Saturday, 19 April 2014

Review: Nivea Creme

As I mentioned in a couple of posts this year (my eczema and 2013 favourites in particular) I discovered Nivea Creme last year and it has fast become a firm favourite and an absolute skincare essential- I thought it deserved a proper review.


Nivea Creme has been around since 1911 and has become one of those cult products that everyone who uses it will always swear by. The stereotype is that everyone's Grandma is a lifelong fan but I think there must be a very good reason it's still going strong over 100 years later! 


It is available in a couple of sizes- I have the 200ml, but there's a 50ml size which I think would be a lot more practical for handbag use (I've depotted some of mine into a separate little container so I don't have to tote around the bulky 200ml tub I have! The 200ml is around £3.50 and the 50ml is around £1.50- though I've seen both on sale for a lot less. (I bought my 200ml for £2 at Morrisons)


I the product itself is a pretty thick cream, but I think it has a kind of fluffy, whipped texture: think non-sticky marshmallow fluff... And although it is thick it does sink into the skin pretty fast provided you only use a small amount (it can be greasy and take longer so sink in, but I think that's often the price you have to pay for decent moisturisation) As I've said before I get the driest skin on my hands, so it's important that I can apply a product that allows me go straight back to working or whatever I'm doing without leaving super-greasy marks on everything.


The ingredients are fairly simple- with mineral oil being the main moisturising component, and although there is some fragrance it definitely does not irritate my skin- even on patches of eczema or around my eyes. Because of the fragrances it does have a scent to it but I don't think it's a very strong- it's vaguely citrusy/fresh smell that I actually really love.

I've never had any issue with Nivea Creme clogging my pores or making my skin feel oily (though, again, I usually have very dry skin) even when I've used it all over my face at night. I've also used it like a moisture mask- slathering on a thick layer, leaving it for a while then gently removing the excess- which is lovely)


Nivea Creme is advertised as being fully multipurpose product, for use on basically anywhere your body that needs moisture. I mainly use it on my eczema patches, all over my face on particularly dry days, as a makeshift eye cream (my eyes are always the driest part of my face) for dry elbows and knees etc. though I would definitely use it anywhere on my body if needed- it would probably make a good alternative to body butter if you needed it!

Overall I have to say I really do love Nivea Creme- I'm sad it took me so long to discover it! I love that is so multifunctional and richly moisturising, I use it for so many things and would definitely be lost without it!


Have you ever used Nivea Creme- what do you think?

xGretalRabbitx

Sunday, 13 April 2014

How I manage my eczema flare-ups.

So first of all- a disclaimer! I'm not a medical or skincare professional, everything I mention in his post are things that work FOR ME, everyone's skin reacts differently and if you're struggling with eczema you should really see a doctor / dermatologist rather than relying in the internet (the internet is a very useful tool, but is not a substitute for a professionals advice- plus they can give you prescription drugs!)

I never ever had eczema as a child, and I really only developed it at about the age of 20/21. I've had it on and off since then, in various places (but mostly my eyelids and hands/wrists) and since then I've tried a LOT if things to try and get rid of it, some have worked well and I'm pretty sure some things made it worse... So I thought I'd share a bit of my experience and a couple of products that work for me.

For the first couple of days of a flare-up when the skin is feeling itchy, hot, raw and horrible I think a hydrocortisone cream is essential. I think you can buy these from pharmacies but I got mine prescribed (if you've never used one before or have only just developed eczema I really recommend seeing your doctor anyway, they can probably provide stronger hydrocortisone creams if you need them and will be able to give you the best advice about what/what not to do and use)




It's very important to be very sparing with a hydrocortisone cream- you only need a very thin layer on the affected area, and there can be side effects (like skin thinning) if it's used frequently over a long period. That said, this stuff really is a miracle for my skin- it takes away that horrible red, hot, itchy feeling when an eczema patch first crops up, and makes it look and feel a lot less 'angry'. Unfortunately you're not supposed to use it on the face (which is hell when I have eczema on my eyelids; and I have to admit that on a couple of occasions I felt so awful I caved and used it on my lids...) as the skin is more delicate there, so I'm not sure what would be a good alternative for the face.

The next thing that is super important for eczema treatment is moisturiser, moisturiser, moisturiser. I sometimes feel a lot like Lady Cassandra from Doctor Who: I am constantly within arms reach of at least 2 or 3 forms of moisturiser and reapply all the time throughout the day.




