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Seeking Skin Care

Ciao Everyone! It’s been a while since I wrote anything about the things going on in my life, so I am here to tell you about my latest nemesis – hormonal acne. I’ve been battling for a few months after adjusting to a change in my contraceptive pill and now that things are slowly calming down, I wanted to share my skincare story, and tips I’ve learned along the way.

A Blemish A Day
Problematic skin feels like the worst thing in the world when you have it. Whether you suffer mildly, monthly, or exist in a constant ‘no days off’ blemish battle, we all have a common enemy…
There is no telling how acne will make you feel, but not feeling okay about it, is okay. I wanted to be open and honest as I feel I owe it to anybody reading or suffering – acne has made me feel bottom tier. I went from not wanting to look in any reflective surface, to constantly checking a mirror to see if my face had miraculously healed in a matter of minutes. My acne was in no way severe, but it has still affected me in a way I could never have predicated and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Read Between the Bumps
All is not lost. Although acne will likely be an ongoing battle, there are so many things that can help. The first? Getting to know the skin you are in. Explore what it likes and what it reacts to. We all know the 3 contributory factors that play their part in complexion: Hormones, Diet and Stress. If you study these individually you may be able to pinpoint your triggers which gives you a great indicator of how to treat them.

Balancing Act
My acne is mostly hormonal. It rears its ugly head as a response to too much or too little of any given hormone. One thing to note: I am on the combined contraceptive pill containing hormones intended to help regulate levels, but depending on the amount your body naturally produces it’s effect can vary. If you aren’t on the pill you may still be susceptible to imbalances at certain stages of your monthly cycle.

I’ve had a few experiences where missing my pill, changing my pill or doubling up on my pill has left me a big blotchy mess. As women we all know our body reacts in weird and wonderful ways all the time. Progesterone and Oestrogen play a massive part in controlling sebum production in your face, so variance within those levels can result in acne.
Although everyone will have different symptoms, research suggests women between 22-35 who experience acne are likely suffering from hormonal imbalances, so this is a good place to start your discovery if you fall into that category. And what to do if you think you are suffering from an imbalance? Speak to your doctor, do some reading. Whether you are on the pill or not, both should suggest the best ways to rectify your levels. After seeing my own doctor, I am now on a new contraceptive pill that has different levels of the same hormones which has seemed to help massively a month in.

On the Rum
If I could eat like I was preparing for a marathon every day I would! I love my food. But knowing that diet plays a massive part in skin health, stress and energy levels I (emphasis on try because it’s so hard!) try to maintain clean eating habits. I guess it’s all about balance. The main culprits come as no surprise – sugar, dairy and alcohol. Although I haven’t axed any of these completely, I have significantly reduced my intake and have already seen improvement in the clarity of my skin. My complexion is brighter, lighter and feels so much more hydrated.

My advice to anyone looking to mediate acne by diet would be to start small and make a few changes rather than going T-Total. Diet can be one of the hardest things to control especially as we all live such busy lives, but I truly think it plays a monumental role in keep our complexion crystal clear.

Cut to the Cleanse
Women are to Beauty Products as Men are to football – Loyal! You will most likely have a cleanser or face wash that you have been loyal to for years – like I did. I have used Clinique’s Foaming Facial Soap since I was a teenager and although I used the type specifically for oily skin, I started to question if it was right for me, or if there was something better. My Doctor recommended Cetaphil (which I will mention below) and it’s one of the best moves I have made. The clarity in my complexion even after one use did not go unnoticed. Cetaphil is also around £7.99 so its a win win.

Our body and our skin is ever changing, so what has once worked for you may no longer, especially if you are having new issues. Most Beauty-Counter products have high volumes of chemicals and soap, both of which will be harsh and drying. Although you want to limit oil production, anything too drying may aggravate existing acne as your skin will produce excess oil to mediate.

Age Before Beauty
Invest in an SPF you can wear every day. I know, in London?! Research shows that even on a cloudy day sun beams still fall on your face, and if we aren’t prepared we aren’t protected. UV rays damage the DNA of skin cells, so exposure can cause premature ageing, and also aggravate acne. Those of you with oily skin will know, most SPF’s are thick, oily, and can actually break you out instead of protecting you. Explore the options for Oily skin, and be prepared to spend a bit more money on a good one. I’ll add my favourites below!


A Penny for your Products
Below is a list of all the products that I have personally tried and tested on my acne that have helped massively:

1. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
2. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% Zinc 1%
3. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo (+)
4. Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant
5. The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
6. The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane
7. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-Shine SFP50

If anyone has any questions please feel free to drop a comment! Good Luck on your Skincare journey!

