Christmas Cranberry Vodka

It’s just two months people! Two months till the best day of the year! So today I have a little something to help us all get in the Christmas spirit (literally… awkward pun). These are perfect for Christmas presents for those people you just do not know what to get, I will be dishing mine out to work colleague and friends. They are so Christmassy and really look like you’ve put a lot of effort into them.. which of course you have (but it definitely looks and tastes much more expensive than it is!)

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What you will need…

  • 200g fresh cranberries
  • 70g unrefined caster sugar
  • 700ml vodka
  • 20ml Cointreau
  • Pretty bottles to present them in!

ideally you should do this six weeks before you would like to begin handing your gifts out, hence the early posting of this post ūüôā

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Method

  • Pop all your cranberries and all the sugar into a sterilised container and crush the fruit until all the cranberries are ‘popped’.. the noise of the popping as actually oddly satisfying.. I just used a rolling pin to crush mine
  • Once sufficiently crush add all of the vodka and stir so evenly mixed
  • Now is the boring bit… waiting. Seal your container and store in a cool dark place for six weeks. Make sure you check back in once or twice a week and give the container a shake
  • Once the six weeks are up strain the vodka, add the Cointreau and pour into your chosen sterilised bottles and decorate accordingly

Now because I’ve only just put mine awake for six weeks I can’t show you the finished product, but if it is anything like last year they will be in small mason jar with Rafter and Holly leaves as decoration! I will be sure to post my finished product as soon as i have it!

Enjoy! and let me know how you get on.

Much love,

Joanna xx

Motivated Monday – Part 1

This is going to be a weekly post from me now, every Monday will be based on a theme and howI stay motivated based on that theme. So any requests please let me know, until someone asks me to do otherwise I will be posting motivational and achievable posts based on things I would want to read on someone else’s blog!

Week 1 – Gym

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Isn’t it so handy, when people ask what you get up to in your spare time and you can just whack them with ‘Well I spend quite a bit of time in the gym’… but really? do you? I have been known to have my peaks and throghs when it comes to my dedication to the gym but now I am in a place I have  routine and feel I can pass some of my advice on to you.

One – Always have your gym bag with you – for me, I keep mine in the car. This means you can never truthfully use the excuse, oh well I don’t have my stuff with me so I will miss this evenings session.

Two – Go straight from work. I know if I go home straight after work I am not going back out again, the PJs and a couple of tea call and before you know it it 11pm and you’re halfway through a film. On weekdays I will go straight from work and then and only then when I’ve finished my work out I can relax at home.

Three – Make a kick ass playlist. There is nothing better than being in the workout zone with some super motivational music playing. My personal favourite artist to work out to at the moment is Paramore.. although I do find myself having to refrain from bursting into my best Hayley Williams impression while on the tread mill.

Four –  Go with someone. If I have someone there I generally feel like I have to look fitter than I actually am so I find myself pushing myself harder.

Five – Buy some gym wear you feel good in. Maybe its just me but I feel super motivated to work out when I feel like I look good in my gym gear.

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Six –  Don’t set yourself ridiculous goals. Be realistic, by setting yourself goals you wont achieve you’ll only heighten the chances that you’ll give up. Maybe speak to a PT at your gym to talk these goals through so you know what your aiming for is achievable.

Et viola, a few of my tips and tricks to stay motivated to get your bum in the gym! Leave comments with anything you find motivation when it comes to gyming.

Much love,

Joanna Eve x

Stress related hair loss

It’s embarrassing, revealing and contributes to low self esteem. Its a horrible cycle of stress leads to negative side effects such as hair loss and hair loss leads to more stress. It can affect hair loss everywhere, from eye lashes to your head. As for me it is my head hair and It comes to no surprise to me anymore when I run my hands through my hair I will be greeted with a handful of lose hair. I would often avoid washing my hair as this shows up the extent to which its falling out and would only wind me up more. With all the stress currently going on in your life and all the negative impacts of that, hair loss is the last thing you should be worrying about.

So here are some ways I try to combat stress related hair loss…

Vitamins – The key ones are Vit C and Zinc. Chances are if you are stressed about something you aren’t eating properly and your body isn’t getting what it needs to function to its maximum capacity meaning your hair isn’t getting what it needs to be strong and healthy!

