container. But that’s okay, you can still produce waste. This is about producing less of it, not zero of it.

4. Cloth napkin

I’ve only recently started to carry around a cloth napkin on a regular basis. I tend to carry around two. The second one acts as an emergency hanky. It’s a super easy and reusable swap. No need for paper napkins anymore! (Unless someone still gives you one, which happens a lot – so do the best you can)

5. Reusable cutlery set 

Plastic forks and spoons. They’re everywhere. For a while there I was just using the cutlery I had at home. Just your basic stainless steel set. I purchased a bamboo set a few months ago and quite enjoy them. I’ve mostly purchased these so that I can take onto flights.

If you’re not a frequent flyer chances are you can just use your cutlery at home 🙂

6. Snacks

Well…this bitch needs to eat. And it’s a lot easier to have snacks around. Meaning you’ll less likely to reach for a packaged snack. Plus you can place the scraps into one of your containers, to take for your compost at home!

7. Tote bag

The great thing is backpacks and tote bags are back in style, meaning you don’t need a little cute bag anymore. On working days, I’ll carry around my backpack, but on the weekend or when going out I carry my tote bag.

Why do I carry a tote around instead of a small bag? Frankly, it’s for those random grocery shopping stops. I try my best to plan them, but sometimes, I remember I need apples or bananas, and having a sizeable (yet not enormous tote), is super handy. It also means I don’t need to use plastic bags when shopping.

Now go on. Party on with all your reusables!

 

Recipe! Vegan Mac and “Cheese”

Makes 4-5 servings

So, I love cheese but I’m trying to cut out most (if not all) dairy by-products out of my life. I already stopped drinking straight dairy, but finding other alternatives for cheese is expensive and where I live it’s not particularly convenient. I’m pretty damn lucky to afford vegan cheese because it isn’t cheap, but I can’t afford it all the time! So, I’m super happy how this mac and “cheese” turned it. Most of the ingredients are fairly easy to get, although “nutritional yeast” might be a little harder – I have to get these at speciality stores (and it’s also available in bulk where I live).

>1 large white potato (or about 1 cup cut up)
>1 medium carrot
>1/2 a small brown (or red) onion
>1 tsp of miso paste
>1/2 cup of nutritional yeast (I started off with 1/4 cup but wanted a more cheesy taste)
>1/4 tsp smoked paprika
>1/2 garlic powder
>1/2 tbsp dijion mustard
>1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
>1 cup of raw cashews (these need to be soaked overnight)
>1/2 cup of homemade oat milk (I find using oat milk makes the “cheese” more gluey in texture, which is what you want)
>1 cup of water (ideally from the water where you cooked the veggies)
>salt and pepper to taste
>breadcrumbs
>Italian herbs (optional)
>3 cups of elbow macaroni

Soak cashews overnight.

Boil the white potato, carrot and onion in a pot of water. The potato and carrot will be ready when you can easily put your fork through it.

Boil elbow macaroni until just slightly underdone (you will be putting this oven, and it will cook further in the oven).

In a high powered blender, blend: cashews, potato, carrot, onion, yeast, paprika, garlic powder, mustard, lemon juice, water, oat milk, salt and pepper; until smooth. Have a taste here. Does it need more salt? More pepper?

In a baking pan, stir through macaroni and sauce until evenly covered. Cover the top with bread crumbs and add a little salt, paprika and Italian herbs on top.

In the oven bake until crispy on top. Keep in mind the longer you leave it in the oven, it won’t be as gooey. So, cook to your desired textured.

Enjoy!

Review: Solidteknics Skillet Pan (26cm)

I was going to do a review of the pan over a week, but realised I do most of my cooking on the weekend, meaning I would only use it one or two times. I felt that it wasn’t enough for a deceit review – and I do take my reviews seriously. So, I wanted to do a few meal preps with the pan before I gave my final verdict. I’ve been using the Solidteknics skillet pan for over 2-3 months now and I’ve put it through a number of tests! But first the general specs of the pan.

Price: $149.95
It’s a little on the expensive side, but this is a pan “for life”.

Made in: Australia. (I’m not going to lie, love supporting brands that still do their manufacturing in Australia/locally).

Made from:100% Australian wrought iron (or low carbon mild steel). Be warned it’s pretty heavy. But the quality is superb.

Where to purchase: Biome (here)

The COOKING TEST!

The heat test:

I was really surprised by this. The pan heats up so quickly and evenly. Enough said. (Well, okay, more said. Double thumbs up!!)

