Summer 2020 Essentials

Today I’m sharing my favourite season summer, essentials! Summer goes by so fast. I’m always sad when autumn fall kicks in. I love the heat, the longer days, being able to go in the sea, the colours, the lesser layers to wear, the freedom that summer has.

Clockwise from orange juice. Please excuse the flat lay, I’m not that good at them.

Orange Juice Boost

When it starts to get warmer, I start to crave fresh orange juice. I think it’s the sugar in it that helps my body with the heat. It can quench thirst almost as good as water and I always feel awake and refreshed afterwards. 

Body Lotion 

I finally found a body lotion that works! Sadly there’s a lot of plastic involved, however Instituto Español do a vegan body lotion, Natura Madre Tierra Body lotion that my skin likes, keeps hydrated all day, works with sunscreen on top and isn’t that expensive for how much I get through.

Water Bottle

Goes everywhere with me when I’m out! Hydration, hydration, hydration! 

Snacks

I always try to have emergency snacks when out. This summer it’s been almonds and dried mango. 

Scrunchies 

These are kinder to hair once you find ones that work for your hair. I prefer Kitsch satin scrunchies but I can’t get them in Spain. These I got from Berskha. They’re not as good, my hair at least once a week gets tangled up in them, however they’re much kinder on my hair that regular elastic hairbands/ties. They also add a pop of colour. 

Hand Sanitiser

I don’t like the pretolum ingredients in them, but I can’t avoid them until alcohol plant based ones are available. 

Sunglasses

Essential not only for reducing wrinkles but protecting the eyes from the sun. A few years ago I started wearing polarised lenses and never when back to regular sunglasses. Oakley do the best polarised glasses and I like colour lenses as all black or all brown sunglasses are too dark for my colouring. 

Mask 

Summer 2020 and possibly summer 2021 mandatory item. I avoid disposal masks due to the waste they generate and resources in production. It took a while to find an all cotton one that didn’t cost the earth now people are cashing in the the mask market. These I got from El Corte Ingles, €5 for 2 which are reusable, washable and that I can breath through easily on a hot day. I also have some white ones that are really lightweight however being white, they weren’t white for long. I dyed them blue when dying a pair of shorts and now have lightweight masks for indoor/gym climbing. It’s like you need an assortment of masks depending on what you’re doing. 

Sunglasses

Essential not only for reducing wrinkles but protecting the eyes from the sun. A few years ago I started wearing polarised lenses and never when back to regular sunglasses. Oakley do the best polarised glasses and I like colour lenses as all black or all brown sunglasses are too dark for my colouring. 

Aloha Collection Pouches 

I discovered Aloha Collection on holiday in Oahu earlier this year initially only purchasing one, only to buy more. They’re great at stowing away wet/damp bikinis after the beach without getting everything else in your bag wet. They’re not 100% waterproof as the seams aren’t but they are splash proof so nothing leaks. They’re great too travelling for clothes, accessories, cosmetics, cables, ipads keeping everything organised even if inside pouches isn’t or just as a bag out. They’re expensive as is international shipping, but they’re worth the money. They’re also pretty to look at. So pretty I don’t want to use them in case I ruin them! 

Baseball Cap 

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Beauty Finds: DIY Cocoa Butter and Avocado Oil Body Butter

I mentioned a few weeks ago in a Weekend Friday Favourites I was trying out a DIY body butter and would share the recipe and results. I’m trying to reduce my plastic consumption and am also looking for a more hydrating body lotion. 

Please scroll down for the recipe if you want to skip skin history and the why’s I tried DIY

While I have oily skin, my body always feels dry unless it’s moisturised. I’m not sure if this is because it’s eczema prone so is maybe drier or it’s so used to daily lotion it knows when it needs more. 

I’ve always gone for cocoa butter based lotions due to cocoa butter hydration properties. It’s good against stretch marks and cellulite. For years I used Palmers Cocoa Butter with no issues. I stopped using it as it contains palm oil I try to avoid as I prefer happy orangutangs in rainforests and petroleum or paraffin which I also avoid. Some of the brands other products use shark oil. Being vegan, that’s a no. I used Alba Botanica Hand and Body Lotion Cocoa Butter (now discontinued) until iherb.com stopped shipping to Spain. When they resumed I didn’t want to spend as much on shipping. It’s hard to find in Spain good cocoa butter based lotion so I’ve been compromising. The Body Shop is too expensive for what I get through. I found a great band The Organic Shop and currently use their Bourbon Vanilla Body Mousse, a shea based lotion (ingredients are listed incorrect). However they’re not the same as cocoa butter lotions and I messed my skin up last year with mineral sunscreens. I also find that sometimes The Organic Shop just sits on my skin no matter how much massaging in and feels dry later on. If it’s humid after a shower, it doesn’t seem to massage in at all. In the winter after showering I change back in PJ bottoms for 15 minutes for the lotion to absorb, not my leggings absorbing any. 

By now you guessed I care for the environment. I wanted a reef friendly sunscreen and most are mineral based of zinc or titanium dioxide. After going through several brands, my skin can’t deal with lots of zinc. It’s hard to wash off and it dries my skin out to the point it cracks and is painful. I thought I found one last year that worked with my skin, Freshly Cosmetics Healthy Protection Sunscreen Body Lotion however after using it since May, it’s started to dry my skin out. I thought I found a way to remove mineral sunscreen effectively as soap, coffee and sugar scrubs, dry brushing don’t, with a pumice stone. It does but you have to be careful using it. Back story over, I needed something that would help my skin back to happy. 

