Monday, 25 April 2022

Revenge travel: What is it and why is it popular right now?

Right now, I've never been more excited to travel. Visiting unique and exciting places has always been part of an ongoing goal for me, but after two years spent on the ground (bar a couple of trips to Ireland), I have the urge to get on a plane to anywhere - even if it's just a quick trip to one of my failsafe destinations like Portugal or Greece.

And it seems like I'm not the only one. With more savings under their belt, easing COVID-19 restrictions, and a thirst for new experiences, Britons are 'revenge spending' and 'revenge travelling', and this is said to be shaping the 2022 holiday landscape.

Revenge spending = over-financing FOMO

The concept of revenge travel has its origins way back in the 1980s and is a take on “revenge spending”. When China’s economy saw an uprise after decades of economic paralysis, people flooded the market with their enormous spending on luxury goods.

Today, we’re seeing a resurrection of the concept as a response to the previous restrictions of the pandemic. With everyday life almost restored, people are finding themselves swept up in the post-lockdown impulse to spend their money.

“It’s a phenomenon that’s really about to erupt as we exit all restrictions and have the ability to spend the money we’ve been saving since 2020. The pandemic has affected everyone in different ways, and some people may feel that their spending is justified,” says Jonny Sabinsky, head of communications at thinkmoney.

According to YouGov, one in three Britons have bolstered their savings since the pandemic began, amounting to an average of £4,500. But what are they most willing to splash out on?
Revenge travel in 2022

It turns out that the itch for travel is huge. A GlobalData Poll found that 28% of 210 respondents have dedicated a holiday budget that’s either ‘a lot’ or ‘slightly’ higher than before COVID-19.

Making the most of 2022, sunbathing in the blazing sun in designer bikinis and soaking in the far-away culture of a dream destination is shaping the revenge travel landscape both in the UK and globally.

"As we've all been isolated for so long [...] everyone is desperate to meet other people and have new experiences," said Lee Thompson, founder and owner of London-based travel firm Flash Pack.

The firm reported seeing a “massive surge in bookings” in recent months. Even the higher prices of plane tickets due to sanctions against Russian oil exports won’t hold travellers back from satiating their thirst for new experiences.

Flash Pack isn’t the only travel agent that has noted an increase in bookings for the 2022 holiday season. Lorne Blyth, founder of Edinburgh-based travel firm Flavours Holidays, reported that her company’s bookings for 2022 are already reaching 2019 levels and that their customers aren’t concerned about the rising flight prices.

Top destinations: the year of bucket list trips and firm favourites

Intriguingly, travel bookers are showcasing a keen interest in extravagant, long-haul getaways for summer 2022. The accumulation of savings funds, a longing for a sky-high holiday, and an over-financing FOMO are all feeding into travellers’ destination choices.

“People are booking real ‘bucket list’ trips. They are splashing out on once-in-a-lifetime trips to long-haul destinations. This is ‘revenge travel’,” said Ben Casey, founder of Out of This World Travel in Solihull. His travel company has already received double the enquiries and bookings in the first period of 2022 compared with the previous year.

The US is one of the top destinations for holiday bookers in 2022. In fact, 18.1% of Britons are planning on visiting the country in 2022 as of August 2021, according to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA). New York and Florida are amongst the most popular destinations. Google search interest for “New York” in the UK has increased from an interest score of 44 during April 11–17 2021 to 98 during March 27–April 2 2022. Similarly, Google search interest for “Florida” has increased from an interest score of 67 to 97 during the same time period. They're both currently on the rise.

Other long-haul destinations that offer travellers the holiday of their lifetime, as well as a chance to reconnect with family and friends abroad, include Australia (5.1%) and Canada (4.5%).

Ben Casey has also noticed increased bookings in more exotic destinations, such as Mauritius and the Maldives, which are great honeymoon spots.

“We had one person book a trip to climb Mount Everest; someone else is off to Borneo to see the orangutans, and we have had bookings for Japan, inspired by Joanna Lumley’s recent TV shows showing her touring the country,” commented Ben.

Alongside ‘bucket list’ destinations, holidaymakers are also booking firm favourites close to home. Spain, for example, is leading the way, with 29.3% of respondents claiming they plan to visit it in 2022. France (17.8%), Italy (16.4%), and Greece (10.1%) also make the top five, promising immersion into rich European culture, blazing sun, and beautiful cuisine.

Jetting off to a far-away destination seems more possible in 2022 than ever before. A long-haul getaway feels like the perfect way to make up for the quieter holiday season in the last few years, and Britons are determined to make the most of it.

Friday, 22 April 2022

How your gut influences your health in more ways than one

“Listen to your gut” has become a buzz phrase in today’s health-conscious and mindfulness-oriented society. While the phrase is used to refer to our intuition, its connection with the gut is not a coincidence.

The gut is often referred to as the second brain due to the bacteria and nerves contained there that control our brain. It’s not only responsible for some vital bodily functions but also for our mood.

We venture to unveil the mystery of our gut and learn how to improve our gut health so that we can enjoy a fulfilling life.
Why is gut health important?

