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This September my dog Ralphy will turn 6 and somehow I love him even more as each year passes. He’s cheeky, funny and super cute whilst sharing his endless supply of love – he’s my safe place. He was just three months old when I got him in London, this was a bit of a nightmare as he’d bark and howl – even when I stepped out to empty the rubbish. Like most Londoners I lived in a flat and as you can image my neighbors didn’t appreciate the sound of him barking anytime I needed to leave him alone. When my boyfriend and I planned to move to his native Germany and set up our company there was zero doubt as to whether Ralphy would come or not. Traveling from the UK to Germany became quite the journey as we took the overnight ferry from Norfolk to Holland and then drove for 10 hours to our new home in Baden-Wurttemburg. When the ferry company told us we could see his kennel via CCTV from the TV in our cabin I didn’t realise everyone else could too. He spent most of the time barking and the next morning as we were lining up at passport control an American girl said to her parents ‘look there’s the dog we saw on TV last night’. His current home in Germany suits him perfectly as he has more than enough space to run and do what dogs do and with the help of family he’s never alone. To celebrate the special bond between humans and dog’s I’ve researched 5 benefits to owning a pooch from this Huffington Post article.

1 We become more outdoorsy. Going for walks is mandatory when owning a dog. I soon made the most of London’s beautiful parks (especially Hyde Park) and Sunday’s on the sofa have become Sunday’s spent walking in the forest. With this comes the health benefits of exercise and fresh air.

2 Just Looking At Your Dog Will Make You Feel Happier. I can definitely attest to this one as my heart swells when I see my dog. A study in Japan found that one’s level of oxytocin (the neurohormone that elicits feelings of happiness) raised intensely after interacting with their dogs.

3 Dogs Calm Us Down In Stressful Situations. Studies have shown that during a ‘stress test’ our stress levels reduce significantly when a dog is in the room.

4 They Help Us Recover Psychologically From A Crisis. Dogs have been proven to help the recovery process of soldiers going through post-traumatic stress disorder.

5 One Study Found That Owning A Dog Could Make You More Attractive To Potential Love Matches. I’ve been in my current relationship for almost 5 years and I brought my dog on the first date which I’m sure helped break the ice. According to a study conducted by Dog’s Trust, the United Kingdom’s largest dog welfare charity, when they surveyed 700 people, 60 percent said that owning a dog can make people more attractive, while 85 percent think people are more approachable when they are with a dog.

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It can be a nightmare when  hayfever strikes and sufferers will agree that it can put a dampener on the small amounts of Summer we are experiencing this year. When the symptoms are persistent it can be off putting to take large amounts of over the counter drugs. So I’ve put together a list of natural alternatives that may prevent the need for tablets or at the very least keep them to a minimum.

1 Local honey. This is perhaps the nicest form of treatment if you happen to like the taste of it. When it’s locally produced (up to 100 miles away) you will find that it contains the same pollen that is causing your flair ups. Reports from hayfever sufferers have shown an improvement in many cases when they eat some each morning.

2 Vitamin C. This is a known natural antihistamine and can be found in lemons, grapefruits and oranges. These also contain bioflavonoids which have powerful anti-allergy benefits. Check out my ultimate hot water and lemon recipe which is perfect first thing in the morning. The combination will also help flush out your liver and kidneys which is a win win.

3 Hot Peppers. The capsaicin found in red peppers and chilli peppers effectively open the nasal passages. This reduces the congestion brought on by hayfever and reduces the symptoms significantly.

4 Camomile Tea. This tea contains antioxidants and flavonoids whilst also being an antihistamine. The combination will reduce inflammation, plus two cold tea bags can be used as an eye compress, to reduce puffiness and redness.

5 Garlic & Onions. Add either one or both of these to your food starting before and during hayfever season. Onion contains quercetin, a natural antihistamine whilst garlic is an effective decongestant. Regardless of hayfever, both are highly nutritious foods that help fight off colds and infections.

Some of the information for this post was researched via Good To Know.

 

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When it comes to advanced skincare it’s serums that lead the way as the molecular size is smaller when compared with a cream. Smaller molecules sink deeper within the layers of our skin whereas creams target only the surface layers. NIOD have mastered this with their Multi Molecular Hyaluronic Complex which I featured a while back. I really liked this product so I was excited to test out the Copper Amino Isolate Serum 1.00%*. This product is a great all rounder as it keeps the skin in a heightened state of repair yet also contains hyaluronic acid which is great for moisture. With this you can expect to see improvements with hyper pigmentation, pore size, wrinkles, texture, tone and radiance.