There are lots of different options for keeping your skin moisturised, but I have a few favourites that really moisturise well, and don't further irritate my skin (which is sensitive at the best of times)

For the daytime I tend to switch between Nivea Creme and E45- which are both nice because they moisturise well, sink in pretty fast (which I really need at work- my eczema is worst on my hands and I need to be able to type and touch paperwork without leaving greasy marks on everything) and is gentle on irritated or sensitive skin. I make a point of applying moisturisers to my skin whenever I wash it- so for my hands I reapply all the time!





At night I often soak myself in oil (usually either almond oil or rescue oil) on my hands, arms (especially inside my elbows) and my knee and ankle areas to really moisturise thoroughly over night- I do find it helps my dry skin in general. 




Once my skin has healed a little, and reaches that horrible looking dry and flaky stage I like to (very gently) exfoliate. (please never exfoliate raw, broken skin! You will do much more harm than good) Remember when you have a layer of flaky dead skin any product you apply will have to penetrate the dead skin before it can actually do anything useful to the living (hopefully healthy) skin below, so by gently removing that dead stuff you can help to keep your living skin moisturised (plus it looks and feels so much better)

I usually use a very simple DIY recipe, which involves mixing caster sugar (a finer grained sugar which is gentler than granulated) and olive oil (so it can also moisturise as you scrub) into a thick paste and rubbing it over the skin. It's simple, natural, and works so well. You could also use my coffee scrub recipe to exfoliate- that's nice and gentle too (plus it smells amazing!)




That's really it for products I use- I do find it better to be minimal with products I use on flare-ups; the skin is so much more delicate during a flare-up and I'd hate to do anything to make it worse! But here are a couple of more general tips I like to follow:


  • Moisturise every single time you wash/get wet- that means immediately after washing your hands, getting out of the shower etc. I love to use oils all over when my skin is damp from a shower.
  • Avoid harsh body washes and bubble baths (I like the Sanex Zero range, though I'm on the hunt for a SLS free shower gel that is affordable- let me know if you know of any!) If possible only use body wash on the essential areas and leave the rest of your skin alone.
  • In fact, avoid baths- they're so drying! If you must have a bath use a moisturising bath oil, and cooler water. Short, cool showers are much better for your skin. And try not to shower every day if possible.
  • Try and look out for what might trigger your flare-ups (unfortunately I can't work out what triggers mine) it could be anything really: environmental, dietary or stress related- or potentially just a random, annoying, occurrence.
  • Don't let your skin get too hot or cold and wear looser, breathable fabrics (cotton is your friend here)



So that's my take on caring for eczema, please give me all of your tips and advice in the comments, I always appreciate new things to try.


xGretalRabbitx

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Photography Challenge #3 - Self Portrait

I've never really been one for selfies- partly because I've only recently had a camera in me at all times, but also because I tend to prefer taking the pictures. It's not that I mind having my picture taken (I love it really) but I often think selfies just aren't that flattering. I contemplated trying out ways to set timers and work with mirrors to set up lovely shots, but in the spirit of the challenge I decided to try it- and see if I could did some pictures I take of myself that I like.
With the popularity of the 'no makeup selfie' I thought I'd include a couple (in pictures 1 and 3 below I'm wearing no make up, and in pictures 2 and 4 I've got my regular daytime face on- eye makeup, concealer and blush- no foundation) 

People have had some rather extreme reactions to the 'no makeup selfie' trend- that women should never wear makeup in the first place (how horribly judgemental, I hate that some people think they can decide what other people choose, or choose not to, put on their face!) or that it's not doing anything at all to raise awareness or money (which I think Cancer Research UK would disagree with, I'm sure I've read that they've raised over 2 million pounds since it started) but I personally agree with anything that helps to raise money- even if it's an internet fad that some people take part in without really getting the point of the trend. 

Then again I think everyone has that annoying 'friend' who posts a no makeup selfie on Facebook with a caption that reads something like 'This is my no makeup selfie, but I think I'm so naturally beautiful I never ever wear makeup anyway, so it's really just a regular selfie' (paraphrased, mostly
- but I hate these people! It's awesome that you look lovely completely makeup free, but being comfortable with your naked face doesn't make you a better person, or a better woman, or a better feminist or whatever they think; comments like that make you a bitch, and people who choose to decorate their face with cosmetics are just as beautiful as someone who is 'natural'. /end rant)

Anyway I think it turned out mostly successful, through a great deal of trial and error, and I did get a couple of pictures I like :)





I look rather dishevelled in this one, I've just walked back to my boyfriends house from town (about 1/2 hour) in the windy, rainy, classic British weather.