Elena xx

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The Letter

I. Martedi

Perhaps if I had chosen differently that Tuesday,
you would have chosen differently that Tuesday.

I keep dreaming about you touching my legs
on the train that night in December.

But I always wake and remember that you sit behind bars.
Now what chance do we stand.

Although I’m sure If I had let myself,
I would have learnt to bend over them backwards.

II. Mercoledi

It’s my simple thing,
remembering you in days.
The ones you were there, and the ones you were not.

Thursdays you would take off for me
and Fridays after work
we would find a spot to go swimming at the beach,
drive home after midnight still wet in your car.

So you leaving mid-week, like you did
screwed with me like jet lag.
I wish you had waited until Sunday to get caught.

III. Giovedì

That’s when I picked up my pen to write.
Not about you at first, to you.

Everyone has a purpose. I felt like mine was to make you feel.
Everything everyone is too scared to.

And so I wrote from the heart.
I was scared too, least of all angry, just sad that it had come to this
with you.

IV. Venerdì

Once I started I couldn’t stop.
I wrote from dark until light.

Stamp stuck and purpose filled. Self expression-ed out.
I felt everything I knew it would make you feel.

I sprinted to catch the 9am post. That letter had run me out.

But I was lighter on my feet, and mind.
Friday changed my life.

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*5 Minute Philosopher

It’s been a while since the last 5 Minute Philosopher… So I put Alex in the hot seat whilst we were in Barbados. Enjoy!

5-Minute Philosopher

What is the meaning of life?
I don’t think there is a definition of the word life, we just take every day as it comes.

2. Where is your happy place?
Barbados or watching the first 48 or being at my girlfriend’s house.

3. Do you think it is more important to be liked or respected?
Neither are more important than the other, they are both of the same importance, and to progress in life or career you the focus needs to be revolved around yourself. 

4. What do you think makes a good friend? 
Someone you can trust, someone that can be honest (regardless if its positive or negative as long as it’s truthful).

5. If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?
Never giving up / opening a cinnamon shop (starts laughing)…..

6. Who or What is your greatest love?
My girlfriend, my Mother, my country, Football, Food, the first 48 (again).

7. If you could choose one superpower what would it be?
To pause time…

8. Describe your perfect holiday:
Sun, sea, Walks/hikes, food, peace and quiet!

9. What book would you recommend to others?
DMX’s autobiography as you really get to understand what he went through as a youth and then you can understand to an extent why he is the person he is today, and why he conducts himself in the way he does.

10. Confess your unpopular opinion:
Cereal should be eaten with HOT MILK!!!!

11. Pasta or Pizza?
Pizza all the way.

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*5-Minute Philosopher

Inspired from the 5 Minute Philosopher section in Stylist Magazine, I decided to put @Laurenpearson_x on the spot! Loved reading through all her answers, makes me very proud of my friends….

What is the meaning of life?

I believe that everyone/everything has a purpose and everything happens for a reason. There is more to life than the one we live on earth, but while we are on this earth, to live means to be the best version of ourselves for our own happiness, to enjoy the things we love, love the things we do and the friends/family we have, to free ourselves of social pressures, meet goals, and make memories that leave a stamp when we aren’t around. True freedom and true happiness is what gives life a meaning. In a nutshell- we come to conquer and then we die, so we do the best we can with the hand of cards that are dealt to us  & live our best life in between.

Where is your happy place?

My happy place is never a specific place but with the people I’m with. For example, a simple coffee with a friend, or dinner with family.

Do you think it is more important to be liked or respected?

Respected 100%.

What do you think makes a good friend?

Taking time out to talk and listen to one another. Knowing when the other needs to be picked up (which may mean self-sacrifice of a hangover after numerous tequilas), being there at the click of a finger, making the best memories- going on adventures & growing (old) together.

Benefit Sun Beam or Fenty KillaWatt?

Not going to lie- I didn’t know what they are, so I’d go for the latter based on the reviews.

If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?

Being the person that could cheer anyone up.

Who or What is your greatest love?

Probably food, since it’s the main thing I get FOMO with.

If you could choose one superpower what would it be?

To be able to Teleport.

Describe your perfect holiday:

Enjoy a nice breakfast with freshly squeezed fruit juice or iced coffee, sun bathe allllll day ft. some kayaking, snorkelling, beach volleyball etc.  A nice couple of boat trips and adventures. Then lovely big dinners, wine & cocktails until I feel uncomfortable and want to get back to the hotel room to get into something comfortable followed by deep late-night conversations on the balcony.

What book would you recommend to others?