Don’t towel dry – This can be a really effective and quick way to dry your hair, but its also a very rough way to treat your hair and when it is already weak it does not need that kind of treatment! I just let mine dry naturally and brush it through as little as possible.

Don’t use heat – and if you absolutely have to make sure you use a heat protective spray!

Only use products when necessary – So I have now switched to a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner. By only having to repeat the wash and rinse cycle once you are minimising the trauma to your hair. As for hairsprays etc, it is best to let your hair breath and not to coat it in products that are going to damage or weaken it.

Follow a healthy diet –¬†Eating healthily gives your body more energy, enabling it to better cope with stress. Diet also contributes to the strength of hair, making it less likely to fall out.

All of these steps will help, and if nothing else it’s giving you back a little bit of control that you feel you may have lost during a difficult time. From what I have read and been told, if the hair loss is stress related there is no reason it will not regrow once your stress levels have settled.

Much love,

Joanna x

Berry Smoothie

This is perfect for a quick¬†fix if you’re craving sweetness!

  • Larger handful of frozen berries
  • One large banana
  • Coconut milk

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And of course I use my trusty active blend to make it for me ūüôā

This is a super simple smoothie but is so tasty and leaves me full until tea time if I have it slowly throughout the morning. I work in an office and so it is perfect, I do not have to pay for my lunches, I do not have wonder up stairs with my co workers and make boring idol chit chat. I just get to sit at my desk and drink my delicious smoothie!

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Much love,

Joanna x

Yummy Green Juice

Here is my quick go to green juice. I use my active blend everyday and I just wouldn’t be without it.

  • One large mango
  • One banana
  • A good handful of spinach
  • A good glug of coconut water

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This is absolutely delicious and leaves me full until mid afternoon when I have a small snack. Highly recommend this recipe!

Much Love,

Joanna x

Losing yourself to find yourself

Bit of a different one from me today but it is something I have been thinking a lot about recently… That feeling of ‘losing yourself’. Now if you’re anything like me you spend a lot of the time contemplating where you fit in, where you should be in your life, or if you’re doing the right thing. I’ve recently found a blogger who is making me tackle these questions in a very different way to how I have done previously. Her Instagram posts, blogs and entire backstory really¬†struck some chords. So if these kind of things ring true with you check her out!

https://www.youtube.com/user/Carlyrowena

http://www.carlyrowena.com/

So this post 7 thought processes I try to avoid when I begin to feel that ‘lost’ kinda thing

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1. My least favourite is when I begin to start doubting choices I’ve made. Easier said than done I know but you need to nip these worthless questions in the bud and when they pop up in your head try the hardest you can to stop thinking about them, replace these questions with simple daily life questions, like… what shall I have for tea tonight. You’ve probably been told it a million times before and deep down you know it but there is NOTHING you can do to change the choices so stop wondering ‘what if’ and start wondering ‘where next’.

2. When you start to worry about how your life is affecting others, so long as you are happy in yourself everyone who matters around you will be happy. The key word here is ‘matters’, not everyone around you matters and the ones who aren’t happy for you when you’re happy aren’t worth keeping around. So stop fretting about pleasing everyone and start trying to please yourself and be someone you would be proud of.

3. If you aren’t happy with where your life is, stop wondering why or how you got to this point and start picturing where you want to be. Then take some REAL me time and start working out how you can get there. Research courses you will need to take, places you want to go and the sorts of people you want to meet along the way.

4. When you’re feeling really down, surround yourself with people who love you. Visit family, plan date nights. Sometimes being proactive about life progression is near impossible when your head gets in a rut. Stop being so hard on yourself and just take an afternoon to do something you love with people you love. Tackle the problems when you’re feeling less downtrodden.

5. DO NOT under any circumstances compare yourself to anyone else. This is the worst thing you can do. You are what you make of your life and in the end no one is going to remember you for how much you looked like Kim Kardashian.

6. When you’re questioning yourself, take a few minutes out to think about what you would say to someone who was doing the same thing. Sometimes the best advice comes from yourself and it just takes a few moments away from the situation to work that one out.