I love this picture- I'm not really sure why, but I think it looks cool. It is not edited in any way (apart from cropping slightly) and the blurry effect is caused by an accidentally blurry camera lens- which really confused me for about 5 minutes after I took it!




So there are my self portraits!

What do you think of the 'no makeup selfie' trend?


xGretalRabbitx

Sunday, 30 March 2014

What's on my iPhone!!

I've seen quite a lot of these videos from people I watch on YouTube recently, and I find it fascinating to see how different people use and organise their phone so I thought I'd do one of my own.

My iPhone is a fairly new addition to my life (previously I had a 2 year old Samsung that wasn't even capable of internet access...)- I purchased it from my boyfriend when his contract was about to end, so he now has a shiny new gold 5s and I have his old 4s- it is already a 2 years old but it's in great condition (Dale frequently uses his phone in the bath, so I have no idea how he went 2 years without dropping it in!!!) and I'm much happier only paying £170 for it than saving to buy a brand new phone!

As an aside: if you live in the UK I highly recommend using GiffGaff  for a sim only plan- I get unlimited texts and data and 250 minutes a month for £12- they also have various other options for less data etc. (though I watch YouTube videos at work - during lunch!- all the time so I use around 2GB of data a month anyway!) GiffGaff uses the O2 network and I've always had awesome signal and internet strength :)

First of all I thought I'd show you what's ON my iPhone:


I love the idea of custom cases, so I bought a clear case (eBay for 99p) and cut out a piece of fabric (found in my 'junk fabric' box) to the shape of my phone, including a camera hole. I love the material and I have had compliments on it, plus I can change it at any time! I think I might find something more light coloured and spring-like soon.


My lock screen is actually a picture of unstirred paint- I found a whole redditdevoted to pictures of paint cans which have not been mixed yet (there's a subreddit for everything!!) and this one looks like a galaxy!

First page:

My background picture is just a rather boring purple background that came with my phone- I prefer to have a very simple background though as my eyes get kinda confused if there's a busy background as well as all those apps- I just feel like it's easier to read this way.

Naturally the first page has most of my most-used apps. On the top two rows I have useful apps, and the bottom two have social media apps. I love love love Wunderlist- it's a great list making app which allows you to write several separate lists, include sub-lists for details and tick off or delete items once complete. I love lists, and this is the perfect alternative to the hundreds of scraps of paper I used to use...

I'm a little disappointed by the Blogger app- I wish I could see stats, find older posts easier and reply to comments easier. Although I do love that I can now start composting new posts wherever I happen to be- I've started to just start new posts whenever I get an idea, rather than having to wait until later and my inspiration might be gone. If you use reddit I recommend Alien Blue- although to be honest I've not used an alternative. And I think anyone with an iPhone needs to have Google Maps rather than the Apple Maps app....

Apparently the bottom row is actually called the 'Dock'- don't say I never teach you anything. So in my 'Dock' I have what I consider to be the essentials- Messages, Phone, Email and Safari. I have considered replacing Email with something like Twitter or YouTube, but I couldn't decide which I would rather have, so Email it is!


I spent a really long time working out how to create these little folders- but I'm glad I did, even though I only have a few. My first one is for picture related apps- Photos, Camera and Snapseed, which is a great little picture editing app created by Google+. It has tonnes of different editing options, as well as filters and even a tilt-shift option. Lots of fun to play with, and has everything I actually want to edit a picture. 


I also have a little folder for my music apps- obviously I have the standard iPhone music app, but I also love Jango (which is like a UK friendly Pandora- it's awesome!) and TuneIn Radio- I'm not sure if this is UK only, but it allows me to stream any radio station (literally any channel in the UK, even if they're internet only etc.) to my phone- it does sometimes take a while to buffer, but I like the radio when I'm not sure what I want to listen to!