The gut contains a rich portfolio of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, around 1,000 species weighing approximately three pounds. Collectively, they are called the gut microbiome. But those bacteria aren’t harmful; on the contrary, they benefit our health and livelihood. They’re responsible for digesting food, getting rid of toxins, and keeping us happy and healthy.

Apart from breaking down food, the microbiome in our gut keeps our immune system intact to prevent us from diseases. In fact, 70% - 80% of our immune system is located in the gut.

Studies have also revealed a link between our gut health and mental health. There is something called the Microbiome Gut Brain (MGB) Axis which connects our gut microbiome with our brain through the nervous system. It “regulates our mood, response to stressors, movement, and ability to form memories and process information”. Also, more than 90% of our serotonin – the happiness hormone – is produced in the gut. If our gut microbiome is in dysbiosis, an imbalance of microorganisms, these functions are also affected.

Unhealthy gut: the causes

Unfortunately, about 40% of the UK population experiences a minimum of one digestive problem symptom at any given time. This negatively affects the quality of our lives. It’s not just the stress of our lives that can cause gut issues, the way we medicate ourselves with antibiotics can too.

Dr Grace Liu, also known as The Gut Goddess, shared the following in an interview for the Gaia series Healing Matrix: “Here, in the Western world, studies are showing that even after one course of antibiotics, we’re depleting such a great amount of microbiome. We literally can lose 1/3 or 2/3 of our whole microbiome with even one course of antibiotics, and it never reverts back for some people”.

If we want to improve our microbiome, we need to learn something from the cultures whose gut health is thriving. These are the Amish and the Blue Zoners. The latter live in geographical regions called Blue Zones where people are the healthiest and live the longest. Studies have shown that these cultures have a diverse microbiome including species that are extinct in the Western world.

Dr Grace Liu adds: “So, the way I look at the microbiome, it’s kind of like a wealth portfolio. Here in the Western world, we’re bankrupt in terms of our microbiome”.

How to improve your gut health?

Even if we might be a little short on vital species in our gut microbiome, there are ways we can enrich our microbiome portfolio through diet, detox, and probiotics. Here is how.

Fibre, fibre, fibre.

Dietary fibre promotes the growth of healthy bacteria. There are two types of fibre, each having its own benefits to your gut. Insoluble fibre helps with bowel movement, prevents constipation, and fills you up. It’s found in grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and the outer skin of root vegetables.

Soluble fibre, on the other hand, slows down digestion and regulates blood glucose levels. It’s contained in most fruits and vegetables, legumes, and oats.

30g of dietary fibre is the daily recommended amount.

Eat fermented foods

Dietary fibre has an amazing quality called fermentability. That is the extent to which a fibre is broken down by our gut bacteria. Fermented foods contain natural microorganisms called probiotics, which enhance our gut flora.

Try adding a portion of the following fermented foods in your diet every day: kimchi, sauerkraut, yoghurt, kombucha, kefir, and fermented vegetables such as pickles and onions.

If you feel like you need an extra probiotic boost, try probiotic supplements. These live bacteria and yeasts restore your microbiome balance.

Eat prebiotics

What probiotics feed off is prebiotics, the “fertilisers in our gardens”. They’re essential for keeping our ecosystem intact and are contained in foods such as onions, garlic, tomatoes, bananas, asparagus, and chicory.

Replace refined sugar with organic chocolate

Excessive amount of processed sugar and artificial sweeteners can cause microbiome dysbiosis. Heavy amounts of processed sugar are contained in most packaged foods and ready meals.

Of course, not all sugar is bad, rather, it’s vital for us. But instead of consuming ‘bad’ sugar, implement natural sugar (carbohydrates) into your diet in the form of fruits and vegetables.

Just like a drug, sugar is addictive. Oftentimes, we use it to add a pinch of sweetness into our lives and uplift our mood. However, after the initial sugar rush comes a sugar crash caused by the overworking of insulin and stress hormones. This leaves us feeling lethargic.

Instead, try and nurture your emotions to avoid sugar binges harming your gut microbiome. Alternatively, do yourself a favour and indulge in some organic chocolate. It’s packed full of nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, and calcium, and naturally boosts your serotonin level. It’s for a reason that the Mayans used to call cacao “the food of the gods”.

Sleep well

In our busy modern lives, we tend to neglect sleep. However, our bodies’ rhythms dictate our gut health. When we don’t get enough sleep, we give way for inflammatory bacteria to flourish in our gut, while healthy bacteria diminish.

Moreover, insufficient sleep can increase hunger levels and lead to obesity. So, make sure you get a good night’s sleep as often as you can.

Practise mindful eating

Mindful eating means paying attention to all your senses while eating: smell, touch, taste, sight, hearing. Turn your dining experience into a ritual. This will help you better understand your appetite and prevent you from overeating, find joy and appreciation in your food, and aid your digestion.

While eating, chew your food properly, so that your saliva releases enzymes that help with digestion. Also, make sure you’re stress free while having your meal, and avoid consuming too many drinks as they could overload your digestive system.

We all tend to focus on gaining riches, but how often do we stop and think about the wealth of our gut microbiome? To guarantee a healthy and fulfilling life, make sure you take care of your gut health and don’t forget to listen to your gut!


Thursday, 21 April 2022

Is TikTok the new authority on skincare?