I’m not much of a reader but one book that has always stuck with me is “A thousand splendid suns: By Khaled Hosseini”

Confess your unpopular opinion:

The Queen Elizabeth trains are rubbish!

Pasta or Pizza?

Both please?

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12/09 – Mirrors

I never know how to start these because my thoughts usually come out of nowhere, so I’m just going to jump straight in…

I’ve been thinking about how easy it is to mirror the other people in our lives, and how our experiences are shaped by this. For example, how you think about a certain situation can literally determine the outcome of that situation – ‘thoughts become things’. If you know me personally, you know I love using that saying. It is so easy to let your perspective become the complete narrative, when actually it is only yours. How you think/feel/react to anything in your life belongs to you and not others. The whole story is barely grasped by you alone.

I think it’s important from this to understand how little we actually matter in terms of other peoples decisions and actions. And this can be apparent in any aspect of your life, work life, within relationships or family, certainly friendship too. Something that somebody else does may trigger you, but it’s more likely that they have done that whilst thinking and feeling in themselves, and not in a reaction to you.

The clarity that you give to a situation or experience will, in my opinion quite literally affect its outcome.  Your construct of what is happening will seep out into every interaction – whatever that may be – physically, emotionally. And eventually the receiver will mirror that back to you, physically, emotionally. What you put in will always be what you get back out. If you want respect, give it. If you want love, give it. If you want forgiveness, understanding, reassurance, give it. It might not come from the source you are expecting but that is what you will receive.

I guess this also says a lot about perception. Most people’s perceptions depend on how they see themselves, standing in their own lives. You see most things from where you are, so if you are feeling distant from a certain friendship, perhaps you have created that distance in your head from your assumed perception (mostly this stems from our own fears) but if you then mirror that to the respective person, how can they not mirror it back to you, completing the narrative you created in the first place…

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*5 Minute Philosopher

This interview is always on the last page of stylist magazine (http://www.stylist.co.uk/) and I love reading all the answers and thinking about my own, so thought I would share with you all…

What is the meaning of life? I think the meaning of life is what you make it. To laugh, share experiences, find out what you love doing and try and be the best version of yourself with every new experience.

What is the difference between right and wrong? Right is when you live in a way that doesn’t hurt anybody else, wrong is when you know that your actions are negatively affecting others. The lines can be blurred though.

Where is your happy place? Maybe on a beach or in the gym. I am happiest when I am with my friends or chilling with my family.

Nature or Nurture? I think both do, Nature provides the make up, but upbringing and experiences continue to shape us. Two people can be similar at birth but turn into completely different types of people with different personalities depending on how they have lived and their life experiences.

Is it more important to be liked or respected? Respected because it lasts longer. Being liked and loved by the people close to you is more important than being liked by people you don’t know.

If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be? Just generally being a bit wacky and weird and not afraid of being myself. Someone who goes after what they want, and is a good friend, I think that is really important.

Who or What is your greatest love? Who would be my family and friends. Big love for them. What would be Italy, I feel a way there that I can’t feel anywhere else in the world.

When did you last lie? 5 minutes ago when I said I would call someone back at work…. I am actually a really bad liar, my face gives everything away…

Does the supernatural exist? I believe that the Holy Spirit exists, but would you call that supernatural? On ghosts and stuff I am undecided.

Are you fatalistic? To some extent yes. I believe that everyone is on their own path but we create our own destiny. The choices we make and the way we lead our lives define us, which we have control over.

What is your greatest fear? Loosing everyone I love, or something happening to the people that I love. And public speaking.

Animals or babies? Baby elephant?

What talent do you yearn for? Either being able to Sing properly or being a fully qualified F1 driver – just to make my dad proud.

Do you like being complimented? I don’t know what to do with compliments so I get awkward when given one. I’m that person that instantly tries to deflect the situation away from me. I cringe thinking about it. But yes I do – doesn’t everyone?!

Do you have a high pain threshold? I’d like to think so. Although I had my knee taped up after an injury back in April and pulling that off hurt sooo bad. My sister who is a nurse might disagree with me.

What books do you recommend most to others? Honour by Elif Shafak, Small Island by Andrea Levy and The Kite Runner by Khaled Housseini. They are about honour and sacrifice and true friendship, and they all changed the way I look at love.

Which has been the hardest lesson to learn? I think it would be not to take things personally. Why do I always do that? And how to let go, that’s always tough.

Which food sums up happiness? PASTA!!!!

What have you never understood? Bad manners to anyone but especially hospitality staff, and people who walk slow in the city.

What is the one thing you want to know before you die? Preferably when I am going to die so I can prepare for it.

Are you scared of dying or what happens when you die? I believe that if I live by faith then I have nothing to worry about. But I think knowing I am going to die imminently I would be anxious about it.

