Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A Reaction to 'Clean Eating's Dirty Secrets'

Grace Victory, Gracie Francesca, or Ugly Face of Beauty (however you may know of her - shes a babe though,), within the past week or so, has been taking social media by storm, and for all the RIGHT reasons. When I first heard about her BBC 3 documentary 'Clean Eating's Dirty Secrets' it prompted me to delve into thoughts I've been having for the past year or so about this whole 'clean eating' fad/trend, whatever you may call it, that has almost been plaguing Instagram and other social media platforms. 

Now, i'm not slating anyone who wants to eat raw, vegan, clean, healthy, whatever. If you like it, it works for you, and you feel great; then guess what, you do you. Who am I - a slightly overweight girl in her twenties, with a slightly messed up view of body image to tell you what is right or wrong, in fact who is anybody (and deffo unqualified), to tell you what your or your body needs. However it is the trend and faddiness of the #fitspo and #eatclean that just makes my skin crawl and irks me so, so much and the whole mentality behind the bizarre cult that can be derived from this, which is quite frankly - unhealthy, not just physically, but mentally, is worrying.

I missed the doc when it first came out, but watched it a week later on iPlayer one Saturday night whilst enjoying a cold G&T and what I was hearing 'professional wellness bloggers' say made my tummy churn. Guess what, i've bought into these fads - I own Sarah Wilson's 'I Quit Sugar', I own Deliciously Ella's books, (amongst others), i've tried courgetti, eliminating sugar totally, avoiding carbs, dairy - but at the end of the day when you restrict your body of thing's it needs, it's going to crave it, you're only going to end up binging and feeling guilty, least in my experience. The almost obsessive, unhealthy relationship that a lot of young people have today is scary, and I can say that I have bought into it too.

Social media is an influential sphere, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube shaping the younger generations. These 'wellness' bloggers aren't always looking out for their viewers physical and mental health, because eating in general is not a one size fits all thing. Some people need a little more sugar in their diet, some don't tolerate it at all, some can tolerate caffeine, dairy, other's can't. But it's the idea that we need to deprive ourselves of things, that we as humans have been consuming for thousands of years (and getting along, just alright), to achieve this super healthy high, is ludicrous. Of course I understand, some people simply cannot tolerate dairy, or sugar, we have coeliacs in this world, but it's when things like 'going gluten free' become 'trendy' that it really irritates me. Not only is going gluten free not always a healthy option (the ingredient lists on a lot of free from food contain high amount of chemicals - that unless I was actually gluten free and it made me ill, would I eat), it bumps up the price for actual coeliacs and makes life a lot harder for people who's bodies physically cannot digest etc gluten, opposed to those who treat gluten free like the latest liquid lipstick.

And yes I get it, artificial sugar, aspartame, it is bad for us, a bowl of strawberries is 100x better than a family size bar of galaxy, but we're all human. We give in to temptation, we like to indulge, but more importantly, it is ALL about balance. Life is for living, not incessantly worrying about the sugar % of a banana, or the carbs in a bowl of pasta, if it tastes good, makes you feel good and you're overall a healthy human, then WHY not? It's these social media accounts, self professed experts  and more recently bloggers promoting 'lifestyles' that ensure that certain food groups are altogether eliminated, that's not balance, and it's not always healthy. Work hard play hard right? Look at food with a healthy view and moderation, the same grounds.

I'm so sorry that I had to post a rant about something like this on my blog, but unhealthy relationships and Grace's documentary on BBC3 really struck a chord with me, and I think it is something that should be a lot more openly discussed. The doc aired last night on BBC1 and you can still find it on iplayer

So, what are your thoughts on the topic?

Sophie xx

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Pureology Fullfyl Haircare System

Haircare, oh haircare.Yes haircare has been featured a lot lately on this blog, but only because it can more often than not be the bane of my life and I love trying out new haircare products and this latest trio have become such a staple in my hair routine that they're even going to be travelling across the pond with me on my 5 week American adventure.