If there’s one platform that’s turned the skincare game on its head, it’s TikTok.

Once the domain of viral dances, the app is now bursting with engaging videos from dermatologists, aestheticians, and ‘skinfluencers’. With access to so much expert advice, TikTok has replaced Insta as our go-to social media app for all things skincare and beauty.

We’re engaging with skincare content on TikTok more than ever. Currently, #skincare is sitting at over 65 billion – yes, BILLION! – views.

52% of us say we use TikTok
to find new products, while influencer posts were up 16% in early 2021 compared to 2020.

Below, I cover three ways TikTok has revolutionised how we think about skincare and beauty.

Access to expert advice

We know from hours of scrolling endlessly on Instagram that the influencers we engage with aren’t necessarily qualified experts. We still love watching OOTD videos from our favourite influencers, but unlike fashion, there’s a science to skincare. On ‘SkinTok’, as it has been affectionately dubbed, we have access to advice from people who’ve studied the things they’re educating us on. While we love skinfluencers like @skincarebyhyram, we’re also turning to qualified dermatologists like @dermdoctor and @dermbeautydoc to help us nail our routines.

These experts are busting all the myths that we’ve grown up with, giving us the knowledge we need to have our healthiest skin ever. Thanks to their no-nonsense advice, we know that scrubbing at our acne with rough exfoliators will aggravate it, not make it go away. We know hydration and moisture is the key to keeping our skin youthful and bouncy. Most importantly, these qualified influencers are educating us on the importance of SPF – so if you’re looking for that all-important bronzed glow, self-tan and tan drops are the way to go!

In a world where anyone can be an influencer, having access to real, expert advice is important for looking after our skin. Save the reality star influencers for your fashion and make-up scrolling.

Ingredients, ingredients, ingredients

One of the benefits of following qualified experts is that they’re educating us on the ingredients in our products. Now, we’re smarter than ever before and we know what ingredients to look out for. We know now that our teenage ‘holy-grail’ products like witch hazel are actually too harsh for our skin, while salicylic acid will help unclog those pores and leave our skin glowing.

Thanks to TikTok, we’re selling out products that boast the ingredients we’re craving. The Ordinary’s TikTok-famous peeling solution has sold out so many times, with sales trebling yearly. We’ve also been introduced to new brands at affordable prices that include these powerhouse ingredients – meaning we can splurge more money on make-up and nights out! Our skin has never looked more radiant thanks to hyaluronic acid, retinol, and niacinamide.

We’re learning about the ingredients behind our favourite serums and creams. In turn, we’re empowered to make smart choices when we buy new products. No more being sucked in by stunning packaging and false promises.

Viral hacks lead the way

Who doesn’t love a life hack? Skincare and beauty hacks on TikTok aren’t in short supply, with users offering tips to improve your products and routines. Experts like @charlotteparler have taught us that applying most of our skincare products to damp skin can supercharge their effects – hello, glowing queen!

Our lips have never been plumper and poutier since we started layering a moisturiser under our lip balms, and our faces are also more sculpted when we leave the house in the morning thanks to massaging in our products, which helps reduce puffiness.

But, as with anything else, if something sounds too good to be true, it is. DIY face masks and treatments are huge on TikTok, with unqualified creators recommending blends of lemon juice, baking soda, and even egg whites. Our favourite TikTok derms recommend against these hacks because they can undo all the hard work we’ve put into our smooth, glowing complexions. Instead, look for products formulated with skin-loving ingredients. For example, try goji berries, which are an amazing antioxidant, instead of slathering raw ingredients on your face.

When it comes to skincare hacks on TikTok, I recommend sticking to viral techniques – like facial massage and damp skin – instead of DIY concoctions that could lead to red, irritated skin and acne outbreaks. That’s the last thing we want!

It’s safe to say that while Insta provides us with endless fashion and beauty inspo, TikTok reigns supreme for skincare content. Through these fast-paced videos, we’ve learnt about the ingredients that make our skin baby soft and radiant, as well as the ones to avoid. We’ve incorporated facial massage into our routines, and we know how to spot new products that’ll work for our skin type. ‘SkinTok’ shows no signs of slowing down, so get on it – it’s got everything you need for gorgeous, glowing skin.


Wednesday, 20 April 2022

What you need to eat for perfect skin - according to your skin

Your quest for flawless skin knows no bounds. You’ve perfected your skincare routine and you know what ingredients work best for your skin type. You’re double-cleansing to remove makeup and all the pore-clogging dirt and grime that builds up on your face to achieve perfectly clear skin. You have a multi-step regime that incorporates moisturisers, serums, and SPF.

But if you want to take your skincare to the next level, it’s time to look at enhancing the effects of your topical treatments.

The food you eat can make a huge difference to the clarity and appearance of your skin. But I'm not talking about that age-old myth of junk food causing acne. I mean the foods that can make a positive difference and leave you with soft, glowing skin.

Here, I cover some of the best foods you can include in your diet based on your skin type.

Oily skin needs oily foods

Remember the time when everyone thought a facial oil was going to make their oiliness worse? We now know that certain facial oils can counteract skin’s oil production. But did you know the same applies to oily foods?

Foods with anti-inflammatory oils have been found to counteract oil production in the skin. And there are some delicious options to choose from.