 

The video below is about 1-2 mins after I turned on the stove.

 

It really does heat up in a flash.

The non-stick test:

It’s not completely non-stick like my old one. But my old cheapo non-stick pan has started to flake after a few of months…so not the best pan to compare it to. From what I’ve read about the Solidteknics pan it’s a natural and renewable non-stick coating, meaning it should last indefinitely. That’s pretty neat. Most “non-stick cookware is made using a carcinogenic chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which starts emitting toxic fumes that you inhale every time you cook with a non-stick pot or pan!

That’s pretty scary, thinking my old non-stick pan could’ve been causing me harm. It’s good to know that the Solidteknics pan is made from a natural coating.

As it’s not super duper non-stick, you do need a little oil to lube up the pan a little.

From the video below, it does leave a “residue” behind, even after putting a little oil in the pan. But it isn’t much.

 

The egg test:

A mark of a good pan is how it cooks eggs sunny side up!

I have to say it cooks an egg really well and super quickly.

 

From the video below, you can see it’s not too much hassle lifting the egg off the pan.

 

Omelettes work too!

The pancake test:

Well, you gotta make sure the pan can cook pancakes. A good sign for “even” heat distribution is how it cooks pancakes.

 

The pancakes cooked fairly quickly, and the heat was pretty damn even. Again, the pan will need a little bit of oil for the pancake to come off smoothly.

(Recipe for the pancakes are from the Viet Vegan)

The meat test:

I personally don’t eat meat, but my partner does. He used the pan to cook chicken and it cooked super quickly. As he said, it “had a nice brown crispy skin”.

The handle test:

This is probably my favourite thing about the pan. It’s doesn’t seem like much, but it does make a huge difference. I really liked how handle didn’t get hot after 30 mins of cooking! I’ve had issues with other pans in the past where after 15mins or so the handle became too hot to touch. The handle remaining cool is a huge plus for me.

The washing up test:

For a pan that isn’t truly non-stick, I thought the pan would be incredibly difficult to clean up. But it’s actually super easy. (What’s not so easy is washing with one hand and trying to film it at the same time! I did not wash it with soap as I think I’m meant to treat this like an cast iron pan)

 

Overall thoughts on the pan:

If you looking for a good quality pan, this is a pretty good pan to upgrade to. It’s sturdy, Australian made, naturally coated pan. It’s not 100% non-stick, but you’re trading it in for a non-toxic pan. You are paying for quality, and as stated by the product description, it is a pan built for life – or even generations with a little care.

You will need to “season” the pan to build up an natural “non-stick” pan – here are some tips: https://www.biome.com.au/blog/solidteknics-healthy-non-stick-cookware/

Lately, I’ve been trading in my old and beaten cookware for a better quality pot and pan. It makes a world of difference when cooking. Plus quality over quantity, right? I’ve started to make conscious decisions to buy better quality things in hope that it will last a life time and that perhaps, it’s something I can bestow onto the next generation.

Overall 4.5 stars out of 5 (minus 0.5 stars as it isn’t completely non-stick (as of yet – as I need to build it up), but the quality is so good).

Review: Biome Skincare Range (Day 14)

Day 14. It’s the final day of the skincare trial!

What did I think? How did the clay, oil and spray turned out? What does my skin look like now?

If you’re curious about the journey here are the links to day 1 and day 7.

Let’s get down to business. Here’s what my skin looks like on day 14:

I’ve been using a spot treatment of the clay on my blemishes. If you’ve been keeping track, day 7 showed some large acne on my nose and cheek. Not from the product itself, just from general hormones. I felt those whoppers coming a mile away – just before I started the trial – but I wanted to take some photos and was curious if this natural skincare routine would help reduce the duration of my acne.

The spot treatment was just the clay and a little bit of water. I left it on my nose and cheek for about 10-15 mins. I’ve been using the spot treatment of the clay every day for the last seven days.

Don’t look at how tired I am! Those bags ain’t designer. But look at that zit! It’s barely noticeable now! When I still occasionally get acne, it normally lasts about two weeks before it starts reducing in size. The one from last week was so sore and raised – hormonal acne is darn painful. I’m super happy how it’s turning out. It’s almost gone already, just a little discolouration, which is normal. HUGE tick for the spot treatment!

