Who is your friend there?

How is it that your pores know exactly when you have a special event coming up like school picture day or a party? It can’t be coincidence that it is ALWAYS on that day you wake up with a fresh spot outbreak!! Anyone else get a mental image of their pores all sitting around a table having a meeting, discussing when would be most inconvenient to deliver a fresh wave of spots?

I felt like Benjamin Button when I was 17/18. The older I was getting, the more spots I seemed to have. It was getting worse by the day. Not in an acne kind of way, just those ones with the little white heads on them. I must have tried every product on the shelf: face packs, cleansing gels, anti-spot cremes etc etc. Especially when I saw a new advert on the TV. I was always convinced that the happy teenagers on the screen wouldn’t lie to me, that this new product was the one I had been waiting for.

It has taken me years to get to a stage when I don’t wake up with a new little friend on my face. It brings me a lot of joy that I can finally say I have found some facial products that I am pleased with and use every day. I am by no means an expert, but I would like to share these products with you as they are how I keep my spots at bay.

The best tip I was ever given was the classic step by step ritual:

  1. Cleanse
  2. Tone
  3. Moisturise

Honesty, doing this, without fail, both morning and night made such a difference to my face. I used to be really lazy and just wash my face with a face wash and then sometimes moisture if I remembered. I have tried products from pretty much all of the companies on the shelves but I have found that the Simple range suits my skin the best. I use the Simple Cleansing Face Wash to clean my face in the morning and wash my make up off at night. I then tone my face with the Simple Facial Toner (see picture).

To moisturise, I use Oil of Olay Day Fluid. It is not the cheapest product out there but even the smallest bottle will last you ages. It is thick enough to moisturise my fairly dry skin but not so heavy that I feel greasy. I always thought that if you had naturally greasy skin like I did, then adding moisturiser to it would just increase the grease, but I was told by one of those beauticians behind the counter at John Lewis that if you don’t moisturise every day then your pores will produce more oils to compensate. So if you moisturise your face with a product, your pores won’t be so active. (I didn’t learn this until I was about 23 and it changed my life!).

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Unfortunately, as much as I have tried to ignore it, eating chocolate and sweets makes your spots worse. I’m not going to lie, it breaks my heart to type this for all to see but I cannot ignore this fact any longer. Sugar increases the spots on my face. After having a right sulk about it for a few months, I vowed to try and watch what I was eating before a special event like a party. It probably wasn’t a bad thing anyway because I ate waaaaaay too much chocolate so being a bit healthier was only going to benefit me in the long run, aside from clearing up the spots of my face. I always try and drink water when I am at home too as I find it helps my skin look fresher.

I am by no means an expert or a beautician or anyone professionally linked to these beauty products but I thought it might be helpful to some of you out there to hear about my experiences and my own research. Everyone is difference and everyone has different needs with their facial products so you might need a heavier cleanser or a thinner moisturiser, depending on what your skin is like but let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter/Instagram. It would be awesome if we could share some of our secrets with each other!

Also, I am super interested in trying those black face masks that target black heads. I have so many black heads on my nose, they need some attention! If anyone can recommend one to me, that would be excellent! Advice columns go both ways!

Sarah x

Disclaimer: I am not endorsed by any of these products, the thoughts above are my own personal experiences and should not be followed instead of professional advice!

What did you say?

I wouldn’t like to count how many times in a day I use the Internet. Between Facebook, Instagram, blogging, Twitter, I must be on the Internet for the majority of the time I am awake. And when I should be asleep! It is a wonder I have time to do anything else. Even when out and about, if I can’t find where I am going, I will whip out my phone and use the Map app, or check train times, or google a shop location.

But what happens when it goes sour? With the wonders and marvels of the Internet comes the other side: the trolling, the cyberbullying, the hiding behind your keyboard to tell people home truths you would not dare say to someone’s face. I write this post as a friendly reminder about social media. I will be writing another post about copying with cyberbullying at a later date.

I run different Instagram accounts, covering an array of different topics and areas of my life. 99% of the time, the interactions I have with people are positive. However, an incident happened last month that shocked me a little bit. Scrolling through the comments on one post, I noticed a couple of things being said that I found quite offensive. I am not here to name and shame, or even to tell you what was said, but for the first time since starting my accounts, I felt threatened. I am a big girl and knew what was being said were empty threats but still, I knew I didn’t deserve to be spoken to like that.

This got me thinking. I am strong enough to ignore these comments but I know that some people would have been really upset by them. That is the problem with the Internet. Written words have none of the qualities that speech has. There is no intonation, no facial expressions, no body language, which we take in without realising it to understand things that are said to us. The non-verbal cues that we take for granted because we don’t actively think about them.

A phrase like ‘shut up’ can be taken in a number of ways. The cast of TOWIE use it instead of ‘You’re kidding me.’ People say it in a playful way, in defence to being teased, or even in a ‘please carry on complimenting me’ way, but written down, the phrase is: Shut. Up. Sounds a bit aggressive doesn’t it? Just this week, a family member was teasing his mum that her texts are always in capital letters, making him think she is shouting at him. She replied that she had turned on her Caps Lock months ago and couldn’t get it off again! But he wasn’t to know that because all he could see were words that were being emphasised. No facial expressions, no loudness of voice to give him clues as to whether his mum was angry or not.

Back to Instagram, I wrote back a polite retaliation to my horrible comments saying that this language was inappropriate and I would prefer them to unfollow me if they thought it was an acceptable way to speak to someone, and all of a sudden I was inundated with messages from each guilty party saying how they hadn’t meant it, and I had interpreted it wrong, or they were only joking etc etc. I thanked them for their apology and there are no hard feelings between me and them, it is sorted now and all good. But I felt like this was a good example of what can happen while on the Internet. Things can be misinterpreted. While using the Internet, it is our responsibility to use it with care and keep in mind that words typed are just that: Words on a page. No intonation, no smiling while you say it, no playful slaps of arms to show you are speaking in jest.

People seem to find a new found sense of confidence when they are typing on a keyboard. I don’t believe for a second they would be brave enough to say those horrible things to someone’s face, but seem to find it easy when tweeting or commenting. Like the screen acts as a barrier to shield them from identity or the stress and drama of a face to face conversation.

I guess what I am trying to say is, please take a moment to think about the things you type to people on social media. Things can be misunderstood, misread, misinterpreted and someone will get hurt. Most probably both parties involved. Read the actual words you have written, removing the emotions from it, and see the words for what they are. And what they mean. It will bring us back to the intention of social media, to introduce us to people we wouldn’t ordinarily meet, to develop friendships with people of all walks of life. To connect us all.

Sarah x