Pureology are a vegan colour care brand, and the latest Fullfyl range is a brand new, sulfate free hair care system for fine, colour treated hair, in need of density and texture. Now my hair is not currently colour treated, so I can't comment on the colour properties, however when I spoke to the PR for this she said it would still be a nice haircare system for me due to my fine hair, and she was right.  The new range creates full-bodied, lived-in texture that actually looks and feels like more hair, with Intra-Cylane for a densifying effect and Phyto-Blend for optimal thicker hair. The Shampoo costs £16, the Conditioner £20 and the star product, the Densifying Spray, is £23. I really enjoyed trying these products out and in particular the spray. Now when I saw it was a spray I envisaged a fine mist spray, but this type of spray shot out of the bottle in quite a thick stream - so be warned when you first use it. However once I had got to grips with the spray, I really enjoyed incorporating it into my routine and enjoyed the thickening effect that it gave. To use, simply apply to damp hair, section by section, beginning at the scalp area. Then massage into the roots and work through the ends, styling as usual.

The shampoo and conditioner are lovely. They smell amazing, with a high-performing fragrance that opens with notes of nectarine, pineapple, apple, melon and mango followed by soft jasmine and tropical gardenia, and rounded out by creamy vanilla, amber and soft woods. Whilst the fragrance description sounds fairly complex, in short it smells very fresh and salon-like and is not too over-powering. I also found with the shampoo and conditioner that you certainly did not need to use much product at all, and for a sulfate free formula, was suprised at how super foamy and lather-y the shampoo was, which was a nice surprise.

What do you think, have you tried anything from Pureology before?

Sophie xx

*PR Samples.


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Isabella Hotel, Porec, Croatia

I'm super lucky that my parents still want to take me along on family holidays (even though I'n now 23), however it's always a lovely chance to spend quality time with my family, eating, drinking, arguing and relaxing - a classic family hol! This year for our 2016 family holiday we decided on Porec, Croatia. I had my first taste of Croatia when last year, myself and 19 of my fave uni pals headed to Hvar, an island off of the Western coast from Split for a week. I had a great time, the food and drink cheap, beaches stunning, people friendly, and the nightlife perfect. Fast forward this year and my parents booked a family holiday for the five of us to Croatia for 11 nights. We typically visit Italy or Greece as a family, but decided to ring the changes, and due to the close proximity to Italy, Croatia was a perfect choice for us! My parents decided on the Isabella hotel, part of Valamar hotels, on an island with the Isabella hotel (4*), a 5* hotel and apartments. As well as a mixture of beaches, pools and recreational areas. We had such a lovely time that I just had to share the spot with you guys!
Location and Transport
As we've got older we've decided we like minimal fuss and stress, gone are the days where we used to pick up a rental car park and drive a few hours into the mountains, instead we like to breeze through an airport and hop onto a coach (sometimes). We flew from Gatwick into Pula airport, and with the flight being only 1 hour and 45 minutes, it was super chilleed, once we landed at the airport Thomson picked us up in the coach and drove us for 45mins to the bus station in Porec, where they sorted out our cases and we hopped on the 3 minute ferry from Porec to our island, where the hotel is. The ferries that run from Porec to the island run pretty often (every 15-20 minutes or so) up until midnight and we had no issues with them, they ran like clockwork and were easy to use. 

The hotel
Valamar are a Croatian chain and have a whole fleet of gorgeous hotels across the country. We decided on the Svetic Nikola Island resort which has the 4*Isabella Hotel that we stayed in, as well as a 5* hotel, 5* castle and apartments. The island worked out perfectly for us as a family as it meant we had alternative choices for our meals, swimming pools and beaches. The island itself is a lovely size, it takes around 15 minutes to walk around the whole island and has everything you could need, including an amazing kids clubs, kids pool, standard pool, pool slides, an adults only infinity pool, pebbly and sandy beaches, and a variety of bars and restaurants. We booked the breakfast and dinner package, and whilst we ate breakfast at the hotel every morning, we had dinner at the hotel every other night, venturing into Porec on half of the nights as this is something we enjoy about our family holidays. We really enjoy trying local hotspots and favourites, so this worked out really well for us.