If you’re too lazy to go back to the blog post from day 7 (I feel ya, I wouldn’t want to go back either), here’s a before and after pic.  The top is “before”, the bottom is “after” :

Now to my forehead. It’s so clear! See day one

Before it was covered in little blemishes, had heaps of dry spots and some pesky psoriasis that was starting to flare up. But as you can see, my forehead is looking pretty smooth!

I had another blemish on my cheek on Day 7. Top is before. Bottom is today.

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It’s almost all gone now. Very slight discolouration from the former blemish, but this should disappear very soon. Picture below is of my neck. The psoriasis is barely visible. I’ve just been using the rosehip oil on this, it’s been working a treat.

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How did I choose what products would work for me?

I think it’s important to know your own skin and do a little bit of research. My skin is a little odd. It’s combination skin: dry and oily, and also I have this little itchy skin condition as well. As a result, I used a combination of rosehip oil and jojoba oil.

I did not use the rosehip oil on all of my face – only on my forehead and cheeks. While rosehip oil is a natural source of vitamin C, helping to improve the appearance of pigmentation and restore skin’s tone, it isn’t so good for acne prone skin. It could clog your pores. There’s even a little disclaimer on the bottle for it.

As a result, I used jojoba oil around my nose and chin. These are the areas were I’m prone for hormonal acne and where I have larger pores. I rarely get acne on my forehead or cheeks – just the occasional blemish here and there.

Ultimately:
Rosehip oil = great for uneven skin tone, wrinkles and psoriasis
Jojoba oil = great for acne and psoriasis

In terms of the clay, I chose the “Pink Clay & Rosehip

This is great for “sensitive” skin. Pink Clay masks do not remove the skin’s natural oils, making it perfect for dry and dehydrated skin. I suspect this is why it also helped with my acne. Stripping the natural oils from your face actually makes your acne worst. Your skin produces excess sebum (and as a result, clogging pores) when you use harsh toners or cleansers that remove the oils from your face.

The orange hydrosol spray is suitable for sensitive, oily, dull, eczema or acne-prone skin. Hey! That’s me! Honestly, it’s probably suitable for most skin types. I really love the smell of this and I felt a little fancy spraying it on my face. I’m not 100% sure if I’m meant to spray this before or after I’ve applied the oil. So, I applied this before the oil. Like the rosehip oil, the orange hydrosol spray is meant to tone and calm the skin. Super handy when you have those painful blemishes. Make sure you store this in a dark and dry place!

My ratings of each product below:

Pink clay & Rosehip = 5 stars out of 5 (I was actually going to give this a 4 initially, due to the staining incident, but I’m super happy how the spot treatment of the clay helped with my acne. I’m amazed at how it help reduced my acne so quickly)

Rosehip oil = 4.5 stars out of 5 (The oil itself is a 5, it really helped with the over tone of my skin. It definitely looks brighter and clearer. I’m happy with how easily my skin absorbed the oil. I’m taking 0.5 star away because I’m picky and would have loved a lid that was a dropper. It would have made the application of the oil a little easier)

100% Pure Hydrosol Orange = 4 stars out of 5 (The spray felt super refreshing on my skin. In terms of reducing the duration of my acne, I’m not 100% sure if this helped – I suspect the clay and oil did most of the work there. However, I have been using the spray every day, just before bed. The purpose of this spray is to help with uneven skin tone, and my skin tone is definitely more even)

Overall I’m over the moon at how the products have turned out. Particularly how it’s helped with my blemishes, acne and psoriasis. My skin is a triple threat (in a bad way), and it can be super temperamental when I introduce new products, so I’m glad I’ve found a product that’s worked for me. (Plus the bottles are recyclable! Or you can refill them in store). Keep in mind, everyone’s skin is different. Your environment, DNA, the food you eat and mood – it can all have a “negative” impact on your skin.

If you’re interested, you can find the range of Biome’s products here, they have a range which you can tailor to your own skin type. Wish you all the best!

Review: Biome Skincare Range (Day 7)

So, 4 days turn into 7! Life gets a little busy but I got there!

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I’m now day 7 into trialling the Biome’s new skincare range. The ultimate question is – how’s my skin so far?

Here are the results after one week (sorry again, not the clearest of photos, but the light is a little better than last time):

1. Tone has improved around here. My skin feels “fresher”

2. My forehead has really cleared up. I was surprised at how quickly. Definitely not as many dry and flaky spots anymore. Blemishes have flatten a lot as well.

3. I had a pimple brewing on my cheek for a while (over a week) and it finally popped up. The photo of the psoriasis on my neck looks a lot clearer and therefore worse, but it actually has improved quite significantly.