This is my second page of apps- which is mainly TV and more practical things. The IMDB app might be my most used app from this page- I'm really really good at remembering faces, but not so good at placing them- so in almost everything I watch there's at least one person I need to look up! I like a bit of catch-up TV (passes the time during my lunch break if it's raining outside) and I love SideReel to keep track of when various shows are on (mainly US shows)

I really must use Goodreads more, I'm sure all my shelves are way outdated... Epicurious is a nice recipe app (I don't think I've used a single recipe from it, but I like it for inspiration at least!) and I still love Pinterest- I go through phases of using it every day, then not at all...

I bank with HSBC and their app is really handy, I can transfer money from my savings to my current account and I like to be able to see my balance wherever I am (mainly to help me decide if I can afford a purchase or not!) Countdown+ is another recent favourite of mine- I love counting down to things (I get easily excited) and this app allows me to enter many dates to count down to :)

Sketch Pad is a fun little app too- it's kinda the iPhone equivalent of a basic Microsoft Paint- Dale and I draw silly pictures for each other, and play a kind of pictionary on it :)


This 'Extras' folder is like a junk drawer of things I either don't want, but can't delete, or use very infrequently. The exception to this is the Calculator- I actually find myself using it quite a lot. Units Plus is an awesome app to have- it will convert almost anything into anything else- it does Area, Currency (every one you could possibly need) Length, Speed, Temperature, Weight, Volume etc.- I mainly use it for converting US recipes into UK measurements, but I've used it quite a bit actually :)

Does anyone actually ever use: Weather, Newsstand, Stocks or Passbook? It annoys me that I can't actually delete them!


Page 3 is my games- I don't have that many, and I don't tend to play games all that often- again I go through phases with them. 

Candy Crush and SongPop are my most played- I'm totally addicted to both! Tapped out and Sims FreePlay are really fun- though I sometimes neglect them for weeks...Sudoku Free and Jigty Puzzles are nice, more relaxing games- I often do them in bed if I'm struggling to sleep. 



My last page is mainly shopping apps- and a couple of 'lifestyle' ones. I like all of these shop apps- the Ikea one lets me make a shopping list (which I really appreciate, it's often really hard to find things again with Ikea's crazy names) The eBay app is particularly good- I think it's very similar to the website- just as easy to navigate and make a purchase :)

The 7M Workout is a lot better than I anticipated, I like the custom workout settings (but I hate that I can't avoid push ups, they totally destroy my wrists- so I have to improv some other exercise whilst they're on) and even lazy lazy me can squeeze in 10 minutes of exercise most days.

Appy couple is a wedding website app that my friend is using for her wedding- it has all the things a wedding website usually has, but on the day everyone with the app can take and upload pictures, which is rather cool :) The Period Tracker app would probably be a lot more useful if I remembered to use it more- I may delete it soon.



So that's what's on my iPhone- I tag everyone to show me what's on yours!

                                                  xGretalRabbitx

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Photography Challenge #2 - Flowers

This week has almost made me believe that Spring might finally be on it's way- although I LOVE Christmas I really do hate the cold weather and pretty much everything else about Winter- it's cold and dark and miserable! This week the weather seems to have brightened up (I was totally drenched on the way home from work at least 3 days out of 5 last week, but it was at least warmer and a little bit sunny!), and the spring flowers are definitely making an appearance so I thought that the Flower theme for my Photography Challenge would be rather appropriate.

I have a love/hate relationship with flowers really: they're very pretty, and fresh flowers really brighten up a room, however I do get really awful hay fever (people have started cutting grass along my route to work and it's started already) plus I have to agree with Phoebe from Friends- it's really sad to have flowers in your house and just watch them slowly wilting and dying...

Anyway, outside Dales flat there is quite a selection of planted flowers, and the daffodils have been making their lovely appearance in the past couple of weeks :)


                                               

                                

As much as I don't necessarily like real flowers in my house, I do have quite a lot of clothes and scarves etc. with floral patterns on (that and butterflies, I have SO many butterfly print things!!!) This the floral pattern on a dress I bought yesterday (a very simple £8 dress from primark)


                                                   


Are you a fan of fresh flowers or you tend to leave them outside like me?


xGretalRabbitx

Sunday, 16 March 2014

If money were no object (# 10) plus a more realistic shopping list!

It's been quite a long time since I've written one of these posts- in fact it's been so long I've actually purchased a couple of my most previous wish list items (beautiful Helmer storage, a kindle, an iPhone and rather a lot of nail polishes!) but I can assure you I've certainly bit stopped dreaming about things I cannot afford!