The food options at the hotel are great. The choice at breakfast is large and there is everything you could need; from fresh fruit, to yoghurts, contintenal breakfast, a fry up, to order omelettes, pancakes, juices - you get the idea! As our package didn't include lunch, most days we made a little prosciutto and cheese sandwich at breakfast which we then took up to our mini fridge in the room and had that for lunch - it worked perfectly for us, as I find int he heat I don't get too hungry throughout the day. The evening meals were also lovely, and as well as the buffet dinner option, you could also have a BBQ on the beach which ran a few times a week, as well as upgrading to the 5* restaurant for a small supplement of 10euros per head. We did this on the last night and the meal was exquisite. I also have annoying and often tricky food allergies and the staff and chef were so attentive and lovely, and I had the most DELICIOUS dinner, one of my fave meals for a really long time. I would say though that for these different restaurants it is worth booking as soon as you check in, or beforehand if possible, as for the extra nice restaurant the only next free date was our last night!

The hotel is very well catered for families And the kids 'Maro' club and teen lounge are perfect for children. There was a weekly princess ball which always looked adorable, as well as frequent discos and loads of daily activities. We didn't experience these as I am 23, and my sisters 21 and 18, however the kids looked like they loved what was on offer and the hotel is very child friendly. 

The hotel are very good at occasions, and both the Tuesday welcome drinks and Thursday gala nights were super popular. In particular we enjoyed the gala night, where we enjoyed our dessert by the pool, watched the dance shows, entertainment and even won a pedicure in the raffle! We were there for 2 welcome drinks and 2 gala nights over our 11 night stay, so that also worked out well. 
We booked our stay in Croatia with Thomson, and on our welcome chat, Steven ran through the organised excursions available, as well as offering tips on day trips you can do yourself. We decided to book 2 excursions through Thomson, and we organised 1 day trip ourselves. We went on both the BBQ Boat Tour, which visited Rovinj (Little Venice), Vrsar, and the fjord; and a gorgeous vineyard tour. Both of which I cannot recommend enough, but in particular the vineyard tour was a firm favourite. The wine tour was so atmospheric, and we visited both the Kabola Vineyard and Sinkovich distillery, visiting both these hilltop locations via a noddy train, and accompanied by an authentic accordionist and fab tour guide called Elvis. Lots of wine, and brandy were consumed, and discovering 2 pet pigs at the second vineyard only added the icing to the cake. 
The Istrian area of Croatia is full of culture, and in Porec we enjoyed visiting the incredible UNESCO Euphrasian Basilica which was built between the 5th and 6th centuries and features a 6th century baptistry and a 16th century bell tower. We climbed to the top of the bell tower and the bells even went off when we were at the top! On the Friday before we left, the weather was pretty cloudy, so we decided to ditch the pools and beaches and boarded a bus to Pula. The bus in itself wasn't a success as it took us nearly 3 hours to get to Pula, when it only took us 45 mins on the way back, where we decided to get a taxi, THANK GOODNESS. Anyway, we went to Pula to have a walk around the old town and to visit the Pula Arena Amphitheatre, the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have 4 side towers and with all 3 Roman architectural orders entirely preserved. The area was constructed in 27BC-68AD and is amongst the 6 largest surviving Roman arenas in the world and the best preserved ancient monument in the whole of arena, so it was quite the attraction. I love everything about Roman history and was totally in awe of the arena and we enjoyed an audio tour guide as we explored. 