4. One big acne on the nose. I felt this one coming for a while. But the “clearness” around this area has improved. It feels brighter and smoother.

You can see from the photos there are two sizeable acne (or whatever the plural term for acne is!), on my face. This didn’t come from the product itself, as I felt it under my skin for a little bit – but I thought I would take photos of it anyway. I’m curious if it will help reduce the duration of these acne pop ups. But overall, so far so good. My skin definitely feels fresher, brighter and smoother (how many times have I used those 3 words already????)

Thoughts of the 3 products so far:

I’ve used the clay twice now, applying two different methods. One using only water and clay. The other using a combination of clay and oil. While the oil with the clay made my skin incredibly soft, I had a little bit of difficulty getting the mask off my face. It ended up staining my towel.

BUT, it made my face feel super awesome. If you try the combination of oil and clay, I would suggest using an old towel, and washing your face with warm water. It’s worth it, if you don’t mind a little bit of mess.

The water and clay yielded the cleanest results. I didn’t have any issues with residue, it was easy to wash off. My face still felt fresh and soft afterwards, but the oil and clay was superior in terms of “face feel”.

After application of the clay.

After 10 mins. Time to wash off!

The clay also smells lovely, so sitting around for 10 mins with it on my face wasn’t so bad!

The Pure Hydrosol Orange and Rosehip Oil have been my favourites so far. However, I’ll give a full review of these products at the end of the two weeks, mostly because I’m keen to see what it will do to my acne/blemishes! I’ll also do a daily spot treatment of the clay on the acne to see what happens.

Stay tuned.

Review: Biome Skincare Range (Day 1)

As someone who’s never really had great skin, I tend to do research a lot about what works and what doesn’t. Of course, everyone’s skin is different, and the only way to prove what works best for your own skin is trial and error.

Over the last couple of years, my skin has improved significantly – mostly through diet, natural skin products and wearing less makeup. I often goes months without wearing any and my skin is often kinder because of it.

After 5 weeks of travelling and lots of delicious fried food, my skin is a little worse for wear. My psoriasis is not so good. I have it on my arms, neck, forehead, scalp and also my hips. I should state my psoriasis isn’t the worst you’ve seen, it’s definitely on the gentler side of things, but it’s still frustrating and uncomfortable.

So, I’m keen to give Biome’s skincare range a good go. It’s all natural and looks super fancy.

The bottles are also glass, meaning they’re recyclable! Bonus! They also sell some of their products in bulk, so if it works I’ll be refilling the bottles. However, I’m not 100% if the spray bottle is recyclable (but it’s cute, so I’ll probably repurpose it).

Anywhoooooooo…….over the next two weeks I’ll be trialling their new skincare range. And will be posting an update every 4 days.

Day One:

Sorry not the clearest of photos! It’s a little dark and not so clear – so actually makes my skin look a little better than what it is. So I written some captions on some photos.

  1. Discolouration and blemishes on my cheek and also psoriasis on my neck.

2. Discolouration/scars from old acne

3. The redness didn’t really show up in this photo (of my forehead). But it has small spots of psoriasis, heaps of dry spots and some blemishes.

That’s Day One of my skin for you. Stay tuned, I’ll do another post in 4 days

 

Recipe! No-knead Bread

Condensed Version:

Ingredients:

> 3 cups of plain white flour
> 1.5 to 2 cups of warm water
> 1.5 tsp of yeast
> 1 tsp of white sugar (optional, but this will give the yeast something extra to feed on and will make the bread fluffier)
> 1 tsp of salt
> 2 tbsp of olive oil (1 tbsp to be added to the mixture, the other to rub on the dough)
> Seeds to sprinkle on top (optional)

Steps:

> In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients together, including yeast.
> Pour in 1 tbsp of olive oil and slowing pour in warm water, you may need less water than 2 cups. Combine with hands, until there are no flour spots. Mixture should not be super wet or dry
> Rub 1 tbsp of olive oil on dough and around inside the bowl
> Cover with tea towel for a minimum 12 hours
> Take dough out of bowl and line baking tray with flour
> Place “sticky” side of the bread onto the tray
> Pull edges to the middle
> Flip dough
> Add seeds on top (optional)
> Cut dough, about 1/3 deep
> Place in cold oven and turn temperature to 180-200 degree Celsius
> Bake until brown, and until bread sounds hallow when you tap it with a spoon
> Take outside of oven and leave on cooling rack for 30 mins
> Eat!