Quinoa or Quavers? Can I choose another type of crisps? Doritos chilli heatwave!

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Come si dice…Peace?

I wish I could explain to her
Why there are so many wars, and peace is hard to find
I’m ashamed to say I’m only 21 and I live a better life
Than the majority of the world
Hatred, shame, brutality at the moment rule our earth.
If I tell her peace will return, it would only be wishful of me to think
And I feel like a such a hypocrite
Explaining humanity’s suffering from a distance, out the thick of it
Can I really understand how other people live
Whilst sitting in my house, with running water
And made of brick

come si dice…Peace? – 4/8/2014

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The Day I Left My Home Pt.1

I think about returning
as I start to wake,
I let myself get lost in a golden haze
of soaring sun and childhood days
before I sink back into the unknown.
My daughter slumped on the back of her brother
across one border to another
lessening the load for his mother
as I attempt to fight our way,
over seas and ideologies
in search of a safer place for us to stay
which started that day
I left my home

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The Letter

The Letter

I. Martedi

Perhaps if I had chosen differently that Tuesday,
you would have chosen differently that Tuesday.

I keep dreaming about you touching my legs
on the train that night in December.

But I always wake and remember that you sit behind bars.
Now what chance do we stand.

Although I’m sure If I had let myself,
I would have learnt to bend over them backwards.

II. Mercoledi

It’s my simple thing,
remembering you in days.
The ones you were there, and the ones you were not.

Thursdays you would take off for me
and Fridays after work
we would find a spot to go swimming at the beach,
drive home after midnight still wet in your car.

So you leaving mid-week, like you did
screwed with me like jet lag.
I wish you had waited until Sunday to get caught.

III. Giovedì

That’s when I picked up my pen to write.
Not about you at first, to you.

Everyone has a purpose. I felt like mine was to make you feel.
Everything everyone is too scared to.

And so I wrote from the heart.
I was scared too, least of all angry, just sad that it was to you.

IV. Venerdì

Once I started I couldn’t stop.
I wrote from dark until light.

Stamp stuck and purpose filled. Self expression-ed out.
I felt everything I knew it would make you feel.

I sprinted to catch the 9am post. That letter had run me out.

But I was lighter on my feet, and mind.
Friday changed my life.

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“Style & Sophistication” Introducing | Fashion Designer Jessica Lucille

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Today I sat down for a quick chat with Womenswear Fashion Designer Jessica Lucille. I first met Geordie Jess when we started working for the same company in 2014 where we bonded over countless cups of tea and a shared enthusiasm for the Law of Attraction. I think it’s about time I gave her the floor to share what’s shes all about…

Here she talks about all the things that inspire her, her strong ethos surrounding women in the workplace and how she moves from first idea to polished product (and all the juicy bits in between). Her first Spring/Summer 13 Line ‘Timeless Vintage‘ with it’s effortless simplicity of pastel tones and textures has been praised for it’s resounding success…and now there is a second on the way…

Continue reading ““Style & Sophistication” Introducing | Fashion Designer Jessica Lucille”

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Becoming a Blogger – How it Started

“Superrb blog! Do you have any tips and hihts for aspiring writers?
I’m hopinng to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or
go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely confysed
.. Any recommendations? Cheers!”

Hey! I hope you don’t mind me publicly replying to this (maybe there are others that feel the same). Firstly thank you for reading and for showing love! I hope I can answer you adequately enough.

When I started the blog, it was because I needed other people to see my work, respond to it, I was craving that writer – reader interaction that helps you assess how other people respond to/view your words. It was also an outlet, a distraction (at that time) but the best kind.

I had been thinking about ways in which I could reach out to people, and connect to other writers, i.e writing forums, but I decided that I wanted something that was just mine. I initially chose WordPress because I knew someone that had used it, I didn’t know how to do anything at first, so I started off with a free platform (Perfect for students). I didn’t think about buying my current one, and transferring to a paid site until I was more experienced with how to host a website. Do whatever is best for you and what you are comfortable with – there is so much help out there about how to get started, and sites like WordPress will help you along the way because they are tailored to beginners. You will learn as you go along!

Also, you’re not an ‘Aspiring Writer’ – you are a Writer! Be honest with yourself, about yourself, your emotions and experiences and don’t be afraid to put that into whatever you choose to create. There is a reader for everything and sharing your work will only help you to improve, not only in skill but in confidence! Connect with other writers and readers and ask for criticism, feedback but learn to enjoy the process too.

If you ever need a second opinion but don’t want to publish just yet, feel free to ask me to read it – elenaandrean21@gmail.com.