7. Remember, no body gets to where they want to be overnight. It takes hard work, determination and patience. As long as you remember this you will not get as frustrated with your current situation in time.   No one got to where they wanted to be without a god damn fight!

Always remember, it is not how you got to where you want to be, all that is important is that you get there.

Much love, 

Joanna xx

Revlon * Colourburst *

I currently have three types of these in my collection, each of them a slightly different product. A balm stain, a matte balm and a lacquer balm.

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Each of them have their pros and cons. I will start with the Matte balm, this I have in the colour 230 Complex. The colour is beautiful and I can only best describe it as a orangey nude colour, really wearable for everyday. The fact it was matte worried me slightly but this has to be the least drying matte lip colour i have come across. The staying power isn’t amazing but it fades fairly evenly so it doesn’t go patchy which is alway a treat.

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The lacquer balm I bought a bit on a whim more to try out of curiostiy really because I had heard great things. I have this in 105 Demure. This is my least favourite out of the three. It really isnt that pigmented and is more a gloss than anything. It just left my lips a little bit shimmery with not a lot of colour. Although it is really hydrating I did not like to constancy. I found it clumped quite a lot and was very sticky.

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Finally my absolute favourite out of the three and the one I will definelty be repurchasing. Throughout all of spring this has been my go to colour. The Balm stain in the colour ¬†001 Honey. It is a beautiful your lips but better colour, it really gives me that kissable lip look. The product is hydrating and although it doesn’t have amazing staying power it fades gradually and not in patches so it is really easy just to reapply when it begins to fade. The pigment is beautiful and although the others do have a similar effect on my lips this one leaves a tingly sensation on my lips (almost like menthol flavour) which I find super refreshing¬†and I swear it helps plump my lips up a little! The picture below is this colour ūüôā

All in all, good job Revlon!

Much love, IMG_6666

Joanna x

The worst brow product award goes to…

Sorry Barry M but for once I will not be singing your praises.

After running out of my sleek pencil (this has been reviewed a while ago on my blog) ¬†I thought I would change it up a little and try another brow product. I nipped into a small Boots and their range wasn’t massive so I came out with this little thing…

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(The Barry M Brow Pen in ‘Dark Brown’ not the daffodil) Packaging wise, yes this is really it. It looks just like a white board marker doesn’t it. And that it pretty much the consistency of the product to. As you can see the nib is a felt tip pen and although I knew that was what I would be working with on my brows I was not prepared for it drying up every few strokes. So there I was one eye brow done and desperately trying to wet the nib so I could at least finish my eyebrows. After this battle had commenced and I had won (Just!) my brows were left looking very ‘drawn on’ and although this is an effect I know some love, this just really does not suit my face and it is not a look I enjoy sporting.¬†IMG_6620

The nib ment it was really difficult to do fine strokes to mimic hair and really all I could do with it was literally colour in my brows. What was worse was although I didn’t like the product I kept it on for the day just to see the lasting power it had. 3 hours in and I noticed the pen was starting to run and the skin round my brows was starting to become tinged brown. Needless to say I was not a happy bunny. You can see on the swatch below even after a few seconds on the skin the product had started to run.

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This product went straight in the bin and that is where it will be staying. Sorry Barry M!