This comes with a generous volume of copper amino isolate, especially when compared with other (sometimes more expensive) brands on the market. This is what I like most about NIOD. They create concentrated products that give clearly noticeable results at a fair price. This makes total sense to me because they no doubt sell truck loads of the stuff because of the results and price points. I feel the same about Paula’s Choice and I always recommend them to anyone looking for the hardest working products that are good value for money. NIOD have also got the packaging right (in my opinion) so it’s a win win for me.

This comes in two bottles that need to be activated before the first use. I mixed the pure copper amino isolate with the remaining serum and gave it a good shake before use. I apply to my face after cleansing and leave it for at least 30 seconds before applying a moisturiser. After the first time my skin looked instantly smoother and generally better. I’m using it morning and night but I will go down to just the night after 10 days. This is great at healing so if you’ve had a spot or scratch expect to see accelerated repair when using this. So far I’m super happy with the results and I definitely recommend you try it out and see for yourself – especially if you are concerned with anti-ageing.

*Press Sample

 

 

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The ‘summer body’ preparations are well underway and having been back at the gym for only 2 months I’m way behind schedule. The thought of being poolside leaves me feeling vulnerable. But, considering I haven’t booked flights to Ibiza, Miami or in fact anywhere and combine that with the washout we’re having here in Germany I can take a deep breath and calm the hell down. For now the preparations continue, with the following….

1 JAMES READ Sleep Mask Tan Face*. Go to bed pale and wake up golden is my kinda tan and the clear gel won’t streak the bed clothes. The first time using this I looked at my face wondering if I looked yellow when in fact it had been so long since I’d had a tan, real or fake, that I’d forgotten what I looked like with a golden glow. I call this the classy tan as you can build it up slowly over a few nights. This way you won’t walk into work one morning looking like an umpa lumpa.

2 BUTTER ELEXIR Hair & Body Oil*. Regular readers will know that I love a natural oil. This one is packed with skin boosting essential oils, it smells like a spa and leaves my skin glistening but not greasy.

3 KIEHLS Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50*. Thanks to my tan in a can I’m all set but I won’t step out in the midday sun without full protection. During the summer this sunscreen works a treat when used as a face moisturiser. TIP. Don’t forget to add a pea size amount to the back of each hand before leaving the house, apply whatever is left to the top of your ears. Available worldwide.

4 WILLEMS EYEWEAR B-ZERO Dartmoor*. These stylish gold shades reflect the light without being full on mirror, which I like, and the quality of the lenses is outstanding. Expect to see me wearing these on my instagram soon.

5 H&M T-Shirt & Shorts. With the new season I’m mixing up my colour palette of the usual grey’s and blue’s. Adding warmer hue’s lifts the tone and injects some summer spirit.

*Press Samples

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My go hard or go home approach to exfoliation needs to come down a notch now that Summer’s on it’s way. Regular acid peels are great, not only for removing dead skin but also by keeping it in a constant state of repair which promotes younger looking skin. You know it! Before the last 12 months I only used SPF on holiday or if I were sunbathing, now I wear it every day. Even with an SPF 30 or higher, I wouldn’t sit in the sun whilst using certain exfoliators for fear of damaging my skin.

Now that the Summer season is approaching I want to enjoy whatever warm weather we end up having in Germany without irritating my skin. This leads me to my latest skincare discovery which is from the US ‘all-natural’ brand Tata Harper*. I’ve started using the Resurfacing Mask which is 100% natural and nontoxic. Even during the Summer months it’s important to keep skin gently exfoliated, otherwise we run the risk of an uneven tan *starts screaming*. This little pot of gold gets the job gently done which is exactly what I’d hoped for. It has a gel consistency and smells fresh and slightly florally and dries on the skin with a cling film like feeling – I leave it on for the recommended 30 minutes. Whilst this is all-natural it definitely makes a difference when using it 1-2 times a week and it didn’t cause any redness on my skin. It also contains French Pink Clay (very posh) which helps detoxify the skin and minimize pores. It’s worth noting that this contains some potentially irritating essential oils so I’d consider this if you are sensitive to these types ingredients. The packaging is a bit madam for my personal taste but I wanted to try this brand anyway as I’ve heard many great reports. Having used this I’d like to try some other products from the range soon.

*Press Sample