We had a lovely stay at the Valamar Isabella hotel and I would definitely come back, however I have a few quick pointers. During the first half of our stay we had no problem with finding sunbeds at the 5* pool and the beach, however, as we entered the second half of our stay we found that all of the sunbeds at the 5* pool were reserved by room which was a shame! Not 100% sure how this system works, but there were plastic cards attached to sunbeds with hotel room numbers on, who knows how many of these each room can have, but it was a little annoying. Other than that, and the air conditioning which made a weird sound every 5 minutes, I cannot fault our stay and I would definitely love to come back at some point in the future! I love Croatia, and the fact it is only a 1hour 45 minute plan journey away makes it SUPER appealing as well.

Also please excuse all the iPhone camera photos, not the best quality!

Have you visited Croatia before? Where would you love to travel to?

Sophie xx

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Escape To Paradise This Summer with Red Carpet Manicure

I adore my Red Carpet Manicure Gel kit (review here) and after trying out the Sensational version, it totally reminded me why I love the RCM so much. Since buying the starter kit with the red shade it came with, i've treated myself to a few shades here and there, however the latest Escape To Paradise collection is THE perfect gel nail collection, and the shades will look gorgeous all year round.

Summer is finally here and what better way to see
in the new season than with a bright, colour-popping manicure! The new Escape To Paradise Collection from Red Carpet Manicure embraces a candy colour range that will have you suited to any occasion this summer, from hanging out by the pool to sunning it up at home, getting together with friends and hitting up that weekend festival. This collection embraces all the fun and thrills the summer time has to offer. Choose from Sun Kiss & Tell - a bright pink neon (needs 3 coats), Boats & Heels - a luscious bright purple (needs 2 coats), Poolside Fling – a vibrant teal green (needs 2 coats), Yacht Hoppin’ – a pastel mint (needs 3 coats), Frolic In The Sand – a baby peach (needs 3 coats) and Until The Sun Sets – a hot coral (needs 2 coats). I love this collection because the shades all look gorgeous on both the hands and feet, and I really can't pick a favourite!

Whatever the occasion, the Escape To Paradise Collection has everything you need to complete any signature summer look.Red Carpet Manicure Escape To Paradise shades are £12.95 each and available online for Summer 2016.

Sophie xx

*PR Samples.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

What I Packed For My Trek America Adventure

With 17 days to go (i'll shut up about it soon, maybe not), i've been a major keen bean and packed as much as I possibly can already, because I AM TOO EXCITED. Now I love a list, and as soon as I had booked my trek I got out a fresh notebook and got list making, lists for everything, and one of the first ones; was what to pack. There is an abundance of blog posts and videos on the perfect things to pack for your Trek America adventure, so I thought I would share a few things that made my list and into my suitcase. I'm going to report back after I came home and let you guys know whether things I packed were actually needed, and if there is anything I would recommend to bring/not bring etc!

- 1 zip hoody
- 1 thick hoody
- Trainers
- 3 x Denim Shorts
 - 1 bikini and 1 swimsuit
- Black leggings
- Black Jeans/Blue Jeans
- Gym Shorts/leggings
- 1 nice dress
- a few easy day dresses
- T-shirts
- Vest tops
- Undies
- Sports socks
- Day cross body bag/can be turned into a clutch
- day backpack
- lightweight coat

 - 1 hang up wash bag
- 1 clear makeup bag
- dry shampoo
- body spray
- bug spray/bug bite spray
- medications
-all usual essential toiletries
- Makeup and brushes etc
- Makeup wipes
- Sun cream

 - Camera (taking the Nikon Coolpix s7000)
- Charging cables.
- Headphones (taking the grey urbanear platten headphones)
- Back up chargers
- Extra camera battery and SD card.

- 1 padlock for suitcase, 1 bigger one for Hostel.
- Packing cubes to organise laundry and items
- Head Torch
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping bag liner
- Travel pillow
- Documents, passport etc

If you can think of any other things I may need, let me know!

Sophie xx
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