Olives and olive oil

Olives and olive oil contain high levels of anti-inflammatory oils, leading to a reduction in the skin’s natural oil production. They can also improve your gut microbiome, which is another way it can help your skin. Studies have shown that unhealthy gut bacteria can lead to inflammatory skin conditions including acne and psoriasis.

A word of warning – don’t put this oil on your skin. While a lot of influencers – and even celebrities including J.Lo – promote using olive oil topically on your face, dermatologists including Dr Muneeb Shah and Dr Alexis Stephens have warned against it on their TikTok platforms. It can cause trans-epidermal water loss, which dries out our skin, and even encourages fungus to grow. Yikes.

Oily fish

Another oily food that can counteract oily skin is oily fish – including tuna, salmon, mackerel, and herring. This is because of its powerhouse ingredient: EPA. A type of Omega-3, this ingredient regulates the hormones in our body that are responsible for stress, which can lead to oil production.

EPA can also reduce inflammation in the body, often caused by stress – are you spotting a theme here?

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, Omega-3 supplements are a great addition to your diet.

Healthy fats for dry skin

Dry skin occurs when the skin doesn’t produce enough of its own natural oils. Dry skin can also be deficient in ceramides and lipids, the skin’s natural fatty acids that keep it plump and hydrated. Supercharge your skincare routine by incorporating foods rich in healthy fats for dewy, hydrated skin.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are well known as some of the best sources of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They can help your skin build up its essential moisture barrier, alongside your barrier-boosting skincare products that contain ceramides and lipids.

Almonds are a great choice for especially dry skin because they’re high in magnesium and vitamin E, both ingredients that can boost your skin’s moisture from the inside out. Walnuts also have fats that can draw moisture in from the air. The skincare experts amongst you will know this is a property of hyaluronic acid, which the magnesium found in walnuts helps our body to produce!

Fruit and vegetables

Certain fruits and vegetables are packed with ingredients that hydrate dry skin. Guava is the most vitamin C-rich food (that’s right, it’s not oranges). But if that’s not accessible to you, kiwi fruit and bell peppers are the second and third highest on the list.

Topical vitamin C is well-known for a host of benefits including skin brightening, hydration, anti-ageing, and fighting sun damage. But it can sometimes be too irritating for dry and sensitive skin types. Eating your vitamin C can provide your skin with some of these benefits without the added side effect of irritation.

Food that works for all skin

If you have oily or dry skin, don’t feel like you have to stick to the specific foods above. We also need to consider combination skin, which suffers from both oiliness and dryness. The most common complaint of people with combination skin is an oily t-zone, but dry cheeks and forehead. There are also some lucky guys and gals out there who have normal skin, which doesn’t suffer heavily from oiliness or dryness.

As well as incorporating the above foods into your diet, here are some foods that can benefit all skin types.

Dark chocolate

Forget what you’ve been told about chocolate ruining your skin. While the dairy and sugar in milk chocolate can potentially cause some side effects like puffiness, dark chocolate is amazing for skin. It can supercharge your SPF – something you should be wearing every single day – because of its high antioxidant levels.

Studies have also shown that eating dark chocolate regularly can give you thicker, more hydrated skin – which is great news if you’re interested in anti-ageing, because thin, dehydrated skin is more prone to signs of ageing.

Green tea

An amazing all-rounder for skin, you might just want to start sipping green tea on a daily basis. Its ingredient, EGCG, can limit the production of androgens – hormones that can increase your sebum production. This makes it perfect for oily skin.

If you have dry, combination, or normal skin, don’t worry – green tea can still offer you plenty of benefits. it can reduce existing sun damage in your skin, which can be a cause of dryness if you’re a reformed sunbed user. It also revives dying skin cells, meaning sufferers of dry, flaky, or ageing skin can rejoice. Green tea also has these benefits when applied topically – win-win!

When it comes to looking after our skin, there’s no doubt that our skincare products reign supreme. Topical ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide can penetrate our skin and make a difference on the surface. The most important thing for clear, plump, youthful skin is the products you apply – so make sure you have your routine nailed. Then, you can look to boost it even further by incorporating these skin-friendly foods into your diet for the best skin of your life.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Why you should be staying out of the sun this summer (and what to do instead)

I used to love the feeling of being in the sun, but after one terribly long sunbathing session that ended up in awful burns and peeling all over my skin as a silly teenager, I decided since then that I would keep my sun exposure to a minimum.

Not only can UV rays cause burning, they are also the culprit behind advanced signs of ageing and skin damage.

However, if you love the feeling of light on your skin, there are actually different types of light therapy that can mimic the way the sun feels on our skin – plus, with added skincare benefits.

Here, I cover the type of lights you should stay away from, and the ones you need to become familiar with.

Stay away from: UV rays

That’s right. Your Ibiza beach vacations and sunbed sessions are potentially doing you damage. UV rays are the number one culprit of skin cancer – whether you get them from a sunbed or a day on the coast. But shockingly, only 11% of people regularly use SPF – and 46% never use it! It’s no wonder that skin cancer is one of the most common cancers.