Ramblings plus photos:

There really is nothing quite like freshly baked bread.

When we moved to a new place almost a year ago, the rent was cheap – but with cheapness you miss out on a few things like a decent oven. I didn’t think it was a big thing until I realised the oven was barely functional, so when it finally broke down, we got a new one which meant I could finally bake again! It’s funny, I didn’t realised how much I liked random baking until I didn’t have the equipment to do so. Ever since the oven got replaced, I’ve been baking and roasting up a storm to make up for lost time.

I make bread every week and it’s so ridiculously simple that you’ll probably be think: why didn’t I ever make my own bread????

It’s almost impossible to stuff up and you don’t need to knead anything!

You do need to wait at least 12 hours.

But sliced homemade bread!

Before you begin, you do need yeast, I just bought a big can of yeast that I freeze. It lasts a really long time and it’s better than buying those tiny sachets. So not completely zero waste. But you’ll get so many uses out of this can.

Ingredients:

**3 cups of plain white flour
1.5 to 2 cups of warm water
1.5 tsp of yeast
1 tsp of white sugar (optional, but this will give the yeast something extra to feed on and will make the bread fluffier)
1 tsp of salt
2 tbsp of olive oil (1 tbsp to be added to the mixture, the other to rub on the dough)
Seeds to sprinkle on top (optional)

** I use white flour, for the “fluffiest” results. But I’ve also used a combination of the following:
>1 cup of wholemeal, 2 cups of white flour = slightly chewier but a little bit more wholesome. Still fluffy, but obviously not as much as all white flour. I added 2 tsp of yeast to give it a little bit more rise
>2 cups of wholemeal, 1 cup of white flour = chewier. Still a little bit fluffy. I added 2 tsp of yeast to give it a little bit more rise
>3 cups of wholemeal = like proper wholemeal bread, it’s definitely chewier. It’s better for you, but I only make this sometimes. I like a bit of fluff with my bread, ya know? (Add 2 tsp of yeast)

In a large bowl, mix the following together:
Flour
salt
sugar
yeast

Add tbsp of olive into the mixture and slowly pour in the warm water. I mix with my hands – you will get better feel this way. You might need to use two cups (particularly if you pack your flour), but most of the time 1.5 cups is fine. It shouldn’t be too dry or super wet. There shouldn’t be any dry spots.

Needs a little splash of water. But not much more, it shouldn’t look “dry”

I rub a tbsp of olive oil on the dough and inside the bowl. It’s helps a little when trying to get the dough out the next day.

Cover your bowl with a tea towel, I reuse an old ribbon I had to tie around the bowl, but use whatever you have.

Set aside for a minimum **12 hours. I tend to make the mixture on a Friday night and bake on Saturday morning. What’s better than freshly baked bread after a long week of work???

** 24 hours = the bread is slightly chewier. It’s still good!
**48 hours = yes! I’ve left the bread to do it’s thing for TWO DAYS! It’s still good. It kinda reminded me of sourdough, but not quite like fancy-pants sourdough.

I did have an issue one time (I’ve made this recipe over 20 times now), when the mixture was a little too dry. It developed a “crust” after 24 hours – if this happens to you, it’s still okay! Just remove it and bake, it’s all gravy…or in this case bread!

After 16 hours of sitting around.

I use a knife to get the dough out of the bowl. It will be sticky – sticky is good! You do need to be gentle with it, but it’s okay if you man-handle it a little. Your dough will still be fine.

Line your baking tray with flour.

Place the “sticky” side of the dough on the tray and gently fold the edges together.

Place the folded edges onto the pan.

Add seeds if you want to. I tend to use sesame seeds (black and white) and poppy seeds. Cut a line in the middle. Make sure it’s sorta deep. Maybe 1/3 the way through. This will help the bread rise.

I place the bread in an cold oven and bake at 180-200 degrees celsius (I have no idea what this is in fahrenheit!!). I bake until it’s brown and when I tap on the bread it sounds “hollow”.

I let it sit on a cooling rack for about 30 mins – don’t cut it straight out of the oven, even if you want it too!

Use a serrated (or bread) knife to cut the bread.

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The bread normally disappears in 3-4 days. And on the second day we start eating the bread as toast. If you want to freeze the bread, I recommend cutting it up into slices before freezing!

Anywho enjoy – and feel super fancy with your “artisanal” bread