First up is something quite practical- my poor PC is getting rather old and doddery, I got it just over 6 years ago now and it has been well used. I think part of the problem might be that my hard drive is stuffed full (perhaps a new external hard drive might be a good investment) but it takes a long time to load and cant cope with running several applications at a time (it also totally fails at loading Sims 3 which I'm sad about) 




This brings me nicely onto the next thing on my wish list- I've played a fair amount of Sims 3 in the past 6 months, I had the Sims 3 base game, Late Night and High End Loft Stuff (which I got together in a bundle for about £4 on Origin) and then I got Seasons, Pets and University expansions for £10 each on sale. I'm a little disappointed by The University expansion (I think the one for Sims 2 was better in many ways) I do still love all of the ways expansions make the game so much interesting and varied. Unfortunately the expansions are expensive, and there are so many I'd love to have (let's face it, I pretty much want them all!!!!)




There are a couple of things that are slightly more achievable for me in the near future- my boyfriend Dale is moving in with me in May (my current housemate is moving to the US) so I'll be swapping rooms (to an en suite bathroom, yay!!!) and we'll be rearranging almost everything in the flat so that everything is just as we want it :)

I'd love to have a coat rack in the hall- we have a nice wide hall, and I hate having dead space, plus it means our coats wont be hanging on the end of our bed (which tends to happen now, and it annoys me!) I love this one from Ikea, my dad has the same one in his house and it's a great size for our two coats, my gigantic scarf collection ( I must show you that sometime, I love scarves!) and anything else we might want to store. It's only £25, and I love going to Ikea- I'd quite happily go for the day even if I couldn't buy anything at all.

Ikea Portis Hat & Coat Stand

I've also got my eye on some cord holders for bedside tables and desks- since I have got myself an iPhone both me and Dale have phones to charge every night, and with the charger cables, headphones, my glasses, water and lots books on my bedside table everything becomes a big tangled mess! When everything moves around we will have a bedside table each, but I think some of these colourful cord holders will keep things a bit tidier :)


Cord holders- £1.49 on eBay

And lastly, what would a post like this be without some make up and nail related wish list items!

I've been intrigued by Mavala Scientifique for a while now, since the lovely BognaW uploaded her nail care routine video. I'm somewhat torn about it as it contains Formaldehyde (which is a carcinogen, and therefore surely can't be great for my nails) but it does seem to have great results on strengthening nails- which I definitely need!

It is pretty expensive, but I've spotted it on Amazon for about £5, I just need to decide if I want to use it or if I'm too scared! Anyone got any experience with it?


Mavala Scientifique


Another potential eBay purchase is some magnetic tape, so that I can depot a few eye shadows (probably my natural collection shadows) into my e.l.f. elements compact- which is currently sitting unused in my drawer.

Magnetic Tape- £1.25 for 1M on eBay

So what's on your wish list at the moment?


xGretalRabbitx

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Photography challenge #1 - Your Shoes

As I said in my original photography challenge post I'm not planning on posting these themes in the same order as the list I'm following, and in fact this first post actually uses day 18's theme; Your Shoes.

This photo was actually one I took before I found the challenge list I picked out- I was standing on the street after work waiting for Dale to meet me, when I happened to look down and see that my feet had lined up nicely with the brick pattern on the floor. 


I like that this picture makes my feet look tiny (they kinda are- I'm usually a size 3/4) and that you're seeing them from my perspective - as if you were looking down and seeing my shoes instead of your own.
I took a couple more photos of my boots once I decided upon this challenge:


This one took a little creative camera holding- I bent double with my legs straight and held my camera facing towards me (took a few tries before I was happy with the shot as I couldn't see my screen when I took them!)

                                 

And here is a picture of the shoes themselves- I love these boots, they were around £22-24 from New Look last autumn (I think I bought them in October) and although they have a heel they are so comfy; I've worn then to work for weeks on end (which is a 15 min walk each way, then a lot of walking around at work- even though I work in an office!) and the only time I find them hurting is when my weak ankles are causing me problems (which happens in almost all shoes, my ankles are very pathetic)

I hope it's not somehow cheating that I selected three photographs to post for one theme- but I guess I've already edited the rules a bit already, I'll just go with what I want to do!

Sorry I didn't get around I posting a non-photography post here as I planned this week, I've got a few ideas line up for next week though :)

xGretalRabbitx