As well as the horrifying dangers of skin cancer, UV rays are also the biggest contributor to skin ageing. There’s no better way to illustrate this than the famous photo of the truck driver who never wore SPF and only got sun damage on one side of his face due to his routes exposing the left side more than the right.

Because of all of this, it’s essential that you wear SPF – yes, even on the coldest, cloudiest days. UV rays can penetrate through clouds and damage your skin even in the winter, so it’s non-negotiable if you want to avoid the risk of skin cancer and keep your skin healthy and youthful.

I'm not saying you should never go out in the sun again, but make sure you’re wearing SPF all over, don’t spend too long in the sun on hot days, and bring plenty of cover-ups like hats, kaftans, and sarongs. If you’re missing your golden beach tan, using tanning water is a guaranteed safe way to do it. No need to forego your golden glow to stay safe!

Invest your time in: blue light therapy

If you’ve been a sunbed junkie for years and you’re prepared to give up this damaging habit, blue light therapy is for you. Think of it as the antidote to all the damage that has been caused by sunbathing without SPF or using sunbeds.

Blue light is used to reverse some of the damage caused by UV rays. It can both prevent skin cancer from forming and treat cancerous growths or patches of skin. When combined with a photosynthesizing treatment applied to the skin, it can target and kill off cancer cells. If you’re a reformed sunbather or sunbed user, we recommend talking to your derm about blue light therapy.

As well as these health-saving benefits, blue light therapy also has skincare benefits. If you have large pores and produce a lot of oil, blue light therapy can reduce the size of your sebaceous glands and in turn reduce acne. If all of that isn’t enough, it’s also used to treat depression and is particularly effective when treating seasonal affective disorder (SAD). A true all-rounder.

Get to know: red light therapy

Red light therapy is a treatment that has been around for a long time. This therapy can be used for a range of treatments from psoriasis to acne and premature ageing. It delivers low-level wavelengths of red light to your skin and comes in many different forms.

Red light therapy masks have become popular in recent years as a way to address premature ageing on our faces. Facial red light therapy can also be delivered through handheld devices which are available at your dermatologist or as at-home devices – but be aware that at-home devices may be less effective.

For full-body treatments like soothing psoriasis symptoms or chemotherapy side effects, you can bask in the light of a full booth. If you’re a sunbed junkie seeking that relaxing, warm experience, red light therapy is a much safer treatment – and comes with way more benefits than UV sunbeds.

Whether you live in a sun-filled locations, or you love to holiday in warmer climes, chances are you are used to basking in the sun. And although there are ways to do this while protecting yourself, it’s a habit that’s not good for your skin or your health. I recommend shunning UV sunbeds in favor of blue or red light therapy booths and reducing your exposure to the sun to keep your skin and your body youthful and healthy.

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

3 of the best TV shows to binge for style inspiration

I'm always one to appreciate the effort that goes into creating atmosphere and building characters by the costume department of a TV show or film. There's great skill that lies in recreating the fashion of a particular era or location, and translating that to the screen in a way that's not contrived.

Shows I've loved in the past for their attention to detail in regards to fashion have included The Serpent, featuring suave 70s fashion; Emily In Paris (of course); and Friends - growing up, Rachel Green was such a style icon, and still is to this day.

However, some more recent shows have caught my eye. Read on to find out what they are!

The Flight Attendant

While Cassie’s flight attendant costume is infinitely more stylish and wearable than a lot of real-life uniforms, that’s not the standout fashion moment of the show. We found ourselves mesmerised by the stunning gold sequined wrap dress the starring character wears on the night out in Bangkok that results in a season-long murder mystery. The dress, paired with a big bouncy blow-out, oozed glamour and sophistication.

Beyond this gorgeous party outfit, we’re treated to a parade of stunning tailored coats, from Cassie’s classy belted leather trench coat to her sugary pink bouclĂ© Isabel Marant number. Her brown slouchy tote bag completes every look perfectly. 

Cassie’s best friend, Annie, is also partial to a bouclĂ© texture, throwing an oversized greige coat on for a look that’s put-together while embodying effortless New York chic. Both Annie and Cassie favour these voluminous shapes in their coats; Cassie goes for an effortless androgynous look in her knee-length grey wool coat, while Annie looks like she’s just walked off the catwalk in a huge burgundy Isabel Marant cocoon number that envelopes her.

I've never had so much coat envy when watching a TV show!

Ted Lasso

This upbeat comedy might be male-dominated, but that doesn’t mean the female characters don’t stand out – not only for their well-rounded personalities but also for their beautiful outfits. Keeley Jones is a strong, independent woman, but her style is classic WAG – think Victoria Beckham and Coleen Rooney at the 2006 World Cup. Her wardrobe is fun and flirty, filled with gold hoop earrings and an array of bright, faux-fur coats. Keeley has fun with her silhouettes, from the oversized gold bomber jacket she wears to Richmond games to puff-sleeve blouses, frilly pyjamas, and palazzo pants.

Rebecca, meanwhile, is the definition of a power dresser, wearing tailored dresses, shirt-and-skirt combos, and never leaving the house without her trusty Louboutin stilettos. Rebecca favours a more neutral palette and streamlined, structured silhouette, giving off an air of class, elegance, and affluence in equal measures. Both women wear real designer pieces, but in very different ways.