The Recipe From A Beautiful Mess

1 cup or 225 grams of cocoa butter

1/2 cup or 64 grams of avocado oil 

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Detergent Free, Eco Friendly Laundry: Eco Egg vs Magnesium Pellets

Having eczema sensitive skin I always opt for environmentally friendly laundry detergent that’s fragrance free. Eco friendly as I care about nature, fragrance free and harsh toxic, chemical free as I never know when I have a bad flare up usually once a year what caused it. 

Ecoegg

I used the laundry Ecoegg for about a year and as promised an update on its use. It was fine for the first few months, then I started not to be happy with it. It’s cheap. I only paid about €15-20 inc shipping for refills throughout the year which is great. I for sure noticed I wasn’t buying laundry detergent every month and the pennies saved. The white balls are mystery however they are harmful chemical free, biodegradable and vegan which react with the water. The black tourmaline pellets to lift stains by energising the water. Ecoegg state what the tourmaline pellets do, but I find it shady they don’t mention what the white pellets are made of. I did find one site that listed the ingredients but as it’s not Ecoegg themselves I can’t be sure it’s the complete list of ingredients. They recommend disposing of the used white pellets in the bin as they haven’t been tested on wildlife or plants (so how eco friendly? The ingredients separately are? Together are? They contradict themselves here by saying not harmful to aquatic life). I think for light washes it’s okay and at low temperatures. However it’s not great on whites, leaving them grey. It also washes out colours from clothes. This could be the dye, cheap clothes but after one wash, lighter colours such as pinks, greens they started to fade noticeably after just one wash (see photo below). It could also have been that my washing machine died this year and wasn’t washing as good as previous.

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What I Learnt Hand Washing For 6 Weeks

Leave it to my washing machine to have a breakdown in a lockdown. For various reasons I didn’t via the landlord get a new machine until a few weeks ago, making in about 6-7 weeks of hand washing. With my 6-7 weeks experience of hand washing I’m sharing what I learnt manually washing clothes, towels and linen. Exciting huh?!

Source Giphy

Washing machines revolutionised the world. They free up time. They do the dirty hard work. All you have to do is pop the load in the machine, press a few buttons, leave it to do it’s thing, you go do other stuff until it bleeps all done, either air dry every thing or tumble dry. Done. I line dry which requires:

Timing. I couldn’t wring all the water out. It’s physically impossible. Not even a washing machine can unless it tumble dries too. I had to check the weather a few days ahead to plan laundry days for drying on the balcony. Thankfully I have a bath and the washing rack fitted in the bath to catch the run off. However leaving like that overnight nothing dried. I could have put a towel underneath the rack and let it air dry in the living room, but that would result in parquet water damage. Thankfully there were only a couple of stormy days and I wasn’t wearing much. Clothes were on repeat in lockdown and it was mostly lounge clothes. No pretty outfits. 

I already hand wash my bras so I thought I had how to hand wash down. Nope. You need buckets. A few buckets. I already had a bucket and salad spinner for help drying my bras (trust me. It’s a game changer!) but soon realised I need another. Thankfully my local big supermarket, the cleaning bucket isle wasn’t tapped off out of bounds. With 3 buckets, bowls I learnt:

You have to run an little bath with liquid (preferably environmentally friendly laundry detergent. I use magnesium balls (I use another brand) learning buying the gentlest for sensitive skin liquid detergent again is expensive) then add the clothes. Rather than dump them all in, each individual item you swish around a little, rub fabric together to start to lift dirt, repeat a few times like how a machine does. When all the items are in, swish them around some more. I found with towels I had, dump the water and start again with the detergent. One ‘wash’ wasn’t enough. I then left them overnight for the detergent to I dunno, lift anything else with enzymes. That was the easy part.

Source Giphy

Rinsing is the harder part. I’m dreading the next water bill. Although it’ll be interesting to see if hand washing vs washing machine uses more water. To ensure all the detergent is removed you have to rinse, rinse, rinse baby. I found the easiest way again was individually as each item and type of fabric holds the detergent at different rates. Cotton Continue reading “What I Learnt Hand Washing For 6 Weeks”

Bralettes for Big Boobs

Bralettes have always been something of a dream for me. Pretty bras, bras you can walk into any shop find your size instantly and have a wide range of styling options are dreams. If you’re like me, you need an underwire and every bit of support you can get.

Up until a few years ago, I couldn’t get my band size of UK28F. I was lucky to find online a UK30 with limited options in design. I think it was Freya that started band 28’s followed by Panache however again, limited designs, cup types, all with fugly wide straps. I’m not petite height, however I’m a small size. I don’t want wide ugly straps or lace showing through tops! I don’t want either nipples showing through tops. Thankfully Panache started to make t-shirt bras, for DD+ with narrower straps. No nipples showing, no lace showing, no nipple pain in winter when the cold starts. I could also go back to wearing cami/strappy tops, knowing everything’s held in place.  Continue reading “Bralettes for Big Boobs”