Much love,

Joanna x

Coconut oil – hair mask *****

So you may or may not have seen but I recently did a trial of coconut pulling (see previous post). Anyway, the outcome of that meant I had some coconut oil spare so looked up other tricks I could do with it. After reading a few recipes that are good using coconut oil i stumbled across¬†using coconut oil as a hair mask. IMG_6554 So I have think damaged hair at the moment, it is quite long and has been for a while now so as I am sure you can understand or even sympathise the ends of my hair aren’t the best they could be. Now I am not at a stage where I am willing to chop it all off so have been purchasing strengthening shampoo and condition, using leave in conditioner and heat protective spray when I blow dry. Basically I am trying anything to save the lengths of my hair from looking dull and dead. So I thought why not try the hair mask trick. So I waited till my hair was three days un washed (usually what I go between washes). Like how i had with the oil pulling I spooned a table spoons worth of coconut oil into a pyrex glass and microwaved for a short time – just long enough to melt it to a completely liquid form. Then over the sink I dipped my fingers in and then just ran through the lengths of my hair till it was all in there. I would recommend you use the right amount of oil for your hair, so less oil for shorter thiner hair and more oil for longer thicker hair. I concentrated the oil on the lengths as opposed to the routes as I wanted to avoid excess grease the next day. Once it was all in I just put my hair up in a high bun and slept on it. (I did have to change the bed sheets the next day as the pillows got rather oily!) 3ab96b9cc2e117f2c53d94faa18e09ac But was it worth the oily pillow case?! YES YES YES! My goodness yes. I woke up, washed and conditioned my hair like I normally would and blow dried it. My hair has literally NEVER looked this shiny and healthy. It is honestly unbelievable what 12 hours with coconut oil on your hair can do to it. My hair is not greasy or oily in anyway, it somehow feels thicker and the shine is amazing. I am not one to overreact and give credit to something that is not worth it, but I can honestly say I will be doing this once as week now ¬†(the day before I change the bedsheets!). Although coconut oil is expensive I will only be doing it once as week and think the jar will last. Some blogs I have read say to leave the mask on for a couple of hours but because I have had such a good result from the 12 hour trick I will be keeping this up.

Much love,

Joanna x

Oil pulling – ten day trial

I first heard about oil pulling when reading around the benefits of coconut oil, you know, that product that is everywhere these days!

I’ve recently become more aware of staining on the backs of my teeth and so was willing to try anything, and if the reviews I was reading were true this ancient practice was going to have all kinds of positive side effects. Including; overall improved oral health, whiter teeth and fresher breath. The oil can be any oil but I knew for a fact I the only one I could bare swirling around in my mouth for 20 minutes would be coconut oil as in my opinions is the best tasting oil out there.

The process…

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This is the oil I used, mainly because it was refined (which means no nasty extras! and all natural) it was also on offer in Tesco and with coconut being a pricy product I was all for saving some pennies. This is a 283ml jar and it was reduced to ¬£5. I have had a look online and can’t seem to find it any cheaper ANYWHERE.

I’ve read in some places this process is best done on an empty stomach and others deny it makes a difference but for arguments sake I would do it on an empty stomach. Usually as soon as I got home from work, so having not eaten since lunch time.

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Spoon one healthy sized table spoon of the oil into a small Pyrex glass. You will not need anymore than this as over the 20 minutes of swirling around the oil will double in size in your mouth. Pop the glass in the microwave and heat just enough to melt the oil until it has returned to its liquid form. Only 20-30 seconds is necessary and you do not want to overheat it because you will be swirling it around in your mouth straight after.

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So this is the least glamorous part of oil pulling. I tried to do it when no one else was around so no one would try and talk to me or make me laugh! It is just a case at the point of sitting their with the TV on and just swirling it around your mouth, making sure you force it through the gaps in your teeth and just keeping it on the move for 20 minutes. You won’t want to be too forceful as 20 minutes is longer than you think and your jaw will start to ache.

Once the twenty minutes is up don’t put the oil down the drain! it is only going to clog it, so I pour it back into the glass, wait for it to set again and put it in the bin. I then floss like crazy, brush my teeth and rinse with water. You wont be able to feel the oil on your teeth after this you might just have a lingering taste of coconut, which isn’t such a bad thing! I then try and leave it as long as I can before eating. Drinking water (which is all I am drinking at the moment anyway) is absolutely fine.

The Review…

Overall yes I have noticed a small difference after just ten days, the stains and plaque on the back of my teeth are slowly but surely disappearing. My teeth are not sensitive like they can be after using unnatural teeth whitening products. However, my biggest issue was with the price. This is a very pricey method of oral healthcare and with having to do a session of pulling everyday to notice a difference it will not be something I keep up. I intend on buying one more jar (mainly because it is still on offer in Tesco!), using that up and then look at cheaper home remedies for whiter and healthier teeth. Not just the price but the process is a lot to think about, which regards to having to time your meals and think about when you can eat. It just really does not suit my lifestyle.

If you have any oil pulling stories please let me know, there are so many mixed reviews out there! it is really is a try it for yourself and see if it works for you process by looking around at everyone else’s experiences.

Love

Joanna x