It’s not just the ladies whose fashion stands out in Ted Lasso – who could forget Jamie Tartt’s flowered tracksuit and “ICON” cap?


Pose is undoubtedly known for the ballroom looks of its characters, which are glitzy, outlandish, and awe-inspiring. But the day-to-day outfits worn by our favourite characters sometimes get overshadowed by the ballroom get-ups.

Season three of Pose, released in 2021, takes place in the 1990s, and we’re not short on iconic era-appropriate outfits that wouldn’t look out of place in today’s nostalgia-fanatical world. Bright and bold faux fur outfits take centre stage in the final season, from Elektra’s head-to-toe post-box red ensemble to Blanca’s softer pink PVC coat with oversized fur details. 

Beyond glitzy, glamorous outfits, we see day-to-day outfits that evolve from the in-your-face ‘80s street styles to a more sultry, but still boxy and sporty, ‘90s style. Fashion is used to visualise the characters’ rise through society; the season ends with a finally wealthy Elektra meeting Angel, Blanca, and Lulu for brunch in an upmarket establishment. Elektra and Angel are dripping in opulent jewels and muted colours, in contrast to Blanca’s purple cowboy boots, fringed top, and miniskirt and Lulu’s blue bodycon number. The latter two characters have remained closer to their roots and still look just as fierce. According to Steven Canals, this scene pays homage to Sex and the City, whose characters’ backgrounds couldn’t be more different to our Pose favourites.

Some of my favourite TV shows are as iconic for their fashion as they are for their characters and storylines. Social media challenges like TikTok’s #whatidwear have a heavy focus on a select number of these shows, including Friends, Gossip Girl, and Euphoria. But if you’re looking for some new TV style inspiration, I recommend checking out these three shows while they're still streaming on major platforms.


Sunday, 27 February 2022

Why are drinks trolleys so popular?

I'm not someone who prefers a night in over a night out, if I'm honest. But with a rise in drink spikings, the cost of alcohol and this endless winter we seem to be having, I don't mind spending a few of my weekends having a quiet evening in with a cute cocktail or two. And this is where my drinks trolley has received a lot of foot traffic.

I actually created my own drinks trolley myself, and my DIY instructions are without a doubt the most popular article on this blog. It cost me less than £100 to make, and it's moveable and practical without compromising on style.

Drinks trolleys are the perfect place to house a collection of house spirits and gin mixers. Before I had one, I would store them away in a kitchen cupboard. But some bottles are just too pretty to hide!

And I'm not the only one who thinks this. The humble drinks trolley has become a bit of a must-have in the home in the past few years. Here's the story behind its cultural rise, the reasons why you need one, and how to pick the best drinks for your own beverage bureau.

Rise of the rolling bar

The rapid rise of the rolling bar is no exaggeration. In fact, when looking at the past 15 years, it’s clear that its popularity has only recently rocketed. Hitting a peak between Christmas and New Year’s Eve in 2020, Google searches for ‘Drinks Trolley’ were 171 per cent higher last year than the average three previous years. In the past ten years, its search popularity has exploded 3,480 per cent. But what’s spurring on the drinks-on-wheels revolution?

Ask around your friends and find out what their favourite drinks are. Chances are that they won’t all choose a simple gin and tonic. Our tastes vary, while new cocktail recipes mean that it can take a lot to please everyone at a party. According to a study by Fentimans, the UK’s favourite cocktail is the vodka martini. But how many kitchens have both vermouth and vodka at the ready?

Entertaining is the ultimate millennial pastime. But keeping drinks full and good times flowing can be a difficult balance to achieve. The drinks trolley represents an open home, where guests shouldn’t be afraid to get their own top-up when their glass runs dry.

Standing opposed to the classic liquor cabinet, the drinks trolley isn’t hidden behind glass doors where your home stock may as well be locked away. While a liquor cabinet might create a this is my drink and my drink only atmosphere, the drinks trolley does not share this sentiment. It presents a buffet of spirits and mixers, meaning that you and your guests are always spoilt for choice — nothing is off the table.

People that have a drinks trolley are the centre of their social circle, with friends flocking to their homes for Netflix nights and board game events. If that sounds like you, or someone you want to be, the drinks trolley is your ticket to fun.

Stocking up

Choosing your drinks trolley is one mission, choosing the drinks to go in it is another story. A sleek, classic design that still fits your interior is essential. Gold and silver trimmings are popular and can add some glamour to a trolley with an already ornate presence.

The rise of the drinks trolley runs parallel to the popularity of homemade cocktails. Searches for ‘bartender kits’ have risen by 1,233 per cent in the last ten years. Even now, the demand for stay-at-home cocktails continues to grow. But what should you stock your drinks trolley with to get full use of your bartender kit?

The roaring twenties are happening all over again, and a great time begins with classic cocktails to thrill any drinks connoisseur. Find your drinks trolley, stock your favourite drinks, and enjoy entertaining or relaxing with your favourite beverage.


Friday, 25 February 2022

3 tips for getting rid of maskne

I struggled with hormonal acne way before the pandemic began, but over the past two years, I've been on constant alert when it comes to my complexion, trying to avoid the dreaded maskne (acne linked to wearing a face mask).

I've found that it doesn't make a difference what mask I wear (surgical or fabric). The problem is that moisture gathers behind the mask, breeds bacteria, and creates an environment for acne.

Luckily, I've avoided the worst of it by being on hormonal birth control (for reasons other than adult acne), which alters my the hormone profile to make you less susceptible to hormonal acne breakouts. But for those who have to rely on nature's goodwill, maskne is a very real, very frustrating thing.

Mask requirements have been lifted in most places, and for the average person (especially those who don't work in a job requiring a face mask), it gives room for skin to breathe. But many of us will still be fighting the lasting effects of maskne, so I've put together this post-maskne skincare routine to give you back your glowing, plump skin with just a little bit of work.

1. Implement double cleansing into your skincare routine

If you’re not double cleansing, you’re doing it wrong. TikTok introduced us to double cleansing during lockdown, and it’s essential to keeping your skin clear. It involves washing your face twice but with two different types of cleansers. Your first cleanse should be with a cleansing oil or balm – they’re designed to get your makeup, sunscreen, and any grime build-up off, leaving a blank canvas for your second cleanse.

The second cleanse is probably your usual cleanser – a creamy one if you have dry skin, or a foaming one for oilier complexions. After the first cleanse removes all your makeup, your second cleanse can really get deep into your skin to clean out your pores and leave it baby soft and smooth.

When we had to wear masks, double cleansing helped get rid of all the oil and sweat that built up under those masks. But just because we don’t need to wear masks anymore doesn’t mean we’re free of this!

2. Pop on another kind of face mask

Mask mandates might be over in most places, but we still recommend wearing one – the wash-off kind! Face masks are a deep treatment for your skin and offer a ton of benefits, from soothing redness caused by masks to drawing out the impurities that come with constant wearing.

Clay masks are the winner for soaking up the oil, sweat, and debris caused by constant mask-wearing. Certain types of clay, including bentonite clay and kaolin clay, are proven to absorb excess oil from your pores – and excess oil is ultimately what leads to spots forming.

You can also use a mask that combines oil-absorbing clay with soothing ingredients. This will add a boost of skin-plumping hydration and make sure your skin isn’t dried out. This is perfect if you’re struggling with the after-effects of maskne because it often starts with irritation caused by friction and heat.

Adding a clay mask into your routine will help keep your skin gorgeously clear in the long run.

3. Review your skincare routine

There’s no doubt that mask-wearing was one of the biggest causes of the spots occupying too much space on our faces recently. But it’s not the only cause of acne – so to banish blemishes once and for all, it’s time to add acne-fighting ingredients to your skincare.

Facial cleansers with salicylic acid can supercharge your cleansing routine, adding an acne-busting ingredient to it. You could also incorporate a serum or a toner with the ingredient a few times a week. Salicylic acid is one of the very few ingredients proven to get into your pores – and once inside, it gets to work clearing all that nastiness out.

Retinol is well-known as an anti-ageing powerhouse, but did you know it’s also amazing in the fight against acne? This amazing ingredient achieves both in the same way by increasing your cell turnover. This means your skin produces more collagen, which is essential for plump, youthful skin. This also means it works as an exfoliant to get rid of dead skin cells, dirt, and oil – which can all cause acne. Plus, starting retinol in your early twenties means you get a head start on fighting signs of ageing – win-win!

Finally, make sure that none of your products, whether that’s make-up, skincare, or even self-tan, have ingredients that could clog your pores or cause acne. If you love your self-tan, switch to clear tanning water – the pigment in traditional tanners is a major source of acne. If you’re currently using a pigmented facial tanner and you want to give this a try, use a tan eraser to create a blank (and glowing!) canvas. When it comes to make-up, look for oil-free formulas and make sure you’re taking it all off properly by double cleansing.

On top of everything else that’s happened over the past two years, we also had to deal with unhappy maskne skin. You might have struggled with it when we needed to wear face masks, and now that the mask mandate has mostly been lifted, you may be dealing with the after-effects of it. These three steps will help your skin recover from two years of mask-wearing and keep it beautifully clear in the long run.


Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Adopting a Blue Zone Lifestyle for the New Year

When it comes to making positive lifestyle changes, there's nothing that I won't try once if I think that it will benefit my wellbeing in some sort of way. Over the last year I've adopted more plant-based diet choices, implemented a daily walk or jog into my routine (on top of my gym regime) and started listening to guided meditations via the Calm app.

Being mindful of what we put into our bodies, in particular, is extremely important. To optimise our overall wellbeing, we need to find happiness in a healthy, balanced diet matched with physical activity.

But restricting our food intake with traditional diets won’t cut it this time. Say goodbye to Atkins, the 5:2 diet, and paleo, and hello to the Blue Zone lifestyle.

Blue Zoning Explained

Where do the healthiest and longest-living people reside? In the so-called Blue Zones. Their environment, lifestyles and diets are all optimised to give them the highest life expectancies in the world. People in Blue Zones have lower levels of chronic disease, obesity, and BMIs.

The five original Blue Zones are:

  • Okinawa (Japan)

  • Ikaria (Greece)

  • Sardinia (Italy)

  • Nicoya (Costa Rica)

  • Loma Linda (California)

Blue Zones advocate physical activity and healthy eating. The Mediterranean diet is well-established as one of the healthiest in the world. It's rich in fish, vegetables, nuts, and healthy fats like olive oil. So it’s no surprise to see Greek and Italian islands in the list of Blue Zones. The Blue Zone eating method as a whole is very similar to the traditional Mediterranean diet. Rosie Martin, registered dietician at Plant Based Health Professionals, commented:

“The Blue Zone populations have a ‘plant slant’ approach to their diet, meaning their energy intake comes predominantly from whole, plant foods.

“A plant-predominant diet provides abundant low-energy but highly nutrient-dense foods with additional fibre and phytochemicals that protect our bodies from chronic diseases. These foods help to reduce inflammation, support our ‘good’ gut microbes, manage our weight, improve our mood, and lower the risk for tumour growth. A plant-predominant diet doesn’t just add years to your life, it also adds healthy life to those years. Research from the Blue Zones highlights the real-life impact that a plant-predominant diet has on human health and longevity.”

Blue Zone cultures pride themselves on understanding the benefits of a positive attitude. That's why the new year is a fantastic opportunity to commit to a Blue Zone way of life and follow through with it. A Blue Zone blog said that people who practice the blue zone lifestyle are happier. And we know being happy equals less stress and fewer visible signs of ageing.

Here's how you can have a fresh start in the new year with Blue Zoning.

Less Dairy = Healthy Skin

Dairy products might be packed full of vital vitamins and minerals, however, they can be problematic. It's well-established that milk and similar products can cause acne. And in a phenomenon aptly named 'dairy face', animal products can also cause:

  • Swollen eyelids

  • Under-eye bags

  • Dark circles

  • White bumps on the face

Let’s face it, ‘dairy face’ isn’t a desirable look. It's good news, then, that dairy substitutes are just as indulgent as the real thing. Everybody loves an ice cream and, thankfully, there are many dairy-free alternatives. This coconut, caramel and pecan dairy-free ice cream, for example, contains only five ingredients, and the coconut milk makes it incredibly indulgent without the negative skin effects.

“With 70% of the global population intolerant to cow’s milk, we cannot rely on it as a source of calcium for bone health. Luckily, we can get all the calcium we need without it. For those who can tolerate dairy, there are still benefits to choosing a plant-based milk instead. Soya milk fortified with calcium for example is a high protein and low saturated fat option, and also provides extra phytoestrogens and fibre that may reduce the risk for breast cancer and support a healthy heart,” added Rosie Martin.

Limit your sugar intake

Most of us are guilty of having a secret stash of chocolate bars or some mouth-watering Ferrero Rochers. But, like dairy, this can have an adverse effect on your skin and body. We don't need to tell you that chocolate isn't a healthy choice for the body-conscious. But sugary treats can give you, you've guessed it, 'sugar face’. And the effects are longer-lasting. Sugar breaks down collagen, the protein that keeps your visage looking youthful.

“Refined sugar provides a lot of energy that is released quickly into our blood stream. This causes a blood sugar spike, shortly followed by a crash as insulin causes your sugar levels to drop. These crashes are coupled with cravings for more sugar, and we are sent into a blood sugar rollercoaster throughout the day. Refined sugar is devoid of any real nutrition,” explained Rosie Martin.

“You can balance your energy levels by choosing to get unrefined, healthy sugars from whole foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. You can still get your chocolate fix by including dark chocolate in small amounts, a food that is high in beneficial polyphenols.”

If you want to snack like a blue-zoner, opt for healthy nuts. And if you find them unexciting on their own, why not mix them up into some yummy recipes? For example, you can swap your guilty pleasure Ferrero Rochers with a healthy protein ball version packed with healthy nuts that’s just as delicious.

“Thankfully, our taste preferences can change over time. If you start cutting down on added sugar and swap your refined sugary foods for healthier forms of sugar, such as those found in whole foods, you will find that these foods become more delicious, satisfying, and will provide your body with the nourishment it needs”, added Rosie Martin.

Get some winter sun

Is it a coincidence that all five Blue Zones are in warmer climates? Research shows that short days and cold weather can have a negative impact on our health, so it's the perfect excuse for a winter getaway. Cold weather can affect your mood, dry out your skin and even make you feel more tired.

Going on a holiday to a sunnier destination in January is a great way to reap the benefits of those sun rays. It’s also the cheapest month to jet off to your desired destination. Imagine how great you’ll look in your designer bikini after following the Blue Zone diet!

Research shows that 29% of people in the UK are deficient of vitamin D between January and March. This essential vitamin helps the body absorb calcium. When deficient, people can experience low energy levels, depression, headaches and joint pain. If you're an active, healthy young woman, the last thing you need is joint pain.

While there are some great substitutes for your vitamin D intake, such as vitamin D supplements and a light therapy SAD lamp, nothing beats the real thing. Jetting off to a sunny destination not only gives you an opportunity to relax; it'll improve your health and happiness. You can even visit one of the Blue Zones to immerse yourself in the Blue Zone lifestyle and diet first-hand!

Adopting a Blue Zone lifestyle might well be the key to your optimal wellbeing, so why not give it a try in 2022?

© Jen Lou Meredith | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Handcrafted by pipdig